Benstock 2018

Benstock: an event where students of Highland Park join together under one roof to be able to watch their peers show off their incredible talents. The range of skills included singing, dancing, spoken word, and rapping; the students put on quite a show. Even teachers were a part of the show! Mr. Dirks, Mr. Berndt, and Mr. Rumsey performed together in their rock band, and it brought the crowd to its feet.

Before the big night, performers would do mic and lighting checks, as well as doing a run-through of the show. Performers go over their dances, songs, and even skits, through the 3 days of rehearsal, and make sure that each move and note is perfect. When rehearsing on the stage, the director and stage hands guide the performers through stage directions, and make sure that every performer exits and enters correctly, so that the show goes smoothly on performance day. Rehearsal took place after school, and performers were free to go to different spots to practice their performances. When walking around the auditorium, you would see all different types of people and performances, going underway, and the students working hard to make sure their big day went well.

March 9th was the big performance day! For many of the performers they felt very, very nervous. We asked a number of the performers about how they felt before the big show:

“ I was super nervous about the whole show but I was also super excited too! We had a lot of talented people performing and I just knew that it was going to be a good one.” – Calista Vang (Senior).

“My group has been practicing really hard and were really excited to be able to perform for our friends and family.” – Fiona (Junior)

The show was about three hours long with a short intermission in between for the performers and audience to be able to stretch out and get some food. The show started out beautifully with performer Danasja Hall, who showcased her singing skills to the crowd. Through the show we had a great magic act and also a beautiful spoken word piece. All of the acts were absolutely stunning and we could just tell that everybody in the crowd just loved it!

The Maze Runner trilogy

The Maze Runner trilogy is an amazing movie series which stars a main character named Thomas, who goes through the struggles of trying to find out who/what WCKD is. Unknown to the boys who travel through the maze with Thomas, each step they take into discovering who/what WCKD is, the closer they are to either freedom or dying.

In the first movie, Thomas shows up in the Glade surrounded by a group of boys. The Glade is a pasture in the middle of a maze that serves as a shelter to the boys. The boys are lead by a leader named Albi, who as said by Newt, was the very first to arrive to the glade.

Thomas later meets the boys, and he finds both enemies and friends within the group of boys, and finds a connection with a boy named Chuck who serves as a sort of younger brother to Thomas.

Later on, Thomas learns of the “Runners” who roam the maze, and memorize each and every part of the maze, and try to find a way out. They are specially chosen to run due to the fact that they need to be fast and intelligent.

A girl shows up in the maze later on, with a note saying, “shes the last one.”

Grievers, who are a machine and monster mixed creature, that roam the maze at night, start coming out in the daytime, and Albi gets bit and dies.

Thomas doesn’t follow the rules that are laid down for him, but in doing so he finds out the secret of the maze.

(SPOILER)

Thomas and the boys including Theresa (the girl) escape the maze and it turns out that WCKD was the corporation that put them into the maze. The movie ends with the boys leaving the maze in a helicopter.

The second movie, The Scorch Trials, starts in the the facility where they put the boys to rest, but the boys don’t know that WCKD is part of the group that rescued them at the end of the last movie.

Thomas then tries to escape the facility, but he starts getting flashbacks of him and other children in tubs. He then realizes he was a part of WCKD as a scientist, along with Theresa.

Thomas makes a break for the exit as soon as he finds out the corporation who saved them was WCKD. The boys escape and travel into the Scorch, which is an area that challenges the boys in new ways.

Thomas and the boys, including Theresa, meet new characters who help them escape the dangers of the both WCKD and the Scorch.

As soon as they think they escaped WCKD, Theresa calls in WCKD. They come in, and a shootout takes place which leaves people injured. One of the boys is taken by WCKD, while Theresa leaves voluntarily.

In the last movie, I won’t spoil much! But I’ll give a short summary. The Death Cure starts with a train delivering kids to WCKD getting raided by Thomas and the gang. Thomas fails to get the missing boy, but does succeed in releasing some kids. WCKD then tries everything in their power to get Thomas back, since he holds to the key to curing the Flare Virus.

Overall, since The Death Cure just came out, I cannot say much, but it’s sad to see a trilogy that was popular, and an emotional journey for fans end. But I’ll say it ends on a good note.

 

Top 10 good things in 2017

Exciting, unexpected, saddening, life changing all are words used to sum up 2017 in a nutshell. 2017 has been a year of such unexpected events, both good and bad, from world crisis’s to Prince Harry’s engagement announcement. Each year brings new possibilities to unfold throughout the months and the year; the events can take interesting cuts and turns.

So here is a Top 10 of good things to happen in 2017 – just to clear up some of the negativity that has surrounded 2017.

Number 1:

In February, Rhiannon Giddens (a leading actress in Nashville)  partnered with Carnegie Hall Musical Connections program to run a music-education workshop for inmates at Sing Sing Prison. At a performance after the workshop, Ms. Giddens performed with a workshop student who had written a song about domestic abuse.

Number 2:

He broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and was a hero in the 1950s. For years, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, founded by Robinson’s family in 1972, has been working toward the goal of opening a museum in lower Manhattan, and in April, they started the process of bringing their collection of memorabilia to the public.

Number 3:

Starbucks picked up on an eye-pleasing trend in April with its Unicorn Frappuccino, and it seemed like everyone followed suit—from Instagram foodies to bagel shops, rainbow-hued food has arched over 2017 like a cheerful milky way.

Number 4:

Doctors have long been searching for ways to combat the influenza virus. And a frog that was recently discovered in Southern India may just be the key to a whole new way to do that. Scientists tested a gooey fluid from the frogs’ backs (NO ANIMAL HARM) and found an amino acid that literally makes viruses explode.

Number 5:

The Women’s March in Washington D.C. had three times as many participants show up compared to a certain individual’s inauguration. Between 300 million and four million Americans protested in the streets at more than 650 marches nationwide.

Number 6:

On January 24, 2017, a hippo, prematurely born 6 six weeks early, named Fiona, was born at the Cincinnati Zoo with health complications. Over time, she has grown stronger, as well as overcoming her health conditions, and she has made an impact on everyone everywhere by touching their hearts and proving you can really do things if you preserver.

Number 7:

On August 21, people across the United States got to witness the first visible solar eclipse since 1979. For a few minutes, we got to look up and bask in communal awe at the wonders of the universe. If you missed 2017’s eclipse, there will be another one in 2024, which will slant Northeast from Mexico through New England.

Number 8:

In September, America’s sweetheart Cardi B unseated Taylor Swift on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in late September. One month later, she broke the record for most weeks at the top of the charts by a solo female rapper, after Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” topped the charts for two weeks in 1998. The best rap verse of the year also belongs to Cardi B (in my honest opinion).

Number 9:

Prince Harry of Wales announced his engagement to Meghan Markle, making the next upcoming year’s preparations news. Maybe this will calm the Prince’s partying attitude down a bit?

Number 10:

People who love their pups and kitties know that pets can lift your spirits and calm your nerves. But recent studies now offer scientific proof that interactions with dogs, cats, horses, fish, and even crickets can improve mental health over time.

Christmas around the world

Christmas is one of the most known and celebrated holidays with all age groups. Christmas mostly comes from Christianity, and is celebrated each year, but what’s to stop it from being celebrated in other countries around the world? Each place celebrates Christmas differently: from the decorations, to how long Christmas lasts, to when it starts. While most celebrate Christmas over a week, or two days, some celebrate it as a month longer festival which starts on November 26, and goes to January 6.; Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Ethiopia, and other countries follow this tradition.

In Russian, Grandfather Frost (known in Russia as Ded Moroz) brings forth presents to the children while being accompanied by his granddaughter Snegurochka. On Christmas Eve, people in Russia don’t eat until the first star has appeared in the sky. People then eat a traditional porridge called “Sochivo” or “Kutia” made of wheat or rice mixed with honey, poppy seeds, and fruit. People don’t eat fish or meat during their Christmas Eve feast. They eat Sochivo from a special common bowl, which symbolizes unity. Sometimes, families throw a spoonful of Sochivo onto the ceiling and if it sticks then that would mean a good harvest and good luck in their future. On Christmas Day, the meal consists of 12 meals representing the 12 disciples of Jesus. After the feast, and attendance to church, the kids go out caroling, and wishing a happy new year, which they’re usually rewarded with cookies, sweets and money.

In Mexico, on December 16, through Christmas Eve, children often perform “Posadas” which is Spanish for inn or lodging. These celebrate the part of the Christmas story where Joseph and Mary went looking from somewhere to stay. The children sing to the baby Jesus for all the days leading up to Christmas Eve. Each night a different house holds a Posada party and at the end, the last house they set out the baby Jesus in the manger and everyone gathers there to go to the midnight church service. After the church service, there is an arrangement of fireworks to celebrate the coming of Christmas. The outside of houses are typically decorated with evergreens, moss, and paper lanterns. A game often played at Posada parties is pinata, where the kids gather around and hit it with a stick while being blindfolded. The pinata is often decorated with seven peaks and spikes to represent “The seven deadly sins.” A nativity scene, or in Mexico called “nacimiento,” which is a scene with clay figures, represents the gathering of Jesus’s birth. Poinsettia are known as the flowers of Christmas Eve and are bought at stores or even grown. On “el Dia de los Reyes” (Day of the three kings) kids often get gifts left by the three kings which are put into shoes left by the children. Presents can also be left by El Ninito Dios ( Baby Jesus) or Santa Clos (Santa Claus).

Everywhere, around the world, Christmas is celebrated differently and often brings family and friends closer together whether it comes from just sitting down and eating together, to just celebrating this holiday which is important to them. Each different place has its unique way to celebrate; if its from food, to decorations, or ways the people give gifts, it’s all special, and a way to celebrate the Christmas spirit.

For more information, please visit:

  1. https://www.momondo.com/inspiration/christmas-traditions-around-the-world/
  2. https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/russia.shtml
  3. https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/mexico.shtml
  4. 4. http://www.theholidayspot.com/christmas/worldxmas/