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A Summer Bucket List for When You Get Bored

By: Lelani Williamson and Regan Sumy

Summer break is right around the corner (only 10 more school days!), and I’m sure everyone is ready to have an eventful summer so as to make up for last year. Here’s some ideas of things to do if you get bored over break:

Go to an amusement park:

At places like Adventure Landing and Frankie’s you’ll have a variety of activities like go-karting, mini golf, and arcade games to keep you entertained. With some friends, you could spend hours having fun at these nearby places. Not too far out (in Charlotte) is Carowinds, where you can ride large roller coasters and get the full amusement park experience.  

Take a beach trip

The beach is one of the best parts of summer. The cool water and sand make it the ideal summer destination. With all the beaches in North Carolina — such as Carolina Beach, Emerald Isle, Wilmington Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Sunset Beach, Myrtle Beach, and more — taking a day or even week trip to the beach could be a lively experience. 

Go to a water park

Hot summer days will leave you wanting nothing more than to get soaked in some cool water. As the pool once again begins to become a routine destination, try out places like Wet ‘n Wild Water Park at Emerald Pointe, White Lake Water Park, Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park, or Murrow Waves Water Park for a more exciting water experience. These water parks have large slides, lazy pools, and normal pools for you to swim in. If you want to take an overnight trip try out Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte or Concord, you can enjoy a water park that comes with many other great amenities. 

Camp in your backyard

If you don’t want to go far from your house but still want to get outside, try camping in your backyard with some friends. You can set up tents, have a campfire, and make s’mores while telling creepy stories — just like they do in the movies! I would definitely recommend bug spray, but it could be an eventful and memorable activity to do with some friends or family. 

Have a picnic

 With all the nice parks in the area, making a meal and having a picnic could be an easy and relaxing thing to do over summer. You could try making a new recipe, creating a cool refreshing drink, or even put together a tasty charcuterie board. 

Read a book!

Now I know this may sound boring like summer homework, but finding a good book to read can be super relaxing and fun pastime for all the free time you’ll have over summer break. There are so many genres and writing styles to choose from, so there is surely a book for everyone! I’m sure if you try, you could begin to love books this summer. 

Watch a outdoor movie

Since the weather is so good over the summer, why not go outside to watch a movie to get a change of scenery? At the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theater you can drive up and watch whatever movie they have playing that night. Bring snacks, a blanket, and your friends to make this an enjoyable experience. Another option would just be to set up a movie in your backyard. Invite your friends or family and it might feel just like a movie theater at home. 

Pick strawberries

Once it’s the season, places like Hunt’s Strawberries and Page Farms become an activity worth your while. At these strawberry farms, you can go around and pick your own fresh strawberries to wash and eat later. It’s super fun and the strawberries are like none you’ve ever had before!

Other ideas include: 

  • Go for a hike/walk
  • Go thrifting
  • Have (or visit) a yard sale
  • Visit a cat cafe. These are literally the best ever! If you like cats, of course. My favorite local cat cafe is Purr Cup Cafe — they have some amazingly cute cats and brilliant coffee.
  • Go to the farmer’s market or support local shops 
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Stargaze
  • Have a mini-photoshoot 
  • Have a game night 
  • Volunteer somewhere (Foodbank, ASPCA, etc.)
  • Go downtown
  • Adopt a plant or start a garden
  • Catch (and then release!!) fireflies 
  • Make the ultimate summer playlist 
  • Watch the sunset or sunrise
  • Do a spa day 
  • Go shopping (or window shopping if you don’t want to spend money!)
  • Write a story 
  • Go to the library 
  • Have a water balloon fight or do something outside with water
  • Build a fort
  • Go swimming 
  • Write and send a letter to someone

Have a wonderful summer everyone!

After 17 Years, Brood X is Emerging Across the East Coast

By: Alexis Cope

For the first time in nearly two decades, a horde of billions of cicadas, labeled “Brood X”, has emerged and swarmed areas of the northeast. 

These insects, called periodical cicadas, live 13 or 17 year life cycles, most of which is spent underground eating roots and other plants. In the last months of their lives, the cicadas will emerge, shed out of their juvenile skin, and begin searching for a mate. That droning buzzing sound you often associate with cicadas is, in fact, the males issuing their mating calls. 

While Brood X is only going to swarm in states like Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia, other periodical cicadas exist across nearly every eastern state. Residents of the afflicted states this year have catalogued the cicadas’ takeover; many have shared images of cicadas crawling over their faces, the ground, and jars full of collected cicada shells. Some have even begun posting recipes online for such delicacies as chocolate covered cicadas for anyone who feels like a forager at heart.

Victory Urbanstead, via Instagram

At the moment, there are a dozen periodical cicada broods on the 17-year cycle, such as Brood X, and three broods on a 13-year cycle. Brood X is the only brood which will emerge this year; the next time these cicadas will appear is 2024, when Brood XIII,  a 17-year cicada, and Brood XIX, a 13-year cicada, emerge. Brood XIX will appear in several areas in North Carolina, including Wake County. 

Periodical cicadas in the U.S., U.S. FOREST SERVICE

These periodical cicadas typically only live above ground for four to six weeks, so if you want to witness this incredible phenomenon in the wild, take a road trip up to West Virginia soon. Me, though, I’ll be staying home where I don’t have to hear the racket of those creepy-crawlies covering nearly every surface.

My Favorite Healthy Ways to Get Your Starbucks Fix

By: Kiera Kofkin-Hansen

I grew up hating being basic, but then I moved to America and discovered Starbucks! Junior year taught me that coffee is an essential, but I sadly learned that some of the best Starbucks has to offer comes at a high price–both figuratively and literally. Over the past few months, I’ve been researching–and taste-testing of course–the healthiest ways to satisfy my ever-lasting Starbucks cravings, and I’m here to share. 

Nutella Iced Coffee

I love chocolate, but I love Nutella most of all; I started drinking a Nutella Iced Coffee at Starbucks, and it instantly rose to the top of my list of favorite food/drinks. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet, yet definitely has that nutella flavor I long for on a daily basis. Here’s how to order it: 

  • Grande Shaken Espresso 
  • No Classic Syrup
  • 1 Pump Mocha
  • 1 Pump Hazelnut Syrup (Toffeenut works as well!) 
  • 2 Pumps of Sugar Free Vanilla
  • 1 Stevia

Almond Cinnamon Iced Coffee

I must confess, I didn’t love this drink. However, that is probably due to my overbearing sweet-tooth; this coffee is sweet enough, yet far from overwhelming, and is surprisingly refreshing (if coffee can be described that way). 

  • Venti Iced Coffee with Milk
  • No Classic Syrup
  • Almond Milk
  • 1 Pump Sugar Free Cinnamon Dolce Syrup
  • 3 Stevia

Egg White and Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites

These snack-sized egg bites are on the menu as they come, and I LOVE them. Gluten free, vegetarian and full of nutrients, the Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites are my favorite food item on the Starbucks menu. They’re available all day, but I prefer to get them at lunch, as they are bigger than expected and will keep you very full.

How to Crush the College Board (Academically Speaking!)

By: Kiera Kofkin-Hansen

Administration of this year’s AP Exams went underway this week, with Tuesday kicking off the next two weeks of stress students have been dreading since they decided on their classes last spring. The recently implemented digital format of these exams can be a blessing or a curse, depending on personal preference. However, I’m here to tell you the tricks I’ve learnt after three years of attempting to please the College Board on their wicked tests.

  1. DO NOT CHEAT

I don’t know if I’m just sensitive because I’m still scarred from sophomore year when tests were in person and HANDWRITTEN, but cheating is a no go. I have complete faith in the College Board that they can and will detect plagiarism, not to mention that they sinfully design their tests in order to allow for zero time to think, let alone look something up “real quick”. I promise you, you will score significantly better if you put your faith in yourself rather than the internet this one time. 

  1. Notes are okay (but you didn’t hear it from me)

As I mentioned, there is little time to do anything other than select the first answer that came to you whilst taking these tests, but having a few notes of important concepts next to your device is always a little helpful, even if just as a crutch. I wouldn’t consider this cheating as much as a memory boost, and I speak from experience when I say whatever you feel is important enough to have on close call will more than likely only be useful when it comes to FRQ’s and written responses (so don’t waste what precious time you have on multiple choice!) 

  1. Study, study, and study!!!

My last but certainly most important trick for these digital exams is to study. I know: boring. The worst part of homework ever. “I can’t do it because someone actually TOLD me to”. It’s cliche, yet astronomically helpful in regards to your performance, and you’ll be glad you did on the day. A trick I learned from AP Psychology this year (shout out Mrs. Richards!) is that studying a little bit consistently over a long period of time quite literally melts the information into your brain more effectively than a night-before-cram-session, and I highly recommend it. As someone who detests sitting and studying and would much rather fill out a one hundred question study guide, I’m forever grateful that I decided to actually put the work into studying this year for exams because I felt so much more confident and it made my exams less like a chore and more like another super fun activity! 

AP exams, like any other exams, are highly stressful, yet there are ways to ease the pressure on exam day in order to boost your serotonin and scores all at once! I hope my tricks help you future test-takers take on the College Board with your heads held high!

From Cary High… to the United Nations?

By: Jack Morgenstein

In a lot of ways, high school defines the trajectory most people find themselves on for the remainder of their lives. The people you meet, classes you take, and extracurriculars you participate in often shape who you are. From telling freshmen about the pool on the 2000 roof to hoping our football team wins a single game during the season, Cary High alumni share certain collective experiences from our time here. As I finish my fourth year with you all and start looking towards college next fall, I realize now more than ever how important it is to seek guidance from those that come before you. Through the process of applying to and deciding on a college, I ended up speaking to Cary High alumni from the past 10+ years spanning all phases of their lives. It was inspiring to look at where alumni are now and hear how they worked to get there from standing in my position today. And thus, I decided to start what I hope will be an ongoing series of alumni showcases. The goal of these is to help give current Cary High students a picture of what life and hard work look like after graduating. The subject of this inaugural composition (who also happens to be my older brother) is Kyle Morgenstein.

Kyle graduated from Cary High School in 2016. While here, he led the Cary High Lincoln-Douglas team all the way to nationals as well as played on the varsity tennis team. He also was an active member in his local and national youth group for all four years. After graduating, he attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology for four years for his undergraduate education. While there, he studied engineering with a focus on aerospace, as well as planetary science. At MIT, he participated in a number of activities ranging from MIT’s D1 rowing team to hackathons to becoming president of MIT’s AE𝚷 chapter. He also participated in research resulting in two theses: one into telescopic interferometry and the other into Earth’s early atmospheric composition. He now is attending graduate school at UT Austin in robotics and currently has a job working for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He participates in a lot of outreach, including the speech alluded to in the title of this piece: speaking for the United Nations. More specifically, on April 29th, 2021, Kyle gave a speech for the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs into his work in using biosignatures to identify certain astrologic and biologic conditions which millions and billions of years ago have led to the Earth we now live on. If you’d like to see this speech, it can be found on the following link at the 2:14:15 mark: Speech.

Even if you have no interest in any of the work Kyle is doing, throughout Cary High’s history, alumni success has been a constant in nearly every field. In speaking to Kyle, he revealed to me that hard work and ambition are the best methods to achieving any goal, whether it be passing a class or searching for life on other planets. High school is a time to experience life, but it also is a time to prepare for the future. Reaching out to those that came before me has been an invaluable experience that has shaped who I am. Whether it be reaching out to a teacher, guidance counselor, or alumni, I urge each of you to take advantage of every opportunity to speak with those who have stood in your shoes. As I look towards my own future, I wish you all the best of luck; I know each of you can succeed!

Instagram’s New Update: A Pronouns Setting

By: Regan Sumy

Instagram recently made the exciting and necessary decision to create an option to display your pronouns on your Instagram profile. While some see pronouns as unimportant or unnecessary, that simply isn’t the case. 

Pronouns are used to refer to an individual in conversation or in writing. The most common pronouns are he/him, she/her, and they/them. If you are unsure of someone’s pronouns, ask that person if they feel comfortable sharing their pronouns. You could also use gender-neutral pronouns. 

If you are cisgender, meaning you identify with the sex you were born with, you may ask, “Why would I need to display my pronouns?” Simple answer — to declare your alliance and support of people who are LGBTQ+. This doesn’t mean that everyone who does not include pronouns in their bio is anti-LGBTQ+, but having your pronouns can make someone feel accepted, so if you are comfortable doing so, share them!

If you are not cisgender, you can choose to put your pronouns in your bio whenever you feel comfortable enough to do so. Some people are not yet ready to come out, especially on big social media platforms, which is completely valid. 

Another positive factor of adding your pronouns to your bio is to help stop gender assumptions. So many people are called by the wrong pronouns, so normalizing and educating pronoun usage can lead to a future more accepting of members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Everyone — if you are still figuring out your identity or are simply not yet comfortable with sharing your pronouns on social media, don’t feel pressured by anyone to share. If you do feel comfortable sharing your pronouns, see the steps below for how to add this information to your profile.

How-To Steps:

  1. Log into Instagram. 
  2. Go to your profile page. 
  3. Click the “Edit Profile” button. 
  4. Find the box labeled “Pronouns.” 
  5. Select your preferred pronouns (up to 4). 
  6. Choose if you want your pronouns to be public or private. 

Ryan Rodgers Takes Over as Cary High’s Athletic Director

By: Lindsay Gorman

Coach Dunphy, Cary High’s women’s and men’s soccer coach, will be leaving this year to become the first athletic director at the new Willow Springs High School. 

 Ryan Rodgers, a Cary High alum, will take his place as the new Athletic Director in the fall. Coach Rodgers is no stranger to Cary athletics; he previously served as the JV men’s coach from 2002-2003 and assistant varsity men’s basketball coach from 2018-2019. He also boasts over 22 years of both teaching and coaching at other schools in the district, including Lufkin Road, Apex Middle, and Apex High. 

The Rodgers family has many ties to Cary High; Rodgers’ daughter, Ryleigh, is currently a senior at the school. She told The Page, “When I first heard my dad got the Athletic Director job at Cary, I was so excited for him because he’s always wanted to be a part of Cary High! He was so happy and was so excited to be able to teach at the high school that he went to when he was younger. I’m a little sad that I’m a senior and I won’t be able to be at Cary while he’s there, but my brother, an incoming freshman, will have my dad there for his four years of high school!!” 

Cary is excited for the vision Coach Rodgers will bring to the athletics program, and to see how he will take our teams to the next level. We look forward to welcoming Coach Rodgers in the fall!
For more information on Coach Rodgers, click here.

The End of an Era: Billie Eilish and Her New Sound

By: Anna Burggraff

Who is Billie Eilish? Billie Eilish is a 19 year old singer and songwriter from Los Angeles, California. She began her music career at the young age of 14 when she released Ocean Eyes, which quickly went viral and gained her a huge fanbase. People loved the unique sound of her voice and how new her style was. With this rare and beautiful sound, she began to release more music, which eventually led to her winning 5 Grammy Awards. 

Eilish has been known for rocking baggy clothes and fun hair colors, creating her own trademark look. Eilish also has created serious music discussing death, depression, and other serious topics. Some found this quite dark, but others, such as myself, found it quite beautiful. She was writing from the heart about issues many don’t even want to think about.

After witnessing the many recent changes in Eilish’s life, it is not a huge surprise she is changing up her music style as well. Coupled with her recent public appearances in more form fitting clothing and new hair, the announcement of a new album which has a brighter and softer sound has upset many.

Many fans have stated that they fell in love with the “old” Billie Eilish, saying that it is difficult to listen to her new music when it is so different from what she has previously created. 

Personally, I’m proud of Billie. None of us have seen her genuinely happy and confident like this before, and artists change and grow as people too. If one decides she wants to create something new, it is completely up to her. I’m eager to hear all of the new songs and am excited to see what this new chapter in Eilish’s music will bring. 

Eilish’s new album Happier Than Ever will drop on July 30th.

Four Takeaways From Biden’s First Address to Congress

By: Alexis Cope

On Wednesday night, President Biden addressed his first joint session of Congress, reviewing his first 100 days in office and suggesting new plans he wishes to put in motion. He said, “America is on the move again,” and made it clear he wished to keep the nation moving.

The session was held in the House chamber due to security and health concerns raised by the January 6th attack and COVID-19. Not all members of Congress were present, and the address lasted for around an hour. 

Two women on the podium make history.

For the first time in history, two women, one a woman of color, were seated behind the president as he spoke to the members in attendance. Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi framed either side of the president, creating a powerful image for all watching to view.

Biden recognized this as he entered the chamber, saying, “Madam Speaker. Madam Vice President. No president has ever said those words before, and it’s about time.”

Bipartisanship is critical, but Biden is ready to act.

When discussing new proposed federal spending programs, Biden stressed the idea that he is willing, ready, and keen to work with the Republican members of Congress, but should they fail to cooperate, he will move forward without their approval. “Doing nothing is not an option,” he said.

Getting Republican members of Congress on his side will likely be one of Biden’s most difficult tasks as president. In his inaugural address, Biden stressed the importance of this point, proclaiming, “the American story depends on…all of us….[this] requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity. Unity.” 

So far, it seems, the president has not quite gotten what he wished for on that score. Though he did praise a group of Republicans who “put forward their proposal,” there was often little reaction from the party to some of Biden’s remarks. None of the attending Republicans clapped when Biden announced his goal of cutting child poverty in half or after the session.

Biden wants to put America, and her middle/lower class, first.

Biden announced new changes to his American Jobs Plan, pledging that “American tax dollars are going to be used to buy American products made in America that create American jobs.” He also mentioned how “clean energy will create jobs for America,” thereby addressing his promises to help control climate change and help the nation’s economy. This plan also contains budgets for improving the nation’s infrastructure.

Biden also discussed his new American Families Plan, which primarily focuses on providing more families, specifically those of a lower income, with better education opportunities. Among other things, this plan will allow for free preschool services and two years of free community college. The plan will also support longer medical leaves for families and solidify protections and relief plans for COVID-19 that were once only temporary.

The COVID-19 crisis is bettering.

Biden also patted himself on the back for all he has done to curb the coronavirus pandemic. 

Flexing the number of vaccinations completed within his first 100 days in office, most of which were distributed to seniors, Biden did not confront the looming hurdle of many Americans’ distrust of and hesitancy to take the vaccine. In order to reach herd immunity, nearly 70% of the population would need to be vaccinated, a number which might be hard to achieve given the current mindset of many. 

Biden did, however, urge all listening to take advantage of the vaccination sites popping up across the country. “Go get vaccinated, America,” he said.

New Mural Appears On One of Cary’s Beloved Greenways

By: Alexis Cope

A new mural celebrating the natural habitats of Cary has appeared on a tunnel in Davis Drive Park’s White Oak greenway. 

Created by mural artist Lisa Gaither, the painting features depictions of wildlife native to North Carolina. The flowering dogwood, North Carolina’s state flower, is visible to the right and is joined by yellow and red honeysuckles, which adorn the archway. The tiger swallowtail, the state butterfly, and a gray squirrel, the state mammal, are also depicted.

The other side of the bridge is yet to be completed but will feature images of residents biking, jogging, and enjoying all that the greenway has to offer. This side will also be painted in a different art style so those passing under the bridge may experience two distinct works.

Gaither has painted many murals all throughout the Triangle, and even has one in Charleston, South Carolina. Self-taught, Gaither specializes in interactive artwork and “believes that art not only belongs in a gallery or museum but that it can and should be enjoyed by everyone.” This mural certainly is being enjoyed; when I visited, many who passed by were awed by this new addition on the greenway.

Cary is known to have many art installations within its borders, which often feature local artists. The Black Creek Greenway features brick sculptures created by artist Brad Spencer, and Rachel Herrick’s pooch-themed fire hydrants can be found all over town. Downtown Cary often plays host to a number of temporary installations, as well as permanent ones. Recently, in celebration of the Chinese Lantern Festival, a series of six groups of glowing, lantern animals took up residence along Academy Street, only to be replaced by another illuminating work: a metal bonsai tree with a single cardinal upon its branches. 

Cary’s care for beautification, attention to local artists, and desires to provide residents with new, lovely additions to their town, is clear with Gaither’s new project. When finished, the murals are sure to be wonderful, representative works which those using the greenway will surely enjoy.

If you would like to view Gaither’s latest mural, visit Davis Drive Park at 1610 Davis Drive.

For more information about Gaither, visit her website: https://www.lisagaitherart.comFor more information about more art installations around Cary, visit: https://www.townofcary.org/recreation-enjoyment/arts-culture/public-art/all