Glass Confinements

Smudge marks float. Fingerprints hang in mid air showcasing all sides of grease crevice stains. A ghostly outline of a finger stares down at your lunch tray, praying that you won’t use a napkin before touching the invisible wall, and thusly breed a companion for this lonely smut amoeba.

 

The new glass wall that outlines the cafeteria has become something of an anomaly. Effluent rumors circulated the student body describing graphic scenes of young freshman falling to the tribulations of a secret boundary. Around Friday night bonfires, students no longer tell ghost stories, instead they tell the story of Johnny “No Nose” Smith, who lost his schnoz in the Great Migration of B lunch.

 

Though these stories of fallen soldiers have no real evidence behind it (there are too many stains upon the glass to identify them all), but every student has experienced the tight march through the double doors after lunch.

 

Two lunches worth of kids have to fit through three entrances.

 

Scalps smack, locked knee steps pull at the heels of shoes, we walk to class. Cacophonous lips on Propel tips, fingers grip the tie around cookies, we ask why? Shoulders shrug, not out of curiosity but of fear, fear of the kid next to us, because they are right next to us, the line between him and I is blurred, the mesh of adolescent limbs scares us, don’t touch me, why would you touch me with nacho cheese on your hands, we are forgetting which aztec cladded freshman is which, who is flipping that water bottle in the middle of this crowd, we are dodging random unexpected elbows materializing from the fourth quadrant, I will not pull anything out for an ape, we look upon the administrators who giggle as we drown without water, as we cry out without voices, as we march in our own Death.

 

Students suffer this every fourth and ninth period. At some point, one kid will decide to be the martyr. This kid will sacrifice him for I. This kid will give it all for us. This kid will break the glass wall with one solid bull charge.

 

This hero will save us all.

Clean, Pure and True Politics

When it was announced that Barack Hussein Obama II was going to be the 44th President of the United States and the first black president, I was petrified with fear. I distinctly remember sitting on my parents bed watching one of the hundreds of news networks covering the historic event; random strings of words crossing over vivid graphics signifying one of the greatest cultural validations of modern times.

 

But I was not cheering. The girl from down the street had told me Obama was a Muslim who didn’t believe in God and would let all the terrorists into America. Obviously now, with more than half of a high school education under my belt, I can see how ridiculous these claims were (especially the one about a Muslim who didn’t believe in God, even in ‘08 I should have known how blatantly wrong this was). As a fifth-grade boy though, these were undeniable truths.

 

I spent the rest of the night in my room covered in fatalistic anxiety for where our country must be destined to go. I created hundreds of apocalyptic scenarios of future Obama-controlled America.

 

Now, in ‘16, at the end of Obama’s reign, my views are wildly different. I watched the State of the Union address with actual positive emotions (something that’s become more and more difficult for younger generations, especially in current politics).

 

Disclaimer: I am trying desperately to keep my own political views out of this article but as any reader knows, this is near impossible. So I will say that this is not intended as a pitch for democratic/liberal ideologies. This is a pitch for clean, pure and true politics.

 

The debates amongst this year’s presidential candidates have been more argumentative than informative in regards to their stances on issues. The constant denouncing of each other breaks down the truly bashful candidates to flat, stereotypical and over-sized character types. Cruz becomes the Canadian who absolutely loves Jesus but is shrouded in illegitimacy questions. Carson becomes possibly the most boring candidate to ever run even with controversial quotations like his notorious “Attack the gunman” interview. Sanders becomes the old Jewish neighbor from the upstairs apartment who still holds on to outdated socialist ideas. Clinton is Clinton’s wife, only with a different kind of controversy. Trump, in all honesty, is not belittled by the arguments, it seems as if he actually thrives off of them and gets better polls.

 

The real issue with this is that no one wants to vote for these one-dimensional phonies. The younger voters already struggle with being involved in politics so all these lies from Clinton (either one) or the girl down the street only discourage the youth more.

 

All I ask, from writer to reader, is to base your political view off of cold, hard, boring facts that you, yourself, not any outside source who spoon feeds you, interpret and digest. And with that thought process we may truly make America great again.

 

Indy’s Addiction

You are strung out bad. There’s a gnawing at your gut that tells you how severe it is. You need something to take this razor blade edge off.

You get in the car and start heading to your hookup, who’s always been pretty trustworthy. The parking lot where you usually meet. There aren’t any cars, thank God, you couldn’t handle the embarrassment of relapsing.

You pull up, put in your order and pull around the building where the guy is waiting for you.

Large coke right? Yeah.

You pay the guy and he sends you farther down where another man has exactly what you need. No words are spoken between you two; you both have a tacit agreement of what is being done is not dignifying for either of you so might as well get it done with now.

The deal is done. You pull away. The hunger for just a little is too much now, you pull into an empty slot in the parking lot. Hunching over in a degrading yet satisfying way, you take an unholy bite of cheeseburger.

The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America ranked Indiana the seventh most obese state in the U.S. When this report was first published many residents were distressed about the states health. Articles were published in response as a call to arms against the epidemic that had somehow found its way into our home state. As time has gone by the typical, forgetful and apathetic American way has taken hold and (once again) health policies have taken a back seat to other political issues.

But when the issue was at the forefront of discussion, many tried to discern the reasons why Indianas obesity rate is at a 32.7% (This is only 3.2% behind the number 1 spot, currently held by Arkansas, according to the same study done by The State of Obesity). There is no way to point a finger at exactly one reason. But if we take aim at one problem at a time, we might make a difference.

So here is a big one: the focus and attention we give to our community, mixed with the bored culture of today, creates an easy gateway for the rates of obesity to skyrocket.

Indiana has 3.8052 fast food restaurants for every 10,000 people (The Washington Examiner ranked each state based on the amount of fast food restaurants: Indiana did not disappoint with a number eight position). With a population of about 6.6 million, this means that 2,510 fast food joints infest our state. This in itself is detrimental to our community’s health. To compound this atrocity, central Indiana does not have many opportunities for citizens to do something active (or, arguably, fun) to counterbalance the entertainment scale (a scale where health nut crazed activities are on one side and lethargic breathing is on the other).

You dont have to do much to prove the validity of these facts. Just drive down state road 135 and look at the options available to your left and right and see if they could be considered even remotely active. What you will most likely find is that almost everything you pass is either a restaurant/fast food chain or a grocery store selling items that would be found at a restaurant/fast food chain. If you start heading down Stones Crossing Road you will find a McDonalds and a Taco Bell across from a Marsh: all of their lights buzzing in collective neon cacophony that coaxes the next customer to forget all the ‘self-help’ articles and preachings that told them that what is inside is a malice amalgam of chemicals passing off as food.

Yet, the fault cannot lay completely on the fast food business (though they do own a major part of the food industry in central Indiana and create a large strain on consumers). Free will is not stripped of you nor is it your destiny to eat fast food. I believe the overlooked yet important idea is that we may just be so bored that we have to eat to fill our time.

We are living in an age that is bursting at the seams with entertainment in its infinite forms. As a culture, Americans depend so much upon the idea that we must be doing something to pass the time. This addiction has led to the mass production of entertaining media but as more comes out, we become less impressed by it. Entertainment is our cultures drug and weve created a gargantuan tolerance to it; Americans are bored junkies.

Do you remember those times you were with your friends, just sitting, time idling and waiting for you to start actually doing something?

There are no plans for you and your friends except for the arbitrary meaning of hanging out.”  Plans are necessary because you and your friends cannot handle one more moment in this homeostasis of absent mindedness, so you begin to formulate, structure and execute something that you all will enjoy.

What do you want to do, I dont care what can we do, then silence.

Nothing is said because there is nothing to say.

There can be no unique plans.

Your itching need for entertainment cannot be fulfilled, the addict begins to suffer from withdrawal but instead of a stomach ache and the sweats, a unique anxiety only felt during extreme times of nothing sets in.

You will do anything for a bump of entertainment now.

Well we could go to Steak n Shake or something.

Sure I dont care.

The drive seems to take forever, and you don’t really have any emotions. You are just empty about going somewhere that you will be actually doing something even if that something is indirectly killing yourself with processed food.

This scene has become normal for high school students in Indiana. They are all craving an activity outside of school but because of the states lack of internal care, there is nothing to do.

There may be no solution to the problem. Our culture may be too addicted to entertainment to stop cold turkey. The difference is the type of entertainment we choose to indulge ourselves in.

As citizens of central Indiana, we ultimately have the final decision of what fills our community, so why shouldn’t we choose to be entertained by constructive? Rather than be junkies of Twitter and trans fat, shoot up on healthy entertainment.

 

Consider the Cat

Halloween is this Saturday and students are frantically rushing to compile a costume that would solidify their position in either social or competitive victory amongst their peers.

Department store marathons are a common experience in last minute attempts to create the perfect outfit that will utterly floor their friends and question the very meaning of a ‘costume contest’ due to the sheer magnitude of their landslide win. But what constitutes a ‘good’  Halloween costume?

The witches brew recipe that creates a memorable Hallow’s Eve getup is a unique take on a familiar theme that will not offend the common party goer. To demonstrate this, let’s consider the cat.

The cat, though a fine household pet, has become a stamped cliché for the spooky holiday, especially with females. Admittedly it is a simple and easy costume, but the problem lies in the mass replication which complies with the familiarity that is needed but kills the creativity exponentially with the ‘cute’ black whiskers, black leggings and black t-shirt.

Now it seems as a simple fix to the creativity complex would be to just make a kitty costume that is unique. Easier said than done. One way could be to go deeper and more obscure into the feline family. With that, though, you add the necessity to explain your outfit to every confused peer that approaches you. Which creates an inquiry, not a party.

So how do we, as participants of Halloween traditions, go about this Cat-2.0?

I believe that we should no longer consider the cat. Halloween is about having fun and expressing yourself in an unique and creative way and, frankly, the classic black cat (or any variation of its feline qualities) breaks the sacred code of costumes; the witches brew recipe of familiarity, originality and morality. There is almost no possible way for any high school student to make a cat Halloween costume that follows these guidelines, so I plead you to stop considering the cat.

The Summer Exchange

The Indiana Honors Program in Foreign Languages (IUHPFL) is an opportunity to travel to other foreign countries to experience, first hand, the culture and language. Although the program offers trips to Austria, Chile, and China, the two most popular sites for Center Grove students are Spain and France.

Megan Miller spent six and a half weeks in France while on a trip apart of the IUHPFL.

“It was really hard living in a different country because I was around complete strangers in a whole new culture but it was also challenging in a good way,” Miller said.
“I got to push myself to a new level on my language learning and adaptation.”

The cost for an IUHPFL trip can be anywhere between $3,800 and $4,650. The program can be considered expensive, but financial aid is an option to those students who pass the admission tests. To some students though, the price for completely immersing yourself into a new world to learn a foreign language is incalculable.

“The program was definitely expensive, but I’d say it’s worth it for the experience of living away from your parents and in a new country; you are learning a new language and getting an edge when you apply for college and jobs later on,” Miller said.

The Three Pillars system is how the IUHPFL is able to give such a special experience to the students. These are fundamental aspects of every trip taken. This foundation is built with the Honor Code, a seven part commandment keeping students out of trouble and to keep them learning. Academic instruction, classes the participants partake in while at the site, and the Host Family, which is the student’s home for the entirety of the trip, are large contributors to the Three Pillar system.

“I feel like all Three Pillars were important to the program because the academic instruction aided our language immersion and the host family experience aided our academic instruction,” Miller said.  “We would get questions from class to ask our host families and they would be about French idioms. We could learn a few and use them so the Three Pillars were all interconnected.”.

The benefits of the IUHPFL program are beyond the regular classroom expectations of learning a new language.


“I do feel like I understand the French language better because I was immersed in it and because of the classes I took there,” Miller said.   “It helped explain the finer details that you typically don’t notice when you’re carrying on a conversation.”

The IUHPFL is a unique way for students to learn the foreign language of their choice in depth and to experience a culture they had been studying from afar for years.