Category Archives: Features

Service Spotlight: My Gold Award Journey

By Neya Kidambi
EE Editor-in-Chief ‘22

Neya Kidambi at one of her August workshops.

As a Girl Scout enters high school, it becomes time to start thinking about the Gold Award Project. Receiving the Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn. It focuses on leadership, career exploration, personal growth, and community action. 

“Gold Award Girl Scouts are rock stars, role models, and real-life heroes,” the official Girl Scouts of the USA website says.

The process of earning my Gold Award was one of the most intensive and rewarding experiences. Girl Scouts are recommended to spend a minimum of 80 hours on their project. 

I started my own Gold journey in January of 2021. The main cause behind my project was the lack of education surrounding mental health and overall emotional wellness, for teens. 

In America today, mental health is still stigmatized, and few are willing to discuss it openly. This lack of healthy discussion leads to generations of teens and young adults who have neglected their emotional health, leading to inevitable issues in personal or work lives.

I chose to carry out my project in the form of workshops for middle school girls in Fairfield County. I wanted to create a safe-space where I could not only educate, but also reframe that open discourse as normal, and even fun. 

The process definitely was not straightforward. I initially contacted local libraries near Trumbull to host my workshops there, but I received the same response each time: No.

The New “Meta” of Social Media: Facebook’s Revival

Thomas Ou ’24
EE Entertainment Editor

The youngest self-made billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg, has no shortage of surprises as he develops a daring new master plan to take over the growing metaverse. The CEO and cofounder of Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook, has had his fair share of controversies and hurdles from privacy concerns to data usage within political campaigns. However, today marks an important day for both social media and technology as the company focuses more on the development of future innovations.

“From now on, we’re going to be the metaverse first, not Facebook first,” said Zuckerberg in the annual connect conference on Thursday, October 28. The company, in an effort to rebrand to better reflect their values and interest, has changed its name from Facebook to Meta. (Random side note to aspiring stock traders out there, a company known as Meta materials, which is completely unrelated to Facebook and the Metaverse, has seen a dramatic surge in stock prices. Please be sure to do research on the company before dumping your life savings on it). 

A metaverse, as the name implies, is a virtual universe of endless, interconnected virtual communities where people are able to meet, work, and play. This is done through virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps, and other devices, reflecting the shift into VR and AR technology these past few years. Mark Zuckerberg plans to bring the internet back to life and create an experience so realistic, people will have a hard time differentiating between reality and technology. 

“It’s the next evolution of connectivity where all of those things start to come together in a seamless, doppelganger universe, so you’re living your virtual life the same way you’re living your physical life,” said Victoria Petrock, an analyst who follows emerging technologies, in a recent interview with NPR.

Netflix Clamps Down on Password Sharing

Christina Kingan ’23
EE Staff Writer

Netflix has been beginning to introduce a new Two-Factor Authentication feature in order to keep accounts safe and attempt to diminish the amount of unpaid users borrowing friends’ passwords, according to a recent article from the University of Houston’s Cougar newspaper.

Two-factor authentication is where there are two barriers of security. There are many different types of authentication like passwords which are most commonly used. To have two-factors means on top of a password another form of security is implemented. For example a user might be asked a sensitive question only they would know the answer to in order to further verify their identity. Another form of authentication is the use of biometrics. This includes fingerprints, face, and eye scans that are original to the owner and unable to be reproduced. 

Netflix has created a messaging system where a notification will appear on the user’s Netflix account stating “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” After the user views this, they receive a notification via text or email containing a code which they have to input in order to continue watching. 

Many users have been sharing their account passwords with close peers so that they as well can access Netflix’s products without a paid subscription. This new factor makes it much more difficult for this to occur, resulting in many customers getting agitated this “hack” will be blocked. 

However Netflix has responded and stated this is strictly for security reasons. As users give away their passwords, they become more prone to hackers. With their passwords being poorly protected with their careless acts, hackers can get hold of them and access their account. Many people reuse their passwords on multiple platforms allowing hackers who have obtained that one password to access more critical and important accounts. 

El Peligro y Contaminación de Plástico

Caitlin Ghent ’21
EE Contributor

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Eagle’s Eye en Español series

¿Sabes que la producción de plástico se ha duplicado en los últimos cincuenta años? ¿O el hecho de que la persona normal come setenta mil micro plásticas1 cada año? El problema de la plastico solo está creciendo en el mundo y la contaminación es muchísima peligrosa para todos.

Muchas personas usan plástico por su conveniencia, pero no comprendan que están contribuyendo al problema. Bolsas desechables son más fáciles para ir de compras o contener comida, porque no es necesario limpiarlas después de que son usadas. Sin embargo, las bolsas de plástico son usadas por doce minutos de media, pero necesitan mil años descomponerse2. También, las botellas de agua de plástico son más fáciles en la vida cotidiana porque las personas no necesitan llenarlas o limpiarlas. Aunque estos ejemplos son muy obvios, hay muchísimas otras cosas que son usadas en la vida diaria. Por ejemplo, plástico está en maquille y esponjas. En general, el uso principal del plástico es por la conveniencia de la gente. 

Si estos son los usos, es crucial mencionar los impactos negativos y dañinos que causan. El impacto en los animales es escandaloso3. De hecho, cada año el plástico está matando más de un millón de aves marinas y animales. Las acciones de los seres humanos tienen horrible efectos a los animales. Pero no sólo son animales marinos. Hubo un elefante en India que murió porque comió bolsas de plástico. Aunque este hecho es triste, la verdad es que hay muchas personas que no les importa el medio ambiente o animales. Sin embargo, el uso de plástico también tiene malas consecuencias para los seres humanos. Químicos en plástico pueden absorber en el agua subterránea4 o directamente en el cuerpo humano. Algunos de estos químicos pueden alterar hormonas o crear otros problemas de salud. Además, hubo un estudio publicado en Environmental Pollution, y ellos aprendieron que muchas superficies5, como platos, se acumulan micro plásticos. Muchas personas en el mundo están comiendo plástico sin darse cuenta. En total, hay muchos impactos peligrosos que causan los plásticos. 

Covid Vaccines Explained

Christina Kingan ’23
EE Staff Writer

Hope is in the air with a new year, and our normal lives potentially just around the corner. The long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine is finally becoming available to the public. After many trial and error processes, the CDC has approved four different ways of fighting the virus, all of them aiming to prepare the immune system to be able to fight off the virus if ever exposed to it. Each works in its own specific way according to the Vaccine Alliance organization, Gavi.

The first type is the whole-virus vaccine. This type of vaccine weakens the virus and makes it nonpathogenic (inactive). When the inactive virus enters the body, it stimulates an immune response without causing disease to the body. When the body’s immune system reaches the virus, it will attack it with antibodies and T cells. The purpose of this is to allow memory cells to remember the virus and be able to know what cells to produce to target the virus more efficiently the next time the body encounters it. 

The second type is the protein subunit vaccine. This method takes the spike proteins of the virus and introduces them to the body. Like the previous method, this type of vaccine is also incapable of causing disease.

The benefit of this vaccine is that it is cheaper and easier to make. The disadvantage is that since the fragments cannot infect host cells and are less threatening, the immune system may not recognize them as attacking cells. The problem with this is that they will prompt a weaker immune response. To prevent this from being the case, vaccines of this type will usually include chemical agents known as adjuvants, which will trigger a more robust response from the body. Another alternative is the administration of booster shots, which are extra doses of the vaccine to boost the immune system even more. 

Where these vaccines rely on exposing the body to the virus by putting the antigens inside, other vaccines have been developed that allow for the body to learn to fight off the virus by using their own cells. By controlling the cell mechanisms, these vaccines have the ability to copy the way the virus usually reproduces during what would be an actual infection. As opposed to producing copies of the virus, the cells will only produce large quantities of antigen, which will trigger strong immune responses.

Ways To Relieve Stress During These Anxious Times

Christina Kingan ’23
EE Staff Writer

As we all know, this devastating virus, better known as COVID-19, has put a pause on all our usual daily activities. Many of us have realized how we have not appreciated our normal lives enough. Greeting a friend in the hallway and even traveling without the fear of getting a dangerous virus is all in the past. We have adapted to this new way of living. Wearing masks, having to carry hand sanitizer everywhere we go, frequently washing our hands, and having to quarantine.

This new way of living has come as a shock to all of us. It felt surreal the first couple of months, being sent home with the mindset that we will be returning in a short two weeks. When weeks turned into months it seemed as though things would never look up. Many people became anxious, stressed, and depressed. Being alone is not in our nature and having to be isolated for months had a toll on everyone’s mental health. We had to stay away from friends, classmates, and extended family. 

With the limitations enforced by this virus we had to come up with other ways to keep ourselves busy. Articles started being published, giving people ideas on what to do trapped indoors. For example, when you look up “what to do during quarantine”, a list of articles and videos immediately pop up. USA Today published a piece listing 100 things for people to do during lockdown

Influencers have also made an initiative to help brainstorm activities for people to do indoors. They assured us that everyone is going through the same obstacles and difficulties, and showed that they are also struggling. Keeping yourself busy allows for you to feel like you are getting back to normal or nonetheless allows you to see the opportunities that alone time can bring, like accomplishing something you’ve always wanted to do. 

Many people found happiness in exercising. As studies have shown in the past, exercising is an easy way to increase serotonin levels. It releases endorphins, which triggers happy feelings, along with making you feel better and healthier. While conversing with some classmates, they were telling me about their experience throughout quarantine and how they utilized exercise to relieve their stress and negative feelings. Corinne Howell stated “I ran during quarantine to help cope with stress.” Exercising is a very useful outlet to get rid of negativity or bad feelings and clears the head. It is a great tool to use to get rid of anger or sad feelings in a healthy way. From my own experience, I too found stability in working out. I attended virtual rowing everyday and not only did it help me feel better but it also added structure to my day. Exercising helps motivate people mentally and give them a reason to get out of bed. 

A Study on Political Ethics

Aileen Aizenshtat ‘21
Jacob Herman ‘21
EE Contributors

Editor’s Note: This submission was excerpted from a larger research project completed in Mr. Darrow’s AP Statistics class.

The search into a possible relationship between politics and morals through a statistics study surveying a random sample of Trumbull High School teenagers was interesting, to say the least. Through this, a final conclusion was reached: With differences in party affiliation, there are several identifiable distinctions in the core moral values of an individual.

Such beliefs and distinctions were found to have been heavily influenced by familial ties and values — in other words, it was the political beliefs of the subject’s family that came to be similar to the person’s own leanings. This makes it plausible that when one identified themselves to be conservative or liberal in this study, they could have been influenced by family opinions to do so, as their own ideals were not parallel to those held by the views of the political body they identified with. However, the findings of this study with political ideology still remain significant even with this confounding.

The most obvious divide between these political sects was within a puzzle that is not at all unheard of in the philosophical world of ethics. The dilemma itself is simple: a person close to you is dying of a disease that only your neighbor has the cure to. However, they ask for an outrageous price in exchange for the cure, one that you have no way of paying. The options are to either (a) steal the cure immediately, (b) only steal the cure after asking to pay for half of the cure’s price or, (c) refuse to break the law through theft, despite the repercussions to your friend’s life.

Is A Lot of Homework Actually Valuable?

Kunal Mehta (’21)
Shea Grant (’21)
Mike Rizzo (’21)
EE Contributors

Editor’s Note: This submission was excerpted from a larger research project completed in Mr. Darrow’s AP Statistics class

Many people hold concerns about schools regarding the amount of homework assigned. Are larger volumes of homework really valuable to the success of a student? Or is this work merely “busy” work that has no real value in most cases?  We conducted a study to answer this question, surveying ninety-two Trumbull High School students about their academic achievement and the amount of homework they received per night. 

Comparing the average time a student reported doing homework a night versus the student’s cumulative weighted GPA, we found that a graph displaying this data (shown [insert layout location] would show higher GPA values corresponding to more hours doing homework if there was a relationship that showed that more homework increases academic achievement. However, the line observed was effectively flat, which means that no matter the amount of homework a student received, they had, on average, about the same GPA as their peers that received more or less homework than they did. 

Say “Hello” to Bye, Bye Birdie

Neya Kidambi ‘22
EE Features Editor

After nineteen years, Bye, Bye Birdie will be coming back to the Robert E. McCarthy Theatre this spring, as the THeSpians prepare for their twenty-second production with Mrs. Jessica Spillane as director. Alongside Mrs. Spillane, producer Mrs. Shannon Bolan and technical director Mr. Matthew Bracksieck help guide around seventy-five cast and crew members to a successful production.

Inspired by rockstar Elvis Presley’s selection in the 1953 U.S. Army draft, Bye, Bye Birdie is a high energy, light-hearted show from the 1960s that tells the story of Conrad Birdie (Rob Goldstein ‘20), an adored rock-and-roll idol who gets drafted into the U.S. Army. Birdie’s agent, Albert Peterson (Nathan Ayotte ‘22), and Birdie’s on-again-off-again girlfriend, Rosie Alverez (Caroline Marchetti ‘21), plan a farewell performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, where they hope to sell Birdie’s new song “One Last Kiss” and ultimately save Albert’s record studio from going under. At the end of his performance, Birdie will actually give “one last kiss” to Kim MacAfee (Ella Miller ‘21), an avid fan.

However, as Albert and Rosie prepare for Birdie’s big final performance, things do not go as smoothly as planned; Kim’s father becomes starstruck at the thought of being on television, and Kim’s new boyfriend becomes jealous of Kim kissing Birdie on television.

As the story continues with these preparations for Birdie’s departure, the audience is serenaded with many other hit songs besides “One Last Kiss,” including “Put on a Happy Face,” “One Boy,” “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” “Kids!” and “Rosie,” all accompanied with a live orchestra.
The following is an interview between sophomore Neya Kidambi and Director Mrs. Spillane on the trials and travails of the play:

School Study Shows Negative Relationship Between Screen Time and GPA

Cyrus Asgari ‘20
Jackie Zhang ‘20
Adrien Joseph ‘20
EE Contributors

Students rely on multiple electronic devices for convenient use and social networking on a daily basis, as well as to supplement their education. However, the increasing presence of technology in everyday life also carries associated risks, especially for a developing adolescent’s brain. The increase in screen time may be a contributing factor in limiting the quantity and quality of sleep students receive and detrimental to their academic performance. Our study sought to answer the question, “How does exposure to the screens of electronic devices affect a student’s sleep and academic performance?” 

Over one hundred Trumbull High School students were asked to report the time they spent on their cell phones and other electronic devices, as well as their average sleep. They also indicated their weighted GPA and number of Honors and Advanced Placement classes they enlisted in. 

The majority of students stated that they used their phone the most after school and believed that it interfered with their sleep. The study observed that decreased sleep leads to lower academic performance. It was found that as daily phone usage increased, a student’s GPA will decrease. This demonstrates that student phone usage can be detrimental to both their sleep and academic success, but some students continue to use their phone for extended times. Females’ GPAs were less affected by phone usage than  males’, indicating that males may be less capable of maintaining a high level of academic performance while facing an equal level of distraction from phones while female students are more likely to manage their time more efficiently overall.

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