ACORN June 2013
June 2012 1
Table of Contents 3.
Introducing Person of theYear, JOY HU!
Belieze 2013 by Katerina Nunez
The Great Gatsby, Reviewed by Zachary Palumbo
Love Is Not All:An essay by Lizzie Dzivulsky
Selections From the AP Studio Art Class
Writing College Essays, Brought to You by the Class of 2013
Dear Readers, ACORN has been one of my favorite Harley experiences and I’m sad that this is my last issue as editor. I have met so many fantastic people through the magazine and I have loved contributing ACORN to the Harley community along with them. I was only slightly aware of a school publication during my first few months at Harley, but now, four years later you’d be hard-pressed to find someone in the Harley community who hasn’t read ACORN at least once. So, I would like to thank all of YOU for the love! If not for all your contributions and interest in the magazine, ACORN would not be nearly so successful. This has been a wonderful year for ACORN, so successful we’ve increased the number of issues we print because so many of you are reading it. Thanks again, readers! I’m sad to part with ACORN, but I know I’m leaving the magazine in good hands. Zoe, Andrew, Fedric, Simone, Sarah and Seeley, I cannot wait to see ACORN grow under your leadership! Thank you for three funfilled years of literary excellence, and here’s to many, many more! ~Rose Holden Vacanti Gilroy
introducing Person of the Year,
The Great Gatsby Reviewed by Zachary Palumbo
Adapting F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic
Now that the film has arrived, the events of Fitzgerald’s novel seem portentous. The promise of Luhrmann’s Gatsby may have been great, but the film itself is sadly underwhelming. It’s got artistic flair in spades, and most of the performances— particularly that of DiCaprio as the titular character—are an absolute treat. Unfortunately, the film is plagued by its own spectacle, and the soul of the story is largely lost amid the fireworks.
The Great Gatsby is a feat that filmmakers have been attempting since virtually the beginning of the medium. The earliest version to see wide distribution was a silent film released in 1926. Gatsby’s second and third excursions to the silver screen arrived in 1949 and 1974. In 2000, the fourth major mounting of the story was released on television. For the sake of completionism, I may as well also mention the 2002 film, G, summarized on IMDb as That’s not to say that those fireworks are “a Gatsbyesque love story set against Hip- unspectacular; The Great Gatsby looks and Hop's invasion of the Hamptons.” sounds positively hotsy-totsy (that’s 1920’s speak for “super”… Google it, you’ll see). All of this is to say that, even after four Classic scenes—like the one in which Nick attempts (or five, if you count the anomaCarraway walks into a room full of flowlous G), our culture still lacked a definitive ing curtains to meet Daisy—benefit greatly Gatsby film. None of the versions were from Luhrmann’s beautiful direction and especially well-received by either critics cinematography. And the first time Nick or audiences. It seemed that the elusive enters one of Gatsby’s parties, you’ll be magic of Fitzgerald’s American fable swept away with him in the extravagance. would remain confined to the page. The soundtrack complements the visual smörgåsbord, infusing a hip-hop vibe Then came the announcement that Baz which perfectly fits the story’s setting. Luhrmann would be directing the latest version of The Great Gatsby. Many felt The problem is that Lurhmann often lacks that his signature visual flair was a good the sense of judgment necessary to dial fit for the story, one full of sprawling party back the sensory spectacle and allow the scenes and iconic imagery. And while it story to speak for itself. Important characpolarized viewers, Lurhmann’s Romeo ter moments—such as Nick’s night in the + Juliet also, provided precedent for the hotel room ending in uncomfortable disasdirector tackling beloved literary classics. ter when Tom Buchannan slaps Myrtle— For those who hoped for a truly successful become virtual footnotes. In their place, we film adaptation, a new green light apget numerous scenes of cars racing through peared on the horizon. the street at dizzying speeds while their Acorn
engines whir. They’re satisfying enough on a visceral level, but when they come at the expense of character development, they present themselves as unwelcome intrusions. Occasionally, Luhrmann does pull back, and it’s in these rare moments that the film is at its most effective by orders of magnitude. The most notable of these less bombastic scenes is the climactic confrontation between Gatsby and Tom. The scene takes place in an ordinary-looking room. It is devoid of music, and the few camera tricks present are employed to serve the unfolding events. For a moment, we are alone with these characters, and the drama comes to the forefront. The effectiveness of this scene is due not only to its subtle direction but also the strength of the actors. DiCaprio and Edgerton masterfully mount the tension between Gatsby and Tom while Mulligan perfectly evokes an increasingly desperate and distraught Daisy. By the time Gatsby explodes into a fit of rage, you believe every moment.
good fit for the role. McGuire infuses Nick with a sense of almost adolescent silliness, which, while it served him well in his role as Peter Parker, feels out of place in this story. His performance also lacks the gravitas to make his more dramatic monologues shine in the way they deserve, an issue which becomes especially apparent in his recitation of the famous closing lines of the novel. In the end, The Great Gatsby is a beautiful fool of a film. On a technical level, it’s nothing short of marvelous, and for some it may be worth seeing for the spectacle alone. Those hoping for an emotionally and intellectually rich experience, however, would be better off re-reading the book. Perhaps one day we will get a definitive Gatsby film, one that captures everything which makes the book a classic…but try not to pine too intensely over that green light, because odds are, you’ll be disappointed. 2.5 acorns out of 5.
These actors are generally brilliant throughout. While Luhrmann’s direction often obscures the subtler elements of the novel’s characters, it is always easy to appreciate DiCaprio’s immensely charming and sympathetic Gatsby, Mulligan’s detached yet alluring Daisy, and Edgerton’s utterly dickish Tom. I’ve deliberately omitted Toby McGuire from that list. While is performance as Nick Carraway is by no means bad, he isn’t a particularly
BELIZE By Katerina Nunez
was woken by my cell phone buzzing at 3 am. I popped out of bed, grabbed my backpack and rushed downstairs. "Are you sure you have EVERYTHING?" my mother asked as I turned the switch on our toaster oven. "Yes, Mother!" I snapped. By 4:30 we arrived at the airport. I waited patiently for everyone to arrive with my face shoved into a book. The first flight to Acorn
Cleveland would have been a breeze if it wasn't delayed! By the time we arrived in Ohio, our forty minute layover had passed, but luckily, they held the flight for us. Sprinting through the airport, we boarded our flight to Houston just in time. Our stroke of luck soon faded though, when a mechanical error caused us to miss our connecting flight from Houston to Belize. Between
unning through terminals, anxiety of flight mishaps, and long hours in a cramped plane, we were all bitter when we arrived in Belize and then a three hour cramped van ride from Belize City to Dangirga. When we finally arrived at the Jungle Huts, a hot family style dinner was waiting for us: purple and white yams, carrots, baked beans, chicken, and fresh pineapple juice! The three hour time difference didn't seem like much at first, but by the time we unpacked and settled in, we were exhausted! The next morning was our first real day in Belize, and our only day of tourism. After a delicious breakfast of Sopapillas, a type of fried dough, scrambled eggs, sausage, beans, fresh watermelon, and pineapple juice, we packed our bags and headed three hours out to the Xantinich Mayan Ruins! The Belizean sun was blazing down on us but even the hot, sticky weather was better than snowy Rochester back home! We wrapped up our Sunday with some shopping at the vendors and gift shops and then headed back to the Jungle Huts for a delicious fish dinner! Each evening after dinner we headed .8 miles down the road to the Pelican Beach Resort, where the Intervol doctors stayed. There, the ocean awaited us. The night sky over the Caribbean was a perfect way to end the day! For the remainder of the week we rotated between medical clinics in the villages, hospice home visits in Dangriga, the Belize Cancer Center, and the Dangriga Hospital. At the clinics we assisted the doctors with weighing children and adults, passing out toothbrushes, toothpaste, coloring books, crayons, and clothes, and talking to the kids and keeping them busy while they waited for their turn with the doctor. The hospice home visits consisted of routine vitals and socializing with the fami-
lies. Keeping them company and hearing their stories filled up most of our day. The cancer center in Dangriga is the only oncology center in the entire country. There, we met with patients from all across the country, accompanied them while they received their chemo, and took their vitals. The Dangriga Hospital offered many opportunities. We were able to work with the dentist, obgyn, and cardiologist. In addition, brave souls among us could even watch surgeries! I myself watched a hysterectomy. In Belize, the only opportunity the Belizeans get to have such check ups and surgeries is when the Intervol doctors come down, which is usually no more than once or twice a year. The Dangirga hospital has a lot to offer for their people. Unfortunately, they are limited because there is only so much that can be afforded. Strong Hospital in Rochester alone has a yearly budget of 1.2 billion dollars! All together, five hospitals in the country of Belize have a yearly budget of just one million dollars. Our time in Belize was fun, rewarding, tiring, and absolutely amazing. Our flight home on Saturday was long and groggy. We were all sad to be leaving paradise, and we were all preparing for a major culture shock. The biggest thing I gained from our trip to Belize is how lucky I am. I have access to all levels of medical care. I have an endless supply of food, water, and air conditioning. Things like a meningitis shot that are so easily obtained in America are not found in Belize. I have learned to appreciate everything America has to offer, and how lucky I am to be a part of my community.
Love Is Not All By Lizzie Dzivulsky
We often categorize tragedy with love. We think love is all we need. This cliché appears in books, movies and life. Love is the world’s most complex unsolved mystery and it doesn’t come with directions. We understand how the planets spin, but we can hardly tell when someone close to us is hurting. When two people commence a romantic relationship they think they’re signing up for love, but that’s not all they get. In most cases, where love goes tragedy follows. In the movie 500 Days of Summer there is a very interesting quote:“This is a story about love, not a love story.” This quote unleashes the fact that stories of love aren’t always love stories; some, end as tragedies such as the world renowned play by William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet. So why does suffering accompany romance? We try so hard to make love work whenever we see a glimpse of it, and it all goes to waste. Could it be the naivete of our kind or the unrealistic expectations we force on ourselves? Or is it just a part of life that we have to learn and overcome? In the next few pages I will compare and contrast 500 Days of Summer with Romeo and Juliet, explain how love leads to suffering, why it is important to stage human suffering and what tragedy means. Both 500 Days of Summer and Romeo and Juliet are love stories that lead to suffering. Both stories are similar and different. Romeo and Juliet is a true tragedy not just because Romeo and Juliet die, but because they couldn’t walk on this earth if they weren’t together. Their desire to be with each other was so strong that it made disabled them. They became so codependent on each other that life without each other was more morbid than death itself. 500 Days of Summer is not a tragedy because the hero of the story, Tom, overcomes his misery and discovers his true passion and tries to fulfill it. Although these stories differ in genre they have very similar motifs. For example, Tom believes the only way his life will stop feeling drab is when he meets the girl of his dreams, and there’s only one girl that can fulfill all his needs. He becomes so dependent on Summer that he doesn’t accept the fact that Summer is breaking up with him. Dependency and the idea that one cannot go on without another person is reoccurring. This idea is absurd. If you already have lived without a person for a number of years, then you can indeed live without them. This is technically true, but when someone finds someone they’ve been desperately searching for they don’t want to let go. Most people desire to be in relationships so they can feel happy and loved, but life doesn’t work that way, and people end up getting hurt in their pursuit of happiness. One of the biggest reasons love ends in suffering is result of the crazy expectations and standards people create. If everyone who desires someone else stopped pushing for relationships and love to happen, then love would happen. Suffering comes about when someone realizes the person they thought they wanted doesn’t end up being the person they thought they were. This is also a result of high standards and expectations. Relationships are tempting, especially when you feel lonely. My point is that we shouldn’t rely on other people for our own happiness, or for someone to save us from our heartache. Sometimes you need to be your own hero and save your own heart, because the people you can’t imagine living without can actually live without you. Real tragedy is rarely popularized, it’s too real for most people to fully grasp. It’s the part of the movie that isn’t displayed. Real tragedy is when you don’t learn from your mistakes the tenth time around. An example of real tragedy is when someone is going through a rough time and kill Acorn
themselves because all they want is out of that situation. No matter what, life is always better than death because change is possible in life, but not in death. Society doesn’t want anything to do with pain, so why do we write books and poems and make movies all about tragedies? Well, the answer is simple: without pain we would forget what compassion feels like. Pain can bring people together or tear them apart. But getting the wind knocked out of you is what reminds your lungs how much they love the taste of fresh air. The only way we get stronger is by going through difficult situations. So maybe pain isn’t that bad. In fact, maybe it’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to the human race. Without pain we would be weak, creatures searching for a way out. Some people are already like that, not because the pain is so bad, but because they have no faith that tomorrow will be a better day, or that when the pain passes they will be numb again. Our job as a society is to remind each other that we are not alone we have each other to rely on when tragedy strikes. If people were more compassionate towards one another, and less judgmental, this world would be a lovelier place.
Ap art 2013 Rosie
Brought to you by the class of 2013
THE COMMON APP ESSAY:
It’s 8:52 on a Friday night. My sister and I can barely contain our excitement. We stare at the digital clock on the television, willing the numbers to change. After what seems like an hour, the clock reads 8:59. My sister lets out a yelp. “Girls!” my father shouts, “Be quiet! It’s just a TV show!” “Dad,” I say for the hundredth time, “It’s not just a TV show, it’s Fringe!” Yes, Fringe is a well-written series with exceptional acting and compelling storylines, certainly enough so to earn it favorable reviews. But I am not just entertained by Fringe- I am captivated by it. Fringe is a show about an FBI agent, Olivia Dunham, who teams up with an institutionalized scientist, Walter Bishop, and his brilliant yet unconventional con-man son, Peter. Together, they investigate cases that deal with science that is “on the fringe” of reality. One of the reasons I love Fringe is because the FBI protagonist is a woman. Olivia is always the one leading the raids, and Peter is her sidekick. Almost every other crime drama has a man as the lead, a gun in one arm and a beautiful woman on the other. Or if the woman is the star, she is forced to act strikingly masculine. I am an advocate of gender equality and exasperated by media portrayals which perpetuate gender stereotypes. Fringe challenges the norm by showing that women can take on traditionally male roles but still maintain their femininity while men do not have to be in charge to be likable, successful, and admired. Perhaps the aspect of the show I have found most thought-provoking is the discovery of a parallel universe. In this universe, each person has an alternate self who looks identical, but who has made different choices. It makes me think about the power of choice and ponder the impact of my own decisions. For example, my tennis coaches encouraged and expected me to focus solely on tennis, but I chose to play a different sport each season. Recently, I played my last high school tennis match. As I reflect back, I am happy with my decision; I can now look forward to basketball season starting. My teammates and I will run out onto the court doing lay ups while loud music blares in the gymnasium. Come spring, I will rejoin the Ultimate Frisbee community, where sun is welcome, but rainy days are a chance to practice our lay-outs in the mud. It’s finally 9:00 and my sister and I remain silent for the next hour with our eyes glued to the TV. We are already anticipating the next episode. Sadly, Fringe is now in its final season. One consolation, however, is that I will be in college next year and will, no doubt, have adventures of my own. I am hoping that I’ll have them at Brown, where the curriculum is not stereotyped and students are trusted with the freedom to make wise choices about their own education. 11
Strč Prst Skrz Krk “So, where are you headed?” my new friend asked me. “I’m going home to the US,” I replied. “Home? You mean you’re not Czech?” She stared at me in disbelief. We had been talking for a few minutes: the usual introductions, complaints about the weather, and declarations of Brno’s supreme status as the best city in the world. That she didn’t guess that I wasn’t a native made all the grammar exercises and vocabulary lists worth it. My year spent abroad was the greatest experience of my life, and knowing Czech is the best souvenir. Learning Czech was the most difficult thing I have ever done. It’s a unique language without an established pedagogy. However, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the Czech people while I was living there, and learning their language was the perfect window into their culture. Czech has at least six words for what we call cake, and different verbs for emphasizing the process or emphasizing the product. With my background, I didn’t even understand the differences between “dort” cake and “piškot” cake. Most importantly, as I mastered tricky declensions in three genders, I found a barrier between me and the people I met in the Czech Republic was melting. One of my fondest memories is of when my host sister Jana taught me to count. On a walk about a week into my stay, I was drilling her on various words by pointing to things as we passed them. Eventually, I decided to branch out from just naming things and began to count the Chihuahua-sized slugs dotting the sidewalk. I started, ”1 slimak. 2 slimaci. 3 slimaci. 4 slimaci. 5 slimaci.” “Ne. 5 slimaků,“ Jana corrected me. “Slimaků?“ I was baffled. Jana counted aloud again. For every noun, the plural form for 2-4 is different from the form for 5 and above. The case changes. When I finished balking, I practiced counting every noun I knew, and Jana told me which form I had to use. I learned the rule, but that I learned it by counting slugs is what makes it stick in my mind. I don’t speak perfect Czech, but the version I do speak is one shaped by my experiences, and that’s why it is so valuable to me. Learning the language in Morava −the Eastern, and better, half of the country−endowed me with a batch of Austrian-inspired regional slang and perpetually short vowels. New York finds a way to shine through in my improvised diphthongs and inability to pronounce “třicet.” The word “hnuj,” or manure, became part of my vocabulary when my math teacher was describing the quality of my notes. Everything I know, I know for a reason. Like my passport, my Czech carries proof of where I’ve been, and I hope I never lose either of them.
Rose Vacanti Gilroy
Mickey Mouse Pancakes Do you remember the moment when you first felt grown up? I do. It was two years ago when my aunt let me take her daughter, my two year old cousin, Emi, out for breakfast on our own. No adults, just Emi and me. The summer Emi turned two and I turned sixteen was when I finally got the chance to get to know Emi and spend time with her at her home in California. Before our trip to California Emi and I had met only two or three times, and then it always seemed like she was napping or being whisked away by her nanny, so I did not get to see her much. Things were different, however, on our 2010 trip: Emi was older, and she made it clear she wanted to play only with me, "Cousin Rosie." Emi warmed up to me quickly, inviting me to her princess tea parties and asking for help with her incredibly messy art projects. At times it was rather difficult to relax and enjoy ourselves with my aunt or the nanny always hovering over us, doubtful of my childcare skills. I wanted to be trusted to take care of Emi so that we could get to know each other better, and I knew I had to prove myself to Aunt Liz, one of the world's most protective moms. On the last day of our vacation at Emi's house my aunt mentioned she was going out for coffee with my dad. Instead of telling me I would be staying home with Emi and the nanny, Aunt Liz asked me if I wanted to take Emi out for breakfast. I was so excited! For the first time my aunt was trusting me to take care of her daughter! I felt so grown up. Here was my chance to prove I could take care of Emi all by myself, and make this the perfect cousin bonding moment. I still remember entering the diner in Manhattan Beach, holding Emi's hand that was already sticky from an early morning Dora the Explorer project. Emi started out the meal sitting next to me in the booth, soon climbing into my lap so I could help her color the fish on her placemat. I ordered Emi her favorite breakfast meal, Mickey Mouse pancakes, and she was delighted. I was so pleased with myself: Emi was genuinely enjoying her time with me. When our food arrived I tucked Emi's napkin into the collar of her dress and cut her pancakes into two-year-old-sized bites. Then I filled her sippy cup with orange juice that I could already see dripping down her chubby face. While we ate together Emi told me endless stories about her favorite Disney princesses. After breakfast I took her to the bathroom and she let me wash the sticky syrup off her hands and cheeks. I still remember the sense of responsibility I felt as I cleaned her up. When my aunt met us after breakfast, I could not have been more proud to report that all had gone smoothly and that Emi had not cried once. My aunt did not seem too surprised by this, and that's when I realized that she really did trust me to take care of her daughter. Her trust felt like a gold medal draped around my neck. Since our cousins-only breakfast nearly two-and-a-half years ago, I have not seen Emi all that much, but when I do get to spend time with her we are inseparable. This summer, Emi and her family spent a lovely week with my family at our cottage on Keuka Lake. I took Emi on walks that turned into piggy-back rides, helped her pedal the paddle boat for which her legs were just a bit too short, and built intricate water-fairy houses with her on the beach. Sometimes Emi requested that my aunt let us play alone--"Rosie time," as she called it. Even though Emi and I are fourteen years apart and did not get to grow up together, I know that we are friends forever. Emi does not know it, but she gave me an invaluable gift. Being trusted to take care of her was the first time I ever felt grown up. 13
Mikayla Brennan-Burke I stared into Ernest’s cobalt eyes as he approached me. Our instructor’s words reverberated in my ears: “Don’t be human. Be more or less than human.” Soon Ernest was directly before me. Without hesitation, we clasped hands and twirled in circles before he raised me into the air, lifting me by the waist. When my feet returned to the ground, he became a marionette and moved at the command of my fingers. The gentle pulse of music mixed with the sunlight pouring in from high windows as our dance progressed. Then as quickly as it began, the moment ended; we resumed our wandering. This exercise became a daily routine in my Movement class in my four weeks at the New York State Summer School of the Arts: School of Theatre (NYSSSA). The purpose of this lesson: to focus on moving comfortably with our bodies. Each day, we were expected to repress our conscious gestures and to permit our bodies to lead by instinct. Initially, this was challenging. I love to plan. I am eager to initiate ideas and to anticipate what is coming next. How could I let go and allow my body to follow an idea that was unplanned and impulsive? I had struggled with creating natural movements in my acting. But as the summer progressed, I became more spontaneous and instinctive. For the closing showcase another actor, James, and I were assigned a scene from A.R. Gurney’s The Middle Ages. First, I did my research – I read the play and recreated background situations. I embellished the script with my own back story of the formative events that shaped the characters Eleanor and Barney. Barney loves Eleanor, but at this point in play, he doesn’t fit into her life. Once we memorized our lines and discussed the motives and objectives of our characters, our coach challenged us to “stand up and see what happens.” We discovered movement in the scene that evolved with each rehearsal during the next two weeks. One day, while practicing, my scene partner James surprised me by running around the couch, dangling a set of keys above my head and out of reach. I didn’t hesitate. As Eleanor, I needed those keys to unlock the door; I was trapped. So I chased him around the room to recover the keys. I didn’t plan how I thought Eleanor should move – because I understood her conflict, I could be her and respond as she would. In The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp writes, “Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity. But without proper preparation, I cannot see it, retain it, and use it.” Understanding my character, myself, and the background of the play allowed me to move freely and act on the impulses that I felt as Eleanor. I found, with preparation, liberty to be creative. At NYSSSA, I learned the importance of merging discipline and risk-taking as an actor, as a student, and as a person. This experience guides me as I strive to act imaginatively in all that I do.
Rose Vacanti Gilroy
Supplemental Essays: “What intrigues you?”
Every Sunday when the New York Times arrives, I immediately flip to page four and read “On the Street” by Bill Cunningham. His column combines two of my favorite topics: fashion and New York City. While I enjoy reading other style magazines such as Vogue or Elle, no other style column highlights candid photos of people on the street as Mr. Cunningham’s. In a documentary about Bill Cunningham I learned that he rides around NYC on his bike taking photos of random people. I love this idea because as much as I enjoy reading about what designers are showing each season, I am more inspired by outfits ordinary people wear and create themselves. As a child I changed my outfit at least three times per day. There were the wardrobe staples I always insisted on wearing, such as my butterfly wings headband, Mickey Mouse sunglasses, and ladybug rain boots, but other than those, I frequently switched from tutus to overalls to jumpers. It’s too bad Mr. Cunningham never rode his bike through rural Vermont, where I lived at the time, because I would have made a great candid photo for his column. Fashion is my favorite form of self-expression because it is so personal and no two people dress exactly alike. I wonder what inspiration Mr. Cunningham will find on the street next week.
“What makes you special?”
My siblings and I encourage one another to follow our dreams and to not settle for only those dreams which are realistic or easily attainable. We have adopted the motto, “Go big or go home.” I have a myriad of dreams for various aspects of my future that are detailed in my frequently-updated Word Document “My Bucket List.” I want to explore the world, travel to faraway places, experience other cultures, and learn more about my own in doing so. I want to see the Northern Lights, visit all 50 U.S. states, and ride a camel across the desert. I want to continue to act, sing, paint, and draw. I want to read every single Shakespeare play, go on a whale watch, and have a Lord of the Rings movie marathon. I want to spend a summer working at the Renaissance Fair. I want to sit down with my Grandma and have her tell me the old family stories before she dies. I want to narrate audio books, be the model in the big prom dress on the cover of cheesy vampire novels, and direct the musical The Prince of Egypt. I want to “go big.” I’m not “going home” unless it is to live in a stone house complete with turret, willow tree, porch swing, and creek. But in the meantime, a dorm room in Harris Hall sounds perfect.
Jeffery’s Page Cigs
ver the summer of 2012 I found a YouTube comedian that touched me deeply. His name was D’andre Gary Siggers (AKA dcigs). He was a very vocal man, never considering the idea of a language filter. This resulted in him shouting profanities and self-racial slurs at the camera in front of restaurants and other commercial establishments. The videos were rude, and insensitive to sensitive topics. Cigs may have offended people, but by god the videos were funny. They were about as funny as some Seinfeld episodes. Cigs was born around 1989-1990. Born into a family of four, his family consisted of a free-lancing mother, a deadbeat dad, and two sisters. His mother, not wanting another responsibility on her hands, set her mind on giving him up for adoption. His grandmother, however, insisted that she take care of him, and would not allow Cigs’ mother to send him to foster care. At the start of his grandmother’s care, he was
3 days old and he remained with her until 2010. The way he described his life until 2009 can be summed up in a single word: downhill. At age seven, his grandmother’s frail health began degrading even further, and his family moved to Houston, Texas, where he now resides. Cig’s situation worsened over time. He faced molestation, physical abuse by his stepdad and mother, and he dropped out of his senior year in high school to take care of grandmother. At age 16, his comedy started to manifest itself. His comedy would become one of his only consolations in his life other than his grandmother, while he suffered from hardships and drama all around him. In 2010 his grandmother died after a long life battling diseases. What inspires me about this Cigs is that he is able to make rebounds from tragedies like these. His personal tragedies don’t get him down. He never quit his pursuit of his goal: making people laugh as hard as they could, and being there for his audience
when they have bad things going on in their life. After watching video after video of his ranting and skits, I laughed hard and long. And then I realized that I wanted to have this man’s social skills and sense of humor. So I tried for a long arduous year, my long arduous year of 10th grade. It made me slightly funny. Sure, people may consider me a comedian, but honestly, I don’t find myself THAT funny. From time to time Cigs gave motivational speeches to his fans. All around the world, people have problems they need to get off their chest. Trust me, I’ve been there to calm people and let them sob Coldplay’s waterfalls on my shoulder, metaphorically and figuratively. Cigs listens to his fans and gives them help with their problems. He replies to a good amount of comments, and from time to time, he posts a few videos of him self preaching inspiration while a movie soundtrack plays in the background, like a preacher in a church. Everyday I’m sad about my life because one-two-three-freaking INFINITY things aren’t going my way. No, I don’t think about his motivational speeches in school that much; they don’t bring my mood up 95s-100s on tests and quizzes bring my mood up. However, when I get home, I watch Cigs’ vlogs of him preaching inspiration out of his ears and armpits, and any other skin pore Zachary Palumbo, M.D., can think of, and I get the energy, reason, and power to plow through big papers and study sessions. D’andre Gary Siggers is one of my biggest inspirations, and probably inspires others, too. Even when he goes through hardships in life he insists to his fans and to himself that they must put a smile on their face and swim through the bull crap. Determination and hope emanates off Cigs. And yes, he may not seem the likely vessel for it because he can be rude, loud, and obnoxious.
He cusses out haters so hard you’d think he was the master of roasts. But underneath all that there is a compassionate human being, like most of us. And that is why such a man can inspire and give hope to many people in the world without even physically being there for him.
Rose Holden Vacanti Gilroy’13 Design and Layout Editor
Andrew Wang’14 Executive Editors
Zoe Rankin’14 Sarah Fink’15 Seeley Taylor’16 Contact Editor
Mr. Gaffney Advisor
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