An AP Euro Renaissance

Story by: Ian Carson, Editor in Chief
Photos by: Ian Carson, Editor in Chief

Ren Faire full

This month, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Renaissance Faire, an event organized to celebrate and relive the past. People from all over the world, including Canada, flock to this event clothed in Renaissance garb and ready to have a great time.

The atmosphere of the event is relatively historically accurate, with an interesting mix of past and present. For example, there was a historical reenactment of a joust which captivated myself and the audience. The joust pitted a female jouster against a male. Throughout the joust there was a high air of suspense as the two fought using period weaponry and armor. Perhaps the most interesting part was that the host of History Channel’s “Full Metal Jousting” was there to provide commentary during the joust. With witty comments and amusing remarks, Shane Adams provided an additional layer of interest to the event. The female was knocked off her horse and required medical attention after the incident, adding to the intense atmosphere.

The food at the fair was relatively decent, but it was lacking the charm of the Renaissance era. For example, most of the foods offered were modern but with older names. For example, curly fries with cheese and meat were called “Kinky Spuds.” However, even more out of place, there was a Gigi’s Cupcakes booth that offered an assortment of cupcakes.

Ren Faire partialThe staff at the fair was very interactive and I enjoyed playing along with them. Because I was outfitted as a plague doctor, the staff began putting black clothes pins on fair-goers and having them come to me for removal. Along with that was a fairy virus called “Glerpes,” which involved sparkles being thrown at people. The staff consistently called phones “fairy screens,” which added to the overall amusement.

Those in attendance included Mrs. Terrell’s AP European History class, all of whom enjoyed the experience.

Leanza Valenti, 12, said, “It was a lot of fun and a really interesting experience. I plan on going next year.”

All in all, I would say that the Renaissance Faire in Fishers was a success, and I cannot wait to return next year.

Delayed start Wednesdays delaying education

Story by: Ian Carson, Editor in Chief
Photo by: Samuel Jobe, staff photographer

late startDelayed Start Wednesdays were enacted at Mt. Vernon to provide professional development time for teachers. During the lost time, students are expected to work on extra assignments given by teachers that last about 10 minutes. But this system is not working out.

Students are given the choice to come to school at the regular time, or to come in later, but the ability to come in later is illogical because students are required to complete forty minutes of extra work during that time period. Forty extra minutes of work per week, even when time is provided to complete the work, can add a lot of stress for students’ already busy schedules. This also cuts down on club time for clubs that meet before school because no teachers are available to supervise.

Delayed Start Wednesdays also ruins the weekly routine at Mt. Vernon. This affects mainly students with special needs who rely on the weekly routine. Such a disruption could prove to be problematic.

In addition, Delayed Start Wednesdays take away from class time. Even though the 10 lost minutes are supposed to be made up by the extra work, nothing can replace valuable class time. Teachers who plan on having longer lessons have to shorten them because of the new time crunch. This is especially detrimental for teachers whose classes rely on routine.

The best solution, in my opinion, is to have a longer Delayed Start Wednesday once or twice a month as opposed to every single week.

Twenty one pilots

Story by: Ian Carson, Managing Editor

On May 19 the popular band twenty one pilots’ released their new album entitled “Blurryface.” Fans have been waiting with haste since the announcement on March 17, as their last album was released two years ago. However, before the release date, the band released five of the songs that are on this album.

“Tear In My Heart,” the second song released, deviated from the band’s usual neurotic pop-esque style. “Tear In My Heart” has a generally upbeat and rock-like feel to it. The song features lyrics such as, “My taste in music is your face,” and “My heart is my armor./ She’s the tear in my heart.” Such lyrics reinforce the happy attitude of the song, a break from their usual sad tone. The song is very enjoyable and encourages listeners to just get up and dance.

“Fairly Local” presents an interesting sound that is difficult to describe. The song is mostly rapped with heavy use of electronic elements. The song has a much more complex meaning than the other songs on the album. The song includes the lyrics, “We’re so cold./It’s the few, the proud, the emotional.” The song has a much deeper meaning concerning how people handle emotions. The song has a consistent beat, but not one that is particularly danceable.

“Lane Boy” is the most recently published song on the album. Although the song, at first glance, seems to deviate too much from the band’s usual style, but it actually has an impressive message. Tyler Joseph, the singer, included the following lyrics, “There’s a few songs on this record that feel common. / I’m in constant confrontation with what I want and what is popping in the industry.” The song is mainly rapped, but inculdes a very danceable beat and heavy use of electronic elements and percussion. The song goes on to discuss how twenty one pilots feels pressured by the music industry to “stay in their lane,” which is exactly what they do not want to do.

All in all, the prospects for this album are very good. I, along with many other fans, eagerly awaited the release of their new album.

Don’t stay in school

Story by: Ian Carson, Managing Editor
Photo by: Emily Neundorf, staff photographer

don't stay in school

When the famous YouTuber boyinaband, Dave Brown, published his music video  “Don’t Stay in School,” he had no intention to deter people from actually attending school. He intended to point out the flaws in the current education system.

The song spread like wildfire, with more than two million views, and questioned the very core of education. The topics discussed included ones such as the importance placed on standardized testing and educational standards set by the government. Brown remarked that students never learn what their universal human rights are. He also questioned why he was never taught necessary life skills such as how to pay taxes.

The video wss well-received by most students and even some educators.

“I think that the current education system forces students to take classes that are not in alignment with what they want to be in the future,” said Katelyn Schuck, 11. “If a student has no particular interest in a class that they are required to take, then they will earn a lower grade. This could hurt their academic eligibility in the future.”

The fact is that students are learning to hate school rather than learning what they want to learn—what will help them in the future. The system is in obvious need of reform, starting at the highest level.

Freedom gone too far

Story by: Ian Carson, Managing Editor
Photo by: Samuel Jobe, staff photographer

religious freedom

Discrimination was legal thanks to Governor Mike Pence and his ever-faithful GOP companions. With the passing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it was legal to prevent anyone, though homosexuals were the most commonly cited example in this case, from entering a business and using its services. 

The original bill was not specifically designed to permit this activity, but it allowed it. Both the amended bill and the original bill allow for any form of religious expression so long as the State has no “compelling interest” to prevent it. What a compelling interest is exactly, is yet to be defined. This also protects citizens against governmental practices that limit freedom of religion, and allows for people to request a form of repayment if the government prevents this freedom.

As a defence for this law, Pence cited the fact that this was already made federal law by President Bill Clinton, but the law was deemed unconstitutional in City of Boerne v. Flores in 1997, which said that the similar laws should be decided by the states, and not the federal government. This bill is not the same as the federal law, and varied distinctly from other states that had protections for LGBT citizens embedded within the bill. In those bills, LGBT citizens were defined as a protected class of citizens because of the higher likelihood of discrimination, something many states already so for racial minorities. Lying to people, or in this case omitting the truth, is not the way to go when making an argument, and it seems that the governor is running out of argumentative tactics.

What this bill did allow for is discrimination. Although the bill may seem harmless, and almost needed, at first glance, it allowed for businesses to refuse service to anyone based off their religion as a form of religious expression. This is discrimination. And this is not okay. Businesses cannot refuse service to people because of their race, as was established by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the federal level, however gender identity and sexuality are not protected.

There have been other negative effects on the state as well.

Ignoring the moral transgressions of the bill, it would have a negative impact on Indiana’s economy. Already companies like Eli Lilly and Apple have spoken out against the bill. GenCon and even the Disciples of Christ threatened to pull conventions from Indiana, which are both big money-boosters to the state economy. Indiana has developed a reputation as an unwelcoming and closed-minded state, stuck in the past and bound by bigotry. This is not how Indiana should be seen.

Indiana should get on the right side of history and develop a protected class for LGBT citizens, as they are part of a minority who deserve governmental protection to avoid discrimination. Other states included this within their bills, specifically prohibiting the discrimination that the Indiana bill initially allowed. Representative Ed DeLaney has already proposed two bills that provide such protections.

Recently Mike Pence signed a bill that provided limited protection on the basis of race, gender identity, and sexual orientation– the first time these words have appeared in any Indiana statute. The phrase “too little too late” comes to mind. Indiana has already developed a reputation as a bigoted state, which is a hard reputation to fix.

“I believe that such a bill would prove to be negative for Indiana citizens, even with an addendum,” said Aaron Vodney, 10. 

A bill such as this, disguised as religious freedom, allows people to take away freedom from others. The bill limited the freedom to shop at stores, to provide patronage, and the right to an open economy. The fix cannot fix what already happened. It is impossible to erase history.

Banning learning

Story by: Ian Carson, Managing Editor
Photo by: Emily Neundorff, staff photographer

AP textbook

The A.P. United States History (APUSH) course has officially been banned in Oklahoma, and education has officially become limited. The last time I checked, America was supposed to be the land of opportunity and freedom of thought. The fact that some legislative representatives are trying to restrict certain courses from being taught solely because they do not agree with the content makes no sense in the free world.

The largest claim against the new APUSH guidelines is that it does not teach “American exceptionalism” and skips over important founding fathers and documents. Opponents claim that the new guidelines leave out important historical figures. In fact, the guidelines for APUSH have never included historical figures directly– it was assumed that they would be taught along with the necessary other topics. A consistently positive view of American history, without exploring any of our faults as a nation, is detrimental to our ability to expand and improve.

“I think that the new curriculum forces students to think like actual historians and that it challenges critical thinking skills,” said Shelby Bernard, 12.

We cannot improve without first learning from our mistakes. I have learned in my APUSH course, some very exceptional things that Americans have done, but I have also learned of some very questionable courses of action Americans have taken, and that is all part of being a nation. No nation is absolutely perfect, and trying to brainwash children with this notion is irresponsible and daft.

The other claim against the new APUSH curriculum is that it limits what teachers are allowed to teach. Before the new course design, the APUSH outline was very broad, leading teachers to try and cover every aspect possible by fear that it might show up on the AP test.

The new guidelines more strictly defines what will be covered on the AP test, while still giving teachers freedom and flexibility to teach supplemental information. This will allow teachers to more readily prepare students for the AP test while still having some flexibility in the matter, which is a good thing.

The new APUSH exam focuses more on applying historical knowledge and examining historical perspectives than the previous exam, which is just one of the many improvements of the new course.

We live in a nation that allows us freedom of thought, so why should the right to learn freely be taken away?

Going “Into the Woods”

By Ian Carson, Managing Editor
Photo by Halee Evans

into the woodsPerhaps one of the best stage-to-film musicals I have seen yet, “Into the Woods” was no disappointment. With a cast that worked very well together, along with sheer talent, they put on a musical like none other.

Stage-to-film musicals are hard to accomplish in the first place, but when they are done well, they can really stand out. I would not go so far as to compare this to the film production of “Les Misérables,” which will always hold a special place in my heart, but it is definitely up there rank-wise.

The first thing that struck me about the movie was how talented the actors and actresses were. The acting was on par by all those involved. Lilla Crawford, who played Little Red, did an astounding job of singing. Her voice was always powerful and radiant, which is not exactly what one would expect from a child actress.

I must also give credit to Stephen Sondheim, who composed the music in the film. The orchestra always did a spectacular job of backing up the vocal parts; the music itself contained many melodic motifs throughout the musical.

The acting by all the parts was astounding. Meryl Streep, who played the Witch, did an wonderful job of showing the different sides of her character. Her portrayal was spot-on, and I could really see the depth of her character in her performance.

She was not the only one who stood out, however. James Corden as the Baker did a great job playing his character. I really felt like Corden became his character, and had no trouble at all playing his part.

Although mostly serious, the film did have its entertaining moments.

“My favorite song was ‘Agony’ because it really showed how the movie could have comical moments as well as serious ones,” said Katelyn Schuck, 11.

The set design and camera work was beautiful. Dion Bebe, who managed cinematography, did celestial work on her part of the film. The camera angles were always perfect, and she always knew just what sections to shoot. The set was as vibrant as ever, with a realistic and mysterious forest, along with a cute yet small village. This was a section of the film definitely worth mentioning.

The stage-to-film production of “Into the Woods” was a joy to see, although it deviated from the original musical in some instances. For example, this version contained a happier ending than the musical. I could not find anything wrong with this wonderful adaptation. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.