Things That Matter

North Carolina High School Students Built A Wall As A Senior ‘Prank’

Seniors at McDowell High School in Marion, N.C., recently participated in one of America’s oldest high school traditions: the senior prank. What’s supposed to be a fun, inclusive celebration of completing four grueling years of work took a turn for the worst fast. This school’s senior prank? Build a wall inspired by Donald Trump that left Latino students feeling very uncomfortable.

This is a photo of the “prank” that made Latino students at McDowell High School uncomfortable. They built a wall blocking students from the common area.

On Wednesday, students at McDowell High School performed a prank as a teacher supervised them. "A photo of the wall with about 30 students standing in front of it was shared on Instagram and captioned, 'We built the wall first.' " Awesome! Great job guys! Keep standing up for your rights and what you believe in! Don't be afraid of being called "racist". Leftist name calling isn't working anymore. Don't be afraid to call them out on their BS. If you are in school/college or have time please be active on social media! We cannot allow ourselves to be censored. We cannot be silent anymore! #trumpsenpai for POTUS! #mcdowellhighschool #patriots #MAGA #highschool #students #buildthewall #trump #donaldtrump #trump2016 #trumptrain #cantstumpthetrump #studentsfortrump #latinosfortrump #berniesanders #bernie2016 #feelthebern #bernieorbust #hillaryclinton #killary #hillary2016 #hillaryforprison #heartlesshillary #womenfortrump

A photo posted by @thinking.lady on

Credit: @thinking.lady / Instagram

According to McDowell News, the students were allowed into the school on the evening of June 1 to work on their senior prank with teacher supervision. The teacher wasn’t entirely comfortable with the wall and took steps to make sure that a Trump logo wasn’t placed directly on it. That didn’t stop the students from sharing a photo on Instagram with the caption “We built the wall first.” The original post has since been deleted.

Since they couldn’t use a Trump logo on the actual wall, they placed a student wearing a Trump campaign t-shirt front and center.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 1.23.01 PM
Credit: @students4trump / Instagram

“[The wall] hurts a lot of people’s feelings,” Marta Guardian, a first-generation Mexican-American and student at MHS, told WLOS about the senior prank. “They don’t really know what people go through to get where they are right now. And some people are privileged to have so much stuff, but some people don’t.”

Oh, and the seniors behind the prank will not be facing any disciplinary action.

It was pretty nice to go down memory lane a bit this week. #ifeelold #highschool

A photo posted by Nick Bingham (@nickbingham1997) on

Credit: @nickbinghma1997 / Instagram

“There was no offensive activity at the time. What became offensive or concerning was what took place on social media afterwards,” Oliver told WLOS. “So, it’s hard for the school to have control or to take action against something that happened on social media that was outside school hours and outside any school network.”

But the senior prank did get one nod when @students4trump posted the original photo.

Credit: @students4trump / Instagram

“McDowell High School students get the award for the best #studentsfortrump senior prank. THEY BUILT A WALL!! We are #students4trump #trump2016 #trump #maga #studentsfortrump #makeamericagreatagain #trump #trumptrain”

Ummm…

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Credit: @dvanness15 / Twitter

“It’s really unfortunate when anyone uses social media in an immature way,” Brian Oliver, a member of the McDowell school system told WLOS. “Once you launch it, you have no control. Comments that are made after you post a photo can say anything they want, and you have no control over what that message becomes.”

Watch a news report about the senior prank below.

Credit: ABC / Victoria Samarosa / YouTube

READ: Here Are 5 Times Donald Trump’s Name Was Used By Racists In Schools

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TV Special “Graduate Together” Gave The Class Of 2020 A Special Send-Off

Culture

TV Special “Graduate Together” Gave The Class Of 2020 A Special Send-Off

badbunnypr / zendaya / Instagram

Events across the world have been canceled because of Covid-19. This includes concerts, music festivals, Pride parades, and major sporting events. Yet, for high school seniors, their high school will end without the same traditions that many have enjoyed like prom and graduation.

LeBron James celebrated the graduating class of 2020 on a special night on television.

“You should’ve had a real graduation, I know. You should’ve had an incredible senior year, I know that as well. But you made a sacrifice, and you did it to keep your community safe and healthy,” James said during the broadcast.

James continued: “Our school are our safety net. Our people build our communities. To the class of 2020, as you celebrate tonight, do not forget your safety net. Every teacher, every coach, every pastor, they along with your friends and family got you to this moment. And now, it’s time to go to a new place.”

The special was filled with celebrities and public figures offering students words of encouragement as they close this chapter of their lives.

“Congratulations to everyone graduating,” Bad Bunny told the class of 2020 in Spanish. “I know that we are going through a very difficult and strong time for use, but we have to stay strong and don’t forget to be thankful and smile, even though I know that sometimes we don’t even want to smile. We have to look for a way to do it and stay positive.”

The musician added: “Work hard on everything that you set out to do, on all your goals, but remember that it doesn’t matter what we achieve. The most important thing is to respect each other. It’s respect and the values that we put into practice day to day that say who you are. They are what define us as people. Success is not measured in money. Success, to me, is the experiences and memories that we carry in our hearts forever.”

Zendaya gave the students, and teachers, a special message for the commencement ceremony.

The actress gave a special shoutout at the beginning of her speech to teachers. Zendaya noted that her mother is a teacher so she has first-hand knowledge of how hard teachers are working during this time. Hosting classes via Zoom with children is not the easiest way to teach in the world.

Zendaya then turned her talk to the graduating seniors. While the viral outbreak has interrupted the lives of billions of people, graduation is not the only defining moment of being a high school senior. Instead, Zendaya tries to remind the graduating class of 2020 that it is a series of life events that define your senior year. There is so much that people go through from the time they start school to the time they finish that truly define them and their experience. One moment, while memorable, is not the only thing that makes senior year the experience it is.

The class of 2020 was treated to a special shoutout from President Barack Obama.

Pres. Obama started by giving the students the same tired and true line. He highlighted how the adults that are making decisions are not all-knowing and are in fact learning as they go. This is something that we have all heard when we were younger but, for some reason, coming from Pres. Obama, it sounds empowering and calming. It really reminded people of what a president should sound like when addressing the American public.

Pres. Obama did call on the students to act differently then they had seen from some people in power. Specifically, Pres. Obama wanted to let students know that there was a right and a wrong way to respond to major events.

“Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy — that’s how little kids think,” Pres. Obama told the seniors. He added. “Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way — which is why things are so screwed up.”

The special ended with a performance from the Jonas Brothers and Karol G.

“Taping our performance was amazing to me,” Karol G told Billboard about her performance. “I enjoyed it as if it were my own graduation. To have the opportunity to reach so many people, give them a good time despite all we’re going through, to celebrate with them this special date … It meant a lot to me.”

READ: Here’s To The Latina Graduates of 2020!

Latino Bookstore In North Carolina Faces Very Uncertain Future Just 6 Months After Opening

Things That Matter

Latino Bookstore In North Carolina Faces Very Uncertain Future Just 6 Months After Opening

epiloguebooksch / Instagram

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews is a relatively new bookstore in Chapel Hill, North Carolina that is facing a very uncertain future. The Latino-owned bookstore opened its doors to the Chapel Hill community six months ago and now COVID-19 is putting their future at risk.

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews is a Latino-owned bookstore in North Carolina that is fighting to survive COVID-19.

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews came from a need that the owners saw in downtown Chapel Hill. A bookshop had recently closed in the area so Jamie and Miranda Sanchez knew that it was time for them to help fill that sudden loss.

“We felt like there was a big hole in downtown,” Jaime told The Daily Tar Heel. “A bookshop creates this whole sense of community for the town so we decided to go forward and try to open our own bookstore.”

The bookstore was serving a community that needed a place to gather and discuss ideas after a former bookstore closed its doors.

“The core of our idea began years ago as the union of Jaime’s heritage and Miranda’s passion for writing and the transportive nature of reading. Wanderers and wonderers, our idea continued to grow in the plazuelas of Mexico and the chocolaterías of Spain, in the plazas of every country where such spaces form quasi-families for both the briefest of moments and the longest stretches of time,” reads the bookstore’s website. “In these spaces, people share everything from decadent chocolate to fried street food, to myth-like tales, to the memories of our own childhood selves chasing pigeons and sucking the sticky droplets from paletas off our hands.”

While the bookstore was well received by the community, the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans.

COVID-19 has swept through the U.S. and the number of cases continues to climb. While New York might be seeing fewer cases, the rest of the U.S. is in an uptick. The virus has forced businesses across the country to close or retool to be online only. That is what Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews did to make sure they can weather the storm.

The owners of the bookstore realized they needed to retool their business strategy when students stopped coming back from Spring Break.

“We started adjusting our plans in early March to accommodate for the new lack of traffic,” Jaime told NBC News. “Students weren’t coming back from spring break, so we had originally thought the locals would come out like they did during winter break to take advantage of the lack of downtown traffic, but that obviously didn’t happen because of coronavirus, so we started getting ready to adjust and pivot online for when we’d no longer be able to sustain brick and mortar operations.”

The Sanchezes are keeping their literary dream alive through the pandemic.

“Jaime’s always wanted to open a business and bring a piece of home to it,” Miranda, who is originally from Tijuana, told NBC News. “We felt that continuing that tradition of having a bookstore in the area would be a good mesh, not just of who we are as people but how we want to engage with our community. A community that works to sustain an independent bookshop has certain values.”

Independent bookstores are one of the hardest-hit businesses since readings and events in the spaces have been canceled.

Bookshop started to help struggling independent bookstores weather the storm. COVID-19 has left millions of people without jobs and businesses are having to close permanently because of the virus. Bookshop is giving independent bookstores a chance to survive the closures and social distancing.

Bookstores serve a vital role in communities. They give people a place to gather and share ideas. The easy access to literature can change the lives of children in underprivileged communities but allowing them to see themselves reflected in new lights. They also serve as a place to explore the world around you by flipping open a book cover.

If you have time on your hands and enjoy reading, check out Bookshop and build up that 2020 reading list.

READ: Celebrities Are Reading Children’s Books To Help Parents And Children Cope With COVID-19