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

Editor-in-Chief

300278@bluedemons.org

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A Typical Summer Sunday at Noon

The slapping of flip flops on hot pavement

Adjacent to the driveway, a sprinkler squirts water droplets

Flying through the humid air,

Landing peacefully on what remains of the morning due

On the brick stoop, Mom sits replanting her orchids

Feeding them

Encouraging them to grow strong

Maybe with multiple flowers

As if they were her own children

The door swings open, and my youngest sister walks out

She is holding a lidded water bottle

Almost empty

One drop away from becoming a pile of shattered glass

Approaching Mom, she fails to notice

The soiled mess

The grime soaking in between her toes

She perches like some sort of exotic bird

Watching Mom’s craftsmanship

Two figures walk out from the backside of the house

A girl wearing gardening gloves

A slight dusting of dirt

Covering her forearms

She is holding a basket of assorted produce

Lettuce and kale

Dad is beside her

He removes his earbuds

And wipes sweat clean from his brow

A look of exhaustion settled in

Inhaling the pungent

Scent of cut grass

We all gather around Mom

Watching her

Small yet productive

Soil-filled fingers work

From a glance in the kitchen window

I realize the time

What’s for lunch— I ask,

Everyone looks toward me

In unison, they reply,

Well, what are you making?

— Paige Smagala

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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

Sources

https://www.britannica.com/topic/YouTube

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/23/tech/youtube-first-video-jawed-karim-trnd/index.html

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Civilian Advisory Board for the Police Department

It’s been a busy year for racial justice movements in America. Pushes for racial justice have been coming on stronger than ever all across the country, including in our own community. There were Black Lives Matter marches in Kennett, the Equity+Diversity council has been hard at work this year, and a new African-American history club is in the process of starting up at the school, run by Ms. Olewine. But organizations outside of the school are also working in the pursuit of racial justice and police accountability. One such organization is the Southern Chester County Regional Police department, which recently formed an advisory board composed of members of the community.

The board was an idea pioneered by Chief Gerald Simpson of the SCCRPD, with the goal of fostering an understanding between law enforcement and civilians in our community. Chief Simpson has worked in law enforcement for roughly 38 years and hopes to provide his perspective on issues that the general public may be oblivious to. The general public serving on the board aims to explain their outside perspective on policing and provide suggestions for a more sustainable version of law enforcement.

It will be interesting to see how the community advisory board develops from here. I attended the first meeting and immediately noticed a few things. One was the amount of diversity. There were people of all ages and backgrounds from all across Southern Chester County. I met a student from Avon Grove, and there was at least one other student from Kennett in attendance. There were several Methodist pastors, local businesspeople, and others. The ideological differences among the group were vast. Some seemed in favor of almost a full teardown of our law enforcement system, and some thought few changes were necessary. The police chief and his colleagues seemed open and optimistic about making changes, and the discussion remained civil. Both are good signs for the future of the board and of local law enforcement. While the board holds no official power, it is an important outlet for law enforcement to connect with the general public. Hopefully, it can inspire some changes to make our community a safer and more equitable place.

— Martin Heintzelman

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miniTHON: the Journey of the Four Diamonds

At Kennett High School, miniTHON needs no introduction. Over the past several years, it has become one of the most celebrated and biggest events Kennett offers, and many don’t even know how this celebration and remembrance of childhood cancer even began.

It all began when a boy named Christopher Millard was diagnosed with cancer. It began a summer-long battle as knights began to fight a sorceress within Millard’s body. When the school year began in the fall, Millard’s teacher assigned everyone a writing assignment of what they had done that summer. Knowing what he wanted to talk about, Millard asked his teacher a question: “Can I write a short story instead of an essay?” The teacher replied with a yes.

And so he wrote his short story: The Four Diamonds. While it may seem like a simple story of knight and shining armour defeating evil, it ended up being an allegory for Millard’s journey—an allegory which delivered much weight because of Millard’s past.

The allegory—a work that has a different meaning of what is being said from the surface—tells of Sir Millard, a knight named after the author, and his journey to defeat Raptenahad, an evil sorceress. He needs to collect the four diamonds of Courage, Wisdom, Honesty, and Strength in order to defeat her.

When the real-life Millard turned it in, his teacher praised what she had read. She even said that Millard should write novels during his senior year. Unfortunately, that never happened; he lost the battle, both figuratively and literally. In order to help other kids with cancer, Millard’s parents started an organization called Four Diamonds—named after the four diamonds in Millard’s story.

Today, the four diamonds symbolize what’s needed to win the battle against cancer: courage, wisdom, honesty, and strength. These are needed not just for those with cancer, but everyone. Everyone can join miniTHON and Four Diamonds, because everyone has the courage, wisdom, honesty, and strength to stand up and battle the cancer within all of us.

— Billy Wikol

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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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What is AAPI Heritage Month?

AAPI stands for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. This is a general term to represent people whose heritage comes from the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. It began in 1977 by Representative Frank Horton of New York, who proposed that the first ten days in May be dedicated to AAPI heritage. Later that year, Senator Daniel Inouye introduced a similar offer. But both of their ideas were dismissed. It wouldn’t be until a year later that then-President Jimmy Carter signed off the resolution that the first week of May be AAPI week. In 1990, Congress passed Public Law 101-283, which extended the celebration to cover the whole month. However, it still wouldn’t be official until 1992, when Congress passed another law that annually nominated May to be Asian and Pacific Heritage Month. May was chosen as a way to honor the first Japanese immigrant of the United States, Nakahama Manjiró, who came to the U.S. on May 7, 1843. The month is also to celebrate the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1896, as the majority of the workers were Chinese immigrants. This year, President Joe Biden has acknowledged AAPI Heritage month to celebrate the many AAPI people who have had great influence on the cultural and scientific advances in the United States.

— Maya Ross

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Understanding the Charges Against Derek Chauvin

Recently, the trial of Derek Chauvin, who was on trial for killing George Floyd after kneeling on his neck for around nine minutes, an action that sparked a wave of reckoning over the history of racial divisions in America, came to a close. The verdict was unanimous: Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges pressed against him.

But what do these charges mean, and what will they translate to in terms of sentencing? It can be difficult to understand, especially with so many definitions out there. We here at the Demon Press thought it would be helpful to outline the different charges Chauvin was convicted of, and what they mean.

Charge One: Second-Degree Unintentional Murder

Second degree murder, sometimes referred to as ‘felony murder,’ requires prosecutors to show that the defendant killed another person in the process of committing another crime. In the case of Derek Chauvin, the other crime being committed is third-degree assault. The maximum sentence for this charge is 40 years.

Charge 2: Third-Degree Murder

Third degree murder occurs when one accidentally kills another while acting recklessly and without regard for human life. For example, if you were to sell drugs to another person, and whatever was in those substances killed the person you gave it to, that could be considered third-degree murder. In the Chauvin trial, this meant that prosecutors had to prove that Derek Chauvin acted with wanton disregard for human life when he knelt on George Floyd’s neck for the time that he did, and that this action was a factor in Floyd’s death. The maximum sentence for this is 25 years.

Charge 3: Second-Degree Manslaughter

Manslaughter is a slightly less serious charge than murder is. Second-degree manslaughter means that someone acted in a negligent way that posed risk, and that person took the chance of killing another person. The maximum sentence for this crime is 10 years.

Though there seems to be a long way to go until Derek Chauvin’s sentencing, it is helpful to understand the different charges he was convicted of, and their meaning in the context of the case.

— Blake Ciresa

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AAPI Heritage Month: Modern Trailblazers

Eva Noblezada

Known for starring in hit Broadway musicals with her amazing vocals, give it up for Eva Noblezada. Eva Noblezada was born on March 18, 1996, and grew up in San Diego, California. She is the eldest child of a Filipino father and a Mexican American mother. She began her career at a young age, becoming the top performer at Charlotte, North Carolina’s, Northwest School of the Arts. Her talents wouldn’t be unnoticed, as, at the age of 17, she would be cast as the understudy for Miss Saigon’s heroine, Kim. She also starred in other musicals such as Les Miserables and her more recent role as Eurydice in the musical Hadestown, a modern retelling of the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Schuyler Bailar

In comes a rising athlete in swimming, coming from the men’s swim team at Harvard University: Schuyler Bailar. Raised in McLean, Virginia, by his parents Gregor Bailar and Terry Hong, he is of Korean descent. Bailer was never quite satisfied with his life, and it wouldn’t be until after his freshman year of college would he fully embrace his true self. After a year of rest to get treatment for his eating disorder, Bailar finally came to terms with his gender identity. He became the first openly transgender NCAA Division I swimmer. Now, he is an advocate for transgender rights and visibility. In an interview with the Washington Post, he states “I don’t want to always be known as ‘that kid’ or ‘the transgender swimmer’ but I do want to do what I can to help other young people struggling with this.” That said, he wouldn’t have such a successful career if not for his support family, friends, and coaches. Now, he and his parents advocate against transgender violence in America.

Alice Wong

Founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, media maker and consultant, Alice Wong is a modern trailblazer. Born in 1974 as the child of two immigrants from Hong Kong, Wong was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at an early age. She graduated with an English and Sociology degree at Indiana University and would work as the Staff Research Associate in San Francisco, California. Wong was honored with many awards for her research including the Disability Service Award by the University of California in 2011 and was recently given the Beacon Award by San Francisco Mayor’s Disability Council. Wong was even appointed by President Barack Obama, for membership of the National Council on Disability. She has also done personal works including her novel Resistance and Hope: Essays by Disabled People that was published in October 2018 and in September 2017, she launched her podcast Disability Visibility. She is now the editor of the Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century, along with being an independent research consultant on the side.

Urvashi Vaid

All rise for the attorney and strategist for social justice movements, Urvashi Vaid. Born on October 8, 1958, in New Delhi, India, Vaid’s family soon came to the U.S. eight years after she was born. She attended and graduated from Vassar College in 1979 and attained her law degree from Boston’s Northeastern University in 1983. She would soon become active in politics as she joined the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project for about 3 years. Afterwards, Vaid joined the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force as the director of public information. But she would then become the executive director of the NGLTF Policy Institute. She advocated for the group and helped increase its budget. The book that she co-edited with John D’Emilio and William B. Turner, entitled Creating Change: Public Policy, Civil Rights, and Sexuality, was published in 2000. Vaid has received many awards over the years including the Stonewall Book Award, the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund Civil Rights Leadership Award, plus the Social Justice Action Award in 2014. Urvashi Vaid said, “I want a movement that is not just focused on identity but that is engaged in defining what kind of society we will have in the next century.”

— Maya Ross

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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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