The Echo The Student News Site of Neuqua Valley High School Fri, 21 Feb 2020 15:43:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 For Kobe: And all those we’ve lost Fri, 21 Feb 2020 14:36:50 +0000 The death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year old daughter has taken America by surprise. Bryant was only 41 and whenever people leave so unexpectedly, we all start to question our own mortality. Even as someone who couldn’t call herself a basketball fan, finding out that such an icon had just passed away left me heartbroken. Whenever a celebrity passes, I always get this way. It’s not just me either; it seems like the whole world seems to stand still. Everyone seems to mourn for the person even if they weren’t a big fan of what they did. This begs us to ask the question: why do we mourn so much when celebrities die even though we don’t personally know them. Not just Kobe, my aunt cried for three days when she found out about Prince. And over the summer, when I found out about Cameron Boyce’s passing, I can’t lie and say that I wasn’t shedding tears.

Kobe was an NBA basketball player for the Lakers and had been in the league since 1996 when he was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets. He was chosen to play in the All-Star game 18 times. He was named the NBA’s MVP once in his career, while also earning NBA Finals MVP and the All-Star game MVP several times. He was one of the last  players who was drafted right after high school and didn’t go to college. 

Kobe Bryant’s daughter Gianna was only 13 when she met her untimely death. If I’m being completely honest, in times like these, I think we need complete transparency, this is what hit me hard. I have a younger sister that is Gianna Bryant’s age, and I cannot imagine losing her right now. My heart goes out to the Bryant family and all the other families who lost someone in the crash. I can’t imagine how they are feeling right now. 

When Cameron Boyce passed there was a bunch of outpour on social media. We saw all of his friends and co-stars go to social media and explain to the world what he meant to them. We also saw his co-stars that did the absolute opposite of others, and they just went completely away from social media, which makes perfect sense because everyone needs to grieve in their own way. We actually expect so much of celebrities because we want to see their reaction, because we so much of the rest of their life. Just with the way that Bryant’s wife felt like she had to make a statement on their passing, but in reality she has the right to say nothing because she needs time to grieve just like anyone else would. However, that is wrong, because whenever someone who isn’t famous loses someone, we are able to give them the space that they deserve. 

This brings us back to the bigger question of why do we feel so moved by someone we have never interacted with? Here’s my thinking: it reminds us of our own mortality. It reminds us that even though we don’t want to admit it, at some point in time, we are actually going to pass from this life. Regardless of what religion you do or don’t believe in, death is scary, and it is certain. We mourn for celebrities because in a way we are mourning for ourselves. We start to think about what if that was our loved ones, or what if that was us. It reminds us of the fact that time is not guaranteed. We don’t know when things can end. This happens whenever anyone in our circle passes away, but this feeling is emphasized with celebrities. It’s emphasized because even though we don’t know them personally, we are reminded of the fact that they are actually human.

Life is not guaranteed. However that does not mean that you should go through it waiting for that time to come. You need to be affecting the people around you, making people smile, and laugh even when they don’t want to. You can’t do anything about when it is your time to go, but you can certainly do something about what you are here. Make the most out of your time here so when you do go, people can remember those amazing times that you had together and they can remember you fondly.

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Clown Corner: 5 Minute Clowns (Crafts) Fri, 21 Feb 2020 14:26:49 +0000 One of the internet’s oldest and biggest trends is ‘life hacks’ and crafts. The Youtube field is dominated by the behemoth known as “5 Minute Crafts.” They aim to provide watchers with ‘life hacks’ and cute crafts that will improve lives. On Clown Corner this week, we discuss how clown-ish the massive channel is.

The channel loves to make up little skits to introduce their craft, and some of them are awful. If a hack relates to school, chances are it’ll be demonstrated on a math problem. An example is making a home-made eraser. But, of course, the eraser was used because the actor got 2+2 wrong. Seriously? 2+2? On God, they’re really dumb for getting that wrong. Another one of my favorites involves a girl who cannot stop taking selfies in class. First off, who can’t stop taking selfies? If you’re using your phone in class, chances are you are not taking endless pictures of yourself. But, to disguise her phone from the teacher, she hot glues colored pencils to the back of her phone. Not only would this never work, it completely defeats the purpose. In the clip, the pencils block her rear-facing phone camera and are uneven compared to other pencils. I know you don’t use the rear-facing camera for selfies, but you still use it for literally everything else.

Many of the hacks are completely unnecessary. They added hot glue to the top of the lighter, to ‘waterproof’ it, but to use it, they had to peel the hot glue off the lighter. For no reason, they made flip flops out of hot glue. They would not hold up and would not function anywhere near the level of regular flip-flops. Sure, you can do it. Sure, it has some purpose. But why? There is absolutely no reason to make these and use up all that hot glue. You can get a pair of flip-flops from Dollar Tree for literally a dollar instead of spending money on hot glue. I know I’m focusing way too much on these shoes, but it makes me really mad.

My final issue, and the fact that reveals the clownery in this situation, is the views this channel gets. The channel has 17 billion total views and 64 million subscribers. Videos average between 500k and upwards of 5 million views. The most viewed video has 74 million views alone. I just don’t get it. Why do these stupid crafts have millions of views? I must be the clown for not seeing it. Maybe the public are clowns for letting the channel grow this much. The public should stage a clown coup to overthrow this behemoth. Political uprisings aside, this has been clown corner. Stay clowny folks.

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Lights! Camera! Action in Africa lands a role on Neuqua’s growing list of student-run non-profit organizations Thu, 20 Feb 2020 06:23:54 +0000 Action in Africa (AIA) is a non-profit organization that aims to help kids by providing adults and children with scholarships. The organization donates everything it receives to Nakuwadde Village in Uganda, where the main community center is located. They work to expand their reach by imploring high school students to open up their own chapters of this organization at their schools. One Neuqua junior, Somya Katiyar, started her own chapter of Action in Africa here at Neuqua in August of 2019. With other juniors including Jade Huang as Vice President, Ankita Sundaram as treasurer and Ritu Meda as secretary, Katiyar has worked in various ways to spread the word about the cause she is supporting. The girls have teamed up with other organizations like Colors for Change, who donated 15 pounds of crayons and supplies, and My Book Wish Illinois, who donated 8-11 pounds of books. Alongside working with other organizations, they also sell their own merchandise including bracelets, hats, shirts and popsockets.

Katiyar explains, “I wanted to be more connected with the community. I wanted to show what kids are going through in Africa and provide opportunities for the kids in Naperville to be more involved in the global problems going on especially in Africa.” She has come to realize that starting a chapter of Action in Africa has opened many doors for kids in this community to serve a purpose greater than themselves. In the end, she describes the best part of it all being “helping kids and benefitting society in Africa and making it a stronger community to provide more opportunities for kids, for people.”

As a successful leader of a non-profit organization, Katiyar has some advice for other students who wish to start their own organizations or chapters of an existing one. Katiyar advises all interested students to “know that it’s a lot of work, but communication is really important for starting any chapter or club. Communication with the executive director was the key thing to move it along to start the chapter.” Katiyar wishes to share that, “Although it is a lot of work to handle and manage, it is completely worth it in the end.”

They spread awareness about their cause through their Instagram, which is @actioninafrica_naperville. More information about purchasing their merchandise and other ways to help can be found through the contact information listed on their profile.

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Protests start in Puerto Rico over emergency relief efforts Wed, 19 Feb 2020 14:59:45 +0000 In late January, protests took place in Puerto Rico. The island territory has been hit hard by natural disasters, the most recent of which was a series of earthquakes. After a video revealed that there was unused emergency aid, a number of Puerto Rican people took to the streets to protest. 

Reminiscent of last year’s protests which led to the removal of the previous governor, Ricardo Rosselló, the protests called for the current governor, Wanda Vázquez, to step down. The protesters expressed their discontent with the government’s actions through marches, signs, and a symbolic guillotine. 

Some who participated in last year’s protests have not joined this time, saying they believe that the marches may make it harder to get the necessary aid to south Puerto Rico. Instead, they have advocated for waiting until the elections in November and voting Vázquez out of office, preventing her second term. 

Those who chose to protest, however, have said that they don’t think waiting until November to call for change is not the right path. They believe it is important to act now. 

In light of the video’s release and the publicity that followed, Vázquez did remove some of the people in charge of the emergency relief efforts. She has placed part of the blame for the unused supplies on those she fired and seems to believe that the reorganization of aid efforts will help improve the situation and enable the government to reach more of the people in need. 

Currently, Vázquez remains in office and is continuing her duties. After the initial response, many of the protests seem to have calmed down. It remains to be seen what Puerto Rican voters will decide in November, and if they believe Vázquez has responded to the situation well. 


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Iran-US tensions: effects at the border and airports Fri, 14 Feb 2020 14:25:50 +0000 In America, foreign policy often affects domestic affairs. We’ve seen this with Japanese-Americans being sent to internment camps during World War II. We are seeing this be repeated  in 2020, after the US drone attack that killed Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani ordered by President Trump, the tensions between the US and Iran have increased– overseas and on the mainland. These heightened tensions between the two countries have affected many of Iranian descent across the nation — especially while traveling. 

Not even a week since the killing of General Soleimani, “up to 200 people of Iranian descent” claimed that they were held at airports or at the US-Canadian border according to CBC News. They were held for interrogation for hours and were questioned about their connections to Iranian government and or military then denied entry into the US. The New York Times reported on several stories of Iranian-born people having very similar stories, for example: Hamid (who’s last name has not been released for privacy purposes) who goes to school at the University of Notre Dame was held at O’Hare Airport for 19 hours then sent back to Tehran. NYT details that Hamid found the whole entire experience as “humiliat[ing] and dehumanizing” because the Custom and Border Protection police treated him as a “terrorist”. 

This poses many questions whether these events have been issued by Custom and Border Protection service to only detain Iranian-born people exclusively, especially during this moment in time. CBC reports that CBP agents denied “detaining Iranian-born travellers” but CBC then reports an agent, who wants to to remain anonymous, who counterclaims CBP statements and that those who were detained “were due to their ethnicity” and were asked “counterterrorism questions”. That agent also continued to state that they found the “operation [as] unethical and possibly unconstitutional”. As of right now the US Homeland Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is investigating these allegations. CBP continues to deny the allegations.

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Neuqua to expand world language programs Thu, 13 Feb 2020 14:20:57 +0000 Going into the 2020-2021 school year, Neuqua is planning a number of new course offerings — two of which will be in the World Language Department. ASL IV, an honors level American Sign Language course meant to follow the first three years, will be offered for the first time, as will a blended version of Neuqua’s Spanish IV class, which is also an honors level course. Both new classes are parts of ongoing growth in the district. 

ASL IV is part of the expansion of the ASL courses in the district. The district 204 ASL program is relatively new for a language program. The curriculum has been developed over the past few years. Two years ago, ASL III was added at Metea, and this past year the class was added at Neuqua. 

Dawn Ryan, an ASL teacher at both Neuqua and Metea, believes this is an important step in the development of the ASL program. She says it will give ASL students the same opportunity to receive four years of education in the same language before college that the other language students in the district get. She points out that ASL is being accepted for language credit by more and more universities. 

Tonya Koppin, the World Language department chair, spoke on the new blended version of Honours Spanish IV that the school plans to offer. She says that the curriculum for the class is not changing; it will be the same content and material that the other Honours Spanish IV students receive taught in a different format. Neuqua and the other district 204 schools have been introducing new blended classes in recent years to take advantage of the new technological resources available to teachers. 

Koppin believes blended classes provide students and teachers with more flexibility in the schedule. She also believes it can be a benefit for language classes specifically because it can help provide students at a higher level with more opportunities for individual or small group speaking practice with the teacher, which she says is an important part of learning a language. They’re beginning with Spanish because it is consistently one of the larger language programs, so they believe they will have the student interest to pilot this new blended program while still offering a traditional classroom environment for the students who’d prefer it.

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Neuqua Valley Versus Waubonsie Valley on February 7th, 2020 Wed, 12 Feb 2020 15:28:24 +0000
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Shining a light on Variety Show Wed, 12 Feb 2020 15:26:39 +0000 Once again, Neuqua Valley’s Variety Show has come and gone. As a Neuqua Valley staple, Variety Show often sells out crowds. On a surface level, Variety Show is just Neuqua Valley’s yearly talent show, but to its cast, it is much, much more. 


According to three-year performer Julie Tarling, junior, “I love V-Show because it’s a great way to get young performers out there in a way that’s very unique. It’s not a small talent show: there’s big lights, and it helps me do what I love on a big stage.” Variety Show is a connection. It’s a community. It’s a home for the vagrant talent of Neuqua Valley to congregate.


According to Sofia Ramos, junior, of returning band Dopamine, “it’s a great area to play in because there’s so many people who come out to see the show; it’s a way to get experience performing.” Even though Dopamine is new to performing, they have been inspired by Variety Show to enter a Battle of the Bands contest. Variety Show is an outlet for students to express and experiment.


Variety Show isn’t just performing. There’s a sense of unity and camaraderie among the performers. Jude Shaffer, senior and guest drummer for the band Spicee, says, “It’s just so cool to see everybody doing something they’re passionate about and sharing with the school something that they’re doing. I think that’s really important.”


Senior and second-year performer Emma Wightkin says,  “I really like when people pull out unique acts, like the lightsabers… it’s fun to see what people have, especially when other people don’t even know [they can do that].” Although Variety Show is heavily made up of song and dance, there are other, more niche performances that simply don’t fit within the other Neuqua performances.


Variety Show is more than a typical high school talent show. According to the performers, it serves not only as a showcase of creativity and individuality, but also as a community, a home, and a family.


Interested in trying out for Variety Show or similar events? Check out!

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Trump acquitted by U.S. Senate Wed, 12 Feb 2020 15:24:21 +0000 On Feb. 5, 2020, Donald Trump, the current president of the United States of America, was acquitted by the Senate on both the charges of abusing his power and obstructing Congress. 

Throughout the process, both sides accused the other of partisanship. Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, initially delayed sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate over concerns that the trial would not be fair. 

Later in the trial, the Republican majority in the Senate chose not to bring in extra witnesses to testify on the case. The White House was uncooperative with providing documents and witnesses. John Bolton, a former member of the White House Administration, is believed to have relevant evidence on the case and has expressed willingness to testify before the Senate if subpoenaed. During the trial, however, the Senate voted against bringing Bolton as a witness. 

Though the trial is over, some Democrats are still hoping further evidence may come to light, as they believe the Senate did not hear all the evidence possible. 

Currently, no president in American history has been removed from office after impeachment. Though this acquittal follows that trend, Trump’s trial was historic for other reasons.

For the first time in history, a Senator voted against acquitting their party’s president. Sen. Mitt Romney voted to acquit Trump on the charge of obstruction but not on the charge of abuse of power. Romney has received backlash for his decision, especially from Trump. Although some other Republicans did have concerns about Trump’s actions as president, they did not believe they reached a level worthy of impeachment. 

Both sides believe the trial will have an effect on the way impeachment is viewed in the future. Some Republicans believe that the impeachment was motivated by partisan politics in light of the upcoming elections and have said that the process undermined the weight impeachment should carry. Democrats have accused Republicans of undermining the weight of impeachment as well, in this case because they believe the Republicans did not hold a fair trial. They believe that this vote is paving the way for unchecked presidential power. 

Going forward, this may affect the election. Trump has now been both impeached and acquitted. Four of the Democratic nominees, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Michael F. Bennet, left the campaign trails to be present for the trial just before the Iowa caucuses.

The exact effects of the impeachment and trial remain to be seen.

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Illinois’ new laws and their effects on Neuqua Tue, 11 Feb 2020 14:44:24 +0000 Illinois’ new requirement to include consent in sex education 

Illinois released a new requirement for all schools to teach consent within their sex education curriculum. This has been in action since January 1st, 2020 and it will provide more awareness and misconceptions of consent. New topics can include how alcohol affects the meaning of consent and the value of consent. Although this may change many health programs in high schools across the state, for Neuqua the topic of consent is nothing new. 

Dave Brouwer, the advanced health and sophomore health teacher at Neuqua, touched upon the importance of teaching consent in high schools. When it comes to consent, not every school in the state has the same curriculum and may even not teach consent. Brouwer talks about the difference in sex education and stated the vast difference in what is taught when he says  that not even “10 years ago, [some schools in] Oswego weren’t allowed to talk about anything but abstinence”. There is a very positive effect that opens new doors by having the requirement of schools talking about consent. Brouwer explains that talking about a tough topic will bring importance to the forefront”. He further believes that “we need to teach young [men and women] that when someone says “no” that’s not an invitation for them to be convinced to say “yes”. Consent is more about “no means no,” too. It also means that we are teaching people about “respect of people’s personal, private, and sexual boundaries.” .

Although the new law may not affect Neuqua directly, it allows other states to talk about a topic that has been misconceived information for years. Brouwer finished with his gratefulness that “our district does a good job of covering what needs to be covered” and that this is the final push to have everyone talk about a topic that is so prevalent in society now. 

Action being taken against threats towards Neuqua and high schools

A new policy is being introduced to schools in Illinois this year, with Neuqua Valley being included. It involves harsher punishment to be placed on high school kids for threats against the school. Unlike the counterparts in this article, this policy is not specifically a new law. Giving harsher punishments for a threat is not the same every single time because it depends on the credibility and the fallout of said threat. 

According to Officer Fulkerson, the Neuqua Valley School Resource Officer, a threat “could be as low as a misdemeanor charge” or a “felony charge”. A misdemeanor is a year or less in prison, while a felony charge would result in more than one year in prison. It all depends on the severity and the credibility of the threat. This new policy is less of a law than it is an enforcement. Instead, “prosecutors… are taking [threats] way more seriously and prosecuting them way more seriously”. The people who made the decision hope this will lead to less threats overall for the school. This was partly due to the bomb threat back in October 2018 and the misunderstanding at Red Carpet Rally 2019. The day before the Red Carpet Rally, a student posted that tomorrow would be ‘blast day’ in reference to the trombone’s act, but that was misinterpreted to be a threat, causing school-wide panic. Threats like this, if credible, or if done purposefully, would receive a harsher punishment due to their effect on the school day. This is a push toward safer schools for everyone as threats have been an ongoing issue across the school district and country.

Recreational marijuana is now legalized in Illinois 

With the new year bringing new laws, recreational marijuana has been brought to the forefront of several conversations. The usage of marijuana is not a new concept since medicinal marijuana has been prescribed for patients with varying medical issues for many years. However, with this new law, many question what it’s intended use is and where and when it is able to be used.

According to, recreational marijuana has several specific rules as to who, when, and where individuals can consume this drug. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess or use marijuana without a doctor’s prescription. The new law says the places banned from use are “any public place, such as streets or parks, in any motor vehicle, on school grounds, with the exception of medical users, near someone under the age of 21, [or] near an on-duty school bus driver, police officer, firefighter or corrections officer.”

This law does not affect high schoolers since it is illegal for them to consume due to their age. District 204 has a strict policy against consuming any non-prescribed drugs on school property. It does, however, raise the question about medicinal marijuana and its usage within schools. 

Jennifer Kolb, a nurse at Neuqua’s main building, commented on the district’s policy about medicinal marijuana. The district has made sure to set strict guidelines regarding medication, but as of right now District 204, “ has a policy, right now, where there would be no reason now why we would administer it.” She further went on to say that, “It may be something that if a student is prescribed it with their family members and doctor at home, it wouldn’t be one of their medicines that they would need at school. And if they were feeling like they needed it, they would probably be at home to use it.” If a student were to be prescribed this medication, she said it would most likely be to help alleviate nausea (from something like chemotherapy), anxiety, or seizures. Her main message, though, was that it is all determined on a case-by-case basis and it should only be used as intended by a medical professional.

A similar message was echoed by assistant principal Sharon Ruff. She said that as of right now, there are no cases at Neuqua where a student has been prescribed this medication. However, if a student were to need it, “ there is a partnership with the nurse, the administrative office, and the district. So it’s kind of like a community partnership where we sit down, have a conversation, look at the doctor’s notes, and go through the process of how a student will obtain their medicine.” She commented that administering medicinal marijuana would be similar to any medication given in the nurse’s office. Ruff said it serves a purpose like any other medication because, “the purpose isn’t for them to be under an influence where they are incapable of learning and being engaged in instruction.”

Even though the state of Illinois has passed a new law that legalizes recreational marijuana, the only place it is allowed on school grounds is through a prescription kept in the nurse’s office. No student is allowed to have it on them for any purpose. Being caught either under the influence or with marijuana will result in repercussions decided by the school.



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