Senior Wrap-Up: The Final Bell for the Class of 2015
BY JORDAN EGBUNA
As the school year ends, the time for students to wrap-up their academic affairs and prepare themselves for the upcoming summer break draws near. But while the classes of 2016-2018 move on to advancing to the next level in their high school careers, a majority of the senior class of 2015 is getting ready to conclude the final chapter of high school. Whether the graduating students plan to attend college or not, the memories, lessons, perspectives and opinions that we’ve obtained throughout high school will not be forgotten anytime soon.
My observations have been that other senior classes were more unified in their desire to own their last year of high school than our class is. Not only are we not unified, we have a number of students graduating with very negative opinions of their time here.
“I can’t wait to get out of Rod and move on with my life because I honestly say that Rodriguez has been the worst experience of my life,” said senior Zach Christ. He said the school seems too centered around getting high test scores and making the school look good rather than actually teaching valuable life skills. Other complaints by Zach and some other RHS students are that the seniors are fake, obnoxious and that only leadership members in our senior class and their buddies give a hoot about school spirit.
Based on the students I’ve interviewed and the chatter I’ve heard from various seniors, this class feels distanced from each other. Most would rather associate with their exclusive cliques and would prefer keeping to themselves instead of integrating as a whole cooperative unit.
Although Senior Zhané Meinjo enjoyed her time here, she acknowledged the class of 2015’s reputation for being disjoined. “I feel like the people in our year aren’t really as connected as the past senior classes.”
Despite some of the expressed negative opinions, some of the seniors graduating this year will look back on their high school careers, and consider it some of the best years of their lives. Senior Nick Cozad describes these high school years as “a major importance” to his life. He is one of the students who thinks highly of his journey at RHS and he wouldn’t change a thing about it. Brandon Thorner agrees with him, describing his years as “a truly unique experience” that he’ll never forget.
As a RHS senior myself, I’ve had my own share of positive and negative experiences associated here. That being said, I’m easily able to see both sides. RHS has blessed me with good friends, new experiences and new opportunities. At the same time, I’ve never felt more stress, anxiety and irritation that was rooted to school and my peers. The class of 2015 is undoubtedly socially separated, especially if you compare our connection to the ones shared among the former classes before us. It’s unfortunate that we were never able to really grow together as a group, but whether that got in the way of the seniors enjoying their time at RHS was up to the individual. But whether we loved it or hated it, one thing the senior class of 2015 can agree on is that we can’t wait to get out of here.
American Sniper Review
BY ANTONIO DELGIACCO
This 2014 best picture nominated movie, “American Sniper,” stars Bradley Cooper in the true story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. The movie chronicles Kyle’s experiences in the war of Afghanistan and his suffering of PTSD once he gets home. Directed by Clint Eastwood, this movie gained a lot of buzz during the 2014 award season. But is it really any good?
I guess. Not really. When the nominations for best picture were released, I was happy with most of the list, but I wasn’t sure why “American Sniper” was included. It isn’t a bad movie by any means, but it doesn’t really stand out at all.
For starters, there are a lot of things to like here. The acting is very good. Bradley Cooper doesn’t disappoint, and his performance of the PTSD diagnosed Chris Kyle is very convincing (at least when he gets to act). Sienna Miller, who plays Chris’ wife, also is pretty solid in her role, I don’t have any complaints there. The movie also happens to have really well done action scenes and just all around good direction.
My problem with “American Sniper” is what it could have been. This movie aims to show what it is like for a soldier with PTSD to come home from the war, and while we do see that, these scenes are only small snippets in a movie full of action. This could have been a great drama about Chris Kyle at home, struggling to adjust back to a normal life, but instead we got what felt like just a generic action movie.
And it’s not that generic action is a bad thing, but to have an actor like Bradley Cooper, and have a director like Clint Eastwood, I would expect a lot more. This movie is stale and formulaic, there is not enough to stand out, and it really shouldn’t have been nominated for any best picture awards. Plus I can’t help but mention the infamous scene with the fake rubber baby. That was pretty awful. “American Sniper” gets a 3 out of 5.
Theater 2: A Class of Writers as Well as Actors
BY JULIANNA ROMUALDI
Theatre class is a lot more than just learning to act. The students of the class are currently performing scenes that they wrote themselves. The transition from Theatre 1 to Theatre 2 is big, as students perform in front of real audiences and learn the skill or script writing.
One of the scenes being performed is “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” It is written by Jazmyn Passama, Abigail Brown, Michaela Napata, and Jacob Thomas. The premise of their scene is a group of friends Maggie (Passama), Stephanie (Napata), and Brandon (Mark Middleton) and their doctor (Abigail Brown). It is set in a mental institution with each character dealing with a serious issue such as suicide, addiction, and abortion. The message they are trying to send with their scene is, to not criticize what you don’t understand.
Another scene that will be performed is “Media”, about why the media covers irrelevant stories such as celebrity lives instead of major news stories. It is from the point of view of the news anchor, Skylar Lightening Bolt with Daniel, Taylor, and Mitch McDowell. It is meant to emphasize how many times, news organizations do things for ratings and views.
Kylie jenner lip challenge
by: Danny Espinoza
The Kylie Jenner challenge has fans trying to copy Kylie’s giant-lipped look by putting “a glass over their lips to create an airlock on their skin for as long as five minutes,” reported MTV UK News. After the glass is removed, they are left with giant, swollen lips that they then photograph and post online.
But doctors are trying to warn people away from trying the trend, saying that the Kylie Jenner lip challenge is actually quite dangerous and could do serious harm.
“I can definitely say that this would be dangerous even just to try it, and especially somebody who does it more than once,” cosmetic surgeon Pordiis Kjartansdottir told Metro. “The lips turn blue because blood fills up and they could easily become infected and lose all sensation. It is a really dangerous stunt and I’d advise strongly against anybody trying it.”
Kylie herself has been accused of having her lips artificially enhanced, and though she has denied it some cosmetic experts say otherwise.
But Kylie did have her lips enhanced, it has been done by a team of experts rather than a suctioned glass that can easily cause injury. In fact, the Kylie Jenner lip challenge has already led to a number of injuries, with many participants sharing their failures online. On Twitter, many young girls (and boys) have shared pictures of bruised and dangerously swollen lips.
To Pimp a Butterfly: Music Review
BY CARLOS DUARTE
K Dot is finally back to bringing us what is without a doubt one of the most anticipated albums since his sophomore classic good kid, m.A.A.d city. Of course, I'm speaking of rapper, Kendrick Lamar's latest album, To Pimp A Butterfly, which was supposed to come out on March 23rd, but actually ended up coming out earlier than expected on March 16th; this surprised many around the world. To Pimp A Butterfly is an album that for fans of the last album, will take more than just one listen to end up liking, or some might just instantly make up their minds and just pass it off as a "disappointment".
However, that wasn't the case when I had listened to it the first time or the next few times after that, because I ended up finding it to be one of the finest albums released not only recently, but since good kid, m.A.A.d city. From the start of the album to the end, it becomes very clear that the purpose of the album was to deliver messages to all and it does it so very well, but a lot of people will not see that because they were expecting a new Banger; don't get me wrong i'm all for that, but every now and then it’s nice to have albums like this as well. Rather than those grimy and banging beats, we were delightfully treated to with his last album, or are treated with in general from other artists, we are treated with a mixture of jazz, funk, and soul.
After multiple listens, I ended up finding that not a single track disappointed me considering they all have a their own sort of tone and message throughout about many things going on in the world today. However, some standout tracks I can name off the top of my head would include “Wesley's Theory”, “u”, “King Kunta”, “Alright”, “How Much a Dollar cost”, “The Blacker the Berry”, and “i”.Even the interludes found ways to keep me entertained throughout the album, and when it gets to the last song/conclusion to the album titled “Mortal Man”, I came to love the album even more as it not only carried great messages throughout, but even included one of the best MCs to have ever lived: 2Pac.
To Pimp A Butterfly is a true mind blower that only indicates to me what i've already been knowing as a long time fan, which is that Kendrick Lamar will truly be the next king of hip-hop. Kendrick saw a vision and he set it free in this album where every song is well written, crafted, and produced. Kendrick’s lyrics at times are heavy, dark, and angry, while at other times you can find them to be humorous as well. While critics will find ways to praise this album like its the second coming, fans just won't have it in them to give that same praise.
If anything Kendrick not only proves that he is lyrically ahead of other rappers in the game today, but he shows us that he's here to stay and with To Pimp A Butterfly, I think he has finally found his place. The messages throughout the album are so deep and on another level that I fear not many will truly understand it, but those who do will know of the true justifications it brings into a world very much in need of it. To Pimp A Butterfly not only raises and sets the bar for upcoming rap albums this year, but for any year which is why I'm giving it a 5 out of 5.
Twin Peaks Review
BY ANTONIO DELGIACCO
It seems that there are a ton of TV shows that always get cancelled very early on and gain a cult following. Shows like “Freaks and Geeks” or “Firefly.” But lately there has been a string of revived TV shows, years after the release. Both “Arrested Development” and shows like “Futurama” have gotten new episodes years after cancellation. The latest to add to this list is the 1990-1991 series, “Twin Peaks,” which is set to air a new season next year on Showtime.
The creator of show, David Lynch, is considered by many to be a genius. With many well received movies on his name, such as “Eraserhead” and “Mulholland Drive,” it’s no surprise that “Twin Peaks” is just as great.
The story follows FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) as he investigates a murder in the small town of Twin Peaks. As he spends his time in the town he slowly starts to consider it home, while also learning more and more about the dark secrets that hide there.
This show is extremely unique. I’ve never seen anything that was both hilariously cheesy and creepily terrifying all at the same time. The mix of goofy acting and and atmospheric creepy music is weirdly fitting. I’m never sure whether I should be laughing at a scene or just very unsettled. Its a weird mix that I’m not sure I completely understand.
This tone is what makes the show so great. All the characters are just extremely memorable, and there are so many moments that will stick in your head for a long time. There is nothing out there like “Twin Peaks” and it is truly one of kind. It’s not a perfect show, but it is pretty close. I give it a 4 out of 5.
It Follows: Movie Review
BY CARLOS DUARTE
It Follows is a new horror film directed by David Robert Mitchell and starring Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Jake Weary, Daniel Zovatto, and more. Monroe was definitely the star of this film, as some of her friends in this movie really weren’t given the attention they deserve. It isn’t like the typical horror films of today, but instead it carries a sort of retro 80s feel to it; and an original story/concept that ultimately makes the film a lot different.
The story is about a girl name Jay (Maika Monroe), who sleeps with her new boyfriend for the first time and ends up learning that she is just the latest recipient of a fatal curse. This curse is passed from victim to victim through sexual intercourse. This thing that follows can creep on you and ultimately follow you as either a friend or a complete stranger. Of course, her friends have a hard time believing that there is something following her and believe her to be just paranoid. However, once they begin to see what she’s seeing, her friends help her to either be free of it or at least help her defend herself.
Its soundtrack and cinematography are both excellent in this film and ultimately build up to the tension the film carries from start to finish. It Follows also does tribute to a lot of horror films like Halloween and even retro 80s which was awesome. It’s a film that assumes you have a brain (unlike most horror films) and actually makes you think at some points. Unfortunately, there are parts that kind of pulled me away from the film, especially with some of the rules of this “fatal curse”.
I'll be honest, It Follows wasn’t really a scary film to me, but it was one that has a concept that is interesting enough to at least keep audiences entertained and interested. It’s very much akin to the Babadook, not only in the way the films are made and told, but on how the audience will either like it, love it, or hate it. To me, It Follows is definitely better than some of the horror films I've seen in the last few years, and despite its flaws, it's definitely one I came to like just as much as Babadook. It Follows gets a 4/5.
Woman on the $20 Bill
BY MADIE BOWERS
Recently there has been a push around the world to get women the respect that they deserve. Whether it’s equal pay for genders, or even in some places, to allow women to get jobs, the most recent push for women is to get one on the $20 bill. After 87 years of seeing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, that may soon change.
A New York based advocacy group dubbed “Woman on 20s” has recently held a poll to see which women that citizens would prefer to see on the $20 bill. People got to choose from activists like Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony and Margaret Sanger. The winner of the poll was Harriet Tubman.
This story interested RHS history teacher Mr. Bill Ferguson. He held a poll in his own classroom in which students were allowed to vote for the woman they wanted to see on the $20 bill. The results: Rosa Parks got 58 votes, Harriet Tubman got 27, Eleanor Roosevelt received 11, and various others who received 5 votes or less including Pocahontas and Amelia Erhart.
Mr. Ferguson is not against the idea of seeing a new face on the bill. “Personally, I don't have a problem with a woman on the 20 or even a woman in the white house, other countries have done just fine with a gal running the show, Germany, Israel, England, Philippines, etc the list goes on.”
So will we see a women on the $20 bill in the future? Petitions to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill were delivered Tuesday to the White House Council on Women and Girls and to the office of U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios. Their representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Women on 20s campaign got a boost last month when Representative Luis Gutiérrez, a Democrat from Illinois, introduced legislation calling for a woman to be featured on the $20 bill.
Hopefully, soon we will have an answer to the question. Seeing a woman on the $20 bill wouldn’t be degrading Andrew Jackson’s work, it would be advocating equality in America.
BY: AMIRAH DENNARD
Mother’s day has came. Mother’s day falls on sunday, May 10th this year. Mother’s Day is a holiday honoring motherhood that is observed in different forms throughout the world. The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar. While dates and celebrations vary, Mother’s Day most commonly falls on the second Sunday in May and traditionally involves presenting mothers with flowers, cards and other gifts.
The roots of the modern American Mother’s Day date back to the 19th century. In the years before the Civil War (1861-65), Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. These clubs later became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War. In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.
Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”—the main church in the vicinity of their home—for a special service. Over time the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. This custom eventually faded in popularity before merging with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s.
While versions of Mother’s Day are celebrated throughout the world, traditions vary depending on the country. In Thailand, for example, Mother’s Day is always celebrated in August on the birthday of the current queen, Sirikit. Another alternate observance of Mother’s Day can be found in Ethiopia, where families gather each fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood.
BY: AMIRAH DENNARD
Memorial day is here. Memorial day falls on Monday, May 25th. Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.
The Civil War claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, requiring the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.
It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo—which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.
On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a less somber note, many people throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.
I Don't Like Sh*t, I Don't Go Outside An Album By Earl Sweatshirt - Music Review
BY CARLOS DUARTE
From the Mixtape “Earl” to his debut album “Doris”, Odd Future member and former rapper, Earl Sweatshirt has made quite a name for himself as an artist . He is without a doubt one of my favorite artists working today and my favorite member from the group entitled “Odd Future”. Now, he has recently released an album titled “I Don't Like Sh*t, I Don't Go Outside” (IDLSIDGO) and it was supposed to be a surprise (on top of all the other surprises this year), but was revealed to us early through iTunes. It released on March 23rd, 2015 and features 10 tracks all clocking in at about a mere 30 minutes.
While many will find reason to be disappointed with the length of the album, I did not and actually found it to be one of his best works yet. IDLSIDGO is not only a very dark album, but one of his most honest works yet. It focuses on Earl’s very real depression of things that had and are happening like drug addiction, his girlfriend leaving him, not having a father around, and even his mom barely being there for him. To me, IDLSIDGO shows us what happens when you don't go outside which is that you get trapped in your mind and start to reminisce on a lot of things to the point where it causes depression. The thing is just one song from Earl is almost enough given the high amounts of intelligence he truly carries throughout it and it takes more than one listen to truly understand it.
That being said, of course, I did not find one song disappointing on this album and loved every second of it as it truly revealed a lot about himself and even gave him the chance to show us his new flow. It also carries some very grindy beats as well as some guest features like Vince Staples. Earl and Vince have to got to be one of the best collaborators of this generation and it would be a gem to see them work on more songs together because their collab on “Hive” from the album “Doris” is as unforgettable as their recent collab on “Wool” from this album. Although Earl Sweatshirt’s new album may raise a lot of concern to both fans and listeners as to whether they like it or not, it still remains that Earl is lyrically ahead of some of the people in the game today and with this album he only improves upon that further and has me anxious to hear what he will put out next. IDLSIDGO, gets a 5/5.
“Get Hard” Goes Hard on the Big Screen
BY JORDAN EGBUNA
Get Hard is a comedy about a big shot CEO named James King (Will Ferrell) who gets framed for several accounts of fraud, and gets sentenced to prison. As a failsafe in case he can’t clear his name on time, he hires his African American subordinate Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) to teach him how to survive in prison due to him stereotypically believing he was incarcerated. In need of the money to expand his dream car washing business, Lewis agrees to go along with the act and gathers information on prison in order to train King.
A movie with two of some of the best comedians in film, what else could you expect besides greatness? I for one thought the movie was hilarious to watch, but reviewers on websites like imdb.com (rated movie 3 stars) and rottentomatoes.com (rated movie 2 stars) feel that the movie was tasteless and mediocre. I care to disagree with these opinions. I for one couldn’t stop laughing at all of the witty and crude acts of humor consistently spread throughout the film. I also enjoyed the friendship that King and Lewis shared as two good-hearted men who bond over crime and scandal. Overall Kart and Farrell did not fail to disappoint, and I give the movie a 4 out of 5.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
BY ANTONIO DELGIACCO
With the return of Mad Max around the corner with “Fury Road,” its interesting to look back and see the film considered one of the greatest action movies of all time. “The Road Warrior” was released in 1982 starring Mel Gibson, capturing the eyes of filmmakers and critics everywhere with its post-apocalyptic universe and unique look. In a world where food, water, and gasoline is running out, everything is pure chaos. After Max’s family was killed in the previous film, he roams the desert with his Australian Cattle dog.
While the first “Mad Max” was well received, it wasn’t until the sequel “Road Warrior” that the franchise made an impact on film. Guillermo Del Toro, David Fincher, Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron cite “The Road Warrior” as one of their biggest inspirations. The apocalyptic and dystopian style has clear influence on most stories of the same genre. But the best thing about this film is that it still stands up today.
Many 80s action movies don’t age very well. Usually this is due to early CG animated effects. “The Road Warrior” however, makes use of a lot of practical stunts. Vehicles and cars built for the movie are actually crashing and exploding. There is no smoke and mirrors or “movie magic,” its all really happening. The story itself also holds up, and with the recent trend of post-apocalyptic storylines, it fits right in with most of the movies released today.
“Mad Max” is fantastic. The influence it has on today is obvious, and the action and story is solid. The movie has few flaws here and there, but nothing that affects the film as a whole. “Road Warrior” deserves a 4.5 out of 5. I think if it was released today it would still hold up, and I can’t wait to see how the new “Mad Max: Fury Road” turns out.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number - Videogame Review
BY CARLOS DUARTE
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is a 2D top down action video game developed by Dennaton games and is the sequel to the well praised and critically acclaimed Hotline Miami which came out in 2012. Hotline Miami is known to be one of the most violent video games ever made and three years later we finally get Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.
For the longest time, not only has it been one of my most anticipated games, but I was never skeptical on how the game would turn out. It’s also known for being a very challenging game where you will be expected to die a lot and find yourself livid at points, but for me this is what makes the game and I'm happy to say that Wrong Number still carries that same formula that I was hoping to see again. Wrong number takes place before and after the events of Hotline Miami and revolves itself around thirteen playable characters who each have their own interpretations as the story unfolds. Each character has their own special abilities and perks as well. Even old masks make a return, while new masks offer new abilities and a differentiation of play styles. Also once you beat the game, you unlock hard mode which is sure to keep those who are still looking for even more a challenge, pleased until they release the level editor which is surely going to have players coming back when it finally releases sometime this spring.
Like Hotline Miami, Wrong Number is in every way an entertaining and engaging game with many challenges to be found throughout. It carries well designed controls as well as some striking visuals. The star of this game is the soundtrack which shouldn't surprise anyone who played its predecessor because the music provided throughout both games now are as memorable as both these games will surely be. With Wrong Number, Dennaton games provides us with a game that in every way improves upon the original. It’s almost as if it appears to be everything a sequel shouldn't be and that is exactly what makes it good. While some may find it to be more of the same, it actually quite isn't and if it isn't broke then don't fix it.
Even though Wrong Number is sadly the last Hotline Miami title we will see from Dennaton games, I must say that it was a bloody good time. Wrong Number is without a doubt the best indie game i've played in quite a while and amongst one of the years best games which is why I'm giving it a 5/5.
BY NICOLE THURN
Spring break. The only relief from the endless abyss of despair that is the second semester. For many students including myself, spring break comes at the perfect time-- with stress building and standardized testing coming up, a week of relaxation is just what we need. However, some teachers just don’t seem to understand this.
Breaks should be an opportunity to completely forget about school, yet teachers always seem to ruin it with work. A week off school is not the time to give projects or long homework assignments. We deal with that enough when school is in session and even on the weekends. Besides, teachers aren’t stupid; they know that even though we have 11 days to do the lengthy assignment they gave us, it still won’t be done until the morning it’s due. So why keep giving these tasks to students then getting mad when what they know will happen happens?
We are teenagers. We have enough on our plates. Give us breaks when they are promised, don’t give us what is almost a week of independent study. No one expects teachers to gives lectures or grade work over the break, so they shouldn’t expect us to do projects and homework. Stick to your word.