The Prism: Every Side of the Story

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The United States faces a major issue with gun control, or the lack thereof. This issue has not gone away, mainly because of the lobbying of politicians.The National Rifle Association “and its affiliates spent a record $54m to secure Republican control of the White House and Congress, including at least $30.3m to help elect Donald Trump” (The Guardian).

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Many juniors, seniors, and even sophomores are familiar with the SAT and the ACT. Fundamentally , the SAT and ACT are meant to be standardized tests given to high school students so that colleges can see how much they know. At least, that is what is supposed to happen.

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Talk of college admissions has reached national news recently as big universities and celebrities have been involved in a college admissions scandal. The U.S Department of Education has recently launched an investigation of UCLA, USC, Yale, and other universities due to fraudulent acceptances into these top colleges. Also involved in this scandal are many wealthy individuals who pay the schools an absurd amount of money for their child’s college acceptance. While both celebrities Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin have been involved in this scandal, about 50 other people have been charged with fraudulently influencing admissions. Together, those charged with these crimes paid a whopping 25 million dollars to William Rick Singer, a man who manipulates test scores and bribes universities to get the children of his clients into top colleges. However, with a scandal like this, it is important to look at all the socioeconomic advantages and disadvantages, with respect to the college admissions process and attending college.

It’s no secret that the wealthy have an easier time with the college process. Regarding test scores, the wealthy have access to better prep books, tutors, and more tests, as all of these steps in the standardized testing process together cost a large sum of money. As for college admissions, applying to college is an expensive feat as well. Generally speaking, college application fees are around 50 dollars each, and it is becoming increasingly popular to apply to 5 to 10 colleges, sometimes even 15. Wealthy parents also have a leg up in terms of boosting their children’s applications because they have the means to send their kids to summer programs, pay for tutors, and cover the costs of expensive extracurricular activities that are appealing to college admissions offices. Sometimes wealthy parents pay for a special admissions counselor, which is another added cost that less fortunate parents simply cannot pay for. All of these costs add up, and they add up quickly. Even after being accepted into college, the real disadvantage comes with paying tuition. Private universities like USC and Yale cost 50 to 60 thousand dollars a year without aid. With financial aid, these schools still cost around 30 thousand dollars. These figures simply are just not an option for poor and middle-class families. Even if their children apply to state schools, with cheaper in-state tuition, it is still very expensive and requires the student to take out student loans. UCLA in-state tuition is around 12 thousand dollars, which can still break the bank for families when adding up with the cost of all college prep and admissions materials, and the cost of things like textbooks and other school supplies. The majority of families have multiple children, and are still looking at around 30 thousand dollars annually even if they have just 2 kids. This is only an outline of the kind of money colleges require these days, even for just admission to their university. It is clear wealthy parents have a leg up.

While the scandal is far from a typical college admissions experience, it still highlights the inevitable advantage that rich families have. It brings to light the lengths colleges go to for an extra 50 thousand dollars, and exposes the ever growing competitiveness of college admissions. When surveying this larger than life scandal, it is important to notice the real life aspects of the college admissions process, and the disadvantages of the poor and middle-class when it comes to getting their children an education.

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The popularity of makeup is a phenomenon used by people worldwide, regardless of age, gender or who they are. People  use it and apply it on their faces for various reasons, whether it is to express themselves, cover a blemish, or to boost their self-confidence. It has been steadily gaining popularity over the past few years, with social media makeup trends coming in and out weekly. Social media icons such as James Charles and Kylie Jenner’s have made makeup’s popularity soar even more. It is no secret that the makeup business is at an all time high but the makeup business isn’t as inclusive as it should be. People of darker complexions constantly  find themselves limited in foundation shades and brands they can purchase from.

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Sophomores, juniors, and seniors were given the opportunity to go on a service learning trip to Puerto Rico during the winter break. After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico was left devastated; the damage destroyed homes, caused schools to close down, and left many Puerto Ricans in poverty.

Mrs. Erica Martinelli, one of the trip advisors, said that the reason she chose Puerto Rico as the location for the 2019 school trip was because she felt “an overwhelming desire to help in any way possible” because “Puerto Rico was in need of assistance.”

To ensure a “sustainable future” for Puerto Rico, students cleaned pollution off beach shores, tested water quality, built community centers, cleared land, participated in reforestation efforts, and decorated fences in the community. In addition to the service learning aspect of the trip, the students also immersed themselves in Puerto Rican culture via taking cooking classes in traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, dancing with the citizens of Puerto Rico, and swimming in a bioluminescent bay.

Jamila Thompson (CO 2019) affirmed that the “experience was enlightening” and “it felt good to help others.” She also enjoyed “exploring the culture with the residents.” After going to Puerto Rico, she discovered “it was worse than [she] thought,” especially “the education system in the poorer neighborhoods.”

Martinelli added that the trip “served as an opportunity for our students to have a hands-on experience in creating a sustainable future in Puerto Rico.”

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Children have again been separated from their families at the United States-Mexico border, despite the Trump Administration’s assurance that it would “end [its] practice of separating undocumented families in June.” Under the “zero tolerance” immigration policy, nearly 3,000 immigrant children were separated from their families. The separation of families is a key aspect of the Trump Administration’s plan, hoping that it will “deter migrant families from entering the country,” according to The New York Times.

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In 2019, Apple is set to unveil its brand new set of iPhones, as is the annual tradition. Last year, Apple revealed the iPhone XS/Max and the iPhone XR, with different initial price points, specs, and purposes respectively. The XS/Max was designed to be the true update to the previous iPhone X of 2017, while the XR was similar to 2016’s iPhone 5SE, which was offered as a budget alternative to the iPhone 7.

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The PRISM Press

The PRISM Press is the student written, edited, and published newspaper of Lawrence Woodmere Academy © 2019