The Day of Doom

Do I have something in my nose? Is my hair messed up or shirt un-tucked? Am I even speaking English? Many seniors ask themselves these questions the moment before they do the most nerve-racking thing in high school…public speaking.
Every PA student must go through this horrifying experience in order to graduate. So why after four years of trying to help students not be so embarrassed and making them comfortable with themselves does Providence force seniors to speak in front of everyone for 9-11 minutes? Is it all a ploy? Does the administration want to see them fail and humiliate themselves? OR perhaps do they really care about the seniors’ futures and want them to succeed in life by challenging them to go out of their comfort zone?

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The infamous Senior Speech Binder containing the multi-step process to humiliation (a.k.a. character builder).

Many seniors are anxious about the day of their own speech, yet enjoy listening to their fellow students give theirs. Senior Nicole Ogren explains, “You get to learn about your fellow students based on what they choose.”
Although students like listening to the speeches, they do not typically look forward to writing their own. Senior Isabella Halek, who was the first to give her speech, reflected that although she was writing about a topic she was passionate about she did not enjoy writing the speech.
A common reason that seniors are so stressed about their speeches is because it tends to interfere with the time they could be working on their college applications. Halek also commented that she was happy her speech is over, but regrets not having time to work on her college applications. Many seniors choose to give their speech at a later date, after Christmas for example, so they are able to focus on applications first.Mrs. Simmons, the theater adviser, and also the teacher in charge of senior speeches, comments that although the speech is no easy project, the administration is simply trying to get the students ready for real world scenarios.
A parent, Kenneth Barron, commented on how he wishes he had experience of giving something similar to the senior speeches because it would have helped him in his business.
The teachers do realize the seniors are not in the real world yet, so advisers are assigned to each speaker. Advisers are a variety of teachers to help the students  with the writing and research process.
Mrs. Simmons said that the speeches are the students’ opportunity to”take everything they have learned and put it into action.” For this reason the administration does not want to move the speeches to junior year because the administration would  need to enforce more regulations.
Although the speeches may be nerve-racking and revolting to think about, this is not the intention of the administration.  The senior speech’s purpose is to prepare seniors for life after Providence.
Seniors should take a deep breath and know embarrassing moments are simply that, moments that will most likely be forgotten shortly after, but the life lessons will last forever.

 

Class of 2020’s Vision

 

Instead of Reading "The Hobbit", Freshmen instead read "Selected Myths" over the summer.
Instead of reading “The Hobbit”, Freshmen were instead assigned “Selected Myths” over the summer.

 

The Class of 2020 finished 8th grade with a sigh of relief. They had just begun to sit back and enjoy their summer when suddenly, the Summer Reading list email appeared in their inboxes. Those with older siblings knew well which books they would be reading in British Literature including: Pride and Prejudice, Macbeth, and Frankenstein. However, they were shocked to discover that this was not the case.
This new list of books was caused by a recent administration change. Classical Literature, previously the 11th grade class, replaced British Literature, previously the 9th grade class.
Needless to say, a few Freshman feathers were ruffled. Instead of reading Tolkien’s The Hobbit, they would now be reading Plato’s Selected Myths.
Class of 2020 member Sara Festin said, “I was actually quite surprised when I found that the lit classes had changed. I definitely wasn’t expecting to read a text as complicated as The Iliad in Freshman year!”
Even though they may not have originally understood the point of the change in the classes, many of them see the positive side after a few months of school. They have developed their reading skills quickly and at a very high level, which will enable them to be more successful in their later classes.
But why did they change up the classes in the first place?
Academic Dean Mr. Tiffany said that there were many reasons for the switch. One of the main factors was that the new order would be able to”better align the history and literature curricula so that they can complement and build upon each other”. This would, “create a curricular framework [which] intentionally provides opportunities for multi- or cross-disciplinary connections between literature, history, and religion.”
Another reason was to provide a chronological order for the books (Classical, British, American, and then the Senior Seminar). This provided a nice flow to the classes.
Literature classes weren’t the only ones that were changed, however. The order of math classes has been changed as well. Instead of taking Algebra I, Algebra II, and then Geometry & Trigonometry, students are now taking Algebra I, then Geometry & Trigonometry, and finish with Algebra II. The reason for this change is not so similar to the reasons for the Literature switch.
Mr. Tiffany explained the difference, saying, “Concepts and skills assessed in standardized tests, such as the ACT and SAT, correlate closely to those in Algebra II. So, moving that course closer to the standardized tests makes sense: the closer proximity, additional content mastery, and increased maturity will provide students with a stronger competitive advantage.”
These switches, though they may have puzzled the Upper School initially, were made with the students in mind. Mr. Tiffany summed it all up when he said that even though both switches had specific logical reasons, their highest goal was “to better align course contents and concepts with students’ cognitive development and overall growth.”

Technological Overthrow

In the past few years, technology, specifically electronics, have rapidly developed on a scale like no other. Although technology can make things easier, is it really good that there is so much? The answer to this question for many people is yes, but if this rapid development of technology continues, a lot of things will become outdated, most prominently, paper.

Historically, paper has had a massive impact on society. It was used for many years by many cultures, and it has progressed over the years. While it would be hard to believe that something so critical could possibly become outdated, that is happening today. With new developments in electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, more people are turning to these forms of communication and are relying less and less on paper. This is not just affecting notebook paper for taking notes, but also books, magazines, and newspapers. So naturally, companies that rely on a lot of paper are not doing so well.

Dr. Hippler, a moral theology teacher at PA, said that there is ” no major newspaper out there that isn’t plummeting”.

Obviously this is having a major effect on people’s lives. This being said, paper is still an extremely reliable tool for communication. First of all, it does not run out of battery. It won’t shatter when one drops it, it can’t be hacked, and it’s really cheap. Plus, many people simply prefer using paper Also, although paper manufacturing has the usual air pollution, water pollution, etc, E-waste has so many materials that are very harmful to human health.

There is also an argument to be made about whether having so much electronic devices is jeopardizing the morality of people. With the internet, it’s so much easier to find things that you would usually have to go to the library to find out. But this means it is also easier to find things that are bad. It is much harder to keep people from bad websites and inappropriate content now that it is everywhere. There is a lot of bad things on the internet that can even ruin people’s lives, and that’s not including the deep web.  A lot of these bad things are affecting teenagers, and although they are often the only ones using the computer, their parents actually bear some of the blame. According to the 2014 Internet Safety Survey (http://enough.org/stats_internet_safety), 9/10 teens say their parents explained internet safety to them, but 49% of parents do not even monitor them.

Father Treco, a Catholic priest at PA, stated that the internet, “brings close to hand an enornewspaper-pawmous amount of information,” which, as can be seen, is taken advantage of many times.

So, overall, technology has  both good and bad effects on society. True, information is becoming far more accessible and easy to reach, but on the other hand, it is jeopardizing human morality, and, as Fr. Treco also brought to light, it just distracts people all the time. So in the end, this “improvement” to communication really depends on the person using it. For some, it can be a blessing, but for others, a curse.

 

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A State Like No Other

A school like no other. This phrase is used to describe Providence Academy quite often. When used, many begin to think of the academics and opportunities that are available here, but one aspect of the school that many don’t immediately consider is the safety aspect, and the security that Providence has to offer.
It makes sense that a school like no other is in a state like no other. Minnesota is the only state that requires officers to have four year college degree along with another nine month program before entering the police academy. The result of this requirement is that our officers here in Minnesota are very well-educated.
Our security guards here at PA are all former police officers with this same education. They keep us safe by making sure no one enters the school without sufficient reason and make sure we can go about our day worry free. They have cameras at every entrance and keep watch over all of the students and faculty while they are hard at work within the yellow walls.
Since the security team here at PA is so reliable, it seems best to look at where they learned all they know. This brings us to the Plymouth Police Department.
Plymouth, Minnesota may seem like a small unknown town, but it is a city of which many are proud to be a part. The Plymouth police department is a significant part of the community, playing a role right here at Providence and helping out wherever they can in other schools as well. They have made it their goal to be “transparent and forthcoming in all matters to prevent any conflicts” stated, Chief of Police, Michael Goldstein. This approach has clearly worked for the department because during this time when cops have been put under the microscope and scrutinized, the Plymouth Police Department has received great favor from the community.  “Our break room looks more like a bakery,” exclaimed Chief Goldstein, referring to the many goodies that people have dropped off.  The department is not taking any of this support for granted either, the Chief has described that he will have writer’s cramp at the end of the day from handwriting all of the thank you notes.
Chief Goldstein is also the offensive line coach for our very own Providence Lions Football Team. One particular football player, Gavin Blomberg ’17, is showing an interest in the career path as a officer. Gavin stated, “[Coach Goldstein] has helped me so much in getting involved with the department and the profession.”
It may not seem as common to hear of people who want to be police officers today due to the negative views of the profession in the news. These views may have cut down the numbers of people interested in the police force, but it has improved the quality of officers; it brings out the bravest of the brave. When asked about how he feels about the current news stories and how this affects his decision Gavin stated, “I feel that it has actually helped inspire me to want to become an officer even more.”
Although the common news about police officers might not be positive, the students here at Providence Academy can rest easy in their beds tonight because they are living in a state like no other.

Mirror Mirror

by Claire Patnode, PAW Writer

Almost everyone has heard the story of the albino-like girl, with obnoxious red lips and jet black hair. And everyone knows of her evil queen mother. However, one of the most famous lines from the classic tale of Snow White is completely overshadowed by the pretty princess. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” The mirror cruelly responds to the queen with a longer version of, “not you.”

Without truly knowing it, mirrors can completely tear down young adults. With a constant image of the perfect human displaying slim women and muscular men, teens and adults can come to the false conclusion that because they do not reflect society’s image, they are not good enough. For women, beauty can be so important that it begins to have dramatic psychological effects on them. Elayne A. Saltzberg and Joan C. Chrisler, in their article “Beauty is the Beast”, described the amount of effort women force themselves into in order to feel beautiful. “Women have spent more money than ever before on products and treatments designed to make them beautiful. Cosmetic sales have increased annually to reach $18 billion in 1987 (“Ignoring the economy. . . ,” 1989), sales of women’s clothing averaged $103 billion per month in 1990 (personal communication, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 1992), dieting has become a $30-billion-per-year industry (Stoffel, 1989), and women spent $1.2 billion on cosmetic surgery in 1990 (personal communication, American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, 1992).”

With such a fierce search for beauty, many women fall short and begin to completely neglect themselves as worthless and ugly. Even those women many would consider beautiful, are mentally affected by society’s persona of beauty. Psychology Today explains that “low self esteem is more common in beautiful women than you would expect. Some just don’t believe they are attractive. They have a distorted self image and don’t believe others who tell them how stunning they are. Thus in their mind everyone is a “liar” and not to be trusted. Some are dependent on the first impression reaction of others to define who they are, ie someone who has it all because of her beauty. So, she starts to see herself as someone with no talent, no intellect — no redeeming qualities other than her looks.” These thoughts can run through anyone’s mind as well as with men.

Many experiments have shown that more attractive people end up with better jobs, teachers favor attractive students, and even a myth that juries find attractive people less guilty. In the Association for Psychological Science’s article, Beauty is in the Mind of the Beholder, they illustrated the standards that men feel they have to live up too. “An attractive man, in the eyes of female experimental participants, is generally one with relatively prominent cheekbones and eyebrow ridges and a relatively long lower face. Likewise, prominent cheekbones, large eyes, small nose, a taller forehead, smooth skin, and an overall young or even childlike appearance add to women’s allure.”

Men’s body image begins forming as a young child and it is greatly affected by the boy’s surroundings. If he is criticized at school, his body can immediately begin to suffer. The website Mirror Mirror – Eating Disorders features an article entitled Body Image Men said that even action figures can discourage young men. With their inhuman height and overly large biceps, boys can be intimidated and hopeless when it comes to their appearance. Social media can dramatically and negatively affect boys as every movie star and TV host radiates perfection.

Everyone needs to begin addressing the human body image more seriously as problems such as depression and anorexia are beginning to infect many teens and young adults. As people become extremely self-conscious over their appearance, obsession can ruin other aspects of their lives. Self-confidence will become rare, if not extinct, if our only role models are eight sizes slimmer than us, two feet taller, and possess impossibly defined features. Once society begins reading the story rather than simply judging the cover, everyone will feel more comfortable and happier in their own skin.

“Beauty isn’t about having a pretty face. It is about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart, and most importantly, a beautiful soul.” (Anonymous)