Our Pages, Your Voices: February 2022

The Chronicle asked the students of Mason High School to send in their columns, their opinions, about anything that they wanted. The ask for these editorial pieces was broadcasted to the entire school, giving every possible student a chance at having their voice heard. And those students delivered. The featured columns were selected by the editing staff of the Chronicle and edited for grammar and space. As a newspaper at a school with over three thousand students, it is only proportionally accurate to give a few more students a chance to offer their thoughts up for publication. Columns selected and edited by editors Shravani Page, Della Johnson and Abby Waechter.

To APUSH or not to APUSH

Drew Hoffmaster, sophomore

When it was time to pick my sophomore classes, I followed in the steps of many of my fellow freshmen and chose to take AP United States History, notoriously known as APUSH. Like many, I felt the academic pressure to take the toughest version of a class possible. Now as a sophomore who has experienced half of APUSH, I feel that I can voraciously give my opinion regarding this class that basically consumes your life for a school year.

I would describe this course as the good, the bad and the “Oh my gosh, why did I take this class?!” So, I guess I’ll start with the worst. This class can be a very grueling, time-consuming monster. If you’re lucky, you can find yourself with about two hours of homework a night, usually preparing for chapter quizzes. After an “OK” quiz grade, the missed material will be re-explained in a simpler way, which is sometimes frustrating. As a bonus, you’ll constantly find yourself over-stressing for the unit tests that mimic the infernal final exam.

Let’s talk about the benefits that I and others have gained from this class. Depending on the teacher, and if you’re a history nerd (like me), you will find yourself almost always excited for class and captivated by every lecture. This class also allows you to unlock the supernatural ability to whip out random American history facts, an ability that will, for sure, impress your friends. Furthermore, APUSH teaches you how to study at a college level, making you a homework guru. APUSH also provides its students a strange sense of community. Honestly, I have no clue why this happens, but my fellow classmates claim it’s because we all understand what we’re going through.

In the end, APUSH has been an enthralling, tough experience. I would only recommend the class if you’re someone who is passionate about history. Don’t just take this class to fancy up your college
resume, as it might not be worth it.

I deserve to learn my history

Andrew Levin, senior

I am gay, and I would like to learn my history.

In 1924, the Society for Human Rights, the first gay group in the United States, formed (and was quickly shut down). In 1962, Illinois became the first state to remove sodomy from its criminal code. In 1963, the first US protest for gay rights took place in New York City. In 1969, the Stonewall riots, led by trans women of color, took place, and the first pride parade occurred one year later.

In 1973, the second edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders declassified homo-
sexuality as a mental illness. In 1974, Kathy Kozachenko became the first openly gay person elected to political office in the United States. In 1982, AIDS was discovered,
and, throughout the decade, advocacy organizations
popped up to protest the government’s inaction on the epidemic. Throughout the 1990s, major LGBTQ+ milestones were achieved in pop culture, notably when Ellen Degeneres came out as a lesbian in 1997 and her show
became the first with an openly gay lead character.

In 2004, the year I was born, over three million Ohio voters passed the Ohio Definition of Marriage Amendment to the Ohio Constitution. The amendment says “Only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this state and its
political subdivisions.” Even though it is unenforceable, it is still on the books today. In 2014, ten years after I was born, Obergefell v. Hodges made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

That’s a lot of history. But if all I had to go on was my Mason education, I would only know about the
very last one, Obergefell v. Hodges. This is the history of this country, just as much as women’s suffrage, the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War. This is a history that we deserve to learn in school. It’s time for the school board and administration to implement a truly
inclusive curriculum; to teach future queer students who walk through the halls of Mason City Schools their
history; to allow them to feel seen, to feel accepted, to feel like they are part of a community.

This is a history that we have a right to learn, and it’s about time it’s taught.

Don’t assume things about me

Rowan Ulsh, junior

It’s horrible, being told not only what you’re meant to be, but what you’re meant to feel. We’re
all aware that’s awful, and we’ve all tried to be someone we’re not. I’m going to assume the person reading this is not a jerk planning on forcing others to fake their own personality and emotions, and if I’m correct, they (you) might want to be
aware of amatonormativity.

I know, it’s a big word. But who doesn’t want to feel smart by throwing it into random conversations? So maybe stick around for the rest of this incredibly short column.

Amatonormativity is the assumption that one central, exclusive, romantic relationship is necessary for all people to live a happy life. That one relationship should be strived for, and valued above all others. This may be news to you, but that’s both a ridiculous and harmful concept. Sure, lots of -maybe even most- people want that central romantic relationship. And there’s no problem
with that. What hurts is assuming that everyone does, that it’s a requirement of being human. Asexuality and aromanticism exist: people with a lack of sexual or romantic attraction. To be clear,
it is a spectrum (graysexual, demiromantic, etc.) with a ton of separate identities within it. The point is, not only does not everyone want a romantic, sexual relationship with someone of a different sex, but not everyone wants that relationship at all. They just don’t feel that kind of attraction (romantic and sexual attraction are different, but that’s for another time).

This doesn’t mean people who don’t feel romantic or sexual attraction (aromantic asexual people) can’t feel other kinds of attraction, or love. They–we–can still have meaningful relationships with
friends and family, and that can be enough. We can be enough.

So please, don’t assume people like me are broken, inhuman, or just nonexistent.

Don’t be a jerk.

You can’t force Comet Culture

Joseph Winkler, freshman

Comet culture lessons are an ineffective use of students’ time. I, as a student, really appreciate that the Mason School system is trying to build a strong culture and am not against them trying to do so, but it’s obvious that it’s flawed, and it’s time we quit going over the same lessons over and over again. Before I begin, I would like to be clear that I’m not claiming to be a perfect student, nor am I using this article as a means to criticize other people.

First off, comet culture lessons are cringe-worthy. Multiple times a year we are forced to watch the same videos (with a few minor adjustments) and discuss the same topics. I don’t know about anyone else, but when someone tells me the same thing over and over again, it gets very bothersome. For instance, the term E+R=O has been said so many times, it’s at the point where it feels like someone is poling me in the hips with a stick. Reason number two, nobody seems to care. If someone were to just look around the room while one of these “lessons” was taking place, they would quickly draw the conclusion that about 90-100% of people in the room were on their phones. Not only do students not seem to care, but topics reviewed in culture lessons quickly seem to find themselves being used as a snarky joke. Lastly, it’s ineffective. If you were to read what’s written or observe the “artwork” on the bathroom stalls, it would make you question whether you’re living in Mason or Compton. There are many other examples of the lessons being ignored.

Trying to force a culture is like trying to force a relationship, it usually fails. Discussing the same topic over and over again isn’t working and it’s time the administrative staff goes back to the drawing boards to come up with a fresh way to better our school system. In the meantime, students should just be given the choice to enjoy their “connect time” with each other.

Let us into games for free

Abby Samol, sophomore

The memories you make in high school are supposed to be priceless.

Going to sporting events is an expected pleasure for high school students, but when a single ticket costs nearly as much as an hour of labor, it’s not worth it.

Over the last few years student attendance at home games has decreased drastically. Being the biggest public high school in the state of Ohio, that’s a disappointing fact. As the largest high school in Ohio, this comes with a standard to uphold. Being one of the first to make this move could set an upward trend. This change being that all Mason High School students get into athletic events for free

The home court advantage is something that every team tries to use to their advantage but does no good when our stands are empty. An easy way to bring back the filled stands and the home court advantage is through free admission for all students at the high school, but instead the athletic department relies on the profit of student entry.

This needs to change. Attendance builds the “Comet Culture” that the district prides itself upon, and it’s time to act. It’s time for free admission, it’s time to fill the stands, it’s time to build a culture that sides on the behalf of their athletes. If this is implemented in our district, the attendance at all sports games would increase. We understand that the athletic department relies on the revenue made from ticket sales, however, the profit isn’t to their benefit when the bleachers are empty. As a community we can find a different way to provide for the department so we can support the entire Mason athletic program.

As student-athletes ourselves, we recognize the need for support from the student body at games and the lack of it in the recent past. As students, we need to rally around each other, but four games a week starts to add up. Support shouldn’t come with a price, especially from team to team. In a school centered around community, playing in front of empty stands doesn’t feel like a home court advantage. With high school sporting events being a place to go for a sense of community, free admission will draw more people. Not only would a game become meaningful to athletes, but a place to make a big school feel smaller. (Gabby Affatato, sophomore,  contributed to this column.)