Category Archives: Lifestyle

Why Do We Need Safe Spaces?

Staff Writer, Allie Akers

Ever since the Presidential election in 2016, “Safe Spaces” have been popping up all over the country, mostly on college campuses. Schools and students have felt they are now necessary due to fear, anxiety, and hate, and these rooms have been fiercely debated over the past couple of years. Many believe that safe spaces in schools are needed, due to the strong differences in opinions that divide many Americans. Others find them unnecessary, feeling that safe spaces coddle people instead of exposing them to other viewpoints and that they violate the First Amendment right of free speech. As many students at Voyager Academy High School have noticed, this year we have our own safe space room on campus, located in the English II / AP Lang classroom.

Ms. Barber, originally from Missouri, is a new teacher at Voyager Academy High School. Before she came here, she was teaching at a boarding school for kids with ADHD. The Viking Tide interviewed Ms. Barber, asking about the Safe Space sticker outside her classroom door. She said that at her former school, “There was a hate act by a staff member targeted towards the Q.S.A (Queer Straight Alliance). As the advisor of the club, I wanted to help educate people how to love others for who they are.” She then started training for safe schools in NC, specifically for the LGBTQ community, which is where she acquired the Safe Space sticker. When asked who was the safe space for, in which she responded, “It’s for anyone who feels different or threatened for who they are, whether they’re students or staff.” When asked how the students respond to the idea of a Safe Space, Ms. Barber said, “Some students don’t grasp the weight of it. They think it’s a joking term which tends to be a connotation with this generation. They’re just misinterpreting it. However, the students in my classroom are happy and participate, which is a positive effect of the Safe Space.”

The Viking Tide interviewed some students on safe spaces and whether they think we need one in Voyager or not. Sebastian Diaz is a sophomore who attends Voyager Academy High School. “I think safe spaces, theoretically, should not have to exist. People should be able to talk or practice whatever they want within reason without fear of persecution.” Austin Shepard is also a VAHS sophomore. He stated, “I don’t agree with them. They infringe on people’s right to the first amendment right to express how they feel and only let one group express their opinion. They only let people with the same idea express their opinion.” The Viking Tide then asked these two students if they could imagine using a safe space. Austin replied with; “No, I feel that everyone should be able to express how they feel openly. I enjoy open discussions and debates with opinions on either side.” Sebastian says, “I don’t feel like I’d personally need one. I mean I honestly don’t care what people think about me or what I say.” The final questions Viking Tide asked was do they think Voyager needs a safe place. Austin’s stance on this question is, “No, because students of Voyager should be allowed to have open debates between one another.”

I believe that we do need these safe spaces because they help people who may feel threatened and unsafe to be able to express themselves freely and without fear of repercussion. As a student at Voyager, I have not personally felt victimized. However, when our civics class has debates on current events, I get very worked up, passionate, and emotional, even when these issues don’t directly affect me. Conversely, students with opposing viewpoints also can get emotional as well, and often, the debate becomes very heated and can get intensely personal. I honestly can’t imagine what it would feel like to be someone who is affected by the subject of one of these debates and is debating or fighting just to be themselves. (Recent debates have included DACA and the meaning and use of the Confederate flag.) Because of this, I absolutely understand the usefulness of these rooms. There is a great diversity of people who attend this school and a safe space should always be available, so everyone can truly feel safe to be themselves and know that they are supported unconditionally, even when they feel targeted or victimized. Having a safe space harms no one, but it can benefit anyone.

APA Citations:

Furedi, F. (2017, January 05). Campuses are breaking apart into ‘safe spaces’. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-furedi-safe-space-20170105-story.html

SafeSpace. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2017, from https://www.safespace.org/

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2017, from http://ncsafespace.org/

Shulevitz, J. (2015, March 21). Opinion | In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/opinion/sunday/judith-shulevitz-hiding-from-scary-ideas.html?mcubz=0

Photo: 

Simo, O., & Simo, A. O. (2016, September 10). University Safe Spaces and Trigger Warnings:The Downfall of Higher Ed. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://oldsimo.com/education/univeristy-safe-spaces-trigger-warnings/

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Should Apple’s new iphone cost one thousand dollars?

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 2.44.02 PMSenior and Staff Writer, Ugonna Ezuma-Igwe

Apple released a new iPhone on September 13, 2017: The iPhone X. Before the release, the cost was rumored to be around thousand dollars. This would have been an significant increase in price compared to the average cost of previous iPhone. The average selling price of an iPhone is $605. The Viking Tide wanted to know about how the students and administrators of Voyager Academy felt about the new iPhone. We asked them if they would buy it, if Apple’s demographic of buyer change due to the significant price increase, and if the modifications of the iPhone is worth the price increase?

The significant price increase is due to the new features added to the iPhone. The major hardware changes are an edge-to-edge OLED screen, glass front and back and stainless steel frame. This is the first time Apple has put glass on the front and back. The OLED screen improves color accuracy, high contrast ratio, and true blacks. The major software changes are facial recognition, higher iPhone display resolution and wireless charging. The facial recognition allows you to simply raise the device, look at it, and swipe up on the screen to unlock the device and use Apple Pay. The iPhone X has the highest iPhone resolution ever with 458 pixels per inch. The X can now charge by being placed on an inductive charging pad.

We asked Ms.Wolfe, the English teacher for juniors and sophomores, if she would she buy the new iPhone. She said, “No, I don’t even have the new 7 and the reviews from the 7 don’t sound that great.” She went on to criticize the changes that were made to the iPhone 7 which lead to the next question; are the modifications of the phone worth the price increase? Her response was, “No, they are not they are just trying to get the money from people who are addicted to their phone.” She even went on to say that some of the new modifications, “sounded kind of creepy.” The idea that Apple is continuously trying to find new way to take people’s money was a common opinion among the people that were interviewed. Ms.Wolfe said, “it’s good to have the idea of buying quality and quantity but there is a point where that line is crossed,” and students agreed. She also believes, “There will be people that will buy it but there will also be a lot more people going another direction.”; this means that some people will have no problem buying the phone while a lot more will find an alternative option.

Seniors, Camryn Dunn and Caitlin Leggett, both said no to buying the phone, but for very different reasons. Camryn’s main problem is that, “they add things that are stupid.” She felt that the previous changes that have been made were unnecessary. For example, she felt that removing the headphone jack was useless because now people can not charge their phone and use their headphones. Referring back to what Ms.Wolfe said about Apple trying to get people’s money, Apple took away the headphone jack to give incentive to buyers to buy their new bluetooth earphones that did not require a jack. Unlike Camryn, Caitlin’s main problem was the price. She said, “No, that is .1 of my yearly college tuition.” She is currently working on college applications and the last thing she is ready to do is spend a thousand dollars on a phone.

We asked Mr. Ingram, the APES & Earth and Environmental teacher, if he would buy the new iPhone. He said, “I’m not paying a one thousand dollars for a phone,” and went to say even if he got a raise he still would not. He believes that Apple is heading in the wrong direction by following the competition. To elaborate he said, “their business model is based off innovation and giving the consumer what they want before they know what they want but instead they are following what the competition has already done.” He was saying that the new features on the IPhone X have already been on android phones. For example, in 2009 Palm released their smartphone, “Pre” that came with optional wireless charging. Phones with wireless charging are not new at all; they have been around for eight years. We then asked him, “would Apple’s demographic of buyer change,” and his response was, “Overall less people will change but at the end of the day if someone wants an iPhone then they’ll buy an iPhone.”

Overall, teachers and students were not willing to spend thousand dollars on the new iPhone, but they all had different rationale on why they would not. Many people really love Apple’s device, but do not love the price especially the fact that they keep increasing.

Plummer, L. (2017, September 19). Apple has unveiled its 10th anniversary iPhone X – here’s what you need to know. Retrieved September 19, 2017, from http://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/iphone-x-release-date-specs-10669502?service=responsive

The iPhone X (or whatever the new iPhone will be called) is expected to come with all the bells, & Screen, W. A. (2017, September 11). Is anyone really going to spend $1,000 on the iPhone X? Retrieved September 19, 2017, from http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/11/technology/gadgets/iphone-x-1000-dollars/index.html

Thursday September 14, 2017 6:00 AM PDT by Joe Rossignol, 1 hour ago on Front Page, 4 hours ago on Front Page, 15 hours ago on Front Page, 19 hours ago on Front Page, 20 hours ago on Front Page, . . . 1 day ago on Front Page. (2017, September 14). 50 New Features in iPhone X. Retrieved September 19, 2017, from https://www.macrumors.com/2017/09/14/50-new-features-in-iphone-x/

Palm Pre. (2017, September 17). Retrieved September 19, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_Pre

One Tree Hill says final goodbye

original_five_of_one_tree_hill
Creative Commons One Tree Hill image

The struggle of seeing a favorite Netflix show removed from the line-up is a real one. However, for the most part, Netflix has kept one show that is a personal favorite for several VAHS students.  One Tree Hill is being officially removed from Netflix starting October 1st, 2017. That means that you have a little under a month to binge watch your favorite episodes. From the Tree Hill High School State Championship episode, to Peyton and Lucas’ wedding.

The local tv show, filmed in Wilmington, NC that ended in 2012 is still being watched by a whole new generation of kids. Even though the show has already ended, many young people are just now starting the show due to commentary from older generations.  The show has been on Netflix for almost ten years now.

While Netflix continuously removes viewers favorite shows, One Tree Hill has always remained. Fans have taken on Twitter to show their frustration. Popular accounts such as “Tweet Like A Girl” posted about Netflix now being a joke since they are removing the show. The tweet received almost 9,000 retweets.

Senior, Kassidy Ball expressed how she felt on this situation, “I’m angered! I feel devastated! I watch it all the time and it’s always been my favorite show. I’ve cried like 5 times since I found out.” Another senior, Hannah White stated, “I don’t understand why they would take away the show. It’s so popular and everyone loves it so it makes no sense why they would take it away.”

The group mainly affected by the removal of the beloved show is specifically teenage girls. Another tv show teenage girls love, also rumored to be removed from Netflix is Gossip Girl, which stars fans favorites such as: Blake Lively, Chace Crawford, Leighton Meester, and Ed Westwick.  

If Netflix continues to remove these viewers most loved shows, some viewers will be forced to cancel their subscription. Fans have already stated on social media that they are prepared to boycott the platform if One Tree Hill is not kept available to stream. Hopes of One Tree Hill making a reappearance on the streaming site seem to remain. 

Homecoming King, Laughter and Cries

Staff Writer, Amith Jagannath

Imagine this: There’s an Indian biking as fast as he can to a his prom date’s house on his blue BMX bike. He stumbles up to the doorstep to find his date with another boy and they’ve already exchanged corsages! In general, comedy shows appeal to their audience by relating real-life experiences that they have gone through, to other instances where the audience can relate. When it comes to the demographics of the audience, it really depends on the race and religion of the comedian, because the viewers most often relate to comedians that share the same obstacles and/or advantages.

Being an Indian American, social interactions between me and my peers are still a little awkward because there’s always a constant stigma I can sense in even the closest friends. The film “Homecoming King,” a Netflix special of “Daily Show” starring Hasan Minhaj, discusses one man’s journey during a decade of interracial conflicts. Minhaj addresses his struggles to fit in as a resident of Davis, California, as well as his efforts to develop a stronger relationship with his father. There’s always this problem in Indian relationships where the father struggles to understand the son’s issues or fitting in at school, and normally, one would think that the father would take time to understand the son, but instead, he just moves on with his life.

Now, I am not going to say that I can relate to that because thank all the gods in my religion, my father is so down to earth. Typically, when I watch comedy shows, I don’t understand all the references made, because half of them are about ancient crap that I don’t really care about. For example, while Gabriel Iglesias is a great comedian, most of his jokes are directed to either white people or Mexicans because he can relate to those people the most. However, watching this specific comedian make such relatable jokes, as an Indian, made the entire experience so positively and negatively emotional.

Throughout the show, Minhaj addressed specific instances throughout his life, where he felt that he was living vicariously through his father, rather than himself. Spoiler Alert: He explains that his mother is in India working towards her medical degree, while he and his father are trying to get by in America. His entire world turns around when he realizes that he has a younger sister that was five years old that he had no idea about. It is only when his mother walks in the door that he understands that his father had impregnated his mother in his frequent trips to India.

Moreover, Minhaj describes how there exists this norm of “conditional love,” where the kids have to work their butts off to get the parents’ love. To describe this, Minhaj shows a clip of the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee where Arvind Mahankali won. His parents are shown towards the end of the clip emotionless, which explains itself.

While this may be the comical side to living in America as an Indian, even the American Dream is not as easily achievable as it is described. Minhaj touched many people in one of his areas of discussion, where he talked about the emotional environment post 9/11. Many of us out there are privy to racial discrimination and unfortunately the more we hear it, the more it becomes a part of us. He told his audience that the night of the event, his family had gotten a call from a group of teenagers calling his family racial slurs. Minhaj went on to explain that he had “the audacity of equality,” after this event. He uses this event as a mode of explaining his righteousness and freedom during such a difficult time for the United States.

In the entirety of Minhaj’s comedy special, he talks about one high school experience that changed his life. So, I’m in highschool and I’m Indian and after watching this, it made me realize that this could happen to me. Spoiler Alert: Bethany Reid, Minhaj’s high school sweetheart is what this is about.  They get to know each other in their Calculus class as Bethany finds herself being the new girl. After a process of studying together, going to each other’s houses, and a class bracket to decide prom dates, Bethany and Hasan see that they’re meant to be. Minhaj goes to the extent of climbing out of his window on the second floor, to racing on his Blue BMX bike to fulfill his and Bethany’s dreams. But, it all changes when he is welcomed to a puzzled mother who tells him that he wouldn’t fit into the family pictures. Their connection resumes a couple years later over Facebook where he finds her profile to see that she’s with an INDIAN! Minhaj even relates this instance to greater social problems such as the Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray issues to portray that prejudice against brown people is prevalent each and every day.

From those moments onward, Minhaj depicts more of his father’s worldly views and his own. He tells the story as it is, without seeking the reaction in laughter or gasps that other comedians seek. “Homecoming King,” still but a few weeks old, casts its banner as an interracial comedy like no other.

Kesha: Forgotten or Remembered?

Staff Writer, Amith Jagannath

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 1.59.29 PM
Kesha, 2012. | Thank you Ke$ha. (2011, January 1). Retrieved from http://lauraemurdock.blogspot.com/2011/01/thank-you-keha.html?_sm_au_=iVVQ45scqZFSbZcJ

For one famous individual, a career almost ended, a life almost lost. Her name is Kesha. The girl that was known to the world as a party girl only a couple of years ago stopped producing after  a conflict between her and her producer, Dr. Luke. The world became privy to this news only in 2014 when Kesha filed a lawsuit against her producer. Immediately after this, Dr. Luke filed a counter lawsuit with the reasoning of contract incompletion.

Kesha claims to have been abused by Dr. Luke as well as to have been put under the influence of drugs but this has still not been affirmed by court. Before this fateful day, Kesha’s fans knew her as the girl who had been featured on many hit singles by Flo Rida and singles of her own such as “Cannibal” and “We R Who We R.” Her audience has continuously been wowed by her meaningful lyrics through which she has embodied her personal opinions. “We R Who We R” is a song to promote anti-bullying and has shown her support and love towards her fans.

Kesha has fans worldwide including people of all ages and races. One of Kesha’s most supportive fans at Voyager, Harley Mangum, said, “Clearly what happened to her wasn’t good. It could’ve easily been blown out of proportion by the media. I feel her new music is good. It shows how that incident has made her the person she is today. It’s brave to write about something like that.”

On the other hand, one student who only had basic knowledge about Kesha, Maryn Leonard was asked the same question. In her response Maryn said, “It’s horrible and it sucks that, that happened to her. It sucks that the judge couldn’t see that. It’s ridiculous, he’s a big music producer and he had to enslave her into writing music which is messed up.” In Leonard’s eyes, Kesha was the party girl that she could jam out to once in awhile, but ever since Kesha has released her new music, Maryn has thoroughly enjoyed listening to her various songs specifically her song “Tik Tok.” She said, “Yeah, I thought she was fun. I could jam to her but I wasn’t an extreme fan. I miss some of her old songs.” Maryn explained that the party Kesha was the kind of person that had no meaning in her songs, but the rhythm made Maryn enjoy her music.

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 1.59.23 PM
Kesha, 2017. | Reed, R. (2017, July 7). Kesha: Recording New Album Was “Way to Cope” With Depression. Retrieved from http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/kesha-recording-new-album-was-way-to-cope-with-depression-w491374

Harley believes that there hasn’t been much of a change between the old and new Kesha but she says, “she [Kesha] still doesn’t care about what people think because she still expresses herself in the same way as she did before. Her new music just reflects on her life and what she’s gone through. There are still songs that explain what she still is. Nothing can stop her from what she loves, which is singing and she is a stronger person now after what happened.”

Maryn had a similar response saying, “the whole lesson in her new music is to say that you can be at your lowest point but you can still come back and make great things. She still has all her fans and she’s telling them her life story and at the end of the day, she is still doing what she loves.” Leonard feels that through this incident, a new Kesha was born and that her character has matured.

Kesha has continued to excite her fans by producing new music, and in her audience’s eyes, Kesha’s new song “Praying,” gives them hope for the future.