Spamalot: Surreal British Comedy Meets Broadway Music

The spring semester for SCAPA at Lafayette premiered with “Spamalot,” Monty Python’s musical about legendary King Arthur, and his knights of the round table, as they gather and leave Camelot. Exaggerated from true events, they are tasked with a quest from God to find the Holy Grail, the drinking vessel from the last supper, to which Sir Robin mocks, “God, the almighty and all-knowing, has misplaced a cup.”

The production of the show was on par with most scapa shows, with interesting set pieces, unique dialogue and memorable musical numbers such as Knights of the Round Table, I am Not Dead Yet, and “Run Away!” I guarantee that they’ll be stuck in your head for the following few weeks. The story is pretty level with the original show and the film from which the show was adapted, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Though in the school performance, much of the second act has been cut, creating a strange scenario in  which Lady of the Lake, the main female role, singing a number marking “halfway through act two” when act two started 10 minutes ago. There was also a confusing cut in which the knights who say “Icky icky icky f’tang niiuwom nyaoum” (formerly known as the “Knights who Say Nee) give Arthur a second task, when the first one is never stated. Those were the only criticism I had, however, since the finale is quite memorable and breaks the fourth wall in a very odd and inclusive way. So overall, “Spamalot” gave the 2016 year a great start for our school’s musical theatre!
Stay tuned for the Lafayette Ledger’s review of “Music Man!”

A Night to Remember: Lafayette’s Class of 2018 Dinner Dance

“Masquerade! Every face a different shade… Masquerade!” If you were singing along to that in your head, you probably know The Phantom of the Opera.  If you are a sophomore, you probably heard about March 19. The third Saturday in March marked the date of the sophomore ring dinner dance which, this year, had a masquerade theme. The night began with several delicious meal choices from Fazoli’s which were catered to the school. Then, students were allowed to pick up their class rings and invited to stay for the dance and photo booth opportunities! Our very own Ms. Walker served as the dance DJ, and a handcrafted photo booth background was open all night for sophomores to stand in front of and snap a picture with their friends!

I had many people tell me they had a great time, but perhaps the best retelling of Saturday night was given by this year’s sophomore class president, Jairus Davenport. “What a night it truly was!” He began. “Tonight put the biggest smile on my face. I dare say that this was one of the best nights I’ve had this year. I couldn’t be any more honored nor privileged to be the sophomore class president than I am even now.”

What a great sophomore class indeed! As the night came to a close and some students and teachers began reassembling the cafeteria for the next week of classes, the dance’s atmosphere became nothing but a memory before my eyes. I thought about all those students I had spent the night dancing with, and how many of them I’d only gotten to know this year. It made me grateful for my time at Lafayette so far and hopeful for the time ahead of me. The sophomore class of 2018 is about halfway through high school. Soon, the entire high school of Lafayette and high schools around the nation will be moving students through to their next year of high school, their very first year of high school, or in some cases their first year of college. We will all grow up and move on from this place, but it is nights like this that students will remember.  Incoming freshmen, next year’s sophomores,  juniors and seniors, and freshmen in college starting school all over again as the new kids, will look back on their time in high school.  Places will stick out in their minds: the class they least enjoyed, the class they most enjoyed, the football field, the music department, the cafeteria, to name a few. Hopefully, when we look back, we all remember the great opportunities the events, like the sophomore ring dinner dance, gave us.

 

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice Preview

On March 25th, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice comes out. This is a big deal in the comic book movie-blockbuster world, as it will be the first time Batman and Superman will be on screen together. It will also be the second installment (Man of Steel being the first) in DC’s Justice League universe, which they hope will match Marvel’s success with the Avengers films. There are many facets that excite the people waiting for Dawn of Justice, including seeing Ben Affleck play Batman (Batfleck) for the first time. It will also mark the first big screen appearance of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher).

Reactions to Dawn of Justice’s predecessor Man of Steel (from the same director Zack Snyder) were mixed, and hopes are high for this technically-a-sequel to be better.

“For me Batman V Superman is the most anticipated movie of 2016,” says self proclaimed avid comic book and movie connoisseur Brennan Johnson (a Lafayette Junior). In a year with a Star Wars movie and Captain America: Civil War coming out, that is saying a lot. Here’s to hoping that it can at least somewhat satisfy our collective high expectations.

IMDB Plot Description: Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor. It’s up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.

“Send Silence Packing” -The Matthew Silverman Foundation

The Matthew Silverman Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to suicide-awareness and mental illness treatment.  It was created when a beloved family member, Matthew Silverman, at the age of eighteen, took his own life. The mission of the foundation is to help adolescents who struggle daily with mental illness and suicidal thoughts.

On January 29th, 2006, Ron Silverman’s son, Matthew, ended his life. “Matt chose a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and with it, his limitless potential, and his warm, kind, genuine, loving soul were lost forever,” his father said. As his father continued to speak, he mentioned how suicide takes a toll on people everywhere.

According to American Academy of Pediatrics, suicide is the third leading cause of death between the ages of 15 and 24. There are twenty states that have the highest suicide rates. Kentucky is one of them. And I believe this should change.

Recently, I gained contact with this foundation, who is willing to come all the way down to Kentucky (their foundation is located in Tarzana, California), to host an assembly at Lafayette High School. However, this is not official, and we will have to wait until certain circumstances are fulfilled by school officials.

If all goes as planned, this assembly will acknowledge the things that adolescents struggle with today. This would not just be something that could be dismissed the next day. This would continue–this mental illness awareness. Dances and walks would be hosted to bring these problems to everyone’s attention.

Some of us have lived in a world that has only ever taught us darkness, and now it’s time to let somebody show us the light. Let’s make Lafayette better by being more aware.

Most importantly, we have to remember that we have the power to lower suicide rates in Kentucky, so that it is not the second leading cause of death here.

For more information on the Matthew Silverman Foundation, see the following website: http://www.mattsfoundation.org/

Breaking the Boundaries of Segregation

In 1955, Ms. Helen Caise Wade was the first to integrate the Fayette County School System, attending a summer program at Lafayette High School.  In 2016, she returned to the school where she first made history.

Last month, Lafayette High School celebrated Black History Month.  Posters and quotes were placed around the school in order to educate students about famous African Americans and their contributions.  Sophomore Taleah Gibson spearheaded the project.  Ms. Helen Caise Wade was invited to speak at Lafayette High School in order to further this effort.

Over the course of two days, several Lafayette students were invited to attend sessions to hear Ms. Wade speak.  As it turned out, Ms. Wade had a rich history with our high school.  She was the first to integrate Lafayette—an action that made her the first to integrate the Fayette County School System.

“In 1955, I was 16 and I was a newshound, I had to have a newspaper in order to survive,” Ms. Wade recalled.  She discussed how the newspaper kept her informed and exposed her to the racial tensions growing nationally.  That was where she first heard that the “separate but equal doctrine” was declared unconstitutional in the Supreme Court Case of Brown versus the Board of Education.  And that was when she decided she wanted to attend a “white” summer school, because “They say education opens up the world to you.”

That summer she penned a letter to Dr. Turbin, the Superintendent at the time, asking for permission to attend the summer school at Lafayette, and stating she could do so under the new Supreme Court ruling.  Shortly after, she received a letter back, and then she started her time at Lafayette.

After recalling being escorted to school by several of her uncles, she summarized her time at Lafayette as being relatively peaceful.  “There were no demonstrations, they just let me be.  But they wouldn’t talk to me.”  Regardless, Ms. Wade said she “had no regrets.”  While she eventually went back to Douglas (her former high school) to graduate, she did acknowledge that the experience “made her life much, much richer.”

Ms. Wade later went on to attend Kentucky State for college, majoring in history and political science and taking a minor in music.  She would become a teacher, receiving many accolades along the way.  However, this is the first time Lafayette recognized her for her achievements.

In 1955, she would leave behind a path for many Lafayette students to follow.  In 2016, she left a new group of with some words of encouragement.  “Be all that you can be, and make sure, if you can help it, to not be judged by who you are, but what you can do.”

College Tips: By a Senior, For Seniors

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“College”: the only word that can invoke the feelings of both anxiety and excitement in a senior. The sudden weight of the real world bearing down on their shoulders is overwhelming. So what can be done to cope with this feeling? Here are some tips on how to get through it:

  • Get help from a teacher. They’ve gone through this part of life, and they can often give great advice. Talk to your English teacher about  that college essay – they’ll be glad to give you feedback.
  • Visit the colleges you’re interested in, and ask questions. Try and get some one on one time with the representatives of the college of your major.
  • Don’t base what you want to do around what your friends are doing. Finding the college that’s right for you is important. There’s nothing wrong with going to a college where a lot of your friends are going if that’s what you want, but making sure that you’ll get the education you need should take precedence. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, now is the perfect time!
  • Ask about the Living Learning Programs at your college of choice. These programs group students of the same major together in dorms, and studies have shown that the grades of students in these programs are consistently better.
  • Meal plans can always be upgraded but not downgraded, so don’t buy the most expensive food plan right off the bat – no matter how hungry you think you will be.
  • Finally, don’t let your school work fall behind in midst of all the chaos with college. The grades from senior year will still be visible on the transcripts that are sent to colleges, so don’t let Senioritis taint all the hard work you’ve kept up in high school. Senioritis is very real, and can almost be scary at times.

Do not be afraid, we have made it this far and we will go on to do great things.  I am glad to inform all of you dear readers, so, and I am glad to inform you that as off now, I have been accepted into WKU, and I am waiting for a response from UK, and will start to work on my Bachelors of Science, in journalism. So in the end it will be OK dear reader, you don’t need to lay awake at nights worrying, because in the end it will be OK.

 

Art Is This Year’s Smart: How Creativity Serves Well In a School Environment

It’s 2016, and everyone’s a little worried about how their grades are going to look this year. Maybe last semester, you gave up and thought, I’ll do better in the New Year. Has it been stressful trying to live that resolution down?

The Washington Post discusses Lacy Mucklow and her new sales of adult coloring books, reading that the books “provide a simple tool to manage stress and access creativity.” Even as an adult, we never stop facing stress. Creativity is a great outlet for taking a break from that stress and preventing it from being there in the first place. Art has been proven to therapeutically heal people suffering from stress and anxiety. So what’s the big deal in sharing this? It’s time to step up to the plate and discuss relieving stress by taking a walk on your creative side.

Whether you’d rather read, write, draw, paint, sing, or color, there’s something for you to help you de-stress–and in a reasonable amount of time. As a high school student, it’s important to devote an adequate amount of time to school work, homework, and studies. However, it is possible that without an outlet to express stress, or a break in the day to sever ties with stress, schools could be putting teens’ physical, emotional, and even social lives at stake. In an article by USA Today describing a review of mental health by the Child Trends association, stress is said to have had “29% of high school students in grades 9-12 [report] feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or longer [during a year].” Art can replace that feeling of sadness or hopelessness and make a student feel found and have a sense of purpose in their life. Author Cynthia Morris shares on the SelfGrowth.com website 10 benefits of expressive creativity, including “expanded sense of time,” “freedom,” “enhanced relationships,” “lighter quality to life,” and “self-knowledge and discovery,”–and that’s just the half of it! She says, “When we’ve done our creative work, we gain energy for our other responsibilities.” Maybe that 20 minutes of time you take out of your day for your creative mind will give you the surge of energy you need to do your homework.

So why not try it? Here are some tips and ideas to becoming more creatively accessible:

  • Keep a journal: you never know what words are just waiting to come out of you.
  • Buy an adult coloring book: don’t you just miss coloring?
  • Open a good book and read: take a break from stressors and transport yourself to another world.
  • Pick up a musical instrument: sometimes playing through a song with hints at certain emotions can release tension inside of you.
  • Paint or draw: you could be the next Picasso.
  • Sing a song: song lyrics are really good at reflecting your inner emotions.
  • Don’t worry about the final product. Any art that you produce will help relieve that worked-up tension.
  • If you’re coloring, painting, or working on something that could potentially be long-term, don’t do it all in one night. Save some for another night and that will save you time for your homework.
  • Find someone you’re willing to share creative projects with. Maybe they’ll even join you!

Scheduling Nightmare

As the semester begins, students’ focuses begin to shift in anticipation to upcoming events. And for those of us who aren’t graduating and getting ready for college, we have a completely different nightmare to fear – scheduling. That’s right, it’s time for the endless amount of colored papers and guidance counselors forcing you to answer the hard questions: What classes do you want to take? How many credits do you need? Are you going to dual enroll? If not, how about AP? The questions are endless, and I for one know that I’ll be taking multiple trips down to the counseling office.

To ease the growing pains, I asked Mrs. Adams some questions a lot of us are asking. When asked what she thought was most important when arranging your schedule, she replied, “You need to think about what you want to do after high school, and make sure, depending on if you’re going to college, that you’re going to look good for them. If it’s a more selective school, you want to make sure that you’re taking as many advanced classes as possible.” Of course this doesn’t mean go fill your schedule up with nothing but AP classes and have a nervous breakdown come homework time. Mrs. Adams cautions you to consider your extracurriculars, and the time you have in the evening to devote to classwork. If you’re one of the fortunate souls that has a life, perhaps picking classes that give you fourteen hours of homework each night is not the best idea… Simply put: know your limits, but try to challenge them.

I hear people all the time asking about AP classes and “isn’t dual enrollment the same thing?” Well my fellow classmates, no, they are not. AP classes are high school credits that may also give you a college credit, but only after taking that dreaded exam at the end of the year. Dual enrollment gives you both high school and college credit simultaneously. However both kinds of classes are important. “You can earn a lot of college credit, depending on the school, if you perform well on the AP exams. We have students that start college and they’re already a sophomore,” said Mrs. Adams. “But we have some students that aren’t great test takers. A dual credit class can gives you college credit without the pressure of it all riding on one test.” Neither type of class is better than the other and both are great ways to get ahead of the game.

Now what about electives? Are they a waste of time? Mrs. Adams said, “I do think it’s good to have that balance between electives and core classes, and the electives can even be in a core area, to help explore what you want to do.” Electives here at Lafayette range from Drama to Criminal Justice to Anatomy, and provide students with the tools to help formulate themselves as an individual and their interests. That way those of us who can’t stand math, but have to take it anyway, can at least delve into music classes later on in the day to help destress.

So don’t worry about getting your schedule perfect and trying to plan your future in two weeks. Remember, there’s room for error here at Lafayette and the counselors will always try to cater to your needs. It’s high school, a time for learning, and we’re all in it together.

Dance Blue 2016: 6 Hours of Non-Stop Hope

2016IMG_2118_web The start of the year was marked with one of the largest events Lafayette will host all year. Dance Blue is a 6 hour mini dance marathon hosted by UK students and the Lafayette Student Council, to help raise money for pediatric cancer. The event took a ton of planning – Student Council had been working to get everything together since October – but it was definitely worth it! Dance Blue was a huge success, raising well over the desired $10,000 goal.

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Dance Blue was started in memory of Jacob: A young child who died of cancer who loved spreading joy through a small charity in which he donated toys to other children.

This year, Dance Blue featured 3 large inflatables, multiple activities in the cafeteria including a pie throwing event, and a specialty line dance featuring all of the latest hit songs of 2015.

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At 9:00 pm the event soon changed from a carnival styled dance to a glow stick wielding rave, where the energy just tripled. As the night continued, the amount of joy stayed at an ecstatic level. The crowd never let exhaustion stop them from dancing, and they let the motivation of doing it “For The Kids” keep them going all night. In the end they had raised $12,513.21, all going to pediatric cancer research.

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Top 10 Movies of 2015

1.) Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens

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IMDB description: Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a ragtag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.

What can be said that already hasn’t? Everyone and their mother has seen it 5 times.

2.) Spotlight

IMDB description: The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core

Nothing about the film is groundbreaking or spectacular, but everything about it is good to very good (Sounds a little harsh at first, but a very high compliment). Has a good story, solid performances, reserved direction, and an emotional core.

3.) Sicario

IMDB description: An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.

Sicario is intense and keeps you on the edge of your seat much like the director Denis Villeneuve’s previous film Prisoners (2013). The border shoot out scene is masterful and exciting (If you’ve seen it, you know exactly what I’m talking about).

4.) Mad Max: Fury Road

IMDB description: A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in post apocalyptic Australia in search for her home-land with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max.

If any movie is deserving of the phrase non stop-balls to the wall, petal to the metal action- it’s this. Best action movie of recent memory. From the second it opens its go go go adrenaline.

5.) Ex Machina

IMDB description: A young programmer is selected to participate in a groundbreaking experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.

It’s better to go into this without me saying much, so i’ll just say it’s a cool and original Sci-Fi movie. It makes the list for Oscar Isaac’s dancing scene alone.

6.) Creed

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IMDB Description: The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.

The best sports movie I’ve seen in years, showcases one of the best writer/directors under 30 in Ryan Coogler. It resurrects what seemed to be a dead franchise in an original way.

7.) The Martian

IMDB Description: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and cleft behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone of the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

This years space movie delivers in entertainment, and is one of the many good but not great movies from 2015.

8.) Brooklyn

IMDB Description: An Irish immigrant lands in 1950’s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When he past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.

Beautifully shot film with solid performances (especially lead actress Saoirse Ronan). Has my vote for tearjerker of the year.

9.) The End of the Tour

IMDB Description: The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, ‘Infinite Jest’

A career performance by Jason Segel, and sort a forgotten movie come award time. Has the best movie dialogue in a year in which an Aaron Sorkin movie came out. A good, solid, and heartfelt film.

10.)  Straight Outta Compton

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IMDB Description: The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980’s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.

There were a handful of acclaimed movies that I could’ve put in this spot (Room, The Revenant, The Big Short, etc.), but it ultimately came down to picking what movie was the most memorable. This movie shouldn’t work, but it does.

Catch-22: “They Have A Right To Anything We Can’t Stop Them From Doing”

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“They’re trying to kill me,” Yossarian told him calmly.
“No one’s trying to kill you,” Clevinger cried.
“Then why are they shooting at me?” Yossarian asked.
“They’re shooting at everyone,” Clevinger answered. “They’re trying to kill everyone.”
“And what difference does that make?”

Catch-22 is a novel published by Joseph Heller in 1961. The story follows Yossarian, an American Air Force captain and bombardier stationed off the coast of Italy during World War 2. The problem is, he doesn’t want to be there. His solitary goal in life is to live forever – or die trying. In a world dictated by bureaucracy , he does everything in his power to stop flying missions.

He and his comrades are dictated by the rule of Catch-22. That is, a paradoxical situation caused by two conflicting rules in which there is no escape. Yossarian is faced with many problems- from a Colonel who continuously raises the number of missions the men must complete to go home, to the haunting grief he feels for those he has lost to the war, to Milo the mess officer with twisted economic views who heads a black market syndicate.

A classic novel packed with colorful characters and great quotes, it’s a prime example of black comedy. Dark, funny, and downright bitter at times, it paints an intricate tale of a defiant coward. It’s gripping a tale that lives up to the hype. It’s definitely worth the read.

The SCAPA Collaborative

A ‘collaboration’ hardly describes the glorious mish-mash of arts that happened in SCAPA Bluegrass on November 18th and 19th. Piano Recital, Poetry reading, or showcase couldn’t really capture what happened, either.
In the schools multi-purpose room, pianists played complicated classical music as the heartbeat to several performances going on to the side, including dancing, poetry readings, live writing, live art, and dramatic scenes. Many of the live performances were very intriguing. On two projectors, writers wrote live poetry with the music as their inspiration. Artists drew on large displays on the walls in rhythm with the songs behind them, rotating across the pieces, each adding their own personal touch. Of course there were the talented SCAPA dancers dancing with select music pieces during the night. There were also dramatic performances in both nights, actors from the play “Importance of Being Ernest” performing scenes from the play, which will be showing at Lafayette.
Though the theme of the night was “Dances Through Time”, there was a large portion dedicated to Japanese culture. Students from the SCAPA art class made origami cranes and handed them out to the audience members, and there were larger displays of Japanese calligraphy all across the room.
There were two sections of the performances, solo and ensemble. Each piano student played his or her solo piece first, and then they moved on to the ensemble pieces, which were multiple piano players at once, sometimes a duet, other times with multiple pianos playing at once. The pianos were the focus of the night, as they played the whole time.
Overall, the concert, though experimental and strange, came out fully-formed and impressive, with all the respective arts doing their parts to make it wonderful, and showcasing the talent through all of SCAPA and Lafayette.