The importance of freedom of speech

The comic “Finding Your Voice: A Free Speech Comic,” follows the experience of a boy at one high school; one where politics and controversial topics are openly discussed on an adolescent forum that the youth are required to attend. Most schools, however, are not like a prison of conformity. In fact, most schools censor controversial material and topics. While it may be in an effort to avoid confrontation and prevent the school from becoming a “political battleground”, the lack of freedom of speech deprives the students of many valuable learning opportunities.

It deprives the students of an opportunity to learn how to properly handle these types of conversations. If students aren’t allowed to talk about controversial and sensitive topics during the prime socialization period of their life, then how are they expected to deal with such complicated aspects in adulthood? How are they expected to learn that you can debate without making the matter personal? How are they expected to learn that you can respectfully acknowledge others’ opinions while not agreeing with superiors? In the future, when a political conversation does come up, they could potentially offend somebody because they don’t know how to handle the conversation, because they weren’t properly taught how to do so.

It also deprives the students of an opportunity to learn about things that affect them as the future of our nation. Gun regulations affect them, for school shootings are a reality for them. LGBTQ+ rights affect them, for 8% of all high school students in America belong to the LGBTQ+ community (Schlanger). These are not things that will affect them, these things are affecting them, right now. Soon, the students will have the power to impact the policies. However, there is a lot to learn before they solidify their opinions and vote on these policies, so having people and resources to learn from are very beneficial. It is also the point of schools to provide these resources and opportunities so that the students may become contributing members of society. Just as the infamous quote states: “It takes a village to raise a child,” (Proverb). Like the mission statement of Davis High School states, “The mission of Davis High School, in collaboration with parents and community, is to prepare all students to become productive, contributing members of society by providing high quality instruction and curriculum in a caring and safe environment,” (District). Part of being contributing members of society is by voting and participating in politics. It is clear that students need to be educated on controversial topics  but are not receiving the proper education due to the censorship in schools. When the future of our nation turns 18 and gains the ability to vote on these policies society is going to wish that they properly educated them.

It also deprives adolescent students from the opportunity to speak their truth, and that kind of silence is cruelly unjust.

On the other hand, as mentioned in the comic, “…schools have the responsibility to instill ‘the habits and manners of civility’ and the ‘fundamental values necessary to the maintenance of a democratic political system.’” (Snyder). Some content put out by students may be harmful, which might justify schools in censoring some material on behalf of uncivil behavior. However, censoring the material does absolutely nothing. All it does is remove the content, it doesn’t teach the student how to properly share their opinion in a civil manner. Instead of censoring the material, schools should take the time to review it with the student and teach them how to respectfully share their opinion. This would do more in fulfilling school’s responsibilities of “instilling the manners of civility”. Speaking from personal experience, I can testify that this approach works.

As one of the Chief Editors of the High School I attend I myself have written many articles on “controversial” topics that seem unapproachable in classrooms from my experience. Some worth mentioning are “Effects of the Dominant Religion in Social Situations”, “The necessary darkness behind suicide prevention groups”, “Guns: are they good or bad?”, and “LGBTQ community in Davis.” The research I performed prior to writing these articles allowed me to explore the topic with a transparent eyeball (Emerson), fully seeing and understanding both sides of the debate without bias. Whereas before I found myself staying out of these types of conversations, I now found myself confidently expressing my opinion with confidence. Going through the process of writing the articles also taught me how to present my opinions in a civil and respectful manner. This would not have been possible had I not been allowed to talk about gun control or LGBTQ+ rights with my teachers and peers.

In conclusion, while freedom of speech is restricted in schools, it is necessary for the education of students. Freedom of speech allows students to learn how to properly handle sensitive conversations and learn more about a topic before forming their own opinion.



District, Davis School. “Davis High Student Policies.” Davis High Handbook. Davis School District, 2019. Document.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Nature.” Nature. n.d. Essay.

Proverb, African. “It takes a village.” It takes a village. n.d. Quote.

Schlanger, Zoë. Quartz. 25 June 2017. Article. 25 December 2019.

Snyder, Bonnie Kerrigan. Finding Your Voice: A Free Speech Comic. Philadelphia: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, 2019. Comic Book.

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The things we love

What is everyone missing out on? The answer: A lot!  Every person in the world has something they are passionate about, and because of this virus a lot of people are unable to do the things they love.

I understand a wide majority of Davis High School is involved in a school activity. Whether it be a sport or club. We are all having with drawl from our passions.

Right now I am in a major with drawl form Cheer. I miss my cute team and all the cool things my coaches have to teach me! It’s also very sad because this week would be our cheer tryouts, but they have been postponed for a later date sadly. So for the time being I am continually working on my cheer skills and just trying to improve. I am almost positive that all our athletes attending Davis High are doing the same thing, working hard for when their season comes again!

I know that we aren’t only missing our sports and clubs, But all our friends. I know I miss seeing all my friends in the halls and Friday nights! But hopefully this quarentine comes to an end as soon as possible! But for now we all need to follow the guidelines that have been set for us; stay home, stay safe!

I hope we are all in school together once again. Stay safe and healthy!!

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Coronavirus social media challenges

It is no secret that things have been pretty crazy around here lately. Due to the Coronavirus, people are all staying at home which gives them plenty of time to be creative. During this time, I have seen more social media challenges than I have in the past three years. I have seen about 50 different challenges scrolling through my social media in just the past week. 

The ones that I have seen the most are the “until tomorrow” posts. I was confused when I first saw all of these, so for those of you who still are, the premise of this challenge is that when someone likes an “until tomorrow” post, the original poster is supposed to DM that person and tell them that they now have to post their own embarrassing picture and keep it up…until tomorrow. 

The next most common challenge is the sports ones. Someone who plays a sport will post a picture or a video of them playing that sport (usually on their story) and then tag about three more people to do the same thing. The chain goes on and on. The most common sports that I have seen do this are dance, basketball, and football.  

Another big movement that I have seen on social media is mostly done by celebrities and influencers. It is the “#stayhome” movement. Celebrities will post pictures of themselves either with their families, with friends or just by themselves at home to try and influence their followers to stay home as well. 

The last challenge that has gone viral during the quarantine is the plank challenge on Tik Tok. This is when people do a plank workout that goes along with a song on Tik Tok. This is also a part of the effort for people to stay fit at home during the quarantine while all the gyms are closed down. 

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Movies to watch while quarantined

With the Coronavirus floating around in the air, everyone is self-isolating themselves and staying home to help slow the transmission of it. However, staying home for weeks on end can be pretty boring. One of America’s favorite things to do while at home is none other than a movie night! There have been plenty of new movies that have come out, especially on Netflix, so here are some movies to watch on Netflix while you’re at home. 

For all the people out there who love romantic comedies, one of the top trending movies on Netflix is a movie called Valentine’s Day. This movie follows the stories of multiple couples on Valentine’s Day and they all fit together like a puzzle in the end. There are a lot of stars in this movie as well. 

For those who love thrillers and horror movies, the top trending movie for you is one called The Platform. This movie is about a prison where inmates on higher floors get more food than those on the lower floors, who just get their scraps. However, this movie is definitely not for the faint of heart so watch at your own risk. 

All the action and adventure lovers out there will love a movie called 2012. It is about a dad who is desperately trying to save his family when a flood of natural disasters hit. This movie will have you on the edge of your seat the entire time. 

Comedy is probably one of the most popular movie genres on Netflix. They have a bunch of comedy classics on there, but the number one trending movie is Hitch. IF you have never seen this movie, you need to watch it ASAP! It is about a man (played by Will Smith) that helps clients make a good impression on the first date. It is a hilarious movie that also has a little bit of a sweet side. 

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Let us not forget what we learned

This thing is going to end, and, when it does, let’s not forget what it taught us.

Let’s not forget our renewed fascination and appreciation for nature. How when we were stuck in our homes, and our heads, we turned to the outdoors for an escape. A hike, walk outside, run, bike ride, or even just opening a window could make all the difference. A deep breath of fresh air could offer some peace and clarity during this time, so let’s preserve it. The cleaner air during this time is due to a decrease in levels of pollution, due to our decrease in fossil fuel/greenhouse gas emissions and quarantine situation. In fact, there was a 40% decrease in air pollution in San Francisco, and a 28% decrease in New York City. In China, the heavy cloud of pollution constantly looming over them seemed to disappear almost completely. It calls for the attention of how the air quality affects our health, and how, when this is all over, we can take action to preserve the clean air.

“As we move to restart these economies, we need to use this moment to think about what we value. Do we want to go back to the status quo, or do we want to tackle these big structural problems and restructure our economy and reduce emissions and pollution?” stated Jacqueline Klopp, co-director of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia University.

Let’s not forget what we discovered about ourselves. Much of our lives revolve around school and our job that we often become dependent on these things, and it becomes a major part of our identity. Well, who are we without these things? Our job title has been taken away from many of us, but the hard work and determination we put in to get there is still apart of us.

“Being a lawyer isn’t a personality trait. However, the hard work and determination you had in becoming a lawyer is, and that tells you who you really are,” explained an undisclosed source.

This quarantine has also given us time to discover new hobbies and activities. It has also showed us how we react, how mentally tough we are, the best parts of our personality, and our priorities. We used this time to re-center and reconnect with what’s important, so let’s not lose focus when all this is done.

“I hope everyone learns something from this and has some kind of life guiding revelation from our time spent alone with our thoughts,” commented student Brooklyn Haycock.

Let’s not forget the importance of relationships, and what other people mean to us. It’s times like these that show us how lonely and hard life can be if you’re facing it alone. It’s times like these that also show us who the most important people in our lives are, and what those people truly mean to us. It’s times like these that show us how important human connection is, and how our relationships with those around us keep us grounded and sane.

Jazmine Russell, a holistic healer, said it best when she said times like these show us “how interconnected we all are, and the importance and meaning of human intimacy.”

Let’s not forget how everyone came together. How people spread hope and love through social media. A DJ, D-Nice, started playing long sets on Instagram live. It became dubbed “Club Quarantine”, and regular people and celebrities alike tuned in for some good music to dance to. Talk show hosts, like Ellen and Jimmy Fallon, started doing their show from their home to provide for some entertainment and a distraction. Lady Gaga and Global Citizen put on a “One World: Together at Home” concert with performances and messages from various artists and celebrities as a way to pay tribute to the workers on the front lines of this crisis.

Along with providing positive messages, celebrities also put their money where their mouth is and started donating to various charities and causes. Halsey purchased FDA certified surgical masks and distributed them to four hospitals of her choice. Pink donated have a million dollars to an inner-city hospital in North Philly. Ciara and Russell Wilson donated 1 million meals to a Seattle food bank. Tyler Perry paid for everybody’s groceries in multiple grocery stores in Atlanta during senior hour one morning. Lady Gaga’s concert also raised 127 million dollars for coronavirus relief efforts.

There have also been beautiful displays of humanity from ordinary people. Claire Young wrote about it best in her article “People worldwide rise up amidst coronavirus chaos.” (

Also, as many have already said, let’s not forget or take for granted the simple things in life. The enjoyment of being able to go to your favorite coffee shop and talk to your favorite barista. The ability to go to fun events and meet amazing new people. A simple hug, high five, or handshake. Just being able to live life without having to worry about some invisible killer.

Last, let’s not forget the different problems the world faces, how much still needs to be done to improve, and how we can do something about it.

“I want to remember that it’s times like these that determine who our society’s working for and who it’s not. These systems are not working, and we need to be doing something about it.” –Jazmine Russell



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My quarantine journal

The quarantine has had unique effects on everybody that has been subjected. This is the story of my quarantine.
I wake up dazed. I look up at my clock and it reads 8:30 pm, had I woken up that late in the evening? Then again, I had done homework all night. The quarantine has genuinely messed up my sleep schedule. I am sleeping from 12 pm to 8:30 pm on most days. Staying up all night and sleeping during the day makes doing my schoolwork even more difficult. I wonder how I’m going to get myself out of this situation.
Lately, with the quarantine, I have had trouble finding inspiration to do any of my schoolwork. I’m a senior in high school in their final term, after having been accepted by a college. Is there any reason for me to do my work?
Since day 1 of the quarantine I’ve had to ask myself “What is my motivation today?” By doing that I thought that I would be able to find my motivation and actually end up doing the work of my own accord. The sad truth is that this isn’t the case.
As each day passes in this self-imposed prison, it is increasingly more apparent how difficult modern humans would take subsisting.
Perusing the news no longer brings new information. Everything is the same and it is generally about people being dumb. This is why I no longer watch the news. I try to fill my empty time instead with my job and severe binge-watching of tv. Of course, with most repetitious activities, these are also becoming quite tiresome to keep up with.
In terms of going outside, I have only gone outside twice since April has started. Luckily instead of going stir crazy, I have merely stopped thinking in all entirety. I have stopped thinking about most issues and I have let my emotions take control of me and my daily habits.
One detriment of this quarantine and this sleep schedule is that I have been reduced to eating one meal a day with no snacks. I don’t quite know what I have become.

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The light at the end of the tunnel

Let’s begin with the facts: the coronavirus has currently infected over 2,435,876 people worldwide. Some of the most common symptoms include a dry cough and a fever. The number of cases is still increasing though possibly at a slower rate. The world is in borderline chaos trying to contain the virus. Those are the facts everyone already knows. Those are the facts that create fear within society.

There is a brighter side to all of this, however. We are already working on a vaccine and have the top scientists working on it. One is expected to be through human trials within a year. And counter/measures like social distancing are protecting the vulnerable and slowing contagion.

And there are some positive side-effects as well. Pollution levels have decreased. Humans have been coming together to support each other in birthday parades and many other creative ways. Accident and air quality-related deaths are on the decline.  People are reconnecting with loved ones to whom they wouldn’t otherwise be talking to. There is a sense of unity between people and communities that’s never been here before. I have seen students, teachers, and families learn to appreciate the things they took for granted like going to school and seeing each other and sharing a meal with friends.

With or without the virus, it can be hard to find positivity in the world today. One important thing to remember now is overcoming hard situations is what makes people stronger. Once this is all over people will appreciate the little things in life like they never have before…going to the store and feeling safe or hugging a friend or loved one that doesn’t live in your house. People will appreciate being close and going outside. People will appreciate smiling at one another in the halls rather than rushing to class. Feeling productive and making plans and having some predictable structure in life will come back and be a new kind of fun.

It’s important to look at what is positive because that’s really the best way to survive right now. Dwelling in negativity is too easy. We should challenge ourselves to look for positive things every day even if it’s just a glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Stop comparing: a memoir to the senior class

I saw a post that was talking about how the seniors of the class of 2020 are being dramatic about not being able to live out their senior years in terms of graduation, prom, senior trips, sports, etc. The post compared it to the fact that high schoolers in the 60s and 70s spent their senior year fighting the Vietnam war. This is upsetting because none of those people posting things like this know how it feels to have their senior year taken away from them. People that put things like that on social media don’t know what it feels like to have something so important, something that is a rite of passage to move into adulthood could be taken away so easily. The kinds of people that are posting those things got to graduate high school, they got to go to their senior prom. They were able to play their last year of sports with their teams. They were able to go on a senior trip with either their parents or their friends. They got to go to the senior and goodbye parties. Those people were able to say goodbye to high school and say goodbye to being a teenager, but the class of 2020 may not ever get to experience that. They may never get to walk across that stage with their friends or be able to make peace with the fact that their lives are changing. These kids, myself included, may not get to go to college with a mindset that they can do whatever they want.

This Coronavirus is trying to destroy our generation by debilitating us. We have been asked to sit on our couch, unlike our grandparents who were asked to fight a war. The two concepts are definitely different, but are equally as hard for both generations. Our generation is a generation that is always moving, that has always had access to whatever they wanted, and now we have live in a time where we don’t know when the grocery stores are going to have toilet paper or meat or hand sanitizer. That is the most terrifying because throughout our lives we have been told that we can have whatever we want, when we want it through technology and through
instant gratification. We have never had to be denied what we want because of lack of resource, only because we chose to deny it.

Sitting on your couch or being quarantined to your own home is like a death sentence to people who have mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, ADD, etc. asking a generation of kids who suffer from mental illnesses to stay in their house and not allow themselves to distract from an illness that protrudes their everyday life is harder than any of these millennials or boomers will ever be able to understand. They didn’t have to go through it so it’s easy for them to judge and tell us that this isn’t hard because it is a lot harder than any of us ever expected it to be. You always think as a kid that when school gets canceled that that would be the best day of your life because the responsibility and routine is gone, none of us expected that to become untrue. We all wanted to be able to have fun and do what we want to do, but it’s like this virus has stopped us from living life.

This virus has made it hard for any of us to chase our dreams or continue chasing our dreams because we are afraid that it is going to infect us and ultimately affect the ones that we love. It is something that has instilled fear within us and is controlling our lives, and I’ve never let anything control my life except for me. It is taking away our ability to connect with others physically something that is nourishing to all of us. Social interaction is something that seems to heal mental, physical, emotional wounds. It is the connection that we have with others that truly makes life worth living. Putting a bunch of people who suffer from a mental illness and telling them that they aren’t allowed to talk to people or be around people is only going to make their situation worse. It is only going to increase suicide rates, mental illness rates because they will be denied the social interaction that they deserve because of a virus that has shaking the entire world. I believe that the COVID-19 virus isn’t the end of the world. I believe that it is a wakeup
call to the world to realize that they need to be making better decisions. We all need to learn to be better prepared, kind, and clean.

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Reflections in Quarantine

In thinking about the chaos that has ensued recently, I have realized how little control we have over our own lives. Just think about how one tiny biological mutation has brought our entire species to its knees. The earthquake we had recently was just one slight shift of tectonic plates deep below the surface of the earth. Yet it cut off an entire city’s power. It brings things into perspective.

We become so absorbed in our daily routines that we forget how weak and fragile we are compared to the earth and its elements. How small we are in the grand scheme of things. Being stripped of normalcy has been a slap in the face of reality that cannot be ignored. These recent troubles have made it clear what’s important and what deserves our attention and devotion.

Being isolated has made me appreciate people more. Oh what I would give to be able to interact normally with people again. To leave the house without a face mask or to go out for dinner. To hug my grandma. To welcome home my brother from his mission out of the car. Remote learning has helped me understand the importance of school. I would gladly wake up at 6 a.m. and willingly spend hours on homework if it meant seeing my teachers and classmates again.

The whole experience has been frustrating, emotionally draining, and just plain awful, but I think we needed it. When this is all over, I hope that the world doesn’t return to its old ways. I hope that we won’t take advantage of ‘normal’ again. That people of all races, faiths, and backgrounds will choose to unite as they are uniting now. That we will go outside and take care of our planet. That we will love each other as if nothing else matters.

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Davis High Poetry: Tick Tick Tok

Day: unknown 2:15
It’s ambient the sound of cars rolling by. Persistent like the second hand of a clock.
Tick, Tick, Tick.
The cars rush by. I might die here. There is nothing I can do to stop it.
Tick, tick, tick, the cars rush by.
Let’s say I did die. What would they find? Under my old hat, some 10 cent bead necklaces. The folded torn and tattered papers under my bed, some drenched in ink, others tears. What is it worth? My collection of empty glass coke bottles, a few cents maybe. 15 pesos, if only they knew how it’s true value.
Tick, tick, tick, the cars rush by.
It’s kinda hot in here. I pull the window open more. Ah, that feels nice– an easter breeze. It’s pretty out there. Too bad I’m in here.
Tick, tick, tick, the cars rush by.
Maybe I could– Nah.
Tick, tick, tick, the cars rush by.
The screen lights up; thousands of pixels, hundreds of colors, the twist and turn in my mind as if I might feel something. 2:19. I hit the power button. I am going to die in here. I check my messages, I wonder how joe is? 2 weeks, left me on read, or not. I sit there and painfully drag the refresh down, over and over again. Please, please cure me, send me something! Even seeing that little circle spin, it helps, or so I think.
Tick, tick, tick, the cars rush by.
So, all this time. This is what I’ve worked for, a handful of beads, some empty coke bottles, and 25 pesos. Oh, and no one, not a single person I can, or want to hold a conversation with.
Tick, tick, tick, the cars rush by.
I have gained so much 16 years, 290 days, 5 hours and 28 minutes years worth. But gained nothing, nothing at all. Close to 8 billion that’s how many people we have on earth. 7,775,995,665:1 to put it plainly.
Tick, tick, tick, the cars rush by.
I will slip away silently not the smallest ripple, or any remorse in my ghostly wake.
Tick, tick, tick, the cars rush by.

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