Rowing: The Hardest Sport at the High School by Gabbi

Not many people know about my sport- how mentally and physically demanding it is, how time consuming and how utterly difficult this activity is. I’m a rower, so every day I’m either on the water, running, using the erg machines, or weight lifting. Crew is seriously under appreciated, because it’s not available for middle schoolers and people don’t sit down on Sundays with their family to watch their favorite team’s race. However, I’m writing this in order to explain how challenging my sport is.

For starters, crew doesn’t have an off-season, we condition every day in the winter, erging and running. We row long distance in the fall and sprint in the spring. Summer is the time for camps, where we learn different rowing techniques with new coaches. We’re downtown for practice from 4:15-7:30 each evening preparing for the next regatta with our boatmates. Early mornings, late nights and busy weekends show that the crew team is more dedicated than any other sport. 

Not to mention the grueling physical aspect of the sport, rowing is a full body workout. About 50% legs, 30% core and 20% arms, we don’t leave anything out. This means that for 6000 meters in the fall, on every stroke for about twenty minutes, we’re putting in maximum effort and not taking any off-strokes. During spring, we go past our breaking points, in order to gain water on the boats in the other lanes. 

Although, you can’t just be in top physical shape if you want to succeed in this sport- you also need to be able to have almost-perfect technique. Bad technique can significantly slow you down, and if you can’t perfect the skill of remaining in sync with your boatmates and perfecting the amount of power you put on a stroke, there is no way you’ll do well. While rowing 6,000 meters for 20 minutes, it is so easy to take off-strokes or to just stop. In order to persevere through the pain, you must be able to exhibit mental strength. For freshmen, it’s not always easy because it takes time to be able to put yourself through the most amount of pain you’ve ever felt for 20 whole minutes. 

My team and I are trying really hard to get people to appreciate the sport. We work hard every single day, and it’s outrageous that people think we’re just kayaking on a river for fun. I’m not saying that other high school sports aren’t hard, just that close to no one at the high school works as hard as us.

Musings on Jon Arbuckle by Kevin Jiang

I’ve been reading a lot of Garfield comics lately, though I’m not quite sure why. It may be because they are easily accessible—just a click away on my bookmarks at (I can even visit on my school-censored Chromebook! How convenient!) That’s probably not the reason I’m visiting so often, however, considering Naviance and ProgressBook are also in my bookmarks, and I definitely don’t read those for fun. Maybe it’s Jon and Garfield’s relationship that draws me in. Yes, that’s it.

It is clear in many ways that Garfield is the star of the comic, and Jon Arbuckle is simply there to make the comic work. One such reason is that the comic is titled Garfield instead of Jon and the Tabby Cat. However, even though Jon stays out of the spotlight, there are many aspects to like about him. Though Jon often serves as the target of Garfield’s humor, Jon’s ideas are generally good ones. For example, Jon consistently prods Garfield to work out and to stop eating things he shouldn’t be eating (like pet goldfish). He also sometimes makes ridiculous statements, because, don’t we all?

The importance of Garfield overall is the relatability of Jon Arbuckle to most of us humans, who quite often make smart and witty statements, but who just as often have a bad day, or an unfortunate moment. Us humans, especially students, like to succeed and be right. When we don’t succeed and aren’t right (for once), it leads to a miserable time for us and those around us. That’s where Jon Arbuckle comes in. No matter how many jokes and pranks he is the subject of, Jon shows up, every day, in almost every comic strip. That attitude is a fantastic approach to life that I believe we all should follow. There are some days where Jon doesn’t want to be there, too. There are some days where he makes a fool of himself without Garfield ever contributing. But Jon always shows up, illustrating his insanity and this perseverance is an important characteristic to have.

Things To Do With Your Exchange Student by Lane Murray

Here at Shaker we welcome students from countries such as Germany, Japan, France, Chile (and more!) each year. This is one of those things that we as Shaker students may find completely normal, but is actually something that has shocked friends of mine from other schools in the area, much to my own surprise. Fortunately, at our school we have the experience of crossing paths with new students from other countries practically whenever we feel like it. Unfortunately, those who host these students are the ones who have to figure out how to show them the best time possible.

Thus, I bestow upon you my Starbucks secret menu of things to do with your new international best friend (that aren’t football games, museums, parties, etc.):


I once spent multiple hours in a CVS with my French exchange student after originally running in for one or two items. Apparently, having medicine, groceries, makeup, office supplies, and other miscellaneous shopping items all in one small store is a truly American ideal.

2. The Spontaneity Factor
Countries such as Chile and Germany have a legal driving age of 18, which makes unplanned travels, whether it be to a friends house or an all day trip, a way bigger ordeal for them than it is for us. Imagine the “Jenny’s mom can drive us there if yours can pick us up” conversation for two years longer. The mere concept that those of us with the resources can just go do things when we feel like it is a really cool advantage. 

3. Take. Advantage. Of. The. Season.

This one is obvious but essential. If it’s fall and you’re not carving pumpkins and going to haunted houses you’re  going to have google a few more To Do lists.

4. Do what’s meaningful to you!

Even if it’s not something or somewhere that you think will be the most wow-ing part of their trip, your exchange student wants to learn about and experience your life just as much as they want to do and see American things. Most likely, your favorite spot in the city or your favorite restaurant will be just as fun of a time if it’s a part of your life you want to show them.

5. Talk, chat, and email beforehand

Seriously, the only way you’re going to come up with ideas that your exchange student will specifically love, is by getting to know as much about their interests and their personality as possible. Sit around and talk about your lives and the ideas will flow, I swear.

These are just a few of the things that I did with my exchange student that ended up being way more impactful than previously anticipated. Yes, they should 100% experience the typical American things like football, our high school culture, historical sites and national parks. But if all else fails, there’s always CVS!

Why This NBA Season Will Be The Best of The Decade by John Stevenson

This NBA offseason has been far from dull.  Kawhi Leonard leading the Raptors to their first NBA championship caused chaos this offseason.  Also, two of arguably the top 3 players in the NBA entered free agency: Kawhi Leonard and the infamous Kevin Durant.  Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Raptors in 2018 from the San Antonio Spurs, as well as the shooting guard Danny Green for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick.  At first Toronto was devastated, Demar Derozen was the Raptor’s franchise player and Toronto fans had no love for Kawhi Leonard, at least not yet.  As soon as Kawhi put on his Toronto threads he started to ball out, averaging 26.6 points for the 2018-2019 season. However, what really cemented Kawhi as a Toronto great was his playoff performance.  In the first round of the playoffs, Toronto easily plowed through the Orlando Magic, winning the series 4-1. In the second round, the Raptors played the Philadelphia 76ers which went to a competitive 7 games, in which Kawhi hit the first winning game 7 shot in NBA history.  The Raptors would then face the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Toronto would be the underdogs in that series as they had to play the regular season MVP Giannis Antetekoumpo, but the Raptors would soon prove anyone doubtful wrong and win the series 4-2.  

In the opposite conference the Golden State Warriors swept the Portland Trailblazers in the Western Conference Finals and had a tremendous amount of momentum heading into the NBA finals.  The Warriors were heavy favorites, but the Raptors came out strong as they won game 1, 118-109. The series would then go to 6 games with the Raptors leading 3-2, as it would be the last game in historic Oracle Arena.  The Raptors ran away with the win 114-110 as Fred Vanvleet came off the bench scoring 22 points. The Warriors were devastated by this loss, but their woes were far from over as Kevin Durant announced that he would enter free agency.  Many predicted KD to go to the Knicks in free agency along with Kyrie Irving, but instead the future dynamic duo decided to go the Brooklyn Nets. The biggest reason for KD’s decision to go to the Nets was that the organization had plenty of cap space and young talent.  This decision is described as having set “balance” once more in the NBA by many sportswriters, because the league looks much more competitive than it has in the recent past. Overall, the NBA was one of the biggest winners of the summer of 2019; NBA TV ratings are projected to go through the roof as basketball is one of the fastest growing sports in the world.

What’s Your Sign? By Aaliyah Williams

When I was little, there was nothing more exciting to me than the idea of laying in my backyard and gazing up; the phases of the moon, the faint stars and constellations, and the occasional planet or two that dotted the night sky were so fascinating to me. They all twinkled so far away, but they felt so close, like friends that were forever at a distance. I took every opportunity to learn about space, and when I was introduced to the concept of those stars and the moon and even asteroids having an affect on the type of person I am, it’s safe to say I was more than a little interested. The idea that things so far away that I loved so much already could have an effect on me was an idea that I took a real liking to; and thus my love of astrology was born.

Astrology is the study of how stars, planets, and other celestial bodies affect human behaviors and personalities. Some people consider it to be a real science–others consider it to be the definition of pseudoscience. I‘m not entirely sure what I think of it myself; whether who you are is really written in the stars or if astrology was conjured up out of thin air by people that were just bored. What I do know is that I don’t particularly care if it can be scientifically proven to be true, it’s just so fun to talk about!

When I was around fourteen, while sitting in a cozy coffee shop on a frigid winter morning, I realized the true magnitude of people that I would never know in this world. I watched as people came into the shop, purchased their coffee, made their small talk, and then returned to their own lives separate from my gaze. I imagined what each person’s life was like after they left the shop. Were they going home? To work? To a friend’s home? I would never know; though when I overheard a woman talking about how her birthday was in a week (and I could determine that she was a Sagittarius) it felt like I knew a little about her. Our paths would probably never cross again in the future, and obviously I would never know who she really was, but for one second, she wasn’t that much of a stranger. It was like I was chipping away at getting to know the billions of interesting and vibrant people that occupy this planet.

At the end of the day, astrology is just entertainment. As long as no one takes their daily horoscopes as prophetic readings that will accurately predict every aspect of their lives, it’s a pretty harmless way to spend and pass time (but my horoscope today sucked so I guess I’ll be on the lookout).