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.

Continue reading “Make America sane again”


Too much Dominion power

Georgia Geen


Dominion protestors in downtown Richmond, VA. Photo by

The James River has had its share
of trials with pollution throughout
its long history; unfortunately,
that story hasn’t concluded.
In April, Dominion Virginia Power
was granted a permit to release
200 million gallons of coal
treatment wastewater into the
James, from a temporary plant
in Fluvanna County. What else
could be expected from a state
that’s second in the nation for
water pollution?
The James River isn’t only a
popular recreation center for
many throughout Richmond and sur-
rounding counties, it’s also home to
a plethora of aquatic species.
Using the river as a dumping
ground for industrial waste is a bla-
tant disregard for the importance
the James River has held in Rich-
mond’s long history and that which
it continues to hold today. Before
the Civil War, Richmond was a
highly-used port city, all thanks to
the James River. The culture of the
city developed around it and this
aspect of the river should be valued.
The state of Virginia needs to
take more extensive steps to pro-
tect the James from industrial pol-
lution. When the deal was being
reached surrounding the permit to
release the wastewater, it was indi-
viduals who stood for higher regu-
lation of the levels of pollutants,
not the state. Instead of worrying
more about the profits of corpora-
tions like Dominion, Virginia needs
to find a balance between the two
Although the settlement doesn’t
restrict the levels of pollutants, it
states that Dominion must take ac-
tion once they reach a certain level.
While this seems like a reasonable
compromise, it still doesn’t change
the fact that removing pollutants
from bodies of water is oftentimes
next to impossible. For instance, af-
ter years of pollution of the Shenan-
doah River in the mid-twentieth
century, fish cannot be eaten from
a 100-mile stretch of the region.
In addition, in a statement from
the Department of Environmental
Quality, Bill Hayden stated that the
bulk of the monitoring will be the
responsibility of Dominion, not the
state. Should a private business re-
ally be trusted to monitor the pol-
lution levels in Virginia’s most im-
portant river, when less treatment
of the water is more profitable?
Members of the James River As-
sociation still feel that the pollut-
ants, including arsenic, lead and
chromium, pose a threat to citizens
in surrounding areas. Regardless
of the impact that this particular
round of pollution might have, it
poses the danger of instigating mo-
tivation from other companies to
do the same. The James River is al-
ready at a high risk of irrecoverable
damage and Dominion’s dumping
of wastewater is a step backwards
for both conservation efforts and
the City of Richmond as a whole.

Where are the pockets?

Mikayla Mason

Some things should be a guar-
anteed right. Don’t worry this
won’t get all political. Instead,
this is something everyone can
agree upon for once, and that
is the right to have practical pockets.
It seems as though men have
the delight of having cavernous
pockets attached to their pants that
provide a space to store whatever
their hearts desire. However, girls
are faced with the disappointment
of minute pockets that serve no real
purpose. Even worse are those awful fake
pockets. Why should pockets-that
have a purpose- be purely decorative?
This causes many girls to resort to
storing their possessions in their
back pockets. This raises
the risk of things plopping out of
their pockets once they take a seat.
Girls have suffered the loss of
countless notes, pens and have
been lead to the inevitable cracking
of their phones from the fall out
of the awful back pocket.
Why are we all not allowed the same
opportunity to house our beloved
items so close to us? Girls
are forced to tote a purse to store
their personal items. However boys
can have all their necessities close
at hand. What has caused this divide?
And why are girls not given the same
pocket rights? All girls want to
do is have the chance to purchase pants
that have equally as big pockets.
What’s worse is that boys’ pockets are
so much larger than girls and the
difference between is bizarre. Does
this correlate directly to the
differing view society has on men
and women? The next thing you know a
guy could pull out a frying pan from
his pocket and ask the nearest woman
to cook for him. Classic man. *shakes head*


Frances McDaniel


Freshman Becca Gill participates in silence on April 15. Photo by Frances McDaniel

This year, hundreds of students
participated in the day of silence
at Patrick Henry High School with
the consent of the administration.
Organized by a senior, this was a
student-run event. Still, participants
were met with resistance from school
board members, the Virginia Christian
Alliance, and many parents.
These people claim that their opposition
comes from a concern that the actions
of these students were disruptive,
and distracted from the learning
environment. They see this silence
as a threat to the teacher’s authority
and feel that it inhibits their ability
to teach, or that the message of
the silence is too political for the school.
There were some that did not participate
who did not have a problem with the
demonstration. Some conservative students
support the demonstration of free speech.
Silence is possibly the single least
disruptive method of passive resistance
possible. As freshman Noah Wright said,
“Don’t teachers want us to stop talking
anyway?” Simply not talking is
so little of a distraction that the
Junior Beta club full of Oak Knoll
eighth graders sponsors a
“No-Talk-Athon” as their primary
fundraiser every year. So why is it
only a problem when the silence is
tied to a less conventional message?
Every year on April 15, members
of the LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisex-
ual and Transgender) community,
as well as straight cisgender allies,
choose to remain silent throughout
the day. This silence serves many
purposes and the meaning behind it
depends on whom you ask.
This silence was originally in-
tended to honor the thousands of
gay people that died during the
AIDS crisis in the 1980s, but it has
since evolved to also honor those
we have lost to suicide and hate
killings. For freshman Becca Gill,
an ally to the community and par-
ticipant in the 2016 day of silence,
it serves a deeply personal and very
meaningful purpose.
“I knew someone who was bul-
lied so much for being trans that
they killed themself,” Gill said, “I
stay silent for them. For me, the si-
lence is about forgetting yourself to
focus on honoring and remembering
others, like how we as a school had
a collective moment of silence for
the Lee-Davis crash. We use silence
because it has such a profound im-
For much of today’s LGBT+ youth,
this day is also for spreading aware-
ness of important issues that are
often overlooked, like bullying and
dramatically heightened chances of
developing mental illnesses or mood
disorders. This was popularized by
the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Edu-
cation Network (GLSEN) starting
in 1996 with a clear, concise anti-
bullying message.
The LGBT+ Day of Silence is
observed by many people whether
they have personal ties to the gay
community or not. The students
who choose to participate are fully
aware of their commitment to make
up any work they could not com-
plete without speaking and take
full responsibility for whatever low
grades they receive for classroom
While it’s understandable that
for some individuals, good grades
are the largest, most important
thing in life. However, it’s much
bigger than that.
Sra. Page Stiff, a higher level
Spanish teacher at HHS, says she
wouldn’t mind [students partici-
pating in a day of silence], claim-
ing that even though speaking is a
significant part of her class, she has
nothing against her students’ per-
sonal decisions.
In addition to that, any good stu-
dent who’s ever been sick or been
on a field trip knows that making
up a single day’s worth of work is
not that big of a deal no matter how
challenging the class is. It should
be even easier since one’s inability
to speak does not hinder one’s abil-
ity to do paperwork, which is what
makes up the majority of classwork.
Whether or not a student wants
to speak does not affect other stu-
dents’ decisions or learning envi-
ronment. It’s not about “distracting
from education”, it’s about young
people attempting to better our
world and make our community
safer for all of its people.

The joke’s on you, people of America

Mikayla Mason

April Fool’s day is the day that
the nation comes together and
pranks each other. What an idea-
that unity can be achieved over
laughs and trickery.
This day full of giggles and suc-
cessful tom foolery is the
same day that many are
tricked in to looking sil-
ly or being injured in the
Pranking is a delicate skill
as the pranker needs to be able
know how far is too far. It demands
a constant balance between being
punked in a fun manner and toe-
ing the line between insulting and
funny. However, some do not think
that feelings should be considered.
After all, feelings are for the weak.
Becca Russo knew of friend
who tricked their peers into
thinking that their house
for vacation this summer
was booked on the wrong
date. Panicked ensued and
the pranker let his friends
stew in their despair and
oblivion. Luckily when the
truth came out after the panic his
friends were not upset about it and
thought the joke was hilarious.
In this case the prank was a suc-
cess due to the gullibliness of the
prankers friends and their ability
to laugh off the joke. However some
are not that lucky and it is difficult
to get to this level of expertise.
Being the best punker is some-
thing that many strive for, including
blank. Blank is hopeful every year
to be crowned the best April fool’s
pranker and know that they truly
fooled someone. There is a divide
among prankers about what type of
prank is the best. Some feel that
pranks such as using a whoopee cushion
or making someone scream, things that
are more physical and get the best
reaction qualify as the best
prank. Others feel that more psycho-
logical or mind muddling tricks are
far superior due to the complexity
and intensity that they require.
Others feel frustrated on April
Fool’s day because no one believes
them even when they are being gen-
uine. This leads many to not like the
holiday because they are constantly
reassuring people that they are seri-
ous and struggling to convince peo-
ple. For example, this year while at
a tournament the Hanover baseball team
was subject to the suspicion that accompanies
April 1. “I immediately just thought it was
an April Fool’s joke,” Antonio Balducci said.
Even after this holiday has passed many con-
tinue to prank their friends and family,
often posting the hilarious results on
snap chat, vine or youtube for all to en-
joy. They believe that all deserve
to witness the emembarrassment and that
the victim’s humiliation.
It’s up to you to be the prankee
or the pranker, so you better watch
your back.

Earth Day efforts

Emmi Burke

“Go short-tree it’s your birthday!”
“May the Forest be with you.”
Earth day. Every year, April 22 is
set aside to honor the planet. Disney
produces movies set in far off rainforests
and grassy lands about endangered
animals that little kids love to
come and watch.
People of the world celebrate the
world for one entire day each year.
But it should be celebrated more
often than that. In fact, Earth Day
should be every day.
The Earth is our home. And every
day we take it for granted.
The recycling system has been in
place for over 40 years and yet there
is a large number of people in our
society who still refuse to recycle.
Large landfills cover fields and land
which could be used for farms and in
other productive ways.
Senior Cameron Pace has her
own opinions on how Earth can be
saved. “I never really knew there
was a national Earth Day. I think it is
kind of pointless because we should
care about the earth every day. I recycle
every day but I wish there were
more ways for society as a whole to
save the planet.”

Brussels attack: the impact

Sam Johnson


Passers-by lay down flowers in the area of the attack on March 24 Photo by MCT Campus

On the morning of March 22,
2016, 32 innocent lives were taken
and 316 people were injured during
two bombings in Belgium. These
bombings are not only the deadliest
act of terrorism in Belgium’s history,
but they also happened in the
city that holds the headquarters for
NATO and the E.U.
To some that may not mean much,
but this attack can easily have implications
of fear all across Europe and
the world; after all, if the city that
harbors the headquarters of two of
the most important government entities
in Europe is susceptible to terrorist
attacks, who isn’t?
By bombing in Brussels, ISIL is
accomplishing their goal of striking
fear in native Europeans and stroking
the flames of hatred against the refugees
seeking a better life in Europe.
So, the next step to solving the problem
is either stopping immigration
from the Middle East and allowing
new terrorists to breed there due to
the influence of ISIL, or continue to
allow them in and risk the possibility
of allowing more terrorist attacks to
It is the belief of many to not allow
refugees into Europe anymore
in an attempt to save lives, but the
only problem with that is that most
of the perpetrators of the recent terrorist
attacks in Europe have been by
Europeans themselves–in fact, only
one of the terrorists involved in the
Brussels attacks was from the middle
east. Ibrahim El Bakraoui, Mohamed
Abrini and Khalid El Bakraoui were
from Belgium, Najim Laachraoui was
from Morocco and Osama Krayem
was from Sweden.
So with that being the case, would
cutting off immigration really provide
any substance? Would leaving
thousands of Syrians to fend for
themselves in a war-torn land on the
off chance a few may be terrorists be
worth the lives lost?
On the contrary, Europe can continue
to let refugees in and attempt
to kill the hate bred by ISIL and show
those who are fleeing that the western
world is, in fact, welcoming and
we won’t close their borders over the
actions of the few that misrepresent
their people.
The only problem with this is that
many of the refugees coming to Europe
find themselves without work
and some are becoming housed in
specific neighborhoods or districts,
which, if they don’t find some way
to improve their quality of life, could
end up becoming a crime-ridden
ghetto–essentially bringing the
problem they were attempting to escape
to a new area and making that
place worse because of it.

SOLs before curriculum is completed

Emmi Burke

The end of the year is fast approaching.
High school students
are halfway through the third
quarter of school. End of year exams
and AP tests and SOL’s are just
around the quarter. There’s less
than twelve weeks left.
But at the same time, there is
still three months of school. School
is still in session and classes are still
learning. If this is case, why are
some SOLs taken in March?
The purpose for this is to
see what students have learned
throughout their first three years
of High school English up to this
point. Although this makes sense,
the rationality behind a writing
SOL is still lacking.
How can a computer grade one’s
style and approach to answering a
prompt when writing is a subjective topic?
Junior Lauren Hancock is currently
furious due to the installation
of SOLs, and the fact that students
are forced to take an English
SOL two months prior to all others.
“I believe standardized testing is
ridiculous. You should not have
to prove whether or not you are
successful in a class by one
test,” says Hancock.
Outraged by the belief that SOLs are the
sole determinant for whether one passes
or fails a class, Hancock becomes
more furious that this test
is taken before the completion of
the class. “Your success should
be looked at by how well you did
throughout the whole year.” continues

Up ↑