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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One of my favorite extracurricular activities is skiing. Not only is skiing thrilling, but it is good exercise and COVID-19-proof. Throughout the snow season, my dad, sister, and I drive up to the Pocono Mountains. Our favorite local resort is Blue Mountain. Tucked away in the little town of Palmerton, Pennsylvania, Blue Mountain is the perfect place for tubing, skiing, and snowboarding. From the training slopes to double black diamonds, they offer trails for every skill level.

Recently, we went up for a day trip. The conditions were beautiful. The weather held steady all day in the mid-twenties. Tiny flakes greeted our warm gloves and fell into the creases of our jackets. There was a subtle wind at the top of the mountain, which was expected, due to the approaching storm. When I was learning how to ski, my Grandma told me to watch good skiers speeding down the mountain. Did they slightly bend their knees? Yes. Was the alignment of their feet parallel? Or were they doing the pizza position? Absolutely not! French fries for the controlled speed. By French Fries, I mean the pair of skis are side by side. Normally more advanced skiers tend toward this orientation.

I like blue intermediate slopes the best. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried all the greens (easy) on the mountain, along with a few blacks (advanced). Sometimes ice covers the trails in large sheets. When you ski over them, they make a terrible screeching sound. Other times the ground is covered in little ice balls. But most of the time, you will find buttery soft snow or fresh corduroy.

At each lift, employees require mask-wearing, however, this is no big deal. The chair lift is always swarming with skiers and snowboarders. Because of the cold weather, everyone is already wearing facial masks to maintain warmth.

On the ride up, you can watch park rats mastering their tricks. These skiers spend the majority of their time in the terrain parks. You could even spot an owl and maybe a couple of epic crashes too. Overall, skiing is the best way to be outdoors and enjoy the company of family and friends in winter. Look into making a future ski trip and hit the slopes!

— Paige Smagala

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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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Joe Biden: President and Local Legend

After what many have referred to as the most hectic American election cycle in centuries, involving controversial mail-in ballots, accusations of fraud, and riots all across the country, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has officially been inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States of America.

As many people in the area know, Biden is quite a legend in southeastern PA and Delaware. Pictures of him with owners and proprietors of local restaurants are somewhat common. One such picture hangs on the wall of La Michoacana Ice Cream in downtown Kennett Square. Another picture in La Verona Italian Restaurant. However, Biden is more known for his history in Delaware than anything else.

Biden grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, before moving to Wilmington, Delaware, at a young age. He attended the Archmere Academy for high school. While he was never a top student, he was a star football player and was also elected president of both his junior and senior classes. After graduating from the University of Delaware and going on to law school, Biden eventually decided to pursue the Delaware senate seat. He won, but his wife and daughter were tragically killed in a car crash shortly after his victory. He considered resigning to take care of his two remaining sons but was eventually persuaded otherwise. Instead, he decided he would make the commute back and forth from Wilmington to Washington DC every day by Amtrak Train, so he could tuck his sons into bed. Soon, he got to know all the conductors and workers on the train, to the point where his nickname became “Amtrak Joe”.

Biden’s local legacy lives on in a variety of local institutions. The University of Delaware Public Policy school which he once attended bears his name. As does the Wilmington train station that Biden used for his daily commute. Eventually, a Presidential Library will, too.

Until then, all we can hope for is a stable and productive 4 years. Maybe Biden will give Kennett another visit, too!

— Martin Heintzelman

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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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Inaugural Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman

On Wednesday, January 20, the twenty-two-year-old poet Amanda Gorman spoke as President Biden’s inaugural poet laureate. This remarkable young woman inspired the inaugural audience with her eloquence and grace.

Gorman was born in Los Angeles, California, and was raised by her single mother, Joan Wicks. She has two siblings, including a twin sister named Gabrielle. She attended Harvard University, graduating cum laude, and majored in sociology.

Gorman has a speech impediment and auditory processing disorder called rhotacism. It specifically concerns pronouncing “r”s in words. After years of speech therapy and practice, Gorman overcame her speech impediment and is able to speak clearly in front of a crowd.

First lady Dr. Jill Biden first heard Amanda Gorman speak at the Library of Congress in 2017. Three years later, Biden knew she had to contact Gorman to be the inaugural poet laureate.

Gorman read her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” live to millions of people across the nation. She received recognition, not just from President and First Lady Biden themselves, but from celebrities like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Oprah, and Lady Gaga.

Amanda Gorman inspires girls to be radiant, creative, and well-spoken. As she said in the inaugural poem, “If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy, and change our children’s birthright.”

— Vienna Gurev

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NFL Playoff Recap

Many football fans are gearing up for the fast approaching Super Bowl. In the conference championships, the Buccaneers managed to beat the Green Bay Packers with a score of 31 to 26. The Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills with a score of 38 to 24. The Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be aired on Sunday, February 7th.

Tom Brady sits in the spotlight on the Buccaneers. If the Buccaneers take this Super Bowl, it will give Tom Brady his 7th Super Bowl win of his career. An impressive record for the Super Bowl champion. Meanwhile, Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs hope to be the first team to repeat in many years.

Check out the video by Carter Elliott for more on the upcoming Super Bowl.

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New Sixers Jerseys

As the 2020-2021 NBA season commences, many teams have announced the release of their new city edition jerseys. The Philadelphia 76ers’ new jersey was inspired by the 2000’s era when Allen Iverson led the team to the finals. However, controversy was created during the release, since fans were expecting a retro-style jersey commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 2000-2001 season.

A city edition jersey reflects on a team’s past season and the city they come from. The jersey features Ben Simmons’ number, 25, and an outline of the houses on Philadelphia’s historic Boathouse Row. If you look carefully within the outline, you can spot the letters ‘TTP’—a reference to the sixers’ slogan, “Trust the Process”.

While past and current players have endorsed this year’s city edition jersey, fans hope a 25th anniversary jersey will come out for the 2025-2026 season.

Check out the video by Julian Schwartz for more info!

— Paulien Donnelly

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Marching Band Season: Fall 2020

The Covid crisis continues to impact our community and school. Facing a challenging season, the KHS Marching Band had to adapt.

This year, the marching band worked in groups and stayed at least six feet apart during their practices.

Despite these limitations, the students still had a memorable and meaningful season. Marching band members have said they still had “a lot of fun” and recognized that “the core part of band is doing [their] show and getting to create something amazing with [their] friends”.

This year’s show, British Invasion, included British rock hits like “Pinball Wizard”, “Don’t Stop me Now”, and “Hey Jude”.

In describing this season, assistant band director Mr. Whisler commented, “…Compared to other years, I would see this year as very different, but also extremely rewarding.”

Band director Mr. Romano gave a shout out to marching band members, staff, and the parents who, through their determination and resilience, made this season possible.

Check out the video for more on the Marching Band!

— Paulien Donnelly

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