By Melanie Rodriguez, Junior
I was enveloped by the rhythms of the guaguanco just the night before; dancing to “Yo Naci en un Solar” fueled solely by the six-eight beat of the Afro-Cuban rhythms. The energy flowing through the room, guided by the same passion and traditions running through our veins for infinite generations connected every person, from the youngest to the oldest, in a state of euphoric celebration. Everyone was out of their chairs and dancing in the aisles— even the Arsht Center’s strictly enforced etiquette rules could not contain the emotion of having the Havana Cuba All-Stars here, despite being so close to home, for the first time ever after years of restrictions placed on them. However, little did we know that the cause of such a great part of our suffering had vanished as we were celebrating what had been taken away from us throughout the course of so many years. Ironically enough, the self-proclaimed father for the hatred of American capitalism had died on Black Friday. Fidel Castro was, this time, actually dead.
As the child of Cuban political refugees who understands the suffering that so many people on that island have incurred, I could not help but feel complete relief when I awoke the following morning to news that seemed would never come. I want those who question why the streets of Little Havana were flooded with people celebrating the death nonstop from day to day during this time to understand the suffering these families have endured because of one man. Imagine the horrors of being at sea for days without the guarantee that you will ever reach the country claiming to provide you with freedom. Imagine everything you own being rationed by the government Imagine not being given the opportunity to study the career of your choice for not agreeing with others ideologies despite the country’s claim of having one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Imagine being jailed and beaten for disagreeing with the government’s ideology as seen by the public humiliations of the Damas de Blanco almost every day. Imagine never being able to witness your heritage first hand because you are threatened with never being able to come back. Imagine witnessing all of these occurrences. No, this is not a best-selling dystopian novel. This is the reality that so many people endure daily. That is why, when receiving the news of someone’s death, so many of us broke down into tears of joy and not tears of sorrow. That is what I need you to understand.
Just like Fidel Castro took control of Cuba on January 1st, 1959 with the “Cuban Revolution”, I have hope that on January 1st, 2017 we can use this symbolic death of repression to be inspired to take action and commence a revolution to completely free this beautiful land from any oppression, so its own people can go back to enjoying the rhythms of the guaguanco within their homes.
By Sterling Alic and Katerina Barkhausen, Seniors
2016 was a year to remember. We protested together. We stood up for our rights and took our issues to the streets, yelling anything from “Stop Shooting Us” to “Make America Great Again.” We voted together, the American election sparking fervor across the United States and Brexit electrifying the British public. We remembered together--paying our respects to legends like David Bowie and Muhammad Ali that shaped entire generations of people.
But even in our most divisive moments, there was an important common thread throughout—we were together. Our music and movies served as art that transcended language barriers, and the Olympic games crossed cultures around the world. So here is a look back at the moments that defined this tumultuous year.
Billboard Magazine Top Music of the Year
This year’s charts were dominated by dancehall influenced tracks like Drake’s “One Dance” and Rihanna’s “Work”. From certified pop hits like the aforementioned tracks to an indie up-and-coming record, Billboard is the premiere place for finding out what’s popular in the music stratosphere, incorporating sales, streaming, and radio airplay, into their weekly-updated Hot 100 list. So here is what they calculated to be the most popular artists, albums, and songs for 2016.
Memes That Should Be Left in 2016
We’ve all been there before. We have seen them online, on t-shirts, and even on Ellen. The memes come from all over the world and die as quickly as they were born. 2016 has been one of the biggest years for memes yet. From the Arthur fist meme to the “tea frog” fiasco, here are some memes that we can all agree need to be left in 2016.
Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year
Oxford Dictionary choice for word of the year in 2015 was a daring challenge to the establishment, as it wasn’t even technically a word--the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji. Now, in 2016, the popular dictionary has taken a poignant turn, choosing a word that showed the controversial political and journalistic landscape that dominated this year.
The word has existed since the 2000s, but its frequency has largely spiked in 2016, following the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidential nomination. Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries, explains the choice: “Fuelled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, post-truth as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.” Grathwohl continues that “Given that usage of the term hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, I wouldn’t be surprised if post-truth becomes one of the defining words of our time.”
Here are some of the words that made the short-list:
Top 5 Movies of the Year
Animated family films and grandiose superhero epics killed at the box office, Pixar topping the list following Finding Nemo with its new and similarly named sequel Finding Dory and Marvel once again dominating with Captain America: Civil War.
TIME Magazine Choose President Elect Donald Trump As Person of the Year
Each year, Time Magazine chooses a person, group, idea, or object that “for better or for worse...has done the most to influence the events of the year.” Their pick for 2016 was President-elect Donald Trump, who has dominated the news cycle from the first time he announced his candidacy back in July of 2015 to his shocking upset victory a couple of months ago in the 2016 American presidential election.
Here is Time’s shortlist:
By Cortnei Edwards, Junior
Art Basel is a memorable and inspirational week of each year, where people from all across the globe visit Miami. Tourists come from places such as Korea, Paris, and Germany trek through Miami to see vibrant murals, distinct sculptures, inspiring fashion, and complex paintings.
This past week, I was lucky enough to experience Art Basel. Working at the De La Cruz Collection, I monitored the art and informed viewers about the pieces and the artists. At times, it was stressful when a large cluster of people would flood the floor; although, my anxiety subsided when visitors would talk to me about the pieces I watched over and when they greeted me.
Three large sculptures by Thomas Houseago were very popular with visitors. Fusing 2D and 3D to form sculptures of heads, faces and a runner made Houseago’s work snatch the attention of viewers. Often, visitors would circle the works and let their jaws plunge to the floor as they were stunned by the combination of plaster and steel pipes along with sketches of an outline that created unique figures.
Fresh hot coffee and tea warmed the air and the spirits of everyone. People drifted from the ground floor to the third floor where there was a heart touching piece by Felix Gonzalez Torres in which small white candies were put against a column to represent Torres’ father. Visitors were allowed to pick up a candy as Torres wanted this piece to engage the audience.
The second floor was the most colorful and alluring floor of them all. It featured glossy paint cans and tables by Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker, and a sticky gum painting by Dan Colen. Colen also had some of his work featured on the first floor in its own room. One of his pieces was another painting that used crushed up flowers that were dipped in paint and thrown onto the canvas. Violet, mossy green (that was actually mold), and other bright hues covered this painting that was on a linen canvas. Visitors stood surprisingly close, but were fascinated with the creativity and beauty of the work. Another popular work of his took crushed glass backboards from basketball courts and rolled it into a circle. Shocked by the originality of his piece, people stood by it for 10- 20 minutes and took loads of pictures and carefully examined it.
The patrons, eclectically dressed, were also works of art. They entered with outfits of all sorts, varying from tea length silver skirts to an all black outfit with a shiny head and polished shoes. Their purses ranged from clutches the size of a penny to bags that you could fit the entire building.
Overall, Art Basel was an inspiring and refreshing experience. Viewing the impact that art has on people makes me realize how integral it is to our culture. Having the ability to occupy the same space as artists and art enthusiasts also made me realize that art truly does have value to the lives of many, which is something that is forgotten as when thought of as “just a hobby.” Art Basel proves that art should be taken seriously.
By Boris Spektor, Senior
12th grade is an avalanche.
No, literally, it’s an avalanche. (Source m-w.com: in effect: virtually)
12th grade is like attempting to ski on a Black Diamond piste inundated with tall trees. The year stars fairly slow, meeting with friends and discussing the summer, but then when September hits, college application season is in session. The proverbial pebble in the snow is stirred, and begins rolling into a gigantic ball.
You may think that college applications aren’t difficult-- I mean you have a whole 3 months to work on them. Except, if you succumb to this kind of thought, you must have forgotten that Senioritis is a real thing. This late into your high school career, procrastination becomes a challenge. “I wonder, can I write this the day it’s due” will pop into your mind, and will act as the antithesis to you completing the Herculean task of applying to college.
As October starts, it seems that whoever you ask about college applications will say that they already have one essay completed (impossible, a senior planned ahead?) and that news will mentally torment you and make it that much harder to write your essay.
And so, the writing process begins as you continue down the ski slope, picking up velocity only to fall harder. Along with procrastination trailing closely, there is a fallen branch in your path, attempting to make you wipe out.
Soon, you are at the stage of reckoning, where you ask others to judge your essay on its merit. Remember the pebble? At this point it has turned into a 10-ft tall snowball rolling behind you, ready to crush your hopes and dreams. As you show others your essay, the unthinkable happens: “I don’t think it represents you” – they say. And then the snowball hits – freezing your mind.
Rewrite! Rewrite! Rewrite! As your now somber mind concludes, the only way forward is to rewrite, so you press the escape key, and the snowball starts rolling once again.
By Hunter Huseby, Junior
I enjoy the holiday season, and I think most people do. However, that doesn’t mean that some parts are not absolutely insufferable. Fear not, I have some tips to ensure that you make it out (relatively) unharmed and intact.
The holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without an intense interrogation from your nosey aunts. The iconic “¿Y tu novio?” haunts teenagers and young adults alike, and will haunt you until your aunts finally die. While these questions may be unavoidable, there are ways to make them bearable.
High-school students seem to be perpetually broke; college students are even worse off. Don’t worry- the holidays provide a perfect opportunity to turn this around.
If you have family that lives too far to visit (or doesn’t really want to commit to seeing you in person), chances are you’ll be forced into a phone call with them. Phone calls are typically pretty awkward, but you’ll be prepared for the next one.
Many parents have ridiculously high expectations of how clean the house must be before anyone visits. This is especially difficult since the holiday season can seem like it has been designed to make a mess. There’s really no way to get out of cleaning (unless you hide for that duration of time), but there are a few ways to make it less awful.
By Jethel Hernandez, Senior
When thinking about the summer before your senior year, you should equate this time as an opportunity to explore your academic interests. Participating in summer programs or volunteer opportunities during this time can help college admissions understand that you truly have a distinct passion—this is often the trait they look for in a prospective student.
During the summer before my senior year, I participated in a rigorous six-week program known as Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science, MITES, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT. At the university, I was taking five rigorous courses that simulate a MIT college freshman schedule. My experience during the summer was extremely enlightening; I was able to realize that I had newfound interests. Throughout my life I had always ignored architecture, trivializing it as simply a drawing course; however, after those six weeks, I learned that it was much more than that, and I ended up loving it. The long hours at the studio, along my classmates, became a time of enjoyment where everyone, through their work, was able to portray their creativities. All students in the classroom became like a new family. Also, academically, I learned that architecture required many intricate skills like 3D modeling and dimensional analysis. Needless to say, I have found a new passion after the culmination of the program, and this gave me a new outlook that perhaps I could be open, in college, to try different classes in order to become a better-rounded student.
My advice to you is that you go out this summer and demonstrate how hard you are willing to work to develop your passions. You should start looking for summer programs early in October to make sure that you meet all deadlines and MONEY SHOULD NOT BE AN EXCUSE. There are many prestigious programs that are completely free some of at places like MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, Yale etc. Make sure that you portray your interests through your writing since it is often that and not test scores what makes you shine from the rest.
I hope that just like me, this summer, you can explore your interest or even expand them. Perhaps this could be your first taste of your next life—in college.
By Jelani Scott, Junior
Christmas is right around the corner, so that signals the start of a time to spend time with family and friends, give gifts to others, and spread some holiday cheer! I took this picture because I wanted to portray the spirit of Christmas, and I wanted to share it with all of you. The holiday season is my absolute favorite time of year, and I hope you are all spending your holiday season surrounded by the people you love.
By Nadia Beaubrun, Senior
Have you ever ended up at the movie theater and had no idea which movie to see?
There is one movie you absolutely need to watch—the breathtaking, dramatic cinematic masterpiece titled Moonlight. Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins, is based on a young boy, Chiron. His story portrays the often-occulted struggles of growing up poor, black, and gay during Miami’s “War on Drugs” era in a very blunt and accurate manner. The movie also depicts the topics of drug abuse, imprisonment of African Americans, and school violence. However, to classify the movie based on solely these categories would be extremely limiting and too ambiguous. To fully capture the essence of this movie, it would be sincerer to say that this mind-blowing film is about teaching a child to swim, about cooking a meal for an old friend, about the feeling of sand on skin and the sound of waves on a darkened beach, about first kisses and lingering regrets.
The affectionate, heartbreaking story of a young boy who goes through the stages of life in Liberty City and experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while realizing his own sexuality is beautifully projected in this film. In all, the movie is about male relationships that transcend race or culture. Ultimately, Moonlight is a film that does not shy away from portraying a harsh reality, while still maintaining an outstanding written elegance, harmony, and flamboyant human faces. So the next time you are in search of a good movie, just watch Moonlight.