Stories

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By: Alina Yusufzai

2016, the new year. Just as the excitement of the new year dies down, we begin to ask ourselves, “What will I do differently second semester?” Well, as always, the Spectator has got you covered; here is a list of ways to tackle a brand new semester:

 

1) Set Goals:

Goals are very important in order to achieve your aspirations, but make sure to set realistic and timely goals that you know you can achieve with a little hard work and determination!

 

2) Join more clubs and teams:

There are so many ways to get involved in our school community! Join a new club or explore a new interest, and it’s bound to pay off! Can’t find a club you want to join? Start your own!

 

3) Take notes, and listen:

A key to doing well in class is taking detailed notes and paying attention. Make sure you note down important points and listen, it will make studying and homework much easier! Also, your teacher will also be very impressed with your ability to complete homework by referencing the lessons!

 

4) Don’t procrastinate:

We all procrastinate, it’s true. This semester commit to what you should be doing, while also allotting time for well deserved breaks. This will allow you to get work done quickly and effectively without overwhelming yourself.

 

5) Be open to possibilities:

This semester, decide that you will be more open to new ideas, and will take some chances by stepping out of your comfort zone. By doing this, you give yourself the chance to explore avenues and paths that may end up teaching you more about yourself and those around you. If we stay closed off our entire lives, we close many doors of experience and opportunity. Be open to opportunities and explore new subjects, books, and maybe even countries! To learn we must experience, and I wish you all the best in doing this and all other endeavors!

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By: Alyssa Matheson

There are many places around our school where people choose to eat their lunches, and some are better than others.  The Spartan Spectator has done a definitive ranking for you:

 

  1. Near the entrance of washrooms??

To be honest, I had no idea that this was a popular location for lunch consumption. I would consider this a last resort option as I can’t see the appeal of sitting so close to such an unsanitary area to consume lunch. I mean really? The only thing separating you from a room of interesting graffiti and lack of mirrors isn’t closed for long…

 

  1.   Under the Stairwells

The stairwells may seem like an excellent option, however they do not offer the amount of privacy they appear to. While the stairwells block you from the view of many, they offer no privacy in the way of your discussions, which are more likely to be overheard by students who will tweet a snippet of your conversation with the hashtag #OverheardAtCKSS.

 

  1.   In the hallways “the sprawlers”

This location has a grand total of zero chairs, which forces everyone to sit on the not-quite-sanitary floor. However, if you can overlook this fact, the hallway is a great hang out with your squad.  This location also allows you to slow down hallway traffic by a whopping 200 percent!

 

  1.   The hallway behind the science labs

This location is very quiet, provides a great place to hide from drama, and also has a lot of room to accommodate your friend group. The downside is that it’s pretty narrow, so people will have to walk over you as they try to leave the hallway; however, it isn’t very crowded, so this is an infrequent problem.

 

  1. On the benches in the main hallway

These are an improvement from sprawling in the hallway, as they feature the great benefits of not getting yelled at by teachers, and not having to sit on the floor. You also have a smaller impact on the hallway traffic, unless you’re sitting at the bench at the entrance to the stairs, in which case you have a greater impact.

 

  1. In a class you aren’t a member of

This option is awesome if you know the teacher, have a different lunch from your friends, and enjoy the subject being taught. Although there are a few things that you need to be careful about if you explore this option; one is that if you go to a science lab, you’ll get kicked out for eating; another is if you visit too often you might start having to take the tests, too.

 

  1.   Tall table in the corner of the school near the English office

There are not enough seats for your whole squad, unless your squad is less than three people… and if your squad is smaller than three, is it really a squad? This corner, although small offers a sense of exclusivity provided by the height and few chairs. It also allows you the people-watching that the hallway provides, with none of the sitting on the ground nonsense.

 

  1.   On the way back from Metro

This is the preferred eating place of students who know how to manage their time wisely, as they manage to fit in their daily exercise with their midday meal. They also know that they don’t have enough time to walk to the plaza, wait in line to get their food, eat it there, and manage to walk back in enough time to make it to their next period class. The desirability of this location fluctuates depending on the weather, and how many friends you’ve convinced to go out with you.

 

  1.   In the caf

The caf has easy access to food, utensils (for those days when you forget your fork at home), and condiments (because you can never have too much sriracha). This location also lets you know when the lines are too long to even consider waiting for garlic bread. Also, there is a lot of space to accommodate your huge squad.

 

  1.   Outside the library

This is where all the cool kids sit; or at least the students who have outgrown sitting in the caf. Many grade nines walk by this place wondering if they’ll be able to sit there, however it’s unofficially reserved for grade twelves. This location features a ton of chairs and tables; a perfect place for either leaving your garbage once you’re done your lunch, or for playing cards with your friends. How long they’ll remain your friends after one person beats the other six games in a row remains to be seen, however this drama can make it an interesting place to sit even if you’re not with your squad.

 

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By: Nathan MacKinnon

If you want to create anything with heart, you’ll need three things: blood, sweat, and tears. A simple concept, but often a difficult one to capture. Even in film, these essential elements must be found, or you end up having a stagnant and childish movie. An excellent example of these elements working in unison is Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw, a tale of redemption, starring boxing as the driving force behind everything.

 

Championship fighter Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is destroyed, then asked to rebuild himself using the only thing he knows, boxing. Gyllenhaal does his very best to take an otherwise overused character and make him seem new, and this is accomplished from the very beginning to the last punch, because the audience sees Billy Hope as a flawed, yet lovable, character. Aided by the performance of Forest Whitaker who plays Titus Wills, the viewer seamlessly runs behind Hope, rooting for his every success. Surprisingly, the protagonist, Billy Hope, is in fact, his own worst enemy. The film ends with a final bout, hero against villain, which may be corny, but it is still entertaining to watch.

 

The film does struggle at times to propel itself forward, but it’s a very slow burn. That’s not always a bad thing, but in a film centred around fighting, it’s not beneficiary. Don’t run to this film to see anything technically stunning or outrageously compelling. Watch this film to feel a character who is literally thrown down to rock bottom: BLOODY. See him struggle to fight his real and fake demons: SWEAT. See a character put everything he loves on the line: TEARS. That is where Antoine and Gyllenhal do well, creating a protagonist worth something better than himself. So, maybe just this once, I’m gonna disregard the cliches and lacking technicalities, and see someone truly struggle, then succeed.  

 

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By: Mariyam Usmani

The path to success isn’t exactly clear cut, but don’t worry, the Spartan Spectator has your back. Here are some tips on gifts you could get your teachers for the holidays. Who knows? A teacher eating gifted delights might see the chemistry in that last chemystery test you handed in.

 

Tip 1: Avoid the Dollarama.

Let’s be honest. Your teacher has been working extremely hard for the past three and a half months, planning endlessly to help you. A gift worth a dollar doesn’t exactly scream, “I appreciate all you have done for me!” That candle for $0.99 that looked nice? Will it look nice when it refuses to light for your teacher on Christmas Eve? Time to rethink your plan.

 

Tip 2: It’s the thought that counts.

Many teachers said that the fact that you simply think of them does the trick. Whether your appreciation shines from a homemade card, delicious home-baked goods, or a gift card for Tim Hortons or Starbucks, teachers genuinely feel touched. Over the holidays, we do as much as we can to be show our gratitude for friends, and we should think to do the same for our teachers.  Let’s not forgot to thank them.

 

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By: Nathan MacKinnon

The month of November is the launching pad for many big budget films; I guess the light snow disengages something deep in the brain. Feeling the cold winter air awakens the idea of snuggling up and watching fiery heroes save the day, and the release of the final chapter in the Hunger Games Chronicles is no different. The first of an array of films to come with big budgets and a bigger appeal, the classic dystopian theme is present in The Hunger Games Chronicles. Katniss Everdeen is pitted against a tyrannical regime bent on crushing the little guy. In spite of this, a dystopian look on the world can become blanche, boring and dead. Rarely is something new implanted into these big budget dystopian films; they focus more on level of destruction than the technical design.  

 

Since The Hunger Games Chronicles is ending, I wish to review a different dystopian tale; one that does not simply shoot to impress, but shoots to feel. I refer to Alfonso Cuaron’s 2006 film, Children of Men; a dystopian movie that is something entirely different. Set in the near future, the world encounters a difficult issue; all the women on the planet have become infertile. Population numbers begin to sink, and humans begin to look into themselves and see the end of civilization. One man who feels these sentiments is Theo Faron (Clive Owen). Once an activist against overpowering governments, Theo finds himself looking at the end of the world. However, Theo is given a sliver of hope, a way out of the slow progression towards extinction; he finds one woman, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey).  This one woman is pregnant.

 

She is also a refugee, which doesn’t bode well. The government has a strict no refugee policy, anyone found without proper documentation is thrown into a camp. This is where we see a wonderful dystopian themes slide in. Theo and Kee run for their lives against the government and enemies alike. Alfonso Cuaron, the director, does an immaculate job with this film.  He is able to juxtapose a dystopian and dying culture, something always present in apocalyptic flicks, with the pure beauty of human perseverance and hope. Opera ballads creep in at specific times, hinting that there’s hope within man’s destruction. Mr. Cuaron was able to elicit an amazing performance out of Clive Owen as well. One of my personal favourites, Mr. Owen, plays smoothly and elegantly a man who feels overwhelming sadness and outrageous belief in dire times. It’s easy for an actor to over-play his role in apocalyptic stories like these, often making the character seem whiny or even dull. Clive Owen genuinely expresses himself through his role as Theo, leading to a more personal connection with the film.

 

No huge explosions or massive battles here, but the cinematography in Children of Men is unheard of. Emmanuel Lubezki is the director of photography, probably one of the greatest of all time, no doubt. His recent work includes Birdman. For those who do not already know, that whole film is shot to feel as if there are no cuts within it at all, completely one shot throughout. Lubezki successfully shoots whole scenes within Children of Men in one swooping shot. These shots are extremely difficult; they include major planning and preparation. However, when they are pulled off, they lead to some of the most famous scenes in history. Alfonso and Emmanuel do more than that, they are able to make the audience members feel as if they are a bug on the wall, a lucky listener to an amazing tale. Within the first 30 minutes, viewers forget where they are and are transported beside Theo and Kee on their voyage to safety. There are scenes which continue a split second after the last word is spoken, allowing the viewer to really understand the reality of the moment. When you actually see people focusing on these details, it can only make you smile. You may not be able to put a word on it right away, and some things you won’t immediately notice, yet when you watch Children of Men, you’ll end the movie feeling different. The way they shot this film, the way they decided to bring a greater reality to dystopian and apocalyptic films, is amazing. This film is justly considered one of the greatest of all time in its genre. Most haven’t seen it in reality, which is a shame, because it’s one you won’t forget afterwards.

 

Children of Men is important for anyone to watch. Before you run out of your way to watch someone destroy a controlling government in big hero style, stop, turn around, and watch Children of Men. You’ll feel better in the long run. P.S.: Before I get any of the book worms coming to me and stating how much the book is better, I must say the following. Books will always be better – that’s coming from the movie guy too! But, I am reviewing the films and looking how effectively they send their messages across to me. So, don’t hate me, hate the director who destroyed your book. But, back to the point – find time to watch this film because it brings the human aspect to a genre that otherwise forgets the fact that real people have to live with terrible circumstances.

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“Jon, my office now!” Jon’s editor yelled.

Jon sighed and pulled his feet off from the top of his desk and put his newspaper down. He walked sullenly to Abraham Holloway’s office. “Sit down Jon,” Holloway said as Jon walked into the office. Jon sat down as Holloway began talking again, “Why do I pay you?”

Jon took a second before replying with, “Good question.”

Holloway rolled his eyes, “Can you be serious?”

“Probably not,” Jon stated.

“Jon, you haven’t turned in a story for two weeks,” Holloway stated as he began pacing in front of Jon.

“And…” Jon replied.

“And why should I keep you on the payroll if you don’t write anything for our paper?” Holloway asked.

“Because when I do write stories they’re brilliant and they get your paper awards,” Jon said.

Holloway sighed, “But for God’s sake Jon, we need you to write articles for us, you’re one of our top correspondents yet you write so little.”

Jon was getting frustrated, “That’s because I only write what’s important.”

Holloway practically exploded, “Important! Are you kidding me? Jon, right now there are at least ten things that you could write an article about.”

“But there’s nothing new and there’s nothing that matters,” Jon replied, his voice calm but his temper boiling, “We’re in the business of telling the news. It is our duty to tell the people what is important, to make them aware of things that are happening in this world that they need to know about. News that the public has a right to know. The majority of news outlets, on the other hand, focus on issues that the public could do without, or they take an important issue and blow it up to huge proportions while ignoring everything else. It’s overexposure of the irrelevant. The top stories on A.P. right now are Bill Cosby’s sex scandal and the President pardoning a turkey. Do these affect people? No. Will these stories get air time and column inches? Definitely. Are there more issues that the people need to know? God yes. There’s Ferguson Missouri, or have we moved past that already? Or we could talk about OPEC and Russia possibly engaging in an oil price war which will definitely affect the public. Maybe something closer to home, like the Canadian Women’s Health Network being shut down because of Harper Government budget cut, or maybe the Keystone XL pipeline, or even scientists protesting a lack of government funding in Canada. These are things that people should care about and they don’t. There was a time when the news made people care about what was important. There was a time when reporters brought us the hard truth like when Cronkite announced J.F.K. being assassinated, or when the news let the public see the horrors of war in Vietnam. This was the news that the public deserves to hear, and I am going to give it to them whether they want it or not.”

And with that Jon stormed out of the office. Holloway put his head in his hands and said, “I get lectured by one of my reporters for telling him to stop procrastinating. God, what kind of day has it been?”

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A History of Halloween

Matthew Taylor
Staff Writer

The highlight of the month of October is without a doubt the spooky holiday known as Halloween. Millions of kids of all ages roam the streets in costumes, going door to door asking the age old question: “Trick or treat?” But where does this holiday come from?

The first iteration of Halloween was known as the Festival of Samhain. This was a festival that was celebrated by the Gaelic peoples and was intended to celebrate the half-way point between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. It was a holiday observed through much of what is now the northern United Kingdom and Ireland. It was celebrated on the night of October 31st by slaughtering cattle to prepare for winter, and trying to communicate with fairies and other mythical creatures. People also would go from house to house carrying lights to both ward off ghosts and ask for food for the coming winter. These are two interesting points, as people observing Halloween now also dress up in costume, and also demand food (albeit the demand is now for candy).

During the 800’s C.E., Pope Gregory the Third created a holiday on November 1st called All Saint’s Day. This holiday initially incorporated aspects of the Festival of Samhain into it, thereby allowing much of the old pagan traditions to become accessible to the changing population of Europe, which was becoming more Catholic. All Saint’s Day also lead to mass pilgrimages to Rome throughout the Twelfth Century.

By the 17th Century, All Saint’s Day, and the former Festival of Samhain, lost favour everywhere but in Ireland and Scotland. In these nations, All Saint’s Day and Samhain became All Hallow’s Eve, and then eventually Hallow’s Eve. These holidays were again celebrated by roaming the streets to ward away ghosts. Due to mass Irish and Scottish migration to North America, Canada and the United States inherited the holiday.

Eventually, Hallow’s Eve became Hallowe’en and moved away from warding away ghosts to bringing the community together and giving children a night to dress up in scary costumes and get candy. The tradition grows stronger year after year as more and more people engage in this fun fall activity. From the Gaelic peoples to modern day, this is the history of Halloween.

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The Misadventures of the Dennings Campaign

A Creative Piece - By Matthew Taylor

George Dennings was running for Town Council in Ward 1, and he was – how should I put this – getting crucified. His opponent, Elizabeth Hernandez, had a lead of 21% in the last poll. George, of course, believed that he still had a chance to win, but with only two weeks left before the election, the chances were getting slimmer. In a last minute attempt to gain the lead, George fired his fourth campaign manager and brought in Paul Ramirez.

Paul was an inexperienced campaign manager at best, and an incompetent one at worst. In Paul’s opinion, the only way to get votes was through a debate, and so he scheduled one between Dennings and Hernandez on the fourteenth of October at a small community center.

The problem with Paul’s “genius” strategy of debating Hernandez was that Hernandez was a lawyer who was extremely eloquent in her speech. George was not either of those things.

The first question went to Hernandez, “What do you intend to do about improving community services?”

Hernandez answered in the allotted two minutes, and she impressed everyone in the room with her response. It was at this point that Paul began to think that the debate strategy might not have been the best one to choose. Paul was going to try to get George out of the debate somehow, when George was asked the same question. His response was as follows:

“Uh… I would do everything that my opponent said and more.”

Everything went downhill from there.

“What do you intend to do about curtailing crime in this town?” He was asked.

“Uh… a lot of things.” He replied, a bead of sweat travelling down his back.

“Care to mention any of them?” The moderator asked him, clearly frustrated.

“Not at the moment.” He answered.

Paul left the room to write his resignation letter when George replied, “Yes.” to the question, “Why do you want to be a town councilor?”

In the papers the next day, the debate was on the front page with the headline: “HERNANDEZ EVISCERATES DENNINGS.” And so, George hired his sixth campaign manager as he went down another four points in the polls. Whether George wins or loses, he’s still proving that anyone can run for office in a democratic society.