Opinions

A View From the Other Side of D-Hall

A journalist with a bright future. Connor Kwiecien, currently working as a member of the Elm Street Dining Hall staff, is a 21-year-old journalism student at the University of Oregon, who is going into his senior year of college this fall.

He first worked here at Exeter Summer two summers ago, back in 2015, starting with a part-time job, and later moving on to work about 40 hours a week. Nowadays he is working full-time, and by the second week of the summer, he had already worked for 55 hours, starting early in the morning, “It can be nuts for a while,” Connor said.

His favorite part of the job is interacting with his co workers.

“I really like the people that I work with, they’re all good people,” Connor said.

Even though he is currently working as the News Director at his campus radio station, KWVA, he decided that he wanted to major in journalism just last fall, when he started writing for his school’s newspaper.

Connor has an exciting future ahead. He is heading to London for 14 weeks this fall, to study and learn about documentary-making.

He graduated from Pinkerton Academy, in Derry, New Hampshire, and later moved to Exeter with his parents and lives just a mile down the street.

Although he is very busy working here, he still finds a way to stay involved with journalism Just last week, he launched a news podcast with a friend. In the first two days, they got 100 likes on Facebook.

The podcast focuses on good news. They take the news itself, which is nowadays generally negative, and find a way to make it positive. It is a full news program, which starts with the headlines of the previous week read in one minute, as fast as possible. Later, Connor and his friend go in-depth on the good news stories, followed by a feature story. Last week’s feature story was “why the news is so negative.” and this week’s feature story is going to focus on health care and its history in the United States.

The podcast got a pretty good response, earning around 200 listens on their website for their first episode.

“That’s pretty exciting” Connor said.

Connor is still unsure if he wants to work in podcast journalism in the future — he would rather pursue satirical writing. His dream is to work as a writer for a political satire show or something along those lines.

“Comedy is a really powerful tool,” Connor said. “Journalism is great, but the news is so negative; comedy acts as a tension release.” His goal is to incorporate humor and make people enjoy the news.

Despite liking to work here during the summer, he is very concerned about all of the food that goes to waste during each of the meals. It makes him feel frustrated and guilty, and makes the job harder. The more food people put on their plates, and that generally they don’t eat, the more that goes to waste.

“We’re making more that’s thrown out because people are taking more than they’re eating,” Connor said. “It’s a positive feedback but it has negative issues.”

His message to the students is: “Be conscious of what you put in your plate, be kind when you’re putting it into the dish belt.”

Opinions

Thou Shalt Not Kill. No to Death Penalty

The death penalty. A kind of punishment that dates back to even the earliest of civilizations. 

In the modern era, this cruel and outdated punishment has no place, for reasons we will present in this editorial.

One of the leading legal arguments against the death penalty is that it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, putting it in violation of not only the Constitution but also The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to the Constitution, Amendment VIII, “Excessive bail shall not be required… nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”  And as written in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The death penalty very clearly constitutes cruel punishment.  Life is a right that every person is born with and should not have taken from them, no matter what they have done.

At the heart of the argument against the death penalty is a short yet complicated question: Is it just?  The whole idea of the death penalty is often driven by the idea that criminals need to “pay for their crimes” and that they “deserve to die.” The argument against this idea is stated perfectly by lawyer Bryan Stevenson, a fierce opponent of the death penalty, who estimates that he has gotten over 200 incarcerated civilians off death row.  He says,“The question is not whether someone deserves to die but rather do we have the right to kill them?”  His statement is one that has been echoed by many others who stand against the death penalty, “We should not take what we cannot give back.”

Death row criminals often commit horrendous crimes which leave the populace wanting revenge for those hurt. However, justice and revenge are two very different ideas. As Michael Sandel writes in Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? “We must first separate our human desire for revenge as it clouds our judgement, and if we do not disregard it, we can never hope to attain true justice.”  Because, if looked at logically, that’s what the death penalty is.  Murder.  Government sanctioned murder, but murder nonetheless. 

The San Francisco Chronicle stated that “Whatever your feelings are toward the death penalty, one thing that most people will never know is the pain experienced when a family member is brutally tortured and murdered.”  A widespread argument for which people who believe that the death penalty is right is how it offers closure to the victim’s family members. To counter this, USA Today states that “The death penalty also is something else—a sad reminder of how our justice system typically offers punishment instead of healing for the survivors of violent crimes.”

But here’s a question we have to examine for any controversial practice, a question you could argue that decides the practice’s outcome and future: Does it work?  After all, that’s all that really matters.  Because if this practice works, then that’s a reason to keep doing it.

So, does the death penalty work?  Is it an effective deterrent, does it make criminals think before acting? No. A poll of criminologists done in 2008 by Professor Michael Radelet and Traci Lacock (University of Colorado) showed that 88.2% of criminologists do not believe that the death penalty is an effective deterrent. 

Race can have an impact on your sentence which it should not have under any circumstance. A small effect such as listing a person’s race can have a major impact on the jury’s decisions which it should have never had. 

The death penalty. It has been the center of an immense amount of controversy over the years but as we can see ultimately there is a considerable amount of evidence against it. Though some may say that the death penalty provides many things such as closure it has over the years been proven ineffective, against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, morally wrong, and racially  biased.

Opinions

Man’s Best Friend? So Why The Cruelty?

When you think of dogs, would you associate them with “adorable” and “best friend”, or “dinner” and worse? In a utopia, everyone would choose the first option. Yet in our current world, a demographic greater than expected would opt for the latter. In many Asian countries, dog meat is considered as a delicacy, and in many North, Central, and South American countries, dogs are forced to fight each other to the death in order to provide entertainment. It’s absolutely true that we are the most advanced species, but that should only encourage us to further develop the world and all of those who inhabit it.

Staffordshire terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, and American bulldogs, more commonly known as, ‘pit bulls’ are one of the main breeds used for one of the human race’s most shameful and still current endeavors: dogfighting. Dogs are being forced to fight to the death or until severe, irreversible injury occurs.

According to Juliet Macur in The New York Times, “Many dogs are injected with steroids… dogfighters… sharpen their dogs’ teeth, cut off their ears, and add roach poison to their food” just to increase their chance of winning. Pitbulls are force fed murdered dogs so they crave dog flesh. Owners believe this will make them more deadly, therefore increasing their revenue.

Even if a dog loses, and is able to survive, the dog may be executed in an amusing fashion in front of the audience in order to appease their sadistic cravings. However, the arguably most horrid event that occurs, is how these fighter dogs are reproduced. Macur explains, female pit bulls are tied down and impregnated against their will. This treatment has lasting effects on the dogs, both psychologically, and physically, and has to stop.

Although halfway around the world, abuse against dogs still continues. The Yulin Lychee and Dog Meat Festival is a devastating celebration where stolen dogs and cats are put in cramped cages, beaten, killed and eaten. This “celebration” takes place in Yulin, China during the summer solstice in June and lasts up to 10 days. This primitive act has only started in 2009. Since then, approximately 80,000 dogs and cats have been killed. They claim the consumption of dog meat helps fight heat stroke, but no evidence supports this. The practice of eating dogs have been banned in some places. For example, in Taiwan, if you are caught selling or eating dog/cat meat, you can be fined $1,640-$8,200, according to The Independent. Yet we still  feel that these fines can’t compensate for the lives that are taken from these animals.

Although there are laws against dog fighting and eating dog meat, they are not effective enough. These disgusting acts against innocent creatures still happen around the world every day. We believe that there needs to be global recognition of these problems. Only then, can we begin to solve the international epidemic of abuse towards dogs. With a global code of ethics, that lays out a firm set of animal rights, we can turn a sidebar issue into a top priority. Hopefully then, we can have more government enforcement in countries where dog cruelty occurs. If all of this happens, there still may be a chance to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of dogs in the future.

Opinions

Don’t Just Save The Cutest Critters

At least 10,000 species go extinct each year, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The question is, how do we decide who to save first? The first few animals that might come to mind are pandas, tigers, manatees, or any other charismatic creature you might know of. However, many conservation projects today have taken a much less rational approach to saving the ‘right’ species. We tend to lean towards the more captivating and lovable creatures rather than ones that are more endangered, cheaper to save, and important to different ecosystems. This is why animal conservation projects should take more rational approaches to saving endangered species.

Our desire to help the more attractive creatures has pushed scientists to publish more papers focusing on those few animals, since they have an easier time publishing if the animals are well-known, likable species according to Hakai Magazine. This results in a larger incentive for the scientists to focus on a select few. It is our job as a society to help push for more scientific research which will lead to more logical approaches to conservation projects.

We believe that there are much more important animals in this world to save than the so called “celebrity animals” like pandas, manatees, tigers, and others. Society ignores these animals even if they are a vital contribution to the balance of the ecosystem. An example of a cheaper animal to protect is the New Zealand’s Maud Island frogs, which could be saved with the cost of keeping one panda alive in captivity for half a year, according to Minuteearth.  Another example of an ‘essential’ animal is the sea otter, they only received $1.5 million over the past five years.  According to onegreenplanet.org, sea otters have a very large impact on the whole ecosystem, as they can help spread around sea urchins. Sea urchins play a very important role in controlling kelp forests, which are significantly important for the environment. This allows all types of sea creatures to survive.

Some may say that defunding the current big conservation projects further is cruel, and that we shouldn’t let the more likable animals go extinct. After all, a world without, say,  pandas would be a disaster without the cute, fuzzy, and lovable animals tumbling around lazily on the ground. However, we should treat animals in a more balanced way, based off of their importance, rarity, and cost-efficiency. Saving the animals that are more important to their ecosystems will help many more species in the long run and prevent entire ecosystems from collapsing.  Moreover, the animals that are cheaper to save will take less money from the larger conservation organizations and will be more beneficial to different species living in those ecosystems.

Taking more rational approaches will result in innumerable benefits, most importantly saving more money, more species and preventing entire ecosystems from collapsing. If we start to recognise how vital the underdog species are, in the long term, we could save the  ‘foundations’ of the ecosystems. Eventually these ecosystems would become more sustainable which would result in less money being spent on these organisations and preserving wildlife. Therefore, animal conservation projects should be based off of reasonable conclusions drawn from scientific data rather than what we find attractive or appealing to the eye.

Features

And Seacoast Soccer…SCORES!!

Summer is over, and the Seacoast Soccer Team and their fans had a blast.

With seven games and two wins in total, the games were filled with excitement from fans who had high hopes and came to support the team no matter what.

At first, most people went to support their country mates, but as summer progressed, everyone came together, and the fans, as well as the players, became a team.

Lots of friendships and relationships, were made during the games.

The people who went to the games and the players made lots of unforgettable memories this summer. The Seacoast Soccer games made an impact in a lot of people’s summer.

The atmosphere in the games was positive, and uplifting. “It’s so cheerful,” said Carola Maglione, a 15-year-old Upper School student from the Dominican Republic.

There was always music playing from several speakers, each playing tunes from different parts of the world. Nevertheless, the most prominent cultures present at the games were the Turkish and the Venezuelans, both playing their music loudly, singing and dancing along with it as well as cheering for their friends on the team.

The environment created by the fans and the players at the games was so nice that some people enjoyed hanging out in the bleachers more than they enjoyed the actual game. The crowd got bigger each time. It was the perfect example and opportunity to take in and showcase once again, the diversity Exeter Summer has to offer.

The audience’s positivity and good vibes reached the players, encouraging and boosting their confidence as well as their mood. “The crowd screaming for you inspires you to do your best,” said Rodrigo Guevara, 16-year-old Venezuelan defender from the Seacoast team. “It motivates you.”

By the end, it didn’t matter if the team won or lost: the game was the place to be. It was always a trending topic on people’s Snapchats. It was impossible to go to the Grill that day and not see people buying snacks to go see the game: it was part of many Exeter students’ routine.

Regardless, the coaches were expecting better results, and they stated that in order to win more games, the players needed to work on their attitude, especially the older players, who tended to have trouble keeping focused.

Features

I’ll Never Forget My Favorite Memory

The 2017 Exeter Summer session is coming to an end. It’s a crazy feeling to really think that every student on campus has been here for five weeks. Five weeks to bond and make new friends with international students from all over the world. Five weeks to create new memories.

In the time we were all given here at Exeter, we all have a favorite memory that will always stay with us.

So I asked students a question: “What is your favorite memory of Exeter?”

“My favorite memory here at Exeter is going to Canobie Lake. I never expected to have so much fun off campus with my friends. It was good day to go to an amusement park with the people that give you good vibes.”- Jewelie Fran

“I would say going to Boston Common. Having the freedom to walk around Boston and explore without having an adult because someday I will be exploring a new place on my own. It was a great an experience for me.”- Kevin Gray

“Best memory would definitely be introducing myself to entirely new people. I was so happy about how fast I made friends within the first day on campus. I now know that a simple ‘Hey or Hi’ will go quite a way.”- George Lingry

“The best memory I have would be, taking pictures with everyone I met. The phrase ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ is true because when I`m home I will look back at all pictures and think to myself and smile because that’s literally all I can do.” –Kyren Moe

“My favorite memory here would be collaborating with my classmates. It`s interesting because everyone is different with opinions and when they share, they share their thoughts.” – Fae Moorie

“The dance, definitely the dance. The majority of the summer students danced the night away and it was so much fun! Everyone expressing themselves, but through music. I can say I enjoyed myself the most the night of the dance.” – Kelly Rian

One memory can make a difference in someone`s life. At Exeter that is exactly what it did for students who attended Exeter Summer. Memories is all we will have once the session is over and they will always make us smile or laugh when we think back.

Features

Exeter: Where Stereotypes Come to Die

Here at Exeter Summer, diversity abounds, and can be considered the heart of the experience. Yet, some students have never met people that differ drastically from them, whether by sexuality, ethnicity, or religion.  Students from various places in the world were asked if they had stereotypes about a certain group of people before they arrived to here and whether, after the met the people, those stereotypes changed. Here are their responses:

“Yes, and yes, the stereotypes were for gay people because we don’t have a lot of gay people in Saudi [Arabia],” said Abdulrahman Alayli from Lebanon. ”I thought they wouldn’t be open and kind and nice and everything, but I’ve realized that they’re still people.”

Jacinda Duesbury from New York,  had another preconception. “The stereotypes I had when coming here was that I thought people that weren’t on scholarship would be more academically advanced than me, but that wasn’t the case,” she said. “Everyone seems to have the same level of intelligence in Exeter. I’m just glad to be able to surround myself with people who are smart and like me.”

But Naomi Jones from New York said, “I had the stereotype that there would be a lot of over privileged white people here” she said. “That stereotype was not proved to be wrong.”

Sheridan Figueroa from New York said: “I thought a lot of women in the Middle East were oppressed, there would be a lot of richer people and people would be divided in their similar cultural groups. From here I’ve learned so much truth about the world. The Saudi women are free to do as they please and aren’t controlled by men. There are many people in similar financial situations like [me]; and people are very accepting when you put yourself out there, I thought the groups would be segregated and some were but once I got the courage to say something to them, people from everywhere were welcoming me with open arms and asking me about my life.”

Yet, not all students had developed stereotypes about certain people because they are used to diversity. “I didn’t,” said Otis Maberry from Chicago. “I come from a racially and religiously diverse school, and I was expecting to be in the same environment here. I’ve always been told growing up not to judge anyone before you meet them, so I’ve had an open mind to other cultures while I’ve been here. The only major difference is the language barriers that I have with some students, but I have fun with it.”

Lauren Carson from Memphis agreed. “I didn’t have any stereotypes in my mind because I came in with an opened mind so I didn’t want to think about the bad things and I didn’t want people to stereotype me,” she said. 

Others admitted to preconceptions. “I come from a very diverse area,” stated Said Hallie from Raleigh, North Carolina, who received The Unit Scholarship Fund. ” But, I was expecting rich people to be more upitty towards scholarship kids, like oh you’re poor kind of thing.” Hallie also added: “I am learning a lot about other cultures, but they’re upper class people. So they’re experiences aren’t typical for everyone.”

A student from China enthusiastically said: “to be honest, I thought all the Chinese people came from China. But many came from different places such as California!”

Olivia Salvage from New York said: “I didn’t have any specific idea about people. Because I used to go to an international school. But when I came here I learned about different cultures from the perspective of people that are my age. But I feel like I understand cultures more”

A notion most students at Exeter can agree on is that that the diversity at Phillips Exeter Academy is exceptionally enriching. In a world where media sets stereotypical barriers between different cultures, being in Exeter breaks these barriers and bridges the gap between foreigner and local.

Being introduced to entirely new perspectives is a valuable experience that we will all cherish forever and will surely never forget.

Commentaries

From North Dakota With Love

“A teacher is one who helps others and influences lives forever.”

Rachel Baughman, an inspiring  and powerful teacher for refugees in Fargo, North Dakota, shared her story and experiences on teaching refugees from Somalia, Nepal, Rwanda, and a variety of other locations that have all come and resettled in North Dakota.

“I’ll be going into my 6th year of teaching, so still I’m pretty early in my career,”she said. “And this is my first year working with refugees. Part of that I worked on a native reservation in South Dakota.”

Ms. Baughman was asked if she noticed any specific impact on North Dakota’s community ever since the refugees came and settled. “Yeah! Sure,” she said with enthusiasm. “North Dakota was settled by primarily Norwegian and Germanic people and very white, very farming community and in the past couple of decades there’s been a large influx of refugees and it started with Bosnians in the 1990’s and then today with Somali population and other displaced people throughout the middle east and Africa. The community is definitely adjusting. I think the community does struggle with how to welcome this new culture and how to I think.”

Ms. Baughman paused as she added: “Unfortunately, some people hold some pretty prejudiced beliefs about what they want their community to look like, and these refugees don’t really fit into that picture.

She also mentioned why North Dakota has been a great place for refugees: “There are thousands of open jobs in North Dakota so it’s a great place for them to come and find work, and a lot of people in Fargo reached out to them to make them feel welcome. We have a lot of celebration of culture, new neighbor nights, and those sort of things to welcome them into the community.”

One would probably ask, why North Dakota? What makes North Dakota stand out as a shelter for refugees? “The fact that North Dakota has many industries that are booming and a lot of open jobs is definitely a factor there’s also a lot of space, a lot of apartment complexes, a lot of housing, a lot of room for North Dakota cities to grow,” Ms. Baughman said.

Another factor she mentioned is: “There’s good public transit. So people don’t necessarily need a car to get around in the city of Fargo or West Fargo. So it’s easy to have a job, not need a car to get to work, and have an affordable place to live.”

We then discussed how the coming of these refugees affected North Dakota’s economy. “They’re [have] actually been a lot of studies right now, there hasn’t been a lot of transparent data-keeping about how much it costs to resettle refugees, versus how much refugees contribute to the economy,” Ms. Baughman said. “Cause obviously it costs a lot of money to bring people into your community, to cover the cost for six months and to support them in that way but without, and I don’t know all the official data on it, but I know without refugees, the job openings would be so huge. I mean the North Dakota economy couldn’t be growing as it is without all of these newcomers. So they’ve allowed the North Dakota economy to continue to grow and thrive because there aren’t a lot of people moving to North Dakota otherwise, so they’ve been a very important part of the North Dakota economy and work force.”

She has changed the lives of these refugees and given them strength when they were at their weakest, she enlightened their minds and completely changed their perspectives of the world. But how did Ms. Baughman personally become affected by her students?

“I think as a teacher, I always learn more than my students learn which is one of the greatest things about being a teacher and I’ve learned a lot about obviously their cultures from the food to the dancing,” she said.

“I’ve attended a couple of their weddings, and it’s just always wonderful to feel welcomed in a part of a community and I feel, getting to know their families, I feel like it’s been really enriching for me personally to understand and to know these different experiences that they have had; it’s also been incredibly humbling given my lifestyle and my upbringing and the challenges these kids have faced before they were 16 years old I could never dream of, you know I could never imagine handing myself. It’s just really inspirational to work with these people. These brave, brave individuals who have, are really, putting up an excellent fight to make a life and a future for themselves. So it definitely gets me out of bed in the morning with a smile on my face.”

Commentaries

Dorm Clean-up: Things They Leave Behind

Exeter Summer is having its yearly dorm clean-out on Thursday, between 1:30 to 4:30. Things that students decide not to take back home will be either donated, or recycled.

“Basically, it’s a dorm clean out, and we want the items people throw out, like fans, clothes, bedding, and toiletries to be donated to organizations that need them, instead of [being] thrown out.” said Lorena Cano, one of the team members who run the dorm clean out project, “Also for the trash to be thrown out to the organizations so that it is not thrown out to the garbage cans.”

    In the past five weeks, people have left behind wonderful memories with new friends, experiences during various classes, and also, things that they don’t want to take with them–which has another name, trash. One might argue that their dorm is in perfect condition. But if anyone had witnessed the mess we left behind after watching a football game on last Saturday night, they would have a much clearer image of the state the dorms are in, especially the trouble that went along.

Leaving trash behind is not a PEA tradition. It not only affects regular session students but put lots of work on to the shoulders of the working staff. So, to help clean the campus, as well as make better use of the things left behind, teachers and deans along with students from leadership classes throw the dorm clean up project. The main goal of this project is to make good use of the things students do not need, then clean the dorms thoroughly.

When being asked how did they come up with this idea, another member of the team, Simon Cai, said, “First we decided to do something that is beneficial to the society; a lot of people come here by plane or other public transposition, and they can’t take a lot of stuff with them. So they have to leave something here. [If] we can donate it, then we can make it into good use.”

It is not hard to understand that their focus is on daily essentials. However, students can sometimes be unpredictable. One year, they found a bag of coins in a student’s dorm. Because the student came from abroad, he felt it was useless to carry the money home. But that is just a single case. All four students interviewed said that they might donate their shampoo. But Tovah Duffaut said, “I am not leaving anything behind.”

    Although this project didn’t seem to turn out so well in the student interviews, there are some positive parts about it. One of the founders, Lorena said, “I think most of the other projects in the leadership group only involve like Exeter students, but our project involves Exeter students when they are cleaning the dorms, and it also connects the outside society, like the charity system.”

“Everything you leave here can be donated.” said Simon, “(Even if) people have used half of a box of shampoo, they can donate the other half.”

So don’t be afraid that your half used shampoo will not be useful. Even a little donation can help others. Not to mention a whole bag of coins.

News, Top Stories

International Day: Feeding the Soul

Yesterday was International day. At the Assembly, starting at 11:10, students from 7 groups performed dances, sang songs, read poems and gave lectures regarding their unique cultural backgrounds.

    “I especially like the amount of talent these students show,” said the show’s director, Viviana Santos. “With only three days of practice, they can present such amazing talents.”

The main purpose of International Day is to let people learn other cultures that they haven’t really thought about. It is the time for people to celebrate the differences of their cultures, and appreciate what they have grown up with. The arts allow people to bond to each other. Even if people don’t understand each other’s languages, they can still feel the emotion that came from a variety of art forms.

International Day brings happiness. Why? Every student from Exeter celebrates, learns and teaches each other the passion they have for their culture.

After the performances came an International lunch with foods of many cultures. Smiles and laughter were shared. Food can bring happiness too. “Exeter is the place to go if you want to experience something different,” said Cydela Malo. “Everyone is here is unique in their own way and I am so happy I had the opportunity to be a part of the Exeter Summer School Program.”