School
Students of Color Survival Guide for Private School
AFH ART//JASON LOPES
Private school can be hard. Keeping your social life afloat while maintaining your grades gets increasingly difficult as you make your way through high school. The rigor of classes, the commute to school and the extracurriculars all add to the challenge. Being one of the few students of color in a primarily white school can prove to have it’s own challenges. High school can be tough, but with these four tips in mind you can navigate the halls with confidence!

#1: Be prepared to feel out of place, but don’t worry -- it doesn’t last long. 
Feeling out of place is never fun, especially when you look around and notice most people are wearing clothes and talking about concepts you don’t understand. Giana De La Cruz, a Boston resident and private school student at Noble and Greenough in Dedham, said, “The only challenge [I faced] as a student of color was learning how to accept myself, and realizing I wouldn’t fit in with some of the other white girls or kids. They didn't understand my culture and where I come from. But later on thankfully, I found white, Asian, and black friends who did understand and still loved me.” Finding friends who look like you or have similar interests as you always helps in easing the burden of going to a school where the majority of people look different than you. Olivia Martin, a freshman at Noble and Greenough said, “A problem I face[d] is relating to people. The only other black girl in my grade stopped being friends with me, so it's weird trying to find someone to relate to. But Sister 2 Sister helped.”

#2: Be friends with as many students of color and try your best to attend the various affinity groups your school offers  
Making friends and forming connections can be difficult; the majority of the white kids who go to private school all flock from the same towns, which leads to them already having connections. Don’t be alarmed! Affinity groups, common at private schools, are a safe space for people of color to go to discuss their shared experiences in an environment where they’re the minority. Affinity groups unite people of color and help them form bonds to strengthen their place in the community. 

#3: Don’t change yourself, the people who want you will come. Spending four years with people you can be yourself with is better than spending four years lying to yourself and others. 
Trying to change your appearance and the way you act is common for new students of color. Dr. Jennifer Hamilton, a school psychologist at Noble and Greenough, said many students struggle with assimilating to their school culture, especially when it is different than a previous school, home or neighborhood. It is natural to want to relate to other students by dressing and acting like them. “It's a perception that everyone is the same,” said Dr. Hamilton. “The impostor syndrome... feeling like everyone else fits in but you don’t, is common. It’s seen in schools and workplaces across the world.” However, it isn’t worth sacrificing your own identity in order to fit the ‘mold’ of your school. Even though ‘everyone’ may be wearing the same thing, that doesn’t mean you need to dress the same way.  

#4: Find someone you can talk to! It’s always important to have a trusted adult or figure you can confide in through the tumultuous times ahead. 
In the wise words of Dr. Hamilton, “Never worry alone!” High school is difficult for everyone. On top of your circle of friends, you should have an adult to rely on and confide in. Even though it might not always seem like adults give good advice, they’ve gone through high school so they might know what they’re talking about. 



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AFH ART//ALICIA PHAM
Every teenager can relate to this experience: carrying a two pound book bag home, settling in, pulling out your English, math and science homework and simply staring at the wall because you know it’s going to take you two or three hours to complete it all. You sharpen a pencil but gaze at the floor. You grab a calculator and wonder why you were assigned so much homework. Where did the idea of homework even come from?
Although there is no definitive proof, many credit Roberto Nevilis as the creator of homework. As a teacher in Venice, Italy back in 1095, Nevilis used homework as a form of punishment to his students.
Fast forward hundreds of years. Many questions about the effectiveness of homework started to rise. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the state of California was on the forefront of the anti-homework movement. In 1901, the California legislature banned homework for students under the age of 15 and ordered high schools to limit the amount for older students. This law was later repealed in 1917. 
What has affected the American ideology of homework from 1901 to present day?
Sputnik. 
According to NASA, Sputnik was the first ever artificial satellite sent into space in 1957 by the Soviet Union. How does this connect to homework for American students? 
Competition. 
In 2007, The Harvard Gazette reported that the launch of Sputnik triggered reforms in science and engineering education in America so that the country could stay technologically competitive with Russia. Part of these reforms were more homework.  
Now, the big question everyone has been asking for years: is homework hurting or benefiting students? There are currently studies that prove both theories. Some researchers argue that the heavy load of homework is getting in the way of kids ability to go outside and play. Children who aren’t active throughout the day are at a higher risk of obesity. On the other hand, others argue that homework is helpful for students as a way to reinforce what they learned in school or allow them to practice. 
Students in other countries across the globe get little to no homework at all. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that American 15-year-olds spend an average of six hours a week on homework in 2012.
Gavin Smith, a Psychology and Biology teacher at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science offers his view on homework. “...If you ask the most successful people what got them to where they are, many of them will say it was the countless hours they put in when nobody else was watching. That's what homework is to me - it's the piece that can take you from a good student who can catch most of what a teacher says, to a great student who understands the essence of hard work,” said Smith. 
Nallely Demera, a student at New Mission High School, takes five classes and receives homework from each. She says it takes “forever” for her to finish her homework and she doesn’t see how it helps her in class.  
All this information and we still ask: what’s the point of homework? Is it Nevilis idea a form of punishment or does it have the same idea that it feared students were falling behind and wanted to make sure they got extra work. It could just be that school just want to have something students can do. What do you think? Is homework necessary?


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AFH ART//DENNIS FARGUARSON
During the 1970’s, hip-hop music began underground in local areas. Today, music is more accessible because of the evolution of technology. 
The streaming platform SoundCloud plays a big role in today’s society because it makes it easier to share your music with anyone in the world. Some of our favorite rappers, like Lil Uzi Vert, Chance the Rapper, Post Malone, Bryson Tiller, and Lil Yachty, all started off streaming their music. Tyrese Depina, a 17-year-old senior at City on a Hill Dudley Square, states, “SoundCloud is the reason everyone blows up now. Back then, you had to go spit a hot 16 bars in front of a rapper before his concert.”
In the past, it was difficult for artists to get their name out there because it was harder to spread the word quickly. The majority of people started selling CDs and cassette tapes in public to gain a reputation. Legends like Jay-Z, 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Lil Wayne, and 50 Cent gave away their CDs at the start of their careers, for the public to either enjoy or end up throwing in the trash. 
Artists had to hustle their CDs in the streets and still got hate for pressuring people to purchase their music. These artists took time out their lives to record a project and spread the word, only to be dismissed by the public. 
Today, a new music genre teenagers are listening to is ignorant rap.” This genre is all about how catchy a song is and how “lit” you can be when the song plays, without thought to how many times the hooks are repeated.
Dopeman, a local SoundCloud artist, states, “Mainstream businesses are seeking the new wave of hip-hop mostly through social media. They tend to gravitate all of their time to try to find the new things kids like us are listening to. But once they get a hold of it, they have the power to shut it down, which is the only part I hate.”
Mainstream businesses try to get new artists they find online to sign, but this leads to the artist not hustling as hard as they were before. The label gains control of what the artist should do and when. This takes away the artists’ hustle to grow on their own, which is how the whole hustle movement in hip-hop began.
Some argue mainstream hip-hop is dead because the lyrics have lost meaning. A perfect example is artists trending on SoundCloud charts like Lil Pump, XXXTenatcion and Famous Dex. These artists started the new wave into hip-hop culture that is becoming more popular. Their excessive style of rap keeps teens intrigued because of how catchy their songs are.
Not only are the lyrics catchy, but productions that artists use go amazing with their flows. In the past, it was difficult for artists to find producers that had similar tastes as them. Now with the power of the internet, it’s easier to hustle with producers and other artists from all over the world.
Juan Gonzalez, a 17-year-old senior at Boston Community Leadership Academy, states, “Before, music was more of the same beat with a little extra sound. Now, it’s a big difference with more beats, adlibs and more. This taste in music is what is now bringing many artists all over the world together.”


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A&E
What memes mean to mainstream media
AFH PHOTO//GILFORD MURPHY
Memes have a profound, widespread impact on modern society. Despite being so popular, there appear to be two distinct factions of people who participate in meme culture.  “Normies” would simply define memes as a modern concept of jokes or phrases pasted over images. Normies are people who are accustomed to mainstream culture and don’t understand the majority of meme culture. Most normies go on more traveled sites such as Facebook or an app called iFunny. However, everyone who really understands memes knows that memes can be about anything and everything, such as the “Boneless Pizza” meme. Most importantly, sometimes a meme gets so big that it starts a meme war.  
The meme war of this year started in the summer when President Trump posted a controversial video regarding the credibility and truthfulness of the mainstream media. It depicts Trump wrestling a pseudo-CNN representative in WWE Wrestlemania with the CNN logo plastered onto the opponent’s face, punching him on the ground several times. This garnered an astonishing amount of popularity on Trump’s Twitter page, where he gained more than 564,000 likes and 339,000 retweets from the one tweet alone. 
CNN eventually caught wind of the meme and  didn’t think it was funny at all. They tracked down the creator of the edited video. CNN then tweeted that the meme maker had apologized, and that they reserved the right to reveal his identity if anything changed, a move many saw as a blackmail threat.
Some fellow content creators perceived CNN’s actions against the meme creator as a threat to all of the meme community and those who support Trump, sparking major controversy. Now, several meme makers have dedicated themselves to making anti- CNN memes (as one might expect).

“It’s really messed up that such a large corporation would attack and antagonize people that do what I do,” said Gustav Alexeev, 16, of Montreal, Canada.
Even still, he claims it doesn’t stop him from creating memes. “I'm still gonna make memes because they make me laugh, and they look cool.” 
When I asked him what he thought about the significant amount of Trump followers that are fighting against CNN, he said, “They’re just a bunch of neckbeards. They’re the scourge of the internet basically.”
Soon after the war was declared on CNN, an innumerable amount of memes that portrayed CNN in a negative light began to flood the Internet starting with sites such as Reddit and 4chan. The storm clouds are gathering.


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School
How Boston Catholic schools fail their black students
AFH ART//TABRINA ST. CYERE
For many teens, getting up in the morning for school—sometimes even before the sun comes up—is a hard task. That task is even harder when you attend a school where most of the students do not look like you or share your cultural identity or live in the same neighborhood as you.
 No one should have to feel isolated just because your parents want to send you to the best school they can afford. Going to a predominantly white school is not easy. You can’t relate to anything except the basic things every teen knows, such as social media or current rap songs on the radio. 
Throughout the years, I have found it strange that throughout the whole month of February, nobody—including the students and administrators—cares to recognize black history in any way. I know that for most students at my school, that may not be a big deal, but it would  benefit them as well because black history is American history. The majority are being deprived from this historical standpoint. 
Another hard task about going to a predominantly white school is finding  balance between the polar opposite worlds of home and school. When I go to school, I feel like I am in a totally different world because coming from Boston, the things that are important to me aren’t the same as the things important to my classmates. People are constantly getting shot in the city and the students in the suburbs and private schools couldn’t care less, but when someone dies in their community the world is supposed to stop.  It is definitely a cultural shock to go to school in this environment.
Luckily, I have the most loving and supportive parents who get me through the good and bad times. When I get down, I get back up because what is the point of listening to people say stereotypical things that you know aren’t true? Yes, I know that is easier said than done. Over time, you come to learn that high school doesn't last forever and the storm will pass.
Two Boston teens who go to predominantly white schools have a similar experience to mine. Unfortunately, their experiences were so terrible they would like to remain unnamed. My sources agreed on one thing: they are treated unfairly every day, and nobody cares to even ask if they are okay. People constantly say disgusting phrases to them, such as, “Why do you exist?” “Go back to Africa,” and “Go back to the jungle, you monkey.” On top of that, these two teens and I have all experienced the everyday use of the n-word. While only some students actually use the term as a direct insult, many people use the word in casual conversation, most likely due to its heavy presence in rap music. These students don’t understand that the term is still offensive even when it isn’t intended as a racial slur. It’s truly awful that all we want is to get a decent education without being afraid of what people are going to say. 
Kyler Sumter, a current Boston University student who wrote an article for mtv.com about her experience as a person of color in a predominately white institution, says her experience in college with racial slurs was “uncomfortable.” One experience stood out to her in particular, when a “sexist, racist, homophobic guy” said some awful comments. When the people in one of her clubs were playing an icebreaker game where they had to say their least favorite crayon colors, he apparently said “N-word Black.”
In every school, there is the good, the bad and the ugly, but it is your personal experience that makes your high school experience what it is. Ask other kids of color about their experiences, and depending on the predominantly white school they attend, it could be better or worse. That is why perspective matters. From my perspective, no situation is perfect, but being more culturally aware would be a great place to start. It wouldn’t take much. Maybe if we had cultural clubs, acknowledged African-American history month, and talked about the histories of minorities’ cultures in class, our schools would be a more comfortable environment for everyone. 


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