Make America sane again

Frances McDaniel

This coming election will be one of the most influential elections in American history, with the potential to either continue progress started in the Obama administration and further develop America’s good standing on the global platform, or send us reeling backward to far less forgiving times in our history.

Hillary Clinton’s tasteful and impactful presentation as well as her logical, concise explanations of her plans to address the issues of our nation have won her much praise among political analysts and registered democrats alike. Meanwhile, Donald Trump appealed almost exclusively to his supporters. Despite Clinton’s clear advantage in composure and professionalism, many Americans left the debate feeling that neither candidate came out on top.

In a typical debate setting, there are multiple factors that go into deciding who won a debate, the majority of which focus not on the actual information delivered, but on the manner in which it was delivered. However, presidential debates are judged by the voters. The outcome can only be guessed at, even by experts.

The point of a presidential debate is to give our candidates a platform on which to better communicate their policies to an audience that may have previously been undecided or even supporting their opposer. It is one of their final chances to appeal to more voters before election day.

Moderated by Lester Holt, the first presidential debate alternated between professional discussion of American issues and childish squabble over who has messed up worse. Though Holt overcompensated for his republican bias by making his questions to Trump much more accusatory than his questions to Hillary, he did a pretty good job keeping them civil overall. While that is an impossible task, he did his best.

Both candidates had issues with avoiding answering the actual question so much so that oftentimes the viewer wasn’t able to recall the question they were supposed to be answering. Hillary did a slightly better job sticking to the question, yet still veered completely off topic several times. Trump was slightly more blatant in ignoring the questions, at one point answering a question about “healing the racial divide” with “…and when I look at what’s going on in Charlotte, a city I love, a city where I have investments, when I look at what’s going on throughout various parts of our country, whether it’s — I mean, I can just keep naming them all day long — we need law and order in our country” which had little to nothing to do with the question right off the bat. Most of his responses at least loosely related to the topic when he’d first start talking but his speech would corkscrew- some times more rapidly than others- into some other point entirely.

This was also a problem in the most recent debate on October 10. The best example was how, when asked by a concerned citizen about how his policies would protect America’s Muslim population from Islamophobia if he were President, he proceeded to sayWell, you’re right about Islamophobia, and that’s a shame. But one thing we have to do is we have to make sure that, because there is a problem…because you look at Orlando and you look at San Bernardino and you look at the World Trade Center. Go outside. Look at Paris. Look at that horrible — these are radical Islamic terrorists.” Not only did he seem to completely ignore her question, he gave an Islamophobic response to a question about how he’d protect his possible future citizens from Islamophobia.

However, Trump was not the only candidate having difficulty directly addressing the citizens’ perfectly valid concerns- Clinton also often lost focus. At times, both candidates were so rowdy and off-topic that it seemed more like a couple of 8th-graders vying for a position on the student council what with making petty personal attacks and such.

The focus of this second debate was dramatically shifted by the release of the controversial tape of Donald Trump talking with Billy Bush from 2005. According to the Twitter hashtag “cbsreax,” many Americans were watching solely to see how this man could possibly defend himself, and the expectation that he would do so was prevalent.  His apology came off as rushed and insincere, and turned out to be one of the most laughable- and honestly frightening- events of the evening. When asked You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?” he responded with Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk, and it’s one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS. We’re going to defeat ISIS.” He immediately dismissed the weight of his words by claiming them to simply be “locker room talk,” but shouldn’t that term be reserved for hormonal teenagers who are clearly just running their mouths as opposed to a (supposedly) mature 59-year-old with multiple sexual assault accusations? Possibly even more comical was his swift shift of blame as he, a man who is not exactly quiet about being an adulterer, accused Clinton of being an enabler. He basically held her accountable for the actions of her husband, as if Mr. Clinton’s adultery dragged her to the same low level of morality as Trump.

With Trump’s slightly more blatant racism than usual in the first presidential debate, the released tape, and Michelle Obama’s tear-jerking speech in New Hampshire endorsing Hillary, it appears that Clinton should have the upperhand in the election. Yet, with Trump’s supporters proving time and time again that they hold him to a standard somewhere slightly below basic human decency, they may as well be on level playing field. At this point it’s up to the electoral college to do its job and prevent the ignorant masses from electing an unfit leader.

Riots break out in Charlotte over racial divide

Laura Swain

In this past month, a Mechanicsville resident, David Swain, was in the face of imminent danger while he was on a business trip in Charlotte, North Carolina.

After the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, on September 20, local members of the social movement, Black Lives Matter, were in an uproar. Violent riots soon followed as people paraded through the streets, chanting and damaging property as they went.

The second night, Wednesday, September 21, was when Swain felt the overwhelming intensity of the situation. There was an anxious feeling at the conference that Swain was attending after the horrors of the first night. A manager of precision agriculture at Southern States Co-Op in Richmond, Swain was with a group of fellow workers staying at the Omni Hotel.

“We were at conference, and they made an announcement at the end of the day to basically ‘Get where you’re gonna go, and stay in.’ It was supposed to be a peaceful protest and there was supposed to be a candlelight vigil after that, so we had expected that it would happen, take care of it, and then they would move on. But there was concern, before we even got to it, that there was gonna be some problems,” Swain said.

And there were problems as violence rose while David Swain was leaving his conference to go to dinner with few of his vendors.

“At that time it was just a protest… Of course the police were out to make sure of it, but at that time there was no problem. When we finished dinner, we were kind of on the opposite corner from the hotel and from the situation. And we came out and it was just a busy night in downtown Charlotte. There really was no indication on that opposite corner that there was any problem. It was when we turned the corner, I got a phone call from a coworker that asked where I was and was really concerned and said we couldn’t get back to the hotel because of the riots. There were riot police. There were problems. There was tear gas. Everything was shut down” Swain explained.

Swain soon made it back to his hotel after going through the back in an alley in order to avoid the protests, locking doors behind them along the way. After staying in the lobby, Swain and his group were told to close their tabs at the bar and go up to their hotels.

“My room faced the inside of the block and I could look out and there were helicopters that had spotlights and were checking rooftops to make sure there were no problems on that too. So it was really kind of wild to see it from that side and then go out and watch it on the street and seeing the riot police, seeing the tear gas, seeing everything that was happening, hear the flash bang grenades going off in real life and then hearing the echo of it on TV.”

Outside of the hotel, the riots turned dangerous for both sides. One protester was shot and taken to the hospital afterwards. He was pronounced dead.

The governor of North Carolina called a state of emergency shortly after. The National Guard and state troopers came the next morning and  assisted police in taking back control of Charlotte.

Afterwards, the nation was left in shock at the videos and pictures from these nights of terror. There are still disputes on the context of the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and the protester.

“My first reaction was to try to get the facts, cause I think the reaction of the general public in the last couple years is to react. And to protest without really knowing what they are protesting. So, through the last couple years, my reaction has been just wait.” Officer Wills, Hanover High’s police officer said.

However, these riots do not symbolize the entirety of the Black Lives Matter movement. Most protests held are peaceful and looking for change in the way that black people are perceived by the police.

“I was kind of upset because I feel like people think that Black Lives Matter is a violent movement anyways, and I feel it’s more of a peaceful movement. The majority of the protests are peaceful,” Kauryn Wilson, a member of Black Lives Matter said.

David Swain made it home to his family the day after the riot, but with a story to tell. Afterwards, he went back to North Carolina weeks after on October 10.

“It just amazes me, some of the foolishness that was going on. Also watching to individuals, that were civilians, with their backs to the police officers and facing the rioters, and trying to get them to back off. They were trying to get peace.” Swain stated.

Many events from that night are still unclear. There is still an ongoing investigation into the deaths of Keith Lamont Scott and the protester’s deaths. However, the certainty of these nights was the chaos and fear that enveloped Charlotte.

Welcoming new additions to the hawk family

Michelle Christian

The librarians, the cafeteria workers, and the office personnel: you see them everyday, and yet, how well do you really know them?

Valerie Parker, a member of Hanover High’s cafeteria staff, has been working at Hanover High School since its’ opening in 2003. It was important for her to be at home with her children after school and during the summer. She loved the job so much that she stayed here at HHS even after her children had grown up. Parker loves working with the kids and her fellow staff.

Parker would like the students to know that the cafeteria staff is always there for them. “No matter what they need, whether it’s trouble with their lunch account balance or something with their life, we are always here to talk to them,” said Parker.

Another major member of our schools’ staff is Kim Weis. If you’ve ever wondered who to thank for ordering all of the great books, teaching you the proper techniques for bibliographies, and saving you at the last minute when you need to print out a report, thank our lovely librarians.

Weis has also been working at Hanover High School since its’ opening. After growing up in Hanover and being educated at VCU, Weis became a business teacher at Lee-Davis. After ten years of this, Weis used her love of reading to become a librarian just two years before HHS opened.  Weis loved the the idea of coming to a new school and creating an amazing library.

Weis said that she loves the variety of the job, as well as the students. “The students give back to you what you give to them,” Weis commented.

Weis loves that she gets to teach, promote the library program, work with  students, and be in what she considers the heart of the school, the library.

Judith Coughlin, another crucial member in our library department, is currently in her tenth year at HHS. Coughlin has been a librarian for thirty five years. Previously, she worked with Richmond Public Schools for twenty one years. Coughlin loves that Hanover High has a large library, as well as respectful students. Coughlin’s favorite part of her job is seeing all of the new books come in. She also enjoys seeing all of the faces that come into the library.

Coughlin and Weis would like to encourage students to participate in the new “Reading and Riding” feature in the library. The exercise bikes in the library can be used by students in ten or twenty minute intervals. After each ten or twenty minute interval, students must allow other students to have their turn. The bikes will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Students must inform the library aides before they begin to gain credit. The student that has read the most amount of minutes per quarter will win a $25 Visa gift card.

It’s important for students to read and increase their vocabulary. Students who read for an average of twenty minutes per school day are expected to have read 3,600 minutes per school year. This makes an astonishing 1,800,000 words read by the student at the end of the school year.

A bright and new face students may have seen in the front office is Michelle Baskerville. Having just started working at Hanover High this school year, she already loves it! Baskerville loves the students, her co-workers, and the fun atmosphere that HHS offers. She previously worked at Starbucks for seventeen years. She wanted a change in career that would offer her opportunities to spend time with her family, have a more consistent schedule, and work in a more relaxed environment.

“My job is fun because it includes being welcoming, knowledgeable, answering the phone, receiving and responding to Emails from parents, and supporting my fellow staff members,” Baskerville said.

Baskerville’s favorite part of her job is being able to smile, make other people smile, and talk to people without being rushed, as her previous job had done. One thing’s for sure, if you ever need something from the office or just a simple smile, Baskerville will certainly get the job done.

One Direction infection is plaguing the nation once again

Courtney Carroll

One Direction fans were shocked to hear about Niall Horan, the charming Irish blond of the band, when he released a new single.

People Magazine describes “This Town” as “a pleasant, though slightly tepid, guitar ballad” (One Direction’s Niall Horan Releases First Solo Single ‘This Town’). Horan himself says that he is working on a new album that is similar to his single: “more upbeat but that kind of vibe – the acoustic guitar, that kind of feel to it, nice strings.” He also said that his new music was influenced by Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel, though Entertainment Weekly said it sounds more like the works of Vance Joy and Ed Sheeran (One Direction’s Niall Horan releases first solo single, ‘This Town’). The single was produced by Greg Kurstin who has worked with Ellie Goulding, Sia, and Kelly Clarkson and was behind Adele’s single “Hello”.

When asked about the single, sophomore Chandler Monaghan said, “I am very excited about the new song since he is such an amazing guitar player and singer.”  

The song reminds me of the earlier works of One Direction, as it has a slow, catchy tune. The words depict a man waking up to find that his lover is nowhere to be found. He reminisces about things he never got to say to them. I find that it is indeed similar to Ed Sheeran’s style, but I think Niall has his own take on that kind of folk music.

At the beginning of the year, One Direction announced a hiatus, about a year after Zayn Malik left the band. Since then, Harry Styles has signed a solo record deal with Colombia, and Liam Payne has signed one with Capital Record. Louis Tomlinson is the only member who has not signed a solo deal, but both he and Horan have promised the band will reunite.

Monaghan was also asked how she felt about the band taking a break. “Well, I’m kind of disappointed that they separated for the time being, but I feel like they will all do well separately. Each one has the talent to go where they want to and succeed.”

The other members of 1D were also supportive of his accomplishment. Styles said via Twitter, “Ahhh, a lovely tune my friend. Congratulations. H”. Tomlinson and Payne were just as complementary. Being that Malik is no longer in the band, he did not congratulate Horan but instead posted a selfie on Instagram at the same time the single came out.

Fans are thrilled to hear Horan’s new album as well as Styles and Payne’s new songs. Monaghan said, “I’m excited, and they will all do well.”

Marching hawks help out with annual marching invitational

Emma Wright

October, the wonderful month of October. The sound of leaves crunching below your feet and..what’s that? ‘Drum majors, is your band ready?’ The sound of 8 to 5 step size by marchers? It’s competition season and it’s time to take the field of competition at HHS.

HHMI is the Hanover High Marching Invitational hosted by the hanover marching hawks. Every October, Hanover provides an opportunity for other bands in the state to compete for awards. The event is a great way to raise funds for the band and for other bands to be able to bond. The marching hawks work the event alongside some amazing parents and staff.

“HHMI is a competition that Hanover hosts. It gives the marching hawks a chance to meet people from all over the state by helping with concessions, guiding and more,” junior Kayla Schneider said.

There are many positions to be filled when hosting a competition. The students as well as parents work for the benefit of the band. The job list includes: Judges runners, guides, water stations, rope holders, concessions, donuts and front gate. The judges runners are typically spots filled with seniors who run errands for judges such as getting them food and water. The guides are also positions that seniors take to lead the guest bands through the school and to their practice areas. The water stations are up for fair game. Water stations are positioned from Oak Knoll to Hanover for bands that finish performing. Rope holders stand in front of the entrance of the stands and make sure nobody enters and leaves during performances. The concessions make and sell food to buyers. The donut stations sell donuts to raise funds for the band and finally, front gate dots everyone’s hands for entry.

“I love watching the bands perform. Getting to see different shows and hear different music is always fun,” senior Bethany Lane said.

Marching competitions provide opportunity for other bands to show what they’ve worked so hard on. It’s incredible to see the effort and teamwork that is thrown into a performance. Every year, the supportive marching hawks make welcome posters for every band that is competing. In competition, bands performing are placed into different ranks or classes based on their size. 1A being the smaller bands to attend and 5A being the largest. Classification varies at each competition and is dependent on which bands attend.

“It’s very different hosting a competition because you aren’t worried about your score or how your show went. It gives me a chance to really listen and watch other bands,” Lane said.

There are many differences between hosting a competition and competing in one. One big difference is taking the field in exhibition. When hosting a competition, the band does not compete. It’s like an exhibit at a museum, the guests get to observe the hosting band perform.

HHMI provides time for students in the program to become closer and to work together to raise money for the Hanover band program. This opportunity welcomes each band to express themselves through marching and music. It presents the chance to compete for more trophies and titles as well. Most of all, it allows students from the same social  group to meet and befriend each other.

Notable alumni making it big

John Proctor

With the return of school comes the return of Friday night lights, or more commonly known as high school football. The smell of hot dogs and burgers and French fries, the sounds of blaring band music, cheering fans, the clashing of helmets and pads and 300 pound linemen trampling across the line of scrimmage all fill the cool autumn air. One cannot help but to feel at home as these stimulations of the senses send the mind spiraling back to successful seasons of past.

        For HHS the minds immediately go back to the glory days of Sam Rogers or maybe even Josh Wells for those that have been around longer. Separated by a year, these two never actually took the field together. However, both molded HHS football into the successful organization that it is today.

        The school itself opened in 2003, so of course the beginning was going to be a little rocky for the team. In the first season of its existence the Hawks won only one game, failing to make the playoffs. In 2004 entered Wells, completely taking the reins of the subpar program and running with them. Immediately he stood out, not just because of his 6’6” stature, but because the kid was good. Really good. In four years at HHS, Wells accumulated over 4,900 total yards and 33 touchdowns at quarterback. Most importantly he transformed this once struggling program into a competitive playoff team. He would eventually go on to make the NFL.

HHS had a big void to fill at quarterback with Wells gone. Many thought the Hawks would go back to the struggling program that it was before Wells, because honestly filling the shoes of a future NFL player is next to impossible. That is, for everyone but Sam Rogers.

        In Rogers’ first year he took the Hawks to the state semifinals, where they almost beat state powerhouse Phoebus High School out of Hampton. Phoebus was the defending state champion and on a 28 game winning streak. Needless to say HHS was about a 40 point underdog. Behind the leadership of Rogers, a freshman, they led the game until there was less than a minute to go, losing by a score of 10 to seven.

        Much like in this game, Rogers has always been a bit of an underdog in others’ eyes. He is smaller than most colleges prefer. Standing only at 5’10” he had some trouble getting big schools to recruit him despite his talent. Eventually Frank and Shane Beamer, coaches at Virginia Tech, told him he could walk on and try and compete for playing time. Rogers has always been a bit of an underdog in others’ eyes, but never his own.

“All I ever really wanted was an opportunity and that’s what they gave me. I know my expectations of myself will always be higher than the people who doubt me, but my biggest motivation is just trying to maximize my potential. At the end of the day, if I do that, it’s impossible to have regrets,” Rogers said.

        Entering his senior year Rogers is now a four year starter, a two year captain, and was put on scholarship almost immediately after arriving at Tech. His determination along with Wells’ determination is what best defines HHS football.

They branded a tradition of determination and perseverance into the identity of this program forever.

OP-ED: Dictionary twitter battle

Blake Vail-Rhodes

The bastardization of the English language is a hot topic among both scholars and language fanatics alike. The internet has popularized its own form of slang and writing style, which seems like a foreign language to anyone unfamiliar with the devolving grammar and poor sentence structure.

Language is not evolving, it’s devolving. Americans already speak a simplified form of english, and it is getting worse every year. The Oxford Dictionary word of the year in 2015 was the crying laughing emoji, and unless the american people are suddenly using hieroglyphics as our main form of communication, that seems absolutely ridiculous.

Changing a language to cater to those who misuse it is illogical. If Merriam Webster is now changing definitions, simply because people have been misusing the word, this is truly the end of english as we know it.

Frances McDaniel

As many linguists and anyone under the age of twenty who has tried to communicate with anyone over forty knows, language is a changing, growing organism that evolves depending on its use in day-to-day speech.

Language is made to communicate with other human beings; its sole purpose is to help someone else understand your thoughts and feelings. If language as it was written hundreds of years ago can no longer help other people understand you, what is the point of abiding by its ancient rules?

‘Mad’ has been used in day-to-day speech to mean ‘angry’ for years now. Kindergarteners who are just learning how to share their feelings are taught the word “mad” with a little red angry face even though it is technically improper english.

If we didn’t adjust the rules of language based on how it’s used, we would still be using words like “thine” and “bijoux”. Sorry traditionalists, but change is necessary for progress and the people who speak the language are the ones that choose how it’s used.