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January/February 2020

Avery's Monthly Playlist - January

By Avery Wolfe

The rundown:
Something about winter always evokes the sadness inside of me. I can’t tell if it’s because of the colder weather, increased time spent indoors, or the unfavorable weather. As wonderful as it is to be happy, it is just as important to let our emotions out every once in a while.

These are some songs I enjoy listening to on a rainy day when life hasn’t been in my favor. Although the songs seem generally sad, I feel a sense of support when I listen to them. The lyrics validate my feelings and I feel as if I can truly connect with others on an emotional level. I hope these songs can help you out too! Here’s a summary of just a few of my favorite songs featured in the playlist.

Top songs:
"Half A Man" - Dean Lewis

  • Story of the song: The moral of this song is that you have to love yourself before you love anyone else. A man is struggling to connect with his soulmate as he despises himself. The story of him trying and trying to fix his relationship is explored as he also realizes that he cannot truly love her until he loves himself.
  • Behind the music: I think that the message in this song can be so helpful to many others who need to learn how to love themselves a little more. So often we are so over critical of ourselves that we fail to see the good things within us.

"Break My Heart Again" - FINNEAS

  • Story of the song: The story told through this song is that a man has been broken twice by the same girl, but he keeps coming back to her. His feelings are so strong that he is willing to get hurt just so that she can be a part of his life.
  • Behind the music: This teaches a lesson that we should learn when it’s time to let go of something, no matter how much we are attached to it. When something or someone becomes toxic to your happiness, they don’t deserve to be in your life. Sometimes we degrade our worth and accept the treatment we receive from these people because we think we deserve it, but we really deserve better. It’s a hard lesson to learn and implement into our lives but we have to surround ourselves with good people in order to grow and succeed. If someone is constantly causing you pain, they should not be around you at all, you deserve to be happy: remember that.

"Bad" - Lennon Stella

  • Story of the song: A love-struck girl is played by a man she perceived as perfect. She was so attached to him that she was blind to his suspicious actions, but he was nothing but nice to her, so she always assumed the best. She figures out that the man she was dating has been dating another woman for three years! When she is left brokenhearted, she can only recount the good times they spent together. She mourns over him and wishes that he treated her badly so she could get over him quicker.
  • Behind the music: In life, we try to hide ourselves from the truth. We try to see the light in every situation, but sometimes this leaves us oblivious to the truth. Accepting the whole truth allows you to have a more balanced mindset, no matter how hurtful it is to accept. Learn to see certain situations for how they really are, don’t sugar coat it. Once you learn how to accept the truth, you stop wasting time on hurtful things to yourself. Remember to take care of yourself before you take care of others.

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Be back soon!

In the meantime, please read our final issue from last school year.

The Undetermined Fate of Ensign Trees

By Emma LeSieur and Charlie Brach

Trees in front of EnsignTaking their root in the Ensign campus decades ago, Ensign trees have been a constant reminder of the beauty present within our Ensign community. However, recent development into the plan of expanding and renovating our school’s parking lots has put the future of Ensign’s beloved trees into question. 

The district’s plan is to uproot the trees parallel to the first row of classrooms and place a banana parking lot to make drop-off and pick-up easier. Other renovations include replacing the empty lot near the bike racks with another parking lot and adding a new fence to border our school. Though they may seem to be a practical decision, many people in the community argue that they will create a distracting learning environment for students and are completely unnecessary.   

Some of the school’s biggest advocates for the protection of the trees include math teachers Ms. Rain and Ms. Prober, and English teacher Ms. Levy. As many of students may have noticed, Ms. Rain and Ms. Levy have been petitioning and spreading the news around the school. 

When the Seabee Buzz asked these teachers how they felt about the new banana lot installation, Mrs. Levy said that “it would be a great disturbance to Ensign, firstly, and the neighborhood at large.”

Mrs. Levy thinks that it is “the wrong message to send to our student body that will leave a permanent imprint relative to the reluctance to consider an alternative location for the banana lot.” To Mrs. Levy, the problem isn’t the fact that “these trees are part of our campus, but what they represent in our community.” 

Ms. Rain shared similar concerns as Mrs. Levy, but also brought up an interesting side effect that the parking lot may have. Ms. Rain feels that “the banana parking lot should not be placed right next to our classrooms, where the exhaust and fumes will infiltrate the rooms.”

She says “no one should have to smell gasoline as they are trying to learn, especially at the cost of our school’s majestic trees.” She believes that “there is nothing wrong with a banana lot, but there are so many better places to install it than 10 feet from our classroom doors.”

The Seabee Buzz chose to have their final interview to be with Ms. Prober, who also had issues with the distractions of a banana parking lot. Ms. Prober says that she is “anti-tree removal, though she would like to see a new landscape installed out in front of the school.”

Ms. Prober thinks that these trees deserve to have a place on our campus because they “have been here longer than anyone at this school, and the emissions, music, and conversations in the car will be a direct disturbance for the students.”

Even though she does believe that a new parking lot could be useful, she believes the banana lot will cause more harm than good, as “irresponsible U-turns and traffic violations will clog the few lanes available.”

Though construction has already begun, meetings and petitions are still underway. Whether or not you agree with the installation of the parking lot, everyone can agree that the Ensign community will miss the presence of our beautiful trees if they are removed.

Stealing Our Sleep

By Kerry Kong

Ever noticed fellow students slouched over their desks, barely able to keep their heads up? Or maybe even witness someone hilariously drowsing off during a lecture? Perhaps this is yourself, always feeling tired and it seems as though the prime opportunity to nap is during a class where your teacher might not notice. Many factors contribute to this unfortunate behavior, and it is most certainly not entirely the students’ fault.

An example of an obstruction preventing teenagers from getting enough sleep is one that many adults, mostly parents, love to point their fingers at; blue-light devices and electronics. However, the National Sleep Foundation says that the “blue light that’s emitted from these screens can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, and reset the body’s internal clock (or circadian rhythm) to a later schedule.'' This is proven to somewhat decrease the number of hours of sleep attainable at night. It is usually recommended to stay away from electronics at least an hour before bedtime or even completely ban phones from the bedroom. 

Aside from this, there is also an alarming abundance of uncontrollable reasons why we find ourselves so sluggish so often, the first being the natural sleep cycle of our bodies. It is quite common for teachers or other adults to notice this obvious tiredness and to simply comment, ‘just go to sleep earlier’. It sounds like an easy solution, right? Not quite so. According to the Stanford Medicine News Center, teens’ “circadian rhythm[s] — [or] internal biological clock — shifts to a later time, making it more difficult for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m.” 

People’s sleep patterns change as they age and so do the hours of sleep required for a full night’s rest. Adults only need about 7 hours a night, newborns and babies sleep for 16 - 20 hours. Adolescents, on the other hand, because of their growing bodies, require a minimum of 8 - 10 hours. This information draws attention to a greater problem, school start times. 

Falling asleep after 11 p.m. wouldn’t present much of an issue if not for how early students are required to get up in the morning. Most schools begin at 8 a.m, which at first doesn't seem too harsh until the bus and other transportation schedules are considered. For kids who ride the bus to Ensign, they could be required to be at the bus stop as early as 6:55 a.m., depending on where they live, when sometimes, the sun has barely even risen. Assuming in general, it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get ready in the morning, students who ride the bus or have longer commutes or routines need to get up at 6:00 or 6:30, which equals not enough or barely enough sleep. Which brings up another predicament yet again; why do schools begin and buses leave so early? 

According to an article from CityLab, Suburban Sprawl Stole Your Kids Sleep, up until only a few generations ago, the majority of American schools began at 9 am. But now,  “according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 75 percent of schools surveyed in more than 40 states for a 2015 report started before 8:30 a.m., with a significant number starting in the 7 a.m. hour.” Suburbanization, changes in cultural standards of child safety, and the energy crisis of 1973, which are three seemingly unrelated topics, seem to be behind this shift. Developers in the 1960s and ‘70s began to build houses on the perimeters of urban areas, resulting in schools being built on even cheaper and further out land as opposed to locating the schools centrally around neighborhoods. These schools had a lack of pedestrian systems, making it much more difficult and dangerous to get to. Parents also became more fearful that a stranger would harm their child on their way to school. “In 1969, for instance, almost half of children five to 14 usually walked or biked to school; by 2009, that percentage had dropped to 13 percent[, according to The Decline of Walking and Bicycling]. These shifts in the built environment and cultural norms created a need for more busing” (CityLab). But suddenly, when the oil crisis of 1973, an oil embargo proclaimed by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, the U.S. asked consumers to try to conserve energy. This resulted in having to cut transportation costs. Previous multiple fleets of buses ensured that elementary, middle, and high schoolers made it to school at the same time. The solution was to stagger school start times so that the same group of buses could serve the entire student population, starting with the high-schools opening first, as no parent would have wanted younger children waiting in the predawn darkness. Then followed the junior-high and elementary schools, despite younger kids generally being more active and awake in the mornings.

If these facts aren’t compelling enough to invoke a desire for change, then Wendy Troxel's TED Talk draws more focus on the mental health, physical health, safety, and academic performance of sleep-deprived teenagers. Across America, teens often face chronic sleep deprivation because of this twisted system. And while 8 hours is the bare minimum recommendation, it is synonymous with receiving a C grade in school, which is not too great. Students should be aiming for at least 9-10 hours a night. Most major medical organizations recommend that middle schools and high schools begin no earlier than 8: 30 a.m because puberty causes a delay in the biological clock and the release of melatonin. Melatonin begins to release at 11 pm, 2 hours later than adults and younger children, which makes waking a teen up at 6 a.m. is the equivalent of waking an adult at 4 a.m. Similarly, both cause a person to become functionally useless, exhausted, and irritable, and American teens feel like this every single day. A sample few of the mental health issues that can arise are drug abuse, depression, and even suicide. Some physical health problems are obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Driving is dangerous as well, as having 5 hours or less of sleep is the equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol content above the legal limit. These conditions make this minimal amount of sleep serious and possibly life-threatening.

Some people believe these are just meaningless claims but in districts that have followed through with these studies and recommendations, the results speak for themselves. With later start times, the time that students go to bed stays the same but they get more sleep in the morning without having to rush out of bed. Teenagers are less likely to drop out and do better academically. They are also more likely to show up to school, school absences dropped by 25% in one district, and car crash rates even went down, by 70% in one district. 

Troxel, who is a sleep scientist, reveals the unreasonable logic behind the hesitance to change the system. “Often the argument against later start times goes something like this: ‘Why should we delay start times for teenagers? We need to toughen up so they're ready for the real world!’ But that’s like saying to the parent of a two-year-old, ‘don't let Johnny nap or he won’t be ready or kindergarten’”.

But frankly, the most infuriating part of this entire ordeal is the startling number of individuals who simply don't believe the facts. The health and safety of adolescents is in our hands, yet it still ends up getting tossed aside. Hopefully, in the near future, justice is served and sleep is saved for students all across America.

For more information, please refer to any of the listed sources below.

Troubles with Nutrition

By Victoria King

Nutrition is usually a period of the day that students look forward to, as some may have forgotten to eat breakfast or they are just ready for a snack. It is also a piece of their day when they can use the restroom without missing class.

However, it has become increasingly harder to get food and in total get through the wave of kids. Nutrition packs together the seventh and eighth grade in the quad which causes quite a few issues.

It is a well-known fact that students are required to eat food and drink only in the quad, but take the hundreds of students at this school who all have the same objective, to get somewhere, and put them in one space. This is where things get frustrating. Having only maybe one person out with a food cart and perhaps two or three at the snack bar makes things very difficult for students as the one food cart by the lunch tables is usually where the students go because of its convenience. When you hop in the already very long line the students in front of you always let their friends cut in front of them and therefore the rest of the people behind them. Nutrition only being about five minutes (on the schedule it does say ten but take out the five minute passing period and it would only be five) sometimes leads to students having to throw away food they bought because the bell had rung or getting none at all.

Also when students go to their third/fourth period class after nutrition and they ask to use the restroom it is because they legitimately were unable to get to the bathroom and get a snack. Even with so many students already in the quad getting food there are also lines at the bathrooms.

Back onto the topic of buying food: just the other day I was in line to get food and five boys cut in front of me and the bell rung as soon as I got up to the station. I told them not to cut but they remained resilient as they countered back with “My friend was here it’s fine.”

While these students were cutting there were many kids just surrounding the already crowded line causing people to step on others and shove people such as myself. It is overall a very unpleasant situation. Students should understand that they cannot cut in line and that needs to be reinforced. Kids should also know that they should feel free to hang out where they wish in the quad but it would benefit everyone if they would go to the open lunch tables and not just stand where people are trying to go or squish people who are already uncomfortable.

In total, Nutrition is chaotic and disorderly and the majority of students need to learn that cutting is not okay and where they decide to group together can cause issues for the rest of us.

Issues with Group Punishments

By Victoria King

When a student acts out or does not follow instructions the usual punishment is directed towards the entire class resulting in the most common penalizing ideas of either everyone having to stay in for a while after class or running a lap if it is P.E.

However, it is always the same people, so why does the entire class have to pay for one student’s misbehavior when the teacher can just take care of the one student? Well, some may argue that everyone else has the chance to tell the one person to stop, but has anyone considered that they have?

Being someone who is in a class where kids misbehave daily and in the end give the entire class issues it is very frustrating. A couple experiences that can be recalled are when multiple students weren’t sitting on their numbers for P.E. and therefore everyone had to stay after five minutes because this was eighth period. Five minutes may seem small but it can have a big impact on those who need to get through a crowd to get their bike. Although many students warned these unruly kids they decided to chat with their friends instead.

Also, in another instance students were putting away equipment, and the teacher told everyone to sit down in our rows. The people putting away the things were caught in a dilemma. If they sat down our teacher would be mad that it wasn’t put away and if they didn’t sit down the class would have to run a lap. So the group chose to continue putting things away resulting in the entire class running. In this situation there was no one misbehaving just kids not cleaning up P.E. equipment for eighth period fast enough.

Teachers should be focusing on the source of the disruption and not forcing everyone else to suffer, too. This only leads towards annoyance to the teacher and dislike of the kids who cause the problems. Overall, teachers should understand that group punishments are frustrating for the other kids in the classroom as the students causing the problems in the class aren’t going to stop their behavior as long as they aren’t singled out.

Who We Are...

Writers: Axel Ahuactzin, Charlie Brach, Sofia Del Villar, Josh Dodman, Ben Glassen, Luke Hohman, Victoria King, Kerry Kong, Emma LeSieur, Lili Matias, Ryder Rasmussen, Azi Schacht, Vanessa Van Vliet, Avery Wolfe, Maddox Yarnall

Advisor: Kristine Cross