Fine arts academic team: they are the champions

Story by: Stephanie McDole, staff writer
Photo provided by: Ms. Sherbak

academic team

On May 9th, the Mt. Vernon High School Fine Arts Academic Team traveled to Purdue University to compete in the 2015 State Academic Bowl. After their victory at regionals, the team prepared to take their skills to the next level.

All of the academic teams competed at conference and area, but only the Fine Arts team moved on to compete in State.

The members of the Fine Arts team, Tess Barnett, Cassandra Bridges, Alyssa Meyer, and Gavin Stamper, started preparing for this competition in November. The team is tested on their knowledge on fine art subjects.

Gavin Stamper, 10, said, “The hardest part was trying not to second guess ourselves.”

Mt. Vernon High School is very proud of the Fine Arts academic team for not only making it to state, but for winning first place.

RFRA

Story by: Stephanie McDole, staff writer
Photo by:

RFRA

A new law in Indiana has sparked controversy over the past couple of weeks. According to JURIST, the RFRA, Religious Freedom Restoration Act, was approved on a vote of 40-10 and signed into law by Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, on March 26.

According to the Indiana General Assembly the law, “Provides that a state or local government action may not substantially burden a person’s right to the exercise of religion unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to the person’s exercise of religion is: (1) essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and (2) the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest.”

The law basically states that the government will not force citizens to go against their religion.

Many of the people against the new law believe that it was was aimed at the LGBT community. However, Pence claims that the law was never intended to legalize discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation.

According the Indy Star, Pence said, “I’ve never supported that. It’s not on my agenda. But I think it’s a completely separate question. I mean, we are talking about the religious freedom restoration act, which is about restoring the highest level of scrutiny in our state courts in matters of government action that intrude upon the religious liberty of Hoosiers. That’s where I want to stay focused.”

Although Pence has said that the law was not made to discriminate, it still continues to spark controversy, mostly between religious groups and the LGBT community. Despite the laws supposed intentions, the Christian community fired back.

According to USA Today, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), voted unanimously to find a new location for their 2017 convention because they did not support the new bill. The General Minister and President, Sharon Watkins, said,  “As a Christian church, we affirm and support religious freedom. It is, in fact, a core principle for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We are also strongly committed to an inclusive community — just as Jesus welcomed all to the table.”

The new law has become quite a topic for news stations across America. On the Daily Show, Jon Stewart and former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, talked about the Indiana RFRA and the Arkansas RFRA.

According to the Daily News, Huckabee said, “The reasons that those corporations put the pressure on Indiana and Arkansas was because the militant gay community put the pressure on them.”

Stewarts responded with, “Shut up! So when gays want equality, it’s militancy, and when Christians want to deny service, it’s freedom?”

A new draft of the RFRA has been passed by the Republican party as of April 2.

According to the Indy Star, “This new proposal guts the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and empowers the government to impose punishing fines on people for following their beliefs about marriage.”

Indiana State Representative of the Democratic Party, Ed Delaney, released a statement saying, “ the ‘fix’ is not enough.”

Delaney released an email to his constituents in which he stated, “I see only one remedy that needs to be taken. First, we need to repeal the current law—then we must reform our civil rights law to add sexual orientation and gender identity. Finally, we need to rewrite the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to actually mirror that of the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Only then will we be able to send a message to those living in the state and those watching that Indiana is open to all.”

50 shades of no

Story by: Stephani McDole, staff writer

Contrary to popular belief, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” is not as bad as it seems; it is far worse. After viewing the film, I decided to write about how truly awful the erotic trilogy by E. L. James is.

If only it were possible for me to look past the poor writing skills of the British author, the sickening plot line, and the fact that the whole shabang started as a “Twilight” fanfiction. Had I gone into the movie theater without knowing anything about the novel, I may have been able to enjoy the movie just a little.

I was relieved to see that the movie was not as disgusting as the books. For example, in the film everything that happens between the leads, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, is consensual, unlike the books where Mr. Grey rapes Anastasia multiple times.

I must say that the cast was amazing. The actors portrayed the characters in such a way that truly convinced me that they were actually sick and twisted people.

The only part of the movie that I actually enjoyed was the score. The music in the movie is a nice escape from the horrible plot. The film was scored by the amazing Danny Elfman, and two of the songs on the soundtrack are original Elfman pieces. The pop hit, “Love Me Like You Do,” by Ellie Goulding owes its popularity to the awful film.

In conclusion, “Fifty Shade of Grey,” is by far one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life. Whether that is a moral judgment or intellectual decision, I do not know.  Maybe I have a predisposition against such risque topics, or maybe I just have the basic common sense to know that the romanization of an abusive relationship is absolutely disgusting.

Sleeping with Sirens and Pierce the Veil review

Story by: Stephani McDole, staff writer

On February 7, a beautiful concert took place at the Old National Center in downtown Indy: The Sleeping with Sirens and Pierce the Veil concert.

The two bands have been touring together for their Rockstar Energy Drink tour, alternating as headliners. At this particular show, Sleeping with Sirens headlined.

Before the two better known bands hit the stage, two other bands opened up. The first band, Mallory Knox, got the crowd pumped. Personally, I did not know of the band until that night, so every word they said sounded like verbalized mashed potatoes. However, they still sounded swell.

The second opening act, Pvris, swept me away. They had a female lead singer, which is rare in the pop-punk world. The crowd had mixed reactions to the band, despite the amazing vocals. I would have listened to that band all night. That girl knew how to perform.

After a long wait, Pierce the Veil took the stage. The crowd went crazy for them. Lights flashed, the bass rang through the air nonstop, and to top it all off, the band members kept throwing picks and drum sticks into the crowd. This is when the pushing and shoving became a battle amongst the fans. Everyone fought to get to the front, which made it really hard to record anything, or even enjoy the music.

Once the crowd settled down, the show became easier to spectate. The band cleared the stage and the lead singer, Victor Fuentes, sang an acoustic version of their song “I’m Low on Gas and You Need a Jacket.” It was a nice break from the intense sound.

Before Sleeping with Sirens took over, the lead singer, Kellin Quinn, joined Pierce the Veil to perform a song he is featured in, “King for a Day.” It was one of my favorite songs to watch them perform because Quinn and Fuentes work so well together on stage.

By the time Sleeping with Sirens finally took the stage, I had made it to the front of the crowd. Once the band began playing, I was mesmerized. The whole band knew how to rock the stage and blew me away.

After a few of their ear-ringing jams, the band also took a break with an acoustic cover of the Goo Goo Dolls song, “Iris.” Phone lights waved in the air like lighters and the whole crowd seemed to be singing along.

Overall, the concert was perfect. The lights, the sound, the people, despite the body odor and mosh pits everywhere. My ears rang for three days after, and I’d have to say it was totally worth all the bruises.

Heard it in the Hallways: Resolutions

By Stephani McDole, staff writer
Photo by Mackenzie Carpenter

resolutionsThanks to the new year, talk of resolutions fills the halls. “New year, new me,” seems to be the theme of the month.

I am all down for change, and if someone wants to be a better person or accomplish a goal or two, they should go for it. However, why do we wait until the new year to decide it is time for change?

It is not that making resolutions is pointless, but waiting until the start of the new year might be. People make resolutions and goals to make a change in their lives. Some people decide that they need to get fit or eat healthier. Others want to pursue new careers or travel, and that is just great.

The thing that bothers me is that people wait around for the start of a new year to take action.

Resolutions should be made year round, not just on the first of the year. Do not hold back and wait for a new year to step up and make a difference when tomorrow is a new day that is just as suitable for change.

Need a new job? Find one. Want a new look? Cut your hair and go shopping.

As Harold Hill, from Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man,” would say, “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”