The importance of celebrities


According to Brady United, roughly 316 people are shot everyday in the United States. Of these 316, on Feb 25, was Ryan Fischer, Lady Gaga’s dog walker. Fischer sustained a bullet wound to the chest and was met with millions of Instagram comments expressing sympathy.

Fellow celebs called him a hero, telling him how amazed they were with his bravery. When scrolling through the comments, one in particular stuck out. The comment told Fischer that he was a “Hero of History,” and I can’t help but wonder if that is the society we now inhabit. Do we all believe that one man’s survival of a bullet wound makes him heroic? Or is it because he was Lady Gaga’s dog walker?

“When something tragic happens to someone who is famous it’s akin to a family friend experiencing a tragedy.” Said Elizabeth Pecota (’22).

“There is a lot of tragedy that happens across the country on an hourly basis, but these cases that are very real to those experiencing or in proximity to the situation; however, they are only a statistic to everyone else. Unfortunately, without that personal connection, we feel sympathetic or apathetic.”

The godlike worship that is placed on celebrities and their extremities seems to have become the societal norm. Regarding every celebrity as a watered-down hero seems to be indicative on what is valued as important.

To be clear, nobody deserves to be shot, and Ryan Fischer, just as everyone else, should be given the time and space to heal from that traumatic experience. However, it should be noted that he is only receiving this time because he is in the favor of the public eye. Where is the heart filled messages and money dedicated to the recovery of the other 315 victims?

“Not to shoot a man while he’s down, but the only the only reason Ryan’s shooting has reached any level importance is due to the fact that his boss goes by the name of Lady Gaga.” Said Bennett Hendrickson (’24),

“What Ryan did was a circumstance thing, it’s nothing that is heroic or historic. The only thing pushing this story is his boss and her Grammy’s.”

The deeper question lies within the importance we place on celebrities, and how it parallels with a classist society. Social media is filled with stories similar to Fischer’s and is overflowing with other trivial grievances. Keeping up with the Joneses has morphed into Keeping up with the Kardashians as we progress in this digital age.

“I believe the reason why we are so concerned about celebrities is because they become so close to the American family opposed to the average man.” Said Pecota (’22), “We can put a face to the name and we become enamored with them as they entertain our family. We feel like we know these people despite never meeting them.”

As celebrities continue to be highly regarded, it is important to question why. Why is the life of Ryan Fischer perceived as more important than the lives of other dog walkers? Or why do we as people care so deeply about the lives of people we do not know?

“I think we want to be them, we look at their nice fancy cars, and massive houses and cant help but admire. They are living these perfect lives and we are now able to see how they are living it at all times with social media. So, we can’t help but be in awe of them,” said Hendrickson.

Much of what Hendrickson and Pecota say rings true. Through media platforms, our society has made connections to these famous strangers, giving them a sense of importance in our lives. We want to be them, know them and act like them, that is why we glorify them. They are no longer people, but standards.

Oops! I made a movement


For 90’s brats and 2000’s babies, American pop star Britney Spears was an icon. She sang songs that were hip, wore cloths that were killer and dated all the hunky celebs. For many young girls, Brittany represented a strong female role model, who controlled her life and looked good doing it.

For others in the music industry and a barrage of angry parents, Spears represented a sex symbol, that was dominating the era of the boy band and encouraging young girls to feel comfortable in their own bodies.

“She did celebrate her own sexuality and there’s nothing wrong with that,” Said Anna Sump (’21), “She was still just a teenager and wasn’t asking to be put in the spotlight as a sex symbol. She also didn’t ask to be a role model, and she doesn’t owe anyone an apology for her actions and choices. If parents didn’t want their children to be influenced by her, then they shouldn’t have let them listen to her.”

Britney received a generous load of hate for even existing early on in her career. She was criticized by men for being promiscuous, shamed by woman for upsetting men, but above all else, she broke a glass ceiling in the entertainment industry- that would not be tolerated. The free Britney movement is not a series of unfortunate events, but rather decades worth of hatred placed on a young woman.

“Britney, like any adult, has the right to dress in a way that makes her feel confident,” Said Lainie Ettema (’23), “Modesty empowers some, promiscuity empowers others. Women should be in control of their bodies without being shamed by society.”

Beginning in the early 2000’s Britney made the grave mistake of falling for America’s golden boy with horrendous highlights, Justin Timberlake. Their relationship was a public affair, including their private lives. When the couple decided to break it off, a fury hate was directed at Spears.

Accused of adultery, Spears was heavily slut shamed. Becoming the symbol for “bad women” she was the center of criticism, all without hearing her side of the story. Timberlake profited off of this, making Britney the reason for his breakout career, and beloved heartbreak songs. He also profited off of her sex life, spreading rumors about her “bedroom activities”- which Spears denied fervently.

Her relationship with Timberlake marked only the beginning of her spiteful relationships, however, it is a key role into understanding her admittance into the psyche ward in 2007, and her years long battle for conservatorship over her own life. The Free Britney movement stems from her scrutinization from the media.

Britney was personified as a “bimbo” throughout her career, constantly looked down on and regarded as a child. Her producers refused to hear here ideas, the media berated her and the paparazzi were relentless. Her custody battle in 2007 was the proverbial nail in the coffin, that triggered her psychotic

break. Shaving her head and vandalizing a paparazzi’s car held grounds for the first draft of Britney’s conservatorship.

“The conservatorship is an abuse of power,” Said Ettema (’23), “Britney is a high functioning adult and there is no reason why extremely personal details of her life should be dictated by anyone but her. The conservatorship forces her into an endless cycle of abuse, which she is clearly suffering, but doesn’t have the freedom to get help.”

After Britney took time to mentally heal from the torture she was put through, her conservatorship remained. Fans took to social media with the hashtag #freebritney and protested.

“I think it’s [her conservatorship] ridiculous and awful, especially at this point in her life,” Said Sump (’21), “She should have a say in all things that pertain to her, but all of her rights to her own life were taken away. She no longer needs it [conservatorship], because she is capable of running her own life,”

Britney Spears still lives a life in ordinance to someone else. She is blamed for expressing herself, the clothing she wears, and even the criticism she faces. It isn’t a mystery that Britney has endured a harsh reality, and it is a hope for young, aspiring, women to not face such blatant sexism and hatred for prospering in a male dominated field.

The Era of Understanding


Living in the time on a pandemic, we as people cling fervently onto normalcy. We pray that change will come, and we will resume a life that is devoid of social distance. Many have had to put their life on hold as the world heals. Graduations were cancelled, schools were vacant and for student athletes, many spent time watching dust collect on their beloved equipment.

Some cried, others took to the street in fury as governors refused to okay sports. The protests, while nonviolent, sparked mass controversy across Michigan, among other states. People opposed the large droves of protestors taking to streets, as the number of COVID-19 cases skyrocketed. Others banded together and protested as athletes, coaches, students and fans to protest for playtime.

“As a senior in high school who had their season cancelled, I can understand the disappointment,” said Danielle Dumoulin (24’). “However, I don’t believe that jeopardizing the health and safety of others because you want to play a sport is fair. We have to understand the situation we are currently in and act in a way that benefits all people.”

Understanding is the key word to Dumoulin’s thoughts. We must understand the feelings of the athletes, but not let them overshadow the pandemic. According to, over 2,000 individuals were present at the last rally, not to mention the hundreds of social media posts directed at the governor.

The omnipotent theme within these protests is that student athletes feel as if they have been wronged and have pulled the proverbial receipts from data regarding COVID-19 spreading through athletics. A scientific study ran by MDHSS, deduced a 99.8 precent negative rate over 30,000 tests. Thus, marking huge strides for protestors. It appears that dust will have to find other objects to accumulate on.

“I genuinely believe in the right to a peaceful assembly,” said Morgan Sweitzer (’22). “However, things are complicated right now due to the pandemic and social distancing issues and on that the pandemic isn’t over. As much as we all want to passionately get back to normal life, we must do what we can to protect ourselves and others. It is important for young people to have interaction and engagement but to also stay healthy.”

Michigan’s government officials claim that the resurgence of winter sports was not due to the protests, but as we have seen within the last year, change is bread from the common man. The idea of change continues to be a prevalent theme as we embark into a new year, new presidency and new social precedent. As a society, we are beginning to see the first fledglings of an improved society- we still have long to go, but what we have accomplished should be celebrated.

It is not to say that student athletes shouldn’t feel a sense of victory as they head back to the various courts and fields this winter, but they should also be reminded of how capable of change we are if we band together. The same positivity should carry these students and coaches through their seasons, so that they may be reminded of how lucky they are to have the opportunity to play a sport they love. It is a hope that athletes will be given a safe environment to compete in.

It is the goal of this article to encourage the notion of understanding and by doing so, we as a society will heal from the pandemic, emerging as people who have found a long-lost compassion for others.

Athletics in the time of a pandemic


As student’s return to a snow-covered campus, many athletes have begun gearing up for their sporting seasons. While athletics look a bit different this year, proud scots are still ready to go out and give their all for the mighty tartan and maroon. With this sporting season, comes a new insurgence of COVID testing for athletes as they embark on their journeys.

The new wave of COVID testing is divided into roughly two sections, containing various levels of testing the athletes are subjected to. Students who participate in non-contact sports will have 25 percent of their team randomly selected for testing once a week. Those in contact sports will be tested three times a week to ensure maximum safety to those on campus. All student athletes will be tested three days prior to their away games.

The COVID test that the students will take will be the rapid test: meaning students will get their results within 24 to 36 hours of taking it. This rapid test was met with controversy in the past few months as many sources have claimed that the test is less effective.

When asking up and coming football players how they felt about the ramped-up testing, we were met with a few responses.

“I don’t feel as if the rapid testing is nearly as effective as the other tests, but it almost feels pointless considering students are still leaving campus and breaking the rules,” Said Bennett Hendrickson (24’), “However, the test still provides an important safety measure as student athletes begin their seasons.”

Some athletes have already been tested numerous times since their return to campus. Either being tested via the nasal swab, or the saliva tests. Athletes are chosen at random, and then are able to pick from the various time slots to be tested.

“I have been tested three times within the last two weeks, and while it seems a tad excessive, I understand the need for increased testing,” Said Luke Cooper (23’), “As long as we [athletes] get to play this year, I will continue to get tested as much as they need me to.”

Due to the pandemic, outdoor sports such as football have had their seasons moved to the spring, giving their athletes a colder environment then they are used to.

“It sucks that we will be playing in the cold weather, but we as a team will adapt and survive to meet this season’s challenges” Said Hendrickson.

While other sports like cross country have been only able to practice, whereas the various dance team and companies have had to alter their routines in ordinance to social distancing guidelines. Winter sports have been moved back and are now running into the spring sporting seasons. Coupled with these changes, athletes have also had shortened or altered season to reduce the spread of COVID.

“Even though the season is shortened, it still feels great to get to be able to get on the field and play the sport that we love,” Said Cooper, “The school has done everything within their power to minimize risk and it is better to miss a couple of football games than for someone to get seriously ill when it could have been easily prevented.”

Although the sports have been altered to fit the many rules and guidelines of COVID-19, students are still optimistic and hopeful as they embark on their sporting seasons.

“Albeit the strange season, I am so hyped to get some dubs with the boys!” Said Hendrickson, with a laugh when asked if he was excited for the upcoming football season.

It is a hope that all student athletes carry the same optimism that Hendrickson has.

Child trafficking cases rise in the U.S.


The year 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the first publishing of the Trafficking in Persons Report. Over 25 million children have been bought and sold into slavery, thus violating their civil liberties as a human being. Young girls and boys are subjected to sexual labor at an alarmingly increasing rate. In 2019 alone, the United States alone had 220 child trafficking cases according to the US Department of Justice. “

The idea of child trafficking is an underlying fear anyone with kids always has in the back of their head when they take their children out in public,” said Miranda Avolio (’24).

 “In America, the sentence for a child sex offender involved in human trafficking is not enough time for the hell they put both the victims and parents through. Human trafficking is not only degrading physically, but mentally as well.”

Of these cases, child traffickers were prosecuted anywhere from a one-month sentence to a lifetime. The vast majority of sentences ranging in five years or longer; however, some traffickers were sentenced only to probation which sparked major controversy in both media and activist groups. It is estimated that 80 percent of all child trafficking violations have involved American citizens according to the Federal Bureau.

While child enslavement is not a new offence, it had recently gained large attention of mass media with the introduction of the Jeffery Epstein case. A case involving 36 girls ranging with the youngest of the victims being fourteen, Epstein subjected these young girls to various levels of sexual assault and rape.

While this case is one of the larger ones publicized, many young men and women across the United States are being subjected to sexual labor on a daily basis. These offenders range anywhere from wealthy businessmen to gas station employees. Yasmin Vafa, a worker for RIGHTS4GIRlS explained that their organization has cared for victims as young as ten years old within in the last three months according to a PBS News segment.

“I have a younger sister that is 10 years old,” said Abby Strait (’24). “As a protective older sister, I fear that I am not able to save her from child trafficking as it is an ever-growing problem within America.”

Nonprofit organizations have released a barrage of facts, and preventative measures young women can take in order to better protect themselves and others around them. Of which include, traveling in large groups, avoiding malls and other shopping centers after dark, carrying pepper spray and informing parents or legal guardians of their location at all times according to Help Save the Next Girl.

“I do not ever feel comfortable going to local malls and stores near me by myself because of the numerous reports of child trafficking that have been reported in my area,” said Avolio.

It is understood that 1 in 6 girls have experienced sexual assault before the age of twelve, according to

“I protect myself when I go out by keeping my phone and keys in hand,” said Strait. “Checking surrounding and staying up to date with social media and other news channels in order to be aware of new tactic sex traffickers are using.”

Sex trafficking is a growing pandemic that effects young men and women across the globe. In order to keep yourself and others safe, you must stay up to date on new efforts made by sex traffickers. Some methods to know include honey or a sticky substance on your windshield, leaving notes claiming “damage” on vehicles and zip ties on your property and or vehicle.

For more information or to donate visit RIGHTS4GIRLS. Org, and Help Save the Next

Cries to end teenage fatality


Tragedy Struck New York’s east side this past weekend as rapid gun fire left two dead and fourteen wounded. The teens were attending a house party when the firing began in the early hours of Sep. 19. Sources project there was around a hundred adolescents at the house party when gunshots began. When asking students how they would react to a shooting targeted towards young adults, the response was one of unimaginable fear.

“I would be scared and not know how to react,” said Megan Schreur (’24). “This especially worries me now because I am at college and even though there are not any parties right now, there are still lots of social events where a shooting could happen unexpectedly.”

The victim’s range in ages between 16 and 22. As the city grieves lives of a young man and woman who were killed due to senseless slaughter and the other children wounded. The type of gun used has not yet been identified; however, police report that several rounds of ammunition were fired. The blocks surrounding the crime scene were littered with caution tape as police officers’ attempt to make sense of the crime scene.

“What seems to make the situation more surreal is that kids my age were killed for going to a house party,” said Danielle Dumoulin (’24). “I couldn’t imagine the fear and panic that they must have felt when they heard gunshots ring out.”

When first arriving, NY police described the scene as chaotic, with hundreds of teenagers in varying levels of distress and many in need of immediate assistance due to gun shot wounds according to USA Today.

The victims were sent to Rochester General and Strong Memorial hospitals, in a varying condition. Both hospitals have released little information on the wounded; however, it was gleaned that none of the injuries sustained were fatal. This shooting is one of many that have terrorized Rochester NY in recent years. In 2015, the city fell victim to four shootings that left 6 dead and 18 wounded, making this shooting this year the largest in the city’s history.

“Because I come from a small town, I have never had the ingrained fear that myself or people I know will die and or be subject to a shooting,” said Dumoulin. “I feel so incredibly bad for the teens and young adults who will never have the opportunity to grow up in an environment that is safe.”

Adding to the exponential list of mass shootings that have taken place in America this year, Rochester will mark 455 according to the Gun Violence Archive.

“I think that it is honestly inevitable to prevent people from having access to guns, but I do think that there are measures that could be taken to further prevent incidents like this to happen,” said Schreur.

The community has been in a state of unrest since the death of Daniel Prude, a young African American man who was suffocated to death by police restraint. Police officials ask that the

community joins to bring peace, and put an end to the suffering in Rochester, according to USA Today.

Coupled with the state of unrest in the nation, tragedies are still taking place in small communities. The shooting in Rochester has caught the eye of national and local news, and even students here at Alma. The shooter, motive and victim’s names are still unknown, and as local police work to uncover the truth the city remains in unrest. The loss of two young adults and other wounded children has sparked an even larger cry for peace across America.

More than a challenge


Cries for change could be heard all around the world Aug 5 as Turkish women took to the streets chanting “The choice is ours, the decision is ours, the night is ours, the streets are ours!”. These women were protesting President Erdogan’s consideration to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention: a pact to end gender-based violence.

Women taking action against gender-based violence has increased exponentially in recent years. In 2019 a total of 419 women were murdered, the death tolls this year have reached 201 women according to Balkan Insight.

“The coalitions the protest has engendered have been heartwarming and inspiring–activists are working across party lines in Turkey to protest systemic violence against women.” Said Professor of English and Gender Studies Maya Dora-Laskey. “Further when prominent detractors have cited their opposition of LGBTQ values as the reason for the withdrawal, activists have refused to let themselves be conned by this sort of patriarchal divide-and conquer tactic.”

The protests, however, did not just take place on Turkish soil, many American women took to social media in support of the convention. Hundreds of celebrities and other women posted black and white photos of themselves with the caption #ChallengeAccepted and #WomenSupportingWomen. This challenge, however, sparked major controversy according to CNN, it was said to be distracting from the actual social justice issue occurring.

“I think the Instagram challenge is really good for raising awareness, but it immediately ends there,” said Kate Stymiest (’21), “Raising awareness is only the first step and these challenges give online social justice warriors an easy way out.”

The social media challenge has changed many forms over the last few days, many claiming that any awareness is still awareness.

“While there have been charges leveled against those who participated in the photo “challenge” that range from co-optation and slacktivism to narcissism, the B&W challenge was reported to have generated 8.5 million posts,” said Dora-Laskey, “That is a lot of attention and awareness generated for an important cause that is often ignored. I’m notoriously camera-shy and have found other ways to contribute; but I’m proud and happy for those who participated–any level of participation is better than apathy.”

This social justice movement is not the first of its kind, Turkish Feminists have called for change since 1930. Their need for emancipation created the Turkish Women’s Union and banded together with the IAW (International Alliance of Women) who held their convention in Turkey circa 1935.

According to the IAW the convention served as a merge between western and eastern feminists. The conventions goal is to address systematic violence and aims to prevent domestic abuse leading to mass femicide. In the following years, the convention gained many rights for women across the globe thus, bolstering civil liberties for Turkish women.

Speaking on topics such as Sex Trafficking, Domestic violence and a plethora of laws that hinder women’s rights. In recent years Turkish woman have rallied and called for change in unfair dress codes, domestic violence, and the rising murder rate within the country.

When asking faculty and staff at Alma what they believed would happen if Turkey was to pull out of the convention, a barrage of hypotheses was given with relatively the same result.

“Turkey has a long history of constitutional rights for women (since 1930!) so this development is particularly unfortunate and made even more so by the fact that the withdrawal the Turkish government is contemplating was signed in the Turkish city of Istanbul and is popularly known as the Istanbul Convention!” said Dora-Laskey.

“Any refusal to enact or stay apart of legislature that protects women will leave women more vulnerable than they are already are,” said Stymiest. “The protection of women needs to be at the forefront of every policy in every country and failure to do so will leave women left out and in turn, keep the whole country in arrears.”

Ways you can help Turkish women would be signing the petition to keep the convention on Change.Org.

According to KQued, the Women Against Child Sexual Abuse has also put together a letter and provided the emails of representatives from the Central Executive Committee of the Justice and Development Party, in effort to keep the Istanbul Convention.

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