The Creativity in Restrictions

By Sam Ottinger

Getting into the arts can be a challenging quest, whether it’s getting the ideas or actually putting said ideas into the world. In this time of confusion, I believe that having a rubric of restrictions can be the support that lifts creativity to its highest form. Having a set of rules to follow can help ideas flow, it can be a more relieving position, and help the artist try new things.

Many can agree that one of the most difficult parts of the arts is creating the idea, yet when you have to work your way around certain things, then it can be an easier way to find the path that will lead you to a fall of ideas. Restrictions put in the building blocks, then the artist can complete the designed task, and after they are able to push certain aspects (that aren’t restricted) to make the piece their own. It can also help cut down on decisions that are put in the artist’s hands, so they don’t get overwhelmed and burned out as quickly by the overflow of creative ideas. As stated by Thomas Oppong in his article about creativity, on Inc., “With constraints, you dedicate your mental energy to acting more resourcefully. When challenged, you figure out new ways to be better.” Having a specific direction for where your energy can go can help you get more ideas and thus the artist goes through a slower decline in their ideas.

Instead of having total freedom and being surrounded by stress from blankness in the creative department, you are able to get a new point of view which can help you get a better understanding of different techniques for a new set of tools. Some may say that with restrictions, it can be difficult to fully shine because of the choices being so limited, and they aren’t entirely wrong. When creative rubrics are too restricting, it can lead to the same amount of problems that having too much freedom contains, extra stress to stay in the lines and lack of related ideas. It’s just like everything else, too much of anything is bad. Yet when these placements are done right, it can be extraordinarily beneficial for the artist. As said by Jason Bell, an Associate Professor of Marketing at Saïd Business School, “When well placed, constraints can force us to step out of our mental comfort zone and connect a schema to something new. This can very often lead to innovative ideas”.

Unclear directions and the fear of experimentation can hold many people back, including the need for near perfection is a craving that many artists, whether new or old, chase after for years. When using restrictions in your craft, it will give you clearer directions, help you be forced to try something new, and it can push you to slowly become ok with not reaching the status of perfect perfection. A batch of restraints can not only force you to try something new, it can also help you focus and create better ideas then you would have before. An article published by the official Harvard Business Review helps to support this claim by stating, “Constraints, in contrast, provide focus and a creative challenge that motivates people to search for and connect information from different sources to generate novel ideas for new products, services, or business processes”.

Facebook Has Got a New Name

Two weeks ago, a rumor of a name change for the social media company Facebook was spreading fast among internet users. Facebook has been around since February 2004, and it has developed and changed quite a bit. The name, however, has remained the same. Back in 2003, the original intention of the social media app was a “hot or not” style website, originally called Facemash, where students at Harvard University could rate the faces of their classmates. While it got shut down two days later, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg aimed to redesign the website, giving it its new purpose – connecting people. In early 2004, it was re-released as the Facebook we know today.

On Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, Facebook announced the new company name as Meta Platforms, in reference to the metaverse (a fictional future vision of the internet.) According to CNBC, the change comes after the company faced scrutiny over the spread of “hate speech” and “misinformation” earlier this year.

In relation to the name change, the company will still remain in control of the other social media platforms such as Instagram, Oculus, Whatsapp, etc. and they will become what is known as subsidiaries, which means they will be less of a focus for the company but still important nonetheless.

“The best way to understand the metaverse is to experience it yourself,” Zuckerberg said in his announcement. “It doesn’t fully exist yet.” He hopes this name change will give a fresh face for the embattled company. 

To Be or Not To Be Online What is the issue of not having an online learning option?

Story by Anna Hardin

The 2021-2022 school year has brought many changes for Greater Clark County Schools(GCCS). The largest change has been the elimination of the My School Online virtual learning option and the creation of an alternative online option referred to as the Virtual Academy. Unlike last year, parents were required to enroll students in the new online option during the summer break. Also, this year, in-person students are no longer permitted to switch over to the virtual learning option as they were last year with My School Online.

Senior Shay Graziano, aMy School Online student last year who returned to in-person school this year, states “Honestly I switched back to normal school [this year] because I found that I was unmotivated to do work and procrastinated a lot. Literally almost failed my art class because of it. Something about me being at school instead of at home makes me work differently.”

Last year, the online option created many challenges for teachers and students alike. My School Online required teachers to design and teach lessons simultaneously for both in-person students and online only students, and online only students were often required to attend virtual Google Meets to interact with teachers. Although there were some students and families who benefited from My School Onlinelast year because of concerns over COVID-19, some online only students struggled and fell behind in their learning.

Whereas the elimination of My School Online has helped some students who struggled with virtual learning last year return to in-person school, some students who actually did better with virtual learning have been forced to return to in-person school without any available online option. The elimination of My School Online for in-person students has also created some confusion for students who have been quarantined during the school year dueto Covid and forced to work from home without a virtual learning option to connect them to their classes.

Additionally, students who have enrolled in theVirtual Academy option for this school year are not allowed to participate in sports or extracurricular activities unlike students enrolled in My School Online last year. For some students, being able to play sports and participate in extracurricular activities was the primary reason that they chose to return to in-person school. “The reason I’m not going online is because I play volleyball, and if I go online, I can’t do sports anymore,“ says Junior Bella Hall.

The return to in-person school has been a shock to many students who spent last year online only. For many returning students, the hallways have never seemed so jammed packed with people and it’s been hard to adjust. “The hardest thing about being back at school is probably the fact that you are around so many different people at once and our school does not have the capacity to distance everyone. It is not their fault, but you never know who is sick and who isn’t until it’s too late and you’re already exposed,” says Hall.

Student Opinions Vary on the COVID -19 Vaccine Despite Proven Effectiveness

Story by Raquel Lopez

Like many other issues in theUnited States, COVID-19 vaccines have become divisive and politicized. Additionally, with the Pfizer vaccine being fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the possibility of vaccine mandates in public spaces is increasingly becoming a reality.

Currently, all evidence points to the conclusion that the vaccines are both safe and effective. Studies by the CDC show that all approved vaccines provide strong protection against COVID, including the delta variant of the virus. According to theCDC, unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID than their fully vaccinated peers.

At JeffersonvilleHigh School, while vaccines are not required, they are recommended. At the time of this publication, the policy has recently changed. When school initially started, vaccinated students were not required to quarantine if they were asymptomatic and had proof of vaccination on record; on the other hand, unvaccinated students would have to quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they tested positive or negative. On Aug. 24, Greater Clark County Schools announced that the quarantine time could be decreased to eight days if the student had proof of a negative test result. On Aug. 31, following the Indiana Department of Health guidelines, schools were no longer required to contact trace if a student were to test positive regardless of vaccination status.

Meanwhile, views on COVID vaccines vary among Jeff High students. While there are students who are clearly for or against vaccination, some students are undecided. Senior Claire Storz is pro-vaccination. “I always hear or see the numbers of deaths due to COVID and I want people to get vaccinated so we don’t have to lose loved ones. Or so I don’t have to hear people complaining about the mask mandate. I highly encourage it [getting theCOVID vaccine], especially if someone they know is immunocompromised. It can help protect them as well”

On the other hand, Senior Vaughndez Banes is against the COVID-19 vaccine. “I feel like theCOVID vaccine was rushed and I personally had COVID and I was sick like a lot of other people but it never got too bad,” Banes said, before adding, “and knowing the COVID vaccine won’t prevent COVID, only help with symptoms just isn’t enough to push me over the edge.”

In California, students attending Los Angeles Unified Public Schools are now required to be vaccinated by the end of the calendar year, according to CNN. Banes says that if vaccinations were to be mandated in Greater Clark County schools, he would transfer schools. “The way I see it is, if your mask works so well, why are you worried about mine. Same thing with the vaccine,” Banes explains.

Freshman Savannah Monroe is in the middle of the debate, supporting them in certain circumstances. Monroe explains that she feels as if maybe they were developed too fast. However, she also said, “But I definitely think a vaccine was needed due to the rising cases. But overall, I’m for the vaccines but I think they [scientists and the government] should prove the effectiveness and safety to convince the public to get them”

Instagram Activism – Student Opinions / Performative activism or genuine political action?

Story by Max Fisher

Last year, as protests swept the country, advocating for an end to police brutality and racial equity in America, Instagram was plastered with political content created by young people. Content posted contained everything from informational messages about current events to fiery opinions from both sides of the political spectrum. Now it seems that you can’t spend longer than a minute on Instagram without encountering some political content. We all know the posts. Often it’s a post with multiple pages, providing facts and commentary about a controversial topic or political issue ranging from defunding thepoliceto abortion rights, all with a perfectly curated aesthetic design.

According to a 2021 Harvard Youth Poll, political participation is up among young Americans compared to past generations. Today 36%of Americans aged 18-29 years old are politically active compared to 24%from 12 years ago. The same poll reports that one-third of respondents said that politics had gotten in the way of a friendship for them. Ultimately, politics is increasingly seeping into the personal lives of young people and social media is one of the most significant ways to track this increase in political participation among young people.

An issue that has arisen following the increase of political content on social media is whether these posts should be considered “performative activism”. Performative activism is when a person posts something with the intention of increasing popularity or follower-ship rather than engaging in genuine political action. In other words, many critics have accused Instagram activists of posting political content to appear politically active rather than actually participating in politics in real life.

Jeff High students have many different opinions on Instagram political activism. Sophomore Elle Marble says she doesn’t post political content on her story, and she feels most of the time posting is more about virtue signaling, or superficially displaying moral character, rather than changing minds, “That [posting political information] doesn’t lead to people changing their mindsets or views. So the only goal you end up achieving is showing people where you stand.”

Senior Justus Bowman says she will post on Instagram whenever something is important and needs to be shared, but she also expressed some criticism about using Instagram for political activism. “It allows people to post and share content but it can sometimes lead to activism stopping at the post,” Bowman said.

Mirroring the current political climate in America, there is no consensus among users on how to appropriately post political content on social media. However, as political participation continues to trend younger and social media continues to impact politics, the debate over how to use Instagram for political activism will certainly continue to be an issue.

9/11: Remembering the Attacks After Twenty Years

By Yousaf Quereshi

My mother was a 15 year old Sophomore attending New Albany High School on September 11, 2001. I don’t think that she was ever really worried about anything in the world, especially on that day, except for maybe passing math class so that she could eventually graduate high school. That was the story of most American teenagers living in the early 2000s⸺absorbed in their immediate surroundings and worried only about their own lives. However, September 11 would awaken everyone, including my mother, to the dangers of living in the world and the interconnectedness of everyone. 

At 8:46 in the morning, the first hijacked plane flew into the World Trade Center’s North Tower. It was apparent that a terrible accident had happened in New York City. Then, 17 minutes later, the second hijacked plane flew into the World Trade Center’s South Tower. This wasn’t an accident⸺this was deliberate. America was under attack. The Pentagon was attacked not long after, and a fourth plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly three thousand people died immediately as a result of the attacks…and thousands more died as a result of it. But September 11 had consequences for those who survived as well. For many Americans, the attacks on September 11 awoke the sleeping dragon of fear. Fear about living in a dangerous globalized world that most people had forgotten about since the attacks on Pearl Harbor when President Franklin D. Roosevelt had told us that the only thing we had to fear was “fear itself”.

But now, it’s been twenty years since 9/11, so why should we still remember? Why should high school students who weren’t alive during 9/11, like my mother had been on 9/11, continue to remember this event?

We should remember to honor the men and women who died in the World Trade Center Towers and on the hijacked planes. We should remember to honor the first responders to the attacks. We should remember to honor the survivors of the attacks and the families of the fallen.

We must continue to remember 9/11 to honor the loss, the rescue, the fear, and the hope of that tragic day. You didn’t have to be alive for 9/11 to remember the horror and the heroes. We remember so that we will never forget what happened on that day, and how we overcame it as Americans.

Now, twenty years after 9/11, America is under attack again. The terror of the Covid-19 pandemic has killed and continues to kill innocent Americans and first responders everyday, leaving behind long haul survivors and grieving families. Although Americans may not always agree on politics, when our homeland is under attack and innocent American lives are lost, I have hope that we will put aside our differences, and come together as we did during 9/11 to overcome any existential threat, including a global virus.

Readers: Remember 9/11. For the good it brought, for the bad. For the very ugly. I will always remember and be moved by the fact that this nation could come together on that day, forget differences and pray for each other, remove hate from our hearts and build compassion within our souls. Remembering 9/11 elevates the belief that we can exist as a unified American people, to pass on our love and care to those we hold dear and those we lost. Why can’t we be that country again?

What Could Change This Year? – Your Guide To COVID-19 Guidelines for the 2021-22 School Year

Students and staff are now used to wearing their masks and sitting in distanced rows of desks after Greater Clark County Schools changed policy August 9 to mandate masks. This new policy reflects the rapidly changing reality of COVID in Indiana and uses a color system to designate the density of specific disease spread in Clark County. The colors are determined based on the weekly case numbers and seven day positivity rate. The description of the color – from the Indiana Department of Health – along with the school actions taken are listed below. 

  • Blue (minimal community spread)
    • Staff and students who are not fully vaccinated are recommended to wear a mask/face covering; however, it will be optional during the school day.
    • Masks/face coverings are required on school buses for all staff and students due to federal regulations for public transportation.
  • Yellow (moderate community spread)
    • Staff and students who are not fully vaccinated are strongly recommended to wear a mask/face covering; however, it will be optional during the school day.
    • Masks/face coverings are required on school buses for all staff and students due to federal regulations for public transportation.
  • Orange (medium to high community spread)
    • Face coverings are required for all staff and students on school buses and indoors, unless a medical situation warrants otherwise.
  • Red (very high positivity and community spread)
    • Face coverings are required for all staff and students on school buses and indoors, unless a medical situation warrants otherwise.

In addition to those guidelines, some others changes took effect based on the Board’s decision:

  • Classroom furniture are now in rows, spaced apart as reasonably possible, and facing in the same direction as much as possible.
  • Seats will continue to be assigned in the classroom, cafeteria, and other areas used by large numbers of students. These assigned seats greatly improve contact tracing accuracy.
  • Custodians will increase the use of sanitizing sprayers during and after school.

Who Not To Sleep On – Fantasy Football Draft Advice

With the NFL (National Football League) Kickoff less than a month away fans are already preparing to start their fantasy football seasons. Whether you play for money or for bragging rights, everyone’s goal is to come out on top. It’s always exciting drafting your first couple of picks because there is always a superstar available; however, most people’s drafts fall short when it comes to the later rounds. A successful sleeper pick can take your team to the next level, but it’s always a gamble considering no one wants to waste a pick. So here are the sleeper picks that will put you on top.

When it comes to Quarterbacks, you aren’t always going to be able to take a Top 5 QB in the league. However, Jalen Hurts has nothing but a bright future to look forward to with the Eagles. After only starting three games last season, Hurts has a lot to prove this season. Hurts will also have Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith as a new passing target, setting him up for a phenomenal season. 

My top sleeper pick for running back is Antonio Gibson of the Washington Football Team. Washington played exceptionally well last season, sneaking into the playoffs. Antonio Gibson is the perfect example of getting the job done. He is one of the better receiving backs in the league making him a threat in the running and passing game. Gibson is not considered to be anyone’s first choice as a running back, but he can put up numbers like a first pick. 

The top sleeper Wideout Pick has to be Darnell Mooney, ranked 69th in target accuracy in the league. With the Bears trading Anthony Miller to Houston, Mooney has a chance to pick up even more points this season. If Justin Fields lives up to his draft hype, Mooney looks like he will be set up for a solid season. 

The Tight End sleeper spot goes to Dawson Knox. Knox being on the most pass-happy team in the NFL will certainly help his stats this season. He was second in the league last year for target separation at the TE spot. One of the things that restricts him is the amount of weapons in Buffalo. If he gets some more targets this year he has the potential to be an excellent sleeper pick.   

As draft days near, remember everyone will get their star in the first rounds, but it’s the sleeper picks that make a champion.

The Modern-Day Penpal – Online Friends

What is an online friend? Well, you can think of them as a modern-day penpal. Almost 47% of the world population use the internet, according to United Nations News. Therefore it isn’t surprising that those people are connecting with others who live nowhere near them. 

If the saying is true that friends help the world go round, what about having friends around the world? According to Pew Research, 57% of teenagers have made a friend online, and 29% said they have made more than five online friendships. It is common to make these friends while playing video games and social media. According to the University of California, Irvine,  many of these digital friendships serve the same purpose and qualities as face-to-face relationships. 

Despite having similar qualities to traditional friendships, online friendships don’t have in person connections like other kids who have friends from school or in their community. Therefore, they have become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic because many people have been spending much more time online. That may sound like a bad thing, but it can be helpful. You can meet new people without the hassle of social distancing, masks or even getting out of bed. It has not only been beneficial for young people but also for people of any age. Some adults have moved houses during the pandemic and can’t meet their neighbors face to face, but apps like Nextdoor allow you to virtually connect with people around you until it is safe to join social events again. 

Some Jeff High students have online friends who have gotten them through tough times. For example, Junior Georgia Martin says, “It was nice to see how different their life was from mine. I learned about their past experiences and then finding out about mine.” Martin adds that these friendships are mutually beneficial. “I sort of became like their rock. Whenever they needed me or needed to talk to me, I was always there for them. I wish I could do anything for them even though they were like halfway across the world.We could do the same things even though our lifestyles were completely different.” 

Amaya Russell, another Junior at Jeff High, says having an online friend has been beneficial for her, especially through the pandemic. “My online friend has been pretty helpful. Mainly which is like talking about my emotions and talking about stuff other people won’t talk about. They have helped me through a lot that other people won’t talk about, even people I know. They just listen and reply better and sometimes get your situation. It depends on the person, but my online friend has just been very helpful.”

For people who live outside the United States, online friendships can have an even bigger impact. “Jane” (who asked to use a pseudonym), a female from India, says, “Through the internet, we get to know about more things happening globally, and we become aware of our rights. By interacting with people from different nations, we get the idea of what we can do to bring change to our society to make it a more beautiful and safer society. People’s interaction with other people from this vast world can give them the idea for some good thoughts. For example, the farmer’s protest here in India is now becoming a worldwide movement. All can see and give a fair opinion. On the other hand, this is how we came to know about the Black Lives Matter movement.” 

“John” from Iran (who also asked not to use his real name) says his friendships with people in other countries make the world better. “With this ideology, the new generation makes a more peaceful world,” he says. 

The internet has become a world in itself which can benefit us just like our face-to-face reality. With the interconnectedness of the youth across the world, we will see how this impacts the future.

Are College Entry Exams Seeing Their Final Days

The importance of college entry exams such as the Scholastic Assessment Test and American College Testing (more commonly known as the SAT and ACT) have been declining in recent years. It’s decline has only been compounded by COVID-19. Colleges such as DePaul University, University of Southern California, and even Harvard College have gone test-optional due to the pandemic, according to College Advisor. Some schools such as Colorado College and Indiana University were test-optional even before the pandemic. 

As more and more colleges become test-optional, many wonder whether it is truly optional. Will students with test scores still be preferred over students that don’t submit a test score? However, based on interviews and reporting with people in the college admission industry, USA Today says that test optional truly means optional. Despite the effect of the pandemic, admission tests were already on the decline prior to 2020, for a variety of reasons. 

One primary reason for its decline is that many believe the test is unfair, especially towards disadvantaged students. According to the Brookings Institute, Black and Hispanic students typically have lower SAT math scores. Those students are also more unlikely to attend college than white or Asian students. Brookings also believes that SAT scoring can discourage students from working to achieve their goals, saying, “High-potential students may lose confidence and motivation, which could result in them pursuing different fields.”

However, getting rid of these tests altogether could result in colleges overemphasizing other factors. This could favor students from wealthier families who have a more stable background with tutoring and fully college-educated parents. Some allege that high school grades might be a more reasonable approach, but the same risks apply. This is because lower-income students have obstacles that get in the way of them doing well in school, according to the Brookings Institute.  Teachers College Press also mentions that college entry exams are now so influenced by money, parents’ education, and race. Students with high incomes can also have easier access to more time during their tests or a private test-taking area. Those are supposed to be used for students with ADHD or anxiety, states CNBC.

Students with mental illnesses such as emotional and behavioral disorders also are more likely to receive low test scores and lower chances of being admitted into a college. Some SAT scores are also artificially inflated due to social privilege. Wealthy parents have money for multiple retakes and for tutors who specialize in tutoring students for the SAT, says Diverse Education, a group that works for equity in education. Diverse Education thinks GPA might be the way to go when it comes to college admission. Studies have shown that students with high GPAs in high school and low SAT/ACT scores tend to have high GPAs in college, and students with low GPAs and high SAT/ACT scores usually have a low GPA in college. Studies have also found that students who do submit scores and those who don’t submit scores have no difference in academic performance, according to Inside Higher Ed. 

Jeffersonville High School graduate Alexa Roach says, “I think they are a little ridiculous, honestly. I don’t think a huge exam should be the deciding factor of whether someone has the brains or the motivation for college. Some people have test anxiety or other factors that prohibit them from performing well on something like that, and I don’t think they shouldn’t be given a chance just because of it. I can see the appeal of an entry exam for scholarship purposes or recruitment, but overall I think it is time to do away with them and come up with a new way of deciding whether students are fit for a college or not.” 

Restaurant Review: Kabuki Hibachi & Ramen

In early Spring, Kabuki Hibachi & Ramen opened up near Jeff High. From an outside view, the restaurant is welcoming and will pique your interest with windows filled with art. Upon entering, you are instantly greeted with paper lanterns, warm lighting, and a mural in a traditional Japanese style. 

First my group started with an order of crab rangoons, which is a fried dumpling filled with crab meat and cream cheese. Crab rangoons are traditionally a semi-sweet dumpling paired with a sweet and sour sauce, but the ones offered at the restaurant were sweeter than usual, which I didn’t mind. Aside from the sweetness, the dish was great. The presentation of the crab rangoons was appealing thanks to the light fabric separating the food from the plate and adding to the aesthetic, but nothing extreme.

Next we tried some sushi , beginning with an order of Pink Lady, a pastel pink-colored sushi that has tempura shrimp, spicy crab, cucumber and avocado wrapped in soy paper and topped with spicy mayo and eel sauce. The Pink Lady sushi, when given to us, had a lovely presentation. The sushi was arranged so that they looked like hearts, and at the top two sushi rolls had the tails of the tempura shrimp. The taste of the sushi matched the presentation, an amazing flavor tied together by the sauce selection. We also tried an Alaska Roll, a sushi roll which has salmon, avocado and cucumber. The Alaska roll was served on a wooden serving dish, giving it a more classic feel. It was well put together, even if it was a simple roll.

Then we moved on to the steak and scallop hibachi dinner, which consists of various vegetables such as broccoli and mushrooms, steak and scallops, your choice of fried or white rice all cooked on a Japanese teppanyaki grill and served with two specialty sauces on the side. The steak and hibachi dinner was organized so that the vegetables and meat were on one side of the plate and the rice on the other. The steak, cooked medium well, was perfect for my group, and the scallops were cooked near perfection. The rice was cooked evenly and the sauces added to the already flavorful dish.

Lastly we tried the Tonkotsu Ramen, which is a traditional ramen with egg, ramen noodles, narutomaki (a white cured fish with a pink swirl inside), a pork broth and your choice of char siu (roasted) pork or grilled chicken.The Ramen was excellent. However, expect to take some leftover Ramen home, as the portion was large, but who complains about more food? The ramen is presented with a spoon to drink the broth, numerous toppings which make the ramen aesthetically pleasing and a load of noodles for you to enjoy with everything else. In summary, the ramen was superb.

The service of the establishment was impressive, considering the low number of staff members and the amount of customers in the restaurant at the time. Our server came to check on us often, made sure we had refills for our drinks when needed and was very friendly when taking our order. The manager of the restaurant also made rounds in the restaurant to check on his guests. 

The overall experience of Kabuki was amazing, and my group and I enjoyed the experience. While the food was a little pricey, it was worth it for this spectacular small business!

Restaurant Details:

Number – (812) 590-3430

Address – 2784 Meijer Rd, Jeffersonville, IN 47130

Hours – 11 am – 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm – 9 pm, Closed on Mondays