Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Thank you and good night

As I sat down this weekend to write my blog post and meet the deadline, I realized I was not ready. I really needed to time soak in and process what the last three years in C103 have meant to me. While I definitely am ready to move on from high school and experience the opportunities at Ohio State, my time in The Chronicle will probably be what I miss most.

Let me break down my journey in order to fully appreciate my growth and simultaneously sprinkle in some advice to new, current, and future staff members (Look for the italics)

Freshman Year: Fate

I was an avid supporter of The Chronicle. I enjoyed reading it when it was distributed and always kept a copy. I was still dipping my toes into high school's murky water, so I figured I would wait to apply until my sophomore or junior year. Luckily, my passion for writing led me to take Creative Writing and fate put me in the classroom of Kurt Dinan. Mr. Dinan saw something in me that I had not seen myself, but I am truly grateful he did. He connected me with Mr. Conner and I filled out my application (turned in after deadline I believe). I still vividly remember sitting on the bench in C1 talking to Mr. Conner for the first time about how big of a commitment The Chronicle was and what being on staff meant. I interviewed with Sheila Raghavendran and Erin Brush in the old Chronicle room, C106 and was ecstatic when I found out I was accepted. You have been put in this position for a reason. Do not question your self worth because someone has seen something great inside of you.

Sophomore Year: The Newbie

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My first week on staff, I vividly remember hating it. I disliked and did not understand the story idea discussions. I questioned if it was the right path for me. Thank God I stuck with it. Remember it is okay to not immediately fall in love or find your place on The Chronicle. I remember struggling so hard to find my first story idea, and eventually I landed on GoPro Cameras--a valiant first effort for a story. There were so many firsts: seeing my name in print, my first Chron Fire, my first Chron Canoe trip. I remember being scared of the seniors (Erin Brush and Stich) and thinking they were so much older and cooler than me. I remember dreading bringing in breakfast every edition as the newbies are designated. As a senior now I realize that my fears were unneccessary, being a senior does not automatically put you above others like I had imagined. I began to slowly make a name for myself as somebody who is reliable and does what they are supposed. Another milestone was the creation of my first PowerPoint. The theme was celebrity look-alikes. Don't be afraid to take a risk as a new member. It can seriously pay off. This quickly became a trend, and every distribution day I made a PowerPoint to celebrate our hard work and to share some laughs. It is so important to have fun as a staff.

Junior Year: Getting it Done

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With a year under my belt, new friends, and new knowledge, I was ready to take on my second year on staff. I began with a bang by having my first cover story ever on "Meninism" versus feminism. The Chronding this year was great and I remember ice skating, going to Salsa on the Square, and movie nights. I also began to establish myself as the resident party and event planner! Step up and take charge, things need to get done. This was a stressful year with classes and extracurriculars, but I am proud of myself for staying true and continuing to make deadlines.

Senior Year: The End

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Suddenly, I was the big man on campus. It was my name going on the College Commitment Board, I was not planning Signing Day, but participating, and I was receiving a senior gift at the end of the year. One goal I had at the beginning of the year was to get our Instagram rebooted. We only had around 200 followers, around 20 likes (or less) per picture, and inconsistent posting. This was not okay, given what a presence our accounts held on Twitter and Facebook. I remember at first trying to come up with a gimmick to gain followers by offering to pie teachers in the face if we reached a certain goal. Mr. Conner quickly shut this down and said the key was to post engaging and entertaining content. To be honest, I was frustrated and did not think it was possible at first. But after brainstorming some fun ideas, our account began to take off. We now have almost 1,000 followers and get at least 100 (260 was our highest) likes per picture. Mr. Conner was right, and I am grateful for trusting him. Don't let me down with the Instagram! Please keep posting regularly and if you choose, keep up the features like #ChronCoupleOfTheWeek and #ChronicleTravels. Do a better job than me of getting #ChronFanOfTheGame because I never go to sports games lol. I had other celebrations this year, one being having multiple stories in the paper for the first time. I won a silver medal in the national Scholastic Art & Writing Competition for my story on evolving gender roles. The one regret I had about the year was the lack of Chronding. I tried to plan stuff throughout the year, but there was never a strong enthusiasm, I wish I would have tried harder because I think it truly helps the staff to work better when there is a connection. Keep Chronding!! Keep up the traditions as well, like ChronFire and Canoeing. Overall though, I loved to be a leader and a mentor at times. I made some great new friends this year and became even closer with the other seniors.

Today was a fantastic conclusion to my time on staff. I spent two bells finishing my final PowerPoint ever. We got to class and I presented it and got some laughs. We surprised Mr. Conner by showing our spoof of The Office where we made fun of ourselves. Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself. You are not perfect and that is OKAY. We gave DC a poster of senior pictures he can put in the backroom. Mr. Conner won the day by making the seniors feel so special. He told us each a quote from the book David and Goliath that embodied us and gave us all a copy of the book. I will never forget the special things he said about us and we are all very grateful.

Just remember, this class and life in general is what you make it. You can take advantage of the opportunities and have fun and laugh and smile, or have a negative mindset. Try your best to enjoy it.

As I have sat here spending the last hour and a half typing this blog post, I am finally ready to say it.

Goodbye C103

Friday, May 12, 2017


Juliana Discher I Staff Writer

Hatters gonna hat.
Beanies, ball caps, flat bills, and other headwear are being seen more frequently in the halls of Mason High School. Whether for fashion or to help combat a messy hair day, more students are adding hats to their daily attire. Sophomore Kip Roe said he is an avid hat wearer because of the convenience of them and their ability to enhance an outfit. Roe said for the most part, teachers are lenient about allowing him to wear a hat, despite it being a violation of the student handbook.
“I’ve worn hats to school every single day since freshman year,” Roe said. “I have really long hair so most days it’s pretty messy. Usually it’s a lot easier to wear a hat to school because it makes the hair look a little better. I only have one teacher that doesn’t like when I wear them. She tells me to take it off because it is a rule violation, but most of my teachers don’t care.”
Senior Griffin Buress is also a hat wearer and said wearing a visor to school helps him as he grows his hair out.
“I got to be growing the ‘fro out for when I go out to California for school, so the visor is for sure a must have because everyone’s hair goes through an awkward stage,” Burress said. “It honestly brings out the inner dad in me, and so far, I’m definitely loving it. Rain or shine, I’m always gonna rock the visor.”
Burress said he feels frustrated when teachers tell him to remove it because it is a part of his look.
“Almost every day I have some teacher ask me to take it off,” Burress said. “It amazes me how mad they actually can get. I’m wearing a hat, like, come on. I feel naked without it.”
Rule 8 in the ‘Dress Code’ portion of the Student Handbook states: “no headwear may be worn in the building. This includes, but not limited to: hats, earmuffs, bandannas, scarves, head coverings, hoodies or sunglasses.” Burress said he is not sure why this rule is necessary.
“With what the kids are wearing these days, I don’t know how a hat is still not allowed,” Burress said. “I could walk into some classes shirtless, and a teacher wouldn’t bat an eye, but a hat is a death wish these days.”
Roe said he is also unsure why hats are banned, and has been told a plethora of reasons.
“Some teachers have told me that the rule prevents cheating because students could put paper in the bill of the hat,” Roe said. “Some teachers have told me it’s a fire risk, which I don’t understand either. They have said it prevents distractions and prevents students from shielding their eyes while they look down at their phones. I am not sure if there is one sole reason.”
Junior Brianna Elam regularly wore a Nike hat to school and said she thinks the rule might be for respect.
“I could just put on my hat and I didn’t have to fix my hair, so it saved me time,” Elam said. “I only had one teacher say something, but I don’t know why there is a rule because so many people do. I think it bothers teachers because they think it’s disrespectful.”
Honors Microsoft Certification teacher Lori Toerner enforces the no hat policy in her classroom. Toerner said she does it to create a professional environment.
“I don’t think students should wear hats to school because it’s kind of like you’re going to work,” Toerner said. “In a work environment, you would not be wearing a hat, therefore, it will create a serious environment.”
Toerner said she believes the no headwear policy should be enforced on all fronts, or removed from the student handbook.
“It’s not enforced, so I have to tell kids every day to take their hats off,” Toerner said. “Some of them don’t have an issue, but some I have to tell them every day, and I get the eyeroll. I would like to see it either enforced or taken out of the rule book.”
Roe said he believes the rule should be removed because hats are accepted by the majority of school officials.
“It’s not enforced, so they should just get rid of the rule,” Roe said. “I have talked to administrators while wearing a hat, and they have never said anything to me. I think it’s unfair and weird that it differs from teacher to teacher. I am not trying to insult anyone by wearing a hat. As far as hats go, I don’t see any harm by them.”

Friday, May 5, 2017

Spot the Difference

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Friday, April 14, 2017


Juliana Discher | Staff Writer

For Alyssa Manguiat, life without ballet is pointe-less.

Ballet is not just a hobby or sport for junior Alyssa Manguiat. At 17 years old, it is becoming her career. Manguiat has already performed on the big stage, starring in The Nutcracker and King Arthur’s Camelot, both performed at the Aronoff Center. Manguiat said her training with the Cincinnati Ballet has allowed her to reach the next level.

“I’ve been in 26 shows all together with Cincinnati Ballet,” Manguiat said. “I dance in the academy there, so whenever the company needs younger people they ask me and others. My biggest role was playing Clara in The Nutcracker.”

Manguiat said playing Clara was special because it was the first time she was able to stand out in a show.

“It was really exciting, in eighth grade and freshman year I played Clara,” Manguiat said. “I loved that all those people at the Aronoff were watching me, especially a lot of my family that hadn’t seen me dance very much before. It’s hard to describe what it was like performing because it was really a blur, but the entire experience — the stage, the costumes, the dancing — was really unforgettable.”

In King Arthur’s Camelot,” Manguiat was a Lady of the Lake and said it was a unique and challenging role for her.

“I was a Lady of the Lake along with two other girls and we were on the shoulders of guys and wore a giant dress made out of two parachutes,” Manguiat said. “That was a different role because it wasn’t classical ballet and you could only use your upper body. It was a bit difficult because it was kind of restricting. That was (a) role where the other two performers were professionals.”

Training at the level of a professional ballerina requires a heavy time commitment. Manguiat said she trains six hours a day before a big performance and practices two and a half hours every day. The commute to her studio is thirty minutes.

“For my flex credit, I had to count up all the hours I have danced this semester alone and it was already over 200 hours,” Manguiat said. “People get that I dance, but I don’t think they get how much time I put it in or how important it is. I have to miss a lot of school.”

To help alleviate the stress of missing school, Manguiat said she is considering online schooling for her senior year.

“My academy is trying to start a new program where we would come in during the day so we would be able to work longer,” Manguiat said. “It is a professional company, so performers rehearse during the day since it is their job. I think it would change my experience as a performer because it would give insight on what it is actually like to be a professional dancer, which is what I want to do as a career. “

After Manguiat graduates high school, she said she she hopes to get a professional job right away.

“A dancer’s career is really short,” Manguiat said “You have to retire in your mid-thirties. Next year, I would start auditioning for different companies and try to get a job straight out of high school. I would also want to take online college courses as a back-up plan.”

Performing is physically challenging, and Manguiat said she is lucky to have not been injured before.

“Ballet is making your body do things it’s not supposed to do,” Manguiat said. “Nothing about ballet is natural; you’re standing on your toes. It’s really hard to get the stamina to make it through certain things, which is why we practice so much.”

According to LIVESTRONG, a 130-pound person burns 525 calories in a 90-minute ballet class, while a 150-pound person burns 600 calories in that same class. With the intense calorie burning, Manguiat said she takes advantage of it by eating whatever she desires.

“I eat a ton of food,” Manguiat said. “There is a stereotype that all ballet dancers are anorexic. There are some that are because there is a focus on body image. I think I have like five cupcakes on Fridays at school.”

Manguiat said she hopes to achieve her dream of becoming a professional.

“This summer I am going to Seattle to train at the Pacific Northwest Ballet and that’s a dream company,” Manguiat said. “Also, the Miami City Ballet in Florida is a dream for me. I am excited to see what the future holds.”


On April 12, Student Government held a pep assembly to honor Mason High School in obtaining a Blue Ribbon award.

See the Full Story: http://thecspn.com/?p=42839

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Silver Medal in Scholastic Art & Writing Competition

In the Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Competition, I won 2 Gold Keys, meaning those two articles moved on to the national competition. I am proud to announce my article "Young men embrace gender role reversal at home" was awarded a Silver Medal on a national level. This is the highest award I have ever achieved in journalism and I am grateful to Scholastic for honoring me with it.

Here is the article that won. It was published in the February 2016 edition of The Chronicle.

Some mothers are bringing home the bacon, while fathers are staying home to cook it.

Fifty years ago, the terms “stay-at-home dad” and “female breadwinner” were unheard of. Advanced Placement Psychology teacher Paul Reedy said gender roles are society’s expectations of how males and females should behave, dress, and even think. Reedy said that our nation is becoming more accepting of fluidity in them.

“As someone who grew up in the 1970s, I have been able to witness a transformation in this country about gender roles and the expectations,” Reedy said. “It was a slow evolution, but you have to acknowledge the fact that women are actually outnumbering men in number of college degrees at this point.”

The Washington Post proved this statistic mentioned by Reedy; in the 2009-2010 academic year, women earned 57.4 percent of all bachelor’s degrees.

Sophomore Anna Estes intends to have a math or science career when she is older. Estes said she is proud of the fact that in modern society, women aren’t forced to be monetarily dependent on men.

“I have been raised to to follow my dreams and one of those include finding a career I love,” Estes said. “It’s really cool that we don’t have to grow up in a society where women have to be financially reliant on men.”

This is due to the fact, Estes said, that women are being encouraged more to do well in school and have higher aspirations.

“It’s great we are encouraging everyone, not just one gender, to strive for goals in their career,” Estes said. “Men and women are both realizing that they can do whatever they want to achieve their dreams; whether it’s staying at home or finding a career that they love and that provides money for their family.”

Junior Jared Gworek has his heart set on being a stay-at-home father. Gworek said he came to this conclusion when he realized he enjoys interacting with children.

“My extended family has a lot of young children and it’s really fun hanging out with them at family parties,” Gworek said. “Forming a deeper and more personal connection with my future children appeals to me. I would also like to go on wild dad adventures with other stay-at-home dads.”

Junior Danny Mackzum said he wouldn’t mind if his wife was the breadwinner of the family.

“Honestly, it wouldn’t really bother me because if she had a nice job that made a lot of money, then why would it?” Mackzum said. “I don’t understand why most men feel like they have to be the support system for the family.”

Sophomore Thomas Marriner’s father, Mathew Marriner, is a stay-at-home dad. Mathew said that for the most part, he’s accepted for deciding to stay at home.

“I have seen a few reactions from people along the line, but generally 99 percent of people these days accept that I am a stay-at-home dad or at least think it’s a normal type of thing.” Marriner said. “I can remember when I first told my father I was going to stay at home with Thomas he said, ‘Really? Are you sure you want to do that?’ I think that is just the generational difference.  He wasn’t trying to be insulting, he just didn’t quite understand. His job is a huge part of his identity.  I’m a big kid though, so I enjoy being around children. It works for me.”

Marriner said that acceptance of differences is the key to progression for society.

“I think that we are well on our way to expanding gender roles and accepting other people for who they are,” Marriner said. “Whatever role you carve out, as long as it’s a productive one in society  and you are a good person, then you’re able to live a happy life.”

Monday, April 3, 2017

Youth and Government Conference 2017

Not many people can say they attended a government camp with notable alumni like Ohio U.S. Senator John Glenn and State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser.

From March 30 to April 1, I participated in Ohio YMCA Youth and Government Conference at the Statehouse in Columbus. Serving in the press, I covered the status of bills and news events going on. We ran a blog where we posted articles and various social media accounts.

YG gives students the opportunity to participate in realistic government functioning. Everything is totally interactive, so members can serve in the legislative branch and write a bill, serve as a judge in the judicial branch, run for an elected position, or serve in the press.

I was grateful for the chance to explore the beautiful Statehouse. The last time I had been was on a field trip in fourth grade, so it was fascinating to view it with new knowledge. I also had free reign of downtown Columbus. I went to a great sushi place called Rishi and a vegan restaurant called Market 65. But what I enjoyed most was the friendships I made in a few short days.

I was a bit nervous attending the conference as the only one from my school, but I quickly befriended several kind Colerain students. I met several other amazing people from the Cincinnati delegation and other great leaders from across Ohio. I appreciated meeting other students who were as driven and passionate about government as I am.

I am truly grateful to Jamond Foree of the Cincinnati YMCA for speaking to The Chronicle about attending. I would have never attended or known about the event if he had not reached out. I am grateful to all the friends I made and the fantastic press I had the opportunity to work with.

I would highly encourage Chronicle members and other Mason students to attend next year, either serving in the press or in a government position. Take a risk because you will not regret it. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions at jdischer.chronicle@gmail.com

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Prom Fashion Show

Juliana Discher | Staff Writer
On March 23, National Honor Society hosted Prom Fashion Show for an audience of students and adults. The stage was set for student models to show off outfits from local business sponsors.

See the Full Story: http://thecspn.com/?p=42588

Friday, March 17, 2017

Crossing the line: Can student sections go too far?

Juliana Discher | Staff Writer
Student sections in southwest Ohio are known for getting pretty close to the line, while others often cross it.
Whether it’s swearing, destruction of property, or insulting players, many high school and college student sections can go from friendly cheering to outrageous acts of vulgarity. The Black Hole is no stranger to this, often dancing on the line between cheering and inappropriate behavior. Sophomore Alexis Hoehler said she usually refrains from taking part in the Black Hole because she feels their behavior is immature.
“Usually, they just trash talk the other team,” Hoehler said. “It’s unsportsmanlike, so it makes me not want to go. I don’t think the Black Hole is accepting of underclassmen, either.”
Sophomore Christian White said the heat of the game causes teenagers to act in a way they normally would not.
“During the game where students threw powder, there were a lot bad words going on because kids threw it in each other’s faces,” White said “Teenagers just go a little crazy in high school and college student sections, I think, because it’s unmonitored for the most part.”
Senior Michael Magness, an avid Black Hole participant, said he believes student sections never cross the line, and it’s purely for fun.
“I don’t think that there is a line at all,” Magness said. “You have to have thick skin when you’re out there playing sports. We recognize the weak link, like Tate, a basketball player from Sycamore; we called him fat. His dad didn’t think it was funny, but we all thought it was funny. Parents get offended easily, so we are being censored a lot more.”
Magness said members of the student section will go to any extreme to help Mason succeed.
“We try to get in player’s heads and make them make as many mistakes as possible,” Magness said. “I remember last year against Lakota West, a kid fouled out and punched the bleachers and hurt his hand, so he was out the rest of the game. Any time, we can get someone to commit a foul or turn the ball over, it’s a win for us.”
Comments can get personal towards the opposing players. Senior Eric Thomas said he’s taken part in several occasions of what others may deem controversial behavior.
“At a game versus Hamilton, this old guy came down because I was yelling at his son,” Thomas said. “He yelled at me, and I told him I would fight him in the parking lot if he wanted. Another time, we looked up this dude’s girlfriend and chanted ‘ugly girlfriend’ when he made the free throw. He made the first one, so we chanted ‘She’s still ugly’ and he missed the second one.”
When behavior becomes too inappropriate, Mason administration intervenes. Administrator Laura Spitzmueller said they monitor the behavior of students at games.
“Sometimes, Mason students will say things they shouldn’t, that are inappropriate,” Spitzmueller said. “Usually, I go to the Black Hole leaders and say something to them.”
Oak Hills senior and varsity basketball player Ryan Batte has noticed some of Mason’s behavior is inappropriate at times during games. Batte was on the basketball court last year when Mason students stormed the court following a close game won by a buzzer beater.
“As a team, we felt disrespected,” Batte said. “The student section is not distracting to us when we play, but doing all the extra stuff like looking up players’ personal information is unnecessary sometimes.”
Sycamore senior Nonso Okonji is a regular in Sycamore’s Ave Cave. Okonji said all student sections can get crazy in the heat of the game, but no serious damage is ever done.
“It’s all for good fun, but it can get personal at times,” Okonji said. “Mason dances on the line when they personally point out our players,

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Being a Leader

Leadership is ingrained in me. Read about what I have learned as a leader in high school.

In middle school, I struggled to find a fulfilling sense of purpose. I was self-conscious and immature. Nevertheless, I still exceeded the expectations of others, being known as the nice girl, the excellent student, and the soccer player. But I had not found a passion. With 7.4 billion people on the planet, how could I contribute?

Leadership became the answer. I entered high school somewhat reserved about going to such a large school, with over 4,000 students. But by diving headfirst into a variety of clubs, I started to make a name for myself.

I learned about what skills I possessed and which ones I needed to develop as a leader. I am reliable, organized, energetic, and happy-go-lucky. Despite my get-it-done attitude, I needed to improve my delegation skills. Initially, I got excited and attempted to complete all the work myself, but after chairing my first event in Student Government, I learned the benefits of spreading the work.

A successful leader needs proper delegation skills. It’s imperative to take advantage of everyone's unique abilities. Some people are artistic, some excel at public speaking, and some are very organized. If a leader doesn’t take the time to get to know the strengths of their followers, their talents won’t be able to be harnessed. A team will reach their highest level of success when all members are performing their best.

As a current senior in high school, I have a drive to leave Student Government in the best condition possible. One way I've tried to ensure this is by helping our underclassmen members become the best versions of themselves. Understanding their feelings of insecurity and awkwardness, I've coached many. In one example, I helped a shy freshman who loved Student Government, but was too scared to participate. I assigned her to lead a simple tug-of-war game, quickly building her confidence. During meetings, I'd give her positive reinforcement and encouragement to speak her mind. She went from not speaking a word during meetings to leading an event.

Servant-leadership is a crucial aspect of taking charge. A servant-leader focuses on the growth and success of the community they belong to. According to the The Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership, “The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.” A leader shouldn’t be concerned about fulfilling their own needs, rather meeting the needs of the group.

Each semester, in Student Government, I plan and execute an event to benefit the community. The first event was writing letters to veterans. Honoring our veterans after all their sacrifices is very important to me. It was amazing to have fifty of my classmates pour their hearts out to these heroes. Next, we volunteered for an organization where we played soccer with children with special needs. We got to interact with these amazing kids and teach them the sport. Our most recent event was going to an elderly care home and singing carols. All of these events reinforce to me what it means to give back. Planning and executing each event has taught me to follow my passions and drive.

To conclude, a leader should be passionate about what they’re doing. If a leader has the intrinsic motivation to carry out their duties, then success will follow. Passion makes a self-motivated leader who constantly pushes themself to do better. Followers recognize and respect a leader who truly cares about the cause.

In order for a leader to establish proper delegation skills, a servant-leadership mentality, and passion, they need to dive in and practice. In four years of high school, I have transformed from a shy girl to a confident woman ready to take on any challenge. As a leader, you get out what you put in.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Night to Shine!

I got to go to prom early this year.

On Friday, February 10, I was given the privilege to volunteer at Night to Shine at Christ's Church. Night to Shine is a prom put on for individuals who have special needs, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. This was my first year volunteering and I chose to be a buddy.

My guest for the night was Ava. She is nonverbal, but could understand what I was saying. I was pushed out of my comfort zone as I had to learn to communicate with her. I wanted to ensure she would have the most fun night. We spent a lot of time in the karaoke room listening to people sing. We hit the dance floor a little and played games as well. I'm grateful I was paired with Ava because I had a new experience to take back with me. Even though we didn't have conversations, her laughs and smiles said it all.

If you're interested in volunteering for this event next year, here is more information. Don't be scared if you don't have much experience working with individuals with special needs! There are plenty of different activities you can do based on your comfort level. You can sign up to be a photographer, hair stylists and manicurist, serve food, or work in a game room. As long as you have an open mind and friendly attitude, you will do well.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Don’t touch my hair.
Having strangers constantly feel your hair or ask if it’s real is the uncomfortable reality for these African American students. For junior Aniya Longmire, when some people see her long hair, they assume it’s fake.
“I went to the mall with my two friends, and this lady stopped us to show us a hair care product,” Longmire said. “She assumed I had a weave. Some people think African American women can’t have long hair; they think we all have weaves.”
Longmire said the composition of black hair is different from other races and requires certain care techniques.
“African American hair has to be moisturized, or it will break off,” Longmire said. “We have thicker, more coarse hair. Black people do not like the rain. We do not like the pool. We do not want to get our hair wet, or it will revert to its natural state.”
While styling is common, more African American women are wearing their hair natural. Two-thirds of African American women wore a natural hairstyle in 2013, according to Mintel’s Black Consumers and Hair Care executive summary. Junior Amaya King said she’s come to accept her natural hair and no longer tries to emulate society’s standard of beauty.
“Growing up in Mason, the stereotype here is that to be pretty, you have to have long, straight, blonde hair,” King said. “This year I’ve focused on building my confidence. I had a weave in and took it all out and went all natural. African American hair is very versatile–I can wear it curly like I am now, straighten it, have an afro, or blow it out.”
African American males embrace their natural hair as well. For freshman Marshall Spencer, having an afro allows him to stand out in a crowd.
“I feel like I’m well known for having my hair,” Spencer said. “I haven’t cut my hair in four years. People know me by my hair and it’s a way to express myself.”
Senior Jariah Sweeten said the pressure to have straight hair extends beyond the classroom and into the workforce.
“A lot of black girls aren’t comfortable in their own skin and with their hair,” Sweeten said. “We’ve adapted to European beauty styles, which is the reason we get our hair straightened. It’s a disrespect to our ancestors to get our hair straightened, but we’ve been influenced. We can’t go to a job interview with our natural hair because more than likely we won’t get it, but if you have straight hair, that helps. That’s why a lot of girls wear weaves, because they have to look white. It’s horrible, but that’s the reality that we live in.”
Cultural appropriation is the use of elements of one culture by members of another culture. There has been a trend of non-black celebrities taking hairstyles from African American culture and attempting to create them into their own style. Celebrity mogul Kim Kardashian was one of the early celebrities to wear cornrows, or braids. Sweeten said she does not have a problem when people use black hairstyles, but does when they are intolerant of African Americans as a whole.
“I don’t get mad when people of other races use black hairstyles, but you can’t take some and say that other styles are gross,” Sweeten said. “You have to take it or leave it. When there were riots going on, people didn’t want to stand with us during this protest, but you want to wear our hairstyles and dress and dance like us. You have to accept it all.”
Ultimately, King said she suggests people be respectful and mindful when it comes to African American hair.
“I would advise people to educate themselves about hair,” King said. “There are ways to be respectful and ask questions without invading someone’s privacy. Appreciate everyone’s hair whether it’s real or fake.”
See the Full Story: http://thecspn.com/?p=41865

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Students showcase talent to raise money for cancer research

“Chicken on a Stick” won it all.
Performers hit the stage for the annual Talent Show on January 20. National Honor Society put on the event to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. NHS raised around $6,000 for blood cancer research.
Senior Anirudh Rajgopalan sang “Sweet Caroline” as one of the acts. Rajgopalan said he chose the familiar song to allow audience participation.
“It took a lot of courage to show yourself and others that you are one person with your own unique qualities,” Rajgopalan said. “Music can unite people. It helps feed our humanity for the better, and as celebrities perform, whether it be Shahrukh Khan or Neil Diamond, we all can share the same title: fan.”
Talent Show co-chair Ashley Schlaeger said the implementation of new marketing strategies helped them to have a full house.
“We had basket prizes from places like Kendra Scott, Cheesecake Factory, Chick-Fil-A, and other promotional methods included Schoology messages, contacting Tracey Carson, and advertising in clubs and classrooms,” Schlaeger said.
Sophomore Kayleigh Flynn and junior Harrison Wright took third with their performance of “Oceans”. Senior Shreya Dey claimed second singing and playing piano to “Bird Set Free”. Seniors Miles Ware, Jacob Lannes, Vardhan Avasarala, and Michael Hiett also known as Chicken on a Stick won first place with their choreographed dance to “Bye Bye Bye”.
Chicken on a Stick dance group put in a lot of preparation along with the other performers.
“Michael Hiett and I came up with the idea to perform a dance in the middle of October,” Ware said. “We started practicing about two times a week from October to November, and Cole Marvin helped us with the choreography. The month of December was rough with finals and people going on vacation, so we ended up doing nothing for about three weeks, but we made up for it by practicing nearly every day after school in January.”
Ware said performing in the show was a once in a lifetime experience.
“Seeing all the audience was crazy and getting to interact with the other performers backstage was really cool,” Ware said. “We were all in disbelief at first. It felt amazing to win such a big competition. All the time we spent preparing was worth it in an instant. We knew that we would go against quality talent this year, and it wouldn’t be easy. I think we surprised a lot of people with how serious we took our performance. We will be back.”

See the Full Story: http://thecspn.com/?p=41773

Monday, January 2, 2017

Photographer has unique approach

View the Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C8CUGnmVAw

Mason grads raise $1.2 million for new medical tool

Former students create device to minimize invasive surgery
Juliana Discher | Staff Writer
By senior year, most students are preoccupied with college applications and the notorious ‘senioritis’, not beginning their own company.
Three Mason graduates formulated their own medical company during this time. Class of 2013 graduate Peeyush Shrivastava and class of 2014 graduates Manny Setegn and Vineet Erasala are co-founders of Genetesis. This three–year–old company has built a tool, known as CardioFlux, that allows doctors to see the electrical circuitry of a beating heart. Recently, Genetesis raised $1.2 million in seed money during its first round of financing, led by billionaire investor Mark Cuban and CincyTech.
Shrivastava said the CardioFlux medical tool works by measuring electrical fields from the heart.
“The medical device images the electrical currents of the heart,” Shrivastava said. “It does so by measuring the electric field emitting off the body. Those magnetic fields are generated by electricity moving inside of the heart. It’s cool because the medical fields are unperturbed by the lungs and conductive tissues. It’s a pure signal and we leveraged that fact.”
The trio hatched a plan for the company at a barbeque, Erasala said.
“We met up one day in the summer at a friend’s barbeque and were talking about the healthcare space,” Erasala said. “We all identified that there was a huge deficiency in tracking and mapping the electrical properties of the heart. At the time, the only way for physicians to do that was very invasive. Doctors would have to use some type of catheter or some sort of injection, but there was no way to do it non-invasively and efficiently.”
After conducting labs, contacting those in the research field, and reading up about measuring electrical currents, the boys decided to build a product to correct this issue and were eventually able to create a prototype.
“It was a lot of learning in the beginning and understanding how the scientific field worked and how we could adapt the science to a commercial clinical product,” Erasala said. “The technology had to be user–friendly and work well for the patient. We were able to attract the right kind of talent, and to feel out a minimal viable core functionality of the software. Then we were able to get to a point financially where we could attract people who were as passionate about the cause as we were.”
The trio competed in business competitions to prepare them for the enterprise sphere. Shrivastava said participating in 43 North helped them launch their company.
“43 North is the world’s largest business idea competition and is located in Buffalo, New York,” Shrivastava said. “That’s what pushed us up. We participated in 2015 and we won the People’s Choice Award and a $250,000 award. As a team, we moved to Buffalo and worked out of there for a year. The ability to work full time on Genetesis got us ready to present ourselves to partners and investors.”
Starting a company in high school taught Erasala to follow his dreams.
“It showed me a lot about what it means to be self–taught and how to pursue something if you’re really passionate about it,” Erasala said. “Being an entrepreneur is about being able to learn on the fly and learn very quickly. It’s definitely taught me a lot more than school has in terms of how the business entrepreneurial world works.”
Setegn said the key to having a business start-up succeed is to not have a back-up plan.
“I feel like the majority of companies that fail happen when everyone has a backup plan, saying ‘I can just fall back on this and I will be fine,’” Setegn said. “It’s like a subliminal thing–you are more inclined to put all your time and effort into making your business work if you have to make it work.”
Erasala said he sees Genetesis helping to expand the concept of non-invasive medical imaging to different parts of the body like the brain and organs.
“There are a lot of different uses for this technology,” Erasala said. “We wanted to build platform technology. I think it’s something that can be impactful because this means for the first time you are able to track the underlying physiology, the cellular activity, in a completely non-invasive way that has never been done before.”

Arctic Dash 5k

On December 3, my friend Kira and I took the plunge and competed in a muddy obstacle filled 3.5 mile race. Camp Kern's Arctic Dash definitely challenged me physically and mentally.

I did not know what I was getting myself into initially. I have run a few 5k races so I had an assumption of the challenge level I would face. But after the first obstacle, I knew I had a big storm.

We all had to walk across a log elevated over a pit of frigid water and mud. I thought I would try to get it done as fast as possible by walking quickly across. I slipped right off the log, but instead of falling in, I attempted to hang on. I latched on like a spider monkey for a few seconds, then fell into the icey mud water. It was a sensory shock. It didn't get much easier from there.

We finished with a time of 1 hour 13 minutes and placed 159/293. I'm not sure if I would do another race similar to this, but it was a great bonding opportunity for Kira and me.