Queens Of The Court

By Anna Langum

Most of us have been missing High School sports this school year, but lucky enough, the IHSA has announced that a small season for each sport can take place in the upcoming weeks. Our Lady Spartans basketball team will get to enjoy a brand-new locker room during this short season. Head Coach, Coach Collins, partnered with Heartland Coca-Cola to give the outdated locker room a makeover!

Coach Collins is our new head coach, but this is not a new position for him: he previously coached the Lady Spartans eleven years ago. When I saw the girl’s locker room I thought to myself, what was the story behind getting the locker room re-done for the girls? Collins told me how, “My college roommate from forty years ago, he has progressed and Coca-Cola corporation, which he used to work for as a VP for them. They were in the processes of selling all part of their bottland operation in three state- Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois, and a gentleman Junior Bridgemen he bought it, and when he purchased he persuaded my college roommate to become the president for him and run heartland Coca-Cola, and it just happened to be the Springfield Location.” 

I next asked Coach Collins to go into detail about the new locker room. He told me how the doors are wrapped with the print of “Lady Spartans.” Also, how it’s freshly painted with a new TV, a new rug that says “Queens of The Court” and trophies on top of the lockers from previous successful Lady Spartans. He told me how much of a need there was for this locker room,  “It’s been here for so long…it was looking the same after I came back. It just needed an upgrade with more color, and things of that nature. I wanted the girls that were in the program to understand that we had a history of being successful.” Then I asked Diavian Mehundrew, a guard on the Lady Spartans Basketball Team what she had thought of the locker room. She said, “It’s definitely a big change for the program. It brings positive vibes to the team and it makes us feel like a winning team. We all love it and we’re ready to represent the east with pride.” 

With a new look all around, we wish the Lady Spartans a successful season!

Are We Really Engaged in Online Learning?

Over time things change; sometimes things get better, and sometimes they get worse. This year it seems everything has changed, and even though we have been living through it for almost nine months now it does not seem real. One thing that has drastically changed is schooling.  At the beginning of the semester, District 186 students got the option to go back hybrid or stay remote, but sadly we had to stay remote for the entire first semester.  

This semester has been an adjustment for everyone, but I think it has been especially hard on students.  School is a place to get away from your house, see your friends, and maybe even escape something you may be experiencing at home. This is no longer an option for any of us. We are home all the time, no matter what.  

School attendance always seems to be something we strive to have high numbers in, and recently attendance in virtual learning has been very low. This semester attendance is at 66% .  There is a lot to take into consideration when talking about attendance though. While many people do not log in because they don’t want to, many kids can not log in.  They don’t have access to the internet and wifi or don’t want to log on because of a situation at home. Many arguments have been brought up about the internet and wifi access for students.  At the beginning of the pandemic, many companies offered free internet and wifi for students, but a lot of that has ended now; also, even if you have great internet service with everyone being online now, it creates more strain on the server, making it hard for everyone to log on.  

The workload seems to have gotten a lot worse since we have been online.  When we are in school, it feels like there is a purpose for learning, and I know a lot of students are no longer learning but just submitting assignments. When we are in school, there is a curriculum to go off, and it seems like everything is busy work for online learning. When in school, you have people to keep you motivated and on top of your work, and when you are at home, you are in charge of it yourself.  I have found you have to be a very motivated student to keep up with everything five to seven teachers throw at you a day.  

While this can be very stressful and overwhelming, try to take a step back.  Do one assignment at a time and check over your work.  Try to not be distracted by other things around you.  Take small breaks in between assignments to reward yourself for getting them done.  Another good thing to do is go outside and walk around or just sit in the fresh air.  While school work is very important it is also important to keep yourself healthy and stay positive.  

Co editor-in-chief

Lahne Romaker 

George Floyd

By Khamari Dean

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was an African American man killed during an arrest after he gave a store clerk a counterfeit 20 dollar bill in Minneapolis. A White police officer named Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. According to www.cnn.com, a judge dismissed the third-degree murder charge against Police Officer Derek Chauvin. The judge supported the second-degree murder and manslaughter charges. That means he will face up to a total of 55 years in prison. 

Three High school students in Springfield IL organized a peaceful and powerful protest. This happened June 2, 2020. They were able to do three protests during the week. 

I interviewed a graduate of Southeast High School, Kenya Apongule. Kenya Apongule stated that the situation made her furiously angry, but she wasn’t surprised. She had also said, “It’s become a repetitive pattern in our society, yet in many situations just is never brought to those who lost their lives in the hands of police brutality and racist Americans.” Kenya Apongule had participated in the protests in Springfield and performed a spoken word poem that she wrote in front of over a thousand people. (Scroll down to see poem. ) Apongule stated that “The death of George Floyd largely impacted the Black community because it repeatedly shows that our lives do not matter.” 

“His death led the world, and as a result, many were able to voice their truth, but at the same time, many people of all color were able to come together for the sole purpose of expressing the importance of protecting black lives.” She also stated. Apongule empathizes with his family, especially his daughter. She said, “She now has to grow up without her father and will always remember the horrific way his life ended.” 

“At the hands of racist America, more black men and women have lost their lives. 

Pleading out for their parents, like a lost child crying out for their mother.

I hear him plead and scream “I Can’t breathe.

And in just 3 words, I’m reminded just how much this society shows us our lives do not matter.

I can’t breathe.

Begging for his life in his final moments and you still don’t hear his pleas?

I can’t breathe

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT AMERICA IS AND WE STILL AREN’T FREE.

I can’t breathe.”

I composed this piece 4 years ago at 14 when Eric Garner was MURDERED at the hands of systemic racism.

4 years later and another black man has begged for his life with those same three words and I must rewrite and tell the story.

I can’t breathe.

This is not just me writing poetry.

This is me illustrating how we have struggled to survive in a nation that was never built for us, yet built upon our backs. 

I can’t breathe.

Supposedly the land of the free and home of the brave.

Yet my people can’t walk freely.

And we bravely attempt to keep living with a permanent target branded on our backs.

I can’t breathe.

4 years later and another black man has lost his life to the hands of racist America.

I still can’t breathe.

I hate to face the reality that this will not be the last time.

I

Can’t 

Breathe

Again.” – Kenya Apongule

Mental Health at Southeast High School

The year 2020 has already been stressful, and the new school system certainly hasn’t helped. It has added even more stress for many of us than what we have already been dealing with this year. Many students have found it very difficult to figure out how online schooling works, and it’s extremely difficult to get help when we aren’t speaking to teachers and staff face-to-face. This, as well as many other issues (including the fear of living through a Pandemic), has put many students’ mental health at risk. 

I talked to one of Southeast’s social workers, Ms. Sellars, concerning this issue. I asked her what some good resources, not only students, can use, but also teachers when they are feeling not their best self. She says that the best way to seek help reaching out to the school is by talking to Southeast social workers Mrs. Swan, Mr. Zentefis, or Ms. Sellars herself. The best way to get a hold of them is through email, which can be found on the school’s webpage. 

Sellars says another great way to seek help is using the Southeast brand new calming room, which you can find many helpful resources that can potentially help. Including yoga/guided meditation, coloring, journaling, and many more! Never be afraid to reach out. 

I lastly asked Sellars what advice she would love to give to the students and staff at Southeast. She says, “My advice to students would be to make sure that they are trying to stay organized with everything that they have going on. The more organized you can be, the less stress you will have. I would also recommend making sure that you aren’t just sitting at your computer during the time between classes. Getting up and moving around movement is important. Also, make sure that you reach out to someone if you are struggling in any way. Things are hard right now for so many people, so there is no shame in asking for help. We are all in this together. I know I am here if any student or staff needs me.” So remember that even though everything seems bad this school year for most of you, there’s always resources for you to seek help. Don’t be afraid to reach out. You are never alone.

Calming Room Link

Written by Samantha Blattel