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for Grades 9-12

July 15, 2024
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For Grades 9-12 , week of Apr 22, 2024

1. PRESS CONFERENCE BLUNDER

Days after NCAA superstar Caitlin Clark was drafted into the WNBA and signed for the Indiana Fever, a reporter apologized for his behavior when questioning the young athlete at a press conference. Indianapolis Star sports columnist Gregg Doyle made a heart shape with his hands at Clark when he was given the mic to ask her a question. Clark asked, “You like that?” to which Doyel said “I like that you’re here.” Clark replied that she does the heart-sign to her family after ever game, leading Doyel to say “Okay, well, start doing it to me and we’ll get along just fine.” Sports journalists and fans alike called Doyel out online for his behavior, which many called unprofessional and creepy toward the female athlete. It also plays to a wider conversation about how female athletes are treated as compared to their male counterparts. Doyel apologized in a column, saying that he intended to come off as “clever, to be familiar and welcoming,” but instead realized what he said and how he said it was wrong. Research other examples of how women in sports are treated during press conferences and interviews. Then, write a paragraph that explores why you think there’s a difference between the way men and women athletes are treated and how that can be changed.

2. UKRAINE AID BILL FINALLY GOES TO A VOTE

House Speaker Mike Johnson defied the far-right Republicans that helped get him appointed to the position, bringing forth a $95 billion bill that would give more aid to Ukraine, Israel, and other US allies. Some House Republicans oppose the bill so fiercely, they’ve threatened to remove Johnson as speaker if he were to lead the House in approving it. However, Johnson said he wanted to be “on the right side of history,” bringing the legislation to the floor. The House met in a rare Saturday session to vote on three aid bills—for Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific —as well as a fourth that has several other foreign policy proposals. If passed, the bills will head to the Senate where they’ll very likely be approved and head to President Biden’s desk. Research the reasons some House members supported or opposed the aid bills. Then, write a summary of the issue and the result of the weekend session.

3. PROTESTS END IN ARRESTS

More than 100 Columbia University students were arrested from a pro-Palestinian protest last week. The president of the university, Nemat Shafik, called in New York City police to empty the encampment of protesters on the heels of a vow she made to Congress to crack down on unauthorized protests at the school. Currently, Columbia’s policy allows for student protests to certain times of day and designated spots on campus. The campus has struggled for months with rising tensions between pro-Palestinian demonstrators and Jewish people who have regarded them as antisemitic. The officers, outfitted in riot gear, arrested the protesters for trespassing as they broke up the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment,” a grouping of about 50 tents on the campus. An earlier statement said the protesters would stay until the university cut financial ties to Israel, among other demands. Do you think college students should have a right to protest in whatever way they see fit, or should there be rules that structure the ways they can voice their opinions to preserve the campus’ safety and learning environment? Write an opinion article on the issue, using the Columbia University story as a basis for what you feel the school should do. Then, share your take with your classmates and listen to the different perspectives in your class.

4. NO NEW DRILLING

The Biden administration is restricting new oil and gas leasing in Alaska to help protect native wildlife amid global warming. The 13 million acres are part of a federal petroleum reserve that will still be active for existing leases and currently authorized operations there, but no new oil and gas leases will be granted for further development. The reserve is home to caribou, polar bears, migrating birds, and other wildlife, and the new rules would restrict future development in areas with the most wildlife and plant life. The decision comes as the Arctic region continues to be among the most affected in the world by climate change. Environmental groups praised the decision while Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan criticized it as harmful to Alaska’s economy. Read more about the decision from at least two sources. Then, write a summary of the issue and what the benefits and risks are.

5. OIL SPILL CAUSES LASTING DAMAGE

When BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig was destroyed by a deadly explosion in 2010, 134 million gallons of crude oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico, creating the biggest offshore oil spill in US history. Tens of thousands of people joined cleanup efforts, becoming exposed to crude oil and chemicals used for remediation in the process. BP agreed to a medical claims settlement in 2012 to help cleanup workers who became sick as a result of their efforts—but recent investigations show that many workers who made claims received little to no payout. Of the billions the company spent on restitution for the damage caused, 79 percent of the workers and coastal residents who filed health claims received no more than $1,300 each. Of those who have chosen to sue for greater financial compensation, all but a handful have had their cases dismissed. Investigations into the issue revealed several troubling realities, including a single switched word in the settlement that prevented thousands of workers from receiving anything over the minimum $1,300. Those who sue for more often had a burden of proof that is considered by experts to be impossible to meet: connecting the chemical exposure to the illness suffered, which had to be documented in medical records in very specific ways in order to be accepted by the courts. Considering all the players in this story, from companies, lawyers, and judges, to medical professionals and the ordinary people affected, think about how you would tackle reporting on a story of such magnitude. Write an outline in which you detail who you would interview and what questions you would ask, as well as the documents and other resources you would use, to gather the information needed to report on this topic fairly and accurately.

Step onto any school campus and you'll feel its energy. Each school is turbocharged with the power of young minds, bodies, hearts and spirits.

Here on the Western Slope, young citizens are honing and testing their skills to take on a rapidly changing world. Largely thanks to technology, they are in the midst of the most profound seismic shift the world has ever seen.

Perhaps no time in our history has it been more important to know what our youth are thinking, feeling and expressing.

The Sentinel is proud to spotlight some of their endeavors. Read on to see how some thoroughly modern students are helping learners of all ages connect with notable figures of the past.

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