The Hawk's Eye

Ahmaud Arbery

On February 23, a young black man was running in the Brunswick, Georgia neighborhood near his home while two white men followed him on his route by truck. As the black man continued to run, the white men tried to cut him off in a truck two times, but he simply ran around it. Then, the truck pulled in front of the black man a third time, so he tried to go around it again. As he ran around the truck, he was met by an armed man who proceeded to let off multiple shotgun shots, killing the black man. 

The victim of this incident was 25 year-old Ahmaud Arbery, a name almost everyone in America knows at this point. But for over two months, Arbery’s murder was not brought to the general public’s attention. Not only did it not get the national press that should have been immediate, but the men who committed the crime were not charged until more than two months after the incident occurred. 

The men charged with Arbery’s death have been identified as father and son Gregory and Travis McMicheal, who said that they did not know Arbery and “did not see him do anything other than run down the road but knew instinctively he was a criminal” (S. Lee Merritt) Even after police arrived on the scene and assessed the situation, the McMicheals were free to go on about their lives. It was only after the video of Arbery’s murder spread across social media that the two men were arrested. 

As much as social media is condemned for its sometimes trivial content, the way it was used to bring attention to a situation that was unknown outside of South Georgia is exactly what it should be used for. All within the same hour, Instagram user’s timelines were flooded with posts mourning Arbery’s death. Celebrities such as LeBron James, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart and many more began posting about the tragedy, which eventually led to the case being brought to a grand jury and the McMichaels being taken into custody. As of June 4th, the McMichaels are participating in a probable cause hearing, which revealed that according to defendant William Bryan Jr, the man who recorded the video, “Travis McMichael declared “F****** n*****” as he stood over the body of Ahmaud Arbery” (S. Lee Merritt), making it more likely that the McMichaels may be charged with a hate crime. 

What is craziest to me about this whole situation is the reasoning why the McMichaels felt obligated to murder Arbery: because he “fit the description” of a neighborhood burglar. Not because they had proof or they had seen him commit such a crime, but because they thought he looked suspicious. Because he fit the description of someone who would commit a crime in America: a black man. 

Rest in peace

Ahmaud Arbery 

1996-2020

George Floyd

1974-2020

Breonna Taylor

1994-2020

and every other innocent black person killed at the hands of racism and police brutality in America. 

NFL Draft Breakdown

NFL Draft Breakdown

The annual NFL Draft, where dreams of playing in the NFL become reality for the top college football players, occurred just one month ago. Under the unusual circumstances, the draft was conducted virtually right out of the NFL commissioner’s basement. As always, the draft was full of trades, drama, surprises, and, of course, winners and losers!

Winners

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins selected Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with their 1st round (5th overall) pick. Tagovailoa has the talent of a top 3 pick and fell to number 5 because of his injury concerns. Overall, this was an amazing pick and if Tagovailoa can recover from his injuries, he can be a top NFL QB. The Dolphins also picked two offensive linemen in the first and second rounds to bolster the weakest part of their team. It will be interesting to see where this new and improved Dolphins team will fit into a completely shifted AFC East.

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys managed to get CeeDee Lamb, arguably the best receiver in the draft, at pick number 16 (third receiver taken). Lamb had the highest yards per catch (21.4) for a receiver with over 30 receptions last season and was also top 5 in total yards and touchdowns. Lamb is a receiver who can make men miss in the open field after catching the ball, making him a serious, versatile threat. With their second round pick, the Cowboys took Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs, an athletic pass disrupter who will help the team’s weak secondary. These two stars should help the Cowboys go from missing out on the playoffs to maybe making a deep playoff run.

Losers

Green Bay Packers: The biggest moment of drama during the draft came when the Green Bay Packers, a team who finished 13-3 behind their star quarterback, Aaron Rogers, and was one game away from the Super Bowl, took Utah State QB Jordan Love. The Packers were (and still are) in need of wide receivers as they did not have a single 1000 yard receiver last season. Solid wide receivers Tee Higgins (Clemson) and Michael Pittman Jr (USC) were still on board, yet the Packers chose to select the young QB as their first round pick. Aaron Rogers is known to voice his misgivings about the Packers organization and demand serious changes, so it will be interesting to see what happens next in Green Bay.

San Francisco 49ers: One month prior to the Draft, San Francisco traded their star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for the Colts 13th overall draft pick. Many expected the 49ers to take a wide receiver with this pick as it was by far their weakest unit last season. Instead, they took defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw from South Carolina, essentially replacing Buckner with a cheaper but much worse player. This pick baffled many, as although Kinlaw will have a much smaller contract, he has not proved himself in the NFL, while Buckner was a 2019 All Pro. While I doubt this pick will damage San Francisco’s Super Bowl chances for next season, it might weaken their already good team.

2020-21 Student Council

On May 6th, the student body met virtually to elect members to fill student council positions for the 2020-2021 school year. Although it was a tight race with all very promising candidates, the student body named Lisa Kopelnik ‘21 and Cole Wogan ‘21 as All-School Co-Presidents, Sophie Coutu ‘21 and Loucas Xenakis ‘21 as All-School Spirit Masters, Audrey Hardtke ‘22 as All-School Secretary, and Hayden Thompson ‘23 as All-School Treasurer. 

With the future for the school year being so uncertain, it is important that the School’s leadership has clear first steps for the time to come, whether that be in a distance-learning format or not. 

All-School Co-Presidents Kopelnik and Wogan are working to figure out ways to create change from home. Some of their immediate goals include creating adult-free forums over Google Meet for the student body to voice their opinions and ideas and sending Google Forms where students can vote on policy proposals. Some of their goals for the year include frequent meetings with the administration, “specifically the Board of Student Life, the Board of Finances and Financial Administration” (Kopelnik). They also want to work with Ms. Pak and Ms. Tucker and “make sure we’re updated on teacher training.” 

Despite our current distance-learning format, they don’t believe we need to halt all of the projects started this year, and there is still lots of work that can be accomplished from home and online. Some of their goals include implementing consistent consent training, creating clear policies surrounding the use of derogatory language, and combating the School’s issues with racism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia. The newly-elected Co-Presidents are making it a point to prioritize policy creation and increased communication within the community and with the administration.  

By the end of their term, they want the School to be a less stressful place that cares about the emotional wellbeing of the students, prioritizes their needs, and is a safer place for marginalized communities. 

The All-School Spirit Masters Coutu and Xenakis are “prepared to go to any lengths they need to in order to make spirit inclusive, community-oriented, and fun for everyone” (Coutu). They are planning to close out the year on a high note and work with Interim Head of the Upper School Saya McKenna, administration, and student council to work through the current circumstances. Some of their ideas include a virtual lip-sync and other fun events and challenges that are online-accessible. They also want to reach out to the community for ideas and opinions and increase communication with the student body and administration. They’ve already taken the initiative to involve the students in their plans through a Google Form accessible via their Instagram (@chaboi_spirit_2020). 

Next year, they’re planning on rebooting spirit committee to reach out to different grades and keep everyone in the loop and bring back the fan-favorite game of Assassin (given that we’re back in school). They want to determine students’ favorite traditions in spirit and introduce new ones. They intend to implement more school-wide events like a field day and spaces where students can come together and take a break from the stressful school environment. Their main goals for the year are to increase transparency, encourage people to have fun, and foster community through participation in spirit days. 

All-School Secretary Hardtke wants to work on finishing the projects that were started this year, such as the Incident Feedback Form, and working with the administration to create harsher rules surrounding racial slurs. After finalizing those, she wants to start working on the goals mentioned in the leadership’s campaigns and make the student council more transparent. In order to accomplish this objective, she wants to utilize social media and make an Instagram account specifically for the student council to promote and increase communication. Ideas for said account include polls for quick feedback and weekly to bi-weekly posts to keep the student body informed. 

Finally, All-School Treasurer Thompson wants to do more fundraising (whether it be online or in-person) next year for both the student council and outside organizations. She admits that planning student events will be more difficult during a pandemic, but she is willing to work with the business office to make the proper adjustments. She also wants to fund more clubs, make it easier for them to reach out, plan more student events if possible, and encourage the student body to input ideas. She is ready to listen to her fellow student council members and allocate funds to whatever requires increased funding, ranging from spirit days to racial training and mental health days. Her main priority is improving student experience, and she wants to put funding towards activities and events that benefit the students the most.     

Overall, the leaders’ main goals are to create lasting and meaningful change, increase transparency, and make the school year great for everyone, whether online or in-person. Student council advisor Ms. McKenna is also hopeful for this upcoming school year, stating, “I was so pleased to see so many invested students put themselves forward as candidates for leadership. Their statements and platforms reflected very detailed and comprehensive goals for building and strengthening our community and delivering upon our mission—especially by continuing to elevate and address the issues raised by our community of color. This is important work at any time, but especially so in a period of distance and disruption. There is a lot of important and challenging work ahead of us as we return to campus in the 20-21 SY, and this team seems well-equipped and committed to delivering upon their goals of prioritizing the student experience.” 

GOA Catalyst for Change

For the past two months, sophomores history students conducted research on a long-standing social injustice in the United States. They picked an issue that interested them, researched the history of the issue, the current iteration of the problem, and possible solutions on micro and macro levels. 

For the final step of the project, each student created a webpage that was featured in the fifth annual Catalyst Conference, hosted by Global Online Academy (GOA). The conference was live from April 23-27 and featured more than 400 projects produced by students from 76 GOA sponsored schools. Throughout the conference, students were able to view projects from students all over the U.S. and around the world and provide feedback.  

All projects are reviewed by a panel of experts who then award projects that stand out among the others. This year, GOA citations were awarded to 83 projects that best aligned with the goals of the conference: raising awareness and promoting grassroots action and institutional change. Students can also be awarded the Audience Award, which was awarded to four students last year including two from the School. This award is given to projects that highly engaged their audience and prompted participation from their peers in the conference. The final award that students can receive is the Catalyst for Change Prize, which is awarded to the students with the best tangible solutions with the ability to facilitate change. 

See some examples of web pages from the students below.

The Racial Wealth Gap  – Madison Harvey

Animal WelfareSoraya Katzev 

Money in PoliticsJack Chin 

An Inside Look Into the New Grading Directive

An+Inside+Look+Into+the+New+Grading+Directive

This is an unprecedented time, as the world is reeling from this pandemic. Organizations and institutions everywhere are having to quickly change their policies, including our school. Distance learning was completely new territory for the administration and they had to pivot rapidly when we left the traditional classroom on March 13th. Many questions have been raised about these changes, particularly the question of how grading will work. Earlier this month, Ms. McKenna released the School’s new grading directive to the students, and I had the pleasure of speaking with her and Ms. Sarkar to get an inside look into how these decisions were made. 

The grading directive team consisted of the Division and Assistant Division Heads (Middle School and Upper School), Dean of Academic Community (Ms. Sarkar), and the Director of Diversity and Inclusion (Ms. Tucker), reporting to deans and departments for feedback. They also conducted lots of research from local peer schools, Challenge Success, IDEX data, DEI directors as well as gaining informal and unsolicited feedback from parents and students. 

As noted in the school-wide email, there are three guiding and framing principles of feedback, flexibility, and empathy. McKenna expanded on this, saying, “We are acutely aware of the unique situation we are in and we are trying to figure out a philosophy around grading that honors the work and the program that we are putting in place, the efforts that students are making to remain engaged, and also recognizes the difficulties of moving to distance learning for adults, students, and teachers.” This is a struggle shared by both the faculty and the students. Other complications that come with dislocation include stress, interruptions, distractions, other responsibilities, concern for loved ones, and the overall climate of uncertainty. “It is tough,” McKenna remarks, “We wish we were not in this situation. I know that students feel that way. I want to reassure them that we 100 percent sympathize and agree.”

Many different opinions have been expressed towards a new grading directive from students, teachers, and parents. McKenna acknowledges this and touches on the School’s approach to all the conflicting ideas, saying, “We are looking broadly at that tension, trying to find some sort of solution that allows for flexibility, that still gives students feedback, and that is empathetic at the core about how this is a struggle… It is not simple and there are many different and real perspectives that are based on everyone’s unique position. The process has been to try to leverage as much research as we can into a very short time frame.” Ms. Sarkar added to this, saying, “I want to say that we are a unique school. Different from say College Prep or Bishop O’ Dowd; we are a K-12 school. We have students and family that are experiencing our program at all three divisions. There are so many pieces of information, and we are trying to make our philosophy and our experience for families consistent.”

Despite this concern, Sarkar adds that, “Independent schools have an advantage because we have college counseling offices that have deep relationships with the colleges.” Mckenna expands on this, saying, “I would like to extend that beyond the college counseling office to say that there are many things that we are lucky for and privileged about. We are a small community and we can act more nimbly and individuate in a way that big public schools cannot. We know our students and our students have a network of relationships through teachers, advisors, deans, etc. We have the ability to target and support people not just as a school but as individual students.” 

As we know, the administration has decided to pursue a blended option of traditional grades and a pass or fail system for students whose grades significantly drop. They also made the decision to treat the latest interims as a progress grade. Furthermore, McKenna confirmed that the School will not be holding traditional finals. Instead, they are looking for “different things in the fourth quarter given the circumstances. Smaller, more frequent, lower-stakes ways of showing engagement with the material and the skills that we are trying to maintain and foster. That looks different depending on the discipline” (Mckenna). 

Coincidently, the School has been critically looking at assessment for a while. Sarkar touches on this, saying, “This is in a strange way to our work in our strategic plan that is asking us to innovate around some of these things. Our teachers understood it at a theoretical level. We have been talking about it with the implementation of our strategic plan. That is another advantage.” McKenna adds, “We are at an important crossroads, not just as a school but as a country in what education looks like.” For example, many colleges around the U.S. are debating the importance of standardized testing and our school is moving away from APs. With this disruption, McKenna views it as an opportunity for innovation. “We can’t do it perfectly, that would be unrealistic, but we are doing it with as much intention and attempt to be not just reactive but strategic” (McKenna).

Another concern for high schoolers is what the fall semester will look like. With the reduced content due to remote learning, will there be some remedial catchup in the fall, especially for cumulative classes? Sarkar addresses this, saying, “Two things are at play. One, we recognize that the content we covered in this fourth quarter is not what we would have normally done, so we will pick up in August knowing where we ended. At some basic level, the curriculum will shift. But I am actually hoping for some reassessment of what is important to deliver in the curriculum. We will make sure our students are not at a disadvantage.” 

For any current juniors concerned about the college process, Kora Shin, the Associate Director of College Counseling, also gives some insight into how the college process will change, saying, “We’re confident the colleges will show great empathy and humanity to students with their process given everything going on globally. Schools have already started to change their testing policies for the grades most impacted by this in their college process (ie. Chapman, Univ of Oregon, Tufts, Scripps, Redlands, Boston University, to name a few) and will also demonstrate flexibility and understanding around the different grading shifts/changes that are happening at schools around the U.S. and the world.”

If you have questions about your grades or grading in general, McKenna encourages students to go directly and respectfully to the teacher, and if that doesn’t seem comfortable, to turn to other supportive people on campus like advisors or deans. Sarkar strongly emphasizes the importance and presence of a strong support system that is available to every student, saying, “We think every student has a complete robust support team that includes advisor, dean, Ms. McKenna, Mr. Thiermann, the learning specialists, the counselor, the dean of equity and inclusion, the CCE director. Every student has this team holding them up.” This is a hard time, so please reach out to the incredible support team around you if you need help. 

New Soccer Field on South Campus

New+Soccer+Field+on+South+Campus

As part of the plan for the property the School has purchased across the street, they have developed a new soccer field. It is clearly visible when one drives down Lincoln Avenue. This field is smaller than full size, so don’t expect to watch any games up there. It was mainly built to give the Middle School its own field; however, the Upper School can also use it to practice when one team has a game on the main field. Just like all the other property across the street the School has acquired as part of its Bridge to 2022, this field has raised concerns among the administration about safety, as Lincoln Avenue is a busy street on a hill with a turn right near the field. The administration has proposed a tunnel to cross the street, yet this may be inconvenient as it will be placed much lower than the field at the big gates on the Upper School Patio. If the School really plans to have students crossing from side to side often, they will need to adjust the students’ schedules to give them time to do so, perhaps by lengthening passing periods. This is a small problem since students may be graded down just for walking slowly/being late for class. Despite this potential setback, we are happy that the Middle School can have their own field, and that the Upper School can have their own space.

All School Fair 2018-19 Slideshow

All+School+Fair+2018-19+Slideshow

The 2018-19 All School Fair was a big hit last night. The cotton candy was sweet and the haunted house was scary. Big thanks to all of the students and faculty who made it such a success.

 

On a more personal note, as a lifer, it was surreal to think that this is my last all school fair. I definitely have a deeper appreciation now that I’m in high school (since I finally realize how much work goes into the fair), and I know how much the fair means for the kiddos in the lower school.

Student Feature: Awards and Recognition at the Global Online Academy Catalyst Conference

Student Feature: Awards and Recognition at the Global Online Academy Catalyst Conference

This past year, the History 10 teachers decided to change the typical research project to a research project that required students to look at an issue in current society, the history of that issue, and propose a solution. After completing their paper, the students submitted a version of their findings to the Global Online Academy Catalyst Conference. If you have a chance, I would recommend looking at all of the work of the US History students online (and several students who are taking GOA classes!). While all of the projects were great, four sophomores were recognized for their papers, and one junior was recognized after taking a GOA course.

Sara Covin received a Catalyst for Change Prize for her presentation entitled An IOU for Women: The Disparity in Pay between Men and Women Since 1930. One of the panelists reviewing this presentation wrote, “Very thorough and well-researched project that not only gave solid and comprehensive background, but also put a detailed plan of action into place. This project — also very relevant in its timing given the #METOO environment — has a strong chance of inspiring immediate change, as specific tools are given to the reader to act now.”

Gayatri Singla’s presentation titled The Polluted Sounds of the Sea garnered the praise of evaluators, one writing, “The first thing that impressed me was Gayatri’s long-held interest in marine science. Gayatri is passionate about it and did a great job articulating the dire problems experienced by whales. I knew very little about whales or that anything had been impacting them. This project brought their plight into focus. The end result of reading this project: I want to know more, and if I can help, I would now be interested in learning how.”

Siena Martin received a Catalyst for Change Prize for her presentation, The Right to Choose: History of Birth Control. A reviewer describer the project by saying, “I was impressed how the author outlined a cogent history of reproductive rights over time, and in doing so illustrated how frustrating and exhausting it is that we are still fighting this fight. The author provides concrete solutions for us to consider as we move forward.”

Elizabeth Novogradac captured the attention of panelists with her presentation “They Did Not Listen” : Sexual Violence after Title IX.  Panelists praised the relevancy of the project, “The timing of this research and project is excellent. In light of the #METOO movement, there could not be a more relevant time to inspire and affect change in the world for increasing awareness among and reducing cases of sexual abuse among female athletes. This project was particularly well-researched with numerous excellent sources used and cited. The videos included — with firsthand accounts — were particularly illuminating and moving. Very well done.”

Sydney Medford received a Catalyst for Change prize for her work in GOA’s Architecture course, creating a proposal called Oakland, CA Temporary Homeless Shelter. She impressed panelists with “her professional ideas and execution,” and they applauded her for having “clearly identified a significant global problem but made it relevant by examining its impact on her home city, Oakland. Sydney’s presentation illustrated advanced architectural thinking and skills and was well documented.”

Summer Music 2018

Summer Music 2018

Summer is just around the corner! Not only do you have to look forward to sleeping in, partying all night, and of course no homework, but there are going to be some new songs and albums to jam out to while you are at it.

To start off the summer, on June 15, Christina Aguilera’s new album Liberation will be released. This will not only be a big day for her but for her fans as well; Aguilera has not released an album since Lotus in 2012. Ever since giving birth to her second daughter in 2014, she has been juggling being a devoted mother and writing her new album. There is no doubt that this talented singer will shock all her fans around the world with her new album, but hers isn’t the only one to look out for. 5 Seconds of Summer will also be releasing their new album Youngblood on June 22. This Australian pop rock band formed in 2011 and, although they aren’t as popular as other pop bands, they have a few top hit singles such as Amnesia (2014) and She’s Kinda Hot (2015).

One of the most awaited album releases is for Ariana Grande’s album Sweetener. Although there is no official release date, Grande says that is definitely “coming this summer.” However, she may have spilled the beans on this special date during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon in early April; Grande revealed that “there are only three 20ths until the big thing,” so fans can infer that the likely release date for her new album is July 20th. Grande chose to name this album Sweetener because “It’s kind of about bringing light to a situation or to someone’s life, or somebody else bring[ing] life to your life. Sweetening the situation.”

For new upcoming singles in the summer, there aren’t many to keep an eye out for; however, there are some songs that have already been released that will be top hits throughout the entire summer such as God’s Plan by Drake, FRIENDS by Marshmello feat Anne Marie, and Psycho by Post Malone ft Ty Dolla $ign. Popular music today ranges from pop to rap and even to country music. Make sure to keep updating your summer playlist, as there will be new music to discover almost every week.

Sacramento Lobbying Slide Show

Sacramento+Lobbying+Slide+Show

On April 19th, 20 Head-Royce students went to Sacramento to lobby for stricter gun regulations in California as part of the larger student group, Bay Area Student Activists, B.A.St.A for short. While they were there, they met with state legislators to find out and possibly help shape the future of gun control. ra

2018 Annual Art Show (Photo Gallery)

2018 Annual Art Show (Photo Gallery)

This year, as usual, there was an amazing display of student art in the middle school hallway for the annual art show. The web gallery is an incomplete show of many student artworks with topics ranging from an exploration of Freud’s “id” to portraits, from animals to Shakespeare and beyond.

7000 Kids in 5 Years

7000 Kids in 5 Years

I’ve been struggling to try to find the words that wrap up everything into less than a minute. I keep looking through Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook looking for someone else’s words who can capture mine better than I possibly could, but all I kept seeing was their tweets and posts.

I saw Joaquin Oliver’s year anniversary post for his girlfriend and Alyssa Alhadeff’s club soccer photos. I read about coach Feis, who worked three jobs to support his family. I watched videos of Meadow Polkack’s brothers and father telling the President of the United States that they will NEVER see her again. I scrolled through articles talking about Anthony Borges, the freshman who defended his classmates with his own body and has been in the hospital ever since.

These people were us. They snapchatted and did their homework and debated whether or not that extra five minutes of sleep was truly worth it. If we allow politicians to continue to ignore common sense gun laws, eventually the shooting won’t be 2,558 miles away.

7000 kids: that’s how many have died because of gun violence since Sandy Hook, and it will only grow. #NeverAgain can we let children with guns kill children with pens. NEVER AGAIN. NEVER AGAIN. NEVER AGAIN. MARCH EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE. SPEAK AND MAKE NOISE.

Leave a Comment
The student news site of Head-Royce School.
News