All posts by Nick Shepard

Kentlake’s Silent Killer: Styrofoam

by Elizabeth Gerken – Staff Writer

If you get lunch here at Kentlake, you probably get a Styrofoam tray with your lunch. This has been the case since middle school, or even earlier for many of us, but should it be? It turns out that, no, it really should not. Styrofoam lunch trays are perhaps the worst option for student’s health, the planet and Kentlake’ s wallet.

Styrofoam as a material is notoriously toxic by nature. It is made from a form of petroleum which is turned in to massive amounts of greenhouse gas during production thus contributing to the global issue of climate change. After production and use the Styrofoam is thrown into the garbage because it cannot be recycled or composted in most cases, and in the landfill, it takes 500 years to decompose at the least according to the Future Center Trust, a nongovernmental environmental education and protection organization in Barbados.

Along with being an environmental hazard, it is also hazardous to our health. Styrofoam, or polystyrene, contains the chemical styrene which is a neurotoxin that, when in contact with warm or greasy food, breaks down and absorbs into the food. Once the styrene is consumed it is absorbed by the fatty tissues in your brain. Styrene has been linked to depression, vision, hearing loss, and even cancer in some animals. Although the amount that is present in cafeteria pizza when people eat it is small, constant exposure can still lead to health issues.

With all these negative effects on the environment and on people you would think it would be cheap but in fact it is the opposite. A pack of 500 lunch trays costs around 33 dollars depending on where you buy it from. This seems like a good deal but if you take into account that you have to buy enough for all 1501 students at Kentlake for all 180 days of the school year, that price jumps to $17,820 dollars a year just on Styrofoam lunch trays.

All these factors are cause for a switch to something a little more sustainable, less toxic and less expensive. Reusable plastic lunch trays. Even though plastic is still not as clean as some other materials, it is the least expensive of all the other options and would require the least amount of modification to the current lunch routine. Plastic trays do not have the negative effects that styrene does on the food and the consumer, and they are reusable and recyclable if need be. Most plastic lunch trays cost around $1.50 a piece, which sounds expensive, but when you consider the fact that they are reusable and only need to be purchased every few years if that, they come in at $2,251.50 for 1501 lunch trays, one for every student. The school could even go out and get an additional 500 and the total price would be $3,000.00.

The one downside to the plastic trays is the fact that they must be washed. Depending on the dishwasher, the price varies but for a industrial door type washing machine it takes 1 hour to wash approximately 1,800 trays using 4 gallons for every 18 trays at $00.16 per gallon witch adds up to about $53.76 a day and $9,000.00 per year. While this is still a pretty large expense, it is still $8,820 less per year, which in the long run would be significantly cheaper than the Styrofoam alternative, and does not have the health hazards cause a decrease in the environmental damage.

Next time you pick up a Styrofoam lunch tray with your cafeteria nachos or pizza, ask yourself, if we could be doing better, why aren’t we?

“Me Too” Movement Reaches Thousands

by Elijah Monuteaux – Staff Writer

A woman named Tarana Burke sat with a thirteen-year-old girl who had previously been sexually assaulted. Listening to her story of the events left Tarana speechless, and after this conversation the “Me too” movement was born. Intended originally for girls of color who had been sexually harassed or assaulted, it is now I more broad movement. It’s been about ten years since the “Me too” movement began, and sexual assaults have not been a huge part of the worlds conversations at all, but now it seems as if it is becoming more common to speak out about. This is a good thing.

Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment has seemed to set off a ripple effect across the country by triggering the “Me too” movement. Although it was started many years ago it became popular in the span of a few days. Many male celebrities have been found guilty, or have been accused of sexual assaults. This is not to say that male celebrities are predators or that males in general are. This is not a male thing, female thing, Hollywood thing, or political thing. It happens everywhere, every day.

Objectification is key to why a lot of these assaults have happened. Objectification is degrading someone or something to the status of a mere object. In this case women have been objectified. It is one thing to want a bigger, and faster car. It is a total different thing to turn a human being into an object for one’s satisfaction. Objectification for something that is obviously an object is not bad, but objectifying a human being and then harming that person is. Those are two entirely different situations.

Another good point to why this is happening is the fact that girls are taught from a young age that boys are stronger. This seems to be a part of why female victims of sexual assault find it hard to speak out about it. It is important now that since we have people speaking out about it in numbers that everyone takes advantage and speaks out.

Therefore the “Me Too” movement is very meaningful. It is standing for something that needs awareness. Many female celebrities began to start sharing their stories of encounters with Weinstein, and as soon as this happened an uproar on social media of hundreds of women sharing their stories set off the “Me too” movement to more than just and activist’s dream to raise awareness.

Pros vs. Cons: Thanksgiving Edition

Pro: Thanksgiving is Important in This Society

by Symantha Edwards – Staff Writer

America has a view of a traditional family Thanksgiving, everyone gathered around the table, with dad about to carve the turkey. Pure happiness, right? But let me be the one to tell you (if you have not figured it out by now) that not everyone has that perfect family. We live in a country that is diverse and different, which is really important to our society as a whole. I am here to tell you that thanksgiving is still important no matter who you are, how weird your family is, or what you believe.

Although in elementary school we were told it all started with the pilgrims coming to America and meeting the Indians and eating all sorts of delicious food together (though this is far from reality), I believe that the values of the holiday itself are even more important that the history. We as a society and a world tend to focus on the negative. Just look at the news; maybe every 15th story is something positive, but the rest is depressing and is designed to make you feel hopeless.

Thanksgiving is not only a time to stuff yourself with all sorts of carbs and food and watch football, but a time to appreciate all that we have. Whether it be you are grateful for your new iPhone 8, or your just happy that your mom is your mom, its important to remember these things in order to stay sane.

So let us think of Thanksgiving not as an ancient tradition, but as a time to eat food and love life.

Con: Thanksgiving’s Men, Myths, and Legends

by Megan Monahan – Staff Writer

As the holiday approaches, many are excited to eat a homecooked meal, spend time with their families, and enjoy the festive fall decorations that adorn many homes and neighborhood. However, think of this, Thanksgiving was taught and created from a lie.

The origins of the holiday are not based off the common idea that the pilgrims and the Native Americans came together and had a giant feast and lived in harmony therefore after. The holiday’s origins actually have nothing to do with the United States at all. It is a hybrid of a three-day Pagan Harvest Festival where they celebrated the good harvest, and a Christian religious holiday where they thank God for all the gifts that he has blessed in their lives. This hybridization along with the myth of the “Great Feast” has placed us in the religious fat fest that thanksgiving is today.

Thanksgiving itself wasn’t made a national holiday until 1863 when Lincoln proclaimed it a national holiday of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” that was to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. ( As Thanksgiving is blatantly a Christian holiday ignoring the separation of church as state, and not taking into consideration that others who are not Christian do not celebrate it. Therefore, making it a national holiday is being inconsiderate of those who do not share the Christian faith.

With the basic idea of thanksgiving being that you are supposed to be spending time with your family and friends and thinking of everything that you must be thankful for how did it morph into eating dinner at 4 pm and lining up outside the door of your favorite store or mall for hours just so that you can get the TV of your dreams for a slightly discounted price. With 23% of all shoppers camping out before the clock strikes midnight to get into the stores first according to statistic brain. Thanksgiving has become almost solely about food and fighting for the death for a sale. Without remembering the true purpose of Thanksgiving, bringing people together, then the holiday will continue to be used for capitalistic purposes.

Mike Pence’s Negative LGBTQ Reputation Plummets

by Joshua Manning – Staff Writer

Mike Pence has had quite the negative reputation with the LGBTQ community. These relations have been called into question again as Donald Trump, according to two different sources, called out Mike Pence as an untrustworthy source for information on gay rights, as he told a legal scholar that Pence wants to “hang them all”. Mike Pence and the Whitehouse denied this statement, with Mike Pence stating that “Articles like this are why the American People have lost so much faith in the press.”

Regardless of whether the claims are true, one must call into question the regrettable past that the vice president has had with the LGBTQ community. When Pence was a governor of Indiana, he openly opposed the gay marriage act and made it legal for people to cite their religion as reason to deny service to gay or transgender people. A prime example of this legislation being abused was when a bakery refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding in 2012. Pence’s homophobia goes all the way back to 2000 when he fought against the non-discrimination laws and campaigned against gay marriage. But perhaps the most indefensible of all is his historic connection to the advocacy of conversion therapy. Not only has conversion therapy been deemed a “pseudoscientific” practice by many notable scientists and neurologists, but it has also been debunked by the American medical establishment and denounced by LGBTQ groups.

Donald Trump has been more accepting of the LGBTQ community than most would have expected what with him stating at the Republican National Convention that he “will do everything to protect the LGBTQ citizens.” However, this also raises the question of why someone who is allegedly pro-LGBTQ would choose a running mate who has the history that he has when it comes to these issues.

Even with all these issues in mind, we cannot assume that Pence said these things for sure. As far as anyone knows, nobody but Trump has claimed that Pence has said that he wants to “hang gay people”. With midterm elections fast approaching, however, one must consider what these things could mean for the government. History has shown us that during midterms the president’s party will almost always lose seats in Congress and the opposing party will almost always become stronger. This weakening of the current political party in Congress could be made worse due to these issues. Situations like these will no doubt make the public believe in the government less due to the government officials giving contradictory statements about one another. But as far as an actual full impeachment like some have posited, only time will tell if that will be a reality.

Kimmel Exploits Public Emotion for Late Night Politics

by Vitaliy Berezhnyy – Staff Writer

Jimmy Kimmel used to be funny. Nowadays, he’s assumed the mantle of late-night moral-authority, blaming second-amendment supporters for mass shootings, praising Canada and England for “figuring out” healthcare, and working with Chuck Schumer to produce political commentary. I’m going to focus on just the first issue, as it is the most recent one.

In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, Kimmel gave a monologue where he called for gun law reform; for “political debate”. His speech was full of factual errors, so let’s look over the most glaring ones. According to Kimmel, there are “loopholes in the law that let people avoid background checks… if they buy a gun online or at a gun show.” That is objectively false. Nowhere in the U.S. can you go to a gun show and purchase a gun without going through a background check, and the same goes for buying weapons online. All it takes is a simple google-search to find this out, but I digress.

The NRA lobbied for people on the no-fly list to be able to purchase guns. “Who thinks that makes sense?” Kimmel said. I do, and here’s why; the no-fly list has people on it that are false positives—people with similar sounding names as someone who is already on the list—and, as long as they go through a background check like everyone else, why shouldn’t they be able to purchase a gun? The no-fly list is an inaccurate way to judge who should and should not own a gun.

Kimmel then goes on to say that no American citizen needs “an M-16 or 10 of them.” Very few civilians own M-16s. As they are fully automatic (meaning multiple bullets fire by holding the trigger), you need to purchase them from dealers with class-three licenses, of which there aren’t many, and the guns themselves are expensive. Besides, there have been a total of ZERO mass shootings using automatic weapons in the U.S., and mass shootings themselves only constitute 0.3% of all gun homicides.

There were more factual errors in his monologue, but here’s the bottom line; this was not the time to talk policy. Throwing blame that early, without knowing the whole story, and proposing policy without having the facts straight, is unwise. This time would have been better spent gathering information. Once you have all the information, then you can reflect and analyze. Then, and only then, can you review the situation without the variable of emotion. Kimmel could have done a much better job, if he had waited longer to give his take on the event.

Daisy Definitely Pulls it Off

by Taylor Bailey – Cartoonist

“Daisy Pulls It Off” is the story of a girl named Daisy Meredith who has been accepted into the private school of her dreams, Grangewood. After learning about a secret treasure hidden within the building, Daisy and her new friend Trixie Martin head off to find it.

Drama opened the play “Daisy Pulls It Off” Nov. 9. The plays Facility Director was English teacher, Sarah Wilson and its Facility Technical Director was math teacher, Alex Chopyak. The play featured actors Robyn Janssen, Hannah Williams, Lindsay Campbell, Hailee Stedman, Cade Rae, Anna Hartman, and Eden Daus in the cast.

Janssen did an amazing job as the role of Daisy. She put so much expression into her character that the audience could always tell she was having a good time acting. She had a great and powerful singing voice as well. Likewise, Williams was fantastic in her role as Trixie. She was so exuberant, always bouncing around the stage, and was “uncommonly” funny. Campbell (Sybil Burlington) and Stedman (Monica Smithers), were authentically villainous. Each put a lot of effort into hating Daisy and Trixie. Rae (Clare Beaumont) and Daus (Alice Fitzpatrick) and the rest of the phenomenal supporting cast really brought life to the show. The Kentlake set construction and crew brought the sight, sound and artistic realism of the play to its full potential. Their hard work certainly did not go unnoticed.

This play was an absolute blast. It was full of funny moments that had the entire audience laughing. It also had a few sentimental moments in it as well which was a good break from all the jokes. The only “bad” parts of the play were when it ran a bit slow, which wasn’t often, and that the twist at the end about Daisy’s dad didn’t make sense. The actors rarely slipped up when speaking their lines which shows they put a lot of effort into learning them. When the characters would step out frame and introduce themselves, characters in the background would have to freeze, and they all did a really good job at that.

“Daisy Pulls It Off” was a spectacular play. I highly recommend that you attend. The actors, the crew, the directors, and all of Kentlake High School Drama poured their heart and soul into this play.

By the time this article comes out, you will have two days to see the show: Nov. 17 and 18.

Little Change to the Office Main Staff Team

by Madison Marko – Head Photographer

Sue Little is our new main office secretary. With years of travel under her belt and honed skills in cardmaking, Little is more than prepared to take on the battlefield that is Kentlake High School. Oh, and her background in HR, finance, and communications certainly won’t hurt anything.

Little said, “I decided I wanted to come work here mostly because my kids attend this school and I wanted to be on the same schedule as them.” She has two kids, Evan Little (11) and Erica Little (10). Little said, “When I learned about this job opportunity, I checked with them first to make sure they were ok with it. I know some kids would say, ‘I do not want my mom working at my school’, but Evan is fulltime running start, and Erica gets a ride to school every morning. They both gave me the thumbs up.”

Not only did her kids give her the thumbs up, but so has the school. Little said, “Everyone has been helpful, welcoming, and friendly so far. What has impressed me the most is how respectful the students have been. It’s nice when I’m walking somewhere and I say, ‘good morning’ to someone and they actually respond.”

Little’s fondness for travelling is represented in her extensive country collection—which includes the likes of Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Mexico, England, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. Her favorite place in the world is Maui, Hawaii, and if she could go anywhere else, she would go to Italy.

Little said, “When I was staying in a youth hostel in Belgium, I had set up my bunk for the evening, and then I went out sightseeing for a few hours. I came back to find someone else sleeping in my bunk. I woke them up and told them that was my bed. The person said, ‘I’m sorry’ in very broken English and proceeded to move to a different bunk that was not already occupied.”

This year, she is looking forward to meeting more of the students and staff and excited to see how she can contribute. She said, “I know I can bring a positive attitude and be a knowledgeable resource for people to come to. I am excited to be a part of this team.”

Fun and Interesting Jobs

by Jillian Felker – Entertainment Editor

SFX makeup artist: Special effects makeup artists practice the art of imagery, film, imagination, and basic makeup skills all in one profession. Using prosthetics, latex, paints, and unmeasurable amounts of fake blood all are greatly included in the special effect makeup process, and can be seen in majority of films and tv shows at one point or another.

A famous SFX makeup artist includes Tom Savini, who is not only an actor, director, and a past combat cameraman, Savini just so happens to be admired among large groups of fans for his groundbreaking work during the “splatter-movie” boom of the 1980s, which includes the films “Dawn of the Dead” and “Friday the 13th”.

Though the profession may be one that is less practical, it is an artform at its core and is one that is constantly evolving, a profession that will leave its artists constantly on the tips of their toes. Shows such as “The Walking Dead” have changed the art of creatures, realism, and the ideas of how to continue being this artist when many projects are now using computers. The SFX artist, Greg Nicotero, for “The Walking Dead” said “We have always kept it practical, because we feel that its more realistic, not to take away from the great visual effects team that we have, because they do a fantastic job on the show as well. “The Walking Dead” celebrates the practical aspect of makeup effects and has put it in the forefront of today’s pop culture.”

As far as pursuing a career in the art goes, many schools for Esthetics and general Cosmetology include SFX programs, and there are specific schools for only SFX such as CMU College of Makeup Art and Design located in Toronto, Ontario, and local makeup schools that teach such programs include Evergreen Makeup Program and Tacoma Beauty Academy, which teach the basics and beyond of makeup.

Professional Sleeper: Sleeping is included as a daily part of almost every person’s schedule, but what if you could make it a profession? That’s exactly what professional sleepers do, although it can be much more complicated than just sleeping all day long.

Specific jobs for professional sleepers may include doing things such as sleeping while hooked up to monitors or having other such medical equipment around/in the person sleeping to help study things such as heart rate or brain activity while asleep. Sleeping for scientific research is a very common form of work for a professional sleeper.

Other tasks may include staying at hotels or specific resting points to test the room/setting, while filling out forms and such as far as the experience went. As well as testing products such as mattresses, duvets, and beds for specific companies.

Depending upon the position, most often there is little to no educational requirements past a high school diploma or college degree, which makes the job of a professional sleeper much easier to obtain than other positions, but can prove to be difficult depending upon the field and work. Although it holds very little potential for future advancements in the work-field.

PSAT Memes Still Popular

by Fiona Higgins – Opinion Editor

If you are a sophomore or older, you definitely understand these memes. What was once a serious test, designed to prepare students for the SAT, has become an anticipated time of year in which an explosion of obscure memes come to light. Last year, it was artisan bread and Juan Ribero. Two years prior, it was Herminia’s poetry and wolf puppies. This year, it is shrimp ex-husbands and tomatoes. None of these things make any sense at all to anyone who wasn’t taking the PSAT.

It might seem strange, with PSAT memes being so popular, that SAT memes haven’t risen to the same level, but there is a pretty simple explanation. On both tests, you have to sign nondisclosure agreements to assure that you will not discuss the test material. With the PSAT, it’s a practice test, and no one feels like it’s an urgent member. With the SAT, though, there is a lot on the line. Ergo, seniors and freshmen will collectively get to be confused by the onslaught of seagrass and classic health booth smoothies.

Riverdale Builds Suspense with Second Season Premiere

by Megan Monahan – Staff Writer

The highly anticipated season premiere for the second season of Riverdale aired Oct. 11, leaving viewers stunned and begging for more. The new season jumped 400% in teen viewer audience with 3.3 million total viewers. The CW believes that this is because of the shows streaming on Netflix and its contract stating that a week after the season finale the entire season will be uploaded to the streaming site.

The much-anticipated season 2 premiere did not let fans down as it was packed with drama, romance, and death. Fans were left at the previous season finale wondering what was going to happen to Fred Andrews, Archie’s father, who was shot at Pop’s diner by the “Black Hood.” The Black Hood, also known the Angle of Death by Pop Tate is Riverdale’s newest vigilante killer who is not afraid to get their hands dirty.

As Fred Pulls through from his injuries he is taken in a dream like state where he relives all the memories and major events he would’ve missed if he had died from his injuries. Many viewers however found it odd that he mainly fixated on Archie’s relationship with Veronica instead of those of his wife, or even his short term affair with Hermione Lodge. The fixation on his sons life with his high school girlfriend emphasizes the fact that without Archie Fred is incredibly lonely especially since he and his wife were separated for a majority of the first season.

On the other end of the hospital Penelope Blossom is recovering from severe burns across her entire body and acute smoke inhalation. Which she suffered from running back into Thornhill to save a family portrait after Cheryl Blossom set the house ablaze to restart their family. As Penelope was recovering from her injuries in her hospital bed Cheryl threatens her by grabbing her breathing tube and telling her that she is only alive because Cheryl allows it, and very clearly makes her understand that the abuse of power that the elder Blossoms have, is over.

On the other end of town Ms. Grundy is strangled by the “Black Hood” with her own Cello Bow immediately after the end of her music lesson with her new student who is the same person that she is having an affair with like she was with Archie at the beginning of the first season.