December 2020

2020, What A Year

By Gabriel Barton and Bebe Falkner

Optimist of 2020: No one expected 2020 to be anything like it is right now. Who knew we would have to be wearing masks at school, “social distancing” everywhere, and praying a riot wouldn’t knock down our doors. But, as the optimist I am, the good aspects the first year of the new decade has brought us can certainly not be ignored!

Pessimist of 2020: Good aspects? What good aspects?

Optimist of 2020: Well, remember that long summer we had? I know it feels forever ago, but it really was exciting! There were so many things to do and without the worry of school work.

Pessimist of 2020: Except there wasn’t anything to do. We were locked in our homes for months, not allowed to be with any of our friends, and all of our vacation plans were cancelled.

Optimist of 2020: You know what they say, “When one door closes, another one opens.”

Pessimist of 2020: Or you could just open the door yourself because that’s how doors work.

Optimist of 2020: Anway, not everything was a total loss. I know plenty of people who used their extra time in all kinds of fashions. Whether that be binging Netflix, staying active or, as I’ve heard, writing a book! Or, probably the best choice, resting. Everyone in this century has been working so hard, staying up till dawn trying to complete a number of assignments. I see this whole pandemic as a wake up call.

Pessimist of 2020: Well, I see it as death and despair.

Optimist of 2020: Of course you would. You’re telling me there wasn’t one night during the whole summer break when you stayed up to watch a thriller or a comedy?

Pessimist of 2020: Maybe just one Marvel movie.

Optimist of 2020: Ha! Exactly.

Pessimist of 2020: But that was then, this is now. I cannot express how annoying “Distance Learning” is. At first, I chose to go back to school in person, but after getting “contact traced” for the 4th time, I just decided to stay home. It’s so hard to participate in my labs in physics and I feel like no one even knows I’m there.

Optimist of 2020: But, you do get to stay in your comfy clothes all day, right? And not commuting to school gives you a good extra 30 minutes of sleep time. I’m sure all the upperclassmen are grateful for that.

Pessimist of 2020: Getting dressed for school actually helped me to focus more in class. Honestly, I kind of drift off during lectures because I’m all snuggled up in my bed.

Optimist of 2020: Let’s hope none of this will follow into the new year. Yes, that’s the best thing we can do: hope.

Pessimist of 2020: Pfft. You’re such an optimist.

Optimist of 2020: And you’re such a pessimist.

Pessimist of 2020: Have you not watched the news?

Optimist of 2020: Well, I have been stuck at home for nine months so…

Pessimist of 2020: So many terrible things have happened. Take the death toll in Italy for example.

Optimist of 2020: Do you remember when everyone began to sing together out of their window? That was pretty cool.

Pessimist of 2020: It was actually really funny when people started changing the audio on twitter and all of those singers thought their song was the one in the video.

Optimist of 2020: See!

Pessimist of 2020: But what about the wildfires? So many people lost everything.

Optimist of 2020: It’s hard to imagine there’s an upside to all things but somehow there is.

Pessimist of 2020: Let us hope so.

Optimist of 2020: Can we agree on one thing?

Pessimist of 2020: And what would that be?

Optimist of 2020: That this is definitely a year we will not forget.

Pessimist of 2020: Even if we wished we could.

Holiday Movie Reviews

By Katie Garcia

As the holiday season is fast approaching, we are relying on entertainment more than ever. Since many seasonal activities have been postponed or canceled, the better alternative has been to stay inside and watch a movie. Personal favorites of mine include Elf and The Polar Express.

Elf is a classic movie my family and I always take at least one night out of the Christmas season to watch. Starring Will Ferrell, he acts as an elf named Buddy who goes through somewhat of an identity crisis. It is revealed to him that he isn’t a true elf and that his real family lives in New York. He goes there in search of his father, who is reluctant to see him at first. Buddy not only has to reconnect with his family, but he also has to navigate through the normal human world, which he has no prior experience with. Elf is the perfect blend of comedy while maintaining a feel-good ending stressing the importance of holiday cheer.

Another staple movie among my family is The Polar Express. This animated movie follows a young boy who is at first skeptical of Santa. When he wakes up on Christmas Eve to the sound of a train outside his house, his curiosity leads him to wander outside. He is met with the conductor (voiced by Tom Hanks) telling him that he is given the opportunity to go to the North Pole on this train known as the Polar Express. The boy remains doubtful and almost doesn’t get on the train. Once on, he has many close encounters along the way with other passengers until they finally arrive at the North Pole. With the possibility of meeting Santa on his mind, the boy grows more excited. When Santa finally appears, the boy stands in awe of his existence. As Santa and the reindeer depart, a loose jingle bell falls off the harness. The boy retrieves it, and it becomes a symbol of his new belief since the sound of the bell rings “for all who truly believe.” As with Elf, The Polar Express emphasizes the significance of faith and the holiday spirit during the holiday season through its action-packed adventure.

Whether you want to watch a movie that is undeniably funny or a movie that will keep you fascinated, Elf and The Polar Express are easy ones to choose. They will leave you with a revived sense of holiday spirit when you finish them, which is why they are definitely some of my favorite holiday movies.

Most Wanted Gifts

By Aubrey Walters

2020 has certainly been overwhelming to say the least. As we reach the end of the year, people are hoping to find comfort and normalcy in the holiday season. And yes, that includes receiving gifts.

Of course, the holidays are about more than just buying things. But let’s be honest, who doesn’t love waking up on Christmas morning to a pile of presents under the tree. Obviously, everyone has something different on their wish list, but I asked some students here at Central to see what the most wanted items are this year. Let’s take a look at what they said!

There seemed to be a common desire for things like clothes and shoes. A new year means a new style, and people want to revamp their closets for it.

Some of our newly licensed students are crossing their fingers for freedom in the form of a car this Christmas. They’re ready to get out on the roads, top down, wind blowing...freezing cold air. Who doesn’t love that?

Kaylee Victory is going with a different form of transportation. “Over quarantine I really wanted a skateboard, so that’s definitely on my list.” A new year seems like the best time to try something new, and it appears she agrees.

Furry little friends are high on a few lists this year, as some people expressed their desire for a pet. Imagine being woken up by a new dog or cat. How adorable!

A few people, like Linkon Parker for instance, took a more practical route with their requests. “Honestly, there’s a backpack... and so I choose a backpack.” More specifically, something close to a tactical pack. While it certainly isn’t the most popular choice, it’s a good one nonetheless.

And of course, we can’t forget about technology. In October, Apple put out their new iPhone 12, giving people a reason to ask for a new phone. Or maybe they just cracked their old one. The video game Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was released in November and was a popular response as well. One of the most popular gifts on the market is the PS5. However, they have been selling out quickly, so in order to get one you have to catch the restock. That seems like a lot of work to me.

Regardless of what is on your wishlist, now’s the time to appreciate what you have. Spend your break enjoying family, food, and, most importantly, presents.

Distance vs. In-Person Learning

By Kendall Tate & Olivia Woods

This past year has been difficult for students due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This has caused great stress to administrators, teachers, and students in trying to figure out the best way to continue learning. Ultimately, they decided that students should choose to learn either from the comfort of their own homes on Zoom calls (coined as “Distance Learning”), or back in the classrooms at school (“In-Person Learner”) with different safety precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing. Many students made the decision of “going distance” for the school year, only to change their minds and come back In-Person, while others decided the opposite. We interviewed students who have remained Distance this entire semester; who have remained in person the entire semester; and who have switched from one to the other.

To begin, we interviewed Senior Abigail Amaro who has been a Distance Learner throughout the entire semester:

Our first question was: “Do you feel that you’re getting the same quality of education that you did in previous years when you were learning in person?” Amaro replied by stating a simple, “No, definitely not.”

Next, we asked if she regretted her decision to learn online. This time, her answer was quite the opposite: “Yes, because it’s way harder to keep my grades up and easier to fall behind. It’s essentially affecting my future with college and stuff.”

Lastly, we questioned her opinion on equality between in-person and distance learners with teachers. She responded with, “Most try their hardest to include distance learners, but it’s much easier to feel unseen or overlooked, even if the teachers don’t mean to make you feel like that.”

We then interviewed Junior Rayna Taylor who was initially an In-Person Learner who then changed to Distance after a few weeks:

Our first question was “What made you switch to distance learning?” to which Rayna responded with “My mental health in school was terrible due to rarely seeing my friends and I wanted to be near my grandmother.”

Next, we asked the question, “Did your grades go down a lot when you switched from in person to distance?” Rayna replied with, “honestly 2nd quarter yes but 1st quarter in was doing the same I was doing in school.”

Our last question was, “Do you think you are going to go back to In-Person this year?” to which she replies with “I don’t think so.”

Lastly, we interviewed Grant Tiller, a Junior In-Person Learner:

We began by asking him, “What is the worst part about being In-Person compared to Distance?” with which he responded, “Being In-Person causes more anxiety, and is extremely draining by the end of the day.”

The next question we asked was why he chose In-Person over Distance Learning, to which he responded saying, “Because I wouldn’t be able to focus online and would lose motivation.”

The last question we asked was “Do you feel teachers prefer in-person learners?” and he replied with, “Yes, they talk to us more haha.”

Meaning Behind the Maroon: CMS Football

by Bebe Falkner

Students pile together in bleachers filling out a sea of black and gold. Chants fill the room as fellow classmates cheer against the rival team. And the feeling of community continuously gets stronger. As students of a tradition-rich school, our turn out for a basketball game never fails. Our eight-member football team, on the other hand never see a familiar face. For readers that are not aware, the football players from Central Magnet play for Eagleville High School. Where the only color they see is maroon - the same as those who choose to wrestle. As an athlete myself, I began to wonder what the push factor to play is. For the love for the game? Or perhaps a way to relieve stress? In attempt to highlight our hidden season, that just finished with a 7 – 4 record, I prompted the following question: what does your jersey mean to you?

Elijah Ferns, freshman wide receiver, spends forty minutes on a one-way drive to practice; goes through two hours of training, and makes the drive again on the way back home. Five days a week from July to November. The 2020 season was his fourth year with the team, seeing as he played in middle school. When asked about why he chooses to play, the words every athlete knows by heart was his reply: “My passion for the game.” Dawson McCrary, another four-year player, and Kaleb Caywood, first time Eagleville player, expressed the same reaction. But it was more than that. As we discussed the environment of play, it became evident that there was something more than a passion for the game going on. Ferns put it like this: “Throughout the four years of playing, I have learned that maroon is more than the color of our jersey. Maroon means giving your all for your teammate – who become family – on and off the field. In the season, I can always expect to improve my game, but more importantly, grow relationships and learn life skills.” Perhaps that is one of the most important thing any student can learn. Caywood expressed the character of the program – “We had a great season and did not have to forfeit any games.” Again, the words were repeated – you become a family.

There is something intriguing about emerging yourself in an atmosphere that is far from your own. Meeting people who have learned in places far different than yourself. And becoming a unit instead of focusing on what makes you unalike from one another. All of the Central Eagles have grown through experience with our unknown sport. Experience, which is life’s best teacher, is a classroom that we should all embrace. Isn’t that what we do here at a magnet school? Aren’t we all here for those experiences that shaped us? Next season, when fall rolls around again, I hope to see Central students in the stands. Joining in on the support. Because I will be there – in my gold, black, and maroon.