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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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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On Christmas Day when she was 14 years old, Bailey Flainzraich, CO 2019, received a gift that would change her life: a red Canon Rebel T-5 camera. It set her on a path that continues to this day. Her goal is to become a professional photographer after her college years where she will pursue a fine arts degree in photography.


According to Flanzraich, photography is something she has been interested in for many years and she believes “there would never be a time that there is nothing to photograph.” Photographs will always be unique and “one picture will never be the same as another.” It is for this senior, an art that will constantly grow and change. Photography, she added, is also an escape. During “hard times” it is an “outlet,” helping her to cope with the situation and giving her something else to focus on.


When deciding what to photograph, Bailey looks to things that stand out, “If something looks interesting or out of the ordinary”, she will most likely photograph it. She said that a lot of different things contribute to the creation of a photograph. It depends on how one photographs the image, considering factors like, “the angle and the lighting.”

When asked what she would rather photograph- people or scenery – she said, “I love to take photos of people.” She continued, “Portraits and candids are my favorite to take. I can take multiple photos of a person and they will all look different because of the way that I pose them or their facial expressions will change.” The staff photographer for the yearbook, she has also done photo shoots for real estate staging, and recently, Christmas portraits of a child. While she enjoys photographing landscapes and objects on occasion, “nothing is the same as capturing a person in their natural state.”

This Class of 2019 senior said that her future profession is in photography. She applied to many different art schools where she can pursue her passion for photography. So far, she has been accepted into two of her choice colleges, School of Visual Arts (SVA) and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). In March, she committed to SCAD.

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Aidan Harris Igiehon (CO 2019), popularly known as the “Irish Hulk”, committed to the basketball team at the University of Louisville on Friday, October, 19, 2018. In Hessel Hall, he moved the crowd of his friends, family and the entire LWA Upper School with the story of his upbringing. He showed us a side of him that many had not seen before, a story that just wasn’t about basketball, but also about how he got to where he is today, and what he has had do do in order to get there.

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The PRISM Press

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