How Old Is Too Old To Go Trick–Or–Treating
Bad Past Writing From Innovator Staff
Vaping: Is It Worth The Risk
Vol. 12 Issue 1. October 2018
Features and Opinions
Fall Fest: From Study Hall To Spikeball p.5
IACS Soccer Senior Nights p.11
Environmental Science: An Alternative To Engineering For Freshman p.12–13
Walkout for Trans and Non–Binary Rights p.13
Are ILP Goals Serving Their Purpose? p.16
Vaping: Is It Worth The Risk p.19
Staff Writers (continued)
Hannah San Clemente
Spreading Love Not Hate
IACS is an environment that has been a safe place for many of the students at IACS, but do all the students feel safe here?
Advisory discussions, school wide assemblies, and other community activities provide a backdrop for the “Hate Has No Home Here” signs in front of the IACS building. Our school has been working to create an environment without discrimination where students can feel respected, like they belong. Although many things have been done to keep things safe here, name calling and hateful comments can still be heard in the hallways. Many students call their friends names and pick on each other. Most take this as a joke, but for others, it can hurt. It is not only your friends who are the ones hearing these jokes. Other students who may be a part of the “community” or “group” being talked down upon may hear them as well.
Hearing hurtful comments in a place you’re required to be everyday can make students uncomfortable and result in insecurities and hurt feelings. Everyone should be able to be themselves without having to hold their breath, look down, or force a laugh at these hateful comments and jokes.
It is as simple as being mindful of the actions or jokes being made by you and those around you that could solve this problem. Sticking up for someone when they’re clearly upset or uncomfortable can help the situation as well. Although you’ve probably heard it too many times to count, spread love not hate!
The Innovator is a student–run newspaper at Innovation Academy Charter School in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, committed to providing the IACS high school community with accurate, informative and up–to–date stories, and a public forum for student expression.
The Innovator is entirely student–run, and therefore, all decisions are made by students. The editors will often seek guidance from the faculty advisor, but all final decisions are made by the Head Editor. Questions, comments, or concerns should be directed to the Head Editor.
The Innovator is an open forum for student ideas and opinions. Ideas and opinions can be sent to The Innovator in the form of a letter–to–the–editor. The editors reserve the right to reject student submissions if they breach any of the policies listed in our charter. All editorials reflect the unanimous opinion of the newspaper staff.
You can access articles online at theinnovator.org.
All submissions can be sent to:
email@example.com. or firstname.lastname@example.org
About the cover: Drawn by Penelope McDonald, this issue's cover represents an image of "Spooky Season" considering that this issue is being printed on Halloween.
Re–Introducing Emily Brown and Lauren Donald as co–editors for future issues!
In this issue
How Old Is Too Old To Trick–Or–Treat? p. 4
Bad Writing From the Innovator Staff p.6–7
Video Game Designer Tristan Row p.8–9
Spirit Week Faces Obstacles p.10
This Month In History: The Long March p.14
4th Annual "Emma's Mitten Tree" p.15
When Does a Joke Go Too Far? p.17
Book Review: The Princess Bride p.18
By Emily Brown
Students playing Volleyball
As kids, we all remember running around our neighborhood trick–or–treating with our friends and family. But how old is too old to be Trick–or–Treating and at what age is the purpose of Halloween lost?
I, personally have yet to stop going out on Halloween night to trick–or–treat. The opportunity for free candy is an opportunity I will never pass up. My cousins and I have always gone together, and this year, my junior year, I am still planning on going trick or treating.
Junior Delaney Roberge says, “I would go trick–or–treating, but the kids in my area have all grown up, so they don’t pass out candy anymore.” Like Delaney, many other teens are willing to go but have other reasons why they don’t or can’t go. Other teens spend the night passing out candy, going to Halloween parties, or hanging out with friends watching scary movies, while other kids simply are not allowed to go out trick–or–treating because they’ve reached an age their parents deem ‘too old’.
“I haven’t gone the past two years of high school because not enough of my other friends have wanted to go,” Says Tess Colella, a junior at IACS. Some people may say it’s lame as they start to enter high school, while others still want to go and do so throughout high school.
I have always put some sort of effort into a costume. Some older teens may throw on a sports jersey and head out for the free candy, but that just takes away from the point! The main idea of Halloween is for people to dress up: whether it be toddlers in fuzzy monster costumes or twenty year olds in objectifying, and 'all–too–revealing' costumes, the costume is really what makes Halloween fun while trick–or–treating or at parties.
When children go out they want to be surrounded by monsters, characters from their favorite TV shows, or memes. As younger children go out with their parents and see seventeen–year–olds walking around in a sport jersey or a plain pair of cat ears, it ruins the magic of the night that many younger kids look forward too.
So as long as the trick–or–treaters are putting effort into dressing up and are enjoying themselves, I think teens should be allowed to enjoy that a little bit longer.
It’s just past two on a Friday, and students and staff are at war. Tug of war, to be precise.
Before 2016, a typical mid–October Friday went pretty similarly to any other Friday. A morning of classes, choice block, and excitement about the weekend. Now, every October, one Friday afternoon is fully blocked off for Fall Fest.
Fall Fest is an event that was started by student government, meant to bring more fun to everyone at the end of spirit week. Although many of the activities at fall fest have an athletic slant, there are activities for people of any interest, ranging from charades to volleyball. This year at Fall Fest there was a student vs. teacher tug–of–war match, followed by a water balloon toss.
This year’s Fall Fest had two significant differences compared to last year’s. The first of these is the lack of middle schoolers present. However, the changes weren’t just cutting things out. Student government also added in the full school activities, tug–of–war and the water balloon toss. Reactions to this change was mostly positive. “I liked it," said High School Spanish teacher Warren Billings. "Everyone was participating and doing a good job, I liked the all school activity at the end too.”
Another major change this year was the difference in scheduling. Student Government Co–President Sebastian Chavez said that “This year, we have people choosing their activities. Whereas last year we had everybody staying with their advisory...everybody has their own individual schedules they can follow.”
Student opinions on Fall Fest are varied, with one student, Junior Gabrielle Renaud, saying, “I’d be immensely more productive if I was just allowed to even just do the study hall the whole time or regularly go to choice block.”
Junior Mer McCauley says “A lot of people have talked about, [how] they’d rather have a pep rally, or [that] they’d rather be in their choice block.”
Sophomore Cathy Portuondo said “It was actually better than last year, it was a bit more fun...we weren’t that motivated last year.” Sophomore Alex Merkel said “I was in capture the flag and I thoroughly enjoyed my fall fest activity...the water balloon contest was cool… it got everybody doing one thing and enjoying it too.”
While student opinions on Fall Fest remain mixed, Student Government should be commended for the work and effort they put into making it the best it can be.
How Old Is Too Old To Go Trick–Or–Treating?
"It was actually better than last year, it was a bit more fun... we weren't that motivated last year"
Students playing The Blob
Photos by Penelope McDonald and Kathryn Baird
Fall Fest: From Study Hall To Spike Ball
By Kathryn Baird and Penelope McDonald
Art by Nam Bui
6th Grade Hannah San–Clemente
Dance Creative Writing
My name is Joslin, and I dance for a life
I have ballet class first, so I need to wear pink tights, a leotard and what they call, booty shorts
We position the bars in the center of the dance studio
We bend our legs, in a manner in which we are not to stick our bottoms out, and act as if a wall is behind us.
There once was a fellow named Shane
Who must have been like the criminally insane
Opportunity knocked on the door
Killing Rick seemed to be his top chore
Shane deserved to feel that pain
A large unidentified being approached our new place of living. When I asked the intruder to identify himself I realized that I had met this earthling before. He was Kicker, from daycare from past years.
7th Grade Emily Brown
Excerpt From Changelings and Normalities
The sun was shining through the clouds. for at least six months now, that is the only way it shined. No one has seen the crystal blue skies or the fluffy clouds of sector three.
Excerpt From What She Saw
Light, she finally saw. She could feel the world slipping away. And she finally saw him, her only friend, her one true love.
By Kathryn Baird
Art By Alex Pace
6th Grade Jesena Kalabokis
I took a deep breath, then began, “Last night, I saw an actual UFO”.
I paused, waiting to see his reaction. He looked down at his black sneakers, ran his hands through his messy dark hair. “Are you sure you saw one?” he intensely whispered.
I recognized who she was. The neighbors called her ¨The Freaky Suit Lady¨.
6th Grade Nathan Smith
Excerpt from Darkness
Down in the depths where blackness is blacker than black and red is black and now you're dead and there is no escaping welcome to hell (que pan of hell)
Excerpt from Falling Leaves
What if every leaf that falls is just a dead soul giving up falling off the tree of life thats me why do they fall why not rise on the wind to taught the faces of the living
Bad Past Writing From The Innovator Staff
Although the Innovator staff may seem like they know what they're doing, it wasn't always that way...
Art by Penelope McDonald
Video Game Designer Tristan Row
You may know him from his trombone at boys varsity games or from IACS’ unofficial mascot Larry The Skeleton, the man, the myth, the legend, Tristan Rowe.
Tristan is a senior here at Innovation. His favorite way to spend his time is with video game design. He is in the process of developing a few different games but says “One idea I’ve been working on for awhile now involves a Lumberjack escaping the depths of hell itself.” His passion for video game design will continue through college and a possible future career. Tristan is planning on going to Champlain college and majoring in Video Game Design.
Although he is busy with video game design, writing, school work, and applying to colleges you should definitely try to get to know Tristan Row more.
If you would like to nominate a friend to be featured in next our next issue you can email @email@example.com or dm our Instagram @innovatornews and let us know!
Item #: SCP–3836
Object Class: Euclid
Special Containment Procedures: SCP–3836 is to be kept in a 4 meter by 4 meter by 5 meter chamber, furnished with a bed, sink, shower and jungle gym. SCP–3836 is to be provided with tools and small pieces of machinery for entertainment as requested. Music may be played in the chamber at SCP–3836's request between the hours of 9 AM and 6 PM. SCP–3836 may be allowed to exit its chamber and travel the facility, provided it has at least one escort.
SCP–3836 is to be fed twice a day, and is to receive an oil change monthly.
Any materials used in testing with SCP–3836 must be approved by any Level 3 or higher staff before use. All testing is to be performed on the outdoors demolitions testing range onsite, with all observers behind a protective barrier.
Description: SCP–3836 is the corpse of an adult male Western Lowland Gorilla1. The upper half of the corpse has most of the flesh missing and bears light scorch marks over the exposed bone. The skull has a large split down the middle of the face, and has no flesh on it other than the eyeballs. Minor decomposition has occurred across the body, as well as minor injuries. All blood in SCP–3836 has been replaced with a mixture of commercially–available engine oil through unknown means. If this oil is not changed at least once every 6 weeks, SCP–3836 will enter a comatose state until new oil is provided. SCP–3836 normally wears a large pair of heavily–stained overalls, workboots and tinted protective goggles.
Despite the damage done to it, SCP–3836 remains fully animate and sapient, and is capable of movement and crude speech. SCP–3836 has shown to have much higher levels of intelligence than other members of its species, being able to read and write in English and perform basic arithmetic, albeit both with occasional frequent errors. SCP–3836 demonstrates expertise in the areas of mechanics and engineering, despite lacking in other areas of intelligence normally essential to understanding such materials. It has shown to have a simplistic personality, and enjoys listening to fast–paced music and making repairs and modifications to motor vehicles. The goal of these creations, as stated repeatedly by SCP–3836, is to "Go fast".
The primary anomalous ability of SCP–3836 is the creation and application of anomalous modifications to motor vehicles. Without fail, any and all modifications made by SCP–3836 will result in anomalous phenomena occurring upon attempts to drive the vehicle. These anomalies include successful installation of normally incompatible mechanisms, bestowing anomalous properties upon preexisting components via normal physical modification, and the fabrication and usage of entirely new anomalous components. Any attempts to replicate these modifications by any individual other than SCP–3836 have resulted in failure.
By Tristan Rowe
Please note that this piece is a work of fiction. The SCP Foundation is a fictional organization created for the SCP–Wiki website, a creative writing site designed to appear similar to a governmental database. This article was written by Row and published to the site earlier this year.
SCP–3836, seen without its gear.
Photo by Greer Ballam
Spirit Week Faces Obstacles
"It's important for the student body to be involved in the community"
Monday, October 15 through Friday October 19, the Innovation Academy Student government held Spirit Week, a week–long event consisting of daily themes and culminating in the annual fall festival. For many students of IACS, it was a fun opportunity to dress up and post quickly posed Instagram photos with friends. The halls were filled with 1980’s hair scrunchies, Winnie The Pooh Onesies, sports jerseys, and suspenders. But for many IACS students, Spirit Week was nothing more than another “forced team building” exercise that distracted from our actual responsibilities.
IACS Spirit Week, like any school event, had its faults – but this doesn’t mean it was a failure. While many students felt the themes were uninteresting or forgettable, they still love the idea of Spirit Week and would participate more if there were better themes.
"It’s not that something wasn't done well – I know that Student Government puts a lot of effort into planning these events,” Says Emma Foley, junior and Innovator staff writer. “It’s very important for the student body to be involved in the community, and nobody really participated in Spirit Week, as far as I know, because nobody enjoyed it.”
Sebastian Chavez, Co–President of Student Government, gave us some insight on how the Spirit Week sub–committee goes about student outreach. "We like to go out and ask people. However, it hasn't been as efficient in recent years. We like to gauge what our student body is interested by going around and asking our friends and large groups of people, ‘what were you interested in seeing?’” They then bring the information gathered back to Student Government and vote as a group on each category. Teshi Waruingi, Co–President, adds, “I think the way we handle spirit week works, and it has always worked.”
Sebastian notes that one major obstacle they have encountered is that students tend to suggest themes they aren’t capable of doing.
“One of the big ones is meme day… We tried. Multiple times. [Administration] just said that we can’t do that. As for vine day, we thought about it. Before even sending it to administration, we knew that vine day was just a rewording of meme day, in a sense. Although it’s different, the argument can be made that it’s very much similar, and we figured that it was kind of trying to go around [the administration]... In Student Government, although it’s for the students, we can’t work around the laws that are set in place. And we have tried to push for things before. We just have to pick and choose the battles we fight.”
All in all, Spirit Week 2018 was a nice distraction from the mounting stress of high school – but it isn’t truly living up to its potential. Between the unstable community outreach methods and the lack of wiggle room with the administration, Spirit Week and the Student Government running are struggling to stay enticing. Here’s to hoping new things are on the horizon for Spirit Week 2019.
By Lauren Donald
On the brisk afternoon of Wednesday October 24, the boys varsity soccer team had their Senior “Night” against Pope John XXIII High School. They had previously faced off against Pope John earlier in the season at Pope John XXIII High School in Everett which resulted in a 4–2 win.
The Innovation Hawks were not as dominant in the rematch at home. The Pope John Tigers scored an early goal to start off the game which was soon followed by another goal. senior Patrick Candor broke Pope John’s clean sheet with two goals. In the second half, senior Sebastian Chavez, who usually plays goalkeeper, scored as a forward. Then, Pope John scored a series of two goals. With defeat nearing, captain and senior Marco Savi scored the final goal, tying the game.
After the game, the seniors had their photos taken with each other and family. Two former seniors, Tim Sargent and Johannes Crueger–Cain (aka Finn), were also present at the game.
The boys varsity soccer team has qualified for playoffs. They will most likely play and away game on November 1st or 2nd for the first round. Prior to playoffs, they will face St. Peter Marian High School away on October 29 and Archbishop Williams High School at home on October 30.
This year’s girls varsity Senior Night was dedicated to one of the team captains, and the team’s only senior, Sydney Malen. Though the final score was 3–1 it did not prevent the IACS student body from cheering on our team. Seniors Parker Morrow and Ben McKinnon had an “ESPN” table set up and air horns loudly portrayed school spirit from it.
In the first half of the game, Mystic Valley scored 2 goals. Our team’s only goal was scored by number 7, Isabela Schmalz. The girls did an amazing job, despite the final score. Their season ends with a last home game before (hopefully!) reaching the playoffs on Saturday, October 27 against Archbishop Williams High School.
The night ended with a few speeches from the girls on the team talking about how she would be missed as a role model and as a friend. We wish them good luck with the rest of the season, and to Sydney with life after senior year.
Senior Night Or Sydney Night
By Nam Bui
Boys Soccer Senior Night
By Penelope McDonald
Innovation Academy Students are calling for a walkout at 10AM, on November 6th to raise awareness on Question 3 on the Massachusetts Ballot.
Question 3 is calling to repeal a previously passed law in Massachusetts that prevents discrimination against transgender citizens in our state in public accommodations. Answering “No” on the question is a vote to repeal the law and take away the prevention of discrimination, and answering “Yes” on the question calls to keep the law and protect the rights of transgender people in Massachusetts.
The walkout is being planned in order to raise awareness on the issue and remind transgender students at IACS that they are not alone.
Sophomore Em McDonald, one of the people planning the walkout, said, “It’s going to consist of a couple of speeches from various attendees of the GSA.” McDonald also said, “It’s not just ‘Oh hey, trans people’s rights are at stake, so you can miss 30 minutes of class.’ It’s a protest. It’s leaving class to say ‘We’re not gonna put up with discrimination.’”
The walkout is being planned with the help of Math Teacher April Dunning, and more information will be available in the morning announcements later this week.
Walkout for Transgender Rights
"It's been a long dream of mine to develop a course that was able to take full advantage of the woods and the land that we have, and giving the students the opportunity to go outside more"
Freshmen are now receiving the opportunity to have a choice between two Science class options: Engineering and Environmental Science. Many of the upperclassmen have only had the experience of taking Engineering as freshmen, and it has been this way for years, so why is the system now suddenly changing?
Environmental Science Teacher Katharine Hinkle explained, “It’s been a long dream of mine to develop a course that was able to take full advantage of the woods and the land that we have, and giving the students the opportunity to go outside more often.”
Ms. Hinkle went on to clarify that freshmen had always had an amazing, hands–on Engineering class, but it was their only option.
When the high school transitioned to Sophomores taking Science MCAS for Biology, they decided to take advantage of the chance for freshmen to get more choices, since there was no longer a state requirement for 9th graders to take the Engineering course.
Ms. Hinkle, who has always had a love of nature and the environment, describes the curriculum as a field based approach that takes full advantage of the nearly 200 acres that we have on our school campus. She tells us that the class’s goals include using a “wonderful living lab, and being able to use that as a springboard to understanding ecosystem dynamics and environmental sustainability.”
So far, a major topic that the class has covered is invasive species, specifically the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and its effects on Hemlock trees, which we have an abundance of on our campus.
Another focus within the class is how to identify different species of Coniferous (or “evergreen”) and Deciduous (or “broadleaf”) trees. As the year goes on, the class will broaden its focus to topics such as “Cycles and Systems”, as well as “Sustainability”.
Freshman, Sarah Wagner, describes the class as really fun because they get to go outside and explore nature, and all of its wonders.
So, how do Engineering and Environmental Science compare? Natalie Williams described Engineering as enjoyable and fun so far, although she does find it to be pretty easy. Wagner describes her Environmental Science class as even better than she could have imagined compared to what she expected when she signed up for the course.
Overall, it appears that it really comes down to the amount of interest you have in the topics taught within the Science class you are in to determine whether or not you will enjoy it.
Williams explained, “I chose Engineering compared to Environmental Science because I thought Engineering would further my proficiency in the career I want to go into when I leave high school.”
This thought process can relate back to Environmental Science if you have a strong interest in this as a career. “I think that having an awareness of Environmental Science and all the different environmentally focused careers that are out there, taking the 9th grade Environmental Science class hopefully will be a good introduction to that, and the many careers that can come out of a job related to nature and the environment,” Ms. Hinkle adds.
Environmental Science appears to be a great option for freshmen interested in ecology, and students hope that the class will continue alongside Engineering.
If you are a student interested in Environmental Science consider joining the Green Team or Envirothon team, both led by Ms. Hinkle, through which students can learn and think about the environment, as well as their relationship with the world.
By Jesena Kalabokis
Environmental Science: An Alternative to Engineering for Freshmen
Please note: An interviewee in this article (Em McDonald) is a relative of the author of this article (Penelope McDonald)
4th Annual "Emma's Mitten Tree"
BY Grace Madonna
For the fourth year in a row, IACS will be holding “Emma’s Mitten Tree” donation drive, in the school cafeteria. This wonderful act of charity began four years ago with IACS alumni Emma Chaitin during her internship with the Thom Anne Sullivan Center, a nonprofit early intervention program dedicated to supporting children and their families that have or are at risk of developmental delays or disabilities. “Thom Anne Sullivan Center is a certified Early Intervention Program serving infants and toddlers from birth to three years and their families in Lowell, Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, and Westford.”
This year, Senior Lindsey Sablone and Junior Grace Madonna have inherited the Thom Anne Sullivan Center internship roles. The two do basic office work for the hardworking employees at the center, help out at playgroups with toddlers, and are now taking on the Mitten Tree drive.
Emma, now a sophomore at UMass Lowell, participated in Millipore’s toy drives with her family for as long as she can remember. It was their favorite part of the holidays to take an ornament off of a tree that had a child’s name on it and what they wanted for a present. Her family would then buy the gift together and donate it to the program. As a high school junior in 2015, she decided she wanted to create an impactful way to support our community and local families during the holiday season, just as Millipore did. This small idea of giving grew into what we now know as Emma’s Mitten Tree.
This drive provides numerous items for families living at or below the poverty line, like winter clothing and toys for the kids—aged zero to sixteen—and necessary hygiene products for the parents. These are all items that would otherwise be a strenuous expense.
To help give back to our local families, starting Tuesday, November 13th, you can grab a mitten from the tree in the cafeteria with a child’s name (changed to protect privacy) and gift suggestion list, then bring any of those gifts unopened and unwrapped to the donation box in the cafeteria. The drive will close on Wednesday, December 12th.
A list of suggested items that families need can be found below:
Children’s board books
Toothbrushes and toothpaste
The program is incredibly grateful for your abundant generosity that has been displayed in the past, and thank you in advance for what is sure to be another great holiday season.
Contacts for inquiries:
Founder of the Mitten Tree
TASC parent liaison
An example of a small fraction of gracious donations received in the past
This Month In History
By Nathan Smith
This column will strive to inform the readers on impactful political and tactical moments that took place that month, in years previous; it will also attempt to explain to the readers its contemporary implications.
"Made in China” these might be one of the most common words to see written on products, but how did China go from an agrarian culture pushed around by Europe to the industrial juggernaut it is today?
84 years ago this month, hundreds of thousands of men marched 6000 miles with nearly a full country on their backs. They carried with them a hope for one China, unified under the communist flag. Kuomintang, or nationalist Chinese, soldiers chased them the whole way, men, women and children fighting and dying together.
After a year of hard marching through the harsh Chinese winter mountains and the baking Chinese summer plains they reached Yan’an, their last stronghold in the communist–dominated and isolated province of Shaanxi. This march is widely considered to be the defining moment of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) as it both gave propaganda to the Communists and severely weakened the Kuomintang.
In history there are few moments that can honestly be claimed to have literally changed the face of the earth; the Long March is one of these moments. If this march had not happened, if the CPC had not taken the trek to Shaanxi, they would have been destroyed pocket by pocket after Chiang–Kai Shek’s northern thrust. Without the CPC’s support the United Front would have been woefully outmatched when the Japanese invaded and China would have fallen to the Japanese.
Regardless of the “what–ifs”, we know what effect the Long March had. These effects extend from increasing communist support among Chinese after learning of the Kuomintang’s brutality, to providing a northern bulwark to the Japanese advance.
Even after the Second Sino–Japanese War its effects continued to be felt: China had been severely weakened by the Japanese invasion but the communists had been largely unaffected and had, in fact, only been strengthened by the Japanese invasion as it gave them experience for their new troops.
In 1946 the CPC began its advance into Nationalist China; the Long March had given them travel and mobile infantry combat experience, their home in the mountainous province of Shaanxi had given them guerilla warfare expertise as well as the ability to outmaneuver the Kuomintang in the mountains.
The Long March has one of the most long reaching implications for the world of any world event, the rise of communism in the east escalated the Cold War to even higher heights and allowed the rapid industrialization of China into the world power it is today.
The Long March
The room is deadly quiet as Mr. Pereyra walks on stage in front of 200 children. He begins a fateful speech: "I've been noticing a lot of things like this recently," and, with finger–guns pointed at an imaginary friend he continues: "Eyyy! Kill yourself." The audience explodes into laughter. The point, no matter its intentions, was lost.
That scene happened two years ago during a 7/8 community meeting, the trend being discussed: suicide jokes. These can generally be divided into two categories: telling someone to kill themselves and saying one wants to kill oneself.
People who make suicide jokes often claim they are “just jokes," or, in some cases, "edgy." And, to be sure, dark humor can be a fantastic way of making a point, diffusing a situation, or making it easier to discuss a difficult issue. Although sometimes "helpful" in that sense, these jokes can be misconstrued very easily and they can stray far from their roots in comedy to a more insidious level of truth layered in the joke.
Most of the people I know make these self–deprecating kinds of jokes all the time. But even if we go over the line sometimes, it’s our life we're joking about, not someone else's.
But the “kill yourself” jokes are very different. Occasionally these can be funny, but, more often than not they are leveled in a hurtful way, rather than a joking way.
Most of you have probably made and/or been on the receiving end of these hurtful jokes, and many people I know can tell you from experience that a good portion of the time these attacking jokes hurt, especially when someone genuinely struggles with suicidal thoughts.
Suicide jokes only represent a subset of this dark humor. Any difficult or controversial topic can be made “edgy”. Everything from suicide to the Holocaust to political ideology. I would argue that a vast majority of these jokes aren’t bad. They, in fact, expose people to ideas and concepts they may be uncomfortable with in a way that allows laughter, and, thusly, is relatively positive.
I think the kind of dark humor that seems most pertinent right now is, in fact, mental health. For those without an intimate knowledge of mental illness, the shared culture among teens of joking around about suicide can reveal hidden pain within their peers, and, for those suffering from mental illness, the culture of humor about these topics can make them feel less ostracized and more accepted.
That is not to say that jokes about mental health don't walk a very fine line, because there is a vast difference between joking about and making light of something.
I personally think that we are slowly straying towards a split of those who will make light of something and minimize the pain and difficulty it causes, and those who think that any jokes or discussion that isn’t 100% serious about these topics is unacceptable.
I think that in the end, as long as people acknowledge and learn from their mistakes then ultimately these jokes will end up benefiting social discourse. I urge everyone reading this article to make these jokes, at the appropriate times, and if they end badly then learn from them and don’t repeat them in the future.
When Does a Joke Go
Everyone knows the collective groan that sweeps IACS when Individual Learning Plans are brought up in advisory after an all too short summer.
In theory, ILP goals should not be such a dreaded topic in school, but the dislike for them among students brings up the question of whether or not they are actually effective.
Individual Learning Plans, also known as ILP’s, have been woven into IACS culture as a way to help students take initiative in identifying the areas in which they can improve themselves.
“It’s about prioritizing the things that matter to you,” says Senior Advisory Coordinator Elizabeth Olesen. They are also meant to help students build leadership skills that can be applied to many areas of their adult lives, like running a meeting or advocating for themselves during a difficult situation.
In this way, ILP’s are closely tied to the core values of IACS, and are a huge part of what makes the school unique. To many students, though, they are just another item on the long to–do list of portfolio requirements.
Though many of the students at IACS try to create goals and strategies that are applicable to their lives, they often find that putting in the extra effort of working towards them outside of school can be a lot to handle. “It’s not at the top of my priority list, with all of the homework, projects, and everything else going on,” said Sophomore Sophia Paolillo, who is well–versed in ILPs.
One of the largest annoyances of ILP goals from the student perspective have to be the strategies that they are supposed to implement in their lives. Freshman Brendon Bettencourt, who came over from the IACS middle school with previous exposure to ILP’s, finds himself discontinuing the use of his strategies after a short period of time, because they aren’t a regular part of his routine.
Some students claim that the extra stress of ILPs hasn’t paid off in the ways that our school had imagined. “ILP goals don’t help me get to know myself better at all,” says Sophomore Tyler Donkoh–Halm, another student that has experienced both middle and high school adaptations of ILP goals.
In the end, “it’s not just about jumping through hoops,” Olesen said. She hopes that her advisees will carry with them “the idea of thinking about, reflecting on, and developing priorities, and thinking about what is holding them back, and being honest with themselves about that, and what they want to shift in their lives.”
Whether you support ILP’s or not, there has clearly been an error in communication somewhere along the line about them, because students don’t seem to be getting as much as they are supposed to out of the work that they put into them. In that regard, they don’t seem to be working as well as they could be.
"It's not at the top of my priority list, with all of the homework, projects, and everything else going on."
IACS Student thinking about ILPs
Student and Advisor discuss ILP goal tracking
Are ILP Goals Actually Serving Their Purpose?
By Hannah San Clemente
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts please tell a trusted adult or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800–273–TALK (8255)
Vaping: Is It Worth The Risk?
In today’s day and age, to some, clout is everything. It’s just a matter of how you earn it. For some, it may be through the e–cigarette, but at what risk?
Recently, IACS, along with other schools, have been having issues with vaping. According to Dr. Arnold, there were eight recorded violations of Innovation’s vaping rules in the 2017–18 school year. According to the handbook, consequences for vaping can include suspension “for up to 10 days” and “may require the involvement of the local police.”
On the current evolving issue of vaping, Dr. Arnold commented, “Vaping has been a growing problem, the first we saw was maybe 3 years ago, and it was pretty minor back then, but last year the middle school had a few incidents and the high school had [several].”
Dr. Arnold believes that the cause of the issue is the way vaporizers are marketed. “In the process of switching adults from cigarette smokers to vaporizer, they’ve also created a whole new market of young people that were never going to smoke cigarettes, but they’re willing to try vaping.” Along with this, e–cigarette companies offer a variety of flavors for their products. A combination of the perceived level of risk and the various flavors can make it relatively attractive to teens.
When asked about how the issue can be mitigated, Arnold said that the answer to vaping, like smoking, is in education. “I’d say education is part of it. At the beginning of the year I let everyone know about the problem, and how it’d lead to suspension.”
Sophomore Hope Coleman–Plourde is currently taking health and says that vaping is a subject that is being covered. Coleman–Plourde knows that there are not a lot of restrictions on vaping and that there are no long term studies its effects. Another sophomore who is currently taking health, Alex Merkle, says that vaping has been marketed as an alternative to smoking and that it’s possibly harmful.
A Sophomore girl who vapes on occasion, but wished to remain anonymous, spoke about “social vaping” – vaping with friends or at parties. This student said that she vapes for the social factor, not because of a nicotine addiction. She also said that, as someone growing up around smokers, vaping is “not a big deal.” She doesn’t believe that vaping is addictive, although nicotine has been proven to be highly addictive. She also says that as a minor, e–cigarettes and pods can be more expensive because they have to be bought from someone who is of age.
Other students who don’t vape have different opinions on vaping. Sophomore Caitlin Pennie says, “Vaping is bad and kids who have never done it shouldn’t start.” Coleman–Plourde added, “I think it’s not intelligent to inhale anything but air.”
Recently, the FDA, in a press release, has given vape/e–cigarette companies like Blu and Juul until mid–November to show how they can keep minors from obtaining access to such products. If the companies are not able to prove this, then they will see tougher restrictions from the FDA.
Many younger teens have started vaping for the social experience, but they might not know about the extremely addictive substance inside of their fruit medley pods. Is it worth the risk to gain so called “clout”?
By Nam Bui and Penelope McDonald
The Princess Bride Review
Everybody knows about The Princess Bride. It’s a classic movie: funny, action packed and entertaining for pretty much anyone. But did you know that it was based on a book? And did you know that that book… well, let’s just get started.
Like the movie, the fantasy part of the story is set within a real life one. In the movie, it's the story of a loving grandfather who passes a family tradition on to his grandson,teaching his grandson about life in the process. But in the book, it's the story of a washed up author remembering a book read to him as a child, but then as he finds that the actual book is full of dull political satire, he sets about "abridging" it.
Whoa! What a cool concept!
But by the first chapter, the author’s obnoxious voice has already ruined any chance this concept had of working, and he’s not done. To put it frankly, he’s mean. I mean, some of the humor about his annoying wife and overweight son might have been funny in 1973, but now it’s just unnecessary. Nobody’s interested in reading a whole chapter about how he almost cheated on his wife (But didn’t!) and now you’re just trying to get your son to read, but the book you thought he’d love is actually really boring and now you have to JUST GET TO THE STORY!
Once the actual story starts, you may think “oh good. The worst of it is over.” But oh no, it’s not. The story is actually pretty close to the movie, which is really the only thing that earns this book it’s 4.5 points. While it retains most of the same major plot points, it feels so... bland. You know how some movie adaptations of books seem to take all the nuance out and replace it with just blah? This book is the exact opposite. The events of the book work better on screen, the book just isn’t well written enough to have the same effect. Also, Remember our friend Obnoxious McGee? Well, He’s Back. Repeatedly. He cuts in regularly throughout the book to offer yet more of his unsolicited opinions. It’s just what we wanted!
But seriously, if you’re somebody who likes a sarcastic overtone in what you read, you may have even found the contrast between high fantasy and cynical real life interesting. But if you’re not one of those exactly 3.5 people, and you generally like things that are enjoyable, I’d say to just stick with the movie.
By Emily Brown and Nathan Smith
1. Who wrote? "last night, I saw an actual UFO”
2. What does Tristan spend his free time doing?
4. From study hall to...
The Innovator Crossword Puzzle
3. The capitol of the retreating CPC.
4. What season is it???
5. Who teaches the Environmental Science class?
6. What is Independent Learning Plan known as?
7. The only Senior on the girls varsity soccer team.
8. The original name of Halloween
9. Whats on the cover?