Month: January 2017

La La Land


La La Land, directed by Damien Chazelle, hit the theaters this past year on Christmas Day. Co-starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, this musical is about a jazz musician who meets and falls in love with an aspiring actress in L.A. This movie features amazing acting performances by the duo, beautiful cinematography, a captivating romance, high quality directing, and astounding musical composition with entertaining dance numbers to accompany them.

The quality of movies lately has been on a decline. Everything released nowadays is a sequel, reboot, remake, or based off an unoriginal story. Film is losing its art form. La La Land was a return to the old way of making movies. Its originality was such a relief to see after the spout of orthodoxy that has recently been presented by Hollywood.

Its craftily written music and dance routines (particularly a tap-duet performed by Gosling and Stone) left the audiences humming to themselves after exiting the theater with smiles on their faces. With the movie’s focus around jazz, it gave the entire movie a classic aura that was quite enjoyable to watch. Combined with the gorgeous cinematography, composed of bright, vibrant colors, the film submerged the viewer into the charming era of the 1950’s while remaining in present times. Damien Chazelle’s directing choices were brilliant in the making of the setting to give the feel of a different time period.

The acting by Gosling and Stone in La La Land was perfectly executed. The chemistry between the two was magical, charming, and a pleasure to watch unfold on screen. This, of course, was aided by an excellent script written by Damien Chazelle. The dialogue between the two was wittily thought and acted out.  The duet also made the audience feel the emotions the two characters were feeling, as if the audience was a part of the story along with them. The performances were captivating on an intimate level.

Chazelle has taken Hollywood by storm with his innovative and musical themes. La La Land is Chazelle’s second film, following 2014’s Whiplash, a story about a jazz drummer. Undoubtedly, Whiplash won an Oscar for J.K. Simmons’ role as well as for film editing and sound mixing. It is predictable that Whiplash will not be the last Chazelle film to win an Oscar.

The upbeat tone of the film from the fantastically done music is due to Justin Hurwitz. Hurwitz, the composer of La La Land and Whiplash, won two Golden Globes for the score and the original song, City of Stars. Hurwitz specializes in jazz music and shows off his talent with a fantastically composed piece of art.

After sweeping the Golden Globes, this movie will be considered a classic and favorite among audiences. It will go on to be nominated for multiple Oscars and will most likely take home a majority of them. A variety of people will find this movie enjoyable, whether they are into romance, theater, or just great movies. La La Land is a phenomenal film and is definitely worthwhile to sit down and watch on a lazy afternoon.
Overall rating: 9.5/10

By Brendan Reiss and Dylan M. Johnson

Pasta for Pennies

A girl of young body and mind crumples to the ground. The ring of peers around her release giggles, ebullient and innocent. The girl wishes to join in their laughter over her wayward feet, but her voice is constrained by a tightness inside her. Her contorted face hushes the escaped giggles. It was neither the fall nor the childish teasing which troubled her. It was the traitorous pain penetrating deep in her bones. It was the unrelenting spin her eyes gave the world. It was the betrayal of bone marrow in producing improper white blood cells. The formation and presence of a virulent internal disaster. The unwelcome introduction to a close death; leukemia. When the jolly subsided and alarm appeared, the soft faces turned toward inquiring adults. Among them: her parents. Concerned, the parents approached the confirming nods of doctors, and they showered her in love and joy and tears and hope as the grueling war against cancer was fought by another family. Despite prayer and medical expertise, a grim fate became ever the nearer.  But she lived. Resilience is a quality not easily stripped in survival, and survive she did. A consolidation of this resilience and dynamic treatment eradicated leukemia from her gentle body. Though hardened in spirit, she resumes the innocence of childhood.

Stories as this one are found among survivors of all cancers, but it is leukemia that often afflicts younger populations. It is a struggle that no child should have to die from or live through, but until total harmony blankets the world, cancer must be fought. All must come together, whether cancer scarred or not, in order to expunge cancer from the world. It begins with research and furthered by treatment, both inching closer to the dream of a world free of the plights of cancer. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is facilitating this process.

Seminole County Public Schools have supported the coalition between the non-profit Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Olive Garden—specifically their fundraiser program Pasta for Pennies—for nearly 15 years.  Every level of education participates in the program. It is commendable that SCPS lends its resources to the betterment of all mankind as well as some of its own students that suffer from the cancers. However, elementary and middle schools far outweigh high schools in terms of money raised. Last year, Lake Howell raised 600 dollars. While this money surely went to good use in aiding more stories like the one told above, a school of 2000+ should have raised far more. If each person gave a dollar, Lake Howell could nearly triple the donation from last year. A feast from Olive Garden is provided to the 7th period class that raises the most money, and National Honor Society promises purchasable items that add to the donation total. But money should not be spent in lust of food and bracelets. It should not be spent at all. Students should be willing to give mere pocket change for the simple intent of helping the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society achieve humanity’s collective dream.

Money raised from Pasta for Pennies goes toward the numerous tasks and responsibilities the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has undertaken. First, the money goes toward research. To defeat an enemy, one must know the enemy, and no enemy is more elusive than cancer. The money is also importantly spent providing co-payment for families troubled by cancer (travel and medical expenses). Additionally, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society provides families with information following a diagnosis. The LLS also advocates on behalf of cancer patients by spreading testimonies and calls to action.

With all the good that the LLS does, in addition to the Olive Garden food party and other incentives provided by National Honor Society, the Pasta for Pennies fundraiser is a fantastic method of precluding cancer and saving lives. The LLS, SCPS, and NHS all urge Silver Hawks to participate in this year like never before to show their compassion and to keep cancer patients everywhere Hawk Strong.

By Ryan Hill

A Mystery Worth Your Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is a Broadway show based off of the bestselling book by Mark Haddon. It was a phenomenal adaptation that snatched the characters right off the pages and displayed them in front of the viewer’s eyes. The star, Christopher, a high-functioning teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome, who lives in London with his father, attends a high school for children with special needs. The show kicks off with the death of a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, who was killed with a garden fork. Eager to show his ability to stand alone, Christopher becomes determined to find the killer. The audience is then taken through an exciting journey with suspenseful situations, unexpected discoveries, and familiar faces. Any more information given may just spoil the story, and there are still plenty of chances to catch the show. It ends with a discovery of Christopher’s true power of mind, and be sure to remain in the theater after the play for a brief surprise mentioned in the show.

I did not have to jump on a plane to New York City to attend such a mesmerizing play, only a brief drive to downtown Orlando. The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts presents famous shows brought all the way down from Broadway. This gives people the chance to enjoy plays, musicals and performances without the hassle of far traveling and crazy expenses. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime was the first play to tour at the Dr. Phillips Center, making it even more memorable. It received a copious amount of positive reviews and some nights were even sold out. If you missed this show do not fret, the Dr. Phillips Center has a vast selection for you on their website. Take a minute to scroll through the future shows coming, and see if any interest you. It’s worth your time.

By Frankie Coverini

AP Capstone Program

This school year, 2016-2017, is the third year that Lake Howell High School has been offering the Advanced Placement Capstone program. This is a two-year commitment for participating students that is comprised of two classes: AP Seminar and AP Research. As of now,  Mrs. Oliva and Ms. Penny teach all AP Capstone class periods.

AP Seminar, the first of the two AP Capstone courses, is a research and writing intensive class. Students learn many useful college skills such as how to conduct research, write college level papers, pick apart articles and learn how to investigate real world problems from multiple perspectives. Students are assessed through a “combination of individual and team projects and presentations as well as through a written exam.” Students learn these important skills through the many different activities and several written essays over the course of the year. After having completed AP Seminar, students are encouraged to complete AP Research as well to earn an AP Capstone diploma. This class is centered around a student’s exploration of a research question of choice. A “yearlong mentored, research-based investigation to address a research question” is conducted through the course in which students will be expected to write a 5,000 word thesis paper, present the topic and complete an oral defense.

AP Research the following year is quite different considering students will be working year round to go in depth to explore their research topics. This class is focused more so around the guidance of the teachers as students develop their own research papers, as opposed to whole class instruction. Each individual student spends the year long course developing their own unique essay about a topic they are interested in, creating new research on the subject at hand.

For anyone looking to participate in the AP Capstone, it needs to be understood that participating in the program will require motivation and the ability to spend a lot of time on coursework. While this course does require the student to provide much effort and put in a lot of time outside the classroom, this capstone program is very much worth the effort for those looking to pursue high secondary education.

By Jordan Pizzuti