Students debate merits of public and private high schools

Riley Johansen | Staff Writer

Students are educating themselves when it comes to their education.

As the end of the school year approaches and Mason Middle School’s eighth graders are deciding where those defining years will take place, some are choosing to migrate from Mason’s public school system to private schools.  

Eighth grade counselor Lindsey Sweat said that students often approach her with questions  about selecting the right educational path for high school.

“I hear tons about ‘is this the right path for me?’ and ‘should I take honors?’ I always tell the students, if you think it’s too much, it’s probably too much,” Sweat said. “I get stuff about the amount of honors and electives, some kids about deciding to go to private school or go to Mason, and even about extracurricular activities.”

Deciding where to go to school affects not just the student, but the family as well. Eighth grader Faye Cuasay will be attending Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (CHCA), a Christian private school, next year.

Studies show 79 percent of private high school students attend a school with a religiously based curriculum, and Cuasay said this factored into her parents’ decision about her education.

“My parents wanted me to go to a private school because they are very religious,” Cuasay said. “When they lived in the Philippines, they grew up in a very religious church and family, and they want the same type of background for me.”

Eighth grader Trevor Tiemeyer is attending Saint Xavier, a Jesuit school, starting freshman year. Tiemeyer said his brother impacted his decision on where and how he will spend his high school years.

“My brother is an alumni from (Saint Xavier) and he graduated last year, which is a reason I’d wanted to attend because he thought it was very beneficial,” Tiemeyer said. “But when my brother went to Saint X he cut off all relationships with his friends so he didn’t have any friends outside of Xavier and hockey. I have been trying to keep those relationships with my friends so I can still have some of my old friends before entering a new school year.”

While some decide to leave for private school, other students choose to stay on the public school path. Eighth grade sisters Katrina and Ainsley Scheidler are among the ones deciding to stay. Katrina Scheidler said that they feel Mason is the better choice for them, offering the same, if not better, opportunities.

“Education wise, I don’t really see much of a difference,” Katrina said. “I feel there is a better opportunity for education here, and this is where all my friends are. I feel like there are the same, or more opportunities at Mason than there is at a private school so why move?”

Ainsley Scheidler said she enjoys the size of Mason because of its ability to offer more ways to get involved in the school and create memories.

“If I want to have a choice to go to private school or Mason,  I will still choose Mason because of all the clubs that you can join and be a part of something so big and beyond you,” Ainsley said. “For example, here we have Cupcake Club, and there may only be one person at a private school wanting to do it versus here there is what, two thousand kids in seventh and eighth grade? So, here probably more people will be willing to do it, and so there’s more opportunity for people to be able to have that club and be a part of something related to their school.”

Sweat said exploring your options, learning more about the decision, and being comfortable with the choice is an important key to making the best choice that will define you in the most positive way.

“I think it is (important) to explore your options,” Sweat said. “Go shadow, if you can’t decide at first, go twice, go three times, talk to kids who were there. It’s an important decision, but worse comes to worse, you can always come back, you can always go to another school if it’s not working out. I think it’s really just about exploring your options. It’s whatever is the best fit for that child. I don’t think there is a clear cut say that a private or public school is better, and I think it really just depends on the child.”

Vibrant hair dye becoming new trend among middle schoolers

Nora Binkis | Staff Writer

Teenagers are dyeing to fit in.

Middle schoolers are now trying to express themselves through their hairstyles and color. Dyed hair could significantly impact a person’s physical appearance, but is unique to a person and can express who they are.

Orchestra teacher Kristen Thiel said deciding to dye hair takes time and consideration.

“It does require quite a bit of upkeep as you can see your roots grow out and then it looks bad,” Thiel said. “Make sure it’s something that you really really want to do.  But it’s awesome once you have it– it’s really fun.”

Middle school students are dyeing their hair to embrace their fun side in a fashionable way. For seventh grader Isabel Frischhertz, a first time hair dyer, it was a hard decision to color her hair because of the daily upkeep, but she loved the pink-color it gave to her hair.  

“You have to know what you’re getting into, it takes a while and it’s harder to maintain than normal hair,” Frischhertz said. “If you have a certain hairstyle that you do every day like a braid or straight hair, it’s much easier having it colored because when you wake up you can brush it out and people will be like, ‘oh your hair is so cool because it’s dyed.”

Laura Vaughn, a cosmetology instructor at Aveda Fredric’s Institute, said as long as your scalp and hair are healthy, it’s okay to dye your hair, even at a young age.

“I was ten (when I first dyed my hair), so I think it just depends on when you can take care of your hair,” Vaughn said. “Really you can get it colored at any time. It depends on the scalp. You need to make sure the scalp is healthy, but if the hair’s healthy, typically people go about 3-4 weeks between colorings, so I think that’s okay.”

A new trend is dying hair more vibrant/candy colors rather than natural colors. Celebrities such as Katy Perry and Kylie Jenner have dyed their hair vibrant colors from mint green to cotton candy pink, which is influencing teens’ color choices. According to Vaughn, vibrant colors don’t damage your hair more than natural colors.

“(The color) doesn’t really matter; it just depends on how healthy you keep your hair,” Vaughn said. “So if you do highlights but you keep your hair healthy and you use protein treatments and everything like that, then it’s just as healthy as all over color.”

The major cause of hair breakage/damage is through chemical hair treatments such as dyeing and straightening, according to kidshealth.org.  Eighth grader Molly Shields said hair dying can be damaging, but when dyed, it adds to your look.  

“I (have dyed my hair) purple, yellow, orange, red, blue, dark blue, and turquoise,” Shields said. “I think (hair dyeing is) just something different or something new just to add on.”

Thiel said that with hair dyeing, people can express themselves with their hair and still be in fashion.

“I think it’s another way of expressing your uniqueness,”  Thiel said.  “Fashion has been going through phases–it always has.  And the way you dress expresses your personality a lot too, but fashion is also very either you’re in or you’re not. I feel like dyeing your hair is just a different way of saying okay, so I’m kind of fitting in, but I’m also doing my own thing as well.”

Finstagrams bring honesty to students’ social media

Mariah Norman | Staff Writer

An Instagram account made to be fake may be the realest you’ll ever find.

In 2010, Kevin Systrom, the creator of Instagram, created a massively diverse platform of over 600 million accounts created for different reasons – including spam accounts. Spams or fake Instagrams (finstagrams) are created to post genuine personal content for close friends to enjoy, typically at a higher frequency than a regular account.

Seventh grader Jose Rodriguez said he began being interested in spam accounts once he started noticing other students creating them.

“I’ve followed spam accounts, but I don’t have one,” Rodriguez said. “My friends started making them and it kind of caught on.”

Eighth grader Ashley Hurley said that though they can be a fun way to express yourself, spam accounts often run the risk of irritating followers.

“(It’s) fun for people to share their life more often than they usually post,” Hurley said. “If they post too often or things that no one really cares about (then I unfollow). Like someone posted their ‘food of the day’ and I (unfollowed because) I don’t care what (people are) bringing to lunch.”

 Hurley said that although she enjoys viewing spam accounts, she wouldn’t make one of her own.

“I just don’t think I’d want people to know what I’m doing every second of the day,” Hurley said.

Eighth grader Lauren Statzer said that though some people use their spam accounts to escape drama, it follows wherever they go.

“There’s been a lot of drama,” Statzer said. “If you post something and your friend thinks it’s about them, they’ll text you when it’s not really about them. But then they have hard feelings towards you.”

Statzer said that no matter where you post on social media, there will always be judgement.

“Social media has standards,” Statzer said.

“On your regular account you can’t post (all the time), so a spam account is to express yourself a little bit more. But still, a lot of people think your posts (on the spam) are weird. Maybe there really isn’t a safe place on social media.”

Nostalgia from past trends connects teachers and students

Betsy Areddy | Staff Writer

Caroline Bishop | Staff Writer

This time, we’re going back to the past instead of “Back to the Future.”

Crazes from the 1990’s are coming back to Mason Middle School and making a booming statement in classrooms. Students are bringing these trends back in different ways. Converse shoes have become a fashion statement, and fidget toys are reminiscent of Rubik’s Cubes. The trend resurfaces when students see it around their school again.

Seventh grade language arts teacher Sierra Paine said she witnessed the return of Converse shoes.

“(Converse) started off when my mom was  growing up and they came back when I was in high school,” Paine said. “I was in high school (during the) 2000s and now they’re back again.”

 Seventh grade math teacher Chad Layton said he remembers trends from when he was in middle school.

“Going to middle school dances, we always used to get together and get dressed,” Layton said. “We would put on our Zubaz pants and tight roll them and put on our Eastlands before we (left).”

Seventh grade science teacher Elizabeth Mills said seeing returning fads makes her have memories of when the trend was popular. “

 “It just brings up memories that I’ve had when I participated in that fad,” Mills said. “If I see certain games or the clothing or the types of music that were popular a long time ago, it makes me nostalgic and think back to those memories and it makes me happy.”

 Seventh grader Valerie Allen said she has seen hairstyles from the 1980s in the halls of MMS.

“I see girls wearing super high ponytails every day and I know that they were popular in the 80s,”    Allen said. ”I started to see high ponytails come back around the middle of sixth grade. There are definitely many similarities to 80’s ponytails because they are very high up on your head and you normally poof out your hair around your ponytail which is the same as in the 80’s. The differences I think are that people nowadays don’t wear them to the side as much as they do right on top.”

Eighth grader Vehda Rastogi said that she would pick Converse over regular sneakers any day due to their popularity.

  “I have Converse and I get shoes based on the brand,” Rastogi said. “If there was a normal pair of sneakers v.s. Converse, I would get Converse. Probably (just) because they’re converse.”

  Students have gotten to see forgotten fads of past decades through these returning trends, and have a chance to see the value of them.

  “It’s like a piece of history that’s coming back and being remembered and appreciated once again,” Layton said.

Makeup used as tool for self expression and creativity

Abby Fulton | Staff Writer

Hannah Lohmueller | Staff Writer

Powder isn’t the only thing being pressed into a mold.

Students at MMS have been feeling the pressure of society’s expectations, resulting in a stronger push to wear makeup. In a 2012 study conducted by the Renfrew Center Foundation, 38 percent of girls start wearing makeup between the ages of eight and 13. These girls feel the need to alter their features for the purpose of better fitting American beauty standards.

Eighth grader Isabella Johns said that she wears makeup because it makes her feel better about her appearance.

“It makes me feel more confident in the way I look,” Johns said. “It’s mostly my choice – it’s just something I like doing and I want to do. If I wanted to, I wouldn’t wear makeup.”

Health teacher Kimberly Schaffer said that she was confident in her appearance when she was in middle school.

“I was pretty comfortable in my own skin,” Shaffer said. “I didn’t feel the need to cover my face or hide from certain aspects of who I was. I was pretty comfortable in saying, ‘This is me, take it or leave it.’ ”

Seventh grader Brady Billhorn said that girls can sometimes wear too much makeup, but it doesn’t affect him.

“I feel like they wear too much makeup sometimes,” Billhorn said. “It doesn’t really

bother me very much, they can if they want to.”

Some girls feel pressured to wear makeup, yet guys who want to wear makeup feel pressured not to. Even though this might be the case, it’s becoming more common to see guys wearing makeup.

Eighth grader Mayank Naik said that he only feels self-conscious wearing makeup around people that aren’t his friends.

“I feel judged by guys mostly because it’s not a normal thing,” Naik said. “I usually get called out for something if they know, so I usually don’t tell people about it.”

Shaffer said that it’s fine for both boys and girls to wear makeup as long as they are doing it for the right reasons.

“If they have skin problems or they’re trying to cover some kind of blemishes, people can become very self-conscious,” Shaffer said. “If people do it to make themselves feel better, that’s one aspect of it. If they’re doing it to impress other people or trying to keep up, I think that’s a different reason.”

Johns said that she likes seeing more guys doing makeup as an outlet for their creativity.

“I’ve been seeing more (guys wearing makeup) recently – – I think it’s cool that more people are discovering makeup as an art form,” Johns said. “I love to see people be creative with it and make new looks. I think that it’s cool that more people are discovering it.”

Naik said that other boys who are self-conscious or have an interest shouldn’t be afraid to wear makeup.

“From my experience I’ve been made fun of,” Naik said. “But if you’re a guy, it’s normal to wear makeup and you shouldn’t feel scared to wear makeup in public.”

Johns said that it’s important to understand that wearing makeup is your decision, not others.

“I don’t think it’s a decision of when you should start wearing makeup,” Johns said. “It’s mostly when you want to start wearing makeup and when you start to find interest in makeup.”

Middle School teachers want to #make language arts great again

Shreya Vemula | Staff Writer

Donald Trump isn’t the only one who can make things great again.

#MakeLanguageArtsGreatAgain– it’s a hashtag meant to connect with students and invigorate interest in language arts with a humorous front. Started in November, seventh grade Language Arts teacher Joseph Carraher’s #MLAGA has given him a new way to connect with his students about the progress of Language Arts at the Mason Middle School.

Carraher said that it was the absence of endeavors and underwhelming scores for the Research Assessment that brought forth #MLAGA. He said he was frustrated with the lack of effort and hopes that #MLAGA will motivate students to turn in work of a higher quality.

“What was turned in I deemed to be less than adequate work,” Carraher said. “I had a 20 minute to 30 minute rant on what I believed needed to be done differently for you to live up to your potential in terms of Language Arts.”

Seventh grader Colin Campbell supports #MLAGA and said it became necessary due to the lack of effort on the students’ part, and that it will help students take more a genuine interest in Language Arts.

“It’s good that he’s promoting something to make Language Arts great again,” Campbell said. “Some kids don’t really like it and it makes kids want to do Language Arts.”

Carraher has started using news articles from CommonLit, Newsela, and the New York Times Upfront magazine to provide students with rigorous text and comprehension questions. He also added weekly editing worksheets to expand grammar and cognition skills. Seventh grade Language Arts teacher Eric Schatzle said that the weekly editing and readings have improved students’ grammar and ability to understand complex texts.

“He has seen some great things happen with that so I have started that process as well,” Schatzle said.

Carraher said that he tells students to pretend that their work will be seen by the entire world in order to motivate them to work hard.

“If you want to be viewed as sort of sloppy and don’t really put forth that much effort, then that’s how you’ll be perceived if you give me something like that,” Carraher said. “But if you want to be perceived as diligent, hardworking, and intrusively motivated, then you’re going to give me something worthy of that.”