by Madison Marko – Op-ed Editor
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. The day, initially called Working Women’s Day, is a day to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. According to the UN, it is also a day to call for change.
The UN has outlined a theme for 2017, as well as key targets of the 2030 Agenda. Their theme for the year is: “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.”
Some of their key targets to accomplish by 2030 are: ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education, end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere, eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation, and eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
To Brooklyn Zanazanian, a junior, International Women’s Day is an important day of reflection on women’s contributions throughout history. Zanazanian said, “Throughout our education we have been fed information on what men have accomplished, but they stay quiet when it comes to women. In AP U.S. History, we’re learning about the ways women have contributed to society and life as we know it today. Like in World War 2, women were the majority of the people that pushed the war and built the aircrafts, ships—things that would take a year to build were built in 17 days with women doing it. We are forced under the radar, and every time we do get credit, people said, ‘Oh, it does not really matter.’ But, when a man does the same thing, it is like, ‘Props to him. He is a hero. Everybody should look up to him.’”
International Women’s Day celebrates female artists like Audre Lorde, a poet and activist, as well as women like Sister Rosetta Sister Tharpe, a singer with the nickname of “the godmother of rock and roll.” It celebrates female athletes like Billie Jean King, a professional tennis player and supporter of women’s and LGBTQA rights. It also pays respects to female innovators, mathematicians, and scientists like Flossie Wong-Staal, a UCLA grad who was the first scientist to clone HIV.
The day celebrates the contributions to society of women from all walks of life.
by Madison Marko – Op-ed Editor
Tera Chea, junior, was elected as Key Club’s Division 32 Lieutenant Governor on January 14. Chea will be officially sworn in on March 31 at the Pacific Northwest District Convention in Portland, Oregon.
To Chea, Key Club is second only to her family and friends. She said, “Key club has practically raised me to be the person I am today. It is always there when I fall and because of it, I am constantly striving to be a better person. It helps the community like a family and we take care of each other.”
Chea has been a member of Key Club since her freshman year, holding the role of the club’s secretary her freshman and sophomore year, and president the second half of sophomore year and first half of her junior year. Chea said, “I have been involved in all the committees within Division 32 and I felt like being Lieutenant Governor was the next step in my Key Club journey.”
The Division 32 Election Rally was held at Fairwood Library, and each of the candidates had to give a speech. Chea said, “Fun story, I actually had a whole spiel memorized and when I got up to say my speech, I started off strong then completely froze halfway through. It was basically thirty seconds of silence when I froze and I thought I was going to die. Almost cried, but it is okay.”
Ashley Villanueva, junior, held the position before her. After the District Convention, Chea will take the role and oversee the eight schools within Division 32: Kentlake, Kentwood, Kentridge, Kent-Meridian, Tahoma, Renton, Hazen, and Lindbergh. Chea said, “I will serve as the liaison between the district and division in which I am responsible for supporting and growing each of the clubs. Some of my duties will include the publication of a monthly newsletter, club officer training and support, holding monthly divisional meetings, committee meetings, and serving on one or more district committees.”
As a future division leader, Chea has many goals. She said, “Although increasing membership will always be a goal, my main focus is to make the division a lot more inclusive to create sort of a familiar environment where school districts and borders will not mean anything. Because as the saying goes, quality over quantity.”
Chea said, “We don’t make keys in Key Club, but we will help you make the keys to your future. Join Key Club.”
Key Club meets every Wednesday in room 2523.
by Madison Marko and Grace Frunk – Editors
According to law enforcement, an estimated 120,000 people crowded the streets of Seattle on January 21, marching as one—one group, one voice, with varying outlooks but one desire.
The march, dubbed the “Womxn’s March” by organizers (the “x” representing the transgender community), was just one of many across the nation—all prompted by the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
This march to me meant standing up for myself, all the women across the nation, minority groups, and anyone who has felt disrespected or threatened by President Trump’s comments, claims, or actions. For me, it was the notion of screaming loudly, “We are here, we will stand up for ourselves, and you will hear us.”
As soon as I stepped off the bus in Seattle, I knew the experience would be something that would stay with me forever. People of all different races, ethnicities, and backgrounds surrounded me—and although we appeared so separate, there was a palpable, united, common energy that enveloped the entirety of the marchers.
I had never experienced this before. I felt connected to each and every person that fell in step beside me, danced behind me, and paraded ahead.
Looking around, I knew that these people stood with me, supported me, and believed in our future together.
It was quite simply the most empowering experience of my life.
If you cannot comprehend, cannot understand, why this many people flooded the streets, I am sure you have your reasons. But in my eyes, this was about setting the standard for what we expect from the leader of our nation. We will not let someone represent us who ceaselessly makes comments that objectify and belittle half of the population, reduce people to nothing but the color of their skin, their physical capabilities, or their religion. This was about showing President Trump that we expect, we demand, more.
I am proud to say that I attended Seattle’s Womxn’s March. To all of you that say it was pointless, I can ensure you it was not. I came back from the march knowing more than ever that I have the power, and right, to stand up for what I believe in, and that my voice can be heard. I am the future of America and I will not be silenced.
by Madison Marko – Op-ed Editor
The Black Student Union had a meeting with law enforcement officers during the club’s gathering Nov. 9. Four police officers attended, including Carl Bonnell and Andrew McCurdy, the chief of the Covington Police Department.
The Black Student Union was founded last February by Aaron Benson, the club’s advisor, with the help of sophomores Bri’Nyah Jones and Magnifique Niyonizeye. Benson said, “The goal for me is to really just provide a safe space within the school that kids can come to and share their experiences, challenges, build a community, and learn.”
Benson said what prompted the meeting between the club and the officers was a week in July after two African American men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, were killed by police. The following Friday five Dallas police officers were killed. Benson said, “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, what would I do on a week like this if school was in session and we had a Black Student Union meeting?’”
He then went to the Covington Police Department to talk with Chief McCurdy. Benson said, “We had a wonderful conversation where he shared some different perspectives that I wasn’t hearing about in the news, and I left the meeting feeling a lot better about these situations. The first thought that came to mind was that I need to give the students that I work with the space to have those conversations as well. We began after that planning to have the meeting.”
Chief McCurdy said, “I was looking forward to the opportunity but I had no idea how welcoming the students would be. I truly believe that the biggest problem we are facing today as police officers is that people only see us for our uniform. I am trying to meet with as many people as possible, even if the conversation may feel uncomfortable at first, so that they can get to know us as unique individuals and so that we can get to know them as individuals as well.”
Jordyn Mitchem, a sophomore and the club’s treasurer, said, “My initial thoughts on the idea of the meeting was that there is no way in hell that it was going to work. I had faith in the club, but I felt that there are some of us who didn’t have great experiences with cops. I figured it would be a little rocky.”
During the meeting, the club members sat in a big circle, the officers intermixed. The officers introduced themselves and each of them shared their journey to law enforcement. After that, they opened it up so the club members could ask questions they had about policing and the shootings that had been happening.
Despite some reservations going in, all parties agreed that the meeting went well. Benson said some of the things that came from the meeting were community building, understanding, and empathy. Mitchem agreed and said, “Overall the meeting was great. We got a little more insight into how the cops have to deal with things and how not everything is as easy as it seems. I feel like the cops and security got a point of view that we don’t have it easy either. It’s not just go to school, come home, do your homework. It’s not the simple for us, it’s a more complex way of feeling things.”
Chief McCurdy said, “I was very impressed with the group of students for their willingness to ask difficult questions and share their stories and concerns. I was also very happy to see that they were open to hearing what we had to say. The dialogue was very open, honest, and respectful and I was appreciative of them giving us the opportunity.”
Although the club doesn’t have any more scheduled meetings with the officers, Benson said that there is definitely hope for more in the future.
The Black Student Union meets on Wednesdays after school in room 1620.
by Madison Marko – Op-ed Editor
The Martin Luther King Jr. Day assembly hit a series of roadblocks, but still managed to get accomplished, despite being postponed a week.
The original date of the assembly was set for Jan. 12, with the keynote speaker being a woman who was a member of SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) while in college during the Civil Rights Movement. Unfortunately, she was delayed in Portland, Oregon due to the snow.
After learning about the delay, the leadership group postponed the assembly until Jan. 18. Everything was on track until the speaker was delayed again due to ice, leaving the leadership classes with little time to prepare before the assembly.
They were able to pull together student speakers who shared their own stories of diversity and overcoming adversity—all themes heavily related to the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Mai Le, junior, spoke about her experiences migrating from her home country to America. Jayke Chavez, senior, shared his story about growing up biracial. ______ _____, junior, described her journey defeating cancer three times and how it continues to shape her even today. Ahanu Boyle, sophomore, talked about their involvements in the LGBTQ community and personal struggles with gender identity.
Boyle said they were originally approached by Kaas to speak because of their membership in Kentlake’s Diversity Council. As for the assembly itself, Boyle said, “I had a hard time keeping eye contact with the audience, which kind of sucked. Mr. Kaas was extremely supportive though, which helped a lot. Shout out to Mr. Kaas.”
All of the students that shared their stories can relate to King’s message. Boyle said, “I associate my story with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s because I believe that King would help my efforts to teach and spread information about the LGBTQ community to try and quell uncertainty in the world.”
Along with this, the assembly featured a performance from the Flames Dance Team, a joint musical performance of “Amazing Grace”, arranged Jonathan Urmenita, performed by our orchestra, band, and choir. The assembly also included student-made interview videos, relevant commercials related to King’s cause, and a speech from Dr. Potts.
Boyle said, “It is important to share Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s story because his actions changed a whole country. It’s a beautiful thing. Because of King, I can go to school with my friends.”
by Madison Marko – Op-ed Editor
“The Hamilton Mixtape” transcends any specific genre, reimagining familiar songs and tunes with the help of all-too-familiar artists. Released on Dec. 2, the album puts the score and story of the Broadway hit “Hamilton” into a new light.
“The Hamilton Mixtape” is an innovative, inspired telling of one of our founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton’s story, intertwined with stand-out themes that still hold meaning today. Executive produced by Black Thought, Questlove of the Roots, and the mind and means behind “Hamilton”, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the mixtape simply leaves no room for failure.
And the album definitely does not fall short of brilliance.
Featuring a remarkable 36 artists from varying musical backgrounds, the album wants for nothing in terms of depth. Household names like Chance The Rapper, Alicia Keys, Sia, Wiz Khalifa, Usher, and Lin-Manuel Miranda make the 23-track mixtape instantly stand out—if you somehow overlook the bold “Hamilton” logo proudly filling the front cover.
The album manages to trigger an invigorating wave of excitement in die-hard “Hamilton” fans with tailored, recognizable songs from the original score. Sia’s version of “Satisfied”, with the help of Miguel and Queen Latifah, is a thrilling, skin-tingling version of the original. Kelly Clarkson’s “It’s Quiet Uptown” blends her powerful vocals with the gentle touch of the score’s original vibes, creating an emotional, awakening version of the original.
Along with these extremely recognizable accounts of Hamilton’s story, the mixtape features stunning adaptations of some of the original score with eye-opening altercations. “Who Tells Your Story” puts a new, hopeful, upbeat spin on the musical’s death-ridden, somber feel thanks to a fresh beat and new verses by the Roots. “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)” is also a standout, using old phrases from the original to supplement a sizzling, biting new story of the struggle and determination of immigrants.
Following this masterpiece of music and storytelling is an unfortunate, supposedly-comedic rendition of “You’ll Be Back” ear-splittingly sung by Jimmy Fallon. Although proposed in a sort of “sketch” format, the song does little to warrant a laugh. Or even a smile. It sucks the life out of the cheery and cheeky original. You definitely won’t be back for this one.
Overall, “The Hamilton Mixtape” is a stunning new take on the well-loved “Hamilton” score that delivers a well-balanced feast of old and new meaning to your ears. 36 artists, 23 tracks, and all will leave you with a fresh perspective on one of the most intriguing founding fathers and the ways in which his story still rings true today.
by Madison Marko – Op-ed Editor
Every holiday season our children huddle around the fire and stare outside, wishing desperately to be graced by the presence of small, white flakes falling from the sky. They, understandably, want to sled down a hill and be rebirthed by the cold air rushing by their pink cheeks. They also yearn to, less understandably, exercise friendly competition by pelting each other with snow and frolicking around.
Lastly, inexcusably, they want to build feeble versions of people. This outdated practice takes little to no creativity to produce, sets impractical body standards, and builds short-lived attachments that disappear in a puddle of the innocents’ tears.
Snowmen need to go.
Three balls, stacked one on top of the other, biggest on the bottom, smallest on the top. They are lifeless figures adorned with warm hats, scarves, carrot noses, pebbles for their mouths, twig arms, and beady black button eyes.
Everyone pictures the same thing. If a child wants to build a snowman, they will produce some version of this horror, joining the ordinary and applying no creative efforts on their part. People want to be inspired by snowmen, not subdued by mediocre garbage ushered into the world by everybody and their dog. There is no use for creators to waste away in the cold if they are providing no intellectual benefits for themselves or for those around them.
With this seemingly inevitable façade comes an unsettling body standard set on today’s youth. If these frozen forms are truly a representation of men, albeit portrayed in frosty form, children are brought into the crude reality of what we expect of people in society.
To succeed, to fit in, you much be cold, motionless, have three distinctive lumps, stick-thin arms, a grotesquely long nose, and soulless, unblinking eyes. These ideals are utterly unachievable and discourage our youth, as well as try to force them into molds they can never fill.
When they bring the snowman into the world, they also develop a close-knit bond with it—a bond that most definitely does not stand the test of time. As soon as the sun warms the brittle air, the end it near for the child’s cold companion. Their friend will slowly return to the ground, water dripping off its shell.
Losing this pal could be viewed as a positive, for it teaches them that nothing is permanent, especially good things, and relationships fade through time. These are sure to be the lessons people want to learn in their tender childhood years.
To protect our youth, we need avoid the traditional practice of snowman building. It has little intellectual benefit, creates unrealistic body standards, and teaches questionable lessons at a young age.