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A Message From the Valedictorian

The idea of what defines something as dangerous is a topic that has been debated throughout the ages. As the years have passed and with the world’s current political climate, I have realized that an attitude with a particularly insidious effect is apathy. Part of apathy’s menace lies in its seemingly harmless demeanor, which allows it to influence both the individual and collective human experience. Hatred and ignorance are two threats to society that have continued to flourish due to the countless people who do nothing to combat ideologies they may personally oppose. Human rights violations have been and are allowed to occur because of the ambivalence of those who witness them and remain silent.

Individually, a characteristic that appears to be common among those who do not attain personal success is a disinterest in truly making an effort. I have found that what has allowed me to accomplish my goals was primarily dedication and sacrifice. Most of the things that are worth having in this world are impossible to attain easily, whether they are concerned with justice or individual achievement. Along with intelligence, passion is what differentiates humans from other forms of life.

Whatever it is that you desire, whether is be a change in society or within yourself, fighting for it wholeheartedly will give you the optimal opportunity for success. Every movement that has ever rocked the structure of society for the better was driven by individuals that refused to be silent. Similarly, every person that has left his or her mark of greatness upon history did so by refusing to acquiesce to anything but the best that he or she could be.

A Message From the Salutatorian

By Maddie Fitzsimmons

I think I can speak for most of us when I say that the end of high school is bittersweet. Although I am sure that we will all be relieved and ready for the next step, it is sometimes more difficult than expected to say goodbye to something that has comprised such large portion of our lives for so long. The most difficult part may be leaving friends and teachers that we have seen almost every day for four years. Despite this, graduation is a necessary and significant step in the progression of each of our lives.

I feel that, in many ways, high school is limiting and can impede individual development. It is oftentimes difficult for one to get out into the world, experience new things, and meet different people; we are in the same environment, surrounded by the same people almost every day. Once given the opportunity, we quickly discover many things about both life and overseas as individuals. I think that leaving high school may provide many of us with this opportunity, so I encourage everyone to get out and learn new things. It is critical that we, as people, expand our knowledge of the world around us, for this is the key to becoming what we have the potential to be. If this is done, each person can make a huge contribution and improve many aspects of the world.

In addition to this, there are many things that I believe are necessary for this success and happiness of an individual. I feel that if we each strive to be grateful and have a positive outlook on life, that can make all the difference. As we progress through each stage in our lives, we should make the most of it, and allow growth and development so that we may have a positive influence on the world. It is up to us to decide who we want to be and the kind of legacy we want to leave behind.

A Lack of Attention for the Arts

By Emily Lumbis

Recently, our school sent some of our best swimmers to a state competition. Students and teachers were encouraged to gather in the halls for a well-deserved send off, and I heartily believe that they deserved the recognition that they received. It did, however, make me wonder: when have we recognized our successful art students? For instance, our wind ensemble has been highly successful in competitions for many years; and yet, we have never arranged a sendoff for them. So the question is, “Why haven’t we done this?”

For years our school has excelled in both sports and the arts; however, there is no equity in treatment or funding for these equally important areas. It seems that sports teams consistently get new equipment and recognition for their achievements, while students involved in the arts notice that their talents go unnoticed. In addition, students of the arts unfortunately often find that their programs lack the necessary tools to help them [the students] excel.

If we want our school to remain diverse, funding for the arts program must be increased dramatically. Students and teachers should no longer have to settle for less because they do not have the resources that would provide opportunity for improvement and growth. The band department is crowded into a small, inadequate space and there is no shell on the stage to improve sound quality at performances. The choral department has old and worn risers, and the sound system consistently causes problems at their performances. The art department has had numerous budget cuts; as a result, our art teachers have had to buy many of the art supplies that we need (although they do this without complaint and without any expectation of well-deserved gratitude).

It definitely appears that the arts are overlooked and underappreciated at our school. It is ironic that we are required to take courses in the arts in order to graduate; and yet, sufficient funding is not provided for these programs. Participating in extracurricular sports is not required to graduate from high school, but these sports receive more than adequate funding. As a member of both sports teams and music programs, I believe that both the funding and the acknowledgement of excellence should be equal. Let’s celebrate the talents of all of our students, and not just the athletes.

How do we make our celebrations of athletic and artistic achievements more equitable? The truth is that the remedies for this inequality could be relatively easy and inexpensive. For example, one step would be to plan a similar send off for artistic students as they leave for competition. Is there any reason why we cannot line the halls to applaud our Select Choir as they leave to compete at Disney World? And why couldn’t we display artistic work from students of all levels in the halls during our celebration of Music in our Schools? (To be honest, it would be nice if student art was visible throughout the building during the entire year.)

Athletic events are announced daily on the morning video announcements. We should take a few more minutes and announce artistic events. We also use that time to congratulate athletes. The same could be done for individuals who make notable accomplishments in music or art. This would only take a few minutes, but it would make a world of difference for those talented students, who are so often ignored.

And finally, it would be nice if in the future, we could bring back our marching band or the pep band for sports. Perhaps, making our talented music students more visible to the general public would give them some of the accolades that they need. For now, however, the music and art students in the district remain a hidden treasure.

Why We Should Speak Up and Be More Aware of Our Surroundings

By Emily Lumbis

In light of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, more people are becoming increasingly concerned about safety in schools. Political differences, however, are making it very difficult for any government action to take place. This may seem disheartening, but instead of sitting back and watching lawmakers squabble, we can fight to make change and also make a conscientious effort to be more aware of what is going on around us. Both of these actions will help to make our school a safer place.

One of the easiest ways for us to stay safe during the school day is for us to become more aware of our surroundings. When we are in the halls or the cafeteria, we need to take time to look up from our phones. In addition, we need to remove our headphones, and start paying attention to what is going on around us. If everyone in the school is alert, any sort of suspicious activity that is taking place would be quickly noticed. Noticing strange behavior, however, is not enough! If something seems odd or out of place, we need to inform a teacher or administrator immediately. It is better to be safe than sorry, especially at times like this.

If you are looking to make change, speak up. Your voice should be heard, and talking to school administrators will get your ideas out there, so that we as a school can take steps towards a safer campus. No one should just brush this issue aside because if that is how we treat this issue, nothing will never get better, and everything will remain the same. If we want to see change within this school, or throughout the whole nation, we need to speak up, instead of waiting around for someone else to do the work for us. Together, we can make a difference.

Environmental News

By Piper Warren and Maddy Fitzsimmons

It is important that we all know of the problems facing our world today. Countless issues are present and being made worse by human activities. Excess trash is polluting the earth, carbon dioxide emissions are contributing to climate change and deforestation is destroying habitats, making it difficult for wildlife to survive. All of these problems can be avoided simply by working together to bring about our desired changes.

There are many easy actions each person can take to make a difference to improve our world. These include:

  • avoid littering
  • pick up trash
  • recycle paper, plastic, cans, cardboard, glass, etc.
  • walk, ride your bike, or carpool
  • turn off lights and unplug cords
  • compost
  • eat locally
  • conserve resources and save water
  • use reusable bags
  • educate and spread awareness

The WHS Environmental Club has been doing it's part and anyone is welcome to join. Our goal is to do all we can to save our planet. Thus far we have:

  • participated in tree plantings
  • started using reusable plants and utensils in our cafeteria
  • began a school-wide recycling initiative
  • working on improving recycling in our community
  • attempting to begin a composting system
  • working towards installing solar panels
  • spread awareness
  • had fun while making a difference

"One person can make a difference and everyone should try"- JFK

We must all be conscious of our actions and should attempt to leave the earth better than we found it.