Knight Life The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community Fri, 09 Oct 2020 16:34:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Students find time for both work and school Fri, 09 Oct 2020 16:15:22 +0000 Between the feeling of independence and extra cash, summer jobs are a great way for teenagers to prepare for life as an adult. Although, as summer ends and school starts, teenagers can find themselves struggling to manage their time wisely. 

Over the summer, many teens get jobs; however, as the school year starts, students are having to balance their school life with their work. 

“It’s just not having enough time in a day to do all the things I want,” Loy Norrix senior Carlos Morales said

In the article “Why so few teenagers have jobs anymore” written by Jessica Dickler of CNBC, we learn that “just over one-third, or 35%, of teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are part of the workforce.” 

This means that one-third of high schoolers have to learn to balance the responsibilities of both school and a job. They are finding new ways to complete their school work, relax, and still make money. 

With less time to themselves, many changes have to be made, especially with work schedules. For Loy Norrix senior Shelby Richardson, this meant a cut back on hours. Richardson has worked at the restaurant Red Robin for 2 years. During the summer, she works 18 to 23 hours a week, and once the school year starts, she only works 16 hours a week. 

“With school starting back up, I saw my hours scheduled really plummet — which makes sense, gives the students that work at Red Robin more time for school,” Richardson said. 

Even with less hours at work, this doesn’t mean more free-time. LN junior Alex King got a summer job this year, and while she enjoys getting the money, she’s had to lose some after school free time. After school, she goes straight to work, and while this doesn’t impact her studying time too much, it is annoying for her. 

“Going straight to work from school is annoying because I don’t get a break and it can make me feel exhausted,” King said. 

Rearranging schedules and losing free time can be difficult for students with a new job, yet after a while they find a schedule that really works for them. 

“It was really hard to fit everything in my day,” Morales said, mentioning how he had to stop some hobbies such as drawing and dancing. 

School is a top priority for students, no matter how little time they have because of their job. This means that they find time to do homework whenever possible. Richardson normally does her homework in the mornings, or at her second job at Consumer Credit Union as a virtual learning instructor. 

“They’re like ‘yeah you can do your class stuff during that time, it doesn’t matter, as long as you keep an eye on the kids, you’re fine,’” Richardson said about her employers at Consumers Credit Union. This has helped her multitask and get the most done in a day. 

Morales, however, does his homework late at night, or whenever he has free time. Right now, with online classes, Morales does most of his homework during lunch or between classes. However, when school goes back to in person, he plans on spending the two to three hours between work and school to get most of his homework done. 

“I will still have 2-3 hours of ‘free time’ where I can spend most of my time doing homework,” Morales said. 

Even though jobs take up a majority of student’s time, they are still important and help teenagers get the one thing they want most: money. Morales described his job as challenging, but even through the trials he needed the money for after high school. 

Richardson said that the struggles of a job were worth it for the money, “because when you do have those days when you’re not working, it means you can go out and get food with your friends, and then it’s awesome.”

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Class of 2021 set to take SAT on October 14 Thu, 08 Oct 2020 19:12:01 +0000 As spring approaches, juniors prepare to take one of the most stressful tests of their high school career: the SAT, but not for the class of 2021.This year’s seniors weren’t able to take it last spring due to the forced COVID-19 closings They were notified on Sept. 17 of the rescheduled SAT date. Now, the SAT is scheduled for Oct. 14 and will be held inside Loy Norrix.

It is optional for students to take the SAT, but Loy Norrix senior Nick Fries feels somewhat pressured to opt in, even though academically, he feels very unprepared. 

“Given the circumstances and everything going on in the world, I’ve been a little occupied and stressed, so studying and preparing wasn’t at the forefront of my mind,” Fries said.

Algebra 2 and French teacher Patrick Greeley has a more positive outlook on students’ ability to succeed. 

“If it’s an optional test then I think that students who choose to come in and take it, I think they’re pretty well prepared,” Greeley said.

Students will be required to wear masks the entire time they are inside the school, and the test will be completely free of charge.

Loy Norrix senior Yancy Quinn-Cabrera will not be taking the SAT and feels perfectly fine about missing it. 

“I don’t think I would do very well,” Quinn-Cabrera said, even though he did well on his PSATs. “Last year I didn’t really learn much. I passed classes.” 

Since Quinn-Cabrera will be attending Kalamazoo Valley Community College next school year, it isn’t necessary for him to take the SAT. 

“I do feel more ready for college than I am for the SAT,” said Quinn-Cabrera.

Quinn-Cabrera believes it will make more sense for a lot of students to not take the SAT since many colleges are dropping or relaxing their SAT requirements due to the circumstances. 

Hopefully those students who decide to take the test will be unaffected by the circumstances and succeed as they normally would if school was in session as usual.

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How quarantine changes students: Georgia Hutton’s evolution in isolation Thu, 01 Oct 2020 15:15:10 +0000 Students left school in March expecting to enjoy a two week vacation before going back to school. Instead, they were greeted with a six month stretch of first online school, then summer vacation, and finally online school again.
Obviously, this extended time with less social exposure and more time alone will have lasting effects on everyone, but particularly teenagers. With this new time at home, students are spending more time on social media, which one girl attributes to her style change.
Sophomore Georgia Hutton thinks that her time at home has changed her style and even her personality and music. Hutton used to only listen to indie music, but now there’s more of a range. She hasn’t stopped listening to any of her favorites from before quarantine, but said that she has picked up several new artists. Her new favorites include Mother Mother, Arctic Monkeys, the Honeysticks, Current Joys, and Bikini Kill.
At the beginning of quarantine, Hutton described her style as simple, minimal and girly. Now, it’s modified to be indie, consisting of brighter pieces and more accessories.
“I kinda just go anywhere,” Hutton mentioned about where she shops for clothes, listing thrift stores, some fast-fashion sites and even Spirit Halloween as her favorites.
“I was just a little boring,” Hutton remembered, contributing her style alteration to an edgy friend and use of the social media app TikTok, where Hutton claimed that she was exposed to her current style.
She isn’t the only person using the app more. An article from Oberlo, “10 TikTok Statistics That You Need to Know in 2020” lists some data about the app. Not only was the app downloaded 315 million times in the first quarter of 2020, “41 percent of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24.” In the absence of in-person human interaction, teenagers have turned to social media.
Hutton mentioned that she gets compliments on how she dresses in some places, but at other times will get judgemental stares.
“I think I feel more confident, but it really depends on where I am,” Hutton continued describing how this new clothing makes her feel. “When I’m on my own, though, I feel really confident.”
“My parents are pretty okay with it though, I know my mom thinks it’s cool.” Hutton said about how her parents feel. Even though Hutton said they might judge her, it’s just because they don’t understand.
Even with some judgement, Hutton feels that her style is completely worth it. Hutton even gave some advice for people who wish to change their style. The sophomore remarked that it’s best to just try to ignore what other people think, which is a skill you learn over time.
“Just have a good time with it,” Hutton advised, “If whatever you do, wear, etc. makes you happy, then that’s right for you.”
Hutton proves that isolation may be the perfect opportunity for students to explore who they truly are and who they want to be.

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We’re not ready for normalcy; it’s too soon for movie theaters to open Wed, 30 Sep 2020 06:20:21 +0000 In the era of COVID-19, many of the things that used to bring joy to everyday life have sadly been shut down until public health is no longer at risk. 

The closing of movie theaters around the country last March left me particularly heartbroken. I remember the last movie I saw in theaters pretty distinctly; it was Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women,” and I saw it with my mother over winter break. 

Since March, COVID-19 has continued to ravage the US, infecting nearly 7 million and leaving 200 thousand dead, in places like Ohio, Indiana and even the Upper Peninsula though, movie theaters are beginning to open again. 

As of September 2020, movie theaters in West Michigan have not yet reopened in accordance with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Safe Start guidelines, but they could in the near future if cases in West Michigan continue to decrease and we are moved from phase five to phase six. It’s important to be aware of the potential risks to yourself and your community. 

AMC is one of the largest movie theater chains in the country, and we have one right here in downtown Kalamazoo. On their website AMC lists many of the safety precautions they plan on taking in order to prevent the possible spread of the virus, including requiring masks, reducing capacity and enforcing social distancing requirements. Even with these measures in place, I am skeptical.

I feel like it would be difficult to monitor who is wearing a mask or not in a dark theater. People love to eat at the movies, and you have to take your mask off to do that… I feel like the theaters would be too difficult to run,” said movie lover Jack Fergusson, a senior at Loy Norrix.

The release of Christopher Nolan’s new action film, “Tenet,” pushed many theaters around the country to open their doors, promising to bring in significant box-office revenue. In reality, “Tenet” only made roughly $10 million over its first weekend, a meager sum in comparison to some of Nolan’s other films: “Batman Begins” made $48 million in its opening weekend and “Inception” made $62.7 million.

According to the article “Movie Theaters Returned. Audiences Didn’t. Now What?” by Nicole Sperling and Brooks Barnes of the New York Times, “whatever the reason, the bottom line was strikingly clear: People aren’t going to the movies at anywhere close to the numbers that Hollywood hoped, and things are not expected to improve in the near term.”

It’s not just customers that are afraid of movie theaters reopening, many employees have shared their thoughts and fears regarding the prospect. 

According to the article “As movie theaters reopen nationwide, some employees are reluctant to return” by Sonia Rao of the Washington Post, “employees of chains across the country expressed doubts about whether these new workplace standards would be met everywhere. Some were given only a few days to prepare to return to work, where they would have to contend with twice as many responsibilities and a fraction of the staff.”

“I don’t think being in an enclosed space like that for two to three hours is smart considering how COVID spreads,” said senior Greta Salamun, who has starred in shows such as “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “Pippin” at Loy Norrix. 

Those currently in favor of theaters reopening are those who would profit from getting people to go see movies. When movie theaters closed in March, the entire industry lost billions of dollars and many people lost their jobs. Some smaller theaters and chains may never recover and have to close permanently as a result. 

Even with the potential financial drawbacks of continuing to keep theaters closed, I believe that the risk to public safety is greater. The economy will have the opportunity to recover, but it isn’t possible to bring people back from the dead.

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Loy Norrix football takes on the Plainwell Trojans with safety protocols in place Mon, 28 Sep 2020 16:15:32 +0000 Last Friday night, the Loy Norrix varsity football team took on the Plainwell Trojans. With a strong start to the game, a touchdown was made in the first quarter by the Knights. A well fought game was ended with a tough loss for Norrix, with the resulting score being 6-46. 

After only a handful of pre-season practices, the 2020 football season had been postponed due to the coronavirus. A few weeks went by and thinking there was no season, the team was given the go ahead. The season was then able to pick back up, if the proper precautions were being taken.

During every practice, the players are required to wear masks and sanitize equipment at the end of each night. Hand sanitizer is given multiple times throughout practice to players and coaches.

“The first thing I do when I get to practice is pick up the hand sanitizer, which is put into this huge spray bottle, and head to the field. Later, when the boys are on a water break we will give them another round,” said football manager, senior Annika Flores. “ At the end of practice, they all line up before going into the gym and their helmets are sprayed down, and so are their gloves if they have them.”

During the Norrix/Plainwell game, coaches, players and viewers were required to keep their masks on throughout the duration of the game. At one point in the second quarter, a penalty was called on Norrix for one of the players’ masks slipping off during a tackle. 

“It was really great to be back on the field again, the spit-guard on the bottom of my face mask didn’t cause much trouble except when it came to getting water,” said junior Anthony Kimbrough. “But it was just great to be out there and to get hit.”

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Class of 2020’s socially-distanced graduation ceremony Sat, 15 Aug 2020 02:29:34 +0000 Class of 2020's socially-distanced graduation ceremony

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Riots in the US are diminishing the intentions of the Black Lives Matter movement Thu, 25 Jun 2020 23:55:53 +0000 On May 25th 2020, 46 year old George Floyd died after being pinned down by a police officer for nine minutes. While Floyd’s death sadly isn’t the first to happen in this nature, the spread of the video of this event caused a social media uproar and has been the recent spark for protests advocating for the Black Lives Matter movement across the nation. 

For members of the Black Community, this has been one of the constant reminders that skin is definitive in their image as a citizen. 

“Even though I would consider myself a great student and law abiding citizen, it still feels like I’m at risk of being profiled just because my skin is very dark,” explained Loy Norrix 2020 graduate Henry Parwoth. “It makes me feel uneasy and scared around law enforcement even though I know most of them are there to protect and serve me. It keeps me up at night thinking about how there’s a possibility I could be killed because there’s a clear presence of stigma against black people in America, and there has been since this country was formed.”

Loy Norrix choir director Julie Pelligrino marches at a Black Lives Matter protest that took place in downtown Kalamazoo on June 12th 2020. This was a peaceful protest in which teens from the community gave speeches about social injustices that are faced by black people in the United States. Photo Credit: Tisha Pankop

The nation is in an uproar. In the midst of peaceful protests where people aim for justice and awareness of racial inequalities, riots have broken out and have skewed the message of the meaning behind these protests. 

“Personally I go to these protests to represent myself as a black man,” said Parwoth. “We’re looking for reform in the justice system such as more psychological screenings for police officers, ending no knock warrants, more training as well as encouraging good cops to wean out and hold the not so good cops accountable. Also a way to raise awareness for institutionalized and systemic racism in America. It’s a chance to get people’s attention.” 

Loy Norrix 2020 graduate Emma Hilgart-Griff stands among a crowd of people at a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Kalamazoo. The protest was organized for the community to band together and spread awareness for/fight racial inequalities in our community. Photo Credit: Tisha Pankop

In response to riots that recently overtook peaceful protests, government officials from  larger cities called upon the National Guard and took other actions in hopes to contain crowds. 

Here in Kalamazoo for example, a city wide curfew of 7 p.m. was issued on June 2nd after a night vandalism and destruction of local storefronts such as Terrapin and Gazelle Sports on the downtown mall and other various buildings in the area on June 1st. 

Additionally the police force barricaded a large block on the downtown mall in front of the Radisson hotel to enforce the curfew. Kalamazoo is just one example of how city officials took action against rioters. 

The issue of the protests has seemed to create an even greater divide on how people feel about the government in the United States. 

On the one side, a large portion of the nation seems to agree that these protests are necessary to progress and to ensure justice for those who have lost their lives due to police brutality. Generally, those who riot and those who protest represent two different groups of people. 

According to their website, The Black Lives Matter group is meant to “focus on issues concerning racial injustice, police brutality, criminal justice reform, black immigration, economic injustice, LGBTQIA+ and human rights, access to healthcare, access to better education and voting rights and oppression.” 

The goal of the group is not meant to achieve reform or equality through means of violence; however, as violent offenders use the Black Lives Matter hashtag in their routine of destruction, this can lead to a mixed perception amongst the media. 

In turn, this has led to peaceful protesters being met by violent means. For example, on June 1st, a group of peaceful protesters in front of the White House were tear gassed by the National Guard

Despite the stigma that has developed from violence in otherwise peaceful protests, Parwoth supports the intentions of the Black Lives Matter Group while protesting. He believes the protests are helping to push awareness of dangerous situations faced by himself and millions of other people due to the color of their skin.

 “I don’t want to end up dead because of my skin color or because I’m looked at as a threat, so I’m gonna do what I can to prevent it from happening to me, my friends, or my family.”  Parwoth continued, ”Protesting is one of the ways I feel like I am contributing to a greater cause and I am already seeing the change. Many people have told me they’ve changed their minds about Black Lives Matter and that they now support it because they understand more about it. Those are the wins that no one speaks about and that’s also a step in the right direction for ending racism and police brutality.”

With a large portion of the nation taking action in donating, posting, and attending protests, there is still a long journey to achieving total racial equality in the United States. 

Parwoth, like many others, believes that the recent protests are important in order to move forward as a nation. 

Parwoth said, “Protesting is a catalyst that gains support for the overall goals of this movement and other movements like it. If the public wants change, change will happen and I believe that 100%. Slowly but surely, doesn’t matter when or how long, or how slow the rate of change is, change is inevitable.”

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Loy Norrix People’s Choice Awards Fri, 19 Jun 2020 23:14:10 +0000

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Cradle Kalamazoo: Ending infant mortality together Tue, 16 Jun 2020 15:40:21 +0000 Cradle Kalamazoo is a multi-agency community collaborative composed of more than 30 organizations working together in an effort to reduce infant mortality. Cradle Kalamazoo offers programs related to reproductive health, family support services, health equity and safe sleep. Cradle Kalamazoo’s mission is to reduce infant mortality while raising respect for women, families and children.

Infant mortality is measured by the number of deaths out of 1 thousand babies before their first birthday in a given area.

The infant mortality rate in Kalamazoo is 12.8; however, according to Cradle Kalamazoo, babies of color are four times more likely to die than neighboring white babies. The race of the infant is more influential in death than the family’s socioeconomic status. Structural racism has been identified as a key cause.

Structural racism is when systems are implemented in policies in social and political institutions that are a product of historical oppression. Structural racism impacts things related to housing, employment, income, education, health care and the criminal justice system, just to name a few. This creates a cycle of poverty and crime in neighborhoods that are already lacking in resources that many others take for granted.

Cradle Kalamazoo has its roots at the YWCA. Demetrias Wolverton has been working with the YWCA for over 4 years, and has been the director of mission impact for about two and a half years.

In 2019, Wolverton accepted the position as the co-chair of the health equity sub-committee. One major goal of the committee is to increase community awareness. The committee is doing this by holding programs for new families such as the community baby showers where parents receive gifts, parenting education and emotional support from the community.

Demetrius Wolverton: Director of Mission Impact

Wolverton wants to spread the message that we need to educate ourselves on these issues.

“We typically wait for the vulnerable community to tell us what’s wrong,” said Wolverton. “We need to begin to wrestle with the concept that we are creating these disparities and need to create the solution.” Wolverton continued, “We’re engaging elected officials; you can only reduce disparities through strong policies and procedures.”

Komal Razvi is the health equity program manager for the YWCA. Razvi believes that home visitation is a major component in solving the issue of racial disparities in infant mortality.

“They [home visitations] are bridging the gap between the client and clinics. We’re trying to take the services to the community,” said Razvi. “You are at high risk, just by being a woman of color.”

The YWCA has been working with the four main health care systems (Bronson, Borgess, WMed and Family Health Center) to streamline mothers at high risk in order to get appointments sooner.

“The gap is being reduced already. A majority of moms now are being seen in their first trimester, which wasn’t the case before. Because of this, more babies of color are being born with healthier birth weights and on time, which are two things that relate to infant mortality.”

Terry Morrow has been the Vice President of Development for Bronson Healthcare for about 5 years, and was the VP of health equity and inclusion before accepting this position. Morrow’s work usually revolves around raising money for primarily Bronson-based practices. He’s also on the Bronson management team where he learns to understand clinical operations and discuss strategies to better meet clinical needs.

Terry Morrow: Bronson Healthcare Vice President of Development

Morrow grew up in the Kalamazoo area and recognizes that Bronson is an anchor for our community.

A group of passionate people from Cradle Kalamazoo pitched the idea of Bronson healthcare becoming the operational backbone of Cradle in 2018. Cradle Kalamazoo is led by an Executive Director and is funded partially through Bronson, as well as other organizations and community foundations.

“We believe that large scale social change requires an intentional model of collective impact,” said Morrow.

Morrow believes that multi-sector collaboration is the most effectual for Cradle Kalamazoo, but when so many people and institutions are working together, it can get complex.

“Infant mortality for white babies in Kalamazoo is pretty low, and there is no reason it should be different for babies of color. Change requires that all 30 organizations are moving in the same direction,” Morrow continued.

Bronson plays a vital role in not just the health outcomes of patients, but also their thousands of employers and families.

“We are the largest employer in Southwest Michigan. The banks play a role, the education plays a role. We are just a part of society,” said Morrow.

While clinics play a major role, the community environment is even more impactful in health outcomes.

“The positive correlation of lack of resources and high infant mortality rates is not a coincidence,” said Razvi. “These policies don’t exist blatantly, but they have not gone away.”

This epidemic is a product of our community’s atmosphere, structural racism, and misinformation.

“If you are an employer in Kalamazoo, you fit into the solution to infant mortality,” Wolverton said.

Infant mortality is not only related to direct families and friends.

“No matter where you are in Kalamazoo, you know there are racial disparities here. Why does this side of town look like this? Why are there no grocery stores, fresh food, delivery drivers here?” Wolverton rhetorically wondered.

Morrow says structural racism is at the root of these problems as well.

“It [racism] happens in law enforcement, banking, employment, education, it happens when you walk into a store and are being treated differently. We just can’t ignore that we have to address this issue at a root level in society.” Morrow continued, “Our CEOs and executive teams of all institutions need to understand that these policies and procedures do not work for all people, we need to understand the role institutions play in infant health, before and after babies are born.”

In 2019, Bronson’s board of directors took the health equity pledge from the American Health Association which requires health care providers to do several things around cultural training, such as reviewing policies, challenging mindsets, and requiring providers to look harder at understanding how race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation affect health outcomes.

So what can YOU do to help? Wolverton says donations are always needed. New families need things as simple as diapers, car seats, wipes and Pack ‘n Plays.
“There are so many organizations, but sometimes we lack resources,” Wolverton adds, “We are a non-profit, we need all of the hands on deck we can get. We have space for everyone to volunteer.”
To get involved in Cradle Kalamazoo and help families in your community, visit their website at News & Events.

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Quarantine comic #2: The cat giveth, and the cat taketh away Tue, 16 Jun 2020 13:00:22 +0000
Maya Crawford
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