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What would happen if we see a rematch in the 2024 election?

     Millions of people across America are feeling a very specific way; a feeling that can only be expressed as ‘needing a bigger boat.’ Relief from the end of the 2020 election and its effects was brief, and arguably nonexistent. The urge for fair and, much more importantly, new candidates was met with no solution, as Joe Biden and Donald Trump could be–for the second time–the Democratic and Republican candidates of the 2024 election. 

     Democrats and Republicans seem to have never been more different, so much so that finding a common ground in this situation feels easier than gaining balance in a capsizing boat. A very, very capsized boat. 

    But with the insurmountable amount of disagreements between Republicans and Democrats, there is one common goal they must come together to prevent to ensure the overall good of the country. 

    Neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump should be the final candidate for their party. 

    America is divided, and both politicians are at fault for causing this. Biden and Trump have the lowest approval ratings of any president in the past century, and one of them will be elected again. But there is one thing we can do to prevent this: vote and show your support for other candidates. 

     What America needs is unification and justice, not a fraudulent presidency or unnecessary involvement in a foreign affairs. American values would be made a joke, reduced to nothing more than a mild warning that politicians continuously ignore. A new presidency is an opportunity for change, not a chance to prove which president’s terrible reputation serves less terrible. 

     On one hand, Donald Trump’s reputation speaks for itself. Trump’s outright refusal to accept the facts as they are has led to an unprecedented amount of destruction at the hands of a president. Accusations of election fraud, encouraging terrorist attacks, and four entirely different indictments should speak for themselves as some of the promising dangers of re-electing Donald Trump. 

     On the opposite side of the spectrum of menacing presidents, Joe Biden has not served four years yet, but America has retained several detrimental damages that result in its apparent state of turmoil. Homelessness, poverty, and drug epidemics are reaching unrivaled rates, but (against the wishes of the overall public) Joe Biden sends money to countries involved in wars on the opposite side of the globe. Many Americans–both Republicans and Democrats–are questioning Biden’s integrity, as the overall Democratic consensus is against his re-election, yet he maintains that his victory is necessary for the American people.

     Biden and Trump are becoming caricatures for their political parties, neither of which seems to make a decision that satisfies the majority of their supporters. However, the American election system was not built around flexibility for sudden changes, so a change in both of the number one candidates less than a year before voting starts is unlikely, but knocking out two prior presidents from the election is a feat considered impossible. 

    For as bad as their terms were, for as much damage as they caused, one would think that Biden and Trump would be unquestionably wrong choices for another election, but the election is alarmingly close, and each candidate’s following seems only to grow.



Color Guard Isn’t Just a Sport — It’s a Family.

Color guard is so much more than throwing rifles and flags around. They have practices more than some sports around campus, and they never fail to look incredible on the field or in the gym. Mckenna Smith, a junior, was asked about the practice schedule and she said, “During field season we have practice Tuesday-Friday and during winter season we have practice Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.” Which might not seem like a lot, but most of those practices are four hours long. It’s a lot to ask considering a lot of them are in difficult classes and have lives outside of this sport. 

     This team is so much more athletic than people think, as Smith stated, “We are actually super athletic and we don’t just ‘flip the guns.’” Marie Tiangco, a sophmore, also described it perfectly when she said, “I think a lot of people think color guard is only just flipping the flag, rifles, and sabers around. And that it’s all light work but really, it takes so much patience, energy, and understanding of handling equipment. Plus, color guard is a combination of many dance genres such as ballet, jazz, gymnastics, and many more, and sometimes applying dances while handling equipment can be challenging.”

     They aren’t just a team; they consider each other to be family, and you can see that through practices and before they go out to compete. Before they compete, they huddle together in a group and hype each other up, and it is the sweetest thing to watch. You can tell they truly are a family and love each other dearly. Smith had described the team dynamic when she said, “I love our team dynamic. Color guard is such a fun group of the funniest people you can find.” And as someone who is friends with most of the color guard, they truly are the funniest and kindest people you’ll ever meet. 

     Color guard truly is so mesmerizing to watch, in practice or on the field. They are some of the most talented people I know. They work so incredibly hard to look good out on the field or in the gym, and it can be exhausting. With learning two shows each year, adding up to eight shows in four years, that they can do during their time at Mission.

     There is bound to be a favorite. Tiango said, ”Star-Crossed Lovers, our recent field show, is my favorite show that I’ve done so far because the choreography was more challenging for me and I loved it. I really love the music in the show too and how we execute the musicality into our choreography from the soft romantic parts to chaos and tragedy throughout the show. I liked the show theme as well as watching the band waltz on the field during the show.” Smith also said her favorite show was Star-Crossed Lovers. 

     Star-Crossed Lovers was the 2023 marching band and color guard show based on the tragic Shakespeare play “Romeo and Juliet.” It shows how the two fall in love, and how they are then are faced with tragedy and heartbreak at the end of the show. The music along with the choreography from color guard matched it perfectly and it was beautiful to watch and be a part of. 

     Overall color guard is so beautiful to watch on the field, as well as how they are as a team when no one else is around. They act like family and have the kindest hearts. They are truly talented people and they love performing and working together as a team. Even if it sometimes gets tough, they are always there for one another. They are much more than just a team that throws flags and rifles around, they are each other’s second family. 

Valentine’s Day: What is so good about it anyway!?

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Valentine’s Day is celebrated by 57% of people of all ages across the nation. The day is about lovey-dovey couples, sweet things for your loved ones, confessions, etc. Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th of February. While this day has many different origins, not all are so sweet.

     Valentine’s Day was first celebrated around the 14th century. Though there are many different stories in the history of Valentine’s Day, one includes the imprisonment of Saint Valentine. Saint Valentine was known for performing weddings for Christian soldiers forbidden to marry by the Roman Emperor Claudius II. In the legend, there are some depictions where Saint Valentine healed the jailer’s blind daughter. Though it is not clearly said people believe he and the jailer’s daughter were in love. Before he was executed he wrote the jailer’s daughter a letter signed with “Your Valentine ” as a goodbye.

     Of course, the way St. Valentine’s life ended could be seen as romantic—a final goodbye to the one he loved in a heartfelt letter. It could also seem a bit morbid to have a lovey-dovey-based holiday with an origin of St. Valentine’s tragic tale.

     While on the topic of St. Valentine’s sad origin, Valentine’s Day has emphasized the loneliness some people feel, resulting in depression rates increasing. Valentine’s Day is a tough holiday for people who have experienced heartbreak. It is a day about love and happiness, but also a day that may highlight people’s lonesomeness.

     Also, Valentine’s Day is often displayed as a holiday where you spend large amounts of money on your loved one. Whether for an expensive gift or a fancy night out, Valentine’s Day can pressure people into spending immense amounts of money.

     Speaking of a fancy night out, what do people expect during Valentine’s Day? Many couples have high expectations for the day celebrating lovebirds. Some significant others can not always reach these excessive expectations. This can lead to disappointment and a faulty relationship. 

     People do not always need to focus on Valentine’s Day, especially single people. They can mope and cry, but there are definitely better things to that! Instead of being sad and lonely, focus on the people around, friends, and family. A Galentine’s Day is a perfect substitute for Valentine’s Day! Or a Malentine’s Day, according to Google. A Galentine’s Day is a day you can spend with your friends instead of a lover, basically a date with your friends. 

     There are many ways to spend Galentine’s Day, and here are some examples. Brunch and dinner dates are your go-tos for a tasty meal with your friends. Spa days, karaoke, and photo shoots are the perfect way to let loose and have fun with your girlfriends!

     Don’t think Malentine’s Day was forgotten! Some activities for guys to try out include game night, hiking, and cooking. Game nights with friends can improve communication skills and help with team building. Hiking is a great way to connect with nature and get fresh air. Some people say cooking is an art form. Cooking is a life skill and a great way to practice money management.

     All in all, Valentine’s Day has its cons. Everyone is open to celebrating the holiday however they please, whether it is spending time with a lover or friend!

Black History Month; Our American Story

The story of Black History Month begins in the early 1900s, about forty years after the US abolition of slavery in 1865.

President Gerald Ford officially established Black History Month in February of 1976. He noted how we, as a nation, must “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history,” which he established in response to historian Carter G. Woodson’s attempt to eliminate the silence regarding Black achievement (NAACP editors article “Carter G. Woodson”).

To counter common racist misconceptions and stereotypes, Woodsen made it a necessary goal to take action and find a way to emphasize the accomplishments and obstacles overcome by the Black community over many centuries (Amaris Encinas article “Black History Month is not a token” USA Today). Especially at a time of continuous segregation, tension, and racism, education about Black American history was scarce in the nineteenth century and the early 1900s.

Woodson envisioned a weeklong celebration to introduce the teaching of Black history in public schools. He dedicated the second week of February as Black History Week and brought awareness to other historians. This week of celebrating the US Black community is what eventually evolved into the month-long celebration in February we know today.

Not only that, but Black History Month consists of a new theme every year announced by each president. This year’s 2024 theme is “African Americans and the Arts,” which features the artistic influences of Black heritage and their cultural expression.

Here in Orange County, there are many events to attend in celebration of Black History Month. The Orange Country Heritage Council (OCHC) is an organization led mostly by community volunteers that are dedicated to implementing fun events and activities for families with focus on the Black community. One of the biggest events they are known for hosting is their annual parade named “Orange County Black History Parade and Unity Festival.”

This year, the parade was held on February 3rd in Anaheim, CA where dances, performances, music, and food were offered to value Black culture. Other events that take place include another festival in Los Angeles on February 18th, and a meet-up event at Disneyland on February 17th.

Art museums including the Black History Month Community Gallery, Heroes Hall Museum, Santa Ana Heritage Museum, and more will be highlighting significant artwork and films created by Black artists. Local libraries also offer Black history talks, storytimes, and crafting activities for younger kids as well. These events inspire others to come together and bring communities closer.

To get a better perspective on the topic, I decided to ask two of my close friends who also live in Orange County what Black History Month means to them.

First, I asked my best friend Nicole, who is a freshman and a member of the Black community herself. She explained to me that, “Black History Month is a time dedicated to remind others that the Black race is just as equal and important to society as any other.” I felt that her response was refreshing to hear, since that is what this month is all about: justice and equal opportunities.

Next, I asked my other close friend Veronica, a sophomore, her thoughts on my question. She asserted that “Black History Month is a month dedicated to all Americans to appreciate what Black people overcame in order to gain a respectable and equal place in society,” which gave another great point of view on the topic.

Then, I chose to ask them if they know why February was chosen for Black History Month. Neither knew the answer, but both were interested in knowing that Carter G. Woodson dedicated the month to two great Americans that played crucial roles in Black history – Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas – who both had their birthdays in February.

To participate, I plan on attending the Black History Month meet-up at Disneyland with both Veronica and Nicole on February 17th, which takes place during the same time of the “Celebrate Soulfully” event that is also held there. Attendees enjoy both the thrills of the park, a theater show spotlighting African-American traditional music, and wear purple in support of the Black community.

Black History Month ultimately honors all those of African American ancestry and speaks to the US and the world that unity is more powerful than discrimination and racism, and that rememberance of Black history is crucial in understanding how our society is shaped today.

Awards Show Rundown

     In the year of 2024, there were many influential movies, television shows, actors, and artists. As January and February roll around, awards season takes place. The Grammys, Emmys, and many more award shows shine the spotlight on these artistic forms of expression in both film and music. Many are eager to see the results in hopes that some of their personal favorites take the trophy home.

     The Critics’ Choice Awards was a recently held and well-known award show. The C.C. Awards focus on the film industry: movies, television shows, talk shows, actors, and actresses. Chelsea Handler hosted the night’s ceremony, broadcasting live on CW. It was located at Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar.

     There were many surprises for the viewers and winners that were presented on January 14, 2024. The most awards received were the films “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie.” 

     Here is a look at the full list of winners below.

 

     FILM

  1. Best Picture: “Oppenheimer” (Universal Pictures)
  2. Best Actor: Paul Giamatti – The Holdovers
  3. Best Actress: Emma Stone – Poor Things
  4. Best Supporting Actor: Robert Downey Jr. – Oppenheimer
  5. Best Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph – The Holdovers
  6. Best Young Actor/Actress: Dominic Sessa – The Holdovers
  7. Best Acting Ensemble: Oppenheimer
  8. Best Director: Christopher Nolan – Oppenheimer
  9. Best Original Screenplay: Barbie – Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
  10. Best Adapted Screenplay: America Fiction – Cord Jefferson
  11. Best Cinematography: Hoyte van Hoytema – Oppenheimer
  12. Best Production Design: Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer – Barbie
  13. Best Editing: Jennifer Lame – Oppenheimer 
  14. Best Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran – Barbie
  15. Best Hair and Makeup: Barbie
  16. Best Visual Effects: Oppenheimer
  17. Best Comedy: Barbie
  18. Best Animated Feature: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
  19. Best Foreign Language Film: Anatomy of a Fall
  20. Best Original Song: “I’m Just Ken” – Barbie
  21. Best Score: Oppenheimer

 

     TELEVISION:

  1. Best Drama Series: “Succession” (HBO)
  2. Best Actor in a Drama Series: Kieran Culkin, “Succession”
  3. Best Actress in a Drama Series: Sarah Snook, “Succession”
  4. Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Billy Crudup, “The Morning Show”
  5. Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Elizabeth Debicki, “The Crown”
  6. Best Comedy Series: “The Bear” (FX)
  7. Best Actor in a Comedy Series: Jeremy Allen White, “The Bear”
  8. Best Actress in a Comedy Series: Ayo Edebiri, “The Bear”
  9. Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Ebon Moss-Bachrach, “The Bear”
  10. Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Meryl Streep, “Only Murders in the Building”
  11. Best Limited Series: “Beef” (Netflix)
  12. Best Movie Made for Television: “Quiz Lady” (Hulu)
  13. Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television: Steven Yeun, “Beef”
  14. Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television: Ali Wong, “Beef”
  15. Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television: Jonathan Bailey, “Fellow Travelers” (Showtime)
  16. Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television: Maria Bello, “Beef”
  17. Best Foreign Language Series: Lupin (Netflix)
  18. Best Animated Series: Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (Netflix)
  19. Best Talk Show: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
  20. Best Comedy Special: John Mulaney: Baby J (Netflix)

 

     The day after the Critics’ Choice Awards, the 75th annual Emmys Award Show took place. The first Emmys took place on January 25, 1949 to celebrate and recognize the excellence in American television programming. 

     The current day Emmys are similar to the Critics’ Choice Awards, but focus on presenting awards to television shows and variety shows. It is now available to watch and stream on Hulu for viewers’ enjoyment. 

     Held in the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles and hosted by Anthony Anderson, there were many noteworthy first-time winners. The night’s most successful victors at the awards ceremony were the shows, “The Bear,” “Beef,” and “Succession.” 

     This is the full list of all the Emmys winners of the year 2024:

 

  1. Best Comedy: “The Bear” (FX)
  2. Best Drama: “Succession” (HBO)
  3. Best Limited Series: “Beef” (Netflix)
  4. Best Actress (Comedy): Quinta Brunson, “Abbott Elementary”
  5. Best Actor (Comedy): Jeremy Allen White, “The Bear”
  6. Best Actress (Drama): Sarah Snook, “Succession”
  7. Best Actor (Drama): Kieran Culkin, “Succession”
  8. Best Actress (Limited Series or TV Movie): Ali Wong, “Beef”
  9. Best Actor (Limited Series or TV Movie): Steven Yeun, “Beef”
  10. Supporting Actress (Drama): Jennifer Coolidge, “The White Lotus”
  11. Supporting Actor (Drama): Matthew Macfadyn, “Succession”
  12. Supporting Actress (Limited Series or TV Movie): Niecy Nash-Betts, “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”
  13. Supporting Actor (Limited Series or TV Movie): Paul Walter Hauser, “Black Bird”
  14. Variety Talk Series: “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)

  15. Scripted Variety Series: “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)

  16. Outstanding Variety Special (Live): Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium (Disney+)
  17. Reality Competition Program: “Rupaul’s Drag Race” (MTV)
  18. Writing for a Comedy Series: Christopher Storer, “The Bear” (“System”)
  19. Writing for a Drama Series: Jesse Armstrong, “Succession” (“Connor’s Wedding”)
  20. Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Drama Special: Lee Sung Jin, “Beef” (“The Birds Don’t Sing, They Screech in Pain”)
  21. Directing for a Comedy Series: Christopher Storer, “The Bear” (“Review”)
  22. Directing for a Drama Series: Mark Mylod, “Succession” (Connor’s Wedding”)
  23. Directing for a Limited Series: Lee Sung Jin, “Beef” (“Figure of Light”)
  24. Documentary or Nonfiction Series: “The 1619 Project” (Hulu)
  25. Documentary or Nonfiction Special: “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” (Apple TV+)

 

     The 66th annual Grammys came out on February 4, 2024. Insanely popular among the music-loving fans, this year has some amazing candidates that left viewers excited. It focuses on music and artists that have changed the year of 2023.

     The first ever Grammys took place on May 4, 1959. The past and the present gives recognition to the best of the music or recording industry.

     The night’s most successful artists were Phoebe Bridgers with four trophies (three with her band, boygenius), Victoria Monet, SZA, boygenius, Killer Mike, Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus, and Taylor Swift. Swift had a memorable night, breaking the record for most album wins and in turn becoming the first artist to earn four album of the year prizes. 

     The highlights of the Grammys were Taylor’s announcement of her  new album coming out in April, Joni Mitchell performing at the Grammys for the first time, and Tracy Chapman’s surprise performance was greatly recognized by viewers.

 

     The full list of winners:

  1. Record of the Year: “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus
  2. Album of the Year: “Midnights” by Taylor Swift
  3. Song of the Year: “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish 
  4. Best New Artist: Victoria Monet
  5. Producer of the Year (Non-classical): Jack Antonoff
  6. Songwriter of the Year (Non-classical): Theron Thomas
  7. Best Pop Solo Performance: “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus
  8. Best Pop/Duo Performance: “Ghost in the Machine” by SZA ft. Phoebe Bridgers
  9. Best Pop Vocal Album: “Midnights” by Taylor Swift
  10. Best Dance/Electronic Recording: “Rumble” by Skrillex, Fred again.. and Flowdan
  11. Best Pop Dance Recording: “Padam Padam” by Kylie Minogue
  12. Best Dance/Electronic Music Album: “Actual Life 3 (January 1 – September 9 2022) by Fred again..
  13. Best Rock Performance: “Not Strong Enough” by boygenius
  14. Best Metal Performance: “72 Seasons” by Metallica
  15. Best Rock Song: “Not Strong Enough” by Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, songwriters (boygenius)
  16. Best Rock Album: “This Is Why” by Paramore
  17. Best Alternative Music Performance: “This Is Why” by Paramore
  18. Best Alternative Music Album: “The Record” by boygenius
  19. Best R&B Performance: “ICU” by Coco Jones
  20. Best Traditional R&B Performance: “Good Morning” by PJ Morton ft. Susan Carol
  21. Best R&B Song: “Snooze” by SZA
  22. Best Progressive R&B Album: “SOS” by SZA
  23. Best R&B Album: “JAGUAR II” by Victoria Monet
  24. Best Rap Performance: “SCIENTISTS & ENGINEERS” by Killer Mike ft. Andre 3000, Future and Eryn Allen Kane
  25. Best Melodic Rap Performance: “All My Life” by Lil Durk ft. J. Cole
  26. Best Rap Song: “SCIENTISTS & ENGINEERS” by Andre Benjamin, Paul Beauregard, James Blake, Michael Render, Tim Moore, Dion Wilson, and songwriters
  27. Best Rap Album: “Michael” by Killer Mike
  28. Best Spoken Word Poetry Album: “The Light Inside” by J. Ivy
  29. Best Jazz Performance: “Tight” by Samara Joy
  30. Best Jazz Vocal Album: “How Love Begins” by Nicole Zuraitis
  31. Best Jazz Instrumental Album: “The Winds of Change” by Billy Childs
  32. Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: “Basie Swings the Blues” by The Count Basie Orchestra directed by Scotty Barnhart
  33. Best Latin Jazz Album: “El Arte Del Bolero Vol. 2” by Miguel Zenón and Luis Perdomo
  34. Best Alternative Jazz Album: “The Omnichord Real Book” by Meshell Ndegeocello
  35. Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: “Bewitched” by Laufey
  36. Best Contemporary Instrumental Album: “As We Speak” by Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer, featuring Rakesh Chaurasia
  37. Best Musical Theater Album: “Some Like It Hot” by Christian Borle, J. Harrison Ghee, Adrianna Hicks and NaTasha Yvette Williams, principal vocalists; Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Bryan Carter, Scott M. Riesett, Charlie Rosen and Marc Shaiman, producers; Scott Wittman, lyricist; Marc Shaiman, composer and lyricist (Original Broadway Cast)
  38. Best Country Solo Performance: “White Horse” by Chris Stapleton
  39. Best Country Duo/Group Performance: “I Remember Everything” by Zach Bryan featuring Kacey Musgraves
  40. Best Country Song: “White Horse,” Chris Stapleton and Dan Wilson, songwriters (Chris Stapleton)
  41. Best Country Album: “Bell Bottom Country,” Lainey Wilson
  42. Best American Roots Performance: “Eve Was Black,” Allison Russell
  43. Best Americana Performance: “Dear Insecurity,” Brandy Clark featuring Brandi Carlile
  44. Best American Roots Song: “Cast Iron Skillet,” Jason Isbell, songwriter (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit)
  45. Best Americana Album: “Weathervanes,” Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
  46. Best Bluegrass Album: “City of Gold,” Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway
  47. Traditional Blues Album:“All My Love for You,” Bobby Rush
  48. Best Contemporary Blues Album: “Blood Harmony,” Larkin Poe
  49. Best Folk Album: “Joni Mitchell at Newport (Live),” Joni Mitchell
  50. Best Regional Roots Music Album: “New Beginnings,” Buckwheat Zydeco Jr. and the Legendary Ils Sont Partis B and
  51. “Live: Orpheum Theater Nola,” Lost Bayou Ramblers and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (tie)
  52. Best Gospel Performance/Song: “All Things,” Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin, songwriter
  53. Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song: “Your Power,” Lecrae and Tasha Cobbs Leonard
  54. Best Gospel Album: “All Things New: Live in Orlando,” Tye Tribbett
  55. Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: “Church Clothes 4,” Lecrae
  56. Best Roots Gospel Album: “Echoes of the South,” Blind Boys of Alabama
  57. Best Latin Pop Album: “X Mí (Vol. 1),” Gaby Moreno
  58. Best Musica Urbana Album: “Mañana Será Bonito,” Karol G
  59. Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album: “Vida Cotidiana,” Juanes
  60. “De Todas Las Flores,” Natalia Lafourcade (tie)
  61. Best Musica Mexicana Album (Including Tejano): “Génesis,” Peso Pluma
  62. Best Tropical Latin Album: “Siembra: 45° Aniversario (En Vivo en el Coliseo de Puerto Rico, 14 de Mayo 2022),” Rubén Blades con Roberto Delgado and Orquesta
  63. Best Global Music Performance: “Pashto,” Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Zakir Hussain featuring Rakesh Chaurasia
  64. Best African Music Performance: “Water,” Tyla
  65. Best Global Music Album: “This Moment,” Shakti
  66. Best Reggae Album: “Colors of Royal,” Julian Marley & Antaeus
  67. Best New Age, Ambient, or Chant Album: “So She Howls,” Carla Patullo featuring Tonality and the Scorchio Quartet
  68. Best Children’s Music Album: “We Grow Together Preschool Songs,” 123 Andrés
  69. Best Comedy Album: “What’s in a Name?,” Dave Chappelle
  70. Best Audiobook, Narration, and Storytelling Recording: “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times,” Michelle Obama
  71. Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media: “Barbie: The Album” (Various Artists)
  72. Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (Includes Film and Television): “Oppenheimer,” Ludwig Göransson, composer
  73. Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and other Interactive Media: “Star Wars Jedi: Survivor,” Stephen Barton and Gordy Haab, composers
  74. Best Song Written for Visual Media: “What Was I Made For?” from “Barbie: The Album,” Billie Eilish O’Connell and Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)
  75. Best Music Video: “I’m Only Sleeping” (The Beatles), Em Cooper, video director; Jonathan Clyde, Sophie Hilton, Sue Loughlin and Laura Thomas, video producers
  76. Best Music Film: “Moonage Daydream” (David Bowie), Brett Morgen, video director; Brett Morgen, video producer
  77. Best Recording Package: “Stumpwork,” Luke Brooks and James Theseus Buck, art directors (Dry Cleaning)
  78. Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: “For the Birds: The Birdsong Project,” Jeri Heiden and John Heiden, art directors (Various Artists)
  79. Best Album Notes: “Written in Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos,” Robert Gordon and Deanie Parker, album notes writers (Various Artists)
  80. Best Historical Album: “Written in Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos,” Robert Gordon, Deanie Parker, Cheryl Pawelski, Michele Smith and Mason Williams, compilation producers; Michael Graves, mastering engineer; Michael Graves, restoration engineer (Various Artists)
  81. Best Engineered Album, Non-classical: “Jaguar II,” John Kercy, Kyle Mann, Victoria Monét, Patrizio “Teezio” Pigliapoco, Neal H Pogue and Todd Robinson, engineers; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer (Victoria Monét)
  82. Best Engineered Album, Classical: “Contemporary American Composers,” David Frost & Charlie Post, engineers; Silas Brown, mastering engineer (Riccardo Muti and Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
  83. Producer of the Year, Classical: Elaine Martone
  84. Best Remixed Recording: “Wagging Tongue (Wet Leg Remix),” Wet Leg, remixers (Depeche Mode)
  85. Best Immersive Audio Album: “The Diary of Alicia Keys,” George Massenburg and Eric Schilling, immersive mix engineers; Michael Romanowski, immersive mastering engineer; Alicia Keys and Ann Mincieli, immersive producers (Alicia Keys)
  86. Best Instrumental Composition: “Helena’s Theme,” John Williams, composer (John Williams)
  87. Best Arrangement, Instrumental, or a Cappella: “Folsom Prison Blues,” John Carter Cash, Tommy Emmanuel, Markus Illko, Janet Robin and Roberto Luis Rodriguez, arrangers (The String Revolution featuring Tommy Emmanuel)
  88. Best Arrangement, Instruments, and Vocals: “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” Erin Bentlage, Jacob Collier, Sara Gazarek, Johnaye, Kendrick and Amanda Taylor, arrangers (säje Featuring Jacob Collier)
  89. Best Orchestral Performance: “Adès: Dante,” Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
  90. Best Opera Recording: “Blanchard: Champion,” Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor; Ryan Speedo Green, Latonia Moore and Eric Owens; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)
  91. Best Choral Performance: “Saariaho: Reconnaissance,” Nils Schweckendiek, conductor (Uusinta Ensemble; Helsinki Chamber Choir)
  92. Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance: “Rough Magic,” Roomful of Teeth
  93. Best Classical Instrumental Solo: “The American Project,” Yuja Wang; Teddy Abrams, conductor (Louisville Orchestra)
  94. Best Classical Solo Vocal Album: “Walking in the Dark,” Julia Bullock, soloist; Christian Reif, conductor (Philharmonia Orchestra)
  95. Best Classical Compendium:“Passion for Bach and Coltrane,” Alex Brown, Harlem Quartet, Imani Winds, Edward Perez, Neal Smith and A.B. Spellman; Silas Brown and Mark Dover, producers
  96. Best Contemporary Classical Composition: “Montgomery: Rounds,” Jessie Montgomery, composer (Awadagin Pratt, A Far Cry and Roomful of Teeth)

     Film and music shape everyone’s lives one day at a time, continuing to spread the art of creativity through a camera or recording studio. In the year of 2024, there are bright hopes in which albums or movies that will be released throughout the year.

Puka Nacua: This Rookie Deserves a Cookie

 Oxford Languages defines the word determined as “having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it.”

     Makea “Puka” Nacua is the very embodiment of this word. Throughout the ups and downs of life, he has stayed determined and goal-oriented. He has broken record after record in high school, college, and now in the National Football League (NFL). 

     Football has been a part of Nacua’s life since the day he was born. His parents, Lionel and Penina Nacua, made sure that their six boys and one daughter knew all about the sport that they loved. Nacua is the second youngest boy in his family, which helped him become the tough wide receiver that he is today. 

      Penina said in an interview with the New York Post, “My husband loved defense; he loved having his boys hitting each other.” Penina continued, “He would have everybody suiting up and putting on the shoulder pads, and he’d make them go head-on, one-on-one. Whoever was the youngest was getting mauled, and that was Puka.”

      Growing up he would watch hours of film starring Lawrence Taylor and Troy Polamalu with his dad. Sadly, his dad passed away when Nacua was only 10 years old. However, his dad helped shape Nacua’s life by passing on his love of football to him. 

      Nacua attended Orem High School in Orem, Utah. He was determined to prove himself and to make varsity as a freshman, which he did. However, his real accomplishment occurred during his senior year of high school. He had 103 receptions, ran 2,336 yards and scored 26 touchdowns, setting the Utah records for most yards and touchdowns in a single high school season. These incredible stats lead him to being one of the five candidates for the All-USA Offensive Player of the Year award USA TODAY High School Sports. 

     Nacua also received the 2018-19 Gatorade Utah Football Player of the Year award. By earning this award he joined a very prestigious alumni association of Gatorade state winners which includes athletes like his teammate Mathew Strafford. Nacua was also chosen to be a part of the 2019 All-American Army Bowl. 

      Derek Campbell, head football coach of Payson High School, said, “Nacua is the best athlete to play in Utah high schools in a long time.” Payson High School is Orem High School’s rival but even their head coach can agree that Nacua is an exceptional athlete. 

     Even though Nacua was a hot shot in high school he still stayed humble. Not only did he maintain a 3.34 GPA but he was very involved in the community. He tutored special needs students and volunteered locally at youth sports programs and the Special Olympics. Although he did go through a frosted tips phase his senior year, we can not hold the unfortunate hair choice against him.

     Nacua committed to the University of Washington for football. At Washington, he battled having a broken foot and not getting the playing time he was expecting. He transferred two years later to Brigham Young University (BYU) to play football there with his older brother and to be closer to home. At some point, three of his brothers played football for BYU. At BYU, Nacua played 21 games and had a significant increase of receiving yards and touchdowns. 

     Nacua was picked in the 5th round of the professional NFL draft. The NFL draft has seven rounds, meaning that Nacua was not one of the first picks. He was drafted onto the Los Angeles Rams team, and to be perfectly honest, no one expected much from him. NFL analysts gave him a 5.80 score which is the average score for a backup player. 

     Even though no one expected him to be anything other than decent, Nacua was determined to do everything in his power to become the best player that he could become. Right after Nacua was drafted he asked his coaches if he could meet up with them to better understand McVay’s extremely complicated offense. He studied with raw determination, going so far as to even take a mandatory class that he had to pass. He stepped up and showed that although not much was expected of him, he belonged there. 

    His dedication paid off when in his first 2 career games he had 15 receptions and 25 catches which is the most ever by a rookie receiver. In addition, he surpassed the previous record by obtaining 1,486 yards and 105 receptions in his first season of playing professional football as a rookie wide receiver. However, he doesn’t care about his success, all he wants is for his team to win.      

     After he broke these incredible records he stated, “I can’t stop smiling!” he then laughed and continued, “It takes all 11 players, and they should all feel that reward just as much as I do.” 

     Nacua is also in the running for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The other candidate is C. J. Stroud has current odds of -3000 according to Sharp Football Analysis. Nacua has a +1800 which is a lower score than his opponents but Nacua has proved before that he is not to be underestimated. 

     Not only is he an incredibly hard worker but he is a genuinely good person which is a hard combination to find these days. His girlfriend Hallie Aiono is incredibly lucky to have such a great guy. Aiono and Nacua have been officially dating since 2022 when they posted their first Instagram together. 

   Nacua has worked constantly over the years to get where he is today, and he will continue to work to improve himself and his skills. His determination in every aspect of his life is awe-inspiring. 

Willy Wonka and His Chocolate Factory

The new hit movie, Wonka has flown off the charts, topping the box office for the third time since its first release. Many are pleased with this film and have shown their love for it everywhere. 

     This movie revolves around the origin story of the beloved character Willy Wonka. We get a glimpse into his backstory and how he got to where he is in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory now. Paul King, the director of Wonka, does a wonderful job in showing the origin of Willy Wonka and gives us an insight into his childhood and how he was shaped into this magic chocolatier. Wonka’s genuineness, loyalty, and commitment to do the right thing made this film so worth watching.

     The film unfolds with Wonka’s quest to find and build his perfect chocolate empire. The focus on Wonka’s backstory and his search for this chocolate empire occasionally detracts from the original story’s simplicity. However, the film manages to tie everything together in the end, providing a nice resolution to the film’s new prequel and the familiar tale we all know and love. 

    Timothée Chalamet took on the lead role of Willy Wonka and did an amazing job at it. He really brought his character to life with such charm and charisma. The rest of the cast also did an incredible job in portraying their characters. Calah Lane as Noodle, Hugh Grant as one of the Oompa Loompas, Keegan-Michael Key as Chief of Police, Paterson Joseph as Slugworth, and so many more great actors. 

     The visual effects and cinematography in this movie are incredible. The vibrant colors of chocolate and candy shown throughout the whole film truly captures you and is displayed so beautifully. There is not a dull scene in this movie. 

     The film’s soundtrack, produced by Neil Hannon and Joby Talbot is also very well done. Each song exhibits every moment perfectly and enhances the magical atmosphere. The songs are very catchy and lively and you just can’t get them out of your head while watching. 

     Overall, this film was directed perfectly, bringing Roald Dahl’s characters to life. Providing the audience with the history of the brilliant Willy Wonka. This film is definitely great for everyone and a must see. 

“Modern Love”: Dating with the Teens of Today

     Cupid bows and teddy bears and chocolate hearts, oh my! With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, you’re sure to see more of your fellow high schoolers participating in romantic activities… and who knows, maybe you’re participating in the festivities yourself!

     But, how many teenagers actually date in high school? And how is dating now different than it was for the teens of the past?

     The research done by Linda Brannon for her book, Gender: Psychological Perspectives, dictates that 57% of teenagers are regularly dating. Moreover, over half of today’s teenagers have been on at least one date… 63%, to be exact. Believe it or not, this percentage decreased from 84% between 1990 and 1994, according to research by Jean Twenge and Heejung Park.

     So, what happened? Some experts speculate that the cause for dating changes is derived from the introduction of digital technologies and media.

     Back in the day, before social media and smartphones, dating would involve napkins containing numbers, hopeful phone calls, and waiting for dates you didn’t know would arrive. As Aaron Goldfarb wrote for MTV Life, “It seems shocking in retrospect that we, as humans, could actually keep relationships going before cell phones. When you were apart and out of the house, you had no way to check in on each other. No way to know what was going on in your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s life. No way to send “thinking of u” messages. Back then, you kind of just had to wonder and feel distant.”

 

Dating in the Digital Age

 

     Today, dating is usually intrinsically intertwined with the bustling world of digitization. According to the 2020 Pew Research report, “Dating and Relationships in the Digital Age,” by Emily A. Vogels and Monica Anderson, “Younger Americans in relationships are especially likely to view social media as having an important role in connecting and keeping up with their partner,” which is a big shift from what dating was like previously.

     The report shares how many adults believe that social media can be used to “navigate and share information about their romantic relationships,” while at the same time, “social media can be a source of jealousy and uncertainty in relationships – especially for younger adults.”

     For the younger populations, there have been more love-life-related social media posts. But is social media good for dating, or does it cause more harm? “Even as younger Americans value social media as a place to share how much they care about their partner or to keep up with what’s going on in their partner’s life, they also acknowledge some of the downsides that these sites can have on relationships.” Some of these downsides include feelings of jealousy and relationship uncertainty.

     There’s also the concept of online dating. According to Kelly Campbell Ph.D. for Psychology Today, some of the biggest downsides of online dating include “overemphasis on physical appearance,” a “disposable view of relationships,” and the “risk of deception.”

     On the other hand, online dating can come with some benefits, such as acting as a resource for queer people. Paige Leskin writes for Business Insider that, “While straight people may have an easier time meeting others in person, the LGBTQ community faces a set of unique challenges that often impact their ability to do the same… Because of this lack of acceptance and fear of violence, many members of the LGBTQ community find it difficult, or even dangerous, to look for partners and romantic interests face-to-face. That’s not to mention that queer identity is often not obvious and visible, making it even harder to know who is LGBTQ outside of queer spaces.”

     Some other benefits include quick communication, better matches, more privacy, and the ability to maintain long-distance relationships. Research shows that the increase in modern technology has increased long-distance dating, as well.

 

Contemporary Courting: Teenage Edition

 

     Though from quite a bit ago (2015), a Pew Research report details that 35% of teenagers have had at least some experience with dating (18% being in a current relationship).

     The report also contributes survey results on teenage relationships and their connection to social media, showing that “One in five (20%) of all teens have used their social networks to find new partners by following or friending someone because a friend suggested they might want to date them.” The authors of the report, Amanda Lenhart, Monica Anderson, and Aaron Smith contribute that, “Social media interactions, along with in-person flirting, are among the most common ways for teens to express romantic interest in someone.”

     And while the plethora of information about someone on social media seems beneficial, it can also be harmful. The same paper writes, “Many teens use social media as a venue to flirt and interact with potential romantic partners, but for those on the receiving end of those advances, social media flirting can often turn in a much less desirable direction.”

     Trying to navigate romance in the digital world can be extensively difficult, so it is important to take precautions to protect your online presence, like refraining from posting sensitive and personal information, being cautious of communication with strangers, and trying to protect your identity.

 

The (Dating) Secrets to Success

 

     Katherine Nguyen Williams Ph.D. for Psychology Today suggests that teens should “live their best in real life,” by switching to in-person communication to practice intimacy and connectedness. “Being able to communicate difficult emotions and topics face-to-face is paramount to being able to move beyond a superficial online relationship,” she explains.

     TeensHealth describes the most important characteristics of a healthy relationship are respect, trust, honesty, support, fairness, separate identities, and — good communication.

     It is important to share real-life moments with your significant other, not only to boost communication and to take a break from social media, but to deepen your connection.

 

Closing Thoughts

 

     To sum it all up, the introduction of digital technology, and more specifically, social media, has forever changed the dating landscape. Especially for teenagers, these changes can be over-prominent. It is important to be aware of what makes a healthy relationship, as well as how to stay safe online. And, if you’re part of the alleged 43% of teenagers who are going to be single for Valentine’s Day, don’t sweat it. You have your whole life ahead of you. And trust me, Valentine’s Day can still be fun, even if you are single! So, happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

Opinion: Leave The G.R.W.M.s to The Grown-Ups

 

     Just like how the young generation of the 2010s was hooked on flip phone lipgloss and neon hair extensions, the youth of today has also found excitement in the world of makeup and beauty as a whole. But while the beauty crazes of the early 21st century centered on expression and strayed away from fast-paced maturity, the new and apparent world of tween cosmetics seems to steer closer to just that.

     All over TikTok in the past few months, people have been commenting on the apparent increase in children in many “adult” beauty-centered stores, this type of youth being labeled as “Sephora Kids” for their greater commonality in those locations. In turn, kids are now entering the world of beauty content creation, as the youth are starting to post “get ready with me”s, which involves the process someone takes to get ready for the day (i.e., skincare, makeup, and other forms of self care).

      Kids and teens now more than ever favor content creation over blue and white collar career choices. In a recent study by YouGov in 2021, it was found that 11% of boys thirteen to seventeen years of age want to become a content creator or internet personality when older, and 6% of girls of that same age have similar job aspirations. Roughly, that is more than 100 million teens in the world who have dreams of becoming a part of the internet-based entertainment industry.

      To young girls with access to social media, it is appealing to want to have this influencer lifestyle, especially with the way the content is marketed. Kids almost always mimic the people they idolize, like how many do with their older siblings. However, when you replace a close family member with the entirety of the Internet, who knows what a child might stumble upon and try to mimic, especially if that chosen role model is a multi-million follower creator with content of full-faced makeup looks.

      Therein lies the problem with this growing issue: on the surface it seems justifiable, an innocent admiration. But by allowing kids to buy these products specifically made for older people violates the sacredness of childhood.

    It’s not just a problem of a lost sense of child-like identity; economically, it raises a problem of consumerism. While this new revenue from the younger generation is good for Sephora, the constant investment in products develops a financial burden on families. Especially since trends are ever changing and kids are more impressionable, most families cannot keep up with buying every new product portrayed on social media, and this creates unrealistic economic expectations.

     Behind the curtain, influencers are not actively buying these products, but instead are receiving sponsorships from brands as well as free products to help endorse their merchandise; something that young kids might not comprehend and instead will view as “the current trend” as opposed to having an actual desire for  the product. 

     In addition, most of these products are insanely expensive. One of the most popular skincare brands amongst these young kids, Drunk Elephant, sells products with prices going as high as $134 for only a 2 ounce bottle, and a Dior Lip Oil, a lip product loved by the younger generation, is worth $40.

       Of course, there’s no problem with self expression. Makeup is in itself an art form, and if kids want to experiment with fun colors and age-appropriate products, there is no harm in letting them find creativity in that hobby. Despite this, most of the makeup looks young girls are wearing aren’t centering around glitter or bright eyeshadows – they focus on tanning serums, full lashes and contour, the very makeup practices utilized for means of beautification.

     Similar to how adults always wish they could get the chance to relive their youth, kids always find the idea of adulthood appealing. It’s a constant cycle; a longing for the life you once had or the life you wish to experience. But what makes these moments in life so precious is the fact that it will one day end or begin, and what’s important is to cherish the time of one’s age and maturity and love it for what it is and not what it isn’t.

     Kids shouldn’t have to worry about what mascara to use or what makeup routine to follow, what the latest trends are or what product to buy; kids should be free from those social constraints of beauty and insecurity, to be able to live their youth without fear of judgment and with the sense of whim and adventure that kids innocently possess.

Never Ever Give Up

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NEGU: This motto and message was first created by a young Orange County girl by the name of Jessie Rees. Jessie Rees was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 11. 

     Mission Viejo High School has continued to open up their club for students that has been running for seven years! This club surrounds the motto NEGU which stands for Never Ever Give Up. Over 400,000 kids are diagnosed with cancer every year and it is very hard for the children and families, as it affects them all. With this motto, it can encourage them to never ever give up!

     While Jessie was going through chemotherapy, she met many others battling cancer. Every day was a struggle for Jessie, but she never once complained. One day on Jessie’s way home from the hospital, she asked her parents, Mom, Dad, when do all the other kids come home? When she was told that there were lots of kids who unfortunately didn’t get to come home with their treatment plan, she wanted to change that. 

     Jessie got together little paper bags and her toys, and started making these bags for kids still in the hospital. Jessie and her father delivered these bags to the hospital but were first asked to replace these bags with plastic jars because it would be more sanitary.

     When Jessie saw the look on the kids faces after receiving these jars, she knew she wanted to keep doing this for the children. Jessie needed to make a name for these jars though. Jessie’s middle name is Joy, so they took her middle name and combined it with jars, making the name Joy Jars. After word spread of these Joy Jars, there became a high demand for them and it was Jessie’s mission to fulfill them. 

     After a while, her parents, with all of these demands, decided to open up a foundation: the Jessie Rees Foundation. Here, Joy Jars were made to be shipped out all over the country with a message created by Jessie:NEGU. Jessie continued to inspire kids all over and spread this message and Joy Jars up until she lost her fight with cancer on January 5th, 2012. Joy Jars are still being made and shipped out to countries all over the world. 

     Mission Viejo High School is a part of this and has their own NEGU club. In this club, the students make decorated cards with encouraging words that are sent to be put in the Joy Jars. Mission Viejo High School also takes part in events sponsored by the Jessie Rees Foundation.

     Some upcoming events happening in December are the Santa Stroll on December 10th and a trip to the Joy factory on December 3rd. Many more events will be made in the future and this club will be sticking around for a long time as well. We hope to see more students join this club in the future and continue to support NEGU.