The Prep The Student News Site of Loyola Academy Thu, 14 May 2020 18:16:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Four Years at 1100 Laramie; Farewell From a Senior Thu, 14 May 2020 18:16:56 +0000 It is impossible to sit back and write, in a single article, how spending four years in the hallways of Loyola Academy has changed me and helped me grow. While there may be a part of me that wants to say “good riddance,” there’s an even bigger part of me that wants to say “thank you.” My high school experience was far from normal, or even ideal, but through good times and bad, it’s important to reflect on how far myself and all of us have come.

I remember my first day almost as vividly as I remember this day, my last day, as a student at Loyola. In August of 2016, I vividly remember tossing and turning in my bed at the prospect of starting high school only knowing two people, and being surrounded by nearly 2,000 more every single day.

It is safe to say that when I first walked through the doors of Loyola on my first day, I was young, naive, and in a word, lost. I remember walking into the gym on my first day of freshman orientation only to stare at the faces of more than 500 of my classmates, none of whom I knew, but at the same time, they all seemed to know each other.

Freshman year would not go on to define my experience of high school, but it did set me off on the wrong foot. I struggled to find my place, I struggled to be successful academically, and being enrolled in seven honors classes forced me to be around people who were much more successful than myself, or at least, I thought so at the time.

Finding a home has always been a challenge. I’ve lost more friends than I’ve made between these walls, and I’ve struggled at times to stay focused and afloat on the grade book. There is a part of me that blames myself for letting a lot of the last four years pass me by, but I’m glad the mistakes I’ve made in the past have led me to decide what my life will look like in the future.

To any freshman, sophomores, juniors, and maybe even seniors who are about to embark upon a life changing journey, never let a moment pass you by. There is nothing more important than the moment you are in and the people who you are with. It also is important to remember that you are never alone. 

To anyone who may struggle to find acceptance, who maybe eats lunch alone because they have nobody to sit with, to anyone who feels as if sometimes high school is a tunnel where it is seemingly impossible to see the light at the end, fear not. I was once you. And trust me, the light at the end of the tunnel is much brighter when you make the most of the tunnel itself. 

To all the teachers who never cut me any slack, and maybe had to pull me out of some holes in my time here, thank you. To all the friends who I used to have but no longer do for one reason or another, thank you. To all of the friends that I do have, who have made me feel as if Loyola could in fact be a temporary home, thank you. 

It may pain my fellow seniors to remind them that Loyola is in fact just that, a temporary home. Our legacies here will always be marred in the shadow of the unorthodox nature by which our senior year ended, but they will remain nonetheless. 

Our best years are still very much ahead of us, but to Loyola, and all the people that make up its community, for setting me up on this wild and crazy journey, thank you.

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Opinion: Without Action, Lockdown Protesters Will Soon Have a Real Argument Wed, 13 May 2020 13:56:49 +0000 In mid-March, hundreds of millions of Americans effectively pressed the pause button on their lives.

Schools shut down nationwide, places of business sent workers home, or worse, on their own, and public gatherings have been all but eliminated. Live sports have been canceled, concerts postponed, and social distancing measures put into place at essential businesses like grocery stores.

For the most part, many Americans have rightfully taken this virus seriously, and we have succeeded in “flattening the curve.” In the battle against the virus, we do not live in the worst of all possible worlds.

Despite the constant stream of negativity on display on the news during this time, it is important to know that we are truly having an impact on how the virus has spread, and for the most part, we have been winning. 

Some, however, have taken to the streets, displeased with being told to stay at home for their own safety and the safety of their loved ones. It may be disheartening for many who take stay-at-home orders to see many outright ignoring them, in what seem from the outside to be politically motivated protests, but the hard reality is that if we continue to see a lack of speed-up in testing availability and medical capacity, especially in America’s more rural areas over the next few months, many of these angry and politically motivated protesters will have a legitimate point.

This is simply an unsustainable way to live. Massive crises, far more wide-reaching than just the virus itself will happen if we continue to force people to stay home come July, August, or until we have a vaccine. This is simply not how we are supposed to live. We have to get the American public back to work, back in schools, back on airplanes, back in stadiums, and back spending money in American businesses. Without it, the massive economic collapse and massive mental health challenges that many may face can cost us more lives than the actual transmission of the disease. 

Lives are dependent on restaurants serving food, airplanes flying, people traveling, and spending time outside of the confines of their homes. Many of our most vulnerable will lose their jobs, lose their homes, lose access to food they need, and face challenges that would have been considered unimaginable four months ago.

Come June, many of the protesters who are refusing to abide by stay-at-home and social distancing order will start to look more and more legitimate, and their concerns cannot and will not be so easily dismissed. 

So, how do we move forward? The only answer is to test, test, and test again. We simply cannot sit and wait a year for a vaccine only to find that the “cure” of locking everything down has brought the world of 2021 to its knees. Testing on a massive and wide scale is the only way out of the proverbial hole we have dug for ourselves. Millions should be tested every single day, and regularly as well. Test results need to be delivered in hours, not days, and they should be completely free.

Logistical challenges such as how we administer tests to those in rural areas, homeless populations, or those simply not willing to get one themselves remains a looming question, but call it what it is, this is our “man on the moon” moment, and there is simply no way around it.

While it does remain important to take the virus seriously and stay at home, for now, we simply cannot continue to live like this for another year. If we do, the death toll will come not from the virus, but instead from those struggling to buy food, find work, and even, most tragically, suicide. The “flatten the curve” line that became a national modo in March should be revised to “get a test.”

The choice to return the economy back to a sense of normalcy is completely dependent on whether or not testing becomes not only readily available but also readily administered. 


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Nonfiction Superheros Among Us Fri, 01 May 2020 14:51:30 +0000 In every superhero movie, there is some sort of evil that strikes, and, while everyone else runs away, the superheroes run against the crowd, always being the very first to respond.

It is for that same reason that doctors, police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, military personnel, and all others with specialized training to provide assistance at the scene of an emergency are called first responders. They are the nonfiction superheroes who are the very first to arrive at the scene, just moments after we cry for help. The “evil” in our world today is the Covid-19 Pandemic that has been affecting nearly every person worldwide, but, just like any other Marvel movie, the superheroes are coming to the rescue.

Just as superheroes do not have days off, first responders are some of the only workers that cannot put their job on hold or take their work from home. Katie Anello, an Evidence Technician assigned to the Chicago Police Department firearms lab, said that there were about six people in her unit that have tested positive for the virus, and the first police officer to pass from the virus worked in her building.

Instead of using these discouraging facts as an excuse to stay home, she expresses her selflessness and gratitude, like a real hero, by saying, “my main concern at this time is making sure my entire family stays safe and healthy… fortunately, I still get to go to work.”

Katie’s husband, Phillip Anello, is a Lieutenant for the Chicago Fire Department, and he shares a similar sense of bravery when he speaks of the pandemic. “I stay positive because I know this will pass,” he says. “I take Covid-19 seriously, and we all need to protect ourselves. However, my concerns are that the media and the government are scaring Americans into believing that our lives will never go back to normal. We will now have a new normal.”

Phillip says that he makes an effort to emphasize to his family, especially his two kids, that they will be all right, and that they will get through this together.

He also feels a sense of coming together on a communal level and says, “The community has been unbelievably supportive.” He finishes, like a humble hero, by saying, “The nurses and doctors are the true heroes… firefighters and police officers are exposed but not as much as those who work in the hospitals.”

Joanne Dunderdale is a nurse who works in the emergency room and ICU at Lutheran General Hospital. Nurses are often the only people allowed in a patient’s room at a time, because doctors are mostly doing telemedicine outside the room or using their phones to talk to the patient. Although nurses have been thoughtfully slowing down to ensure that they are doing everything in their control to stay safe, they are still fearlessly putting themselves in the line of fire, which has inevitably led to some of them contracting the virus.

“I think I know 12 people personally (working at the hospital) that have tested positive,” she says, “Quite honestly, I think it is encouraging. I do not want to negate the detrimental effects of Covid, because it’s obviously lethal but… there are lots of people who have gotten it, struggled, survived, and are dying to get back to work!”

First responders show bravery by running towards the evil every day, but they show their heroism when they are knocked down by this evil, get back up, and keep running. The community has been giving these nonfiction heroes their well-deserved thanks and praise by dropping off masks, gowns, hundreds of meals with individual notes on each one, and even girl scout cookies from a local troop in Park Ridge.

“In the end, people come together,” Dunderdale says, “While we don’t like these things, it is what brings us together in many ways.”

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Call of Duty: Modern War Releases New Update Fri, 01 May 2020 14:44:59 +0000 Staying at home is still very boring, but Infinity Ward is helping us keep busy by releasing a ton of new content recently. Whether it be grinding a brand new camo for your gear, hopping into a new warzone, or using one of the new guns to become victorious, there is plenty to keep us gamers occupied.

The new update releases on April 29th, 2020, containing two downloads, which will need about 30 GBs of space.

The biggest thing most Call of Duty players will look at is the inclusion of a new completionist camo, Obsidian. This is an all black camo for any of your weapons, and it is weapon specific, meaning you have to complete a set of challenges for said weapon of your choosing.

“I love this,” says player Sam Harmon, “it gives me a whole other challenge to complete.”

This gives hardcore Call of Duty players something else to work for in the game.

The next big update more casual players will look into is the changes to the new super popular battle royale, Warzone. As you will first notice before even dropping in is the new revamped menu screen. But the real updates come when you are in the warzone. They added a new item, called an armor satchel, which allows players to carry three more armor pieces.

“This is a great piece of gear to have,” says Warzone player Brendan Chamberlain. “This will greatly help in endgame situations.”

Another change that got implemented is the new bounty called “Most Wanted.” If you pick this up, you are revealed to the whole map where people can come and try to defeat you. If you survive though, it brings back all your dead squadmates, high risk high reward!

A new weapon that you can bring into the warzone to help defend yourself from attackers is a new Light Machine Gun called the KM9 Bruen. This is a high stability weapon, so it can be effective at longer ranges than other LMGs. And if you are worried about leveling the gun up, Infinity Ward also made this week double XP for both your personal level and weapon level.

“As a user of LMGs, I couldn’t have asked for a better update,” says Nicky Marchese. “I can’t wait to get the obsidian camo on it.”

This new update helps players to keep occupied in these terrible times. It gives us even more to do then what we already have in this huge game!

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Dream Team ’97 – The Last Dance Fri, 01 May 2020 14:36:02 +0000 People of all ages are getting to relive the crazy NBA season of 1997-98 and “dream team” of the Chicago Bulls including the greats like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman.

The Last Dance mini series makes viewers feel like they are on the team, experiencing the highs and lows of one of the greatest seasons for the Chicago Bulls.

During the 1997-98 season of the NBA, a camera crew had all access to the Chicago Bulls and recorded everything possible during the season. After a little over 20 years, the documentary has finally been released (just in time for the stay at home order). The mini series mainly focuses on one of the best NBA players Michael Jordan who helped bring the team to the championship the ‘97-’98 season.

With two episodes every Sunday night on ESPN, people count down the days until the next episodes air. The episodes that have aired so far focus on topics from Michael Jordan making his way onto the Bulls, how Scottie Pippen was very underpaid for being one of the best players in the league, the crazy story how Dennis Rodman was granted a 48 hour vacation and didn’t come back for a while, and the famous Detroit Piston walk-off (sore losers.

Four episodes of the show have been released so far and the ratings are very high, Rotten Tomatoes giving the show a rating of 96% and IMDB giving a rating of 9.5/10. Many viewers believe the show is put together very well.

“I love the set up, how it talks about certain players, certain teams that were tough to beat, past season, and especially how it’s leading up to the championship,” says senior Katelyn Clucas.

The series also portrays the energy of the Michael Jordan era the best way it can, from the fans in the stadium to the energy on the court.

“The energy in the gym was amazing, no basketball game can match the craziest of United Center back then,” says Jamie Larsen who worked as a paramedic at United Center during that time.

Younger people are getting to see what it was like behind the scenes of the Bulls and listen to the players now talk about how they were feeling during games and especially how they felt about other teams and certain players.

Freshman Corey Larsen said, “It’s so cool to see how they played basketball back then, I hear so much about this season for the Bulls and now I get to watch more than just the games.”

There are still six more exciting episodes to air over the next three Sundays with each episode focusing on a different aspect of the season. The early release of the mini series is something many have been looking forward to during the stay at home order, it keeps many anticipating the next two episodes.

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Schooling in the Time of Covid Fri, 01 May 2020 14:19:47 +0000 Only a short three weeks ago, the hallways were filled with the hustle and bustle of students in their last quarter of the school year.

This quickly changed when COVID-19 hit the world in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Schools were then forced to switch to online learning. Some schools adjusted seamlessly. Others, unfortunately, did not.

Mary Orr has been a Chicago Public Schools teacher for almost 30 years, with 25 of those years spent at Haugan Elementary School. Haugan is located in Albany Park, a low-income neighborhood located on the northwest side of Chicago.

Maeve Orr has been a student at Wildwood Elementary School for six years. Wildwood is located on the far northwest side of Chicago and is considered a medium-to-high income neighborhood.

Marina Mermigis is a senior at Loyola Academy, which is a private school located in the north suburbs of Chicago.

Quarantine has hit each of these women differently, but one thing that each has in common is the abrupt change to their school year. While examining how each school is coping with the shutdown of their respective school, one thing is obvious; the more impoverished school is the less they were prepared for this pandemic.

Mary Orr, a kindergarten teacher describes how she talks to her kids through google classroom. She’s had many obstacles to face in this transition.

“Many kids don’t have access to technology or the internet to get on with me. I work in a neighborhood where a lot of people can’t afford these things that many take for granted, especially in times like this.”

Mary tries to take into account that resources are limited for many of these families.

In stark contrast, Marina and other students at Loyola are assumed to have these materials.

“I zoom everyday from 10 am to 2 pm.”

At schools like Loyola, the majority of students are expected to have access to the internet and devices to have daily contact with teachers.

Maeve has a similar situation where she is in daily contact with her teacher and classmates. Even though she attends a Chicago Public School, they are clearly held to a different standard because of the neighborhood the school is located in.

Mary only holds a google classroom meeting three times a week. Mondays at 2, Fridays at 2 and Wednesdays at 6. When asked why the Wednesday one was so late, she described an email that she got from one of her student’s mother.

The mother expressed her dismay the week that it was announced CPS would be converting to e-learning. She works at a restaurant and was deemed an essential worker. The only device that her child could use she had to bring to work. That is when Mary realized that this is most likely the case for a lot of families.

Marina said that Loyola was “Definitely prepared for this. They immediately had us online, in contact with our teachers and in or classes.”

Maeve said that it took “about two weeks for our teachers to start google classroom.”

Mary said that “CPS was definitely not prepared for this” and she hopes that this experience shows them the importance of preparing for the worst.

It is clear that schools were not fully prepared for this pandemic, but some were more than others.

One common denominator is that teachers and faculty are working tirelessly to end this school year off right despite what is going on in the world.

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Tiger King Has Taken over America Fri, 01 May 2020 14:11:12 +0000 “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” has become one of the most watched documentaries on Netflix, and not just because of the baby tigers. It is also because of the crazy characters and the amount of drama they bring to the world of big cats.

The eight episode series mainly revolves around Joe Exotic and his zoo with over 200 tigers. His staff is mainly ex-convicts and homeless people who are looking for a new path. At Joe Exotic’s zoo, they believe in breeding tigers and letting the costumers pet and hold the baby tigers. This raises a lot of controversy but Mr. Exotic was happy, because were visiting his zoo and paying to pet tigers.

But, Exotic is most known for running for President, then losing. Then running for governor, and losing that too. He’s a guy who likes attention, but it’s almost impossible not to give him attention. He has two husbands, who are both straight men. One of his husbands is missing most of his teeth because of common meth use at the zoo. They are very flawed, but it is hard not to take their side against someone just as crazy.

Carol Baskin is the owner of another well-known big cat zoo in Florida. But, she has very different beliefs than Exotic. She is highly against breeding and letting people touch the cats.

Exotic shows his hate towards her by sending her snakes in the mail, stealing her diary and putting pictures of her on a doll and then shooting it. But people are not very big fans of Carol.

Several years ago, she and her husband were having relationship troubles. Her husband even went as far as filing a restraining order and giving it to a friend “just in case anything happened.”

The day before he planned on delivering the divorce papers, he disappeared. When police read the note on the restraining order written by her husband he said that she had threaten to kill him. But no evidence was found to arrest her, so the case closed.

The show is a whirlwind of emotions. It’s hard to pick sides, because every new character is crazier than the last. But, somehow they are all pretty lovable.

The director just went to film a video on snakes, and he fell into a deep hole in the cat world. And I’m glad he did.

Joe Exotic is now in jail for a reason explained late in the season, and there is suicide, lying, stealing, fraud, money laundering and so much more. Usually this much drama in a eight part series would be too much. But, it is a very well produced and edited show.

Although it is very unlikely, I’m praying for a season two. Either way, next time I’m in Tampa, I’ll be at Carol Baskin’s big cat rescue.

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COVID-19 and Sports; The NFL Did the Right Thing to Hold the 2020 Draft Mon, 27 Apr 2020 17:13:12 +0000 March 12th was the last day in which the American public got to enjoy live sports. Who would have thought that the next peep we would hear from the sports’ world would come from a casually dressed Roger Goodell from his basement?

The decision to press the pause button on live sports was indeed the right one, but so was the NFL’s decision to continue with their college-player draft, the biggest event of the offseason. Debate circled on whether or not holding a draft as scheduled would seem tone-deaf to the obvious and apparent challenges currently facing millions of Americans, but it was obvious the viewing public saw it as something else, an escape. 

Throughout trying times in our history, sports has come through to provide a much needed distraction. While some look at sports as simply watching grown men or women play games, its place in our society can prove to be much more important in times like these.

Many moments, even recent moments, come to mind.

The Astros winning the World Series in 2017, which, regardless of sign stealing, was a much needed escape for a city still reeling after Hurricane Harvey a few months prior.

NFL fans will remember Steve Gleason’s blocked punt in 2006 for the New Orleans Saints in their first home game after Hurricane Katrina.

Or perhaps the national anthem before the New York Yankees’ first game after 9/11. 

While the NFL Draft itself may not have roaring crowds and raucous environments, it is true that sports, even when it’s not an actual game being played, can help ease a worried nation. This was the most watched draft in history, with each day setting a new record for ratings. 15.6 million people watched the first round, which provided nearly 4 hours of fresh, new, sports content. 

The NFL is a corporation that has received its fair share of deserved criticism over the years, and perhaps no man in the sports world had been more disliked than its CEO and commissioner, Roger Goodell. However, we got to peek into his own basement of his presumably multi-million dollar New York mansion, there is not, nor should there be, any criticism of him or his league for holding a draft all of us will remember. 

Analysts and pundits around the country will talk about the draft, grade picks, and address how each team did, but the truth of the matter still remains that sports will continue to serve a purpose, even during a time in which physical games cannot be played.

Who knows if the annual tradition of welcoming football back into our lives in late August and early September will look the same this year, but the NFL draft did provide, for at the very least, three days, an escape to what most would call a sense of normalcy. 


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Senior Day Celebrated Differently Mon, 27 Apr 2020 16:07:21 +0000 With the recent IHSA announcement to cancel spring sports, the girls’ track and field team found a new way to celebrate their seniors: a surprise parade. 

May 9th was supposed to mark the senior day meet. But, the team decided to celebrate a little early. 

Senior runner Jenna Rekoske explains how the team and head coach surprised her, and the other seniors, by waving and honking from their cars. They also gave each of the seniors flowers, cake, and personalized posters.

“It made me feel very appreciated and loved by the team. It honestly made my day,” said Rekoske. She went on to describe it as “the perfect replacement for a senior night celebration.”

Though their season unexpectedly came to an end, the team is still working together in different ways.

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A Little Light in Dark Times Tue, 07 Apr 2020 21:25:01 +0000 Amidst all the coronavirus talk, I figured people could use some good news. So, here are a few of the many feel-good stories to help get you through the week! 

  1. Senior citizens play life-size Hungry, Hungry Hippo. Bryn Celyn Care Home in Wales found a creative way to spend their lockdown. Modeled after the children’s board game, staff members set the game up using plastic balls, baskets, and broomsticks. The center’s manager said, “we are staying positive and doing what we do everyday, which is supporting our residents, and keeping it as normal as possible,” in a CNN interview. 
  2. Chicago Animal Care and Control has adopted out all of their dogs. In an April 5th Facebook post, the center says, “CACC has no dogs currently available for adoption. We’ve never typed these words before. The last two dogs were adopted today.” The center goes on to explain that this will change, but they are extremely grateful all of the dogs have found loving homes. 
  3. Teddy bear scavenger hunt rapidly grows throughout the world. According to The New York Times, Stevie-Lee Tiller began this movement throughout her hometown in New Zealand. Neighbors put teddy bears in their windows, then children try to count as many as possible. The teddy bear hunt has spread throughout several countries thanks to Stevie-Lee. 

Even in these dark times, it is important to stay positive! 

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