HIGH SCHOOL E-NEWS
THE RUSH TO SAVE A RIOT-BATTERED AMERICA
Op-Ed by Brenner Cobb
The hopes of millions of Americans for a better year were dashed only six days into 2021. On January 6, an angry crowd of far-right extremists, conspiracy theorists, and members of the so-called “boogaloo” militia marched on the United States Capitol building after attending a nearby Trump rally, pepper-spraying and beating back lines of Capitol Police officers. In sickening images that will undoubtedly darken the pages of future history books, domestic terrorists in neo-Nazi apparel rallied at the steps to the Capitol. Demonstrating violence and extremist fervor that shocked the nation, these far-right supporters of President Trump gained entry to the building and proceeded to pillage the offices of elected officials, including House Majority Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and swipe iconic symbols of the legislative branch before being pushed back by tear gas canisters.
As an American, I am disgusted by these acts of violence against our democratic symbols and institutions. And as a conservative, I am angered, as the public image of conservatism was nearly destroyed in a matter of hours. Within hours following the insurrection, social media platforms were ablaze with posts that seemingly linked anyone with a right-of-center political position to the egregious acts of violence being committed in Washington. After all, in the eyes of many, the party of law and order became the party of lawlessness overnight. While comparing all conservatives to the extremist Capitol rioters would be inaccurate, I believe that some of the observations made by those on the left are certainly valid. That the rioters who beat a Capitol Police officer with a fire extinguisher and weaponized metal barricades against other officers presumably supported the Blue Lives Matter movement in the past is not an unfair point to promulgate. In fact, I agree with this criticism of the Capitol hypocrites, in addition to several other assertions made by those across the aisle.
It must be made clear that the QAnon conspiracy theorists, white supremacist militiamen, and Trump-obsessed extremists do not represent the interests of American conservatives. Though conservative lawmakers, leaders, talk show hosts, and media personalities were quick to denounce and condemn the storming of the Capitol, their efforts will forever remain insufficient. The actions of these fanatical right-wingers have undermined the credibility of every word uttered by conservatives for years to come. As a result of the events of January 6, conservatives may feel obligated to say “We’re not anything like them” for years. The wounds these riots inflicted on an already fragile political and social climate, much like the wounds they inflicted on the credibility of every American who holds conservative principles, will not heal quickly.
I do not believe that the full extent of the damage caused by their few hours of chaos will be known within the next few months or even years. I do believe that the only way forward for our country is for Americans of all political backgrounds to unite in opposition to senseless acts like these and recommit to protecting our democratic institutions. Regardless of our differences, we, as a nation, should use this moment to return our focus to working towards the common good and shift away from attempting to achieve strictly partisan goals. These riots must serve as a reminder to our nation that we cannot allow ourselves to become so divided that extremists from either side have opportunities to attack the America that has been created by generations of hard work and sacrifice.
RAISING A RUCKUS: THANKSGIVING COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS
Op-Ed by Brenner Cobb
State and local COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines that threaten to interfere with the Thanksgiving plans of millions of North Carolinians have been met with open criticism and ridicule in recent days. Democratic Governor Roy Cooper plans to speak Monday afternoon, and is reportedly considering imposing new restrictions on North Carolinians. Last week, Cooper reduced the number of individuals permitted to gather indoors from 25 to 10. By word-of-mouth, many North Carolinians may know of a family who is planning to disregard Cooper’s directives.
As the widely celebrated holiday nears, the state continues to reach new highs in single-day positive test. Despite the Center for Disease Control (CDC) pleading with Americans to avoid Thanksgiving-related travel, two million travelers passed through American airports this past weekend.1 Additionally, it can be inferred that several million more Americans will travel via interstates and highways in order to spend the holiday with their extend families. Health experts worry that a dramatic increase in travel will lead to even higher case numbers, hospitalizations, and fatalities due to complications of the novel coronavirus.
Government officials’ attempts to regulate Americans’ celebrations of Thanksgiving have, unsurprisingly, been met with pushback. The practice of any government, be it local, state, or federal restricting the ways in which people can gather with their families to celebrate a given holiday goes against the spirit of independence and government non-interference ingrained in many Americans. While the restrictions imposed by governors are ultimately unenforceable, they still irritate many citizens. Many feel that it is not the government’s place to make their decisions for them and determine how, or in this case, if, they can celebrate Thanksgiving.
While it is necessary for Americans to work together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a complete absence of Thanksgiving gatherings is not necessary or mandated. While state health officials believe that North Carolinians should not hold gatherings that include their extended families, they acknowledge that some Thanksgiving celebrations may be safe enough to hold. Health officials urge those who do decide to hold family gatherings to do so outdoors, where the virus is far less likely to spread among individuals, and to keep participants seated at least six feet apart. By utilizing outdoor spaces, keeping a safe distance between each other, and not sharing dishes, utensils, or food, Americans can have relatively safe Thanksgiving gatherings that should not be regulated by a heavy-handed state government and intrusive governor.
COVID-19 PANDEMIC EFFECTS AND RESPONSE
By Brenner Cobb
As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the world, drastic changes to everyday life must be made. The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, in November of 2019, has since spread to 169 countries worldwide. As of March 24, 2020, the virus has been confirmed in 417,582 individuals. As of today, March 24, the United States has 53,660 confirmed cases, the third-highest figure in the world, and 696 deaths.
In nations across the world, schools have been forced to shutter. Businesses have been closed and churches have closed their doors to worshippers. In the United States, among many other nations, the virus has caused major disruptions to everyday life. Students have been forced work from home in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Many employees are temporarily out of work as factories, offices, and distribution centers shut down. Grocery store workers have been working around the clock to keep shelves stocked for panicked customers. The Wall Street stock market has collapsed, falling from its record 29,000 point high to below 18,000 points in the course of a few weeks. The largest daily point loss in history occurred on March 16, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2,997 points. The market did see a significant rebound on March 24, when the Dow Jones gained 2,113 points.
Congressional representatives continue to argue about the specific points of a major economic relief bill, which could reportedly allocate $2,000 to $3,000 to the average family of four. The relief bill features a sliding scale which determines how much an individual or family will receive based on need. Wealthy individuals and families will receive little in the way of government aid, while those struggling to buy supplies will stand a much better chance of receiving significant aid. As of March 24, 2020, the relief bill has been delayed twice as Americans continue to fall farther into the economic pit cause by the pandemic.
In order to free up federal funding and resources, President Trump has declared a national state of emergency, and nearly all states have followed with state-level state of emergencies. Closer to home, Governor Cooper has ordered that all public schools remain closed until May 15. He has also placed a ban on gatherings of over 50 people and ordered that “nonessential” businesses, such as barber shops, gyms, and movie theaters be closed, and shut down all dine-in restaurants. Local leaders, including Wilson’s Mayor Carlton Stevens, have also stepped up to combat the spread of COVID-19. Mayor Stevens has closed playgrounds, park restrooms, and several City of Wilson office spaces in an effort to slow the virus. Many local businesses have closed or adopted curbside pickup services. The coronavirus pandemic has provoked a coordinated response from federal, state, and local authorities. Although much uncertainty remains about the future, and many Americans continue to live in fear of a complete economic failure, the President and our elected representatives maintain that the situation is under control. The only thing that is certain is that this nation has never seen a pandemic like this before, and every American must do their part to slow the spread and ensure a better future for our nation and the world.
On the evening of Thursday, February 20, snow flurries began to fall over Wilson. Over the course of the night, between two and three inches of snow fell to blanket Wilson in white. Most roads remained open and drivable, as the major routes through town were treated in preparation for the winter storm. However, some bridges became slick with black ice, and drivers were cautioned to avoid driving unless absolutely necessary on Friday morning.
WILSON YOUTH COUNCIL PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS
By Brenner Cobb
The Wilson Youth Council, or WYC, is a community organization made up of high school students from public, private, and charter high schools across Wilson County. WYC provides its members with many community service opportunities throughout the year. Almost all of the service hours earned by participating in these projects and events can be used to meet Greenfield’s 15-hour-a-year minimum for all high school students. In addition to offering dozens of opportunities to earn volunteer hours throughout the year, WYC provides students with many meaningful experiences.
Students who participate in events and activities as a WYC member will be able to establish relationships with many local leaders, which can lead to letters of recommendation when applying for scholarships and college. Many WYC members have been recognized with various awards for their efforts by the City of Wilson’s Human Resources Team, among other groups. In addition to gaining experiences that will help them write college application essays, having membership in the WYC listed on a resume or application is a major benefit. Finally, being a part of WYC will allow students to explore new career fields and possibly lead to a career in civil service, public administration, or nonprofit work.
COMMUNITY EVENT: 2019 SHOP WITH A COP
By Brenner Cobb
On Saturday, December 14, local law enforcement agencies continued the multi-year tradition of participating in the annual Shop with a Cop event. The event, which takes place on a Saturday morning in December at the Wilson Walmart Supercenter, seeks to build bonds of trust between the law enforcement officers involved and the citizens they protect.
For this event, 20 students from elementary schools across Wilson County were selected to take place. Fundraising efforts sponsored by the Wilson County Law Enforcement Fellowship allow each child to have a certain amount to spend in the store. This year, each child was given $150 to purchase toys and games. Upon arriving at the store, each child is paired up with several officers and sheriff’s deputies and is sent to go buy whatever they want. For many of these children, Christmas gifts would not be a reality if they had not been a part of this event. During the event, the children get to talk to officers and discover that they are human too and that they also love Christmas. The Shop with a Cop event is always memorable for the children, parents, and officers involved.
At this year’s Shop with a Cop, several agencies were represented, including the Wilson Police Department, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Stantonsburg Police Department, and Wilson County 911 Communications. In addition, three Cadets from Wilson Police Department’s Police Explorers Post 557 and several Hunt High School JROTC students assisted with the event. The major donors who made this year’s event possible included the Hubert Vester Auto Group, Thomas and Farris Law Firm, and Artisan Leaf.
By Jake Flaherty
Coming off a fantastic season, the Greenfield swimming team has big shoes to fill. Last year’s seniors had pivotal roles in the team’s success, and many new kids have joined the ranks. With this larger team, there is much to look forward to. A sizable portion of the team is made up of younger kids, with two or more years left in their swim career. With so much young talent, the team does have to keep working to get faster. They have practiced every day that they can, and this is mandatory if they hope to continue to improve and have another shot at becoming conference champions. The team has seen a lot of competition in the recent meets, but racers are swimming well and consistently improving.
NC STATE COLLEGE VISIT
By Gracelyn Narron
This November, the freshman class toured NC State University's vast campus, as a part of their college awareness course. We learned a lot about the school's campus, history, and customs. Every student enjoyed the trip, even the individuals that aren't fans of the wolfpack.
"What I liked about visiting NC State was learning the history of the college. I also enjoyed learning about their technologically advanced library." -Mrs. Brown
In the beginning, we visited the Hunt Library, named after the former governor of North Carolina, James B. Hunt Jr. We got to see a robot that can store and deliver books for students. We also saw displays of electronic devices invented by NC State students. To take a break from all the walking, we decided to visit the Reynolds Coliseum. We didn't stay long but it was great to be able to see the school's gym. After eating in the dining hall, we took a long walk across campus. We walked by Hillsborough street and through the Free Expression Tunnel. We passed by Holladay Hall and the Memorial Belltower.
In my opinion, this was the best college trip so far. There was plenty to see and there wasn't a single dull moment on this trip.
“The trip was fun, the school was big and technology advanced!"
NC WHIRLIGIG FESTIVAL IN WILSON
By Brenner Cobb
This November, the city of Wilson hosted another successful Whirligig Festival. This year’s festival was larger and better than ever before and brought an estimated 40,000 people to downtown Wilson. The Whirligig Festival has been hosted in Wilson for 15 years now and is now known as the North Carolina Whirligig Festival. There was an increase in the number of vendors present at the Festival from the average of around 130 to 160 this year. About 20 downtown businesses were also open during the festival, bringing the total vendor count to around 180. Festival planners were pleased to bring back favorites such as the Whirligig Warrior course, Whirli-Kidz Zone, and extreme inflatables. However, this year’s festival also incorporated new events and booths, such as the BMX Stunt Show. In regards to this year’s attendance, head planner Theresa Mathis said, “We believe we had about 40,000 people over the weekend – making it the largest annual event in Wilson. But the planning team measures the success more by the smiling faces.”
Part of this year’s Whirligig Festival’s success lies in the city’s continued downtown revitalization efforts. In November of 2017, the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park was completed and opened to the public in downtown Wilson. Since it’s opening, the Park has hosted many community events, including Movie in the Park events. This park has proven to be a unique attraction that draws visitors from all over the United States. The Whirligig Park was recently named the winner of the 2019 Great Place in America “People’s Choice” Award, given by the American Planning Association (APA). The city government has worked to revitalize the downtown areas in other ways as well. By offering incentives to businesses to return to the downtown area, the city has drawn commerce back to the heart of Wilson and helped small businesses. Wilson Energy workers have installed more effective lighting on downtown streets and the Wilson Police Department has worked with the city to make the downtown area safer at night. The Whirligig Festival provides a boost to Wilson’s economy every year it is held, and small businesses throughout Wilson see an increase in business.
City of Wilson employee and head festival planner Theresa Mathis gives credit to teen volunteers for the success of the festival. According to Mathis, teen volunteers supply much of the labor needed to set up for and run the festival. While speaking about the volunteers, she said, “We couldn’t do it without them! To implement the final festival plans, like placing signs, putting up banners, setting up tents and tables – that all happens because of the help from volunteers.” Volunteers from the Wilson Youth Council (WYC) run the Whirl-Kidz Zone by themselves, which features more than a dozen inflatables and games. The Wilson Police Department was also heavily involved in this year’s festival. As an extension of the department’s community policing initiative, off-duty officers ran the Police Athletic League (PAL) food truck during the festival. Sales from the food truck benefit the PAL, which offers mentoring opportunities to struggling youth and sponsors football, basketball, and wrestling games and matches for Wilson’s youth throughout the year. Officers, with the help of several members of the WPD Police Explorers Post 557, provided traffic control during the setup phase of the festival. Many officers were also present during the festival to provide security and assist those in need.
This year’s Whirligig Festival was successful due to the combined efforts of the City of Wilson, various volunteer organizations, including WYC, many local nonprofits, and the Wilson Police Department. In a true team effort, these organizations worked together to provide a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for all who attended. Downtown businesses and out-of-town vendors benefited from the increased sales, live music was performed, and local artists sold their creations to visitors. The North Carolina Whirligig Festival once again put Wilson on the map as a model city of Eastern North Carolina.
HAUNTED TRAIL NETS THOUSANDS FOR DORIAN RELIEF
By Urvi Patel
Behind any well-coordinated event there is a diligent team that works tirelessly to produce the results. This year our SGA transformed an ordinary forest into a haunted trail. From buying costumes to decorating each section, we were there each step of the way.
A great deal of thought had gone into making our vision a reality. We began brainstorming ideas for this event before school started. By the time October rolled around we were ready to make it come to life.
My role in the haunted trail was a mental patient in an insane asylum. I wore a long hospital gown covered in blood, white makeup across my face and dark circles around my eyes. My purpose was to scare the guests and I found that the most effective methods were the simplest. One of my favorite approaches was to stand at the end of the hallway with my hair covering my face. I would walk slowly in their direction until I was close enough to scream in their ears and startle them. It took lots of trial and error to master the technique but by the end of the night I had it.
The haunted trail was a terrifying success. Over the span of four hours we raised $4,500 which will be donated to the Outer Banks Community Foundation. They have suffered great losses and we hope to help them on their road to recovery.
TRAILING BEHIND AT THE HAUNTED TRAIL
By Pauling Ngo
Greenfield School's second Haunted Trail was a big hit, raising around double the amount of money that was raised last year.
Before going to see it, I met up with friends at Cookout. We ate, talked, and laughed before heading back to school. After a brief wait, we walked through the trail, linking arms. It was evident that the SGA had worked hard on setting up the trail because of all the decorations. Clowns screamed at us, and a lumberjack revved his chainsaw, but I did not get a single scare. No one is to blame, however. I was behind the others in my group, and I know I would have been scared if I were at the front. Overall, I had a fun time with friends and enjoyed walking through the woods at night in the spirit of Halloween. The scariest part of it all was having to pay seven dollars to enter, but since it was for a good cause and it benefits those affected by Hurricane Dorian at Okracoke, I did so without hesitating.
FRESHMAN BONDING TRIP
By Gracelyn Narron
On the morning of October 11th, Greenfield’s freshman class departed from campus for their fall bonding trip to Richmond, Virginia. The students were able to tour William and Mary and later experience the Howl-O-Scream event at Busch Gardens. Both staff and students partook in the haunted houses Lumberhack and The Vault.
"It was entertaining and spooky. I was put way out of my comfort zone and had so much fun." says Jeallen Holland, a member of the freshman class who took part in the trip.
The William and Mary tour consisted of seeing the iconic Crim Dell bridge, Zable stadium, and much more. The exciting part began once the group arrived at Busch Gardens. Everyone went their separate ways and enjoyed a long day at the amusement park. It’s truly intriguing how everyone had a unique experience while they were visiting. Most rode roller coasters while others went through the other haunted houses, some even both. There was a wide variety of places to eat and hangout, so it was easy for everyone to enjoy the park. 11 at night, the group departed from the park and crashed at a hotel for the night. The group woke up the next morning and had an amazing breakfast before their trip back home.
In the words of Mrs. Powell, “The kids had a blast and were bonded by fear as they braved their way through haunted houses and roller coasters.”
IN OUR OPINION: DRESS CODE IMPROVED BUT STILL NEEDS REFORM
By Brenner Cobb
Greenfield’s dress code has been a source of controversy and confusion for middle and upper school students for several years. At the end of the 2018-2019 school year, members of Greenfield’s administration met with student representatives from the Upper School SGA to discuss the school’s dress code policy. By working with the student representatives, the administration was able to update the dress code and make the expectations for students’ daily dress clearer. The dress code now utilizes clearer language in defining the required length of shorts, skirts, and dresses, making the bottom of the pinkie finger the new requirement. The administration also relaxed restrictions on the wearing of ripped jeans, allowing students to wear rips up to the bottom of the pinkie. The dress code retained some common-sense restrictions, such as the rule against the wearing of pajamas, bathing suits, and bedroom shoes to school.
However, the dress code still maintains that “Piercings are only allowed in the ears and tattoos must be covered”. Some Upper School students feel this rule is unnecessary and out of the school’s authority to enforce. While the school should certainly continue to exercise its privilege to ensure appropriate dress by students, some feel that this restriction should not be included in the dress code. Body piercings and tattoos reflect personal choices that have little, if anything, to do with the school and its dress code. In our society, tattoos and piercings are becoming increasingly accepted means of personal expression. It would be sensible to require students to cover offensive tattoos or tattoos that contained inappropriate language, but tattoos as a whole should not be a source of conflict. The dress code’s attempted restrictions on piercings and tattoos are overreaching and outdated rules in need of change.
SOCCER TEAM TRIUMPHS
By Jake Flaherty
After a fantastic season by the Greenfield boys varsity soccer team, the team won the 1A NCISSA State Championship. Seeded number two going into the tournament, Greenfield played at home throughout. We won every game leading up to the championship with little trouble. The championship game, however, led to some difficulty. We were set to play the number one overall team, Neuse Christian, which we had played earlier in the season and in 2018’s State Championship game. Both times led to a tough-fought loss. However, this time the Greenfield boys were ready, and came through by shutting out Neuse Christian 4-0.
IN OUR OPINION: BASKETBALL FORECAST
By Tatum Godwin
As the defending state champions, Greenfield’s varsity boys’ basketball team starts the season with the John Wall Invitational Tournament. The team is looking to be competitive again for another run to the title with many returning players. Knights have won back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001, again in 2005 and 2006. Will the same hold true for 2019 and 2020? As they hope to be a threat again this year, they hold themselves to higher standards. This team works day in and day out to become better as one team. With many returners being seniors, they all have one thing in mind and that is, can they finish it off?
While senior Dji Bailey looks to lead this team throughout the season, his future is bright with Wake Forest in May. The 6.5’ shooting guard looks to dominate the court for the Knights this season. Bailey strengthened his profile on AAU circuit with Garner Road West, where he plays for former NBA star David West. As a junior, he averaged 12 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals a game.
Senior Collin Guliford looks to touch the court for the second year as a Knight. His goal this season is to be a leader on the team. Collin says, “I have been playing this game since I was four. I want to play college basketball because I have love and passion for the game.” This season as returning state champions the team’s strength is that they all know how to play together so it feels natural. The team’s weakness is that they are not the tallest team so they will have to take advantage and play to a fast pace.
Other seniors Nick Sessoms, Creighton Lebo, Trey Pittman, Jordan Lynch look to help to lead the team to the top again this season, as it is their last season hitting the court for the Knights together before they part ways. These boys all want to go on to play or try to get a scholarship for a college sport. As they have a young team behind them, they look to teach the younger part of the team what it means to be a family and be a Knight.
The Knights could become untouchable with their speed and shooting ability along the 3-point line. I would say the returning state champions could reach top again.
The Knights look to some competition this season, as they will be facing some big rivalries throughout this year. I would not underestimate them. They are looking to become the best in the state again.
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Greenfield School Journalism Club