News Briefs: November 2021

design: DJ Pelles
photo credit: Nick Woolard and Lily Clark
permission to print image: Creative Commons

Haitian Kidnapping Crisis

A group of 17 American missionaries, 16 American citizens and one Canadian citizen, were kidnapped in Haiti on Oct. 16, 2021. The kidnapped group was comprised of five men, seven women and five children.

The missionaries were affiliated with the Christian Aid Ministries which is an Ohio-based organization. The kidnappers were part of the 400 Mawozo gang, which has been growing for the past few years.

As per CNN, the gang members stopped the vehicle of the missionaries at gunpoint as they were travelling from the orphanage towards Titanyen, north of Port-au-Prince. Kidnapping is also not new to the 400 Mawozo gang, as they have abducted dozens of people in 2021 alone, even including foreign nationals.

The 400 Mawozo gang demanded 1 million dollars for the return of each missionary, for a total of 17 million dollars.

“The US government will not pay, and has never paid ransom because to do so would invite further kidnapping of americans around the world,” US Govenment teacher John Carmichael said. “More likely is a military response to try and rescue those who have been ransomed.

October 25 marked the tenth day that the missionaries were still being held hostage by the 400 Mawozo gang and as the two week mark was nearing, the gang threatened to shoot the victims if no money was given. However, no progress has been made on this scenario as of Nov. 5, 2021.

Sprinting for States

The Girls Volleyball team and both Boys and Girls Cross Country teams made their way into post season this year with high hopes.

The boys and girls Cross Country teams placed in districts, which was held at Hilliard Darby. The boys cross country team placed third in Districts with Saketh Rudraraju taking the win by coming in first overall with a time of 15:41.9, and Bryan King finishing ninth. The girls team placed second overall with Abby Schroff coming in sixth with a time of 19:40.0 and Mairin O’Brien finishing in the top ten.

Unfortunately, neither cross country team qualified for states, as they both placed sixth in turn missing the cut-off of top five very narrowly. The girls missed top five by just one point and had no one individually qualifying either. However, even if the boys team also placed sixth overall, they had two individuals qualify for states, Saketh Rudraraju who came in third, and Carter Giacomelli who came in 20th.

“My goal for the state meet is to get top 20 which is all-state for Cross Country,” sophomore Saketh Rudraraju said.

The girls Volleyball team is going strong having won their first three playoff games. They have now qualified for the Regional semi-finals, which will be held at Hilliard Darby Highschool on Nov. 4, where they will be playing against Bishop Watterson.

“We’re doing well, we just won our sixth district title in a row,” Varsity Volleyball player Ainsley Robare said. “My current goal for the team is to play as a team and not as individuals. When times get tough it is easy to stray away from your teammates and play individually, so I want us to be able to handle the stress and build off of each other positively by coming together.”

Harmonizing Hollywood

The school’s marching band is going on a trip to Hollywood during Thanksgiving break from Friday, Nov. 26 to Tuesday, Nov. 30. They have been invited to play in the nationally televised Christmas parade.

“All marching band members had the opportunity to participate in the upcoming trip to Hollywood,” Band Assistant and Executive Secretary in Communications Heather Lantz said. “Students, band staff and chaperones will be going along on this exciting trip to the west coast; 181 students, 25 chaperones and five band staff will be going to Hollywood.”

The reason for this huge band trip was that they were selected to march at the annual Hollywood Christmas parade. This trip was originally scheduled for 2020 but was postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19.

“I am looking forward to this trip overall because it was postponed from last year,” junior band member Michelle Lee said. “I’m also excited to travel with my friends.”

While the band is in California, they will also have the chance to tour other tourist attractions, and will be taking part in many unique experiences.

“The band will go to the Santa Monica Pier, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Citywalk, Disneyland and have other sightseeing options in Los Angeles,” Lantz said. “They are also invited to the Hollywood Christmas Parade Participant dinner.”

But this entertaining experience will also teach the players skills that will help them become a better player in the future.

“Our endurance will get better because we’ll be marching and playing for a long time,” Lee said. “We will get a lot of parading experience with this.”