Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rite of passage

Juliana Discher I Staff Writer

With great power comes great responsibility.

Turning eighteen is a milestone that many seniors reach in high school. It’s the transition from being considered a rambunctious teenager to a legal adult. While some allow their eighteenth birthday to slip by like any other day, a few Mason students decided to celebrate in a big way.

According to Lifestyle Magazine, at eighteen you are legally able to: vote, buy a lottery ticket, change your name, get a tattoo, sue someone, get married, buy fireworks, join the military, go skydiving, go bungee jumping, and gamble.

Skydiving seemed like an adventure worth pursuing, according to senior Elizabeth McDonald.
“My eighteenth birthday was in August, but we ended up skydiving the weekend after,” McDonald said. “It was a bit like conquering a fear for me. Just getting out there and doing something crazy. It was on my bucket list for the longest time.”

The experience of free falling through the air is unique from any other, according to McDonald.
“It was terrifying first jumping out and the free fall was kind of scary, but once the parachute is pulled, it was actually really relaxing and so cool to just kind of float through the air,” McDonald said.

Although she went big on her eighteenth, McDonald said there are other smaller, but still fun ways to celebrate the milestone.

“I have some friends who ordered stuff from the TV because it says like ‘You have to be eighteen or older to call and order,’” McDonald said. “My aunt gave me a lottery ticket because if I won then I could have cashed it. I didn’t, but the idea of it was fun.”

Senior Justin Uth wanted to do something that would visibly mark his coming of age. According to Uth, he is designing his own tattoos that he will get soon after he turns eighteen.

“I am planning on getting two tattoos as long as I have enough money,” Uth said.  “I am getting one that will wrap around my arm that’s a rattlesnake and a rose. I play guitar and I have been writing lyrics lately and the rattlesnake and rose are really relevant to the lyrics. The one I plan to get on my leg is a wolf head.”

There are other perks to being eighteen, Uth said.

“Now I can vote, which is nice,” Uth said. “Plus, since I am in a band, now I will be able to play in venues that I wasn’t able to play in before. There are a lot of open gigs that you have to be eighteen to play in, so now I’ll have more opportunities.”

Uth said that he appreciates the privileges he has with the age mark.

“Every time I have had a birthday in the past, I have felt the same, but with the tattoos now they will help me express myself more,” Uth said.

McDonald said that now more than ever, it’s important for her to use good judgment in her choices.

“Since turning eighteen, I feel like I’m treated as more of an adult,” McDonald said. “While there are some really cool things I can do, such as skydiving, there’s also a lot of responsibility to be on my best behavior. I know that the decisions I make will impact the rest of my life.”

Tattoo designed by Justin Uth
Skydiving picture from Elizabeth McDonald
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Friday, January 30, 2015

Creative distinction

Senior qualifies as finalist for 2015 Overture Awards

Juliana Discher | Staff Writer

Creativity is intelligence having fun.

For senior Katie Hibner, who was named a finalist two consecutive years for creative writing at the Overture Awards Scholarship Competition, her intelligence and creativity combination really paid off.

The Overture Awards is a program that recognizes, encourages and rewards excellence in the arts among students in grades 9-12. They offer scholarships in six artistic disciplines: creative writing, dance, instrumental music, theatre, visual arts, and vocal music.

According to Digital Image Design teacher Aaron Roberts, the Overture Awards are a highly selective process and achieving recognition as a finalist is no small honor.

“The entire process of Overtures is extremely challenging,” Roberts said. “The best young artists have their work and performances judged by professionals in their respective field. Because schools are limited to a certain number of competitors, this (competition) brings out only the best of the best. Each round obviously gets harder and harder.”

Hibner’s collection of poetry propelled her to advance past the semifinals.

Five other Mason High School students were named semifinalists at the Overture Awards
Scholarship Regional Competition on January 10. These students were: Ryley Arnold (Theatre/Musical Theatre), Sneha Gundavarpu (Dance/Ethnic/Folk Dance), Rebecca Shu (Instrumental Music/Piano), Julianne Su (Visual Arts/2D Art) and Alice Zhang (Visual Arts/2D Art). Hibner was the only one to move on to the final competition.

Hibner said her experience with the Overture Competition last year made her even more excited to be a finalist this year.

“Last year I got to read my poems on stage at the Aronoff Center as part of the final competition,” Hibner said. “That was pretty intimidating, but it was still really awesome to get the audience feedback and reaction right away.”

According to Hibner, she finds inspiration in English teacher Mandi Bross.

“Mrs. Bross always encourages me to write because I work with her through the school’s literary magazine, Writers’ Block,” Hibner said.

Bross said Hibner stands out as both a writer and a person of character.

“Katie is an outstanding representative of Mason High School, and not just because of her talent with the written word,” Bross said. “She is such a hard worker, constantly puts others ahead of herself, and is so humble. Katie has worked incredibly hard to succeed at this level of competition, and I can’t wait to see her come away with first place.”

The finals will take place at the end of February, where Hibner is competing for a $4,000 scholarship.
“I’m really hoping for the grand prize of $4,000 to help pay for college,” Hibner said. “I already get $1,000 just for being a finalist, but the extra money would be nice, too.”

Hibner said she is honored not only to be recognized for her work, but also to be among other Cincinnati student artists.

“I feel like it’s a really neat competition because I get to not only interact with other student writers in Cincinnati, but also other student artists,” Hibner said. “During the ceremony, we get to watch other students dance, sing, perform a musical instrument, or see their visual art. It’s nice to have a union of other student artists in Cincinnati. Plus, it’s really neat to get to share my work on stage at the Aronoff Center. That’s a huge honor.”

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