Monthly Archives: December 2014

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astronautThe 1990’s was a golden age for cinematography. A string of great and powerful movies such as Schindler’s list, Saving Private Ryan and Shawshank Redemption seemed to be premiering left and right. Recently, the film industry has fallen victim to cheap scares, cheesy jokes and unnecessary action.

In the last decade, it seems as if we lost all of that passion and glory that Hollywood once held. However, with his newest hit, Interstellar, Christopher Nolan once again proves that this golden age isn’t dead quite yet. In Interstellar Earth is dying and Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey, is forced to leave his family in order to lead one final mission attempt to find a new home planet for humanity.

Going in, I was looking forward to seeing a thrilling tale of space exploration, as was most of the film’s audience, but I was blinded sided by the deep scenes of ardent emotion provided by the secondary tale of father-daughter relationships that Nolan slips seamlessly into the main plot. Nolan gets his audience to develop genuine compassion for his fictional characters whose stories lead me to genuinely question my emotional values in life. After my first viewing of the film, I was surprised when the audience wasn’t greeted with warm tea and blankets upon exiting the theatre.

McConaughey’s performance in this film was more than just alright alright alright; it was a performance that seemed to put his work in Dallas Buyer’s Club to shame. The veteran actor’s performance easily gained the homage of the audience and added true emotional weight to the film’s more emotionally gripping scenes. McConaughey is joined by other Hollywood superstars such as Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and Casey Affleck, whose performances seemed to compliment their roles flawlessly.

 Nolan’s never-ending attempt to add new ideas and depth to his plot unfortunately led the story to encounter some scientific anomalies that, while not considered wrong, were generally regarded as a bit of a stretch by scientists and movie-goers alike. This was where the role of fiction played into this sci-fi film; after-all, there’s a reason why scientific papers aren’t made into movies. While these moments didn’t spoil too much of the movie going experience that was Interstellar, it did leave me scratching my head in a little bit of confusion.

Although the science of the film was a bit of a stretch, it did provide us an unforgettable visual experience. This is not a movie that people should wait to see at home. Even though I-MAX tickets are probably now worth their weight in gold, the visual goodies that dominate the film make Interstellar one of the few films that I can justify spending the extra money to see.

The things we can accomplish with CGI in today’s day and age never fail to leave me in awe, but Interstellar takes things to a whole new level. Multiple times throughout the film, I truly felt dwarfed by wonderfully artistic scenes that flashed across the massive movie screen time and time again.

Furthermore, no film would be complete without its soundtrack. Hans Zimmer proves to us why he should be considered among the elite composers by providing Interstellar with what are easily some of the most imaginative and inventive scores of his lengthy career. Every intense and colossal scene that Nolan throws at the audience is accompanied harmoniously by an equally intense score that makes this film seem even more colossal than it already is.

 Interstellar gives us relief from the seemingly never endless wave of Hollywood remakes and series piggy-backers whose razor thin plots never seem to hold any emotional weight with the audience–*cough cough Avengers cough cough. I just hope that the movie going audience hasn’t yet been completely fooled by the modern day hits and can still recognize the greatness of a film such as Interstellar.

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By Joe Stellato, Sports Editor 

Freshman Cheyenne Everhart has been participating in roller skating since she was six years old and has acquired many accolades. She began roller skating back in 2008, taking lessons at the USA Skate Center in Romeoville, IL.

 

Everhart went into her first competitions for the 2014 season with her precision team and her artistic routine. A precision team is an assembly of eight skaters performing a synchronized skating routine to music. There is also the artistic or figure skating competition which is where the competitor performs turns on a painted circle on the floor. 

 

She did not come out empty handed, making numerous appearances in many Illinois and national competitions. For league meets in artistic skating, she received a total of 12 medals–a combined four medals at regionals for both speed and artistic skating and fifth at nationals with the precision team.

 

USA Skate Center owner and coach Donna Turner has been coaching Everhart since she set her skates on a rink. As a first hand contributor to Everhart and her team’s success, she shared the qualities she sees in Everhart’s work ethic.

 

 “Cheyenne is a very hard worker and tries very hard to do as I teach.  She is a pleasure to work with, and I really look forward to her lessons with me,” Turner said. “She is always trying to do her best, and as a coach there is nothing more you can ask.”

 

Everhart’s mother Donna Everhart explained what characteristics her daughter has gained through her experience with skating on her precision team.

 

“I think that being involved with skating has taught her a lot about being a team player, and how to handle setbacks with grace,” Everhart said. “Skating has also brought out more of her creative side, fine tuning her attention to detail, and giving her the ability to help others achieve their goals.”

 

Everhart also discussed her dedication and time commitment her daughter displays.

 

“Participating in both speed and figure skating keeps Cheyenne incredibly busy. Add to that the fact that she’s in Winter Guard, plus making sure that she keeps her grades up. It can be tough to find time to just relax,” Everhart said.

 

Cheyenne Everhart’s love for roller skating grew not only from the sport itself, but the people she met and relationships she made because of it.

 

Freshman Taylor Hawkins of Naperville Central High School skates for Chicagoland Racing and has been friends with Cheyenne for roughly two years.

 

“Cheyenne and I are best friends–practically sisters,” Hawkins said. “Over the time that I have known her, skating has helped her mature by becoming strong-willed and determined. [I would describe her as] admirable because whatever goal she has set for herself, she won’t give up no matter the obstacles that come in her way.”

 

Having coached Everhart over the years, Turner also has formed a bond with her.

 

“I am very fond of her and we are friends, but we both know when it comes to training we each have our place,” Turner said. “Off skates she is probably like a daughter to me; actually, all my skaters are like my children.”

 

According to Turner, Everhart also gives back to the roller skating community. She assists her in teaching a beginner’s class at the Skate Center where “the younger skaters look up to her.”

 

Donna Everhart expressed her feelings towards her daughter’s achievements thus far.

 

“I am extremely proud of Cheyenne and everything she has accomplished so far. She’s just getting started, and I know she will climb to greater heights,” Everhart said. 

 

Cheyenne Everhart discussed the impact the sport of roller skating as a whole has impacted her life.

 

“I feel that roller skating is the best thing that I have been involved in. The sport itself is amazing, the people involved are awesome and my coach Donna Turner is truly amazing. She is the only coach in Illinois that is certified to coach at an Olympic training center and all of her kids have been to nationals…I am truly grateful to have such an amazing coach,” Everhart said.

 

She also expanded on how her experience with skating has made a major imprint on her life and how it has impacted others as well.

 

“My message to others is probably follow your dreams and try your hardest to achieve your goals. I know [roller skating] has really impacted my life for a better lifestyle because of all the people I have met are such great athletes and they treat me and their other competitors like family. The people I skate with in my rink and in the region are very positive. This sport keeps people active and off of the streets and it’s just a good way of just having fun whether you do this competitively or recreationally,” Everhart said.

 

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burger jointBurgers are a timeless meal that nearly all Americans love. According to CNN, they’re the second most popular food in the U.S. and there are countless burger joints in our area. It’s always difficult to decide which one to go to. The newest addition to the plethora of burger places is That Burger Joint, which opened at the beginning of November at 860 E Boughton Road in Bolingbrook, IL.  Connected with the new Oberweis and dairy store, this restaurant offers just four foods and their simplicity is what makes them so good.

When I first arrived at That Burger Joint I was impressed by the rustic vibe it gave off. The lighting was dim, which made it feel like this was place that I had come to a hundred times before, as though I personally knew the employees working behind the counter.

It was clean and well-kept; the station for the ketchup, napkins and other necessities were impressionable and well organized. The service was prompt and friendly. The menu, which contains your basic burger place foods such as fries, drinks, burgers and chicken sandwiches, was easy to decipher.

That Burger Joint offers a choice between single and double burgers, a chicken sandwich and a hot dog. Burgers can be made on a plain pretzel bun, and any option can be topped with a variety of free toppings which include lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms and bacon. It costs about $12 for a meal which is a decent price for a quick lunch.

 I ordered a single cheeseburger on a regular bun with lettuce, and I got my food after a short wait. My fries seemed to be slightly overcooked, but they were crispy and delicious. The burger was about as good as one from Culver’s. It was cooked just right and it wasn’t sloppy, which made it easy to eat. It filled me up, and I walked out of That Burger Joint happy.

Overall, That Burger Joint was a quick, satisfying meal that was fairly average. It was cheaper than portillos or Five Guys, and it was just as good both of those fast food chain’s burgers. If you’re looking for an inexpensive and quick burger that’s a lot nicer than a double cheeseburger from McDonald’s, check out That Burger Joint.

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BigHeroSixAfter a film like Frozen built up a mountain of fans, financial revenue and song covers, it seemed like Disney would have to pull something completely out of the dark to please audiences of all ages and still maintain a profit. The result was Big Hero 6.

Based on the Marvel Comic series, the film takes a modernized look at child science prodigy Hiro Hamada, who is more interested in training robots to fight than he is in going to college. Hiro’s brother Tadashi decides that Hiro needs some persuasion and brings him to meet Baymax, a life size inflatable robot programmed to deliver internal and external health care. When a masked creature begins terrorizing his hometown, Hiro realizes he could upgrade Baymax and his friends to fight off crime and do right by his brother.

What makes Big Hero 6 so outstanding as a children’s movie is its ability to display a heavy amount of emotion in a way that it is perceptible to both younger and older audiences alike. It demonstrates the ability to emotionally connect with children on the same level as adults. Early on in the film, tragedy strikes Hiro’s family and an entire funeral and mourning scene is played out to a longer and arguably stronger extent than say, Bambi or even Frozen.

The film also conveys the importance of family and attachment to things without getting too complicated, making it easy for children to comprehend and harder for adults not to tear up.

However, Big Hero 6 doesn’t let the heavy heart cast a dark cloud over the film. Humor is hiding around every corner in the form of Baymax, who is adorably helpful but virtually clueless when it comes to being out in the real world. Hiro’s team of science-obsessed friends act like real people.

They make mistakes, don’t understand everything right away (even though they are labelled as geniuses) and have their own quirks that make them not only hilarious but evidently more relatable.

What was also refreshing was having no elaborate musical number. Instead, Fall Out Boy debuts their dynamic ballad ‘Immortals’ as the cover of the film and composer Henry Jackson works wonders with an orchestra that compiles electronic tunes on strings. Having no random song bursts about finding your true love was a breath of fresh air from Disney.

I won’t lie: I was not excited to see this film at first. Unlike past films, Disney didn’t dive into a massive marketing campaign so Big Hero 6 was completely unknown to me. I let my brother drag me into it because he had been dying to see it after seeing Baymax, who appears as a marshmallow-type-balloon-bot and was pretty adorable.

The film left me nearly in tears, both from laughs and being rocked to the core by the emotional context. Big Hero 6 lifts your sense of humor, imagination and your heart off the ground and into the world of robotics for an adventure you won’t want to miss. 

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Moving in general is always intimidating, but the challenges that come with it increase tenfold when it’s from one country to another.

Senior Anastasiya Lesyuk moved from Ukraine when she was 10 years old. Previously having lived in a small farm village, moving to the United States was quite the culture shock. There are countless differences and challenges that have impacted her, including the typical family dynamics and traditions.

Lesyuk described some of the biggest differences in family interactions; some things are different than what we are typically used to in the United States.

“It is very family oriented….We live with families together, like kids with [their] parents even after marriage,” Lesyuk said. “Families usually don’t live far away from each other, they come over almost every weekend.”

In addition to families generally being much closer, certain traditions such as Christmas are celebrated differently than the traditions that are normally celebrated in the United States.

“Christmas is different than the American one. We don’t give presents on Christmas, but it is one of my favorite traditions…it happens during January and it is our Ukrainian Holy Christmas night…We invite our family friends that are Ukrainian and there will be a big table with special dishes…then we have a prayer and we celebrate the whole night,” Lesyuk said.

One of the biggest challenges that comes with immigrating to a new country is leaving behind everything–school, friends and family.

“I was in a really close family, and just leaving it all behind and moving to America where I had only my aunt…and I didn’t have any friends or anyone…that was really challenging [for me],” Lesyuk said.

 

 

 

 

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call of duty computer pic Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is fast-paced, thrilling and jaw dropping–it definitely delivers. The games’ single-player story mode takes place in the year 2054, the main character Mitchell is a U.S Marine who enlists with his best friend Will Irons. Their first mission is in Seoul, South Korea, and just like in any other call of duty game it has a tutorial feel to it.

But for once it is all worth it, the graphics are amazing, making it seem like it’s more of a movie than a game. The explosions and gunfire are beautifully mastered to have a spine tingling realistic sound, you feel like you’re really there. Unfortunately, the mission goes awry causing Mitchell to be discharged due to an injury.

This is where we meet Jonathan Irons, owner of Atlas, an international warfare company, which is bigger and more effective than the U.S government itself. Although the story is predictable the game makes up for it with the weapons. A lot of the weapons are similar to past COD games but the only difference is that they have attachments that allow you to see the enemy and gun them down easily.

Of course you also have your tactical and lethal grenades, but the difference in these explosive beauties is that when you throw a tactical grenade it reveals the location of your enemies allowing you to shoot them through some walls and objects. Your smart grenade is your lethal grenade, which hones in on your enemy and blows them up, accompanied by your regular grenade and an EMP grenade that takes down drones.

 But the most exciting advantage by far in advanced warfare has to be the exo-suit. The exo-suit allows the player to boost jump, run faster and more. What’s not exciting about this is that for every mission in story mode you don’t get to experience everything the exo-suit has to offer you only get three exo-suit abilities.

But have no fear online gaming gives you the mind-boggling option to use the exo-suit’s full capacity. Yes, this does make playing online a little difficult, but it is highly enjoyable and rewarding.

Call of duty: Advanced warfare has proven its worth, and I feel no remorse in paying $60 for it. Grab your gear and get ready for a mind blowing futuristic experience.

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Trick shots and kill cams are often what you encounter when you dive into the bizarre world of first-person shooter video gaming. Junior Michael Ragland has been playing these types of games for years and is now promoted by sponsors such as Kontrol Freek and Elgato Gaming.

 

“In 2010 or 2011, I started playing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. I got into it right away and then my friend introduced me to YouTube by recording my kill cams. Shortly after, I started running my own clan with a group of people and then we merged with an even bigger clan,” Ragland said.

 

When the two clans merged, they were at 2,000 subscribers on YouTube. Then after they got sponsored, their number of subscribers rose to a whopping 5,000. They play together online recording cool kills they make, which are known as trick shots.

 

Ragland also has special equipment he has to use when playing.

 

“Whenever I trick shot, I have to use Kontrol Freeks on my controller because they make the controller a lot easier to grip, while also having a flip on the bottom that functions as an extra button—you can program it to do whatever you want. I use that because it’s provided by my sponsors, and as long as I use it, I have to promote their stuff,” Ragland said.

 

Junior Kaylin Bland has been close to Ragland for years and has collaborated with him through Xbox Live.

 

“Mikey is a very cool person and is great at what he does. I’m also very proud of him,” Bland said.

 

Ragland loves what he does because to him, it feels like he can work from home and decide when he wants to work, if he wants to work and who he wants to work with. In addition to that, he gets paid through something known as ad revenue.

 

“Whenever you click on a YouTube video and there’s an ad, the owner of it gets paid for letting people do that to their video,” Ragland said.

 

One thing Ragland dislikes is that many people with similar skills are not getting noticed.

 

“There are a lot of underrated teams that can’t pay to get editors or whatever they need. They have the talent, but the resources aren’t there,” Ragland said.

 

Call of Duty is Ragland’s overall favorite game series, and he also enjoys playing Grand Theft Auto V. The latter is not something that is included in his sponsorship, but he still likes to play it and post about it on his personal YouTube channel.

 

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By Cece Divis

Some people have a hard time adjusting to changes that are made in their life, especially when immigrating to a new country. Food is one of the major changes from country to country.

 Junior Buchoy Boutros was born in Italy and came to America when he was 14 years old; he had to learn how to adjust and accept new cultural norms.

 With the transition from Italy, many things changed for him, including the food choices.

 “There are many differences in the food in Italy compared to the food here in America. In Italy mostly everything is homemade and cooked fresh. Usually families grow their own ingredients for cooking,” Boutros said.

 Although he has been introduced to American food there are a few things that have bothered him.

 “The food here which is usually called Italian is not Italian at all, but Americans like to call it that so it seems fancy. It’s usually just store processed food to make the person feel like they are getting the ‘Italian experience’ when really they aren’t getting anything but a cheap copy of it,” Boutros said.

 Boutros describes the personalization of true Italian food, and explains how difficult it is to imitate.

 “There isn’t really a recipe for cooking, most of the time Italian’s enjoy adding random ingredients as they cook,” Boutros said.

 Boutros has been in America for three years now, but still prefers some aspects of his home country over America.

 “I miss Italy a lot…I prefer it much more over America. The foods are so fresh, and I enjoy the small outdoor cafes that are similar to the American Starbucks, but [they] sell more than just coffee,” Boutros said.

 At times it becomes difficult and he wishes he could go back to native country.

 “The transition was hard and I often wish to go back,” Boutros said. “I do [go back] during the summer, but overall I’d rather stay there. But I do enjoy Olive garden.”

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At DGS there are countless athletes who work day and night to push their limits so they can be the best. Among these dedicated athletes is senior Amanda Thate. She has been involved in the DGS running program for six years and all of Thate’s hard work has finally rewarded her with the opportunity of a lifetime–to run for Kansas State University.

Thate is seen as a leader of her team and is always pushing herself to be better. She describes some of the personal goals she has set for herself in the future

“My goal for this year in track is to break five minutes in the mile and to break 11 minutes in the two-mile. My goals for college are to compete in conference and regionals…and to set new [personal records] as time goes on,” Thate said.

Despite being plagued with injuries throughout her seasons, Thate has remained persistent and dedicated to her sport.

According to Coach Egle Staisiunaite, “[Amanda’s] perseverance and toughness allowed her to remain positive, confident and enthusiastic. Amanda is an athlete who has a strong ‘go for it’ mentality, she is unafraid of failure, and remains confident in tough competitions.”

The numbers prove that Thate has improved throughout her high school career, and she has also gained important life skills.

According to Thate, she has gained the skill of time management and has learned to push herself to be the best she can be.

Due to her experience and skill, Thate is looked up to by her team.One of Amanda’s teammates, senior Anna Soriano, describes the impact Thate has made on the team.

“She’s very encouraging to other girls and her own work ethic does affect others in a positive way. Some of the younger girls could look at Amanda and kind of use her positive attitude and work ethic to shape their own,” Soriano said.

Coach Doug Plunkett sees Amanda in a similar light, stating “She has been one of the fastest and most successful athletes on the team since the first day of her freshman year. Her experience and work ethic help provide great examples for all of our younger athletes.”

Through her hard work and dedication, Thate has been able to consistently push through physical and mental boundaries; continuing to do so at Kansas State University will be the next goal she will seek to accomplish.

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Each year brings in new faces, talents and opportunities for the students of DGS.

As for the steppers, this semester offered a chance to change history.

 

The team welcomes their new coach Mary Williams, who has envisioned new plans for the team this year. Working together with Theresa Dees, they both decided to find new opportunities for the steppers.

 

Junior Yanae Stennis, has been on the steppers for three years, and she believes that the steppers have not been given a chance to showcase themselves.

“The school never gets to really see us perform,” Stennis said.

 

Williams is passionate about getting the team a chance to show their talents.

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“We went to the Student Activities Director earlier on in the year…We felt like they needed an opportunity to showcase at our school rather than away…so we presented it to the Student Activities Director and then we got an email from the coach,” Williams said.

 

The steppers were first organized in 2006, and they have never performed at DGS’s games. But that changed on Dec. 16, 2014, when the steppers performed at the girls basketball game during halftime for the first time.

 

Stepping is defined as complex movement of head, feet and hand motions in order to create music. Williams wanted to share her perspective on it.

 

“Stepping is using your body as an instrument, you don’t have to open your mouth…It is more about the hands, the eyes, the head, the feet, everything working in sequence to make a sound and produce rhythm,” Williams said.

 

With an opportunity to be seen by almost half of the school, senior Maurisha Gaiter knew that she wouldn’t be nervous performing.

 

“Stepping is what I love to do. Being nervous never crosses my mind,” Gaiter said.

 

Senior Jessica Williams agrees with Gaiter and likes the crowd seeing her team step.

 

“I enjoy the audience’s reactions to our performance,” Jessica Williams said.

 

Mary Williams believes that every team should be given equal opportunities to be seen by the school.

 

“South is made up of a multicultural [span] of groups, but you only get to see a certain group performing all the time. It’s not fair to the other kids that may not have all that attention,” Mary Williams said.

The steppers are looking forward to showcasing themselves more. They will be performing at the boys basketball game in Feb.