IJHS Drama Club announces spring musical

BY GABI ISENBERG – After the sad, official cancellation of last year’s musical, Fiddle on the Roof, the IJHS Drama Club will be performing this year’s production virtually. Yearbook Reflections, an arrangement with Pioneer Drama Services, is about a yearbook staff who, while organizing the books, flip back through the year’s memories. 

Audition information is in the IJHS Drama Club Google Classroom. The code to join is:

jc6xn5y. The audition form is due by 2:30 on Wednesday, January 6th. Students MUST sign up for both a vocal and acting audition in order to be considered for a role and also must have a parent/guardian’s permission to participate. Break a leg!

Facebook under fire

BY GABI ISENBERG – Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp. What do these apps all have in common? They’re all social media platforms; they’re also all owned by Facebook Inc. 

Facebook was founded in 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg and four of his roommates. Since then, Zuckerberg has been CEO, and the company has become the world’s most famous social media company. The company owns eight social media apps, four of which are in the “top five most-downloaded apps in the world” list. Facebook is a platform that is not really used by Gen-Zs, but some of the other apps Facebook owns – such as Instagram, Masquerade, and WhatsApp – are. Although students might not be familiar with Facebook itself, they’re still familiar with Facebook in a way. 

Earlier this month, 48 Attorney Generals filed lawsuits against Facebook Inc., calling it an “illegal monopoly.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary’s definition of monopoly (not the game) is  “noun – exclusive ownership through legal privilege, command of supply, or concerted action.” 

    This is a bit confusing as is how it applies to Facebook. Click on this link for a short Google Slide explanation of The Facebook Monopoly.

    Ian Conner, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, also stated in a recent CNN article that “Facebook’s actions to entrench and maintain its monopoly deny consumers the benefits of competition. Our aim is to roll back Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition so that innovation and free competition can thrive.” 

The current lawsuit is asking for a court order that demands Facebook notify the government of any purchases over $10 million. This is to ensure that Facebook does not again become a monopoly.

Why to thank a teacher

BY GABI ISENBERG – Online learning. It’s a phrase that’s been heard a lot this year. Whether containing complaints or sympathy, it’s been mentioned in conversations all over the globe. Some people argue that public school teachers are not qualified to teach online and they’re not giving it their all. The truth is, however, that our teachers are working harder than anyone. 

It’s hard to believe that less than a year ago, all IJHS students were in school full time and this pandemic wasn’t even a thought. The teachers were teaching normally and the students were learning normally. Then, in March, that all changed. Students had it bad. They were dealing with the challenge of trying to keep their grades up and learn online at the same time. Teachers had it worse, though. They had to learn how to use many different programs to ensure that IJHS students were properly prepared to learn. When the classrooms were open, teachers could use paper and pencil for everything. Now they have to learn how to use different platforms to teach. 

“I am fortunate to have had a lot of prior experience with Google Classroom, but this year, my new challenge is a platform called Edgenuity. This platform is what we use for the IDEAL asynchronous cyber school. It is something I have never worked with before and I’m learning something new every single day as I navigate it,” said 6th-grade teacher Mrs. Katie Woodrow. 

    Almost every teacher is having a hard time with online learning. The specifics vary, though, ELA teacher Mrs. Jamie Lichtenfels said,

    “For me, the hardest part is simultaneously giving at-home and in-school students the attention they need and deserve.  It is difficult for teachers to give students our undivided attention when our classrooms are literally divided into two different locations and delivery methods.”

We are all facing the struggles of online learning. It’s just one more thing that COVID had thrown at us. Although hopes are high for IASD to return to full-time-in-person learning, it seems unlikely with the recent two-week closure. However, like with anything COVID-related, we all need to be sympathetic to others around us and understanding of situations. Give our teachers the benefit of the doubt, because things might be harder for them than anyone realizes.