How up to date is Magnet?

I hit the hallways to talk current events with Raptors


Does big news get through Magnet’s walls

Here’s a big understatement: There is a ton going on in the world right now. The US House Intelligence Committee is in the midst of an impeachment investigation surrounding President Donald Trump while Great Britain is currently working on a deal to leave the EU. Much of California was engulfed in flames just a few weeks ago while NFL and NBA seasons have taken hold on primetime television. Within our own school, the Cross Country team just crushed states while basketball season is about to kick off. But how tapped in are our fellow Raptors?

I hit the hallways to ask a few simple questions of fellow Raptors just to get a feel for what we know and the kinds of things that don’t extend into the Raptor minds. The first topic we looked at was maybe the biggest in US news right now: the impeachment. Off the bat, junior Preston Sessoms pointed me towards the Wikipedia article for impeachment, claiming that would answer all the questions. Sophomore Herman Pelia knew of the impeachment but very little else while fellow 10th graders Molly Marino and Zane Hull hit us with some solid historical background about the two presidents that have been previously impeached but never removed from office (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton). Additionally, like Trump, Richard Nixon faced a House inquiry but resigned before a vote ever took place. Alex Levin skillfully added that he believes the current issues deal with a favor by Ukraine while seniors Kaki Cobb and Bailey Hillen remarked that they have been overwhelmed with headlines of the president’s incompetence but the lack of a need for impeachment. Finally, though the proceedings remain ongoing, Christian Blackburn provided us with the structure of ongoing House-led hearings while Lauren Osborne provided the process of Nancy Pelosi beginning the proceedings as Speaker of the House.

Another big topic we addressed was the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Before we go to far, Zane made it clear Trump would technically be eligible for re-election regardless of the the outcome of his impeachment process. Nearly all interviewed knew of Trump while many recognized the name Joe Biden, but when questioned to name additional candidates, we only got a handful of out-of-the-box entries. Molly gave us Beto O’Rourke (though he has withdrawn) as well as Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren while Alex name dropped Tom Steyer. Interestingly, Zane also told me, “There are too many candidates, it’s hard focus on the issues.”

“There are too many candidates, it’s hard focus on the issues””

— Zane Hull


When I got to the seniors, I got a few more names with Christian naming recent entry Michael Bloomberg as well as recently dropped out Mark Sanford. Kaki and Bailey also brought up Kamala Harris and possible candidate Hillary Clinton as well as John Kasich and Gary Johnson (both chose notto run after 2016). Only Lauren, however, asked me which candidate emailed her as a clever strategy to get me to name each candidate for her.

The final topic we looked at was a more school or district-centric issue. There has been a lot of buzz recently about proposed changes to the AMHS admissions process (click my name at the top of the article to find more information about this). Herman remembered hearing about the desire to pull at least 2.5% from each area middle school, but knew very little after having just moved to the Lowcountry. Some other students I spoke to were worried about lowering Magnet standards while others felt there were ample open seats to fill with new applicants. The seniors, in particular, brought up a key point that our #1 ranking likely wouldn’t suffer as diversity is a key criteria in the process. That said, I was happy to hear Christian at least bring up the importance of district programs already in place due in part to the work of AMHS legend Judith Peterson, such as the ACE Scholars program.

Overall, I think we as a society have let the students down. While more than half of current students will not be able to vote in next year’s election, paying attention to pop culture and news is essential. As I frankly feel inundated by impeachment and election news, I find it hard to believe that such a large sampling of our students are devoid of such awareness. Maybe it’s on us as the Talon staff to educate the students, but the problem runs deeper. I encourage anyone reading this article to check out a news site, just read the headlines, and find a solid time and place (dinner table, car ride, study hall, or even a published article) to share what ¬†you learned.

Try one of these top-viewed sites for inspiration:

Huffington Post
New York Times
Fox News
NBC News
USA Today