Conant Crier The student-run news site of Conant High School Mon, 14 Sep 2020 13:12:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Conant Crier 32 32 Conant student receives Girl Scouts Gold Award Mon, 14 Sep 2020 13:11:19 +0000 Neeharika Kakuturu, ‘21, recently received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award for the notable program. The Gold Award is presented to fewer than 6% of Girl Scouts and takes one to two years for Girl Scouts to plan. Watch our interview with Neeha to learn more about her service project and achievement.


]]> 0
Quarantine self-care essentials for students Sun, 06 Sep 2020 15:09:45 +0000 As students enter their fourth week of remote learning, it is imperative for them to prioritize mental health and self care.

Although the new block schedule at Conant allows students to only attend four classes a day, increased screen time and a monotonous virtual routine can still take a physical toll on students.

Adjusting to a new normal during remote learning, one that means not seeing teachers and peers in person and being taught through a 7.9 inch screen, presents new challenges and stress for students. Are you “Zoomed out”? Here are a few quarantine self care essentials students need as they continue into remote learning.

Blue Light Glasses
Increased screen time during remote learning can leave your eyes dry and tired. Digital screens emit blue light, which can cause eye strain and disrupt your sleep cycle. Blue light glasses are specially crafted lenses to filter out blue light from digital screens. They can help reduce eye strain and protect your eyes from glare. For those who already wear glasses, a prescription can be added to the lenses as well. 

$18 from Amazon

Does school have you overwhelmed with stress and anxiety? Do you feel so tired you can’t focus at all during school? Tea is the solution for your need to unwind or put some pep in your step. Calming tea can be used as a stress reliever to soothe your mind and body after a long day, and energy tea is packed with antioxidants and caffeine to help give you the extra push to keep you productive throughout the day.

Ella Saputra | Conant Crier

Calming Tea: $23 for 96 bags from Amazon
Energy Tea: $23 for 96 bags from Amazon


Weighted Blanket
As if quarantine didn’t mess up our sleep schedule enough, school means sleep deprivation for many students. The therapeutic “deep pressure touch” of a weighted blanket helps release stress, and improves quality of sleep to help you recharge for the next day.

$25 from Target

Ella Saputra | Conant Crier

Aromatherapy Diffusers
Essential oil diffusers can help offset stressful environments by leveling your mood and balancing hormones. Essential oils have many benefits including stress relief, improved sleep, increased memory, energy level boost, and the ability to alleviate headaches. Notes of eucalyptus and mint mean only good vibes in the study room.

$20 from Amazon

Acupressure Mat
Don’t be afraid of the flower spikes – they don’t hurt! This pillow hits 1350 pressure points to encourage pain relief and happy hormones. It is also designed to increase circulation and energy levels, and relieve tension in your back and neck as well.

$20 from Amazon

With the help of these self care essentials, you’ll be ready to take on remote learning productively and stress-free! If you try any of these self care items, don’t forget to tag @ConantCrier on Twitter to let us know what you think.

]]> 0
‘Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe’ is nostalgic and inspirational to viewers Wed, 02 Sep 2020 17:40:29 +0000

On August 28, childhood favorites Phineas and Ferb returned to the big screen in “Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe”. The series ended five years ago, but fans have continued to watch the show, leading Disney to ask “Phineas and Ferb” creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh to develop a new movie to promote the launch of Disney Plus. 

Povenmire and Marsh had to make a movie that appealed to all generations because the main characters of the show never grew up, but the original audience did. By keeping the essence of the show and adding lessons intended for older audiences, Povenmire and Marsh created a movie that is nostalgic and inspirational for all viewers.

Changed Candace

While most episodes of “Phineas and Ferb” focused on the boys’ and their creations, this movie featured Candace (Ashley Tisdale), developing her character and giving her a redemption arc. 

Right when the movie starts, viewers can see that Candace’s obsession with “busting her brothers” has less to do with them and more to do with her self worth. She reveals that she has struggled with living in her brothers’ shadow and wants to be special. This drives the plot of the movie as Candace believes that she is finally “special” and out of her brothers’ shadow. 

Yet, when her brothers are in trouble, Candace sacrifices her dream to save them. Candace finally becomes more than the stick-in-the-mud older sister. She’s given dreams, feelings, and explanations for her behavior, becoming more than just a background character. 

Candace’s existential crisis seems to resemble feelings that older viewers experience. She learns that her happiness should not come at the cost of others’ happiness, and that she’s truly never alone – a reminder we could all use during this pandemic. 

Insight on Isabella

We also see character development in Isabella as she becomes her own character. Throughout the series, Isabella’s crush on Phineas was a running plot and usually drove her actions. In this movie, however, there is no mention of her crush. 

Isabella is given a personality and is more than just Phineas’ love interest. Her leadership, nature, and science skills are recognized, showing viewers that she is no longer the love-struck girl we remembered. Isabella becomes a talented character and an inspiration to little girls that may be watching, and a figure to symbolize the future of females in STEM.

Dynamic Doofenshmirtz Developments

The main elements of “Phineas and Ferb” were still there, as Povenmire and Marsh preserved the look and personality of the characters from the original show. Old characters were introduced to each other, giving writers an opportunity to develop new relationships.

For example, the kids (Phineas, Ferb, Isabella, Baljeet, and Buford) worked with, and not against, Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Together, they had to save Candace and Vanessa on an alien planet even though they had never met on the show. This newfound relationship gave the dynamics between Doofenshmirtz and the kids a fresh twist. 

The relationship between Doofenshmirtz and Isabella, for example, was summed up in “Adulting,” sung by Doofenshmirtz (Povenmire) and Isabella (Isabella Stoner). Doofenshmirtz explains that he should be in charge of the group because he’s an adult, while Isabella argues that she is more experienced in leadership. While it’s obvious to everyone except Doofenshmirtz that Isabella should lead, this song is very relatable as it implies that adults justify their decisions with their age.

Movie Takeaways

Overall, “Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe” is a lively movie that appeals to viewers of all ages. It builds off of the series while adding lessons that are meant for the original audience.

Seeing these childhood characters experience a new adventure reminds viewers of the first time watching “Phineas and Ferb”, feeling the excitement and suspense of the new story. While the movie is only available on Disney Plus, it is definitely worth a watch, especially if you miss your favorite platypus.

]]> 0
Conant staff and students’ initial reactions to e-learning Thu, 30 Apr 2020 16:13:21 +0000
From Pixabay under Creative Commons

Students and teachers become familiar with e-learning and learn to work around technology issues after learning that schools will not reopen for the semester.

When Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a statewide shutdown until April 7 due to the coronavirus on March 20, District 211 prepared to continue teaching students through e-learning until schools reopened. During the third week of e-learning, however, Pritzker announced that schools will not reopen this year, causing students to finish this semester through e-learning.

District 211 Superintendent Daniel Cates sent out an email to D211 parents and students on April 1 describing the e-learning process. Teachers will post assignments by 9:00 am every day and are available to support students during a designated three-hour window. Students can expect to spend 30-40 minutes on each assignment and are expected to record their attendance through Infinite Campus.

During the first week of e-learning, students and teachers discovered how frustrating the e-learning process was.

Shubhangi Sneha, ‘21, said, “Schoology kept crashing, so I would have to do double the work because all my updates wouldn’t load.”

English teacher Joshua Harbeck said, “I was not anticipating all of the problems with Schoology the first couple of days. To their credit, the people at the company did seem to have things running well later in the week, but those first few days were frustrating when I had planned to have Schoology as my main means of communication.”

From their struggles, students and teachers were able to adapt to their situations and figure out the best way to use their resources.

Math teacher Amy Differding said, “Some things I set up didn’t work out quite like I envisioned they would so I made adjustments. I implemented a new system of questions and answers. I feel it is easier for the student to keep track of, utilize, and find answers to their questions.”

“I also experimented with new technology like Flipgrid and Zoom, both successfully,” Harbeck said. “Using Zoom definitely allowed me to feel more connected to my classes rather than simply posting things in Schoology and hoping to see the work turned in.”

Students and teachers agree that Zoom meetings are effective and allow them to stay connected with their classes.

John Rimando, ‘22, said, “I think that Zoom meetings are a great way of communication between the teachers and students. I only have my math class consistently use Zoom meetings every day and those meetings are a good way for students to ask our teacher any questions in regards to the homework and what they are learning. If there aren’t any questions during class, then we just connect and talk to our math teacher about life, which I think is very important.”

While continuing to learn online, students and teachers realized how important physical learning was.

Charlotte Stanton, ‘23, said, “I don’t like it as much as being in a classroom because it’s a lot harder to focus. There are more distractions at home. It’s also harder for me to put my phone down or not be watching Netflix. The plus side is how much more free time I have, though.”

“I miss seeing everyone and it was nice to see people in the Zoom meetings I have had for my classes,” Differding said. “I believe the biggest struggle is the volume of new information everyone needs to keep up with. It is necessary to communicate with the students and parents to keep everyone informed but it is a lot to keep track of. I hope the students are not overwhelmed and feel comfortable asking questions of their teachers for clarification.”

]]> 0
What if the coronavirus pandemic happened in 2010? Thu, 23 Apr 2020 19:27:43 +0000
Nomin Ganbold

In our current situation, it’s easy to complain and stress out about many things. We complain about being stuck inside and about the cancellation of various school functions and tests. What we don’t realize is how lucky we are to have the resources we have today. 

We don’t see that the technology we have today allows us to continue to do so many things while staying safe. The best way to change this perspective is to create a hypothetical situation.

What if the coronavirus pandemic broke out in 2010? Our current situation would be much different. Without the technology we have today, our situation would have been much worse.

Today’s technology allows students to continue learning, which is something they should be grateful for. School districts would have struggled to keep schools in session due to the lack of technology.

Technology Department Chair Paul Kim said, “Obviously, E-Learning would not take place because not all students would have a computing device as iPads and Schoology were introduced to the district in 2011.”

There is the option of printing out materials, having students come to school to pick up the materials, and self-learning through textbooks. However, this is not a safe idea as it forces students to be in contact with more people and promotes the spread of the disease. Students would have a harder time contacting their teachers and would have to go through the curriculum on their own.

“Due to the difficulty in communication and the teachers’ inability to post teaching materials as easily as we do today, it would be very difficult to do all that is needed to go through the curriculum,” Kim said.

Staying entertained would have been much harder than today, too. Hulu and Netflix were the only streaming services, providing shows that were currently on-air and from the past. However, Hulu and Netflix aired their first original series in 2012 and 2013, respectively. 

We would also not have been able to stay in contact with our friends or see their faces as easily as we do today. Apple Facetime was introduced in 2010, but it was only available to Apple users. There were a variety of messaging apps, but none included video calls.

Sarah Kim, ‘22, said, “I use Zoom a lot to keep up with my church small group. This Sunday, our youth group met on Zoom, and it was really cool seeing everyone after so long.”

Today, businesses are holding meetings through video conferences. However, this was not a viable option in 2010. Services like Blue Jeans Network and Zoom were founded in 2011. Most people would have only been texting and calling each other in 2010. 

During these uncertain times, we must remember to use what we have to our advantage. Talk to your loved ones, stay entertained, and continue to learn and work using the technology we have today. Technology allows us to stay connected in difficult times like these. Use technology to continue living life while staying safe inside.

]]> 0
Crier Inquires: how do you feel about the cancellation of finals? Wed, 15 Apr 2020 16:40:31 +0000 The end of the school year is always a busy time for students and teachers, with various programs, athletic competitions, and tests. When the district started e-learning due to the coronavirus, students were not surprised to learn that after-school activities and athletics were canceled. However, when the district canceled the second-semester finals, students and teachers had mixed feelings. 

Crisza Patron

Crisza Patron, ’23

“Now that I’m not physically learning in a school environment, it’s difficult. I’m sure a lot of us aren’t exactly used to doing everything online without direct guidance from our teachers. Aside from that, I feel for the students who were looking forward to events all year only for it to be postponed. I hope there’ll be alternatives for these events in the summer. Above all, I miss my friends and being around people in general. It’s boring not being able to see them five days a week.”

Matthew Tsang

Matthew Tsang, ‘22

“In adverse times now, it is imperative that schools continue to support student education. Canceling finals takes away a significant opportunity for students to improve their grades. I hope that teachers perceive this and make up for this lost opportunity through e-learning.”


Logan Franklin

Logan Franklin, ‘21

“I understand why people could be upset with the opportunity to bring up grades [through final exams] being lost, but the expectation that most students will be as prepared this semester as they were last semester is ignorant. I know personally I’m struggling a lot without being in a classroom setting, and I will not be as prepared as I would have for finals and AP tests, but at least I only have to focus on one now, even if that means being stuck with the grade I had.”

Apoorva Bommareddy

Apoorva Bommareddy, ‘20

“It doesn’t really affect me because of the rule they have with seniors and second-semester finals, so I wasn’t counting on taking finals this semester anyways. In a way, it feels like it’s another “perk” of senior year that’s been taken away, but it is what it is and it’s what works best for everyone. And it’s one less thing for students to worry about.”


Jason Franco, Math and Computer Science teacher

Jason Franco

“I think the final exam is something that would help hold kids accountable to keep up with their e-learning work.  So telling the kids that there are no final exams and that their grades can’t get any worse takes away that accountability.  I also agree with the argument that you can’t give students a final exam on material that was learned remotely.  The home learning experience is not the same for every student, and I don’t think it would be fair to assess on things learned in that environment.  In other words, there is no easy solution.  I think the district made the decision early to take away some of the pressure placed on students in an already difficult time.”

]]> 0
Crier Inquires: how do the SAT and ACT cancellations affect you and your plans for the future? Mon, 13 Apr 2020 17:49:10 +0000 Due to the coronavirus, the College Board canceled the in-school SAT exam originally scheduled for April 14. The April 4 ACT exam was also canceled and rescheduled to June 13. As a result, the district is offering a practice online SAT on April 14 and 15. The SAT and ACT are important tests for juniors because many colleges require a standardized test score in their application. So, the Crier asked juniors: how do the cancellations affect you and your plans for the future?

Nicholas Chen

Nick Chen, ‘21

For me personally, this doesn’t really have that big of an impact. But many students in Conant and Illinois as a whole were relying on free testing or testing towards the end of their junior year. There definitely needs to be some sort of school-wide testing opportunity available for this year’s juniors, possibly fall this year.”


Julia Flaishaker

Julia Flaishaker, ‘21

“I’m kinda upset about it because I only took the ACT once and I was looking to improve my score. I’m still going to apply to the schools I planned to, but it’s frustrating that I most likely have to take either the ACT or the SAT over the summer.”


Jay Gandhi

Jay Gandhi, ‘21

“With the cancellation, I feel as if this is an opportunity to prioritize my classwork and grades while improving myself.”



Rhea Moozhayil

Rhea Moozhayil, ‘21

“Well, the SAT cancellation certainly impacted my life. I studied for a month in advance and I felt pretty prepared to take the exam in March. Not only losing that opportunity but with the state-mandated SAT being canceled, my perspective on how I will have to approach submitting these scores for college has changed. I definitely still plan to take it when it’s available, but that may alter my schedule that was set for senior year. However, I do believe that the right decision was made in the midst of this epidemic.”

]]> 0
How to make dalgona coffee Tue, 07 Apr 2020 18:00:41 +0000


Named after a Korean toffee candy, dalgona coffee has taken the internet by storm as many try to recreate the recipe and share their results. Here is a video on how to make it by hand along with some tips for the process.

1. Use a hand mixer!!

Don’t make the mistake I did and try to mix it by hand- it takes forever. Using a hand mixer will speed up the process and make it foamier, which is what you want.

2. You can adjust the recipe

Use the same amount of coffee powder and hot water, but you can add more sugar if needed. You can also substitute milk with almond or soy milk.

3. Make sure the water is hot

I heated up the water in my microwave but it cooled down before I started making the coffee. Hot water helps the coffee and sugar dissolve to create a homogenous, or uniform,  mixture.

4. Use enough of each ingredient

I tried using one teaspoon of coffee powder, sugar, and hot water and ended up with enough coffee for an ant. For a single serving, use at least two tablespoons of coffee powder and water.


Let us know in the comments how this coffee trend went for you. DM us if there are any other recipes you would like us to try!

]]> 0
Mission trips may hurt more than they help Thu, 26 Mar 2020 18:19:50 +0000
Nomin Ganbold | Conant Crier

Many students are planning out summer vacations all over the globe. Some decide to take mission trips, which are volunteer trips that are usually for a short time. They can make volunteers become more selfless and culturally aware, and they are seen on Instagram as “once in a lifetime” experiences. However, the harsh reality of many mission trips is that they are more harmful than helpful. 

These trips often benefit the visitor rather than the recipient of the provided “aid.” For example, religion plays a big role in many mission trips. However, religious endeavors may not be a necessity for those in extreme poverty. This is not to say going on religious mission trips are always harmful. Church groups can be helpful if volunteer work is being done. Some of those in poverty find comfort having spirituality through hard times. However, religion starts to become secondary when lacking basic necessities such as food and shelter. 

Short-term mission trips are also problematic because there is little immersion in culture. Solutions from first world countries aren’t always a solution for others. Volunteers need to change their perspective to look at these communities as asset-based. This outlook creates respect for these communities rather than pity while also providing more sustainable resources for those in impoverished communities. 

Another issue is the trauma of children in these situations. In many cases, volunteers are offered opportunities at orphanages. At first glance these trips seem helpful, however these emotional bonds are harmful to their mental health. In an article written by, “This cycle of attachment and abandonment repeats with every team or volunteer that comes along, and the experience can exacerbate existing attachment disorders and expose each child to repeated patterns of emotional and psychological harm.” These children see someone who cares for them that then just leaves. They deserve loving relationships that don’t end every two weeks.

Furthermore, many volunteers take photos with these children and post them without thinking twice about it. Many children come from households of abuse and are put into orphanages or foster care. Putting their identity online can put them at risk. So, how can we serve others with these issues in mind? There’s plenty of ways.

Instead of spending that money on a short-term mission trip, donate your money. Plenty of organizations spend their time year-round working in countries to understand the needs of the communities they’re in. They need funding which you can contribute to, while still helping others.

If you still feel like you want to go to the communities, clear your schedule and take a longer mission trip. You can take more time to immerse yourself in the culture and understand their challenges. A six-month trip is more time and effort, but it also shows how committed you are to humanitarian work. If you can’t volunteer, be a tourist. Buying a few handmade souvenirs can feed families in impoverished countries for months.

As you plan out your summer, keep in mind this information on mission trips. The first step in making a difference is becoming better educated on how your volunteer work can affect those around you.


]]> 1
Bored at home? Here are some ideas to liven up social distancing Thu, 26 Mar 2020 18:19:02 +0000
Nomin Ganbold | Conant Crier

In an attempt to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, District 211 schools will be closed until at least March 29. This means a two-week spring break for students. All this unexpected free time, plus being cooped up at home, might feel boring. Here are some things to do to make sure your time is enjoyable and well-spent. 

Try out a new recipe

Maybe you’ve seen the same recipe on your Instagram feed for the past couple of weeks, and your mouth waters every time it passes by. Spring break is the perfect time to try it out! Another great source to find a recipe that interests you is allrecipes. Even if you’re not an expert in the kitchen, now’s the time to make something new. 

Do some spring cleaning 

Try to be productive and get some spring cleaning done. Whether that means organizing your closet or turning your attention to that stack of dirty dishes piling up on your nightstand, a bit of cleaning is good for you. You know what they say: a clear desk is a clear mind, so clear your mind of all worries about the Coronavirus and pick up some Clorox wipes (if you can get them).

Look for a summer job/internship 

On the topic of being productive, spring break is the perfect block of free time to look for a summer job/internship. Summer jobs are a perfect way to make some extra money when you’re not consumed with school work. Internships can help you gain experience in the field you might want to go into. The Conant Career Services page on Schoology is the perfect way to find a summer job that interests you without leaving your house.

Ananya Maddulapalli | Conant Crier

Read a book that isn’t for class

If you’ve always wanted to try reading more but haven’t found the time, spring break is a great time to do so. Just make sure to disinfect anything before you start reading. If you’re not sure what book to read, ask a friend what they own. The local libraries are closed right now, so asking friends and family members for books is your best bet. The Conant Media Center also has online book resources. Sora is an app on your iPad that allows students to access books in District 211’s libraries and Flipster gives students access to magazine content.

Hang out with your pet

If you’re worried about Coronavirus, spend a little time with your dog, cat, bird, or even fish. Spending time with your pet can make you feel more relaxed and calm. Take them for a walk around your neighborhood, cuddle with them, play fetch in an open field, feature them on social media, or paint a picture of them. Social distancing doesn’t count when it’s your pet! 


]]> 0