Senior Parking: A Debate Left Open

Cartoon by Eli Canter. 

This year, 293 seniors from the 2018 graduating class participated in a senior internship for a month once AP classes were wrapping up. As a result, the senior parking lot (known as SLot), located outside the glass door entrance, has had many open spots every day. Meanwhile, just up the hill around the small junior lot, students struggle every day to find parking in the overpopulated residential streets that serve as junior parking. Residents near the school have started to put cones out to prevent students from using the spots in front of their homes for the day, and some residents don’t even use their driveways anymore, opting to park their cars on the street to limit the number of spots available to juniors. Juniors have been forced to leave their houses earlier and earlier to compete for spots. Many had hoped that the departure of the majority of the senior class would allow them to park in the almost-empty senior lot. However, juniors were met with threats of being towed and fined if they parked in senior lot. In a few cases, juniors who tried parking in senior lot even had their cars vandalized.

One would expect that in the midst of such hostility between the two grades, the school administration would step in as an authoritative force and set policies to ensure that juniors have a place to park. But instead, the administration remained virtually silent on the issue. In fact, Ms. Clain officially told the Globe that with so many other things going on in the school, this is not her main priority. The silence from the school has caused an accusatory and tense debate, rather than the open conversation needed for a reasonable solution.

Fixing the school’s broken system for parking would obviously require much more long-term changes, such as assigning specific spots to students at the beginning of the year or even building a new parking lot. But letting students park in the half-empty main lot wouldn’t be a bad place to start. A few rows could even be designated for seniors only to guarantee they still have parking. Ms. Clain has said, “Senior lot is a privilege.” However, why should students who decide to go on internships reserve the privilege of a parking spot at the school?  And what did seniors do to earn this privilege in the first place?

Part of the reason why action has never been taken on this issue is that juniors know they only have a few months before they can roll down to senior lot and leave the chaotic mornings to the class below them, so there is never a sustained initiative. Rising juniors will just have to hope that the school decides to take action before they arrive next year.

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Students Prefer to Not Take a Stand for Standing Desks

Anyone who has set foot in a public high school classroom can envision the classic desk and chair combination. It has been accepted in our society as the standard classroom furniture because it’s easy, organized, and functional. However, students who have sat in these desks are familiar with the neck pain, the back cramps, and the restlessness that results from sitting for a long period of time. And that’s even before sitting down in one of the connected chair-and-desks in the science wing that would be more recognizable as a sled. Continue reading “Students Prefer to Not Take a Stand for Standing Desks”

Extra Credit: Taken Too Far?

At the end of each quarter, every teacher has students coming to them asking that one fateful question, “Is there anything that I can do for extra credit?”. Extra credit has been a part of Mamaroneck High School and schools across the nation in order to provide struggling students with an attempt to boost their grade. Usually, this entails some auxiliary work whether it be test corrections or a separate assignment. While students have harmless intentions when it comes to request, the question of extra credit has become increasingly more complicated over the past few years. Teachers are trying to offer extra credit in creative ways in order to motivate students to become engrossed in the topic that they are teaching. While extra credit has its place in the high school, it must be limited to one or two points in order to prevent rampant grade inflation and make sure that students still feel pressure to study. Continue reading “Extra Credit: Taken Too Far?”

Technology: Does It Help or Hinder?

In recent months, multiple scientific studies have been published suggesting the detrimental effects of technology in the classroom. Most notably, The New York Times published an article discussing the banning of laptops in college classrooms. Meanwhile, Mamaroneck High School and many other schools like it have been encouraging the use of devices in all classes. In the wake of these publications, it is vital to evaluate the successes and failures of MHS’s technology initiative.

In the article published by The New York Times, “Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting,” professor Susan Dynarski explains her choice to ban electronics in her classes. “The best evidence available now suggests that students should avoid laptops and just pick up their pens,” she writes. But in the past few years, the Mamaroneck School District has largely integrated technology into learning. MHS is in the process of transitioning from an iPad initiative to a bring-your-own-device program, but in some form or another, electronics have changed the way teachers are teaching and students are learning. Continue reading “Technology: Does It Help or Hinder?”

Greek Life’s Place on College Campuses

Greek life at universities is supposed to be a medium in which a group of like-minded individuals can socialize. Fraternities and Sororities are institutions that, at their cores, are harmless. Over the past few years, they have morphed into a multi-faceted problem in which the victim are the people that belong to the organization and those who aren’t. Recently, the University of Michigan suspended all Greek Life to try to control the rampant sexual assault, drug and alcohol induced deaths. The majority of sororities have changed their policies and stayed out of the news headlines for now. On the other hand, fraternities have come under extreme fire. Michigan isn’t the only school that has made the decision to shut down these frats. Florida State shut down all Greek Life after the death of Andrew Coffey, a freshman pledge to Pi Kappa Phi. Penn State and Texas Tech have had similar problems. There is no denying the issue with fraternities right now. Incidents like this have occurred all across the nation, and the time for reform is now. Continue reading “Greek Life’s Place on College Campuses”

Election Day Must Not Go Unnoticed

On Tuesday, November 7th, Americans flocked to voting booths across the country. It was Election Day, although some people may be asking: an election for what? Obviously, this year there is not a presidential election, however there are many important local positions and issues on the ballot that directly affect a citizen’s daily life. The vast majority of laws that affect people are the results of local elections and though this voting season has come to a close, it is important to keep in mind how these types of elections can impact everyday life.

With the amount of media coverage devoted to presidential elections, it’s easy to think that, whomever wins, it will change the life of the average American. Although there has been much political upheaval throughout the last election cycle, overwhelmingly, lives remain materially the same (for now). The laws passed by the federal government is a very small portion of the legislation that affects individuals and shapes their lives. The media has become vastly nationalized, and with the loss of local media comes a loss of emphasis on local elections.

Perhaps the largest and most publicized office on the ballot in Westchester was the position of county executive. At Mamaroneck High School, AP Government students campaigned for their candidate of choice: Republican Rob Astorino (incumbent), or Democrat George Latimer. The students in AP Gov were well informed on the stances of the two candidates, the implications of this election, and how this could affect their lives. Still, there exist many in the voting pool who may not fully understand what a county executive even does. Continue reading “Election Day Must Not Go Unnoticed”

Athletic Option Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Athletic Option at Mamaroneck High School has been a widely successful program that has given high school athletes extra time during school day to make up for their busy schedules. The program grants free periods to athletes during the quarter that they are in season and allows them to miss otherwise mandatory physical education classes. On game days, student-athletes can give up to ten hours after school committed to the sport that they are playing. The Athletic Option Program has been extremely beneficial for the student body of MHS, but problems have started to arise from the development of the program. In association with the AO program, another program called Outside Agency has been established. It is essentially the same premise as AO, but it is intended for students who do other time costly activities not offered at the high school. Considering the drastic success off these programs, it is necessary that these options are made available to a greater portion of MHS students.

Athletic Option provides valuable time to student athletes to study and interact with their peers, so it is important that the administrators at our school grant it to more deserving students. During this fall season, the girls’ tennis team was faced with this issue of not being able to get AO. This was a problem for the practice players on the team whose matches were not being counted by officials. These players showed up for every single practice and sacrificed just as much time to play as every other player on the team. Despite this fact, they weren’t granted with AO because they weren’t being tracked. This is the only case where deserving students were unjustly deprived of their right to AO. Sophia Glinski ’19 missed the first few days of tryouts for Cross Country because of a family trip that was beyond her decision. Despite her absence during the first few days, she made the team and has been an integral part of the team, yet she had to push hard to gain the right to AO. She was forced to attend physical education classes when she could’ve been using that time to focus on her core subjects. While administrators have implemented the program into the high school, it must be maintained closely so that every deserving student that represents our school gains their unequivocal right. Continue reading “Athletic Option Doesn’t Go Far Enough”

Are There Too Many Clubs at MHS?

Mamaroneck High School is known for hosting a multitude of clubs and student-led groups. The administration is constantly touting the diversity of interests represented, and how easy it is to start a new club. However, some students feel this process is being taken advantage of by those who simply want to build their college resumes. Still, the system for creating clubs is perfectly imperfect: if a club isn’t serious, it will most likely fizzle out due to a lack of interested members. Meanwhile, clubs filled with passionate members will thrive in the MHS environment.

MHS has over eighty clubs represented at the semi-annual club fair. The club fair is traditionally in early to mid-October and takes place on the track. Clubs set up booths in order to attract new members; they put out sign up sheets, and often baked goods. If a student writes their information down, they’re “in the club”. In a perfect world, the student will quickly be added to an email chain or facebook group, and the first meeting will be scheduled. The club president will enter the first meeting wanting to hear from their new members, but with a solid plan already in mind. This is the start of a strong, successful club. However, that isn’t always how things work out. Continue reading “Are There Too Many Clubs at MHS?”

Trump Goes After DACA

On September 5th Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department’s decision to end DACA, a program adopted under the Obama administration that granted undocumented immigrants who came here as children to stay under 2-year work visas. These “dreamers” were brought to the country by their parents and under DACA, had a path to citizenship. This action to end the program is controversial, as it seems that Trump may be beginning to follow up on his radical campaign promises concerning undocumented immigration. Under the repeal of this program, nearly 800,000 people face deportation from the United States. Continue reading “Trump Goes After DACA”

The Challenge of GPA Calculation

As it stands, Mamaroneck High School uses an unweighted grade-point average (GPA) on a 100-point scale to represent students’ grades for transcripts and class rankings. Unweighted means that there is no distinction given to grades in an Honors or Advanced Placement (AP) course, while a weighted GPA would add points for advanced courses. Although colleges often look past a school’s GPA system, the rankings do factor into valedictorian and salutatorian decisions at the end of senior year. Weighting students’ grades seems like it would even the playing field, but it can complicate things further. Students should be rewarded for taking challenging courses like APs and Honors, but weighting GPAs isn’t the way to do it. Continue reading “The Challenge of GPA Calculation”

College Commencement Speeches

On May 22nd Vice-President Mike Pence was scheduled to give a commencement speech for the graduating class of 2017 of University of Notre Dame. He was a reasonable choice to address the South Bend University, as he was the former governor of Indiana. While his high-ranking position commands a certain amount of authority and credibility, some graduates decided to walk out during his speech as a protest for some of his polarizing views. The students were not disruptive to the ceremony as they walked out quietly and quickly, but this powerful protest still made news headlines. The graduation ceremony is an event that is coveted in the world of higher education, so to walk out during such a momentous time was an act of courage. Continue reading “College Commencement Speeches”

Criticizing the First Family: The Importance of Separating the Personal from the Political

From being a real estate developer and television personality to the president of the United States, Donald Trump can accredit much of his newfound attention to the media. The wall-to-wall coverage throughout the election, the real-time fact-checking and the countless editorials surely created a name for Donald Trump in the political world. Of course, not all of this attention was positive, as is usual for a presidential candidate. What is unusual is the ongoing political sparring between the media and President Trump long after the election. Continue reading “Criticizing the First Family: The Importance of Separating the Personal from the Political”

The Search for Usefulness

What should happen to the school’s “Japanese Garden?”

In the corner of Palmer, there is a small outdoor patch of greenery. It’s enclosed by four brick walls with windows that are almost always closed surrounding it; the green doors that connect it to the school’s hallways are locked around the clock. Though it has no ethnic elements, it is widely called the Japanese Garden. Some have tried to climb into the garden from the windows while others settle for looking from the hallways. The school administration has decided to repurpose the so-called Japanese Garden–but what would be an effective use of the space? Continue reading “The Search for Usefulness”

“Cyberterrorism” Taking Its Hold

Who is to blame for the cyber hacks, lies, and confusion plaguing U.S. politics?

The recent election cycle has been a whirlwind of accusations, rumors, hateful comments and fear mongering. As the country emerges from the polls with newly selected leaders, it is coming to the government’s attention that some of those accusations and rumors may have been deliberately planted to alter the election in some way. Though most of the information is highly classified, and there is no complete certainty about what the intent was, the FBI, CIA, DNI and NSA all agree that Russia was active in the elections. Continue reading ““Cyberterrorism” Taking Its Hold”

Helping Hand or an Imminent Threat: The Case for Embracing Artificial Intelligence

From Siri and self-driving cars to robot vacuums and virtual personal assistants, artificial intelligence is transitioning from being the next big technological advance to a popular technology among consumers. For decades, scientists have explored ways to have technology meet the demands of a fast-paced and advanced society. Now the question is less about racing to catch up, and more about evolving too fast for the safety of humanity. Continue reading “Helping Hand or an Imminent Threat: The Case for Embracing Artificial Intelligence”

Greenwich High Changes School Time: Should MHS Be Next?

To the average adolescent, sleep is an evasive ideal, a laughable concept. Getting the proper amount of sleep every night becomes more of a far-fetched dream as the years go by and the classes in school get harder. Come senior year, pulling all-nighters isn’t just a sleep-over dare, it’s a desperate attempt to finish the essay, study for the huge test, or design the major project due the next day. The importance of a healthy slumber would easily be outweighed by these assignments–a fact that troubles many parents and school administrators. Continue reading “Greenwich High Changes School Time: Should MHS Be Next?”

Obama’s Lasting Impact on America

As the 2016 election finally comes to an end, our country is looking to the results: our new or re-elected senators, House representatives, mayors, governors, and, of course, our next President. However, America is also getting ready to say goodbye to its leader of eight years, President Barack Obama. With his two terms drawing to an end, the question must be asked: what will Obama be remembered for? Continue reading “Obama’s Lasting Impact on America”

Mother Teresa: Is She a Hero?

Mother Teresa’s canonization has invoked both dissent and praise.

September 4th, 2016, marked the canonization of Mother Teresa, a Christian icon. She is known globally for her devotion to serving the impoverished and underprivileged with projects such as the Order of the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. However, dissenters have spoken out against Mother Teresa’s new sainthood, beginning a bitter debate about the merits of her charitable work and legacy. Continue reading “Mother Teresa: Is She a Hero?”

The Access Embargo

Are the school’s technology restrictions inhibiting students’ education?

Photo courtesy of Eli Canter

The district’s investments in technology have been a controversial topic among the student body for years. This year’s restrictions on the iPads, WiFi and computers are already causing usage issues for many students in Mamaroneck High School. Continue reading “The Access Embargo”

The Importance of Safety

Artwork courtesy of Eli Cantor: “MHS students had to sit on the field for multiple hours because of a bomb threat.”

Was the recent evacuation worth the trouble?

On Tuesday, May 24th, MHS students and faculty found themselves settling down onto the turf outside of school unexpectedly around noon. With the announcement that they would have a prolonged stay outside, students grouped themselves into circles and sat down to relax. Continue reading “The Importance of Safety”