Road to Regionals

BY: LEANNE KILLMEYER

Carmela Mangini, a tri-sport athlete, is a senior here at Cary High School. Carmela was sad to be finishing her final season of tennis, but luckily, her season got extended a little longer. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, the Cary High Lady Imps Tennis team went to Conference and competed against seven other schools. “I wasn’t expecting anything to come out of conference, and I went into the tournament with that mentality, but as I played and progressed, that mentality soon changed.” Carmela was not undefeated in the tournament, in fact, her one loss motivated her to come back stronger in the next round—the round that ultimately earned her spot in Regionals. 

“I  was proud of myself for playing two tournaments—so double the people—to fight for a fifth-place spot. That showed me that I could actually do something with tennis.”

Carmela Mangini is the first Cary female tennis player to go to regionals in seven years, and this is only her fourth year playing. 

Carmela Mangini with her senior teammates: Haley Talton, Lindy Gupton, Leah Bittler, Naomi Admasu, and Claire Guilbaud. 

When Carmela was young, she played tennis with her dad for fun—just hitting the ball back-and-forth. This sport wasn’t completely new to her, but it may as well have been. Her friends are the reason she joined the team; she didn’t know the rules or techniques—only how to hold a racquet. To get a better understanding of how the sport works, she played a few matches freshman and sophomore year. “Everyone has to start somewhere, I started near the bottom.” Junior year, things changed. Carmela got the hang of the sport and began perfecting hitting and placing techniques, thus making the game a lot easier. “I moved up junior year to about fifth place on the ladder of six and it was really an accomplishment because I hadn’t been on the ladder before. That gave me the motivation to keep playing and working hard.” She was even awarded the Most Valuable Player award at the End of the Year Banquet. The summer before senior year, Carmela and her teammates played constantly on the court in their neighborhood; her skills continued to develop in the off-season. Then her season started—“I remember feeling pretty confident, but I didn’t think that I actually had the ability to go far.” During this last season, Carmela was able to move up to number two on the ladder. 

“I think the real thing that kept me going was my teammates; I have gotten to know them a lot over the past four years. We all started together as freshmen, and I wouldn’t be where I am without them. With them, I was always had a good time on the court.” Carmela’s teammates, coaches, parents, and friends are so proud of her. “Even if I don’t progress further past regionals, I still think that this experience has inspired me to keep working harder no matter what sport I’m playing or what I’m doing.” Carmela sees herself taking up tennis recreationally in college. “The sport has taught me so much, I can’t imagine stopping now.”

“This season has been one of the best I’ve ever had and I can’t imagine myself not playing in college. I went into the sport not really knowing anything, but by the end, I’ve grown so much. Tennis matches take a long time, so I also learned how to balance sports with academics and friends. It’s taught me many valuable habits and skills. It’s just been so great and I’m so lucky that I got to experience it with a lot of fantastic people along the way.”  

So Why Is There No School Wednesday?

BY: JACK MORGENSTEIN

If you’re anything like me, teacher workdays are to school like Morgan Freeman-narrated nature documentaries are to America. That is, everyone loves them and not a soul would mind just a few more. Before the school year starts, administrators from all parts of WCPSS convene like witches in covens of old, and one of the most important things on their dockets is the schedule for the upcoming year. Managing school days, holiday breaks, summer, and makeup time (along with a million other factors) is a delicate balancing act, during which WCPSS must please teachers, students, and principals alike. However, this Wednesday, October 9th, is no normal teacher workday; and for that matter, last Monday, September 30th, was no normal teacher workday either. These two “teacher workdays” are actually meant to recognize the two most important holidays in the Jewish faith: Rosh Hashanah, on September 30th, and Yom Kippur, on October 9th, exactly 10 days later. This might make you ask yourself, “Wait, there are Jews in Wake County?” The answer is that there are more than you might think, and I know this for certain… because I’m one of them.

For the last few years, we’ve had teacher workdays on these holidays as part of WCPSS’s effort to become more inclusive of Wake County’s rapidly changing population demographic. Something many take for granted is not having school on major Christian holidays; but for years, I’ve had to miss many days of school every semester, just because of my religion. Not falling behind on schoolwork every time is something I couldn’t be more thankful for, now that WCPSS is beginning to recognize the two holidays.

So, now you know why we have school off on a random Wednesday halfway through October, but what are Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? The Jewish holiday most gentiles have probably heard of is Hanukkah, but in reality, Hanukkah is a minor holiday to religious Jews. Collectively, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the “high holidays” a remark on their importance in Judaism. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year. Yeah, that’s right: Jews all over the world celebrated the new year in September. Fortunately, it’s not just a case of mass delusion; Judaism actually runs on a separate lunar calendar from the 12-month Gregorian system we all know and love. In our calendar, we have 365 days a year, with a leap day every fourth year. The Jewish calendar is 353-355 days long in a normal year, with a whole leap month added seven years out of every nineteen. What this means is that Rosh Hashanah fell on September 10th last year, fell on September 30th this year, and will fall on September 19th next year. But in all three years, Rosh Hashanah fell on the Jewish Tishrei 1. It’s 2019 on the Gregorian calendar, but to Jews, it’s 5779. Crazy, right? 

             Rosh Hashanah itself is as straightforward a holiday as they come: I go to services in the morning and then have another service in the evening. The reason the new year is so important to Judaism has a lot to do with what it represents. Judaism is very big on forgiveness, and on Rosh Hashanah, you look back at your year and reflect on what mistakes you made. The evening service incorporates throwing breadcrumbs into a lake, symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year. But, just throwing some breadcrumbs into a lake isn’t enough to truly atone for a whole year’s worth of misdeeds. That’s where Yom Kippur comes in.

Yom Kippur is always exactly 10 days after Rosh Hashanah, a time period known as the Days of Awe. During these Days of Awe, Jews are supposed to continue reflecting on the previous year, specifically performing repentance, prayer, and charitable acts to close out the year on a good note. Requests for forgiveness are expected to be shared between family, friends, and neighbors. These sentiments build in the Jewish community until the day of Yom Kippur, translated as literally “day to atone.” From sundown the day beforehand to sundown on the day of, Jews are instructed to fast. Fasting is the practice of not eating or drinking for extended periods of time. By faithfully fasting, it is seen in many’s eyes as a request for forgiveness from god. At sundown on Yom Kippur, Jews break the fast with friends and family. This feast with those you care about most is meant to kick off the rest of the year on a positive note.

No matter what faith you follow, it’s always important to occasionally take a look at the diversity surrounding you. This Wednesday, when you’re sitting in your bed, procrastinating on that math homework you don’t want to do, take a moment and think about the Jews within your own community, who are fasting while doing the exact same thing.

Thoughts From My Very First Pride

BY: BEC HOROWITZ

In the weeks leading up to September 28th, 2019, I spent hours curating the perfect rainbow outfit. My shirt— an oversized crop top from Target’s ‘Out and Proud’ line, my pants— burnt orange army pants with plenty of pockets to let my butch side shine, and my makeup— rainbow eyeliner practiced to blended glory ending in immaculate pointed wings. I was just a little excited about attending my first ever Pride event as an out queer teenager. My two best friends would be going with me and the Durham Pride Parade would be their first Pride excursion too, and they showed the same energy in preparing that I did. We texted each other about our Pride plans excitedly, counting down the mornings until we could be there— surrounded by people just like us. 


I’ll admit, half of the reason I wanted to go to pride was to see cute girls. The other half? To go one day without hearing “that’s gay” or “f*g” or d*ke” directed at one of my LGBT+ siblings. The only gay jokes heard that blissful morning were made by us, jokes about not being able to park straight, or walk straight, or basically do anything straight. The environment was endlessly positive. It seemed like everyone around us was smiling; like it was the happiest place on earth. 


So what was Pride like? Loud. And crowded. A little stressful as someone with social anxiety, but well worth it. We stood on the side of the street the Parade went down with hundreds of others, basking in the neon light of thousands of rainbow accessories caught in the morning sun. Clubs and organizations from Triangle cities and colleges (Duke, UNC, NC State, and ECU were all repped), RTP companies like Spectrum and Lenovo, and dozens of local churches of different denominations all came on floats, on foot, and truck beds. My personal favorites included the Durham Roller Derby League— a squad of young women weaving down the street on roller blades, decked out head to toe in Pride apparel— and the Latinx LGBTQI+ Initiative, or ‘Lila’— a float packed with butterfly decor and beautiful local drag queens rocking out to Lizzo. 

A colorful float shown at Durham Pride. (Bec Horowitz, October 2019)


After the Parade finished, we waded against the tide of parade-watchers over to the field of tents set up by local queer creators and larger organizations. I got to talk to representatives from the ACLU (and walked away with a dragon’s hoard of free laptop stickers) and Equality NC, the nation’s first state Equality chapter. 


Eventually, we had to head home. When we reached my friend’s car, I put my bag of free gay goodies in the trunk. The mini pride flag I had been given by a parader fell to the ground and, unnoticed in the lingering shouts and blaring music, got left behind. We finally drove away, silent in the afterglow of all that is Pride during the forty minute journey back to Cary. 


At my driveway, we said our goodbyes. One of my friends was already removing her rainbow ribbons; she had a family event to go to after, she explained. The other nodded and mentioned that she had to wipe off her makeup and change before going to her sisters dance performance. I realized I needed to change for Homecoming if I didn’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention while dancing with my friend-date. 


In my room, I cried while rubbing off my rainbow eyeshadow. I showered and washed my face while shaking, wondering why Pride had to be one day a year. Why I could only be myself one day a year? As I changed for Homecoming, I looked at all of my dresses, the garment my mom and probably everyone at school was expecting me to wear. I looked at my favorite army green romper…  and made my choice. Who says you can’t wear shorts to Homecoming? Before rushing out the door to meet my date, I spotted a small rainbow ribbon I had pinned to my Pride shirt. Who says you can’t wear a rainbow ribbon to Homecoming?


Today, on the first day of school after Pride (or A.P.), I saw “gay is not okay” scribbled on my desk. Smiling, and thinking back to Saturday night dancing with my friends without a care in the world, I crossed out “not” and added “gay is wonderful” below it. And with the shouts and drum beats of Pride still echoing in my heart, I felt what I wrote— truly— for the very first time. 

In the weeks leading up to September 28th, 2019, I spent hours curating the perfect rainbow outfit. My shirt— an oversized crop top from Target’s ‘Out and Proud’ line, my pants— burnt orange army pants with plenty of pockets to let my butch side shine, and my makeup— rainbow eyeliner practiced to blended glory ending in immaculate pointed wings. I was just a little excited about attending my first ever Pride event as an out queer teenager. My two best friends would be going with me and the Durham Pride Parade would be their first Pride excursion too, and they showed the same energy in preparing that I did. We texted each other about our Pride plans excitedly, counting down the mornings until we could be there— surrounded by people just like us. 


I’ll admit, half of the reason I wanted to go to pride was to see cute girls. The other half? To go one day without hearing “that’s gay” or “f*g” or d*ke” directed at one of my LGBT+ siblings. The only gay jokes heard that blissful morning were made by us, jokes about not being able to park straight, or walk straight, or basically do anything straight. The environment was endlessly positive. It seemed like everyone around us was smiling; like it was the happiest place on earth. 


So what was Pride like? Loud. And crowded. A little stressful as someone with social anxiety, but well worth it. We stood on the side of the street the Parade went down with hundreds of others, basking in the neon light of thousands of rainbow accessories caught in the morning sun. Clubs and organizations from Triangle cities and colleges (Duke, UNC, NC State, and ECU were all repped), RTP companies like Spectrum and Lenovo, and dozens of local churches of different denominations all came on floats, on foot, and truck beds. My personal favorites included the Durham Roller Derby League— a squad of young women weaving down the street on roller blades, decked out head to toe in Pride apparel— and the Latinx LGBTQI+ Initiative, or ‘Lila’— a float packed with butterfly decor and beautiful local drag queens rocking out to Lizzo. 


After the Parade finished, we waded against the tide of parade-watchers over to the field of tents set up by local queer creators and larger organizations. I got to talk to representatives from the ACLU (and walked away with a dragon’s hoard of free laptop stickers) and Equality NC, the nation’s first state Equality chapter. 


Eventually, we had to head home. When we reached my friend’s car, I put my bag of free gay goodies in the trunk. The mini pride flag I had been given by a parader fell to the ground and, unnoticed in the lingering shouts and blaring music, got left behind. We finally drove away, silent in the afterglow of all that is Pride during the forty minute journey back to Cary. 


At my driveway, we said our goodbyes. One of my friends was already removing her rainbow ribbons; she had a family event to go to after, she explained. The other nodded and mentioned that she had to wipe off her makeup and change before going to her sisters dance performance. I realized I needed to change for Homecoming if I didn’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention while dancing with my friend-date. 


In my room, I cried while rubbing off my rainbow eyeshadow. I showered and washed my face while shaking, wondering why Pride had to be one day a year. Why I could only be myself one day a year? As I changed for Homecoming, I looked at all of my dresses, the garment my mom and probably everyone at school was expecting me to wear. I looked at my favorite army green romper…  and made my choice. Who says you can’t wear shorts to Homecoming? Before rushing out the door to meet my date, I spotted a small rainbow ribbon I had pinned to my Pride shirt. Who says you can’t wear a rainbow ribbon to Homecoming?


Today, on the first day of school after Pride (or A.P.), I saw “gay is not okay” scribbled on my desk. Smiling, and thinking back to Saturday night dancing with my friends without a care in the world, I crossed out “not” and added “gay is wonderful” below it. And with the shouts and drum beats of Pride still echoing in my heart, I felt what I wrote— truly— for the very first time. 

A Cary Student’s Story: Lindy Gupton

BY: EBENEZER NKUNDA

There are 2400 students at Cary High. 2400 different stories of pain, happiness, success, failure, challenge, and overcoming obstacles. September is childhood cancer awareness month, and as it closes out, what better way to spread awareness than to share one of Cary High’s own stories of overcoming. Lindy Gupton is a senior here at Cary, well known for being a Gang Green Leader and Varsity Tennis Captain, as well as for all her spirit. Apart from this, there’s a side to her that most people don’t know. 

When Lindy was just one year old, she was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. A particularly aggressive form of cancer, Neuroblastoma is most commonly formed in the nerve tissue on top of the kidneys, known as the adrenal glands. Being most prevalent in ages five or below, this illness is the third most common childhood cancer, one of the most deadly– only 67% of children diagnosed with Neuroblastoma live up to five years. 

Obviously, this was scary for Lindy and her family, but they didn’t give up. Lindy went through years of treatment, including chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, and five different types of surgeries. Neuroblastoma was not the only thing Lindy had to overcome; she fought through pneumonia, cellulitis, osteochondroma, and sepsis, all of which are extremely life-threatening. Nevertheless, she persevered. I can’t speak for those of you reading this, but I don’t know if even I, a 17-year-old, would be able to handle that. Lindy’s fight for her life as a two-year-old deserves nothing but RESPECT. 

Lindy spent years going in and out of hospitals and she was finally in remission at three years old. She now goes to the hospital once a year to see her oncologist, and she spends the rest of her time living life as she should—proud. She’s Lindy Gupton: Gang Green Member, Varsity Tennis Captain, Cancer Survivor.

Lindy Gupton 2019

Featured Picture shows Lindy Gupton (right) with her Mom and Sister in 2003

Cary’s Annual Homecoming Parade

BY: AMARAH DIN

Cary High School has many traditions, and one of the most fun to watch being the Homecoming Parade. The parade is a competition comprised of floats made by each grade’s student council, clubs, and even some football players who hop on a trailer, to celebrate the night of the homecoming football game.

Photographer: John Steadman

Last year’s theme was “fairytales”; unfortunately, Hurricane Florence pushed back the Homecoming Parade and ultimately resulted in its cancellation. This left many students unsatisfied with all the hard work put into their floats. To make up for this, the theme for this year’s parade was “movies” which would accommodate those who wanted to use their floats from last year.

Photographer: John Steadman

Photographer: John Steadman

So what did the parade look like? NJROTC led everyone through the streets, followed by the band, the Varsity Football team, and the nominees for Homecoming Queen. The floats: Club Unify chose the movie Despicable Me, Freshmen chose The Wizard of Oz, Sophomores chose Finding Nemo, Juniors chose Alice in Wonderland, and Seniors chose Grease. Each group had a challenge at their hands, but the outcome of each float was incredible. The Club Unify float featured the students dressed up as little yellow minions and a teacher with the infamous nose of Gru. The freshmen had many characters, like Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion— oh my! The sophomore float was full of lively colors, including a giant coral structure, and bubbles floating all around. The juniors recreated the white queen’s massive castle and classic tea party. Lastly, the seniors built a bright red car with Danny and Sandy sitting it in and had multiple “greasers” zooming around on scooters. East and West Cary Middle School athletes came to walk with the high school students and their band was invited to play with Cary High’s band.

Club Unify’s Float Photographer: John Steadman

On Friday, September 27th, the parade began on Ralph Drive and ended on Jimmy Burns Way, and there were families, students, and teachers watching from all sides. Cheers and chants could be heard from every class and viewers throughout the entire journey.

Freshman Class Float Photographer: John Steadman

Sophomore Class Float Photographer: John Steadman

The winner of the parade was to be announced during half-time of Friday night’s homecoming football game. Club Unify’s Despicable Me float won “Best Club Float” and the junior class’ Alice in Wonderland float won first overall! The Juniors  were thrilled to win. Junior Student Council Treasurer, Vedika Tiwari, says, “It’s nice to know that the work we put into our float was worth it in the end. I’m super proud of how hard everybody worked on the float and how it turned out.” Even after all the stress of getting these floats together, everyone can agree that the 2019 Parade was an awesome experience for both the students and the audience. Until next year!

Junior Class Float Photographer: John Steadman

Senior Class Float Photographer: John Steadman

How To Choose Your College!

BY JONAH LAWSON

Are you a junior who can’t decide which college is best for you? Are you a senior who doesn’t understand what’s on your financial aid award? Then look look no further, as the information below is here to help you.

4-Year College v. Community College

Many discount the benefits of attending a community college. If you were to attend Wake Tech for two years and then transfer to NC State, you could save around $8,000 while still obtaining the same bachelor’s degree. For families struggling to pay for college, this is an easy way to save money without sacrificing education.

Small v. Large

Typical* Characteristics of Large Universities (15,000 or more undergraduate students):

  • More variety in available majors
  • Better-funded sports programs
  • Better research facilities
  • Larger alumni networks

Characteristics of Small Universities (5,000 or less undergraduate students):

  • Smaller class sizes (allow more one-on-one time with professors)
  • Advisers who know their students better and can provide more assistance
  • A strong sense of community

Urban v. Rural v. Suburban

Characteristics of Rural Schools:

  • Less networking/job opportunities
  • Less efficient transportation (especially if you don’t own a car)
  • Isolation from big cultural/entertainment hubs
  • Unique opportunities for those pursuing degrees in Agriculture or Environmental Science
  • Quieter, more bucolic settings

Characteristics of Urban Schools:

  • Compact campuses
  • Things to do (shows, performances, restaurants, shops) in free time
  • Diverse communities
  • Crowded walkways, libraries, restaurants

Characteristics of Suburban Schools

  • Blend of urban and rural (internships, transportation, and strong sense of community)

Public v. Private

Private schools offer many of the same advantages as smaller schools, as the two often go hand-in-hand. While it is true that private schools generally have higher ticket prices than public schools, they are not always more expensive in the end. Private universities have more funds (called an endowment) to provide financial aid and scholarships, which can reduce the price drastically for prospective students. If your household income is less than $60,000, a private university may give you a full ride if their endowment is large enough.

Liberal Arts v. STEM

It’s important to go to a college that accommodates your career interests. Some schools are STEM-focused, while others emphasize a “liberal arts” education. Some smaller, typically private schools are known explicitly as “liberal arts colleges” because they don’t have any graduate schools; liberal arts colleges typically excel in quality of teaching and access to professors. Davidson College, Meredith College, and Amherst College are examples of liberal arts colleges. Many universities offer opportunities for students interested in both STEM and liberal arts subjects. Although NC State may be known for its engineering school, it still offers wide-ranging majors. Check online to see what kind of degrees a college offers and what its reputation is in those fields.

Close to Home (In-State) v. Far from Home (Out-of-State)

Schools close to home/in-state may offer:

  • A place to stay if on-campus housing is too expensive
  • Support from family (occasional laundry, home-cooked meals) and an established group of friends
  • Cheaper costs among public schools

Schools farther from home/out-of-state may offer:

  • More experience in the outside world
  • More independence

Graduation Rate

A low graduation rate may indicate that a college doesn’t properly support its students academically. Maybe professors and advisors don’t help students who are struggling. Another factor could be that students aren’t satisfied with their school, possibly because faculty members disappoint or tuition is too high. It could also mean that schools often deal with underprivileged children who have a higher propensity to drop out. Checking a school’s graduation rate is a good idea, but keep in mind that the number itself doesn’t tell the whole story.

Social Life at the College

When choosing a college, one should consider both the diversity of the student body and how well one might fit in. Gender distribution and racial diversity can usually be found here. Unigo, Collegevine, and Niche are websites that offer student perspectives on university life, including the party scene, LGBT friendliness, greek life culture, political leanings, and much more.

How to Decipher Your Financial Aid Award

financial aid
  • If the words “grant, award, or scholarship” appear, the money in that section does not have to be paid back.
  • A subsidized loan is a unique government loan that won’t gain interest while you are attending school.
  • All other loans will accrue interest during your time in school and beyond–these loans are not ideal.
  • Student employment, also known as “Federal Work-Study” is a job provided by the college to help you pay bills.
  • If you have any questions about your financial aid statement, reach out to the school’s Office of Financial Aid.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for more money if you need it. It can’t hurt and might make your dream school affordable.

*Note that there are always exceptions to these generalities, and each college is unique.
Have you decided what you want in your college? Click here to find your dream school!

Imp Dome Men’s Hoops Report

BY ANDREW THORNTON

After a slow start to the conference schedule, the Imps have gotten red hot, beating conference rivals Green Hope and Panther Creek, which brings their in-conference record to 3-3. Injuries handicapped the Imps to start out the season, but seniors such as Aaron Smith, Jalani Abdul-Aziz, and Logan McNeil have stepped into leadership roles and have been centerpieces in Cary’s success. Once Jett Fortuny and BJ Keith return to one hundred percent health, this team will be very dangerous. Jared Moore is having a breakout season replacing Philip Blackley at the five spot, and Moore has added more athleticism to the position. There is a special swagger that the team has as they go play their rival Athens Drive Friday, February 1st at Athens Drive High School. The home games have been electric with lots of the student body coming out to support. Gang Green along with the alumni who shown up have made the Imp Dome a tough place to play for opponents.

In his first year after replacing legend Alan Gustafson, Coach Walton has run the team with more depth, allowing more players to contribute. In WRAL’s latest Playoff projection, Cary was listed as the 23 seed and would face off with Sanderson in the first round of the playoffs. The Imps go on a two game road trip to avenge two of their conference losses and try and stay hot at Athens Drive (2/1) and then at Riverside (2/5). Their final two home games of the regular season are on the 6th and on the 8th against Middle Creek and Jordan. Gang Green needs as much of the student body to come out, so if you’re reading this put on your green and white and come and support your Men’s Basketball team.

Aaron Smith