Black History Month: The Brave Journalist Ahead of Her Time

Ida B. Wells, 1920

On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation stated that all slaves in seceded states “…shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free,” marking President Abraham Lincoln as a hero. However, this declaration was more of a façade, because true freedom wouldn’t be achieved until the end of January 1865, when the 13th Amendment was ratified. But even while physical freedom was achieved, basic human rights were yet to come as lynching and murders of Black people would soon follow. Among the chaos a brave journalist would rise and fight against the injustice. Her name was Ida B. Wells. Born only a few months after the Emancipation Proclamation was declared on July 16, 1862, in Holly Springs, Mississippi, she received her education at Shaw University, which her father, James Wells, helped establish. Tragedy soon stuck the family. When Wells was 16, both of her parents and younger brother died of yellow fever. She forsake her education in exchange for a job as a teacher in a segregated school to provide for the rest of her siblings. During this time she wrote many articles for Black newspapers on race and politics in the South under the pen name “Lola”. Long before Rosa Parks, Wells refused to give up her seat on a train and even won $500 dollars in a lawsuit against the railroad. Her focus would shift to lynchings soon after she was fired from her job. Three African American men, friends of Wells’ who were charged for damaging a white owner’s store, were lynched and murdered before the trial. She soon investigated lynchings and other African American deaths, risking her life for the truth. Wells’ most famous work, “A Red Record,” published in 1893, was a deep study of America’s lynchings. She led an anti-lynching protest at the White House in 1898. Wells also co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or the NAACP, but was later pushed away by her own organization as many feared her more radical ideas on justice. Wells also fought for women’s suffrage and clashed with white women of the movement. She died in Chicago, Illinois, at the age of 68, on March 25, 1931. Although she was ahead of her time, her determination of no compromise for justice made a huge impact on the civil rights movement.

— Maya Ross

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Black History Month: The First Black Woman to Sue a White Man and Win

Sojourner Truth

Against all odds, a Black woman and former slave sued her previous owner and became the first Black woman to win a court case against a white man. She used the gospel to speak against racial injustice and advocated for women’s rights. Her name was Sojourner Truth. Born Isabella Baumfree, a slave in Ulster county, New York, she would edvently be sold to a man named John Dumont. She was forced to marry another slave man that Dumont owned, since her lover had a different owner. After she gave birth to five children, Dumont promised to set her free so long as she “behaved.” However, when the time came, he went back on his word. So Truth ran away with her daughter, leaving the others behind as they were still Dumont’s. She met the Wagenen family, who helped her escape by paying her owner for her services. The Wagenens would have a lifetime affect on her, as she adopted their beliefs. Truth filed a lawsuit against Dumont, who illegally sold her five year old son Peter after the New York Anti-Slavery Law was established. With the help of the Wagenens, she won the case and was reunited with her son. Truth launched her career as equal rights activist in 1843, as she felt an obligation to preach against slavery and spread the gospel. She soon met famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1844 at the Northern Association of Education and Industry. Her speech, “Ain’t I A Woman?” was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention, where she met suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. During the Civil War, she helped recruit Black men for the war effort. She also worked for the National Freedom Relief Association and helped deliver employment to freed Black people struggling with poverty. In October 1864, she was invited to visit the White House by President Lincoln. Three years later, Truth continued to advocate against discrimination and women’s rights in Battle Creek, Michigan. She was “concerned that some civil rights leaders such as Frederick Douglass felt equal rights for black men took precedence over those of black women.” She died on November 26, 1883, but even after her death, Truth’s words still lived on through her many songs and autobiography.

Check out this video to learn more about Sojourner Truth.

— Maya Ross

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Minimum Age for a COVID-19 Vaccine

Should sixteen be the minimum age to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and why did the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) make this decision?

There is a committee within the CDC called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). They advise the director of the CDC about the use of vaccines. The ACIP uses four maxims to guide decision making: maximizing benefits and minimizing harm, mitigating health inequities, promoting justice, and promoting transparency. These guidelines are in place so that people are given respect, equity, and care, populations are treated fairly, and the CDC’s decisions are clear and understandable. After the ACIP meets and deems the vaccine to meet their standard, the CDC publishes their vaccine recommendations.

The main reason why the COVID-19 vaccine is only available to people ages sixteen and up is because previous clinical trials for the vaccine have only been performed on that population. This may be subject to change once more information is discovered about how well the vaccine works. Clinical trials have begun on children ages twelve and above.

If you are sixteen or older, lucky you! You may soon be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination! Until then, and even after you get it, keep wearing masks and taking precautions to keep yourself and others safe.

— Vienna Gurev

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Hybrid, Ham Sandwiches, and Humming on Mute

What a wonderful first few weeks at the brick-and-mortar Kennett High School!

I wish I could say the halls were packed with fresh faces and overflowing backpacks. However, this year is a little different for everyone. Who knew that a once bustling high school could feel like a complete ghost town! Classes are small and spread out, mainly varying from five to ten in-person students. Instead of pencils and paper, we open our laptops, accessing virtual platforms such as Schoology and Microsoft Teams. A sense of long-awaited unity filled each classroom with curiosity and delight. Finally, after months of tech issues and computer mishaps, face-to-face learning could begin once more!

Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all glorious. Being a homeschooler for the better portion of 2020 will develop some pretty bad homebody habits. Waking up early to catch the bus and dressing from head to toe in matching clothing felt far-flung. Packing a lunch the night before was also a forgotten chore. At home, you can eat whenever and whatever you want for lunch. The toaster oven, stove, and microwave are just steps away. Because of hybrid, the classic ham and cheese sandwich has reintroduced itself into my lunch bag. Let me say, it was nice to have a break from the everyday go-tos.

Certainly, there are some disadvantages of returning in person. At home, you can double-check to make sure that your microphone and camera are turned off. The occasional sneeze, nose blow, or humming aren’t distractions for your peers. With hybrid, I find myself holding in these manners. In addition, texting friends about complex lesson plans and confirming class answers is not as easy during the hybrid setting.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy getting better acquainted with students in my Thursday/Friday cohort. Hybrid has opened the door of optimal learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In the long run, it is worth the effort from teachers, administrators, parents, and students. I hope that in the near future we will be able to have every student back in the building! Third marking period, here we come!

— Paige Smagala

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Black History Month: The Man Behind Martin Luther King, Jr

Left to Right: Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Aaron E. Henry, and Bayard Rustin

We all know Martin Luther King, Jr., the leader of the civil rights movement and who is considered to be one of its founders. But history has almost forgotten a key player in this battle. He was an openly gay man who helped organize racial justice movements including The Great March on Washington. His name was Bayard Rustin. Born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1912, Rustin was raised by his Quaker grandparents. Unlike many people at the time, they supported his sexuality. He joined the communist party in 1937 when he studied at the College of New York, but he soon left as their focus shifted to promoting the Soviet Union instead of racial equality. This part of his life would have a huge impact on his career and social status, as many were wary of this fact. Rustin was a pacifist and was strongly against the Second World War and refused to register for the draft, ultimately leading to him being arrested in 1944. This would not be the first time he would be charged, as Rustin’s sexuality was often used against him. These types of incidents would lead to him being fired from the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), a socialist group that promoted equality for all, except for gay people. This would lead him to meet Martin Luther King, Jr., through his friend Philip Randolph. Although Rustin was a trusted advisor for King around the 1950s, many considered him a liability. King started to distance himself from Rustin as threats from Adam Clayton Powell arose. It wouldn’t be until 1963 that Rustin would rejoin the movement. While threats were still made, they were quickly dismissed as King and other members started to openly support Rustin. Unfortunately, a year before the March on Washington, a decision was made to make Randolph lead instead of Rustin. This did not stop his activism for both racial equality and gay rights in the 1980s. In a later interview, Rustin said that “… it was an absolute necessity for me to declare homosexuality because if I didn’t I was a part of the prejudice.” He, unfortunately, died on August 24, 1987. Twenty-six years later, in 2013, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his fight for racial equality.

See this video for more information about Bayard Rustin.

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How to Feel More Connected During Covid

It is safe to say that we all have felt detached from the world around us over the last 10 months since Covid began. It can be very hard to stay in touch with our friends, family, teachers, etc.—almost like every day is the same continuous cycle. You are not alone. We are all experiencing this pandemic for the first time together, so whatever you’re going through right now, you are not the only one feeling that way. That emotion of “time is going by so fast” is not uncommon, and I hope you can find ways to stay more connected through this article.

First off, we are all on our devices every single day. Going to school and teaching from home, isolated, is not a pleasant thing to have to endure. After you are done with your remote work for the day, it’s easy to just want to go watch Netflix or scroll through social media. However, I have found it helpful to try to get engaged in more activities that benefit your mind. When you are on social media, you’re immediately comparing yourself to everyone else whether you notice it or not. That’s not fun. One thing I have started doing is yoga. Stretching and working out can release that tension and anxiety you have been holding onto all day. Another helpful thing is getting outdoors. Take your dog for a walk or just walk around your neighborhood by yourself and enjoy the present moment. Or, you could find a new book series to get wrapped up into. Our library has a lot of selections to choose from, or you could order a book online. A lot of people say that they aren’t readers, but once they find a genre that interests them, it’s easy to change your mindset.

Secondly, a lot of us tend to stress about the future weeks to come. Obsessing over what could happen is pointless, and it will save you a lot of energy if you try to concentrate on the ‘now’. Write down your goals for the day and check them off as you get them done. That will help you feel more motivated and proud of yourself once you have completed what you need to do. Just take it day by day, and I can assure you that it will make you feel more accomplished and in control of yourself. Journaling is something that could also help. It sounds silly at first, but once you get into the habit of writing about your day or things that are on your mind, it will help with organizing your thoughts so it’s not so overwhelming. There are so many things going on constantly, and getting inside your own head can be very frustrating.

Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. We all have days where we just want to lay in bed and do nothing, and that is perfectly okay. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect because we are human and humans are meant to make mistakes. It may be hard to start incorporating these kinds of activities into your daily routine, but once you start, the habit will get easier. Don’t forget that there are always people here to help you and talk to you as well. None of us has ever had to deal with something like this before, so give yourself some leeway and be proud of how much you have grown!

— Sierra Tellman

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Shift to Hybrid Learning

Last week, numerous students were anxious about returning to school in-person. Social interaction felt unfamiliar because they were in isolation, unable to interact with their friends, classmates, and teachers for months. Students wouldn’t be able to sit next to friends during lunch, mingle freely in the hallway, or simply be unmasked and enjoy socializing with peers.

Luckily, students were surprised to discover that hybrid learning was a relief compared to virtual education. The change of pace provided a welcome variation to an otherwise monotonous school week. Several students described feeling much more involved in class. One student remarked, “[In-person school] has really made a difference with my engagement in learning.”

Hybrid learning also improved communication between students and teachers. Sometimes, asking questions was difficult because of technology mishaps or the uncomfortable feeling of a virtual setting. Asking the calculus teacher to explain number twelve from last night’s homework is much easier and comfortable in-person than it is online. “I’ve enjoyed how much easier it is to learn in person. I get to ask my teachers more questions, which is how I learn best,” explained one student.

Many reported that hybrid learning benefited their mental health. High school is a time when teens grow and learn primarily through socialization; being deprived of those interactions removes all of the fun parts of school. One freshman exclaimed, “I was so excited to meet all my friends and teachers in person!” Another student commented, “Even though in-person school has only gone on for a few days, social interaction with others has already had a positive effect on my well-being!”

Returning to in-person school felt daunting to many students and teachers because of the COVID-19 restrictions in place. However, hybrid learning exceeded their expectations because they were more involved in class, and their communication with peers and mental health improved. One ninth-grader summed up her positive hybrid learning experience by saying, “I love seeing and interacting with people I don’t usually talk to on a daily basis. Even if it’s just someone pointing me in the right direction, I can still sense the smile behind their mask!”

— Vienna Gurev

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The Return of Sports in the COVID Era

As Kennett High School finally returns to in-person learning in a different and more COVID-safe hybrid environment, the NHL and the NBA will also come back from shortened offseasons and training camps. Both leagues are being extremely careful with their COVID protocols, with aggressively enforced masks and social distancing. However, our local NBA team, the Philadelphia 76ers, have already had issues with the virus, losing most of the team—including Seth Curry, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons—to quarantine restrictions after the formerly mentioned Curry tested positive. With the NHL coming back, the question of whether or not sports can be safe during such a tumultuous time is asked often by many.

Perhaps to start this article, we should take a look at the previous seasons that were played out during the summer by both leagues. Both the NHL and the NBA opted for a “bubble” style league that required all teams playing to travel to a COVID-safe and isolated environment. Both of these “bubbles” were extremely successful, with no COVID cases. However, both of these scenarios were with about half of each league’s teams, as the games were playoffs. Now, both leagues have moved away from the bubble format for the regular season, partly because no sports facility could house the 30+ teams in each sport. Already, the NBA is feeling the effects of the virus, with games being moved or teams playing shorthanded.

It should certainly be mentioned that indeed Kennett High School’s own athletic teams were able to successfully pull off a COVID-safe fall season. Players were masked almost all the time, and social distancing was enforced. We ran into minimal real issues and were able to successfully play through a shortened and modified season. To quote Kennett Athletic Director Sean Harvey, “Having the students practicing together safely with the new protocols that are put in place has proven to be very successful, and the credit goes to the coaches and the athletes.” Our neighbors in Unionville were not so lucky. Both the varsity men’s football team and the women’s soccer team were prevented from participating in their district 1 playoff games after members of the team tested positive for the virus, forcing the rest of their teams into quarantine.

When discussing sports and if they should continue at both the professional and the high school levels, it is important to consider both the pros and the cons. At the professional level, many sports teams are key in their local economies. Televised sports are also a welcome release for many fans who have nothing else to do while staying at home and helping to keep case numbers down. At the high school level, sports are often a way for many students to take their minds off of their academics while staying healthy and having a safe outlet for the energy that many students possess. To again quote Mr. Harvey, “the mental health aspect is extremely important for the athletes as well as the coaches and the parents.” On the other hand, COVID can be spread via sporting events even if standard precautions are taken. Even if the athletes will most likely not have to deal with serious symptoms, their families may be at a higher risk. We’ve already seen cases impacting the families of professional athletes.

Hopefully, sports will be able to safely return and give us all some much-needed entertainment during an otherwise dull winter. Vaccines are being handed out and this international nightmare will (ideally) be just about finished by the end of the summer.

— Martin Heintzelman

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Letter from the Editor

Hey Blue Demons!

Welcome to the new Kennett High School student journalism website! KTV and the Demon Press have teamed up to create a place for you.

This is the place to go to find the latest KTV episodes and your favourite segments—anyone else excited to bring back Nate Asks People Stuff someday? You will also find news articles written by our classmates about topics relevant to us, updated on a weekly basis.

The content here is created by and for students. The talented teams at Demon Press and KTV will cover school news, local news, and beyond, tailored to you in an easily-navigable format.

I know that some of you might not have known that KHS even had a newspaper, but we’re here and ready for you to discover and enjoy.

If you’re looking for entertainment, information, and Demon Pride, look no further: the Blue Demons journalism website has it all!

Rhiannon Stewart

Editor-in-Chief

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