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    What's the Point of School?


    What's the point of school? Common answers vary between enhancement and preparation, whether it be gaining knowledge for the sake of learning, obtaining information to achieve a goal -- going to the best college and working a fulfilling career -- or passing with an A regardless of whether one learns -- once again, for the sake of college. It is a rare few that are content enough with their heritage-imposed fate to acknowledge the pointlessness of it all. I presume one day they will form a lazy illuminati, silently mocking the work-obsessed, while toying with the lives of others in a futile, hedonistic attempt at enjoyment. However, today is not that day.

    School can be considered life’s most significant time, especially considering it is when we come of age. When it comes to brain development, studies agree that the most important time in a person's life is earlier; the brain is more malleable. Actions and habits have an increased likelihood of permanently affecting the brain until the ages of around 18 to 21, depending on the person, when the fragility of the brain plateaus. Until that age, people need to be especially wary of actions and habits because they will affect the rest of their life.

    It just so happens that 18 -- or 22 if you're smart, lucky, or rich (with information) -- is the assumed length of time at the beginning of one's life that they dedicate to education. These adolescent years are important.

    At this point we are reminded of the question we started with: What's the point of school?  We can punish ourselves now with getting 3.14 hours of sleep to study for a huge math test the next day; we can stay up all night reviewing the immense topics covered by AP classes; we can cheat on homework and not actually learn the material, silently holding a teacher accountable for assigning tedious work for the sole sake of assigning tedious work; we can go behind our peers' backs to put them down because we want to be the best, and they stand in our way. These are the lengths to which we go to justify neglecting the present! We claim everything is about jobs and salaries, of which the best will be obtained by attending the most highly rated college, which can only happen as academics soar, and are attained easiest through the aforementioned vulturous actions.

    The stable geniuses who submit to the system, and the authorities who perpetuate it, omit one fact: the years leading up to graduation truly make a person. Learning itself is of the utmost importance in those years, yet emphasis is always placed on the products of learning (grades, college, jobs, and salaries) rather than actual lessons and information. People think of the future rather than the moment. For this purpose, students take advantage of this system and take short cuts. The authority retaliates with threats and punishments. Why spend honest time doing homework you know has no real purpose if you can cheat, and ensure the same grade? And similar in sentiment but opposite in practice, why go to sleep at 10:00 pm on school nights to conserve health if you can stay up all night, sacrifice some health and throw away a balanced circadian rhythm to pass school and finish all assignments? It is important to acknowledge that the cheater (first student) and overachiever (second student) pass school with similar grades, both sacrificing different aspects of their lives that are indescribably important before the ages of 18 to 21! These sacrifices will have an effect on one's unseen future in the brain, which will realistically have a much larger impact than grades on how one lives the majority of their life. The only moral students who are trying to balance their lives can get at most average grades and average health, lacking the required amount of sleep, and stressing out a lot. And the other students who don’t fit into any of those categories, the woke nihilistic illuminati, likely understand these facts and gave up the premise of living "correctly" a long time ago.

    This broad preoccupation with grades must come to an end; it is impractical. Our educational system does not permit a student to get an A both in school and life. Most must fail somewhere. Too many sacrifice health because an ever-continuous onslaught of assignments requires 25 hours a day and eight days a week. It is too easy to cheat and not learn anything only to see the letter A on PlusPortals, rather than develop a strong work ethic. It's extremely hard to be content with less than the best, however if someone must choose a part of their life before the age of 18 to disregard, it makes more sense to throw away an inaccurate numerical assessment (which is known to induce much unnecessary stress) more than health and ethics required for someone to live a long and fulfilled life. You can brush a grade off your back, but not an empty head. If you hope to live to the age of the average of your numerical grades, then there must be a change.

    It is for this reason too that community service deserves more attention and genuine participation. Of course we understand the drive and ambition to go to as prestigious a college as possible, but grades are not the only way that colleges evaluate applicants. With the effects on the brain of taking shortcuts or dire measures for a grade, it makes sense not to stress out about grades. There are ways that have truer benefits for many people. I hate to make the argument that community service should be used in a self-serving manner (it most definitely shouldn't), yet community service is a better and less superficial area to focus on than grades.

    For students to beat themselves up during their vital developmental stage benefits no one; the damage is done for the entire time after they've finished school, which is ironically the exact opposite of the supposed purpose for people's poor treatment of themselves. Looking to the future doesn't have to mean neglecting the present. With the human flaw of consistently using numbers to shroud meaning, it seems necessary to put this into perspective: the 18, 22, or more years one spends on education are hopefully about 1/5 of a person's life. If they don't maintain low stress levels and a high importance to health during their developing stages, that number could easily become 1/4. That fraction of one’s life at the beginning developing stages, albeit a small percent of one’s entire life, has an innumerable effect on the remaining 75% to 80%. There is no better example for this than the insect that's infested Palmer for as long as I can remember: the caterpillar. In the early stages, a caterpillar requires a ton of food in order to grow large enough to become a cocoon, and eventually a butterfly or moth. That early stage is vital to the rest of their life. Eating is the one goal of a caterpillar, and if they don't, they die. It is factually proven that without food in the early stages, a caterpillar will never go to college. However if a caterpillar does survive the early, developing stages, they finally grow wings and fly. Along the way to that stage at the end of our years of education where we have the ability to fly away, it is very possible we can find ourselves not getting enough food or stuck in a cocoon, but with the proper treatment of ourselves and understanding from authority, we can flourish. We just need to make sure we thrive in the present.

    Our lives have started, and we cannot waste this time only looking to the future, at the expense of ourselves now. We live in the current. What we do now determines the rest of our life more than any grade. It's okay to neglect some tedious work to promote health and future. In fact, it's better to.

    So what's the point of school? To learn within the bounds that our bodies and brains permit. To get as much out of the worthwhile classes as possible, and surrender as much as the insipid classes allow, without taking you down. Pick your battles, and come away with more than when you entered. Learn in the interesting classes. And of course, plant the seeds to a future that can bloom and bear fruit, because it has outlived and thwarted everything that's threatened to tear it down.




    El Halconero: A New Rule, Policy, or a Recommended Courtesy? 


    PTS Falconer Staff

    Últimamente he estado escuchado mucho sobre una “nueva regla” en las aulas de Palmer Trinity. Dicha regla declara que, durante la clase, los estudiantes no hablarán ningún otro idioma aparte del inglés (por supuesto, imagino, con la excepción de clases de idioma extranjero). Lo escuché por primera vez a través de una maestra y luego, a través de varios otros estudiantes, que estaban igualmente de alarmados que yo. Sin embargo, me pareció extraño que esta regla no había sido "oficialmente" anunciada al cuerpo estudiantil. La declaración anterior plantea la siguiente pregunta: si todavía no es una regla oficial, ¿por qué lo hemos escuchado a través de nuestros maestros y por qué hay tantos estudiantes conscientes de dicha regla? El hecho mismo de que la regla no haya sido anunciada oficialmente, no declara automáticamente que la existencia de esta regla fue fabricada fuera del aire fino o que es especulación pura. En realidad, hace lo contrario, al plantear otra pregunta más: ¿por qué no se ha anunciado oficialmente?


    Hay varias respuestas posibles a esta pregunta, las tres principales siendo las siguientes. La primera posibilidad sería que la regla  fue causa de un malentendido o una incomunicación entre maestros. La segunda posibilidad sería que se decidió no seguir adelante con la regla. Finalmente, la tercera posibilidad es que todavía están trabajando en perfeccionar la regla y está todavía indeterminada.


    Regla o ninguna regla, la idea de tal cosa dejó a muchos estudiantes pensativos. En mi punto de vista, me parece que uno de los objetivos fundamentales de Palmer Trinity es crear una comunidad más diversa. Por lo tanto, si Palmer fuera a implementar esta regla, sería bastante irónico. A menos que Palmer Trinity solo quiera fomentar la diversidad visual del cuerpo estudiantil, prohibiendo la libertad de un estudiante de hablar su lengua materna en clase restaría a la diversidad general de la escuela. Quiero enfatizar que la diversidad es muchísimo más que una simple diferencia visual en los tonos de piel o en los tipos de cabello; la diversidad es cultura, es tradición, y es definitivamente lenguaje. Quiero hacer claro que si esta regla es implementada, me revelaré, me ofenderé, y me preguntaré, ¿cuál es el motivo detrás de la regla que a menudo se mencionada, sin embargo, nunca se menciona de Palmer Trinity?

    Political Cartoon by Ema Capilla



    Labor Day


    PTS Falconer Staff

    How many people know what we’re actually celebrating on Labor Day? The fuzzy definition of the Labor Day holiday has left many unclear as to what we all have a long weekend for each year. But the general consensus is that “any day off is a good day, we’ll celebrate whatever you want us too.” I’ve asked around to a couple different people and each individual offered an educated guess, “something to do with labor or work.” But how did this holiday come to be and how did we all seem to forget what we celebrate every year?

    Labor Day began in September of 1882, when the unions in New York City decided to host a parade to celebrate the unions. Which in effect caused about 20,000 working people to give up a day’s pay to participate in the parade. Unions were established to help workers negotiate things such as their wages, and hours to better their jobs. After 1882 this became a regular celebration every year and therefore became a holiday in 1887.

    Since the definition of the Labor Day holiday has blurred over the years the general population has practically turned it into an end of summer holiday. In which grills are taken out of storage and poolside rafts float with the sunshine beating down on them. Smiles and relaxed attitudes are a definite while family and friends gather on a much need and much welcomed day off. What better way to celebrate labor than to have a day off from work?

    On this Labor Day, rather than relaxing and lounging, labor couldn’t be any more intense as it is in Houston, Texas. While families struggle to restore their homes, sort through the disaster of what is left from category four hurricane Harvey, and help neighbors do the same. At the same time category five hurricane Irma is making its way from the Lesser Antilles, to Puerto Rico, to the Bahamas and most likely to Florida, creating anxiety from all those in its anticipated path.



    Ted Talk Thoughts



    There is a Ted Talk called “The transformative power of classical music”. It is presented by Benjamin Zander. Benjamin Zander is an English conductor and is currently the musical director of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. He works with young children to excel in their musical talents. This Ted Talk was about how you can hear the meaning of classical music and so that you can understand what the piece is telling you. Here are some of my thoughts about it and I recommend everyone to watch it.

    I thought that this video was entertaining as well as interesting at the same time. When someone says classical music, I think of sleep. This is because I don’t find it that entertaining to listen to and it makes me dose off. But after what the speaker said about trying to follow the scale that the piece is based off of, I can now see the meaning in the music. I could see what the composer is trying to tell the audience. I also found it interesting when he mentioned that everyone isn’t tone-deaf. That every person could hear whether someone talking to you is angry or that their sad. Overall, I really enjoyed the talk and I’ve learned new things about classical music that I never knew before.





    The Scary Realities of Social Media


    PTS Falconer Staff


                   While it may be entertaining, social media is a whirlwind of disaster. Social media has created a new type of abuse, called cyberbullying, which is extremely prominent in our online lives, especially as tweens, teens, and young adults. Once something is posted online, it can never and will never be taken back.

                   The dangers of social media affect a huge amount of people – a study found from the i-Safe Foundation shows that 1 in 3 teens have received threats online. More than 25% of teens have received constant bullying online, through social media, and teen suicide rates have skyrocketed due to the cyberbullying present in social media. 20% of those who are cyberbullied have had suicidal thoughts and 1 in 10 actually do attempt it. These statistics are mind blowing.

                   Social media and cyber bullying have affected many people in our own community – even students walking our very own campus at Palmer Trinity School, our peers. A friend of mine, who would like to remain anonymous, is a victim herself of cyberbullying. She says, “I was harassed online by people that I have never met. It was scary and hurtful. I reached out to some other friends of mine, and they admitted to also being victims of cyberbullying. It’s crazy how widely spread cyberbullying is.” My dear friend, bullied by people she’s never even met? Isn't it wild? Social media enables bullies to act on people they’ve never even met in person. Wow.

                   With just the click of a button, your opinions, photos, and ideas can be posted on the internet for everyone to see. The reason that cyberbullying plays such an active role in our lives is because it is so much easier to express opinions on the internet, instead of in person, as the publisher does not get to witness the immediate negative – or positive – effects. A cyberbully does not have to see the look on his or her victim’s face upon being bullied, does not have to see how this affects their victim’s life at home. And once something is posted online, it cannot be taken back. The damage has been done. It’s easy and quick to post online.

    While I have expressed how dangerous and terrible social media may be, it can also be a tool used to stop these cyberbullies. Most social media websites and apps have the option to report a user who has done something to potentially harm someone. Through awareness and strength, cyberbullying can be stopped. Remember that the internet is permanent and never forget to be careful while surfing, and posting to, the web.