‘Lost in the Game,’ produced by Durham Academy’s a cappella group, XIV Hours, featured fourteen songs chosen by the students themselves that served the purpose of displaying the “unhealthy sexual relationships and gender stereotypes contained in the messages of popular music and culture.” Each member chose a song that they would like to present; only after reviewing the lyrics were the songs all categorized as “something [the students] could never perform at a school function,” the reason being their controversial messages.
The majority of the songs chosen by the students have been featured on Billboard’s top 100 lists at some point; some have even dictated the number one spot. For example, Kesha’s 2010 hit, ‘Tik Tok,’ that holds the record for the longest time that a 2010 single spent at number one. ‘Tik Tok’ has mature themes, particularly pertaining to its repetitive references to alcohol use and intoxication. Kesha, the singer and songwriter of the song, was of legal drinking age when the song was released back in 2009. However, she had to have been aware of the audience to which she was appealing, most of whom were well under the legal drinking age of twenty-one. Despite the adult themes, the song was a hit, so much so that it was named on Billboard’s Hot 100 songs of All-Time.
So when the academy’s students wanted to present this popular song only to realize that the song’s references to alcohol prevented it from being acceptable in a school setting, was it their mistake for considering a song with profane lyrics? Or were they simply reflecting the modern genre of music to which they have been exposed to?
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Senior volleyball player Abigail Veit verbally committed to Western Carolina University (WCU) on full athletic scholarship. She is excited to be a part of the Honors College and entrepreneurship program.
Veit has played volleyball at the national level since she was only fourteen years old. In late June of 2014, Veit and her club team, Triangle Volleyball Club, traveled to Orlando, Florida to compete in the AAU Junior Nationals, one of the largest national tournaments in the country. Winning second place in the Open division, the highest of the divisions at the tournament, her team broke a historic record, achieving the highest placement of any North Carolina team in the history of AAU.
In addition to volleyball, Veit thoroughly enjoys the outdoors, specifically kayaking and hiking, which she will be able to continue in the mountains at WCU. Her advice to other students is, “Don’t say you want something unless you’re willing to work for it.”
Mac Miller just released his third album, GO:OD AM, on Sept. 18. Many new fans emerged to jam to this album, which, in-keeping with the current rap landscape, features more mellow beats and lyrics.
Miller released a mixtape in 2007 called But My Mackin’ Ain’t Easy when he was fifteen. He was a typical high school student who rapped about being with friends and having limitless fun. On “Cruise,” Miller talks about being in Pittsburgh, his hometown, with his friends on a cheesy yet raw beat. In 2010, he released his fourth mixtape, K.I.D.S., which signaled the takeoff of his career. This album featured hits such as “Nikes on My Feet,” “Senior Skip Day,” “Knock Knock,” and “Kool Aid Frozen Pizza.” At only eighteen, Miller was selling out at every show including the Incredibly Dope tour in 2011. Around this time, he released his first album, Blue Slide Park. Popular rap at the time was more aggravated, and songs like “Loitering” featured a hard beat and edgy lyrics that appealed to a young audience.
Miller has struggled with temptation and addiction in the past; GO:OD AM articulates an “awakening” and a more transparent focus on music, family, and social life. The album starts off with Miller rapping about previous temptations, and as the album progresses, the mood becomes lighter to illustrate a new leaf in his life. “Break the Law” goes into his temptations regarding drugs and steering away from music, but the proceeding song, “Perfect Circle / God Speed,” features a mellow beat with people talking to him about cleaning his act up. Each album Miller has made has been a depiction of what his life has been like, and at twenty-five, he looks to clean up and focus more on making music.
One local a capella group has, as the characters from Pitch Perfect would say, changed “the face of a capella.” Last month, several students from North Carolina’s Durham Academy involved in their highly-esteemed extracurricular a capella group XIV Hours explored the gender roles and abusive relationships portrayed through popular songs with a film titled “Lost In The Game: A Musical Story of Relationships, Sex and Gender Politics.” The students spent six months making the film; however, the initial topic of gender inequality and relationships had briefly been discussed in a “campus-wide dialogue.” The students, as stated in the video’s description, “wanted to deliver an important message and inspire conversation on a larger level about relationship expectations and the mixed messages teens navigate through the music they listen to every day.”
The video was nothing short of breathtaking; the vocalists were spectacular, taking viewers through an array of emotion whilst giving new meaning to popular songs. The video even captured the local scenery of Durham from the Piedmont Restaurant to the Durham Bulls sign. Overall, the video was well curated, allowing the students to convey their message in a thought-provoking way.
It is hard enough to be a student in high school without being asked the golden question: What do you want to when you grow up? If a high school student received a dollar for every time someone has asked them this question, college tuition money would no longer be an issue. Emilie Wapnick understands the struggle of this question and addresses it in her recent TedTalk conference, “Why some of us don't have one true calling”.
TED Talks is a global conference that has different speakers address issues and their own ideas on science, culture, technology, entertainment, design, etc. Like other speakers, Wapnick talks about the struggle of growing up with people demanding that she pick an interest and stick with it.
“See, the problem wasn't that I didn't have any interests -- it's that I had too many,” Wapnick says. Many high school students can relate to this because in an environment where so many different opportunities are available to experience, an individual’s mind becomes almost like a magnet to all these different creative pursuits. She found herself in a never ending pattern where she would put all her effort into one interest and then get bored after a while just to move on to the next. Wapnick tells the audience that this habit of hers started making her question her ability to commit and how she thought that she was, unknowingly, afraid of her own success. She was afraid of this habit because it was, and still is, considered a flaw by society.
Recently Duke University has been gifted $25 million dollars in order to build an arts center on their campus. The building is expected to cost, in total, $50 million dollars. The facility is planned to take two years to complete and is designed to be 71,000 square feet. The new addition to campus will feature a dance studio along with a dozen multi-use studios, a 200-seat performance theater, a 100-seat film theater, a garden, lounge, library, reception space, a painting and drawing studio, offices and classrooms. "The arts building represents a major step in Duke's commitment to supporting the artistic work of our students and faculty,” said Duke President Richard Brodhead.
The $25 million is from David Rubenstein, chairman on the NCDU Board of Trustees. Rubenstein is a big supporter of the arts, being a graduate from Duke. He graduated in 1970 and now is one of the leading art philanthropists and advocates in the country. “Duke has made great progress in recent years in bringing the arts to the same level of excellence we expect in anything that the university does," Rubenstein said in a statement. "I look forward to this new building, and the programs and performances that will take place in it, becoming an essential part of every Duke student's experience."
Three Apex High School students have been accepted into the prestigious All-State North Carolina Honors Orchestra and are performing in Winston-Salem from Nov. 6-8. Senior Lesley Chao on percussion, senior Kirk Peterson on trombone, and senior Samuel Weaver on bassoon have all undergone a rigorous process to be selected by the North Carolina Music Editors Association (NCMEA). The NCMEA is one of the fifty state affiliates for the National Association for Music Education.
Being eligible for All-State is more complicated than it sounds. Students are only eligible for All-State if they first try out for an entirely different orchestral event in their division. In North Carolina, there are two divisions, the east and west. Apex falls under the eastern side, and therefore, its students try out at Eastern Regionals mid-January. Only then can they try out for All-State nearly half a year later. Students practice for months to prepare for the audition. Strings/Orchestra teacher Todd Miller was particularly proud of the three students that made it to the NCMEA convention. “These are the top orchestra students in the state,” said Miller in response to how he felt about the event. “It is an outstanding achievement.”
Apex High’s fall sports teams have been very successful this season. The class of 2016 is the biggest to ever pass through this school, and they have lots of athletic talent. The senior class athletes will be greatly missed next year.
The football team, coached by Mr. Robert Graham, an automotive teacher, is 3-4 and on the rise. They stay focused on improving every day and returning to the playoffs this year.
The soccer team, coached by Mr. Kevin Todd, history teacher, is 16-0-1 and ranked number one in the state and country. They recently won the Wake County Cup.
Women’s tennis, coached by Mrs. Lynn Thomas, is 12-4 and tied for second place in the conference due to a postponed game. They are now looking to win and advance in their conference standings.
The volleyball team, coached by Ms. Emily Whitsett, English teacher, is 14-6 and 11-4 in conference play. They look to return to the playoffs again this year.
The Cross Country team, coached by Mr. Mark Trezona, chemistry teacher, Mr. Roy Cooper, history teacher, and Ms. Carly Brown, history and physcology teacher. The team has enjoyed its own success this year in different meets. Senior Ben Savino and senior Derek Duin are the top runners for the guys. Senior Allison Rosen and sophomore Calli Parlier are the top runners for the girls. Ms. Carly Brown says that the most memorable moment was when Ben won at the Friday Night Lights competition. Ben won by a longshot, and the whole team and coaches were inspired and cheering him on. Brown also thinks very highly of the class of 2016, but that does not mean the team cannot be successful next year. The success has come from the individual from hard work and training as in every sport. “We (herself and the class of 2016) all started on this team together, they have been with me all my four years coaching this team and I am really going to miss them next year.” Brown thinks very highly of the whole team, but she has enjoyed making memories and seeing the improvement over these past four years.
From 2009 to 2014, scientists have discovered 211 new species of animals in the Eastern Himalayas. This equates to about thirty-four new species discovered annually. The Himalayas stretch from Northern India through Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet along with Myanmar’s far north. A report published by the World Wildlife Funds (WWF) recently states, “Some 133 plants, 39 invertebrates, 26 fish, 10 amphibians, one reptile, one bird, and one mammal have been discovered.” Some of the species recently discovered have been classified as endangered, considering many factors such as hunting of some of the animals. These new species include the Burmese snub-nosed monkey, ‘Dracula’ fish (named for its unusual fangs), Leptobrachium bompu (frog), Channa andrao (snakehead fish), Musa markkui (wild banana), and Impatiens lohitensis (wildflower). All these species have outstanding qualities such as the snakehead fish’s ability to survive on land for up to four days, and the snub-nosed monkey being easy to detect because of its sneezing when it rains in Myanmar’s remote Kachin state.
The Eastern Himalayas is known for having species that are in danger of going extinct such as the Asian elephant and the one-horned rhinoceros. Only 25% of the original habitat is still intact today. “The natural landscape of the region is currently facing a wide range of threats and pressures, with climate change assessed as by far the most serious, followed by mining, oil and gas projects, road construction and construction of new dams,” the report states. Many factors could cause these new species, along with the others, to become extinct. The report also states, “Invasive species, impact of tourism, water pollution, and illegal hunting, fishing, dams and logging are also among the most serious current issues.” The WWF uses this report as a “colorful” way to bring light the dangers these species are currently facing. They call for “significant additional conservation measures to be introduced and implemented to preserve the habitats and extraordinary biodiversity of the region.”
A handful of environmental funding groups announced that more than two thousand individuals, four hundred institutions, and Leonardo DiCaprio would take out their financial holdings, which total 2.6 trillion dollars, from fossil fuels. This is a great move by capital society and brings up a very pressing issue. If we start funding natural energy sources, the demand of fossil fuels will decline.
Fossil fuels are extremely harmful to the environment because they are non-renewable. The demand for fossil fuels is only hiking because they help cars function while the availability is only getting steeper. In an estimated thirty to forty years, fossil fuels will run out; thus, cars will not be able to run unless Americans start switching to electric cars which are expensive to begin with. Fossil fuels will get more expensive, which will leave a dent in the economy we are currently trying to fix. Fossil fuels pollute the air, which can result in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), or lung cancer. Due to how expensive and damaging fossil fuels are, funding other energy sources such as solar power or wind turbines would be a huge step toward improving the quality of life in America. Adults aren’t converting to alternative resources because it’s a new concept, and they don’t want to have to learn something new while they’ve known no better their entire lives. Young children are most vulnerable to climate change effects, yet they are the future of this country. A healthy environment is clearly vital for a healthy economy, and teenagers have the best opportunity to learn and spread the importance. As young adults in society, they can recycle everything that has the recycling symbol on it. Throwing recyclable plastic in the trash is leading to the decline in the sea turtle population. The plastic goes into the trash, the trash goes into landfills, and the landfills get dumped into the ocean. Tiger sharks are known to eat the turtles, so in order to maintain balanced populations in aquatic ecosystems, it is vital that an indicator species does not decline.
This all revolves around climate change. Fossil fuels pollute the air and water and could easily be the demise of America’s economy, therefore, affecting one’s quality of life forever, so it is important that young people in America educate themselves on the environment so that they can cultivate an ample environment for future generations. President Barack Obama recently took a small trip to Alaska to appreciate its beauty but more importantly to come up with a plan to solve the climate change crisis. Obama made a good point to a Rolling Stone journalist about how he wants future kids to be able to appreciate nature the way he did before factories and business technology revolutionized. This conference was extremely important yet disregarded by most of society. People aren’t realizing how harmful fossil fuels are to the environment, and defunding them is a step in the right direction for a healthy environment and economy.