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Sting City Press

Volume 10, Issue 2

May 2024

Letter From the Editor: My College Search Experience & the Power of College Board

By Lily Melchor, Editor

I applied to one university. I knew the minute I read about Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), that I found my future home. I got the opportunity to visit the campus, and I was blown away because university life is nothing that I expected it to be.

The college search experience is an overwhelming time for high school students. There are hundreds of options, and a student is expected to narrow their list down to just one university. Every college uses their website as pure advertisement, only putting out the best statistics. It can be challenging looking up the cons of a university, but College Board is there to help. College Board’s website has a feature where students can filter out what they are looking for in a university. This narrows down the search by providing students with campuses that fit their needs and wishes.

When I started searching for my college, I started with majors and distance from home. This greatly helped narrow my options to just a few universities. Since I plan to go into video game development, I could go into any computer science major, but I learned of a few schools that specialized in video games. Cornell University, RIT and New York University (NYU) all have video game specific majors, but upon further research, I learned they are all very different. Cornell’s video game specific program is very new and still getting its footing, and I was looking for something with a stronger foundation, despite my dream of attending an Ivy League College. NYU’s program looked very promising except for the fact that their video game degree is in design, not development. To be a video game developer, it is better to have a Bachelor of Science as opposed to a Bachelor of Arts, which is what NYU offers. Then I looked at what RIT has to offer; almost all of their students graduate and find a job due to their cooperative education program (co-op), their video game major’s main focus is on development but also some design, and I can get my Master of Business in five years. All of these factors sold RIT for me.

I applied to RIT early decision and heard back from them within months that I was accepted and awarded a scholarship that covers half of my tuition. I immediately accepted the offer and committed to the school. I knew nothing about the location of the school more than just Googling Rochester, New York, and seeing what comes up first. I was notified of their open house for prospective and incoming students on April 13, and knew I had to go. It was a 12-hour travel day to get to Rochester, and the whole time there was an underlying thought in the back of my mind. What if I hate the campus and city?

The night before the open house, my parents and I signed up for a private tour of the school, and it was the best choice we could have made. It was a two-hour tour walking through all the buildings and seeing what they have to offer. The entire time I was awestruck. From the tour to open house, there was not a single moment when I was not smiling from ear to ear. I found a place where I can learn and experiment and build, and I have the luxury of calling it my home.


Editorial: Boycotts Against Major Businesses Don't Make Significant Impact

by Shelby McCarty

The Israel-Hamas war has been a prevalent topic throughout 2023 and continues into 2024. The current war started October 7, 2023, however conflicts between Palestine and Israel go back nearly a century. Those who support Palestine in the war have decided to protest by boycotting companies that support/fund Israel, but the boycotts do not achieve the goal people wish for.

BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) is a Palestinian-led nonviolent movement that promotes divestments, boycotts and economic sanctions against Israel. The BDS Movement is the main source people follow for information on what businesses to boycott. The BDS boycott list includes McDonald’s, Amazon, Starbucks, Puma, Chevron and many more; however, the boycott mainly focuses on a small number of well-known companies to “hopefully create a greater impact,” according to the BDS Movement website.

The two most talked about businesses involved in the boycott are McDonald’s and Starbucks, who have reported effects on their sales. The two companies ended up on the boycott list after Starbucks sued the Starbucks Workers United union for a tweet they made in solidarity with Palestine, and McDonald’s said they would donate free meals to Israeli military. McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski states that the restaurant chain is seeing a "meaningful business impact" related to the Israel-Hamas war. McDonald’s reported its first quarterly sales miss in almost four years, losing $7 billion of their value after their financial director announced losses in sales in the Middle East. Starbucks shares have dropped by 8.96%, equal to losing about $11 billion in market value; however, they are trying to turn their image around.

According to a CBS news website, McDonald’s claims that they do not support Israel and that it is all misinformation; they are not funding or supporting any government involved in the war. On April 16, Starbucks released their newest drinks, Spicy Lemonade Refreshers, and the company began partnering with more influencers (mainly on TikTok), seemingly trying to paint the company in a good light again.

While the ongoing boycotts have shown effects in sales, the long-term effects or whether the companies will change their current political beliefs is unknown. Boycotts typically have greater effects on smaller, more easily replaceable companies; however, Starbucks and McDonald’s (along with the other big names being boycotted) will not see a huge dent in their sales. Both companies have loyal customers that are still purchasing their products. Even throughout the boycott with Starbucks, sales increased by 5% according to their Q1 Fiscal 2024 results on January 30, and slowly the boycott is being discussed less and less.

Peaceful protests such as boycotts are found to be more successful than violent forms of protests, however in this specific instance another form of peaceful protesting would work better. The companies being targeted in the boycott are too well known and liked to see any real effect and will, most likely, affect the economy negatively for everyone. The people that need to be reached to make a difference are government officials and citizens that could back the Palestinian movement. Peaceful marches would most likely be the best form of protest for the cause.

Editorial: TikTok Should Be Banned from the U.S.

By Sarah Vasquez

With over 2,051 million users, TikTok ranks in the top five apps. The issue of the app facing a ban or getting sold is not easy for those who have authority to make that decision. The Biden Administration has pushed to persuade that Chinese ownership of the app is a national security risk to the United States, such as the ability to intrude in electronics. The bill that is targeted at the app is aiming to get ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to sell TikTok to Non Chinese owners within a six-month period. The president would then sign off on this sale if it were no longer a national security risk. If the sale does not happen, the app will be banned.

The president should ban TikTok regardless of whether the app is sold.

TikTok fails to keep its users safe, especially children. TikTok challenges started by users, have led to severe injuries and even death. One challenge named “The Blackout Challenge,” has users deprive their brain of oxygen in hopes of resulting in unconsciousness. However, Nylah Anderson, age 10, participated in the challenge and suffered severe injuries before dying five days later. Another challenge named “The Kia Challenge” encourages users to attempt theft of Kia cars using only a USB cord. This caused two major auto-insurance companies, State Farm and Progressive, to stop insuring vulnerable Kia and Hyundai models. Challenges such as these are promoted across the app and allowing impressionable children to try and participate has resulted in horrific consequences.

While the app not only has proven that it is unsafe for users’ security and health, it has also exposed many to sights such as explicit gore and pornography despite TikTok’s user policy. Exposing this kind of content can impact the mental health of those who view it, and the app should not allow such things to slip through the cracks with the risk of minors witnessing inappropriate content. There is evidence of TikTok down weighing content that is deemed sensitive by the Chinese government and Chinese communist party, however. These things include people of the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and people of African descent. Content that includes this kind of material should not be the focus of TikTok, but instead the explicit content that minors are able to view. Videos of those who happen to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, those who have disabilities or are of African descent do not negatively affect one’s mental health and are not harmful for minors to view.

Banning TikTok would keep security issues at bay, and minors from accidentality viewing explicit content. There are much more secure and safe social media platforms for people to use, as TikTok has proven on multiple occasions to be unsafe and damaging to its users.

The president should ban TikTok regardless of whether the app is sold due to security issues and the youth being exposed.

Editorial: Skincare Products for Adult Women Should Not Be Used by Teens

By Alexandria Peck

Skincare and facial products have risen to become a popular item and a must-have beauty product in girls’ routines, particularly targeting preteen and teens who do not need more than a simple three-step routine at most. Many of the popular products teens are directed towards are for ages 25 and up, and a lot of these influences come from the internet. Many young adults film videos of “getting ready” and incorporate different products like retinoids and exfoliating acids in their routines. Girls see these videos and pursue these products that are actually made for women 30 years of age and older.

Younger girls should not be allowed to use harmful skincare products that are not designed for their age group.

Many 15–18-year-old girls are influenced to purchase products like retinols and various serums. It is advised by dermatologists to incorporate in products as age increases which can include adding vitamin A retinols and vitamin C by the age of 20. According to the British Association for Dermatologists, while these products are good for older skin, at a young age using these products can cause irreversible skin problems. There is a large trend currently with scrubs and chemical exfoliating, but dermatologist state that there is risk in both, but a larger one in scrubs and physical exfoliating. According to the website Dermcollective, physical exfoliating puts your skin at risk of getting microtears that can become large and irritated. Chemical exfoliating should be used with caution, but it is up to the consumer to do the research and always have it done by a professional dermatologist. Exfoliating acids like Butylated hydroxy anisole (BHA) and Alpha hydroxycarboxylic acid (AHA) are found in many products promoted for young teens, including brands like Drunk Elephant and Bubble.

It is a new trend to have a colorful skincare line in one’s bathroom without knowledge of what active ingredients it may contain. Most young girls being influenced do not know any better than to see the colors and scent. Young girls are influenced heavily by the internet and influencers, due to a lack of internet supervision. Parents are willing to buy these products to make their children happy, but when they do not investigate the products first, they wonder why their child’s skin is burning or constantly breaking out. Misused and overuse of skincare products is the number one culprit for skin irritation and barrier problems, according to dermatologist Dr. Blair Murphy Rose.

Parents do not monitor their children in real-world makeup shopping either. Many Sephora workers have reported children throwing fits and running rampant in stores. Children are going into stores and mixing product testers together to make skincare “smoothies.” Sephora stores and websites have age ranges for product types and have even put warnings on some products in which ingredients are not safe for young girls. Many of the products these young girls are purchasing are the skin tightening and skin brightening products not usually needed till 30s. In addition, many of these children do not understand the value of money, as seen by the fact that many of the products they test and want cost around $40 to $70 for small amounts. This a clear example of adulting too soon.

These problems come from parents who do not monitor their children in stores and on social media. Sephora and parents need to work together to keep these children safe from harmful chemicals and habits in their life. Sephora should go as far as to lock up products intended for adults 18 years of age and up, since many parents and young teens do not monitor what they buy. Parents should do research on the products they are allowing their children to use and actually watch the videos their children are watching on social media.

Feature: Stingarettes Hold Annual Spring Show

By Julia Selvera

She stands behind the curtain, getting ready to perform with her teammates with whom she has built strong bonds. After so many hours of practicing, this is the moment she has been waiting for. Dance is her passion, and it means everything to her.  It allows her to express herself during challenging times. She takes a deep breath, attempting to calm her nerves before the curtains opens, and the music starts. 

All year, the Stingarettes have dedicated themselves to the dances that they will perform at this week’s spring showcase. They will showcase the different dances they worked on throughout the year and performed for competitions. The Spring Show will be on May 10 at 7 p.m. and May 11 at 2 p.m.

Colonel Kahlen Hayes, a senior, feels great about the show since this is her last year. This year, she helped choreograph the dances and became a leader for the team. 

“It’s a very big achievement for people to see my choreography and my creativity come to life,” Hayes said.

The team decided it was in their best interest to only have the varsity team compete in their two competitions this year. They received a technique award for their pom routine, while jazz and hip-hop both got first runner-up.

“I know this year it was kind of what was best for our team, so we kind of just pick two,” assistant coach Sierra Canales said. “There’s not an exact reason why; we kind of just do what is best for the team every year.”  

At the spring show, the type of dances they will perform are hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, lyrical and kick routine. For the performance, the team practices every Saturday and in the morning before school, while also practicing on their own at home.

Freshman Emma Davis is a first-year junior varsity member who has put the time in to perfect her skills.

“I have prepared by practicing my dances a lot,” Davis said. “Making sure I know the moves and ask questions if there’s something I don’t have the answer for.”

Though the team prepares themselves to the best of their ability, sophomore and varsity member Amaiya Perez felt their biggest challenge is just memorization.

“[Our biggest challenge is] probably catching onto the choreography and remembering all of the dances that we learned so far,” Perez said.  

To buy the $12 tickets, go to The show runs two hours. The audience different styles of dancing and seeing the team enjoy themselves.

“I’m most excited to see all of us going out there and having fun and enjoying the moment,” Hayes said. “I’m really excited to see all our hard work get put out there.”