The World We Live In: The Lurking Prejudice of Fat Phobia in a Thin-obsessed Culture

From any teenage girl’s perspective, there is nothing more glorious than waking up in the morning, stepping onto the scale, and finding out that she’s lost a few pounds. Depending on how far one’s desperation goes, the weight loss can spark determination, instill superficial joy, and monetarily shut up the voice that tells a girl that she’s fat. However, there’s a much greater stigma attached to being overweight that stems from a much deeper source than one’s health.

A study conducted by researchers at Arizona State University asked one hundred Fat Phobiarandomly selected women if they would rather be overweight or be subjected to several other stigmatized illnesses, including chronic depression. Shockingly, one in four women responded that they would rather be chronically depressed than overweight. When asked to extend on their response, many of them simply replied, “I just really don’t want to be fat.” Clearly, being overweight is a fear that many people have but cannot rationally explain. One could contribute this to impossible beauty ideals imposed in media, or maybe the correlation that obesity has with poor health… but maybe it could also be the rising stereotypes surrounding the present day thin-obsessed culture. Fat people get labeled lazy, incompetent, and ugly. All of these are blanket statements, but they have been perpetuated and thrive in today’s world. But what does this all mean, or more importantly, how does it affect those of the teenage demographic?

This week, I did an investigative poll asking Rosslyn students whether they would rather be overweight or suffer from blindness. I asked one hundred students, ranging from eighth graders to twelfth graders. The number of students did vary slightly from those recorded by the Arizona State University in that I did not just ask female students. I asked fifty male students along with fifty female students. Surprisingly, Rosslyn’s results did not quite match up to those of the Arizona University’s study. Out of fifty boys, twenty of those said that they would rather be blind, while thirty said that they would rather be overweight. Upon first observation, the boys that said they would rather be blind tended to be athletes and heavily involved in sports. This also reflected in the girls’ responses; however, fewer girls said that they would rather be blind. Only nineteen girls said that they would rather be blind, and most of these girls were also athletic. Ger Ogot said that she would rather be blind because “I understand how difficult it can be to lose weight if you’re too obese.” Loretta Alcamo (9th grader) on the other hand said that “I don’t see the point in being blind over overweight. You can always lose the weight while there’s no certainty that you’ll regain your sight.”

beautifulSo as one can tell, Rosslyn students may not feel the same fear in being fat as women in America, but this does not mean that fat phobia is a dead issue. Inherently, many of us want to live up to those oppressive standards of beauty that have been predestined for us by popular media. For girls, it’s the “flawlessly tanned skin, blonde hair, blue eyes, size double zero” model thrown at us from every corner. For guys, it’s looking like a tall, dark, and handsome underwear model who spends more time in the gym than with his friends. Nowhere in this equation does cellulite, stretch marks, thighs that touch, or love handles appear. So when we do see someone who may be a little on the chubby side, it seems like a reflexive action to crack a few jokes or smirk when those jeans don’t fit on him or her the way they should. However, this only reflects on our own insecurities with ourselves and does nothing else but make us feel bigger than those we deem “ugly.” Instead of harping at those we call imperfect, we should spend our time getting comfortable in our own skin and not being a propagator for repressive societal ideals.

– Milkah K.

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It’s Valentine’s Day!

February 14, Valentine’s Day. That day when bells are ringing, cupid is flying, and love is in the air. Once again it’s time to give that special someone a prickly, red rose and hand out little, lacy cards to all your friends.

It wasn’t always this way though. In fact the first “valentine” that was sent wasValentine's Day written in the most unlikely place: a jail. Imagine you’re sitting in lonely, stinky cell while writing a cute, little message to the one you love. It just doesn’t make too much sense. However, this is possibly the most likely theory on the origins of Valentine’s Day.

Though there is a lot of speculation as to who Saint Valentine was and what exactly he did, most would agree that the true story is told in one of three legends. The reason that there are three legends comes from the fact that there were actually three different Christian Saints known as Valentine or Valentinus. The first was a priest in Rome, the second a bishop in Terni, and the third remains more of a mystery, as there is not much information concerning him. Apparently they all died on February 14, revealing why Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14. However, another idea exists that it is celebrated on this date because it was an attempt for the Church to counter act the Roman festival on February 15 celebrating Lupercalia. Regardless of why Saint Valentine is remember on February 14, the actual legend begins with Claudius II becoming the new Roman Emperor.

Claudius II is said to have come to the conclusion that unmarried men seem to be better soldiers than those with a wife and kids. Based on this, he created a decree preventing young men to marry. However, St. Valentine was continuously distraught after seeing young love destroyed over and over again due to the Emperor’s decree. He began to marry couples in secret without permission from anyone. Eventually, like any good secret, the people who weren’t supposed to find out did.

St. Valentine was placed under arrest and brought before Claudius II. When he refused to convert to the Roman gods and actually tried to convert the emperor to Christianity, he was sentenced to death without Claudius II considering that he had broken the law. This ends the first legend which had a greater emphasis on St. Valentine’s love for God than his love for humans. However, a variation on this story goes on to say that while in jail, he supposedly fell in love with his jailor’s daughter. Unfortunately, their relationship was brought to a sudden halt because of St. Valentine’s death sentence. Before he was taken to be executed he wrote a letter to her and signed it “From your Valentine;” thus, revealing the history of this phrase. Still another legend says that Valentine was simply a priest who was executed for trying to help prisoners escape. No one knows which story is actually true but they each have a common theme dealing with the issue of expressing love.

As one of the most widespread holidays in the world, it is not understood to wonder how it became so popular. It was sparsely celebrated throughout the Middle Ages, but by the 18th century, the holiday had evolved. One began to give cards and gifts to the man or woman that they loved. Eventually, it spread to the Americas and more throughout Europe. In the 1840’s, Esther A. Howlanda began to mass produce valentine’s cards. This was a major development and made the holiday even more popular. The ideas continued to spread around and the modern idea of Valentine’s Day was fully evolved.

This love-centered holiday is rarely questioned and often taken without a second thought. The truth is that it actually has a very deep, rich history going all the way back to the time of the Roman Empire. Saint Valentine’s actual identity still remains unclear but he is remembered for his love and compassion that continue to be celebrated on this day.

All that to say, Happy Valentine’s Day!

– Hannah B.

The Next Best Thing?

“Goodbye.” It’s something we say every day. This saying has been engraved in our vocabulary. Ever since I moved to Rosslyn, saying “goodbye” is something I have gotten used to saying and hearing. People are constantly moving, going on furlough, or eventually graduating.

cheerio_chexLife is very busy at times and it is hard to comprehend the fullness of all the change this saying actually encompasses. As I was processing what saying goodbye means, I realized it must be hard for seniors to move on. Although they are leaving Rosslyn, God has opened new doors for them to prosper in however the next chapter of their life unfolds. I am not sure how many seniors have actually thought about everything that will change once they graduate.

Stephen Remich explained that he hasn’t really thought about saying his goodbyes because he knows that eventually he will see all of these people later on in life. I mentioned the idea of being on his own and what he thought about that. He said, like many looking to a new chapter in life, he is looking forward to having a break from his parents and striking out on his own. Goodbyes include emotions of feeling both happy and sad. One part of you is happy that you are moving on to new things, but then another part of you is sad that you have to move on because you are going to miss friends and where you live at present. God puts us in situations that help us grow, which can result in things being difficult at times but as long as you trust in Him, He will help us through the difficulties.

– Kara N

A Look at Three Teachers

A Look At 3 TeachersWhat would this school be without administrators, chaplains, librarians, IT people, guidance counselors, and most of all, teachers? It simply wouldn’t be anything.

Last week at Rosslyn Academy, Appreciation Week was held to give thanks for the staff. The teachers at Rosslyn put plenty of time and energy for the students, and last week was a chance to appreciate our teachers and staff. There are some teachers who have been teaching here for a very long time. From elementary school, Mr. Jon Hravatic (above, right) is one of the teachers who has taught at Rosslyn elementary the longest. In Middle School the teacher teaching core subjects the longest is Mr. Philip Krymusa (above, left). Ms. Sharon Bressler (above, center), teaching High School, has been working with Rosslyn as one of the longest people on staff.

Mr. Hravatic has worked at Rosslyn for ten years, and loves it. He is very appreciated from previous students of his, current students and parents. One of his past students is Nico B. Nico’s favorite activity that Mr. Hravatic did with the class was Shurley English songs. Some of the things that stood out to Nico from his class are that Mr. Hravatic taught in a fun, cheerful, thorough, and easy to understand way. Even though Nico had him two years ago, he still misses the riddles Mr. Hravatic did before class. Mr. Hravatic is not only appreciated for his work in teaching 4th grade, but also for his many other things he has done. Some of these things include teaching 3rd and 5th grade, coaching elementary intramurals and the swim team. Another reason that people have gratitude for Mr. Hravatic is that he enjoys it too. He said, “The students, families, teachers, administration, and school board are second to none! It is a fantastic place to work!”

This is Mr. Krymusa’s 8th year at Rosslyn, and he is currently teaching Social Studies 7 and 8. The other classes he has taught in the past are Language Arts 8, PE 7/8, CRE 8, Speech 7, and Drama 7. He has also participated in leading clubs, some of which include ping pong, MUN, board/card games, and reading. Katie H. has the privilege of being in his Social Studies 8 class. When asked about him, she said, “He’s very humorous . . . a very nice teacher.” One of his wonderful traits that he is known for is, as Katie puts it, being “an um-ster”. This has been greatly appreciated for the students who have had him and who have him. What Mr. Krymusa said about what he liked about Rossyn Academy was, “I like the diversity of all kinds (nationality, religion, politics, world view, etc.) of the staff, students and parents. I think it is a good safe place to raise children. I like the many different working and recreational activities that a school like Rosslyn offers.”

This is Ms. Bressler’s 19th year teaching here. She first came in July of 1994, and has taught several subjects. Some of these subjects are P.E. for Middle and High School and various Social Studies classes. Not only has she taught, she also coached and been athletic director. Many of her students really enjoy her classes. Kara N. said, “I love how she always has great activities.” An example of one of these creative activities is doing an activity with chopsticks and tic-tacs while learning about China. Another student from her World History class said some of her favorite things about Ms. Bressler as a teacher are Ms. Bressler’s good organization, quick grading, and being sympathetic towards individuals. A reason why Ms. Bressler said that she likes working at Rosslyn is the diversity of the students. In fact, in a class from the past, she had fourteen students and ten of them came from different countries.

At Rosslyn Academy, Mr. Hravatic, Mr. Krymusa, and Ms. Bressler are a few of the numerous people who help to make the people who go to this school a wonderful environment.

– Tia H

Black Ops 2: Another Solid Entertainment Choice

With the new 9th installment of the Call of Duty franchise out and Infinity Ward and Treyarch the main developers of game series, making 1 billion dollars in the first 15 days of the game’s launch, it was only my duty as a gamer to buy Black Ops 2 and see what the hype and craze was all about.

Black ops 2The game delivers a very different story mode than other previous games, as the game is set in 2025. The futuristic component of the game can be seen throughout, as futuristic weaponry and technology are evident in game play. The campaign mode revolves around several characters, such as Alex Mason and his son David as well as Sgt. Frank Woods, as they fight Raul Menendez and his evil organization Cordis Die.

The strong campaign mode really shows how the Call of Duty writers have out done themselves with some really strong writing and detailed character creation, which keeps the gamer very entertained. However, the multiplayer and zombies modes of the franchise is where the game really makes its money, as gamers who tire of the normal campaign mode can play other players online, gain XP, rank up and create their own weapon classes. With new futuristic weaponry available, the multiplayer mode is different to any other and supplies gamers with a fresh new online style of game play. The famous Zombie mode is also back on Black Ops 2 as players ward off unlimited waves of zombies in several different locations or maps. With new weaponry and an array of different zombies combined with huge maps to play on, the zombie mode attracts a lot of gamers and is good spin off from the rest of the game.

Whilst playing the game I focused on the multiplayer and zombie modes as they were the most popular amongst gamers. As I started playing people from all over the world, I noticed that many of the online game modes that I was used to playing had been tweaked slightly with more points given for kills in the Domination and Capture the Flag modes. The better distribution of points helps these longer game modes to move much faster and the pace of the game play has a drastic increase, which I really enjoyed. Another feature I noticed was the large amount of choice one had when customizing a weapon class as the gamer is spoiled for choice with all the new installments that the game has to offer. The zombies mode, however, is very similar to previous games and doesn’t deliver anything new except for new weaponry and larger location maps, but it does have the improvement of allowing up to 7 players to play rather than the previous 4, which makes the mode much easier and more fun to play.

The graphics are little sharper than previous Call of Duty installments and the creation of different planes, tanks and other bits of technology really help the game deliver a futuristic vibe, however the game still uses the same engine to display its graphics as previous games and is very similar to its predecessor Modern Warfare 3.

Overall, the game does pack its own unique style, and has been given positive reviews from many critics. With its good graphics, awesome story line and nice little spin off modes, the game supplies hours of entertainment and I am very happy with my purchase of the game. I strongly recommend it to all 1st person shooter lovers.

– Afraaz L.

Say Bienvenue to the Newest Site on CFS!

Cultural Field Studies (CFS) is a program that sends both high school and middle school students to different rural areas in Kenya so that they can be exposed to the lives of the majority of Kenyans, interact with the local people, participate in service projects, and grow spiritually in the process.

When I asked Saher Amin, a high school student what she looked forward to each school year, she replied with “CFS for sure.” Her reasons were that it’s a great time to bond with people in her grade that she may not usually talk to, and that even though some places made her uncomfortable at the end of the day, “It’s a time when you feel like you’ve accomplished something great because of all the work you do for people that are less fortunate than you.” This year, there was anticipation for CFS, as usual; however, there was a new site this year, and no, not in Kenya… but in France.

Sheree on CFS
Sheree on CFS

Ever since last year, Carole Mithika, French teacher at Rosslyn Academy, wanted to organize a trip to France for students taking the course to be able to immerse in French culture, and learn the language as a result of being exposed to it in everyday scenarios. It was a challenge because not only did we need to find a program that would host high school students, but the program needed to be a Christian program that included service projects, and a place where students would learn about French culture – in order for it to take place over CFS. As a result, when Mrs. Mithika came back from France last summer with the news that she found an institute that fit all the requirements, all the students in French were ecstatic. By the end of December 2012, all plans were finalized and 12 Rosslyn students (three that didn’t speak a word of French) were signed up for France 2013.

With all the organizing done, and the students set, we left on the night of January 17th, 2013 for Paris, France. We were going to be staying at the institute for 10 days, and then we would go to Paris for the last two days. The institute was in Merville-Franceville, a small coastal town near Caen, Normandy. Whilst we were there, we had ‘Culture Moments!’ where we’d learn about French culture and traditions. We learned that in France, each city had a main church where the people in the city were responsible for its upkeep, so we went to a Church and cleaned it up, then the next day we went to the house of the lady that ran the Church and we helped clean up her house. It was rewarding seeing the smile on her face after we were done, and it made a lot of us grateful for the help that we get in Kenya. Our last service project was cleaning up the institute that we were staying at, which was the least we could do to show our gratitude towards the people that worked there. Along with the service projects, all the students agree that we all learned more French. In Merville-Franceville, everyone spoke French, and you could barely speak to someone in English. This was difficult to get used to, but because we were forced to speak French, we really improved in the language.

Most of the students at Rosslyn thought that all we did is sight see and shop (which we did do, and it was fantastic!), however at the end of the day it was much more than that and it was wonderful to help out others, and learn about the French and the rich history of France. We had amiable hosts that made us feel right at home and taught us all we needed to know about the French, and France. At the end of the day, it was a great experience for everyone that went, and none of it would’ve happened without the hard work of Mrs. Mithika, and God for making it happen. Hopefully with this year as a success, there will be many more international trips to come!

– Sheree M.

Do You Like Change?

Whether it is moving to another continent, going off to college, or changing schools, at some point in our lives everyone has to go through some form of transition. It is not necessarily easy, but life is not always about taking the simple path. It often hurts and takes a long time to recover and feel at home again. Is this kind of dramatic change healthy for anyone?

Well, first of all, there is no simple answer. Some could say “yes,” but some could say “no.” I believe that it is extremely healthy to go through some sort of change. It is an important part of our lives and helps us discover who we truly are. It causes us to step outside of our comfort zone and try something new. Also, through transition our faith can be tested and increase.

(image from elijahshopper.com)
(image from elijahshopper.com)

Mr. Rob Beyer, the Dean of Students, also shows support for the fact that transitions are good for you. He made the comparison of going through some sort of change to getting a tooth pulled. Though it may seem hard and painful during the process, in the end it will help you. However, even though he believes change is good for you, it is shown in his work that he doesn’t think that it has to be a miserable process. Mr. Beyer’s job involves making students feel more at home and welcome in a new setting at Rosslyn Academy. He talks to people on his team like Pastor Kevin McGee to make sure that new students are doing okay. He hopes to one day create an environment where students don’t even mind coming to school.

Of course many people can argue that changes are too traumatizing or emotional, to be healthy. And it can indeed cause some uncomfortable situations, so how can transitions be made easier?

Here are some quick and easy tips to try to help any transitions go smoother:

  • First of all, be open to anything. Many unexpected things can happen and it is always best to be ready for it when it happens
  • Have a positive attitude. I know that it’s not easy, especially when things don’t go the way you think that they should, but if you’re looking at the bright side it will minimize any damage that might have come to you.
  • Focus on the new opportunities you have rather than ones that you are missing. If you are always looking back at the past you will miss what the future has for you.
  • Trust God and ask Him for help. In Proverbs 3:5-6 it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” If you are following what God has planned for you then He will take care of the rest.
The bottom line is, trust in God. Not every transition will be smooth and easy, but  God does have a plan for your life no matter how many unnecessary transitions you feel like you have. So, next time you have to move away from your home or go off to college remember, God loves you and is walking right next to you the entire way.
– Hannah B.

Eye On The Road: How Next Elections Could Be Nightmare for Kenya-America Relations

Africa is the new frontier. It is no secret; both the East and Western world need energy as their own internal resources get closer and closer to depletion and Africa is abundant in resources.  The world needs Africa, now more so than ever before.

The climate is right for African countries to take stances of leadership on theElections 1 global stage. Africa, however, is plagued by corruption, mismanagement and political instability. This counteracts every prospect and opportunity Africa has. It has become its own worst enemy.

Kenya has and remains an important conduit for the outside world into Africa. Boasting one of the busiest ports in all of Africa and other trophies of bustling trade, Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was estimated at about US$ 27 billion in 2007, thus placing Kenya among the five biggest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although our economy is still small by global standards, it is distinguished from those of most of African neighbors by the fact that it is one of the most diversified.

Kenya is undoubtedly a foothold for any foreign power with interest in Africa, and has long been recognized as such, by the Persians as early as 900 A.D, the Portuguese in the 16th Century, the British in the 19th century, and America since independence, more so since 2002.

U.S. assistance to Kenya is substantial. It promotes broad-based economic development as the basis for continued progress in political, social, and related areas of national life. The United States provides equipment and training to Kenyan security forces, both civilian and military.

The relationship so far enjoyed between the countries now hangs in jeopardy with the rapidly approaching Kenyan elections, and the decisions made by the people could be costly to both parties.

If ICC suspects Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto are elected, Kenya risks being disconnected from the international financial system.  “With both the presidential and vice-presidential candidates possible war criminals, Kenya will be thrown into a major political, legal, diplomatic, constitutional and crisis if Kenyatta and Ruto win, only to be hounded by the ICC and isolated by the West,” warns a US-based risk advisory firm, whose members include former British MP and chief Treasury secretary in the Tony Blair government, Lord Paul Boateng, a former president of the African Development bank, Babacar Ndiaye, and former Prime Minister of Guinea Kabine Komara.

America and the UK have already threatened to impose trade sanctions in the worst case scenario, and the EU is predicted to follow in suite. The European Union (EU) is Kenya’s second largest market after COMESA and is estimated at Sh 89 billion in 2008.

This might, however, open up the scene for other powers, such as China (who are already showing increasing interest in Kenya and Africa as a whole), to enter the market. But this is weak compensation as it pales in comparison to the many benefits that Kenya enjoyed in the cordial relationship it maintained with the States.

Hopefully, the Kenyan populace realizes the repercussions of electing alleged war criminals into high posts in the administration, a move that might prove to be costly to the nation on the international scene.

Next Week: The Miracle That Could Save Kenya

– Luca A.

Against All Odds Rosslyn Brings Home the Trophy

After a long day in the hot Kenyan sun, the intensity of basketball, and the

The happy victors!
The happy victors!

devastation of injuries, the Middle School A Boys Basketball team found themselves at the finals with an unusual situation. Three of the original eight players had gotten injuries in earlier games. Neither of the captains were able to play due to the age regulations. One of their point guards had only played one game, prior to the tournament, with the team because he had been pulled up from B team. Only five healthy players remained and they were exhausted. The only thing giving them energy was the adrenaline and excitement of making it to the finals. The odds of Rosslyn bringing home the trophy did not seem to be in their favor. But isn’t victory all the better when it’s unexpected?

February 2, 2013, turned out to be a long day at Strathmore and began as the A team set up on the court against Makini. Ten minutes later they had one victory down and three more games ahead of them in pool play. Soon they played their second opponent, NPS (Nairobi Primary School). Everything was going well until one of Rosslyn’s shooting guards, Brian Njugana, pulled a muscle in his thigh, thus ending his competitive play in the tournament. Though this put a bit of a damper on the team, they were able to pull out the win. Unfortunately, St. Austins was able to do what no other team had done so far. Rosslyn was ahead in the final minute until St. Austins sank a couple of shots giving them a two point lead and causing the Eagle’s first loss of the day.

However, they came back with enough intensity in their final pool play game to beat Hillcrest. Unfortunately, this game left their point guard Michael Loewer with a hurt ankle. Rosslyn placed second in their pool and met their next opponent, Strathmore, in the semifinals. In the first of two eight minute halves, they were down six to two. In the second half they were able to come back and end the game with the final score of fourteen to six. From this victory they proceeded to the finals against St. Austins. However, it also resulted in Joakim Vagen, a small forward, being unable to play due to a knee injury. The pressure was on since the Eagles had lost to St. Austins earlier. With the confidence that the team had gained throughout the day and a pep talk from their captains and coach, they believed they could beat them. With that mindset Rosslyn came onto the court and won sixteen to eight, allowing them to claim first place and take home the trophy.

All in all, the boys played an excellent day of basketball and gave us all reason to be proud. Their coach, Ms. Kelly Krammer, elaborated more on the team as a whole. She believes that the wins and losses really depend on how well the team thinks that they are going to do. According to Ms. Krammer, “They play mind games with themselves.” All it takes to give them confidence is a quick word from coach telling them that they might have played badly, but it’s up to them  to choose how they will play in the future. At the beginning of games they are timid and it takes them a while to settle down and play their game. Once they do settle, though, it seems as if they are unstoppable. In the words of their coach, the players are “so random and a ton of fun to be around.” This allows them to enjoy themselves as they work hard to improve. The team has come together in a great way and gives everyone at Rosslyn a reason to look forward to seeing them play.

But the real question is: What will become of this team in the future? Only time will tell…

– Hannah B

Our February Playlist

The music charts are always changing. Here at the Eagle Watch we love music, so here’s what some Rosslyn students have been listening to recently:

Girl on Fire- Alicia Keys

Scientist- Coldplay

2012 Mashup- Pop Danthology

We Are Young- Pentatonix

Too Close- Alex Clare

Metropolis – David Guetta

Some Nights- Fun

Battle Scars- Lupe Fiasco

I Knew You Were Trouble – Taylor Swift

Clair de Lune- Debussy

Can’t Forget About You – Nas

Check out some of these songs on Youtube, and you just might find your new favorite song!

Norkor N.