The Orator The Student News Site of Omaha Bryan High School Sat, 18 Dec 2021 00:26:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Anticipated album finally released, doesn’t disappoint Sat, 18 Dec 2021 00:23:52 +0000

Taking control of what was originally her work, but owned by her managers, and making it her own is all that Taylor Swift wanted to do in her newly recorded “Red, Taylor’s Version” album. Mission accomplished.
This album is even better than the first. Hearing it rerecorded and hearing her tone of voice and how it has changed over the course of 13 years gives a better look into her life and how she has matured.
Additionally, this one is even better because fans know that she’s the one profiting from it. It gives an empowering feeling knowing she took the reins and is controlling her own life and it’s heard in her music.
The 10-minute version of “All too well” exemplifies her new tone and how she is taking control over who she is and her life.
And while the song is an unprecedented 10 minutes long, it tells her full story. She had this plan when she originally wrote the song for the first version, but it got cut down to 5 minutes 29 seconds. This time she released what fans have always wanted from her—something raw and real.
In adding the extra 4 minutes and 31 seconds to the song she added more lyrics that connect her with the heartbreak that she had.
The new version of “We’re never getting back together” also showcases her re-crafted version of herself. It’s more like, ‘This is my breakup. I need to deal with it; get away from me. I need my alone time,’ in comparison to the original which was more blunt and not as strong.
While she is a powerful singer, she doesn’t really reach the listener emotionally. The vocals don’t tear up the listener’s heart like they should for breakup songs. It doesn’t leave listeners crying in their pillow, consumed by their own relatable feelings.

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Playing video games could lead to scholarships Sat, 18 Dec 2021 00:16:06 +0000

Esports has become a major category for upcoming college and high school students. As students who have a passion for gaming and are exceptionally good at it do not get all the opportunities, they could have access to as it is not seen for major importance. With that it is causing the industry to grow more with each day aa more people join it.
“To have the opportunity to get scholarships for it you need to be a high-ranking player who shows growth and potential,” Bellevue University Esports coach Cory Cool said.
Schools who do offer esports are: Bellevue University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Iowa Central Community College, Wayne State, Midland University as well as many other schools.
The esports program works exactly like most other collegiate settings within the athletic department, but they don’t need to go through a rigorous physical fitness session like other physical sports need to. The players need to go through ranking to see where their skills are placed at and make sure they can compete in a tournament.
The main purpose of the esports program is to grant students who have a passion and talent for serious gaming an opportunity to secure a four year college degree, while supporting it and competing within it. It mainly leads into games as Valorant, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO), Rocket League, and Fortnite.

Warming up, University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s esports team prepares for their Valorant tournament game against el YeeT, another e-sports team, at the Mid America Gaming Expo on Nov. 21. UNL won the tournament overall beating eL Yeet 13-6 in the final match. (Justin Diep)

As for scholarships, players need a way to be able to be discovered or found in some way for colleges to see where the players rank and compete in games and competitions. The website used where colleges can find players is It allows for players to make a profile to show where they rank and all the games they play for colleges to find them.
“I’ve been playing competitive games for over six to seven years with my friends and when an email went out about teams wanted for the competition we went for it,” Trent Kulsk Midland esports team player said.
Trent Kulsk also said, “It was very hard to try and find one as my high school did not offer anything for esports so we emailed every college that did offer them to see what offers we may be able to get as competitive players.”

Players from Midland University competed in a free local tournament at the Mid America Gaming Expo where they played with friends and other teammates against various teams like Wayne State and UNL.
Many schools do not offer it as much because it is not a physical sport. The schools who do offer it have it also in athletics so they can be within an athletics program.
The esports industry has been gaining a bigger popularity as communities like FaZe, a popular esports organization, is going to become a publicly traded company. That leads to sites like Twitch and YouTube where many creators have a platform where they carry on doing esports for money prizes or charities.

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Last minute holiday shopping tips Sat, 18 Dec 2021 00:09:34 +0000 Holiday shopping can be an absolute nightmare, especially with the inflation rates raising prices and certain gift items being harder to find on store shelves.
According to Trading Economics, an organization that provides information on historical data and forecasts for more than 20 million economic indicators, exchange rates, stock market indexes, government bond yields and commodity prices, the inflation rate in the US accelerated to 6.8% in November, the highest since June of 1982.
To help combat that, there are a few things consumers can do to still obtain their loved ones’ gifts without breaking the bank and without having to waste time going from store to store.
The first way to save money is to look at ads for different stores. Most stores have their ads readily available online. Look to see what is discounted or on sale. Many stores offer buy one get one half off sales or other incentives to save money.
Time is also something people are short of this season. Instead of spontaneously trying to zip to a store to get a new gaming console like the highly sought after XBox Series X, Playstation 5 or Nintendo Switch, consumers should do their research first. Calling a store in the early morning hours and asking if they received a shipment of the desired item can save time and energy. It’s also a good idea to do this for other electronic items that are selling out fast like Google Homes, Amazon Alexas and AirPods,
Seeing as how quickly stock has been selling out, some stores, like Target, may be able to put a hold on the item for a short time period if called first.
Additionally, making a list beforehand of what one needs or wants to buy for loved ones and sticking to it can help reduce extra spending. Stick to the list and pass up all those extras.

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MLK contest participants get creative with their art Sat, 18 Dec 2021 00:01:38 +0000 The annual MLK contest is a competition that encourages high school and middle school students from the Omaha area to adopt principles from social and human rights warriors throughout history to their life and and present it in an original way, via a speech, song, a poem, etc.
Social Studies teacher Nicholas Clawson encouraged students to join the competition as a way to express their creativity and feelings in a competition. The four students joining are Mi’Khel Thomas, Don Hannon, Julie Iraheta-Umana and Daphne Valadez. Both Julie and Daphne will be working as a duo.
“I try to encourage them to sign up and then I try to coach them,” Clawson said.
There are different categories in what a student can choose for the competition. Short essay, spoken word, vocal music, instrumental music and dance are all categories that can be chosen by students.
Hannon, a senior, will be playing the piano, rapping and singing about problems with taxes, police brutality and racism.
“Its important to me, because I live that everyday life of being a black student and young [black] male,” Hannon said.
His original plan was to sing a J. Cole song, but instead he will be singing a song he wrote. Hannon also plays football, basketball, and does track, so this performance may or may not come as a surprise to some.
“I don’t think it will [come as a surprise], because most people already know I play a lot of instruments.”
Junior Mi’Khel Thomas will be talking about problems in the community, like equality and increasing people’s pay. Thomas placed third at the competition last year.
“I feel like it’s a big problem within the community and it’s obviously not complete equal yet, within certain areas,” Thomas said. “I feel like that’s something that should’ve been fixed.”
Valadez and Iraheta-Umana will be performing a speech in which they will talk about topics like immigration and the problems immigrants face.
“I wanted my voice to be heard,” Valadez said. “I think it’s something not a lot of people focus on.”
The grand prize winner will receive $1,000 and their trophy. The competition will be at the Holland Performing Arts Center and will start on January 17, 2022, which lands on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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Pro-Choice or Anti-Choice: the real abortion debate Sat, 18 Dec 2021 00:00:01 +0000 There are two sides to the abortion debate: pro-choice or pro-life. Everyone picks a side, but in doing so, they are making a CHOICE, and that’s what the whole abortion debate really boils down to: pro-choice or anti-choice. Being pro-choice doesn’t mean you’re going to run around getting abortions left and right, it just means you want the ability to CHOOSE. And in making abortion illegal, you are stripping millions of people across the country from their right to choose.
On Dec.1, a case was brought to the Supreme Court that has potential to overturn Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion. The case, Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, centers around a Mississippi law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
They’re arguing that the ban should be upheld, because “the US Constitution does not support a right to abortion.” But by that logic, women shouldn’t be able to vote, presidents shouldn’t be able to be impeached, half the people in this country shouldn’t have any rights, because the Constitution didn’t “support” those rights either.
Just because something is not explicitly stated in the Constitution does not mean it is not a right. It would’ve been impossible for the framers of the Constitution to include every single right that people have; that’s why amendments exist, to amend the Constitution to ensure that people get those rights they deserve.
Making abortion illegal also increases the risk of maternal death. The maternal mortality rate in America is already at 20.1 deaths per 100,000 live births, the highest of any developed country. If it was banned, it would increase by 21%, according to a study from University of Colorado Boulder.
If people really cared about lowering abortion rates, they would put more funding into places that offer things like contraceptives. If access to contraceptives becomes easier and more affordable, then the rate of unwanted pregnancies would decrease. If unwanted pregnancies decrease, then abortions would also decrease, because there would be no need for them.
Abortion is a constitutional right, and any law that places restrictions on it is unconstitutional. Women have the right to choose what they want to do with their body, and if it’s made illegal, you are taking away our constitutional right to choose.

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District redraws school zone boundaries Fri, 17 Dec 2021 23:44:40 +0000 Omaha Public Schools (OPS) will be opening two new high schools next school year.
The new schools will come with an updated student assignment plan. Students will be guaranteed enrollment at their neighborhood school. While students have the option of applying to any of the high schools, students who have siblings who will stay enrolled at the school the following school year and those who live in a partner zone will be prioritized first.
Current freshmen who live in Buena Vista’s attendance area will be required to transition from their current schools to Buena Vista for their sophomore year, but still have the option to apply to other high schools in the district.
“Currently, our district has identified approximately 100 ninth grade students each at Bryan and South who are attending their current neighborhood school and will transition to their new neighborhood school, Buena Vista for 2022-23,” OPS spokeswomen Bridget Blevins said.
The district will also phase out sixth grade in its elementary schools and integrate them into its middle schools in the 2023-24 school year.
Carrie Carr and Thomas Lee were announced as the principals of Buena Vista and Westview High School in January and started their positions in June.
Buena Vista, located at 60th and L Streets, and Westview High School, at 156th and Ida Streets, will start with freshman and sophomores only and will reach its capacity of approximately 1500 students two years later.
The district is pushing students in the high school selection process to focus more on the college career academies and pathways offered at the high schools.
“It has also made students more serious about learning about careers that match their interests since that will help determine the best high school to attend,” Bryan Middle School counselor Stephanie Suhr said.
Some students are looking forward to the new schools, such as eighth grader Yaneli Lopez-Escobar who plans to attend Buena Vista.
“As schools get older, they seem to be more run down, so I like the idea of a brand-new school,” she said.
All sports will be offered at both of the schools. Football will temporarily be categorized as Class B, but once the schools reach full capacity, football will join the Metro Conference as Class A.

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BRING IT ON Fri, 17 Dec 2021 23:39:20 +0000 Both the boys and girls will be hitting the mat this weekend, but they will be at different locations.
The boys’ team will be at Ralston High School tonight at 4:30 for the Ralston Tournament. There, the boys will face off against seven other schools: Ralston, Bellevue West, Crete, Elkhorn South, Fremont, South Sioux City and York.
“York and Elkhorn South are going to be pretty stout,” head coach Jason Susnjar said. “They have been one- two the last couple years at that tournament.”
Trying to add more W’s in the win column, they have been running drills day in and day out to prepare for tonight.
“In practice, he’s [Susnjar] been making us run a lot, go live a lot,” senior Chase Pokett said. “Overall, this year has been harder compared to the past two years I’ve been wrestling.”
Susnjar is excited for the tournament and feels the boys will have a good showing.
“I think we can compete there,” Susnjar said. “The past two years we’ve gotten third, so I think we can make that next step to contend for the Ralston title or at least be in that conversation.”
Part of the reason Susnjar thinks they will do well is that the team has good chemistry and has been committed to getting better and doing their best.
“This could be the first time since I’ve been the head coach, in the wrestling room that we have no problems as in attitude, as in behavior and things like that,” Susnjar said. “I’m not saying we have all 4.0s and perfect attendance and all that stuff, but in the practice room, I never have to question anybody’s commitment, their effort, anything like that.”
While the boys are at Ralston, the girls will be back at the school tonight preparing for the girls’ Platteview Invitational tomorrow morning. There will be 24 teams competing at the invite including schools such as South Sioux City and Westpoint who have had girls competing for several years.
One obstacle that the girls will face at this tournament and future ones like the Winnebago tournament on Dec. 28, is that there are only five girls on the team. Other teams have had girls wrestling for them for several years and have bigger female teams. South Sioux City has 27 girls on their roster and Westpoint has 12.
The girls earned 24th out of 25 teams at the Friday Night Fracas and 14th out of 15 at the Crete Invite. However, freshman Taylor Kress went 1-3 earning 4th place at the Crete Invite. And while there haven’t been many official wins in the record book, Susnjar is proud of the girls and sees many wins every day as they learn more and get better.
“You can see them at practice and even in the matches, you can see like a light bulb go off, like, Boom! There’s a double leg, and then you can see them attempting to hit it,” Susnjar said. “The execution may not be great right now, but that’s what we’re building for. The W’s will start coming.”


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Stress, burnout strains education system nationally, locally Fri, 17 Dec 2021 23:37:02 +0000 There are fewer people choosing teaching as a career and there are more educators leaving the field. Effects of the higher workload for those remaining are becoming apparent and causing burnout. It’s a nation-wide problem that has been brought to the forefront since the pandemic started.

According to a study done by MissionSquare Institute, 52% of kindergarten through 12th grade employees feel stressed or burned out.

Many teachers at Bryan High are also feeling the burn out. In a survey given to all Bryan High staff, 50 responded, of which 42 were teachers. This represents 23% of the 215 person staff. The survey found 76% of respondents reported feeling stressed or burned out.

The Nebraska State Education Association (NSEA) identified both recruitment and retention problems of educators in a survey sent out to its members last month. Educators reported more stress and less time to plan than in previous years. Additionally, the Nebraska college system reported a 50% drop in enrollment in the education field over the last decade.

“The social, emotional and academic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic is growing worse by the day,” NSEA President Jenni Benson said. “Staff shortages and quarantines have stretched teachers thin to the breaking point. In addition to their own classes, teachers are covering classes for teachers who are ill or quarantining. They are losing their plan time, their time for one-on-one instruction with students, time to collaborate with their colleagues, and time to talk with parents. And this is the second year of these challenges – everything is compounded.”

NSEA is currently calling on state lawmakers to increase salaries for public education employees and is requesting to use $50 million of the state’s COVID relief funds for a $1000 stipend for their extra work.

Omaha Public Schools’ human resources team reported last month the district is currently about 93% staffed with most of the vacancies being in support staff roles such as paras and nutrition service workers.

“Staff shortages in education is a decades-long challenge that has more recently come to our area, heightened by the pandemic like every industry,” OPS spokeswoman Bridget Blevins said. “Omaha Public Schools has taken numerous steps to thoughtfully address these challenges in a variety of ways.”

Some steps OPS has taken are modifying the calendar to allow for more teacher workdays and hiring students in support roles such as interpreters and summer interns at elementary schools. Additionally, they recently launched a concierge program that would assist in non-instructional roles such as assisting cafeteria and transportation staff. Long term, OPS is investing in its para to teacher pipeline and its teaching academies that will be implemented at all its high schools.

However, Bryan High is almost fully staffed with only two vacant teaching positions, one in the English department and one in JROTC. Both positions are filled by long term subs.

“Our goal is to have a highly qualified and certified teacher in every classroom at,” Bryan principal Rony Ortega said. “When this hasn’t been possible, we have secured long term substitutes who have a strong background in education and know our Bryan High community.”

According to a study by RAND Corporation, since March 2020, over half of respondents cited the pandemic and stress from it as their main reason for leaving the profession. The second reason was lack of pay. In an anonymous survey conducted of Bryan High staff members, the stressors indicated by RAND Corporation are on their minds too.

“It’s [The Pandemic] been pretty awful, but it’s shown a lot of people that you need to be happy in life and not just work for the sake of work, there are other options out there,” a Bryan teacher who wished to remain anonymous said.

They also agree that teacher pay is too low. 88% of the Bryan High staff who responded to the survey reported they felt underpaid for the work they do.

“Teachers don’t become educators for the money, but we’d like to be compensated for the actual work we do,” one Bryan teacher said. “We don’t just teach a subject. We become parents, counselors, aides, we embody a whole system of support that takes a toll on us individually.”

Others have said additional responsibilities outside the scope of their contract are contributing to their stress.

“It feels like society is dumping large scale social failures onto the backs of teachers and then expecting us to make up for those larger failures,” a Bryan teacher said. “As teachers are expected to do more with less, we will leave the profession.”

While national studies have shown the crisis in education, OPS has been consistent in their number on resignations and retirements over the past three years.

According to Blevins, the district reported 289 resignations in the 2018-19 school year, 239 in the 2020-21 school year, and 320 in the 2020-21 school year, which is about a 4% resignation rate over the last three years.

In comparison, Bryan High resignation rate was slightly higher than the district’s with 5% but followed OPS’s trend with 12 resignations during the 2018-19 school year, 6 in the 2019-20 school year and 15 in the 2020-21 school year, according to head secretary Nanette Varley. Nationally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over a million teachers resigning since 2019.

Of the 42 teachers surveyed, only three plan to leave at the end of the year. While some are still undecided, majority of teachers plan on returning and many of their reasons were similar to art teacher Rebekah Pilypaitis’s;

“I’m staying because I love what I do and I love our students,” she said.

Bryan administrators have been actively trying to combat the national issue of low teacher pay. They have implemented different incentives and activities to promote higher morale, such as having more staff celebrations and more staff recognition like staff member of the week and month.

“I think they’re doing a really nice job of trying to increase morale around the building,” English teacher Jill Stephenson said. “They’ve had get-togethers and parties, and they’ve been supportive in lots of other ways.”

Retaining current teachers and making them feel at home is Ortega’s goal amid the national cry for changes in education.

“We continue to work hard to create positive climate and culture where staff want to work and where substitute teachers enjoy coming to work,” Ortega said. “We know that our current staff are our best recruiters, and what they say about our school can help recruit other teachers here.”

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Girls to rebuild program, culture Fri, 17 Dec 2021 23:30:53 +0000 Due to many challenges including injured players, academic eligibility amongst other things, the girls basketball team has struggled with rebuilding the season after the damage done by COVID-19.
Even though Mitchell tried to have the girls’ basketball team last year, the season ended up being cancelled anyway due to COVID-19, which had a big impact on the team.
“Being committed to the change is a heavy time investment,” head girls basketball coach Nicole Mitchell said. “Many of the girls had to personally decide if they were willing to invest their time and commit to changing the culture.”
Mitchell worked hard this year to recruit players, from making phone calls to freshman girls who were interested in basketball to having an open house Mitchell plans to continue to build and maintain relationships within the school and throughout the Omaha community.
“One thing I am seeing and hearing are the girls building a sisterhood and having fun learning and playing basketball with their sisters,” Mitchell said. “We are young and hungry with the heart to compete and grow.”
When asked why she felt it was important to build back she said that it was simple because no players equal no program and that “Bryan Athletics need new life”. Even though scores have been rough, the girls have been creating team bonds.
“No matter how the season is going I always strive to get better,” junior point guard Stephany Hernandez said. “It’s not about the wins or losses. There’s always time to improve their game. It’s all about who has the most heart out there on the court.”

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Rematch Time Fri, 17 Dec 2021 23:26:20 +0000 It’s time for a rematch. The Bears will face off against the Vikings once again tonight after a 53-68 loss two weeks ago during the Jamboree. Same place: North High. Same time: 7:15 p.m.. Different day. Different mentality.
“That was our very first game,” senior center George Back said. “I feel like we’re going to be more prepared, more motivated. It’s going to look very different. Hopefully we’ll come out with the dub.”
Omaha North, who is currently 3-2, had more success in field goals made and more rebounds in that Dec. 3 game. This time around, head coach Galen Gullie has gone back to the drawing board and has had the team watch film so that they can understand what to do to beat North tonight.
“They [North] had a bit more experience,” Gullie said. “They made a bit more game winning plays than we did, but I feel like over the course of time we’re going to get there and get over that hump. When we’re mentally locked in on every possession, we can do some great things.”
Since their earlier match up, the boys have had more practice and experience playing games together. And while they haven’t won yet, they were competitive, coming within an average of 15 points of winning for each game.
“I feel like we’ve done some reevaluating and we realize we can be a good team,” junior point guard London Williams said. “We just have to be consistent on and off the court.”
They have been focusing on being “all in” on all aspects of the game.
“I tell them all the time that we can’t have lows,” Gullie said. “If we’re not competing and practicing to the best of our ability every single day, we’re going to be taking steps backwards and we always want to take steps forwards and always progress, mentally, physically, on the court and off the court.”
They have also been working on building team chemistry to have more success.
“I learned that it takes more than one person to win,” Lam Kuang said. “Everybody needs to play their role. We need more effort, more communication, we need to not get in our heads, just play hard and battle.”
Gullie knows these young men can accomplish this.
“Everybody on our roster has a key piece, a key role,” he said. “Every single person knows their role and every single person understands what they are capable of and everybody is good at certain types of stuff to help us bring this program forward.”
After tonight’s game, the boys will host Lincoln Northeast who is 4-0, tomorrow. The last time the Bears played them it was last year, and it was a back-and-forth game that ended in 79-85 loss. Lincoln Northeast will also be facing off against Lincoln High tonight while the Bears face North.

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