All posts by Andrew Gonder

How will the COVID-19 vaccine be distributed?

Photo by cottonbro on

As we progress into the winter months, and people stay indoors longer, this likely means the Coronavirus will be easier to spread. We are in need of a vaccine and fast. Luckily, the government has received doses of the vaccine. Now it’s just a matter of distributing the vaccine to the rest of the nation. The question is, how is the distribution process going to work?

First of all, it’s important to understand how much each state is being affected by the virus, because that could change how they are distributed. Currently, according to the CDC COVID data tracker, states like California, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee are the states with the most cases in the last seven days. Meanwhile, states like Vermont, Montana, Washington, Minnesota, Wyoming and Oregon have the least amount of cases in the last seven days. 

Photo by John-Mark Smith on

With the knowledge of which states are affected by the virus the most and least, now we can determine how the government is going to distribute the vaccine. It is ultimately up to the state governors to determine how they want to distribute the vaccine. According to the CDC, it is recommended that the vaccine should be distributed in phases. The first phase would include healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents. The second phase includes frontline essential workers and people who are 75 years or older. The final phase includes people who are between 65-74 and people who are 16-64 with underlying medical conditions, along with other essential workers. Following these phases, the vaccines would then be administered to the rest of the population not covered in these tiers.

Photo by Anna Shvets on

Despite the CDC’s recommendation on how to distribute the vaccine, not every state will choose to follow the recommendation. For example, Florida is not following the recommendations but is instead using a first come first serve method, while trying to prioritize the elderly and healthcare workers. While some people might agree with this method, others may disagree with this method either because of Florida’s decision to not follow the CDC’s recommendations or because they don’t like the distribution process. According to a CNN article from December 30, 2020, a man named Bruce Scott arrived at the vaccination site at 1:30 a.m. and waited in a line for about 8 or 9 hours to get vaccinated, saying, “Although I’m grateful to get the vaccine, I feel that there’s got to be a better way to distribute this.” He later adds, “For people that really need it, elderly that might be disabled in some way, they can’t endure this process, so there’s got to be a better way to manage this.”

The Trump administration expected to vaccinate about 20 million people by the end of December. However, only about 1 million people were vaccinated in December, that’s about 19 million short of the goal. So far in 2021, as of January 11, approximately 9 million Americans have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, and according to officials, the hope was that 50 million Americans would have been vaccinated by the end of January. It looks pretty unlikely that America will reach that expected goal.

President-elect Joe Biden spoke about his 100 day COVID response plan on December 29th. 

On January 20th, Joe Biden will be inaugurated into office as the 46th President of the United States. As he inherits a system that is behind in distribution, it’s going to be interesting to see how well he sticks to his 100 day challenge to turn the tides on the pandemic. It’s expected that Biden will follow the CDC’s recommendations for vaccine distribution, but the question is: Is he going to distribute them as quickly as he says he will?


Andrew Gonder is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class

Video games are not a waste of time

Photo by EVG Culture on
This is to give a visual representation of playing video games

Throughout my time being a video game lover, I’ve heard many instances of people either making fun of, mocking, or negatively criticizing video games. I have been told by several people that video games are a waste of time or that video games have no point to them. However, playing video games are not only a good use of your time, but is also a good way to socialize with others, learn team work skills, and learn puzzle solving skills.

A video game being a “waste of time” is actually a rare term in the gaming community. A game being a waste of time is only used for video games that are either not very enjoyable to play or not popular among the community. But a game being referred to as a “waste of time“ outside the gaming community is more commonly heard than in it. So why do people say it’s a waste of time? From what I’ve heard from others, playing video games will never get you anywhere in life and has no personal benefits.

Photo by cottonbro on
This image shows the enjoyment people experience when playing video games

Depending on what time of game you are playing, you have the chance to interact with others who are playing the same game. Multiplayer games can either have a chat section where you can type messages to other players, usually on a computer, or in some cases, you can use a microphone to talk to other players. Using either of these methods of communication could be used to develop a strategy among your teammates and win the game, thus forming a certain bond with your teammates. If it’s not a competitive game, playing with someone else makes the game twice as fun and you could grow closer as friends doing something you both enjoy doing.

If you’re playing a single player game and there is no human interaction, you could play a game for the sake of completing it. These are the types of games with a story or campaign mode in it. Classic game franchises like Super Mario Bros. or the Legend of Zelda have developed games that involve putting days and sometimes weeks into playing it in order to complete them. So playing through/finishing these types of games are made for those who want to feel like they accomplished something while playing it.

Photo by Matilda Wormwood on

Saying that playing video games will never get you anywhere in life is also completely wrong. In July 2019, Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, hosted a World Cup tournament with a $30 million prize pool. Bugha, the winner of the World Cup, won $3 million just by himself. That is a life changing amount of money for one person. Plus, Fortnite isn’t the only game that hosts tournaments with cash prizes. Other games such as League of Legends, Player Unknown Battle Grounds (PUBG), and Overwatch have all hosted tournaments with prize pools all over $5 million. Of course the player would have to invest so much time into practicing these games in order to play in a highly competitive tournament like these.

Maybe you’re not playing video games to spend time with your friends or to win money. Maybe playing video games is just a hobby and you enjoy playing them just for pure enjoyment. I play video games because it’s something I love doing and I find very enjoyable. Playing video games is not just for competitive people who want to win money or finish a game just for the sake of completing it. Much like playing with your friends, some people just find enjoyment in playing them. That’s the one thing I don’t think everybody understands about gamers.

Andrew Gonder is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class

Why be a teacher?

Photo by

While teaching is a mostly overlooked profession by students and even some parents, it often doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Especially with the pandemic, teachers not only have the responsibility of keeping their students in check, but they also now have the responsibility of figuring out how to use technology effectively in their teaching.

I went out on a mission to finally get the answers to questions every student has been asking. With the help of two teachers at Mount Saint Joseph High School, Mrs. Allison White and Mr. David Dutrow, I now believe I have answered some of these questions and can finally give this career the respect it deserves.

First of all, it’s important to know what qualities a teacher needs to have in order to be successful. According to both my interviewees, they both came to the conclusion that a good teacher needs to be flexible and be able to adapt quickly. “We’re always changing the way that we do things,” Mrs. White said. Mr. Dutrow also brought up that he was able to connect with the students in a way that makes them excited to go to his class, like I was the prior two years when I was one of his students.

Mount St. Joseph Science Teacher Mrs. Allison White (Photo Credit: Jon Bleiweis / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Being able to interact and engage with the students was not only a good way to be a successful teacher, but that’s also many teachers’ favorite part about teaching. Having a face-to-face interaction with the people you teach, especially during this difficult time, is important when it comes to the students wanting to learn. “Having that human interaction really makes what we do here so special”, said Mr. Dutrow.

As I’ve learned over the years of being in high school, every teacher has their own unique style of teaching. I actually chose to interview Mrs. White and Mr. Dutrow because I liked their teaching styles when I had them as a teacher. Mrs. White said that she started with mostly lecturing. Now she focuses more on getting the students involved in what she’s teaching by doing group work and hands-on assessments rather than just PowerPoint presentations, saying “I want students to learn other things other than environmental science.”

When I was in her class, there was one project we did that really exemplified this, when we were studying different species of trees. Mrs. White gave us the chance to go around campus and pick out leaves of the trees we were gonna study and put them in a book. The next day, we went behind our baseball field to look at leaves of trees and try to identify them. This was a great example of a non-lecture style and getting the students involved in what she wants them to learn.

“Teaching is a demanding profession”

Mr. David Dutrow

Mr. Dutrow was also very lecture based in the beginning, but now thanks to technological advances, he is able to use that to his advantage by engaging with the students in something they are familiar with. One way he was able to adapt to the ever-changing technology, while still keeping the students active in his class, was he found this website where students go in groups of three and pick characters. Each character had an ability related to things in class such as helping one of your teammates out with a question or a free answer on a quiz to the person who used the ability as well as their teammates. It added competition to the classroom and we all really enjoyed it.

Mount St. Joseph English Teacher Mr. David Dutrow.

With students focusing on the work they have to do, they don’t think of all the work every teacher goes through to make their hybrid or virtual school experience as fun and worthwhile as possible. I would think that most teachers tend to spend a little less, if not just as much time, outside the classroom as they do in it. They spend so much time preparing for classes, grading papers and just keeping everything under control. Mr. Dutrow specifically told me that he spends around 40 hours a week in the classroom and around 30 hours a week outside the classroom. When you think about it, there isn’t a lot of time in between for free time or to take care of themselves.

If this still sounds like something you would be interested in pursuing, do you need to have a degree in education as well as your field of teaching? Mrs. White said that most teachers major in the field they want to teach then possibly minor in education. Mr. Dutrow said that while an education degree is required, you should be able to teach students if you are passionate about what you’re teaching. For anybody who may want to be a teacher in the future, keep those things in mind when you go through high school and college. 

With everything teachers go through, from spending extra hours at home preparing lessons to going out of their way to making students succeed in their classroom, teachers deserve a serious pat on the back for their work and effort. The next time you step into any classroom (whether on campus or virtually), just take a moment to appreciate your teacher. And when you have one of those really worthwhile, and eye-opening classes, make sure to thank your teacher – I know they will appreciate hearing that their hard work made a difference.

Andrew Gonder is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.