Atlantic Community High School


Megan Cortes

Megan Cortes has 13 articles published.

Dakota Access Pipeline protests pay off

in News by
Photo Courtesy of
Photo Courtesy of

   On Dec. 5, 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers declared the rerouting of the Dakota Access pipeline, which had been planned to run directly through the Sioux tribe land, according to CNN News. Protesters, both tribe members and environmentalists alike, rejoiced at the announcement after weeks of protest.

  The plan for the pipeline to impede the land of the Sioux tribe came with backlash. For months, protesters, tribe members, politicians like Jill Stein, and even celebrities like Shailene Woodley, set up camps on the construction site in resistance. Former presidential candidate Jill Stein, a member of the Green Party, was charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief on Sept. 7 for supposedly spray painting construction equipment at the construction site, said CBS News.

 However, this does not mean that the plans for the pipeline will be renounced all together. The previous plans had the pipeline running underneath the Missouri River, which is the primary water source of the Sioux tribe, according to TIME magazine. Environmentalist are up in arms about the potential threat that the pipeline posed to the water source. The British Petroleum (BP) oil spill of 2010 left people weary to any sort of drilling and new pipelines that could potentially wreak havoc the environment the way the spill did to the Gulf of Mexico. The previous plan for the Dakota Access Pipeline would leave the Missouri River exposed and unprotected if a spill were to happen.

  In terms of the Sioux tribe, the members felt violated by the pipeline as it ran through their preserve.  Taking a legal stand, the tribe sued the Army Corps of Engineers for violating the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act. This case continues to be an ongoing battle as construction still carries on according to TIME magazine.  

  The Dakota Access Pipeline poses a threat to the environment, however, the reroute of it away from the Missouri River is a victory for the Sioux tribe.


Five Tips for acing your exams

in Campus Life/Opinions/Editorials by
Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

While most eagerly anticipate winter break, exams stand in between students and two weeks off from school. It remains important that students stay focused on their last classes until Dec. 22. Below are five tips from fellow students, teachers, and the top universities in the country to ensure success this exam season.

  1.  “Study periodically over a span of time will not only reduce test anxiety, but also help students retain information more efficiently.”

  This comes from Lisa Milchman’s science class.  This tip references the spacing effect, a psychological term that states that information is better learned when studied for short times over a long period.  For more of these tips, walk down the west hallway in building six on the first floor. Milchman’s classes made poster with these tips to help promote studying skills and success.

2. “Define long-term and short-term goals and build your schedule around them.”

  From Dartmouth College’s website, the tip allows students to visualize their schedules and what is ahead for them in the next few weeks. Long-term and short-term goals put exams, projects and last minute assignments into perspective and allow students to manage their time accordingly. For more information from Dartmouth college, check out their page dedicated to study skills:

  1.  “Make it a point to block out distractions”

  According to the Huffington Post, by creating a quiet study space away from people and cellphones which add distractions, students are then able to focus on the work in front of them. Try going to the library and turning off your phone in order to avoid temptation. For more tips from this article, check out the link below:

  1. “Eat well-balanced meals and get regular exercise.”

  The Cornell University website recommends students to still be mindful of their health during exams. Oftentimes, student stay up all hours of the night and binge on junk food and coffee to get them through the day. However, these foods do not give students the proper nutrients. In addition, exercise promotes the release of endorphins, the hormone that promotes energy and happiness.

  1. “Start early. Don’t wait; start studying your notes now”

  This tip comes from Atlantic’s own Tammy Mose-Cooper, a reading coach. She feels it is important to start reviewing as soon as possible to avoid exam-week stress. Cramming the night before is an ineffective way of studying.

  While nothing can ensure the grade students are aiming for, these tips will help reduce the inevitable stress students feel with the arrival of exams.


J.K. Rowling does it again

in Arts & Entertainment by
Photo Courtesy of The Guardian
Photo Courtesy of The Guardian

In March of 2001, world famous Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling released Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them under the pseudonym Newt Scamander. While the book was written as a textbook for Hogwarts students, Rowling then created a screenplay about Newt Scamander and his adventures with all the beasts from “his” book. The movie, set in the 1920’s, follows Newt Scamander around bustling New York as he captures his beasts that were accidentally released into the city.

  Released on Nov. 18, the movie Fantastics Beast and Where to Find Them grossed 75 million dollars during its opening weekend, a sad comparison to the Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone, which made 90 million on its opening weekend according to The Numbers website. This new addition to the franchise still is able to capture the feelings of the first four movies in the Harry Potter series.

  Lighthearted humor with underlying dark tones, Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them emulates Harry Potter in the early years. Fantastic Beasts has all the magic of the previous films from the franchise. The boost in graphics allows this movie to be turned into a magical realm. The combinations of colors and imaginative creatures from Rowling’s mind makes the movie a work of art.

  A well-developed plot allows Rowling once again to include the theme of light versus dark between the characters as well as inner turmoil. “It was really good. I enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was really funny, which was refreshing and there was more hope than the other Harry Potter movies. Twelve out of ten would recommend to others,” said Nina Rocha, senior.

  Some aspects of the movie allude to historical events and modern societal issues such as the idea of interracial and homosexual marriages and women’s rights. The movie touches on the idea of “no mage”, or a person born without magic, dating a witch, and the ridicule that comes with it.  This reflects today’s controversy over gay marriage as well as the issue of interracial marriages, which did not become legal until 1967 in the United States. With Katherine Waterston, her character Porpentina Goldstein acts as a strong, single female who attempts to work her way up in the work force. Rowling once again includes a poised female to lead.

  As with any prequel or continuation of a series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released with some skepticism as to whether or not Rowling could uphold her prize-winning and well-praised writings.

  Some feel the era of Harry Potter is over and the new additions to the franchise are simply dragging on. However, with this film, Rowling proves that she can still gracefully write about the Wizard World without excluding any of the quality of her previous works.   Overall, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has exceeded critics’ expectations as it truly captures the fantastical feeling of the Wizarding World, yet has created its own storyline and well developed characters that make it easy to continue watching the film.

Atlantic students give back

in Campus Life by
Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

 With the holiday season quickly approaching, many people are eagerly anticipating the festivities and, of course, the food that comes along with it. However, many Americans face the saddening reality of not having any food at all for the upcoming holidays.

  Atlantic hopes to ease the burden for many families of Delray who cannot pay for food themselves. Atlantic is holding its annual food drive, taking donations of any non-perishable items such as stuffing, corn, and beans. Each year, the drive helps feed hundreds of families for Thanksgiving. Atlantic students will be the recipients of all the donations.  “Atlantic helping Atlantic,” said student government teacher, William Durgin, as Atlantic provides the unique opportunity for students to directly help their peers in need.

  Emails were sent out to club sponsors to encourage members to donate. Students can then go to their club sponsors to drop off food, who will then bring the food to Durgin on Monday, November 21, the last day donations are being taken. The donations will be sorted into bags and given out to students on Tuesday, just in time for Thanksgiving on Thursday.

  A few of the groups participating include the National Honor Society, Student Government Association, and JROTC. “I like to make it like a competition to see which club or group can collect the most food in poundage. I take out my wrestle scale and weigh each club,” said Durgin. If each club does their part, the school is able to provide a happy Thanksgiving to its students.

  Atlantic High is working towards supporting its students and their families that help create its bright and welcoming environment.

  See Coach Durgin for more details.

Atlantic students learn about dinosaurs

in Campus Life by
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    Angela Williams history class working hard and making a timeline of the dinsoaurs
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Angela Williams and her history students worked hard to create a timeline of the dinosaurs. The poster can be seen in Building 4 on the second floor in the East hallway. Good job, students! Keep up the good work.

Photos courtesy of Angela Williams

Zoos gone wild

in Opinions/Editorials by

  On the 15th of April this year,  Zookeeper Stacey Konwiser  was attacked and killed by a male Malayan tiger at the local Palm Beach Zoo. According to the Sun Sentinel website, “Five minutes before Konwiser was scheduled to do a tiger show at Palm Beach Zoo, maintenance workers heard what sounded like a scream. The tiger, with his ears pinned back, was within inches of Konwiser’s body, guarding her like prey.” This instance of a captive animal attacking his zookeeper is not the first and it certainly will not be the last.

  Zoos in recent years have been subjected to scrutiny as more and more animal activists are speaking for the animals. The activists groups like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have been working to shut down zoos, circuses, and aquariums for the wrongful treatment of animals. They claim that the animals, while taken care of in all physical aspects, are under extreme mental distress, causing them to act out in violent ways. Ringling Brothers, the popular circus which dominated the country for over a century, recently removed elephants for their acts and set up a sanctuary for the elephants to live out their lives in peace. More and more, zoos and other industries with captive animals veering away from profiting off of mental anguish of animals.

   While zoos promote conservation and breed endangered animals, like the Malayan Tigers at the Palm Beach Zoo, it seems they have begun to focus more on the profits gained. The PETA website states “Most animals in zoos are not endangered, and while confining animals to zoos keeps them alive, it does nothing to protect wild populations and their habitats.” Zoos seek out profits at the expense of the animals. These animals often resort to pacing, bar-biting, and head bobbing to cope with the stress of captivity.

  It could be argued that zoos allow urban children to experience nature and provide education about conservation locally, however at what cost to the animal’s well being. There is no way to domesticate these wild animals like elephants and tigers. They are not dogs and cats. While originally created with good intentions for preservation and education, zoos have become outdated as more information is revealed about the mental health of captive animals. Zoos and other parks with animals profit at the expense of the animals and the Palm Beach Zoo is just one of the many who are paying the price for it.

Malayan tiger from the Palm Beach Zoo Photo Courtesy of the Palm Beach Zoo website
Malayan tiger from the Palm Beach Zoo
Photo Courtesy of the Palm Beach Zoo website

Andre Taylor tutors local students

in Campus Life by
Andre Taylor is this week’s senior of the week. Staff Photo


   A part of being an Atlantic Eagle means contributing to the surrounding community and creating a better place to live for future generations. For the past six years, senior Andre Taylor has helped build a brighter future by tutoring on Saturdays at the Lantana Public Library. This, along with his amiable personality and academic success, qualifies him to be Atlantic’s senior of the week.

  While it started off as required community service for school in sixth grade, tutoring became a regular after-school activity for Taylor, one in which he enjoys. “Once I got to know the kids, I wanted to continue. I’ve been doing it for six years now,” said Taylor.  

  For him, tutoring grants him the chance to give back to the community in which he grew up. When asked what advice he has for underclassmen, Taylor said, “If you’re going to do something outside of school, make sure you like it. It makes it so much more enjoyable.” Taylor stresses the importance of loving what he does and hopes to apply this to his future.

   After leaving Atlantic, he aspires to attend American University in Washington D.C. and eventually receive a degree in international law. Many students that Taylor interacts with are first generation Americans who struggle with learning English. The students have either immigrated here from another country or their parents have recently immigrated to the United States. “I think that plays into the international factor when it comes to my career choice,” said Taylor. Tutoring allows him to connect with the growing population of Haitian and Hispanic immigrants in the South Florida community and influences his desire to be connected to international law. Taylor is always grateful for what he has, saying, “Make the best of what you have. We are lucky to be here at Atlantic.”  For Taylor, making sure everyone is given equal opportunity is important.

  The Atlantic community embraces Taylor’s friendly disposition and humorous personality. “Andre is an excellent student, probably an excellent tutor, and the kids he is tutoring are probably doing excellent,” said Jessica Anderson, English teacher. He only adds personality and brilliance to the Atlantic community.

  Andre Taylor makes Atlantic proud by committing to improving the lives of the future generation and aspiring to improve the lives of many more by pursuing international law.


Seniors find out the price of graduating

in Campus Life/Opinions/Editorials by


Photo courtesy of the Odyssey online website
Photo courtesy of the Odyssey online website

With the luxury of going to public school, it is often misunderstood that everything in the public education system is free. However, as students approach their senior year, the price of being a student becomes more evident.

  SATs, college applications fees, and cap and gowns are just a few of the necessary expenses students anticipating graduation must pay, not to mention the price of prom, grad bash, and yearbooks, which are additional costs to make their last year as a student memorable. These fees add up quickly, especially for students who rely on the public school to provide what is necessary to succeed.

  Hidden fees in the application process come as a shock to many seniors. Colleges require official SAT scores, and the College Board, the company that distributes the SAT and AP exams, charges twelve dollars for each report to an individual college as well as the fifteen dollar charge that ACT requires to send their scores out. This, along with the price to send transcripts to out-of-state schools and the fee to apply to any college, quickly add up. “It [the price] hasn’t gone up in my opinion. It’s just expensive being a senior,” said Kelly Bruce, guidance counselor.

  Then, of course, comes the traditional rites of passage for seniors, including up to 150 dollars for grad bash, an additional 60 for prom tickets (not to mention the price of dresses, suit rental, etc.) and another 70 to 100 for yearbooks. “It seems like every time I finish paying for one thing, there’s three more. Especially as a senior, worrying about paying for college, all the extra little costs add up quickly” said Isabeau Cordes, senior.

   Being a senior, even in a public school, comes with a price. However, there is a way to ease the burden. Atlantic offers the Suits for Seniors program, which provides students with free suits for prom and future job interviews. Last year, prom dresses were donated and exchanged for the girls. If students qualify for free and reduced lunch, they also qualify for a fee waiver for SATs and college application fees.

  There are ways to avoid paying the heavy fee of being a senior. Atlantic works hard to make sure every student has the opportunity to apply for college and make a memorable year without breaking the bank.


Students participate in Atlantic’s first mock election!

in Campus Life by

Check out this video on Atlantic’s mock election and see how the voting process is completed.  Almost 400 students and teachers participated. Results will be in next week!

Atlantic student Molly Magafas travels to Cameroon

in Campus Life by


Photo courtesy of Molly Magafas
Photo courtesy of Molly Magafas Magafas (third from the left) poses with women of Cameroon

 In September, Atlantic senior Molly Magafas traveled to Cameroon in Africa to help build a clinic on a ten day trip. This, along with her leadership roles in Atlantic’s Model United Nations (MUN) club and her academic success, qualified her to be one of Atlantic’s seniors of the week.

  Molly’s uncle, who has participated in over fifty mission trips, got Magafas involved in this latest one. “The kids were so little, but so tough. Little girls in dresses that were six years old would carry heavy blocks. Everyone was so strong, but so happy,” said Magafas when asked about her experience.

  She was the youngest one on this trip and found herself spending the most time with the children. “We were working together and they would just come up and hug me all the time,” said Magafas.

Photo courtesy of Molly Magafas
Photo courtesy of Molly Magafas Magafas (second from the left) poses with the Cameroonians that she helped while on her trip

  The international community has always been a topic of interest for Magafas. Every summer, she travels to different countries, including Greece and Italy. At home, she is the president of Atlantic’s MUN. The club allows members to act as delegates from the United Nations and represent different countries in conferences against students from all over the state as they discuss current issues. She also volunteers and enjoys hanging out with her friends.

  After college, Magafas hopes to receive a Ph.D (still undecided as to what college or what discipline she wants to study), simply because she enjoys learning and school.  She wishes to participate in even more mission trips like her one to Cameroon. “To become a lifelong missionary would be great,” said Magafas.

Magafas is thankful for her experience in Cameroon and her generous life here in Delray Beach. She reflects on the beginning of this year, saying, “When I met all the freshmen, whether it was someone’s sibling or a new member of Model UN, I realized how far I’ve come since freshman year.”

    Magafas looks back at her time at Atlantic and feels confident in what she has done these past four years. As for advice for these underclassmen, Magafas said “Be grateful for your free education, something in which the kids of Cameroon do not have access. Also, get involved with your community as well as take risks and be adventurous.”

  The Atlantic community only has kind words to say about Magafas. Students and teachers alike love being around Magafas, as they enjoy her enthusiasm and focus.  “She’s exceptionally organized and motivated. [She] is always willing to help others. She’s the best,” said Algebra teacher Alexandra Meaney.

  Students are always happy to have Magafas around in and out of the classroom.   “She’s really bubbly and excited about anything to do with the community. She has the kindest heart,” said senior Eduardo Morales.

  Molly Magafas shows her eagle pride in other countries and at home by serving the community with a smile on her face.

Photo courtesy of Molly Magafas
Photo courtesy of Molly Magafas Magafas (bottom left) smiles along side the girls of Cameroon

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