Category Archives: Editorials

OHS Takes to the Skies

The first rule of Flight Club is we definitely talk about Flight Club

By Brody Beaupre

Many high schoolers are thrilled with the feeling of being behind the wheel of a car, but what if I told you there was a much more exhilarating feeling. Being 33,000 feet in the air, flying over mountains and seas, and you’re in control. The Oak Hall’s “Eagle Flight” club gives students the opportunity to take the first steps to becoming a pilot. 

The club, founded in 2018, has helped many students discover a passion for flying. The club’s founder and sponsor is Michael Martinez, Oak Hall’s Director of Technology who is also a certified flight instructor.  

Martinez grew up flying. Both of his parents were military pilots, and he got his pilot’s license at a young age as well. “Flying is freedom. You go where you want, and few are those who have ever seen and done what you are capable of doing in just a weekend. You become part of a fraternity that is both exclusive and welcoming,” he said. As a member of the Eagle Flight Club, I can personally attest that this is true. It is lots of fun not only learning about the inner workings of the plane, but also getting experience on the simulator. 

Flying is a magical experience, and it is also full of unexpected twists and turns, which Martinez has experienced this firsthand. When asked what the most interesting thing that has happened to him while flying, he said, “I was low on fuel over the southwest desert, I was a student pilot on my first cross country, and I couldn’t find the dirt airport I needed. Finally found it, flew low over the runway to scare off the cattle, and waited by a rusty gas pump for a man and dog to appear and unlock the pumps. It taught me that aviation is not just fancy airports.” It is this kind of perseverance and improvisation that helps pilots in the crazy world of aviation.

The feeling of being in complete control of something that can take you almost anywhere you want to go is truly wonderful. In a car there are speed limits and all kinds of other laws that you must follow, but in the sky, there are no restricted roads, speed limit signs or blinkers; just open air and a world to be explored.

Hurricane Ian – How We Can Help

By Cristina Alvarez
Journalism Teacher

Hurricane Ian took a sudden turn right before landfall on Florida’s West Coast on Wednesday. Instead of heading toward the Tampa/St. Petersburg area as predicted, the high Category 4 storm directly hit the areas of Sanibel, Naples, and Fort Myers. Not only that, as it moved through the state, cities like Orlando, Kissimmee, and St. Augustine flooded as enormous amounts of rain fell from the sky.

While the last-minute turn spared us from the worst in Alachua County, many of our fellow Floridians were not as fortunate. Whether it’s watching a Tampa Bay Rays game at Tropicana Field, enjoying a Boston Red Sox spring training game at JetBlue Park (a.k.a. Mini Fenway), relaxing and collecting the most unique seashells on Sanibel Island, or visiting Mickey at Disney World; Hurricane Ian destroyed some of the most beautiful areas of our state. It destroyed whole neighborhoods and it destroyed people’s lives. It has changed our state forever.

More than 2.5 million people lost power. Sadly and tragically, some people lost their lives. Those in Sanibel, Fort Myers, Captiva Island, etc. had slim to no time to evacuate. After all, the hurricane wasn’t supposed to hit there. The Sanibel Causeway is now impassable, as chunks of it fell into the Gulf of Mexico. The only way to get help to people on the island is by boat or helicopter.

As I watched the devastation unfold, I couldn’t help but break down in tears. Some of my fondest memories have taken place on the West Coast. I’ve watched the Cardinals play the Rays (and lose every time) at The Trop, and I’ve walked with my daughter on Sanibel Beach many times, showing her how each seashell was different.

When horrific things occur, I always think of a quote from Mister Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.”

It is now our time to be the helpers. Even though we might not physically be able to go to the hardest hit areas, there are other avenues where we can help our fellow residents and citizens.

Cajun Navy – This non-profit organization led by community volunteers travels to the hardest hit areas to rescue and restore. Coming from Louisiana, these men and women are well aware of the devastation a hurricane can bring. To donate, please click here.

American Red Cross – According to its website, the Red Cross “is a non-profit humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and disaster preparedness education in the United States.” Not only can you go to our local LifeSouth buildings to donate blood, but you can also monetarily help.
To donate blood, here are three LifeSouth buildings in Alachua County:
1221 NW 13th St, Gainesville, FL 32601
4039 Newberry Rd, Gainesville, FL 32607
15652 NW US Hwy 441 Suite F, Alachua, FL 32615
To donate monetarily, please click here.

Florida Disaster Fund – “The Florida Disaster Fund is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster. In partnership with the public sector, private sector and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities.” It should be noted, however, that no more than 3% of each donation is used to cover administrative costs. To donate, please click here.

Salvation Army – According to its website, “The Salvation Army uses 100% of all disaster donations to support disaster relief. Your donation may be used to provide food and drinks, baby, hygiene, cleaning and other emergency supplies, or direct financial assistance to disaster survivors. Donations may also support long-term recovery programs (including repair and reconstruction programs) or to support disaster relief workers serving in impacted communities. The Salvation Army NEVER places an administrative fee on disaster donations.” To donate, please click here.

It is going to take months or even years to restore the beautiful West Coast. In the meantime, it’s important that we help those in need; not just because they’re Floridians, but because they’re human beings.

Some of our Sanibel adventures

Just Because: Football Season Has Arrived

By Ryan McKinney

On Sept. 8, the National Football League (NFL) began its new season starting with Thursday night action between the Buffalo Bills and former champions, Los Angeles Rams. 

Following that Thursday night game there were 14 games ahead of us on the first Sunday of the season. These games included many stars studded matchups like the Kansas City Chiefs versus the Arizona Cardinals, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus the Dallas Cowboys. These games, according to a Fantasy Football app, were seen to be the most anticipated games of the week. In further detail, the Chiefs have made many off-season adjustments including the acquisition of receiver Juju Smith-Schuster due to the loss of receiver Tyreek Hill. On the other side, the Arizona Cardinals look to have another great season although their best receiver Deandre Hopkins is suspended for the first five weeks of football. I believe that the Chiefs keep their hot streak in season debut’s and take the win in this one. (Ryan was correct with this prediction!)

Following that game, the Buccaneers seek to get the win Sunday night with many new acquisitions to the team. This includes the new receiver to quarterback duo between 45-year-old Tom Brady and the veteran Julio Jones. They faced the Cowboys with a duo themselves including Dak Prescott and top five receiver Ceedee Lamb. I believe the Buccaneers pull this one out due to the slight edge on the defensive side of football. (Again, Ryan called it!)

Another matchup that must be talked about came on Monday Night Football between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. This game is important because former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is now playing for the Denver Broncos and returned to Seattle in his Broncos debut. Sure, it was weird seeing Wilson in a Bronco uniform, but the Broncos are a much better fit for him in the offense as the team has much better receivers than the Seahawks. The Broncos defense is slightly better than the beat-up Seahawks defense, so I believe the Broncos will get the win. (The Broncos lost by one point ☹)

Other than just the games, many Fantasy Football team owners seek to see their players shine in Week 1 and beyond. Owners are preparing or have already completed their drafts as the lottery pick this year goes to Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor. Taylor received this title due to his amazing season last year as the rushing leader in the league. This means Taylor contained the most rushing yards of any running back in the league last year. Players that follow Taylor in the draft include other running backs like Christian McCaffery and Dalvin Cook, and receivers like Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson. This season of fantasy should be great as there are many new players to be picked, ranging from rookie underdogs to veteran sleeper picks. 

In Conclusion, we look forward to the beginning of the new season and wish all the players best of luck…unless I have to play them in Fantasy Football! 

Just Because: Super Bowl Preview

By Aiden Wacksman

On Feb.7, two of the National Football League’s (NFL) best quarterbacks will square off in Super Bowl LV. 

In Tampa, Fla., Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs will face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the second time this season. The rising star and the seasoned veteran are looking to add to their Super Bowl ring collections, with Brady looking for his seventh and Mahomes seeking his second. This is the fifth matchup between these two quarterbacks, and they have a 2-2 record against each other.

In their previous matchup on Nov. 29, the Chiefs won 27-24 and prevented the Bucs from making a comeback in the fourth quarter. Both teams, however, improved significantly after this game. 

Since the loss to Kansas City, Tampa Bay has gone on a seven-game winning streak. Along with a Brady-led offense, an efficient defensive unit has played a key role in sending the Bucs to its second Super Bowl in franchise history. No offense has scored more than 30 points against this unit in 10 straight games. Tampa Bay’s defense have also held opposing offenses to 327 yards per game (YPG) and have forced 30 turnovers. Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles and the Buccaneer defense will look to stop a fiery Kansas City offense on Sunday.

Brady and the offense are also looking to continue their postseason success. The 43-year-old veteran has thrown for 860 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions in three postseason games. In the regular season, wide receiver Mike Evans served as Brady’s main target, leading the team with 70 catches for 1,006 yards, and accounted for 13 of Brady’s 40 passing touchdowns. In the postseason, however, Brady’s attention has shifted toward wideout Chris Godwin, who has 14 receptions for 223 yards and one touchdown. 

“[Kansas City] has a lot of great players on their defense,” Brady said in an interview with NFL United Kingdom. Chiefs’ Defensive Coordinator (DC) Steve Spagnuolo faced a Brady-led New England Patriots offense in Super Bowl XLII while serving as the DC for the New York Giants. He was responsible for holding a strong New England offensive unit that contained all-time great wide receiver Randy Moss to a mere 14 points in a 17-14 Giants win. “I think [Spagnuolo] runs a great scheme that caters to the strength of his players,” Brady explained. He is excited to once again face Spagnuolo in the Super Bowl.

The Bucs five regular season losses had one thing in common: a lacking rushing attack. Tampa Bay rushed for more than 100 yards in only one of these losses. In its week nine loss to the New Orleans Saints, Buccaneer running back Ronald Jones III accumulated a mere nine rushing yards. This postseason, however, it seems that head coach Bruce Arians and company have made some adjustments, as their newly found run game has provided a balanced offensive attack. Jones III and Running Back Leonard Fournette have led this postseason rushing attack, which has averaged 115 YPG. The orchestrator of the Buccaneers offensive success throughout the season, however, is the offensive line. So far, the line has only given up 1.4 sacks per game (3rd best in the NFL) and are responsible for the strengthened running attack. It is crucial that Tampa Bay’s offensive line continues this success in the Super Bowl.

“It’s all about controlling emotions [before/during the game],” Tampa Bay starting Center Ryan Jensen said in an interview with 9News Denver. He looks forward to the game and hopes to continue providing Brady with the protection he needs.

Meanwhile, Kansas City has looked unstoppable throughout the season. The team has the best record in the NFL at 14-2 and are only the 19th team in NFL history to win 14 or more games in the regular season. Mahomes continues to lead the Chiefs’ offense to success, with the second highest quarterback rating in the NFL and 38 regular season touchdown passes. Head Coach Andy Reid and Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy are two brilliant play-callers, who have the ability to cause trouble for defenses. Mahomes also has some of the best receivers in the NFL at his fingertips, including Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Travis Kelce. In his two postseason games this year, Mahomes has thrown for 580 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. His decision-making abilities will play a key role in determining the winner of Super Bowl 55.

“I want to make sure I take advantage of the opportunity to be in these Super Bowls and try to win these rings, because they’re hard to come by,” Mahomes said in an interview with ESPN. He has continued taking precautions to prevent exposure to COVID-19. “You have to do whatever you can to be available for your team,” he stated.

The Chiefs defense, on the other hand, has been relatively average this season. The defense was a somewhat efficient unit during the regular season, but there is nothing outstanding about it. In the regular season, the defense totaled 22 takeaways, and turnovers will be an “X Factor” in this game. The Chiefs have embraced more of a “bend, but don’t break” style of defense, and so far, this has paid off, especially in the postseason. This unit gave up 24 points to the second-best offense in the NFL in the Buffalo Bills. Kansas City’s defense also managed to sack Bills Quarterback Josh Allen four times in the American Football Conference (AFC) championship. If they can do this at Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers are going to have a rough night. 

Overall, Super Bowl LV should be a great matchup between not only two elite quarterbacks, but two well-balanced teams.

Column: Life on Earth

This week’s topic: Household cleaners

By Elle Storoe

Most of us clean our house by using cleaning products. But do we know what is in those cleaning products? We like to assume that the cleaners we use for our home are safe, however most are not. Inhaling, ingesting, and touching some of these toxic chemicals can cause severe injury, and even death. When choosing cleaning products for your home, we can look for these toxic chemicals on the packages of cleaning products. Chemicals such as bleach, ethylene glycol, ammonia, Phthalates, Sodium Hydroxide, phosphorous, and others, can be extremely toxic. 

Knowing what chemicals to look for can help us avoid harmful cleaning products. Not only are toxic chemicals in the cleaning products bad for us as humans, but they are even worse for our pets. Chemicals such as bleach, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, chemical compounds with the word “phenol”, and products with strong odors, are toxic to your pets. 

What is even worse is that all these toxic chemicals can end up in the ocean. We use chemicals to clean toilets, sinks, and other appliances, and the chemicals are eventually washed down the drain and, not all, but some end up in our oceans. This can be harmful to marine life, and even affect our beaches. 

The plastic bottles that the cleaning products are packaged in are also bad for the environment. Once the bottle is empty, it gets thrown away. We then buy another plastic bottle, to once again throw away when it’s empty; it’s a vicious cycle. Even though companies that create the cleaners designed some of the bottles to be disposable and recyclable, most are just thrown away.

We all probably know that the cleaning products we use are made by major manufacturers. The chemical plants could be thousands of miles away from our nearest grocery store. Just getting your household cleaning products to our nearest grocery store can impact the environment greatly. The transportation methods used, such as boats, plains and trains, can greatly affect the environment. (Check out my other column entry on travel, which can be found here

How to help:

Now that we know what the toxic chemicals are, we can avoid it when choosing our next cleaning products. When we are done with the bottle, instead of just throwing it away we can put it in the recycle bin. We can also look for cleaning solutions in better packaging that is biodegradable, or more easily recycled. We can also choose to create our own cleaning products, without using all the toxic chemicals.