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These Shining Lives: A Glowing Tribute

By: Chinaza Ezeh

Co-online Editor

Radium: an intensely radioactive metallic chemical element that occurs in combination in minute quantities in minerals (such as pitchblende or carnotite), emits alpha particles and gamma rays to form radon, and is used chiefly in the treatment of cancer and in radiographic devices.

Radium: used in the 1920s and 1930s by the Radium Dial Company in Ottawa, Illinois to paint watch faces.

Radium: consumed through the mouth using the “lip, dip, paint” method by the Radium Girls, workers at the Radium Dial Company. Main focus: Catherine, Charlotte, Frances and Pearl.

Radium: made them shine.

Radium: tore them apart.

Hammond High School put on an incredibly thought provoking and heart wrenching production of These Shining Lives on November 9, 2019. The show is an incredible examination of the corruption and evil capable of manifesting in big business. In addition to that, the show is a testament to the resilience of human will, and more specifically, female will, at a time when it seemed the entire world stood against them.

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Photo Credit: Hammond Theatre

One performance that deserves recognition is that of Ali Khalid, playing the role of Tom Donahue, Catherine’s husband. It was very easy to forget that the person on-stage was a sixteen year old boy, and not a married man with two kids and a full-time job in construction. Khalid did a wonderful job of catching the humanness of Tom. The character was absolutely multi-faceted, just as people generally are. Perhaps this is a nod to the scriptwriting, but even if Tom was written this way, he could’ve easily been played in more of a one-toned manner. Instead, Khalid captured Tom’s childlike humor, honest man’s grit, flawed ill-temper, and incredible tenderness, especially when Catherine needed it the most. One of the most touching moments in the show is when Tom reassures Catherine as she lay awake, terrified: “No one on earth can hold a candle to you; no one in heaven will come close.”

A supporting character that also deserves recognition is that of Frances, played by Katie Marshall. Frances is the most conservative one among her friends, and quite lovable all the same. Marshall captures her innocence in a way that makes the audience smile, while also warming their hearts. Of course, having such a pure character makes it all the more difficult to watch them slowly fall apart. Great credit goes to Marshall for being able to make a character so endearing, it just hurts. The moment Frances learns of her diagnosis, the complete sadness that overtakes her face is overwhelmingly real, and it’s as if the only people in the room is Frances.

The element that anchored this show was the acting. It is so easy to take a serious play and do it absolutely wrong, especially in a high school setting. Yet, each actor took their role one hundred percent seriously, and it showed. It means a lot when certain lines are remembered in shows. In this one, the three that resonate the most are: “No one on earth can hold a candle to you; no one in heaven will come close”; “Every day I wonder, if today is the day I kill Rufus Reed”; and “I’d better get the damn cherry.” Each line conveys a different emotion: comfort and pain; anger; attitude (respectively). Yet, each was remembered (for me) despite their differences.

The two most notable technical elements were the lighting and the radium. The lighting was very important for determining location, as each setting was always on-stage. Yet, the move from location to location was always seamless, and it never felt like a character was simply travelling from one side of the stage to another. Lighting was also used to show the radium at two points during the show. One was in the middle, when Catherine first discovers that her hands are permanently glowing. All the lights on the stage are turned off, so the glow emitting from Catherine’s hands is stark against the black background. The other moment is at the end of the show, when all of the radium dial workers, now deceased, step forward and show their hands, a way of symbolising that even in death, even below the ground, they remain shining.

These Shining Lives is an incredible story that simultaneously wrenches your heart, makes you laugh, and educates you about American history that is often not taught in schools. Hopefully, all of the brave radium women that now rest in their graves would be honored by such a production created in their memory and honor.

Journey Through Netflix: Comments & Opinions on Legacies Season One

Far Cuai

Staff Writer

Legacies

Photo Credit: gstatic.com

Legacies is a CW television show that is part of The Vampire Diaries universe. TVD had a spinoff of its season two and three villains, The Originals, who are a family of the first ever vampires. After five years on air, The Originals followed TVDs footsteps and had a spinoff of its own: Legacies

The show revolves around the main character Hope Mikealson, who is a tribrid– a combination of werewolves, vampires, and witches– and the daughter of Niklause Mikelason and Hayley Marshall from The Originals.

Hope goes to The Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted, which is really a school for the supernatural, during the years 2029-2030. The season starts off with two foster brothers who are taken into the school. Rafael Waithe is a werewolf, while Landon Kirby is human. 

Since the opening scene,  Hope and Landon had some kind of connection, while Rafael is seen to be in the beginning of a love triangle with the Headmaster’s fraternal twin witches, Lizzie and Josie Saltzman. 

After Landon leaves the school, he takes a magical knife from the school with him, awakening and causing monsters to come after it. We eventually find out the monsters are planning to take the knife to a pit that swallows people and erases them from the conscious mind. The pit, Malivore, is a monster itself, but can’t awaken unless it has three magical artifacts. 

 

Best Of: 

The idea of a new villain every episode gives off a lot of Supernatural vibes, but also works for the plot of the show. The monsters are sent by Malivore himself and come to retrive the artifacts so that they can finally have peace. The idea of Malivoire is also very clever because throughout supernatural history there are many stories and interpretations of different mythical creatures and this gives a good explanation for why only vampires, witches, and werewolves survived. 

The diversity of the cast is definitely something to be loved about the show. The other two shows from the universe are all known to have an all-white cast and one black person. But with Legacies a majority of the men in the show are of different races. The girls, however, are majority white, but really only because they’re the daughters of past The Originals or The Vampire Diaries characters.

The characters, while seeming very one dimension at first, are all very complex and have some issues that regular teens go through. Lizzie has bipolar disorder, Rafael and Landon both have some history with physical abuse they’ve went through from their time in foster care, Hope has PTSD from almost all her family members who died within a month of each other, and MG is neglected by his family. We kind of see how the TV show handles these touchy subjects pretty well and have their fair share of heartfelt moments. 

 

Worst Of:

The acting for a few characters is about Disney Channel level, and is pretty corny in the first few episodes. They get better throughout the season along with you just getting used to the way they talk, but it becomes bearable and eventually not as noticeable. 

It’s also more of a teen drama and seems a but more childish compared to TVD or The Originals. TVD and TO where a lot more bloody and care less about human life while Legacies is all about saving humans and keeping everyone safe. However, it makes sense why it would be more light hearted because of the Headmaster, Alric Saltzman, wanting the students to be a better version of their species and how they could get expelled for killing people. 

 

Rating:

I would give the series a 8/10, it has good humor and while the actress that plays Lizzie Saltzmine isn’t the best at acting, her lines and nicknames for characters are pretty funny. They portray mental disorders as accurate as they can get and show their characters going on the road to being mentally stable and healthy. They also show different sexualities and normalize people being attracted to different genders which is definitely needed in 2019.

Episode 0847: Sesame Street’s Most Controversial Episode

By Chris Parris

Staff Writer

Episode 0847

Photo Credit: Lost Media Archive

Sesame Street turned 50 years old on November 10th. The show that has impressively managed to stay relevant for half a century has a diverse history of shorts, skits, and segments. With so much having been made for the show, some of its content has slipped through the cracks of time and have not been seen for decades. One episode of Sesame Street, Episode 0847, has remained unseen because it is banned.

On February 10, 1976, Sesame Street aired Episode 0847 for its first and only time. The episode features Margaret Hamilton reprising her role as the Wicked Witch of the West. The plot has the Wicked Witch losing her broomstick while flying over Sesame Street and having to interact with the residents in order to get it back. The residents are concerned about the Wicked Witch’s  intentions and are hesitant to give the broomstick back to her. This results in the Wicked Witch causing trouble, such as making it rain inside Mr. Hooper’s store and threatening to turn Big Bird into a feather duster. Eventually, she uses a disguise as a trick to get her broomstick back and then leaves Sesame Street.  

On paper, the plot seems okay. However, that was not the case. Apparently, the episode traumatized children to the point where some of them did not want to watch Sesame Street ever again. Archives from the Sesame Workshop (formerly the Children’s Television Workshop) holds multiple letters that angry parents mailed them regarding the episode. Phrases such as “screams and tears” and “the threat of the witch’s power remains in the children’s eyes” were used.

Shortly after Episode 0847’s initial airing, test screenings were held. The tests showed that children were intrigued by the Wicked Witch and were fascinated by her green face. The issue of fear was difficult to judge, however, due to the fact that the children had their parents or guardians present when viewing the episode. But based off the initial backlash, Episode 0847 was declared unsuitable and has not been aired since. 

For years it was unknown if any copies of Episode 0847 existed. Some thought it got destroyed while others thought it was lost. In 2017, Craig Shemin, president of the Jim Henson Legacy, confirmed that the Sesame Workshop has a copy of Episode 0847 in their archives. And in 2019, a screenshot from the episode that featured Oscar and the Wicked Witch was posted on the Muppet Wiki.

Paul Rudd is the Greatest Actor/Celebrity

By Claire O’Rourke

Managing Editor

Actor Paul Rudd is mostly known for his roles as Ant-Man/Scott Lang in the MCU’s Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp, Brian Fantana in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and Josh Lucas in Clueless

However, the actor also plays many lesser known and equally charming roles such as Ben Benjamin in The Fundamentals of Caring or Peter Klaven in I Love You, Man. Most recently, he is known for his role as Miles Elliot in the 2019 Netflix series Living With Yourself

While many people know or have heard of Paul Rudd, many do not know the simplest of facts about him: Paul Rudd is the greatest actor to ever live.

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Paul Rudd lookin’ cute, as always.

 

I have seen most movies and TV shows Paul Rudd has played a role in. And I mean any role, not just something he’s starring in. I sat through an FX showing of Sausage Party because Paul Rudd voices the minor character Darren, and you know what? I enjoyed that viewing experience. And you probably would have, too. That’s just the raw power of anything Paul Rudd is in.

Paul just brings a special kind of charisma and talent to his performances that other actors just… lack. The man looks like a puppy dog and a superhero at the same time. And he’s mega hot while doing so— and I mean, like, hot. He doesn’t even age! It’s a proven fact at this point, so he’s just gonna be in looking cute forever with his little sparkly eyes.

And his smile! When Paul flashes those pearly whites, not only is the set illuminated with the light reflecting off such a pristine surface, but also uplifted with the utmost beaming radiation of joy which at its source is so pure.

Some of my favorite Paul Rudd viewing experiences have been watching Clueless while laying in the middle of my basement floor, The Fundamentals of Caring during class instead of doing work, and only watching season 9 and 10 of Friends because those are the only two with Paul. Paul was just able to make each of those odd experiences magical through the power of his performance. I don’t think anyone has ever made me laugh or cry harder at the same time. 

If I must be critical of Paul in the slightest, my least favorite Paul Rudd performance would have to be The Catcher Was a Spy, solely based on the fact that his hair is not looking cute in that film. Aside from that, Paul plays his character amazingly.

Some may argue that other actors should be more favored than Paul Rudd. Sophomore Gianna Caci proclaims a love for Chris McCarrell, starring as Percy Jackson in The Lightning Thief Broadway musical. 

McCarrell has many lovable traits according to Caci, such as “he’s honest— his performance is fun! He is an actor that makes you feel as though he’s also just a normal human, which he is,” she explains.

However, Paul, too, exhibits all these traits descriptive of GOATedness! Paul delivers the most fun of performances, particularly in Ant-Man, as he is able to bring across the warm vibes of a character who is easy to love because of his exacerbation, confusion, and sense of humor yet ability to end up both super genuine and a superhero in the end.

His performance in not only Ant-Man, but in every film he’s been featured in lets viewers feel as though he is not acting, but being himself, and thus lets his characters feel real.

Paul Rudd is the greatest human in the universe.

The Hate U Give: Movie Review

By: Chris Parris

Staff Writer

In the Fall of 2018, moviegoers flocked to theaters in order to watch The Hate U Give. The Hate U Give, adapted from the best-selling novel of the same name, is about Starr Carter, an African American teenager who witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend Khalil at the hands of a [white] policeman. Amandla Stenberg (Everything, Everything) leads an all-star cast that includes KJ Apa (Riverdale), Algee Smith (Detroit), Regina Hall (Girls Trip), Sabrina Carpenter (Girl Meets World), Anthony Mackie (The Avengers Series), and Grammy Award-winning rapper Common. 

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Changing the Code: Dress Code Changes Allow Students to Have More Freedom of Expression

By: Jenna Kreh

Staff Writer

New this year at Hammond, the dress code has been altered to require only what many would call the bare minimum, allowing students to wear almost anything they would like. Hats and hoods are now permitted, as well as any size straps on shirts and tank tops (spaghetti straps) or no straps at all (sleeveless). This new dress code is beneficial to students, as it allows for a more personal self expression and less concerns for both students and staff as to what is acceptable to be worn in the school environment.

The new dress code asks only that students wear a shirt, pants, and shoes that cover their chest, midriff, pelvic/groin area, and buttocks. This change gives students much more freedom, and it takes the pressure off of students to think about whether their outfit is school-approved. It also allows the schools’ staff to focus on other matters in the school, since less students will need to be sent home or spoken to about their clothing.

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Sprinting to Success: Hammond Cross Country Runs!

By Sydney Phillips and Ekene Ezeh

Staff Writers

The Hammond High School Cross Country team has had another strong season after lots of hard work and team effort over the summer. The team had run counties, and finished strong this season. 

One cross country meet that really stood out to Freshman Wayne Low was the Howard County Invitationals. The Howard County Invitational took place on Saturday, September 14th, and the cross country team started their season off strong. “It was my first meet, and I saw a lot of schools there,” he said.

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Photo Creds: Coach Kim Williams

As Coach Kim reflected on what impressed her about the team this season, she said, “The improvement. We have a really young team. We don’t actually have any seniors on our team. Most of the kids we have are ninth and tenth graders. This is the first time we have had four kids in the 18 minute range and one kid in the 17 minute range.” But what impressed her even more was her team and the hard work that the runners put in over the summer. 

“We had five kids over the summer run over 400 miles,” she said, “So I think that shows where we stand because they put in the work.” To discuss next year’s team, and reflecting on all of the work the team did over the summer, Coach Kim responded saying, “I think going into next year, I think we are going to be a totally different team. I think that [work] really shows where we stand.”

Within the impressive team, there were a few runners that really stood out this season. One of the runners was Marie Pejcic. The junior received very high praise from her Coach. “She is probably going to make it states,” Coach Kim stated, “and she has the second fastest time in Hammond records.” Pejicic was able to run an impressive 20:55. The only girl to have a faster time the Pejcic was Nicole Dawson at 20:32 back in 2008. But Pejcic wasn’t the only runner that stood out to Coach Kim during the season. Freshman Mackenna Hunter was a runner who caught Coach Kim’s eye as well. Hunter was one of the most improved runners on the team “She’s done really well,” Coach Kim spoke. Coach Kim also mentioned Wayne Low. Although Coach Kim did not have her running times available, she said that both of them have dropped 5-6 minutes off of their time. 

Low said that he really likes the cross country team. “It was really fun,” he said. He is looking forward to doing cross country again, running, and pushing himself. He stated that he would like to improve his time and his scores. 

For next year, Coach Kim believes that “the varsity squad is going to work together and get even faster.” She said that she feels as if they are at a place now where they’re going to see the amount of work they have put in this season. “If they run over the summer, they are going to be able to get into the seventeens and they will probably be able to put us in place on the result charts.”

Overall, the Hammond High School Cross Country Team has had a great season, and they are looking forward to their next season!