Review: If I Stay

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by James Oakey

From Twilight to The Hunger Games to Mazerunner, the past few years have seen pop-lit adaptation after adaptation after adaptation. They’ve had various success and staying power, but one thing’s for sure: if you have a screenplay to write, a novel written for teen girls is a safe place to draw from. If I Stay follows in the recent trend; a drama detailing the romance of shy high school cellist Mia Hall (Chloë Grace Moretz) and her Ramones-esque punk rock sweetheart Adam Wilde (Jamie Blackley) as they discover what it means to sacrifice everything for your loved one. It seems like a potentially heartwarming plot. The problem, however, is in the execution.

If I Stay opens with a few establishing scenes of the Halls, depicting them as a cringeworthy “quirky” family before going on a fatal car ride. Moretz’s Mia is the sole survivor, alive but unconscious in a coma. She experiences things in an out-of-body ghostly form, unable to interact with the people around her. Mia overhears a nurse whispering to her unconscious body, telling her that the doctors are doing all they can to save her but that she needs to fight for herself to stay alive. The rest of the story is told in flashbacks as Mia weighs her options between life and death. She thinks about her summer romance with Adam for a while before ultimately deciding that she’ll stay alive for him in the most unsatisfying decision ever made. She’s barely conflicted in her choices and her character is as static as a shopping cart on a dry day. If the story had been told from Adam’s point of view as a much more dynamic, conflicted character, it would have been much more impactful. Granted, they would have lost the supernatural coma angle, but If I Stay doesn’t do much of anything interesting with that element anyhow. The plot bumbles along, not really hitting many important theme-defining beats while it meanders through a vignette of sickeningly saccharine high school romance moments.

I should take an aside here to point out that I consider myself a fan of romantic dramas, if they’re deserving. I liked The Time Traveler’s Wife, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and 500 Days of Summer, among some others. These movies, however, are much more interesting and memorable in their themes and framing than If I Stay.

The characters are portrayed… decently. While watching the movie, my girlfriend leaned over to me and joked, “The acting is better in the book.” While Moretz and Blackley do their leads passably, many of the tertiary characters leave a lot to be desired. A saving grace in the acting department, however, is Mia’s mother, played by Mireille Enos as a concerned, caring mother with a background in alternative rock. None of the character portrayals are exceptionally memorable, pretty much matching the rest of the movie as a whole.

As a movie with a prominent focus on music, If I Stay’s score is enjoyable. There were a few moments where Mia’s cello pulled a little on my heartstrings, to be sure. Adam’s rock band, while incredibly cliché to the very core, has some sets that are okay. Ultimately, this might be the strongest point of the film, but even here, nothing really stands out to me like a John Williams or Hans Zimmer score would.

Save the recent release of The Giver, I hadn’t heard of any of these pop-lit books before their theatrical announcement. As such, I was relatively unaware of the movie adaptation of If I Stay until my girlfriend brought it to my attention. In preparation to see the movie (she liked the trailers) she had read the book and was thoroughly disappointed. Even so, she took me out to see the movie and we both left feeling unsatisfied and unimpressed. If I Stay isn’t a terrible movie. It just hasn’t brought anything to the table that its Hungry Divergent Twilight brethren haven’t brought already. If you want to watch a romance drama about teenagers dying, you’re probably better off watching The Fault in Our Stars.

(Image courtesy of hypable.com)

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Reminiscing on the Fair; Take Me Back

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by Andrew Argueta  

As we continue to drudge through the daily grind that is school, we can’t help but reminisce when the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds hosted it’s annual fair! The fair is what brings the whole A.V. together some might agree. From the rides to the sweet junk food, everyone loved the fair! The fair food might have been one of the reasons everyone went to the fair, from gigantic pickles to fried snickers, the choices were endless!

This year at the fair we had a fried twinkie you could get for $5. Pricey? Maybe, but so worth it in the end when your favorite sweet is dipped and fried; who wouldn’t pay $5 for a mouth watering snack? Let’s forget the fried snicker that was sold for only $5! For those who didn’t have a sweet tooth, that’s alright because the fair also had Gigantic turkey legs for $12, and when I say gigantic, I’m being literal. This turkey leg might have been bigger than a Thanksgiving turkey! My taste buds ache for that gigantic turkey leg! For those inexperienced fair goers, ditch the soda and next year try the fair lemonade located at almost all vendors! For $6 you can buy yourself a refreshing squeezed lemonade in a SOUVENIR cup so when you return you can pay a refill fee and keep the nice designed looking lemonade cup.

Lastly, for future reference, make sure you don’t miss that world famous fair funnel cake stand that comes in a variety of flavors to make your taste buds scream! All the sweet powder drizzled with chocolate, strawberry, or even just plain, you won’t regret eating that amazing funnel cake! If you missed the fair this, year don’t worry the A.V. fair is an annual event that occurs every summer! I really enjoyed the food this year myself and I hope if you enjoy it next year  as much as I did!  Now you know some of the many food choices sold at the fair so make sure you get these amazing snacks next year!

 

 

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Highland’s First Blood Drive

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IMG_1693 IMG_1694 IMG_1696 IMG_1699by Cheyguel 

Highland’s first Blood Drive of the year was a success! With the needed units of blood met, and great organization skills from ASB and American Red Cross, everything FLOWED smoothly.  With Elise Arias taking control of the event and with the help of other volunteers, it all turned out to be A POSITIVE event!

First Football Game

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by Amber Philbeck

With our first Varsity Football home game around the corner, the Bulldogs couldn’t be more excited! From ASB’s plan for a Gold Squad, to the coaches collaborating with the Bulldog fans in hopes to recreating Friday Night Lights; this season will be unforgettable. Head coach, David Stow, proudly stated that “this team is ready; they have the potential to win a lot”. Tradition, one thing that is big in the eyes of Coach Stow, leaves it up to the students of Highland high to come up with a new style for every home game. Number 12 is the new jersey number given to the Bulldog fans to represent the “12th man”, the ones with the spirit of readiness, the desire to support, and enthusiasm to win, bulldogs will be the backbone to our “Devil-dogs” (a nickname the football team calls themselves).

One thing to definitely expect at this upcoming game is hard-work from the Highland’s football players. They have been training since summer with nonstop drills, running, countless plays, and giving their all at practice; with this in mind, a good game is expected. Teamwork is what is shaping this team as Jalen Logan puts it, “I look at my teammates as my brothers and we are all playing for the same thing, to win the championship.” Jalen Logan is a corner back being looked at by 5 different colleges. Treshawn Garrett, the star running back, is more than ecstatic for this season with his boys. He is currently being looked at by six different colleges and believes that “this is going to be an overall great season.  All the boys are more than ready to “Blow em out”.  This year Highland High is going to be blown away by our football team.

This year’s football team runs like a college style team. One insight that they always do is the battle field bless. Inspired by the college football team, USC, the Devil-dogs would do twenty-five jumping jacks and then kiss the field before every game. The biggest thing the boys are learning for this year is discipline, discipline, and more discipline. With all the hard work they put in Highland’s football team will be unstoppable.

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Ronald Reagan Leadership Program

 

 

20140627_121230by Jose Cordoba

Every summer the Ronald Reagan Presidential program hosts a Leadership program in which young leaders around Southern California apply for the opportunity to participate. High schools such as Highland High School have a partnership with the Library to recommend students they feel to exhibit leadership in their respective communities; Highland was allowed to choose thirty people to join, twenty from ROTC and ten from the campus. This program was designed so that students may be more engaged in civic leadership, and the number of students that may join the program is very limited, although  it is not impossible to join. After being nominated by a Highland administrator, our attendees filled out an application, then submitted their application to be reviewed.This program takes place over the summer over a four day period.

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In the Ronald Reagan Leadership Program, the students learn a variety of different skills applicable to any leader. Efficient communication, optimism, and informed decision making are only some of the many useful skills taught in this program. Students went through activities based on things that Ronald Reagan himself went through during his presidency. Not only was the program great for developing leadership skills, it was also an amazing way to get some real life experience. Many of the students went on to take leadership positions at Highland, important for those who decided to join a club and wanted to become more than just a member, like someone with a higher authority in the club. Rest assured, they have the skills needed because of Ronald Reagan Leadership Program.20140624_093030

Fortunately I was able to sit down and have an interview with Jasmine Adams who was one of the lucky few students who was able to go and attend this amazing program. In my interview with Ms. Adams stated, “This is more than just a random leadership conferences. Other ones I have been to were really big and were not very personal. The educators and leaders of the program really helped us.” Now, Jasmine Adams is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Paw Print, along with another Reagan attendee, Makeen Yasar, and is also the president of the Latin Club. Overall The Ronald Reagan Leadership program offers students a chance to increase their knowledge, skills, and life experience. I would encourage any of our students to work hard to be able to apply for a session over the summer. Hopefully this will transition into the greater community.

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Girls Tennis

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by Tristan Maxwell-Girod

The school year has been upon us for 4 weeks now and many things have started to happen. Among those “things” or activities is one of particular interest, in that it both demonstrates a huge amount of dedication and skill, and also displays a tremendous amount of school spirit. The nature of this activity is one of precision. Those who participate must constantly demonstrate their efficient use of hand-eye coordination, and they must be able to use said coordination to advance throughout the whole of the game. This sport of course is tennis…Girl’s Tennis. Although they haven’t had any real games yet, and therefore I am not able to determine their level of skill, I know that they have to be at least somewhat acceptable in order to get onto the team in the first place. Try-outs are what allows this to take place, the try-outs that were held the first week of practice, and there were or will be cuts made to the team if players are not up to par. Girl’s Tennis has their first game on the 9th of September, against Lancaster High School. The games have started; so show your school spirit, your Highland High School pride, go check them out!

(image courtesy to Kim Ma)

Perseids Meteor Shower

 

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by Daisy Garcia

The universe is fascinating. Throughout the year, the stars illuminate our skies, showing how expansive the universe can truly be. This cosmic wonder is intensified when an intergalactic shower of space particles falls through to Earth, and this year we’re blessed with two wonderful shows.

While most people were sleeping off the stress of coming back to school on August 11th, and preparing for the inevitable second day of school, something incredible was taking place in the night sky. At approximately 3 am in the morning to 4:30 am on August 12th, the Perseids Meteor Shower was visible to anyone who walked outside and looked up to the stars.

For the lucky few who were able to watch it, the experience was amazing. Highland senior, Miranda Nein stated that “it was so cool to see so many shooting stars like that”. Although she was not able to capture the event on camera, she says that she will never forget the experience. This is an annual meteor shower that occurs every August, so don’t worry if you missed it because in a year’s time, you will have another chance to see it for yourself.

The Perseids Meteor Shower is said to be the debris particles given off by the Swift-Tuttle comet that orbits the sun every 133 years. The reason we are able to see the meteor shower is due to the earth’s orbit through regions of the sky that contain broken off particles of the aforementioned comet. The passing of those particles through our atmosphere give us the illusion of shooting stars.

The next upcoming meteor shower, named Leonids Meteor Shower, will be on November 17th between midnight and dawn. Although the time at which the meteor shower will be at its peak of visibility is still unclear, NASA has released that it will be seen in the eastern sky. Yes, this means voluntarily waking up early but it also means making unforgettable life long memories.

 

Smile

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by Makeen Yasar 

When she smiled, I smiled

Hoping the feeling would last a while

Lost in what could be

I prayed for her to smile at me

Lost in what seemed like infinity

My latent epiphany was that she was elegantly and effortlessly

The epitome of what a smile should be

It was something that convinces

Convinces you that the multitude of a thousand and two faces

Couldn’t compare

They wouldn’t dare compete with hers

Most of the time I was at a loss for words

Her laugh sounded like the birds

Greeting the sunshine at the break of dawn

The curves of her lips seduced me and warmed my mind

Her presence beamed like light through the sky

I felt energized when she injected her life into mine

With a kiss she was able to slow down time

Just that one time

But against my anatomy I wanted to fly

My hopes were nigh impossible

Because I had a constant craving

I was a kid hooked on sugar, she was the Chocolate Factory

I dreamed of the Golden Ticket when I bought a bar

Hoping to share it with her

I gained an itch and a tick longing for her scent

I tossed and turned at night with the image of her smile imprinted on the screen in my head

And every night I would watch it before I went to bed

I didn’t get to see her smile as much

I scratched my skin with delusions of her touch

Withdrawal is a cruel, cruel mistress

I needed to take action

But our traction had worn the road between her and me

The bridge that connected us was worn thin, too rickety to cross

At a loss I looked for a reason to toss a note across the rapids

So that’s what I did, not to face the reality

Each night we would sign that letter imprinted with our personalities

So with my itch and tick I held onto a dwindling source of what kept me strong

Someday I’ll replenish my source and right what’s wrong

When she smiled, I smiled

(Image courtesy of BBC)

Clouds

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 by Makeen Yasar

The clouds mean the time to learn something has come. My first year of third grade taught me that. It was a pattern. Before the drought, the desert where I lived still had the occasional spell of rain. Now, rain avoids So-Cal like we have a restraining order against it, but I digress.

Every season when the warm air rose, expanded, and cooled, the vapor held condensed into masses around particles. My observant eight year mind looked on and said, “That’s water”, as rain fell from this atmospheric miracle. Every September, the clouds would roll across the sky in masses of cotton. This meant that school was to come. No matter how dreaded this foreboding message was, there was another message less bold that read something else.

I was blessed with good teachers, two lifelong ones that are currently my parents, and a former one that I had when I first really wanted to learn. Her name was Dr. Whitaker. Every time she would teach us a new subject my attention would be encapsulated by it. Most subjects were the bearers of good news, good news being news that I hadn’t heard before. Math was a puzzle, Science was a bright photo, History was an old portrait, Literature was a portal into a new world. I was learning. As the clouds shadowed our school, I would be exposed to something new because I was too young to know that all of it was very old.

One day at our school recess I stood outside on a stormy day to feel the wind push me while wondering if it made a difference if I pushed back. I looked to the sky as the pristine blue I was accustomed to seeing was marked by gray brush strokes. Each mass connected to the either like a bear’s stomach covered in fur. I learned that you can’t stay outside in the cold because you’ll get the sniffles.

The clouds marked learning. Now as I occasionally feel over encumbered by the stresses of young adulthood, I take joy in seeing the clouds come again. We start school when the heat is oppressive and the drought sucks water like a tired athlete. But when the clouds come, it marks for times when the rain pelted down on my face as I paddled around in puddles, too shallow for a lake, but deep enough for a pond in the eyes of a kid. I remember gathering by the fireplace reading a book, getting lost in an author’s words and then, lost in sleep. I remember how refreshing that air was. I remember how unforgiving that cold could be when I forgot my jacket at home and how each finger felt like an icicle about to break. I was learning.

Living is learning, and the clouds taught me a lot.

(Image Courtesy blog.commonfig.com)

Freshmen’s First Week

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By Myranda Munoz

On August 12, 2014, the Bulldogs opened their arms to welcome the incoming freshman to an exciting new year at Highland High School. With around four thousand students, now roaming the campus, the freshman attempt to find their place with sports, clubs, and extracurricular activities. Elaine Ma, one of Highland’s freshman stated that she will be following her older sister’s footsteps by joining the tennis team, “to do things in school besides the rigorous homework load”, Elaine also has her heart set out on joining Key Club, an organization that focus on doing good deeds around the community by participating in different activities. Only 179 days left of school and the freshman already seem eager to get on with the rest of their schooling.

Class of 2018 seems enthusiastic and optimistic about their future years at Highland High school. Elaine Ma stated that “[she] expected Highland High School students to be extremely rude but came to a big surprise when no one was rude at all, but came across as friendly”. It seems that the trend for this year’s students is to befriend everyone, and show how welcoming the Bulldogs can be.