Roma is a simple masterpiece

BY: Mas Bouzidi

Review

Netflix is starting to make a name for itself in the world of arthouse cinema.

First, they released the newest film from the Coen Brothers, a six-part anthology series in the American Frontier titled The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Coming in 2019 is Martin Scorsese’s ambitious passion project The Irishman featuring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.

Netflix followed their hot streak this year by releasing director Alfonso Cuaron’s passion project, Roma. Although I’m not comfortable leaving the future of the movies to a streaming service, I do feel that after Roma, I wouldn’t mind if they kept funding auteur filmmakers to make their passion projects. Roma is not only the best film of the year; it’s a modern masterpiece.

I’ve seen many films in the last ten years and this is one I won’t forget any time soon. Alfonso Cuaron, a director I have admired but never loved, has made his magnum opus. Here’s a director who revolutionized IMAX with Gravity, re-invigorated the Potter Franchise with Prisoner of Azkaban, and made one of the best science-fiction films of all time with Children of Men. Here, his cards are more straightforward.

This is a simple film. It follows a year in the life of Cleo, a maid for a wealthy family in 1970s Mexico. For the first half of the film, there is almost no plot. Just like 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, there is no driving point or story line for the first hour or so. Cuaron uses this time, like the two other films, to create a world.

The film, taking place in the Roma district of Mexico City, is fully fleshed out as we see Cleo inhabit the streets. Ambient noises and stark black and white photography makes every frame a work of art, capable of being studied and discussed.

Cuaron follows his characters as a narrator of sorts, never taking the camera off of Cleo, following her every move. Cuaron, in his typical style, uses long tracking shots throughout the streets of Mexico City and stays for minutes on simple things that Cleo does. Cleaning the floors. Scraping the dog feces on the ground. The water running down the cobblestone paths. These things repeat.

We follow Cleo on her day to day routines. We learn things about Cleo. She is fragile. She is quiet. Then, after Cuaron has taken his time to establish what he felt necessary to establish, he moves the story in. Cleo meets a young reckless man and becomes pregnant. The father leaves upon hearing the news and now Cleo, a small woman in this huge world, is left alone and scared.

I will stop there because there is so little to the story that to continue would spoil the film. What I will say is that Cuaron crafts a masterclass in visual storytelling in an industry where films are becoming more and more convoluted and expanded universe-related.

Roma is the epitome of simple storytelling.

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The Good Dye Young

BY: Sammy Jacobson

Review

Based out of Nashville, Tennessee, Good Dye Young is a hair and beauty product company that specializes in hair dye and temporary hair colors for people who want intense pops of color. Founded by Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams and her best friend and stylist Brian O’Connor, the company works to produce ideas and hair products to allow the customers to be part of a community, as their main goal is to break down barriers of a business and really connect with their consumers.

As a fan of Paramore for many years, I, of course, was extremely excited by the idea of Good Dye Young, as I have been dying my hair different colors for many years as well. I can say from firsthand experience that the community around Good Dye Young online is quite awesome, as everyone promotes and shows love to those who have brightly colored hair.

My sister, Cyndi, agreed to split some of the check, and we purchased two products off of their website: the Riot! semi-permanent hair color and the Kowabunga Poser Paste. I prefer to have my hair professionally done, so my sister took the hair dye and I took the Poser Paste.

The hair dye was creamy, much more mousse-like than the Feria dye formulation that Cyndi had used previously. It provided more coverage on the hair than traditional box dye, especially with a package larger than most sold at CVS or other drug stores. Cyndi compared the smell of it to other chemical smelling dyes she had used previously.

“The smell was to be expected.” She has used other box dyes before, so she warns others who have not dyed their own hair that the smell “might be a little daunting.” The color payoff of the dye was good, though not great.

Cyndi had not lightened her hair more than what her roots had grown to be, since her natural hair is blonde and usually does not need to be lightened to pick up color. The roots of her hair did not catch on to the dye very well, though the overall color of her hair was a brighter orange like we had hoped. The dye did not stain the skin too badly either, which is a key part in looking for a good hair dye.

The Poser Paste, on the other hand, was a product that I had been very excited for since it was announced. The paste was sold in intense and vivid shades, promising for one day color that would be more radiant and malleable than other single day hair coloring products.

The paste comes in a plastic mason jar, no more than five inches in height. I purchased the Kowabunga shade, a neon green color that I have considered dying my hair previously.

When first opened, the box in which the product was sold in has the product information all along the inside, similar to the packaging of the Colorista hair makeup, which also reduces the amount of paper used.

The information on the inside gave instructions on how to apply the product as well as styling tips, information on the creators and the message of Good Dye Young as a company. The instructions said to either pack on the Poser Paste like a hair gel for more radiant color, or to brush out for a more natural look. The paste was also safe to heat style, a quality that is rare to find in one-day hair products.

When opening the jar, the first thing I was hit with was the stark change in the smell of my bathroom in which I was standing. The paste smelled of chemicals, almost like cleaning products I would later use in the sink of that bathroom later that night.

I used my pointer finger to get some product onto my hand, noting that the formulation was almost similar to hair pomade that men might use. Warming it up in my hand first to be more malleable, I applied it to the bottom part of my hair, laying it on thick on one strand.

The color at first was quite apparent, as the green showed a good contrast with my red hair, and I continued to smooth it out along the strand. The product dries fast, though not hardening like how it would with hairspray or other hair gel. Taking the advice of the box, I used a plastic comb to brush through the strand to have a more natural look, as well as being able to move the hair easier.

The color got kind of murky, but I believe that it was the color I had chosen that caused it, as when green is brushed out of red, it creates a sort of blonde-ish brown color.

In terms of the benefits of this product, I found the concept to be an awesome and creative idea. The bright, vivid color that can be applied and taken off in just a day is fantastic for people who want to experiment and have a freedom of expression they hadn’t had previously.

Cyndi agrees, as her now more professional job after college makes it harder to express herself through funky fun colors.

“Using Poser Paste is nice because I can apply and immediately style it how I want with my choice of color payoff,” she said. “And if I don’t want to have purple hair the next day, it will wash right out.”

My only quarrels with Poser Paste is the fallout of the product. Once the green had dried on to my hair, flakes and pieces of green were all over my shirt and the sink below me. The only thing I could compare this to is when you use spray color on Halloween or a spirit day at school that crusts up like normal hair spray and try to brush it out of your hair.

However, that is not a big deal, as if I were to apply the product to wear out of the house, I would just have to make sure I changed my shirt before I left.

Overall, I believe Good Dye Young’s products are decent for their price. Though the items are quite pricey, both the dye and the paste priced at $18 USD, I believe that they are made well enough to purchase again. The formulas of both products, though still not as perfect as I personally would want them to be, are the best thing I personally have seen on the market, and I will more than likely use both in the near future again.

Why the person you’re mad at isn’t actually mad at you

BY: Lindsey Sherwood

Opinion

Think for a minute about this situation: student A has four tests today and then an important volleyball game after. They are good friends with student B, who has a very normal day ahead of them. In the morning, student A and student B argue about who gets to sit on the inside seat on the bus, and student A becomes upset and tells student B they don’t want to sit with them. To student B, this seems like an overreaction; I mean, it’s just a seat. Student B is now mad at student A, and the situation just gets worse.

We all see these types of arguments happening all the time, yet when we stop and think about it, why is student A really overreacting? Is Student A’s reaction because of the seat, or because of the stress of life itself?

I think in this day and age, we are all so focused on our own lives and actions that we rarely stop to think of others. We, as a society, are so quick to lash out that people are scared to say their opinions due to a fear of retaliation. So how do we solve this problem?

Just a little thing called empathy. Everyone who took a middle school level health class knows what empathy is. There’s a whole unit about communication, and empathy is an important part of the curriculum.

However, recently, I have not seen much empathy at all in the high school. There are always whispers about someone who’s “in an awful mood” or about friends who are no longer friends at all over something that seems super trivial. We could reduce those instances of conflict if we were more considerate of other people’s perspectives. I’m not the only one who has noticed the importance of empathy, though.

There is a push in the teaching world to incorporate empathy in many aspects of the school setting. In a recent New York conference, there were 10 sessions on the importance of empathy. Now, I understand student B’s frustration. Why should you care about someone else’s problems when you have your own things to worry about?

The answer is, if you would like people to support and understand when you are having a particularly bad day, then you could care about others in the same way. It’s been proven that human beings live longer when they have a connection with another human, and being empathetic is one way to care.

Even though we understand the concept of empathy, how do we know when to use it? As a species, we are biologically inclined to be empathetic to others, as it improves ourselves socially. Most people will see a homeless person on the street and feel a pull in their chest.

But what about in situations such as the one with student A and student B? Shouldn’t we also try to empathize with our friends, even when we are annoyed or upset with them? Instead of jumping straight to an argument, maybe try to understand the other person first.

I implore you to spend some time and try to put yourself in the place of the other person. Try and figure out what is wrong and if you can help. See if you could walk 100 miles in their shoes.

Dancers are athletes

By Samantha Riebel

Opinion

Every time I ask people whether or not dance is a sport, I get a variety of answers. However, the vast majority of people seem to say it’s not.

They’re wrong. Now let me tell you why.

A sport is an “athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature”. In dance, most studios are competitive studios, and even ones that aren’t competitive have physical activity and require skill. There is no reason or evidence for anyone to say that dance is not a sport. Dance is a sport, and it is a difficult one at that.

Being a dancer since I was two years old has taught me a lot about all that comes with this sport. I’ve been through several injuries, two surgeries and a lot of physical strain from dance. Regardless, I continue to pour my heart and soul into dancing.

It requires much physical prowess and I practice constantly. Other sports such as basketball, soccer, football, baseball, etc. all require the same amount of practice and effort in order to perfect the skill and perform with expertise, like dance. I dance six times a week at the studio and every day at home on my own time.

Anyone who claims dance is not a sport just because it doesn’t require a ball simply knows nothing about the time and effort that dancers put into the skill. By this point, I’m hoping those people have begun to change their minds.

At the dance studio, we’re taught how to perfect our technique and we learn new steps all throughout the years. One thing about dance is that it’s always getting more strenuous. As dancers at a young age, we started off with the basics. First position, second position, third, fourth, and fifth. Then as we grow up, we learn harder and harder techniques and steps for our dancing.

The dance world is constantly expanding and changing. There’s always a new step to learn or perfect. This quality differs from most sports. Last time I checked, basketball, baseball, football, etc, has not changed to the same extent. Whereas in dance, there is always something new to learn. This fact in itself proves that dance is not only a sport, but it is an evolving sport that dates back centuries and shapes cultures, ideas, and stories into movement.

I get it, yeah, people may not think of dance as a sport because we don’t “play” on a field or a court, or just simply because they don’t see it on TV or in all schools as an option for an extracurricular activity. Maybe it’s just because we’re not necessarily called a ‘team’ at every studio. However, we are a team, we’re all hard-working dancers, and we work together to make performances interesting and eye-catching to an audience. Dancers speak through movement and tell stories without ever opening our mouths.

In my opinion, this is a quality that not any other sport has. Yes, I know, us dancers don’t look like bodybuilders usually, as some football or basketball players might. However, the strength it takes to be able to dance with proper technique and have the stamina to dance for hours on end is incredible.

Our strength is there, even if our biceps aren’t bulging out of our arms. Imagine keeping your arms out in second position or fifth position for three hours. How about dancing on the tip of your toes in pointe shoes and risking a rolled ankle or a snapped knee. How many other athletes can say they do that for hours and hours? Nobody!! Not to toot our own horns, but dancers have a strength that comes from within.

Dancers are elegant, courageous people who put nearly all of their time and effort into the perfection of the skill. Again, you may not understand that dancers are athletes just because you don’t hear about us as often, though we’re some of the strongest athletes out there.

To be a sport, the activity must include skill and physical prowess, and in my opinion, we, as dancers, can check those things off the checklist. Just like basketball players, football, baseball, etc, dancers are athletes. 

SAT’s should be a thing of the past

By Piper Sullivan

Opinion

As a high school senior that just finished taking my SATs, I have become outraged with the SATs because I feel that they were not at all an accurate measurement of my capabilities and college readiness. For decades now, it has been a well-known fact that the SAT is the key into college. It is said that the test helps determine how prepared you are for college. But how true is that really? Aren’t the 12 years of schooling and our grades enough to show what we are capable of?

The SATs are administered by the College Board, a completely separate organization that requires students to pay a $40 or more fee to take just one test and then additional fees to send out scores to each college.

It is common knowledge that the way to master the SAT is by practicing. The more you take the test, the better you get. When people hire SAT tutors, what most tutors do is simply run through practice test after practice test. There is no limit to the number of times you can take the test, so the logic most people use is simply taking the test as many times as needed to get the best score. But, what about the students that can’t afford to pay to take the test more than one or two times or the students that can’t afford a tutor? Do they simply have less of an opportunity to score well than wealthier students?

I think the answer to that question is absolutely. The test doesn’t even seem to be an accurate measure of knowledge, it is simply a test based on speed and practice. What if a student has a 4.0 GPA but simply was not a fast test taker and couldn’t afford to take the test again and again? This student has a lesser chance of getting into competitive schools and students that are likely less deserving may very well have an unfair advantage.

If you look back to where the test got its start, it actually seemed quite logical. The SAT began to be administered in 1926, a time when if you brother and father went to Harvard, you likely would too, not because you had Harvard smarts, but because your family had Harvard money. Carl Brigham (the creator of the SAT) recognized this injustice and wanted to put an end to it. A standardized test like the SAT seemed to be the perfect option. If everyone was required to take the test to measure what they know to get into a university, people would begin to be accepted not because of wealth, but because of intelligence.

But, it is no longer 1926 and it feels that things have drastically changed. Although the intended purpose of the test was to leave wealth out of the equation, it now seems the test has only further perpetuated the idea that wealth is a necessity for students hoping to receive an adequate higher education.

I simply can’t afford to take the SAT a million times over or hire a tutor because since I have a twin brother, the cost of the test for my family is doubled. I feel that my GPA and accomplishments in school don’t have nearly as much value to universities, but are much more accurate representations of what I am capable of and I know many students that feel the same way.

Recently, I was having a conversation with another senior who was not shy when talking about how little they attended school and the minimal effort they put in throughout their high school career, but they ended up receiving an amazing score on the fifth SAT they took. Obviously, this student was excited about this and well aware of the fact that their SAT score would be their ticket into the college they hoped to attend. Despite this excitement, this student was still able to recognize the fact that the test really is quite unfair and that there are many students that actually put the effort in throughout high school that were likely much more deserving of the spot that they will have in college.

So, if both the students that have been helped and hurt by the SAT in their college admission process are able to see how unfair the test really is, why are schools still requiring it? Can’t we let a test from the past be a thing of the past?

Students plan to walk out to encourage school safety

BY: JULIA MCHALE, ALEX HENNIGER, ZACH GOLDBERG, PRASANNA VENUGOPAL AND NATASHA TORRES

On Apr. 20, Shenendehowa High School students are joining the national movement of walking out against gun violence at schools.

This movement was started by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, FL, after a gunman opened fire at school and killed 17 of their peers. The hope is to address the issue of gun violence in our country.

Organizers say the date of Apr. 20 is significant because it is the 19th anniversary of Columbine, the first mass school shooting in America. Between Columbine and Parkland there were 207 school shootings. Since 1999, 150,000 students have had the misfortune of experiencing a school shooting.

According to organizers the Shenendehowa walkout is to send a powerful and effective message advocating for safer schools. These students will be making a firm statement that they want to be safe, not only at their school, but nationwide as well.  

Hunter Galpin, senior class president, said he supports the walkout as long as its purpose is for school safety rather than gun control, which he believes is political. Galpin believes that Shenendehowa “should be pro-safety as a school,” and that “there’s a difference between anti-guns and anti-guns in school.”

Nicholas Matthews, a sophomore at Shenendehowa, similarly to Galpin, supports the walkout’s message of school safety. Matthews believes that to prevent school shootings, there “should be more police in school, metal detectors, and more random searches.”

Since Shenendehowa is a large high school in upstate New York, organizers hope that strength in numbers will gain the attention needed to stop the repetition of school shootings.

Organizers are planning the walkout to start at 1 p.m. through the end of the school day.

Instead of just walking out, students at Shen have planned multiple activities to take place on the field, including student speeches and booths from many Capital Region organizations like The New York Civil Liberties Union, League of Women Voters, and more. In addition there are tables run by students on topics they are most passionate about, such as a “write your representative” table and one that breaks down the Second Amendment.

After the initial walkout, there will be a town hall event in the auditorium with local politicians, teachers, students, and various organizations. There will be a student moderator there filtering questions and making sure things run smoothly.

While the school district is not involved in the walkout, administrators have worked with organizers to ensure the safety of students during the event. The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department has agreed to watch over the event, according to administrators.

“We want to make sure we support students and whatever they choose to do and make sure it is a safe environment,” said Mr. Ron Agostinoni, Shenendehowa high school principal.

Kayleigh Nadal, a Junior at Shenendehowa, feels more comfortable walking out with the police along with the precautions put in place.

A “crippling disease,” Senioritis is taking over the school

BY: CHRISTOPHER FELTS AND GARRETT WALTERS

Senioritis is the commonly used term to describe the feeling that many High School Seniors have. In many high schools it is beginning to become more widespread, especially with the second semester right around the corner.

While many joke about the phenomenon, it can have negative consequences and effect habits students will take with them to college.

The Urban Dictionary definition of senioritis is “A crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. Also features a lack of studying, repeated absences, and a generally dismissive attitude. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as graduation.”

In what has become a common and accepted theme, seniors are usually not as motivated in the classroom during their final portion of their high school career. It can get out of hand quickly and effect options a student may have like admission into a certain college.

Many students even believe that it can bring down the rest of the high school community.

“Senioritis is when seniors start getting lazy and stop trying because they are graduating soon,” Nicole Vadney, a senior, said. “It affects the Shen High School community by rubbing off underclassmen who should not be getting it because they aren’t even graduating this year.”

Miriam Krupski, a senior said, “It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a senior but you have been in school for so long that you run out of steam to keep going.”

According to a survey conducted by the Steinhardt School at New York University, 69.7 percent of seniors either strongly agree or agree that their academic effort will most likely decline during the second semester of their senior year.

Brian Harding, a senior, said, “When you know you can slack off and get away with it, you do it.”

Underclassmen have noticed this trend as well.

Nico Tebbano, a sophomore, said, “I’ve noticed that it’s more common in kids that don’t play sports.”

Senioritis usually begins to take shape right around this time of year, as students have finished applying to colleges and eagerly await to hear back. It can hit hardest after being accepted into college.

Jack Nelson, a senior who recently commited to Siena College, said, “Now that I know where I’m going, my grades aren’t as important now.”

Nelson explained that there’s a period of relaxation after the euphoric feeling of getting into college.

One negative consequence is that colleges can rescind any potential scholarships or revoke your acceptance if your grades slip too much.

Harding acknowledges that if your grades slip too much and colleges revoke admissions and scholarships, then it can be a problem.

“If colleges pull scholarships, then it becomes a problem. But as long as you pass senior year with decent enough grades, it really isn’t a big issue.”

Krupski said, “As long as your grades stay up you’re okay but once they start slipping is when you need to start coming back to reality.”

A Washington Post article says that senioritis is an inevitable phenomenon and you can only taint it to a certain degree. The article also mentions that there are ways to combat the trend.

Some examples would be that parents of seniors could give their kids work around home in order to keep them from getting in trouble.  They believe that skipping classes leads to a higher risk of not wanting to go to college to obtain a degree.

There are several ways to combat senioritis. Tebbano suggested that the best way to counteract this is to join a sport or club.

College Countdown, a program that helps students in applying to college, stresses that grades still matter, even as you begin the downhill portion of your high school career. They mentioned to stop bad habits before they start and try to have fun in the process.

With graduation right around the corner for seniors, it is easy to follow the trend set by classmates and peers. However, there are still classes to pass and finals to take.

It is important for students to enjoy the time they have left and have fun as they focus on post-grad plans and head into their last few months as a senior in High School.