The Pepperbox

The Student News Site of Arcata High School

The Pepperbox

The Pepperbox

Navigating life and school after an attempt
Navigating life and school after an attempt
Ell Franklin and Anthony Vasek November 3, 2023
“I’ve been focusing more on myself and what I need because I used to be a really bad people pleaser. I’ve always put everyone else first before me.”
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The CCLL Leadership team 

(top row, left to right: Erika Homan, Carolyn van Mantgem, Melanie Zapper, Taylor Nada, Tim Clewell.
bottom row, left to right: Johanna Mauro, Fionn Conroy, Kayla Gaskill)
Hello CCLL!
Taylor Nada, Online Editor • December 7, 2023
This year, the Arcata Arts Institute joined a new program known as the Creative Careers Leadership Lab (CCLL), an organization aimed at helping art students gain skills to succeed in future careers in the arts.  
Pepperbox Broadcast
Pepperbox Broadcast
Rey Barber, Art Director • November 17, 2023
“It’s the first time we’ve ever had a broadcast,” Kloe Bryant said, “so it’s really just testing everything out,”
Difference Between America and Other Countries
Shu Yamashita November 14, 2023
“In Italy, we have just one class and the same classmates, we don’t change classes. We have been in the same class for four years. We have twelve subjects,”
Is study hall really for studying?
Kyndle Eisner, Production Manager • November 14, 2023
“I feel like it’s less strict than last year, but the pass system is stupid and doesn’t work.”

Totes vs. backpacks

“I would never use something with a weird texture or something like that, it’s canvas or nothing.”
Max Neighbors and Amalie Rebstock pretend to fight over tote bags and backpacks. (Rey Barber)

There are a few items that every student needs: pencils, paper, eraser, and most importantly something to put it all in. For a long time, backpacks have been the epitome of student utility. Two straps make them soft on students’ shoulders, while their large capacity makes them perfect for a load of textbooks. Yet, more and more students have begun to reject their two strapped bags for the humble tote bag. 

Technically, a tote is any medium to large bag that has two parallel handles. This means that a tote could go from a $100,000 Birkin to a $2 plain canvas bag. With so many different varieties, how do you choose the perfect one? 

Avid tote bag user, Junior Chloe Woodroofe said, “I would never use something with a weird texture or something like that, it’s canvas or nothing.”

Even the classic canvas tote can have a major variety from one to another. Bookstores are some of the most popular places to find a good tote. They prove you aren’t illiterate and have perhaps even read a book once. Bookstore totes have gotten so popular that when I visited the Shakespeare and Company bookstore, every single person who walked out the exit had one on their shoulder (very few with any books in sight). Have tote bags become a symbol of pseudo-intellectualism? Have we reached an age where people care more about looking like they read rather than the actual reading? Or maybe bookstore tote bags are just a cute way to remember the places you’ve been. 

Junior and backpack user Alex Phelan gave his thoughts on tote bags. “They’re cool, I guess. But doesn’t it hurt your shoulder?” Phelan said.

Comfort is definitely one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a tote bag.

“One shoulder is definitely more indented than the other,” Woodroofe said.

A good rule of thumb is to get a tote bag with reinforced straps so they distribute weight evenly instead of digging into your shoulder. 

“Totes are just so cutesy but they only make sense if you have a car or locker because you probably can’t fit everything” said Senior Aliviana Bacca-Lastra

This begs the question, has wearing a tote bag become a status symbol on campus? In a school that has some of the most unused lockers in the world, does having a tote bag equal having a car? It’s common knowledge that having a car in high school immediately puts you a step up on the social ladder. When people get a car all of a sudden their car-less peers gather around and beg for a ride (me included). Perhaps carrying a tote bag has become the new car-key lanyard, jingling around haphazardly and letting everyone know your status on campus. 

At the end of the day, a tote is just a bag, another way to carry around your stuff. It doesn’t really matter what type of bag you use to carry your Chromebook but I still think that adding a personal touch is key. Pins are a very simple way to make your bag unique. Having your favorite band or artist displayed on your person gives strangers a little look into who you are before speaking to you. 

“A good tote floats my boat,” Woodrooffe said. 

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About the Contributor
Lila Toledo, Executive Producer
Lila Toledo is a reporter for the Pepperbox. She was born and raised on Isla Mujeres in Mexico but moved to Humboldt in 2018. She went to Sunnybrae Middle School where she received the Rising Star award her 8th grade year. She enjoys cooking and baking in her free time. She is a lover of cats and a vegetarian. Her drink of choice during fall is a warm chai or a classic pumpkin spice latte. This is her first year at the Pepperbox although she is planning on continuing until she graduates.
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