Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Adversity Score: A Possibly Unfair Number

Lucie MacGillvray
Staff Writer

Recently, the College Board announced a new score that would be assigned to them based on a students’ environmental circumstances. This “adversity score” would take factors such as location, family situations, and income into consideration. Those with situations that are considered more “unfair” will be assigned a higher score than others which is rated from 1 to 100. After testing the score at 40 universities, it was found that “Applicants from higher levels of disadvantage were more likely to be admitted, suggesting the additional context influenced admissions outcomes” (CollegeBoard). This meant that students coming from poorer neighborhoods were given a higher chance of getting admitted to a university than students from wealthy backgrounds, even if their test scores were similar.
    Although students coming from disadvantaged neighborhoods may have an educational disadvantage, students do not get to choose their living situations. Wealthy children did not choose to be born with money in their families, and poor children did not choose to be born into that either. Giving students advantages based on factors they cannot control seems highly unfair to those who worked extremely hard to earn the scores they did.
    Additionally, the adversity score does not take into account specific data concerning the student or personal family challenges, whether it be that a child has suffered abuse, or has lived through other difficult situations. These challenges are overlooked, and only general data taken from censuses and other data collections are used to score the student. While students living in areas that are deemed wealthy and privileged could have very well suffered many personal obstacles in their lives, the only “challenges” taken into account are monetary.
    On the other hand, those who grew up in a poor setting may have been denied access to the tools that wealthy students had access to. For instance, wealthy students may have been able to afford a multitude of test preparation services, while poorer students could not, creating a large difference in test scores.
     The adversity score takes this into account and allows universities to see the monetary struggles of students that may affect their scores.

Music genres can affect how you feel

Skyler Dobson and Shannon Herbert
Contributing Sociologists

Music is extremely powerful, in the sense that it can draw people together just as quickly as it can tear people apart. Music is able to evolve and differ tremendously between generations and artists, and there still seems to be something for everyone and anyone. Artists are able to create and spread their words of wisdom and love to entertain people, or to even send a message within the deepest lines in the lyrics. In today’s day and age, it is extremely easy to tell if an artist is creating music for attention and money, or if they have a genuine love for the artform, and they want to share their craft for the rest of the world to enjoy. Even if the music falls under the “depressing” category, it can still be enjoyed by many, and can help bring people together. “Uplifting” music obviously has better long term effects on the brains of adolescents, and it is still able to bring people together from all over the world.
    In order to properly approach our interests concerning the topic of music, we first had to identify the problem or question at hand: How do certain genres of music impact people’s mood? With a question in mind, we were then able to discuss how we would approach discoveries we would make surrounding the topic of music relating to mood. We came to the conclusion that we would be able to construct a survey, and get the most information out of students if we structured our questions and statements about what kind of music people listened to, and how it makes them feel. Before surveying the public, we first had to know what we were getting ourselves into. After the information about different genres of music relating to mood and development was retained, we were able to construct a hypothesis, and surveys to collect data to either support or deny our agreed-upon hypothesis. We were thrilled to eventually get the results of our surveys back to either confirm or deny the predictions we had previously made about the music choice of the students of New Hope-Solebury High School, and how their mood was impacted by their choice of music.
    Feeling confident about the background knowledge we both had about our choice of topic, we were finally able to experiment with the numerous amounts of students surrounding us at New Hope. With out carefully constructed questions, we were able to receive a number of differing answers, which supported our hypothesis in a way we weren't expecting. Our hypothesis stated that “If students listen to certain genres of music (uplifting, pop, rap, etc.), then students will be in a better mood.” The songs that would fall under the “depressing” category, mainly hip-hop and rap, were a popular answer among students. Even though students stated that songs that fall under that category boosted their mood, those songs do fall under the “depressing category”. Even though we received no responses that correlated with a negatively impacted mood or a bad experience and an uplifting genre of music, the amount of responses that gave “depressing” genres a positive response overwhelmed the responses that said “uplifting” genres helped express a positive mood and mindset.
    In conclusion, with the help of the students of New Hope-Solebury, and numerous resources online, we were able to support our hypothesis and confirm our thoughts and assumptions about the music choice of our peers. Our research provided us with the different types of music that fell under the “depressing” category, and the uplifting category. Much to our dismay, most of the survey results showed that most of the population of our peers listen to music that is considered depressing. But, our hypothesis was never disproved because there were never any negative results reported back from people that listened to music that is considered to be “uplifting”. Our research and experimentation lead us to the conclusion that music is an extremely complex topic, and someone's music choice is able to completely alter a person's outlook on life, and it can even shift a person's mood completely and instantly, for the better or for the worse.

Prepared by
Connor Fitzgerald

Behind the scenes in Mask & Zany

Sarah Harrison
Staff Writer

Over the past 3 amazing years, I have been a active member of Mask & Zany. I’ve done many musicals and plays, and those were some of the best experiences of my high school career by far. There are a lot of people who come and see the shows, and see what we put together, but there aren’t a lot of people who see what goes on behind the scenes, and what really goes into putting these productions together so quickly, which is what I'm here to shed some light on the entire process of putting a show together. I ’ll start from the beginning. We start out with auditions. We all come in three days after school to do acting, singing, and dancing auditions if it’s a musical. For acting you usually need to have a one minute comedic monologue prepared, and you do it in front of the group, it’s a lot less scary than it sounds because Mask & Zany is like one big family. After acting auditions we have singing auditions. The type of song you do really depends on the musical that we’re doing, but it always has to be at least sixteen measures long. After singing auditions we have dancing auditions, which is always the most fun time. None of us are close to being professionals, so it’s just fun. After we have auditions the real waiting begins. We wait until the cast list comes out, which is always a suspense filled limbo period for everyone. After the list comes out we get to work.
     In the first few rehearsals, we just all sit around in Mrs. Pittner’s room and read through our scripts, and listen to the soundtrack on Spotify. After those few days, we start learning our singing parts for the show with Mr. Bateman, and start blocking with Mrs. Pittner; which is learning the movement and what you do and where you stand on stage. After we have our basic blocking down, we try to start memorizing our lines which can be tough, but the key to learning anything is repetition, so going through it everyday in rehearsal helps. A few weeks in we start dance rehearsals. This year was especially challenging for a lot of us because we had to learn how to tap dance in just a few short weeks. We would have tap rehearsals everyday until we all got it down, even when a lot of us had little dance experience before hand. I’m not surprised because Mask & Zany people are some of the most dedicated and hardworking individuals I've ever met. When all of this is down, and we have everything memorized, we being to stumble through the show, and I mean stumble through. We stop and start constantly to call line, ask what our blocking is, or to fix a lighting cue, but it eventually comes together, it always does even when we think it won’t. Being a part of a production in Mask & Zany is one of the most magical and rewarding things ever. Seeing something that you pour your heart and soul into everyday for months, go from absolutely nothing to full blown production that you’re proud of and are excited to perform, is one of the greatest feeling ever.
     I encourage anyone who is even the smallest amount interested in theater to try out for a show with us. Through the shows and Mask & Zany, I have met some of my closest friends, and being a part of a family like this is once in a lifetime. I know that I was scared and didn’t have a lot of information when I was a freshman, so if you have any questions or want to know any information about what to do for auditions, talk to anyone in the club, or reach out to Mrs. Pittner, she would be thrilled to hear from you. Come join Mask & Zany, we would love to have you!

Extravagance sums up Met Gala 2019

Frany Barile
Staff Writer

This year's Met Gala, a black-tie extravaganza that raises money for the costume institute, was held on May 4. The chosen hosts were Anna Wintour and Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci.
      Every year there is a certain theme that goes along with the event; this year’s theme was “Camp: Notes on Fashion.” Many individuals were confused with the meaning of this year's theme, but it was explained by the host Anna Wintour: “It is one way of seeing the world as an aesthetic phenomenon.”
     With the theme that celebrated outrageous and over-the-top looks, it was no surprise that the 2019 Met Gala looks were unlike ever before. One of the most famous looks this year was worn by Lady Gaga. Not only did Lady Gaga arrive in not one, not two, not three, but four different astonishing looks by Brandon Maxwell, she also incorporated into her first look a wagon full of champagne and dancers for her second look. For her third outfit, her attire was complemented by umbrellas. Lastly, she left the audience shook with a flirty striptease.
     Another extravagant look was seen on the red carpet by Billy Porter. The outfit consisted of an embellished catsuit, 10-ft wings, and a 24-karat gold headpiece. What top it all was he was carried in on a black and gold litter by six chiseled and shirtless bearers.
     Katy Perry’s 2019 Met Gala look was one we will never forget. She was dressed in a Moschino chandelier designed by Jeremy Scott that was actually illuminated.
     Lastly, Kacey Musgraves, known as the MVP in previous appearances at the Met Gala, owned her title. She showed up dressed as a Barbie doll, with a blonde wig, and a matching pink convertible.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The top five fashion trends of 2018 include plaid, athleisure, and retro styles

Lauren Hunt
Staff Writer

2018 marked the year of both patterns and solids in fashion. The first wardrobe staple was the fanny pack. This item made a come back this year allowing style and convenience to go hand and hand. From concerts to a casual day out, fanny packs were seen incorporated into almost every outfit.
   Another unique trend seen numerous times throughout the year was fringe. Primarily seen on bags, skirts, and dresses, fringe added texture and movement to every piece it was included on. Fringe was a fun dramatic way to embrace a look.
   The most popular fashion trend of 2018 by far was plaid. The pattern was seen everywhere this year, primarily in the fall and winter months. It was easy to get your hands on almost anything in the print this year. From colorful plaid coats, pants, blazer, and any accessories, there were numerous ways to incorporate plaid within your wardrobe.  However, this trend is just getting started and 2019 will probably see much more in the way of plaid.
   Trench coats were another major fashion staple this year. The tan outerwear offered a subtle sprinkle of sophistication to any outfit. Many paired one with jeans and a plain white t-shirt, making for a simple yet put together ensemble. Trench coats are infinitely versatile, looking just as good with sneakers as they do with your heels.
   Finally, 2018 was the year of “athleisure.” Designers took gym attire to the runway with many athletic-inspired pieces. Top designers such as Gucci, Tod’s, and Louis Vuitton hopped on the trend this year. We will see how these retro workout pieces proceed in 2019.
      Frany Barile contributed to this article.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year's resolutions you’ll actually stick to

Devon Beacham
Staff Writer

With 2019 fast approaching, many people are making resolutions, but as important as these goals can be—from eating better to saving money—they are typically broken. Whether it be in the first week or the first month, many people’s resolutions slowly fizzle out and they return to their old ways. Other times, however, motivation and determination overcome laziness. Individuals can maintain their goals and, overall, create a better lifestyle for themselves. But what is the difference between the successful goals and those that often ultimately lead to failure?
 It seems that the most effective methods to approach resolutions is by creating measurable ones. Rather than aiming for “being more active,” one should make their resolution “exercise for one hour everyday.” Along with that, instead of thinking “make healthier choices,” set a goal of “eating at least one vegetable at every meal.” Rather than “lose weight,” plan to “lose 10 pounds.” By making a goal that people can assure they complete, it is easier for them to force themselves to do it and to check it off when they’re done. If someone is trying to form a target that they are capable of achieving, the best option is to make it measurable. It also makes them feel a whole lot better once they do achieve it. A goal that one can look back on after many days have passed and know for certain whether or not he or she has fulfilled is more likely to end in success.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

New generation dominates top 5 albums of 2018

Dan Flavin
Music Critic

 2018 was filled with great albums, but a few stood out. Albums like “A Love Letter to You 3” and “TA13OO” have highlighted the year, but some albums like, “Street Gossip” and “Scorpion” have been totally underwhelming. We are going to highlight our top five favorite albums of the year.

5. Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 2- Lil Peep
     The late Lil Peep’s first “Posthumous” project released on Nov. 9 was a hit. The music that all fans missed was back. Songs like ”Runaway” and “16 Lines” brought his unorthodox instrumentals and his vocal style that is not usually connected to rap music. On the album Peep talks about his struggles with drug addiction and his love life. It sold 81,000 equivalent units in the first week of its release and charted number five on Billboard Hot 100. The negatives with Peeps album is that if feels repetitive after a while of listening, but the album has lasting power because of Peep’s death. “With Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 2” most likely being Peep’s last album, it will be listened to for years to come.
4. Goodbye and Good Riddance- Juice Wrld
     Juice Wrld’s debut album combined hard hitting trap beats with a sad melodic voice and heartbroken lyrics. Juice’s ability to create intricate flows and evolving melodies to the well produced instrumental throughout the album is fabulous. Not only are the instrumentals great the songs are mixed and mastered well for a debut album. The only issues come on songs like “All Girls are the Same,” which was created before Juice was able to record in high level studios. Although the quality is a bit lower than the rest “All Girls are the Same” seems to be a definition of Juice Wrld in one song. The hard hitting 808’s in the beat complimented by the chippy melody and bouncy hi-hats were used to lift his singing and flow to a new level. The emotion in his voice makes the song much better along with the creative flow he used. “Goodbye and Good Riddance” sold 39,000 units in its first week, but has continued to glow. We still find ourselves listening to this album on a regular basis and don’t think that will change for a while.

3. Tha Carter V- Lil Wayne
     After a long legal battle with his former label Wayne was finally given the rights to release the fifth installment in his “Tha Carter” series. After years of waiting since “Carter IV,” “Carter V” was finally here. The 23-track album was great from top to bottom. Stand out tracks such as “Let it  Fly (feat. Travis Scott)” and “Don’t Cry (feat. XXXTENTATION)” were incredible and showed Wayne’s versatility to work with new artists. Those weren’t the only standout, “Dedicate” started off with a bouncy piano riff and distorted voice telling of all Lil Wayne has done for music. Wayne then comes in and spits two minutes of bars telling of not only the money he has made, but the artists he has made. He raps, “I started this s---, you just part of this s---”, telling all new rappers that he started the face tattooed “Lil” rappers. Wayne’s flaunting doesn’t stop there, the next track “Uproar” is a banger of 2018. The song will instantly turn a room from one to ten due to the upbeat instrumental produced by legend Swizz Beatz. Wayne talks about money and drugs as usual, but also weaves his classic wordplay into the song. There weren’t too many downsides to the album; the mixing was great and production was done well. The only thing I would change is I would shorten the track list down from 23. The album sold an insane 480,000 equivalent units in its first week. Proving its classic status it has definitely earned.
2. Beerbongs & Bentleys-Post Malone
     Off the release of “Stoney” Post Malone was growing rapidly. He went from unknown to one of the biggests artists in the game in a few months. Fans were expecting big things for his anticipated album, “Beerbongs & Bentleys” and he sure delivered. Post’s unique voice seems as if it can’t get old throughout the album. On the track “Better Now” he goes off with the vocals, lyrics and emotion in his voice. You can feel his first anger then sadness throughout the track. Not only are his vocals great, but the production is awesome as well. The beats range from eerie synths to distorted guitars and he kills all of them. “Over Now’s” distorted guitar, but simple drum pattern seems to fit perfectly with Posts out of style angry lyrics and style. Post Malone is known for his sad mellow lyrics, but he totally switched it up and did amazing. The flaw with the album comes with the overdone theme of heartbreak and drug abuse. However, themes and meanings of albums don’t matter to us as much as good sounding music so B&B is still very high on the list. Not only is the music great, but it did numbers. It charted number one on the Billboard Hot 100 selling 461,000 the first week. Not only were the equivalent sales massive the streaming numbers smashed records. B&B racked up 431.3 million streams in its first week of release. Those are unheard of numbers for an artist still gaining a following.
1. Astroworld- Travis Scott
     The number one album seemed to be unanimous. “Astroworld” had the theme, it had the numbers, and it had the quality. Travis Scott proved that he is one of the best artists in the game with his masterpiece. Named after a Houston Amusement Park that was closed when he was a child, he wanted to make an album that would capture the emotion of taking fun away from kids and he certainly did that. The intro track “Stargazing” has and incredible instrumental, which seems to be common on this album, and Travis’ signature highly autotuned almost distorted voice fans have come to love. He creates an atmosphere that we have never heard before. If someone turns on a song from “Astroworld” everyone immediately knows. The ominous yet upbeat tracks make the album a great listen. The only thing the album lacks is a lot of straight rapping and lyrical ideas, but it doesn’t really matter because the listeners ears always have something to listen to. There is always a new instrument being added or a humming Travis in the background. The production is just flat out amazing. It feels like Travis and his team spent months mixing and mastering the project to perfection. The track list is long enough to satisfy the two year wait, but short enough to keep you interested. Astro earned 537,000 equivalent sales it’s first week and has continued to be on the billboard chart since. It even charted number one again the week of December second rivaling 6ix9ine’s “Dummy Boy.” The breakout track “Sicko Mode” progresses through three beat switch ups that totally change the style of the song. The third beat in the song is produced by Tay Keith a producer who has proven his upbeat drums have a major effect on not only the track as a whole, but crowd reaction. Another stand out track is “Yosemite” with Gunna and Nav. Gunna opens the song on the acoustic guitar riff which sounds like a match made in heaven and Travis picks up where he left off. The song holds one of the only negatives for the album though. Right at the end when Navs verse starts his voice goes super quiet and you can barely hear it. Although it could be intentional to make the song fade out, it is likely it is a mixing mistake, the only on the album and somehow so obvious. The album was overall amazing and will be listened to for years that is why “Astroworld” is undoubtedly the album of the year.
    Roberto Escamilla and Nate Donohoe contributed to this review.