Editorial: The Quarantined Athlete

By Shailey Klein

I’m not here to write another article about the Coronavirus. You’ve probably read enough of those and heard enough on the news. Yes, it is a tragedy and nobody saw this coming. I’m here to write about how it’s impacted my life and many other athletes all over the world. 

Sports have taught me so many valuable life lessons. It gives me something to push toward, shows me how hard work pays off, allows me to relieve stress and take my mind off of everything going on around me. When I step on the lacrosse field or the volleyball court, nothing else matters. It’s time to compete. It’s time to improve. It’s time to push my teammates. 

Tying up the laces on my cleats or pulling up my kneepads for practice will never be taken for granted again. Little did I know Wednesday, March 11 would be the last time I would pull my ponytail through my helmet for practice. Little did I know Tuesday, March 10 would be the last time I would take the field alongside my teammates to play a game this season. I was complaining about the rough field conditions that day when we played against Gainesville High School in lacrosse. Looking back, that was so incredibly minor. I didn’t know those would be the last goals I would score, the last assists I would have, and the last ground balls I would pick up. If I could go back, I’d appreciate the time I had on the field so much more.

Never in a million years would any athlete imagine that something could snatch our foundations out from under us. Sports have always been constant in my life. I’m always competing, always moving. Change is always happening in life: changes at school, relationships with people, changes within your family. But, sports are the one thing that we always had to fall back on. No matter how rough a day at school, I still had practice to lift me back up. Sports have always been an outlet for me that has kept me grounded. 

Nothing can fill the gap of sports in my life. However, this abrupt halt has given me the opportunity to appreciate everything it has given me. I live a fast-paced life, going 100 mph, and most of the time I don’t take enough time to step back and be thankful for everything I’m blessed with.

In attempts to fill this gap, the hardest part has been not being able to compete. I’ve settled for frequent match-ups playing Madden with my brother and card games with my family. I’ve been staying active by constantly being outside: swimming, running, walking, anything to keep me moving. As a volleyball setter, I’ve taken advantage of this off period to perfect my hands, getting hundreds of repetitions setting against a wall every day. From small quick sets to improving my long, shoot sets, I can continue to do what I love given the current circumstances. It also gives me hope that we’re going to make it through this and come out of this stronger than ever next volleyball season. 

With athletes all over the world stepping back and acknowledging how much sports have given them, I think this is going to result in an even more significant after-effect. I pray every day for some sort of cure to wake us all up from this nightmare. When that day comes, I’m beyond excited to see everyone come together and unite as one. In the world of sports, the stands will be packed with every game sold out, everyone will be supporting their friends on the field, athletes will be playing with more intensity than ever before, and teammates will appreciate the celebratory high fives after a goal or the tight embrace after a beautiful pass, set, and kill sequence. We’ll appreciate the extra sprints after practice for not communicating. We won’t complain about the court burns cutting through our skin, we’ll welcome them. Everyone will push 10 times harder than they ever did in practice, knowing how easily it could be their last. We’ll all lay everything out on the field because any moment could be your last game with your teammates. I know for a fact that only good can come out of this situation. It’s a dark time now, but the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter than any other light the sports world has seen.

Shows About Mental Health: Helpful? Or Harmful?

By Cate Cannon

In the past few years, mental health shows have gained popularity and been engendered at a rapid speed. The question of debate is whether the shows are helpful or harmful. While it brings awareness to various illnesses, the shows are also extremely graphic, which can trigger activation of different mental reactions. 

In 2017, Selena Gomez and Mandy Teefey produced the first season of the teen drama 13 Reasons Why. It highlighted the different sides of depression and gave a very vivid portrayal of suicide. The show, which now has three seasons available on Netflix, received criticism for fantasizing suicide. The National Institute of Mental Health released a statement that the show “was associated with a 28.9 percent increase in suicide rates among U.S. youth ages 10-17”. Local Gainesville schools Eastside High School and P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School sent a letter to parents advising against students watching the show after a tragic suicide by a Gainesville student. 

Degrassi, a show that began in 2001 and had a 14-season run, covered nearly every mental disorder. PTSD, OCD, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, depression, addiction, and anorexia are some of the neuropsychiatric disorders that are discussed. In the early 2000s, mental health was still a very “taboo” subject. In a time where it was disgraceful to have or talk about mental disorders, Degrassi made steps to remove the stigma and expand knowledge of mental health. Since then, it has received various awards for its openness in pushing the conversation about mental health. 

This Is Us, ABC’s hit family series, has focused on male mental health. In a male-dominant society, it is not considered the “norm” for men to express their emotions and admit to weakness. Not many shows delve into the impact of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety on men. Hardly any shows use this for character development rather than creating a villain. This Is Us has made headlines for focusing on the emotional side of its male characters, and allow viewers to see what many males experience and the effects of society forcing men to hide their emotions. 

The consequence of these shows lies in the eye of the beholder. Each show takes different measures to emphasize mental illness and uses a variety of methods to illustrate their points. Based on evidence from reviews by critics, the shows that have made the most drastically negative impacts are the ones that show incredibly graphic scenes, while the ones that discuss the disorders without visual effects seem to strike home in the hearts of viewers. Whether or not the shows are helpful or harmful depends on audience and the content, however, with the exception of overly illustrative shows, most seem to be educational and beneficial to society.

Student Spotlight: Sarah Rosenberg

OHS junior’s experience on the Senate floor – Part 3

To access part one of this three-part series, click here!
To access part two of this three-part series, click here!

By Shailey Klein

Daily life working in the Capitol is drastically different than Oak Hall on a day-to-day basis. Rosenberg knew returning back to eight hour school days with seven classes per day, followed by a two hour track practice would not be easy, but the struggle was even more difficult than she anticipated. “The people at the page program, like the teachers and the senators, told us that we would hate [the adjustment] and it would be terrible,” Rosenberg stated. Rosenberg initially took all this with a grain of salt, and ultimately didn’t believe everything she heard. 

After coming back to Oak Hall three weeks into the second semester, it all started to make sense. “Now, I get where they’re coming from; life was so fast-paced and what we did everyday mattered,” Rosenberg said. Even when not in the Senate, D.C. has so many valuable experiences to offer which Rosenberg was able to take advantage of. “Saturdays we could be touring the White House with President Trump and now Saturdays here, I’m not doing anything,” she said.  “It’s just interesting; but, it’s harder than I thought it was going to be,” she added. 

Even something as simple as having a phone has been an adjustment for Rosenberg. For the entire semester in D.C., Rosenberg was not allowed to have cellular access because of the classified information she was in contact with on a daily basis. The only way for Rosenberg to communicate with family back home was through her email on the Senate computers.

Compared to most students who have been involved in the Senate page program, Rosenberg got an incomparable experience of being able to witness everything which revolved around the impeachment of President Trump. “Impeachment was definitely the most exciting thing that happened and we waited for that the entire time,” Rosenberg said. The Democratic senators who are currently campaigning for the Democratic nomination were rarely in the Senate, so the only time all 100 Senators were present was during impeachment. “Working for all of the Republican senators was a bigger deal during impeachment because all 100 Senators were on the floor,” Rosenberg stated. She had to ensure that she tended to all of their needs amidst the chaos of having everyone present. 

On the first day of impeachment, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi walked the articles of impeachment from the House side to the Senate side. “The whole point is you can see from the presiding officer’s seat in the Senate to the presiding officer’s seat in the House, if no one’s in the halls,” Rosenberg stated. “I was on the doors that they walked into and no one was there because they shut down the entire Capitol building,” Rosenberg added. “It was insane—the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!” she exclaimed.

Going into the experience of serving as a Senate page, Rosenberg expected to learn a lot about the United States government itself and the happenings in the Senate. Although this was the case, she was struck by the valuable life lessons she learned while living in D.C., outweighing her acquired knowledge about the Senate. For example, the dorm situation was all about learning to live with other people. “I had five roommates and that was not easy all the time,” Rosenberg recalls. Working in the Senate was also Rosenberg’s first real job. “We got paid every two weeks and learned about paying taxes,” she noted. 

Specifically in the Senate, what surprised Rosenberg the most was the fact that all 100 senators were not on the Senate floor all at once all the time. She expected senators to be constantly debating and sitting on the floor, listening to each other give speeches, which was not the case. “One senator walks in, gives a speech, and no one’s in the chamber besides the pages and whoever’s presiding and then they leave and another Senator comes in, gives a speech and then they leave,” Rosenberg explained. 

Another major aspect of politics which Rosenberg learned was how different political views are throughout the country, by region. “It’s something I hadn’t understood because Florida is all I’ve ever known,” Rosenberg noted. “The people I met had such different ideas just because of where they live, which is something I hadn’t thought about,” she continued. The senators gave speeches about things that are important to their constituents, like the agriculture in their state, which can be their entire state’s economy.

Working in the Senate gave Rosenberg an unparalleled hands-on perspective to politics. “When nothing’s happening we just hung out with the senators and they want to talk to you about your life and you can ask them about their political views,” Rosenberg said. “It’s such a different insight to politics than anyone else in the world gets,” she continued. 

While entertaining the idea of being involved in politics after college, the option of having a political career is now very much out of the question for Rosenberg. “After working in the Senate, I do not want to go into politics. I think it’s a very inefficient process and it’s interesting to watch the things that they don’t get done, but could get done because of politics and hating each other. I definitely don’t want to be a politician,” she concluded. 

OHS Closed Until After Spring Break

UPDATE: It has been announced that OHS will be closed until at least May 4.

For the first time in the history of Oak Hall School, a virus is forcing it to close its doors, but only temporarily. This afternoon, Head of School Dr. James Hutchins sent an e-mail to parents, informing them that school will be closed beginning Monday, March 16. All extracurricular activities and athletics have been cancelled starting this afternoon.

The e-mail states, “Every step we’ve taken over the past week has been taken only after thoughtful consideration and thorough discussions with many who are invested in both the education and well-being of our students and the entire Oak Hall community.” Hutchins first met with the faculty and staff, in order to prepare them for any questions the students might have the rest of the school day.

“I think, given the ever-changing, evolving situation with the Coronavirus, we need to be mindful of community spread, and we need to do our part that we limit exposure,” said Hutchins. Monday through Wednesday of next week is reserved for teachers to continue to prepare lessons through online learning, with classes resuming online beginning Thursday. Each division is using specific programs and apps to continue educating the students:

Lower School: Zoom, Seesaw, e-mail, and apps accessed through Clever
Middle School: Zoom, e-mail, Canvas, and apps accessed through Clever
Upper School: Canvas, Microsoft Teams, and e-mail

For students using a school-issued iPad, the iPad must be dropped off at the respective division office today (Friday, March 13) to ensure it can be updated with the appropriate technology for online education. The iPad can be picked up on Wednesday, March 18 at a time to be determined. Teachers have been asked to be cognizant that students might not have technology available to them at home, and to work with students if that is the case. In an e-mail sent to the parents, separate from the initial closing e-mail, it states, “If you struggle with technology at home or lack devices or internet access, we will provide continuous learning opportunities in other forms.”

“Let’s be preventative in this sense, help the community, be mindful of them and do our part,” added Hutchins.

As far as the re-opening of the school after Spring Break, Hutchins said that is yet to be determined.