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.”

Students use College Credit Plus to get a head start on high school

Lincoln Edsall | Staff Writer

As the Mason school district grows, harder work and more challenging class options are available to middle schoolers. This empowers students to expand their knowledge and creativity, but it may also cause them harm.

College Credit Plus is a program that enables students in high school, and now in middle school, to take college classes. This and similar programs that allow kids to take harder classes may add pressure to students at a young age and keep them from doing other things they enjoy.

Seventh grader Colin Van Neste said that lots of kids are putting school before being kids after seeing their parents’ accomplishments and degrees.

“What pressures (students to take harder classes) is their parents working at such big companies like P&G,” Van Neste said. “With their scientific and with their academic degrees, it’s really pressuring kids. Their parents are pressuring them to get better grades and take harder classes.”

High School freshmen Leon Chang partook in College Credit Plus as a middle schooler and agreed with Van Neste about feeling pressure from others.

“Of course I feel that pressure,” Chang said. “The herd mentality of Mason is a huge pressure. If you don’t take a certain path, it’s very easy to feel left out and behind.”

Chang also said that College Credit Plus can be worth it, but you must make sure it is class that is really worth taking in the long run.

“If you really want to take it, make sure it’s worth your time,” Chang said. “I took Chemistry because it is a prerequisite to AP Chemistry, a class I really want to take.”

Even if it is worth taking, the pressure is still there. Seventh grade language arts and social studies teacher Melissa Schubert said that at the middle school a lot of pressure is already on the students and adding college classes on top of that is unnecessary at this age.

“I’m not fond of (college credit plus),” Schubert said. “I feel that we’re already putting too much pressure on middle school kids, and I think a lot of kids aren’t ready for that pressure, aren’t ready for that level of academics. Their growing up too fast.”

Guidance counselor Lindsey Sweat said that is important for kids to have a balance between their school lives and their social lives.

“I think it’s important to have a balance because you should challenge yourself academically, I think that’s really important,” Sweat said. “But I think it’s also important for kids to develop themselves socially through extra curricular and spending time with family. I think it’s really important for kids to find a balance, but that can be really tough for them.”

Students shy away from drinking cloudy water

Desiree Downing | Staff Writer

Abby Walton | Staff Writer

Unclean pipes, dirty spouts, negative judgments.

Mason Middle School students are starting to believe that the water is unclean and unsanitary due to the white or cloudy color found in the water fountains.

Less and less students are drinking from water fountains, and one of the causes is the white, cloudy water. Seventh grader Nicholas Hawk believes the water has no point being there if no one will drink it.

“I feel like it’s unsanitary,” Hawk said. “Also I feel like nobody really wants to drink the water so it’s kind of a waste. It’s not bad to have, but it’s a waste to have water that nobody’s going to drink.”

Some students believe that the pipes are the problem. Eighth grader Tori Moore said that the cloudy water is due to the uncleanliness of the piping.

“I just think they need to clean out the pipes that leads the water to your mouth because there could be types of bacteria or funguses growing in the pipes leading people to possible illnesses,” Moore said. “I think that they clean them, but I don’t think that they use proper cleaning materials because the rust and mold around them (the water fountains) should not be there if they did.”

 Many people think that the white water residue is due to the water having extra minerals built up in the spout or in the pipes. Seventh grade math teacher Mika Snider said  that the white water is strange.

 “I find it (the white water) interesting and weird and I don’t drink out of the water fountain,” Sinder said. “There are probably just some minerals that are built up in it I’d imagine, though I’m not sure.”

 White water can occur when lots of tiny air bubbles make the water white. However, some students think the white water cannot be due to” too much air in the pipes”. Seventh grader Kylie Corcoran said that she thinks the water cannot be due to air bubbles and that the water fountains are not fully clean.

  “I don’t think that water can have air in the water because that makes no sense,” Corcoran said. “The lakes and oceans have air in them, but they aren’t white. I also think the janitors clean the water fountains just not the spout because it is a hard place to reach.”

  In order to ensure safe drinking water, Mason Middle School anually tests the water, and tests always come back safe for consumption. Head custodian Paul Cunningham said the water isn’t actually cloudy but that some minerals do end up in the pipes.

  “A lot of times there is an actuator in there and it’s really not cloudy water,” Cunningham said. “It’s all tiny little air bubbles. (The water is) very good quality, sometimes the city flushes the fire hydrants which causes the pipes to rattle around and then we get some sediment in there, but it goes away within a day.”