All posts by thefcbagpiper

The mission of the Bagpiper is to provide an open forum for the unrestricted exchange of ideas and opinions and to ethically report factual school, local, and world news to the high school community while objectively explaining the meaning and significance of the news to better educate the reader, and entertain the readers using acceptable journalistic devices.

Childhood Poverty Goes Beyond Stereotypes

Photo by Christy Avery

Story  by Natalie Clare

Money being stretched so tight it feels as though it may rip. With the bank breaking, life feels like it is falling apart.

I have dealt with money issues my whole life. With my family just being my mom and I, we have learned to be resourceful and smart, and we are navigating through poverty.

Today is May 23rd, also known as Red Nose Day. In affiliation with Walgreens, MARS Wrigley Confectionery, NBC, and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, this holiday is meant to raise money for childhood poverty. Over the past four years, this organization has raised over 150 million dollars. This money has given 36 million meals, helped 77 thousand homeless children, and provided 146 thousand children with sanitation, hygiene, and water access.

According to RedNoseDay.org, over 700 thousand American teens are homeless, and one in six American children do not know where their next meal will come from. This is approximately 300 students at FC.

When you think of someone being poor, visions of normal American teens that you go to high school with do not come to mind.

When researching for this column, I had heard of Red Nose Day, and participated in it in the past. However, I did not realize the extreme need for it.

I am a part of those statistics, but I am not the stereotypical model for a teenager in poverty. When thinking of organizations like this, I often associate them with countries outside of the United States. Habitat Humanity building houses in Guatemala. Water Step setting up water pumps in Costa Rica. However, Red Nose Day donates half of the total proceeds to American and Puerto Rican citizens, and the other half to the poorest nations in the world.

“Kids in the U.S. experience higher poverty rates than most developed nations. Only Greece, Mexico, Israel, and Turkey have higher poverty rates than the U.S,”  according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in a 2017 report.

This is shocking, considering the photographs and videos that are associated with extreme poverty are never seem to be from the United States. However, the source of this problem is largely centered right in our home country.

This high rate of poverty is largely caused by the shrinking of the middle class. According to the Pew Research Center in a 2016 report, 61 percent of the United States population fell under the requirements for middle class in 1971. In 2016, the percentage fell to 52.

To a high school student, this may seem irrelevant and like a big jumble of numbers. However, the middle class is shrinking, the majority of citizens are falling into the lower income category, instead of the higher income. This drops the median income in America.

The Pew research report said, “present an adverse climate for economic growth. A relative decline in the incomes of lower- and middle-income families may create a drag on overall consumption in the economy, lead to excessive borrowing by these families or provide disincentives to invest in education.”

Why is this happening? Well, technology has been known to take over mundane tasks once done by a human. With factories using technology to increase efficiency of production, middle class jobs are replacing humans. According to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development in a 2019 report, 17 percent of middle-income jobs face a “high risk” of automation.

In the same report, the rising costs of education, health care, and house are hitting the middle class hard.

As a child, my mom went back to college to get her Bachelor’s Degree in nursing when I was five. She is now back in school again for her Master’s. Rising education costs make it hard for low-income families to ever rise in the ranks because they cannot afford to do so.

Growing up in a household where money was tight, my mom and I have learned how to live life without breaking the bank. We do not take large summer vacations every year. We do not go to the mall and shop at high end stores every weekend. We do not own big, fancy cars that can talk.

We live a comfortable lifestyle, under stricter restrictions than most households. However, you would not look at me and think of someone in poverty. I wear normal clothes. I eat normal foods at every meal. I participate in sports and have an active social life.

I am a normal teenager, but living in poverty.

Poverty has so many faces, mine being one. Today, drop a dollar at Walgreens and pick up your red nose in support of childhood poverty. Become a face in support of poverty.

 

Q&A with Master Gunnery Sergeant Lyn Akermon, Naval Science Instructor at New Albany High School

By Aurora Robinson

Bagpiper: Can you describe to me what Basic Leadership Training is?

Lyn Akermon: “Basic Leadership Training in my opinion is character development. We take cadets from different schools around the local area— Louisville, Southern Indiana—and we mix them all together, they are all strangers. They have to be functional as one, as a unit. We make it stressful. It’s a stressful environment, stressful mentally and physically because we do a lot of physical training in it. The mental aspect is we teach classes, we put them in leadership roles. They all have to try a leadership role during the week. They have to learn each other’s weaknesses, each other’s strengths. To be a good leader you have to be a good follower. But some people have more leadership abilities than others. Basic Leadership Training is, to me, character development. It shows the individual what are my weaknesses what are my strengths? Am I better physically than others? It teaches me about teamwork, comradery, it teaches me how to give certain people tasks. You can’t task just anybody on anything until you know their strengths and weaknesses. So you wouldn’t give somebody a job, in other words, that you knew they were weak in that job and they could not accomplish that job or that mission. So it’s not just about you learning about you, it’s learning about others around you and in life you have to play the hand that you’re dealt. So, Basic Leadership Training teaches you strengths, weaknesses, not just yours, but your teammates and it teaches you how to accomplish goals, or the military calls it accomplish a mission together with what you have at hand. That’s what basic leadership training is.”

“We do it using the military style of training. Physical training, lots of marching. We have team events because we are huge on building teams, uniform inspections, and a lot of it, too, we just have fun events because we teach them that there’s time that you have to work and there’s time that you need to relax and enjoy yourself, too. That’s a lot how the military deals with stress. Everyone is human you’ve got to have some down time.”

BP: Why would you push your cadets to do BLT?

LA: “I don’t do this job to put people in the military. I do this job to make them productive citizens, to make them good citizens. Basically, to teach them that all through life there’s going to be leaders, there’s going to be followers, there’s going to be a lot of stress in your life and the sooner you learn to deal with the stresses of life, the better you can handle the tough situations in anything you do. If you go to college, if you go to the military, if you go to the workforce, family, no matter what happens, you can deal with stress in your life and you have got to learn how to accept it and you have got to learn how to overcome it. And that’s the main reason for leadership training.”

BP: Is there anything else you would like to add?

LA: “I think the most it does for them—it’s a confidence builder and it’s extremely good for those cadets who always doubt themselves. It just shows them that they can overcome obstacles in life. That’s the main thing.”

Consider visiting a Louisville City FC game

By J.D. McKay

I have never really been that interested in soccer. I played it when I was little like just most other kids and have watched a little bit of the World Cup but only when the USA is playing. I still cannot say that I really enjoy watching a soccer game. However, Louisville City FC (LouCity) games are very cool and if you have not been to a game, you should.

I cannot say that if you already do not enjoy soccer you will suddenly become a fan, but it would make for an enjoyable group outing. If the game is close, it is fun to watch the fans as Louisville City gets close to scoring. Even I got into watching the game and was just as disappointed as the fans when the game winning goals carried just right of the goal, resulting in a draw.
It is also reasonably priced to watch a game. An evening movie costs about $13, which is about the average price of a LouCity game. Plus, at a Louisville City game, fans can enjoys the beautiful Ohio Valley weather if they pick the right time of year. On June, 8, they are playing a home game, and tickets only cost $10.

This is also the last year that they will be playing at Louisville Slugger Field. Their home stadium makes watching the games an interesting experience. The pitcher’s mound is lower and covered in turf, and turf is laid on the infield. The players sometimes seemed to avoid these patches, but did not seem to have too much of an effect on the game, in my opinion. Since it is their last year at Louisville Slugger, it is neat to see the how the fans make the stadium as seem more like Louisville City’s stadium than the Louisville Bats’ stadium. Soon, they will have a new stadium in  Butchertown, designed by the beloved and since deceased partial owner, Wayne Estopinal.

That brings me to my last point, the fans. LouCity fans are crazy. Most typical fans are pretty into the game for people who are not super fans. However, the super fans are wild. They are out tailgating beside the stadium at 1 p.m., six hours before game time. Fast forward about five and a half hours, and they are preparing for their march into the stadium. Led by a procession of drummers, they march in screaming their chants that are basically impossible to understand unless you have been to way more games than me. During the game, they are just as rowdy.

I have suggested before to go to a LouCity game in my “FIVE THINGS TO WATCH” columns. However, I have not really taken that advice and wish I would have sooner. These games are a very cool part of the exploding life in downtown Louisville and will be for years to come.

Pro baseball is making changes

By J.D. McKay

This summer I began working for the Louisville Bats Ground Crew. It is a pretty sweet job, and I am having a lot of fun, but that is not the point. Baseball is evolving. I am sure that anyone who follows sports has heard something like this: “Baseball fans are dying,” or “baseball is boring and losing popularity.” Baseball has heard them, especially minor leagues, and is making changes.

One change is making uniforms fun and entertaining for fans. The MLB has recently started a players weekend where players are allowed to wear nicknames on the back of their jerseys. Plus, they wear special Mother’s Day, Veterans Day, Father’s Day and Fourth of July hats and uniforms.

The Minor Leagues have not stopped at those holidays to wear special uniforms. On May 4 they often wear Star Wars uniforms to celebrate May the Fourth be with you. One new very cool thing most of the MILB is doing is adding Copa de la Diversion uniforms. They take their team’s typical uniforms, and make it something from Spanish-speaking culture. For example, the Delmarva Shorebirds are becoming the Gallos de Delmarva, meaning the Roosters of Delmarva. The Bats are becoming the Murciélagos de Louisville and wearing them on June 28. Those uniforms will make the game a little more fun, and you will get to see me dragging the field between the fourth and fifth innings. The Bats also introduced the Louisville Mashers last year and the Derby City Mint Juleps this year. Both uniforms have dope hats and jerseys.

The MILB also introduced a pitch timer in 2015. If it took a pitcher more than 20 second to pitch, a ball was called without throwing a pitch. This fixed some things, but it did not always fix the problem. For example, if I am at a game, it will inevitably take four hours, even with the timer. However, just last Tuesday, I was at a game that took one hour and 59 minutes. So the timer can be successful.

The last change is the amount of dingers hit. It is wild. Homers are being hit at an alarming rate over the past two years and into this year. There are several explanations for this. One is that bat angles are changing, accounting for more strikeouts but also more homeruns. Another part is that athletes are getting bigger, faster, and stronger, so that probably accounts for it. The last, partial conspiracy is that baseballs are being made differently. Some people say that baseballs are being made basically to add more pop. That seems unlikely to me, but it is certainly possible. Pro baseball has denied that a lot.

Baseball can certainly do more to be more interesting, it could add a DH to the NL. That is kind of a lame idea that real baseball fans like myself disagree with, but small fans might like that more. They could also play fewer games. That is unlikely, but it could happen if the game was truly collapsing.

All in all, baseball will not ever completely die. It is the first sport many Americans play, so that feeling of their first home run will always stick with them. I am sure that some parts will change over my life, and I am looking forward to seeing what. But right now, baseball is evolving at all levels.