Category Archives: Opinions

Rhonda’s Take on the New Website Layout

Hi, I’m Tunde Sogo, I sat down with Rhonda about the new layout.

These are the questions and her feedback:

Will the new website layout impact readership?

The new features will attract potential readers and keep current ones.

Online reading is becoming increasingly popular, and streamlining access will help with this.

Why did you change the layout?

Sarah and I have been meaning to change the layout for a while.

Middle School students prefer reading online, so we should make it easier.

It gives us a broader viewing spectrum of our paper.

Did you need to change the layout?

No we didn’t, it was a choice.

Is the new layout an improvement, a downgrade, or the same level?

An improvement: because of cosmetic tweaks, a flexible blog format, and easier-to-access resources.

What do you think of the new layout?

I love it, it’s fresh, and it showcases the talent and creativity of the staff that Sarah and I love.

Now, please think about the answers to these questions:

Is this layout better?

It this layout worse?

Is this layout the same as the old one?

Take the Poll:

The Found

Everyone loses stuff. If you’re anybody, it might be a good idea to visit the lost and found. Go into the building and down the echoing stairwell next to the bathrooms. Down a flight, there’s a big brown chest, stuffed in the corner under the stairs. It’s filled with all sorts of things. There may be things of yours, and things belonging to your friends. Looking closer, one would find all sorts of junk that has been sitting there rotting for years (like a lunchbox from who-knows- when with a moldy sandwich inside).

In lower school, the lost and found in the Cary Building is always filled with gloves, coats, lunch boxes, and maybe a shoe. But, every 6 months or so, the lost and found items are put on display in the Cary Building lobby for a week or two so the kids that never bother to look in the lost and found can find their lost items. Then, all the remaining things are taken and donated to a charity and the lost and found is empty, though not for long. The Middle School doesn’t have that kind of system. Middle School faculty expects kids to be more responsible. Or maybe everyone is just too lazy. Either way, that box is never emptied.

If the lightweight lid of the chest is pushed open and propped carefully against the wall behind it, an unpleasant stench will waft up. Scrunching up one’s nose, one might push through the junk, hoping to recognize something of theirs in the dim light. There’s a notebook on top of a pile of coats. “Joi Dallas, 2007-2008”. The notebook is filled with English notes from Will “Terri’s” 7th grade English class. Though the notes mean nothing to her now, one can’t help wondering; was is it lost before or after the end of the year? Along with the notebook is all of her 7th grade science work, including a test that the 7th graders just took. A medium-sized Sure deodorant labeled with somebody’s name (who preferred to not have his name mentioned) sits near a ruined Santa hat. If the piles of sweatshirts had faces then they would have long, graying beards.

The lost and found is really just the found, because no one knows what they’ve lost. “He-who-shall-not-be-named” probably has new deodorant, and it’s most likely that Joi Dallas doesn’t need her 7th grade work anymore. It would be nice if the so-called lost and found didn’t smell like rotting lunches and mildewy winter coats, so please take a minute out of your day, and find what needs to be found.

Editorial: Should Your Teacher “Friend” You?

At GFS, many positive teacher-student relationships are generated.  GFS honors the Quaker principle that there is that of God in everyone and thus, we are all equal and there should be no titles like Mr. and Mrs.  Middle School teachers make themselves available to their students for help. Students can easily meet with teachers during study halls, or even after school. The fact that teachers make themselves available as much as possible is a valuable thing, not to be underused. We know that many students have called, emailed, or even chatted online with teachers if they needed help. These relationships are definitely useful and can help bring the community together, but they may also have a downside.  For instance, could the development of close student-teacher relationships, lead to favoritism?  Favoritism could certainly be a real possibility in such an environment and cause certain problems in a community.

Such closeness has a potential downside and can cause problems. If one is sitting in a class with a teacher that might has a good relationship with you, it could be very awkward if they yell or get tough with you. You might feel that they are being mean, overly harsh or critical, but really, they are trying to help you. If one compares this to a friendship, than one might think of it as ‘Okay, this person is yelling, but I will (hopefully) still be their friend’. Another con is that such close relationships could be used to the students’ advantage. If a teacher is particularly close to a student, he or she might also give a little curve to their grade. We don’t know of any scenarios where this has actually happened, but the possibly definitely exists.

All and all, teacher-student relationships have more upsides than down. One positive aspect of the closeness is a certain level of comfort when interacting with each other.  This way, students can speak their minds and seek advice from teachers about issues outside of the classroom. Teachers may make themselves more available for questions when you have a strong relationship with them. For example, someone with a strong relationship with Rhonda may be more likely to receive a computer pass than someone who has a weaker relationship with Rhonda.

GFS generates strong teacher-student relationships, which have many pros and cons to them.  These relationships allow students to be more successful but sometimes can create tough or awkward situations.  In the overall picture, these relationships are a unique tribute to GFS.

~ The Corner Editorial Board 2010-11

What’s in your locker?

by Emily Beiser

Equality is a Quaker testimony, but at GFS, we have inequality in the assignment of lockers. Why should some people have bigger lockers than others?

It’s Monday. A student comes in to school and opens up their locker. It’s about a foot and a half wide cube. He moves books around from his backpack to his locker and puts his coat in. He jams his sports bag in too. Then he attempts to put his squash racquet in his locker, but sighs as it is too long for the locker, and brings it into his homeroom.

Downstairs, a girl opens her four-foot tall, eight inch wide locker and hangs up her coat. A door above her head opens to a compartment of a one foot wide cube. She stashes her unnecessary books and hangs her squash racket next to her coat. She attempts to put her sports bag in the locker too, but the locker is too thin, and she sighs as she brings it into her homeroom.

Examining these two dilemmas of the lockers: Too thin and too short, I wonder: Which locker is better? In the tall thin lockers, like this girl has, she can easily fit her coat in her locker and access her books at the same time, while in the square locker like the boy has, he has to remove his coat if he wants to access his books again. In the tall lockers, there is also space for sports equipment, like a squash racket or a field hockey stick.

The square lockers do have their advantages. The boy can fit his sports bag in his locker, if he squashes it in, but the girl’s locker is too thin. He can also fit larger items, like a box of cupcakes or a soccer ball. But how often do you bring that in? And why leave cupcakes in your locker?

Examining the real estate of the two lockers, the tall, thin lockers seem to have more space, with 10,101 cubic inches, while the square lockers have 3,712.5 cubic inches. In theory, the tall thin lockers have more space to store things, and are better overall. Plus, they’re way bigger.

It’s time for sports. Two girls go into the locker room. They both open their lockers- one has a full locker, while the other has a half-locker. The girl with the half-locker pulls open the door and a pair of shorts and a basketball shoe fall out. She dumps her stuff on the bench, and changes. When she’s done, she puts her school clothes,(including the nice shirt she had to wear for an orchestra concert that day) sneakers, her coat and her lunch bag in a heap in the locker, and slams it closed before it all falls on her. She leaves her backpack on the floor outside the locker, and runs downstairs, before remembering her water bottle. She runs back up, opens her locker. Her coat falls on the floor, and she moves it to the side. She removes her clothing, (her shirt is wrinkled) sneakers and lunch box from the heap they make in the locker, and finds her water bottle in the bottom. She sets it on the bench and begins to stuff everything back in. Finally, she slams the locker closed and locks it, and leaves the locker room.

Meanwhile, the girl with the full-length locker unlocks and opens the door. She changes and hangs her clothes and coat up on the hooks. Her boots go on the floor of the locker, and her lunch box and cell phone go on the shelf. She can’t fit her backpack either, but she sticks it under the bench. She locks her locker and begins to go downstairs, when she realizes she forgot her water bottle. She goes back to her locker and opens it up. Her water bottle is on the shelf, next to her lunch bag. Her shirt isn’t wrinkled, and she can probably get away with not having to wash and iron it before the next concert. She grabs her water bottle, closes the locker, and goes downstairs.

We all know who the winner is here. The girl with the full length locker is clearly at an advantage. Her clothes stay neat, her stuff doesn’t go everywhere when she opens her locker, and she can get ready much faster than the other girl. It seems like there are plenty of lockers in the locker room. Why do we have small ones? In fifth grade, we were told we had small gym lockers because the older students had bags and more stuff. It seems like we have plenty of lockers, and lots of people don’t use or even know they have lockers assigned to them. Why should they have lockers that somebody who uses their locker wishes they had? And how is it practicing equality to have such different facilities for different people?

Homework Tastes Like Chicken!

By Elizabeth Wallace

An overabundance of seemingly pointless homework (also known as “busy-work”) is a problem for many middle-schoolers. No one wants to do homework, especially the assignments that seem useless. So, how do we get rid of it? One answer: give it to the dog. Although almost any young dog, puppy, energetic or excitable dog will gladly scarf down any piece of paper in their sight, some dogs will not. Take my dog, BlackBear, a five year old Westie/Havanese mix, for example. I wouldn’t say she’s terribly well trained, and she loves eating little bits of smashed-up who-knows-what off the sidewalk, but when presented with a perfectly repulsive homework assignment, she’ll barely even stop to sniff it. So, here’s what I’ve come up with to get any dog to eat a homework paper. (Don’t have a dog? You can borrow someone else’s.)

FOOD. For most dogs, this seems to be their one favorite thing. To get a dog to eat a piece of paper, try smothering it in peanut butter or cream cheese. Dogs love both of these. If you have a small dog, you might have to cut up the paper so they don’t just lick the peanut butter or cream cheese off, although this does kind of defeat the purpose of having the dog eat the homework, because you have just destroyed it yourself.

Another solution is to use the homework sheet like wrapping paper and wrap up a tasty, strong-smelling piece of food in it. If you’ve ever given your dog a present, you probably know how this works. The dog tears through the paper to get to the food, and in the process, the paper is destroyed. In my opinion, (and my dog’s) this gets better results and is more fun than just putting peanut butter on your homework.

Black Bear with the final product of Operation Eat Homework

Here are just a few extra tips:
1. Do not do this too often, or your dog could get sick, and that would be hard to explain.
2. Do not bring the remnants of your homework to school to show your teacher, because that is weird and disgusting. A picture of it is okay, but no slobbery paper pieces.
Although this does get rid of some homework assignments, most are also online these days, and it’s going to take more than a little peanut butter to get a dog to eat a computer.

Note: Please do not actually try these techniques unless you have so much pointless seeming homework that you think you might go on a rant and run into the wall. When you tell a teacher your dog ate your homework, you know who will probably get in trouble? No, not your dog. YOU, for letting your dog eat your homework and not doing anything about it, and I might get in trouble too, purely for writing this article. Also, even though an assignment may seem pointless, it is probably not.

There’s More to Chocolate than Hersheys

by Jessica Lu
Food Critic

Almost everyone thinks that Hershey chocolate is great, but it’s not very nice tasting in my opinion. Most of us only know of big companies like Hershey and Lindt. I think Lindt is better than Hershey, but it is still mediocre compared to some European chocolates. In the best chocolates, the taste dissolves quickly. This is because the chocolates that dissolve faster have smoother textures.

In this author’s opinion, Hershey chocolate is barely chocolate. If you tried melting a Hershey kiss in the oven it wouldn’t work, and it would just become dry and crumbly. If you tried just leaving it in your mouth to melt, without chewing it, it will not melt for a while. Good chocolate melts in your mouth within a minute.  You shouldn’t chew it unless there are nuts or caramel. Hershey mostly sells milk chocolate. So, if it is milk chocolate, dark chocolate from other companies should melt slower than their milk chocolate because it has milk and cream in it, but it doesn’t. Also Hershey’s “special dark” isn’t even dark chocolate, it’s just looks dark. Their “special dark” is sweeter than their milk chocolate. Good dark chocolate has just enough sugar and milk so that it’s not bitter, but not sweet. Hershey just makes all their chocolate so that they will please kids, who like sweetness. While doing this they stopped creating good, genuine chocolate.

Also, everyone says that chocolate is made of cocoa beans, when actually it comes from cacao beans. Cocoa is the powder used to make hot chocolate. Chocolate is made from Chocolate liqueur, chocolate butter, sugar, and milk. There are several types of chocolate unsweetened, semi-sweet, bittersweet, sweetened, milk, and white. White chocolate is technically not chocolate, because there isn’t any chocolate in it.

Here’s a table of well-known chocolate makers and how I rate their chocolate.

Hershey 3
Lindt 5.75
Dove 4.5
Ferrero Rocher 7
Ghirardelli 7

On the table above I rated Lindt as 5.75 because it’s a good  basic chocolate, but it doesn’t have the smooth texture of the finest chocolate. I put Dove as 4.5 because it doesn’t taste bad, but doesn’t melt well. Ferrero Rocher and Ghirardelli( both Italian chocolates) were even because Ferrero Rocher has good texture, and Ghirardelli melts quickly and tastes good.

Some ways that you can judge chocolate is by:
1. How quickly it melts
– In the oven
– In your mouth

2. How smooth it is
– Does the taste go away quickly, or just stay there

Now that you know a bit more about chocolate, go get a taste of chocolate and don’t chew.

Editorial: iPods in Study Halls

Whose study hall is it? Why can’t students listen to iPods in their study halls? Study halls are a time to work independently. There are different ways of working just like different ways of learning.  This should be recognized like we recognize different ways of learning. Some students work with a pen, some with a pencil, some fast, some slow, just like some work listening to music, some without listening to music. If students listen to music quietly without disturbing others then aren’t they still working independently? Working quietly and productively is the only rule of a study hall. Some students feel that listening to music is relaxing and allows them relieve stress.  In some instances music is helpful in memorizing school related studies.  iPods in study hall can be useful or preferred.  If people use the them while obliging with the study hall rules there is no reason one should not be able to use them.

~ The Corner Editorial Board 2010-11

Simplicity…

by Elizabeth Wallace

One of the Quaker testimonies that GFS follows is simplicity. Simplicity is the state of being simple, or uncomplicated. In the book Faith and Practice of GFS it says, “We are encouraged to balance our work and school lives with our family, community, and religious lives, not letting busy-ness overcome us.” So is our school actually simple? Is GFS encouraging the teachers and students to live simply?

These days, what I consider a “simple” week is one where everything is normal. On a simple week I have the classes on the days my schedule says, and sports after that. Then I come home and do homework. On a day when I have a game for sports after school, another activity not school related, or even just an unusually large amount of homework, I feel overwhelmed. Usually, I feel overwhelmed about getting schoolwork done, because GFS is such an academically demanding school. Often times when I get home late and have homework to do, I don’t get time to do things with my family, or do anything else that I would like to do. In Faith and Practice of GFS the definition of simplicity is that “activities and possessions should not overwhelm us.” Another definition is that we shouldn’t let our academic and extracurricular activities interfere with the more important things in life, one of which is family.

Look at November, for example. The first week we had no school on Friday, and Wednesday was a Friday schedule. The second week was a full week, but we had open-house day on Thursday. On top of that, Thursday was a Friday schedule. But Friday was also a Thursday schedule. (Note to whoever scheduled that week: It makes no sense and it seems that the only point was to confuse us more.)  In the third week of November there was no middle-school on Friday for parent-teacher conferences, but the rest of the school didn’t have the day off. That makes it more complicated for parents, too. One parent reported that they “sometimes drive to GFS four or five times a day” because of their children’s schedules.

One thing to consider, though, is that one reason the school schedules are so complicated and often overwhelming is that at GFS students have a lot of freedom to choose what they do and don’t want to participate in. Different activities require different amounts of time, which makes scheduling more complicated.

A student or teacher’s life at GFS is often not very simple, but why is this? I think this is because GFS has a high academic standard that requires a large amount of homework. Also, because GFS offers so many extracurricular activities for students to participate in that require more time. Another reason could be that instead of having longer core classes to get more done, at GFS we get to participate in other activities, including art and music classes, gym class, Meeting for Worship (which, by the way, is meant to help simplify and un-clutter our lives), and project time activities.

A simpler life sounds nice, but is it really what we want? What do we sacrifice for simplicity?

Should Laptops be Allowed in School?

Laptops in School, The Great Debate
By Gabe Buyske

Parents, teachers, and students have been arguing about laptops in GFS for about as long as I can remember (I’m new). That’s why I interviewed one representative from each group and talked to them about their opinions so we can finally get an answer to THE GREAT DEBATE

Should laptops be in school? Interview with parent:

Question: What is your general view of laptops in school?

Answer: Overall, I think that they allow you to access a lot of information. Also I think they are a good use of technology.

Q: What are some pros of laptops?

A: Well, for one thing, students can write on them eliminating the issue with handwriting. It also lets you practice using laptops at an early age as you will when you’re an adult, it  gives you access to internet, and easily allows you to receive emails from teachers during the day.

Q: What do you think are some cons of laptops in school?

A: They provide access to Facebook and social networking sites wich can be distracting, they allow for less serious research such as use of Wikipedia, they are expensive and are easily lost or damaged.

Q: How do you think they can be funded?

A: More money needs to be put in student education and should be government funded but damage or loss of the laptops should be the student’s responsibility.

Should laptops be allowed in school? Interview with Rhonda:

Q: What is your general view of laptops in school?

A: I think they will eventually be used more and this will eventually happen.

Q: What are some pros of laptops?

A: The fact that you can bring your files with you and you don’t run the risk of losing data. I also think its good for students who have problems with organization.

Q: What are some cons of laptops?

A: There could be a chance a student could use it inappropriately.

Q: How do you think they can be funded if we do get them?

A: I think we could get donations from ex-students who have graduated.

Should laptops be allowed in school? Interview with student 1

Q: What is your general view of laptops in school?

A: They can be useful. While I don’t bring them in, other people might want to.

Q: What are some pros of laptops?

A: They can provide resources and can be a powerful tool as well you can use it for math and writing as well.

Q: What are some cons of laptops in school?

A: Can be used for non-school things such as social networking and can be distracting.

Q: How can we fund laptops?

A: Donations from parents.

Should laptops be allowed in school? Interview with student 2.

Q: What is your general view of laptops in school?

A: I don’t think that anyone under ninth grade should be allowed to have laptops in school because until that age I don’t believe that students will be responsible. Sixth to Eighth Graders are very unorganized and laptops might help them keep everything together.  Also students with bad handwriting should not be deprived of good grades because the teacher finds it difficult to read.

Q: What are some pros of laptops in school?

A: Organization, no excuse for forgetting work, easy way to type homework, makes finishing work easier and faster so you can do a better job and learn more.

Q: What are some cons of laptops in school?

A: They’re distracting, would distract students, students may go on Youtube and inappropriate sites, easily cheating on tests and work, for example going on a history site because you didn’t study and that promotes dishonesty.

Q: How can laptops be funded?

A: Not funded by school, but by parents so the school can save money and since laptops are not essential  this will be a good punishment but will not hurt the students grade.