Editorial: Social Media & School

Social media is an excellent tool, you can reach millions of people all over the world with one click of a button. Millions can be called to action for a cause. But at what price does social media come? Stealing away precious moments from its user, it seems like the user of social media is not the owner of his/her social media page, but social media has become the owner of him/her. Social media allows for the mass distribution of cute puppy photos or perverted violations of privacy. Social media has connected people and enabled selfless acts of kindness, but it has also created a new front for bullying. Not only do we have a physical imprint, we have a virtual imprint. These new virtual imprints last forever, never fading, while our physical imprint has an expiration date.

When should the school take action against social media? Should the school take action when it is harming the child at home? Or should the school take action when social media starts to affect or become a part of school? The fact is, we are not always in school, and the rules we abide by in school are very different from the rules outside of school. A significant issue with the school monitoring social media is jurisdiction. If a school has the authority to follow our online activities, then where does it end? Can it also pass judgment on what we do physically? School rules usually only apply on campus, but social media creates the tremendous potential for massive fallout from just one post, and one post can change a long-lasting friendship. However, the same could be said for physical interaction. It seems irrational for the school to follow us during our downtime, or when we are off campus, unless it affects our life in school.

The school currently has no way to monitor social media, making way for hate to possibly spread. Though some monitoring is needed, it should only happen in times where social media affects friendships and schoolwork. If the school were to implement complete control over social media accounts, there would definitely be backlash from the GFS community, as well as the other cities in the area. That is why the school should only get involved in issues relating to social media if it affects the students while in school. Some ways the school can get involved include disciplinary actions, implementing rules related to social media, and in the worst cases possible, expulsion. Any practices the school could implement include stricter phone policies, discussions with teachers about social media, and how to handle it, even having a no social media policy, but that’s crossing the line of privacy.

The editorial board of The Corner thinks that social media should only be monitored when it directly affects school work, and the school has total justification for penalizing those who post absence or harmful content on their social media pages, given that it affects schoolwork. If there is a cyberbully, that problem should be dealt with immediately and swiftly. But if someone is posting rude commentary on someone that is not one of his/her peers, then the school should not have the power to intervene.

The meat debate

A growing number of people are becoming vegetarian. Whether it is for environmental, religious, or philosophical reasons, people are giving up meat. Though there are many reasons not to eat meat, meat eaters have one major point: meat tastes good. It’s hard to deny that meat substitutes, no matter how much they try to emulate a cut of succulent sirloin, or a beautiful hamburger, they don’t come close. I’ve sampled many meat substitutes, and they are somehow different. Tofu is often extremely poorly prepared, left cold and terribly under/overdone. The impossible meats try too hard to be close to meat, down to the scents, the grilling experience, and bleeding. For now, we don’t have meat substitutes that are perfect, and their imperfection makes them bland.

Meat takes much more resources per calorie to grow, including water, calories, fertilizers, and fossil fuels, as well as a whole slew of public health issues related to animal dung causing algae blooms. Another issue is that antibiotic resistant bacteria can originate in the cramped conditions that animals are raised in. Vegetables tend to be more ethical, in terms of the environment and morals. Our ocean’s waters have been chronically overfished, driving some species close to extinction, and aquaculture is far from perfect. With climate change, going vegetarian seems appealing.

There is a convincing ethical argument for going vegetarian. Pigs, lambs, chickens, and cows all have brains, and can feel pain like humans. There are some who think that farm animals could be pets if raised in different conditions. We are removed from the actual death of our food, and this can give us a removed perspective, where we don’t have to deal with the animals’ dying breaths. I am somewhat unfit to judge my choices of eating meat, because I have been withdrawn from the death of farm animals. 

Meat is not essential. We have plenty of alternatives for obtaining protein, but meat has been ingrained into our cuisine. It is hard to find good vegetarian options for most meals, and this tries vegetarians. Vegetarian cuisine can be excellent, but the complete absence of meat would be hard to achieve. Meat is here until some calamitous event or radical change occurs, but going vegetarian is an admiral choice. 

A fire and a rat? WHat really happened in the cafeteria a few weeks ago?

Susan Robinson burst into John King’s 12:05 history class and looked Mr. King dead in the eye she said, “Can I make a quick announcement?” She asked, John to shut off the video and John replied, “Absolutely”. Susan then turned her attention towards the students in the class and announced that the cafeteria had been shut down for the day and that the food was being moved to Hargroves Cafe. A murmur went around the room, some students were just changing the route they would take in their heads so that they could get to the pizza first. But others minds went immediately to the reason that the food was moved. As I dropped my bag off and walked to the Wade Science Center I talked with Theo Robinson, an 8th grader and we developed different theories about what had happened. I met up with Theo while writing this article to talk to him about what he really thought happened.

My Theory is That it Was Rats…. Either Rats or a Small Fire”

“This theory doesn’t go without some agreement from the GFS community. Middle School Principal, David Kern, told me that he has heard the rumor from other teachers and students that a rat could have been the reason for the switch. But that doesn’t really make sense…”

-Theo Robinson, 8th Grader.

Was It Rats?

Well, it wouldn’t make sense to move the food if it was a rat. The cafeteria wouldn’t take the food that had a rat sniffing around it and give it to a bunch of children. If someone found out that they had eaten rat-food it would cause loads of problems, and the cafeteria really wouldn’t want that bad press.

So Was it a Fire?

This is the most plausible reason. A small fire in the cafeteria would have decommissioned their kitchen and prevented them from serving food in that space. The thing is, no fire trucks were spotted that day at Germantown Friends School, so if there was a fire, it would have caused much more of a change than just moving the food. Besides who would have started it?

We still don’t know what happened in the cafeteria that day. Many possibilities remain open. But for know the mystery remains unsolved, so the best we can do is go about our day.

Diversity in the middle school

Recently there was a survey sent out. It asked questions about how you feel about your race, your family’s money status, and much more. About 150 people took the survey. There was a range of answers to all the questions.

 The Scale for the survey is as follows: Green=4: comfortable. Yellow=3: kind of comfortable.  Red=2: kind of uncomfortable. Blue=1: uncomfortable purple=unsure.

Some answers to questions ranged from comfortable to uncomfortable, with comfortable usually being the strongest response. Here is a graph with the answers to the question below:Forms response chart. Question title: I feel comfortable, safe, and included regarding my sexual orientation at school.. Number of responses: 149 responses.

In the above question, comfort dominates. But there are also questions like the one below….

Forms response chart. Question title: I feel comfortable, safe, and included regarding my family's money status at school.. Number of responses: 151 responses.

…where there is much more discomfort.

In order to better understand these results, asked Kate Zipin, who sent out the survey, some questions.

The first question was, “Why was the survey sent out?” 

“I’m part of the Middle School Diversity Committee , which is a group of faculty that meet and talk about issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Middle School. We wanted to get a sense about how students were feeling with their racial identity, their gender identity, and their class to see what needed our attention the most.”

Kate talked about how they(Middle School Diversity Committee) met to discuss the questions they wanted to ask, but also how their overall goal was to see how comfortable the students were in Middle School. 

I then asked why the survey was important to send out. Kate said, 

“We (Middle School Diversity Committee) wanted to send the survey out, ideally everyone was doing it at the same time in homeroom so that we would get every kid. While we didn’t get every kid, we probably got two thirds of the Middle School. We wanted to send it out via email so that it felt like we would get individual experiences. The survey was anonymous so no usernames were collected, no names were collected. That was to really, hopefully, get the best and most authentic responses knowing that some of these questions are kind of tricky. If you don’t feel comfortable sometimes it’s not always fun to say it out loud.”

I then asked Kate if there was anything else she wanted to tell me about.

“We (Middle School Diversity Committee) sent the survey out as hopefully a primer for where we want to go from here, and what kinds of issues we want to tackle. Our original goal was to be able to show this data back to the Middle School and be like, “Hey, these are the things that people feel comfortable with, and these are the areas that we as a community want to grow.”

Here are some more results from the survey:

Forms response chart. Question title: I feel comfortable, safe, and included regarding my racial/ethnic identity at school.. Number of responses: 151 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: I feel comfortable, safe, and included regarding my religious identity at school.. Number of responses: 151 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: I feel comfortable, safe, and included regarding my family structure at school. (adopted, divorced, single parent, gay parents, grandparents, guardians, two parents, etc). Number of responses: 151 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: I feel comfortable, safe, and included regarding my gender/ gender identity at school.. Number of responses: 149 responses.

Sixth Grade Zoo Trip

By Ellis Fast 

  On January 31, the sixth graders went to the Philadelphia Zoo. It wasn’t exactly the warmest day, but it wasn’t crowded. We got to see some animals and it was less stressful for the teachers than normal classes. Even in those circumstances, some groups got lost or lost track of time. Overall, it was extremely fun. 

Some of the animals that we saw were a wide selection of primates that we saw in the primate house. They include the Common Squirrel Monkey. The monkeys like to eat fruit and insects. They become almost completely independent between 5-8 months. They can live for 15 years in the wild, but in captivity, for example in a zoo, they can live for up to 20 years. The ones that we saw were swinging about their room. Our tour guide said that the zookeepers needed to keep them entertained for their health, so they installed interesting things like ropes and switches on the walls. We saw the same thing occurring in the Gorilla’s room, where, to keep their brains occupied, zookeepers hid treats among the hay on the ground so the Gorillas would constantly be looking for them. 

We also saw a wide selection of birds at the McNeil Avian Center. The McNeil Avian Center is an amazing bird sanctuary at the zoo that displays many different breeds. There is a room that has trees and has no barrier between you and the birds. In the room, there is a Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise. It mainly eats fruit and arthropods and they have really bright fluffy tail feathers that they use for attracting a mate. When we were there, we saw it ruffling its feathers and cawing to its mate. When calling, they stick their tail feathers out behind them and flap their wings. The room was very hot and humid as to make the room seem like their environment. Hanging flaps separated the rooms to keep the birds from escaping. 

However, some of the birds like the ducks and the Royal Palm Turkeys, but especially the Peacocks, are allowed to roam around the zoo. There are a total of four Peacocks at the zoo and once in 2018 they escaped and were found strutting down Interstate 76. One was found dead and the State Police shut down multiple lanes to get them back to the zoo, but the other three got away and went miles from the zoo. Two of them were found two and a half miles away by a city resident at the Equestrian center in Fairmount Park, which is a horse riding school. But why would a peacock go to a horse riding school? Did they want to become Peacock Jockeys?  What happened to the other Peacock? 

We also saw big mammals around the place, including giraffes. Giraffes are a vulnerable species meaning that they are not quite endangered but should be taken notice of. Giraffes can live up to 28 years in captivity and 20-25 years in the wild. They eat 75 pounds of food a day and can run up to 35 mph. The Philadelphia Zoo recently welcomed a new baby giraffe in 2018, named Beau. He was born to Gus and Stella, and his older sister, Abigail, is celebrating her 10th birthday this year. 
The Philadelphia Zoo is an amazing place and the sixth graders had the amazing opportunity to see it in the winter. 

Editorial: What is GFS missing?

We often think of GFS as having it all. Good teachers, historic buildings, fields, and good values. But what aren’t we getting? What does GFS need, and what standards should we be meeting that we aren’t already? Should we be satisfied with the current state of GFS? There are many things that GFS needs to improve upon in a variety of areas.

Our Campus is beautiful, but some of the facilities have not been improved upon for a long time. Many of the buildings have been around since the turn of the twentieth century, and have not been renovated in decades. There are some obvious things needed, such as air conditioning in the Cary Building, but there are other things that GFS, with all of its resources could do. Though we have the extremely energy efficient Wade Building, sadly we do not have any solar panels on campus. This could be an easy way for GFS to save money, and be more environmentally friendly.

Our athletic programs are excellent, but there is a glaring lack in two areas. Most schools have an indoor swimming pool, but GFS doesn’t have one, despite giving exemptions to students who swim. The pool could be a multipurpose facility, with anything from lifeguard training to kayaking happening there. We would be able to have a GFS swimming team as well. GFS is not only missing a swimming pool, but it also does not have any school squash courts. The lack of squash courts leads to an overly competitive atmosphere in the middle school teams, which can lead to people becoming discouraged from the sport. 

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Coke v. pepsi

Coke vs. Pepsi 

By Walter Savage 

Soda, Pop, Cola. These are all names for the most popular drinks in America. And one company stands on top is Coca Cola. But a lot of people say that their rival company, Pepsi, is much better. So,I took to the halls of Sharpless to solve this mystery.

The argument about Coke and Pepsi has been going on for many years. I am sure that different versions of this article have been written at different schools. People argue that Coke is more sweet while Pepsi has a stronger cola flavor.

What I first found out is that a large amount of middle school students who have never had Coke, Pepsi, or even soda. I can name many times in Lower School when we had soda.

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The Frontrunners of the 2020 Presidential Election

On January 20th, 2017, the first presidential candidate for the 2020 election started his run. His name is Donald Trump, and he is the main reason why over 25 democrats are running for the office that Trump holds in 2020. Recently, former Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, joined the race, immediately getting over 2% support in some polls. But, he isn’t in the lead. The frontrunners are former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and South Bend, IN, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. The race is packed now, but soon it will get much smaller.

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Is it really a rivalry?

What does a Tiger and a Quaker have in common? Well, they’re not that far away from each other. The two schools are separated by 2,000 feet, and from the surface, it may seem that they have a fierce hatred and rivalry towards one another, but this may not be the opinion from the students of Germantown Friends School. I asked some of my friends and middle school A-team athletes who they enjoyed beating the most

Firstly, I decided to ask a couple of Soccer players what they thought:

“Penn Charter, because I know a bunch of kids that go there, and they’re a block away from the fields”

-Ezra Stern, A team striker

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