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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.

 

FC beats Jeffersonville Friday 34-14

By Tori Roberts

Societal issues addressed in new South Park season

By Karli Coleman

South Park has been entertaining, baffling, and offending its audience for 19 seasons now. With over 250 episodes and a variety of protagonists everyone loves to hate, along with a feature film and a variety of collectors’ merchandise and video games, South Park continues to be one of the most beloved animated comedies in the world, winning over viewers with its clever satire and offensive humor.

I have been a dedicated South Park fan for as long as I can remember. The show has never failed to put a smile on my face while I was going through rough times in my childhood. South Park and its characters were always there when I was happy, sad, or anything in between. It has evoked tears as a result of such intense laughter, and the animated series will always be a favorite of mine.

The 19th season of South Park aired on Sept. 16. Similar to last season, this season features an episode-to-episode consistency, with social justice and political-correctness as a recurring theme. This season introduced the PC “Politically Correct” Principal, a jacked-up frat boy who considers himself a social justice warrior. The PC Principal is a new major character that emphasizes social justice and the importance of being politically aware and correct in the modern world.

So far this season, South Park has touched on a variety of social justice topics, such as transgender awareness, immigration, ableist slurs, and the importance of voting for a good president, along with gay rights and the harm done by negative propaganda of marginalized minorities.

Continue reading Societal issues addressed in new South Park season

Prayer group brings students together

By Sydney Sears and Rachel Lamb

Early every Tuesday morning a small group of students meets with Highland Hills Middle School teacher April Elmore to gather in prayer.

“Prayer can change the climate of the school,” said Elmore.

Elmore started this group last year after a couple of girls in her small group at Northside Christian Church wanted to begin a prayer group at their school. Elmore took the initiative to create this group so that students can grow closer to God in high school and help prepare their faith for college.

“The prayer group is just a few high school kids that come to school early before school on Tuesdays and pray. It exists to be a time for students to simply read a few verses of the Bible and pray for what they feel like,” said junior Reagan Kurk.

Reagan is one of the girls in Elmore’s church small group.

The group meets every Tuesday morning at about 7:05 a.m. outside the athletic office. During this time they talk about life, complete a devotional, and then finally finish with prayer. This all ends at about 7:30 a.m., giving students enough time to prepare for their first class.

Senior Scott Schuchartdt shares how he has personally benefitted from the prayer group.

“You get to connect with others that share the same faith that you do and realize that you are not alone.”

Reagan and Schuchartdt agreed that this group creates a positive influence in your life.

“Allowing students the opportunity to meet, encourage one another, and pray together is a wonderful thing,” said Reagan.

“You are able to grow your faith so that you can impact the school in a positive way through prayer and fellow devotions,” said Schuchartdt.

Some students that attend this group like Schuchartdt said they not only grow closer with one another but God as well.

“This group helps brighten my day and opens my eyes to what He has done around me,” said freshman Elise Kurk.

Students show Highlander pride during Spirit Week

By Rachel Lamb, Megan Johnson and Melanie Parrish