Demon Press Review: Atomic Habits

Here’s a little secret about me: I’m a huge self-improvement nerd. Some of my favorite pastimes are going onto YouTube and learning productivity techniques.

Over the past 5 years, I have seen it all: from Pomodoros to habits to time blocking. I’ve learned all of these from productivity YouTubers such as Thomas Frank and Matt D’Avella.

And these two had been saying a lot about a certain book. A book that has been praised as one of the best self-improvement books of all time. A book so good that many “BookTok” (the side of TikTok populated by book-related accounts and videos) users praised it.

The book is Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Since I was attempting to read a book a week, I thought I should give this a read because…

  1. Almost everyone gave it 5/5 stars.
  2. It will help me build a reading habit to help me reach my goal.

So I gave it a read.

The book covers many topics on habit formation (i.e. cue, routine, and reward) and gives simple tips on how to break or build habits in easy-to-read chapters. Each tip or concept is broken down in each chapter. This allows the reader to easily go back to a certain section and remember a concept or tip.

While learning concepts to improve one’s life is important, it isn’t as important as putting those concepts into action. Atomic Habits solves this problem by providing readers with a full guide on how to successfully build good habits and break bad habits.

After finishing the book, I felt a tiny bit disappointed. Sure, the concepts in it were great, but there wasn’t anything new that I could use in my own life.

At first, I gave it 4/5 stars, but I soon realized something that changed my opinion:

The book summed up 5 years of (my) research in 256 pages that someone could devour in 2-3 days. I changed my review to 5/5 stars as a result.

If you want to find the most helpful information and actionable steps on habits, this is your book.

— Billy Wikol

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Every-Other-Weekly Good News: Mini-THON

No matter what anyone is going through, no matter the circumstances, we can see that there is some good news shining in the darkness. This week’s good news stems from an event that took place last week on February 25. Mini-THON is an event that raises awareness and fundraises money for childhood cancer. Right here at Kennett High School, we saw many different people come together to help those affected by the disease and their families. Students, clubs, teachers, and administration; all attended and donated to raise almost $50,000 towards the cause. The total amount for the event will continue to grow, as Mini-THON has two more large fundraisers in the spring. This combined effort would not be possible without what happened behind the scenes.

Club presidents Hayley Magana and Grace Pruitt ran this event along with the junior chairs, Clara Morrison and Sadie Maxwell. They gathered a committee of about 20 people to help, whom we all can thank personally for organizing and putting together this event. Without their help, this event would not have been possible. Additionally, we saw many related acts of kindness. Some of these included people outside of the club stepping in to help Mini-THON become a reality. So many people volunteered to help fundraise for childhood cancer. From decorating the library to hosting events, people helped out in all different ways. Recall how Dr. Hritz performed his original song and ran 42 miles for childhood cancer on the same day!

Everyone’s combined efforts for this event led to a successful, kindness-filled day. Without the initiative of Hayley Magana and Grace Pruitt and their rallying of the junior chairs and Humanitarian club, this wouldn’t have been possible. Due to all the volunteers, faculty, students, clubs, parents stepping up to the cause putting in all the hard work this was one of the greatest acts of kindness of this week and will support many children and their families. We thank them for their kindness and look forward to upcoming Mini-THONs.

— Chase Sangine

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How Squid Game’s Second Episode Made the Show Blow Up In Popularity

This may sound like a hot take, but I do feel like Squid Game blew up because of its second episode. I haven’t finished watching the show yet, but I can confidently stick to that opinion.

For those who are living under a rock, Squid Game quickly became one of Netflix’s popular shows this year. It’s filled with gorgeous visuals, future TikTok trends, and many more reasons one might say the show became a hit.

Some wonder exactly why its popularity blew up like it did, and it’s because of the second episode.  Why? Because the episode includes a lot of internal conflicts. How does that relate to a show blowing up? To answer that, we need to look to brain science.

There are two types of conflict in stories: external conflict and internal conflict. External conflict is defined as a struggle between a character and an outside force. In Squid Game, the external conflict is the players against the games themselves. If those players lose, then they will die, but why does that matter to the players if they die? Why are they even choosing to participate in these deadly games anyways? If they are participating in either getting rich or being dead, then why do they not get a job and get the money that way without having to worry about being dead?

I’m not trying to say external conflict is bad; it is important to have external conflict in your story to increase the tension surrounding it. But without any internal conflict, the audience doesn’t care about the characters and the story seems boring to them. Sure, it may be exciting to see characters facing challenging games or—in other stories—spaceship battles, wizardry duels, and giant monsters. But those things don’t make us care about the characters. If only external conflict is used, then your characters will feel like the punching bag for the plot; they are smacked with external conflict and more external conflict without any meaning to it. That’s not how a really good story is supposed to go; a really good story has the characters reacting meaningfully with the plot. That’s how most really good Disney movies go: almost every obstacle Moana or Hercules face is important to them—not to the world. So how did Squid Game create a really good story? By making every action matter to the characters. And how did they do that?

The answer comes in the form of internal conflict. Internal conflict is the type of conflict that happens inside of the character’s head—whether mental or emotional. Each one of us—whether we think of it or not—has some form of internal conflict. We each have a goal, or desire, we are trying to reach. However, there is a reason we may not fulfill that desire: fear. This fear is what makes us unable to achieve our goals. But this desire still matters to us, and if you share it with people then it might matter to them since they relate to you.

The same thing goes into watching movies and reading books; we relate and care about the characters who have a desire and a fear because we human beings also have internal conflict. Because of that, something magical happens when a protagonist shows off their internal conflict to the audience: the audience holds the character’s values close to them, and they pay close attention to the character’s actions. Author Abbie Emmons summarized this better than I could ever have: “Internal conflict is the secret ingredient to capturing your reader’s attention. When we know why it matters to the characters, we know why it matters to us. And when something matters to us we pay close attention to it.” That’s why Moana and Hercules caught our attention: when we know what they are doing matters to them, then it matters to us.

So how does this fit into Squid Game? In episode two, we learn about the internal conflict (both desire and fear) of each of the main characters. We learn why they are participating in these games that kill people. We learn that each of them is in extreme poverty and wants to get out of it (that’s the desire). Unfortunately, they have been faced with some fears that prevent them from reaching their goals: a greedy boss, struggles of moving, surgery of a loved one, a poor pregnant woman, the list goes on. These are the things that make us care about the characters; the writers are taking their time to introduce the main cast so they can show their desire clashing with fear and—more importantly—make us care about the characters and keep us hooked on what is going to happen.

But wait! There’s more. Another form of internal conflict is called “pain vs. pain”. It is when one type of problem a character is facing (the first “pain”) becomes more painful than another problem (the second “pain”). In the case of Squid Game, the reality of poverty is more painful than dying in a battle royale. As the audience can see, each character, in this case, suffers this sort of internal conflict—thus the audience cares about each of them.

The rest of the story is a tense series of events because the writers took the time to make us care about the characters. And that is why Squid Game blew up. Sure social media and the actual concept of Red Light, Green Light had some impact. But critically, it was the internal conflict that did it all.

— Billy Wikol

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Letter from the Editor: Autumn 2021

Hey Blue Demons!

Hoping that you each had a wonderful summer, I and the rest of the Kennett High School journalism team now welcome you back to a new school year!

Here at Kennett Journalism, we work hard to bring you coverage of school, local, and world events, and we’re so excited to bring you more this year! From school sports to national events to popular media reviews and everything in between, this is your spot.

This will be our second year—our first full one—since our digital relaunch, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait. Given everything that the Fates threw at us last year, Demon Press and KTV rolled with the punches and did a great job; that said, this year is going to be even better! KTV will hopefully be able to bring back many of the segments we all missed, and Demon Press will have tons of new articles and content for you!

A moment of shameless self-promotion: Writers and photographers interested in joining the staff of Demon Press, please contact me! All are welcome, and we’d love to have you!

Best of luck this year,

Rhiannon Stewart


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History of Youtube

YouTube has been at the top of the list as one of the most influential social media platforms for quite some time. Last year alone, the site had over 30 million users. For better or worse, YouTube has given people a space to create and share their content. This couldn’t have been possible without Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim, who all once worked at PayPal. Soon enough, the idea of sharing home videos was in full effect.

A little over 16 years ago, the first-ever YouTube video was posted, entitled Me at the zoo, on April 23, 2005. At the time this article was written, it had 168,440,960 views and 7.9 million likes. After this video was posted, the website’s popularity exploded, and by May 2005, it had over 30,000 visitors a day. When it officially launched, the site had over two million more views.

However, due to this influx of people, the company had to buy more equipment and had to set aside large amounts of money towards litigations as many videos contained copyright materials. Because of this, the company had to search for a buyer; Google would soon take over and remove the tens of thousands of copyright videos. In November of 2008, the company agreed to broadcast some of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.’s (MGM) movies with ads. Surely, based on the number of users, the world wouldn’t be quite the same without Youtube.

— Maya Ross


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Easing Mask Mandates

Local families can breathe an unmasked sigh of relief after the latest COVID-19 mandate. Pennsylvania and Delaware governors Tom Wolf and John Carney recently issued statements saying that, as long as you are fully vaccinated, you are not required to wear a mask. However, unvaccinated and half-vaccinated people are still required to wear masks in all settings. Furthermore, anyone from age 12 and up is eligible to get vaccinated! Longwood Gardens and most pharmacies are providing vaccines for anyone interested.

Because of this, fully vaccinated students can go back to enjoying the great activities of summer they missed last year. Now they can travel, invite friends over, and attend (or volunteer at) summer camps! This also means they will be able to enter next school year normally and enjoy all the activities that were canceled or modified this year. The vaccines are a long-awaited opportunity for everyone to be protected and get back to normal.

— Vienna Gurev

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Road Tripping

As Summer comes around the corner, vacations are top of mind for everyone. Who doesn’t love feeling sand in between their toes or accomplishing a long hike on a breezy afternoon? This year’s vacation plans may be a little different because of restricted airfare and unwarranted quarantine orders. Nevertheless, here are a few amazing destinations that only happen to be a couple of hours driving from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

The sandy shoreline of New Jersey awaits tourists each year. Small coastal towns like Stone Harbor or Cape May are the perfect retreat! Besides the beautifully groomed beaches, each town boasts a plethora of activities. You could go dolphin watching, bike downtown, or play some holes of mini-golf—to name a few. Stone Harbor also caters to any taste buds. Breakfast? Playa Bowls right off of 96th street. In the mood for burgers? Try The Watering Hull. Need a cold dessert? Escape the heat with a waffle cone from Springer’s Homemade Ice Cream. The options are endless! While you’re there, be sure to take a look at the small artisan shops. Their pieces make great gifts for family and friends. Overall, Stone Harbor is a popular option for families. The Jersey Shore is only two hours away from Kennett, making it the optimal day trip experience.

Further down the east coast lies the Outer Banks. If you enjoy fresh fish and less populated beaches, then OBX is right for you! Excursions include water sports, pottery classes, and horseback riding on the beach. The Outer Banks National Scenic Byway stretches over 140 miles and connects all nine barrier islands. Its flat terrain is ideal for driving with the windows down and blasting music. Outer Banks beaches are less occupied in the more southern towns of Avon, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras. Northern towns Corolla, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head are a little more crowded. Northern towns, however, tend to offer better restaurants. My family takes a trip to the Outer Banks every August, serving as our annual holiday.

But hey, what if you don’t particularly like the beach? Well, the Pocono Mountains are a nature-filled alternative! Try hiking a segment of the Appalachian trail, and spot wildlife such as bald eagles, foxes, snakes, and black bears. Enroll in rock climbing and water rafting classes. Many ski resorts offer summer camps for children, too! This way, parents can enjoy themselves during the day and reconvene with their kids in the evening for dinner. Depending on the forecast, the Poconos has also proven to be a fine place for watching the night sky. I, personally, have witnessed an impressive amount of shooting stars simply by lying on the driveway of our vacation rental. Like the Jersey shore, the Pocono Mountains are only about two hours from Kennett.

This year has brought its set of challenges, and vacations may not be on the table for everyone, understandably. But, if you do have some money set aside, I recommend exploring these wonderful areas. My family enjoys them and I hope you will too!

— Paige Smagala

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Ben Hartranft visits KCSD for #ALLin

As I came into view of the signs of Kennett Middle School, I noticed several people masked up. One—who was wearing an Eagles shirt—cheered first to welcome our arrival. Stepping off the bus into the warm spring day, I assumed the person who cheered was a new teacher at Kennett Middle School. However, as I walked into the stadium, Mr Moore told me, “The speaker’s name is Ben; he’s the one in the Eagles’ shirt.” I assumed he was a person learning how to socialize, but he placed smiles on faces while dancing with anyone he encountered. The music calmed down and then Ben spoke. Despite having autism, he was speaking and socializing like a professional. When I heard about his efforts through his story and saw videos of him on the football fields, my brain exploded. He learned how to achieve almost anything without his disability getting in the way. Having a disabled sister, I can relate with him as he struggles to work his way through the condition he didn’t choose. It’s rough to have a family member with autism; I can tell because I have one. Since it was hard to hear his speech via Microsoft Teams, I will retell his story.

For many—Ben and my sister included—being diagnosed with autism began at a young age when their parents noticed something was off. As toddlers, children should speak 200 words; Ben had 20. Later, he was diagnosed with autism. After working hard over the years, he learned how to speak the words he needed.

By high school, he ended up becoming a social butterfly: Ben treated everyone at his school like they were friends, and his friends accepted him like that. Despite doubt from his parents, he campaigned for Homecoming King and won. Most likely because the other nominees for the title wanted their peers to vote for Ben.

Growing up, he was also doing well in life. He got a job at Dorney Park where he enjoyed making others happy and turning frowns into smiles. So much so that they later named him the Mayor of Dorney Park. He also raised money for autism by being an Autism Ambassador for the Eagles. There, he met several of the most popular Eagles players. Ben wanted to be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and after 3 years of asking, he got his chance. (See Ben on The Ellen Show here; his reaction when meeting Ellen is just priceless!)

Of course, not every dream came true for Ben. He talked a lot about most of his success but mentioned a little about his many failures. One of which is how he failed to get the lead role in the school play. Despite those setbacks, that didn’t stop him from trying; he continued to reach for his dreams. That was the key takeaway of his presentation—despite one’s condition, one can achieve great things if they keep on trying.

— Billy Wikol

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KTV Segment: Mini-THON Challenge – Mr. Brientnall vs. Mr. O’Sullivan Free Throw Competition

Another Mini-thon goal was reached, and that means it’s time for a shootout between Mr. Brientnall and Mr. O’Sullivan. The loser had a bucket of ice water poured on his head! The shootout was played at a three-hole basket, with each hole marked two, three, or four points. Each player was given three shots, and by the end of the game, the score was three points for Mr. O’Sullivan and six for Mr. Brientnall. Mr. O’Sullivan definitely seemed to enjoy that refreshing, ice-cold water!

Check out the video above to see what happened!

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KTV Segment: Ellen’s Game of Taste

Earlier this month, Mrs. Rudisill and Mrs. Lamoreux faced off in Ellen’s game of taste. The two teachers attempted to guess what food they were eating while blindfolded. The foods ranged from salty olives to sweet candies. This challenge was a reward for reaching a fundraising goal for this year’s Mini-thon. Other goals included watching Gavin Maxwell shave his head and taping two of the principals to the cafeteria walls. Students and teachers alike are doing a wonderful job raising money for this worthy cause.

For more information, check out the segment above!

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