Yearly Archives: 2015

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By: Alyssa Matheson

There are many places around our school where people choose to eat their lunches, and some are better than others.  The Spartan Spectator has done a definitive ranking for you:


  1. Near the entrance of washrooms??

To be honest, I had no idea that this was a popular location for lunch consumption. I would consider this a last resort option as I can’t see the appeal of sitting so close to such an unsanitary area to consume lunch. I mean really? The only thing separating you from a room of interesting graffiti and lack of mirrors isn’t closed for long…


  1.   Under the Stairwells

The stairwells may seem like an excellent option, however they do not offer the amount of privacy they appear to. While the stairwells block you from the view of many, they offer no privacy in the way of your discussions, which are more likely to be overheard by students who will tweet a snippet of your conversation with the hashtag #OverheardAtCKSS.


  1.   In the hallways “the sprawlers”

This location has a grand total of zero chairs, which forces everyone to sit on the not-quite-sanitary floor. However, if you can overlook this fact, the hallway is a great hang out with your squad.  This location also allows you to slow down hallway traffic by a whopping 200 percent!


  1.   The hallway behind the science labs

This location is very quiet, provides a great place to hide from drama, and also has a lot of room to accommodate your friend group. The downside is that it’s pretty narrow, so people will have to walk over you as they try to leave the hallway; however, it isn’t very crowded, so this is an infrequent problem.


  1. On the benches in the main hallway

These are an improvement from sprawling in the hallway, as they feature the great benefits of not getting yelled at by teachers, and not having to sit on the floor. You also have a smaller impact on the hallway traffic, unless you’re sitting at the bench at the entrance to the stairs, in which case you have a greater impact.


  1. In a class you aren’t a member of

This option is awesome if you know the teacher, have a different lunch from your friends, and enjoy the subject being taught. Although there are a few things that you need to be careful about if you explore this option; one is that if you go to a science lab, you’ll get kicked out for eating; another is if you visit too often you might start having to take the tests, too.


  1.   Tall table in the corner of the school near the English office

There are not enough seats for your whole squad, unless your squad is less than three people… and if your squad is smaller than three, is it really a squad? This corner, although small offers a sense of exclusivity provided by the height and few chairs. It also allows you the people-watching that the hallway provides, with none of the sitting on the ground nonsense.


  1.   On the way back from Metro

This is the preferred eating place of students who know how to manage their time wisely, as they manage to fit in their daily exercise with their midday meal. They also know that they don’t have enough time to walk to the plaza, wait in line to get their food, eat it there, and manage to walk back in enough time to make it to their next period class. The desirability of this location fluctuates depending on the weather, and how many friends you’ve convinced to go out with you.


  1.   In the caf

The caf has easy access to food, utensils (for those days when you forget your fork at home), and condiments (because you can never have too much sriracha). This location also lets you know when the lines are too long to even consider waiting for garlic bread. Also, there is a lot of space to accommodate your huge squad.


  1.   Outside the library

This is where all the cool kids sit; or at least the students who have outgrown sitting in the caf. Many grade nines walk by this place wondering if they’ll be able to sit there, however it’s unofficially reserved for grade twelves. This location features a ton of chairs and tables; a perfect place for either leaving your garbage once you’re done your lunch, or for playing cards with your friends. How long they’ll remain your friends after one person beats the other six games in a row remains to be seen, however this drama can make it an interesting place to sit even if you’re not with your squad.


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By: Nathan Mackinnon

I had the privilege to join the Production Crew a few weeks back. Run by Mr. Hume, this club has completed some of the craziest tasks around Craig Kielburger Secondary School; assemblies, concerts, commencement, you name it. They are the technical wizards of CKSS, unseen by most. Until now. I have successfully infiltrated this elite crew and have seen first hand their preparation for an event. The event in question, the Winter Concert, is filled with joyous holiday spirit. Over one hundred students are promised to entertain with wondrous music and singing. It will be a wonderful time for the whole family – as long as nothing goes wrong. Someone sitting down and watching the performance would never consider this as an option. The production crew doesn’t own this luxury, they are in charge of anything with a cable running to it. Since the concert itself is so massive and complex, a rehearsal was planned to smooth out any errors before the real show. This was my first shot to see the crew in action and let me say, I was profoundly impressed.


It all started three hours before the actual rehearsal.  The calm before the impending hurricane. Five grizzled students and the one rookie sit in a semi-circle around a whiteboard. Projected onto the board is a map, a gameplan of the event. I played my fair share of dodgeball games in our gym, but seeing a bird’s eye view was weirdly cool. Throughout the map of the gym lay various different coloured lines and blocks, symbolizing the mic and speaker placements. Speakers are also called monitors, so I have been told, I am gonna call them that so no techies get angry at me. The monitors need to be placed in areas that do not affect the mics, but everything needs to be located close enough to a power source. Different power sources carry different levels of energy, which is also crucial in planning. Too much on one power source could result in a small disaster. All these issues are debated by these five students, while I watched in sudden awe of my fellow classmates. Terms I have never heard of were launched into the air, sounding like a foreign language. I know that the debate is settled only when silence hits the air.


They moved like light, running in a million different directions. A turn of my head and a door is launched open. Out pour cables longer than my seventeen years on this planet and monitors larger than my enormous head. At that moment in time, I understood why I was chosen to help. I am the labour. One monitor after the other I placed in the gym, which is seemingly empty. After all the monitors are placed, the mics and their stands need to be added. Midway through plugging all the proper cables in, one of the gym doors are opened and in pour tons of people. Tuba players and choir members alike start to get into their places, laughing and testing out their instruments. All the while the grizzled veterans of the production crew race against the clock to get everything ready. After finally plugging everything in, I had hoped the job was done. I was deeply mistaken; life is never that easy.
A sound board, which looks like an alien invention, is modified and played with to find the correct channels. They tried to teach me how it all worked, but, once again, it sounded like another language to me. All this, for a rehearsal. Most people never realize how much work goes on behind the scenes, or how crazy it is to set everything up for someone else. So the next time you see anyone in a black t – shirt with “Production Crew” written on it, say thanks! They’re the ones who solve the unsolvable.

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By: Nathan MacKinnon

If you want to create anything with heart, you’ll need three things: blood, sweat, and tears. A simple concept, but often a difficult one to capture. Even in film, these essential elements must be found, or you end up having a stagnant and childish movie. An excellent example of these elements working in unison is Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw, a tale of redemption, starring boxing as the driving force behind everything.


Championship fighter Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is destroyed, then asked to rebuild himself using the only thing he knows, boxing. Gyllenhaal does his very best to take an otherwise overused character and make him seem new, and this is accomplished from the very beginning to the last punch, because the audience sees Billy Hope as a flawed, yet lovable, character. Aided by the performance of Forest Whitaker who plays Titus Wills, the viewer seamlessly runs behind Hope, rooting for his every success. Surprisingly, the protagonist, Billy Hope, is in fact, his own worst enemy. The film ends with a final bout, hero against villain, which may be corny, but it is still entertaining to watch.


The film does struggle at times to propel itself forward, but it’s a very slow burn. That’s not always a bad thing, but in a film centred around fighting, it’s not beneficiary. Don’t run to this film to see anything technically stunning or outrageously compelling. Watch this film to feel a character who is literally thrown down to rock bottom: BLOODY. See him struggle to fight his real and fake demons: SWEAT. See a character put everything he loves on the line: TEARS. That is where Antoine and Gyllenhal do well, creating a protagonist worth something better than himself. So, maybe just this once, I’m gonna disregard the cliches and lacking technicalities, and see someone truly struggle, then succeed.  


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By: Alyssa Matheson

There’s nothing more exciting than sitting in a silent conference room for two hours; unless  you’re working on increasingly difficult math problems at the same time.


On November 26, the Waterloo Senior and Intermediate math contests were held at CKSS. A handful of eager math students – or perhaps just those who wanted to miss periods 2 and 3 – arrived hoping to show that their math skills were even sharper than their pencils.


When I arrived on the scene, I was there not as a reporter, but as an excited math student who is known to comment on how “nice” an algebraic expression is, or how “beautiful” a function can look when it’s solved. One of my favourite things about math is how you can take something that looks impossible, and use rules to simplify it until it makes perfect sense. That is, if you understand the question.


Now, I don’t want to run around placing the blame on someone else; but some of the questions in the contest were not worded very clearly. I’m not saying that you have to minor in English or anything to write math questions, but it would be nice if they would make sense for the intended audience (if the author of the contest was an English major, I apologize for my misconception; but seriously, write better questions).


Although I found some of the questions made absolutely no sense due to their wording, there were other students who attributed their problems to the actual source, “the questions weren’t written badly, they were just hard,” said a grade 12 student.
There is a chance that it may have been that my math skills were the issue rather than the wording of the questions, but what even is an “eventually periodic” function? If anyone has any idea, I’d like to know, because it’s not the fact that I didn’t understand the question during the contest that bugs me, but the fact that I still don’t understand it now.

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By: Aysha Ansar

It’s that time of year again; to reflect on the past and to prepare for the future. As we close in on December, it’s important to realize that you are a whole new person and you’ve come a long way. A year is plenty of time to discover yourself, find your passion, and gain the experience that begins to sculpt you. But, some things never change. Gratitude for your loved ones and striving to better yourself are the stationary feelings that do not age with age. So take the following weeks to express your thanks – to friends, family, and teachers – but to yourself as well. You deserve it. Take the time to congratulate yourself on your achievements of the past year, and prepare for the ones you plan on tackling in the next. All in all, take the time to pay attention to the things that matter in life. The Spartan Spectator joins me in wishing CKSS a safe and joyous holiday season. May this be a time of happiness and gratitude for you all!


Aysha Ansar


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By: Zainab Syed

English help? English help! Yes, you read it “write” here CKSS! Duz ur righting look like this? Do you struggle with “there/their/they’re?” Do your grammar not make sense? Do you find that understanding literary terms is like trying to come up with an analogy about how difficult it is to understand literary terms? (See what I’m getting at here?) Well CK, fret no more! Come on out and get some English Help in room 211 every Tuesday and Thursday, during periods 3 and 4. Many students struggle with English assignments from time to time, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. What matters most is that you make the choice to utilize this fantastic resource to get some extra help, straight from an English teacher! See you there! (and judging by the looks of this article, you’ll see me there as well…)


By: Bhavani Narayanan

Craig Kielburger S.S. is hosting its annual WINTER CONCERT on December 17th at 7pm. Come and witness 100 students perform a concert in various ensembles.

Ms. Chow, a music teacher at CK, said, “We guarantee that you will not be disappointed!” The ensembles performing include Concert Band, Concert Choir, NEON, Jazz Band, Drumline, Musical Theatre/Vocal, Gr. 9 instrumental classes, and many more.

For the past 3 months, these groups have been practicing meticulously to put on a show for the general public. President of the Music Council, Thomas Sadgrove, said,  “I’m proud of how far the music program has come this year. They’ve improved greatly and I’m excited to see what they will do this year.”

Come on out and enjoy a wonderful, music-filled evening! Tickets will be sold in the box office at lunch until the 17th.

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By: Mariyam Usmani

The path to success isn’t exactly clear cut, but don’t worry, the Spartan Spectator has your back. Here are some tips on gifts you could get your teachers for the holidays. Who knows? A teacher eating gifted delights might see the chemistry in that last chemystery test you handed in.


Tip 1: Avoid the Dollarama.

Let’s be honest. Your teacher has been working extremely hard for the past three and a half months, planning endlessly to help you. A gift worth a dollar doesn’t exactly scream, “I appreciate all you have done for me!” That candle for $0.99 that looked nice? Will it look nice when it refuses to light for your teacher on Christmas Eve? Time to rethink your plan.


Tip 2: It’s the thought that counts.

Many teachers said that the fact that you simply think of them does the trick. Whether your appreciation shines from a homemade card, delicious home-baked goods, or a gift card for Tim Hortons or Starbucks, teachers genuinely feel touched. Over the holidays, we do as much as we can to be show our gratitude for friends, and we should think to do the same for our teachers.  Let’s not forgot to thank them.


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By Alyssa Matheson

One group’s experiment. The ‘empty’ petri dish at the top has bacteria without the glowing gene.

It’s not every day that students get the chance to become genetic engineers; however, on November 4th, two grade twelve biology classes travelled to the Ontario Science Centre to do just that.


The students split into two groups; the first explored the science centre before going to the lab, while the other got right down to business. After suiting up in lab coats, goggles, and gloves, the students followed precise instructions to mix the plasmids (small loops of DNA) from jellyfish into cells from a colony of bacteria.


Because the DNA was taken from a bioluminescent jellyfish, the process resulted in glowing bacteria! Cathleen McRitchie, a student in Mr. Cates’ biology class, said, “The lab was an amazing experience, and I’m so glad we had an opportunity to try a field of science that we can’t really test in the labs at school.”


Although many may say that biology is “the easiest science,” genetic engineering shows that it is also one of the coolest.


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By: Catiyana Adam

Students take part in CK’s first annual March of Silence, broadcasting the issues they care about to the school.

On Friday, November 20th, well over a hundred CKSS students stopped speaking to stand in silent solidarity with the millions around the world who lack a voice. Dubbing themselves the ‘soldiers of silence,’ each student pledged to raise a minimum of $10 to remain quiet for the entire day. We Are Silent, Free the Children’s annual campaign, seeks to raise awareness about human rights issues by empowering every participant to make a statement…without speaking a word.


Each student signs up for the campaign by identifying an issue that touches them especially. The results were diverse, with choices spanning the refugee crisis in Syria and Europe to the mental health issues right here at home. The money raised by the students went towards the Food Safety and Agriculture Pillar in Gufubao, China.


It was one of the school’s most successful years, with Craig Kielburger’s visit the day before inspiring many to sign up the day of. This year’s We Are Silent also marked the beginning of a new CK custom. With music pulsing through the hallways, the stage was set for the powerful “March of Silence” to begin. This unique school-wide event allowed those participating in We Are Silent to put their issues on display for every class to see. YIA Minister, Tanzeela Rehman, described the March as a ‘powerful way to make your message known.’


While We Are Silent was a success, it was also a challenge for its participants. With the goal to remain completely silent for the entirety of the day, many found it a struggle to make it through even a few periods. “I had to break it at lunch,” said one student, “I’m just too social!” For those who managed to make it through the whole day, the result was both satisfying and rewarding. One student said, “I think there’s a certain sense of community when you lock eyes in the hall with someone else who’s silent. You read what they’re passionate and for many of them, it means displaying their heart on their sleeves – literally. That takes an incredible amount of courage, and so you all have a mutual feeling of respect for each other; you’re a team, an army, and you’re standing up for what you believe in.”