Friday, March 27, 2015

Joining the Madness

On a scale of sports savviness from Sheila Raghavendran to Eric Miller, I lean more towards the Sheila side.

Typically in March, I ignore the constant chatter that accompanies March Madness. The talk of seeds and upsets is a foreign language to me. The only Sweet Sixteen I've ever cared about is a friend's birthday party.  The only Cinderella I know is the Disney princess. I don't even recall ever filling out a bracket.

Although I don't get an adrenaline rush from watching men run back and forth, bouncing an orange sphere, this year I've begun to appreciate something different about the games.

Upon watching the Georgia State vs Xavier game this past Saturday, I was enlightened with the tale of how Georgia State coach, Ron Hunter, tore his achilles heel while celebrating his team's victory. Hunter gets extremely excited during games. I found the story to be humorous and sweet that the coach was so passionate. Suddenly, I found myself actually paying attention to the game and rooting for Georgia State.

Watch a video of the Georgia State Coach falling when his son shoots a three pointer

Another story that caught my attention was dubbed "Crying Piccolo Girl". A girl from the Villanova band was caught crying  on live TV after her school suffered a tough loss, 71-68.

This story was hilarious to me. How can you even cry and play the piccolo at the same time? This girl has some real talent. I also found it nice that this girl was so dedicated to her school that she felt emotional enough to cry after they lost. 

While I don't find March Madness basketball games to be the most exciting things in the world, I enjoy the stories behind the games. I find it intriguing to hear personal stuff about the coaches, the players, the fans. I love seeing the passion that other people have for the game, even if I don't feel the same way. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Introduce a girl to engineering day gears girls toward science

Juliana Discher I Staff Writer

Women only make up 13.4% of the engineering workplace, according to the American Society for Engineering Education.

By holding “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” at Mason High School since 2009, event leaders hope to demolish this gender gap.

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day was held Saturday, March 21 from 8:45 am-12:00 pm. Sixty girls in grades 7-12 attended. According to Lead Learning Coach for Science, Shanna Bumiller, the key goal behind this event is exposure.

“We want to expose girls to the field of engineering,” Bumiller said. “This is one of the areas, when you look at careers, which is very underrepresented by the female population. We want girls to get interested early on in the hopes that they pursue something later in life.”

Bumiller said that she believes society today isn't as encouraging to young girls interested in science as it should be.

“If you look at Disney Channel shows these days, the intelligence of girls is not played up,” Bumiller said. “Hopefully this little slice will show that there are a lot of successful female engineers out there.”

AP Physics teacher and event helper, DeeDee Messer, has had first-hand experience with female gender stereotypes.

“It was less than twenty years ago that I was in college and I was the only girl in my Physics class,” Messer said. “When I walked in on the first day, the Physics professor asked me if I was in the right room. There are a lot of stereotypes that we have to knock down from decades past. We hope that in the younger generations they don’t have these stereotypes. It’s a slow process—an evolution.”

Event attendee and freshman Aboli Kesbhat said she sees the importance of women getting into this underdeveloped field.

“Everybody talks about how the field of engineering is male dominated, so the more woman get into it, it diversifies what they can do in the job force,” Kesbhat said.

Kesbhat said she has found it personally beneficial to attend this event.

“The more you come to this event, the more options you can see which helps you decide what you want to do when you’re older,” Kesbhat said. “I want to pursue Biomedical Engineering, so I found talking to the women engineers very useful.”

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Mixing beats

DJs fuse Indian, American music

Juliana Discher | Staff Writer

DJ Jeet and DJ-PJ have something new to bring to the table–turn table, that is.

Being a disc jockey isn't simply a hobby for juniors Jeet Srivastava and Paraj Arora; it’s a way to appreciate and explore their Indian culture. Both students DJ Indian, non-Indian and mixed events in an effort to spread their culture through music and dancing.

Srivastava began DJ-ing when he felt that there was a lack of good DJs who were able to combine both English and Indian music at mixed parties.

“At my friend’s graduation party, they wanted an Indian and American mix with English hip-hop and Bhangra,” Srivastava said. “The music didn’t sound very good, so I felt like if I started DJ-ing, I would be able to combine the two genres better.”

Trying to fuse the two cultures’ music together can prove to be challenging, according to Srivastava, especially with requests.

“Sometimes I will have a person come up requesting a traditional Indian song, but then have another person request an American hip-hop song, so I have to find a balance between the two,” Srivastava said. “I have also learned to mix songs together, so I can kind of play both at once.”

Srivastava said he is able to incorporate his Indian culture through his garments, depending on what kind of party it is.

“If it’s a more traditional Indian party then I will wear more traditional Indian clothing, but if it’s a formal party, graduation party or some sort of wedding then I will wear formal clothing,” Srivastava said.

According to Srivastava, even as Indian music progresses and leans more towards a hip-hop style, the traditional instruments are still used, thus creating a unique sound.

“The great thing about Indian music is that there are different kinds to fit your mood; there is a more classical style that uses an instrument called a dhol, which is like a drum,” Srivastava said. “In modern times, there is more upbeat, hip-hop style music, but it still incorporates the classic dohl beats.”

Becoming a DJ is what kick-started Srivastava’s passion for Indian culture.

“I used to never listen to anything Indian-related until two or three years ago when I first started out,” Srivastava said. “It helped me to open up to my heritage and want to explore my culture.”

Arora said that being a DJ and listening to the music is not only pleasurable, but educational–helping him learn his native language.

“The lyrics help me learn words,” Arora said. “I can speak some of the language, but when I watch a movie it’s hard. Especially with the speed in which they speak it.”

As his two passions began merging together, Arora said it became a no-brainer to pursue DJ-ing.

“I have always had an interest in music and technology,” Arora said. “I thought DJ-ing would be the best way to combine those two. Why not make a business out of something you love?”

Being a DJ has also taught Arora a lot of interpersonal skills.

“Dealing with requests and rowdy people can be challenging,” Arora said. “There is a psychology in knowing how to handle them. The whole business though has taught me a lot and help(ed) me grow as a person.”

At the end of the day, Arora said he finds being a DJ most rewarding by seeing happy party guests.

“I really enjoy seeing other people on the dance floor having a good time,” Arora said. “I am the DJ, life is the dance floor, love is the rhythm and you are the music.”

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Charles Schulz Theory

Before you dive into this blog post, play along with the following activity.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
4  Name five people who won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

Unless you're extremely up-to-date and have a super memory for current events, I'm fairly certain that you couldn't name all of the people. Now try this exercise. (You might find it a little easier)

Charles Schulz; The Peanuts comic strip creator
1. List three teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of three people who have made you feel appreciated.
5. List five people you enjoy spending time with.

I'm sure that you breezed through the second set of questions. But why is it that in the first set of questions, when asked about people deemed famous and successful, you struggled with their names? The answer lies within your own life.

When your dog dies and you need a shoulder to cry on, you're not going to seek comfort in Johnny Manziel. When you need someone to chat with, you would never think to call Bill Gates or Meryl Streep on your cellphone. That would be silly. You would talk with your best friend, your neighbor, your parent.

What this illustrates is that you don't need to be a well-known celebrity in order to matter in this world. The 'normal,' everyday people around you are those who are truly making an impact on your life by being there to support you. Relatively speaking, they are your celebrity.

So if you're ever feeling inadequate or unimportant in this world, just remember the Charles Schulz Theory. (It's ironic because Charles Schulz--the comic writer of The Peanuts--did not come up with the theory. It erroneously became associated with him because of his fame status.)

The key message is to never forget that you are on someone's list. You are the one who has taught that friend something worthwhile, or perhaps has helped them through a tough time. In my opinion, simply being there for someone is just as incredible, just as important, as being a critically acclaimed actor, athlete, or politician.

The Peanuts gang celebrates who they are

Sunday, March 1, 2015

NHS hosts successful Nerf Madness fundraiser

Juliana Discher I Staff Writer

The first annual Nerf Madness event, put on by National Honor Society, was a mad success. The Mason Intermediate 45 gym was transformed into a battle ground this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. According to event leaders and seniors Carver Nabb, Dylan Bryan, Connor McCormick, Sam Wendell, and Jackson Brown, they came up with the idea as a way to engage the community while raising money for a good cause. 18 teams of five players participated, raising a total of $2,700 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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