News

Amazon Rain forest Fire Continues: Perspectives of an Ecology of Maine Student

By Dylan Emery, Staff Writer, 12/10/2019

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The Facts:

The infamous Amazon rain forest fires are still raging today. There are roughly 76,000 reported fires in the Amazon. These fires started as a result of illegal slash and burn approach to deforestation done by farmers to create more farmland. Having done this during the dry season–unfortunately–resulted in more flammable wood. Already, over 7,200 square miles worth of the rain forest has burned–nearly the size of New Jersey. The rate of these fires has risen more than 85% in just the last year as a result of the common practice of slash and burn deforestation during dry seasons.

While it has been claimed this loss will have a big effect on the Earth’s oxygen supply –which it does have 6% of– I have to refute that with the fact that over 80% of the Earth’s oxygen comes from the ocean, and will keep us supplied for millions more years to come. However, ocean waste and its pollution are definitely an issue to consider. I digress.

Some of the bigger trees –up to a thousand years old– can be opened up and more susceptible to diseases. It can take centuries for the Amazon to fully recover from this event.

Negative Effects:

These fires are even burning the homes of Indigenous tribes in the area, threatening the lives of millions of animals, and darkening the skies in major cities. These are the result of illegal actions from Indigenous farmers, and these laws–clearly–were in place for a reason. Furthermore, this just proves how poorly enforced these laws actually are, that they’re such a normal practice by these farmers–and have been for thousands of years.

This fire is the result of the incompetence of the local farmers and the laziness of the law enforcement. The Amazon Rain forest produced about 6% of Earth’s oxygen, and now it’s being burned down. The fire is producing Carbon Dioxide, which is harmful to humans and animals alike. Climate Change exists because of Carbon Dioxide, and trees (such as the ones being burned) absorb it. Combine the loss of trees absorbing Carbon Dioxide with the fires producing it, and you can see why this is a bit problematic. Fires do not naturally occur in the Amazon Rain forest, and therefore the flora and fauna inhabiting the environment are simply not adapted to handle the heat.

How Can We Fix This?

Donate support in any way possible to stop the fires and help the people who’ve suffered from them (e.g. money, food, and water). If you’re interested, look no further than this link:  https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=7477).  We can also continue to keep people’s attention and investment in the issue (with articles such as this).

Reforestation: we need to plant more trees–like the recent trend. You can plant trees easily, with one dollar donations resulting in the plantation of a new tree. If you’re interested, look into this link: https://onetreeplanted.org/

We need stricter laws and law enforcement surrounding the issue, as shown from the lack thereof concerning the context of the Amazon Rain forest fires. Law enforcement needs to take a more active role in keeping their eyes open for these slash and burn operations, as well as more severe punishments for committing the crime.

We are lucky enough to have an ecology of Maine class at our school that helps students understand these environmental concerns and facts. Betsy Trenckmann, science teacher, takes the time to address these elements.

Ecology of Maine Q&A with Ms. Trenckmann:

I wouldn’t even be aware that these fires were still on going if not for Ms. Trenckmann’s Ecology of Maine class.

Q: Why did you choose to do this project?

A: “Ecology of Maine is generally focused on ecology in Maine, but sometimes we venture out of the state for topics that influence us somewhat indirectly, such as the Amazon Forest Fires. It is a big topic, so it was an easy decision to tie it into our succession and forest ecology unit.”

Q: Why is Ecology of Maine important / why should people take it? 

A: “Ecology of Maine is important because it informs students about all of the important events, relationships, and ecological ecosystems in their backyards / the state of Maine. Students should take Ecology of Maine because it is a fun and informative class with a lot of hands on learning. During the class you get to go outside, plant things, and investigate all of the different ecosystems in Maine.”

Q: Why do you love teaching it?

A: “Ecology is one of my favorite subjects to teach because it was my favorite subject as a student. It is fun to learn about the symbiotic relationships between animals and their environments and how this has a big influence on us.”

Sources: 

Amazon rainforest fires: Everything you need to know https://phys.org/news/2019-10-amazon-rainforest.html

About the Amazon rainforest fires–let’s seperate facts from fiction https://www.marketwatch.com/story/about-the-amazon-rainforest-fires-lets-separate-fact-from-fiction-2019-08-29

No, the Amazon fires won’t deplete the Earth’s oxygen supply. Here’s why. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/no-the-amazon-fires-wont-deplete-the-earths-oxygen-supply-heres-why

How Much Oxygen Does The Amazon Rainforest Produce? Here Are The Facts. https://www.bustle.com/p/how-much-oxygen-does-the-amazon-rainforest-produce-here-are-the-facts-18705512

Burned areas of the Amazon could take centuries to fully recover

https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/10/20858834/amazon-fire-brazil-forest-harm-recovery-century


HHS National Honor Society Inducts 20 New Members in 2019

By Jazmyn Peabody, Staff Writer / 11/19/2019

Screenshot from 2019-11-19 08-16-18The National Honor Society started in 1921 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. The overall organization goal is “to create enthusiasm for scholarship, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote leadership, and to develop character in the students of secondary schools.”

As of right now, our school’s NHS chapter has 15 members and will soon gain 20 new members at the induction ceremony tomorrow, Tuesday, November 19th, 2019.

Our NHS Chapter Advisor, Mrs. Bjorklund started advising in the 2018-2019 school year. “One of the things I like best about advising NHS is that the students who are in NHS are frequently using their leadership and academic skills to serve the community in ways that surprise and amaze me.”

This year, Hermon High School’s NHS Chapter will be working on the Empty Bowls Project. They will be hosting a soup dinner and selling the soup in ceramic bowls made and provided by art students. The money raised from this will go to the Hermon High Hawks 4 Change food bank. This service project will greatly benefit our community and shows exactly what NHS believes in.

Being a part of the NHS is a prestigious opportunity that can open many doors for motivated students. “NHS is National Honor Society, which is a nation-wide organization.  Students are invited to apply to NHS based on their scholarship. Applications are reviewed by an anonymous faculty council, and students are accepted into NHS based on their adherence to the four pillars of NHS: Scholarship, Service, Leadership, and Character.  NHS is essentially a service organization which looks for ways to serve our community using our skills,” says Bjorklund.

We even have a few teachers who are members of NHS. For example, Mr. Walsh and Mr. Garbe were both in their high school’s chapter.

The induction ceremony will be Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 7 pm in the Hermon High School auditorium and everyone is invited to come support the NHS members.


Hermon Community Experiences Positive Growth

By Lexi Meeker, Staff Writer / 10/21/2019

The town of Hermon is a growing community, more and more families come in every year, buying or even building houses. To live in Hermon is a great opportunity with many community get togethers; our community supports each other.

The year is now 2019, and Hermon High School is continuing to grow.  Students come to this school their freshman year and think that there are so many new kids to meet, because there are. Hermon High School has two 8th grade classes come in each year, one from Hermon Middle School and one from Caravel Middle School. There are also students that live in towns where they can choose to come here, such as Glenburn or even farther away towns like Holden.

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The numbers for the predicted amount of students we would get this year are not very far off from what the school actually got. 151 freshmen were predicted to come in as the class of 2023, Hermon High School got 149. This shows that the estimated numbers are pretty accurate, and next year the school has predicted 154 students to come in. Our school had 545 students in the year 2009, the number began to decrease to 498 in 2013. After that year, the number began to rise again and have continued to rise since then. Now we are seeing major growth as we move forward as a community. 

The number of students that attend the Patricia A. Duran School (Hermon’s elementary school) will affect the high school in the future. The Patricia A. Duran School enrollment projections show that the number of students will increase by around 20 students per year. Meaning the HHS numbers will eventually rise in that way also. By the year 2023-24 our school estimates we will have 608 students. 

The principal of Hermon High School, Brian Walsh, “believe [s] that this will exert influence on our school in a positive way. It will give us an opportunity to add programming, the more students the more diverse programming we can have.” Even now, Hermon High is starting to get more options such as guitar and journalism.

Having more students can expand offerings at Hermon High. Mr. Walsh didn’t have many concerns about our growing school, but there may have to be a few changes. As of now we have three lunches, 1st and 3rd lunch already have a large amount of students in them. Mr. Walsh says that, “we may have to find classes where we can have a break in between so we can fit more kids into 2nd lunch.” Classes where it’s easy to get back into concentration are the classes that will most likely be split into two. 

The amount of students that are now filling the hallways can make it hard to get to classes. Mr. Walsh thinks that the big backpacks make the overcrowding and stopping in the hallways ten times worse. Over the past three years, he explains, every group of freshmen that came in were given a string bag. He thinks that if next year we switched to using just string bags, any safety concerns would be resolved.

Senior Halie Jackson, will not be here next year for any changes, but she said if she were to be “using string bags would make it harder to get to class on time.” She believes that having to stop at lockers before classes would be inconvenient. The school has had a no bag policy before, so hopefully after a few weeks everyone would be able to adapt to it.

Having more people come into our community is a good thing. Our community is able to become bigger and stronger. The more people our community has, the more support it has as well. With more people, our community is able to have growing businesses, with more tax revenue, the school budget could increase. Which could result in being able to afford bigger and better technology for the school.

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Source: Town of Hermon Website

With more students coming in, the school will have a bigger talent pool to pull from for things like sports and theatre, which is a good way to make us known. Travis Spell, a senior at Hermon High is a student that lives in Milford, and for his last two years of high school chose to come to Hermon. His parents “thought it was a better school for him academically and sports wise, Hermon had the most opportunity.” As our school continues to grow, everything about it continues to better itself; the sports, the clubs, the academics, the opportunity. 


The Thirst Project Continues to Make Stride at HHS

By Kylie Hall, Staff Writer / 10/21/2019

It was the summer of 2008 when 7 young friends would learn about the global water crisis and set forth on a mission to change the world. This became the Thirst Project. 

keyclub.pngAs of today, 663 million people across the globe lack access to safe, clean drinking water. Every 21 seconds a child dies due to waterborne disease which kill more children every single year than HIV, malaria, and all world violence combined. The task of finding and collecting water is placed on women and children, stripping them of their ability to attend work or school, and ultimately contributing to the economic development of their community. Without clean water, a community loses so much more than just a safe water source. It loses its people, its agriculture, and its economy. This is why Hermon High School has decided to raise money for the Thirst Project to build a well in a country lacking clean water. 

While the Thirst Project started its journey 11 years ago, Hermon High School has only just begun. Thirsty Thirty was the jumping off point last year, where students brought in donations based on the amount written on an envelope they were given, amounting to almost $1,000 of combined donations.

With a current balance of $2,292 in raised funds and a goal of $12,000, there’s still much work to be done. However, the leaders of this project, Key Club, have many ideas to raise more money, with the main goal being that every student needs to get involved. Whether it be through Key Club, the recurring Thirsty 30, or Thirst Project committee (which you don’t need to be a member of Key Club to join), participation from everyone is not only crucial, but it makes the experience more fun. 

Although a sizeable amount of money was raised last year, that was greatly due to Mr. Coleman and his efforts to put together a steel pans concert at Ecotat to benefit the Thirst Project. This act was greatly appreciated, especially since he did it of his own volition, but it does make one wonder why there was little student participation otherwise, as the funds raised at this concert surmounted those raised in the school wide fundraiser.

Key Club President, Kelsey Bridges, says students are hesitant to contribute because, “they don’t want to commit to something and they feel like it’ll be hard to raise the full $12,000, so they don’t want to put in the effort now to get the end result later.” She hopes that as students learn more of what the Thirst Project is that they’ll be more enticed to participate.

Weekly Thirst Project Committee meetings will begin on Wednesday, October 9, and continue through the rest of the year. Membership in Key Club is not required to be a part of this committee. 

Raising $12,000 to build a well in a foreign country may seem like a difficult feat, but it can and has been done. Together, we can bring clean, safe drinking water to hundreds of people. Together, we can bring life.


HHS Writing Center is Back in Action

By Halie Jackson, Staff Writer / 10/15/2019

Hermon High School recently introduced a new way to help students improve their own writing, get feedback, and relieve stress. We call this the Writing Center. 

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Photo by Halie Jackson

The writing center was organized and started this previous school year in Fall of 2018. Hermon High chose to open the writing center because it gives students the chance to hone their writing skills and feel happy with their work. Last year, the writing center hosted an impressive 450 session for our students.

Coaches and advisors work their hardest to make sure each and every student leaves satisfied with their own writing. Advisors take around 3 weeks to train new coaches each year. This even gives the coaches community service hours as well.

Current sophomore student, Nathaniel Wood, says “the writing center was very helpful and made it much easier for me to finish my essay.” He claimed the writing center helped him work through different ideas and perspectives as well as better his grammar. 

The writing center is back in business for the year of 2019 and still brainstorming new ways to help every student that comes their way. They have not only opened up the opportunity to get help for essays, but also any school projects given to Hermon students like presentations, letters, speeches, and more. The writing center serves students from any class or content area. They continue to encourage students to visit for any writing needs.

Current writing center advisor, Kathryn Bjorklund, English teacher at Hermon High, states this year the writing center has “far more decor, and excellent motivated coaches.”

The Hermon Writing Center has also made an alternative solution for their busier students to be able to send their work to the writing center through email on gmail (writing.center@schools.hermon.net). They will make sure to budget out time specifically for you. They will also be sure to leave comments, questions, or suggestions to ensure you have the best version of your work. 

The writing center is open blocks B2, B3, B4 as of right now. 

Kathryn Bjorklund is “absolutely excited” to work with students to keep them motivated and bond with coaches as well. Each year the writing center continues to grow, we can only hope their impact continues.