It’s that magical time of year again, not Christmas, not the New Year, not even National Soup Month, but exam time. The end-of-semester exams mix up everyone’s regular routines, from the freshman who have never taken an exam in their life, to the seniors stricken with senioritis that have three gym exams.
Regardless of age, something that’s become a huge staple of exam time is exam exemptions. Every semester, each student has the potential to earn at least one exam exemption by completing the portfolio requirements in their homeroom. Past that, Juniors and Sophomores are able to earn up to 4 extra exemptions (three of which they can use), for having good scores on their standardized testing. Next semester, both sophomores and Juniors will have the same opportunity for various standardized tests. This means, if a student has a study hall, they have the potential to only need to take 4 exams, total.
This wealth of exemptions brings into question why we think exams are so important in the first place. If we are allowing students to exempt so many classes, then why even have them? Some teachers and students have different opinions on these exemptions and the exams, themselves.
“I think we should be able to save exemptions for second semester,” said sophomore Allison Barrett, who currently can use 3 of her exemptions. This raises an interesting point, at it can seems almost like we often treat these exemptions like a tradable currency instead of a reward or incentive. One teacher who wishes to stay anonymous stated “I’m not dead set against exam exemptions, I‘m sometimes a little worried about them. I come from a school where there are no exam exemptions, and if you look around, not many people give as many exemptions as we do. I think it’s great that we give them out as incentives for things like the ACT, but I do wonder where we draw the line.”
With the ever-growing pressure on school districts to increase their standardized testing scores, it’s understandable why exemptions are given out as an incentive for these things, but does this incentive actually motivate students? When asked if this was a helpful incentive, Senior Christian Zaballos stated, “I would try my hardest on standardized testing regardless of the exemptions, and it didn’t really motivate me, as I was usually always above the cutoff point.”
I think our schools willingness to give out these exemptions can put into question the importance of exams in the first place. If a student is already getting a good grade in a class, should they really need to be re-tested on all the information? If these exams are trying to prepare us for college, then why are we so willing to let students skip them? Regardless of the solution, exam exemptions, and how students use them have become a huge staple of Whitewater High School, and changed exam time into something completely new.
Whether browsing the internet or sitting in study hall, you’ve probably come across it at some point by now: The constant flipping of water bottles. The goal of this new simple game is to take a partially filled up water bottle and flip it with your hand to have it land and stay up on its end. While water bottle flipping has always been around, it really came into the the public eye a few months ago, when a video was posted to Youtube depicting high school senior Mike Senatore flipping a water bottle onto a table amidst intense music for his high school talent show. The video expanded in popularity rapidly, and the true renaissance of the bottle flip began. From simple imitations to compilations of the most crazy and lucky water bottle tricks, the internet is now flooded (Get it!? Because water.) with bottle flips of all kind, and this trend has certainly extended to Whitewater High School.
“It’s just one of those new things everyone wants to try.” said resident bottle flipping expert Hiqmet Dauti when asked why flipping has become so popular. “They see it all over the place and think ‘What is that? That’s cool! I want to try it!’” Hiqmet has been one of the biggest flipping advocates at WHS, even writing an informative speech for the Human Communications PIE class about the physics of the water bottle flip. However, when asked whether or not water bottle flipping was here to stay, he stated, “Look at the Harlem Shake. That was the biggest thing in 8th grade, and when you ask people what the Harlem Shake is now, people don’t know.” Other people feel even more impassioned about this simple pastime. “I think the water bottle challenge is an inspiration.” said freshman Kiese Cone. “People who aren’t very good at many things can finally work hard and get truly good at something they can show others.”
I, personally, liken the concept of water bottle flipping to the simple, traditional toys of the 19th and early 20th centuries; toys like Ball In A Cup, where the user endlessly repeats the seemingly arbitrary action of trying to get a ball attached to a string into the small attached cup. Both actions are difficult enough to keep the player from losing interest, but are seemingly easy enough that players are kept from being too easily disheartened. This gives bottle flipping an addicting nature that can keep everyone from first time flippers to flip masters entertained for long periods of time. The mindless nature of the bottle flip can also provide a nice break from the constant sensory information we receive from our phones and computers. Plus, bottle flipping is extremely easy to get into, all you need is a water bottle and some determination.
Whatever the cause may be, water bottle flipping is becoming a staple of life at WHS, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. So next time you see someone (probably Hiqumet Dauti) flipping a bottle, maybe try and give it a flip, yourself.