Category Archives: Volume 7, Issue 2

201 Plungers Put Booth’s Mane on the Line, a First-time First-hand Account

 Ms. Elyse Martin-Smith, CVC Roving Reporter

BURLINGTON —  On February 3rd I participated in the Penguin Plunge at the Burlington waterfront for the first time. It was a new experience that was very rewarding in the end.

To begin, we were all standing outside in the freezing cold as we waited for the festivities. Everyone was very cold, but I could never expect how cold we would feel afterwards, which was even worse than I imagined. After we took our team picture, we were separated into different groups in warming tents. Everyone was very excited and nervous at the same time as we got ready to take the icy plunge.

Image courtesy of Gino Johnson
Image courtesy of Gino Johnson


The tents were filled with anticipation and excitement radiating almost as much as the heat. Julia Herberg, a CVU freshman and first time plunger shared one of the reasons she was excited to participate. She said, “I am excited for the food.” In fact, plungers received coupons for many places, including Skinny Pancake and David’s Tea. Julia also added that she liked how it brought people together.

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A Fresh Look at the Old Winter Ball

Ms. Greta Powers, CVC Culture Correspondent

Two weeks before the Winter Ball, during White day block 3, Chittenden core Personal Health/Project Adventure teacher, TJ Mead, is laying out the rules for a highly anticipated game in Project Adventure.

“The game,” TJ eagerly says, “is called chaos ball.”

“Sounds like another name for Winter Ball,” I quipped. The remark was met by laughter from my classmates and a grin from TJ.

The previous day in Personal Health, the class had discussed different problems that could occur around the time of Winter Ball. It was merely another time out of a thousand someone had uttered the words “Winter Ball” at CVU in three weeks.

Whatever the reason for its popularity, there seems to be a lot of fuss over Winter Ball. My friends bought numerous dresses online to find the right one and to also eliminate the dreaded chance of being stuck with a faulty dress. When one of my male friends asked a girl why she purchased so many dresses, she quickly responded with, “Well, I have to find one that’s good!” as if it were obvious. It wasn’t quite that obvious to the boy.

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I too, cynically enough, enjoyed seeing the ups and downs of people asking each other out to the ball. It was as if I were a spectator on the bleachers of a game, but the game was a bunch of 9th graders either being rejected and embarrassed, or accepted and excited. In this game, halftime is a big dose of emotions.

So what’s with all the hoopla about Winter Ball? Though not even the most popular formal dance of the year (Prom takes that prize), it still seems to catch the attention of many CVU students. Perhaps because it concludes the week of midterms and with that pressure gone, it’s a fun way to celebrate. Or maybe Winter Ball provides a sense of comaraderie amongst CVU students; everyone can talk about it because everyone knows about it.

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13th Annual Cafe for a Cause Benefits Richmond Food Shelf

Sr. Enzo Delia

Each year in the heart of December, Cafe for a Cause takes place in the CVU Cafeteria.  Cafe for a Cause is CVU’s way of giving back to surrounding communities in a big way.

 “Cafe for a Cause is a fundraising event that was started about 12-13 years ago, just as a way of raising money for charities and giving back to the community,” says Leo LaForce, who started the event a year after becoming the CVU’s cafeteria owner/manager in 2004.

 “This year’s proceeds are going to a local food shelf; Student council specifically chose the Richmond Food Shelf as there is a tie in with the Richmond Food Shelf and CVU, and there was also an article that rose awareness of the fact that the Richmond Food Shelf is particularly struggling this year, so the money will go to the Richmond Food Shelf, but we’re also asking for food donations, and the food donations will go to the Hinesburg Food Shelf,” explains Leo.

The food options for this year were similar to last year, featuring many students’ favorite items, kicking off with waffles in the morning, made by your very own Student Council reps.

“Usually, every Cafe for a Cause we do one of the most favored items of the students which is the cheese tortellini in the pesto sauce, so we’ll be doing that, alongside another favorite, Pizza from Dominos, and this time in a complete white dough as opposed to the usual half-whole wheat dough, which students tend to prefer [the white dough], in addition, we’ll have all of the other normal items, the burrito bar, the salad bar, panini’s and things like that,” added Leo.

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Caroline Investigates the Importance of Sports

Ms. Caroline McNamara


I  like to dance, and my favorite food is pasta and meatballs. I have my parents. Their names are Joe, Sue, and Kim. My siblings are my sisters Mary and Laurel. I have brothers, too. Their names are Seth and Simon and Gostaf.  I also have pets. Daisy and Ruby are dogs, and I have a cat named Stella.  And I  run track in Special Olympics with my dad.

I do the Special Olympics games with the head coach, who is my dad, and two of my sisters are also helping. Special Olympics is a Unified Sports team consisting of young athletes with and without disabilities.  I think it is going to be great doing this with my friends, and we will have so much fun. I would like to win a gold medal and buy a big house with a hot tub. I would buy some food like pasta and meatballs, hamburger and some hot wings, and I would have big parties with my friends.

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CVU Visitors Impressed, Inspired by School Environment

Ms. Nicole Eaton

HINESBURG, VT — On Thursday, December 7th, a group of Hanover High School students came to Champlain Valley Union High School to get ideas for their school. Each student got a tour of the school and got to sit-in on a class or two.

Alice is a sophomore from Norwich, Vermont, and Julia is in her first year at Hanover High.

Alice and Julia were both impressed by the environment at CVU and expressed their positive observations of excitedness. They especially loved the block scheduling and what seems like a “stress free” environment.

The girls loved a lot of things about CVU, but the things that they loved the most was block scheduling and the “stress free” environment.

“CVU’s block scheduling is very cool. It really gives students the opportunity to seek help if they need it and breaks up the week in a nice way,” says Cook. “You have opportunities to try things on different days. It makes sense in a way that our schedule doesn’t from an emotional and stress level standpoint.” she continues.

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Feelgood Administrators Greet Students, Build Community Every Morning

Mr. Hank Caswell

Kathryn Riley and Adam Bunting stand outside almost every morning greeting students as a way to connect with them and make them feel welcome at school. Their efforts have changed the atmosphere throughout the halls and in the classrooms.

Screenshot 2018-01-23 at 8.35.27 AM
Principal Bunting Welcomes the CVC into his Office

CVU Principal Adam Bunting is one of the administrators who greets students each morning at the doors of CVU. So, my intention first of all is that I enjoy it. What I find is that when I see students coming in in the morning, it reminds me to do my job the best that I can do it because we’ve got these amazing young people coming to school who sometimes are psyched to be here or sometimes not feeling it, but you get this feeling that there’s a lot of potential that’s walking into the building. The other piece to it is that if someone is having a tough day, a lot of times you can pick that out just by making eye contact with somebody. You can pause and connect with them, and if you’re not doing that face to face interaction then you will never get that chance,” he says.

Bunting feels he can get closer to students and develop relationships that wouldn’t have been established without his actions. “I also want it to be some modeling. Let’s step away from some of the electronic devices and actually connect and create a community that’s as welcoming as possible. If we want that, we better act it and live it, both from students and faculty.”

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Advantages of Using Social Media

Ms. Sophia Barton

CVU teachers, students, parents and administrators are using Twitter as a means of real time communication.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical high school student spends his or her day juggling five or more different activities. Students spend half their day at school and also spend time working, socializing, volunteering, and playing sports. The administrators at CVU have a heavy workload as well. CVU’s website states that the school has 1,322 students and 103 faculty. It also offers 150 courses and serves five towns: Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, Williston, and St. George.  

The school’s students and staff manage a busy life and schedule everyday. This raises the question of how to communicate, at a minute’s notice, important announcements and information. Some say the answer could be twitter. CVU math teacher and coach, Corinna Hussey, believes that “social media is how people are communicating and it can be a very positive way to connect students, staff, and community.”  Hussey states that, “Information gets out and spreads a lot faster through tweets.  Even if everyone doesn’t read the tweet, it seems that people talk about them.”

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APGOV Wire: Financial Help is Hope for Opioid Abusers

Ms. Lily Toensing, APGov Correspondent

On a summer Saturday morning, I was driving into Burlington. At a stop light, I looked over at a church to my right. A man, in his early twenties was sitting on the steps. He was shivering ferociously, yelling at god, and begging for help. His tremors were not from cold. He was shaking from withdrawal. Beads of sweat trickled down his forehead and soaked his shirt. His body was unable to handle the side effects of withdrawal. He was a heroin addict. This homeless man with torn clothing, could not access a treatment center. His last ditch effort was to sit on the steps of a church and pray, scream, for a miracle.

Image Courtesy of RehabNow247
Image Courtesy of RehabNow247

A miracle is “a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences”(Miracle). Miracles are meant for things we cannot control, not things we can control like making help available for drug addicts.

By funding public drug rehabilitation centers, we can help drug addicts to recover from their addictions. No addicts can do it alone and adequate support is the only way to help with these problems.  

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APGov Wire: We need a Multi-faceted Approach to Confront the Opiod Epidemic

Ms. Lilly Cazayoux, APGov Correspondent

There is no doubt in my mind that the biggest problem in the country, as well as in Vermont, is the opioid epidemic.  No matter where you go, it’s impossible to find any community that has not been affected by scourge of these drugs.  Whether it’s an addiction to prescription painkillers, or dangerous street drugs like heroin, we need to dedicate greater resources to fighting them.

Opioid death tolls have been on the rise over the past two decades and began to accelerate rapidly in 2011.  Opioid overdose deaths nearly doubled over the last five years, surpassing 42,200 nationwide in 2016.  In Vermont the death toll was 100.  Opioids don’t care where you come from, nor do they discriminate based on socioeconomic status. Twenty of the deaths in Vermont occurred with people who had no high school diploma, however, an equal number occurred with people who had a college degree. No matter who you are, you are just as susceptible to opioid addiction. It’s time as Vermonters, as Americans, as citizens who care for one another, that we take a stand.

There are two aspects to this problem that must be addressed and fixed; keeping addicts alive, as well as preventing more people from becoming addicted

The big dangers with these drugs, are how easy it is to overdose on them, and the diseases contracted by injecting with unsterile needles. The first thing we must do is preserve the lives at risk, by preventing fatal overdoses. I believe the best solution to that would be to open supervised injection sites. Popular in Europe, supervised injection sites allow addicts to use drugs with sanitary materials, provide treatment consultation, as well as medical help in the case of an overdose emergency. With newer, more potent drugs on the market such as fentanyl, it’s crucial we find a quick way to save these lives before thousands more are lost. These supervised injection sites would provide a chance to preserve lives until users can make the decision to begin the rehabilitation process. The main goal of implementing these sites would be to reduce the immediate health issues that opioid addiction presents, as well as attempting to refer the addicts into treatment.

The other preemptive part of this plan would be targeting doctors that over prescribe highly addictive opioids in unnecessary cases. I believe more stringent rules regulating these prescriptions could prevent many people from becoming addicted to these medicines in the first place, before they turn to the cheaper more dangerous cousin, heroin.

Attacking the epidemic from both sides of the problem could be the solution to saving lives from opioid addictions.

Ed Note: this essay was one of the finalists of Bernie Sanders’ State of the Union Essay Contest.

APGOV Wire: We Need a Change in the Political Climate Regarding Climate Change

Ms. Lily Miner, APGov Correspondent

During this first year of the Donald Trump presidency, we have witnessed many questionable decisions being made for our country that not only affect us, but also those around the world in a negative way. One particular decision, however, has set our country on a path to continue the horrific damage being done to Earth. President Trump’s adjudication to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement has left us as the only nation in the world to oppose it since Syria signed to join in November. The main objective for this agreement was to restrict levels of CO2 emissions from each country. The consequences of Trump’s withdrawal are grave, as CO2 levels in the atmosphere have risen past 400 parts per million—levels that are already superseding what Earth can handle to support the flora and fauna living on it. Continuing this trend will most likely result in a mass extinction event.

Hearing the White House argue that removing us from the agreement will help boost our economy filled much of the American public as well as climate experts around the globe with a sense of outrage. We have already accumulated a surplus of evidence that man made climate change is having a drastic negative impact. In the past two decades, sea levels have risen at a rate of .13 inches, which is twice the rate of the past century. From 1992 to 2011, Greenland lost 152 billion tons of ice per year, West Antarctica lost 65 billion per year, and the Antarctic Peninsula lost 20 billion per year. Increased intensity in extreme weather including hurricanes, floods, and snowstorms has been recorded since the 1950’s. These are just a fraction of the plethora of examples. Given the massive amount of damage that has already been done, how can it be justified to place the economy as a higher priority?

Thank you to the United Nations for graciously sharing your Paris Agreement logo.
Thank you to the United Nations for graciously sharing your Paris Agreement logo.


This choice is especially irresponsible when considering the fact that the United States produces more excess CO2 than any other country. While there are many factors to blame, one of the largest and least necessary of these is the use of fossil fuels. They provide 81% of the energy in the United States, yet they are both incredibly harmful and incredibly easy to replace. A change needs to be made.

It is imperative that we as a global superpower begin to invest in renewable energy such as wind and solar. Many economists agree that the long term benefits from switching to renewable energy would outweigh the short term costs, improving the economy through more environmentally sound means. Certainly a more competent course of action than removing ourselves from the Paris Agreement. Though the cost of installation for these methods are pricier than more conventional ones, they have no fuel costs once they are functioning and the maintenance costs are cheaper. The United States has not only the resources, but the duty to fight against these issues. We need to combat this now, because we will not be given a second chance later.

Editor’s Note: this essay was one of the finalists of Bernie Sanders’ State of the Union Essay Contest.


Going “Zero Waste”: a Breakdown of the Latest Trend in Environmentalism

Ms. Sarah Clauss, CVC Environmental Correspondent

One of the largest environmental issues facing our nation is solid waste management. According to the Los Angeles Times, the United States generated about 624,700 metric tons of trash per day in 2011. Few people think about where their trash goes after it leaves the curb — but landfills are hardly the convenient solution you might assume. Landfills produce methane gas and can leech toxins into nearby water supplies. Animal habitats disappear as these waste disposal areas expand, wreaking havoc on biodiversity. The soil around landfill sites often becomes depleted of nutrients and cannot sustain agriculture.

So what is the solution? Many environmentalists have turned to living “zero waste”; they forgo single-use plastic and rely only on goods that they can reuse, recycle, or compost. Interested in getting started? Here are some tips from the experts on producing less trash.

  1. From Celia Ristow of Litterless: “Start slowly – it’s not going to happen overnight, and that’s okay! Small changes that you can stick to add up to large changes over time. I suggest making one change a week or one every other week, to give the new habit time to stick before you add another one.”
  2. From Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers: “I always recommend evaluating where you make the most waste and tackling those areas with preparation! For example, if you use plastic bags when you shop, make sure to bring your own reusable bags in the future. Now take this same preparation to all of the areas where you are making waste.”
  3. From Anne-Marie Bonneau of The Zero Waste Chef: “Well, for the general population, I would say my number one rule is to cut processed food and learn to cook (sort of two tips…). Most of the plastic and other trash in our waste stream comes from food packaging, and much of that comes from processed food, which isn’t healthy for us or the planet. So cut the shiny packages—chips, soda, cookies, frozen pizzas, fast food and so on—and you not only eliminate a ton of trash, you improve your diet and health.”

What are some of the challenges of adopting a lifestyle with less waste?

According to Anne Marie, “I think the biggest challenge is just getting started. If you start to analyze your trash, you might be shocked—especially by the plastic coming out of your kitchen, and also the food waste. You may not know where to start. I would suggest you start small and not try to go cold turkey all at once. Perhaps taking a reusable mug or thermos to your local café, shopping at the farmers’ market for loose produce or packing a zero-waste lunch for school. If you try to quit all at once, you may feel overwhelmed and fail. And even if you do start small, you’ll still mess up at some point. It’s inevitable. Don’t beat yourself up. Just do your best. If everyone did that, we’d be in much better shape.”


Review: Del Toro’s The Shape of Water

Ms. Alyssa Gorton, CVC Arts Correspondent

The Shape of Water poses the question, “Who’s the real monster?” to the nth degree, and in an entirely new way.

In Guillermo Del Toro’s most recent film, he creates a stunning universe set in the 1960’s and makes it his own. Within minutes of watching, I was entirely intrigued by the beautiful aesthetic, unique protagonist, and lovable characters. IMDb states, “Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. Her life changes forever when she discovers the lab’s classified secret — a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its fate and very survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist.”


The film has won and been nominated for many awards such as Best Motion Picture, Best Achievements in Directing, and Best Director. As it goes with critically acclaimed movies, not everyone agrees with the critics. I was extremely hesitant to go see the film, as I don’t usually make a point to see movies revered by academies or judges, but I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. One statement I can make with full confidence is that Del Toro completely enthralls you in this vintage, science fiction world, from the costumes, sets, and dialogue, to the plot, music, and characters.

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Art and Activism-How does art inform?

tianmenemMs. Alyssa Gorton 

On the morning of June 5, 1989, photographer Jeff Widener was perched on a sixth-floor balcony of the Beijing Hotel. It was a day after the Tiananmen Square massacre. Chinese troops attacked pro-democracy demonstrators camped on the plaza and the Associated Press sent Widener to document the aftermath. After seeing scorched buses, and the occasional bloodied pedestrian wander by, Widener was preparing to take a photograph when an anonymous man stepped in front of a line of military tanks. The tanks tried to go around the man, but he stepped back into their path. Widener assumed the man would be killed, but the tanks held their fire.

Art, whether it be photography, performing, painting, or drawing, makes people talk. For hundreds of years artists have used this to their advantage. Whether it be making a political stance, bringing awareness to a specific problem, or expressing one’s feelings of current events, art and activism can work together harmoniously to bring light to issues around the world that you may not have heard of otherwise. One of the most famous pieces in regards to this is Pablo Pica sso’s “Guernica.”

guernicaThe title of this painting references the city of Guernica which was bombed by Nazi planes during the Spanish Civil War. At the time, Picasso was working on an entirely different painting for the Paris Exhibition of 1937 but upon hearing the news of this attack, he quickly changed his idea altogether. Now, it is one of the most famous pieces regarding the tragedies and horrors of war; a constant reminder of the cost of violence.

One of the most famous modern artists regarding political statements and activigraffitism is Banksy. The identity of this artist has yet to be known, though even their anonymity aids their stance on social justice and political dilemmas. They are best known for their satirical street art combined with thought provoking epigrams with just a dash of dark humor. Banksy displays their art on publicly visible walls, structures, and surfaces and does not offer to sell reproductions of their art. Art auctioneers have been known to try and sell the originals and leave the process of removal up tart1o the buyers. Banksy’s name and identity remain unknown – it has been stated that the reason for this secrecy is that graffiti is a crime, though some think the reasoning behind their identity remaining a secret is to make yet another political statement – spreading messages of peace and unity while denying the fame that would otherwise come to them.

The question still remains, does art actually change anything? Does it invoke a voice in the otherwise silent majority? At the very least, it sparks a conversation or a thought. At the most, art can inspire a social revolution or even represent the marginalized, the lost, the weary, the sick, and the tired. Every form of art gives a voice to the voiceless.arrt2



Penguin Plunge: A First-time Plunger Recounts her Frigid Flop

Ms. Joyce Ke, CVC Culture Correspondent

The new year has begun and to no surprise, there is a huge group of students who are plunging into the frigid waters of Lake Champlain for the annual Penguin Plunge. The Penguin Plunge is an annual fundraiser that is held by Special Olympics Vermont. All of the proceeds go towards allowing kids and adults with intellectual disabilities to have the chance to train and compete in competitions right here in Vermont. This year, the Penguin Plunge was held on Saturday, February 3rd at the Burlington Waterfront.

This will be CVU’s sixth year plunging. With 167 people in 2016 and 168 having signed up last year, this is a big year for the CVU Penguin Plunge because the goal of reaching 200 plungers was finally met. This year, 201 students signed up to plunge and the student body raised $50,000 for Special Olympics.

Image by Joyce Ke
Joyce charges the toward the frigid waters of Lake Champlain. Image by Gino Johnson

CVU participates in the “Cool Schools” Penguin Plunge and the process to plunge is all pretty simple. The first thing you need to do is sign up on the penguin plunge website and raise a minimum of $150. Afterward, you need to fill out a waiver and bring it to Peter Booth. Once  you have completed those steps, you can get yourself a t-shirt, hat, and inflatable penguin from Peter. The very last step in this process is to go plunge into the lake and have fun.

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APGov Wire: How ‘Bout a Little Mutual Respect?

Ms. Ella Whitman, APGov Correspondent

When my high school principal told us that there were only three rules we had to follow I was shocked. How can you sum up every expectation that must be demanded of a young adult into three things? He went on to inform us that we must take care of ourselves, take care of each other, and the place. While thinking about these three guidelines it became apparent that achieving them can be challenging at times but the step to do it is simple; you must respect all things. Looking at our nation today it is clear that lack of respect creates the most conflict in our nation. Our negligence to respect each other’s bodies, opinions, ethnicities, races, backgrounds and beliefs leads us to discrimination, hatred and prejudice. We see endless examples in our lives today.


The lack of respect for one another’s opinion is vividly apparent in politics today. The Pew Research Center recently reported how the partisan divide on our nation’s politics is increasing. A study concluded, “The shares of Republicans and Democrats who express very unfavorable opinions of the opposing party have increased dramatically since the 1990s, but have changed little in recent years.” This is alarming because if we as people can not see others perspective, we will not be able to collaborate or work with one another to collectively strengthen our nation. By respecting others’ opinions we can gain insight and also learn their specific needs.

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