By: Olivia Dickens

It is known that there has been an increase of reported depression and anxiety symptoms among Americans during the pandemic . Experts say that social distancing and self isolation has been a huge challenge for people suffering with mental heath issues . The fear of losing a job and not being able to keep themselves and family safe has been the number one stress factor among Americans. Now the question is how do we manage our mental state during this stressful period ? There are many ways to cope with stress: meditating and having a well-balanced diet. Daily exercises keep your body in shape and is also known as a stress reliever. However there is no need to do a lot of vigorous exercises. A simple stretching routine or yoga shows the same result . Getting enough sleep is another thing plays a huge part of your mental wellness. Exercising improves your sleeping habits. Additionally, doing activities you enjoy is very significant during this stressful time .For example painting, writing , cooking and dancing are the many ways you can express yourself and relive stress .Most importantly check in with loved ones . A simple phone call or email to your loved ones can make anyone feel happy and not alone . To learn more information about mental heath awareness click this link:

By: Sanjna Ayyar

Father's Day was just this week and as we take some time to appreciate all the great father figures in our lives, let's also remind ourselves that George Floyd was a father. Rayshard Brooks was a father. Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Delrawn Smalls, Sean Bell,Eric Garner, Bobby Gross, Terence Crutcher, Sam Dubose, Oscar Grant, and Donald Ivy were all fathers too. They were all murdered due to the police brutality that is still happening in 2020. Their daughters and sons were robbed of their fathers because of a system where the people who are supposed to protect us are able to get away with their unjust cruelty to other people for the color of their skin. This needs to stop ! I know that the protest atmosphere is quite dangerous with how everything is going, but there are still so many ways we can show our support from home . For example, sign petitions! These take less than 30 seconds. Demand action from your local representatives. Donate! If you are unable to, there are videos you can play that will generate ad revenue and all the proceeds will go to helping the BLM movement. Educate yourselves and those around you. Remember, the root of hatred is ignorance. Here are some links to petitions, donations, and more.

Sources for petitions and donations : matter%20%20

By: Eimaan Shahid

Before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, life was normal. Every day, thousands of airplanes were flying to all 195 countries, train stations were bustling at 8 am rush hour, school hallways were filled, and restaurants were open and ready to serve. Us humans were practically unstoppable... until a microscopic infectious cluster of cells changed the entire face of our day to day lives. Within the past few months, the coronavirus has changed our lives drastically and has developed a life now considered to be the new normal across the board. Fast food, dining in, handshakes, public transit, concerts, and all large gatherings are now just the luxuries of our past as 2020 seems to be bringing nothing but funky smelling hand sanitizers and face masks. Words like self-isolation, quarantine, socially distancing are now a part of our everyday vocabulary. With all the worldwide travel and work suddenly put to a halt, we have been forced to adapt to our new environments which for most of us, is our homes. “I need a 6-month vacation twice a year” used to be the dream, and now that it is slowly turning into a reality staying at home and doing nothing is harder than it seems.

With all corporations, workplaces, and air travel being shut down, this pandemic has opened up a lot of time for self-reflection. This has been the first moment in our lives where everything has come to a complete stop, and let’s be honest, this is probably the freest time we will ever have in our lives. Since COVID-19 has turned our whole world upside down, it is important to reflect on ourselves and take the positives out of this situation and implement them into the future. What have we done to better ourselves and others during this time? I know for myself, having to do school online really tested my patience, determination, and motivation . I gained new skills like self-discipline and learning the importance of a steady routine. This pandemic also opened up my eyes to the privilege to be living in complete comfort. A collapsing economy has many of our citizens on the brink of poverty, and it is our duty as citizens to use our resources to endlessly donate and support local businesses and those in need during these difficult times. So, even though the coronavirus has completely changed everyday life, I hope for many of us this has been accompanied by personal growth and realizations that have changed our lives for the better.

By: Raihana Akther

There are many ways of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping your body healthy and safe. The most effective way when going out is to wear a face mask that covers your face and mouth. This way it will easily help prevent germs from coming in or out of your mouth and nose. Social distancing and being quarantined is one of the most suggested options. Social distancing when outside (recommended 6 feet apart) is necessary so the virus cannot spread easily when there are other people present in a large gathering or store. Being quarantined is also highly recommended because if by any chance you are infected with the virus, staying home will prevent others from getting the virus . Washing your hands was not only endorsed now because of a pandemic, but has always been recommended to be healthy. Washing hands with soap for 20 seconds and using warm water assists with killing any germs or bacteria present on your hand. If you do not have soap or water near you, it is recommended to use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Do NOT touch any part of the face without clean hands, this is a big factor in how COVID-19 can spread. Also make sure to clean surfaces that are touched often in the house often with FDA approved cleansers/wipes.

To get more information click these links :

By: Zoe Cheng

With the coronavirus pandemic having overtaken the world, it can be easy to feel lost, isolated, and bored. As a student, being able to have so much more free time has became both a blessing and a curse and I’ve been trying to find many ways to entertain myself. Rather than spending all my time binge-watching shows on Netflix, I wanted to think of some ways I can spend my time being useful and try to make a difference in my community. Here are ten ways that I thought of:

  1. Donate to non-profits or other local organizations.

Yemen crisis:

Black Lives Matter:

American Red Cross:

  1. Follow your state’s restrictions and the CDC guidelines

Although it may not seem like much, socially distancing yourself from others can greatly minimize the spread of the coronavirus and keep those who are at high risk safe. Restrictions are in place to keep everyone protected and following them can make a huge difference in reducing the spread of the virus.

Prevent Getting Sick (CDC):

  1. Support local small businesses

People who own small businesses have been hit especially hard from this pandemic. Their livelihoods and means of providing for themselves have been severely affected and by supporting them, you can help them survive this pandemic.

  1. Make a card for healthcare workers/local hospitals or clinics

Those working on the frontlines deserve respect and appreciation for all that they are doing to fight this virus, and putting their own lives at risk every day. Show your support by writing digital letters thanking medical workers for their service.

Words of Thanks:

  1. Stay in touch with friends and family

With restricted measures in place that limit the amount of contact we can have with our loved ones, reaching out and showing that you care can make a huge difference in your relationships during this outbreak.

  1. Educate yourself and stay informed

There are many current events that are taking place in addition to the coronavirus pandemic. Situations such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the upcoming election, and updates on social distancing measures in your area are important to know and learn about.

  1. Help your elderly neighbors

Elderly neighbors might not have family or other friends visiting often in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Doing simple tasks like offering to pick up groceries for them or mowing their lawns can make their lives a lot easier.

  1. Learn how to make a mask

With masks being used so often, being able to make your own mask can come in handy. Being able to save the N-95 masks for healthcare professionals is just as important as well.

Mask DIY tutorial:

  1. Offer online tutoring services

One area that has been affected the most by the pandemic is the education system. With most teaching being moved online, it can be harder to reach teachers for clarification on various topics, and needing extra help can be a common occurrence. Offering your knowledge on a specific topic or skill can benefit many students and help them to have an easier time with distance learning.

  1. Find a pen pal

Building connections and forming new relationships can have a significant impact on the lives of those feeling isolated and alone during this time. Writing letters are a neat way to communicate while practicing social distancing . This can also form new relationships with different people.

By: Anita A.

During the long and agonizing quarantine and social distancing many aspiring youths have decided to create and start their non-profit organizations to not only enrich their personal experiences but to get other interested teens involved in a great cause and make a difference in today’s society. Even if it’s done from a distance and from all the different places around the world it can still make an impact on someone’s life. These teens have decided to turn their passions and expertise into their own organization, the variety of opportunities available is absolutely incredible. From mentoring young kids and being a bright spot in their dull life to learning more about the branches of engineering, pretty much anything you are looking to do to fill up your time and gain service hours is available at your ease. All the organizations below are on Instagram and have a website. There are examples of organizations in different fields who are currently looking for new members to join their team.

Mental Health and Social Justice

  • Mental healthio

Mission: Youth-led initiative to bring light to mental health diseases through research, stories, as well as experiences from professionals. Looking for passionate individuals to join their Team.

Instagram: @mentalhealthio


Medical and Health-Care

  • Medicine4youth-

Mission: A student-run organization dedicated to empowering youth in the ever-evolving field of medicine and empowering underprivileged children in Yemen and Uganda. They currently have a fundraiser in which they are collecting donations from everyone.

Instagram: @medicine4youth

Fundraiser Website:

  • Medical Joy

Mission: An organization to provide resources for those interested and educate them more about the medical field & science. They are currently looking for all year round general members. They also have a medical essay contest. Check out their website for more.

Instagram: @med.icalogy


  • Sci4teensofficial

Mission: Providing teens who are interested in science and STEM with workshops, contests, educational content and potential scholarships. They currently have a medical-related writing essay contest which comes with amazing awards for the top-performers as well as upcoming workshops.

Instagram: @sci4teensofficial

More info on science contest:

Engineering and STEM related

  • Engineeringgals

Mission: An amazing platform and community created by women in different areas of engineering to empower young women who also want to pursue a career in engineering.

Instagram: @engineeringgals

  • Sheengineered

Mission: Blog and resources to encourage and enable female engineers on the path to graduate school. An electrical engineering PHD student providing advice for anyone interested.

Instagram: @sheengineered


Business and Entrepreneurship

  • Asian Business Society

Mission: This is a student-led platform which is working on increasing and spreading the representation of asians in the business industry. They are looking for passionate individuals interested in representing asians to join their team.

Instagram: @asianbusinesssociety


  • Empowering Youth In Business

Mission: EYB strives in providing workshops, competitions, and tutoring for students to learn about business, entrepreneurship, and economics. They are currently looking for volunteers in different roles.

Instagram: @empoweryouthbusiness

Volunteer application form:

By: Sohpia Cassim

No one would’ve ever expected that their new go to accessory for their outfit would be a blue surgeon mask but Covid-19 presented many new expectations in our lives. The virus has been so unpredictable that now research shows that people who are infected can pass it on to others before they even show signs of symptoms. The amount of uncertainty brought officials to mandate wearing masks as the safest option as we continue to face this battle without a vaccine in sight. With summer approaching and making us want to leave our homes, the threat of the virus increasing is brought to attention and unfortunately already has in many states who opened early.There has been recent controversy regarding these masks from those who believe it violates their rights as American citizens and use the slogan “my body, my choice” to defend their argument. However, these masks allow us to protect ourselves and others by creating a barrier between our germs. While it may not be the ultimate solution, according to Healthline, “it will provide a bit of respiratory protection, which can reduce depositing of droplets of the virus on surfaces and to people near you”. At this point of time, it’s not solely about protecting ourselves but when we go on a walk or go to the supermarket, we are putting others in danger due to our presence. If we all wear masks, there is a reduction of our respiratory droplets circulating into the air .Research shows that the masks can protect us from droplets in the air when someone says a simple phrase, nearly 20 to 500 micrometers according to an article published by UCSF. Studies have proven the effectiveness of masks as they have helped contribute to the decrease of death rates in numerous countries when it was mandated. To get these rates to drop even lower, we need the assistance from everyone to do their part and put on a mask whenever they leave their house. While 100% would be ideal in a perfect world, if at least 80% of people wear masks the impact can be very significant. Now the next matter is what kind of mask is the best? While the intentions behind homemade ones are good, in actuality they don’t provide the protection needed. If you are making ones for your family and others, be sure to include a filter which is the most important of the mask as it filters the air. Despite the great efforts of the surgical masks or N95 masks, it will take more effort from us to elude any chances of infection. So as we continue to social distance and try to ease back into “normalcy” (although life will never be normal again), we can’t forget to continue to protect ourselves and others by wearing masks and most importantly social distancing.

Click these links to learn more :

By : Sansita Singh

For struggling families, it is important to find food and shelter. After a wave of unemployment, finding food was suddenly harder for low income families. Since then, many acts were created in response to this wave.

For children, the FNS has created programs such as Meal Time Waivers, Area Eligibility Waivers, and Nationwide Waivers of Local School Wellness Assessments. These programs allow an increase in children who are able to get a meal and allow them to get checked for wellness. The FNS is also providing emergency supplements to houses with lower incomes. They have also provided around $850 million to distribute to food banks and food pantries. Those in Indian reservations have also received up to $100 million (distributed across reservations) for food.

The most important response to corona virus has been SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). There have been increased flexibility on who can receive assistance and states are sure to use it to help those in low income households. Many more families are now eligible for such programs and it helps them provide food for their kids. There are many other benefits such as emergency allotment and pandemic EBT. These allow for meal benefits for adults and children alike.

The period in which people are certified to receive from SNAP has also been increased greatly to ensure everyone gets food. Pandemic EBT allows for kids missing school to still get meals that they used to get from school. Food now for these people can also be purchased online. The interview process to be eligible for SNAP has also changed, again making it easier for more people to meet the requirements.

Sources :

By : Kevin Lo

One of the saddest and horrifying crises is taking place in Yemen. According to Project Hope, the ongoing civil war of five years and the COVID-19 pandemic has caused devastating effects on Yemen. With about 20 million Yemenis having food insecurity and 19 million with no source of clean water, the humanitarian crisis is the worst it has ever been in the world. Unicef has confirmed that 80% of Yemen’s population is in need of humanitarian assistance; with more than 12 million children being affected. Furthermore, half of the healthcare establishments are not in functioning performance. Facilities that are functioning, lack basic essentials such as gloves and masks to perform daily procedures. Healthcare workers are also receiving little to no pay, which makes their work even harder to accomplish. These workers are dedicating their lives trying to save and restore the health of others but lack the resources to receive aid. The sudden closing of school and healthcare services have disabled education and medical services, preventing the country from industrializing and escaping poverty. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused 7.8 million children to be affected by these impacts and continues to contribute to Yemen’s horrible malnutrition. Although all hope may be lost, Unicef has donated over 18,000 COVID-19 tests and 66,000 NK95 masks and face shields. They are also training 30,000 workers and are giving away free hygiene kits to local communities. We as citizens have a responsibility to participate and contribute as much as we can. We must continue to uplift each other and provide what we can to others. Below are some ways that you can help out.

Ways to help :

By : Tj Kalikiri

A catastrophic explosion took place in the port city of Beirut, Lebanon on August 4, 2020. The disaster caused damage throughout the city and killed at least 200 people and injured around 5,000 others. The detonation was caused by the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that was unsafely being stored at a warehouse in the port. The blast destroyed the nearby dockside area and created a crater around 460ft wide which flooded with seawater, and the area where the initial explosion took place was completely demolished. This put as many as 300,000 people out of a home and the collective losses might reach $10-15bn. Hospitals were overwhelmed after the explosion and doctors are worried about the impact this will have on the number of coronavirus patients. Several hospitals were damaged due to the explosion, making it even more difficult to treat those who got hurt. This tragedy took the residents of Lebanon by surprise and we must work together to rebuild Lebanon. It is important that we do what we can to help the victims of this disaster: learn more about the situation, spread the word, and donate if you can.

For more information about the Beirut Explosion, click these links:

To donate ,click these links :

By: Bryanna Balsara

In this blog I’ll sum up the pros and cons one would need to know in order to make a decision .The state of what school can return to is constantly being redefined with many criticizing that if schools open there would be more children and can potentially put children in danger . This decision is hard, confusing, and anxiety-ridden by way of it being such a multifaceted issue. Put in the words of Emily Oster, a professor at Brown University, “were not used to kind of saying we're gonna make a decision and we're not gonna feel good about it and it doesn’t matter which one it is it’s the decision to either send kids or not send kids were gonna feel bad about either of those decisions…”

So obviously there are many positives of returning to school. To begin with, mental health for students who value and need social interaction will increase. Mental health will also increase for people who have less than ideal home lives, and those who view school as a safe place. Furthermore, children or young adults who are in abuse situations would have the opportunity to be identified and aided by teachers and students.

One group that would likely be impacted positively are younger children. It has been scientifically proven that younger students learn much better in in-person learning and that the outcomes of their learning have been seriously hindered during quarantine. Additionally, they haven’t fully developed rational thinking, so staying away from school could develop thinking patterns related to the slippery slope fallacy, where, in this case, they could convince themselves that, “this is gonna last forever” which, in turn, impacts their mental health.

Now moving onto the cons. The foremost one is obviously physical health. The health of the individual student is put at risk, as well as the health of the people they interact with like family and friends, who may be at higher risk.

Another negative is wearing masks all day. It seems simple and relatively easy in thought, but, coming from personal experience, it can be hard to adjust to. It hinders thinking and can provoke an anxiety loop for children that suffer from heightened anxiety.

Bad mental health would also exist returning back to school, as peers and students face the reality of COVID-19 and the tragedies that can come with it.

The reopening of schools also targets and further divides the gap between the rich and the poor. Public schools are chronically underfunded and with the uptake of COVID-19 protocols there is no guarantee that there won’t be some hiccups. This would mean the rich would obtain a better education from the poor who can afford privately funded schools.

One strategy that many schools are doing is called pods or cohorts. They are assigned groups of which students primarily interact with. The main purpose is that, say for instance, if one kid gets sick the whole school doesn’t have to get tested or sent home, only that cohort.

Overall, returning to school will be a significant change for all of us. It does not feel natural when we have been virtually isolated for so long. I always find it so weird looking back on what we thought this pandemic was going to be like, however we have to make sure that we are making the best decision for all of us.

By: Francis Adom

With Covid cases continuing to rise in the US, It appears likely that this upcoming presidential election will be one of the largest mail in voting elections ever. That is why it is your duty to learn your state's mail in voting process so you can exercise your right as an American citizen to vote. As John Lewis said, "The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy". Originally this article was going to list the mail in voting information for each state but google has recently made it easier to find your states mail in voting information. So now it will be an examination of the several ways votes are being suppressed but also to serve as inspiration to do everything you possibly can do to secure your right to vote.

We all know about gerrymandering where state governments redraw district lines to put people of one party affiliation in one area and reducing the amount of power their votes have in forming the state legislature. Everyone can see how this is wrong but some people can’t see how more restrictive voter ID laws are. When governments propose this they use the Idea of election security and the idea that it's common sense to have ID for voting. According to a study done by MIT April 2020 voter fraud happens in .00006% of instances nationally. Election fraud is very rare and usually caught. This notion that we need stricter voter ID because the issue of fraud is a significant problem in American elections is ludicrous. So you say “ election fraud is not that big of an issue but wouldn't it be good to have these laws just in case?”. The answer is no because these laws reduce voter turnout, specifically among minority communities. Voter ID laws on average reduce voter turnout by 2-3% according to the US Government Accountability Office. Specifically photo ID laws target low income communities who are less likely to be able to afford a photo ID. These state governments know what they are doing too because these laws are usually implemented in Republican run states whose likelihood of reelection is reduced the more low income and minority voters vote. While you may feel the government is better run by Republicans, or you may feel that these laws intentions are good, you as an American should not look at the socioeconomic implications of these voter ID laws and be fine with it. When the will of the majority is denied then that is a perversion of democracy.

Another form of voter suppression is purging voter rolls. States do this to remove people who have died, moved, or haven’t voted. But states also abuse this system to target people who do not fit into these categories. A Brennan center study done between 2014 and 2016 found that jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination had higher rates of purging. This likely suggests that there are a considerable amount of purges that inaccurately target black and brown communities disenfranchising them based on race.

States also suppress votes by restricting when people can register. This is a uniform problem among many states including Democratic run states. New York requires you to register to vote at least 25 days before the election. These restrictions are unnecessary because we have technology that enables the government to process registration more quickly. Over 90,000 New Yorkers, according to the ACLU, were unable to vote in the 2016 elections because they registered too late. That while not racially motivated, is still a problematic infringement on voting rights.

As the Trump administration continues its attack on mail in voting polling places are also continuing to be closed. Most poll workers are older and don’t want to risk contracting Covid- 19. Certain states were already closing polling places in black communities to increase wait times and discourage voting, but now with covid and the fact that you don’t get paid time off to vote, and the USPS’s Trump appointed director actively removing drop boxes to manufacture delays, mass voter suppression looms on the horizon on November 3rd.

With all these forces against you why even bother? You should try because the best tool that they have is fear. They want you to give in and not vote. They do everything they can to get you to believe your vote doesn’t matter. Your vote matters. What you need to do is to research the laws of your state and find a way you can vote, because the best way to stick it to the vote suppressors of America is to vote. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED. Know your rights, contact your elected officials, and hold them accountable with your ballot.

Useful websites for voting information:

By : Caitlyn L

Do you ever feel like your study habits simply aren’t cutting it? Do you wonder how to perform better in class and on exams? Too often people believe that long hours of studying is the best way to become a straight-A student. However, research shows that highly successful students actually spend less time studying than their peers do. They just use more effective techniques and practices.


1. Getting Organized

Organization is key to establishing a productive study schedule and staying on top of your workload. Not only does effectively organizing your study sessions help minimize procrastination but it also ensures you use your time wisely. This may be carried out in several ways such as by setting time limits on study periods which can help maximize your productivity, focus and quality of work, as well as setting specific short term goals for each session which may help reduce distractions and increase motivation.

2. Pay Attention in Class

It is of extreme importance to concentrate in class when the teacher is speaking. This ensures that you understand the materials taught in class which may reduce the time needed to learn them later.

3. Steer Clear of Distractions

Distractions come in a number of different forms from cell phones to social media to friends. Be aware of what distracts you and know how to stay away from these distractions when in class or studying at home. This can be done by finding a quiet and concentrate-able study environment or turning off your cell phone.

4. Review Class Notes After School

After school, review and expand on the notes from class. Going through these notes will help you fill in gaps in your lesson notes which will increase your ability to recall what you have learned. A study shows that at the end of nine weeks, students who reviewed their notes within a day recalled about 75% of what they had been taught. However, keep in mind that this alone will not fully prepare you for an exam.

5. Review & Study Material Periodically (Do Not Cram!)

Cramming all your studying on the night before the test is definitely not an effective way to go. The information you spend the night cramming is stored in the short-term memory where it is accessible in the short-term (like for a test the next day). Nevertheless, the brain doesn’t create lasting neural connections to the material or develop deep comprehension. Students might get a good grade on the test, but that knowledge will be forgotten quickly—typically as soon as the next several days. One way to avoid cramming is a technique known as “spaced learning”, which is much more effective for short-term recall and long-term retention. Though similar to the previous technique, periodic/distributed study is an extremely effective method when students learn and study material during multiple sessions spread out over several weeks (a longer period of time), allowing time for the brain to form connections between the ideas and concepts. This knowledge can be built upon and easily recalled later.

6. Make a Study Schedule/Plan

Creating a study schedule may be beneficial in reminding you of your goals while keeping track of time spent. When making a study schedule, think about what needs to be accomplished, and set specific goals for each study session, such as how many chapters or topics you will cover by the end of the session.

7. Do the Practice Questions/Tests

Past exam papers are extremely advantageous resources to help you study. Practicing them will help you be more prepared as you can get a sense of how questions will be presented on the real test day. In a study conducted in 2011, students who tested themselves with a practice test after learning the material retained 50% more of the information a week later than their peers who did not take a practice test.

Study smarter, not harder!

Sources -

By: Sania Naik

During an era of rapid, unsolicited change on all levels, many have overlooked the enduring battles we continue to face from an environmental standpoint. From news, statistics, and first-hand footage, we see humanitarian crises resulting from climate change amplified by the effects of the pandemic; evacuation efforts and resources have dwindled after being redirected to combatting the novel coronavirus.

From Typhoon Ulysses to the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record, 2020 has proved to be a continuation of environmental deterioration from prior years. Abnormally warm water translates directly to storm hyperactivity, reflected through the enormous toll taken on coastal countries and communities. What's more, widespread flooding since March of this year has affected over 50 million people globally, in conjunction with skyrocketing virus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Without sufficient outreach programs and packages to cover both crises, hundreds of thousands of people are left alone to endure its disastrous effects.

So what can be done?

You may be aware of multibillion-dollar stimulus packages put out by the government in response to COVID-19; starkly contrasting this is the lack of funding put towards climate crisis relief. Although both are crucial to full societal recovery, the ultimately shorter duration of a pandemic compared to global warming progression results in more resources directed to the immediate “task” at hand.

This opens a discussion proposing coronavirus relief packages investing in helping affected groups adapt to climate change during such times. By working to create safer, more sustainable living conditions for all during such trying times, we make progress in our collective wellbeing.

  • For more information, visit

By: Marcelo fernandez

Orcas are a species almost everyone knows. The black and white colors, the many little teeth, the incredible patterns. I remember being 5 or 6 and flipping through an encyclopedia of animals I was given for my birthday. Flipping through the pages, in the whale section, a photorealistic image of an orca immediately caught my attention and orcas took their place in my young mind. Years later, I would come to watch a documentary about sea life and of course the majestic orca made for a substantial appearance which further sparked my interest. The uniqueness of orcas always stood out to me against the grays and browns of similar creatures. To this day I have never seen an orca in person, perhaps for the better because they are often held in cruel captivity (at seaworld and other marine parks) and going on ocean tours would disrupt their lifestyle. To me, orcas are a beauty I might never see face to face; but the mere idea of orcas, surviving and living free in open waters, is something I recognize as always worth saving.

Though orcas worldwide may share the same threats, not every population of orcas are recognized as endangered. Southern Resident Orcas are a population established as endangered today. The first attack on the Southern Resident population occurred between 1960-1970 when over 45 individuals (40% of the historical population) were stolen or killed for marine parks. Major threats facing the marine mammals currently are lack of food, noise pollution, and chemical pollution. Dams in the Columbia River Basin and its main tributary, the Snake river, have drastically hurt the population of Chinook salmon. Chinook salmon make up over 80% of the Southern Resident Orca diet and losses in their population directly affect the Southern Residents. Sea vessels create such noise pollution that orcas are often incapable of using echolocation to catch prey, a vital technique they depend on to survive. Anthropogenic chemicals bioaccumulate in orca fat causing endocrine and immune system disruption when they starve, making all other food-related issues all the worse when food cannot be obtained. All these factors combine to make it extremely difficult for the Southern Resident population to rise and even to remain stable. Therefore, the Southern Resident situation calls on human intervention to avert human caused threats.

One thing anyone can do to help the Southern Resident Orca population is spread awareness. No individual could solve the endangered state of the species on their own, but by making it the topic of the conversation: a priority in Congress and in the world, the problem can be solved. The Pacific Northwest members of Congress must decide to destroy the lower Snake River dams to save the Southern Residents. This action would encourage populations of Chinook salmon to increase exponentially by the millions, and would rescue salmon and orca alike from extinction. People can take direct action for orcas by petitioning Congress members, signing petitions, and spreading the word that orcas need saving now. To learn more about Southern Resident orcas and for ways to take action, go to

Sources used for information:

By: Karlin Decker

Chinook salmon are a beautiful species of fish that are located near Alaska and the West Coast. While these fish are a natural beauty, the number of them in the wild is significantly declining. Due to the effects of climate change in the ocean, habitat loss to development, and low water quality from industries, this number spirals down even more. Personally, this makes me very upset. I live near many bodies of water and enjoy fishing on these lakes and streams, too. I am very passionate about keeping my surrounding water environments safe, because the chinook salmon used to live in the bodies of water near me, however they are all gone now. I would love to see a day where the chinook salmon are back near my town in full population like they used to be.

Although the chinook salmon numbers have spiraled down in both my town and many others, there are still many actions all of us can take to help increase the population. One major action I take to help my local water ecosystems is to keep them clean. When I am out on the water, I will pick up trash and other litter. You can always take a day to help pick up the litter in the ecosystems near you. Another critical action you can take to aid in the population is to keep

streams and rivers shaded. By tearing down vegetation, you increase the chance of erosion and

increase the temperature of the stream. Both of these conditions make it harder for chinook

salmon to reproduce and live. You can also advocate in your community and try to make the

bodies of water near you safe for chinook salmon and other fish species.

By: JaninE cardenas

The perception of gray wolves has largely been sculpted by folktale, pop culture, and misinformation. Stories such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Boy Who Cried Wolf reflect the underlying fear of wolves in the public consciousness - if not fear, at least an impression of the wolf as a prowler, livestock killer, and dangerous threat. (Note that it is a myth that wolves kill large amounts of livestock - wolves are only responsible for about 0.2 percent of cow and calf fatalities (Worrall).) Perhaps these misconceptions about wolves are what led to their near-extinction in America through agricultural growth, extinction of the wolf's major prey species such as the American bison, and extermination campaigns (Feldhamer et al. 482–510). Learning about the decline of the wolf species, I was led to reconsider the wolf not as a threat to human lives, but as a sympathetic figure - a gem of nature that deserves to be preserved and who we can coexist with.

Wolves are still recovering from the century of hunting, trapping, and habitat loss which nearly led to its extinction in America’s lower 48 states (“Save Wolves”). Even now, gray wolves occupy less than 20 percent of their historic range (Worrall) - and yet the removal of federal protections for wolves in the United States was announced in November 2020 (Peterson). This removal, which became effective in January 2021, has already brought devastating effects. The wolf population of the state of Wisconsin was reduced by 30% as a result of hunting and hidden deaths this past winter (University of Wisconsin-Madison). Legislators have been prematurely rolling back wolf protections, squandering the chance for wolves to reclaim substantial sections of their previous habitat in the West and Northeast.

Just as we were responsible for their decline, humans must be responsible for the gray wolf’s recovery. There are many ways for us to take action:

  • Become a member of an organization dedicated to wolf conservation. For example, Kids4Wolves.

  • Educate yourself on wolves and then talk to your friends and family about wolves and human-wolf cohabitation.

  • Assist in the preservation of wilderness areas in wolf ranges, or donate to organizations that do so.

  • Keep an eye out for stories on environmental issues in the news.

  • Volunteer with an environmental organization.


Feldhamer, George A., et al., editors. Wild Mammals of North America. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003. Google Books.

Peterson, Christine. “Gray wolves taken off U.S. endangered species list in controversial move.” National Geographic, 2020, Accessed 7 July 2021.

“Save Wolves.” NRDC, Accessed 7 July 2021.

University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Hunting and hidden deaths led to 30% reduction in WI wolf population.” ScienceDaily, 2021, Accessed 7 July 2021.

Worrall, Simon. “Why We're So Divided Over Saving Wolves.” National Geographic, 2017, Accessed 7 July 2021.

By: selvana emad

The monarch butterfly is a beautiful sight with exquisite colours and shape. This species brings colour and life to this world; it symbolizes rebirth and spiritual transformation (Rebecca Chandler).

This species gives me a sense of hope and reincarnation when I'm at my lowest. When I was 6 my parents decided to move and I was an emotional wreck, the only thing that was able to put a smile on my face was the monarch butterflies flying around my area. This made me feel safe, a distraction from the world around me.

The monarch butterfly is currently facing many threats such as habitat loss, extreme weather due to climate change and liberal use of pesticides. (endangered species coalition)

Ways we can help this endangered species is by planting, and you can plant flowers and other plants in our gardens to help this pollinator. Purchase nursery plants for your garden from reputable retailers that can guarantee that no neonicotinoid pesticides were used in the production of the plants.(Canadian Wildlife Federation) In addition, we can use our voices to spread the word about the many threats this species is facing.

by: alice liu

Pollinators. We might not notice them, but they’re everywhere. Bees, flitting around flowers. Hummingbirds, sipping nectar from plants. Butterflies, flying around in the air. I’ve always been fascinated with these animals and insects. Though, like a few, I have to admit a slight fear of bees!

These creatures might be small, but they largely impact plants and wildlife. According to Let’s Talk Science, around 75% of flowering plants need to be pollinated to reproduce. In fact, 35% of the crops produced around the world need to be pollinated! That is the essential job that pollinators fulfill.

However, some variables threaten their existence. Firstly, habitat loss. In this age of development and construction, many fields, forests, and natural spaces are being destroyed. This causes pollinators to lose their nesting sites, food sources, and homes.

Secondly, pesticides. Pesticide is commonly used to kill pests, weeds, and diseases. However, many people don’t realize that this can affect our pollinators as well. Depending on the pesticide and the pollinator, it can have different effects - death, problems with reproduction and memory, issues with navigation, e.t.c.

Now, you may be wondering what you can do to help. One way to do so is to have a pollinator garden or even just a small pot of pollinator-friendly plants. You can build small homes for them to nest in. You can plant flowers with nectar for hummingbirds to drink. You can limit your usage of pesticides. These seemingly modest actions can help greatly. For example, one dollar is not a lot. But if one hundred people all give one dollar, the resulting number will amount to one hundred dollars. This scenario applies to here as well. If we all help a little, it’ll make a big difference! So start making that difference today.

By: Adam meDDaH

With an increase in vaccines being administered all around the world, many people have been asking the question: “Is going back to school in person worth it?” Here, I will try to explain some of the advantages and disadvantages of going back to school in person, with a conclusion to draw away as well.


Many students need more social interaction in their lives. We, as humans, are social creatures, and with lockdown, many people’s mental health has been in a worse state due to them being separated from their friends and family. Going back in person brings back that social interaction that you couldn’t get online.

Many students have found it way harder to focus in an online setting. Whether this be from distractions at home or just being able to use technology at any time, many people have found it easier to focus in school. Many people find it way easier to procrastinate online, with many different ways to do so, such as going on social media. This can also be reflected in many people’s marks being lower than they would like them to be. In person learning can help many students focus easier and truly reflect their learning capabilities, and stay locked onto the task.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, many students may feel more tempted to cheat online, with many online resources such as Google on their fingertips. This can negatively impact their learning experience and also lead to mark inflation. Being in person allows the teacher to monitor their learning experience to ensure that it is genuine and prevents mark inflation. Mark inflation is also detrimental to many people looking to get into certain programs since the percentage needed to get into the programs can be higher and thus harder to get into.

Some subjects revolve around hands-on learning, such as Exploring Technologies, where many students can work on building a computer in their tech lab. Online, such opportunities aren’t available since you are limited to your household, and from what I’ve seen. I doubt anyone has a Tech lab in their house. This can make certain subjects harder or less enjoyable to many people who signed up for the courses just for that hands-on learning experience. Being online also makes it harder for teachers to determine student’s learning skills since many students do not like turning on their cameras or talking much with the teacher online.

Technology has its flaws as well, with many people having the unlucky circumstance of disconnecting during a meeting or something as important as a test, where some people have been docked marks or even given 0s. Many people have had internet issues too, such as Cogeco going down for a bit of time, impacting everyone who used the service.

These are just a few of the advantages of school in person.


With COVID-19 running rampant (albeit slower, thankfully) there is no debate on which option is safer against the pandemic. While many people have vaccines, many don’t or don’t have both doses. Being in person makes it easier to transmit the virus between multiple people, and it isn’t guaranteed that certain people follow the safety precautions, such as sanitizing their hands.

Another con is that many schools do something called a Cohort system, which is essentially dividing the school by their last names to prevent all the people from being in school at once. What this means is going back to school won’t fully bring the benefits of being in person since many friends will be separated and that social interaction won’t be properly re-established. Not only that, but this can also make cheating easier for certain students depending on the timing of cohorts. For example, if Cohort A takes a test before Cohort B, this will make it harder for teachers to prevent cheating and may result in multiple tests being made.

Wearing masks is also annoying and in some cases disruptive to students. Especially with those that have breathing problems, wearing a mask can be hard, and in some cases, an option that simply isn’t feasible.

It also costs much more to get equipment to fight against COVID-19, and many different aspects have been impacted in people, such as handing out paper or learning books. Many schools have been buying many hand sanitizing stations, which while are necessary in these trying times and appreciated, can amount to a lot of money. And these costs, after piling up, can affect schools such as public schools which already have a very tight, restrictive budget imposed on them.


In conclusion, school in person is worth it in numerous situations. Many schools that can afford to pay for all the safety measures and equipment while also having a good plan set in place for returning may find it beneficial to return to school in person. However, some schools with a lower budget and who are still working out a plan for returning to school may find it beneficial to wait a bit more and continue online learning. It all depends on the situation. Both learning types have their pros and cons.

Stay safe!

by: adam meddah

After what felt like such a long year, 2021 is finally over. With a new year upon us, reflecting back on the events and experiences we all shared can be very beneficial moving forward.

There are numerous ways to kick off the year with a positive attitude. One way to do so are new year’s resolutions. New year’s resolutions are goals we set for ourselves that we hope to accomplish in this new year, and is a really good way to start off the year with hope and aspiration. Try to set challenging but realistic goals so that you can improve on yourself as a person. Try to make the goals achievable and commit to them.

Another great way to begin the year is to look back and learn from our past experiences in 2021, and focus not only on the negative, but also on the positive!

2021 was definitely a rollercoaster of a year, in which we saw the return of students to in-person learning and even switching learning plans from the quadmester system to the regular semester system. Many students, such as myself who are in grade 10 finally got a taste of what in person school has to offer.

Vaccines got rolled out, and it was regarded to be a success with things finally settling down regarding COVID-19. Then the omicron variant came around, making the future even more uncertain.

It wasn’t all bad though. Marvel started to pump out a ton of shows onto the Disney+ platform, such as WandaVision, Hawkeye and Loki among numerous other entries. It was also a good year for movies, with the release of Shang Chi, Black Widow, Spiderman: No Way Home and movies from other series such as Luca from Pixar.

Technology advanced a ton in 2021 as well, with the introduction of MRNA vaccines and what seems like endless amounts of new iPhones. With COVID-19, we were all forced to go remote for the first half of the year, and many technologies were developed and improved to keep up. Take Zoom for instance. Zoom put out numerous different updates to handle and cater to the large numbers of people. Zoom was used for things such as teaching classes to professional conferences. This also pushed Google to update their Google Meets service and in a way, the competition between all these different companies pushed each one to improve their service, making it better for all the people on the other end (us!).

In conclusion, while 2021 was a rollercoaster, good for some, worse for others, reflecting on our experiences and learning from them is something we should all do before moving into 2022 with a positive attitude. Happy new year!