January 2021

Decemeber 2020

"Skin" : Is Sabrina Speaking Up?

By Aubrey Walters

Of course, we’ve all heard the song that’s taken the internet by storm: Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license” has had everyone in their feels for a couple of weeks now. But possibly the most interesting part of the song is the love triangle it’s supposedly based on. For those of you who are living under a rock, it’s been suspected the song is about Joshua Bassett, and the “blonde girl” mentioned in Rodrigo’s song is Sabrina Carpenter. On January 22nd, Sabrina released the song “Skin”, and people are saying it’s her side to the love triangle story. I have to admit, the parallels between her and Olivia’s songs are rather suspicious. I know you’re all suckers for drama like me, so let me give you a breakdown.

Carpenter’s song is the same relaxing feeling we’re used to hearing from her, and even a little reminiscent of some of her earlier music. It’s the lyrics, however, that are a little shocking.

In just the first verse, Sabrina sings

“Maybe you didn’t mean it/ Maybe blonde was the only rhyme”

I might be reading too much into things, but that feels like a direct hit at Olivia’s song, as mentioned above. Now that could be a coincidence, but she goes on to sing about how this person has been telling their side of the story and now she’s telling hers. This could be in reference to the hate Carpenter has been getting since “drivers license” was released. In my opinion, the most shocking lyric was in the bridge where Sabrina says

“Don’t drive yourself insane”

This seems obviously connected to the fact that Olivia’s song is all about driving. I don’t know if she’s driving herself insane, but she’s certainly driving through the suburbs.

Some people feel Sabrina took it a little too far with her lyrics, claiming they’re unnecessarily mean. While others think she has a right to speak her mind on the subject. Although it seems the songs correlate to each other perfectly, maybe it’s too perfect. The fact that Olivia, Joshua, and Sabrina all came out with new songs in three consecutive weeks feels a little too planned and has led this reporter to believe the drama was all made up for publicity.

Regardless of whose side you’re on, the song is great and definitely deserves a listen. Oh, and her PR team definitely deserves a raise.

The Fall of Resolutions

By Bebe Falkner

At the beginning of the month, I set out to write a story. One about the fall of the new year’s resolution. But as I sit here, merely hours before my deadline, I wonder if this long-standing tradition is truly gone.

During a normal year, we return from Winter break with excitement laced into everything we say: where we went, what we experienced, and when we plan to complete our new year’s resolutions. This year, the hallways fell silent. There wasn’t talk of fitness programs or reading goals. There were purely statements made about the homework for that day and the test at the end of the week. It honestly was quite upsetting when I realized this. In a letter I wrote to a dear friend, I ask something around the lines of “isn’t there something so wonderful about the beginning of a new year?” But as I look around to those I spend my days with, there seems to not be the same consensus.

Perhaps the absence of the resolution is caused by excessive school. As magnet students, our lives are constructed on the premise of work. Seven hours of school, only to be followed by hours of studying and homework. Even after completing the assignments for the night, there is still this gut feeling that you could have done more. Strange isn’t it? We devote almost all of our time to still feel like we’ve accomplished nothing. This year – you know, because of the global pandemic – we are forced to constantly face the looming assignments over our head because of easy technology access.

The idea of adding another project to our never-ending list sounds absurd. Why should we continue to wear ourselves out? Perhaps, we avoid taking on another task because even if we complete it, there will be something else we want after - like a never-ending bucket list. Making a resolution to run a 5k is fairly universal. One 5k leads to a 10k, then to running every day, then to whatever else there is for runners - I am quite obviously not one. Or deciding to improve your art skills. Watching a few tutorials can lead to doodling constantly, then to a deep passion for something that had been just an idea months before. It takes up more time. We don’t have that, do we? Every resolution takes time.

I took it upon myself to make a resolution this year. There is something inside of me that says we do have time. And it is important. We may dedicate our lives to school, but I hope you never feel like that is all your life ever will be. The habits that I am working on are not flawless. Which is something we can appreciate in an environment like Central. After three weeks of working on this new commitment, I see that it is not just another burden. These goals are becoming habits. And shifting my mindset. Because there really is something wonderful about the beginning of a new year.

It is not too late to create a new habit or resolution, however you would like to put it. Starting to look at your life and choosing to enrich it is the best goal you can make for yourself. It will not be completed on a timeline. There is no deadline. And it is not for a grade. However, I want to point out, that sometimes the things that will impact us most are not.

Joy To You and Me:

Central Musicians Spread Holiday Cheer to Nursing Home Residents

By Sydney Taylor

The current pandemic has deeply affected everyone’s lives. One particularly hard-hit group are nursing home residents, who are vulnerable not only to infection, but also loneliness in this world without visitors. Even gathering in groups can be hazardous; so many residents must remain alone in their rooms. Central Magnet junior and Tri-M Vice-President Alex Norwood recognized this problem and suggested that the club create a virtual holiday concert for the Stones River Manor residents. Many of the club’s student musicians sent in short video clips of themselves singing or playing their musical instruments. Others offered words of encouragement or spoke about what music means to them. The clips were then combined to form one virtual concert that each resident could then watch individually. In a time of intense loneliness, the concert brought joy to the lives of the residents; in Norwood’s own words:

“they were able to enjoy the Christmas

carols and sing along.”

Ms. Way-Kiani, the Tri-M sponsor, expressed,“[I am] very proud that the musicians in Tri-M were dedicated to continuing to serve the community through music in the midst of a pandemic,” noting that the project was both safe for students and beneficial to the community.

Tri-M members were also enthusiastic about the virtual concert and its reception. A Tri-M senior and member of the Madrigals choir loved the experience, saying “I’m glad I was able to use music to do something good.” Norwood commented that members’ participation in the project truly represented the mission of Tri-M because they “understand how powerful music can be, especially in hard times.” Even in a year when merely holding a club is a challenge, both the leadership and members of Tri-M came together to serve people in need through music, which is truly remarkable.

Let's Talk Trends:

A Month of New Music

By Aubrey Walter

2021 started out with a bang in the music industry. There were several releases from popular artists to get us through the month, and I’ve looked into them so that you don’t have to.

On the first day of the year, Justin Bieber dropped a single titled “Anyone.” His chill, pop love-song certainly has better reviews than his earlier single “Yummy” and debuted at number six on Billboard’s Hot 100 list.

After giving her fans two new albums last year, I’m sure everyone thought that Taylor Swift had released all the music she had. However, on the 7th of the month, Swift put out the deluxe edition of her latest album, Evermore, with two new songs on it. The new tracks, “right where you left me” and “it’s time to go”, fit right in with the woodland feel of the album, and landed on the top of the iTunes chart. They provide a perfect closure to the album, and perhaps this era of Taylor as well.

Country music fans also have their hands full right now, as Morgan Wallen presented his new album, Dangerous: The Double Album, earlier this month. With thirty songs on the track list, he has been trending in the form of mixed reviews. Some say Dangerous has too many songs for how uninventive it is, and others love how Wallen sticks to his roots and sings about what he knows. His song “Wasted On You” debuted at number 9 on the Hot 100 list. Regardless of your opinion, you can’t argue that he hasn’t started a conversation.

And of course, the biggest trending song right now is Olivia Rodrigo’s hit single, “drivers license”. Listeners and critics alike are amazed at the lyricism and emotional vulnerability Rodrigo has at only seventeen, and the song has already gotten her loads of attention. Having just been released on January 8th, “drivers license” has broken the record for most streams in a day of a non-holiday song (17.01 million streams) and most streams in a week on Spotify (65,873,080), as well as accumulating over 100 million streams in just a week and a half. The song also debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. People aren't just loving the song for its lyrics, but also for the possible drama in Olivia’s love life that inspired them. Is it about her co-star Josh? Is it not? We may never know. Fans aren’t the only ones talking about the song though. Celebrities such as Halsey, Niall Horan, and Taylor Swift, who Rodrigo is admittedly a huge fan of, have outwardly expressed their congratulations. Olivia has managed to leave everyone wanting more, it seems.

If all the good music that has been trending this month is an indicator of what the year is going to look like, 2021 might not be so bad after all. Knock on wood of course.

Murder Mystery Ep. 1

By Gabriel Barton

Summarized from the Apple TV+ Series "Home Before Dark"

The day we arrived in Erie Harbor, we passed a lady having a garage sale two blocks from our new house, except it was 3:00 on a weekday and, of course, no one was there.

So I decided to investigate because that’s what I do. I’m Hildi Lysko and I’m a 9 year old reporter. Please don’t laugh, many do.

The lady hosting the sale was a Ms. Penny Gillis. I asked her why she was having a yard sale when everyone’s busy. She cleverly responded, “Well, you’re here”. I shopped around for myself, keeping a tight catalog of everything on the tables. She asked about my dad, Matthew, like anyone would if you haven’t seen each other in 25 years, but she asked as if she knew there was something wrong.

She walked me home and asked me to give my dad his old green bike (which apparently he’d left when he moved 25 years ago). I wonder why he left it?

Later that night, sirens filled the street, so I followed, pushing fast on my scooter. They led me to Gillis’ house. Police claimed she’d died by falling down her basement stairs trying to change a light bulb. But I knew there was more to the story. I’d just met the woman this afternoon. She seemed right in the mind, not like someone who would miss a step and not even catch herself. I scanned the area before a condescending policeman, Sheriff Briggs, sent me away. I saw a shoe print in the front garden shrubbery soil and clipped padlocks on the garage door.

When I got home, I sprinted to my laptop. Back home in Brooklyn, I had my own neighborhood newspaper, but now I had to start from scratch. My first headline: “Murder in Erie Harbor?”. Backlash and scrutiny followed the next day from those who doubted my 9 year old intuition (or “imagination” as they put it), but I persisted, nonetheless. I went to the police dept. and kindly requested the Penny Gillis police file (as the public is allowed to view). After more condescension from beer belly policemen, Lt. Trip took me aside. She, however, allowed me to see the file. Probably because she hated when the male policemen looked down on her, too.

I sifted through forensic pictures, but noticed something was missing in a picture of her yard sale items. From memory, I drew the missing object on my trusty notepad; Trip recognized it as a VCR. She asked if my dad lived back here in ‘88. That winter, the Mayor’s son, Richie Fife, was abducted one night while riding his bike with my dad and the Sheriff's son, Frank. She said they caught the guy who did it, but no one knew what happened to Richie: his body never found.

I asked if they arrested the right guy. That’s when she connected that the guy they arrested was Penny Gillis’ brother, Sam Gillis.

The next day, I printed out all the hateful comments from my Murder expose, stood on the lunch table at school, and read them aloud. Despite the heartfelt moment, a kid through jello at me and the whole cafeteria broke out in a food fight. I headed for shelter under a table where I met two boys from my grade that supported everything I’d said: Spoon and Charles were their names. The Principal, Ms. Cullins, came to break up the hysteria, but when she stepped in a pile of mashed potatoes, her shoe print matched the one from Penny’s house.

She took me to her office, and asked me to wait while she grabbed a change of clothes from her car. She had to be the one who stole the “VCR” thing. I searched her office. I noticed she wore a whale tail pendant, so I checked behind her Moby Dick book on the shelf: sure enough, a key. I used it to unlock a tall cabinet. And there it was, along with other various confiscated toys.

I took it home and, with the help of my sister, Izzy, we set up the VCR to a really old, thick TV in the basement. There was already a VHS in it. We played it: from a security camera point of view, we saw three little boys trek up a dirt hill from a construction sight to the main road. Then a van swerved in front of them, a man jumped out, and took the boy in the middle, only him. The video quality was too pixelated to make out any faces, but I think the boy on the left was my dad. What did all this mean? I had to get to the bottom of all this. Somehow, Penny’s murder and Richie’s abduction were connected.

¿Central Clubs? 2020-21

Content by Caroline Humphries, edited by Michael Rutledge

This academic year has certainly been crazy for everyone, and clubs are no exception. Sadly, clubs have not been getting nearly as much attention due to the unique circumstances. These said circumstances have placed a few bumps in the road for clubs like Psychology. Club sponsor Mr. Cowart says, “Not being able to meet in person has hurt the engagement of our club since it’s [mostly] hands on”. However, solutions have been put in place, and now there are times for small groups to meet up and participate in training. The training of rats playing basketball, that is. Yes, you read that right. If Hoop Rats sounds interesting to you, it’s not too late to join the club! Be sure to email Mr. Cowart for more details.

Architecture, Construction, and Engineering. If any of those words spark your interests, ACE club is just what you’re looking for! Club sponsor, Mr. Bonanno, describes it as, “a mentoring program that introduces students to careers in Architecture, Construction Management, and Engineering. The students normally work as a team and are joined by industry mentors to emulate an actual design team. Students are also introduced to colleges with programs in these related fields.” Speaking of colleges, did you know that taking part in ACE club makes you eligible for scholarship money? Last year, two $3000 scholarships were awarded to members. While ACE has faced similar struggles to Psychology, they have decided to use 8thperiod study hall to host meetings. ACE has also teamed up with MTCS in order to have even more people on the team. If you would like to join ACE, here is how to do it. Mr. Bonanno’s advice is, “The club is open to all high school students and they can join by visiting the CMS ACE website and clicking on the "Student Registration" button on the left side of the screen. The first meeting will be on Monday, January 25th at 1:30 pm. The meeting link will be posted on the website prior to the meeting.” Make sure you don’t miss out on ACE club!

While the COVID changes have not been exactly beneficial for any clubs, they are still pushing through and coming up with new ways to keep our minds learning and having fun! There are so many more clubs here at Central, so be sure to give them some love this year and get in contact with a club sponsor.

New Movies in 2021

By Katie Garcia

With new optimism at the start of a new year, many are hopeful as to what the movie industry will bring. Some audiences are excited for are The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It; Dune; and West Side Story.

In the past, The Conjuring franchise has been successful at the box office, and this new movie is hopeful to follow suit. This series chronicles paranormal events that are based on true stories. The Devil Made Me Do It details the haunting of a man who claimed to be under the influence of evil, causing him to commit crimes; it is expected to premiere June of this year.

Dune has also gained popularity among social media mainly because of its cast. Featuring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and Jason Momoa, this movie is sure to be interesting to watch. The plot of Dune enters the realm of science fiction in a futuristic world where the objective is to gain control of a new planet. This is scheduled to appear in theatres in the month of October.

West Side Story is an iconic production. With its wonderful music and fascinating dance numbers, West Side Story has remained a staple movie since its original release in 1961. The one coming out this year will retell the story of Tony and Maria, who reside at opposite ends of the social spectrum in their town. As they navigate through their relationship, they are met with strong opposition. Starring Ansel Elgort as Tony and Rachel Zegler as Maria, this remake of West Side Story is expected to live up to, if not exceed, the original with its release in December.

Overall, people are anticipating the release of these movies as they hope to fulfill the void that was left when many theatres had to close. These movies should offer a sense of revival to the world of entertainment as we try to return to any bit of normalcy.

School During a Pandemic: A Teacher's POV

By Kendall Tate and Oliva Woods

In order to see the 2020-21 school year through the lens of Central Magnet’s own teachers, we interviewed biomedical science & STEM teacher Mrs. Eve Harrison. She has been teaching here for many years and has had to adapt to the sudden changes in the way we do things due to COVID-19.

We first asked her what the biggest change that she had to adjust to this year was.

She responded with, “Managing technology, along with new technology, and managing the different student populations. Any type of assessment is difficult. Another issue is when any student gets quarantined because it's so unexpected.”

We have been in the same boat this year; relying solely on digital resources has been quite the learning journey. In addition, having our friends or ourselves contact traced is something we always try to avoid. School can be boring without those friends and classmates you talk to every day.

Next, we questioned what she missed most about “normal school.”

She replied, “Students. Everyone being together in class and fun school activities like pep rallies and homecoming. I miss the silly things in class like students joking around and even just seeing their faces.”

We for sure agree with this answer. Our favorite times to be at school were pep rallies, the variety and prom shows, and other similar fun activities. It’s been difficult for us as students to miss out on those times, especially nearing the end of high school. Hopefully, though, we will be able to make up those memories with the student body at some point.

Lastly, we wondered what she saw as the biggest difference between in-person and distance learning students.

She told us, “I’m more connected with in-person students. I saw a meme on Facebook that showed the difference between high school distance learning and elementary school distance learning. The young kids were super enthusiastic about being in school, while high school kids were like radio silence, and as a teacher I could relate. I don’t know some of the juniors in my class because it’s just initials on a Zoom.

Since we are both in-person learners, even we have noticed our teachers experiencing this “radio silence” that Mrs. Harrison described. It makes us feel sympathy towards our teachers because we finally start to see the struggles they have had when interacting with students this year.

It’s nice to know how teachers feel about this year, not just how our friends and classmates do. We’ve all had a tough time during the pandemic, teachers included. Make sure to thank your teachers for everything they’ve been doing this school year. Thank you, Mrs. Harrison!

Interviews With Perfect ACT Score Students: What's The Secret?

By Gabriel Barton

What did you do the night before the ACT?

Deaton: Stayed up an extra hour or so for no particular reason. Did NOT do any homework. I don't remember what I did that night; it was just another night for me. While the night before the test is not very important (other than your sleep), I'm not saying that you should waste it or deprive yourself of sleep; you need to be awake/alert the next day.

Martin: The night before the test, honestly all I did was relax. I tried to limit my screen time, but that didn't work too well. I already had the score I needed, and this test was free, so I wasn't too stressed about it.

Howard: The night before I can't remember doing anything crazy specific in preparation, but I just made sure I went to sleep kind of early so that I was well-rested!

How do you approach each section of the ACT?

Deaton (most detail): English section-always repeat aloud (well, aloud in your thoughts) to test whether it sounds right. And unless you see letters in the paragraphs, don't bother reading sentences without a problem number under them. That wastes time. Otherwise, try not to doubt yourself, and know your punctuation rules. Math-figure out what the problem wants you to do. If you know how to approach the problem, you can solve it quickly. And if you know your times tables and how to do algebra on paper fast, it saves more time to do calculations in your head than on a calculator. On the other hand, calculators are much better for big numbers and decimals. Reading-start by skimming (super-fast) the text, so that you know where to look when you see a question (for example, if a question asks about "the narrator's relationship with Joe," you know that Joe is mentioned somewhere in the middle). This means you don't have to read through the passage multiple times, which saves time over the test as a whole. Science-treat it like the Reading. Science is just reading but with numbers (and basic knowledge from middle school science). While that makes it sound easier than it really is, just remember to pay attention to graph labels. Those words will show up in the questions.

Martin: Honestly, the best advice I can give is don't stress too much. I know that can be difficult, but the biggest difference between this test and all my other ones is that I wasn't super stressed about this one. Just go into each section with the mindset of "as long as I do my best, I should be proud of whatever score I get." Especially in the Math section, just relax. Try not to tense up during the test. A lot of this test is academic knowledge, but another big chunk is your mentality going into it.

Howard: Pay attention to the time, and bubbled in chunks. For English, I skimmed the passages as I focused on the questions rather than the extra text, and...filled in the answers on my answer document after I completed each passage. For Reading, I took the same approach to bubbling. When it came to the Math test, I bubbled as I finished a page, and for Science, I bubbled by each section/experiment.

What is your overall view of standardized tests? (Spilling the TEA)

Deaton: Standardized tests are just another way to show off to colleges and scholarships what you've got. And the best way to get better at them is to take as many as you can. I took 6 ACTs over five years, and my score increased almost every time.

Martin: Standardized tests are not a fair measurement of academic knowledge. Someone could be extremely smart and not do well on standardized tests, or vice versa. However, this is the system we have, and we just have to deal with it. So as long as you try your best, you should be proud of yourself no matter what. Remember, test scores do NOT define who you are.

Howard: Standardized tests are too depended on to decide the educational experiences of so many students in the U.S. I was blessed to be provided with the tools and resources to learn how to excel at standardized testing. Not every student has the same opportunities, though, and some students' intelligence simply doesn't reflect in the results of a standardized test. They can serve a purpose at showing how well learning standards are taught and learned, but I think that they are by no means an indicator of success or a student's potential to succeed.