Cedar Reds Howling Over ICSD Change from Late-Start Wednesdays to Early-Out Fridays

by Carson Sawyer

Do you remember Late-Start Wednesdays? You know, when students were able to arrive at school by 9:35 a.m. on Wednesdays? Well, the effects of the change to Early-Out Fridays have started to settle in. For both teachers and students, something may have seemed a little off this school year. You may have heard some teachers and students weighing the effects of the change in hallways and in classrooms and wondered to yourself: “Was the change to Early-Out Fridays really necessary?”

The first thing that is important to discuss is that the time set aside for the previous Late-Start Wednesdays and the current Early-Out Fridays isn’t a free space for teachers; they hold meetings during this time period as part of the “professional learning community.” The Iron County School District’s website, irondistrict.org, labels the Iron County School District as a professional learning community, explaining, “Professional learning communities function as an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students that they serve. Professional learning communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved student learning for students is continuous job-embedded learning for educators.” In other words, PLCs are a way for teachers to look at the results of different teaching styles and perspectives, and perhaps incorporate some of these methods into their own to align their curriculum with similar tests and standards. By improving the skills and knowledge of educators, PLCs hope to also improve student learning. 

Of course, PLCs are not a new concept and this form of professional development in education is becoming more widespread. As part of the professional learning community that is the Iron Country School District, there are professional learning teams (PLTs) and building leadership teams (BLTs). Essentially, they are the smaller divisions of PLCs. Iron County School District states that “PLTs meet weekly to discuss grade level or content area data” and “BLTs meet monthly to discuss school wide data.” For CHS teachers, these take the form of faculty meetings and the occasional district-wide training at Canyon View. Now, these meetings are split into department and grade-level groups as teachers meet to make sure that students are prepared for the same content on tests. So, while there are still differing teaching methods, teachers aim to test the same important curriculum standards. Throughout it all, these professional learning community meetings still give teachers time to slow down, reorganize, and renew their teaching enthusiasm.

However, this is where one main difference comes in between Late-Start Wednesdays and Early-Out Fridays: slowing down in the middle of the week was welcomed by teachers, but how about slowing down at the end of the week? One teacher emphasized that “enthusiasm was a little low” during the meetings after school on Friday. And how could it not be—teachers are, after all, eager for their weekends as well.

English teacher Ms. Hensel agrees: “By the end of the week and the end of the day at the end of the week, we’re tired. It’s hard to focus. I think it’s great, I mean I think it’s great for students. It’s kind of a little reward, lunchtime and you’re done on Friday, and so I’m happy for the students in that case, but it’s hard when teachers collaborate–it’s that time we’re working together, and we’re working to solve problems, and asking us to solve problems at the end of the work week—our A games just aren’t necessarily there. Where on Wednesdays, we did have less time, but I just think we were more fresh.” 

Other teachers have focused on how the release times better fit parent schedules. One teacher, *Teacher A, stated, “I like for my own children that my elementary kids are home at the same time as my older kids, so that I don’t have to find someone to watch my kids at home.” Another teacher, *Teacher B, also felt for the parents: “I think that it’s a good change for parents who have children in different ages, and it’ll be better for them that everyone’s on the same schedule.” 

Another focus point of this change was the purported targeting of tardies on Wednesday mornings. Many teachers and students may have seen sparse classrooms, only to be filled minutes after the bell rang with waves of students—students carrying smoothies from McDonald’s, Mocha Frappes from Starbucks, and other delights to wake them up. Many students also enjoyed sleeping in, or at least being able to stay up the night before and not having to worry so much about waking up so early the next day.

Senior William Black had this to say about the change: “It feels strange. I do miss Late-Start Wednesdays–and for more sleep, not having to worry about staying up late.” As for choosing which was better for him, he said: “Well, for selfish reasons, I preferred the Wednesday, but Friday is probably a better choice just because it’s easier to use that time than it is to use the Late-Start Wednesday.” 

However, teachers are concerned. The proposed change to help limit tardies on Wednesdays may have helped that small instance, but what about students that may decide to now skip Fridays because it’s shorter?

 “I do worry that I’m going to start seeing a lot of students missing on Fridays,” Ms. Hensel said. “Because it’s a half day, so [there’s the] idea that it’s not that big of a deal to miss on Fridays. That hasn’t come to fruition the way I thought it would right away, but I’m worried as we get closer, especially in the spring, a lot of people like to take vacations during the school year, and I’m just worried that Fridays–and you’re already competing with so many things, sports and clubs and activities that, you know, teachers compete with a lot when it comes to the attention of their students, and I’m worried that Friday is going to be seen, not just by students but by their families as ‘well, it’s a half-day so it’s not that big of a deal if I miss,’ and then we’ve got one more thing to compete with.” 

Other teachers have also brought up concerns that the tardiness problem was never their problem to begin with. And, if tardies were really a problem the change wanted to target, then there is an elephant that needs to be brought into the discussion room: tardies after lunch. However, the change to Early-Out Fridays did help some tardiness and some teachers may have been pleased to have seen this glimpse. *Teacher B stated, “In my fourth period classes, generally a lot of students are tardy because they’re coming off of lunch and they went somewhere, and now they’re coming back. And so, even when it was Late-Start Wednesday, we started late in the morning, and then there was lunch, and then there was fourth and fifth period. And so [with Early-Out Fridays], now all of the classes are before lunch, so that fourth period class that usually has a few people that are tardy, now doesn’t, because everyone’s already here, and they’re just going from one class to the next.”

Students are also divided by this issue. In talking to those who preferred Early-Out Fridays, a few stated that it was because they were able to ditch class with less of an impact on their grades as teachers tend to do less stressful tasks on Fridays with the shortened schedule. And for CHS Seniors, “senioritis” doesn’t help. The smaller Fridays make for a perfect opportunity to ditch and increase student absences. One senior emphasized the lack of consistency throughout their time at CHS, referencing the school’s mascot change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and now this change to Early-Out Fridays. “Students need consistency; they do better with consistency,” stated Senior Ericka Marchant. She also mentioned that social science teacher Mr. Maher uses consistency in his classroom and that helps her know what to expect, allowing her to do better. The Iron County School Board, on the other hand, continues to make changes, making some wonder if the board members are considering the effects that changes have on students during these turbulent times. 

Nonetheless, some students regard the change as positive in helping their school activities. Sophomore Sadie Hinck is one of these students, and she emphasized the benefit for student athletes that Early-Out Fridays provide, as on Fridays they are able to take their time to eat lunch, socialize, or get help from teachers before practices. She also pointed out that Late-Start Wednesdays did not always allow all students to make use of the time in the morning, referencing bus schedules: 

“There [are] some people that have cars and they’re like, ‘I can just go [to school] whenever I want,’ but for the people with like buses and stuff, the buses are our schedule, and you can’t change that schedule, so you have to accommodate your own schedule to fit that.”

Another student emphasized that Early-Out Fridays also give a boon to students who take harder classes, such as AP and CE classes. Senior and CHS English Sterling Scholar Alexandria Arter stated, “[Early-Out] does kind of make Fridays a bit more sacred in a way. It certainly is a lot more of like a descent, and besides, it might just be me because I have college classes and stuff, but I’ve had like a lot of assignments that are due at the end of Friday and having that extra time when I get home [is useful].”

But which was better for her? “I guess I would have to say that if I had to pick between the two, I would go Wednesday,” Alexandria stated. “Sometimes you just want to sleep. You just want to take a break.” She added, “I don’t mind Early-Out Friday, though. It is kind of fun, especially when you don’t have a last period.” 

However, with the change to Early-Out, another student held a bleaker outlook, “When Late-Start Wednesdays went away, my life just got worse.” Why? “I don’t like how we don’t get a break between classes. It’s just class, class, class, class.… It’s not that bad ’cause they’re still only an hour long each, but it’s still kind of rough to go through.”

Overall, students and teachers are slowly getting used to this change, whether they thought that it was necessary or not. Teacher B stated, “It’s taken me as a teacher a little while to get used to it, but now I’m liking it. I didn’t think I was going to just because I’m a creature of habit, and I don’t like change. So, there are pros and cons just like with anything, but I am liking it better now. It’s just weird; it’s weird to have all the classes before lunch, you know, every class before lunch, and it kind of catches you off guard, but I’m liking it now.” 

(Photo provided by Carson Sawyer) 

*Some teachers have asked to remain anonymous and have therefore been labeled as capital letters. These should not be confused with teacher initials. 

How Did the Sadie Hawkins Tradition Start and Why is it Popular Now?

By Sadie Hinck 

As students go throughout the school year and their high school career, they participate in many different experiences such as dances and school traditions. Many of these things seem as though they’ve always been a part of the American high school experience. One such tradition is Homecoming. The very first time that Homecoming was demonstrated was in 1909 at Baylor University. It started as a college tradition, but it later became a high school tradition during the 1980’s. But what’s the history behind the Sadie Hawkins dance (Sadie’s), and what exactly is the meaning behind it?

When most people think about Sadie Hawkins, they usually think of a casual “girls-ask-guys” type of dance, but many people don’t know where this high school tradition comes from.

Almanac.com states that the name Sadie Hawkins comes from Al Capp’s comic strip Li’l Abner (1934-1978). Sadie Hawkins is the name of one of the characters from the comic strip, and she was known to be so ugly, according to nationaltoday.com, that she couldn’t win any suitors. As well as being the name of a character in the comic strip, Sadie Hawkins is also known as Sadie Hawkins Day. This was a day in Li’l Abner when unmarried women would chase and pursue their men, and if the men were caught, marriage was unavoidable.

But then why do high schoolers participate in a Sadie Hawkins dance?

Also according to nationaltoday.com, many people, especially in the 50’s, really liked the idea of Sadie Hawkins Day because it switched the gender norms where guys ask girls. Many schools started to have dances like this, and it spread the tradition of the Sadie Hawkins dance. Many guys also like the “girls-ask-guys” idea because it takes the pressure off of asking someone to a dance, and it gives them an opportunity to be surprised when someone else asks them.

(Photos by yearbook staff)

Socktober

By Carson Sawyer

The spooky season is now upon us. You might have noticed Halloween decor popping up in your neighborhood. Or, you have been meaning to put up some scary stuff of your own, but precipitation or procrastination is making you hesitant. Either way, October is time for the spooks.

However, this October, there is something else important to the season for CHS Junior Lizzie Huff—and that’s socks: crazy, colorful socks. Calling it “Socktober,” Lizzie and her family collect socks for the kids at Primary Children’s Hospital during the month. Now, they’re looking for fun socks. These can have designs, cartoons, bright colors—really anything besides plain and dreary. If you’re looking to help donate some pairs, there is a bin in the main office where you can turn the socks in. Lizzie is usually able to collect over a thousand pairs every year, so let’s not disappoint!

Why Primary Children’s Hospital? 

Primary Children’s Hospital is a part of the not-for-profit Intermountain Healthcare and is affiliated with the University of Utah. The Salt Lake City hospital has been helping children for almost a century, and among them includes Lizzie. Lizzie was once a patient there, so she understands the hardships that current patients are going through and how the feeling of a new pair of crazy socks can help them through such painful struggles. 

Why crazy socks? 

As Lizzie states, she’s collecting crazy socks because she “got crazy socks back when [she] was in the hospital,” and they made her feel good. 

Now, she strives to share the warm feeling each new pair gave her. 

Why “Socktober?” 

Lizzie states that she and her family “just kind of liked how it sounded.” Socktober does have a nice ring to it, but we shouldn’t let it downplay the importance of donating a few pairs of crazy socks. These are meant to uplift the spirits of children undergoing some very difficult times. 

Maintaining the tradition of donating collected socks to Primary Children’s Hospital for around a decade, Lizzie continues to inspire and show compassion for others in a similar situation she was once in. Receiving a new pair of socks is an unforgettable feeling, and in answering what the best kind of socks are, Lizzy states, “I like fluffy, fluffy socks.”

From the glimpse of talking with Lizzy, I have learned that she is a soft but powerful speaker. Her experiences have only increased her compassion for others, and she is empowered to follow up on them. If you see Lizzie around school, don’t forget to wave and show her how welcoming this community is. Even without the socks, Cedar High School is glad to have Lizzy as a student this year.

The Socktober bin can be found just on the left as you enter the main office’s leftmost door.

(Photo provided by Carson Sawyer)

A “Normal” Homecoming

by Beckham Trigo

Homecoming was a great way to start off a “normal” school year. Although Homecoming did come later than usual, the hype was still present from all of the students at Cedar High School. Homecoming is always a crucial part of the school year and it is always magical how the students come together as one.

Homecoming this year was normal compared to last year which had COVID-19 restrictions. So, how exactly did Homecoming go this year? Was there school spirit? Royalty commentary? These are all things that are independently important to fully experience Cedar’s school spirit. 

This year, Homecoming Week was set up like any other year with dress up days, royalty assemblies, football games, and extracurricular activities. All of these things made up the week. So, the week went like this: Monday, Sports Day; Tuesday, Bougie Day; Wednesday, Dress Like a Teacher Day; Thursday, Western Dress Up Day; Friday, Red and Gold Day.

This week’s events were corresponding to the themes that the sports games had. While interviewing students at Cedar, they said there should be a variety of days instead of the same ones every year. This was an interesting thought that most students at Cedar agree on. The games during this week included volleyball, tennis, soccer, XC, and football. While many focus upon football the most, students have come together to agree other sports need to be recognized.

So, was there school spirit? YES! There was a lot of school spirit with many people dressing up. A lot of students were enthusiastic about coming to school dressed up as their favorite subjects and teachers. There also seemed to be an abundance of fans at all of the games supporting all of our sports players. The week even had teachers joining in and encouraging their students to participate in the fun. However, some students found it demotivating that homecoming was late this year and would like to see it closer to the beginning of the school year in the future. 

This year, Parker Allen and Andelin Mbaki were chosen as Homecoming King and Queen. It is very exciting for this pair to win as many people recognize Andelin already as Miss Iron County-Utah. While interviewing her about her pride in this role, she stated, “[…]I feel a part of something great!”

She proceeded to talk about her respect and pride in Cedar High School. Soon after, she answered the question, “Are there any changes you would like to see in royalty voting?” It was a response not many people were expecting, but Mbaki stated, “A lot of people see royalty voting as popularity votes, and I think it’d be interesting to see what it’d be like differently.” This opinion is very valid, and should be sought out in the future to recognize so many other great students. However, Mbaki’s humble response only goes to show that she is deserving of the role. A response from Allen brought up another point to look into as he stated, “I don’t know about changes, but I think a lot of people don’t vote.” 

So as we wrap up, we can see so many people had fun this homecoming season as we are back in school—pretty much back to normal! We also see a few insights from some special commentators that were able to participate in the events itself. So, if you want to show more school spirit make sure that you are participating and getting involved. Like Parker Allen says, “…put in extra effort to be a good example.”

Photos Provided By Emma Taylor and Ericka Marchant

Vaccine Report

by Beckham Trigo

People have been getting the new vaccine that has been coming out, including our teachers. They have been very enthusiastic about receiving it among the current fears in the world. Through interviewing teachers, hard questions were asked: Why did you choose to get it? Were we better prepared as a nation? Will masks end? While there were no sure answers to these questions, I wanted to get an opinion. 

So, was the country better prepared than other countries? Mrs. Winslow answered by stating, “I think with the technology we have versus the technology other countries had, we were better prepared.” As our population is not all elderly, we had a much higher survival rate that allowed for better preparation. 

Now that the vaccine is out, many people want to know if it truly works, so I asked the teachers around our school, and they had similar answers. They stated that they had felt no side effects and were pleased altogether. Then I moved on to ask why the vaccine was so important to get. Mrs. Farish stated, “I want to be around people.” Due to circumstances in many people’s lives, this is a concern most have. Mrs. Winslow said, “Risks are lower” as they now have the vaccine. 

Mrs. Winslow and Farish don’t feel as if they will contaminate a student or a peer. However, both teachers think that the vaccine should be a choice and not forced. Farish stated, “I think it would be infringing,” and this was a commonly stated line between many people I have talked with.

Now for the real question that everyone has been wondering since the beginning of the year: Will masks go away after the vaccine? The answer is mired in uncertainty, and it is not an easy topic to talk about. However, Mrs. Winslow stated, “I really hope so,” and she continued to state that they would go away; she just wasn’t sure when. As 2021 moves forward, we can only hope that it happens sooner than later.

Reds United Week a Success

By Beckham Trigo

From December 7th to the 11th, Cedar High School participated in something new: Reds United Week. Student government created Reds United Week for the purpose of impacting people through recognition. Caleb Nelson, the organizer of this event, stated in an interview, “There were so many nice things said that I can’t imagine it not having an impact.” Everyone in the school received a letter and participated in influencing a fellow student’s life. 

Nelson also noted that “the project was probably the best thing that student government has ever done together.” Reds United Week distracted from the stressfulness of the last week of the quarter and tried to calm the lives of students who were struggling with finishing their work. They attempted to make students focus on their peers rather than themselves.

Mrs. Davidson said, “It’s important to see, it’s important to ask, and it’s important to be kind.”

Despite many students struggling with getting their grades up while taking the time to recognize another student, this project helped students see from a different perspective. Reds United Week created impressions not only on the students but the student government as well. Nelson stated, “I think all of us were touched by the kindness and goodness of our student body.”

Mrs. Davidson added, “They saw a need now!”

Reds United Week shows how much the student government cares. They saw that students needed uplifting, and they decided to take action, which isn’t something that is done very often. 

When asking peers how they felt about this project, many thanked Nelson because they felt happier inside. However, Caleb reminds us: “The real people who deserve the thanks are the people in student government who spent countless hours sorting.”

Kinsyee Robison said, “I felt it was a pretty good way to unite us all.” A majority of students enjoyed the Reds United Week and thought it brought the whole school together for the better.

When asked whether or not the event should be repeated, feedback poured in. Mrs. Davidson said that “it could be expanded,” while Nelson affirmed that “this is definitely going to be a repeated thing throughout our school.”

Many at Cedar High School agree with this sentiment. As Cedar High School’s slogan for this year declares, “Let’s Get It!”

A Conversation With a Former Marine

By Essie Johnson

You wouldn’t think that being a mere cashier would allow me to talk to a lot of interesting people, but surprisingly, I have a lot of funny, odd, and sometimes even heartbreaking conversations. On a Thursday, when I was working my usual shift, an old man with long, white hair and a wispy beard came in and needed help finding a few products. After I had helped him and was in the process of ringing him up, he mentioned that he was a homeless vet. “What branch did you serve in?” I asked, trying to make conversation. 

“Marine Corps,” he grunted out. I then brought up how I had just received a recruitment letter from them and was seriously considering joining the Marines myself. “Don’t,” he said bluntly.

 “Oh? May I ask why not?” I asked curiously. He took a minute to reply, as if he was trying to find the right answer to my question. 

He looked up at me: “Well, they’ll use and abuse ya just like me.” Once he knew that I was interested in his story, he opened right up: “I was sent out to Vietnam, drafted, I tried to avoid it. I went to college, they didn’t wanna put you on the front lines if they knew you was smart. But even with my schooling, I was still drafted. I could’ve been one of ‘em border jumpers, but I didn’t wanna live like that. Everyone who came back over from Nam had the same cancer, me and all my buddies, we all got Agent Orange. I could’ve taken the chemo that the state wanted me to, but everyone who took that chemo is dead, all the men in my group, dead.” 

At this point, he seemed to be tearing up a little, so it was hard to maintain eye contact with him. He continued after clearing his throat: “I shouldn’t even be here right now.” His eyes fell to the ground: “I’m the last one from my platoon that’s alive, ‘cos I’m the only one who didn’t take that chemo. The last one, other than me, actually died on Veterans Day last year. Something told me I needed to go see ‘em, so I hitched a ride up to Salt Lake, and I got to see ‘em before he went.”

 After telling me about this particularly hard memory, he looked up at me, suddenly with a smile on his face: “You know, when we was goin’ over to Nam, the third time around, we took a submarine. And we couldn’t make it to the surface, so we got shot up through the torpedo tube. And I oughta tell ya, you haven’t lived until you’ve got that much air blastin’ ya up like that.” While talking about this memory, he had such a look of childlike amusement, almost as if all of the upsetting things hadn’t happened. He then abruptly changed the subject: “You know, I got chased out of a town a lil’ west of here. They don’t like us, the men that were shipped off to Nam. They don’t like us,” he said, looking up at me again.

 “Well, it’s not like you or any of the other men had much of a say in going over there if you were drafted, and even then, you tried to avoid it,” I replied with a concerned look on my face. 

“Yeah, well, we all knew we weren’t supposed to be over there; we killed a lotta people and blew a lotta cities to bits.” After that, he fell silent, closing himself off again and looking down at the ground. I could feel that he was done sharing his war stories.

 “Well, regardless, thank you for your service and everything you’ve done for our country. Happy Veterans Day,” I said, trying to make sure he knew that I appreciated his temporary company.

 “Well, thank you, I don’t get that much [time to talk] anymore. I hope I haven’t ruined your day, darling,” he said.

I smiled and said, “No, of course not, thank you.”

Talking to this man felt sour, but it was also warming. I wanted to help him, and in some way, I think I did. These men and women who’ve fought for us, regardless of politics, had put their whole life on pause when they decided that they were willing to fight for us under any circumstance. The least that we can do is to listen to our veterans. 

Reds United Week

By Beckham Trigo

From December 7th to the 11th, Cedar High School participated in something new: Reds United Week. Student government created Reds United Week for the purpose of impacting people through recognition. Caleb Nelson, the organizer of this event, stated in an interview, “There were so many nice things said that I can’t imagine it not having an impact.” Everyone in the school received a letter and participated in influencing a fellow student’s life. 

Nelson also noted that “the project was probably the best thing that student government has ever done together.” Reds United Week distracted from the stressfulness of the last week of the quarter and tried to calm the lives of students who were struggling with finishing their work. They attempted to make students focus on their peers rather than themselves.

Mrs. Davidson said, “It’s important to see, it’s important to ask, and it’s important to be kind.”

Despite many students struggling with getting their grades up while taking the time to recognize another student, this project helped students see from a different perspective. Reds United Week created impressions not only on the students but the student government as well. Nelson stated, “I think all of us were touched by the kindness and goodness of our student body.”

Mrs. Davidson added, “They saw a need now!” Reds United Week shows how much the student government cares. They saw that students needed uplifting, and they decided to take action, which isn’t something that is done very often. 

When asking peers how they felt about this project, many thanked Nelson because they felt happier inside. However, Caleb reminds us: “The real people who deserve the thanks are the people in student government who spent countless hours sorting.”

Kinsyee Robison said, “I felt it was a pretty good way to unite us all.” A majority of students enjoyed the Reds United Week and thought it brought the whole school together for the better.

When asked whether or not the event should be repeated, feedback poured in. Mrs. Davidson said that “it could be expanded,” while Nelson affirmed that “this is definitely going to be a repeated thing throughout our school.” Many at Cedar High School agree with this sentiment. As Cedar High School’s slogan for this year declares, “Let’s Get It!”