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.

Philadelphia summer sports before and after covid-19. How does the break effect each team’s chances?

The diminished crowd at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly erupted as fan-favorite 76ers power forward Mike Scott turned a corner and threw down a vicious dunk over Detroit Pistons shooting guard Khyri Thomas. The highlight play got the crowd into the game and swung the momentum in the 76ers favor. The underachieving team went on to play one of its best games of a disappointing season and demolish the lowly Pistons 124-106. There was optimism after a Sixers game for the first time in weeks following a disastrous West Coast trip that saw the team drop a game to the worst club in the league, the Golden State Warriors. Star player Joel Embiid had fully healed from a shoulder injury and had scored 30 points in his return to action. The team seemed like it could use this victory as a springboard and catapult themselves up the eastern conference standings, especially with quite an easy schedule from there on out. But as is often the case with Philadelphia sorts teams; disaster struck.

Not even an hour after the Sixers won their first game in weeks, the National Basketball Association decided to suspend all operations including games indefinitely following a positive COVID-19 test from Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. All other professional sports leagues in America quickly followed suit, with the NHL, MLB, XFL, MLS, and all NCAA sports suspending operations within the next 2 days. This was bad news for the 76ers who seemed to finally be turning a corner in their season but it was even worse news for almost all the major sports teams in Philadelphia. Here’s where all the teams stood before the shutdown and how they may look coming out of it.

Philadephia Phillies

The Phillies were primed to seriously contend in 2020. They had concerns about the consistency of their pitching staff and addressed them by forking over $118 million to sign Zack Wheeler away from the New York Mets. Team president Andy McPhail’s decision to spend big money on another starter may have been influenced by the fact that ace Aaron Nola was actually one of the main reasons the team underachieved in 2019. This year he’s certainly looking to bounce-back after a disappointing end to his 2019 campaign where he went 0-3 with an ERA of 6.51 in the month of September.

The batting side of the team did take a step forward in 2019, and was expected to take another one in 2020 following the return of starting LF Andrew McCutchen to the lineup after a torn ACL kept him out for over 100 games in 2019. In the other corner of the outfield, 300 million dollar man Bryce Harper had an encouraging season in 2019, he lead the team in runs batted in (114) and batting average with runners in scoring position (.357). Harper had a chance to be a genuine contender for the NL MVP award in 2020 before the season was postponed, as did catcher JT Realmuto. Realmuto is considered by many to be the best catcher in baseball, and the stats certainly back it up; he led all other catchers in hits, doubles, triples, runs batted in, and stolen bases. He also won the gold glove award, an award given to the best fielding catcher in the MLB.

All that being said, it would really surprise me if the MLB at all returned in 2020. The owners and the players association are at odds with each other about salaries, formatting, and safety. There have been numerous offers on both sides and yet neither corner can reach an agreement. IF the season ever resumes, the Phillies could be a contender, but that’s a big if considering the relationship between the players and the owners.

Philadelphia 76ers

As I detailed in the introduction paragraph, the sixers were on a high note before the country went on lockdown, they blew out a back Pistons team and Joel Embiid was back and fully healthy for the first time in weeks. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses however, star PG Ben Simmons was still suffering from a back injury that could have potentially kept him out until the playoffs.

Despite the fact that it may have killed some important momentum for the team, the stoppage wasn’t the worst thing in the world for the 76ers. It gave them an opportunity to get players like Embiid, Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, Josh Richardson, and Al Horford, who had been battling injuries all season, back to full fitness ahead of a condensed return schedule starting in late July. The break also gives players like Horford and Mike Scott a chance to regain the success they were having earlier in the season following poor starts to 2020.

With a tight schedule against good teams and without the energy of the Wells Fargo Center crowd behind them, the 76ers won’t likely make up many places in the standings when the NBA restarts. The roster is still built for the playoffs, and the team matches up favorably with teams like Boston and Milwaukee so a deep playoff run isn’t completely out of the question. There are still doubts about the team however, the offensive spacing and defensive effort both need to improve and it’ll be up to coach Brett Brown to see that they do, and if they don’t, his job is certainly on the ropes.

Philadelphia Flyers

Without a doubt, the shutdown of the NHL season could not have come at a worse time for the Flyers. They had just had lost just 1 of their last 10 games and trailed the division-leading Washington Capitals by only 1 point. Their recent 9 game winning steak had not only seen them take care of lowly foes, but also manage significant victories over contending teams such as Carolina, Washington, and Winnipeg. Because of their high powered offense lead by breakout star Travis Konecny the Flyers had scored 3 or more goals in every game dating back until late February. That, plus their stout defense lead by talented young goalie Carter Hart and Selke Trophy contender Sean Couturier saw them boast the 4th best goal differential in the entire league.

Carter Hart makes a save against the Boston Bruins in January. The Flyers would go on to win the game in a shootout. Via Yong Kim/ Philadelphia Inquirer

It’s not all gloom and doom for the Flyer however, the NHL has already announced the format for its to return and plans to come back in August. The break should also give wunderkind Nolan Patrick a chance to fully recover from a migraine disorder that has plagued him all season. The Flyers have seriously flipped a switch this year under head coach Alain Vigneault, and lifting the Stanley Cup this summer isn’t too far fetched.

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.

Continue reading The Frontrunners of the 2020 Presidential Election