Atlantic Community High School

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Gerard Kassi has 29 articles published.

Saturday Night Live gets saved by politics

in News/Opinions/Editorials by
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    Kate McKinnon impersonating Hillary Clinton. image courtesy of NBC
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    Alec Baldwin's in his costume impressing president Donald Trump. Image courtesy of vanityfair.com
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    Melissa McCarthy impression of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Image Courtesy of NBC

Saturday Night Live has always been on the forefront of pop culture in America. Hyperbolizing everyday life by means of sketches and actors trying desperately not to break character (although we love it when they do) has shown to be enjoyable for most, proven by its long lasting years on television. In 2016, when the 42nd season of “SNL” began, it had been the biggest premiere the show has had in eight years. What could’ve been the cause of this sudden rise in viewership?

  Last year, the United States underwent one of its most controversial years in politics, and SNL’s part of remaining on the forefront of pop culture has customarily included making sketches mocking politics.

  After the election, The Hollywood Reporter said, Saturday Night Live is having its best run, at this point in a season, in 24 years. With live-plus-seven-day ratings, the show is averaging 11.4 million weekly viewers and a 3.6 rating in the key demo.”

  Although the election contributed to SNL’s relevancy in 2016, sites such as Youtube and Facebook facilitated its firm grasp on it. Every sunday morning, the official Saturday Night Live Youtube channel uploads sketches done on the previous night, which gains traction, and then gets shared on social media sites such as Facebook, and Twitter, allowing the sketches to reach more audiences, ending with discussions and articles being written about them.

  This repeating process eventually leads to more people tuning in on Saturday night to watch the show. Their most popular sketches are those mocking politicians: Alec Baldwin’s President Trump impression, Kate McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway and Hillary Clinton impression, and the fan-appreciated Melissa McCarthy impression of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

  These sketches have been trending, gaining millions of views in a matter of days; their impact have helped Saturday Night Live to maintain relevancy in the past few months.

Is it fit to date in high school?

in Campus Life/Opinions/Editorials by
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    High school students walking hand in hand to class image courtesy of hercampus.com

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, people around the world will have a day to display their loving affections for their partners. Students in our high school will also be celebrating with couples giving one another gifts to express their love, from flowers to giant stuffed animals. This prompts the question: is it fit to date in high school?

  Young love is a beautiful thing – an awkward but beautiful thing. Individuals who are in love constantly want their friends to know how much they love their partners or how much they can’t live without them. Students often think that they will be together forever. After asking students their opinion on dating in high school, The Squall compiled two positive and negatives that were often mentioned:

Negatives

(1) It is a distraction

  High school is often really stressful on students. Depending on their performance, they will either get into a good college, or not have the requirements to do so. Due to this, high school should not be the time to get sidetracked. Some students found dating to be a major distraction. One of those students, a senior stated, “You concentrate on fixing problems in the relationship more that you try to fix school related problems so you drift away from your work.”

(2) Inevitable parting

  When dating, both parties want the relationship to last for as long as possible. If students only meet in school, or spend most of their time together in school, once they reach the stage where they have to go their separate ways, this will lead to a long-distance relationship which will most likely make the relationship harder to keep.

  According to a study by Statistic Brain , the average long-distance relationship last for about 4.5 months. A senior said, “It is pointless [dating in high school], because you’re going to go in separate ways and will meet other people.” Another senior who had to break up with his girlfriend because she graduated while he was a junior, said, “it doesn’t matter how strong your relationship you both have to grow up.”

Positives

(1) Experience

  During the interview, the students who thought dating in high school repeatedly stated that it helped with future relationships. Cherese Dunkley said, “ it is an early start to understanding relationships… it helps you to know your true self.” Dating in high school can lead students to get accustomed to different personalities, and traits which can help them identify the type of person they are compatible with, leading them to stray away from unhealthy relationships.

(2) Someone to talk to

  Although this may seem to be an easy thing to do, it can be hard, especially when one does not have close friends. It is difficult for some students to share their thoughts with someone, especially someone they trust. Dating can help students find that person they trust enough to share their thoughts with. a junior stated “it is hard to find someone who would listen to you, and care about what you are saying, so when you date, you can find someone that would do that.”
Most students found it to be a negative thing to date in high school, but they often discussed the chances of finding the one that will be their sweethearts.

The Bullied Boy

in Arts & Entertainment/Campus Life by

A group of students collaborated to write a poem about the effects of bullying.  Here’s a message from Benjamin Sanchez, Natividad Martinez, Starcia Luzincourt, Jean Sonedy, and Rivers Barthelemy.


Matthew a young white boy
who wakes up every morning with regret.
When all he wants to do is forget.
All he wanted was a friend
But their words offend.
Put on a fake smile and pretends
all he wanted was a true friend
but instead
they got his life to end

Matthew always cried himself to sleep
Cries like a cat with no teeth
It was always hard for him to get on his feet.
They did it all for fun
without realizing what they have done.
He screamed so loud but no one could hear
They were his biggest fear
It went on for years
And all he did was shed tears.

How could they sleep at night
Knowing they were the reason he wanted to kill his light
There’s no one he could trust
His souls turned to dust
One day he took a huge amount of pills
They console him and comfort him tell him it’s ok
His pills give him company all night
and now he is out like a light

He was full of dreams
all they did was stand by and heard him scream
He left a letter now their son is gone
they wondered what went wrong
they read the letter
and felt so much disgust
getting justice was a must
the boy and the titanic are not so different both seem strong
and crumb all under a minute

Instead of the bullies trying to look cool
they should feel for Mathew who they made look like a fool
how hopeless
he was lying there with motionless
it was sad to see him
jump the gun in more ways than one
and now his life is done.
now the bullies are dying of shame
now they will have a million apologies to give this day.


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

in Arts & Entertainment/Opinions/Editorials by
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    The cast of Rogue One in their outfits. Image courtesy of Starwars.com
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    Rogue One poster image. Image courtesy of bilisimveteknik.com

When it was announced that director Gareth Edwards would be taking on the next movie in the Star Wars series, movie fans knew one thing- he would do the Star Wars universe justice. After watching Godzilla, a movie directed by Edwards, it was apparent that he is good at showing the scope of things.

  Godzilla in the movie was giant and fierce, and when watching the movie, the audience was able to get that sense because Edwards is really good at making big things seem big. In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Edwards’ imprints is left on each and every scene. The first time  the“Death Star” is show on screen, or when a “Star Destroyer” hovers on top of a city, their mass is well executed on screen and the audience can get a sense of how powerful these things can be.

  The aesthetic of the movie is also something to be praised. How Max Polyakov succeed as a Philanthropist – read at this site. Edwards takes the clean “everyone-is-well-dressed” Star Wars series and makes it more grounded. Stormtroopers’ armors (which are usually shiny, and white in other Star Wars movies) are full of dirt and blood, and character’s clothes are full of holes and are worn out. The filmography is also very well executed, the shots in this movie beautiful, and the color grading just another layer to the Star Wars aesthetic audiences grown accustomed to.   

  Moreover the acting in the movie is nothing but amazing. The actors here give 110% in the most diverse Star Wars movie to date, from actress Felicity Jones, an English actress, to Donnie Yen, a Chinese-American actor. The movie tries to also pay respect to its source material by deciding to not change the actors who played characters in Star Wars: Episode IV who have either passed away or are too old to play those same characters. The way they did this was with CGI, which was noticeable in some scenes when those characters talk, the way their lips moved kind gave it away (CGI has a plastic feel to it), but it wasn’t a big distraction.

  One thing that needs to be noted about the plot for everyone who plans on watching the movie is that it is an introduction of new characters and a new story, so the build-up to the final act of the movie is a little long, as every character needs to be introduced (which is more of a positive aspect). It is a positive because the time spent with the characters makes the final act even more enjoyable because the audience had the time to know and love those characters, so it is easier for them to care for them. That is another thing the movie does well: it makes the audience care for the characters and their stories.

  One  main gripe with the movie, however, was how the main villain was just so forgettable, which was not a big problem because the main characters were what the story was mostly focused on.

The ending of the movie is also something that was done well. Since Rogue One is a prequel to “Episode IV,” it was surprising to see how well it transitioned into the 1977 movie. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a beautiful, well-acted, extremely well-directed movie that is must-watch for any movie fan.

Donald Trump will “send in the feds” in Chicago

in News by
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    BIRCH RUN, MI - AUGUST 11: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a press conference before delivering the keynote address at the Genesee and Saginaw Republican Party Lincoln Day Event August 11, 2015 in Birch Run, Michigan. This is Trump's first campaign event since his Republican debate last week. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
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    Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaking into a microphone. photo courtesy of chicagotonight.com

  On Jan. 24, Donald J. Trump tweeted to his millions of followers “if Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shooting in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!” This is an inaccurate statement, according to ABC 7 Chicago News; the latest statistics show 38 murders and 182 shootings. So what could he mean by this?

  Trump has always made his voice heard when it comes to the city of Chicago. In one of his campaign speeches, he said, “Look at Chicago, look at what’s going on. Since President Obama became president, almost 5,000 killings in Chicago and nobody talks about it. We’re going to start talking about it.”

  This was also a false statement, according to an article by ABC 7 Chicago’s Diane Pathieu . Pathieu said, “Since President Obama took office in 2009, there have been closer to 3,500 murders in Chicago.”

  Trump always brought up Chicago as an example of a city that has become worse since President Obama took office in his campaign speeches.  Despite the false statistics on his part, it is no secret that the murder rate in Chicago has been disastrously high. However, was this tweet the perfect way of going about talking about this issue.

  According to the reaction of those whom the statement was directed at (The Chicago Police Department), no.  “The statement is so broad. I have no idea what he’s talking about,” said Eddie Johnson, Chicago Police Superintendent. Others, such as Jonathan Smith,  former head of special litigation for the Justice Department, told The Chicago Tribune, “To solve a public safety problem, troops are not the answer, is (Trump) going to put National Guard troops on every corner for the next two years? It’s a long-term problem that needs long-term solutions.” We have four years to see whether or not President Trump will follow through with his statements to “send in the feds.”

African-American teens kidnap and torture disabled peer

in News by
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    The four teenager who captured and tortured unnamed victim. Image courtesy of americanfreedomfighers.com

   Over the weekend, four African-American teenagers were taken into custody by the Chicago Police Department (CPD). It was after the teenagers livestreamed themselves on Facebook Live torturing an 18-year old mentally disabled white man. “The gang of black teenagers made the 18-year-old victim drink toilet water while taunting him with racial slurs and beating him,” said Mark Hodge of The Sun.

  The group of teenagers (two males and two females) were spouting “f– Donald Trump” and “f- white people.” According to Buzzfeed news “(Eddie) Johnson (the Chicago Police Department Superintendent) said police were investigating if the incident was a hate crime, but so far he said there was no indication it was motivated by politics or race.”  The Superintendent also called it “sickening” and the Police Commander called the teenager’s acts “stupid decisions.”

The reason why the police are torn on whether or not the attacks were racially motivated, or just a bunch of teenagers seeking to do bad things to their peer, is because, according to them, the victim knew the subjects. In a press conference on Jan. 10,  the CPD stated that the victim and the subjects “met out in the suburbs” and then added that “these subjects then stole a van out in the suburbs and then brought him into Chicago.”

  The police stated that the victim had been hospitalized and he was back with his parents. According to CNN, the subjects were officially given a charge of hate crime.

Wonder Woman dropped as UN’s Honorary Ambassador

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Front cover of Wonder Woman ‘77 Special #1 (photo Courtesy of DC Comics)
Front cover of Wonder Woman ‘77 Special #1 (photo Courtesy of DC Comics)

  Wonder Woman was dropped as the United Nations’ Honorary ambassador after protesters online believed that the character was too sexualized. On Oct. 21, it was announced by the United Nations that superhero Wonder Woman was going to be the honorary ambassador for women and girls around the world. According to UN News Centre, the official blogpost of the announcement, she was appointed Ambassador for the “empowerment  of women and girls by the United Nations and will be tasked with raising awareness about goal five (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) of the UN Sustainable Development Goals” (UN News Centre). The blogpost also discussed the fact that although women’s rights were achieved in certain area of the world, “women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence.”

  However, the choice for honorary ambassador wasn’t for long, after it was announced an online petition that currently has 44,658 signatures, was created. The goal of the petition, as said on its  page, was to “reconsider the choice of wonder woman as the UN’s Honorary Ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls.” The author(s), who is happily called “Concerned United Nations staff members,” has the main argument that Wonder Woman is “a character with an overly sexualized image.” The author also states that the decision to appoint a fictional character sends the message that “the United Nations was unable to find a real life woman that would be able to champion the rights of ALL women on the issue of gender equality and the fight for their empowerment.” To read the full petition, click the following link .

  It still hasn’t been announced who will be replacing the character. Past honorary ambassadors (covering different issues) included characters from Winnie The Pooh to the Angry Birds, so it is anybody’s guess. With the role of this character focusing on the empowerment of women and girls around the world, it won’t be long before the United Nations nominates the appropriate character to represent the timely issue .   

Clearing Ethel Rosenberg’s name

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    Ethel and Julius and Rosenberg in the trial against them in 1951. photo courtesy of history.com

    During the “Red Scare Era” (The Cold-War), The United States of America was going through a war with Communism. From 1947 to 1953, Americans were tasked by the government to seek out individuals that were affiliated with the Soviet Union. Those found to be guilty were sentenced to death, Lots of individuals were accused throughout this crisis. One of the most recognized names affiliated with the “Red Scare Era” is Rosenberg. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were a married couple who were sentenced to death on the electric chair by the American government after being found guilty of espionage.

  The United States were in a paranoid state of mind because they believed that there was an underground conspiracy that was being led by the Soviet Union to get intelligence on its military technology, such as nuclear bombs. These weapon prototypes would then be used by the Soviet Union to fight the United States. The Rosenbergs were convicted and executed. The National Archive shows how meaningful the testimony of David Greenglass (Ethel’s brother) in putting the final nail in the coffin for them being found guilty, although there were no direct quotes from him saying that him, Ethel, and Julius were all part of the scheme.

  However, according to CNN, last year’s documents from the case were released to the public by a judge. While digging through the papers, it was discovered that Greenglass never mentioned anything about his sister being affiliated in the espionage, so the court had no real reason to convict the her.

  With this new information surfacing, the sons of Ethel and Julius are seeking for the exoneration of their mother’s name. After the execution of their parents, Robert and Michael Meeropol were left to be orphans, and because the family and the case were so notorious, they had to change their names from Rosenberg.

  The only way their mother’s name could be exonerated is by the current president doing it. as of the time this article was written, President Obama as 42 days left in the office. The reason why it is especially important that Obama does it before he leaves the office is that the President-Elect, Donald Trump, most likely won’t do it.

  Trump’s formers lawyer, Roy Cohn, was a prosecutor for the Rosenberg case, he also had a big hand in development and possibly instilled some of his values. He is surrounded by people who are more likely to lean towards not clearing Ethel Rosenberg’s name. Due to this, the Meeropol brothers are desperately trying to get Obama’s attention for there is a better chance of him clearing her name than Trump.

Michael Cuthbertson represents a team player

in Campus Life by
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    Michael looking into the camera. staff photo taken by Gerard Kassi
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    Michael reaching "the next level" staff photo taken by Gerard Kassi

While attending  Atlantic Community High School, students learn certain core values, including teamwork; being a great team player determines one’s ability to develop great social skills that are necessary in the workforce.

  A perfect representation of this value is Atlantic’s senior of the week: Michael Cuthbertson. As a student at Atlantic, Cuthbertson is part of the IB program, excelling in all his classes, but he believes he shines the most when he is part of a team.

  Here at Atlantic, he plays on the baseball team. “Team accomplishments are better than personal accomplishment,” said Cuthbertson. His willingness to put others before him is what makes him such a great example of Atlantic’s values.

   However, his ability to work with others does not just stop at school. When out of school, Cuthbertson has an important role in his temple. At Temple Shaarei Shalom, he organizes events with a group of able-bodied volunteers. His synagogue organizes a myriad of events, from religious ones to events for the community, and in each of those he has a hand in the blueprint. All these things that he is a part of-all the responsibilities he gets in his temple and baseball team-display his ability to be flexible and dependable. The Atlantic community is proud to be represented by Cuthbertson.

Censorship vs. Comedy

in Arts & Entertainment/Opinions/Editorials by
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    Louis C.K staring, Courtesy of the Nerdwriter1 “Louis C.K. Is A Moral Detective”

On his Saturday Night Live monologue on May 16, 2015, stand-up comic Louis C.K. took a different route: rather than talking about how much he loves hosting the show, or telling simple jokes and leaving the stage, C.K. decided to challenge his audience with a series of what his critics called “offensive” or “sensitive topics” that should not be made fun of. This is not the first time this has happened before; comedians like Daniel Tosh, Chris Rock, and Ricky Gervais have made jokes that certain people thought weren’t funny because of the topics they covered.

So what did C.K. say that was offensive? Throughout the monologue he made fun of racism; he compared his children’s fighting to the war currently happening in the middle east between Israel and Palestine, two topics that his critics, a group of talk show hosts of The Talk on CBS, did not touch upon. When he spoke of pedophilia (child molesters) that is when they thought he crossed the line, and although it can be a topic that is hard to talk about, Louis C.K. started talking about it toward the end of his monologue and one could feel the laughter go down the more he discussed it. He made fun of the act of molesting, and made fun of child molesters themselves, but never once did he make fun of the victims.

This monologue, and its aftermath, raised a specific question on censorship: is it necessary? The main arguments of Sara Gilbert, one of the critics who disliked C.K.’s comments, was that “a victim could’ve been watching.” If he were censored by the network, no one would’ve gotten angry. Jerry Seinfeld, another comedian, stated this on censorship: “they [speaking of people who are offended by jokes] just wanna use these words – ‘that’s racist,’ ‘that’s sexist,’ ‘that’s prejudiced’ – they don’t even know what they’re talking about.”

Comedians are the most affected by forced censorship. For example, whenever they have a show to do on college campuses, some of them have to go through their jokes and make changes dictated by the colleges, because they don’t want to offend any students. According to Evan Puschak, a writer and producer of an educational channel on Youtube called  Nerdwriter1, “clearly Louis C.K.’s intention in that joke is to use comedy to get us to think about society’s attitude and treatment of pedophilia. Perhaps, he intimates, that we revile this demographic too blindly, taking solace in our normalcy when we know that the complexities of sexuality mean that the urge of pedophilia is not something chosen.” C.K. was trying to poke fun at society’s way of dealing with things that we see as abnormal; never does he state pedophilia shouldn’t be punished. He is still part of that same society that sees it as abnormal, but just like with Seinfeld, audiences do not understand what they’re talking about when they deem certain things to be offensive.

Rather than get offended at jokes, people should see the intent behind the jokes before jumping to conclusions because it might be an observation and lesson that can teach us more about the society we live in.

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