The Brantley Banner The student news site of Lake Brantley High School Thu, 14 May 2020 17:10:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Outer Banks: Review Thu, 14 May 2020 17:07:18 +0000 On April 15, 2020, Netflix released a new TV series titled “Outer Banks.” The teen drama and action-filled show encompasses a storyline of four teens on a hunt for $400 million worth of gold lost at sea. The island on which everything takes place is divided by the rich North side, “kooks,” and the working class on the South Side, “pogues” creating an ongoing war between the two. The 10 episodes carry a number of plot twists and are packed full of action, never leaving for a dull moment. It is both character and plot-driven, making it a show worth binging…at least two times. 

One of the main things that made the series so compelling was the originality of the plot and the actors that helped bring it to life. Main characters including John B (Chase Stokes), JJ (Rudy Pankow), Pope (Jonathon Daviss) and Kie (Madison Bailey) brought emotion and excitement to the screen, leaving viewers with a personal connection and attachment to them. As the story progresses, there is an ongoing theme of  character development which adds to the intrigue of it all. These range from learning about JJ’s struggles with his home life to Pope’s opportunity of getting a scholarship conflicting with his summer scandals. Being able to learn more and more about each of the four teens and their past, family lives, and struggles gives the show substance and makes it a worthwhile watch. 

While I could have done without the excessive use of language, the new series overall has not only made the top 10 list of Netflix shows, but also on my favorite TV show lineup. Too many times do shows go overboard with drama or romantic scenes, making it cringey and boring to watch. However, “Outer Banks” has a perfect balance of teenage love, drama between family and friends in addition to jaw-dropping moments throughout.

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The Response to COVID-19 Sun, 10 May 2020 17:10:35 +0000 The first confirmed cases in the United States were discovered in February of 2020. Through testing, all 50 states soon had several people infected with COVID-19 by the middle of March, 2020. Now with April having passed by, the unprecedented situation of the novel coronavirus in the month of May shows no signs of slowing down.

The Trump administration has made slow efforts in containment, making it seem evident that the virus will continue to spread across the United States. For months now the virus has been spreading, and people are beginning to become impatient with the lock down regulations and slowed economy. Many took matters into their own hands, whether their method of response was recommended or for pure self interest.

Upon protests by the people to reopen states and the economy in the midst of the coronavirus, the Trump administration is continuing to ignore the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance and recommendations on how to go about the right response. Without a vaccine or precise method of curing a patient infected with COVID-19, anyone who is exposed is in danger. 

Although reopening the economy may sound nice to the ears, any movement or grouping of people will result in the possible addition of new outbreaks and confirmed cases. The Trump administration and individual states must take into account the risks and vulnerabilities that the United States may suffer from. The future of the United States’ quick recovery is fogged by the haste efforts and decisions to reopen states and the economy. 

No one wants to pay the price of reopening by gambling with the lives of Americans, and it is true that there is no one right answer to respond to a pandemic, but I can assume that the country’s current efforts in combating the effects of COVID-19 can be seen as irrational to those who want to stay safe.

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“The Last Dance” Brings Michael Jordan Back to the T.V. Screen Thu, 30 Apr 2020 17:06:56 +0000 Due to the coronavirus outbreak, all professional sports have been put on hold until further notice. However, to quote Plato, “necessity is the mother of invention.” The public needed sports content to entertain themselves during these quarantined times, and ESPN has provided just that with “The Last Dance,” a ten part documentary airing on Sunday nights that details the career of NBA luminary Michael Jordan.

The documentary became an extra activity to do with my time in quarantine,” senior Nathan Lach said. “There were a lot of things I could do in quarantine but this documentary is what not only me but many people have been waiting to watch for a long time.”

Besides simply giving fans of basketball content to watch, the documentary serves as a ten hour long time machine; it puts the viewer right into the games, culture, and atmosphere of the era of Jordan’s playing days. For many younger fans, his entire career spanned before they were born, so this series helps to put some context to the mythological state he has risen to.

“For the new generation, they don’t really know much about Michael Jordan,” Lach said. “Only the fact that he is like a superhero of the modern world.”

In contrast, “The Last Dance” is nostalgic for those who were around and remember the playing days of Jordan. Even those who were not basketball fanatics remember Jordan; not just because of his ability on the court, but because of his success off of it.

“The actual footage of Michael Jordan playing brings back some hazy memories for me,” history teacher Vita Simmons said. “I was never really a basketball devotee. But, Michael Jordan transcended basketball. His successful career on the court permeated American culture through shoes, food and beverage endorsements.”

Besides the plethora of jaw-dropping highlights that the documentary flashes on the screen, what many may take away from the documentary is a sense of motivation. Although most Americans are isolated in their homes, “The Last Dance” has sparked an energy to not fall into indolence during this time, but to push forward and continue working, just like Jordan did every year of his career.

“What I learned from the documentary was that it doesn’t matter how good you are at something, it is about how your personality can bring people together and see you as a leader and a general role model,” Lach said. “MJ was a prime example of this. Even through tough times, he still pulled through and that’s what life is really about. Pushing through even when times look their darkest.”

While “The Last Dance” has reopened many debates in the sports world about where Jordan fits in the pantheon of great basketball players, and whether or not he still holds the title as the greatest to ever play the game, the series has made perfectly clear how influential Jordan and his brand were off the court.

“Without question, Michael Jordan’s presence on and off the court re-scripted the meaning of athletics,” Simmons said. “An athlete today is both celebrity and entrepreneur- by virtue of their athletic prowess, they become a brand. Michael Jordan led the way in cultivating the synergy between athletic performance and marketable profit. For these reasons, there is no doubt in mind, that Michael Jordan stands as the most influential athlete of all time.”

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Junior varsity baseball is divided into two teams Sun, 26 Apr 2020 17:08:56 +0000 When 30 students made the junior varsity baseball team, the coaches knew they had to divide the players into two teams: white and grey. Each was composed of 15 students, split up based on their positions and skill level so that the teams would be roughly equal in abilities. The players were distinguished by their pants color, which coordinated with their corresponding team. 

“It’s all about how many kids can play each position,” freshman and JV white player Luke Roberts said. “‘Cause you can’t have all the catchers on one team or all the pitchers on another. They try to balance the positions and the talent. Each team has their own [game] schedule basically. We all play the same schools at different times. And we play [against] each other a lot too.”

The white and grey teams play the same opponents during their seasons, but on different days, to make a total of 15 games each. Additionally, when they play against each other, the win or loss goes towards their record, as any other game does. Each team created their own friendships throughout the season, giving the teams an advantage on the field and bonds that would last a lifetime.

“My favorite part of playing baseball are the short moments, seeing the ball fly into the outfield after you hit it, pitching the third strike to end the inning, making a diving play at second base, and being able to play the sport that me and my friends love,” freshman and JV grey player Ethan Hanson said. “My favorite memory from this season was when it was the last inning of the game and one of my teammates hits a walkoff and we run out to the field celebrating.”

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NFL Draft goes Virtual Fri, 24 Apr 2020 17:08:31 +0000 From Apr. 23-25, the NFL held its first ever virtual draft, an alternate to the large gathering in a major city that a normal draft consists of, in an attempt to keep all employees, players, and coaches safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. Each individual team utilized technology to make their player selections from the comfort and safety of their homes.

“The cool part was that we got to see the inside of the coaches and general managers houses,” sophomore Ben Morris said. “Also, seeing their families was cool because with that job you are always away from your family.”

From a viewership standpoint, the draft was largely a success, as 55 million people tuned in over the three day event, and ratings increased 16 percent from 2019. However, going virtual came at the cost of some of the excitement and energy the normal drafts are able to generate.

“The worst part was missing the excitement of watching the players come on the stage in front of the crowd and get their jersey and such,” senior Reese Bennett said. “It’s probably the biggest difference between the virtual draft and regular draft that the players are just in their own homes, just like everyone else.”

Whether viewed as a success or not, the 2020 virtual NFL draft was a testament to how far technology has advanced over recent years to even allow a draft to happen this year at all. To top things off, there were plenty of bloopers for fans to enjoy.

“My favorite part was Nike, Bill Belichick’s dog who was in his chair when they showed Belichick’s draft room,” Bennett said. “Draft dog was something you’ll only get from a virtual draft, and it was hilarious.”

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Softball traditions Sat, 18 Apr 2020 15:09:58 +0000 Throughout the years, the varsity softball team has been full of moving pieces because of the ever-changing seniors, new captains, and annual modifications to the rulebook, but time and time again it can be seen that tradition will never die. Every season, the seniors pick a superstition for the team and it can be anything from a stuffed animal sitting on the bench to listening to certain types of music before a game.

“We have a toy dinosaur that is our mascot, pretty much, for every game,” Sophomore Ella Christopher said. “Every year we have to have something as our good luck charm. Last year we had a plastic boat that we would use every game instead of a dinosaur.”

Softball is notorious for its superstition, but the varsity team prepares for their upcoming games by jamming out to a specific type of music in the locker rooms. This acts as a way for the team to get in the mood to win.

“We listen to throwback songs, like Britney Spears, to get us pumped up for the games,” Christopher said.

Although the silly rituals may seem unrelated to the skill of the players, they typically give them a greater sense of self-efficacy when they are playing. This is because the way that the players on either team will play is undetermined, but the superstitions give them a feeling of control during the game and Christopher makes her adamance about having the good luck charms very clear.

“They are a good way to get us all united for the season,” Christopher said. “If we don’t have it, we won’t win.”

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons Offers Relaxation Among Crisis Mon, 13 Apr 2020 16:11:19 +0000 On Mar. 20, the Japanese gaming goliath Nintendo released one of their longest awaited and most anticipated games: Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The game is the latest in a long series of life simulator games where you, a human, live amongst a town of sentient animals and are given the freedom to do whatever you want.

“Animal crossing is a good time passer because of all the amazing things you can accomplish,” senior Callista Mueller said. “Catching fish, butterflies, and traveling to other islands to bring coconut trees back to my island is so relaxing. It’s even more relaxing than a bubble bath.”

While Nintendo did not originally plan to release Animal Crossing: New Horizons in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, their sales have benefited from the recent quarantine. In Japan, where Nintendo is based, 2.6 million copies were sold in the first ten days after the game’s release.

“I think March 20th was the perfect time for Animal Crossing to be released because with the coronavirus pandemic a lot of time has opened up,” senior Brianna Cullari said. “If I didn’t have online school I would literally be playing all day.”

Life simulator games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons are typically relaxed, stress-free experiences. They simulate what is essentially a utopia where players are not held back by any real world responsibilities, and can accomplish as little or as much as they set their minds to.

“It can be stress relieving because it helps me forget about what’s going on in the world right now,” Cullari said. “I start focusing on other things in the game without even realizing I’ve been zoned out from my real life.”

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a special game that has provided a small escape for players around the globe. It has created a safe, lighthearted, and fun community for players of all ages to feel welcome in.

“My favorite part of animal crossing is being able to travel to my friends’ islands and see the amazing community they’ve built,” Mueller said. “I also look for all the fruit I can steal.”


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Colleges make SAT and ACT optional for class of 2021 Mon, 13 Apr 2020 16:09:54 +0000 The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted colleges and universities all across the nations. Most schools have shut down their campuses and switched to virtual learning. While a majority of Americans are hoping the virus will quickly subside, this year’s batch of high school juniors may not be as inclined to pack up their face masks. In recent weeks, a large sum of colleges have broken with tradition and made the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT) optional for college admission for the class of 2021.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak the SAT has cancelled its April and May examinations. The ACT, however, has pushed back those tests to the month of June. As a result, more than a dozen colleges have made these standardized tests optional for this year’s class of juniors. Some universities have taken it a step farther and are using this year’s circumstances as a pilot for following classes’ application requirements, including Tuft university who has announced a three-year experiment with the decision to make these tests optional. However, University of Oregon and Oregon State have permanently ended their requirement for SAT and ACT scores for the foreseeable future. The recent relaxing of admissions requirements has raised the question whether or not this is fair for previous college applicants.

“Honestly, the SAT/ACT does not properly measure a level of academic success, however, creating an opt out does not bode well for underclassmen,” senior Phap Haong said. “They should be required to take it to be prepared and ready. Without the similar pressure many students will take advantage and not put themselves in a position to excel. With kids struggling to get into higher level institutions, lowering the intensity is not beneficial. Keeping the required tests will allow kids to study, take time to prepare and be in a position to do well.”

Although many are disappointed with the turn the academic world has made, some juniors are taking a sigh of relief. With the SAT and ACT test dates being cancelled and schools making these infamous tests optional, it gives the 2021 class time to prepare for when the pandemic ends.  This change also gives the more anxious test takers a quiet reprieve from worrying about their future.

“In all honesty I think that SAT/ACT testing is not the best fit for everybody,” junior Sophia Ordonez said. “Standardized testing often causes a lot of anxiety and built-up pressure that people tend to work themselves up and under perform on a test that holds a lot of power in college administration. This option gives students a break from worrying about something they couldn’t control.”

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22 Years of District Wins Sat, 11 Apr 2020 12:16:57 +0000 Through 24 different versions of the iPhone, three presidents and the creation of Google, one thing has stayed consistent: the varsity women’s lacrosse team has won the district championship for 22 years in a row. The team, alongside varsity head coach John Ault, hopes for another successful season this year.

“I think the fact that we’ve won districts for so long has been a good reminder of the history of our program, and a powerful motivator for it to continue to be successful in the future,” leadership squad member and senior Lisa Reichelson said. “As a team, we have set goals to be more inclusive and to breed a more family-like environment.”

As exciting as it is to have such an impressive winning streak, a new group of players must be ready to maintain this record each year. One way to accomplish this is through the newly introduced leadership squad, composed of five athletes chosen by the coaches to unify the girls and keep them motivated to win.

“It puts pressure on us because we feel like we need to keep the record going and we don’t want to be the team who breaks it,” leadership squad member and junior Daylin Hejtmanek said. “We want to be the best team out there and give all our effort out on the field.” 

Overall, the pressure to succeed can be a significant motivating factor for the players, and they hope to not only reach their goal, but surpass it. Beyond a successful regular season and districts, they plan to go all the way to states.

“While this winning streak may stress out most teams, our team is focused on bigger goals,” Reichelson said. “For a long time, we would focus on winning districts but then lose in the first round of regionals. This year, we are determined to make progress that hasn’t been made for a long time and win regionals.”

  This year brought about drastic shift in the game schedule, as the district has completely changed and the team is now set to play only schools from Orange County. Despite the pressure of 22 years of wins, at the end of the day, the leadership squad, players and coaches alike are ready for a season of trying their best no matter the outcome. 

“[The dream season would be to] end the year a much closer group than we started and knowing we gave it our all each day,” Ault said. “If we fall short of obtaining a goal, we know it is okay and understand that life presents failures, it’s how you handle them and learn from them that defines you. You are either winning or you are learning, never losing unless you accept it.”

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10 Activities to Try Over Break Fri, 10 Apr 2020 17:46:10 +0000 Being stuck at home isn’t fun for anyone. Thus, I created a list of fun yet simple activities anyone can do to get through the break! From watching movies to making cookies, there are tons of activities waiting to be done!

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