The Brantley Banner The student news site of Lake Brantley High School Mon, 23 Sep 2019 16:23:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Life As a Police Explorer Mon, 23 Sep 2019 16:23:27 +0000 Most high school students cannot truthfully say they have ridden in a police car, but most high school students are not freshman Rose Gardner. By the time Gardner turns 17, she will have not only ridden in the front of a police car, she also will have processed license plates, spoken over the police radio and gone on ride alongs. This is all apart of the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Police Explorer Program, which Gardner works with every Thursday.

Founded in the 1960s, the Police Explorer Program promotes a career in law enforcement through the use of tactical training and real life interaction. In order to be eligible to become an Explorer or Cadet, the middle school equivalent to an Explorer, candidates must range from ages 11 to 21, have a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.2 and pass a background check. Throughout the program, Explorers learn how to take fingerprints, conduct crime scene investigations, complete traffic stops and even make arrests. But most importantly, the program instills vital leadership skills and attributes. 

“Personally I’ve grown so much as a person,” Gardner said. “I’m going out and doing things that I probably would not have done before. Being respectful is something that I have learned, it’s crazy. To respect not only the job that they do, but the people that they are and respect my friends and family. It’s giving me tons of leadership skills, being able to lead the people who are below me but also respecting them in a way that I can do my job fully.”

The Police Explorer Program is formatted through a ranking system that encompasses anyone from Cadet to Chief Explorer. Gardner was recently promoted to Corporal, which is a huge staple in the Explorer hierarchy. This ranking system is organized by the program’s advisors and requires a particular type of personality.

“Rose is a very outgoing, intelligent, and highly mature for her age,” Explorer Senior Advisor Keith Betham said. “A couple of weeks ago I asked Rose if there is anything she can’t do. She is a pleasure to have as an explorer.”  

When she is not learning new skills at the police academy, Gardner is actively involved in her church, the Journey Christian Church. She spends almost every Wednesday and Sunday with her church’s worship team, where they discuss the best way to improve their relationship with God.

“Rose’s personality is so joyful and Christ focused its amazing,” junior Caitlyn Green said. “She is always caring for others and meeting other people’s needs before hers. It fits so well because policemen are always looking after others and thinking of others before themselves, like Rose already does.”

While Gardner’s career path is fully cemented now, she did not always know what she wanted to do after graduation. This changed after a fortuitous trip to CVS.

“Honestly it was a very whimsical decisions,” Gardner said. “I knew I wanted to help in the world, I knew I wanted to make a difference. But I didn’t want to be like a doctor or a lawyer or anything like that and I’m a very active person. So I was thinking and I ran into a lady at CVS and she was like ‘Oh well, there’s this program’ and she told me about it. And I looked into it and went to my first meeting and fell in love with it. So I’ve just kind of gone with it.”

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Building Five or Building Flaw? Mon, 23 Sep 2019 16:22:52 +0000 The recent addition of the new Building Five is the talk of the campus these days, though often in curses as students run between classes. The new building, despite its modern design and integration of technology into every classroom, is lacking in many respects.

The most glaring flaw is the foot traffic that rushes up and down the steps and through every doorway during the newly extended seven-minutes between classes. The building’s main staircase is packed with students within seconds of dismissal bells. While there are alternative stairways on the northeast and northwest corners of the building, utilizing them as exits only steers students further from the rest of the campus assuming they even know that the paths exist. These paths prove to be inconvenient and inefficient, as students must walk all the way around the building to even use them. With only one viable set of stairs to get to and from the rest of the campus, students are forced to push through crowds of those exiting on the same path. This creates a nightmare of tightly packed bodies prone to accidental falls, shoving and other accidents while haunted by the threat of a HERO.

To make matters worse, only the west side of the building, facing the Aquatics Center, has a sidewalk for students to use. On the south side, however, students face the gauntlet of chain-link fences and uneven dirt that leads to the rest of the campus. The students moving to and from the new building are crushed into narrow sidewalks enclosed by chain-link fences unless they choose the lengthy, “scenic” route through the beautiful new restaurant that will likely result in a tardy. As if these conditions are not bad enough, those traveling both to and from Building Five are forced to confront the simultaneous flow of students in the opposite direction since they are limited to one pathway. This creates larger crowds and adds to the difficulty of navigating Building Five.

The poorly planned setup is once again evident when students must see a guidance counselor during class. They must travel all the way to the new building and back, which wastes their class time simply due to the walking distance. This loss of class time extends beyond guidance counselor meetings, however, as every class has been shortened by a minute to account for walking time. This takes away time for teachers to raise test scores and prepare students for the world, with a total of 18 hours of instructional time lost each year.

An $18.5 million renovation is of little worth when students must rush between classes on crowded paths and up and down dangerously packed staircases just to get to class on time. The design of the newest building is inconvenient at best and dangerous at worst. It is an accident is waiting to happen until more paths are opened for students to travel safely and with less stress.

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No Bad Vibes in Building Five Mon, 23 Sep 2019 16:22:19 +0000 There is something exceptionally exciting about the new Building Five. It might simply be a combination of bricks and pipes, but it is a new beginning. The past school year was hectic, but this is the proof that we survived. Maybe I am exaggerating for dramatic effect, but there is something extraordinary about the freshly painted walls and the faint scent of…Home Depot? 


Due to the larger hallways, the building has an openness that mirrors a college campus and the large staircase looks like it is straight out of the cafeteria in “High School Musical”. Bright, fresh colors prove that administration stepped out of Brantley’s patriotic comfort zone and the large windows bring in the beautiful 7:00 AM sunlight.


This building has everything we did not know we needed. For instance, every classroom has desks with wheels. So practical, yet so unheard of. Not only is it efficient, it is a great way to incorporate collaboration and group work in the classroom and ensure students are prepared for teamwork in the career world. Not to mention, the technology is much more advanced than teachers were expecting. For example, the flat screen TV’s eliminate the clunky projectors that force students to learn in the dark.


I have heard many complaints about the foot traffic outside of the new Building Five,   but the ends justify the means. This problem has a variety of solutions, like walking through the cafeteria or the mulch path next to the doorway, which are only temporary fixes as there should be several paths when the construction is done. If a student is so distraught about being late, they need to take quicker steps. Period. The only people who should be allowed to complain about Building Five are the staff and students who did not have the opportunity to teach/learn in a setting so new and state of the art. 


As far as functionality goes, many aspects of the new building make sense. For example, having all of the counselors in one building avoids confusion for new students. I distinctly remember being a freshman roaming around campus like a lost puppy looking for my counselor. Additionally, the idea of having the girls’ and boys’ bathrooms in separate hallways has always perplexed me. Now that they are side-by-side, students do not lose class time having to walk to a different hallway. 


As a senior, I have seen some dramatic changes across campus, both good and bad, but Building Five is clearly a step in the right direction. As my overly-enthusiastic friend, Carson Cashion, once said, “In a way, Building Five mirrors life. In a way, it saved me.”

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Building Five breakdown Mon, 23 Sep 2019 16:21:53 +0000 The new Building Five brought technological advancements and modern layouts to campus, but with it came controversy and drama on the first day of the 2019-2020 school year. The planning process for the building began in 2017 and was completed less than a month before the first day on Aug. 12. Now that it is built, walking from the furthest classroom in Building Eight to the furthest classroom in the new and improved Building Five is over a quarter mile.

Many students are fans of the new technology of the classrooms, such as hanging TV monitors instead of projectors and high top desks in many classrooms. Building Five also has a different color scheme than the rest of campus, with blue walls in classrooms, a bright yellow wall and neon green chairs. The building stairwells are interior and the building has an elevator, unlike the old Building Five, which had a ramp for accessibility to the upper level classrooms.

“It’s [Building Five] very college like; after going to UCF and seeing it and then this building, it’s very similar in its structure – the way each classroom is comprised of materials and furniture and even the stairwells,” art teacher Ashley Buxton said. “It’s nice, bright and airy, which is nice, rather than a dark dungeon. In my new room now have a second storage closet that I can put all student work so we can have a designated space for work in a designated space for materials.”

Contrary to the support Building Five has received, many students are unsettled by the recent shifts in campus infrastructure. HERO passes started on Aug. 22, leaving many students nervous for the inevitable tardies that the trek to Building Five will bring. 

“The classrooms are very nice, it’s the walk that’s a hassle,” senior Christian Perry said. “I think that if they added a covered walkway like in the other buildings, it would be a better walk. Building Five definitely seems like an add-on, considering how far away it is, but I think the covers would definitely help to connect it and add some coherence in the design.” 

On the first day, the main complaint students had with the new building was the walking distance. Students are arriving late to class despite the extended bell schedule, simply due to limited walking pathways and the hoards of students rushing both in and out of the building. On the second day of school, a section of the construction site was opened up as a secondary pathway, causing dirt to be tracked in on the students’ feet. By the third day, a layer of mulch was placed over to limit the stained shoes and dirty floors. The construction will be complete by Oct. 1, but in the meantime, infrastructure will continue to change. Despite the current issues, the administrative staff is working diligently to address these concerns.

“It’s going to be sod, an outdoor covered dining area and picnic tables,” Principal Brian Blasewitz said. “Right now, it’s kind of a pain, because there’s only really one way in, one way out of [Building] Five, unless you cut through the new restaurant. That’ll change, it’ll open up and be better.”

Despite the controversy, the construction where the old Building Five stood continues to be developed, with the vision of an outdoor dining area and a covered pavilion urging it on. Currently, the new Building Five, though it is fit for classes, is not completely finished, as there are plans to add vending machines and potentially supplement classrooms with extra furniture and storage space. 

“I think that we’re going to take a look at a lot of things this first semester to see what works and what’s not working,” Blasewitz said. “I’m not above changing policies and changing things to fit what we need. If I see a problem, we’re going to fix it. I’m a little flexible with the HERO pass, but we’re going to see how it goes for the first couple weeks.”

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Senior crown season Fri, 20 Sep 2019 15:50:17 +0000 Senior crown season officially begun on Friday, August 16 when the graduating class of 2020 came to school wearing colorful crowns decked-out with artificial flowers, pom-poms, and the word ‘senior’ written in big, bold letters to show their school pride. While Friday, August 16 was the first day of senior crowns, seniors are encouraged to wear their crowns any Friday they please until their last day of school.

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Blasewitz takes on Brantley Wed, 18 Sep 2019 15:15:39 +0000 As a father of two young children and principal to nearly 3,000 students, Brian Blasewitz is tugged in numerous directions. In true Patriot fashion, Blasewitz was ready to meet the challenge when he officially took on the position as principal on June 18. He intends to use this leadership role to build onto the communal atmosphere and better the campus.

Taking after his father who served as principal at Edgewater High School, Blasewitz started his career in education in 2009 and has continued his passion for helping students in various teaching roles at schools throughout Seminole County.


“It’s what I honestly think that I was supposed to do,” Blasewitz said. “I hope that you guys find that in your career when you grow up, that you just feel so comfortable doing something that you just love going to work every day. That’s where I’m at right now.”

Before the school year had even started, plans regarding security were already taking place. There is now a social worker on campus along with a third school resource officer and a fourth coming soon. Additionally, future projects to upgrade the campus to make the grounds more prestigious and inviting have also been put into the works.  

“I am big on campus beautification,” Blasewitz said. “I think that it should be something that we take pride in and I want to make this as enjoyable of an experience for you all that my high school was for me.”

Despite the multitude of changes that the new Building Five and a new principal have brought this 2019-2020 school year, most students have adjusted fairly quickly. The updates around campus have also brought excitement and hope for the rest of the school year.

“He’s a well respected person who’s super laid back,” senior Kennedy Wharton said. “His plans for the school year are amazing and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us.” 

Blasewitz has many projects planned for the upcoming years and has intentions to continue the successful history of the school in regards to academics, athletics and the arts. As someone who has been working in the school setting for years, he is ready to make his mark on campus. 

“It’s unlike any place in Seminole County and it’s one of the premier places to be in Central Florida and I mean that,” Blasewitz said. “I mean, I think that this place is really special and I kind of want to harness that and use that energy to where you guys feel pride and lucky that you get to go to a school that’s as cool as this.”

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Listen up! Podcasts that should be on your radar Tue, 17 Sep 2019 13:12:16 +0000 As students, we tend to have busy schedules that require all of our attention all of the time, making it a chore to stay up to date on current events and breaking news. Luckily, podcasts are on the rise, offering a solution to these struggles by providing many different sources to listen to news, entertainment stories, reviews and much more. They allow you to accomplish different tasks while simultaneously learning about the 2020 presidential candidates, Fantasy Football top picks or a true crime murder mystery. Podcast topics are diverse, so there is definitely something for everyone. Here are some of my personal favorites:

    1. This American Life- This American Life is a weekly podcast produced by Chicago Public Media and the Public Radio Exchange. The host, Ira Glass, has a way of taking the biggest, most universal issues and breaking them down in a way that relates to our everyday lives. Whether their weekly topic is on the current political environment or just a broad idea, their reporters are always able to find interesting stories that we can all relate to. Glass brings national issues close to home while also expanding our minds outside of American borders.
    2. The Argument- This New York Times podcast offers a breakdown of current political issues and debates in a fresh way. The conversation is kept balanced by moderate David Leonhardt, liberal Michelle Goldberg and conservative Ross Douthat, each providing their own perspectives and opinions of the subject based on their political background and knowledge. This is a great listen for those who are interested in politics, but would enjoy more insight into topics from knowledgeable journalists who are on varying sides of the political spectrum.
    3. Serial- This is a podcast by the creators of This American Life and is a storytelling adventure. The host of the show, Sarah Koenig, takes the listener through a unique, exciting, and true story each season. Season one focuses on the mysterious disappearance and death of a high school senior living in Baltimore in the 1990s, while season two discusses a soldier in Afghanistan who left his post and was kidnapped, and season three takes the listener inside a courthouse in Cleveland to learn about all the injustices that occur everyday right in front of us. Each season is completely different, but Koenig manages to include everything you could hope to know about the story, except for the answers. The mysterious nature of the podcast captivates the listeners in a way that always leaves them wanting more.

Whether your interests are science or fiction, math or music, politics or pop culture, podcasts are a perfect way to learn about the things that fascinate you, requiring only your smartphone and some earbuds.

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KC Squared Episode 2 Fri, 13 Sep 2019 16:05:59 +0000 In this episode Keaton, Carson, and Carson discuss Lake Brantley football’s coming game against rival Lake Mary, and week 1 of the NFL season including Antonio Brown’s rocky journey to the Patriots. They also discuss college football week 1, along with what teams to look out for and what teams are doomed (cough cough, FSU), and give a glimpse into the neck and neck wildcard race in the MLB. Finally, the guys give their BOOM BOOM POW players of the week, and reflect on last episode’s hot takes while giving their hot takes for the coming week. Got questions or ideas? Let us know at!

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The role of social media in politics Tue, 10 Sep 2019 16:14:35 +0000 With social media applications in the pockets of nearly every student, society revolves around the information they provide. These platforms have a wide influence, as voters across the country use them to keep up with politicians, share their opinions and stay informed on national news.

“It [social media] certainly has changed the face of today’s politics,” world history teacher Brian Kupfer said. “The news cycles a lot faster now and people used to get their information from just a few sources of news and on the networks, on TV and the major newspapers and magazines. Now there are so many different sources of news.”

Not only does social media create more platforms for spreading information, but it also helps to get young social media users involved in politics by giving them access to political news in a more convenient way than many other news outlets. With the 2020 presidential elections approaching, many students who have grown up with these online mediums are beginning to vote. Modern day discussions of public policy are primarily led by social media, as it allows politicians to speak directly to their constituents.

“I think it’s a very good way for young people, especially social media users, to get a good idea of them [politicians] because a lot of kids have social media,” sophomore Delaney Rosenblatt said. “It gives these thousands of politicians that are running, or trying to run, a chance to get their message and ideas out to the public very easily. If you just follow them, you can see their posts and their updates, and I’m sure you can ask questions and they will most likely respond.”

Despite the convenience of social media, it can raise alternate issues. When people rely entirely on it for political news, the ability for false or misinterpreted information to spread becomes much more likely. Many people choose to avoid social media politics altogether, instead finding their information using sources they deem more trustworthy.

“Social media plays like zero role in my involvement and information of politics,” senior Joshua Roberts said. “I choose other sources such as actual articles or actual news because most everything has a slant, especially social media. I choose to watch the actual videos or footage and read direct sources to make my own opinions. Social media is a great platform to spread information, but in reality a politician shouldn’t use it as a main platform as words are twisted easily.”

Social media platforms use algorithms to target specific demographics with recommended posts and advertisements, so users often fall victim to only seeing what they agree with. They are also more likely to follow politicians they already support, so it can be a challenge to see multiple perspectives. On the flip side, while it is important to be exposed to a variety of opinions, screen-to-screen communication on touchy subjects often leads to conflicts and arguments online.

“I think it’s pigeonholed people into exposing themselves to things that they already agree with and blocking things out that run contrary to their own opinions,” Kupfer said. “It’s no different for high schoolers than it is for adults. It’s also caused a lot of anger and people, during that last election cycle for example, on Facebook. I had people that I was friends with on Facebook that basically unfriended me.”

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Pizza, Pasta, Poultry, and more at Patriot Pointe Tue, 10 Sep 2019 16:12:46 +0000 Over the summer, while many renovations were centered around returfing the football field and creating an entire building from scratch, another group of construction workers were embarking on a project a little more… tasty.

With approval and financial support from the Seminole County Public School Board, the old cafeteria was converted into Patriot Point, a restaurant that provides a unique dining experience for students.

“We wanted to get away from a cafeteria and really look like a restaurant,” dining services restaurant manager Tom Tipton said. “We want to not only keep the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, but also the seniors from leaving campus because the food is great that we have here and we are trying to get better and better with our offerings.”

To achieve this goal, the restaurant divides the lines into different world cuisines. The options include the traditional Asian meals at Yin Yang, the Chipotle style burrito bowls from Mexology, the Chick-fil-a inspired Roost, the pizza and pasta combination at Pi, and the classic coffee and subs at Filtered . This change allowed for more food options to be introduced, and gave the cafeteria a creative spin.

“I think that the different names add a bit of character to our school,” junior Walter Stahll said. “I’d say that the names are pretty creative. My favorite is Pi because it’s a nice little combination of references to math pi and pizza pie.”

Due to the numerous construction projects that were already planned for the summer, the Seminole County Public School Board could only approve one more project, and decided to provide a much needed update for the cafeteria. During the designing process, they hoped to achieve a more modern and unique design.

“Student input inspired us to do something different from our usual dining services,” Seminole County Superintendent Dr. Walt Griffin said. “Our dining services team researched and worked with architects.”

The overall look and feel of the restaurant is what has sparked the most excitement in students, however, there have been considerable improvements behind-the-scenes of the restaurant. These advancements in the kitchen help to increase food quality and create a more efficient and comfortable environment for both students and staff members.

“The equipment is all brand new, everything we work with is new, and we added sixteen new staff members to serve [the students],” Tipton said.

While the inside of the restaurant was operational and finished in time for the first day of school, the surrounding courtyard is still under construction. However, when these renovations are finished, they will further enhance the appeal of the restaurant.

“The biggest improvements we are going to have is once the outdoor area is finished,” Tipton said. “We will have walkup areas on the outside, so guests that don’t want to come in can come to the outside lines and get pizza, chicken sandwiches, coffee. There will be more tables and shaded areas to sit in.”

The Patriot Pointe restaurant was an immense undertaking that required the compatibility and coordination of many moving parts. In the end, everything came together like a three-course meal. 

“I’ve opened a lot of restaurants and this no different than opening a restaurant,” Tipton said. “It’s a little confusing at first, and then it starts to streamline and things go much smoother.”

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