A White Girls’ Take on Black Lives Matter


Karlee Van de Venter
Five Star Journal

The popular hashtag #BlackLivesMatter has been a trending topic for quite some time, and it is used so extensively that Twitter awarded it a specific emoticon next to the hashtag whenever it is used. Twitter does this very sparingly, with big events such as the Olympics, the Emmy’s, etc. The emoticon next to #BlackLivesMatter is three dots in a triangular shape, each with a different shade, meant to portray skin tone. The hashtag came about mainly due to the controversial topic of Trayvon Martin’s death and is considered the civil rights movement of 2016. Martin died around four years ago, and was actually shot by a neighborhood watch, rather than a cop. However, his death sparked such a reaction in the media that other police brutality cases have been rehashed.

On the other hand, many people (mostly Caucasians) took offense to the hashtag, and retaliated with #AllLivesMatter. Since then, the media has been somewhat split: For Black Lives, For All Lives, or of course, those who are indifferent.

Personally, I am 25% Taiwanese and 75% Caucasian, making me majority white, and extremely pale. I happen to fall on the #BlackLivesMatter side of the spectrum, despite the stereotype that all white teenage girls are ignorant and uneducated on the subject.

To clarify, the general point of #BlackLivesMatter is not to invalidate, ignore, or dismiss other races. The purpose is to bring attention to the lives that are being taken, innocent citizens who are being murdered (which I see as a violation of the Eighth Amendment, which is against cruel and unusual punishment) by people of authority. Those for the movement are not saying that white lives don’t matter, or Asian lives, Latina lives, or any other ethnicity. They’re simply saying that are tired of seeing people of color, people of their race, get punishments that they don’t deserve. They’re sick of the way police treat them, they’re sick of the discrimination.

I consider myself to be fairly privileged. I’m white. I’m middle class. I’ve had it pretty good, compared to a lot of my peers. But I can still have an opinion on what I observe and where I stand on social issues. I am not claiming to have experienced anything near the issue, or that I know it all when it comes to the issue. I happen to have an opinion, a fairly educated opinion, and choose to voice it.

If I could elaborate on how I see #BlackLivesMatter and the purpose of it, I’d like to use this analogy. Now, life is like a road. We’ve all heard this a million times; it’s a path you have to go down, right? Well to make it easier on us, we should probably have a pretty sturdy wheel. Of course there will still be bumps and curves in the road, but I’d rather take a smooth, even wheel than a jagged and uneven wheel down the road. The wheel represents our priorities. If we focus on, for example, school work primarily, and disregard every other aspect of our life, sure our school work will be great, and that section of the wheel will be awesome, the rest has fallen behind. And that leaves us, yet again, with a jagged, uneven wheel. So to fix it, you add in an hour of family time, to make sure your relationships don’t fail. And require yourself go to a game at least once a week. If you work on every aspect of your life like this, the other sections of the wheel will eventually reach the others and will all be evened out, giving you a beautiful, even wheel.

If we take our priorities in the circumstance of which lives matter, we can pretty much assume that the lives of black people have indeed been neglected. Sure, so have other races, but which section of the wheel is currently the lowest? We have to shift our effort in order to sustain an even wheel. That’s how I see the movement. We just want all races to have equal rights.

Since I’m on the topic, let me take a moment to say that reverse racism it not a thing. Unless you are a white person who has been legitimately discriminated against (this does not include being called a hurtful name or being told “you don’t understand”), then you cannot say that someone has been racist towards you. Yeah, it could have made you feel pretty bad, and maybe it made you insecure, but that’s being bigoted, not racist. Don’t just throw around terms like racism because you think it has more of an effect.

In summation, there are people who will believe what they want to believe, and I cannot change that, but I can do my best to educate those who will let me. My opinion will stay my opinion unless I am given new information that changes how I feel. Nobody can force me to realize that, wow, being called a cracker is racist, or whoa, I am being neglected as a white person. Before you tweet about how #AllLivesMatter, maybe do a little research as to why black lives are our priority at this particular moment in our society.

Addicted to Tech


Maya Riojas
Five Star Journal

Most of us have a device on us; whether it’s a cell phone, tablet, or even a laptop. We constantly have these gadgets on us and can’t really go out without them. Is this an addiction, or do we really need this technology with us 24/7? Many think that it’s not an addiction because we need the information that is held in our portable computers. I personally think it is an addiction. People, but mainly teens, check their phones constantly without any good reason. If we leave these things at our house or leave them anywhere but our pockets, then we’d totally flip. We can’t live without technology.

According to Daily Mail, an average user picks up their phone 85 times a day and doesn’t even realize it. We check our phones without even getting notifications and we just randomly swipe around. People spend almost 10 hours a day looking at a screen, sometimes even longer. If this wasn’t an addiction, then why do we spend a little under half of our day using technology and blankly staring at a screen? Technology is more of a distraction than a helpful source, which is taking up most our time with useless things, like scrolling through our twitter feeds and playing mindless games rather than doing important tasks like homework.

Some of my friends don’t think they’re addicted to tech and that they use their devices to do important things like looking up info or contacting people. We do basically have the world’s information inside of our smartphones, but whatever happened to textbooks? We constantly search up whatever we need on to our devices and we end up with many answers to our questions without knowing where the answers have come from. Is our addiction really that bad, to the extent where we can’t even sit down and read a section of a textbook without picking up a phone to get a straight up answer? It is helpful to use our phones to look up simple questions, but is it really necessary to look up every single thing that we can easily find in a book? We can’t really control ourselves, we can’t go on for a long periods of time without using our tech, even for the simplest tasks. Yeah, we need to be able to contact people. Some of us do have family members across the states and even across the country, but being a student I see others text their friends or use snapchat to contact people in the classroom next door. Why do people use their phones to talk to people in the same building? Because they’re bored? Or is it because they can’t even go through a whole class without using their devices?

“Enthusiastically devoted to a particular thing or activity.” The definition of being addicted. As the latest tech comes out, we all want it and we crave more. People wait in lines and camp overnight just to get the newest technology. We overpay for these “high tech” items just to satisfy our needs. When you camp outside and spend good amount of time just trying to get the latest things, then you are addicted. If you feel the need to always get the newest tech, then you are addicted. We are also on our devices day and night. We stay up way later than we actually think we do because we’re so concentrated on our phones, video game consoles, and/or laptops.

We need our phones and on us every hour of every day. We wake up to technology and go to sleep using tech. As we stay up playing video games and texting our friends, we’re extremely exhausted in the morning. We don’t realize how late it is until we look at the clock. People always want the latest gadgets and spend too much money on unnecessary items. How else are we supposed to explain this situation other than being addicted?

Mrs. Gallon, Making Her Mark on Ike


Karlee Van de Venter
Five Star Journal

Eisenhower High School over the last several years has gone through many faculty changes. Teachers continue to be hired, and our office staff is ever-changing. In some way, it’s pretty normal for us to see a new face, or a new name next to our leaders’ offices. But we should still appreciate and meet them all, because they all have our best interests at heart. That being said, I would like to put a spotlight on our new counselor, Mrs. Cynthia Gallon.

Before Ike, Mrs. Gallon was a counselor at the Yakima Online building. The Online building has a different number of kids every day, but usually never more than twenty at a time, so you can imagine the difference between these jobs. “I enjoyed my time at Online but I really enjoy all of the activities and all the people, lots of action and commotion”, Gallon told me as a comparison to her last job. Ike always has something going on, one way or another, and she has prepared herself for that and looks forward to it.

On October 6th, Ike is having a College and Career Fair. Our school district has had these in the past, and as it comes to Ike this year, Mrs. Gallon has been putting it together. “We invited over 50 people from two year, four year, and technical schools and industry jobs.” She sees this event as her first big thing at Ike and hopes many students attend.

To zoom out, you can ask any counselor for school supplies, which Mrs. Gallon answered some questions about for me. For any students who don’t have access to or can’t afford school supplies, you can pick some up from your counselor. You can get anything from a backpack to a pencil, and your counselor is happy to hand them over and help anyone who needs it. You won’t need to tell your life story, or explain your situation, just ask for help. Your counselors are there for your guidance and will never push you beyond your comfort level.

“I’m really happy to be at Ike; it’s been really fun and I’ve enjoyed every student that I’ve met, every single one.” Mrs. Gallon is here for anyone who needs her and will graciously help with a smile on her face. So if you haven’t stopped by, head to the office and meet Mrs. Gallon, give your counselor a thank you for their hard work, and grab school supplies if you need them!

The Need for Sleep


Daniel Schuppe
Five Star Journal

Teenagers like to stay up late; it’s just what we do. A lot of students don’t do well in their first few periods because they don’t get enough sleep at night. A way to solve this sleeping problem would be to start school at 9 or 10 am.

There are many studies that prove how unhealthy it is to wake up early for school. For example, in 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics said middle schools and high schools should start no earlier than 8:30 am to better sync with students’ changing sleep cycles. Other examples come from researchers at Oxford University, Harvard University, and the University of Nevada who say 18-year-olds should start their school day at 11 a.m. Some schools have already switched to a later start time At Wyoming’s Jackson Hole High School, a school that moved to a later start time at 8:55, motor vehicle crashes involving teenage drivers dropped by 70 percent.

Students suffering from sleep deprivation are unable to maximize the learning opportunities offered by the education system. According to a 2006 National Sleep Foundation poll, the organization’s most recent survey of teen sleep, more than 87 percent of high school students in the United States get far less than the recommended 8 to 10 hours, and the amount of time they sleep is decreasing — which is a serious threat to their health, safety, and academic success. Sleep deprivation increases the likelihood teens will suffer from myriad negative consequences, including an inability to concentrate, poor grades, drowsy-driving incidents, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, and even suicide attempts.

After asking 20 students whether they would want to go to school at 8 or 9 am, sixteen of them said 9, while four of them said 8. Locally, Evergreen Public Schools will push high school start times back later in the morning beginning in the fall. The district will have high school student’s start about an hour later than the current time. Elementary and middle school start times will shift only slightly. If the changes work well there, I would think that our school district might consider changing our start time. If our school district wants to keep students healthy, then starting school later would be a good starting point.