Thursday, January 21, 2016


The controversial topic of school dress codes is one that should not go unnoticed or ignored in today's society. School dress codes are more destructive than constructive due to the fact that they are not necessary to create a professional work environment, they degrade women, and they take away from the freedom of self expression. It seems like every school nowadays is taking their dress code to the extreme. However, the dress codes that are said to apply to everyone, really do not apply to everyone. With every school dress code it seems as if they only have the boys' best interest at heart and completely forget about how the girls feel, right? Well, in the eyes of almost every teenage girl just trying to get by in this sexist society, it does. .“The premise of the protests is that young women's bodies and dress are being labelled "distracting" to boys - a notion that contains underlying beliefs that are disturbing and dangerous.” (Pomerantz/Raby 1).

There is plenty of firsthand evidence and beliefs that support how girls feel unfairly targeted when it comes to school dress codes. "I've never seen a boy called out for his attire even though they also break the rules." (Zhou 1). Everyday around the world girls are "dress coded" for simply wearing what they want. Not only is this degrading, but it's also humiliating to be called out by a teacher in front of your peers. "I went home and changed into regular jeans and a baggy t-shirt, but felt very sad about the incident and very degraded by the incident." (CBC 1). Two more reasons that explain why school dress codes are unnecessary are the three finger rule for tank tops and the rule that shorts have to be down to your fingertips. These two rules are the main reasons why dress codes are so controversial. Schools need to realize that not only that girls do not check to make sure their shorts and tank tops fit school guidelines, but also that stores do not sell clothes that meet those guidelines. However, if they do, they're always the ugly shorts and shirts. Schools cannot expect us to sacrifice confidence for guidelines without treating the boys the same way when it comes to their rules. While school administrators may think that school dress codes target young men and women equally, often the specific listing of girls' dress (spaghetti straps, short shorts, miniskirts, bra straps) - and, even more specifically, how such dress codes are enforced - affect young women the most.” (Pomerantz/Raby 1).

The data and quotes I provided in the previous paragraph support my argument in a number of ways. First, each quote is either from firsthand experience or just a belief. The quotes that are firsthand evidence that add that there are people speaking out against dress codes. Also, they show that there actually is people being affected by it and it's not just made up. Another thing is that each quote thoroughly supports my desired argument. What I mean by this is that each quote explains by itself why so many girls are affected by school dress codes and why this issue needs to be changed.

Now, I know there is also the opposing side to this argument and I'm making that clear. I am not in any shape or form saying that there should be no dress codes at all and that we should all be able to show up half dressed, I'm not saying that at all. I also know that it could be uncomfortable for male teachers to see a girl in a tank top or have to dress code her, but they are old enough and mature enough to know better and not think that way. I am also well aware that they are intended to create a "working environment". Although, they do everything but create that so called "working environment". And yes, I am aware that dress codes were not created to degrade women, but that is what they have become known to do. However, I am saying that there needs to be modification. Modification in how the dress codes target girls specifically. Let's be honest here, who checks how many fingers their tank top is and if their shorts reach their knees or not? Nobody. Will anybody ever do that? No, because nobody does that now. So in that aspect of the dress codes there needs to be a major change or at the very least, modification.

To conclude and summarize this argument, there are various solutions that could easily fix this rapidly growing issue. For example, uniforms. Uniforms may take away self expression but at least the amount of unfairness girls feel would decrease. Also, maybe, just maybe, if the school boards just opened their eyes a little bit to see this problem there could be a change in how the issue of dress codes is approached. Another proposed solution is for school authorities to stop being so closed minded. They need to come to the realization that a student's feeling of confidence and security at school should come before anything else.

Works Cited:

Zhou, Li. "The Sexism of School Dress Codes." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2016.

"Taking on school dress codes: Teen rebels with a cause." Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada] 1 June 2015: A12. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 20 Jan. 2016.

"London student in jeans, tank top sent home for breaking dress code." The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation 26 May 2015. General OneFile. Web.  20 Jan. 2016.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Movie Review: The Age of Adaline

The Age of Adaline is a cinematic masterpiece that was released on April 24, 2015. This romantic drama brought the story of the never aging Adaline Bowman to life. Adaline Bowman is a woman that was born at the turn of the 20th century and lived a fulfilled and normal life up until the night she was in a fatal car accident. The night that changed her life forever.

Blake Lively elegantly plays the role of the forever 29 year old, Adaline Bowman. Lively portrays a young woman who continuously runs from everything and everyone and changes her identity in order to keep her real life a secret. However, this all changes abruptly when she meets Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman). Ellis Jones is a charming philanthropist who reawakens the passion that was hidden deep down inside of Adaline for years. After finally letting herself cozy up to Ellis, the climax happens. Adaline meets his father, her past love, and freezes. Does this chance encounter with her past love bring out the secret that Adaline has been hiding from everyone? Or does she keep running?

Even though The Age of Adaline has an abundance of mixed reviews, mainly because of an underdeveloped plot, I found the movie absolutely captivating. The setting, score, emotions, actors, and everything else in between was breathtaking. I think what caused me to enjoy this movie so much is the fact that one of my favorite actresses, Blake Lively, played the lead. Then, there's the whole love story aspect to it which allured me in because I love a good romantic drama.

Without a doubt I would recommend this movie to anyone that loves romantic dramas as much as I do. This movie defies your typical romantic movie with its beautiful yet also tearjerking story.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Restaurant Review: Border Cafe

Border Cafe is a Tex Mex restaurant with various locations all throughout the state. The establishment that I chose to visit is located in Burlington, Massachusetts, right across from the mall. It is a place made for families to come and enjoy Mexican cuisine with a Texan twist.

When you first enter the doors of the restaurant you are greeted with an old and rustic Texan setting. Wood floors, tables, and chairs add to the desired ambiance. No matter where you sit you are surrounded by other big tables full of people but it never feels too crowded. If you are not seated right away due to the mass of people there, do not worry. There is a comfy waiting area with leather couches and coffee tables to make your wait a little less painful. Once you are seated you are given complimentary chips and salsa. Luckily, I did not have to wait very long because I was there for lunch the day after Christmas while everyone else was shopping. 

As for the menu, it offers a wide range of Tex Mex dishes. Ranging from quesadillas and enchiladas to burgers and fries you are bound to find something that pleases your appetite. Border cafe also offers a wide variety of sides such as chili, corn bread, fries, and more. However, I do not think you will want to order a side due to the large portions of food you are given. I have been to Border Cafe 3 times and I have ordered their chicken quesadillas twice and their taco salad once, If you are ever debating between these 2 dishes I would recommend the chicken quesadillas. I would because there is an abundance of chicken and cheese in every bite. I would not recommend the taco salad unless you like a lot of everything in your salad. There was a lot of beans, guacamole, and other things that just did not mix. 

When the food came out it was still hot and fresh, which is good because some restaurants leave their food out so long that it becomes cold. The cooks and waiters/waitresses take great care in their work and catering to everybody's needs. Everyone that works there has a smile and is so kind. I have yet to have a bad encounter there.

All in all, I highly recommend Border Cafe. From the atmosphere to the food itself everything is a 10/10. After my experiences at different locations I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed no matter where you go.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Journalism Research

Problem Statement: 
Car accidents are the number one killers of teens in the nation (RMV 1). Also, one in five 16-year-old drivers are in an accident within their first year of driving (GEICO 1). Although, if you asked a group of teenagers about how they feel about the driving age, almost all of them would say it should not be raised even though it could reduce the number of car accidents that happen among 55% of teens (Teen Car Accident Statistics 1). They may even say that the age should be lowered. However, they might not feel that way when they reach their adult years and their teens start to get their license. Teen drivers between 16 and 19 are 3 times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers 20 and older (CDC 1). The age that you can get your permit to start the road to getting your license is 16 in most states. It is widely debated throughout parents that 16 is simply just too young for people to get their license because of carelessness and the near 70% of teens that use their phones while on the road (Statistics 1) .

Research Question:

In your opinion, do you think the driving age should be raised? If so, what age do you feel it should be?

Data Collection:
To gather information on this topic I decided to conduct a mini interviews with 10 different people of different age groups. The 10 people that were interviewed consisted of 5 adults and 5 teenagers so that I could get a variety of answers and different points of view. Without trying to influence their answers, I simply stated some facts from my problem statement about teen driving and then proceeded to ask: “ In your opinion, do you think the driving age should be raised?” “If so, what age do you feel it should be?”. I expected the outcome to be most, if not all, of the teenagers to say no and most, if not all, of the adults to say yes.   

Data Analysis:
After conducting the mini interviews I reached the conclusion that all 5 teenagers that were asked had the same answer of no, the driving age should not be raised.  Also, all of the adults that were asked had the same answer of yes, the driving age should be raised a little bit. When asked “Since you think the age should be raised, what age do you think it should be?”, all 5 adults had the same response of “Closer to 18”. These results didn’t surprise me because I expected a bias to be evident due to the difference in ages of the individuals I interviewed. In fact, this is exactly what I expected to happen or something very similar to these findings. After getting these results something became very interesting to me. The thing that I found the most interesting was that not one of the teenagers said that the driving age should be raised. I found this interesting because with all of the car accidents caused by teens nowadays you think it would make them think deeply about the topic and the advantages that raising the driving age to 18 could have. Apparently, that wasn’t one of the factors considered when they responded to my question. Another thing that I found interesting was that not a single one of the adults asked said that the driving age should remain the same. I expected this response because they’re all parents and they’re thinking about the safety of their children, which is completely understandable.

I’ve come to the conclusion that your age 100% has a role in how you interpret the debate over the driving age. After I concluded my mini interviews I came to the realization that if you’re younger you just want your license as soon as possible. Which makes sense considering I’m the same way. However, the older you are, the higher you want the age to be. Which also makes sense because of all the car accidents these days that are caused by teenagers and their cell phones. Another thing that I found interesting while conducting this research project was the fact that the teenagers I asked were kind of oblivious to the fact that their age group is the cause of the increase in car accidents. I found this interesting because you think that after hearing that it would alter their response a little bit, right? Apparently not.

By the end of gathering all of this data and doing all of this research I can conclude that I now understand how different types of people feel about the driving age. It turns out that there’s a 50-50 split between raising the driving age and not raising it. I can say in all honesty that this is exactly what I predicted would happen. I knew my findings would end in these results simply because of how society is today and how opinions seem to always have a bias that obviously reflects your age. The last thing that I found while doing this research is that the older you are, the more inclined you are to give a detailed answer explaining why the driving age should be raised. The younger you are, the less details you give because you’re less experienced with the effects of teenage driving. All in all, this research really opened my eyes on the topic because it’s not something that a lot of people actually take into consideration. It was really interesting to see how different people responded when they were asked because they had clearly never really thought about it before.


  1. "Some Statistics That You Should Know about Teen Drivers." Massachusetts RMV. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.
  2. "Teen Drivers: Get the Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Oct. 2015. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.
  3. "Teen Car Accident Statistics." N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.
  4. "Statistics." Stats: Cell Phone Use. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.
  5. "Teen Driving Statistics." GEICO. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Motivation in Journalism

Stef Baptista
November 4, 2015
Period: D

Throughout scholarly and journalistic research, there are very many prevailing views of motivation. For example, in the film "Freakonomics", the economists claim that if you offer an incentive for work you are more likely to get an improved outcome. To prove their point, the economists conducted an experiment with a group of high school freshmen. The students were offered $50 a month if their grades were at least C or better in all of their classes. In order to really get results and display them, the film focused on the academic journey of two very different students. One of the students that was profiled really did try to get his grades up so he could get the money as a reward. On the other hand, the other student seemed really motivated to get his grades up. At first he did try a little harder because of the $50 incentive but soon he lost all motivation and let his grades in every class continue to drop. In the end, the whole experiment really just proved that an incentive can increase motivation in some people but not everybody.

To add to the prevailing views of motivation in "Freakonomics", there are also prevailing views of motivation in Daniel Pink's "Drive" that relate to the film. Pink mentions that people are more motivated to do something if they're getting paid for their labor. For example, the Microsoft workers that were writing the encyclopedia and getting paid for their services. Did they only do it for the money? However, the writers for Wikipedia didn't get paid for their labor and still did the work. So does an incentive really motivate people to do work and do it well? These examples from the text relate to the film because that's what the whole experiment was testing.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Mysteries of the Ocean

1) Citation: Desta, Yohana. "5 Unbelievable Ocean Mysteries We Still Haven't Solved."Mashable. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2015

Distillation: In the article ¨5 Unbelievable Ocean Mysteries We Still Haven't Solved¨, Yohana Desta states that there are still indescribable and unbelievable mysteries of the ocean that have yet to be solved. Desta supports her statement with supporting evidence from Fred Gorell and 5 unsolved mysteries. The author's purpose is to bring the phenomenon of unsolved ocean mysteries to the attention of the world. Desta seems to be speaking to everyone inside and outside the field of science.

Author Ethos & Credibility: Yohana Desta is credible due to the fact that she used solid evidence from the head of public affairs at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Ocean Exploration and Research division, Fred Gorell.

Objectivity & Bias:  The author's objectivity and bias is that she believes in the unsolved mysteries of the ocean and also that there is still more to discover. She makes this evident throughout the whole article.

Sources & Support: Desta's source, Fred Gorell, is very credible due to his expeditions into the ocean and his involvement as the head of public affairs at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Ocean Exploration and Research division.

Thesis: The author's thesis is that the ocean still contains unbelievable mysteries that will go unsolved.

Tone: The tone of this article is very informational and calm.

Opinion: In my opinion, I find this article very interesting and informative. It really makes you think about how little we know about the ocean and all of the mysteries it holds.

2) Citation: Broad, William J. "An Ocean Mystery in the Trillions." The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 June 2015. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.

Distillation: In the article ¨An Ocean Mystery in the Trillions¨ (2015), William J. Broad claims that the global ocean is unfamiliar to us. He supports his claim by using evidence from marine biologists and Dr. John C. Avise. Broad's purpose is to inform his readers about the ocean's mysteries that aren't always evident. The author seems to be speaking to everyone interested in the ocean and all of its secrets.

Author Ethos & Credibility: Broad is credible due to the fact that he used solid and clear evidence from other credible people.

Objectivity & Bias: The author's objectivity and bias is that he clearly believes in the ocean's unsolved mysteries due to the abundance of sources and details he uses throughout the article.

Sources & Support: Broad's sources (marine biologists, Dr. John C. Advise, etc.) are very credible due to their extensive research and careers.

Thesis: The author's thesis is that the ocean is unfamiliar to us compared with land.

Tone: The tone of this article is very informative and scholarly.

Opinion: In my opinion, I think this article is very well written. It's very informative and uses a ton of evidence and details that add to its strength. 

3) Citation: Sharda. "Top 10 Amazing Ocean Mysteries and Phenomena." Marine Insight. N.p., 17 May 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.

Distillation: In the article "Top 10 Amazing Ocean Mysteries and Phenomena" (2013), Sharda claims that the oceans contains great unexplained mysteries and enigmas. The author supports this claim by providing 10 examples of unsolved oceanic mysteries and details about them. Sharda's purpose is to inform readers about the wonders of the ocean and to get us to really think about them. The author appears to be writing for everyone.

Author Ethos & Credibility: Sharda is credible because of the multiple examples and details that display his/her knowledge of the topic.

Objectivity & Bias: The author's objectivity and bias is that there is clearly oceanic mysteries out there that need to be solved.

Sources & Support: The author doesn't seem to use any other sources besides his/her own knowledge.

Thesis: Sharda's thesis is that there are still quite a few unexplained oceanic enigmas.

Tone: The tone of this article is very informational and not too overwhelming due to the lack of other sources. 

Opinion: In my opinion, I thought this article did a good job with providing evidence. On the other hand though, it could have used more sources and support from other people. Also, maybe some opinions from the author.

4) Citation: Webguy. "The Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Sea." The Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Sea. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.

Distillation:  In the article "The Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Sea", the author states that peculiar things happen at sea that we really know next to nothing about even with today's technology. The author supports his claim by following it up with real life examples of mysterious things that have happened at sea. The author's purpose is to inform us, the audience, on what really happens at sea and how little we know about it. He seems to be writing for every audience that's interested in this topic. 

Author Ethos & Credibility: The author is credible because of the multiple real life examples used in the article. 

Objectivity & Bias: The author's objectivity and bias is that he firmly believes in the unsolved mysteries of the ocean. 

Sources & Support: The author doesn't use any other sources besides his own knowledge and real life examples.

Thesis: The author's thesis is that the sea is enigmatic and contains many ancient, and unsolved myths and legends.

Tone: The tone of this article is very informative and fun to read.

Opinion: To be honest, I found that this article was very well written. It used engaging vocabulary and real life examples that I didn't even know were real. In the end, I thought this article was very different but also fun to read.

5) Citation: Mustain, By Andrea. "Earth's Final Frontier: Mysteries of the Deep Sea."LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 29 Sept. 2011. Web. 30 Oct. 2015. 

Distillation: In the article "Earth's Final Frontier: Mysteries of the Deep Sea" (2011), Andrea Mustain states that there is animal life further down in the ocean that we don't know about. The author supports this claim with details and examples about what we don't know of the vast and deep unknown. Mustain's purpose is to open our eyes about the unknown animal life down in the deep sea. She seems to be writing for audiences of all types.

Author Ethos & Credibility: Mustain is credible due to the ample amount of examples and details she provides throughout the article.

Objectivity & Bias: The author's bias is that she firmly and very clearly believes in the mysteries of the ocean.

Sources & Support: Mustain uses mostly her own knowledge except for when she quotes other biologists (Widder, etc.).

Thesis: The author's thesis is that the ocean is inhabited with more animal life that is so deep in the ocean that humans can't even get to it.

Tone: The tone of this article is very informative.

Opinion: In my opinion, this article was very intriguing. It used vocabulary that made you want to continue reading and learn more.

Conclusion: After reading and analyzing these five articles, I've come to the conclusion that the ocean is just one very deep abyss of mystery that we will never know everything about. I've learned more about the ocean than I ever thought was possible. So many things have happened out at sea that I never even knew was possible until I read these articles. The ocean is, and will remain a mystery to us humans. Will we ever know everything about it? Probably not. However, the mysteriousness of it sure does make you want to know everything about it.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Blue Hills Photojournalism Essay

As you wander into the Blue Hills, you are greeted with bright and colorful autumnal foliage as far as the eye can see.

Once you enter the path of your choice you are instantly surrounded with nature in all of its fall colors.

On really sunny and crisp fall days, like this one, the sun will shine through the trees and illuminate everything in its path.

The further you go and the higher you climb, the closer you get to views like this. The Blue Hills show views of not only this but also Boston's skyline.

Yellow, bare, and frail are only a few adjectives that describe the Blue Hills during the fall. Pictured here is a dying tree encased in a rock.

 Here's another autumnal view that goes as long and as far as the eye can see.

As you wander off farther, you can find more picture worthy sights that you simply just can't find anywhere else.

As you climb up higher and higher you are rewarded with views like this. Boston's skyline can be seen off in the distance.

Pictured here is one of the many small ponds you can find throughout the Blue Hills. This one just so happened to include a view.

Even after your hiking journey ends you can be surprised with new things. This picture displays a very bright and colorful path that leads you out of the hills.