Class Spotlight: Village School’s Cooking Class

Village School’s kitchen since 2015

At Village School, there are a wide array of electives offered that are usually intensive studies of a specific topic.  Some are serious and others are a little more fun, as is the case with this semester’s offering, Cooking, which is taught by Ronni.  The combination of her cooking and math skills lead to some very fun food ideas and precise techniques that students would probably not have tried on their own.

The class, in different variations, has been offered at Village for many years and was always a fun one, but it lacked kitchen space to efficiently teach and experiment.  Therefore, in 2015, Village School’s kitchen space was expanded and outfitted with state- of- the art equipment, which improved the class experience. 

Students Ben and Margaret cleaning kitchen items

“Cooking class has been around for many years,” stated Ronni. “The only difference now is that we have gotten a better kitchen to work in. It really has made a huge difference for the class.”

According to Ronni, the point of the class is simple. “Getting students to try out healthier new things and opening them up to a less meat and dairy-based diet is what we’re striving for here. And most importantly, not using meat and dairy will give ingredients a longer shelf life.”

Unfair Punishment for Disciplined Student In Anti-Bullying Video

A junior at Lebanon High School felt that she should make an anti-bullying video after her classmate committed suicide as a result of bullying. Emily Gipson, the creator of this video, posted it to YouTube and it went viral. The video was recorded in a classroom at the high school after school hours. Because she was not authorized to use this classroom after school hours and didn’t have permission, Gipson got into trouble. It was not the video’s content itself that got her into trouble. 

The content of this video was asking for people to be respectful of each other. In the video, Gipson says, “Welcome to Lebanon High School, where you come to be

Emily Gipson speaking in the aforementioned video in an attempt to help bullying victims and promote positivity.

analyzed from head-to-toe every day by people you don’t even know.”

Gipson had said in response to News 4, a local Lebanon news station, “I’ve seen problems with bullying, problem with bullying not being dealt with, and I feel like some things are just put aside.” Gipson also had said that the video is for anyone who feels like they are getting bullied and also spoke about how she recognizes that bullying occurs in every school. “Anywhere I can make a difference I’d love to,” said Gipson.

Gipson has indeed made a difference in people’s lives with this video – she says she’s received numerous messages from people who watched her video, and that these were all extremely supportive messages. One girl even said the video saved her life.

The punishment Gipson received for recording this video in a classroom at school was two days of in-school suspension.

I understand that the school had to take some sort of action as Gipson did not receive consent to use the classroom and anything that is filmed on campus can be interpreted as school district endorsement, which is why students’ need to get approval first.  And, most likely, the school district did not disagree with what Gipson’s message was at all.  However, I still do not feel that this punishment was fair. Although Gipson should have asked to use this classroom first, I feel like her video was such a good deed that she should have been given a lesser punishment and actually given some praise for what she did!

I think that they should have done a one period or week’s detention, but not in-school suspension. Gipson deserved to see the video her effects have had in her school and how good her deed was. At the same time, however, she does need a little bit of a gentle reminder that she cannot film videos in classrooms without permission. Therefore, I think detention is a better idea than two days of in-school suspension. The school administrators should also talk to her, and perhaps the entire school, about why students cannot film videos in classrooms.

The idea behind the video was to help her peers and teens in general think of themselves in an increasingly positive matter. Because she wasn’t screaming into the void like thousands of other anti-bullying videos and notably saved lives, I feel that they should have recognized her good deed in some way.  

As a student who has been bullied a lot in the past, I know that I would’ve heavily benefitted from a teen my age making this video. It’s people who witness bullying and other forms of hate but don’t do anything who seem, to me at least, the most harmful – these are the bystanders who could have helped, but did not. And when a bystander steps forward and stands up to a bully, through any means possible and in an effective way, it really makes a difference. This video made a huge difference in people’s lives and I feel that that matters more than whether or not Gipson had gotten prior consent to use a school classroom as a backdrop to her powerful and positive message.

Why Your Cat Should Be Kept Inside

Cats are America’s second most popular pet, behind only fish. There are estimated to be over 85 million pet cats in America, compared to only 78 million dogs. But, there are also an estimated 58 million feral cats in the United States.

A feral cat colony in Great Neck, with a few shelters visible and many more behind that tarp in the background.

These feral cats, as well as millions of pet cats that people let outdoors, have an enormous impact on the environment. Scientists estimate that cats kill 1.3–4.0 billion birds and 6.3–22.3 billion mammals every year in America alone! Most of the birds killed by cats are species native to America, and in suburban and rural areas, most of the mammals killed are also native.

The threat cats pose to animals isn’t limited to America, though. Cats are listed as one of the world’s top 100 worst invasive species, and for good reason: worldwide, cats have contributed to the extinction of 33 (14% of total) bird, mammal, and reptile species in modern times.

A Piping Plover chick, endangered in New York.

The problems caused by cats are made even worse by humans. People provide food and shelter to entire colonies of feral cats, regardless of the consequences for nearby wildlife. For example, at Jones Beach, there is a colony of around 30 feral cats that are fed by people, and they even have shelters people built for them. This colony happens to be very close to an area where Piping Plovers, a bird considered endangered in New York state, nest and raise their young.

Not only would keeping cats indoors save billions of birds and mammals, but it would also be beneficial for cats. Outdoor cats are exposed to dangers such as cars, predators, poison, abuse from people, and diseases. Because of these things, feral cats have an average lifespan of around 2 years, compared to about 15 years for pet cats, with indoor-only cats living on average 2-3 years more than cats that spend a lot of time outdoors.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review

There was just so much hype for this movie, and in the end, all fans got was disappointment. Following the massive success of 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” which was directed by J.J Abrams, “The Last Jedi,” which was directed and written by Rian Johnson created a lot of hype for Star Wars fans. Many characters who returned in this sequel from the other movies were extremely out of character, such as classics like Luke Skywalker and even Leia Organa. It’s unfortunate, because this movie could have been so much, and instead delivered so little.

“Rose Tico” played by “Kelly Marie Tran” in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The movie’s plot is very muddled and it isn’t until almost an hour an half to actually get going (thanks to Rey’s unnecessarily long “Jedi training scenes.”) The First Order knocked out the Resistance’s hyperspace drive (which is what would have let them get away) which meant that all their ship could do is go forward and direct all the remaining energy of their main cruiser to the back shields. So far no problem– in fact, this sort of thing is not foreign to the Star Wars series at all. It all starts to go sour when the control room got blown up, causing Leia to get flung into space. And she survived by using the Force to get her back into the ship. Alright. Characters usually die within milliseconds the moment they’ve gotten into space without any air and heat support, and Leia was out there for at least a minute and twenty seconds. This is forgivable though– not a big deal, right? Well, this isn’t the only time that characters in this movie seem to accomplish some extremely miraculous feat that nobody in the entire Star Wars series has ever accomplished before up to that point.

Luke Skywalker seems to have the ability to ‘astral project’ by using the Force, meaning he can be on multiple planets at once. It is an extremely strong power, and to add it now within the movie franchise completely makes certain scenes from previous movies feel foolish in nature. And finally, there is the problem of Rose’s character. A lot of fans can agree on the fact that Rose’s character was dull and that she added almost nothing to the plot. Then there was the line where she says, “war is about saving those you care about.” On the contrary. That is not what war is about at all!

In so many ways, this movie failed to deliver. I’m hoping that with the next, a lot of these issues are remedied. Otherwise, the franchise will suffer a heavy blow.

Teacher Spotlight: Cindy Pavlic

Cindy is Village School’s Resource Room teacher.  She helps us with homework, manage our assignments, and achieve our academic goals. I sat down with her Monday and asked her about her time here at Village and what her interests are outside of school.  

How did you hear about Village School?

I heard about Village School from my law professor in graduate school, who happens to be Jeff’s [Bernstein, a social studies teacher] wife. She told our class about a vacancy for a special education teacher and I gave her my resume.

Cindy Pavlic, a very important part of Village School.

What do you love most about working here?

I love everything about it. I love the environment – the fact that the teachers have so much creative freedom to develop their elective classes and teach how they want. I love that we have a true sense of community and family here. I love that it is different and  we can help students be successful with all aspects of their lives. I love that we actually make a difference.

What do you do outside of school?

Outside of school, I read a lot. I love to read whenever I can. I enjoy the movies and cooking.

If you could go to any country where would you go?

I would like to travel to places that I haven’t been before. Some include Hawaii (I know it’s not a country but I have never been there), Tahiti, Bora Bora, the Maldives (all French Polynesian islands known for clear turquoise waters and overwater bungalows.) I would also like to go back and visit Croatia some day. My family is from Croatia. I’ve been there once and it is beautiful. I would definitely like to return one day.

 

The Psychology Behind Wanting To Color Your Hair

Taylor Terminate, a Youtuber, looking really awesome with white hair.

Why do people choose to dye their hair colors such as bright red, vibrant purple, or attention-grabbing pink? Where does this desire to have unnatural colored hair come from? What is the reason behind a yearning for a shocking mint color? Is there science behind such a desire? Dying one’s hair a different color – especially rainbow hair – has slowly become a trend, with celebrities like Rihanna, Kesha, Kylie Jenner, and Hilary Duff dyeing their hair.  But using bleach and harsh coloring can leave nasty affects to hair, so why are people willing to make this sacrifice just to join in on a trend?

MTV News conducted an interview with a psychologist and celebrity colorist to find out some reasons. As it turns out, those who dye their hair latch onto a simple concept of wanting to stand out in order to fit in. Crazy dye jobs are becoming more and more normal – worn by celebrities and everyday people – and with the human urge to conform, we dye our hair.

Daniel Moon, a celebrity stylist, said, “A color explosion has happened and now is being molded to our lifestyle….” So, this new trend is spreading like wildfire and is becoming part of the way people live, the way people express themselves, and shows, with a bang, how they feel about themselves and the world. 

Nicole, a senior at Village, currently has her hair teal and purple.

On social media outlets such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter, individuals post pictures with interesting and creatively-colored hair,  further popularizing the interest in the trend. Individuals may create trends in our society, but technology helps to push these trends into the mainstream– we spread pictures of ourselves and images of what we are doing through hashtags, and when enough people do the same thing, a  trend hits its ‘tipping point’ and becomes less ‘alternative’ and more accepted or expected. 

Students here at Village have dyed their hair wild colors, affirming that the trend is alive and well. Nicole, a senior, first dyed her hair pink when she was sixteen years old. It then faded to an orangish color when she purposely didn’t touch it up. When asked why she wanted to dye her hair, she said she simply didn’t like her hair in its natural brunette state. She has dyed her hair nine different colors since and now does all of her dye jobs herself; she hasn’t gone to a hair salon in a very long time.

The author, Britt, with ‘Purple Rain’ hair dye.

I recently bleached my naturally dark brown hair a total of three times to prep for purple hair dye. I’ve wanted to dye my hair purple (and later ½ black, ½ white, etc.)  for a long time as I just like to change up my style sometimes, and hair color is a great way to do that. I get tired of the same old thing, and I’m not someone who needs every day to be so routine, so experimenting with hair color is a way to change things up.  I’ve been particularly inspired to attempt to rock colors different colors by my favorite YouTuber, Taylor Terminate.

So, while dyeing one’s hair comes from a paradoxical urge to both stand out and fit in, I hope it’s a cultural trend that sticks around for a while. 

Trump vs FBI

 

Sean Hannity (seen on left) has apparently advised President Trump on how to handle the Nunes Memo situation.

Donald Trump was known as an extremely wealthy businessman just a little over a year ago. Today, he is the known as the most important man in the world as leader of the United States of America.

In 2015 he started the Trump and Pence: Make America Great Again campaign and ran for office and in early 2017 was sworn in as President.  Since then, he’s been notorious for his poor decisions as the leader of the free world, has been under investigation, and has been accused of firing anyone who undermines his position or fails to pledge allegiance to him.

Early this year, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the DOJ (Department of Justice) have been under heat after the release of the Nunes Memo: a 4- page memo incriminating the Bureau and Department of abuse of their surveillance systems against Trump/Carter Page and their ties to Russia. The 4- page long memo was created by Devin Nunes early 2018 to discard Democratic officials. Then, on Monday, February 5th, 2018, another memo was released. Adam Schiff, a democratic congressman created a 10-page memo that is to serve as the Democrat’s ‘side’ of the story. Many officials say that with this political battle against major surveillance agencies and Donald Trump, things don’t look good for Trump or the Republican party.

On February 5th, 2018 a White House official claimed that they, too believe that these things do not look good for POTUS and the Republican Party. “I think it’s going to be very hard for The White House, like it was hard for the Republicans on the committee, to block the release of this,” Mr. Schiff told reporters after the vote. “I am more concerned that they would make political redactions.”

The whole memo conflict has taken its tolls on both parties with both sides claiming that the other is lying, almost as if it’s a game of “she said/he said.” We still do not know whether or not or how the whole fallout will be solved. The end of the fallout could potentially lead to a solution where one party is more pleased with the outcome. A hypothetical solution would be POTUS firing major FBI officials, again, however this time he’d fill their spots with people that would not be as opposed to him. We aren’t sure what’ll happen next, however we know something major will happen, maybe to one party or both.

My Favorite Movies of All Time

Vivre sa Vie: One of the great existential films of all time. After all, the title translates to “My Life to Live.” It’s my personal favorite from filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. Godard brings a lot of his typical Vivre Sa Vie / It's My Life (1962) | Pers: Anna Karina | Dir: Jean-Luc Godard | Ref: VIV012AG | Photo Credit: [ The Kobal Collection / Films De La Pleiade ] | Editorial use only related to cinema, television and personalities. Not for cover use, advertising or fictional works without specific prior agreementsixties- style to this film. He brings the same Brechtian distancing to the film through the use of intertitles describing what the “chapter” of the film is about, and  jump cuts.  Characters are shot from behind when they are talking, are strongly backlit, and talk into the camera sometimes. Anna Karina gives one of her best performances in this film and it has one of my favorite film scenes of all time in it– the “shootout scene.”  Don’t miss it!

Tokyo Story: When it comes to family-drama, can you think of one film even close to this? From the master of the family-drama, Yasujirô Ozu, we get a tour de force Japanese masterpiece that never leaves us. Ozu IMG_0566shows us the depth of simplicity through both story and style. He breaks our hearts with the simple plot of parents who come to visit their kids and end up connecting with their daughter in-law instead. With the frequent breaking of the 180 degree rule and the camera only moving once the whole movie, we are totally sucked into such a simple plot.

A Clockwork Orange: Who hasn’t seen this Stanley Kubrick classic? It is Kubrick’s finest, in my opinion. Every time I watch this film, I think about it for IMG_0562days afterwards. It’s the best critique of utilitarian philosophy to date. Kubrick creates a science fiction world like no other, and it is arguably the most well directed film of all time. Malcolm McDowell brings one of the greatest film characters of all time to life in an unforgettable way. My favorite film narration ever. A must see!

Taxi Driver: The best character study of all time. Martin Scorsese makeIMG_0563s us see the world through the lens of Travis Bickle. He forces us to relate with this crazy man until the very end when we are deceived by his actions. Robert De Niro brings this character to life with his best performance to date and one of the best acting performances ever, in general. Between the brilliant character study, Robert De Niro’s performance, Bernard Herrmann’s brilliant score, and Martin Scorsese’s brilliant directing, this film is a classic that is surely never to be forgotten.

The 400 Blows: Without hesitation the best coming of age film of all time. This is really the film that launched the FrenchIMG_0557 New Wave. François Truffaut changed the face of cinema over the corse of his career but this is really the one that changed it the most. Perhaps the most amazing thing about the movie is that it predicted the May 1968 student riots in France. In the beginning of the film the teacher explodes at the kids because of all the graffiti on the walls, their disruptive behavior, etc.  He yells, “What will France be like in 10 years!?” It is a largely autobiographical account of Truffaut’s childhood. From the masterful camerawork inspired by Jean Renoir, to the location shooting inspired by Italian Neorealism, to Jean-Pierre Leaud’s magnificent performance, this film is absolutely beautiful and unforgettable. A universally relatable classic that should be seen by everyone.

8 ½: The film that solidified Federico Fellini’s break from the Italian neorealist movement. The film the began Fellini’s surrealist phase. This phase notoriously began because Fellini had done LSD, which completely changed his life, wIMG_0560hile shooting La Dolce Vita. Fellini develops the main character through showing us his dreams. This is one of Fellini’s most autobiographical films, and it is his masterpiece. My second favorite Nina Rota score after The Godfather and my favorite film from my favorite director!

La Dolce Vita: Fellini’s critique of celebrity life and the press. The word “paparazzi” actually comes from this movie. The title translates to “The Sweet Life.” It also is a IMG_0559commentary on the seven deadly sins. The movie takes place over seven days in the seven hills of Rome. It is the first collaboration between Fellini and Marcello Mastroianni, one of the great actor-director partnerships of all time. It has one of the best film scenes of all time in it: the “Trevi Fountain scene”. Yet another timeless score from Nina Rota, one of the best performances ever from one of the best actors ever; Marcello Mastroianni, and one of the most well directed films ever from Federico Fellini.

The Seventh Seal: One of the masterpieces of foreign cineIMG_0565ma. From one of my favorite directors of all time: Ingmar Bergman. The best existential film of all time in my opinion. The best words to describe this film would be slow, monochrome, and mystical. Legendary actor Max von Sydow brings one of the best movie characters ever alive in his best performance to date. Ingmar Bergman is the best director to ever deal with existential themes.

There Will Be Blood: My favorite film of the 21st century. Daniel Day-Lewis gives the best acting performance of all time in this film, and it stands as Paul Thomas Anderson’s best film. You can tell that he is aging from watching this and his older films. He keeps some stylistic trademarks such as the constantly moving camera, the extremely loud music, and exploring themes of family. What changes is that rather than the very fast camera, the camera rather moves much slower and the shots are IMG_0564very carefully composed, and the pacing is slower and is much more detailed. The film is an examination of capitalism and greed that came out at the perfect time- the beginning of the Great Recession. Surely to be a classic in the future.

 

Apocalypse Now: Francis Ford Coppolas best film, even better than The Godfather. He shows us the horrors of war in a way that no film has before and no film ever will again. My favorite film opening of all time. The film features some of the best editing I have ever seen. It isIMG_0561 edited so that it will show our main character and what he is looking at, at the same time. Shots will open with what he is looking at and half of the screen will dim and we will see our lead character’s reaction. Starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper, Harrison Ford and more, it has one of the greatest casts of all time.

California Sixth Grader Wins Scripps National Spelling Bee

12-year-old Ananya Vinay has just become the champion of the 90th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, marking the first time since 2013 the competition did not end in a tie.

Her winning word was “marocain,” which refers to a dress fabric of ribbed crepe. In second place was eighth grader Rohan Rajeev, who misspelled the word “marram” (a type of beach grass) and lost out on his last chance to win the National Bee.

Ananya, who hails from Fresno, California, is the 13th consecutive Indian-American winner. This year, the bee added a tiebreaker challenge which made Rohan and Ananya battle it out for up to 25 rounds. Ananya won on the 21st. “It was interesting to go back-and-forth for so many rounds,” she said.

Ananya Vinay, 12, from Fresno, Calif., holds the trophy after being declared the winner of the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, June 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Ananya Vinay, 12, from Fresno, Calif., holds the trophy after being declared the winner of the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee, in Oxon Hill, Md., Thursday, June 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Ananya had clearly spent a rigorous amount of time studying and preparing, as she never looked fazed by any of her 35 words, which included “zeaxanthin,” “wayzgoose,” and “gifblaar.” “I knew them all,” she said. She didn’t look surprised by her victory until her family ran up to the stage to hug her, prompting a smile. She later took time to comfort Rohan on his loss.

She won a $40,000 prize and plans to split it with her seven-year-old brother, and save her share to pay for her college education.

Ananya was the youngest finalist. The youngest competitor this year was six-year-old Edith Fuller, who was also the youngest person to ever compete in the bee. She was knocked out in one of the earlier rounds because she did not score high enough on the written test.