Category Archives: Opinions

“Monolingual is the minority” – Learning a foreign language is key to global success

At Mount St. Joseph, we spend a lot of our time studying subjects such as mathematics, science, history, or English because we’ve been told that it is “important” within our choice of major for college and career. Yet we seldom seem to hear about the importance of a foreign language. After all, I hadn’t given it much through since I no longer pursued my French language study. Even in our school system Math, Science, English, and History are all classes you have to take for 3 or 4 years, no excuse, yet in foreign language, it is only 2 years. So with that knowledge, I set myself out on the journey of finding the fundamental importance of knowing a language that isn’t your own. 

I do think as citizens of the United States we also have to work as ambassadors of the United States to the world. That is learning of the languages and of the cultures. And getting good at it.

Dr. Elizabeth Pease

I decided that I would interview Jonathon Gibbons, a teacher who teaches Spanish, Italian, and the first two levels of French, to better understand why we should study a foreign language with a more self-important look. Most of us students would ask ourselves when exploring a new language would be “Why does it matter for me to study this?” or “Am I wasting my time studying this?” The question as to what we could benefit from studying a new language can be a complex answer for some, but to Mr. Gibbons, it was one of simplicity. “When in the cases of, especially in the ones that we learn, in either Spanish, French, Italian, German, or Chinese. These languages all have rich history and culture phenomenon that are worth knowing.” Gibbons added, “And also to say from my personal experience, in general, if I had not spoken another language I would have not met someone, might not have seen something.”

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When studying anything in high school, we often ask ourselves what the most essential thing to study is? The answer to that question is not as easy as learning Spanish, Italian, or French. Instead, it is one of the people’s motivations for what they want to do with their language knowledge. “If you, for example, are looking to get into, you know, art or history, you probably want to learn Italian or French,” said Gibbons. 

You have now seen why we should study a foreign language, but what do we get from learning a different language? In a sense, it is a case of what you should get from learning a new language. As stated before, a person who finds it necessary should want to study it for maybe a goal of history or art. A way of having this appreciation is for having the ability to go to see a film and understand the language they are speaking, even if you aren’t as good at that language. Or it can even unexpectedly help you. Mr. Gibbons explained how suddenly, it can help you, “I would say more practically, deal with survival situations when need be. Not only to help yourself but also another person.” 

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If you are a junior or soon to be junior, you likely think about continuing down the path of studying a foreign language. Dr. Elizabeth Pease believes in the importance of going beyond the basics. “A real simple one is working beyond the beginner basics in one subject area and taking it to an intermediate advance level, is just a very good exercise and experience in the foreign language.” For us to continue the study would be like taking a higher math subject from what we are required to do, you could do the same for a foreign language. 

So yes, there is some use to studying a foreign language beyond the two years required. However, some students may already know a foreign language before going to MSJ. Now, this is probably just a far-off example, yet it is a natural thought because of the many people that go to this school. The simple answer is that it would be beneficial to be bilingual and be trilingual, which can benefit you in life in the long run, or it can help you study the language you already know to improve for a variety of reasons. “They would still really need to study the written form of the language, the grammar, and greater precision of the language. So they still may need to keep studying that very same language,” Dr. Pease said.  

More of the world is bilingual or multilingual than is monolingual. Monolingual is the minority. We don’t want to be the minority, we want to compete, we want to be able to connect, we want to bring goodwill to others.

Dr. Elizabeth Pease

The final question I asked was, why should we study a foreign language in university? This was a question I had thought about for a while because what would we exactly do with the language during university. “I do think as citizens of the United States we also have to work as ambassadors of the United States to the world. That is learning of the languages and of the cultures. And getting good at it.” Dr. Pease continued, “More of the world is bilingual or multilingual than is monolingual. Monolingual is the minority. We don’t want to be the minority, we want to compete, we want to be able to connect, we want to bring goodwill to others.”     

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So at the end of the interviewing process, it ended up opening my mind up to learning a foreign language again. Learning about why we study a foreign language was actually more interesting than I imagined it would be. Hearing from people directly involved with the learning and teaching of a foreign language made me appreciate it even more. And I hope it has done the same for you.

Chris DeGroote is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class

When a job lays bare the failings of humanity

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“Well, this is America. I didn’t think I’d have to come to little Mexico today.” I froze. My blood pressure spiked. I turned to the man who had dropped such a racially charged comment. I then looked at the Hispanic man next to me. On the first day of my new job, three complete strangers made fully formed profiles of each other in less than a minute. 

In the summer of 2021, I managed to score my dream part-time job. I was a sailing instructor at a watersport rental shop. This shop rented out paddleboards, kayaks, and small sailboats. My job entailed me giving lessons on both days of the weekend, and assisting with the summer camp Eastern ran during the week. 

A job requires a re-evaluation of priorities.

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I arrived on my first day with little information. My work situation was already somewhat irregular; I had not met my boss yet, and I was not officially on my employer’s payroll. That day I had two individuals scheduled for the morning lesson. I prepared a whiteboard, drawing a diagram of the points of sail on it. The first showed up almost thirty minutes early. The second arrived ten minutes late, his reasoning being that he “couldn’t find anyone who spoke English to get directions.” I ignored this and continued my lesson on how to tack. 

“Is that a problem?” The second individual said.

“Well I mean, this is America, they should speak English.”

“They’re Hispanic. They speak Spanish.”

“Well, this is America. I didn’t think I’d have to come to little Mexico today.” Suddenly, on my first day, I was faced with a situation I could not have imagined the morning prior. I was at a loss for words. I stared at the man who had made the comment in utter disbelief. I stared until the other man, a man of Hispanic heritage, spoke.

“I’m leaving.” In my mind, at that moment, the situation became much easier for me. Although he had been wronged, the Hispanic man was content with leaving and rescheduling for another day. Despite my situation becoming much simpler, something was eating at me: Why should the one offended have to leave? Why should his day be ruined? Why shouldn’t we ask the other man to leave? I ran to my manager.

An expletive was my manager’s only response. 

“So what do I do?”

“We’ll get the guy who’s leaving rescheduled. Give the racist the lesson.”

“Okay.”

I ran to catch the Hispanic man. He had almost made it back to his car. I briefly apologized for the other customer’s behavior and told him who to call to reschedule. He was very understanding. Before we parted ways that day, he made one request:

“Give the other guy a good lesson, don’t let this color how you treat him. You still have a job to do.” This stuck with me. At the end of the day, I was an employee. I had a job to do. While I may not always like the customer or even my job, I still have a commitment to fulfill.

The day continued, with me and the racist individual in a boat for three hours together. I sat toward the front of the porous catamaran’s trampoline surface, being blasted with waves, waves that chilled me but not as much as the individual’s theories on the earth’s circumference being equal to zero and the “over sensitivity” of the modern generation, something exhibited by the man who he offended- a man who I would later find out has watched patients die. I sat, and listened, and did my job, and despite my discomfort, I believe I am better for it. I heard the other side, I satisfied my duties, and I got paid.

Connor Sciullo is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class

Excellence, like Rome, isn’t built in a day

Rome wasn’t built in a day. This phrase is heavily overused, but I love it. Many people envision becoming great and achieving excellence, but very few look into what it takes to reach excellence. My goal is to achieve excellence in hockey and make it to the NHL. I look to Rome as a prime example of achieving greatness, despite its creation story, riddled with dark events and hard times. 

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The legend tells that Rome was started by two brothers, Romulus and Remus. Left in the woods to die, a mother wolf found them, and raised them as her own. As the boys grew, their ambitions followed. They set out to build a city, a monstrous, seemingly impossible task, but one they believed was possible. They began to build the city, brick by brick, with no support, determined to reach their goal. While building the city, the two began to fight over which mountain to build the city upon. Romulus, coming to the realization that his brother Remus was sabotaging the building, Romulus killed Remus and named the city after himself… Rome. 

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Rome took thousands of years to reach its pinnacle, encompassing most of continental Europe, Britain, much of western Asia, northern Africa, and the Mediterranean islands. To become the towering empire it would blossom into, Romans looked to previous empires and civilizations for influence, most notably the Greeks, taking advantage of prior failures and successions to learn and improve upon. I use Rome’s creation story as an analogy for my goal to play in the NHL. While a daunting task, over time, I can develop into the professional player I see myself becoming. 

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The building of Rome can be an analogy for the hard decisions I have made to set myself up to reach my goal. From painful decisions of cutting off relationships with toxic friends, to not going to parties but instead practicing and devoting all free time to improving my game. While I am not at the pinnacle of my game, I’m a work in progress, constantly looking and searching for new ways to improve. Lou Holtz, a Notre Dame football legend, once said, “You don’t stay the same. You get better, or you get worse.” I take this mentality into every situation, striving to achieve my Rome. Working day by day… brick by brick refining my craft.

Ervie Terwilliger is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

Making the most of your summer

The morning sun greets my bedroom from my stay in NC.

The time is 8:30 AM, Eastern Standard Time. The sunlight was peeking through the closed blinds hanging motionless over the windows. Birds sang a soft but gentle song as a new summer day began for the world. I peaked my eyes open to be greeted by the orange glow of the misty sun. I was waking up in an unfamiliar bed. I sat up and slid out of my sheets, ready to take a shower. I was soon ready to start my day, but I was not at my familiar suburb home in Arbutus, Maryland. I was miles away in a house in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, on a summer vacation with my family.

Summer vacation is something that is often taken for granted. Yes, summer is meant to be fun, and you’re supposed to enjoy those three months that you have to the fullest that you can. However, when asked about summer, most people will say that they spent their summer doing what they wanted and focused on their central needs. While it is true that summer should be a time to improve the things about yourself that you may not like, you aren’t the only person you know, after all. With the time in summer, some of it should be dedicated to the most important people in your life: your family. Family can mean various things to different people, but the core definition of family is the people closest to you that you care about. This can either be your immediate relatives that you live with, or it could be people such as your relationship partner or a really close group of friends you’ve known for years. With the time you have in those three months, you have more than enough time to grow closer with your family.

The front entrance sign to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

One way that my family strengthens our bonds together is through road trips and vacations. Every year, my family takes a week long road trip vacation to anywhere we can find. More often than not, we rent out a house to stay at and spend a week in the area, checking out the various tourist attractions and sightseeing places we can find. To give an example, during the past 2021 summer, my family and I spent a week in the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, where we went to the national park of the area, observed local waterfalls and other scenic vistas, as well as trying the local cuisine.

A smoky morning in the Smoky Mountains.

You may ask, “Why should I bond with my family during summer?” Doing activities that can be commonly enjoyed by anyone is a way to grow closer through the common interests your family shares. Sharing your opinions on your interests with people you know who share that same interest is another way to show affection to the people who mean the most to you. Long after you grow older and move away from your home family, you’ll soon build a new family with your partner and your children, and hopefully they will take the skills you have taught them towards their eventual families. Learning to share the beauty of enjoying each other’s company through the free time of summer is the best way to bond with those you care about. Hopefully, you can take your interests along with you to your family and strengthen your bond with them in future summers to come.

The comforting wooden porch my family and I rested on in the evening.

Jackson Reichardt is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

The lack of equity in soccer has gotten out of hand 

Football, aka soccer in the states, is a beautiful game. The game most of the world loves. The game where everyone with just the ability and desire to work hard to earn their chance on a team will make it right? Maybe you would also hear that it is the sport where “anyone or any team can win.” Well, you are actually almost utterly wrong if you think that. You can spend your entire life working towards making it to the highest level and maybe have the chance to win a title for your team. Instead, you will likely just end up losing to a team that can spend on players who have better talent than you. So I am going to explain to you how wealthy billionaires have ruined football. 

First, let me explain why the owners have more power than American sports owners. In American sports, there is something called a salary cap. This salary cap system is used in many American sports to stop teams’ excessive amounts of money. Yes, in European soccer, there is some sort of rule where you aren’t allowed to spend over a certain amount for wages. However, this rule is relatively easy to bypass for teams with wealthy owners. They can spend more on wages than the less affluent teams due to their higher wealth, causing this separation between teams. This leads to exclusive competition among only a few teams in the league compared to everyone else.

 Now, what teams have these types of owners? Simple answer: almost every single good one. 

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Let’s talk about one of the first real mega-money men of the sport, Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea F.C. He took ownership of the team in June 2003. He wanted to take over the club because he saw potential in the team after they finished fourth. In total, under his reign of ownership, Chelsea has won nearly 20 trophies, with more still to come for as long as he is in charge. It also has kept them at the top consistently for most of that time.  Yet he has also spent nearly 4 billion dollars on players alone to get Chelsea to where they are.

Years of constant investment in some of the best players in the world can also impact players who could succeed in this newfound competition for a position. A player who has had this experience is Tammy Abraham. He played for Chelsea FC, and got consistent game time during the 2019-2020 season. During this season, he shined looking like one of the best strikers in the premier league and thought he would keep the form going. Then, Chelsea spent millions on strikers such as Timo Werner in 2020 and Romelu Lukaku in 2021 to push him out of the starting position. He has since moved to a team named Roma FC, where he has gotten off to a good start.

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Now that we learned what it is like to be at the top, let us see what it is like to be average. Sometimes, you can spend this mass amount of money and still not reach the heights of winning trophies or competing for more significant competitions. For example, Everton, a team that has spent nearly 500 million dollars, still has found little success.

What owners mainly spend their money on is the transfer fees of players. For example, recently, Manchester City spent nearly 130 million dollars on Jack Grealish. Yes, spending that much money on a single person is extreme, but that is the primary way for teams to compete for the top.

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These owners also want more ways to make money. Through wanting to cut costs on running the team, taking money from the team, and even trying to come up with grand ideas to bring more cash into themselves. An example of this would be Manchester United’s owners taking money from transfer fees to pay their own expenses.

The sport is now viewed by hardcore fans as being a cash grab rather than an experience for anyone and everyone. A way the fans feel this is through ticket prices. The average ticket price to get into Premier League games increases every season and gets more hurtful to fans’ pockets. Not only in tickets, but the owners also likely make fans overpay for any sort of merchandise that the team makes, such as jerseys, scarves, hats, etc.

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Overall, owners can completely invest in making their team better to become a more prominent name to make their money. They rob players’ careers to make money for their own gain rather than even caring about the players; they don’t care about the people who give them the money, the fans.

Chris DeGroote is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

The Olympics matter more than just the medals

The year 2020 came and went without the Olympic Games held in Tokyo. But if you care about America’s international position, then you should be most grateful that the Japanese government and the Olympic Committee allowed the games in 2021. In Tokyo, August of 2021, we showed the world and ourselves that the United States is what she always was, the leader of the world. These were the most important Olympic Games since 1936 in Berlin. A bigger show of the strength of the individual standing up to communism than the Miracle on Ice in 1980. Because the games did come a year late. And that was just on time. Right now, there are a lot of doubts in our nation, from her people and otherwise.

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In recent years it has not been rare that the United States comes second: second in economic growth, second in roadway system length, second in manufacturing, and we all know who was coming first. To the international community as a whole, there has been a red threat creeping up since the 1970s.

China was always a population center of the world. But due to the suffering brought by imperialism from Japan and Britain, a stronger than usual sense of pride in their traditions, lack of unification, and constant warfare in East Asia in the 19th and 20th centuries, they were still a minor player in everything except for manpower for a long time. Economic growth started after the Communist Party took power in the 1950s. It was evident by the end of the Nixon administration that China’s new economic reform would push them to the world stage, not helped by Nixon’s 1972 visit to the cities of China. This is referred to by many as “The week that changed the world,” and I say that is almost an understatement.

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The Communist Party is now the recognized leader of the largest country on the planet, and now the whole world is open to doing business with the already growing economy. It is important to remember that before this visit, the Republic of China (Taiwan) was deemed the legitimate government of all China and the Communist Party was but an insurgence that no one wanted to do business with.

But now, they are open to the world. They are our largest trade partner. Japan’s largest trade partner. The European Union’s largest trade partner. The number one exporter in the world – communist China. This has lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty. Raised the life expectancy in China by decades. Almost doubled the Chinese literacy rate. And put more Chinese people through college than any other country in the world. These are all great things, and any reasonable person knows it is good to see the life expectancy grow in the country with over 10% of the world’s population.

But there is a darkness lurking behind this economic growth, healthcare development, and educational growth. That comes back to the communists in charge. The Communist Party in China, founded by Mao Zedong and headed by Xi Jinping, has had a history of ruthlessness that continues to this day. Cultural genocide, brutal individual oppression, overarching government control of every aspect of life, and a Machiavellian ideology that has persisted since the Chinese Communist Party took power. This is the dark side of communist China.

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To break down the severity of what people in China deal with, I will give a popular modern example, the communist control of the internet. China’s government has taken complete control of the internet and media. Here in the United States, we take it for granted that if we look something up on our web browser, we will find something unbiased; though that may not be true anymore, we still have little to no government control over our internet use. We are allowed to visit any website that follows common law. In China, the Communist Party claims the power to be able to ban anything they deem harmful.

I can only highlight so much about the crimes against humanity in China. But the most severe of what has occurred recently is a cultural genocide on the Muslim Uyghur people of Eastern China. The Chinese government has been systematically removing Uyghur culture and people from the East Turkestan province of China. By giving no protection to the Uyghurs of the region, their share of the population is now less than half. And the Chinese government has arrested and “reeducated” thousands of Uyghurs every year of the 21st century.

Though there are many fields where the People’s Republic may be passing the established leading nations, sports has also sprung about recently. Five years ago, in the 2016 Olympic Summer Games, the US swept the games. Winning with almost twice as many gold medals as China. China was still starting to show signs of rising in athletic prestige but lacked the overall strength of the established Olympic leaders, the United States and the United Kingdom.

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But this past year, even just in qualifications, we could see that China was a rising threat in the Olympic Games. China qualified with more athletes than ever before, and they wanted to show that they could beat America. Throughout the beginning of the Olympic Games, China and Japan were juggling being on top of the gold medals. But throughout the last few days, America pulled through and finished the Olympics in Tokyo with the most gold medals and the most medals total.

The Olympics were a bit of a media failure in the United States this year. Most people only checked in occasionally. But this is a mistake. The Olympic Games project power and dominance on a global scale, and these Olympic Games showed us and the world that communist China, while gaining in power and prestige, still cannot defeat the United States of America.

John Lauer is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.