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46th Inauguration To Welcome President Biden Is Looking A Little Different

On Wednesday, January 20th the United States of America hosted a traditional ceremony for the newly elected 46th president, Joe Biden.

 

While massive crowds usually attend the event due to the current Covid-19 conditions and the recent unauthorized entering of the Capitol by a group of rowdy pro-Trump supporters protesting the legitimacy of the election, this year’s audience was limited. However, several former presidents including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama attended the event with their respective first ladies. The celebration was minimal compared to previous ceremonies. Americans and the rest of the world watched the inauguration in the comfort of their home on major news networks.

 

The inauguration began with Lady Gaga singing the National Anthem. Followed by Garth Brooks and Jennifer Lopez.

 

At the beginning of President Biden’s inaugural speech, he stated that his “…whole soul is in this, bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation, and [he] asks every American to join [him] in this cause”. He further spoke about the current violence, destructiveness, and separation in the country. President Biden believes that when Americans are all united, they will be able to overcome Covid-19, make healthcare available to all, make the middle class stronger, and, finally, ensure racial justice. Overall, his speech focused on unity between all Americans. According to him, Americans have allowed themselves to become divided for our opinions and beliefs.

 

One other major event of the inauguration was Kamala Harris being sworn in as the first African American and Woman vice president of the United States of America.

 

A recent poll of 162 randomly selected Durant students showed 47% watched the Biden inauguration. “I think it’s incredibly exciting that we have our first female Vice President. It’s so important for young boys and girls to see the possibilities for their future reflected in their government,” said senior Laura Newman.

 

Others really felt like the new president’s message of unity was spot on. Freshman Destiny Dean said “I see the United States as one. I can say probably by the end of his term there won’t be as much hate in the United States as [there] was in the last four years. Everyone can love each other for who they are and respect each other’s opinions and racism wouldn’t be as big [of] a problem as it is today.”

 

Americans overall are looking for something to make 2021 a better year than 2020.

About the Writer
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Ayla Yebba, Staff Writer

Ayla Yebba is a sophomore at Durant High School. She enjoys writing political articles so she can share the truth and facts with her school and community....

The Quarantine Diaries 

Our design editor, Allie Sigl was quarantined on December 9 and has been at home since

The Quarantine Diaries 

12.10.20 

Getting quarantined from school is almost a double-edged sword. On one hand, you are relieved and almost excited to be away from the stress of classes, homework, and responsibilities; on the other, you secretly know that the minute you get back from school, you will be behind and confused (if not already).   

When I got called down to the office, I instantly knew the reason; everyone does. For me, getting quarantined meant I had to call my job and let them know I would not be able to come in for the next two weeks (which was met with slight resistance). I also had to cancel several plans and commitments, both at school and with friends.   

One of most scary parts for me was the possibility of infecting my loved ones if I did test positive. My dad has a weakened immune system and would most likely die if contagious. I remember first coming home, keeping my mask on with the off chance I did have it.  

On the first day of being quarantined from school, I had a mini heart-attack when I woke up. It was 8:20 am, and I thought I was going to be late for my first period. Luckily, my panic quickly dissipated as I realized not only was “school” three feet away from me, sitting on an empty desk, but my first period did not even have a zoom for me to attend.   

I then went back to sleep for a few before going about my day: eating food in front of my computer, secretly going on my phone during zoom classes, and trying to do what little work my teachers assigned.  

The most challenging task was to stay motivated.  

In my math class, despite my teacher having the zoom open and screen sharing our OneNote, I still did not understand the lesson. Maybe it is because I am a visual learner, and having a teacher helps, if only a little, for my brain to understand the material. Either way, it was a struggle to grasp the lesson.  

I continued to go about my classes in the same process. Only two of my seven classes bothered to have zoom classes, and three out of seven sent out assignments to do. Besides that, I was on my own to do whatever I please.  

On the bright sides of things, mentally, I was doing better; it felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I also had tons of free time to do things I otherwise would not have: deep leaning my room for the first time in months, working out, walking my dog, cooking a good lunch between classes. 

 12.11.20 

Today was an average day so far. I woke up not feeling the best. Last night, I was experiencing a lot of drainage, along with some coughing and a runny nose.  

Flash forward to this morning, my throat was sore all day. I probably refilled my large glass of water over four times today. I also began to look up Covid-19 symptoms.  

Again, one of my biggest fears is giving it to my parents. I stayed in my room most of the day, only going out when they were not around.  

As for my schoolwork, nothing too exciting happened. I felt more productive and began to finish up some assignments for the week. It is a struggle trying to understand material online, but I am doing better than yesterday.  

One of the downfalls, again, is procrastination. I took three hours to do an outline that I probably could have finished during a single class period – had I been in school. At least I could eat whenever I wanted though. 

12.12.20

This is one of the first weekends where I had nothing to do. Usually, I am always planning something with either my friends, or working, to keep me busy.

Unfortunately, I also had to miss my ACT testing today because of being quarantined.

Today I still had a sore throat, but it seemed other symptoms also decided to reveal themselves. I was not running a fever; despite the numerous times my mom went into my room to take my temperature.

My nose was kind of runny, and I had a slight headache throughout the day. The throat was the worst though.

In all honesty, it was not the worst day ever. I stayed in bed all day watching American Horror Society and catching up on some good television. I probably should have been doing the numerous school assignments I have but oh well.

12.13.20

I woke up and could already guess today was going to be the worst of it.

On the bright side, my sore throat decided to disappear; however, I had a massive headache the whole day, a stuffy nose, and was burning up. I honestly thought my thermometer was broken when it told me my temperature was 98.

For the second day in a row, I basically just watched television the whole time. Towardas the end of it I had to finish up some assignments that were due tomorrow

12.14.20

School was back in session, and I, unfortunately, was reminded of the many tests I would have in the up-and-coming week.

In the morning, I accidentally slept through my first three periods. Luckily, none of my teachers take attendance.

I felt a lot better overall, and I just had a dry cough throughout the day.

The only class I ended up actually attending was my AP Statistics course. Other than that, nothing exciting really happened. I did facetime with some friends who were also online throughout the day, which made my classes much more enjoyable.

 

12.15.20

Today I actually woke up on time for once. I had to get something for mother’s birthday the next day, so I woke up super early to go to the store – a luxury I would not have had in school.

Both my dad and I went, and I got to spend some time with him. This was the first time I have been outside my house since I was quarantined.

Being quarantined, I felt that I got to slow down and focus on other things besides work or school for the first time in a while. It was a relief to be off, although my bank account did not have the same mentality.

These past two days, I kind of been ignoring most of my assignments, but I did not worry about it too much. Usually, with tests, I cram the night before, which, I admit, is a bad habit, but it works.

To be completely honest, my teachers have been trying their hardest to make everything easier, despite the situation. I am thankful they have been so understanding throughout everything.

 

12.16.20

My Covid test results came in: I was negative!

It was honestly such a relief to me. I felt a lot better. Although what I had might not have been Covid, it definitely felt terrible either way.

Because today was my mother’s birthday, we bought a cake for both her and my dad’s friend who came in the morning. It was a super fun day, and we got take out later that night from our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Besides that, school was kind of boring. I actually had to work on many assignments though, and it was one of the first days I actually felt productive during school.

I got a lot done for most of my classes, and I also did a discussion-based assessment for my Florida Virtual class.

To prep for tomorrow’s tests, I ended up facetiming one of my friends to help me with math homework that I did not understand. Thankfully, she was a good teacher and was able to teach me a week’s worth of lessons in less than an hour.

I have to admit, I am a horrible study partner and am guilty of distracting people.

 

12.17.20

Today I had two tests to finish – both parts of AP Stats and my pre-calc test – and an essay for my AP Lang class.

Overall, the essay was not bad, and I actually thought the pre-calculus test was easy enough, considering the circumstances.

One of my other friends and I decided to study for our AP Statistics test together during lunch; safe to say, we were both freaking out about it. I found it easiest to learn by watching videos of people working on practice problems, as it helps me understand the material easier.

I found yet another reason to be grateful for being quarantined – the ability to study whenever I wanted.

We ended up taking the FRQ portion of the test over zoom, and then the multiple-choice was due later that night.

These were some of my final assignments from my teachers. A lot of more significant projects or worksheets I had to turn in after the break, so that was another day’s problem.

Other than that, I was extremely relieved to be done with some of my main tests. I ended up spending the rest of the day watching movies and face-timing friends.

 

12.18.20

This is the final day of my quarantine featuring online school.

Overall, it was definitely a much-needed break from reality. I found my mental health becoming a lot better.

I was able to find time for myself and others. For the first time in a while, I was able to enjoy myself and just relax.

Quarantine really reminded me that it is okay to take a step back sometimes to appreciate everything. It taught me that there is more to life than simply grades or working.

However, while I am thankful for the lessons, I am excited to go back in January. Although it was nice for the time being, quarantine was only a temporary break. I definitely could not properly learn online, nor did I feel like I was keeping up with the physical classes.

Nevertheless, I am grateful for this experience and am ecstatic that Christmas break is finally here.

I wish everyone the best over break, and I hope you could take a few pieces of something away from these Quarantine Diaries.

 

About the Writer
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Allie Sigl, Design and Social Media Editor

Allie Sigl is a junior at Durant High School and the Design and Social Media Editor for the PawPrint Newspaper. Around school, Allie is the community service...

Possible vaccine to the virus: COVID-19

The Soon to be Released COVID-19 Vaccine

The Soon to be Released COVID-19 Vaccine

As the pandemic continues to spread, scientists all over the world are working hard to find a vaccine to end the rapid spread of the virus.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that “Florida is preparing to receive two coronavirus vaccines that could arrive in the state as soon as three weeks from now.” That would drastically affect all of the world since everyone has been waiting so long for the vaccine to release. Officials say that it won’t get rid of the virus so people must continue to wear masks until further notice.
As everyone gathers for the holidays, cases have a high probability of rising a substantial amount due to a higher number of people in close contact with each other. However, the supply of vaccines to the public will be limited during December 2020.
Reporters say 60% of respondents would take the Covid-19 vaccine if it were available today. Just about 15% of all Americans have been affected by the illness. Once released, specific groups will be recommended to take the vaccine due to their high rise of contracting it.
As of now, vaccines are purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars that will be given to the American people at no cost for insurance. The FDA is making sure all materials to make the vaccine legal are available to the public. The vaccine has been in development since the beginning of January of 2020 and it has come a long way since then. China predicts that once mass production of the vaccine is made, they will distribute over 600 million doses around the most infected areas and hotspots.
“There should be no supply shortage on the industrial chain of vaccine production in China,” added Tao Lina, a vaccine expert.
Without the vaccine releasing soon, the daily deaths are expected to peak at around 3,000 in mid January. With that interpretation, the U.S. Center of Disease control enforces the mask policy even harder everywhere. The world is patiently waiting for this vaccine so life can go back to normal.
About the Writer
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Mason Gourley, YouTube and Multimedia Editor

Mason is a Junior at Durant High School. He is the Design Editor for the PawPrint Newspaper. He is a fan of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. He writes about...

Colleges Now Adding Virtual Tours To Help Reach Out To Students

Colleges are tapping into 360-degree video and virtual reality to welcome prospective students to campus from hundreds or even thousands of miles away.  

A virtual tour can function as an early sorting tool for students exploring colleges or as a substitute tour for those unable to visit in person. Either way, college officials say a virtual tour is a useful way for students to familiarize themselves with a campus. 

The Coronavirus pandemic has transformed how high school students are learning about prospective colleges. Instead of attending traditional college fair or personal tours this fall, students are now connecting with admissions representatives online and going on virtual tours. 

Colleges have begun to re-create most of the live interactions that students expect to get from an information session or campus visit online. Students can easily explore out-of-state options without needing to travel, allowing colleges to expand their reach. 

Hundreds of schools now offer virtual tours with options ranging from campus photos that users click through, to elaborate options complete with student guides that show off facilities and introduce prospective applicants to current college students.
 

About the Writer
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Nick Travis, Social Media Coordinator

Nick Travis is a Junior at Durant High School and the Social Media Coordinator for the PawPrint. He has an outgoing and creative personality. When isn't...

Have Budget Cuts And Covid-19 Procedures Caused An Issue With The Teachers’ Copy Budget?

Covid-19 has impacted many school procedures and events throughout the course of the 2020 school year. One major impact towards schools, especially Durant, is the county budget. 

With fewer students on campus because of eLearning, school funding has been decreased throughout the county. Many problems have arisen due to this lack of budget, one lesser problem including the copy budget for teachers 

The institution of coronavirus procedures has created a need for students to get their own individual copies, not to be reused or shared with another student, when teachers decide to pass out tests or worksheets. This forces an increase in paper usage and numbers of copies needed for certain teachers.  

“What we used to copy in like a 25 [copy] class-set shared between two teachers is now turning into… close to 200,” according to Sociology and American History teacher Jackie Thompson.  

Despite this growth in copies, technological adaptations have also made their way into teaching methods this year as well. With the addition of Canvas this semester and other technology back in April and May, teachers have learned to utilize more online resources and phase out a lot of the paper usage in their teaching methods.  

This transition has somewhat balanced the increase in copies and the lack in change in budget. With more teachers going digital, paper increases for some teachers are counteracted by paper decreases with other teachers.  

“I think we’re still copying about the same now that [we] were when we [had] all 2400 kids… here,” says bookkeeper Cheryl Shaffner 

However, come January, administration may see a greater financial stretch if e-learners are unable to come back to brick-and-mortar classrooms. With an increase in students coming back to school, comes an increase in Durant’s funds, however, a decrease in students will result in a decrease in funds. 

“It’s [the] reality of the times we are facing, but I think it’s reflective of a larger societal problem and how we fund education as a society as a culture,” says Thompson.  

Despite the challenges that arise because of Covid, Principal Gary Graham is focused on supporting the teachers with whatever they need to properly educate students. “This year it may be copies, next year it may be incentives, the following year it may be… something else from a technology standpoint.”  

About the Writer
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Rachel Hesse, Managing Editor

Rachel Hesse is a senior at Durant High School and the Managing Editor for the PawPrint Newspaper. Although new to the PawPrint this year, Rachel has been...

New Thanksgiving Traditions 

Thanksgiving this year is going to be a lot different. Traditions like playing games, pulling apart the wishbone with a cousin who lives across the country, and filling stadium seats at football games, are in danger of being broken as Coronavirus continues to influence countless lives.   

Families are being forced to have to have small dinners and prepare traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, delivering them so as to not risk those immunocompromised. Families are also suggested to have virtual dinners and sharing recipes to keep with the holiday spirit of giving.  Also, shopping online rather than in person the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday would be a smart choice.  

The best thing to do would be to watch sports events, parades, and movies from home and to wear a mask while at family dinner would to prevent the spread of the virus between family members.  

During dinnertime, a great tip would be to avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as the kitchen, use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils to lower contamination risks, and serve food that is self-serve only and portioned correctly for everyone.  

Even Black Friday is going to look different this year as more shoppers will be resorting to online shopping in fear of potentially coming in contact with the virus.  

Thanksgiving this year, as suggested by the CDC, should attempt to follow a 99% no contact rule due to the continual rise of cases around the country. Everyone should strive to stay safe, eat good food, and find something to be grateful for even in this time of uncertainty. 

 

About the Writer
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Mason Gourley, YouTube and Multimedia Editor

Mason is a Junior at Durant High School. He is the Design Editor for the PawPrint Newspaper. He is a fan of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. He writes about...

Potential Changes To Durant’s Teaching Staff

For many schools, teachers and students are just getting used to balancing online and physical students. But as schedules are finally resolved, Durant may have to make more changes to their teaching staff. 

Due to the Coronavirus, people have been shopping less. Fewer purchases mean less tax revenue for the county and Hillsborough County Public Schools pays their teachers through the tax revenue, meaning the county is now $50 million in debt.  

Durant Chemistry teacher Jeffrey Henning explained the staff meeting regarding how this affects Durant.  

“What [teachers] were told was that [the Hillsborough County Public School System] has told us there’s a budget crisis, which makes sense. A lot of businesses have been closed up for six months. Our paychecks, our money, comes from tax revenue. We’re going to have to move teachers around. Now, what that means is teachers still have a contract with Hillsborough county, we still have a job… its just not where [we] wanted.” 

Schools, such as Durant, also have fewer students attending physical school (Durant is currently at 60% capacity) and consequently need fewer teachers because of the county’s new student-teacher allotment plan.  

“Some of our newer district staff members have determined that we are over allocated, so they’re using the new model to determine how many instructional staff you should have based on your enrollment,” said Principal Gary Graham. 

In the following weeks, schools that have too many teachers than needed will send teachers into “the pool.” These teachers will still have a job because they are employed by Hillsborough County, but will be moved to a different school as needed.  

The decision of which teachers to cut will be a difficult one. Graham and other administrators will look at a number of factors to determine a teacher’s future at Durant. The first thing they will look at is which classes or programs are under supported, meaning they do not have enough students to warrant a teacher or class period that could be filled by other students in another class. Then, they will consider the teacher’s scores, which are based off student pass rate and test scores, and, finally, they will look at seniority. 

Teachers that are new this year or last year do not have a teacher evaluation score. Graham explained that the rule of thumb is no score equals low score, meaning some of Durant’s new teachers could be the first to be transferred to the pool. 

If Durant cannot cut their payroll by transferring a certain number of teaching units, the next resort will be to cut support personnel, such as lunchroom staff and bus drivers. 

However, the decision of which teachers to transfer, if any, has not been made yet and Durant has been fortunate to have a few vacant teaching positions. If teachers do have to transfer to another school, Graham said “the hope is the following spring moving into the next fall, those teachers could come back.”  

While this is a stressful time for both administrators and teachers, the decisions have not been made. The only thing students and teachers can do is to be flexible with potential schedule changes and understand that the decisions are being made based on what is best for everyone in the school system. 

 

About the Writer
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Lily Belcher, Editor in Chief

Lily Belcher is a junior at Durant High School and is the Editor in Chief for the PawPrint. She is freelancing for the Osprey Observer this year and hopes...

Durant Football Players Forced To Quarantine

Durant+Football+Players+Forced+To+Quarantine

After a 13-10 loss last Friday to the Newsome Wolves, more unfortunate news was delivered to the Durant Cougars.

Over the weekend, multiple starters from Newsome tested positive for Covid-19. Durant’s seven offensive starters, who came in direct contact with Newsome’s players, were forced to quarantine after Coach Michael Gottman received a call from Principal Gary Graham informing Gottman of the situation.

The seven players that came in contact with the Newsome’s players were instructed to quarantine for two weeks, in ordinance with Hillsborough County guidelines, and attend school through e-learning, which Gottman said was going well.

Due to the student athletes required to quarantine, Durant’s game against Bloomingdale, originally scheduled for September 17, was moved to the Cougars’ by-week on October 9. While Gottman expressed his concerns regarding his starting lineup, he was optimistic of the situation, referencing the backup lineup that will now have the chance to start the next game

“I do like the fact that we are getting seven other people prepared to play, [but we are] definitely going to miss the seven offensive starters, because of quarantine, but there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s kind of the hand that we’re dealt, and we’re going to play the cards and try to win a football game Friday night,” said Gottman.

Gottman assumed Durant’s football team would have to deal with exposure to the Coronavirus at some point but did not realize it would be the first week. The team had been taking safety precautions during practice, such as social distancing and wiping equipment with a cleaning solution after workouts.

Durant and Newsome are not the first high school teams to be quarantined because of a potential Coronavirus outbreak. Jefferson and Hillsborough High Schools’ football teams were forced to miss opening night, as a number of players had tested positive.

Despite the four teams already impacted by the virus, District Spokesperson Erin Maloney said it is still important for the teams to play. The emotional and social benefits from high school sports are vital to success both inside and outside the classroom setting.

“School is about much more than just going into classrooms and getting good grades. There’s a social, emotional aspect as well,” said Maloney.

The Cougars will face East Bay at Durant on September 25 for the second game of the season.

 

 

About the Writer
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Lily Belcher, Editor in Chief

Lily Belcher is a junior at Durant High School and is the Editor in Chief for the PawPrint. She is freelancing for the Osprey Observer this year and hopes...

Arrival Protocols

Campus opens at 8 am, students should not be dropped off before

Students will be required to wear a mask upon entering the school

The marquis gate will be Exit only before and after school each day

If travelling south on Turkey Creek Road, drivers should make a right turn onto Summerall Rd before arriving at the main marquis entrance for drop off and pick up. After turning onto Summerall turn left into the first open gate. Follow the lane along the East side of campus and drop students off next to the visitor parking lot

If travelling West on Keysville, proceed past the stop sign at Turkey Creek. Take the first right towards main office, past the flag pole, drop off students, then exit through marquis lane

Student drivers will follow the same traffic pattern (decals will be issued the second week of school)

If taking the bus, students will be required to wear a mask

At 8:25, students will go to homeroom

 

Update On School Lunches

There will be A and B lunches

All students will report to fourth period immediately after third, then students in lunch A will be released

Students who will receive grab and go school lunches will eat in the cafeteria

Students bringing their lunch will eat in the gymnasium or auditorium

The courtyard will be open as well

Masks may be removed only while eating

 

Coronavirus Poses A Major Threat

The most important festival on the Chinese calendar, Lunar New year, was January 25, but in the Chinese city of Wuhan there were few reasons to celebrate. A deadly outbreak of coronavirus entered the city in the last month, endangering the 11 million inhabitants.

Within weeks of the outbreak the virus has spread killing 170 people and there are more than 7,000 cases that have been confirmed in mainland China. The Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread across Asia and the rest of the world.

People are taking the incident very seriously and have been seen walking around with face masks for their safety and the safety of others. Police and security officers have also been seen in face masks standing outside of the city’s center market, Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

The coronavirus was traced back to the Wuhan market where live wild animals such as bats, rats, snakes, dogs, and monkeys were being sold. Scientists believe that the animals that were sold at the market might have contained the coronavirus. People consumed these wild animals in unhygienic conditions which created the spark for the coronavirus outbreak.

The sale of live animals has been temporarily banned, but should be completely banned because of the threat to human survival posed by the disease within these animals. The market is being guarded and civilians are prohibited from entering the area.

People are starting to fear and speculate that it may turn into a possible epidemic. The Wuhan government has tried to contain the outbreak, but their efforts were too late, as the virus was able to spread to several provinces across the country. China has gone on lockdown in attempt to prevent further spreading. Other countries have taken preventive measures to avoid outbreaks by shuting down flights to China.

Tour agencies have banned Wuhan from allowing anyone out of the city,placing the city under quarantine. Passengers are provided with masks, gloves, and are having thermometer checks on their heads for fevers.

President Trump has 20 US airports checking passengers for symptoms of coronavirus since there has been six confirmed cases, two in California, one in Arizona, one in Washington, one in Illinois and the first person to person transmission in Chicago. U.S health officials say the risk in the U.S remains low.

There are more than 1,000 Americans stuck in Wuhan. The Trump administration was considering a complete travel ban on China to prevent spreading. Scientists across the US are trying to create a vaccine for the coronavirus but are struggling to make the vaccine available.

People are encouraged to watch out for the symptoms the virus may cause as it is becoming a huge threat to humans. Washing hands, covering coughs, and making smart choices when purchasing meats should be considered. The virus continues to spread across the globe and has reached 17 countries including Thailand, Hong Kong, France, Germany and the United States. The coronavirus has called for a global emergency and countries are trying their best to help the situation and prevent spreading. Could this be the start of a worldwide deadly epidemic?

About the Writer
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Adamari Jaimez, Staff Writer

Adamari Jaimez is a senior at Durant High School. She has been part of journalism since her freshman year, involved in both the yearbook and newspaper...

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