Manipulating Success as a Student

All around the world, you can easily buy fake IDs, you can have someone else write your SATs, but can you purchase extra time on tests?


 

For many, time is crucial during school evaluations. An extra minute can mean a couple more percent, which to some is life or death. Getting a good grade on quizzes and tests can be the difference between getting into University or not. As a grade 12 student at an Ontarian school, you are pressured to study hard and get competitive grades. Many students find this relatively easy, while others struggle deeply to pass some of the more challenging courses. In order to improve one’s chances of getting into University, it is fairly common for students to resort to cheating on their evaluations.

I think that our school system would like to think that all students are receiving a pretty much equal playing field. However, I know for a fact that countless students think differently. As a student, you are almost fully relying on your teacher and the curriculum. Since teachers are humans, they test differently and teach uniquely. Obviously, some are better than others at explaining concepts and making ideas clear. In my opinion, that is completely fair — for now. Nonetheless, something I do not understand fully is the immense difference between the evaluations within the same course. For example, some courses taught in the same semester by different teachers have ridiculously different evaluations. I do acknowledge that sometimes teachers emphasize different things. It doesn’t make sense if one class is being tested with a one-page open-book unit test and the other class is being evaluated with a 7-page closed-book unit test. How could students be accurately evaluated on the same content if the level of difficulty of the evaluations is drastically different?

As it has been for centuries, cheating is a factor that prevents complete and utter accuracy when it comes to testing a student’s level of understanding. The most common method of cheating is to peak at someone else’s work on an evaluation or plagiarize. Something that I have recently been told about is getting extra time on evaluations. Many students are granted extra time on the basis of having an IEP or being ESL. An IEP stands for Individual Education Plan and is a “document that is developed for each public school child who needs special education”. I am not arguing that IEPs are negative, I actually think they are vital for quality education.

This year, more than one person has asked me why I do not just “buy an IEP”. At first, I did not know what they were referring to. Buying an IEP? You can do that? I asked each of them to explain to me what they meant, and all their responses were unanimous. They said that if you go to a “phycologist” they will be able to easily find a reason for you to have an IEP, and thus have extra time on evaluations. At this point, I am not sure whether these students have a misunderstanding of the situation or if this is really happening.

What struck me most, though, was not what I was hearing, but why I was hearing it. ‘Pressure’ is a word that is used daily by students. Although cheating is not honest or morally right, it is not entirely the student’s fault. Cheating has been normalized since we entered preschool. We see cheating appearing on the news and in the media, in our vocabulary and in our education system. On top of that, adolescents and children are vigorously tested. It is common knowledge that teachers do not trust students; they stare over their paper and tell horror stories of people being named as “cheaters.” I think trust is one of the most significant values that is overlooked when discussing cheating in school.

After almost every evaluation in my Advanced Functions class this year, a white Markbook sheet would be hanged on the wall with details on every student’s grade and academic results. Beside every mark, there was your student number and your overall ranking in the class. For me, it was hard to feel valued when you are literally represented by a 9-digit number. Almost every teacher I have ever had has said: “do not compare yourself to others.” I could argue that it is very difficult to not differentiate yourself from others when you are visually ranked based on others performance.

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Screenshot of MarkBook interface

One can only assume that teachers think that when your mark is presented like this it is completely anonymous. I have vivid memories of students standing up staring at the sheet trying to figure out who is number one, and which sad soul has the lowest mark. They always do.

It has become so clear to me that If schools want to actually test students properly, something needs to change.

 

The Cost of Your Next Shopping Spree

By Abi Parameswaran

Sweatshop labour, something all may have supported in society at some point; two wards that continue to manifest its way throughout humanity. The daily cycle of students in this country primarily consists of waking up, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, going to school, getting an education, considerably a normality in the Forest Hill community. This is not the case for many kids in other parts of the world. Many are forced into the physical labour industries as young as ten years old.

Stores like H&M, Joe Fresh, Forever 21, Aldo and many other clothing and accessory companies are culprits of this form of labour. People often work in dangerous, unsanitary locations for long periods of time, with unlivable wages to provide for their families. Many are unaware of these things and often when issues come up relating to this it is often hidden quickly or forgotten about.

Imagine coming home one day to find out that you would never be able to go back to school again; even worse you would be forced to work in an environment without windows, in large unstable buildings, or in polluted small confined spaces. However, realistically this is not imaginable since most of us live in conditions far from this and instead wear clothing that is formed at these types of factories. 

Many of the working conditions of these sweatshop factories are indeed brutal and workers that already live in financial and physical catastrophes tolerate these issues to scrape together less than a sufficient amount to raise a family. One of the most talked about incidents relating to sweatshop labour facilities is the Joe Fresh factory that collapsed in Bangladesh in 2013. Over thousands were injured and more than 250 were killed. This incident brought to life the real issues that surrounded sweatshop labours and after this incident, many companies promised to improve the working conditions and wages of workers in these factories. Most developed societies believed this blindly and many forgot about these incidents. Even though the evidence of change may have been present, it is far from being sufficient.

Still, many companies do not have functioning fire exits or safety precautions set in order, many companies still employ children at fourteen in working conditions that are unsafe. However, this factor does not change much for workers as they will work for as long as they can put food on the table and still face the risk of dying every day on the job. Thinking of the way that most of our clothing is sourced 

 

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CTV News

 

This is one of many imaged depicting the rubble created by the collapse of this factory

Making the big switch from shopping at stores that condone sweatshop labour to stores that enforce actual rules and laws in their factories are very hard. It is not always easy or affordable for many since many continue to live in different financial conditions. Change can be made; understanding the concept of sweatshop labour and knowing which stores do endorse this form of labour is indeed helpful. Perhaps the next time anyone decides to go on a shopping spree consider buying less from stores that endorse this and make small changes in their lifestyle.

Talking about this issue will change the way many see this and will promote people to think more about where their clothes come from and the reason why clothing tends to be affordable. Ignorance is often the reason why many are blinded to the many issues related to sweatshop labour and their affiliation with it. Perhaps learn about companies such as Lush, American Apparel, People Tree, Modcloth and many other on the list who either contribute less to this cause or make all their products within the country.

Coming to terms with the issue and talking about this can potentially change one’s life since corporations do catch on to number and once they see a drop with sales due to customers knowledge of a corporation’s actions they are compelled to create change! Perhaps a slow transition into shopping non-sweatshop labour by buying or supporting one initiative that sources products appropriately can be a start.

The idea of creating change starts in the hands of the consumer since they have the most power in the livelihood of billion dollar corporations and the billions of people that live by such companies all across the globe. Forest Hill change starts small and through the hands of the people. 

FHCI Students “Saddened​” By​ Holocaust Announcement Assembly​

On Friday Morning, instead of the regular Holocaust Assembly on Yom HaShoah, Forest Hill Collegiate Insitute changed it up and had a 15-minute assembly on the announcements during the second period. Jewish Culture Club members discussed the tragedy that was the Holocaust and honoured the approximately six million Jews and five million others who perished in the Holocaust as a result of the operations by Nazi Germany and its collaborators.

The assembly was broadcast across all classrooms in the school and discussed the importance of hearing about the Holocaust, the horrendous nature of genocides and listened to beautiful prayers for peace. Students were encouraged to turn off their phones and direct all their attention to the assembly. The announcement also talked about the recent anti-Semitic graffiti that was found on a student poster at Northern Secondary School.

Although many teachers and students believed that the assembly was a positive change, others had very different opinions. Grade 11 Student, Bailee Cohen, says that her “entire class had a debate” and felt like the assembly was “lazy” and “disrespectful”. Cohen also noted that the school has long assemblies in the auditorium for Prom but lack assemblies for “important days”, such as Pink Day. Her English class wrote a letter to the administration with her teacher that expressed their feelings for the assembly, according to Cohen.

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Other students shared similar opinions with Cohen. Noa Wolfe, a student in Bailee’s English class, says “the announcement played at my school this morning was a cop-out for the Holocaust assembly that Forest Hill has put on for years.”

I believe the millions of people who died during this time deserve more than a 10-minute speech over the intercom.

Wolfe says that she looks forward to the assembly every year. “It is an opportunity for me to learn more about this issue in an engaging and creative way. However, this year the assembly was cancelled and a quick announcement was put in its place.” She thinks that the regular assembly should not have been cancelled, “especially because of the large Jewish community Forest Hill has.” She adds that “we as a school should have given the very few survivors left the respected that they deserve.”

Marlee Moskoff, a grade 11 student at Forest Hill Collegiate Insitute, says that “the announcements were not nearly as effective as an assembly would’ve been. Assemblies have visual and audio components which are more engaging for students.” She noted many flaws with the new assembly, such as the fact that students tend to tune out for announcements. “The message of the Holocaust is important enough to take students out of class to better communicate the message.”

This is an extremely important message to me because my family was targeted in the Holocaust and I want there to be as much awareness as possible.

After the assembly, classes were invited to come to the foyer to sign a poster for “upstanding,” which was discussed in detail during the announcement. Upstanding is defined as an “honest” and “respectable” member of the community.

 

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Students on the March of the Living (2018)

 

A grade 12 student, who requested to stay anonymous, had this to say:

 I will agree that being an upstander is important but I am unimpressed that more time was spent on discussing the addition of this word to the dictionary than was spent honouring and remembering the Holocaust.

Eight students, initially driven by grade 12 student Jalen Manett, wrote a formal email to the administration about the importance of having a “real” assembly. They write:

“…Yom HaShoah is a day that hits close to home for many students at our school, a school with an above average Jewish student population, as for many it is a day to remember personal connections to the Holocaust through family members who perished or were affected by this tragic event. Many of us were even lucky enough to have had the unforgettable opportunity to march through the death camps in Poland and hear first-hand recollections of the heart-breaking stories of those who survived this tragedy. That is why myself and countless other students, both Jewish and not, were particularly upset by the decision to condense this year’s remembrance assembly into an eight-minute announcement. During which time my classmates who do not understand the significance of the Holocaust went on their phones, completed their homework, and took nothing away from this presentation.

The main reason why myself and many others were so concerned by this is this gradual shortening of our initiatives to commemorate the Holocaust just goes to enforce the naysayers and Holocaust deniers who base their claims on a lack of information and knowledge, which we as a school are enforcing by neglecting to educate students properly on this important piece of history. Especially in light of the recent actions at Northern Secondary School I know the Jewish community at FHCI saw an increased importance in this year’s Yom HaShoah initiatives. I hope you will take our concerns into consideration as we only want to celebrate our history in a positive way with the rest of the Forest Hill community.”

 


The views reflected in the article do not necessarily illustrate the opinions associated with The Golden Falcon newspaper.

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How the LEAP Club is “Making FHCI Green Again”

By Julia Funk, Aribah Khan and Eriselda Lleshi

This year LEAP club has been focusing a lot on waste. You may have noticed our posters on the wall during Canada’s Waste Reduction Week, or even bought a yummy grilled cheese sandwich for our fundraiser. Waste comes in all shapes and forms. What we need from you, is to become more aware of it. Keep reading to find out more about three very big forms of waste; food, textile, and electronic waste.

Food waste is becoming an increasingly big problem.  There is over $680 billion in food wasted every year but even so, there are 795 million undernourished people worldwide… less than one-quarter of all wasted food is enough to feed them ALL. Not to mention that food waste is also water waste (due to growing, production etc.) and with water pollution rapidly depleting our oceans, we don’t need to waste a single drop more. The only way things will get better is if we each do our part. You can start off by making sure you only buy what you need and checking your fridge every few days to make sure nothing is going bad before you get to eat it. A handy tip is to keep a “Eat First” Bin in your fridge. Even if something does go bad, don’t throw it out. I repeat do not throw it out! There are thousands of decomposers drooling over those scraps –so be a good citizen and feed some of your local earth worms. In return, we get fresh compost which can be used to grow more food. For more information and live counts on food waste check out : http://www.theworldcounts.com/counters/world_food_consumption_statistics/world_food_waste_statistics.

Textile waste is one of the least spoken about forms of waste, yet it has an immense impact on our environment. Textile waste is a material that is deemed unusable for its original purpose by the owner. In North America, over 9.5 million tons of clothing are sent to landfills every year even though 95% of these clothes could be reused or recycled. In Canada alone, we produce enough textile waste a year to make a mountain three times the size of the Rogers Centre! In today’s consumerist society we do not realize that we have increased our clothing consumption from 50 billion new garments in 2000, to over 100 billion in 2017. This huge production of clothes is using 1/3 of the world’s fresh water resources. So what can you do to help reduce the impact of your clothes? The options are endless; reuse them, give to homeless shelters, donate them to second hand stores like the Value Village, or even give them to big retail stores who recycle them! Visit http://citywasteservices.ca/2016/12/15/the-essential-guide-to-clothes-donation-and-recycling-in-toronto/ to check out more on what to do with your unwanted clothes.

E-waste is an informal term to describe the consumer and business electronics which are nearing or at the end of their useful life. This applies to any electronics such as your cellphones, laptops, tablets, and etc. A staggering 20 to 50 million metric tons of electronic waste is generated worldwide every year, but only 11.4% of it is recycled. When electronics end up in landfills the toxins they contain such as mercury, lead, and cadmium contaminate our soil and water. Recycling these electronics instead will allow valuable resources to be reused as well as decrease their harmful effects on the environment. The amount of E- waste can be minimized through the mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Firstly, reducing the e-waste can be done through good maintenance of your electronics and careful decision making when first buying the electronics. Our functioning electronics can also be reused by donating them or selling them. Also, even if a product cannot be repaired, it can be recycled. There are many organizations that manage e-waste recycling such as EMCO disposal services, Recycling council of Ontario, and Greentronics computer recycling. You can make a difference and make our world a greener place by decreasing the use of these hazardous e-waste products. If you believe that your electronic is “trash,” do not throw it in in the trash! Bring it to any home hardware store, a drop-off Depot or even our schools very own Electronic Waste Bin found in the main office. Click the following link to find out more locations and more facts about our electronic waste:  https://www.recyclemyelectronics.ca/on/where-can-i-recycle

These are only three forms of waste but there are many more. We hope you will all become more mindful of your consumption and the impact of the waste you create. There is always a right way to dispose of items and we hope that you will choose the greener option. Your contributions to making the world a greener place are more significant than you think. As we work towards our goals one step at a time, keep in mind, it all starts with YOU!

Look forward to more articles by the LEAP Club to help “Make Forest Hill GREEN Again”

Imposter Syndrome

By Tatiana Bogdanov

There’s something strangely dehumanizing about staring at a beige locker, ass aching as you sit on a cold, waxed tile floor.

Your bag sits beside you, dirty from all the bus floors and classroom floors, heavy from the textbooks.

All you can do is sit and stare.

What’s the point of it all?

At the same time, it’s like you’re all too cold and all too hot, the sleeves of your sweater don’t reach far enough to cover your hands.

A science textbook lays strewn on the floor, a clutter of information that’ll make its way to your brain only for you to forget, and relearn it all when you need it the second time.

People mill around.

People talk, they laugh, they work and work all around you and seem to be unbothered by thoughts and feelings.

Other people sit on the floor beside you, and they’re intensely focused on their phones. They’re alone, but they’re not alone.

Mouth agape, you don’t notice;

you don’t feel exactly free, you’re bound by deadlines and friends and perhaps boyfriends or girlfriends;

obligations to talk and fill up empty space, and feel the anxiety bubble up when they don’t do the same.

Are you too taxing on other people?

Underneath your feet, the ground is ungrounding.

You wear fashionable shoes, yet they feel unnatural.

Something plays over the announcements,

but the din of the crowd lulls you into a sense of somewhat security, so you ignore it.

There’s at least one notification on your phone where somebody left you on read.

You yourself have left at least five notifications on read.

The anxiety still stirs somewhere within you, “what did I do wrong? Do you not want this relationship anymore? Is this it?”

Thoughts play on a film reel in your brain, the same pictures you’ve seen thousands of times in a variety of different places.

Nerves feel quite frayed, to be quite honest.

Who has time for all of these feelings? All these emotions that make life just that much more complicated; what if you could just detach?

Without anything to distract you, without anything to numb the pain of apprehension, it’s all maybe a little too much.

Never enough to tell a person, to seek out a helping hand, a friendly face, a hug. Oh no, that would never happen.

But it’s always just a little too much too handle.

Perhaps it’s the dissociation from what’s a paranoid idea, a good thought, and a nightmare-fueled jolt in bed.

Maybe it’s the way you forget the meetings, the events, the things you have to do, in favour of not having to think about them right then.  

Possibly, it’s the way you can sleep for twelve hours and wake up exhausted;

or maybe it’s the countless nights you can barely sleep at all.

And if you’re being really honest, you’ve stopped caring about taking care of yourself. You load your backpack with the world,

and carry it on your shoulders even though that’s a one-way ticket to back problems.

You have chips and ice cream for dinner,

not particularly caring about the calorie count or the sodium or the sugar.

You stray away from food for days,

stomach too full with something indescribable.

You were once good.

You were once a force.

The golden kid, with the bright future, the passionate voice, the eyes full of hope and dreams.

You were someone.

You loved the little things.

The excited tingle in your fingertips when you saw your ferns on your desk.

The smile of someone that wasn’t too bad themselves.

The deep seated satisfaction of doing well on that really hard project.

The shiver when that good chord hits.

Now.
Now you’re a shell.

Now you’re unrecognizable to yourself.

The drive has driven away.

What is this?

Who are you?

Who are you really?

A fraud?

An imposter?

You say you’re good at things, but are you?

Oh, you’ve lost your touch.

Where is the golden kid hiding?

Why Your Earphones May Be Killing You

By Josh Blatt

Music plays a massive role in modern day society. Almost anywhere at Forest Hill, students can be seen with Apple earphones in their ears. With the introduction of portable music players and apps such as Spotify, it is easier than ever before to listen to music on the go. However, there are a variety of dangers regarding the use of these devices that are often overlooked. The primary issue is how the music is [restrict]listened to. More often than not, people choose to listen to their music using headphones or earbuds while out in society. People play their music far louder than they should which poses auditory health risks, are not as alert which has led to more accidents involving pedestrians listening to music, and people are more socially isolated as a result of listening to music out in public.

First of all, the volume at which many students listen to their music at an extreme high. According to a study from the World Health Organization, there are over 1 billion people that are at risk of hearing loss as a result of listening to their music too loudly. Furthermore, the study found that 50% of people in wealthy countries around the world from ages 12-35 on listen to their music at unsafe audio levels. If youth keep on listening to music at the intensity that they do, the irreversible hearing damage will be an inevitable reality for many of them.

Earbuds can cause more than just auditory damage. A person who is listening to music and walking cannot as easily listen to their surroundings, meaning they are at a higher risk of being injured. The number of serious injuries caused to those listening to music while walking has tripled since 2004, with three-quarters of these accidents resulting in deaths. In British Columbia, it is illegal to listen to music with headphones while driving because it decreases the driver’s ability to hear emergency vehicle and police sirens, the honking of other vehicles on the streets, pedestrians, and other things. This same reasoning can be applied to pedestrians listening to music with headphones on, showing how this can be very dangerous.

There is also an argument to be made that listening to music in public is socially isolating.

There is also an argument to be made that listening to music in public is socially isolating. People are significantly less likely to start up a conversation with you if you are listening to music with headphones on. It would even be reasonable to that this contributes to the loneliness epidemic that plagues Canada’s youth since it has become that much more difficult communicate with one another. Additionally, it is quite annoying to try to get the attention of others when listening to music.

Having all of that said, there are some solutions to each of these problems. To prevent hearing damages, the World Health Organization recommends that you don’t go above 60% of the maximum audio level allowed on your phone and take listening breaks every hour. If somebody really wants to listen to music in public and also be relatively safe and socially integrated, perhaps a better option would be to only put one earbud in, so they can still listen to their surroundings. Music is a fantastic form of self-expression and entertainment; it just has to be listened to at the correct volume level and in a safe setting to lower the risk of potential harm.

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Salvator Mundi: The Last Da Vinci?

By Marian Pascual

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi is without a doubt, one of the greatest artistic rediscoveries of the 21st century.  It is one of the few 20 surviving Da Vinci paintings which made it a huge worldwide media sensation.  But what made the Salvator Mundi worth $400 million dollars?

On November 15 of last year, the painting was offered in a special lot in the Post-War Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Christie’s in New York.  Starting the bid at $70 million, the painting was sold 19 minutes later with the record sum of $400 million, breaking the record of the most expensive art piece in the world.  How crazy is it that [restrict]500 years later, Leonardo had no idea that his painting would be sold for over $400 million dollars, which is a million times greater than the currency back then!  Today, the painting is in the hands of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The history of the painting dates back 500 years ago (around the 1500’s) according to experts, and is known for certain that it was painted for King Charles I, since it was recorded in his royal inventory a year after his execution in 1649.  Salvator Mundi (‘Saviour of the World’) is a painting of Jesus in a Renaissance holding the world in his left hand, and giving a benediction or blessing with his right hand.  At first, the painting was thought to be a copy of a lost original, but after research and its removal over overpaint, the painting was restored which proved its authentication as the original one.

But can this be the last Da Vinci?  According to some reports, Salvator Mundi is cannot be the last Da Vinci since the Duke of Buccleuch owns Da Vinci’s Madonna of Yarnwinder, and if sold at auction, it would be sold for at least $1bn…  It would not be a surprise that after seeing the results from Salvator Mundi’s auction, he wouldn’t mind selling his Da Vinci too!

It is fascinating to think that after hundreds of years, the world would rediscover such an exceedingly rare painting by one of the world’s greatest painters.  With the development of technology, who knows what else humanity could discover?  Lucian Freud’s Francis Bacon?  Or the existence of aliens?  Only time will tell.[/restrict]

Racism in the Environment?

By Abi Parameswaran

Global warming, temperature modification and pollution; these are only some of the thousands of different issues across the world, some of which are addressed, and others hidden in plain vision. These problems remain prevalent in our society even though many hate admitting it. Most are unaware of environmental racism and continue to say it is a made-up distraction to take the focus off real issues. Inequalities, within the environment, is the reason why many areas lack support. It is a real issue across our country and in the world. Environmental racism is the lack of awareness directed at some geographical areas, the causation being political problems, societal standing and overall judgement. This problem is well-known in areas with strong minorities and can be seen in the early 1960s within Canada and with first nation communities in present days. Issues in unknown areas are ignored and it effects variations of citizens in the world.

Environmental racism has been in Canada since the sixties. In Nova Scotia, Africville was known to be home to families of people who were slaves. This area was a product of neglection. People lived there without sufficient water source, adequate housing, or functioning schooling systems. Africville did not get funds to live in a healthy environment. People who live in Africville separated after the government decided to destroy the area for being overly contaminated and an eye-sore. This area within Nova Scotia faced racism because of the absence of awareness and care to go towards the land these citizens lived on. The same problem remains, the First Nations communities and reserves across Canada being an example. Many First Nations people are harmed by projects such as pipeline constructions, lack of funding on reserves and educational needs not being met by people living on the land. All these factors are known and although efforts are made to stop these problems it is always temporarily talked about in the media than mass populations turn a blind eye shortly after. Even though advocates continue to fight for these simple rights for these communities many often commoners do not look further into issues of equality within the environment. Is it fair to subject Indigenous members of this country to such harsh living standards? The fact that Indigenous members of Canadian society have issues related to the environment that is not being addressed is a problem since many other areas do not face these inequalities and are oblivious to communities that do.

Spreading knowledge on this topic will help people realize it is an issue. However, people need to accept it is an issue. Living a life masked to these issues will only worsen the environmental standings of areas affected by this. This is a problem faced all over the world and being oblivious to such issues only makes this problem widespread and worse. Anyone that continues to believe environmental racism is not real, this is only one of the thousands of cases in the world. People need to realize that inequalities related to the environment exist all over the world. There are countless times these are spoken about, yet as a society, there is no progression being seen. Organizations can only take control and question such issues for so long. The general public needs to become aware of this situation and talk about it and address it. Considering that many are still oblivious to racism amongst people and continue to use racial slurs and offend people it is tough to bring awareness about a completely new realm of racism. This is just proof that awareness is needed in all areas of racism considering it is still prevalent in society. Environmental racism is one of many forms of discrimination that continues to exist across the world. With the awareness and action taken for these issues someday, as a society racism itself may become a word of the past. Everyone deserves the right of feeling safe and having access to the necessities in life, and if the factor that stops them from receiving this is inequalities in the environment than this is a serious issue and more people need to know of it. People need to wake up and see the reality of things as many issues are not as clear as perceived to be.

Course Selection – Grade 12

By Esther Eisen

Biology

Culminating: none

Exam: 2 hours and 30%

1.    Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

I really enjoyed this course because it really gave an in-depth look at some of the fundamental concepts of biology that I am personally very interested in.

2.    What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

I really enjoyed the homeostasis unit. In this unit, we learned in detail about the excretory system, the endocrine system, and the nervous system. I have always been interested in this and this unit was honestly one of the coolest things I have learned about in school. Along with being extremely interesting, it was also by far the easiest unit in terms of workload and memorization for the test.

3.    Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

I think this course will be useful in my future studies in university as this is the field that I want to study. I also feel as though there is a reason that this is a prerequisite for almost every science program as it gave a basic overview of many concepts that will be studied in university.

4.    What was your reason for taking this course and are you happy with your decision?

I took this course because I had to in order to get accepted into the university programs I am interested in. I am happy that I took it because I learned a lot. I think people who are considering taking this course should understand that a lot of hard work and time must be put into this course in order to do well. SBI4U is more than just memorizing terms and numbers as one must actually deeply understand the ideas learned in class.

5.    What do you wish you had known going into this course?

I wish I knew how much work this course requires and that it is different and a lot more difficult than SBI3U. But I personally enjoyed this course more as it gave a microscopic look on biology as opposed to a macroscopic look. It was nice to have the contrast from grade 11 and learn a different type of biology.

6.    What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. Lots of textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.) ?

Typically, the homework would be textbook readings and questions or studying for a test. All of the evaluations were either quizzes or tests, except for one paper we had at the end of the semester. Normally, every night I would study and rewrite class notes from that day. This was so I could actually understand and learn what we did that day and so that I would not be behind the next day.

Environment and Resource Management

Culminating task: “Greenventions” (10%)

Exam: 2 hours and 20%

1.    Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

I enjoyed this course for the most part because I learned about real issues facing our world today. The course was catered to today’s world and events, which I found very interesting.

2.    What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

A highlight for me was learning about climate change because of how much climate change impacts us and how it will affect our world. It is a very current issue and I found it beneficial to learn about in class.

3.    Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

I think this course will be useful for my knowledge about our world but not for my future studies. Some concepts that we discussed in the class I know I will not look at in my future studies. However, this course was a nice change from usual science and math courses I take.

4.    What was your reason for taking this course and are you happy with your decision?

I took this course because I needed an extra credit to graduate and because I did not want to take another science or “challenging” course. I am content with this course because I got the credit I needed but I know this mark will not be submitted to university, so it does not affect me very much.

5.    What do you wish you had known going into this course?

To be honest, I originally thought this course would be an easy 90 but it really was not. I had to put in a lot more time than I thought into the assignments in order to get the 90% I wanted. For those who take this course in the future, be prepared to put time and thought into the course work as it is noticeable when you do an assignment the night before!

6.    What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. Lots of textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.) ?

The entire course was assignment based. There was no nightly homework besides completing the next assignment.

Data Management

Culminating Task (with percentage): 10% research report

Exam (length and percentage): 20% final exam

1.    Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

I liked this course just because it was so different from functions and the other Grade 12 maths.

2.    What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

The course highlight would be the completion of the final research project. Seeing all the research and work put into one finished project is very rewarding.

3.    Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

I found it useful because I am not going into a math-focused program in university and thought having one math would be helpful.

4.    What was your reason for taking this course and are you happy with your decision?

I took this course because I wanted to take at least one math course in grade 12. I do regret taking it just because it was not a prerequisite and I am not someone who enjoys math.

5.    What do you wish you had known going into this course?

A lot of people take this course thinking it will be an easy 90 but it is a difficult course if you do not put the required time and effort. Do not go into data doing the bare minimum and expecting an amazing mark. In my opinion, I would say that if you do not like math, do not take this course. A lot of people will say it is easier than Advanced Functions and Calculus, but that does not mean it is easy- it is still challenging.

6.    What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. Lots of textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.) ?

Time management is very important. You are working on your final report while you are doing term work. A lot of research and work goes into the final report.

Writer’s Craft

Culminating Task (with percentage): One Act Play (30%)

Exam (length and percentage): None

1.    Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

Great course, especially if you love to read and write. There were no essays as this course focuses on the creative aspect of writing as well as the process. I definitely recommend taking this course in grade 12.

2.    What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

My course highlight was writing and performing a slam poem.

3.    Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

I definitely found this course helpful, especially since I had it first semester, before I had taken grade 12 English.

4.    What was your reason for taking this course and are you happy with your decision?

I heard a lot of great things about the course from past grade 12s. I also wanted to work on my writing. I am happy with my decision.

5.    What do you wish you had known going into this course?

It’s really different from traditional English courses so there is not much prior information you need going into the course. I guess I wish I would have known the emphasis put on formatting and overall representation of work.

6.    What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. Lots of textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.) ?

There was a fair amount of work given, especially during the poetry unit, but there is plenty of class time to work on it.

Law

Culminating Task (with percentage): None
Exam (length and percentage): 2 hour exam, 30%

1. Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

Law was probably the course I’ve most enjoyed taking at Forest Hill. It was really challenging but intellectually rewarding.

2.    What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

I really enjoyed how current events were incorporated into the course.

3.    Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

It was very useful. It was practically useful as we learned about our constitutional rights, and further solidified my interest in pursuing a legal career.

4.    What was your reason for taking this course and are you happy with your decision?

I have been interested in law for a while so naturally I chose it. I am very happy with my decision.

5.    What do you wish you had known going into this course?

I wish I had known that it wasn’t impossible if you consistently did your homework and the reading.

6.    What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. Lots of textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.) ?

There were lots of writing tasks that I enjoyed and reading was assigned most days.

Kinesiology

Culminating Task (with percentage): None

Exam (length and percentage): 30%, 2 hours

1.    Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

I really enjoyed this course! It was very applied and you can relate the concepts learned in class to real life. You learn in depth about the body (both systems and anatomy). It is really interactive in the sense that you can visualize most things. That being said, this course required a lot of hard work and studying. Someone cannot pass, or do well, without studying and hoping they can “just get by”. But studying for the tests or doing the assignments was not terrible as I am interested in the subject. If you are not willing to put in time and effort into this course, then do not take it.

2.    What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

I really enjoyed the anatomy unit of the course. In this unit, we learned in detail about the bones and muscles and how they work. I found it very interesting to learn the names and types of bones we have in our body, as well as the functions of the different muscles in our body. We also learned about how our muscles work and the role our brain plays in muscle contraction. This unit was definitely the highlight of the course.

3.    Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

I think this course will be useful in both my future studies, as well as my life as a whole. As I plan on going into health sciences, I know that many of the concepts discussed in class will come back in university. Although I doubt that I will remember all of the course material in huge detail, I am sure that having prior exposure will help me succeed.

4.    What was your reason for taking this course and are you happy with your decision?

I originally took this course because it sounded cool and because I needed another credit. It was the only course of the options that sounded interesting to me. I am happy I took this course because everything we learned was genuinely interesting and the way the class was taught was interactive, visual, and applied.

5.    What do you wish you had known going into this course?

Going into this course, I wish I would have known how much work it would be.

6.    What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. Lots of textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.) ?

The classwork was different all of the time, which is another reason I enjoyed the course. For the most part, nightly homework consisted of textbook readings with questions or a worksheet. The evaluations are what differed. We had a huge mix of both tests and assignments. The assignments ranged from creating an infographic, to round tables, to 3D models of a joint. This ensured that even if someone was not a “good test taker”, they could still do well in the course from the wide variety of other assessments.

Logan Paul is Making Some Noise

By Nat Jenkins

On December 31st, YouTube “star” Logan Paul uploaded a video to his channel featuring a suicide victim in Aokigahara, commonly known as the “suicide forest” because of the large number of people that take their own lives (estimates claim that over 100 suicides take place each year, although Japan no longer releases its death counts.)

Forbes Magazine ranked Logan Paul as one of the top entertainment influencers in the world; major companies pay him considerable amounts of money to post sponsored videos. With 15 million subscribers, it is no doubt that his videos have an impressionable effect on his audience, targeting mostly teenagers and children.

The extremely problematic video consisted of Paul and a small group of his friends planning to stay overnight in the woods where he hoped to “focus on the haunted aspect of the forest” and potentially film supernatural events. Paul’s attitude throughout the entirety of the video is disgusting, it is hard to tell whether or not he is being serious. In fact, upon discovering the body of a man who recently had commit suicide, his reaction was not of respect, but rather excitement:

“This is the most real vlog I’ve ever posted to this channel,”

and continued to say that “this is YouTube history because it never been done before.” While this in itself is repulsive, Paul continued to film the body of the victim and failed to hold back a laugh. “This was all going to be a joke; why did it become so real?” Aokigahara was and never will be a joke, Aokigahara is not a tourist attraction; it is a mass grave. In fact, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, and at Aokigahara, Japanese officials have signs displayed around the forest asking victims who may be suffering from mental illness to seek help.

The following day Paul had received overwhelming backlash, as he should. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner, and American Actor Dylan O’Brien are some of many who had criticized him for his actions.

In an attempt at good faith, Paul uploaded a one-minute-long “apology video” to his channel (notably, which did not contain any resources for anybody suffering from mental illness, which he claims to support.)

He also uploaded an apology to Twitter:

“This is a first for me. I’ve never faced criticism like this before, because I’ve never made a mistake like this before. I’m surrounded by good people and believe I make good decisions, but I’m still a human being. I can be wrong. I didn’t do it for views. I get views. I did it because I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity. That’s never the intention. I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention and while I thought ‘if this video saves just ONE life, it’ll be worth it,’ I was misguided by shock and awe, as portrayed in the video. I still am.”

Paul’s apology is not sincere. He is only defending his actions. If he truly wanted to “raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention,” then he should have included resources and tools that can help people who are suffering from mental illness. Not only that, but the video is monetized, meaning that if you allow the presence of advertisements before your videos, YouTube will charge advertisers for these and share the fees with you, allowing you to make some money from people viewing your videos.

After it was revealed that the video was monetized, Twitter went on to boycott Paul’s YouTube video to ensure that the vlogger would make no further profit. The fact that Paul’s video is monetized clearly raises the questions as to whether or not he is truly sorry for his actions, and if his initial intent was to raise suicide awareness and prevention.

Some people are frustrated with YouTube’s lack of intervention since Paul himself removed the video. Recently, however, YouTube has finally decided to reprimand Paul for his actions.

YouTube posted a statement on their Twitter account apologizing to its users and promised that “changes are on the way,” implying that “further consequences” would be at hand for Paul.

In addition to this statement, a YouTube spokesperson stated in a press release that the company had removed Paul from its Google Preferred advertising tier, cancelled the upcoming fourth season of the YouTube Red series Foursome, and temporarily stopped the production of Paul’s films in its “Originals” category, including the upcoming sequel to YouTube Red’s first feature-length thriller, a dystopian sci-fi called The Thinning.

Despite this, his self-created business empire still exists. He will continue to make an estimated eight-figure profit each year – according to a Forbes estimate – since he earns the remainder of his income without YouTube involvement, mostly through brand deals and his popular merchandise.

That means that Paul’s financial success is not entirely up to YouTube, but mostly to his fans and sponsors. If his fans stopped going to his meet and greet and buying his merchandise entirely, his earnings could drop 50% at least. This is unlikely, however, as PewDiePie (another YouTuber who had a recent controversy) managed to earn $12 million last year.

It is sickening that Logan Paul will virtually face no significant consequences for his actions. Suicide is not – and never will be –  a joke.


 

Editors Note: Contributing article by Natalie Jenkins. Natalie’s conclusions expressed in this editorial do not represent the predilections’ of our writers, contributors and editors. If you would like to comment on our articles or columns, refer to our contact section above.

 

My Transition from Vaughan Road Academy to Forest Hill Collegiate Institute

By Marian Nicole Pascual

     I attended Vaughan Road Academy (VRA) in its final year before it closed its doors forever in late June of 2017.  I have been moving schools all my life, (I have been to 6 different schools) but VRA has, and always will, hold a special place in my teenage heart. 

     VRA was a high school with a little over 200 students, which was only 20 percent of its capacity.  Because of this, and decades of dropping enrolment, TDSB voted to close the school down last December.  It may seem unfortunate that I joined the year it closed, but it turned out to be a very rewarding experience after all.

     VRA welcomed me into the new school year with open doors.  I remember walking into my first, second, and third classes and realizing that the same 15 students I saw were all in my grade.  I also realized that despite what grade you were in, everybody hung out with everybody else. At the time, one of my best friends was actually in Grade 9.

     One big difference I noticed about VRA was that there was a much more relaxed relationship between students and teachers.  That was one of the things I did not have at my previous schools where there were over 1,800 students, and teachers had to divide their attention equally between them.  But at VRA, I noticed I had a closer relationship with my teachers than I did before, and that is one of the things that made VRA so special.  I could talk to them about things that were unrelated to school as if they were my friends and not strictly my teachers.

     Spending my first few weeks at the school was truly haunting.  I was still getting used to the abandoned classrooms on each floor, and the quasi-deserted hallways. But at Forest Hill Collegiate Institute (FHCI), it takes me what seems like a lifetime to get to a class that is two classrooms away because the hallways are so cramped! #Relatable

     There is so much history in the hallways of VRA.  I felt its eerie presence every day.  I could not forget the soft buzz that I always heard in the uninhabited hallways.  It sounded like the soft hum of all the spirits that attended VRA from 1926 to 2017.   But it was actually the school’s heating system; the soft hum of the heating machines implanted in the walls.

     Switching from IB Physics to Philosophy was probably the best thing that happened to me at Vaughan, besides meeting the love of my life, whom I will mention later.  Philosophy helped me come to terms with my purpose in life, and my religion.  Philosophy helped me realize I was agnostic.  I remember writing a “Does God Exist?” essay, and I could not sleep for nights because of it.  Before attending Vaughan, the majority of schools I attended were Catholic schools where religion was incorporated into most of the curriculum, and there were no Philosophy courses. When I was introduced to Philosophy last year, everything I learned in Catholic school leading up to that moment simply did not make sense to me anymore. Everything I learned in Catholic school leading up to the moment I was introduced to philosophy simply did not make sense to me anymore. To this day, I am still thankful that I decided to switch to Philosophy because it impacted the way I perceive life greatly.  

     Towards the end of the school year, we had yearbook signings in our cafeteria. I decided to ask a particular gentleman I met very briefly during school events to sign my yearbook. He signed it, I signed his, and here we are 5 months later.  Most VRA alumni have said that they found the love of their lives in those hallways, and it was possible that I could have just missed him and not asked him to sign my yearbook that day.  But I am glad I did anyway.  

     Although there were not many students at VRA, there were still many clubs.  I tried to join most of them, like Peer Mentors, French Club, Music Council, and the Girls Volleyball Team.  It was especially hard to be a part of a sports team because we had very little people. No one could be absent or else we would not be able to play due to the lack of players.  For example, I was a setter for the volleyball team, and I always had to attend practices and be present for games or else we would not be able to play at all.

     In the end, VRA felt like more of a home than a high school.  Everyone was just comfortable with each other, and you can not get that same feeling in any other high school.  My transition from VRA to FHCI was a shock at first (mostly because there are so many students) but so far, I am happy to spend my last high school year at FHCI.

 

This Was Going To Be A Movie Review

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By Sophie Gold

My brother is a movie nut. On his recent birthday, we went to see the newest adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. I enjoyed it very much and recommend it to you.  It has a great twist of an ending on par with The Usual Suspects which I won’t spoil for you.  In prep for writing this review, I had a look at what other critics thought of the film. I was surprised that many panned the movie because I liked it.  However, there emerged a theme among the most critical critics:  the remake (as they called it) was unnecessary and didn’t measure up to previous films based on the same book.  It is true that there have been other film adaptations of the book as is the case with lots of movies being made these days.  There seem to be lots of redo’s and their near cousin the franchise extension these days.  So why does Hollywood tend toward redos and franchise extensions?  Is there a lack of creativity among today’s movie makers and story-tellers or is there something else at play?  Are today’s film studios so risk averse that they are too afraid to step out of their comfort zones?  Or are we as movie-goers the ones who are risk averse and crave the comfort of nostalgia and happy (or at least known) endings?  

Save for low budget indies, it has become prohibitively expensive to make and market new movies; it’s risky business indeed.  Remaking old movies provides film studios with a critical success factor or crutch depending on your perspective: bankability.  If you think of a movie on a theatre screen like a consumer product on the shelf at Shoppers or Loblaws, there’s lots of competition.  And there are too many movies for the available prime “shelf space” or movie screens. The independent and newbie studios and movies just don’t have a level playing field because the resources required to get on screen are huge and getting huger by the day.  So only tried and proven movies made by tried and true makers get made again and again.  If that is the case, going to the movies may soon become similar to tuning into another episode of that TV show you watch every week or binge watch on Netflix over the holidays. Film studios remake old movies and extend franchises because they are less risky to make and market. Remakes and extensions practically market and sell themselves, whereas upstarts have to fight for the scarce real estate that is the theatre screen.  Remakes and extensions are also more readily translated and sold globally and often spin off a heap of merchandising opportunities to boot.   But it’s not just the movie makers who are responsible for this trend.  

 

We the viewers to like our comfort food.  We like what we know and like knowing how we will feel at the end and that we got what we paid for.  There’s a reason why McDonald’s keeps cranking out Big Macs:  people love the special sauce that they are familiar with (truth be told, I’ve never eaten at a McDonald’s but have heard stories about McFood).

Then again, there’s a case to be made for remakes. First off, they’ve been made for generations.  Romeo and Juliet became West Side Story and has been retold to new generations for decades. New technology and well-known actors introduce old stories to new audiences who might never otherwise see them. My brother never would have taken us to see Murder on the Orient Express but for the modern cast including some of his favourite actors. I would never have been introduced to the great story and awesome plot twist and not have written this article.  We like our comfort foods and film studios will continue to oblige us for good reason: we call it comfort food for a reason and there’s no place like home and a bowl of mac and cheese on a cold night.  

Image Source: https://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjYxdqLo5bYAhUp9YMKHZmGBoUQjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youthareawesome.com%2Fmovies-2015-forwards%2F&psig=AOvVaw3msgjzWnS0kpo0V9PCkKrU&ust=1513779691875073

 

Farewell 2017

By Linda Cako

2017 was supposed to be the year we were going to see change. And change we saw. Not all was good, like President Trump’s Muslim Ban, North Korea starting to flex its emerging nuclear prowess, and the UN warning us that we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since WWII with up to 20 million people being at risk of starvation in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria. There were three powerful hurricanes to hit consecutively, and France ended its State of Emergency after two years of attacks and will start having a more intense police presence throughout the country instead.

Clearly, it was not the best year for global issues.

Some changes and events, however, were good and celebrated throughout the world, such as Australia passing it’s Same-Sex Marriage Bill. The first gene therapy treatment for cancer, Kymriah, was FDA approved in August and has already begun to be used on patients with leukaemia and is being considered a miracle cure, and Google’s DeepMind AI taught itself to walk.

It was a time of great change in Forest Hill as well. We changed school principles, had our very first dance, and said goodbye to great teachers and hello to new and old faces.

While it seems that every year we want to label as The Worst Year Ever, 2017 was hardly the worst year. Scientific discoveries gave us hope for the future and made us realize how far we have come as a species, and emerging politics made us understand how far we have yet to go to achieve our goals of becoming a more fair and just society.

Going into 2018, it’s time to reflect how we want to proceed. What pressing issues must we address? What issues have inspired us to make a change? What do we have left to work on? Even as a high schooler, we can all make an impact. All it takes is to find your passion and advocate for change. It does not have to be enormous. Small steps eventually lead to great distances being crossed so it’s never too late to start.

Ms. Fuentes’ said in her first speech when she came to Forest Hill that she wants us all to take advantage of our unique positions to make a difference in the school. How do we want to leave Forest Hill? Better than when we entered it, for sure. Whatever the definition of better is to you, take 2017’s lessons and make something good come out of change.


Linda is a grade 12 student at FHCI and is a Social Issues Editor for The Golden Falcon newspaper.

Image Source: https://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjyjvPio5bYAhVG4YMKHdjSCYYQjhwIBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thriveglobal.com%2Fstories%2F16470-anxiety-pangs-keeping-them-at-bay&psig=AOvVaw3X0aqIhL2py_-2WNZNbViO&ust=1513779911218260

President Trump’s Transgender Military Ban doesn’t stop the Pentagon for paying for a Transgender Soldier’s Surgery

By Linda Cako

On December 11, 2017, the Pentagon ruled that it will be accepting transgender recruits against President Trump’s ban to exclude them from joining the military. The ruling came as a decision from the Pentagon to pay for a transgender surgery after two of them were already performed by former U.S Navy Flight Surgeon, Dr. Christine McGinn for free.
President Trump explained in a tweet, stating that  “Our military must be focused on decisiveness and overwhelming … victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,”to justify his ban. However, other sources have shown that incorporating transgender healthcare into the military will only add an additional $2.4 – $8.4 million annually (RAND Corporation, 2016). For the U.S military budget, this is only a fraction of a percent increase.
“Our military must be focused on decisiveness and overwhelming … victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,”
The Pentagon issued a statement saying that they felt it was important to pay for the surgery as it was medically necessary for the solider to receive it. While some went to argue their opinion about the necessity of this surgery, Dr. Christine McGinn argued that these types of procedures should be looked at as a necessity because they are not cosmetic procedures. They assist in the overall well-being of the solider. Trans soldiers should be given this right since like all soldiers, they are fighting to protect their county and should be given the right to health care.
Good mental health and wellbeing are important objectives for the military towards its soldiers, as it makes for a more efficient and effective army. The military provides a plethora of support for its soldiers so it should make sense that it would also help them through their decisions to transition and receive the procedure. The American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association both agree that transitioning is beneficial for trans individuals as it helps to greatly reduce their gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is “a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify,” (American Psychiatric Association, 2016). It is important for the military to address this as untreated gender dysphoria can lead to depression, anxiety, and sometimes, suicide.
This is all coming around the same time when Bill C-16 is stirring great debate throughout Canada. Whatever the stance is, the importance of these events is that they are helping to push the boundaries on gender norms and to be more open as a society to accept the overall LGBTQ community.
LGBTQ community members face discrimination on a daily basis and are used to living with targets on their backs. In the 21st century, this behaviour is beyond embarrassing and shows how far society has yet to progress to become more accepting of others. Hopefully, through these events, people will be more open-minded and accommodating for a more diverse group of individuals within communities. As this year has proven to everyone, homophobia is still a very real issue and is one that is not always condemned by leaders of countries. Often it is the leaders who keep their backs towards the LGBTQ community in the first place. Therefore it is essential that change happens through the population first and seeps its way into politics after.

Linda is a grade 12 student at FHCI and is a Social Issues Editor for The Golden Falcon newspaper.
Image Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/trump-announces-transgender-military-service-ban-twitter-article-1.3357685

Save the Little Blue Planet

By Linda Cako

Climate Change has never been good news. Science has always provided the evidence for the global impact and consequences stating that we would experience more extreme weather, see an unprecedented rate of extinction, and have more toxic levels of smog. Within the past few months alone we had seen some of the damaging cases of forest fires in Canada, we had three destructive hurricanes hit consecutively, and smog levels have reached their highest levels yet in some parts of the world. Not to mention that land ice has decreased by 286 gigatonnes just this year alone (Climate NASA, 2017).

While we live comfortable lives in Toronto, even here we can see the dangerous effects of climate change in subtle ways. For example, up until a few weeks ago, we were still hitting temperature in the double digits. Even now in December we still haven’t experienced any proper flurries or frost.

While most of this is not new, and these facts are depressing to hear, they are important to acknowledge. This year we have had a very frightening experience with politicians and their beliefs but it is important to see the signs and not simply dismiss them. In times of ignorance, facts are the only foundation on which we must base our actions upon. Otherwise, forget about saving the planet and adopt the realization that this will be our reality from now.

Governor Jerry Brown stated that these forest fires would become “the new normal” due to increasing heat and dryness in California.

It is important to always remember that little steps count. Small actions such as recycling, using renewable sources of energy when possible, using more energy efficient appliances, and reducing car emissions by keeping cars in good condition can all help. Making dietary changes can help too, such as cutting back on meat and dairy products. All are good ways to doing our part. The only thing missing is awareness.

While it’s so easy to read these articles and forget about climate change right after, it’s important that we do not do this. Climate change is very scary and is threatening millions of lives right now. Not to mention all our lives are being threatened in the long term.

So don’t just read passively and forget. At times like these, the action is essential to pull ourselves up and make the necessary amends to slow down climate change like our lives depend on it because they do.

As Margaret Mead said, “We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.”


Linda is a grade 12 student at FHCI and is a Social Issues Editor for The Golden Falcon newspaper.

Image Source: https://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjplpaXpJbYAhVF5YMKHdutBjIQjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftrendintech.com%2F2016%2F10%2F06%2Flatest-figures-estimate-we-need-90-trillion-to-save-the-planet%2Fkane-blog-picz-amazon-uk%2F&psig=AOvVaw09RC0rTQUjWwHOqm2dVHcx&ust=1513780021425257

The Mystery In Space Programs

By Ethan Blumberg

I have always asked myself why the Canadian and American governments annually spend enormous amounts of money on their respective space programs and different international space initiatives. The scale of the spending has led to a constant debate in both Canada and the United States for many years. While I do understand the global importance of space exploration, I believe that the two nations that are at the forefront of the field are allocating funds at a senseless rate. It seems to me that the negligent spending of both Canada and the United States is taking away funds from serious issues the two Countries face back on earth.

Growing up in Canada I have gained a good grasp of the adversity our continent faces and at the same time, I realize the magnitude of resources needed to combat issues such as unemployment, education and poverty. The transparency of how much is being spent by Both NASA and the Canadian Space Agency allows for me as an average citizen to see the immense capital needed to fuel the two organizations that are so synonymous with space exploration. The financial numbers that are constantly being exhibited by the two groups are extremely large, but rarely indicate or just what exactly will come out of the funding.  An example of this neglectful spending is that the Canadian government set aside $379 million in the 2016 federal budget just to preserve our countries partnership with the International Space Station.  Canada went ahead with the investment knowing there may not be a great return on the massive deal that was reached. Professionals, alongside elected officials, decided that this was the best use of all that money, while around 4 million Canadians still live with food insecurity. This statistic includes the over 1 million children in Canada who live in a household that struggles to put food on the table. Knowing this how am I supposed to be able to come to terms with the fact that Canada is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to enhance space exploration, at the same time that many of my fellow Canadians are facing detrimental obstacles in their day to day life.

There are similar issues with the much larger scale and more dynamic National Aeronautics and Space Administration South of the border. NASA is a storied part of the American government, with a long history of success. However, that is not so much the case anymore. Not being able to achieve the same level of technological breakthroughs has led me to believe that the inefficiency of the United States space exploration program should result in even more cuts than have previously occurred to this date. NASA’s yearly budget is still close to 20 billion dollars. The portion of the federal budget that NASA receives is about an astonishing 40% of what the U.S. federal government spends on education each year.  The public education system is often criticized for reasons such as overcrowding within American public schools. These numbers are just another illustration of the unconscionable mismanagement of federal funds that are going towards the countries space program rather than to assisting those in need.

Finally, I think it is important to state that I don’t want to discredit any of the programs I spoke upon, because I am well aware of the importance of NASA, the Canadian Space Agency and space exploration as a whole. I just believe that both Canada and the United States should take a step back and re-evaluate how they are funding their own space programs. In order to ensure the government doesn’t make negligent spending decisions that could instead be going towards more egalitarian causes.


Ethan is a grade 11 student at FHCI and is a Social Issues Editor for The Golden Falcon newspaper.

Image Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyEzsAy4qeU

Women Can Be Abusers Too

By Vanessa Ifepe

A pop star by the name of Melanie Martinez was accused of rape by her former friend Timothy Heller, a former member of the band Dresses. This accusation was said against her on Monday and quickly after, she sent a tweet out to her followers stating the accusations were a lie and Heller agreed to what had taken place. The next day, Heller told Newsweek that she thinks Melanie became aware of the pending accusation a month before which when Timothy sent out a tweet saying she was debating telling her story.Melanie tried to contact her numerous times probably for the purposes of keeping her quiet. Although a truly horrendous story, it brings up a conversation that isn’t had enough. It speaks the hidden truth, women can be abusers too.

With all the recent sexual assault allegations in Hollywood, we only see men being accused for this horrible crime but the reality is, an abuser has no gender. Anyone is able to be a perpetrator just like anyone can be a victim. Heller even explains in the Newsweek article that she didn’t come forward because the fact that Melanie wasn’t a man made her feel like her experience was invalidated. When reading all the abuse stories under the tag #metoo, she couldn’t determine whether her story was classified as abuse. This is the problem with our society. We assign gender to everything and when something does not go the way society views it, we see it as impossible. This should not be the case. Just like many other sexual assault victims, Heller loved Melanie even after it happened and felt that it was her duty to protect her by keeping the incident a secret.

“Girls can rape girls,” Heller wrote in her testimony on twitter, “best friends can rape best friends.” Melanie took advantage of her during her weakest point and tried to make up for it by helping further her career in little ways. She let Melanie abuse her because she loved her, because she felt she owed her and mainly, because she just wanted it to stop. This is the underlying tone of so many other victims stories and it’s sad to admit that, the people who you love can hurt you the most. It doesn’t matter who they are or what gender they identify as, they can hurt you.  In the words of Heller, friendship does not equal consent. Family members do not obtain automatic consent either.  It’s important to understand that anything that violates you or makes you feel uncomfortable in ANY way, is NOT okay.

Melanie had the audacity to contact Heller shortly after saying that she should go meet a healer. If the allegations are true, that’s such q cruel thing to say to someone whose pain you caused! How convenient to be concerned about the friend you cut off ties with after they accuse you of rape.

I am so happy that Timothy was inspired by the recent sexual assault accusations and came out with her own story. It angers me that people would abuse someone’s trust is such a way and then pretend as if the emotional toil that comes after is not their fault. It saddens me that this story may get neglected and skipped over just because the accused is a women. The world shouldn’t be like this. This shouldn’t be assigned to a gender, it just doesn’t make any sense to me why the world operates this way.  I encourage everyone who reads this to follow up on this story, read Timothy’s testimony on twitter and remember that, women can be abusers too.

I know fans of hers may be reluctant to believe these allegations and I get it. Nobody wants to believe someone they look up to would do something so horrible but I encourage you to set aside your bias and focus on the important message behind this allegation.


Image citation:

Nabaum, Alex. “Abuse.” theispot Stock, https://www.theispot.com/stock/search?search_stock=Abuse&search_stock_match=all&stock_subject=&stock_type=. Accessed 19 Dec. 2017.