Monthly Archives: January 2017

Kidnapping Blurs Perception of Black Lives Matter

by Yareli Rodriguez – Staff Reporter

Earlier this year, four black teenagers and a young adult were caught livestreaming a disabled white male that had been kidnapped and taken to one of their homes, where he was verbally and physically abused. The event took place in Chicago, and the four young adults, have been “taken into custody” according to the Huffington Post, where they will be punished for wrongdoing against the white male. The four young adults that had caused harm were Jordan Hill (18), Tesfaye Cooper (18), Brittany Covington (18), and Tanishia Covington (24).
Although many people are claiming that Black Lives Matter is responsible for their actions, I disagree. Black Lives Matter is about equality for African American people, for everyone—not about spreading hatred for other races. But as usual, the internet trolls are trying to make the campaign for equality, a negative movement.
The four young adults that had mistreated the white teen were livestreaming the kidnapping had also demanded more attention from the viewers, which angered many, including myself. In the time that the event had been broadcasted, the four young teens yelled, “f—k white people, f—k Trump!”, which caused people to think that it was a Black Lives Matter related event.
To say that the kidnapping is a “Black Lives Matter kidnapping” is ridiculous. On the website of Black Lives Matter, it says “we are broadening the conversation around the state… about the ways in which Black lives are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity”. Meaning, that the movement is meant to raise awareness about the injustice that Black people are constantly going through, not to spread the hate.
It is unfair to say this kidnapping was a part of the Black Lives Matter movement, because all it does is promote hate, which is the complete opposite of what Black Lives Matter stands for. There is no excusing what they did wrong, there is no labeling what they did as a ‘movement’—hate is hate. And hate should not be spread.

Years of Practice Help Morrisson Reach All-State


by Serena Carney – Serena Carney

After playing the trombone for almost 5 years now, Nathan Morrison’s hard work has finally been rewarded.
After playing the trombone for years, Morrisson has proved his talents by qualifying for All State, Morrisson shares what it takes for him to develop his talent and learn new music “I try to practice 5 times a week for at least 30 or 40 minutes” says Morrisson.
Morrisson explained what encourages him and inspired him to play the trombone, “I joined in 6th grade band thinking it looked fun where I got an instructor who encouraged me,” “My personal influences as far as classical music is a lot of Gustavo Holst” said Morrisson. Gustav Holst is a British composer who died in in 1934.
Like many musicians Morrisson did not start out playing the trombone, “My first instrument was piano but once I started playing trombone I stopped using piano” said Morrisson, who no longer plays the piano, focusing on the trombone only.
Morrisson is just one example of why it is important to always keep trying new things and work hard, like Morrisson it may be rewarding.
Students who have an interest in music can learn a lot from Morrisson “Practice a lot, get to know your instrument, sight reading, and learn to use your key, focus on others who play your instrument to see how it should sound,” said Morrisson. “I put school first sports usually come before music but as long as I budget my time wisely it’s not hard.” said Morrisson about how he balances all of his obligations. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes everyone does, “Try not to dwell on them, move on, focus on not making any more” said Morrisson.
Nathan Morrisson is a committed musician, athlete and student who can be used as inspiration for students and beginning musicians. Congratulate Morrisson on his hard work and all state qualification.

SAD Disrupts Mental Functions in People Everywhere

by Serena Carney – Staff Reporter

As the weather gets colder and the days grow shorter, many people begin to experience a change in attitude and mood, this may be due to seasonal depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is most common in the winter months and is caused by a lack of sunlight, it is very important to get as many hours of light as possible during winter. Seasonal depression takes many people victim all over the world.
While the exact cause of SAD is still unknown many studies reveal factors that lead to SAD. Most SAD sufferers have a normal mental health state throughout most of the year, but experience depressive symptoms in certain seasons like the winter or summer. Although the majority of people suffer from SAD during the winter months, many people also suffer from SAD during the summer such as regions with shorter nights. People who suffer from depression year round may also struggle with worsening symptoms due to seasonal depression.
Seasonal mood variations are believed to be related primarily to daylight and the amount of vitamins received, not temperature, because of this SAD is common even in places with mild winters, like Seattle and Vancouver. People who live in colder regions are especially likely to feel blue due to the effects of shorter days and lack of vitamin D. SAD begins and ends around the same times every year. The worsening of the condition can be influenced by numerous factors such as the age of patients, their genetic structure, the presence or absence of a mental health condition and the natural chemical makeup of the body.
“A change in season can cause disruption in the balance of Melatonin, a natural hormone, which plays a role in regulating the mood and sleep patterns according to the Mayo Clinic’s research on Seasonal Affective Disorder.”
If seasonal depression is a concern it is important to see a doctor. Treatment for SAD may include light therapy physical therapy antidepressant medicines and talk therapy. In most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer, however some people with the opposite pattern have symptoms that begin in spring or summer. Symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses in winter season.

Book One of Magnus Chase Series Enthralls Readers


by Fiona Higgins – Staff Reporter

Anyone who grew up loving Greek mythology has probably heard of or read the series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The popular young adult series by author Rick Riordan captivated young audiences with its witty characters, harrowing adventures and intriguing concepts in 2005, continuing on until 2009 with Percy Jackson and The Last Olympian.
Then, a year later, another series emerged by Riordan; The Heroes of Olympus. Using the original cast and including many more, Riordan took us all on another journey of epic proportions. Still, though, he wasn’t done yet, and after the final book in the series The Blood of Olympus came out, we discovered another series; Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, with the first book being called Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer.
In an abrupt change from Greek to Norse mythology, Riordan swept audiences away with a brand new cast of characters including the titular Magnus, a demigod and the protagonist. All the new characters do not disappoint in the least.
In Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer, Magnus has been stranded on the streets for two years, ever since his mother died. Out of nowhere, his estranged uncle takes an interest in finding him and uses him to find a lost sword. From there, it is a whirlwind of breathtaking events, one after another, building up Magnus’ relationships between Samirah, a middle-eastern Valkyrie, Blitz and Hearth, a guardian dwarf and elf respectively, and Loki, God of mischief, lies, and evil.
One of Riordan’s specialties are witty dialogue and complex characters, and he does not disappoint. The narrative is flowing and never feels awkward or like it is stalling for time, and the characters never once felt like they were forced. They seem very genuine and relatable, making it that much easier to dive into the story headfirst.
Rick Riordan is a former teacher, having taught history and English in multiple middle schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and Texas. While teaching, he wrote an award-winning mysteries series entitled Tres Navarre. This series won Riordan the top three national awards in the genre, called the Edgar, the Anthony and the Shamus. According to Riordan, the inspiration for his children’s novels came from stories he told his son before bed. He now lives in Boston and writes full time with his wife and two sons.
When I was younger, I was extremely into Greek Mythology, and was a little unsure going into the first book of the Magnus Chase series. After all, Norse mythology wasn’t something I was familiar with. After only a few chapters, though, I fell in love with this book the same way that I did with the Percy Jackson series. Its sarcastic characters and exciting story are completely captivating, and they make you forget that you are even reading to begin with, instead making you feel like you’re involved in it. You will not regret picking up a copy of this book.

Simple Steps to Maintain Sanity During Finals Season

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by Angel Terry – Editor-in-Chief

As finals season rapidly approaches students collectively find themselves wondering what steps they need to take to get through it with ease.
A recurring issue seen during finals week is time, and the lack thereof; students feel like they are under a constant time crunch. Below are some time-management tips to navigate through finals week with enough time to study for all your classes.
Prioritizing- While all classes are equally important in terms of a pass or fail grade, students are more confident in their abilities in different classes, and regard some to be more or less important as a result. Prioritize the classes where more help and time is necessary first, then continue work on the classes where not as much help is needed.
Study blocks- Studying in blocks of time instead of one continuous stretch will help keep track of progress, and the satisfaction of achieving small goals at a time will keep students motivated.
Reward yourself- Something that is not commonly suggested as a time-management tip would be to reward yourself after achieving small personal study goals. This keeps students satisfied, and motivated for the next incentive.
While there is no denying the importance of quantified grades of final examinations and mid-terms, the mental and emotional stresses are not brought up in discussion nearly as much. Finals week can be a time of stress and anxiety for students who feel the weight of expectation on their shoulders. Whether it be parental expectation, or personal pressure, the uncertainty of their academic outcomes, and exterior stressors leaves them feeling drained. Below are some things to remember to combat the negative effects that can result from the dreaded finals week:
Your mental stability is far more important- Contrary to popular belief, working yourself to near-death will not guarantee any results that could have been better than if time was taken. Take care of your mind first.
Your grade is not reflective of who you are as an individual- In the event that grades appear to be subpar, remember that some time and effort was put in to it.

Pacific Islanders’ Club Promotes Expression Among Members


by Jillian Felker – Entertainment Editor

Students from all over the Pacific such as Samoa, Hawaii, Fiji, and Guam to name only a few of the many islands, join together every Thursday for the Pacific Islanders club. As a group, they learn and share about their culture.
The pacific islands are composed of three ethno-geographic (meaning the geographical distribution of ethnic groups or peoples and the relationship between these groups and their environment) groupings including Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Although this does exclude several islands and continents such as Australia.
Students in the group range from all over the pacific, students such as the club president Crystal Auelua whom is from Samoa, Fiona Fuala’au (10) also from Samoa, and Donna Maria Sua’paia whom is from Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji.
During a regular meeting, they often explore the life and culture of the people and places on the pacific, but most recently they have been preparing for Cultural night on ________.
Together, they have been practicing a traditional Samoan dance for the night, Auelua said “We’re practicing a traditional Samoan dance. We plan on practicing and doing more stuff from the other pacific islands but we are starting with Samoa first.”
Outside of Kentlake, the group has much to look forward to, as they are also planning to attend other dancing and other cultural competitions. “There’s a competition I think at the end of the year that features dance’s and stuff like that, that we plan on participating in,” Auelua said.
The Pacific islanders club is open to any and all students that are from the Pacific Islands and or anybody who would like to learn and explore the culture, as Auelua said “We like to laugh, and I would say that for the most part we are very outgoing and accepting so if anybody would like to come they can feel accepted in this group.”

Voice of the Outsider: Popular Music

by Jessica Pahutski – Staff Editor

Unlike most teens, I couldn’t give less of a hoot about the pop music scene of the New Tens. Most songs sound the same to me, just with a different person recording it and slight rearrangements in key. I can count the number of current singers I don’t dislike on one hand and still have fingers left over. When it comes to the Billboard Hot 100, being able to name the first few songs to ever hit number one is pretty much the best I can do without needing to look something up. For those who don’t know, the Hot 100 started keeping track of song popularity in August 1958. Virtually all my knowledge of who’s on top of the charts today drops off completely after 2013, with rare exceptions. All of this has been going on for as long as I can remember.
I grew up on classical music and video game soundtracks, with some 60’s rock sprinkled in here and there. The only “modern” songs I heard were on the bus to and from school, and I hated pretty much all of them. The noise and words were like getting continuously elbowed by someone in three-minute intervals. Every day for four long years I was exposed to what was popular to most people around my age. However, there were a couple I could at least try to get through without internally heaving. Those few kept me going if I was unable to distract myself in other ways. Adding on to that, the “Moral Guardian” part of me sharply refused to give the more edgy acts any positive acknowledgement.
This cycle repeated right through middle school (when I’d fake playing the songs in pep band) up until fourth quarter of freshman year. Sometime that May, I stumbled upon a genre that fit: jazz. The backdrop of many a Roaring 20’s or Great Depression film clicked with me in a way I never really knew before. In a matter of weeks, old favorites like Rachmaninoff, Kondo and Totaka became a distant second priority to newcomers such as Fitzgerald, Selvin and Kasagi. YouTube channels like Pax41 and MusicProf78 were (and still are) frequent destinations, to the point that I was informed of the passing of at least one popular singer from the early 50’s by the latter. This craze would last until midway into summer vacation, where pre-Beatlemania rock and roll caught my eye in a similar manner.
After two years of 20’s, 30’s and 50’s tunes, things both newer and even older caught my attention: ragtime, Jonathan Coulton, and Leslie Fish. The turn of the century became just as cool to me as Internet-based rock and filk would soon after. With rag, I generally avoid the less politically-correct stuff or listen to the instrumentals. The well-enunciated voices of singers like Billy Murray and legendary rhythms of composers such as Scott Joplin, combined with the previous jazz, rock and folk obsessions, have created my own personal music scene that works. I don’t need to be “hip” and “with it” when it comes to music; I just listen to what I like.

Rogue One Lives Up to Prior Series Reputation

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by Nicholas Runyon – Staff Reporter

“It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy….” this is the “opening crawl” from “Star Wars Episode IV a new Hope” a perfect summary of “Rouge One: A Star Wars Story”.
“Rouge One” is a standalone Star Wars movie taking place almost exactly before episode IV a new hope. (the last scene of Rouge One is inside the rebel ship with the rebels preparing for Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers to board, “A New Hope” opens with a Rebel ship being boarded by Darth Vader, and Stormtroopers).
Felicity Jones plays the lead role of Jyn Erso, a thief who is broken out of a prison camp by the Rebel Alliance and led to believe that she is being sent to rescue her father (Mads Mikkelsen), one of the architects of the Empire’s secret Death Star. She then meets Rebel intelligence officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), who travels as Jyn’s handler and pilot, with a reprogrammed enemy droid: K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), who provides some comic relief. Eventually, they are joined by the Imperial defector Bodhi (Riz Ahmed), the blind monk Chirrut (Donnie Yen), his heavily armed and armored buddy Baze (Jiang Wen), and, later, by a squad of Rebel soldiers to retrieve the plans to the Death Star.
Many people complained that this movie didn’t have the iconic “opening Crawl” like all of the other Star Wars Movies Before it. The reason is because Rouge One is not a “Star Wars Movie” its not Episode III.5 it is named “Rouge One: A Star Wars STORY”, meaning it doesn’t fall into the I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII continuous story it is a spin-off taking place in the same universe but not actually a part of the ongoing series.
The actual title of this movie should have been; The Real Suicide Squad, because every one of the main characters were sent on this suicide mission to get the plans to the Death Star. During the course of the movie, every named character original to the film dies, which explains why we never saw any of them in episodes IV, V, and VI. killed by blaster fire, blown away by explosives, buried in debris, vaporized by the Death Star. The ending is one of the strongest points of the film; with the heroes dead, we see nameless Rebel soldiers scramble to complete the mission, cut down one by one by Darth Vader’s lightsaber.
The movie also cleared up one of the biggest plot holes from the original movies. Mads Mikkelsen’s character Galen Erso knows that the Empire will build a super-weapon with or without his help, so he surrenders the last 15 years of his life to work for the people he hates most, but he secretly creates a tiny weak spot in the Death Star: the tiny exhaust port that Luke Skywalker will hit with proton torpedoes in “Episode IV A New Hope.”
The movie ends with Princess Leia Organa Obtaining the plans to the Death Star, leading into “A New Hope” where she hides the plans in R2-D2 when Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers attack

The Hamilton Mixtape Features Award Winning Voices in New Spin


by Madison Marko – Op-ed Editor

“The Hamilton Mixtape” transcends any specific genre, reimagining familiar songs and tunes with the help of all-too-familiar artists. Released on Dec. 2, the album puts the score and story of the Broadway hit “Hamilton” into a new light.
“The Hamilton Mixtape” is an innovative, inspired telling of one of our founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton’s story, intertwined with stand-out themes that still hold meaning today. Executive produced by Black Thought, Questlove of the Roots, and the mind and means behind “Hamilton”, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the mixtape simply leaves no room for failure.
And the album definitely does not fall short of brilliance.
Featuring a remarkable 36 artists from varying musical backgrounds, the album wants for nothing in terms of depth. Household names like Chance The Rapper, Alicia Keys, Sia, Wiz Khalifa, Usher, and Lin-Manuel Miranda make the 23-track mixtape instantly stand out—if you somehow overlook the bold “Hamilton” logo proudly filling the front cover.
The album manages to trigger an invigorating wave of excitement in die-hard “Hamilton” fans with tailored, recognizable songs from the original score. Sia’s version of “Satisfied”, with the help of Miguel and Queen Latifah, is a thrilling, skin-tingling version of the original. Kelly Clarkson’s “It’s Quiet Uptown” blends her powerful vocals with the gentle touch of the score’s original vibes, creating an emotional, awakening version of the original.
Along with these extremely recognizable accounts of Hamilton’s story, the mixtape features stunning adaptations of some of the original score with eye-opening altercations. “Who Tells Your Story” puts a new, hopeful, upbeat spin on the musical’s death-ridden, somber feel thanks to a fresh beat and new verses by the Roots. “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)” is also a standout, using old phrases from the original to supplement a sizzling, biting new story of the struggle and determination of immigrants.
Following this masterpiece of music and storytelling is an unfortunate, supposedly-comedic rendition of “You’ll Be Back” ear-splittingly sung by Jimmy Fallon. Although proposed in a sort of “sketch” format, the song does little to warrant a laugh. Or even a smile. It sucks the life out of the cheery and cheeky original. You definitely won’t be back for this one.
Overall, “The Hamilton Mixtape” is a stunning new take on the well-loved “Hamilton” score that delivers a well-balanced feast of old and new meaning to your ears. 36 artists, 23 tracks, and all will leave you with a fresh perspective on one of the most intriguing founding fathers and the ways in which his story still rings true today.

History of the First Animated Film


by Jessica Pahutski – Staff Editor

When you hear “first fully-animated feature-length film”, what do you think of? Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, of course! That was the first one ever, right? Wrong. Snow White was not the first feature-length (greater than 40 min.) fully-animated film released in theaters. It wasn’t even the first with sound, though it was the earliest with color and the first done in cels. What were the true ur-examples of feature-length animation?
The concept of animated shorts predates films by a number of years. Feature-length projects began in Argentina in 1917 with Italian-born cartoonist Quirino Cristiani’s El Apostol (The Apostle). A satirical film about the then-President of Argentina, Hipolito Yrigoyen, El Apostol was made using cutout animation (2D puppets with movable parts) and was praised for its biting commentary by those who saw it. Unfortunately, the only known copy was lost in warehouse fire in 1926. All that survives is concept art, newspaper reviews, and a picture of a scale model of Buenos Aires that was set on fire in one of if not the only live-action scene.
Thus, the title of first surviving animated feature goes to Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed). Produced in Germany by Charlotte “Lotte” Reiniger and released in 1926, this fantasy film was done primarily in silhouette animation. Thread was used to move the limbs and heads and some sequences used oil and sand. All told, the film took three years to complete as every individual frame had to be photographed. Production also included the first multiplane camera, beating Disney to that technical achievement by almost a decade. Like all films from before 1927, Adventures of Prince Achmed was silent.
A fully-animated film with sound, Peludopolis was released in Argentina in 1931. Another political satire made by Cristiani in the same style as his previous work, Peludopolis had a slightly more complicated backstory than its predecessor. Partway into the film’s production, President Yrigoyen was removed from power in a military coup, leading to several changes in the plot. Sound was synchronized using the Vitaphone sound-on-disc process as opposed to the increasingly common sound-on-film. Sadly, it suffered the same fate as El Apostol, with all known prints having been destroyed in two separate fires in 1957 and 1961. Decades after their release, a making-of documentary was unearthed, showing how Cristiani’s films were done in detail.
Though it beat Peludopolis to completion by a year, Ladislas Starevich’s stop-motion, fully-animated Le Roman de Renard (The Tale of the Fox) had production troubles that prevented it from being the first fully-animated feature with sound released to theaters. Namely that the original French soundtrack couldn’t be synced up with the film for unknown reasons. After seven years, a German soundtrack was added and Tale of the Fox hit the big screen in Berlin just eight months before Snow White’s premiere in the US. A few years after that, a new French soundtrack was done and the film was finally released in its home country.