Category Archives: Wellness

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CONGRESS PUTS BREAKS ON DUI

By Asa Roberts

Drunk driving is the number one cause of automobile fatalities. On average, 29 Americans die every day due to alcohol-related crashes. Since 2000, an average of 10,000 deaths have been reported each year. As a result, Congress has passed a multitude of laws in an attempt to reduce fatalities; the latest of these laws, passed on November ninth , requires automobile companies to implement technology to reduce drunk driving rates.

New technology could potentially find it’s way into new vehicles by 2026. This law comes as part of a new 1 trillion dollar infrastructure package, in an attempt to improve auto safety and quell the increase in road deaths. According to the U.S. department of transportation in a 2020 survey, road deaths are up 18.4% from 2020. The United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in an October press release, “Today we are announcing that we will produce the Department’s first ever National Roadway Safety Strategy to identify action steps for everyone working to save lives on the road.” The package was approved by Congress on Friday, and is expected to be signed by president Biden soon. 

How will this affect you?

The truth, at least for now, is that it won’t. Automakers aren’t being pressured to implement these technologies until at earliest 2026. However, this mandate is a big step in the fight against drunk driving. As president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Alex Otte said in  a recent interview about the new mandates, “It’s monumental,” it marks “the beginning of the end of drunk driving.” 

Many students and teachers support these new safety precautions as a form of protection for themselves and their loved ones. According to a CVU student driver’s parent, “technology for preventing drunk driving is a necessity, not only for the drunk drivers themselves, but for the drivers around them as well.” While this new mandate isn’t expected to start making changes in the auto industry for at least another four years, you can expect this to be the first of many steps towards trying to end drunk driving.

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Cross country costume race

By Mina Radivojevic

FAIRFAX, VT- From Tree (Oliver King), to Lumberjack (Owen Deale), to Trash (Charli Geravelli)…

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…to Tinkerbells (Josie Sayre and Eliza Amsbery)…

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…to Mom (Nico Cuneo) and Pregnant Santa (Mario Robinson)…

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…to Princess (Evie Schumann) and Winnie the Phoo (Lindley Pickard)…

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…to The Lorax duo (Thomas Geravelli and Logan Pickard)…

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…to the whole Despicable me crew (Ava Rohrbaugh, Mia Marino and Jameson)…

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…and of course, Bananas (Eliza McLean and Matt Lollis)…

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All of them raced on October 5th in the Fairfax Costume race, which was more than dazzling. CVU, as always, was very successful. Besides original costumes that won awards for their creativity…

…like The Death Combo (Segoleine Johnson and Annalise Wood)

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And The Magic Eight Balls (Phoebe Denniso, Maddie Haydock, Mina Radivojevic, Olivia StPeter, Chloe Stidsen and Anna Van Buren),

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CVU also took the top three awards for speed. Third place went for Business Men (Ben Mcauliffe and Greg Seraus, respectively).

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Second place went to Accountants (Jack Crum and Kody Guiterman).

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And the first place went to the Minions duo (Brandon Milatello and Jameson McEnaney).

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What will covid restrictions look like for top VT ski resorts this winter?

By Mazzy Ricklefs

Ski season is right around the corner and many are curious what it will require to be out on the slopes safely this year. How will it compare to last year? According to CVU students and the Burlington Free Press, these are the top resorts in Vermont and some of the requirements needed to enjoy your time. 

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Sugarbush Resort 

 Sugarbush is definitely a favorite of many in and out of state skiers. According to the Burlington Free Press, Spokesman John Bleh says Sugarbush plans on not having any restrictions outdoors, but if things drastically change the resort will follow local guidelines. “If the town of Warren decided to reinstate masks, we would as well,” Bleh said. As far as being indoors, masks are recommended and required for unvaccinated staff. Sugarbush’s owner, Alterra Mountain Company, is considering more aggressive measures but hasn’t made any final decisions. 

 

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Smuggler’s Notch Resort 

Smugg’s will be similar to Sugarbush this year, in the sense that the ski area will be pretty open and flexible. As far as indoors, masks will be required rather than just recommended, even if you are vaccinated. “Now that we’re going into the ski season, it’s an outdoor sport so naturally people are wearing goggles and masks,” Spokeswoman Stephanie Gorin said. “We’re not requiring masks on the lifts, but most people wear them.”

 

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Jay Peak Resort 

Jay Peak plans to follow any mandate the State of Vermont issues concerning masking and distancing. Jay Peak will not be limiting the number of tickets sold, according to Toland. Spokesman J.J. Toland states that, “One of the advantages we have up here is that we are so far up here,we don’t see the crowds that some of the southern resorts get and those that do make the trip (to Jay Peak) take comfort in that fact. The short of it, we expect to have a great winter.”

As far as places like Killington Resort and Bolton Valley Resort, they are still deciding what their COVID-19 protocols will be for this year. Last year, Bolton followed all guidance from the State of Vermont, CDC and OSHA so it is assumed that will most likely be the case this year as well. 

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What’s up with winter sports?

By Asa Roberts

As fall sports come to a close, it’s time to start looking at the upcoming winter season. This year has a plethora of opportunities to get active! From hitting the slopes with the alpine ski team to trying out the all new girls wrestling team, there’s something for everyone! 

Cross Country skiing: 

Are you looking for a great way to get outside and stay in shape this winter? Take a look at cross country skiing! No experience necessary, skiers of all levels and competitiveness are welcome to join. Nordic skiing practices every day after school at the local ski center Sleepy Hollow (once there’s snow). Sleepy Hollow is a Great place for skiers of all abilities, and passes work all year round for skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and biking. If you enjoy being outside and staying fit, you are in luck. Coach Sara Strack will be heading the CVU team this year once again, and will surely make this season amazing. Cross country skiing had its first meeting last Thursday the 28th. Missed it? No worries! You can learn more about nordic by visiting CVU nordics website here, or by emailing coach Strack.

Alpine skiing:

More into going down the hills? Check out the Alpine ski team. The ski team starts their season before the snow falls with workouts and practices in the mini gym. Ski team is open for new racers, as well as veterans, so no matter what your level of experience, you are sure to fit in. Alpine racing practices at Cochrans during the week, and heads up to Sugarbush on Saturdays for training on the big hill. If you are interested in picking up racing, or have any questions regarding the season, be sure to reach out to assistant coach Lee Morse laxcoach.vt@myfairpoint.net. Alpine  skiing starts soon so be sure to check it out!

Indoor track:

If you are interested in staying fit, or preparing for track and field this spring, check out indoor track club. Indoor track is a great option if you are looking for a low commitment sport, or if you are wanting to practice every day. Indoor track practices at parisi on mondays and tuesdays, with plenty of opportunities for carpooling, so don’t let rides deter you. Meets are on Saturdays at the indoor track at UVM, and are optional. Looking for a way to practice field events?Indoor tracks got that too! Both track and most field events are available. If you are interested, or want to learn more, email coach Elise Seraus at cvuindoortrack@gmail.com.

Basketball:

Both boys and girls basketball are back in full swing this year! With the girls season being tragically cut short right before the championship game two years ago, and no fans being allowed at games last year, both teams are more excited than ever to lace up and play. Boys Basketball will once again be having a varsity, JVA, and JVB team this year, and the all star coaching staff will be returning. Coach Osborne, who brought last year’s team to the quarterfinals is returning this year to make another run. CVU’s very own Seth Emerson will be coaching JVA, and Pat Keogh will be the JVB coach. If you are interested in trying out for the basketball team, email Coach Osborne or talk to CVU’s Seth Emerson.  

Girls Basketball is excited to be back on the court! The girls will be having three teams as well this year, and will be head coached by Ute Otley once Again. The girls will surely be dominant once again this year, so even if you aren’t a player, be sure to go watch and support. The girls host open gyms during preseason. To learn more, email coach Otley.

Wrestling:

CVU is excited to offer wrestling opportunities for both boys and girls this year! Wrestling is an awesome opportunity to get fit and build self confidence for everyone. Gunnar Olson will be coaching the wrestling team this year, and the team is open to wrestlers of all experiences and abilities, contact coach Olson at olsonsitedesign@myfairpoint.net. Ladies, if you are interested, contact CVU student Cassidy Flemming  at 469-773-1889 for more information or any questions. Be sure to check out CVU wrestling’s website here.

Gymnastics:

With floor, beam and bar events, CVU gymnastics has something for everyone. Following an amazing 2020 season where they took home gold, gymnastics had a modified season during 2021, and are looking forward to getting back to normal for the 2021 season. Coach Madison Bordeau is back again to lead the team. Practices are held at Green Mountain Training Center in Williston, and are every day. If you are looking into gymnastics this year, contact Dan Shepardson.

Hockey:

CVU’s hockey teams are starting up soon, so lace up your skates and get out on the ice. The girls once again are teaming up with MMU to form the Cougarhawks. The girls head coach Scott Bushweller will be returning along with his stellar coaching squad, and are officially taking over the program from MMU, but will keep the name Cougarhawks. Boys hockey is looking forward to a great season this year, with head coach J.P. Benoit returning. Both girls and boys hockey hold open ice sessions throughout the year, and the season is starting up soon. Contact Dan Sheperdson for more information.

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The Sweet Story of Maple Syrup

by Méline Palkovic

Shelburne, VT – You may know that Vermont is famous for its maple syrup, but do you know how it is made ? With what ? How long does it take ? How many trees are used ? As someone who has only lived in Vermont for a short time and is interested in the subject, I have been looking into the matter and have done some research. I live in Shelburne, so I decided to start my investigation locally. 

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The Palmer’s Sugarhouse has been maple sugaring for over 50 years. It started with their grandmother who ran out of sugar to cook with during the World War ll. She decided to tap a tree and get some sap and then she became the first woman maple-maker in Vermont to be inducted into the Maple Hall of Fame. 

At first it was a necessity, then it became a hobby, then it gradually grew and now there are snow parties where you can find all the maple and sugar served on snow. 

In the United States, Vermont is the state that produces the most maple syrup, in 2020 more than 2 million gallons of syrup was produced(about 50% of the country’s production). There are about 1,500 sugar shacks in Vermont.

The maple syrup production process begins in February. First, the trees must be tapped, which involves inserting a spout into the tree with a hammer or drill. Then, when the weather becomes warm enough(above freezing [32 Fahrenheit, 0 Celsius] during the day and below freezing in the evening), usually between March and April, the sap begins to flow. Afterwards, the sap is transported by tubing or collected in buckets to the sugar factory and arrives in tanks.   

Type of spout:

 

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Tanks:

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Then the sap is boiled using an evaporator. The sap is mostly water(about 95% of water), it is clear when it comes out of the tree and once it is boiled, that is where the inverted sugars are obtained. One tap yields about 10 gallons of sap and it takes 50 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. This is why maple syrup is very expensive because most of the sap has to be boiled down to water and the rest is sugar and it takes hours and hours to boil the sap into maple syrup.

At the beginning of the season, the sap is at first the lightest, which is called delicate flavor, then it gradually becomes darker, until it becomes robust, which is the more flavorful. These changes are due to the gradual warming during the spring. As the temperature rises, the sap becomes darker(this evolution is produced by a chemical change in the composition of sugars and other elements).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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-Golden, delicate taste                                                                    

-Amber, rich taste

-Dark, robust taste

-Very dark, strong taste   

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Maple syrup candy:

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What’s really useful about maple syrup is that you change the temperature when you cook it at and you get a lot of different products without adding anything. Like maple cream that goes on donuts, cookies and toast, candy (“caramel”) and maple sugar that is good on granola and coffee. All of these can be achieved just by changing the cooking temperature.                                                                    

Maple syrup is also good because it has a low glycemic level, which is better for people who have problems with sugars like diabetes. It’s versatile, you can cook with it instead of cane sugar, you can put it in a balsamic maple sauce for a salad, you can use it on salmon as a marinade; there are many things you can do with it.

The maples are trees of the family Sapindaceae. They can grow from 10 to 45 meters in height. There are more than a hundred different maple trees in the world. The three main trees used to produce maple syrup are the sugar maple, the black maple and the red maple. To produce maple syrup, it is necessary to wait until the maple tree is generally 30 years old and 12 inches in diameter. A sugar maple can live about 400 years. Maple syrup producers use trees in the wild but some plant their own trees. 

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This maple is 5 years old. We have to wait another 25 years before we can tap it. 

Finally, if no one in your family is a sugar maker but you want to become one (whether it’s for hobby, for you and your family, or if you want to start a business), just go to any hardware store for the supplies you don’t have and if you don’t know how to do it ask some sugar maker friends or look on the internet. Many hobbyists are tapping their own trees in their backyard. Anyone can really become a sugar maker!

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Ski Mountains around VT: Where are YOU skiing this year?

By- Mia Kenney

Looking for a place to ski and snowboard?  Vermont has a lot of mountains to choose from. Here is a list of 5 more popular ski resorts and some facts about each, including cost, how many lifts, kinds of lifts, and some of the things that draw people to these mountains. Hopefully this helps you and your family decide where you might want to go skiing or snowboarding this season! 

Cochran’s

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Cochran’s is a non-profit organization. That is one of the reasons people are so drawn to it even though it is a small mountain with only 1 t-bar, a rope tow and a “mighty-mite” A season pass there is about $206.70. Cochran’s has about 8 trails with all different levels. Cochran’s is not a resort so there is no staying there but they do have a lodge where you can take breaks and warm up. Cochran’s is all about family so they love doing things like Friday night dinners, not I’m not sure if they are doing it this year because of Covid, but this is something that they have been doing for years. 

Smugglers’ Notch

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https://www.smuggs.com/pages/winter/skiride/trail-map.php 

A season pass at Smuggs is about $419. Something that draws people to Smuggs is that they technically have 3 mountains. Smuggs also has the fun zone which is an indoor play area with bouncy houses and games. Smuggs is a resort, so they have condos that people can rent. There are 8 chair lifts with about 78 trails. Their hours are different for different lifts, most lifts open at 9am but some open at 8:30. 

Jay Peak

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https://jaypeakresort.com/skiing-riding/snow-report-maps/trail-map 

A season pass at Jay Peak is about $669. Their hours are 9am till 4pm. Opening day is estimated to be November 24th. Something that draws people there is that the Jay Peak water park along with the hotel is at the bottom of the ski mountain, so people can finish skiing and go to the water park. There are 9 chair lifts and about 78 trails. The trails are all different, some with moguls, some glades, and some groomed. They also have a variety of trail levels, for example they have easier trails for less advanced skiers and they have harder trails for people that are more advanced. 

Bolton Valley

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https://www.boltonvalley.com/winter/trail-maps-snow-reports/trail-maps/ 

A season pass for one adult at Bolton is about $846.94. Bolton has both Backcountry skiing and Nordic skiing, and they also are very accepting of snowboarders. Bolton currently has six lifts and 64 trails that can be accessed by the lifts. Bolton does have a ski lodge; it is a little on the smaller side and because of covid, you can’t be in the lodge for very long… but at least there is a lodge! Bolton is also a resort, so they have a hotel which draws a lot of people there. Bolton’s lifts are chair lifts so they are easy to get on and off of and they are accessible to everyone. Bolton’s hours are 9am till 10pm. Opening day is November 26th.

Stowe

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https://www.stowe.com/-/media/stowe/files/maps/stowe_winter2122_map.ashx 

A season pass at Stowe is about $1024.00 but they do have sales, so they can be a little cheaper. It also depends on when you want to buy them; if you buy them super in advance they will be cheaper than if you buy them in November or even October. Stowe is also a resort, so they have hotels you can stay in. Stowe has 12 lifts and 116 trails. Their opening day is November 19th. Their hours are 8am till 4pm. Stowe also has both chair lifts and they have gondolas.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/18279541619

Not as organic as you think

By Ethan Cook

Small farmers in Vermont have taken a hit during the COVID pandemic, and they are about to be hit even more. In August of 2022, Horizon Organic is ending contracts with nearly 90 farms based out of the Northeast. This is because factory farms, which have been manipulating their “organic” label, are taking lots of business from them. However, New York senator Charles Schumer hopes to give them an edge against the bigger farming corporations.

Factory farms have gotten away with swapping animals in and out of organic environments, giving them the “organic” label on their products, and creating more of an appeal among the public. This strongly benefits the owners of these large scale farming companies, but we aren’t always getting exactly what we pay for.

A page on Jane’s Healthy Kitchen notes the prerequisites for a farm’s product to be considered organic. “Organic foods are required to ensure cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Livestock must have regular access to pasture without routine antibiotics or growth hormones. Products must follow strict production, handling and labeling standards, and go through a certification process. The standards look at many other factors such as soil quality, animal raising, pests and weed control. Synthetic fertilizers, human sewage sludge, irradiation, and GMO ingredients are not allowed.”

The problem is that the products we are buying from the grocery store are not always as “organic” as we think they are. Schumer says that these big farms are able to rotate their livestock in and out of organic management while keeping the “organic” label because of technicalities in the laws regarding organic dairy farming. This creates a disconnect between the general public and the people bringing them their food.

A press release stated several New England Senators, including Schumer, created a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, requesting him to approve the Origin of Livestock rule. This law would close the loophole for factory farms, and hopefully make family owned farms a much better looking alternative for local grocery stores to get their dairy, meat, and other farm products from.

From an article by Isabella Colello, “New York’s dairy farmers are the lifeblood of the Upstate economy and after years of being wrung dry by a system that disadvantages them, they’re now at the edge of an economic precipice,” Senator Schumer said in a press release. “For an industry that has razor-thin margins as it is and saw historic losses during the COVID crisis, for many family-owned organic dairy farms, losing their contracts with Horizon Organics will be the final pull on the rug under them.”

An article on Valley News says that “the number of dairy farms in Vermont has decreased by 37% in the past 10 years and by 69% in the past 24 years.” Farming, an industry that used to be a major source of income for Vermont and its people, has more than halved in the 21st century, showing the urbanization of both our land and our jobs of choice. Cancelling the contracts with small farmers only influences the decisions of our younger generations, and makes the lives of current farmers that much harder.

Vermont’s small farms have become much more of a novelty and less of a provider for food, animal products, and income in the last few years. Much of these are produced by large farms owned by corporations, and these are pushing the picturesque Vermont farmers out of business.

To pour salt on the wound, factory farms, which are thriving off of the deals they have with food distributors, aren’t being completely honest about the way they take care of their animals. The farmers that are dominating the profession, or rather, majority shareholding corporations, are lying about the state of their livestock, yet they continue to stay on top. Hopefully, Schumer and other senators will be able to take this option away from them and benefit small farmers substantially.

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CVU’s New Stomach Ache: School Lunchtime

By Harrison Young-Glatz

At Champlain Valley Union High School, lunchtime is becoming a hot topic due to the number of unmasked kids in close proximity to one another. Many kids end up sitting outside to cram fewer into the cafeteria, but with COVID cases still high in Vermont, some students are starting to worry that during the colder months, when kids stop eating outside, that the cafeteria will become a field day for the COVID-19 virus. Alex, an 11th grader at CVU, mentioned, “Man, It was crazy (on the first day of school); half the kids were outside.” He continued, “Like what’s gonna happen when it’s too cold to sit out there? Admin’s gonna have to do something about it.”

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The head director of the cafeteria, Leo LaForce, stated, “The school runs off of CDC guidelines. If the CDC ever deems masking or distancing no longer necessary, then lunchtime will be a lot more manageable.” 

Dr. Alex Huffman, an aerosol and bioaerosol specialist at the University of Denver, said on twitter, “Indoor lunches are high risk b/c: COVID is largely airborne, Masks are off, Kids are often packed closely, Many kids in one room, Kids are louder at lunch (so more aerosol is released).”

In response to this, LaForce had to say, “Yeah, I’m concerned about the kids who go home every day to immuno-compromised or younger/older family members. I know that most of the kids in our cafeteria are vaccinated, and symptoms aren’t likely as bad for vaccinated people, but then that kid could go home bringing the virus to their family members who aren’t as fortunate.” 

 If indoor lunches are deemed too risky by the CDC, CVU may have to revert back to 2020-21’s school year lunchtime model. A dozen or less kids in different rooms throughout the building, and the cafeteria would deliver bagged lunches to kids in those rooms. When questioned about this, LaForce replied, “I really hope it doesn’t go back to delivered lunch. I just want kids to have a normal lunch again.”

Administration could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.

Photo by: Rick Cote

Williston Edge Closed

By: Emma Richling

WILLISTON VT. – The Williston Edge, home to swimmers, athletes, and loyal members of the community, officially closed down on September 30th, 2021. How big of an effect did this have on members of the CVU community?  What will change for CVU swimmers and athletes? 

Amelia Worth, a senior at CVU who swam for the Williston Edge Swim Team before the closing, shared her thoughts on the transition to a different center. “The Williston Edge has been my second home since I was five years old and I’ve basically been in that pool everyday since then. My drive to swim practice is gonna be longer and that’s going to affect basically the amount of things I can do in a day. I was really lucky that swim practice used to be really close to my house because that meant I could fill up my schedule after school with a lot more things like after school clubs and still be able to make it to swim practice.”

CVU swimmers now have to commute to the South Burlington Edge location for practice making other activities like clubs harder or impossible to attend. 

Elizabeth Parent, a 10th grader at CVU and a former staff member at the Williston Edge mentioned, “What I do at the Williston Edge I can do at any center, I’m going to the Essex location now. A lot of other kids go to the Williston Edge and could probably transition to another location pretty easily but most of them won’t because it’s a change”. Although the Essex and South Burlington Edges are only 15-20 minutes away from the former Williston location, the change to a whole new space and building might feel like too much for some people. 

All of the programs and services the Williston Edge offered (including Swim Team) were transitioned to one of the other centers in Essex or South Burlington on October 4th, 2021. No information has been released in regards to what the building is going to be used for, all we know is that it was sold to a company that has different plans for its use. As the closing approaches, concerns arise for the change that will come to many members and users of the facility. Worth said, “It’s something I thought was going to be eternal that isn’t anymore”. 

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Working under COVID: two views

By Mina Radivojevic

HINESBURG, VT – As an exchange student from Serbia, I haven’t been here for a long time, but one of the first things that I learned about Vermont is that a lot of places can’t keep up with demand since they don’t have enough people to keep businesses going.

The people who are holding many businesses together are actually busy, full- scheduled high school students. So, the best way to look at this situation is through two different lenses: grown up employer vs. high school employee. 

Will Patten, the owner of the Public House restaurant in Hinesburg, shared with me his view and experience with lack of workers and hiring students. CVU students, in this case. “So, we don’t have any trouble hiring people from CVU; that is pretty much all we can hire. Which is not great because most people don’t have any experience and they play sports. But that’s pretty much all we can hire now. For people in high school, a job is a form of independence, a way out of the house. It’s gas money, it’s a third place. It’s home, school and now a job. So that’s not where the problem is, the problem is with people who are on their own, supporting themselves, paying the rent, have mortgages and car payment. Those are the people that aren’t coming to work. And it’s not just restaurants, it’s everybody. Every business in Hinesburg wants to hire somebody. It’s crazy. “ 

Patten also made a note that his cafe needs to be closed for two days of the week due to lack of workers.

Lila Shober, one of the working CVU students, had a similar experience at her workplace because of the same problem. “I work at the Windjammer Tuesdays and Fridays and Saturdays. I work in an environment that’s really busy because of the lack of workers. Sometimes parts of our restaurant are closed because of the lack of staff,” she said.

At the same time, Shober had found the silver lining of what’s going on: “But some perks about it is that I do get more income. It’s very stressful being there three times a week. After school. After practice. It can be really tiring and I do go to school tired sometimes, but I do like having extra money. And I am really worried about, at least, my restaurant staying above float so I always try and help out as much as I can.”

One more perk that Shober pointed out is the fact that there are more options to choose from, since there’s no one else to work.

To answer my question why they think this is happening and what role COVID plays, Patten and Shober didn’t hesitate much. 

Patten claims that, during COVID, people were taught not to work. He also considered all that we’ve been going through lately, putting climate change right next to the pandemic as one of the factors why people lost their belief in progress.

Shober’s interpretation of the situation is that people’s mental health was what got most damaged by coronavirus, and that it had also put a lot of fear into people, making them even scared to go out.

Not only did COVID affect people’s work ethic in this and the previous year, but we have yet to see what’s to come and how it will affect the future for businesses and lives in Vermont.

CVU Goats

C3 Enact Club profile

Meline Palkovic

At CVU, the clubs that take place during C3 offer many opportunities for students to have fun, learn, rest or just go outside and breathe fresh air.                                                                                                         

In the EnACT Club led by Katie Antos-Ketchum, students learn about environmental issues but also go outside to see the animals in order to become aware of and connect with nature.

“WE ARE FACING THE HARD TRUTHS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AND TAKING ACTIONS AGAINST IT. WE CARE DEEPLY ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT AND WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE THROUGH ADVOCACY, ACTION AND EDUCATION. IF THIS SOUNDS LIKE YOU AND YOU WANT TO BE AROUND PEOPLE WHO FEEL THE SAME, JOIN OUR CLUB TODAY!” follow us @ENACTCVU

All original photos by Meline Palkovic
Original photo by Ethan Cook

Should Vermonters be required to wear masks?

By Ethan Cook

After the brief low of Covid cases over the summer, many people still haven’t gotten their masks back on. Covid cases in Vermont have actually increased since the so-called ‘peak’ of the pandemic, yet many people still aren’t covering their faces while inside.

This is because the vaccine has been thought of as preventative, when it really serves mostly as a reduction of symptoms. According to an article on NBC5 from October 12th, “just over 3,600 fully vaccinated Vermonters have contracted the virus after being fully vaccinated, also known as a ‘breakthrough’ case of COVID-19 as of Oct. 12. That represents roughly 0.8% of fully vaccinated residents.” This data tells us that vaccinations greatly reduce the severity of the virus, but do less of a good job at preventing it altogether. That is a job for masks and other precautions. 

The same article also helps by explaining when to wear masks. “The CDC’s updated mask guidance says fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks or physically distance indoors or outdoors, with some exceptions. People should wear masks in crowded indoor locations like airplanes, buses, hospitals and prisons.” Vermont laws include schools as well.

However, masking is still being pushed back against by some individuals. Masks have been a crucial part of most Americans’ lives for the past year. Laws have been constantly changing in regard to whether or not masks are a necessity, and Vermont is no exception. The Vermont government has put in place regulations requiring masks in schools, and all members of the executive branch, which includes politicians, police officers, and other government workers, were to get vaccinated.

 At the end of August 2021, Twinfield Union school had already closed classrooms due to cases of Covid, and prisons in Vermont have started requiring masks again after over 20 people were diagnosed. Northern Vermont University decided it was best to switch back to online schooling when eight students got Covid in a week. Sylvia Plumb, director of marketing and communications, stated that, “with cases rising in Vermont and throughout the United States, this is not unexpected. This underscores how critically important it is for our community to be vaccinated, masked up properly while inside, and testing as appropriate.” 

Governor Scott thinks that the problem is that people are not getting vaccinated. “Vaccines are still changing the game. We need people to keep stepping up to get their shot and to get the booster when the time comes.” Covid-19 statistics showed an upcoming decrease in early September, but through those weeks, there had been increases of over 20 percent.  On September 23rd, we had a day in which 289 new cases were diagnosed in Vermont. The situation has gotten much worse since June, but taking as many precautions as possible will help to bring us back to normal.

https://oxfordtreatment.com/veterans-mission-act/suicide/

Vermont Veteran Suicide Rate Highest in Country

By Mia Kenney

HINESBURG VT. – Veterans are the people who protect our country from war, terrorism…the “real world”. But this responsibility comes with a lot of baggage, including PTSD, brain trauma, anxiety and an abundance of lost relationships and emotions. This trauma is one of the biggest reasons Vermont’s suicide rate in veterans is so high. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, the rate is about 56.8 people out of 100,000 people, which puts the state’s rate at about 88.7% higher than the national average.

According to healthvermont.gov, PTSD is something that keeps people’s brains in high alert mode. It makes their brain constantly send out distress signals when something triggers it. Triggers can include smells, sounds, sights, and even thoughts. These triggers can make people lash out, have panic attacks, become violent; they could just start to feel sad or scared. People with PTSD tend to have a hard time creating new relationships and keeping old ones, too; they also tend to have marital problems.

Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Jake Kenney is in the Air National Guard. He has served in the Guard for about 12 years and has been full time at the guard for about a year and a half. He has a wife and 4 kids and lives on a farm with lots of animals.  He said he comes from “…a culture that started from farmers. They don’t like asking for help. They’re stubborn, they think they’re fine and they can handle it on their own.” The problem is that they don’t talk about their problems and sometimes they just can’t express their feelings due to PTSD. And when they have marital problems, they lose that support system and connection. 

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Sometimes, when veterans lose their support systems they turn to places like The Wounded Warrior Project, which is an online program where veterans can get counseling, therapy, and funds. They also can go to Josh’s House in Colchester, an organization where veterans can go and play videogames, exercise and most importantly they can go there and get the support from other veterans who know and understand what they are going through. These are both places that can get help, but they are mostly volunteer places, they don’t get money from the state to help.

So what does the state do to help our veterans? In the words of TSgt Jake Kenney, “V.A. clinics are bogged down slow and inefficient, they’re underfunded and they’re unable to provide the help tha veterans need.” According to Veterans like Kenney, the state isn’t putting enough money towards veterans and suicide prevention and that is one of the reasons Vermont’s numbers have been getting worse since 2005. 

“Check in with your local veteran that you seen the store; just saying hi can sometimes change their aspect”, says TSgt Kenney. There are many ways to help veterans that sometimes help more than a donation. Volunteering at places like Josh’s house, and just going and visiting them can change their lives.

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On Sunday October 17th, I volunteered for Josh’s House at a UVM soccer game. I sat at a table and tent, passing out information cards alongside collecting donations for the Josh Pallotta Fund. While doing this I noticed that many people didn’t know or understand how bad this problem is, or that it is even a problem at all. 

Should the burden be on just the military to support their soldiers and veterans, or is this a community-wide issue?

We would like to hear your thoughts on this topic! Email aterwillegar@cvsdvt.org

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CVU’s Top Three Swimming Spots!

Brennan Murdock, Fri, June 4, 2021.

Wondering where to cool off this summer while still staying local? CVU has you covered! I sent out a school wide survey to find out where CVU students enjoy swimming the most. I’m here to bring you the results in the form of a top three.

Bristol Falls

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Coming in the number one spot by a large lead was Bristol Falls. This lovely location features waterfalls, swimming holes, and cliff jumping spots. Just be careful if you try the latter!

 

North Beach

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The number two spot was left in a tie between Lake Iroquois and North Beach in Burlington on Lake Champlain. These locations are quite different, so choose one according to the types of beaches you prefer. North Beach is a typical sandy public beach that features a playground, benches, grills, showers, and restrooms. If that’s your thing, then this is the place for you.

Lake Iroquois, on the other hand, is a small, pristine, tributary and spring-fed lake set in the hills of mid-Chittenden County. It is a quiet and calm getaway in the countryside if that’s more of your thing.

Lake Iroquois iroqouis

 

Warren Falls warren

Lastly, in third place was Warren Falls. Located on the Mad River in Warren Vermont, it features several cliff jumping spots and swimming holes. Warren Falls is a nice alternative to Bristol Falls. Once again, be careful when cliff jumping, but most importantly, have fun!

 

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NYC Schools to Open in Fall 2021

Hailey Chase

NEW YORK, NY– On Monday May 24, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City schools can return to in-person learning in the fall of 2021 in response to relaxed COVID guidelines and increasing vaccination rates in the city.

The mayor expects that schools will be able to accommodate all students while respecting guidelines put forth by the CDC, one concerning rule being social distancing. NYC is home to over 1 million students, and the 3 feet of social distance may become difficult to obey in the highest-populated city in the United States. In response to these concerns, the mayor noted that he expects the CDC to alter social distancing guidelines between now and September. 

The mayor expects there to be a remote option, and schools will switch to remote learning on snow days to continue teaching.

Many colleges and universities have already announced a “normal” return to school in the fall, and it is likely that other cities will follow in de Blasio’s footsteps.

Image courtesy of Wall Street Journal

Stand Up for the Lake

Racers at the 2020 SUFTL
Racers at the 2020 SUFTL

By: Phoebe Henderson, June 1st 2021

BURLINGTON, VT– In early August 2021 (the specific date has not been decided yet), the 13th annual Stand up for the Lake event will take place at the Burlington Surf Club, hosted by the team of Wnd & Wvs, Hula, The Spot and The Spot on the Dock. This event will be filled with activities and celebrations on the waterfront. 

I spoke to Jeff Henderson, creative director and team member of Wnd&Wvs and Hula, about the event and what’s expected for this year:

“Stand up for the Lake is a paddle board race with probably around a few hundred competitors. There are two races: a six-mile race for the elite athletes and a three-mile recreational race. Basically, there’s a course on Lake Champlain and you start on the beach and then you ride the course and race on a 14-foot paddle board against men and women who also like to paddle race. It’s a day filled not only with the race but a fun party. There’s usually food trucks and it’s really a great place for the stand-up paddle community to get together and have a fun time.”

 

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How will the event look compared to last year’s?

“This will be the first year after a lot of the Covid restrictions, so we’re hoping to get even more people because we’re not limited to I think it was 150 last year, there will be no limit and there will definitely be loosened mask requirements. I think a lot of people with their mentality will be a lot more joyous that they’re out on the lake and you know feel like they’ve gotten their lives a little bit back to normal, so I think it’s going to be a really fun event this year after what we went through last year.”

What can people do to be involved?

“Really the event is mostly about community and not so much the competition, although it does get very competitive. We normally have a cash prize of $3,000 that goes out to the top five winners of the race. We have a great community in Burlington, a lot of people that either work with the event or just friends who are just big fans of what we’re doing, they often want to help out with the event. Originally the event was a fundraiser for the Burlington Sailing Center, but for the last five years it hasn’t been. There are also opportunities to sort of come and be at the event on a sponsor level if you want to kind of showcase your (usually water sport-related) business or product, people can come and set up tents and usually those folks also offer prizes or goodie bags that type of thing for the racers. There’s lots of opportunities to be a part of the event even if you’re not into stand up paddling.”

Who organizes it?

“Primarily, Stand Up for the Lake was started I think even before Wnd and Wvs started, and it was just a group of people that like to paddle. But stand up paddle is a sport and our team wanted to basically have a party and get some friends together and have some light competition. Then Wnd and Wvs really took it over. Now it’s become part of a bigger sort of community with the Hula project down on the waterfront and the Burlington Surf Club as well as Wnd and Wvs and you know we’re just trying to make it bigger and better every year.”

Learn what it takes to become a stand up paddle board racer, or stop by to watch and experience the amazing facilities that Burlington Surf Club has to offer! 

Link to Burlington Surf Club: http://www.burlingtonsurfclub.com/

Sample schedule of SUFTL events from 2020: https://www.standupforthelake.com/

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How does CVU Feel About Governor Scott’s Three-step Plan?

By Georgia Bruneau, Mon, May 10th, 2021

HINESBURG- With now three effective vaccines and nearly 50% of Vermont’s population vaccinated, we can construct goals and a plan to bring back “normal” life.  Governor Phill Scott has come together with a three-step plan.  The first part of the plan started April 9th; this includes ending travel quarantine requirements, and instead replacing them with testing unvaccinated individuals in less than three days of returning to Vermont. Step two of this plan starts in May and involves increasing the number of people in gatherings inside and outside. The third and final part of the plan is lifting the mask mandate on July 4th. “We’re in the last laps of this race and this plan shows how we can finish strong if we all do our part,” said Governor Scott. 

However, some Vermont residents have worries and concerns about this “good news.” “I would like to have current data on how often the disease is spread while people are still vaccinated,” said CVU math teacher Hannah Carey. Carey also says “If we can have gatherings of 150 inside, non-spaced, and no masks by July 4th, why do I have to wear a mask in a classroom with 27 other kids next year? Where’s the logic here? If you’re suggesting I wear a mask in the fall in my classroom to prevent getting Covid, then why is okay for other people to attend a 150 person wedding inside without being spaced, and you’re eating? How is that all going to work?” 

But teachers aren’t the only ones who have an opinion on the matter. A student from CVU speaks on behalf of the student body about the news: “I feel really excited about the fact that masks could possibly be gone in the near future. If the plan is truly effective it would be an amazing weight lifted off of many people’s shoulders. I think that we are partially on the right track. I think many people have good intentions and the vaccine is a great step in the right direction but many people are getting more relaxed about covid. I don’t have many worries about people not wearing masks by July 4th if everyone sticks to the guidelines; my only worry would be that we push it too fast and we begin to see a spike in cases and then we have to take more steps backward,” says sophomore Anna Morton.

Overall the CVU community is ecstatic about the Governor’s plan for normalcy, but we still seem to be slightly skeptical of the idea. Is it illogical like Carey said? Or a step in the right direction as Morton believes?

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Sports During a Pandemic: The Impact On Student Athletes and Coaches

Ryan Canty, Fri, May 7, 2021

HINESBURG – The 2020-2021 “Covid season” has brought some high school sports teams success and others a hyphenated schedule or even no season at all. As an athlete, I was curious about the impact this season has had on coaches and players in the CVU community. 

Tim Albertson is the head coach for the CVU Varsity Baseball team. “Everybody is extremely grateful for the opportunity to play,” Albertson said. “After watching a full season of games get taken away, the fact that we get to play has made a major impact.” 

After the cancelation of the 2020 spring sports season, some teams find themselves with an opportunity to play the game they love, but for others, the 2021 season was cancelled. The Vermont principals association announced in November that boys’ wrestling and the indoor track and field seasons would be canceled. “I felt pretty sad,” says senior Sebastian D’Amico while reflecting on the cancelation of the 2021 wrestling season. “It’s because I’d been working out a lot and getting in shape. I wanted to win.”  

Covid restrictions and protocols have made it harder overall for teams to compete during the 2020-2021 school year. In the fall, boys football had to downgrade to a 7v7 no contact format. While in the winter, boys and girls hockey had hyphenated schedules and indoor track and wrestling were canceled. 

Seth Boffa, a senior running back for the Redhawk Football team said, “We made the best of it; it was still a lot of fun playing.” However, he went on to say that “being a running back, I couldn’t even run the ball.” 

The ongoing spring sports seasons have already seen adjustments to the Covid restrictions and protocols. The non-contact sports such as baseball, softball, girls and boys tennis and track and field no longer have to wear their masks as long as they are properly 6 feet apart. High-contact sports such as boys and girls lacrosse and boys and girls ultimate frisbee still require masks at all times.

 

For the full story, including interviews with coaches, check out the CVU Show’s May 18, 2021 episode.

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Vermont Mask Restrictions Blown Away?

Sawyer Thorpe

5/14/2021

MONTPELIER, VT– CDC director Rochelle P. Walensky released a statement Thursday evening that abolished mask restrictions for adults who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Today, Governor Phil Scott released a statement saying, “The fact is, if you’re fully vaccinated, the health experts at the CDC have determined there is very little risk. It’s time to reward all the hard work you’ve done over the past 14 months to make Vermont’s pandemic response the best in the country.” 

Additionally, Governor Scott announced that people arriving from out of state no longer need to be tested for COVID-19, skipping 2 weeks forward in the restart plan. Not only do travelers from out of state no longer need to get tested, they also no longer need to quarantine for 2 weeks before beginning their adventures.

As of this press release, nothing has yet come from the CVU administration about how these developments will impact our community.

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Social Justice Has Been a Pandemic Priority at CVU

Myleigh Kilbon

HINESBURG, VT– At the end of my sophomore year, I had a very basic grasp on the concept of social justice, but not enough to talk about it to a group of teachers, who (I assumed) were experts on the topic. So when I was approached by the advisor of the Social Justice Alliance (SJA) to help with inservice presentations before school started, it was fair to say I was a little hesitant. I went to meetings, I did research, I talked with current SJA members, and I learned. I went into these presentations expecting the teachers to correct everything I said, but they listened. This was the day I realized I had the power to make a difference, to make a real change.

From the day we are born, we live in this world of “right” and “wrong”. As we grow, we develop our own innate sense of what it is to be fair and what it is to be unfair. Justice is something that we, as a society, strive for. At CVU, we have worked to put into place systems that ensure that: our students are part of a community where each student has a right to equality; they feel they are a part of a supportive learning environment; systemic change is implemented to uplift marginalized groups; and all students voices are not only heard, but valued.

Just over a year ago, a group of juniors at CVU decided that it was finally time for a concrete change. All of the Social Justice clubs at CVU were in a place where they were respected but not listened to unless it was convenient. CVU’s Environmental Action (EnAct) Club, Bring Change to Mind (mental health) Club, Racial Alliance Committee (RAC), Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA), Students Awareness Change and Training (ACT) for sexual violence, and our Unified Advocacy Club (UAC), came together February of 2020 to form an alliance of social justice related organizations in order to push our agendas and make CVU a more inclusive community.

Our collection of clubs has worked to achieve our goals of students rights, education, and equality. Our broad objectives for this inclusion were;

  • Maintain safety, well being, and comfort, 
  • Create a comfortable environment so that students can report incidents in confidence that the administration will listen.
  • Prevent threats of discrimination, alienation, or persecution
  • Construct a place of understanding.
  • Ensure that every member of the CVU community is equal.
  • Maintain core values of freedom, peace, and justice
  • Create a holistically supportive learning environment
  • Reform curriculum and increase student education regarding race, identity, sexual violence, bullying, non-neurotypical peers, and general sensitivity.
  • Expand education and training for faculty, staff and administrators to ensure problems are dealt with compassionately.
  • Develop citizens that contribute positively to their environment and value inclusion.

The sheer number of concrete actions that we have accomplished this year alone has surpassed the actions of all of our individual clubs combined over the past several years. We have worked in the areas of policy to: collaborate with house directors and administration to review existing disciplinary policies and implementation, created pamphlets and resources for students outlining new policy implementation, the implementation of surveys, accessible reporting options, and more. We have worked in the areas of education to: create a race and ethnic studies, and gender studies course, create a social justice credit, and refine existing curriculum to include social justice issues. We have done faculty presentations, student forums, and teacher forums to spread our message. We have created a website and a podcast (The Round Table) as well as creating a more accessible reporting form for students who face injustices.

The Social Justice Alliance has taken this year as an opportunity to work to guarantee all students at CVU have equal rights, status, opportunities, and treatment. The idea of social justice can be a bit daunting at first, I know from experience. But knowing that talking about these issues can make our world even a little bit of a better place, why not take the risk?

Reach out to the CVU Social Justice Alliance for more information about social justice and what social justice looks like in our community.

Social Justice Alliance Website

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CVU Students on Board the Vaccination Bandwagon

By Erin Fina

HINESBURG- A recent poll conducted at Champlain Valley Union High School shows that out of 274 CVU students, 52% of CVU students have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine, and 19% are fully vaccinated. 

This is great news, as Vermont’s Governor, Phil Scott, just gave the thumbs-up to give full access for the vaccine among Vermont teens 16-18 starting on April 17, 2021. Scott mentioned the importance of getting the group vaccinated as obviously it’s more steps in the fight to end the pandemic but also because, “after all they’ve had to give up over the last year, to allow [the age group] to have some sort of a normal graduation,” Scott said in article recently published by VT Digger. 

As of now, Vermont is ranked #1 nationally in vaccination rates, with 44% of Vermonter’s fully vaccinated and 62% with at least one dose. 

Vermonters throughout the state have been eager to return to normal life and here at CVU High School, we are no different. With 81% +/- of the CVU student body saying that they plan to get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so already, an anonymous surveyor stated that the reason that they choose to get vaccinated was to “protect those around me and reach the herd immunity the world needs to return to the original normal”. Herd immunity, as Anthony Fauci explained, is reachable when 80% of the population is immune to the virus. 

At CVU, if all goes as planned, the CVU community could have the potential to reach full herd immunization rates by the start of the fall semester of 2021. 

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Tackle the Culture, Not Teen Girls

Rally: CVU Dance Canceled for Allowing Sexual Harassment

Madeleine Connery

With horrifying sexual assault cases jumping to headlines, the eyes of many teenage girls have widened in terror. Navigating an environment that has managed to normalize and even promote sexual harassment is no ideal task. High school girls often find themselves trapped in belittling experiences yet silenced by the fact that these experiences are deemed “normal.” 

CVU may be at fault for creating one of these very environments. An annual fall dance, formerly known as “Rally in the Valley,” has long held an infamous reputation for its rampant objectification towards the young girls who attend. One of the first to speak out about this dance was unsurprisingly a teenage girl herself. 

Lena Kerest is a CVU senior and a member of the Social Justice Alliance and Student Awareness, Change & Training Committee at CVU. She is also a former attendant of this fall event. “The dance afterward definitely really shocked me and… opened my eyes to a culture at CVU that I thought was extremely problematic,” Lena describes as her ninth-grade experience.

The “Rally in the Valley” event contained two main parts: A performance of group dances, then a school-wide dance that followed. The former was not the problem, as Lena will agree, “A lot of athletes enjoy the camaraderie of making a dance together… so there will be a push to keep that in place.” However, the same cannot be said about the school-wide dance that followed.

“While the event is supposed to promote school spirit and the athletic teams, people utilize [the school-wide dance] for something different which is… a dance where girls go from guy to guy and it’s extremely objectifying cause it’s not a personal relationship and a lot of times it’s not consensual,” Lena describes. 

Despite this being the widespread reputation of the dance, for years the legacy of this occasion has lived on. This past year, thanks to the Social Justice Alliance’s growing momentum, the dance following Rally was finally canceled by the administration. Lena defends the school, acknowledging, “There are countless issues that are on the administration’s plate. They are obviously super busy and it’s hard to draw attention to these things when you don’t have a lot of people behind the issue.” 

Perhaps the lacking student voice was a symptom of an underlying struggle. When it comes to reporting these problems, teen girls are often met with a wave of dismissal. Teen dances are over-emphasized in the media. Our present society has placed an exaggeration on the American adolescent experience. Hiding behind cliché, coming-of-age teen sagas is a pressure to live high school a certain way. Underclassmen girls often feel they must attend events such as Rally– even if its reputation unsettles them, because “you’re only young once.” Yet, when they describe their experience afterward, their trauma goes dismissed by the fact that they were aware of the risks; thus continues an exhausting cycle. 

It’s hard to protect young girls when the danger that they face is disguised as a part of the typical high school experience. Though Rally itself was a horrendous occurrence in Redhawk history, Lena believes that silently clicking “delete” would be just as bad. “We want the administration to speak out about why Rally’s being canceled… It’s not something that we should just be silent about,” she states.

Though the administration as a whole has yet to release a formal statement, administrator Katherine Riley agreed with Lena on the flaws of the dance, acknowledging, “The climate of the Rally dance… was not aligned with helping people feel safe, comfortable, and included.” 

High schools everywhere are long overdue for a reevaluation of their environment. When it comes to sexual harassment, hesitation leaves room for devastation. According to one study done by the American Association of University Women, “In the 2010-11 school year, 56% of 7-12th grade girls experienced sexual harassment in school or online from peers.” Statistics prove the severity of this threat, though the only people who seem to be acting on it are young women themselves. But action based solely on self-defense is illogical— a target should not need to be their own bodyguard. If sexual harassment is to be tackled, the root at fault is the culture.

Striving to rebuild this toxic teen environment, Lena does not hesitate to identify problems. “A lot of really bad behavior at CVU is normalized… like how people make comments to each other, do things over social media that are not beneficial to anybody- not safe, but then they just go untalked about, unreported because it’s just what’s normal in CVU culture, [and] in culture in general.” 

The need for addressing this harmful culture has never been greater. Recent events at the nearby University of Vermont have further proved this. Students at this university organized a walkout on Monday, May 3rd after numerous injustices occurred involving sexual assault. These injustices are not only disturbing for fellow students of UVM but young women everywhere. For many high school girls, the excitement of college has dwindled into fear. Lena, being a senior herself, exemplifies how this has impacted her personally, “All of this sexual assault stuff coming out of UVM has been weighing on me a lot and so… I don’t feel my best.”

Although high schools still have strides to go till young women feel safe and supported, the cancellation of the Rally in the Valley dance is an inch in the right direction for CVU. Though its existence was long overdue for abolition, reparations are on the horizon. The scars of sexual harassment are not fast-fading; Lena speaks to the pain of all former female attendants when she states, “Rally was just seen as normal but really, it shouldn’t have been. It should not have been normal at all.”

hiking

Can Hiking Help Your Mental Health?

By:Katrina Kajenski 5/4/2021

Hinesburg-This pandemic has taken a toll on student’s mental health. Without sports, and an overall lack of access to exercise, student’s mental health has certainly suffered. Studies from the Primary Care Companion Journal, show that lack of exercise can decrease mental help substantially. A senior from CVU in Hinesburg Vermont, Charlotte Couperthwait is a mental health advocate from Bring Change to Mind Club, and a two-varsity-sport-athlete. I spoke to her on May 4th about how mental health and exercise/sports correlate. 

When asked about how the pandemic has affected her mental health, Charlotte said that, “Covid definitely took a toll on my mental health. My anxiety was heightened dramatically and it was really hard to handle sometimes.” One strategy she recommended to the CVU community that helped her was to go outside on a hike with her family. In correlation with exercise and mental health, she said that “exercise can help. For me, it makes me feel productive and puts me in a growth mindset which I think is eneficial for mental health.” One thing she also wanted to share with CVU is to recognize that, “everyone is struggling right now, especially with the pandemic going on, but really try and focus on yourself and make sure you are doing stuff you enjoy. Look at the little things that make you feel better and try and do it more frequently.”

A study done by the Primary Care Companion Journal of Clinical Psychiatry claims that just a short walk can affect brain function. The study states that, “thirty minutes of walking can reduce anxiety, depression, and negative moods… This is done by improving self-esteem and cognitive functions.” Covid-19 has put many students into a “slump” and a great way to get over that hump is to start going outside. Listed below are some places in each town where you can go on a hike or a bike path. See you outside, CVU!

Willison: Williston Community Park/Cross VT Trail Location

Hinesburg: Geprags Community Park Location

Shelburne: Shelburne Bay Park  Location

Charlotte: Mt. Philo State Park Location

india

India’s COVID-19 Second Volley

Sawyer Thorpe

INDIA– In the beginning of the pandemic the Indian government downplayed the critical situation that COVID-19 would put them in, and now instead of the government suffering, it’s the people. 

As of this report, casualties continue to climb: the current death toll in India is at about 700 per day. Although, that is currently thought to be 20% less than the actual number due to under-reporting. As the pandemic continues, the Indian government continues to spend money on things such as state houses and government buildings. Instead of spending this money on the citizens of India. Doctors and nurses in India are beginning to fall ill which is complicating the pandemic crisis.

Throughout the pandemic, Indian politicians had publicly posted on twitter their thoughts on the reaction of their government to soon later have that same government take their post down off of the website. 

“India will never forgive PM @narendramodi for underplaying the corona situation in the country and letting so many people die due to mismanagement.” Said Moloy Ghatak, an Indian government official publicly stated on Twitter.

As Indian residents continue to call out their government about how ill prepared they were and still are to face a pandemic, their words are partially silenced and hidden away by their government.

As international efforts to give aid to nations in poverty are underway, Indian government officials continue to ignore the safety boundaries that was announced by the World Health Organization. It was reported that the prime minister of India had a political rally with it’s home minister as well.

As India once exported COVAX vaccines in large numbers, they have more recently halted all exports in order to vaccinate the citizens of India instead of those of the entire world due to the inability to prepare for the unknown waves to come.

Community Has Your Back

 

Ms.  Lexi Anderson

Over the course of the past month, the world has drastically changed. The normal day to day rituals have transformed in the light of a new global crisis, COVID-19. This pandemic has touched every aspect of everyday life, eating away at normalcy, and proving a threat to millions of people globally. The news is bleak, and often disheartening. Once bustling streets have now gone silent. Classrooms sit unused. Hospitals are struggling as supermarket shelves sit empty, ghostly reminders of life before lockdown.

However, the bolstered sense of community is anything but depressing. Towns are rallying, people are protecting each other by staying inside despite it’s difficulty, and a new initiative has begun; having those who know how to sew in the community create and donate masks for people in need. 

Since COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, breathing masks are essential for people on the front lines of fighting the pandemic, as well as those most at risk. As the cases in the United States grow exponentially, the number of available masks is plummeting. According to Business Insider, the United States only has 1% of the necessary number of masks, which is 3.5 billion. 

corona mask

The masks that are most effective for hospital workers treating coronavirus patients are the scarce N95 respirators, a mask that helps filter and facilitate healthy airflow. These masks are imperative for those on the front lines of the virus; unfortunately there aren’t enough to go around. Though they are the most effective, they’re also the most rare, and so citizens have stepped in to help. 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) “CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” Though they do not have the quality of the N95 masks, these homemade cloth face coverings are imperative to slow the spread of COVID-19 among the community. “[recommend] the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others” The CDC says. 

In Shelburne, as you drive down the street, or walk into the grocery store, there are colorful, patterned, homemade masks adorning everyone’s face, a subtle stand against the virus sweeping the state, country, and world.

Virginia Coolidge, a resident at the Wake Robin retirement community, made homemade masks for her and fellow residents. “We’re the ones who need to be the most careful, I’m happy to use my skills to help out the community.”

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Neighborhoods Reach Out

Ms. Sabine Foerg

Through the difficulties of the Covid19 quarantine, neighborhoods have been finding new and creative ways to forge deeper community bonds, while following social distancing protocol. 

Front Porch Forum, an online forum allowing local communities to share information or seek and offer assistance to neighbors, has become a light in the darkness for many community members. 

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Since Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced the “Stay home, Stay safe” order on March 24th, minimizing unnecessary activity as a response to the covid19 outbreak, neighborhoods have been bonding over shared social distancing activities, planned through the Front Porch Forum. 

“Our business is to help neighbors connect and to build community,” says Front Porch Forum co-founder Michael Wood-Lewis in an interview with the Barre Montpellier Times Argus. This statement has gained even more weight, as community members rely more heavily on online connection and communication during social distancing. 

Countless discussion posts have been made discussing how to incorporate fun activities into social distancing on the Chittenden County town Front Porch Forums. Communities are working to create fun new routines that provide lighthearted moments and support in a time of uncertainty. “The inventiveness of fellow residents continues to amaze and lift up,” says Shelburne select board member Jerry Storey.

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Daylight Savings or Losing Time?

Ms. Asha Hickok

Every March, Vermonters, along with almost every other state in the United States, get ready to set their clocks ahead and lose sleep for the sake of later sunsets. This practice typically marks the beginning of Spring and welcoming back warm weather, but at what cost? 

Currently, in the US there are two states who do not follow the practice of Daylight Savings. Those two states are Hawaii and Arizona. However, the rest of the country still follows the changing of the clocks. In recent years, this has become a debate amongst senators throughout the US, as well as citizens.A poll conducted by AP-NORC found that 71% of respondents want to end the active practice of changing clocks. The reasons for this are varied. 

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The US Department of Energy found that 0.5% of total energy saved daily during Daylight Savings. While this may not seem like a significant enough percentage to encourage a change in outlook of Daylight Savings, the US Department of Energy found that 99.8% of the US population uses electricity on a daily basis, so 0.5% can be a catastrophic number in reference to the size of the US population.

Additionally, an increase of light, according to the Brookings Institute, actually prevents an increase in robbery rates. 

However, in parallel to the pros, cons can also be highlighted surrounding Daylight Savings. In a research study done by Medium it was found that switching the clock two times a year can actually result in more health issues, such as a 10-20% increase in cancer rates. Concerned about health issues, local congress people around the world are moving to support adapting a standard time year round. 

In Washington state, Congress is close to, adopting year-round daylight savings. Senator Marco Rubio, from Florida and the former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, has spoken out against the time change on Twitter, using the hashtag: #locktheclock. 

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One Hour, One Pint, Saves Three Lives

Ms. Sabine Foerg

Looking for a new way to give back to your community? A local Red Cross blood drive could be your next good deed. Many CVU students, faculty and community members did their part at CVU’s annual March blood drive. 

CVU held its annual Red Cross blood drive in the gym all day Thursday, March 12. Any student or faculty member aged seventeen or older, weighing a minimum of 110lbs in good health, was likely eligible to donate. 

According to Red Cross, the blood drive draws in people for many different reasons, ranging from giving for family members and friends in need, to simply the free snacks and drinks provided after the procedure.

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“I am giving blood because it isn’t too painful for me, and I think it is the right thing to do. There are a lot of people who can’t donate, and I can, so I feel like it is the right thing to do because I have that ability,” says CVU Senior Maggie Sides, who donated at CVU’s blood drive. 

The process, Red Cross says, is simple for donors. The donor must fill out a questionnaire and sign in with ID before going through a brief “mini-physical” and a health survey. “The actual donation only takes eight to ten minutes,” according to Red Cross. One pint of blood is donated per donor. According to the Red Cross, every pint of blood could save as many as three lives. 

The CVU blood drive is run by the Student Council along with the Red Cross. “We have been publicizing the event with posters and banners, and student council members have been sitting at an information and sign up table during lunch one week before the blood drive and the week of,” says CVU sophomore and Student Council member, Finnegan Mittelstadt. 

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Project Hoeppner Shares Hope

Ms. Maddie Baker

Although September is the National Month of Suicide Awareness,  devoted to educating and bringing awareness to mental illness and suicide prevention, Project Hoeppner continues to reach out to young people, encouraging the discussion of how young people can get the help they need, sharing hope for anyone who needs help.

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The goal of Project Hoeppner is to increase awareness around the catastrophe that is teen suicide, to offer courage for teens to say, “I need help,” and to help loved ones hear that message and find the help they need. “ We’re committed to supporting teens and their efforts to support each other,” Hoeppner adds, understanding that suicide can happen with few warning signs.

“ Mental health is as important as physical health. Both can make or break a students experience in school,” says Julie Dimmock, the Snelling House guidance counselor here at CVU. Dimmock then continues to explain the importance of being educated about mental illness. “Even though physical illness is easier to recognize mental illness can still knock you off your game.”

In the fall of 2018 CVU had a very close experience with teen suicide when the community lost a close friend and peer, Paul Hoeppner.  After Paul’s death, his family – Sue, Joe, and Marc took initiative and started Project Hoeppner. “ We are so grateful for this community of ours and of Paul’s and the blanket of love that surrounds us,” said Sue Hoeppner, acknowledging that community support sustains them in their grief. Suicide awareness hits a personal note for many, not only because of a connection with Paul but also for the many others in CVU who struggle with mental illness.

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Student A.C.T. Looking for New Members to Make Change

Ms. Kate Zoller

“7% of CVU students reported experiencing being physically forced to have sexual intercourse by 12th grade in 2017 according to the schoolwide Youth Risk Behavior Survey,” reads the yellow Student Awareness, Change, & Training Committee (A.C.T.) flyer that hangs in various locations around CVU. This number, which may actually be much higher due to a possible lack of honesty on the survey, calculates out to around 93 students out of the entire CVU population, based on a school population of 1,322. 

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“[Student A.C.T.] want[s] to raise awareness within our community about the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment because it is an issue that affects more people than we know about,” says Hannah Frasure, one of the student leaders of Student A.C.T. The purpose of Student A.C.T., Frasure says, is to garner awareness of the issue of sexual violence in the CVU community. 

The approachableness of the subject is a struggle for society as a whole. “I believe that the club faces the same challenges that this issue faces outside of CVU: a public that knows a little about the issue of sexual violence, but due to a variety of factors, little is done to deal with this problem.” Smith believes that the unapproachableness of the subject is barring people from connecting with the topic and thus, preventing change from being made. Smith says, “I believe that the biggest obstacle we face is a society that trains our men and boys to be strong and take action and our women and girls to be kind and subservient. This leads to the objectification of women…”  For Smith, solving the problem of sexual violence against women is addressing society’s gender roles, a feat he hopes to accomplish by holding classes during RISE that educate students on these gender roles. 

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