I am extremely excited to share the experience I had at one of the finest institutes. United States Naval Academy (USNA) has a summer program for rising seniors, which is unique and consists of a realistic six day experience that allows one to undergo a cadet like life. It is an introductory program, which allowed me to understand the routine of a cadet in much more depth than an hour long college visit offered by all schools. As a physical fitness assessment is a part of the curriculum, it remains a reciprocal tool for the academy to further screen all selectively invited students. I was one of the fortunate students who competed with more or less 5000 students from all over for the participation. I lived with three roommates in Bancroft Hall, the largest single dormitory in the world. During the six days, we were on a tight schedule from 0545 to 2300. It is a super energetic environment, where we all started the day with morning exercise. A team leader sang and we all followed the cadence while jogging. Then breakfast at King Hall, a huge dining hall that echoed with conversations and chants from the Midshipmen. Following breakfast, classroom experience with the academy professors was eye opening and fun. My most favorite classes were electrical and mechanical engineering (where we took apart a lawnmower!). I also enjoyed new roles in foreign language. It was amazing to take part in simulator labs such as one in the Navigation and Seamanship department. There I experienced sailing a ship through various weather conditions as well as transport to different locations across the globe. I was able to meet and introduce myself to Coach Garner, Coach of the Division I Varsity Tennis Team. It is the place for sports admirers, as all accepted students/cadets need to participate. Sea Trials was something I can never forget. It was a challenge and reward to go through running in mud and other obstacles. I enjoyed it the most. At the indoor swimming pool, I had to get to the bottom to collect a rifle from the bottom of the pool and swim back to drop it off. I was exhausted, but super happy to make new friends and to get a glimpse of unmatched discipline and respect. I highly recommend all juniors to apply for this program. Don’t Give Up The Ship!
One album to augment your view on life BY KYLE LEWIS
J. Cole performing his album Forest Hills Drive. He released a new album in December 2016.
Weary-eyed J. Cole fans of all ages contain themselves as they wait until midnight, angsty teens try to figure out a way to torrent it off the Internet, and everyone begins to form opinions about “For Your Eyez Only” by J. Cole. Did Cole’s latest live up to the hype? After J. Cole’s release of “2014 Forest Hills Drive” went double platinum, J. Cole was considered by many as a new legend. Possibly one of the peaks of his career, the release of the album set a high standard for any music that Cole would ever drop again. Despite all of his accolades from earning his spot in the industry, high expectations for “For Your Eyez Only” were not let down. The last track on the album, sporting the same name as the album title, implicitly tells a story and lesson surrounding his friend’s death that every song on the album ties into. Just like good poetry, Cole’s songs can be music to the ears and the mind. Today’s hip-hop has changed drastically compared to 10 years ago but in a world of singles and catchy songs, Cole’s album seems to a tell a vivid story of love, life, and death, only conceptualized from listening to and understanding, the whole album. What makes “For Your Eyez Only” so relatable and accessible to Cole’s audience are the parallels he draws between his friend’s life and his. On the tracks “Immortal,” “Neighbors,” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” Cole tells his friend’s story of having nothing to lose and fighting the reality of death and depression. Although he may be telling a story from a different point of view, Cole makes obvious parallels between his friend’s struggles and his own. The type of connection he makes here is one that makes the listener lost in the story, each song a cliffhanger to the next. On the tracks “Ville Mentality” and “Change,” Cole shows how his friend’s daughter’s life was changed after the funeral, paralleling his life. Not one for shallow lyrics, Cole grabs the listener and asks them, “do you have a heart?” His ability to make the listener empathize with his message makes it that much easier for him to create a connection with his audience. Some of the softer songs on the album; “Foldin Clothes,” “She’s Mine Pt. 1,” and “She’s Mine Pt. 2,” help the audience take something away from the album. Whether one likes the songs or not, a message to the tune of “Love can not be taken for granted”, cannot just be disregarded. Music cannot be graded like a math quiz; subjectivity defines it. While one person may become attached to an album, another might throw it away after a single song. Despite one’s contempt or love for “For Your Eyez Only,” Cole’s ability to tells a story that most anyone can empathize with or learn from gave way to an undeniably respectable album.
Who lives, who dies, I'll write your review BY LAURAN JONES
This is one of the original posters for Hamilton. Like the Mixtape, posters have demos as well.
The first time I heard about the award winning musical, Hamilton, it was summer break and I was mad I hadn’t discovered it sooner to help me in American History I. Hamilton, the historical musical that has won 11 Tony Awards, has taken the nation by storm. Ranked number two for the Billboard’s Best of 2015 list, the Original Soundtrack of Hamilton was a hit. On December 2nd, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show’s creator and star, was back at it again with the Hamilton Mixtape. The Mixtape includes remixes, demo songs, covers, and commentary. “To me, Hamilton was a hip-hop artist....I thought I would write a bunch of great songs that tell the greatest hits of Hamilton’s life, have artists cover it, and someone else would stage it later. When I first said, ‘hip-hop, Founding Fathers, they thought it was a spoof. But the show makes its own case,” Miranda told Lisa Robinson, writer and editor for Vanity Fair. Miranda has been working on the Mixtape for a year, and it took longer than he thought it would, but he wanted it to be just right, and people have definitely thought it was worth the wait. “The Kelly Clarkson version of ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’ from the Hamilton Mixtape might be my favorite song of 2016,” Michael Ian Black, comedian, actor, writer, and director, tweeted. People have loved Kelly Clarkson’s version of It’s Quiet Uptown. She was very excited to share it with fans and it was well received. My favorite song in Act 1, from the original soundtrack is “Satisfied” by Renée Elise Goldsberry. It is the narrative of the eldest Schyler sister, Angelica Schyler, who is helplessly in love with Alexander Hamilton, but so is her younger sister, Eliza, and the cover is by Sia, featuring Queen Latifah and Miguel. Sia, Miguel and Queen Latifah transform a key plot line song into its own stand-alone song. Sia’s voice is unlike anything on the mixtape and Queen Latifah’s rap adds to the helplessness that Schyler is feeling. When I heard Miguel and Sia singing together, it gave me chills. Another powerhouse on this album is the duo by Regina Spector and Ben Folds with “Dear Theodosia.” On the original album, Leslie Odom Jr., who played Aaron Burr before he left, and Miranda sing it to their children, Theodosia and Philip, and I never really liked it. I thought it was too slow for this upbeat hip-hop/rap musical, but Spektor and Folds transform the song. It is one of my favorite songs from the Mixtape. Another favorite of mine is “Congratulations” by Dessa. “Congratulations” is a demo on the album where Schyler is yelling at Hamilton for breaking her sister’s heart. It’s a roast of Hamilton, telling him to shape up or ship out. Overall, the Mixtape is excellent and includes something for everyone, and we can’t wait to see what Miranda will do next time. “When the opportunity lines up, you’ve got joints to throw at it—I’m not missing it. It’s here, it’s now,” Miranda said.
Opinion: the stress of homework BY EMMA TURNER
Lucy Sasser, a senior, stresses during her online class to get her work done.
Every day students go home after school to more work. Students spend hours a night working on homework or studying for tests and quizzes they have coming up. Going to school for 6 hours a day, then going home to do 2-3 more hours of homework is truly exhausting. Students are pushed to handle such a large workload, leading to high stress levels. Students must find a good way to balance all of their out-of-school activities and find time to do all their homework. “For me, I have always been involved in a lot of extracurriculars and most nights during the school year I don’t get home until 9:00. Getting home at nine, trying to spend time with your family and keep up with your school work is really tough,” Emma Brown, a senior, said. In a research study done at Stanford University, they found that those who spend too much time on homework have experienced much more stress, health problems, and having a lack of balance in their life — giving them no time to be a part of society. “After school most days I go to work, so coming home after working for 5 or sohours is already exhausting, so then going home to do hours more of homework is terrible,” Lucy Seamans, a sophomore, said. Another impact homework has on students is the lack of free time they have. Students need and want to spend time with their friends and family, but spending so much time on homework leaves them with little time to do that. “I’m a very busy person so having all the homework I do is really stressful. I love going out to hang with my friends and family and travel, but sometimes I feel like I can’t do that because I have to stay and finish my English paper or study for my math test,” Vincent Le, a junior, said. Students are spending all day solving difficult math problems or doing a timed writing, then go home to just do more. Students should be able to go home and relax - not feel bombarded by all the homework they have to get done. “It’s a never-ending cycle and even when you think you don’t have something to do, you always do and it’s always in the back of your mind and you dread going home because you know how late you’re going to be up trying to get everything done and stay on top of things,” Emma said. The National Education Association has recommended that students have a total of ten minutes per grade level of homework per night, and that anything above that is excessive and leads to all these negative side effects. They want to show that doing five math problems is more beneficial, rather than struggling to do 50 in one night. “I think we should have some homework, but not the amount we have now. In certain classes I can see why homework is helpful, like math class, but for other classes it’s unnecessary. We shouldn’t have hours upon hours nightly,” Ihsana Daye, a sophomore, said.
Opinion: Women march for justice BY ANNA NEAL
On the early morning of January 21st, an estimated 500,000 or more people flooded the streets of Washington D.C. They were all there with a common goal: the fight for an equal America. The fight for an America where a women’s work is worth the same amount of money as a man’s work; where anyone can walk down the streets without fear of being killed just for their skin color and one that doesn’t judge based on sexual orientation, class, or religion. The Women’s March on Washington D.C. was originally an idea created in the mind of Teresa Shook, a retired attorney, and her elderly grandmother after the election in November. They were so disgusted by Donald Trump’s sexist and inappropriate comments about women that they decided to take action. The Women’s March grew as word about it spread around the world. People started booking flights, celebrities pledged their support, and people from every U.S. state and beyond poured into Washington just a day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Protesters began gathering in the early morning of January 21st on Independence Avenue and on the National Mall to hear the speakers. Some of the guest speakers included civil rights activist Angela Davis, president of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Gloria Stienam and Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth.
Protesters holding handmade signs during the Women’s March in Washington, DC, on January 21st. The march, which drew hundreds of thousands to the nation’s capital, was organized in response to the election of Donald Trump as president.
Many of the insults and abusive statements Trump said about women before and during his campaign were turned into positive slogans for the march. One example being the comment about “a nasty woman”, with it turning into a badge of honor for many. “I’m not nasty, like the combo of Trump and Pence being served up to me in my voting booth. I’m nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth,” Ashley Judd, actress and activist yelled at the top of her lungs during the march, reciting a spoken word poem. While the march may have first been focused solely on women’s rights, it morphed into a rally for rights of all people no matter the race, religion, sexual orientation, and all who have felt insulted or threatened by things Trump has said, done and been accused of. “We march today for our families and our neighbors, for our future, for the causes we claim and for the causes that claim us. We march today for the moral core of this nation, against which our new president is waging a war. He would like us to forget the words, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,’ and instead, take up a credo of hatred,” America Ferrera, actress, stated in her speech directed to President Trump. After hours of speeches lasting until the early afternoon, the march began. Protesters marched with signs in hand around D.C., ending at the White House. Chants including “can’t build a wall, hands too small,” and “this is what democracy looks like,” could be heard echoing through the masses. The march lasted through the night, and after the crowds dispersed, anti-Trump signs littered the streets as a reminder to President Trump that Americans will not be silenced or ignored. While Washington was the location of the main protest, marches took place all across America on January 21st. Some of the biggest included Chicago and L.A. Protests also took place on every continent, including Antarctica. “We are linked. We are not ranked. And this is a day that will change us forever because we are together. Each of us individually and collectively will never be the same again. When we elect a possible president we too often go home. We’ve elected an impossible president, we’re never going home. We’re staying together. And we’re taking over,” Gloria Steinem, women’s rights icon, proclaimed to the cheering crowds.
Social Media: Does it connect or does it destroy? By Ella Duffy
With a simple click of the mouse, it’s there. Anything you could ever imagine appears before you and the Internet unleashes an infinite digital world in front of your very own eyes. With this easy accessibility, it’s no wonder why the value of face-to-face time is decreasing while virtual communication is rising. Social media, intended to enhance your real-world relationships and friendships, may actually be destroying them. Social media is becoming increasingly widespread throughout today’s generation. At the surface, social media seems to be a brilliant creation, connecting billions of people from all around the world in seconds. But in reality, the overuse of social media may serve to hinder and damage real life interactions. As fragile as teenage relationships are to begin with, social media may help to demolish them. Social media grants access to friends at virtually any time and any place and, initially, seemed short of a miracle. But with close examination, it’s plain to see that this constant communication serves often put a strain on friendships. “I’m always texting my friends and it can get just really tiring sometimes,” junior Patti Williams said. “Of course I love talking to them, but being in constant contact is so draining.” With more and more accessibility to social media, it’s significantly easier to follow people’s lives, including what they do and who they talk to. “[Social media] kind of allows me to ‘stalk’ people. On Instagram, I can see when someone likes someone else’s picture. On Twitter, I can look through other people’s favorites and replies. On Snapchat, I can always view someone’s best friends list and who they talk to the most,” sophomore Zach Crewse said. “These advancements are definitely not a bad thing, but I don’t think they’re necessarily a good thing either.” Users also have the option to alter their appearances on social media. They pick which pictures to post, which Tweets to send, and which statuses to share. These altered images create a false persona for these users and can give other people a false idea of who they are. Using social media can strengthen relationships and friendships if used in moderation, but if used excessively it serves to only weaken what you attempted to make stronger. “Relationships 100 years ago were easier to maintain because you had your own space and were not always crowded by them in real-life and online,” Williams said, “But, I don’t think social media is ending anytime soon. I just wish we could learn to use them in moderation.”
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