Changes to Yearbook as More Students Are Moving To Remote Learning
Jostens is the new publishing company for the 2020-2021 school yearbook. After publishing with Friesens for three school years, the staff decided to switch and are learning a new program. The editors chose Jostens publishing company after hearing the offers they provide on their online program that is accessible for the staff to access the tools they need while doing at home learning.
The online program, Yearbook Avenue, is a system that allows the yearbook staff to design spreads and edit photos without needing to be on a school server. The staff is able to access the program from their own personal computers wherever they are.
“I think it will definitely work for everyone being virtual. You can work off the program from anywhere on basically any device. Plus the editors can track and see the staff's progress so we can see first hand what they're doing and not doing and how to help them,” assistant Editor-in-Chief, Sarah Manning (11) said.
With this program the staff not only creates spreads, but they can also keep track of school events that they need coverage on. Without knowing which sports and events are actually going to happen, the staff will have to create a plan for the spreads that tells the same story from a different angle.
“It may be a little more difficult, but I think the spreads will still be as good, because we can figure out different ways to make people interested in it,” photo editor Morgan Mendez (12) said.
Along with the possibility of events being cancelled or having limited access is left the staff with trying to come up with advertisements to try to convince the student body on the fact that the book will still be as good as it would be if Corona didn’t limit school events.
“As of now I believe sales will stay strong, but we also believe sports will continue on right now, it’s hard to say this early in the year,” Business manager Samantha Wray (12) said. “But with the advertising plans we have set this year I do believe we have the best opportunity to make it an even better sales year.”
The editors have started to learn the online program to get ready to teach the rest of the staff the things they need to know. Having an online program helps ensure that everybody on staff is able to participate in making spreads, either being in class or doing at home learning, and helps editors promote their sales through MySchoolBucks.
Social-Distancing Sports For People To Play
Due to the coronavirus disease spreading around the world, people are limited to only doing things that involve social distancing, and that can keep everyone safe from the coronavirus. A lot of fun things have been cancelled/closed down by the government, schools, stores, etc. However, some schools have kept sports going because they are just naturally a social-distancing sport. For example, golf is a social distancing sport because there is no close-contact, and it is an independent game. “I play golf, and we social distance by staying away from each other on the tee box, and on the green, and we are usually already six feet apart when on the fairway, since golf is just naturally a social distancing sport,” Vanessa Maculuso (10) said. Another sport that does not involve close-contact is cross-country. Cross-country is a long-distance run that involves no touching. It is a sport that involves being pretty spaced out, except for the beginning of the run, but that can easily be fixed by widening the path they take. “Yes, cross-country is definitely a social-distancing sport. All we do is run from beginning to the finish separately. It's an independent sport that has no close-contact,” Kaylee Sardelich (10) said. Some sports do involve some close-contact, but not to the point where a person couldn't avoid it. For example, baseball involves close-contact where the team touches the same ball, and everyone is in the dugout together when not on the field. Anyone can prevent this stuff by sterilizing every ball at the end of every practice, and then instead of going in the dugout, just spread out outside of the fence right beside the dugout. “In baseball, the only time we usually come in contact is when everyone is in the dugout, and to fix that, we wear our masks in and around the dugout, when trying to stay six feet apart, we also clean the baseballs after we're done using them.” Lamar Bebley (10) said. Overall, there are many sports that can still be played safely by following social distancing to prevent anyone from getting Covid-19. So now everyone can be safe, and have fun at the same time. “I think that social distancing, even in sports, is very important, because it can prevent you from getting the CoronaVirus, and having to sit out on all the sports, since you don’t want to get anyone else sick,” Zoe DeLaGarza (10) said.
Zoe Dean Online Assistant Editor-in-Chief
Corona Coverage Constant news reports have become our new normal routine. Editorial
With the “new normal'' of face masks, constant hand sanitizing, and distancing we've had to accustom to this year because of COVID-19, constant virtual reminders of the horrible things the pandemic is bringing don't help us along the process. Everyday reminders such as death counts, rising case counts, and new businesses being closed, it's hard to make it feel “normal”. Yes, this virus is nothing to be slid under the rug and forgotten about, but the constant media attention the virus gets makes the public feel hopeless in a situation we have no control in. Coronavirus has changed a lot in The United States in the past 6 months, and we are not sure if everything will go back to the way it was before March. Coronavirus has changed our way of learning, our everyday errands, eating at restaurants, voting, visiting loved ones, and extracurricular activities, such as athletics, competitions, and academic meets. With everyone having to figure out a way to deal with a situation they've never dealt with before, it’s quite a bit to put on an entire country nearly all at once. We’re expected to roll with the punches thrown our way the best we can to remain sane and under control. But how does the media expect us to be able to do that when every website or channel has something to remind us about Coronavirus. Even when innocently online shopping, banners of health guidelines and “Here's what we're doing to try and help”. When we want a time to get away from the statistics and to just breathe for a second, that's when the commercials pop up. Online food delivery applications, Verizon, McDonalds, even YouTube ads. Sometimes, the media tries pushing the virus to its limits for an audience. If one were to see “Coronavirus causes blindness”, of course people are going to want to read it and either choose not to believe it or be terrified, either way, the author gets his/her money. When Coronavirus media coverage is compared to other viruses, like Ebola for instance. Ebola got about .36% of the coverage the Coronavirus is getting. When compared to the Influenza virus, which has about 13 million confirmed cases this season, the World Health Organization estimates about 290,000 deaths per year globally from the flu. As of right now, there have been about 186,000+ deaths from Coronavirus in the United States alone in about 7 months. Therefore, Coronavirus is definitely much worse than the flu, despite what some may think. But why dont Influenza deaths get the same recognition or coverage as Coronavirus deaths do? Yes, there is a vaccine and that's a big difference between the two viruses, but even with a vaccine, thousands are still losing their lives to a virus everyone really pushes under the rug. No kind of virus, no matter the death/case count should be taken lightly. In conclusion, the Coronavirus news coverage has been extremely successful in making the general public scared, clueless, and helpless, and causing some to be almost completely dependent on the government, mainly due to the fact that the word “coronavirus” is now a part of our “new normal”. Kennedi Adams Print Assistant Editor-In-Chief
Marching through the Madness Band Adjusts to New Director and COVID-19
An air of uncertainty has surrounded almost every school organization, posing questions of how to operate at the mercy of a global pandemic. However, no matter the magnitude of the virus, masks and mandates won’t silence a marching band. In the wake of a new director and regulations brought about by COVID-19, the band must adjust their traditions and plans to fit with the constantly changing times.
Change first came in the form of a new director, Matt Boening, following the retirement of former head director Mr. Petrisky. His family had “grown roots” in Schertz, with his children attending SCUCISD schools and his wife serving as the band director at Wilder Intermediate School. Although not looking to leave his position at Smithson Valley High School, Mr. Boening’s ties to the Schertz community encouraged him to apply for and accept the open director position.
“Through interactions with buffalo band families at church, as well as through encounters when [Smithson Valley] and [Samuel Clemens] wound up at the same marching contests, I have really come to admire the sense of community Clemens enjoys and the amazing support the Clemens band has from its boosters, administration, and athletic dept.,” Boening said.
However, COVID-19 would present various challenges for Mr. Boening in his first year of leading the band. With a delayed football and marching competition season, the future of the band was uncertain. “Given the uncertainty still surrounding our activity during COVID-19, this has been a tough year to plan goals,” Mr. Boening said. “What I keep coming back to, and what we talk about daily as a staff, is: We are committed to giving the Clemens bandstudents the best, most positive experience we possibly can, while maintaining student safety as our highest priority.”
Based on safety regulations set by UIL, the band adjusted to fit rehearsal guidelines, cancelling indoor rehearsals and making every practice optional, creating “foam-in and foam-out” stations for sanitization and daily symptom screenings, and enforcing masks and social distancing policies. “Our students have been champs and have adapted really well. Wearing masks, using sanitizer when they come in and go out,” assistant director Mr. Serrato said. “I believe our students are eager to come back and do what bands kids do.” The band must also adjust to the new football season by dividing the band into two uniformly split sections, “Blue Band” and “Gold Band”. The bands will rehearse separately, alternate performing from the stands during the first or second half of the game, and come together for the halftime show. “We can only have half of our students at a time, so we have created two equally balanced bands: Blue and Gold,” Mr. Serrato said. “While this has proved to be challenging, it has given us an opportunity to focus on marching and playing fundamentals.” The band staff decided to shelve the expected competition show, entitled “Triumphant Journey”, and formulate a new show that “keeps students appropriately distanced and features exciting, crowd pleasing music,” according to Buff Band News. The new show will have Latin jazz influences, taking music from La Suerte De Los Tontos and Malaguena.
“The changes have affected almost every aspect of band, from our show to our rehearsals and even down to not being able to wear uniforms. I am obviously not excited about the changes but I have accepted them and am making the best of the situation that I can,” senior and drum major Mackenzie Wood said. “A huge positive is that I have learned to appreciate the little things that we still get to experience.” The band has continually adjusted to guidelines and restrictions set to keep students safe and provide resources to students doing both online and in-person school. “When navigating any kind of crisis, and particularly an extended one like we are experiencing now, it makes all the difference in the world to know you are part of a team and ‘we are all in this together,’” Boening said.
Kate Whyte Staff Writer
The New Leader of the Herd Clemens Welcomes a New Principal
With a renovated building and starting the year with remote learning; starting the school year looks completely different at Clemens this fall. One of the changes this fall also includes the induction of a new principal. After 26 years in education and nine years as the principal at Clemens, Missy Sosa retired in the Spring. The opportunity was then presented to the assistant principal of two years, Amy Sirizzotti. On Jul. 1, 2020 Ms. Sirizotti was officially the principal. Clemens has only known Ms.Sirizzotti for 4 years. However, Sirizotti has been involved with education for two decades. For 15 years Sirizotti was an English teacher at North East Independent School District. Within those 15 years, Sirizzotti was the department chair for English, coached girls athletics, coached UIL writing events, and became the GT coordinator. She accomplished all of this while being a single mother and going to school herself in order to earn her master's degree.
“ You know, to be honest I had a couple opportunities beforehand before I came to Clemens, but I just wasn't ready,” Sirizzotti said. “But, I knew that I loved Clemens so much, that I couldn't imagine a completely different person being here, and leading without me taking that chance to lead and be that person.” With her first year being in the middle of a global pandemic, one of Sirizotti’s plans as the principal for the year is to raise awareness about face masks and social distancing in classrooms. Although she plans to enforce social distancing rules, she also plans to try to keep the same traditions as much as possible, such as pep rallies and sporting events. “I feel pretty great about Sirizotti as the principal,” Angie Trotter (12), student council vice president, said. She has always been very kind to me, and has always seemed interested in trying to better understand the students through programs like the Buff Herd.” Another one of Sirizotti’s goals is to keep Clemens a place where everyone is welcomed. She plans to give teachers the resources to allow students to receive certifications in classes and training for life outside of school. “I love you kids, I’ve always loved kids. We’re also trying to make sure that you have the skills for life. That's our mission,” Sirizzotti said. “ If you aren’t going to college, and if you’re going to a career or the military. You still have the skills needed, and we’re owning that, not just writing it on a poster and a letterhead.”
Connie Wiggins Editor-In-Chief
Taking a Stand Against Racial Inequality
A group of peaceful protesters dominated the streets of downtown New Braunfels on June 2nd, 2020 to address the issue of police brutality and racism in America. After the murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers; protesters around the United States have begun to speak up and fight against racial inequality, police brutality, and systematic abuse. However, when looking at the news about other protests in America, it’s clear many peaceful protests have escalated into nightly riots. This not only makes the public apprehensive to get involved, but also ruins the precedent that peaceful protesting has set in small cities such as New Braunfels. Although it might seem difficult to get involved, there are multiple ways to become involved rather than protesting. To end racial inequality, police brutality, and racism in America, we need to take a stand as a whole.
Education is the key to ending systematic racism in the United States, but we must educate ourselves first. Knowing about what happens to people of color is not enough. Americans must know how to help people of color and educate others about their struggles. Simply watching a movie or reading a book or article about racial issues can help build awareness. People tend to also look at news that is presented with “blinders”. When new pieces of information are deemed as uncomfortable, people tend to ignore it. This allows issues such as racial inequality and police brutality to grow.The more educated Americans become about these uncomfortable issues, the more society can grow as a whole.
Websites such as change.org and blacklivesmatter.com have several petitions for George Floyd and other wrongful deaths caused by police brutality, as well as petitions for new acts such as the “Hands Up Act” to be passed. If possible, making Donations to non-profit organizations will help make a difference as well. Places to donate include: George Floyd Memorial Fund (located on Go Fund Me), which will help pay for Floyd’s memorial service, Campaign Zero, which fights for solutions on police brutality, and Reclaim the Block, which will help advance the safety in Minneapolis. Taking time to look, research, donate, and sign petitions will allow thousands of voices to be acknowledged in order to strive for reform in America.
In order to end the racial injustice America is facing everyday, we must listen to those who face added struggle merely on the color of their skin. We must listen to the stories told by people of color, as they reflect the true meaning of perseverance. We have to be aware of the struggles minorities face on a daily basis. Join a protest if possible, donate to organizations, and sign a petition to put an end to racial inequality. Black lives are constantly under attack in this country, and it’s time to advocate for change .