The Owl

Ella Gibney

Ella Gibney, Staff Writer

Ella Gibney is a sophomore at Boulder High School, and this is her first year writing for The Owl. Ella has always enjoyed writing and debating social justice issues, and she grew up reading the editorials in newspapers, along with her horoscope (she’s a proud Leo). She is excited to write about events from within the school and the outside world that affect the BHS student body. Ella is an avid boba drinker, and you can usually find her listening to music while wandering Pearl Street in search of the best ice cream flavor. In her free time, Ella is also a sprinter on the Boulder High track team and participates in Colie’s Closet, a nonprofit organization. She is highly opinionated on everything from music to feminism and LGBTQIA+ rights, and strongly believes it is harmful to call a little girl “bossy.” Ella absolutely will not stand for the consumption of purple grapes, as green grapes are clearly superior in all aspects.

All content by Ella Gibney
Arlo Parks grew up obsessed with poet and novelist Sylvia Plath. These poetic influences shine through in the beauty and rich imagery of Parks song lyrics.

New Indie Artist Alert: Arlo Parks

Ella Gibney, Staff Writer May 13, 2024

Alright, I might have lied a little – Arlo Parks isn’t quite recent enough to be considered a “new” artist. Chances are, you’ve probably already heard this singer-songwriter and Londoner playing...

Coach Geo Tam takes a photo of the Girls Cross Country team holding a medal after yet another amazing race this season.

Coach Interview: Geo Tam

Ella Gibney, Staff Writer April 9, 2024

Coach Geo Tam is a familiar face around Boulder High, the head coach for one of the largest and most illustrious sports teams at Boulder… the cross-country team. When I got a chance to sit down with...

According to Business Insider, Mean Girls 2024 is a mix of the original production and the 2018 musical adaptation.

Individuality, Diversity, and Kalteen Bars… Mean Girls Remade

Ella Gibney, Staff Writer April 9, 2024

One of the most iconic movies to watch at a sleepover, many of us love–or love to hate–the 2004 Mean Girls movie. Now, twenty years later, Regina George and her posse of Plastics return to our screens...

The Glamorization of Mental Illness

The Glamorization of Mental Illness

Summer Gardner and Ella Gibney April 8, 2024

Struggling is an unavoidable and necessary part of human life, so why do we fail to properly communicate when it comes to mental health struggles? In previous generations, there has been an extreme stigma...

Boys basketball coach Matt Smith hopes to incorporate the Hoosiers-style basketball tactics of his Indiana background into Boulder Highs training and games.

“The Greatest Sport You Can Possibly Play” with Coach Matt Smith

Ella Gibney February 26, 2024

Why did you decide to coach at BHS? “There were a couple of stories in the newspapers that reflected a community that was kind of hurt, and I just relate really well to kids and I hear their stories,...

In her first semester at Boulder High, Mental Health Advocate and licensed therapist Staci Kianpour hopes to use the Wellness Center to grow community within Boulder High.

Meet the Wellness Center

Ella Gibney, Staff Writer February 26, 2024

As the new semester gears up into full swing, and we trudge through the cold, dark days of February, I have been feeling incredibly prone to burnout and procrastination, and I bet I’m not alone. Rather...

Coach Carl has coached multiple track stars to state championships and beyond in his 44 years at Boulder High.

An Interview With Boulder High’s Longest-Standing Track Coach

Ella Gibney, Staff Writer January 30, 2024

So, Coach Carl, you’ve been the head track and field coach for Boulder High for almost thirty years. How did you get into coaching? “I volunteered here in 1980, my senior year of college. Then I...

Hillside Pizza, on Broadway, is newly opened and currently offering coupon deals to customers!

The Best Place for Pizza in Boulder

Ella Gibney December 21, 2023

Every student at Boulder High has been there: the excitement of a lunch rush, students spilling out the front doors on their way to Snarfburger, Pearl Street, or for those short on time, Brooklyn Pizza...

With finals week just ahead and the semester drawing to a close, for many, these past few weeks have been a stress-storm of tests, projects, and presentations, on top of endless homework and studying hanging over our heads. How do we take care of ourselves at such a stressful time? 
We interviewed licensed therapist Jenny Hecht for information and advice on how to tend to our mental health. Here’s what she had to say.
	It is no secret that mental health is just as important as physical health, a vital aspect of your well-being. It might also be no surprise that our country’s collective mental health has steadily been getting worse since the turn of the century. For teens, the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the growing use of social media and the pressure of academic performance cause constant stress and anxiety in our daily lives. According to the American Psychological Association, feelings of persistent sadness and hopelessness among Americans have increased by about 40% in the ten years from 2010 to 2020. It is now more important than ever to intentionally care for and preserve your mental health. But how, exactly, do we do that?
	To start, Jenny wanted to make it clear that taking care of your mental health does not mean there is something wrong with you. “Everyone has mental health, as it is another domain of our health,” Jenny said. “It requires the same level of care and intention as our physical health.” When we don’t put in the effort to take care of our mental health, it is easy to let any stressor, such as an upcoming math test, cause us to feel overwhelmed, stressed, or exhausted.
When our brains get overloaded with pressure from things such as social media or school, the stress “turns off our prefrontal cortex, the part of our brain that gives us the ability to think critically, solve problems, control impulses, manage our time effectively, and find motivation. Instead, we are now being run by our amygdala, which is the part of our brain that helps us to survive,” said Jenny. The fight, flight, or freeze reaction that the amygdala triggers is what causes these intense feelings of exhaustion, hopelessness, anger, or panic. Many students are familiar with these feelings… they often occur during late-night study sessions, a final exam, or just during the course of a normal day. The amygdala response is what causes us to start scrolling through social media rather than finishing our homework, to freak out over the upcoming test rather than studying for it, or to feel like “giving up”. 
While these emotional reactions may not always be preventable, Jenny explains that there are ways to escape this mindset. “Learning to recognize when you are in this state and taking the time to engage in practices that help to reengage your prefrontal cortex is a very important part of avoiding ‘burnout’, which happens when our nervous system spends too much time in an amygdala-driven state,” says Jenny. Jenny stated that there are many practices that restore our mental health: almost anything that moves your body and engages your mind can help bring you back to focus. This could include getting exercise, going outside, taking a few breaths, getting some food, or calling a friend. 
Jenny also led us through a few grounding exercises that can help pull us out of this emotional state and return us to a decision-making one in just a short amount of time.
	“If you are stressed, the energy in your body travels up to your head,” Jenny explained. “We stop paying attention to our bodies and miss important cues. The idea of ‘grounding’ literally means to pull your energy back down to the ground.”
	“If you are feeling stressed and/or overwhelmed, start by bringing your attention to your seat or your feet. Simply notice yourself being supported by the seat you are on or your feet on the floor. Begin to extend your exhales so they are longer than your inhales, ideally exhaling through your mouth. And imagine that you are an hourglass timer filled with sand that has just been flipped over so all of the sand is at the top of your head. As you breathe, that sand travels down the centerline of your body, gathering at your seat or your feet, creating an increasing sense of heaviness and groundedness.”
	Jenny also emphasized the importance of taking care of your mental health in your daily life. Providing your body with the nutrients, sleep, and exercise it needs on a regular basis is a great way to avoid feeling overwhelmed by everyday stress.
	By using these simple grounding exercises and making sure to maintain your mental health through healthy behaviors and patterns, you can help keep yourself safe and stable during even the most stressful times. If you are struggling with maintaining your mental health, seek out additional ways to improve your mental health. There are many resources available that can help keep you safe and healthy. Talk to a Boulder High counselor, therapist, trusted adult, or friend, or look into the many websites, programs, and helplines available online. Take care of yourself this holiday season, and good luck with finals, Panthers!

How to Care For Your Mental Health

Ella Gibney and Summer Gardner December 21, 2023

With finals week just ahead and the semester drawing to a close, for many, these past few weeks have been a stress-storm of tests, projects, and presentations, on top of endless homework and studying hanging...

Abusive Relationships

Ella Gibney November 17, 2023

Warning: this article mentions accounts of relationship abuse that may be triggering or traumatic for some readers. Reader discretion is recommended. Many teens and parents in the modern day are familiar...

The creative space is located a mere five minute walk from Pearl Street.

Free Art Studio Opens in Boulder

Ella Gibney and Summer Gardner November 14, 2023

Are you an artist looking for a creative outlet, artistic community, or the chance to work with expensive art materials for free? Let us introduce you to the Naropa University Free Art Studio. In collaboration...

MUNA sounds even better on vinyl!

MUNA: The Greatest Band In The World

Ella Gibney and Summer Gardner October 26, 2023

If you were one of the 140,000 Swifties who attended The Eras Tour in Denver, chances are you caught indie band MUNA opening for the show.  Lovingly nicknamed “the greatest band in the world” by...

Many running trackers and workout apps include a calorie counting section that monitors how many calories one burns during a workout.

Competition at Any Cost

Ella Gibney October 25, 2023

In the previous issue, The Owl released a story called Bad EDucation, a piece about the presence of eating disorders in our high schools. This month, as many fall sports reach the end of their seasons,...

Students end up skimming their summer reading for annotations rather than being able to genuinely enjoy the book.

Does Summer Reading Do More Harm Than Good?

Ella Gibney October 25, 2023

With the return to a new school year, many Boulder High students (admittedly me included) find themselves in the stressful annual predicament of rushing to finish their required summer reading before classes...

Vegitarian options are available at virtually any restraunts or grocery stores.

Vegetarianism: The Way of the Future

Ella Gibney, Staff Writer October 25, 2023

In 2022, I decided to become a vegetarian. Contrary to many who go on vegetarian diets, I didn’t really think about the effects of my nutritional choices until after I changed my diet. I went vegetarian...

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Ella Gibney