Black History Month Profile: Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka is a three time grand slam singles champion and the reigning champion of the US Open. Osaka is also the first Asian woman to be ranked number one in the women’s tennis association. Well-known for her skills in tennis, Osaka uses her fame to bring awareness to police brutality and racial inequality in the United States.

After the Women’s Tennis Association and the ATP Tour paused matches in honor of her cause, Osaka used the time to attend a New York protest. The masks Osaka wore during matches later in the year all honored and brought awareness to victims of police brutality such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

As part of KTV’s Black History Month spotlight, here is a video profile of Osaka and the work she has done by Cade Verrico’s.

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Pandemic Perspectives: Impact on Educators

One of the professions most heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic is that of teachers and other educators. With the shift from regular school to virtual learning, and then from virtual to hybrid, it has been a difficult adjustment period for everyone involved, especially teachers. To
get a better understanding of how this crisis has impacted educators, I decided to sit down with Mr. Waite and Mr. O’Sullivan, two social studies teachers, to discuss their experiences while teaching during the pandemic.

1. Aside from the obvious fact that everything is virtual, what is the biggest difference in the way you teach during the pandemic versus how you normally would?

Mr. O’Sullivan: I’ve tried to as closely approximate virtually what I normally would be doing, but I realize that a lot of the productivity, meaning watching kids in class, is hard to do virtually. The dynamics of being with people is different – there are ways that you can connect together
that you can’t online.

Mr. Waite: I think if anything, one of the real benefits of teaching in virtual is that it has made me think more about how I teach. Even though I still lecture a lot, I’m still trying to move into doing more class discussions. I’ve stressed doing them more than I have in the past. I would agree with Mr. O’Sullivan that trying to create the classroom dynamics is difficult, and having to switch back and forth during hybrid has been an adjustment as well. I would say that we’re less changing our teaching styles than adapting and becoming more aware of things we weren’t in the past.

2. Back in March, when everything was just beginning to shut down, the way our online classes were taught was much different. What has changed in your online teaching strategy between last March and this year?

Mr. Waite: One thing I can say is that I was really worried about trying to do synchronous classes, like trying to teach each period. Looking back, I wish I did more classes on Zoom than trying to do asynchronous. Also, just the struggle of learning Schoology – it wasn’t just teaching virtually; we had to learn how to structure lessons within a block schedule. It was very painful at first, to be honest, but I think it’s put us in a better place. 

Mr. O’Sullivan: Both Mr. Waite and I had student teachers with us in March, and they were better than us at technology, which helped. I didn’t know how to use Schoology at all, and this fall was definitely a trial by fire. Elements of this virtual teaching will remain forever. I would say it’s a positive, though it hasn’t been comfortable. Things change every week.

3. How do you think this situation will affect your teaching in the future, even when everything is back to normal?

Mr. O’Sullivan: Mr. Waite and I have the benefit of also being students together. We are taking a class at West Chester University together with lots of other teachers at Kennett. We’ve been on the student side of things, which while imperfect, was a positive experience. I’ve tried to model
that, because we’ve learned as students what made classes more fun and interesting. I’m going to be more forceful with having more production in class in the future, however. Both Mr. Waite and I are very student-centric anyways, and we’ve got a lot of empathy for the kids. Teaching is an art and a science, and a lot of this technology stuff is not an art.

4. There’s been a lot going on in the news lately – what is it like having to go into class every day and keep teaching when there is so much chaos and division in the world? Is it difficult, or is it a nice escape?

Mr. Waite: I think we both pull in a lot of current events. We try to weave in a lot of what’s happening in the world, either more formally or informally just talking about it in class discussion.

Mr. O’Sullivan: The courses that I teach [Honors World Studies II and Economics] are all directly related. The election was very much about the economy, our job is to make students think about the issues, and not tell them what to think. It’s not to point fingers one way or the other, but to try to talk about it. Neither side is right, but we need to understand both sides to come to a solution. I follow the news closely, and it’s fascinating, and it is our job to share that with you guys.

5. What is something that you would like your students to know, specifically regarding virtual learning?

Mr. Waite: My non-politically correct answer would be that it stinks and it can’t replace being in the classroom. The situation is different for everybody, but in the end, we all just want to move forward. Not ignore the subject material, but to acknowledge what is going on in the world is important.

Mr. O’Sullivan: This is a remarkable time to be in education. To me, nothing is more important than my students’ well-being. My #1 goal is for my students to feel welcome and happy in this environment. That’s our job.

Portions of this interview have been edited and condensed for clarity.

— Blake Ciresa

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World News Report: COVID Vaccination Distribution

It has been over a year since the first recorded case of the Covid-19 virus. The new vaccines are now providing hope to many people throughout the world. Many countries, however, have been struggling to distribute vaccines.

In the European Union, vaccination numbers are much lower compared to the United States. The slow rate of vaccination could be caused by factory delays and poor planning on release dates. France is struggling to keep up with the infection rate of 20,000 people per day, though current French president Emmanuel Marcon is against going into a nationwide lockdown. Similar to other world leaders, the he is concerned that another lockdown would have a negative impact on the economy.

Israel currently leads the world in vaccine distribution, but a vast disparity between those who have the vaccine ready and those who cannot afford to distribute the vaccine is apparent.

For more details on the current state of vaccine distribution, here is a video produced by Thomas Linderman and Lucas Piotrowski.

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Mahomes and Co. Get Shut Down in the Super Bowl

The year is 2001. A sixth-round draft pick out of the University of Michigan leads the New England Patriots to their first Super Bowl victory. Meanwhile, a young kid named Patrick Mahomes gets on the school bus. He is in first grade.

Jump to the present: this past weekend. Tom Brady, now playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at age 43, faced off against Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. The greatest to ever play the game faced the man widely regarded as the next generation of football greatness. Two quarterbacks with cannons for arms and at least one previous Super Bowl win under their belts.

Spoiler Alert: Brady and the Buccaneers won. It wasn’t even close. Mahomes was unable to throw even a single touchdown, nor was his team able to rush for one. Brady, meanwhile, threw three touchdown passes for 201 yards with no interceptions. Leonard Fortunette of the Bucs also rushed for one score. More than anything else, this victory can be attributed to the stifling Tampa Bay defense. Patrick Mahomes spent most of his time running away from the top defensive line in the league. This chasing was led by top linemen Ndamukong Suh, Jason Pierre-Paul, Devin White, and their colleagues. Mahomes was sacked 3 times, took 8 hits, and was pressured a Super Bowl record 29 times.

Mahomes still has a promising future in this league. He’s only 25 years old, 18 years younger than Tom Brady. However, it seems like Brady has no intention to retire. His almost superhuman ability to stay healthy, accompanied by an extremely strict diet, means that he almost seems like he too is only 25. It’s a shame that former, longtime Philadelphia Eagles coach (and current Chiefs coach) Andy Reid couldn’t get another Super Bowl this year. But who knows what’s in store for the 2021 season?

Video recap by Carter Elliott

— Martin Heintzelman

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Procrastination and What to Do When It Arrives

As many of you are aware, procrastination is a big issue in our daily lives. In fact, a “2007 meta-analysis by University of Calgary psychologist Piers Steel, PhD, reports that 80 percent to 95 percent of college students procrastinate, particularly when it comes to doing their coursework (Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 133, No. 1),” according to the American Psychological Association. Even though this method of completing the task last minute seems unconventional, why do we continue to do it and how do we overcome it? Let’s begin with what exactly procrastination is. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of procrastination is to “put off intentionally and habitually.” People tend to come up with many reasons as to why they procrastinate. Here’s an article from Verywell Mind that lists a few reasons why we procrastinate which you might be familiar with.

Now that we have some sort of understanding of procrastination we can learn how we can overcome it. The aforementioned Verywell Mind article says that “[r]esearchers suggest that developing a schedule, carefully planning academic tasks, and improving time-management skills are all effective ways to cope with procrastination”.

– Schedules

Making a plan helps visually show what needs to be done and can help organize the work however you see fit. Don’t forget about when you need/want to complete a task, write it down. Try not to sway from your schedule. Please note that everyone is more productive at certain times. For example, I personally tend to work more in the late evening and sometimes late at night.

– Break It Down

This method is probably more useful with big projects that aren’t due until later. When we are given a big project that seems insurmountable, we tend to get stressed. Taking on bits of a project can make it feel less overwhelming and more manageable.

– Put Away That Phone

This may seem obvious, but studies have shown that even adults struggle from not looking at their phone for long periods of time. In fact, in 2019, abcNews reported that “teens spend an average of seven hours and 22 minutes on their phones a day.” So as the old saying goes: Out of sight, out of mind.

– Reward Yourself

It can be challenging to complete a task that you have absolutely no interest in. Even though getting a good grade may seem like good motivation, we’ve all had that moment of “I don’t care”. Alexander Rozental, a clinical psychologist at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and a procrastination researcher, says that breaks can count as reward, but make sure that you don’t abuse them and try to make them productive, like cleaning your room.

Want to learn more? Check out this funny Ted Talk: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | Tim Urban

— Maya Ross

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Emotional Support Animals

Have you ever wondered why animals just instantly lift your mood? There have been many studies done to prove that animals such as your dog, cat, or maybe even your goldfish can act as a companion during these difficult times. Anxiety and depression have become very common among teens and adults so having a furry friend has helped many people feel more connected and not as alone as they used to be.

Avon Grove Charter, a neighboring choice school just about 15 minutes away from Kennett, has partnered with a very cool program called PAWS for People. This company brings dogs to the school during professional development inservice days and handlers circulate around the building with a group of dogs. Teachers can stop for a moment and pet the animals, which sounds like a fun distraction. AGCS is only allowing the program to come on Wednesdays when there are no students on campus, but they could be looking to expand it to students some time in the near future. I think this idea is very unique, and it helps a lot of people look forward to a break. It would be awesome if Kennett looked into this program too!

Even many covid patients have liked just being in the presence of a dog. They have said it has made them feel more calm and just overall eased the tension of everything happening around them. Animals always have a very soothing vibe; approaching a dog and petting it can release many happy emotions and positive chemicals in the brain. Working from home has also made it easier to build a relationship with your pet. Just a few minutes of cuddling or going on a walk can assist in freeing those negative thoughts and feelings that have been building up. It may sound ridiculous, but talking out loud to your pet can also benefit you. If you talk out loud, you are not suppressing those moments of anger and sadness. Your pet doesn’t necessarily understand what you are saying, but they will be there to comfort you because they won’t judge you.

Overall, pets are a great thing to have, and they are very loving creatures. If your social battery runs out, a pet will always be there to cheer you up in a time of need.

— Sierra Tellman

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Willy Wonka and Emma Chamberlain

Famous Tik Tok star Duke Depp sparks controversy with his latest infatuation with celebrity and internet personality Emma Chamberlain. Duke gained a following on Tik Tok by dressing up as Willy Wonka from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Depp used his own platform to hint that he had taken a liking to Chamberlain, but nothing was confirmed until Chamberlain was asked directly by paparazzi. She rejected Depp during the interview, causing many fans to question whether Emma Chamberlain is in a secret relationship.

See the video recap by Sofia Silva

— Clara Jane Mack

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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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A Guide to Biden’s Cabinet

Confirmed Cabinet Members:

  • Vice President Kamala D. Harris

Yes, the vice president is technically a cabinet member! Kamala Harris was sworn in on January 20, 2021, when she became the first female, first Black, and first South Asian vice president in American history. She now presides over the narrowly Democratic Senate, where she formerly served as a Senator from California. Before she became a Senator, she served as the attorney general of California.

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Blinken, confirmed on January 26th, 2021, will serve as President Biden’s chief advisor on foreign policy. Before becoming Secretary of State, he served as deputy secretary of state, assistant to the president, and principal deputy national security advisor during the Obama administration. He is an avid guitar player, and to hear his latest single, you can follow him on Spotify at ‘Ablinken.’

  • Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen

Before she became the first woman to serve as treasury secretary, Janet Yellen was also the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve. From 1997-1999, during the Clinton administration, she also served as chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors.

  • Secretary of Defense Gen. Lloyd Austin

General Austin is a retired Army general and was formerly the commander of the US Central Command. He was confirmed on January 22nd, 2021, and is the first African-American to oversee the Defense Department.

  • Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg

You might recognize Secretary Buttigieg from his former stint as a presidential hopeful in the 2020 Democratic primary. Along with being the youngest member of Biden’s cabinet at 38 years old, he is also the first LBTQ+ cabinet secretary. The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor recently released his $1 trillion plan for improving the nation’s infrastructure.

  • Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas

Secretary Mayorkas is the first Latino and the first immigrant to oversee the Department of Homeland Security. Under the Obama administration, he was deputy secretary of homeland security, where he oversaw the implementation of the DACA program, which protects young undocumented immigrants from being deported.

  • Denis McDonough – Secretary of Veterans Affairs

During former President Obama’s second term, McDonough served as chief of staff. He also served as deputy national security adviser. He is the second non-veteran to have served in the position.

Yet-To-Be Confirmed Nominees, as of February 10:

  • Merrick Garland – Attorney General

Merrick Garland has served as a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit since 1997, when he was nominated by Bill Clinton. He was nominated to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, however Senate Republicans prevented this from happening, and the seat was instead filled by Justice Neil Gorsuch. During his time as leader of the Justice Department, he will likely seek to depoliticize the office.

  • Deb Haaland – Secretary of the Interior

The congresswoman from New Mexico will make history as the first Native American cabinet secretary if confirmed. She will likely champion climate-related issues, as well as try to right wrongs done formerly by the department towards Indigenous peoples.

  • Tom Vilsack – Secretary of Agriculture

Tom Vilsack originally served in this position during the Obama administration, a position he held for all eight years of the administration’s tenure. During this time, he worked with former First Lady Michelle Obama to found the ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative and chaired the first-ever White House Rural Council. In 1998, he was elected governor of Iowa—the first Democrat to do so in over 30 years.

  • Gina Raimondo – Secretary of Commerce

Before she was nominated to represent American businesses as Secretary of Commerce, Gin

a Raimondo served as governor of Rhode Island, a position she has held since 2015. She also previously co-founded a venture capitalist firm called Point Judith Capital.

  • Marty Walsh – Secretary of Labor

Since 2014, Walsh has served as the mayor of Boston, where he focused on strengthening Boston’s schools and attempted to combat income inequality. He also led the Boston Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents electrician and ironworker unions.

  • Xavier Becerra – Secretary of Health and Human Services

Before his nomination, Becerra served as attorney general of California. During his time in this position, he championed efforts to defend the Affordable Care

Act in court, and will likely continue to hold his stance on healthcare throughout his time in the position.

  • Marcia Fudge – Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Marcia Fudge is a congresswoman from Ohio’s 11th district, and the former mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio. She also used to chair the Congressional Black Caucus.

  • Jennifer Granholm – Secretary of Energy

Jennifer Granholm previously served two terms as governor of Michigan, and before that, attorney general of Michigan. Because of her experience with the Michigan auto industry, she is expected to help President Biden with his plan to move the country toward electric vehicles.

  • Miguel Cardona – Secretary of Education

Cardona is the commissioner of education in the state of Connecticut, where his parents immigrated from Puerto Rico. He rose the ranks of the Connecticut public school system, starting as a fourth-grade teacher at Israel Putnam Elementary School. He has been vocal in his support of reopening schools.

— Blake Ciresa

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