North Pointe Now http://northpointenow.org The student news site of Grosse Pointe North High School. 707 Vernier Rd., Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236 Tue, 24 Nov 2020 16:25:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 Proposed remote learning plan removed, future plans for face-to-face learning http://northpointenow.org/proposed-remote-learning-plan-removed-future-plans-for-face-to-face-learning/ http://northpointenow.org/proposed-remote-learning-plan-removed-future-plans-for-face-to-face-learning/#respond Tue, 24 Nov 2020 16:25:28 +0000 http://northpointenow.org/?p=13605 Return to school postponed, midterms canceled

On Nov. 6, GPPSS announced the postponement of the return to in-person learning for high school students to the tentative date of Jan. 25. Since the entirety of the first semester will occur remotely, the district has also decided to cancel midterm exams. In order to be able to return on the set date, Deputy Superintendent Jon Dean stresses the importance of strictly adhering to Covid-19 guidelines set by the government and public health officials.

“This is a terrible time with (Covid-19) right now,” Dean said. “We as a society have to get that taken care of. We have to wear our masks and be socially distant because we all want to be back to school.”

Face to face, hybrid plan approved when return to school occurs

Although high schools will not be returning to face-to-face learning until 2021, the district-proposed hybrid plan for middle and high schools was approved at the school board meeting on Nov. 9. The plan involves dividing students into two cohorts, with one cohort attending school in the morning and the other attending school in the afternoon. Dean says the Wayne County Health Department approved plan contains numerous safety measures in order to mitigate any chance of spread of Covid-19, including having students eat lunch off-campus.

“We worked with the high school people, and we heard feedback that it was really important to them that they’d be on a half day schedule so the students aren’t eating lunch…in the high school building,” Dean said.

District withdraws proposed remote plan from board consideration to receive more student and teacher feedback

On Nov. 6, GPPSS released a proposed remote learning plan that included seven 50 minute Zoom classes four days a week. After backlash from students, teachers and community members, the district asked the board not to vote on the plan at the Nov. 9 meeting. Instead, they promised to revise the plan to include more input from student surveys and meetings with teachers and building administrators. Dean contends that with every plan the district administrators design, the best interest of students is always at the heart of it. 

“Our goal is always the same thing, which is to help students academically,  socially and emotionally,” Dean said. 

 

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Rupi Kaur’s “Home Body:” 2020’s must-read http://northpointenow.org/rupi-kaurs-home-body-2020s-must-read/ http://northpointenow.org/rupi-kaurs-home-body-2020s-must-read/#respond Tue, 24 Nov 2020 16:16:17 +0000 http://northpointenow.org/?p=13588 The year 2020 has been pure chaos. For better and for worse, the world we’ve always known is being flipped on its head, and has forced us to come to terms with how we function within it. We, as a society, have quickly normalized the nitty-gritty, and Rupi Kaur’s newest poetry collection embraces these unequivocal current events.

Released on Nov. 17, Kaur’s book, “Home Body,” combines her previous candid style with a close examination of our current realities. Broken into four sections, the book does an excellent job exploring what we can make of adversity, paving the way for healing and empowerment.

The first section, titled “Mind,” contains what Kaur does best. Beginning with recollections of her trauma and personal battles with anxiety and depression, she ends the section with poems of healing and reclaiming her happiness. As someone who has read her previous installments, “Milk And Honey” and “The Sun And Her Flowers,” this was expected. Kaur’s signature style once again combines beautifully with the transparency of her writing, the evident emotions on each page being something I appreciated. However, the timeline of her healing process seemed to be condensed to this one section, which is different from her previous works. Right away I was aware of this change, and was excited to explore new thematic territories moving forward.

Fittingly, the following part, “Heart,” is a section dedicated to the intricacies of love. My biggest takeaway from this section was the exploration of both romantic and platonic relationships, including Kaur’s relationship with herself. I loved that these poems were so multifaceted. Not only did they weave together the delicate nature of romance with the strain they put on self-image, but they also highlighted the importance of having nurturing female figures for support. Everything Kaur has written about love in the past came together in this chapter, symbolically drawing her final conclusions.

The third portion of “Home Body” is where things start to move into new territory. Throughout “Rest,” Kaur condemns the burdens of work, expectations and success, sharing anecdotes of times where she and her family found dedication to their work crippling. She takes a stab at the plague of capitalism and stigmas around working immigrants, later concluding the section with ideas of patience and inspiration. Personally, these poems resonated the most with me. Something that I struggle with is balance and my lack of free time, and I found Kaur’s argument here entirely valid and relatable, much like most of her writings. The universal experiences of not feeling good enough or not having enough time are things that I feel are groundbreaking, and her digestible style makes that entirely clear.

Finally, her fourth section, “Awake,” was not the angle I was anticipating at all, but was more than willing to accept and praise. For lack of a better term, this section was “woke.” In it, Kaur tackles the prejudices against women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Despite their short length, these poems spoke volumes. Kaur comments on how much progress still needs to be made towards equality, and exposes damaging falsehoods like “girl boss feminism” and how it contributes to other oppressive systems. This section was a breath of fresh air. Its clarity left no room for assumptions, and Kaur made her claims point blank. In this genre of poetry, I rarely see such empowering themes and calls to action, and I think that these were the icing on the cake.

Truthfully, I believe this is Kaur’s best work yet. The artful way that she combines her individual experience in life thus far with the bigger picture puts things into perspective for everyone reading, regardless of their unique experiences. I feel that Kaur does a wonderful job attributing the issues she discusses to the conglomerate human experience, and I would recommend this collection to everyone based solely on its grounding effects.

 

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The two-way mirror of missing transparency http://northpointenow.org/the-two-way-mirror-of-missing-transparency/ http://northpointenow.org/the-two-way-mirror-of-missing-transparency/#respond Mon, 23 Nov 2020 20:34:52 +0000 http://northpointenow.org/?p=13581 Given the will they/won’t they nature of face-to-face learning, the majority of students and their families are stuck in limbo. The anticipation of waiting for the next plan, the next month or the next quarter to bring about a schedule change has taken a toll on many members of the community, as they feel it leaves room for uncertainty.

On Nov. 6, the district rolled out new plans for the future of both in-person and virtual learning. These new schedules were met with overwhelming criticism. As originally proposed, the virtual learning schedule would have required students to attend all seven of their courses from 8 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. four out of five days a week. Many felt that this change was incredibly unprecedented and underdeveloped, with concern that the extension would have major implications for the wellbeing of students, as well as put a hindrance on their commitments and activities outside of school.

The following Monday, families were informed that the Board of Education withdrew the proposed virtual learning schedule during the Nov. 9 Board of Education meeting due to the aforementioned backlash. Instead, a revised version of the schedule will be up for discussion on Nov. 23. Despite this small victory for concerned students, plans for a new hybrid schedule remained on the docket, and many within the district are apprehensive to accept a new hybrid learning plan. Although there is no date for a yet to be proposed plan to go into effect, students and parents are concerned that the structure of the schedule will not allow enough time for thorough sanitization procedures and will be confusing for students to follow.

This chaotic communication cannot be justified. While the Covid-19 crisis remains unpredictable and leaves little room for communication, it’s important now more than ever to prioritize transparency between the Board of Education and the community. In tumultuous times like these, it’s imperative that the board keeps the community updated throughout their planning processes, and takes note of any and all feedback. One such opportunity to provide and discuss such ideas is the open discussion at board meetings. In order to truly digest what the community is saying, it’s important that they allow time for questions and two-way dialogue prior to voting on action items, that way all input is truly taken into account before making decisions. 

Additionally, we can prevent future disconnects between administration and the community by implementing a panel of students and faculty to assist in the development of future plans. For example, during the creation of new virtual schedules, the immediate feedback from those who are most affected by these plans is crucial. With a diverse group of members from multiple programs across the district, we would be able to create new, more efficient and well-received plans as a collective unit.

Along with the inclusive development of future actions, transparency should be mandatory. In regards to the controversial virtual schedule, many felt that it had a very last-minute debut. With only a weekend to mull it over, many families were shocked that it was the first time they had heard of any such plan, leaving them in a state of confusion. This could have been avoided had there been more clear communication and input prior to the schedule’s formal release. In the past, opportunities for feedback have been presented to students, however, without context. While these Google Forms are a great way to get instant feedback, their presentation needs to be adjusted. With this tool in particular, it’s important to note what the responses will be used for, as it offers transparency and incentivizes community members to provide thorough responses pertaining directly to the topic.

Understandably, decision making in a time where plans change at the drop of a hat is difficult. However, there’s no reason for a one-way street. To be successful moving forward, we have to become more accustomed to hearing numerous ideas. We have to bridge the gap between the board and the community in order to create and implement plans that work for everybody. We have to shatter the two way mirror, starting with the clarity we desperately need for the future of our district.

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Making sustainable choices http://northpointenow.org/making-sustainable-choices/ http://northpointenow.org/making-sustainable-choices/#respond Mon, 23 Nov 2020 18:09:44 +0000 http://northpointenow.org/?p=13575 In discussions regarding plant-based meals, many think of bland vegetables: the gross, green, potent side dishes that everyone’s mom forced them to eat as a child. However, you’re not a child anymore. Vegetables aren’t all green or gross, and people on plant-based diets do not exclusively eat vegetables. Right now, too many of us think of meatless meals or plant-based diets as a sacrifice of necessary nutrients or just plain gross, but we as a community need to work a lot harder to incorporate these sustainable, healthy meals into our lives. 

While you can choose to replace meals with powders and pills, plant-based foods can be perfectly balanced and are more likely to increase the quality of your health. A study from JAMA Internal Medicine showed that people on a plant-based diet live up to nine years longer than others. With meat replacements rising in popularity, there are a wide variety of ways to get anything you’re missing. Need Iron? Try spinach, oats or mushrooms. Looking for more vitamin B12? Dairy products. Want protein? Add lentils to your shopping list, or you can even try plant-based products like beyond beef. 

If you think vegetables taste bad, it’s probably because you overcook them and then eat them plain. Instead, give your vegetables the same energy and attention as you would your meat. Make a stew or soup, try a stir-fry— anything but over-steamed broccoli again.

To be clear, no one should be expected to cut out meat entirely or try to force everyone into their ethical dilemmas. However, it should be expected of all of us to be conscious of our food choices and their impact. Every action is important, but our food and health systems are crucial. Eating meat a few times a week can be a really good thing, but only in moderation. Bacon at breakfast, turkey for lunch and steak for dinner may sound balanced to the typical American, but it’s actually bad for you. According to Insider, eating too much meat often leads to lethargy and rising blood sugar. Sound familiar?

 We’ve all heard about the huge carbon footprints left from raising beef, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop eating beef altogether. What it does mean is that we have to raise our beef sustainably and consume less of it. While certain practices like grass-feeding result in higher amounts of nutrients in beef and better tastes, they are awful for the environment. Grass-fed beef has more antioxidants, vitamins and linoleic acid which improve immunity and has anti-inflammatory benefits, but still produces three times the greenhouse gases as grain-feeding due to the longer life span. However, there’s really no win here, as grain-fed beef introduces a plethora of other issues, most notably excessive land use. As Chick-fil-A puts it, “Eat more chicken.”

Most people love eating meat and the world shouldn’t stop raising, buying or enjoying meat anytime soon. That being said, eating meat multiple times per day is unnecessary and could even be considered gluttonous. As a society, we’ve already worked to destigmatize the basics of healthy food and self-discipline, and now it’s time for us all to take the next steps in sustainability. 

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Do the Good Dye Young? http://northpointenow.org/do-the-good-dye-young/ http://northpointenow.org/do-the-good-dye-young/#respond Fri, 20 Nov 2020 20:17:17 +0000 http://northpointenow.org/?p=13557 Despite having been launched by Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams in 2016, the Good Dye Young hair dye brand has only recently gained traction in the world of social media. It has been especially popular on TikTok— where most of today’s trends are born. When they popped up on my “For You” page, displaying vegan and cruelty-free ingredients, I was hooked. Although, it wasn’t as easy to find online like some other big-name brands. I had to do some digging.

Turns out, Sally’s and Amazon were the answers. After a quick trip to Sally’s, I got a box of Good Dye Young hair lightener retailing for $15.99 and a tube of their Peach Fuzz hair dye for $17.99. Each of the boxes included detailed instructions of how to use the products, which was super helpful as a beginner.

I started with the lightener on the bottom half of my hair. The packets it came with were easy to mix and included everything I needed. My natural hair color is a light brown shade, so it only took 20 minutes for my hair to reach the yellow-blonde base I was going for. Fortunately, the strong odor I had expected from the lightener wasn’t as pungent as I had anticipated, which was a pleasant surprise. I washed the lightener out successfully with shampoo and conditioner, dried my hair and moved on to the dye.

The hair dye came in a simple, squeezable tube. After applying the dye to my hair easily with a pair of gloves, I let it sit for around 30 minutes. In the end, my hair became a fun peach color.

So far, it has held well through showers and activity, so I expect it to hold for a while. I absolutely love the color I was left with. I would recommend the brand to anyone sick of using harmful chemicals or irresponsibly sourced ingredients in their hair. The product definitely deserves a 5/5 rating, so, I guess the good do dye young.

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“Destiny 2: Beyond Light” a worthy expansion http://northpointenow.org/destiny-2-beyond-light-a-worthy-expansion/ http://northpointenow.org/destiny-2-beyond-light-a-worthy-expansion/#respond Fri, 20 Nov 2020 20:12:43 +0000 http://northpointenow.org/?p=13553 After restless anticipation and a brief postponement, the new expansion for “Destiny 2: Beyond Light” was finally released to Xbox, PlayStation, PC and Stadia on November 10. Despite the delay, it was certainly worth the wait. This expansion added a plethora of different features, one such addition being the now playable location of Europa, one of Jupiter’s many moons. It also introduced new powers and weapons, even reviving some familiar faces and places. 

The landscape of Europa is a beautiful icy tundra covered in the ruins of old laboratories and outposts, making it a perfect setting for the story of “Beyond Light.” Additionally, this location directly concerns your character’s Stasis, which are abilities gained that are used to defeat the game’s newest enemy. While the story isn’t exactly groundbreaking, it is a very fun way to progress with your character and explore Europa’s hidden treasures and secrets. However, the narrative of the story is compelling in the way it introduces the new enemy, Eramis: A leader of the group of aliens known as The Fallen, and a wielder of the Stasis abilities that you have as well. This character dynamic creates an interesting encounter rarely seen in the “Destiny” franchise.

“Beyond Light” also brings back characters such as the Stranger and fan-favorite Variks. Fleshed out characters have rarely been a strong point for “Destiny,” but that could be starting to change. Throughout the story you see a few different shades to some of the characters, and get a better sense for who they are, which is certainly a welcome shift in character developments. 

As for the new Stasis abilities, they are not only fun to use and give you the sense of power accompanying Destiny’s other abilities, but they are unique enough to justify their inclusion in the game. While there are some similarities in gameplay when it comes to the Hunter and Titan’s subclass, they are fun and powerful in their own way. The new melee and grenade abilities also help distinguish these subclasses from the others. Even further, the new system that allows you to customise your Stasis subclass with items that you find around Europa to fit your playstyle certainly makes this a wonderful inclusion. 

While there is still much of this expansion that remains to be seen, such as the new weapons and armor that have been added, what has been added is overall spectacular. While I haven’t experienced most of the exotic weapons, the pulse rifle, “No Time To Explain” is an amazing weapon and definitely feels like it earns the rank of exotic. Duality is also just a very fun weapon to use, and allows for players who love shotguns, such as myself, a chance to explore new builds and playstyles. 

The new grenade launcher, “Salvation’s Grip” was one the new weapons I was most excited for, as it is the first and currently only Stasis weapon in the game. The point of the weapon is to freeze enemies to have an easier time killing them, but grenade launchers are mainly used to kill large groups of enemies, making this weapon seem unnecessary. Unfortunately it is a bit disappointing, as it does very low damage for a weapon of its kind. There are also other weapons and armor that I haven’t gotten my hands on yet, simply because they are unlocked by completing activities I don’t have access to yet.

Overall this is an incredible expansion and without a doubt worth the time of anyone who plays “Destiny 2.” While there are shortcomings such as the amount of content removed, they pale in comparison to the amount of fun to be had with this new expansion. 

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Overwhelmed students and faculty seek solutions http://northpointenow.org/overwhelmed-students-and-faculty-seek-solutions/ http://northpointenow.org/overwhelmed-students-and-faculty-seek-solutions/#respond Tue, 17 Nov 2020 04:47:15 +0000 http://northpointenow.org/?p=13516 Senior Amelia Schock says that the online school format implemented at the start of the school year has caused her to be more overwhelmed with class work than ever before. An overabundance of what Schock describes as useless asynchronous work and the process of adapting to a new learning environment are just a few of the problems she mentioned.

“The teachers seem to give a lot of busy work for asynchronous work and it is very disorganized a lot of the time, so I don’t really know what is expected of me,” Schock said.

The new online learning format used by all high school students throughout the district consists of two weekly 50 minute periods for each of a student’s seven classes, one optional learning lab where students can further develop the skills they learned that week and student support opportunities for students to speak with teachers one-on-one.

The biggest problems Behavior Interventionist Lauren Klein sees amongst students as they are adapting to schedule’s structure are related to time management.

“Students are being tasked with managing their school day more than any student has ever been asked to do that before. (This) takes a whole set of skills that is probably brand new for people in high school,” Klein said. “Time management, discipline, focus and prioritizing (are key), and you learn these things well into being an adult typically. So we are asking students to do that and that is really hard.”

Although Klein recognizes that there are flaws in the current learning platform, she thinks that it also is a huge improvement from the structure used in the spring.

“(Students) are more engaged now,” Klein said. “I think that the live time with the teachers is a big change and the fact that there are multiple times of support structurally in place now is really, really helpful for them.”

Several studies have recently shown that the online school environment also contributes to poor mental health among students. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that students who were subjected to an entirely online learning environment were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as students taught in person.

Schock said she has noticed her mental health decline as a result of the online learning environment. Although she says it has not deteriorated extremely, it is noticeable. She says that sessions with her therapist now consist of conversations about how to manage the stress.

Head counselor Jennifer Sherman recognizes the mental health issues occurring amongst students, and she said she is working on solutions that are expected to be rolled out within the next few weeks.

Math teacher Nicole Sturgeon is also concerned about her students’ mental health, but says that it is important to not forget the impacts of this learning environment on teachers.

“The overwhelming piece (that teachers are experiencing) is coming from teachers (thinking), ‘I know this isn’t the best I can do,’” Sturgeon said.

Sturgeon does believe that both students and faculty can eventually flourish in this environment, but thinks that there needs to be a change in attitude towards the situation first.

“Online learning works really well when it is done really well,” Sturgeon said. “It can be but it has to be something that both sides buy into, and I don’t know if all students have bought into it and I know that not all teachers have bought into it.”

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Varsity football team wins first game in over a year http://northpointenow.org/varsity-football-team-wins-first-game-in-over-a-year/ http://northpointenow.org/varsity-football-team-wins-first-game-in-over-a-year/#respond Thu, 05 Nov 2020 22:25:25 +0000 http://northpointenow.org/?p=13375 Following a 0-9 record in the 2019 season, the Grosse Pointe North varsity football team won their first game in over a year. On Sept. 25 the team went up against St. Clair, leading 17-0. After the first win, the team has gone on to win an additional two games against Cousino and Warren Woods-Tower. 

The team and season has been different this year for head coach Joe Drouin. Drouin says that due to the urgency and uncertainty of Covid-19 restrictions, his players have been putting in the effort he wants to see. He also believes that the team’s success this season is in large part due to the outstanding upperclassmen leadership. 

“It’s a different feel than it’s been in the past,” Drouin said. “The amount of work the team’s been putting in and our senior leadership, they’re working a lot harder.”

Senior captain Timmy Cleland is relieved that the team is not going through the losses they did in previous years, and feels special to be one of the leaders of such a hard working and successful team. According to Cleland, the game against St. Clair was a very defensive game, although their offense was able to put some nice drives together as well, creating the win. He, similarly to Drouin, says that the team’s senior captains Colin Duffy, Joe Plieth, Kennard Williams and himself, have pushed players to their full potential. 

“The four captains all work really well together,” Cleland said. “It feels special being a captain leading a team because of how hard we work and knowing the leaders pushed out guys to be better.”

In addition to Drouin, junior Megan Eugenio has also noticed a change in the team. Eugenio feels the team has really grown since last season with its knowledgeable coaches, talented players and several wins throughout this season. Most notably, she sees their hard work and positive attitudes out on the field. 

“It’s good they have added some new faces on the sideline to help guide them and the running back (Kennard Williams) is also a very strong asset to the team,” Eugenio said. “Since the team has been winning games this year I think that has brought them closer together as teammates which helps them win.” 

Euginio has attended every varsity football game, and the players consider her to be one of their biggest fans. With Covid-19 regulations in place at the games, the amount of spectators has been greatly reduced. This has changed the vibe and atmosphere of the Friday night football games, according to Eugenio.

“The stands are a lot more empty and I miss seeing a full student section cheering. I love going and watching my friends, but it is a lot different,” Eugenio said. 

Drouin and Cleland both feel that with the team’s solid leadership and hard-working players, they are prepared to play well in the last few regular season games as well as in playoffs. Later in the season, they hope to advance past week two of the playoffs, going farther than a North football team has in several years. They have high hopes for the conclusion of the season, but believe they have what it takes to fulfill their goals. 

“We are going to surprise people in the playoffs,” Cleland said. “I believe we will do significantly better than last year.”

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School sports in the era of COVID-19 http://northpointenow.org/school-sports-in-the-era-of-covid19/ http://northpointenow.org/school-sports-in-the-era-of-covid19/#respond Mon, 02 Nov 2020 19:56:37 +0000 http://northpointenow.org/?p=13508 Athletic Director Michelle Davis and her staff have been working to implement recent changes in MHSAA guidelines. The MHSAA recently released their COVID-19 response plan after working since March to create a policy that allows fall sports to continue during the 2020 school year with spectators. The plan continues to change as guidance from the CDC and state of Michigan evolves.

“The everchanging state and MHSAA mandates are challenging,” Davis said. “Requirements change frequently, so making sure our teams, spectators and community are aware of the changes in a timely manner is imperative.”

Originally, the plan for fall sporting events was to allow two guests per player and coach. This plan changed on Oct. 9 when the MHSAA amended that policy. The change now allows for a maximum 30 percent capacity at games, with a cap of 1,000 fans. However, the MHSAA is allowing schools to continue enforcing a stricter policy, including sticking to the prior two guest per person limit.

The Grosse Pointe Public Schools System’s policy is in between the original and amended plan. It states that every outdoor fall activity is allowed four spectators per player. However, there are several exceptions to this policy. Students playing football, band, dance and cheerleading are allowed two spectators; volleyball players are allowed three spectators; and golf and cross country are limited at 30 percent capacity.

According to Davis, the mask mandate has been the most difficult part of the plan to implement and enforce.
“It has been a challenge to enforce the mask policy for both athletes and spectators,” Davis said. “It is a state mandate but many people take their frustrations out on the athletic department.”

From varsity field hockey head coach Emma Yee’s perspective, adapting to the new way of fall sports is unusual. Coach Yee has led her team into the playoffs with a winning record amid an unpredictable season. Although it has been difficult with no locker rooms, a mask mandate and limited spectators, the team has succeeded.

“We don’t have those moments this year to motivate the girls when they’re facing a challenging opponent,” Yee said. “But I know my team is able to rise above the circumstances and still put forth their best efforts.”

The new rules and regulations have forced students to change how they play, but the only challenges posed by the MHSAA guidelines are communicating with teammates while wearing a mask and playing without spectators, according to varsity soccer player Finn Marshall.

Marshall believes that North players have been following the regulations, but he says it is hard to control if opposing teams follow the rules or not.

Ultimately, the hope for Davis and the rest of the athletic department is to keep all parties involved happy and healthy, something that includes mandating the use of a mask.

“Our goal is to keep all athletics and coaches safe,” Davis said.

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Being a pro at pronouns http://northpointenow.org/being-a-pro-at-pronouns/ http://northpointenow.org/being-a-pro-at-pronouns/#respond Mon, 02 Nov 2020 19:05:40 +0000 http://northpointenow.org/?p=13439 While many of us don’t even notice them within our sentences, pronouns are the small parts of speech used to address ourselves and others on a daily basis. “She was so good,” or “He is mean,” are familiar uses of pronouns that everyone has heard. However, pronouns are becoming much more talked about as people, specifically students, are growing more comfortable with using them more fluidly.

Despite this increasing normalization, the issue of misgendering remains. For example, on the first day of school, it’s common for new people to mistake someone’s pronouns. Maybe a teacher taking attendance says, “Is Sam here? Does anyone see her?” This may send shivers down Sam’s spine. They use they/them pronouns. Now, Sam must make the decision to correct the teacher in front of the class— which may make them uncomfortable— or Sam can spend the year cringing every time they are misgendered. 

This goes on much more than you may think. In our society, gender assumptions always resort to the confining she/her or he/him, never they/them, leaving no room for those who use neither or both. This is a damaging societal normality because it teaches kids from a young age that anything other than that is strange, or wrong. 

Now, let’s say Sam corrected their teacher, and from that point onward, they were addressed with their correct pronouns. On their first creative writing assignment they created a character named Blake. They are non-binary and use they/them. Sam may very well fail their assignment because the MLA format does not allow the use of they/them when referring to one person. 

This continues the damaging portrayal of non-cisgender identities as fundamentally wrong. We as a society need to work harder to normalize these things. Pronouns are used so often, and although they aren’t important to everybody, we all need to be conscientious of those who hold value in their peers using them correctly and respect the larger implications of them within their own identity.

Normalizing pronouns is the first step. When meeting new people, ask their name and preferred pronouns. This mitigates misgendered and allows people to remain comfortable with their pronouns. Additionally, we can use social media to introduce new habits. Put your pronouns in your Instagram bio, your Snapchat name, your Facebook wall and anywhere else that lets new people know what makes you comfortable. 

At the higher level, we need to change the MLA format so they/them is no longer incorrect. All this does is tell the young student that their identity is wrong. We want to make the classroom a place where every student is comfortable, and happy. To reach this goal, we must work together to develop these new habits that will normalize pronouns in everyday language.

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