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Christopher Dello Russo Wins Gold Key at 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

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The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards are given to young artists and writers who are enrolled in high school that have exceptional artistic skills and literary talents. Students across North America can submit to any of the 29 categories; and, in 2019, over 320,000 works were submitted to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards contest. Students from public schools, private schools, and students who are homeschooled are all welcome to submit something to any of the 29 categories. About 300,000 dollars is given out every year for scholarships to the winners.

Winners are recognized at a local ceremony near the student’s school district. However, top placers, titled Gold Key winners, move on from this ceremony to a national contest. If selected nationally, these students are honored with an award presentation in New York City at Carnegie Hall.

Durant High School student Christopher Dello Russo, a 2020 Gold Key winner for poetry and short stories, said he likes to write about horror and comedy. Dello Russo said he writes because he enjoys writing. Dello Russo began writing in fifth grade after reading the Percy Jackson book series, which encouraged him to read more fiction books.

Dello Russo said his English teachers inspired him to write more and so he submitted to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Dello Russo also said “I thought I had a good chance at winning a Gold Key and when I won, it was a pleasant surprise.” Now that Dello Russo has won a Gold Key, it makes him proud that he has been recognized as a winner.

Dello Russo said “writing as a job is a perfect way of making me stop enjoying it, so I’ll keep it as a hobby.” Dello Russo does not plan to go to New York City where all of the winners are honored, but is satisfied with his level of recognition.

About the Writer
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Jordan Dabbour, Business Manager

Jordan Dabbour is a junior at Durant High School and is Advertising Business Manager for the PawPrint newspaper. He is an avid sports fan, and loves to...

The Mental Effects of Quarantine

The Mental Effects of Quarantine

The Coronavirus Pandemic has caused extreme social, economic, and political changes throughout the world. The concept of social distancing and isolation from one’s peers can take a toll on a psyche. Depression, fear, anxiety, and abuse are few of the many results quarantine and  COVID-19 precautions have created or intensified throughout these times of uncertainty. 

Anxiety, the most prevalent mental illnesses in the U.S., and one of the most commonly seen mental illnesses in teens, is a major concern among people as self-quarantining continues to be the number one suggested form of protection by the CDC. 

Over the past few weeks, it is clear that anxiety levels in many Durant students appeared to be significantly higher than that of pre-Corona. As E-Learning continued to be a challenge with several students and teachers, many students found that using technology as a means of learning new material proved to be a significant obstacle. 

One Durant Junior explains that she has dealt with severe migraines since she was young, and has battled keeping them under control for the past 10 years. Anxiety is one of several factors that feed into her migraines, and because of this, self-quarantining hasn’t been the easiest to work through. 

Just one week into E-Learning, she was struck with a complex migraine, and has continued to suffer once a week for the past 2 months. During these migraines, she experiences extreme debilitating vision changes, has trouble speaking, loses her ability to remain balanced, and is unable to carry out normal everyday activities. Since she began self-quarantining, these became a regular occurrence, and almost a weekly expectation.

“Over the past few months, the only options I’ve really had to discourage a migraine from coming on include doing eLearning work and studying for my AP exams, but staring at a computer for many hours each day is detrimental to the brain, especially since my eyes are sensitive. I’ve sent many apologies to my teachers for not being able to put in as much effort as I normally do. I’ve been very anxious to get back on the computer because I’m afraid I’m going to trigger another migraine and fall even further behind. In turn, this causes more stress, which is another trigger for migraines, so I have to weigh my options and implement a lot of positive changes to counteract the negatives,” the Junior explains.

The issue of students keeping up with their eLearning has been another problem, as many children have no one to help them navigate the web and maintain their grades. “I think one of the biggest challenges I have had to learn how to overcome is the lack of motivation. Going to school provided structure to my daily life, and now that I am home all of the time, I have never felt more unproductive”, says one Durant senior. 

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to put a strain on the world, the best thing to try to remember is to stay positive and to continue to practice social distancing, as well as taking other health and safety precautions.

If you are experiencing mental stress and need to talk with a counselor, don’t hesitate to reach out to a counselor at Durant via Esdby or email.

About the Writer
Photo of Meghan Dulay
Meghan Dulay, Editor-in-Chief of Design

Meghan Dulay is a senior at Durant High School and she is Editor-in-Chief of Design for the PawPrint newspaper. Meghan is part of many other clubs at Durant,...

Underpaid Oklahoma Teachers are Protesting for a Change

A news story regarding the recent teacher walkouts in Oklahoma.

Underpaid+Oklahoma+Teachers+are+Protesting+for+a+Change

Recently, teachers in Oklahoma have walked out of schools to protest for higher teacher and support staff raises, and increased funding for education. Oklahoma teachers are marching and rallying at their state capitol to exemplify how important the matter is to them. Oklahoma is amid the bottom three states in teachers’ salaries.

These teachers are fighting and protesting for their students and are explaining how these kids will be the future leaders of America. Oklahoma educators are exclaiming how unfair it is they are being underpaid even though their job is shaping the future of America.

This is about students, our kids, and the very future of our state. That is why we are here,” said Dionne Liebel, an English teacher at Deer Creek High School in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Teachers all over the U.S. are showing their support for the teachers in Oklahoma and agree that those teachers in Oklahoma are underpaid and deserve a raise. Teachers in Oklahoma have not had a raise in over 10 years.

“We’re sending a message. If we continue to stay united, they [lawmakers] cannot turn away from us, they cannot turn their backs on us,” said Lesley Buckner, a language arts teacher in Oklahoma.

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