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The Liar 2021

Best Places to Cry at Central

By Kate Ratner (280)

It isn’t always easy to be a student at Central High School. Our school prides its students on our intelligence, scholastic achievement, and resumes that start to resemble CVS receipts (a waste of paper and far too much information). Sometimes, even the smallest inconveniences can be extra painful at 1700 W Olney: spilling your Dunkin coffee in the security line, bombing a physics quiz you went to sleep way too late to study for, or the simple displeasure of reaching the music hallway when there are no more pretzels left to enjoy. Where can we go in these moments when our blood starts to boil and the tears well up in our eyes? Luckily, I’m giving you a list of the Best Places to Cry at Central. Some of these locations are best for quiet sulks, others are specialized for more serious upsets. When we’re back in the building and you’re having a bad day, grab a friend, and pick a spot to let it out!

  1. The third-floor bathroom next to the cafeteria

A fan favorite. A timeless choice. The third-floor bathroom next to the cafeteria is a single-stall – a rarity in our populous school building. On some days, there is no better feeling than crying your eyes out in this bathroom during your lunch period. Already being in a bathroom is especially efficient because you can dry your eyes right after you finish. You’ll be looking as good as new for your next class!

  1. Locker room bathrooms   

For freshman and junior gym students and athletes alike, the locker room bathrooms are the perfect, discrete location to cry it out. Smell-wise, this experience will likely be less enjoyable, but the locker room bathrooms are far from Central civilization. You won’t feel any judgment here. 

  1. Auditorium   

Theatre, band, stage crew, and orchestra kids have so much on their plates! In addition to committing themselves to their studies at Central, they must also spend extra hours at school to prepare for their performances. Who could blame them for shedding some tears now and then? They don’t have to stray far from the stage when they want to cry… the auditorium is a comfortable place to break down and break it down!  

  1. The stairwell behind the music hallway

Yet another perfect area of access for orchestra and band students. The back stairwell in the music hallway is a great option if you’d like your sobs to be drowned out by Central’s Philly-renowned Jazz Band. Nobody will hear you back there! 

  1. The stairwell by the auditorium doors

One of my personal favorites. The stairwell by the auditorium doors is the perfect place for a cry. There is a 99% chance that you’ll encounter a classmate or a nervous student shoving themselves past you to get upstairs. The discomfort of these interactions is brief, and you’ll quickly be able to return to tears. 

  1. In the middle of the first-floor hallway

There should be no shame in the game. Sometimes, the tears hit when it’s too late to find a bathroom, an alcove, or a stairwell. Give yourself some credit… you’re doing the best you can! Let your tears out as soon as you step into school. We all have bad days. 

  1. In class    

This last option is designated for the lowest of the lows. If I were to say I haven’t cried in class a few times before, I would be lying. It may take a minute to overcome personal memories of this experience, but everybody else is mainly focused on themselves and will not remember. 

You can access contact information for the Central Counseling Department on the Central website or on the Counseling Department Google Classrooms! It’s going to be okay!

Oh, 283!

By Sydney French (280)

The Central hallways feel incomplete without you this year. What are Central hallways without a swarm of freshmen with high-pitched voices to wake me up before eight in the morning? Oh, how I miss having to run into the freshman who turns around mid-walking because they realized their class was on the other side of the building. I wonder: do you wear your lanyards around your homes? Do you even have lanyards? Oh, and to be switching classes in-between periods with you! You will never even begin to understand how I wish I could see you running to class in fear that your teacher will mark you late on the first day. Or to see you going up to hug each and every one of your long-lost friends that you only saw fifty-two minutes ago. I want you to know that although we don’t get to spend this year together, that does not mean you get to skip having the status of a freshman in the building next year. Regardless of your age, remember that to everyone else, you will still be the only class that will be freshmen twice in the building. So please, while we might be online this year, remember that each and EVERY Central student wakes up every single day and sings the school song before carrying on with their day and wears their lanyard everywhere with pride. 


Your Central Besties

Three New Unexpected Features in Central’s New Building

By Matilda Brewe (282)

It’s been a little less than a year since Central students have swarmed the hallowed halls of our dear building, and plenty has changed. During book pick-ups, students may have noticed that the previously much-anticipated new building has been completed, and this article offers a first look inside.

Theater kids will be delighted to learn that the new Performing arts building seems to have been designed with their needs in mind. Amenities include private dressing rooms (perfect for storing your bags as you all opt to change in front of each other), cramped hallways to practice full musical numbers, and in-house Denny’s catering for closing night. In order to create the best possible environment for practicing your solo, the school has decided to require that all tests and quizzes be given in close proximity to the rehearsal space, and teachers will be encouraged to keep their doors open. The crowning jewel of the theater kids’ utopia is a large wrestling mat, where you will be encouraged to blow off some of that post-cast list rage by taking out your dangly earrings and going head-to-head with the girl who stole your part. 

For those less inclined to perform, the new building still offers plenty of excitement. I’m sure you will all look forward to the new locker space that the building offers. Gone are the days of sharing a locker with a fellow student, but in an effort to curb loneliness at Central, each locker has been generously equipped with a family of gnomes. Students and their respective locker gnomes will grow close throughout four years of cohabitating, and the administration hopes that the prospect of opening your locker each morning to find what textbook your gnomes have taken a few bites out of will keep kids excited to go to school. This addition comes as an end to the long-standing conflict between the School District and the Gnome Union, who have been at odds ever since Central was built on natural gnome breeding grounds. 

If you’re looking for a more soothing vibe, be sure to check out HarringTown, the set of confusing corridors and rooms all dedicated to the worship of Vice-Principal Ms. Harrington. The architects of this section have really outdone themselves; HarringTown is modeled after the ancient Greek labyrinth and styled in the 2009 Martha Stewart finest, to best honor Ms. Harrington herself. At the center of the labyrinth, you will find the HarringTemple, which is outfitted with a beautiful oil painting of its namesake, flanked by two ceremonial fire pits, where you may burn all dress code violating clothing including crop-tops, booty shorts, sandals, leg warmers, “Virginity Rocks” hoodies, overalls, and all of your racy turtlenecks. Modesty robes will be provided at the door.

A Letter to Teachers: Why We Turn Off Our Cameras

By Lily Lam (280)

The moment of truth is here to expose what really happens behind those virtual learning screens.

Before I begin, I implore you to answer this question: Do you really want to see us? Do you want to see our forehead littered with twelve pimples from junk food or the cracked 10-year old ceiling above us? Such an unsightly appearance we hold, we are doing a favor as to not corrupt your eyes.
Of course, if that was the only reason, we might be tempted to turn on the cameras sometimes for the sake of it. However, the reason why we do not is beyond your understanding. That is why I have taken it upon myself to expose this secret. Since September, Central students have become more innovative when the cameras are off. Teachers may believe that we are sleeping during class, playing games, and texting. Wrong. Personally, I recall a time where I was forced to turn off the camera in order to look at the screen closer with my disastrous eyesight. The sacrifices that I make for the sake of education have no bounds. I speak no lies.
Based on my discoveries, I came to the conclusion that Generation Z consists of highly capable individuals that use their time off cameras to further themselves. In fact, the character growth that I have seen has transformed from that of normal to outrageously profound.
A few of these students are part-time models that work a 9 to 5 job, utilizing their laptop screen’s brightness at its optimum ability to conjure the best lighting for the earth-shattering selfie. Others are hidden master chefs, cooking up a storm then hosting mukbangs during lessons. I’ve also met some aspiring monk devouts who meditate throughout the entire day to focus on lessons more intently. Legends say that they focus so much, they don’t even hear their name being called. Not to mention, there are also some detectives in the making among us.
Is this not stimulating for the brain? In simple terms, we are artists. Behind that black screen, no one knows how hard we are currently working. At this rate, we are looking at immediate job landings once we graduate. Knowing this, why would we be required to turn on our cameras when we are in the midst of self-improvement, a laborious and sentimental process that could even be recorded in a coming-of-age novel? Behind the screens we abandon the insipid title of “student”, enthralling ourselves in the adventure to discover our talent and passion. Henceforth, to our beloved teachers, the next time you tell students to turn on their cameras, think to yourself: “I am impairing this child’s growth, so I should not.”

Save your thanks for later,
  a very self-driven student 

If You’ve Done ______ at Central, Don’t Worry About the Covid Vaccine

By Alexandra Kerrigan (281)

If you’ve…

  1. Eaten the fish sticks and/or drank the milk (extra points for if consumed together).
  2. Breathed the air in the wrestling gym.
  3. Sat on the bathroom floor.
  4. Slept with your head on a desk.
  5. Drank from the old water fountains.
  6. Taken the Broad Street Line and/or the crowded bus that goes from the subway stop to school.
  7. Worn the sweatpants you get when you’re dress-coded.
  8. Been within 10 feet of an IB kid.
  9. Dissected one of Ms. Bonner’s pigs.
  10. Gotten an iced coffee from Dunkin during the winter.
  11. Eaten food from the international day cafe after 4th period.
  12. Used a textbook that’s more than 10 years old.
  13. Used the field house bathroom.
  14. Sat on the couch.
  15. Bedazzled a toilet.

…don’t be scared of the COVID vaccine

A Student’s Survival Guide to Freshman Year 

By Mahala Garcia-Bartch (282)

Aside from giving all of us a new face accessory, the Covid-19 Pandemic has made our learning virtual, meaning Zoom classes, Google meets, and no more morning commutes to B&O. However, there are a few things that are helpful for freshmen to know for when we return to school in-person. Below are some inside tips that I have picked up that will surely help incoming Freshmen navigate Central: 

  1. Be prepared for the stampede of students that awaits you at the ID scanner and metal detectors every morning. It is survival of the fittest, whoever pushes the hardest through the crowd of students scrambling to pull out their IDs first, wins. 
  2. If you are visiting Mr. Drayton’s basement corner store during class, make sure you have pockets. It is a bit awkward when you return from a 10 minute trip to the “bathroom” with a bag of Doritos and mountain dew in hand. 
  3. Two words for advisory: third floor. You will quite literally find the entirety of Central sitting on the floor of the middle hallway. Beware: the best spots are already claimed by upperclassmen. 
  4. Definitely visit Central’s luxury workout gym! I’ve heard it’s identical to Planet Fitness. 
  5. If you don’t already, you’ll get to know Mr. Horwits. He’s 281’s mascot but he will definitely be giving speeches at your assemblies –– very “short” speeches. 
  6. You didn’t hear it from me but…bedazzle a toilet. Central staff absolutely love when we express ourselves in the bathroom stalls! In fact, Miss Bedazzled Toilet was the most popular girl at Central last year.  
  7. RUN EVERYWHERE! Your teachers will appreciate your effort to make it to class on time. 
  8. Fat backpack = walking target. A bulky backpack is a telltale sign of a freshman in the hallways, so maybe leave your backpack at home on Freshman Friday…
  9. If your locker is on the third or fourth floor, I am truly sorry. The stair climbing is BRUTAL, so do what I do and slyly move into your friend’s first-floor locker. 

Try out the 4th-floor swimming pool at least once! If you ask the gym teachers, they may give you floaties!

Can Students Still Walk Up the Stairs?

By Margaretta Maguire (282)

With the pandemic’s one year anniversary here, and new hope for school reopenings on the horizon, students, parents, and faculty alike are turning to each other and saying, “Uh oh!” This concern and fear come with the recollection of the difficulty of climbing the stairs of Central High School. It has taken years for some to master the craft, and the yearlong hiatus may be irreversibly damaging. “The repercussions we’ll be seeing from this are truly disturbing,” says Dr. S. Stairy of the School District’s reopening team, who has a Ph.D. in childrens’ school place agility and has studied the effects of the lockdown on childrens’ ability to climb stairs.  Dr. Stairy spoke of the school climate awaiting should we return to school. “We’re talking about children collapsed over railings, passed out in the hallways, a mass over-exertion of children that we as a society haven’t seen for decades.” 

“I’m not letting my child return until she can prove to me she will be able to walk up the stairs of that school,” said Callie Conway, mother of a 281. In the home, she says her daughter is barely able to make it up the stairs to her room on the third floor. “I was convinced she had contracted the virus, I could hear her panting all the way from the first floor!”

English teacher Mr. Ronway shares these concerns, saying, “I’ve been teaching at this school for 30 years, and I’ve only been able to walk up the stairs for the past 10 of them. It took me 20 years to learn how to walk up these steps! I was never in class, everyone thought I was a bad teacher, but no, I was stuck on the stairs! And I’m scared that’s going to be my reality again.” 

The school administration has looked into several initiatives to quell the school community’s stair-climbing fears, such as extending the amount of time in between classes for students to lay down on the ground, creating more places around the school for students to sit and do nothing without getting in anyone’s way, and even demolishing the third and fourth floors altogether. If no solution is found, Central may have to ship all students off to a training boot camp to restore their stair-walking abilities. But even that might be “running up the stairs just a little bit quicker than we can handle,” says Dr. Stairy. You can submit your suggestions for Central to combat this problem at staringthestairsintheface@philasd.org

The Issue with Sarcastic People

By Lily Lam (280)

Sarcastic people are great, but it comes to a point where this epidemic must be stopped.

There are two types of people in this world—the “cooperative” and the “uncooperative”. As someone who has interviewed countless people, I’d like to consider myself the cooperative out of the two. There is never a sure sign on who might belong to the latter, but due to luck, I became enlightened about the ways of the world and was bestowed a gift to distinguish between these two types of people. This may just be a product of my personal experiences, so take this advice with a grain of salt. First, here are some tips on how to identify which people to avoid when picking a fellow student to interview:

1. If that student runs with their arms behind them, avoid them like the plague.
2. If that student takes IB courses instead of AP classes, they are your enemies, not friends (not sponsored).
3. If that student puts pineapple on pizza, kindly consider your options.
4. If that student claims that the Earth is flat, that student may not need an interviewer but a therapist.

As Douglas Adams (a man who I searched up) said, “You live and you learn.” Obviously, I have made rookie mistakes when it comes to interviewing students, and I am unashamed to admit that I have lost a few brain cells as a result of these interactions. This may also be the reason why a sixth grader is smarter than I am. In any case, one of my recent attempted interviews during the virtual learning process went somewhat like this:

Me: Will you allow me to expose your name in this interview?

Them: Impossible.

Right off the bat, I considered this fellow student to be quite blunt, but so far so good. Anonymous interviewees exist of course. Well, only if they have something to hide, but that’s not what I’m assuming. Definitely not. Regardless, I started off with some easy questions that virtually no one can butcher.

Me: What time do you wake up?

Them: 7:59am, obviously.

Me: When’s your lunch time?

Them: Every period. I’m always eating.

Me: Is your camera on during class?

Them: No, I’m not like other girls.

Me: What happens in breakout rooms?

Them: Nothing. Did you think there was something?

Me: How do you feel about going back to Central?

Them: Me? Feel? Not in my vocabulary.

At this point, I was both concerned and confused. Partially because I wondered whether my questions had no substance to it that I received these answers. Thus, like an admirable and professional interviewer, I led my questions towards a general subject that will allow my interviewee to answer more comfortably. As a result, I’ve gained unimaginable progress.

Me: Can you tell us some pros of virtual learning?:

Them: Chat is wild and audio is silent. I like silence.

Me: Share with us one or more of your best experiences of virtual learning.
Them: Someone asked if they can go to the bathroom in class and the teacher said no. Oh, and this dude had so much toilet paper that he used it as scrap paper.

I felt as if I had succeeded in finally making my interviewee more comfortable in opening up with their experiences. If we disregard the stories that have been brought up, I can proudly proclaim that I am doing a better job. So, with the utmost confidence and a bursting enthusiasm, I pursued my follow-up questions:

Me: How do you feel about the ongoing competition between the Central kids and the Masterman kids?:

Them: Us? Genius. Masterman? Debatable. Hotel? Trivago.

Me: Tell us about your thoughts on transitioning back to school.:

Them: Aren’t we in school?

Me: Do you remember your way back to Central?

Them: How bold of you to think I do.

Me: Can you say a few words to underclassmen?

Them: Central’s phenomenal.

Scratch what I said earlier. This fellow student is the bane of my death. At that moment I knew that I made a mistake with this pick, but what can I do?

Me: Can’t you give us a serious answer?:

Them: I will for the next one.

Me: Can you say a few words to the upperclassmen?:

Them: Upperclassmen? No, I don’t think I will.

Me: You’re very uncooperative. Isn’t this interesting? Don’t you think this is fun?Them: Say something funny.

As patient as I was, I felt something break inside of me. It was most likely my sanity. Within this one-sided conversation, I traded a few years of my lifespan to witness what I consider practically a paradigm—no, the complete depiction of someone who wants to watch the world burn. For a second, I understood why Thanos did what he did. As for the four tips that I have kindly detailed earlier, I am almost 99.9% sure that this fellow is a deadly number 4 who considers Earth flat. That 0.01% is because there is a possibility that this student was a number 1. I share this story as justice for my fellow interviewers who have faced the same issue as me. The moral of the story is that we suffer more than you think we do.

The Magic of Transpass Friday

By Lila Shermeta (280), Lucy Frank (280), Sarah Row (280)

POV: You’re a distressed teen experiencing the magic of Transpass Friday

My day started horribly. My long (insert your hair color) wavy hair was a mess. My cat threw up on my clothes, my South Eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority bus was late, and a bird pooped on my head. I got to school and there was a huge line, so I tried to go through the senior entrance. “Stop, (y/n) you aren’t a senior!” said the security guard. They made me go back and wait in line at the normal entrance. I had to run up four flights of stairs to get to my homeroom before the second bell rang, and I remembered I left my homework in my locker. I thought to myself, “(y/n), it’s going to be a really bad day”, as a tear dribbled down my face. I had to sit miserably in my homeroom for 15 minutes until Mr McKenna went on the loudspeaker with his daily announcements. I was not going to pay attention until I heard the magic words, “Happy Transpass Friday everyone!” Suddenly a feeling of ecstasy came over me, the sun came out, my tears dried up and I knew that everything would be ok. I galloped to the music hallway to buy my pretzel because it also happened to be Pretzel Friday. It was the most beautiful Transpass Friday. Legend says God made Shabbat on Fridays because of the glorious nature of Transpass Friday. I had forgotten all of this happiness before hearing Mr. McKenna’s voice. He was my savior. Later that day, I walked to the Olney Transportation Center. As I got to the turnstile, I dug through my backpack, trying to decipher which was the one from this week and which was the one for next. The power of having many transpasses in my pockets is a power only Philadelphia School District students can understand on a Transpass Friday. 

Transpasses are the heart and soul of Philadelphia’s art and cultural scene. Every month there is a new theme (for the most part). A crowd favorite was the psychedelic parrot of March 2019. There is a vibrant underground market that sells transpasses if you happen to have lost yours. But your best bet is probably to flash an old transpass or coerce the driver with a simple, “Oops, I forgot mine…” If that’s not your style, you can just enter the bus from the back. You can sell collectible transpasses on eBay for a profit. Additionally, the sound of wiggling your transpass to make the “wee wee wee” sound offers engaging noises that are beneficial to your mood. IF YOU ARE A FRESHMAN/SOPHOMORE READING THIS, START COLLECTING THEM WHEN YOU GET BACK TO SCHOOL. It’s too late for us seniors… 

            There have been unconfirmed rumors that the Transpass Fridays of May 2021 will be exclusively Central students, so stay tuned… Click the link below to sign up to model for these limited edition transpasses (there is not actually a link).       

The writers’ personal relationships with Transpass Friday is more complicated than most. It wasn’t until recently that we really appreciated Transpass Friday, or the occasional, very special, rare,  Transpass Thursday. If we miss those days of school, we must endure humiliating Transpass Monday where we take the walk of shame to the office to get our transpass after school. We were sorry to have missed the distribution on Transpass Friday, but we were still glad to have a second chance. Our advisors made us line up by class, and they called our name one-by-one to receive the gift of the transpass. We only started appreciating transpasses and their beauty sophomore year and it wasn’t until junior year that we appreciated the magic of the holiday that is Transpass Friday. And right when we did, it was cruelly stolen from us before that week’s Transpass Friday. Don’t make the mistake we did. Appreciate Transpass Friday while you have the chance.

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