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Best Of 2011 Edition

UPPER IOWA UNIVERSITY HAS A LOT TO BRAG ABOUT “ I chose Upper Iowa University to develop and broaden my education, play competitive collegiate sports, and meet new people. UIU offers opportunities to young minds everyday.” Shaina Marnell, ‘12 Hanover Park, IL

STUDENT FOCUSED – graduating students with less debt than any other private institution in Iowa EXCELLENT FACILITIES – completing $75 million in Phase I construction of classrooms, residence halls, and a student center GLOBALLY AVAILABLE – offering degrees through 17 U.S. educational centers and 3 international locations ONLINE EXCELLENCE – nationally ranked among top online degree-granting universities by Online Education Database and repeatedly rated for “best buy” programs by

Learn more at the

800-553-4150 On Campus • Distance Education • U.S. & International Centers

Upper Iowa UnIversIty has a lot to brag aboUt

IA Sports ad - Jan 2011 - 7.875 x 4.indd 1

“ I transferred to UIU because it has a more personal environment than many other schools and I can be more one-onone with professors and my advisor. The two-at-a-time class schedule gives me a healthy balance of class, athletics, and other extracurriculars.”

1/5/2011 9:13:01 AM

stUdent FocUsed – graduating students with less debt than any other private institution in Iowa excellent FacIlItIes – completing $75 million in Phase I construction of classrooms, residence halls, and a student center globally avaIlable – offering degrees through 16 U.S. educational centers and 3 international locations onlIne excellence – nationally ranked among top online degree-granting universities by Online Education Database and repeatedly rated for “best buy” programs by

Kirby Hovden, ‘12 West Union, IA

Learn more at

800-553-4150 On Campus • Distance Education • U.S. & International Centers

Table of Contents

An Uphill Battle By Ethan Clevenger - High school assembly writer

Student Life | Digital Craze Sweeps the Nation


College Prep | Dorm Necessities


College Prep | Save Money in College


Academics | Iowa Universities Facts


Entertainment | Cedar Rapids: The Movie


Entertainment | Nicki Minaj Review


Student Life | Be Careful What you Post/Tweet


Today marks my first time writing a bit for the opening page

here to introduce you to this month’s issue.

You may notice that this issue is a bit slow in hitting the web,

which is due to many factors, and to be honest, we faced an

uphill battle with this issue.

Prom around the state of Iowa is obviously important to the

students taking part, and therefore lends itself stupendously to our magazine. This year we decided to have a go at summing up some of the trends around Iowa, noting the cool after-

parties and showcasing some of the best pictures.

I’ve always been one to say that the best pictures happen

when you give your camera to your friends and let them do

whatever they want with it. Iowa is a big state and there are a

lot of proms going on, so not only is it difficult for us to show

up and grab pictures for our center spread, but our magazine

revolves around the submitted work of high school students.

Therefore, it seemed only natural that we fill it up with pictures that our readers took.

Additionally, to get information about proms around Iowa

such as themes, attendants and any other cool information, we reached out to schools through e-mail and telephone.

Unfortunately, the results of this endeavor bear a striking

Assembly 2928 Ingersoll Ave. Des Moines, IA 50312 PH: 515.283.1933 FAX: 515.283.1646

Volume Six | Issue SIX Mike Rickord | President

John Streets | Business Consultant

Joe stasi | Account Executive

Tim Weideman | Editor Ethan Clevenger | Student Writer ADAM OESTREICH | Graphic Design Intern Lauren Smith| Staff Writer/Graphic Design Intern

resemblance to the results of the website’s mantra in general. While the intention of the site is to get reader-submitted

content, we rarely get a submission. In fact, since I’ve been here, we haven’t received one despite efforts to reach out to schools.

To combat this, I spend a lot of times crawling journalism web sites from schools around the state to put up their content anyway, giving them due credit.

Similarly, our phone calls and e-mails were, in large part, not

responded to. You will therefore notice that there is no article about prom at different schools or ideas that can be shared. Fortunately, we were able to team up with the Des Moines Register to get some pictures for our center spread.

What you will see in this issue, however, is content that I have

pulled from school’s websites. These are great articles that I

thought fit this issue’s theme very well, and gave me the chance to show just what can happen if our readers get out there and

submit their articles.

Site statistics tell us that we aren’t suffering from a lack of

readers. We’re just not getting submissions from those readers. So I’m asking those of you reading right now to jump on board

and help make both this website and magazine the best it can be.

EDUARDO TAMEZ | Staff Writer

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Student Technology Take-over: The End of Books Amanda Khader Cedar Rapids Jefferson “Carry your library in 8.5 ounces,” is the motto used by the Amazon Kindle device, a top selling product leaving readers in fear that technology may be taking over their beloved books and libraries. “Tapes and CDs’ are now almost all electronic and I think that books seem to be going in that direction,” science teacher and Kindle owner Alison Goril said. Goril received her Kindle as a Christmas present while her husband got the iPad.

obtainable with the Kindle. That includes international books, magazines (delivered before newsstands), novels and newspapers, which are delivered electronically in the morning.

and one third inches and approximately seven tenths of an inch thick, and weighs eight and a half ounces, although the weight may vary. The size resembles a book, but the Kindle is lighter.

Goril said that public domain books are free on the Kindle, but she isn’t sure if all other books are cheaper, although she said most books are on sale when they are first released.

Sophomore Kelli Kiekhoefer owns a Kindle. She thinks that eventually e-readers will take over books.

The price of “Twilight” by Stephanie Meyer is $8.99 for the electronic version. The paperback version is $7.99 at Amazon.

“I am a fan of e-readers because they take up less space and I like reading on them because it is easier to shop and buy books,” Goril said.

The Kindle has free trials on newspapers and previews on almost all books before readers decide to buy the reading material. Bookstores don’t let readers return a book after it has been clearly opened. The Kindle uses electronic paper on a high-resolution screen that looks and feels like paper. The screen is designed so it is easily readable and doesn’t strain the user’s eyes.

There are more than 775,000 readings

Its size is seven and a half inches by five

The Kindle first appeared in 2007 made by Amazon and over four million have sold since the price cut by the end of 2009. Today, the Kindle’s price ranges from $139 to $379 depending on the features.

“I like it because it’s easier to take places, but I can’t take it to school,” Kiekhoefer said.

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Recently, Amazon has added other features to the Kindle, such as no glare in sunlight, darker font, a one month life on a one battery charge, faster page turning, faster Wi-Fi and a larger storage in the Kindle’s library. A new feature of the Kindle allows users to lend their purchased novels to other readers for about 14 days. It’s the electronic version of a book club. “My husband owns the iPad and I have the Kindle and I like that we can transfer books from the iPad to my Kindle,” Goril continued on page 6


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Volume 6 Issue 6


Student Technology Takeover continued 2 / from page 5

3 / to carry 3/ “It would make books easier Goril and organize. 5 said that there is potential for libraries to be hurt if they My sister Katie said. “It’s a really great feature.” don’t move in the electronic who is in college direction, but she agrees with could use one Besides the Kindle, there are other Johnson and doesn’t think books because it e-readers such as the Nook from Barnes will completely go away. can hold the and Noble. The Nook is $149 or $199, books she but the color Nook is $250. Many of the “I like my Harry Potter books needs without Nook’s features are similar to the Kindle. Usher The Rocket Summer in hardback and really any the weight,” Raymond v. Raymond OfKiekhoefer Men and Angels book special to me,” Goril said. said. Jefferson librarian Becky Johnson does “Although the Kindle has a not2own / an e-reader, but she is thinking 2/ highlight feature, I like having Johnson believes about 23buying one. 23 my Bibleto write in and highlight that books and passages myself.” libraries will not “I am debating about which one to get. I be taken over by want to support Barnes and Noble [with Amazon Kindle Millions of e-readers have sold electronics. the Nook], but the Kindle might be more Courtesy of Google Images and will continue to sell as the what I want,” Johnson said. features are enhanced, but some “The library and people just aren’t ready to give librarian are changing, but they help So are e-readers taking over books? “It up being able to hold a book while students access information,” Johnson is definitely a shift, Lifehouse but some people still Daniel Merriweather Gorillaz reading it. said. like print,” Johnson said. “I like to have Love and War Plastic Beach Smoke and Mirrors a book in hand. E-readers are just a Johnson is looking forward 2 / format of the same thing.”2 / 3 / to the new different Cedar Rapids Public Library 23 23 9 and thinks that it will help the survival of nonIf the school library had more funding, electronic reading materials because of Johnson would like to have laptops and the people who will go there. e-readers available for students use. “In order for libraries to stay alive, they Kiekhoefer thinks that the Kindle would need to meet the needs of the people in positively impact students if they were the community,” Johnson said. available at school. 16

2/ 23

Alkaline Trio This Addiction

“I chose Upper Iowa to excel in my education. With my busy sports schedule, one of the many benefits of UIU is that I can take just two courses each term—eight courses a year. I can manage my time easier this way!” Jamie Kruse, ‘12 Cedar Rapids, IA

DJ Khaled Victory

Monica Still Standing

STUDENT FOCUSED – graduating students with less debt than any other private institution in Iowa EXCELLENT FACILITIES – completing $75 million in Phase I construction of classrooms, a residence hall, and a student center GLOBALLY AVAILABLE – offering degrees through 17 U.S. educational centers and 3 international locations ONLINE EXCELLENCE – nationally ranked among top online degree-granting universities by Online Education Database and repeatedly rated for “best buy” programs by

Learn more at


Volume 6 Issue 6 IA Sports ad - Nov 2010 - 7.875 x 4.5.indd 1

Visit us on the web @ 11/16/2010 8:54:06 AM

Digital Craze Sweeps the Nation In these technologically advanced times, many are giving up their books, CDs and DVDs while making the switch to completely digital purchases. Statistics suggest that digital downloads have a very good chance of surpassing CD sales in the very near future; one report even estimates that this idea will become a reality by 2012. In 2008, digital sales accounted for 1.7 billion sales, while physical sales stood at 5.5 billion. Just two years later in 2010, digital sales increased dramatically to 2.1 billion while physical sales continued their descent downward to 3.6 billion sales.

DVD and Blu-ray discs, fell 7.1 percent from one year ago to 4.7 billion copies. DVD’s accounted for 4 billion of those sales, while Blu-ray discs accounted for 733 million of the sales. On the other hand, digital downloads rose 23 percent in one year. Overall, they had a total of 1.1 billion in sales.

Many prefer digital media because of its convenience. “I used to buy DVDs, but now I just download it either on Amazon, or I download it on iTunes and watch it on my iPod. It is a lot easier to watch and a lot more Many CFHS convenient Digital Music Sales have Surpassed CD Sales students are as I can Photo courtesy of Google Images joining the digital watch it trend as well. Sophomore Marie Deviney from whatever computer I’m at, so I do said, “Back when I was little, I used to not need to worry about being near a buy CDs all the time when there was TV or DVD player,” sophomore Haley new music out that I wanted, but when McDermott said. Apple released iPods, I had to get an iTunes account, and now it is a lot Deviney agreed. “I do not have to go easier to just purchase your music on out to the store and browse through the iTunes and download it to your iPod.” whole department to find the CD that I want. I can just stay at home sitting The digital craze is occurring in movies on my couch and download my music too as consumers download films through a click by the mouse.” digitally instead of purchasing DVDs. Packaged media sales, which include Many people at the high school are

Student Aaron Parsons Cedar Falls also getting the Amazon Kindle to download books electronically. Amazon customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books, which is astonishing since they have been selling hardcover books for 15 years and Kindle E-books for a mere 33 months. The Cedar Falls Public Library has many E-books available to download. Just visit its website to receive instructions on how to download one. The E-books can transfer to Nook, Sony and Kobo; however, the Kindle does not work due to its proprietary format. iPod Touches and iPhones also allow users to read E-books from an application on the device. Also keeping up with the digital offerings, the Cedar Falls Public Library is working hard to keep up with new digital offerings Patrons can explore what is available on their website. Senior Kirsten Weaver is making a prediction about the future. She said, “I think that as the world goes more into the future, digital downloads like iTunes and E-books will continue to increase in sales. I think that it is possible that they even stop making DVDs and CDs altogether.”

Good June 1 - 30, 2011.

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Volume 6 Issue 6


Student Rate My Teachers Ethan Clevenger Staff Writer Have you ever wanted to really blow off some steam about a teacher? Recently brought to my attention was a place students can do this anonymously for the benefit of students to come. is a website designed to do just that: Rate your teachers. Teachers are judged based on easiness, helpfulness and clarity, which is compiled for a general popularity score. Sounds like a great idea, right? The idea in itself is great, yes, but it has some drawbacks. We’re all aware that in high school there are plenty of students who aren’t going to get along with any teacher and seem to have a general distaste for everything. These sorts of students manage to wiggle their way into our history classes and our gym classes, ruining the experience for everyone else when they cause a weekly disturbance. Despite their objectiveness to learning, they have managed to figure out how the Internet works and have also invaded this website. Most teachers are littered with several ratings that are all as poor as could be, rarely citing reasons why. When they do cite reasons, they are often not very good reasons. Of one of my high school chemistry teachers, someone commented alongside their rating of 1 helpfulness and clarity that

“she’s only cool because she sets stuff on fire”. There’s an obvious level of maturity being displayed here. This just brushed over another issue. There aren’t many comments to go with the ratings. While a score is great, every student has different preferences, and so a wellthought out evaluation, even if it’s only a few sentences, could do much more good than a few ratings. Another issue I see is that “easiness” is a category at all. Whether a class is easy or hard should not factor into how “good” a teacher is. Some of the most difficult classes I endured in high school were often my favorite, because classes that are “hard” are often also mentally stimulating, something that one would hope many students are searching for. This is not to say that the site is completely useless. Since it’s based on averages, as long as lots of students get on and rate their teachers, the ratings should get evened out regardless of any blindly bad ones. This is already obvious in that while I came across some harsh ratings, the overall status of a

teacher on the site was usually pretty accurate. Additionally, if you are looking for that mentally stimulating class, quickly perusing all of a teacher’s ratings can help you get an idea of how he or she stands in individual categories and factor out whether or not he or she is easy. In short, the website only functions as well as its users want it to. You get out what you put in. So take the initiative and let the world know what you really think of your teachers, for the sake of them and their fellow students.

Presented By


Volume 6 Issue 6

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Student Bulletstorm Injects Flavor Into Old Recipe This new title from Epic and People Can Fly delivers a fresh spin on an old formula. Platform: Xbox 360/PS3* Genre: FPS Action/Adventure Players: 1 (Online: 2-4) ESRB: Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol) Bulletstorm is taking the most common type of game seen today, and making something more out of it. The big sell of this game is “creative killing”, which is exactly what it sounds like. Kill people creatively. Gray and Ishi are a couple of rogue assassins who crash on a planet filled with mutated enemies. The game is a quest for revenge on their old boss. Gray comes across a leash, which enables him to get points for making creative kills and leash enemies and toss them places. Let’s start with the positive. Bulletstorm is way fun for a while. It’s never particularly hard, even on the toughest difficulty, which some people may consider bad, but I consider a way to blow off some steam amid a slew of more stress-

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ful games out there. It’s a bit cheesy and over-the-top, but it matches the art style. It’s dripping with action and firefights, similar to the Killzone series. Unlike Killzone, however, the plot is a bit more fleshed out, and even has a tinge of emotion. The skillshots are fun and creative and breathe fresh life into gameplay that has arguably over-saturated the market.

Ethan Clevenger Staff Writer Duty’s Special Ops mode. Overall, fun while it lasts. Don’t buy it used unless it outweighs the online pass you’ll have to buy from EA...

The players are pretty bulky in a Gears of War style, but feel a lot more fluid than Gears, which is great. However, your player sticks out of a lot of cover for this reason, and so the game drastically needs a cover system, probably the most striking flaw. The duck mechanism is a press-and-hold as opposed to a toggle, making it both inaccurate and ineffective in many cases. The game looks pretty good in its own cartoon-y way. It starts catching however, especially towards the end, when lots of enemies and goo and blood starts building up. Like a skipping DVD. And finally, there’s not a lot of replay value. One play through the campaign really doesn’t leave the player begging for more. This leaves the multiplayer, which is pretty limited, and Echoes mode, which reflects Call of

Volume 6 Issue 6


College Prep

Must-Have Items for the Average Dorm Ethan Clevenger Staff Writer As the school year winds down, we at High School Assembly would like to take a moment to focus on the graduating seniors. First, congratulation on this big step in your life! Second, best of luck on your future in college. However, imagine you get to college. After you get your feet set, you decide you need to get a job. Pulling your one shirt out of your closet, you find it to be wrinkly. But you don’t have an iron, and home is more than three hours away. That’s why we’ve compiled a useful list of the obvious and not-soobvious things you need to make sure are packed before heading off to college. Iron and Ironing Board Nothing says ill-prepared college student at a job interview like wrinkled clothes. Bring these two items and you’ll never be caught unawares.


Volume 6 Issue 6

Bathroom Flip-Flops While this may not occur to you right off the bat, you’re now sharing a bathroom with everyone else on your floor. For many of us, walking barefoot in that bathroom and standing barefoot in the shower everyone else is showering in sounds kind of gross. So bring flip-flops if you’re that kind of person.

some posters. You can get them for dirt cheap on Amazon, and there are a lot of cool ones out there regardless of your taste. From Pulp Fiction to Van Gough, nothing says home away from home like a poster.

Water Bottle Walking down the hall to fill up a cup every once in a while can be a hassle. Instead, bring a water bottle, fill it up, and then put it in your fridge. The water is always cold, you can save it and you don’t have to fill up nearly as often.

Other Odds & Ends Microwave refrigerator Futon Clothes Towels Ibuprofen/Tylenol Extra sheets Television Radio Printer Laptop

Speakers If you don’t have a media system like a Playstation or Xbox that can stream Netflix (and someone will get Netflix if they don’t have it already), you’ll probably want to play it through a laptop. Laptop speakers are hardly sufficient when everyone stuffs in a room to watch a movie, so pick up a set of external speakers so everyone can enjoy.

Plates, Bowls, and Utensils Dining hall food will get old fast. Trust me.

Be sure to get in contact with your roommate early so that you can decide who is bringing what on the big items. They can be expensive and a pain to load up, so splitting the hassle and expense is really the only way to go.

Posters Let’s face it, dorms can be drab. College is sometimes a long way from home. Warm it up a bit with

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Volume 6 Issue 3


College Prep UNI Resources Help Entrepreneurs Get Head Start Ben Olsen Cedar Falls The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC) may be one of the University of Northern Iowa’s best kept secrets. Back in the mid’90s, Pappajohn, the president of Equity Dynamics, Inc., created five entrepreneurial centers all over Iowa (including UNI) with the hopes of providing entrepreneurship education, technology and capital investments for small businesses. Housed on the second floor of the new JPEC building, the Student Business Incubator (SBI) is a main attraction. The SBI offers 10 free office spaces to budding UNI student entrepreneurs to run their businesses, complete with desks, chairs, computers, a small business resource library and two full-time professionals on staff within the office space. This allows students to focus on their business in a very nurturing environment. Unfortunately, many UNI students spend their four or more years on

campus oblivious to this opportunity provided at JPEC. “The saddest words I hear are from second-semester seniors who say, ‘I wish I knew about this earlier,’” Student Business Incubator Manager Laurie Watje said. Katherine Cota-Uyar, associate director of JPEC at UNI, elaborated on the other innumerable services provided by the center. “The Entrepreneurial Program at UNI offers a Certificate in Entrepreneurship; the Student Business Incubator, which helps students develop and run a business; and many conferences, competitions, internships, workshops, a youth camp and a student organization [the UNI Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization].” Specifically, the SBI is an educational learning lab designed to inspire and educate students interested in starting their own business. One of the distinct advantages available to the student business owners in the SBI is their

Building minds. Building faith.

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proximity to help and advice. SBI offers distinct advantages and safety net “Iowa and Iowa State have similar programs, but we’re the only incubator in the system that is staffed full time with professionals right in the incubator space. That’s why we’re so successful. The owners need to have solutions immediately to maintain good customer service because that can affect their bottom lines. This easy access helps students because they can be reassured and can bounce off ideas all the time,” Watje said. Another distinct advantage of launching a business in the SBI is the cushion it provides. Anyone trying to start a business in today’s economy would have to rent office space, buy technology and market the company. Basically, more money would be spent than money coming in. Fortunately, at the SBI, the office spaces are provided free of charge... continued on page 13


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Volume 6 Issue 6

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College Prep ...and most of the technology is provided, so even if a business fails, the monetary losses are minimized. Book Hatchery hatches into mainstream More impressive than the amenities at the SBI are the student business owners themselves. Take Nick Cash, a 2007 graduate of Cedar Falls High School. Cash is accommodating the e-book craze with his company, Book Hatchery ( “We help authors and small publishers sell books digitally to get their work on iPads, Nooks, Kindles and other devices. The idea is to make selling e-books as simple as possible because not many people are tech savvy,” Cash said. The system on Book Hatchery will take the author’s work and distribute it to major retailers, such as Amazon, Apple and Barnes and Noble. With a copy of Starting an Online Business for Dummies on his office shelf, Cash noted that he has always possessed a creative, entrepreneurial spirit, and his interests have all led him to his current business knowledge base. “For me, I started building with Legos, and then I got into web sites and creating computer games in sixth grade. I then moved up to college-level computer programming when I was in eighth grade. When I got to college at age 19, I worked with Lockheed Martin and then DISTek Integration. Without [those experiences], I wouldn’t understand the processes involved in business. It’s been a long time coming.”

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Cash said his idea for Book Hatchery began when he was tutoring a group of students because he wanted to write them an e-book to use for studying. He soon realized money could be made from selling this book that he would have been giving away for free. Book Hatchery offers several attractive advantages for authors as compared to the major publishing companies. “We’re a distributor, not a publisher. The authors keep the rights to their books and are self-publishers. We have no control over what the retailers take, though typically they take 30 to 70 percent of profits. We end up taking 15 percent of the net sales of the books, or the amount left over after the retailers take their cut,” Cash said. This is a 180-degree turn from the practices of many publishers who can take up to 85 percent of the net sales of a published book. Authors using Book Hatchery are also provided with transparency concerning the sales and profits made by their works. “We pay authors monthly, whereas typical publishers pay the author two to four times per year and don’t provide any sales statistics to the authors. We update the statistics right away so the authors know how much money they will be receiving.” Even though Cash has attained much success and recognition for his business plan (he has been recognized by Inc. and Entrepreneur magazines), the entrepreneurial roadway has not always been smooth. “Entrepreneurship is like a roller coaster. One day you feel like you are conquering the world, but

the next day you feel like you’re going to fly off and die,” Cash said. Despite the hurdles (Cash is now focusing on raising enough money to hire three full-time employees and one intern), the SBI has provided enormous support. “The mentorship from Laurie and Katherine is great. With their amount of experience, they can steer you away from common problems and give information for free. I can’t put a number on the amount of money they’ve saved me.” Breathalyzers provide lucrative website Two office spaces down from Cash, Thomas Gilbert and Jeffrey Short (another CFHS alum), have made their mark with GS Solutions, LLC, and they have generated a lot of buzz with “We are an e-commerce site, and we carry multiple brands of breathalyzers for personal use,” Gilbert said. Short observed that OWI charges appeared to be on the rise, and he began marketing towards the AlcoHAWK model of personal breathalyzer, manufactured by Q3 Innovations in Independence, Iowa. As of now, the duo sells two additional brands – BACTRACK, based out of California, and Lifeloc, based out of Colorado.

See full story on the High School Assembly Website

Volume 6 Issue 6


201 1 A Year in Review

40th Annual Hoover Jazz Fest


Dance and Drill Team Championships

College Prep Money-Saving College Prep Advice for Teenagers Christine MacDonald While you can’t control the cost of college tuition, there are smart ways of saving money for college that can start as early as your freshman year of high school. Read on to see how your high school academics can affect your college bottom line.

High School Academics Counts

Emily Sole of Traverse City, Michigan, handed over more than six hundred dollars to Wayne State University for a remedial math class that won’t even count toward graduation. She blames herself for not taking her high school math seriously. “I took Algebra II with a bunch of my friends and I just goofed off,” she admits. She took geometry her junior year but passed on math her senior year because she wanted to take more classes that matched her interests, primarily business classes. Now as a college freshman studying business

administration, she regrets that decision. She spends five hours a week in a computer lab going over math basics she should have mastered already.

Unprepared College Freshmen

Colleges routinely test incoming freshmen to gauge how prepared they are for college work. According to a report published by the American Diploma Project and Achieve, Inc., almost seventy percent of college instructors reported spending time reviewing material with their students that students should have learned in high school. The same professors estimate that half of the incoming freshman class is unprepared for college-level math and writing. Why? Many college freshmen who feel unprepared for college admit that they didn’t work hard in high school.

How Hard Courses Can Pay Off

Jim Levasseur from Mount Carmel, Illinois, took six Advanced Placement classes in high school and entered Bowling Green University with thirty-

three credits. Since thirty-three credits is the equivalent of a whole year of college credit, he entered school not as a freshman but as a sophomore and saved himself an estimated $21,700 in out-of-state tuition and room and board at the school. Since tackling these challenging courses also helped Levasseur improve his scores on the PSAT, he earned a full ride National Merit Scholarship that will pay the rest of his way through school. Having the required courses behind him lets Levasseur take classes he is more interested in sooner, including classes in his major of computer animation. He can also register for courses as a sophomore honors student, practically guaranteeing he won’t get shut out of any classes. This calmed his nerves about making the transition to college. “It’s sort of like a big head start,” Levasseur explains. “I was confident in my ability to do work at the college level.”

The leading cause of death in young Iowans, aged 16-20, is fatal car crashes. The Iowa Department of Public Safety-Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau (GTSB) is focused on helping deter one of Iowa's and the nation's bleakest statistic: Nationwide, a total of 58,000 drivers ages 16-20 were involved in fatal crashes; crashes which took the lives of 6,400 individuals. Additionally, in 2009, 41 young people ages 15-20 were killed in Iowa fatal crashes.

Several factors contribute to these unfortunate statistics: Distracted Driving - Texting While Driving - Alcohol Use Speeding - No Seatbelts - Inexperience


Volume 6 Issue 6

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College Prep Scholarship Hunt: Where To Look Tim Weideman Editor Scholarships are great, plain and simple. Who wouldn’t accept free money? And with the price of attending college only rising, scholarships are looking better than ever. The thing is, you have to know where to look for scholarships. Some are easier to find than others. Some of the best sources for college scholarships can be found online. A very good website that serves as a good tool to find scholarships is For no charge, you can sign up and will keep you updated on available scholarships that suite you based on your college choice, interests, hobbies, etc. has about 1.5 million scholarships online that are worth about $3.4 billion. That’s a lot of cash that can go a long way in helpign you pay for college.

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Plus, offers excellent financial aid advice for high school students and families preparing their students for college. The website can also help you find an internship in your area or the area where you’ll be attending college. also offers high school athletes assistance in college recruitment. Fastweb works with the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) to help student-athletes locate schools and help them find scholarships. Athletic scholarships can be a great way to help pay for college—no, you don’t have to be an athletic star to get an athletic scholarship.

A good local resource for high school students searching for scholarships is the Iowa College Access Network or ICAN, which helps middle school students, high school students, college students and even graduate students in Iowa achieve their academic goals. ICAN offers many tips, from high school study help to college planning tips. Like, ICAN also offers a scholarship database. ICAN’s website,, also links to other scholarship resource websites, including Fastweb. What’s cool about ICAN is that once you’re on your way to college, you can still use the site as an excellent resource. ICAN offers a budgeting calculator (believe me, a budget is important to have), advice from college students, financial aid advice and advice for every-day college life. Take advantage of these resources. They’ll help you save money (parents love that) and they’ll even make college a little less scary.

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Enter Portman Dances into Fans’ Hearts Ethan Clevenger Staff Writer What’s all the hype about? A pretty good film, that’s what. “Black Swan” follows the story of ballerina Nina Sayers’s rise to ballet stardom in a new rendition of the classic Swan Lake. The new twist is that the same ballerina plays both princesses - the white and black swans. Nina, played by Natalie Portman, must overcome an innocence to deliver the bite Thomas Leroy is looking for. This film has been all the talk for quite some time, receiving praise for the filming and acting. Be forewarned that you’ll have to appreciate this film for more than the story. While it’s not bad, it’s painfully predictable. Even if you aren’t familiar with the ballet Swan Lake, the film will tip you off about halfway through. No, where this film shines is in its ability to be artistic and sometimes disturbing. Nina battles hallucinations as she tries to embody the black

swan, leading to several horrifying and surprising scenes, including torn off fingernails and a sexual encounter with new girl on the block Lily (Mila Kunis). There’s even a solid laugh tossed in for good measure. These scenes culminate in the ballet’s opening night, a stupendous flurry of dancing and emotion. Hats off to Natalie Portman in this film. Not only was her acting astounding, assuming the role of a sheltered fouryear-old trapped in a twenty-something’s body, but she really stepped up to learn the dancing necessary to perform the role. She actually sustained an injury during filming one day, and clips from her session with a physical therapist was used in the film.

fluid way, letting the audience sit back and enjoy it without thinking too hard about it. If you’re going to be totally turned off knowing the ending at least halfway through, I suppose don’t see this. If you’re interested in any other aspect give it a go. Pick it up on DVD today. “Black Swan” is rated R for sexual content, disturbing violent images, language and some drug use.

Kunis also impresses, shedding the humorous Jackie Burkhardt facade for a serious and dark reflection of Nina’s battle with herself. But to really give credit where credit is due, director Darren Aronofsky deserves the majority of the praise. His dark vision, stark scenes and fabulous camera work make the film what it is. He paints a gritty story in a simple and

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Enter “The American” - An Intricate Performance Ethan Clevenger Staff Writer The American” is George Clooney’s latest film to hit shelves. A spy film with a Bond feel, it encompasses the story of someone who seems to be an American spy of sorts who is hidden in Italy. He’s nearing the end of his career and beginning to struggle with his solitary life. His boss gives him one last job in which he must build a gun for a woman, but a romance begins to interfere. First, don’t have any younger siblings watch this movie. Clooney’s love interest, played by Violante Placido, is shown fully naked at one point, while topless in a few other scenes, including a sex scene between the two that was oddly long and a bit uncomfortable to sit through. Language and violence are pretty light, but we see a great deal of Ms. Placido. On a plot level, there’s not a whole lot going on here for an hour and forty five minutes of film. Watching this felt a lot like an artsy experience, as there wasn’t a lot of action or dialogue taking place. A lot of the story is told through the acting,and much of the appreciation for it comes from the camera shots. This makes the few moments where the film’s score rises up in the background very impressive, especially when it’s complementing the

camera work in close, tense scenes. The music is light when it needs to be, grows when it ought to, and is quite compelling. Unfortunately, the acting wasn’t outstanding enough to fill in the gaps that this style creates. Clooney, who’s witty delivery is often crucial to his charm, does not do a bad job, but it’s certainly not his best film. The priest brings some dynamics to the table, but the two ladies are both pretty dry. The action you would usually associate with a spy movie appears to get rolling about halfway through. However, this is merely a hiccup, as the movie quickly cuts off any notion of more for a while, drawing you back to the intricate filming. This is not to say that things aren’t tense. Once again, the music helps build moments where you may have no idea why, but a threat seems imminent. This is one place the movie shines. Despite the minimal dialogue, you won’t find yourself lost in what’s happening. It helps put you in the mind of the American and get a grasp on what he’s perceiving as opposed to always what’s physically occurring. Nonetheless, while sitting through this movie late at night may be difficult, the ending is worth the wait. It pushes the movie over the edge and makes the entire film worth watching. The more you sit on it, the better it feels.


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So while this was by no means a great movie, it was certainly not a bad one. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a fresh rating,

while it’s garnered an unimpressive 6.6 from IMDB. If you find yourself indoors, trapped by snow or simply looking for a day to relax, you could do worse than “The American”.

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Academics University Facts With summer in full motion, the college search has come up again. There are countless numbers of schools to choose from, and it can be a bit overwhelming. Whether you’re heading off to university next fall or just starting to look at your options, there are great schools in state, perhaps just outside your back door. Here is a list of great Iowa schools, and a little background for each. Who knows, maybe one of these will soon be your Alma matter.


Undergrad Enrollment: 20,547 Average High School GPA of incoming students: 3.59 City Size: (Iowa City, IA) 67,830 Popular Majors: Psychology, English, Communication Studies and Biology Athletics: Iowa competes in the Big 10 Conference and in the NCAA Division I-A. They have 22 collegiate sports teams, the main ones being football, wrestling and basketball. Notable Alumni: Diablo Cody, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Brokaw, Grant Wood and Brandon Routh

Iowa State

Undergrad Enrollment: 23,104 (Fall 2010) Average High School GPA of incoming students: 3.49 City Size: (Ames, IA) 56,510 Popular Majors: Agriculture, Design, Engineering and Veterinary Science Athletics: ISU competes in the Big 12 Conference and in the NCAA Division I-A. They have won national championships in wrestling, gymnastics, cross-country, basketball and football. Notable Alumni: George Washington Carver, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Senator Tom Harkin


Undergrad Enrollment: 11,147 (Fall 2009) Average ACT Score of Incoming Students: 23.1 City Size: (Cedar Falls, IA) 38, 589 Popular Majors: Business Administration, Education and Social and Behavioural Sciences Athletics: UNI competes in the Missouri Valley Conference, NCAA Division I for all sports excluding football, which competes in I-FCS. Notable Alumni: Charles Grassley and Kurt Warner 20

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Undergrad Enrollment: 3,164 Average High School GPA of incoming students: 3.69 City Size: (Des Moines, IA) 200,538 Popular Majors: Business, Pharmacy, Education and Journalism Athletics: Drake competes in the Missouri Valley Conference, NCAA Division I in all athletics except football, which competes in the FCS NCAA Division I Pioneer Football League. Drake has hosted the Drake Relays every April since 1910, and is the second largest collegiate track and field event in the US. Notable Alumni: John August, Terry Branstad, Johnny Bright, Chet Culver, Billy Cundiff, Zach Johnson and Roger Williams


Undergrad Enrollment: 970 City Size: (Des Moines, IA) 200,538 Popular Majors: Accounting, Business Administration and Media Communication Athletics: AIB competes in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference, and the NAIA. They offer three sports teams: women’s basketball and men’s and women’s golf. Fun Fact: AIB will be adding Men’s Basketball to their list of sports teams starting Fall 2011.

Popular Majors: Liberal Arts, Nursing, Education and Business Athletics: Grand View participates in the Midwest Collegiate Conference and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Fun Fact: Since the 1930s, students have participated in a campus tradition using a large eagle statue called “Bud the Bird” in the school’s own version of ‘Capture the Flag.’

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC)

Undergrad Enrollment: 22,000 (over all 6 DMACC locations in Central Iowa) City Size: various locations Popular Majors: Computing, Nursing and Vocational Training Athletics: DMACC hosts 9 collegiate sports teams, competing in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association. Fun Fact: A normal credit hour at DMACC will cost about $102 per hour, as opposed to rates at Iowa State, which can range from $286.75-$232.50.


Undergrad Enrollment: 6,158 City Size: (Fayette, Iowa) 1,300 Popular Majors: Elementary Education and Teaching. Athletics: Upper Iowa offers 14 collegiate sports teams, and competes in NCAA Division II, Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC.) Notable Alumni: John “Doc” Dorman, Mary Lundby and John Mott

Undergrad Enrollment: 2.000 City Size: (Sioux City, IA) 82.807 Popular Majors: Mathematical Sciences Nursing, Pre-Professional Programs, Mass Communication Athletics: Morningside’s 19 sports teams compete in the Great Plains Athletic Conference of the NAIA. The Lady Mustangs basketball team even won back-to-back NAIA Division II National Championships in 2004 and 2005. Notable Alumni: Abigail Van Buren and Ann Landers (“Dear Abby” and “Ask Ann Landers”)


Northwestern College

Upper Iowa University

Undergrad Enrollment: 1688 Average ACT Score for incoming students: 29-33 City Size: (Grinnell, IA) 9,105 Popular Majors: Psychology, Economics, Biology, History and Political Science Athletics: Grinnell has 18 collegiate sports teams and competes in the NCAA Division III, while being a member of the Midwest Conference. Notable Alumni: Herbie Hancock, Robert Noyce and Harry Hopkins

Grand View University

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,100 City Size: (Des Moines, IA) 200,538

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,206 City Size: (Orange City, IA) 5,582 Popular Majors: Computer Science, Fitness/Sports Management, Criminal Justice and Neuroscience. Athletics: Northwestern is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Great Plains Athletic Conference. In 2010 the women’s basketball team won a national championship in the NAIA Division II. Notable Alumni: Deb Remmerde (holds the record for the most consecutive in-game free throws in organized basketball.)

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Aca Could Video Games Change the Classroom? Lauren Smith Writer/Graphic Artist Gone are the days of video games being dubbed “brain-rotting activity.” In the near future, instead of pounding away on your laptop to write a paper, homework might consist of sitting down and playing Xbox. Video games are becoming increasingly popular in schools, and many teachers believe that their use in an educational setting will greatly enhance classroom curriculums. Many different organizations are creating games to help students learn subjects that may be a little more difficult to learn. The Federation of American Scientists created a games called “Immune Attack,” designed to teach now the immune system works. In an interview with ABC News, FAS president Henry Kelly explained that he believes video games can be incredibly useful teaching tools. “The goal is to hook you,” he noted. “You can reach people who think they hate the subject. The minute you get swept up in the thing, you sort of forget you hate science.” Because the internet, social media and video games are becoming so immersed

within our culture, many people agree with Kelly in that this style of teaching will continually become in the future. Although many classroom video games are developed solely for educational purposes, some teachers are using popular traditional video games to get their message across. Some teachers in Minneapolis use Sega’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” to help their students better understand Odysseus’s quest. Another teacher in Cincinnati is using Creative Assembly’s “Rome: Total War” to have students compare simulated battles to actual historical evidence, and then design their own wartime simulations. This style of teaching doesn’t stop outside of single classrooms, the ideas of a new educational system are sweeping across the country. The National Institute of Play in New York has also pushing for educational curriculum changes throughout the country. Along with their Council of Advisors, they are planning to design a series of play based on curricular alternatives. However, they are also connecting themselves with other educational endeavors. Katie Salen, the Executive Director of the Institute of Play is also the lead institutional partner for Quest to Learn,

an innovative school in New York that was recently developed and teaches students by bridging old and new literacies. Quest to Learn uses “game-like learning” as a way to engage their students. By using video games and interactive computer programs within the classroom, Quest to Learn is on the forefront of technological-based educational learning. With schools like Quest to Learn and teachers who are willing to accept new variations of learning enter their classroom, video games becoming fully immersed in the educational system seems more and more likely with each passing day. School just got a little more exciting.

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Student Federal Budget is a Must-Watch for College Hopeful Ethan Clevenger Staff Writer Start saving. College is potentially about to get $800 more expensive. The U.S. government is currently locked in a battle over the federal budget, which is in a severe deficit. This means that every aspect of the budget has to be looked at and evaluated for possible spending cuts. There are lots of varying opinions on where the money should come from, and one of the contention points is education and funds important to many college students. Many students currently receive up to $5,550 from the federal government to pay for college each year called a Pell Grant. The Republican senate has put forth a budget proposal that would shrink the maximum amount by about 15%, or $845. Additionally, it would mark the end of the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, which is only

for Pell Grant-eligible students and totals about $700,000 in grants at Drake University. The financial aid office at Drake has been watching these proceedings very carefully. Susan Ladd, director of financial aid at Drake, called Pell Grants the “cornerstone” of financial aid. In order to combat this proposal, Ladd and her colleagues have been working with several organizations with professional lobbyists. One of these organizations is the Student Aid Alliance, whose members include Georgetown University and Harvard University among other prestigious institutions. Not only will this reduction affect current financial aid, but Ladd explained that if the Pell Grant were to drop to this level, it would no longer be eligible for mandatory add-ons to the amount that were supposed to begin in 2014. Also, these proposals are in the midst of two other financial aid programs set to expire this year: the Academic Competitiveness Grant, which may

only total a few hundred dollars and SMART grants that can amount to as much as $4,000. “Your college career depends on financial aid from the government,” said first-year Peyton Fagenel. “It could cause drop outs, which would be bad for the U.S. since we’re already behind [the rest of the world].” President Obama has proposed his own budget, which would maintain the current Pell Grant level. In order to save money, however, his budget would eliminate subsidized Stafford loans for graduate students. This means that graduate students would no longer be eligible for interestfree loans, and would begin accruing interest their first year. Some people believe this is a great step, and believe that too many students attend graduate school, and that only those pursuing degrees in sciences, math, or engineering really need the extra education. Ladd disagrees continued on page 23

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Student Federal Budget “Facing the shortages we are, that makes sense,” she said. “But it’s a short term view. Graduate education brings value to the life of our society as a whole.” “We need humanity professors just as much as we need economics professors.” She also conceded, however, that it’s about access. You have to be an undergraduate student before you can be a graduate student, explaining the push from schools for maintaining the Pell Grant. Ladd also added that she didn’t believe that this would affect the number of graduate students anyway. Several students agree. Faganel said that he’s already discussed the financial situation with his parents, and he’s going to medical school no matter what. “We agreed that the education is worth the debt as opposed to sacrificing opportunity,” he said. Also, President Obama’s budget would eliminate the option to apply for two Pell Grants over a single year. Ladd explained that originally, students could spread their Pell

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“Summer courses are Grant over the more for students who fall, spring and have fallen behind,” she summer semesters said. if they chose to So what is a person attend then. When in Susan Ladd’s the option for two shos suppoesd to Pell Grants became do in a time of such available, it uncertainty, which essentially meant financial aid packages that one Pell Grant was spread over College tuition is on the rise due out to prospective the fall and spring Photo courtesy of Boaz Yiftach students shortly? “We have to assume semesters, while the $5,500,” she said. the second was used for for summer. Should Obama’s They include a disclaimer that this is subject to change, however. “We’re budget pass, students would likely running on ifs and buts,” she said. see a return to the former. Ladd finished by saying that it’s “Summer enrollment is not huge about financial planning. She said she here,” Ladd said, expressing that gets students who sometimes havne’t she wouldn’t expect this to have though far enough ahead about a great effect on those numbers. “Some students try to accelerate their paying for school, and stressed that this was the biggest step in preparing degree, which requires attending for whatever might come. every summer, which is not likely.” Ladd explained that many students Perhaps senior Angela Bradburn are much more likely to use summer explained it best in calling the as a work period to save money for situation a “Double-edged sword.” the fall and spring semesters.

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Enter Cedar Rapids: The Movie Jimmy Diegan Cedar Rapids Xavier Cedar Rapids, Iowa has been put on the map by the recent movie titled “Cedar Rapids” starring Ed Helms (The Office) and John C. Reilly (Step Brothers, Talladega Nights). The film chronicles the journey of naïve and childish insurance agent named Tim Lippe as he is sent to a regional insurance conference in the “major metropolis” of Cedar Rapids. While there, he is distracted by three convention veterans who show him one of the most eye-opening weekends of his life, which includes uncovering a conspiracy within the insurance industry, lots of drugs, and lots of partying. While originally slated to be shot in a local hotel in Cedar Rapids, the shooting location was changed because of a failure in film production tax credit. The production was moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan because of a 42 percent tax rebate provided by the state to


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studios that wish to film in their state. While Iowa had a similar law from 2007-2009, it was suspended because of budgetary issues. Also, while this law was in affect, it caused multiple lawsuits in Iowa, giving producers another reason to shy away from production in Iowa in recent years. Though it is not shot on site in Cedar Rapids, there are multiple references throughout the film that still give it the Cedar Rapids flavor. Some photoshopped images of Quaker Oats along the Cedar River, references to Westdale Mall, and one important scene in the plot involving the 2008 flood all remind the viewer that it is set in Cedar Rapids. “Cedar Rapids” is extremely entertaining and funny, but it is also very inappropriate and at times, offensive. Though you may be a resident of Cedar Rapids, don’t go to this movie unless you are looking for an experience similar to “Step

Brothers” or “The Hangover.” Photo courtesy of

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Enter Nicki Minaj - The Mistress Joe Bell Des Moines Lincoln Onika Tanya Maraj also known as “Nicki Minaj” is the female rapper that is in the spot light for one of the hot music artist this year. Nicki spent her childhood years in a disruptive household, along with her enduring mother and a father addicted to drugs. Regardless of her stressful surroundings, Minaj chose to study singing and acting where she went on to graduate from LaGuardia High School in Manhattan. She spent the majority of her time focusing on her music career while holding down a job as an administrative assistant. Nicki Minaj began her career singing background vocal as well as hooks and choruses for rappers within her community. With the increasing number of aspiring singers, Nicki decided to write raps to stand out from other female artists. “Nicki is amazing to me my favorite quote of hers is “I call the shots, I am the umpire,” says Kassidy Simmons. This provocative singer stands out to show that females have musical talent and bring flavor to the music

game. Take a look at the confidence, Awareness month she wanted to help sex appeal and lyrical strength of Nicki African American Americans that were Minaj. Nicki has a clear understanding hit the hardest with Breast Cancer to of how things work for being so new in feel supported. “My favorite song is the industry. While her witty lyrics and Romans Revenge,” says Junior Tyler engaging delivery already equip her to Gramenz. “I like the song because it’s rap circles around fast and really just both her male and sets the tone, and female peers. Any it has Eminem in it. encounter with Romans Revenge is Nicki will arouse a song that has an a heightened anger mood to it. sense that there is “My favorite songs more to her than are “Right through meets the eye and Me,” and “Check It inspire the desire Out,” says Junior to experience this Brittany Knoebel. “ I modern day “Wonder like “Right through Woman”.”Nicki Minaj me, because it makes is my role model. If me think about my I could be anyone in boyfriend and Check the world it would it out because its Nicki Minaj’s album, ‘Pink Friday’ be her,” says Senior catchy and I just like Photo courtesy of Kassidy Simmons. “I the song.” These two really like her style songs are as intense, and the fire that she rather mind soothing. brings to the world, shes like a perfect “I believe that life is a prize, but to black Barbie that everyone likes.” live doesn’t mean your alive.” Nicki released a hot new album “Pink Friday” that was a big hit. Pink Friday album was targeted for Breast Cancer

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Student 10 Games You’ve Gotta Play Ethan Clevenger Staff Writer This month marks a new age for High School Assembly: Now, in the rotation between CD and movie reviews our readers are used to seeing every month, High School Assembly is including video game reviews. In order to kick off this exciting new feature, I’ve compiled a list of ten games that anyone who considers themselves a gamer should play.

picked up a few, and this is certainly my favorite. It offers a good mix of shooter and RPG. Dragon Age put me off pretty quickly, as I’m not much of a dragons and wizards kind of guy. This is where Fallout 3 becomes a cross-breed that can’t be ignored. Make sure you have time to play the full story mode plus all of its add-ons, as the experience is incomplete without all of these. In true RPG fashion, it will absorb more hours than you are comfortable admitting.

First, an explanation. There is no way that I would assume that I, personally, can qualify the top ten games of all time within any reasonable stretch of the imagination. Only in the past couple years have I gotten heavily into the gaming scene, so I’m quick to admit that there are probably several games that would rank a top ten that I haven’t played. Hence the reason I present this list of then that every gamer should play. However, these ten are still in order of my favorite.

Metal Gear Solid 4 – PS3

Fallout 3 – Xbox 360/PS3

Super Smash Bros. Melee – Gamecube

This game is at the top of my list for several reasons. As far as RPGs go, I have

A truly cinematic experience, this installment of the Metal Gear Solid series bolsters Kojima’s reputation for unforgivingly long cut scenes. However, every minute is worth it. It looks gorgeous, and the plot is wonderfully upsetting. If you aren’t familiar with the Metal Gear Solid series, read a Wiki article reviewing the first three before playing. Read it very carefully. Then get ready for a sometimes slow (it is a stealth game, after all), but always intense adventure.

Anyone who played the original Super

Smash Bros. suffered from the intense controller-thumb brought on by late nights with the N64, and anyone who played Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii realizes how little it built on its predecessor, a fact that makes it a disappointment. Super Smash Bros. Melee was the perfect blend of the two, pitting your favorite Nintendo characters against each other, revisiting the Master Hand, and holding the crown for greatest multiplayer experience until Halo 3 ushered in the era of online FPS multiplayer.

Red Dead Redemption – Xbox 360/ PS3

This title takes Rockstar’s familiar Grand Theft Auto formula and moves it to the Old West. You will not see Grand Theft Auto on this list, as it is way too primitive for me to consider worth playing. Red Dead Redemption, on the other hand, fine tunes the formula, puts it in an appropriate setting, and looks ten times better. John Marston will quickly become one of your most-respected video game heroes to ever exist.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – PS3 Nathan Drake is a treasure-hunter who


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Student always seems to find himself in the midst of the supernatural and the gunwielding. In Uncharted 2, Drake chases Marco Polo’s lost fleet, the Cintamani Stone, and Shambhala. This title makes the case for third-person shooters, and offers a multiplayer that is varied and fun. The cutscenes in this one are equally cinematic in comparison to Metal Gear Solid 4, but integrate more smoothly into the gameplay, utilizing quick-time events very well.

Heavy Rain – PS3

Heavy Rain is really the only game of its kind. It follows the events of a string of murders by a killer known only as the Origami Killer. You play four different characters who find themselves caught in the events. The gameplay is extremely unique, as you play out the entirety of the game doing relatively normal actions using six-axis control and prompted button presses, or you can use the new Playstation Move. The plot is compelling and has a number of different endings depending on your actions. A Director’s Cut seems to have made its way to the market as well. While I’m not sure what it contains, I’d pick it up.

Timesplitters: Future Perfect – PS2/ Gamecube/Xbox

“Scary Movie” of video games, with the goal of mocking other big-name games on the market. Future Perfect was the most recent installment, following Sgt. Cortez through time in a humorous journey to save the world. The series is notorious for its fantastic multiplayer more than its storyline. Developer Free Radical was bought up by Crytek after announcing Timesplitter 4, and the project was put on hold. As of November, Crytek UK has admittedly been discussing the title with publishers. Fingers crossed, as the multiplayer would likely be unmatched if finally given the opportunity to hit online servers.

Batman: Arkham Asylum – Xbox 360, PS3

Super Mario Bros. – NES

LittleBigPlanet – PS3

That’s right, 1985. Super Mario Bros. ushered in the platformer like nothing else had. It has spanned generations, with remakes on floppy disc, Gameboy Color, and is available for download on the Wii Shop Channel. The game was also featured in Animal Crossing for the Nintendo Gamecube and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It’s really a rite of passage for any gamer. Follow Mario in his first quest to stop Bowser and rescue Princess Toadstool (not yet Peach). There’s even an online emulator, which you can find linked to on our website.

Arkham Asylum is probably the singlebest video-game-based-on-a-comicbook-character ever made. Completely independent from any film, follow the Caped Crusader as he thwarts Joker’s efforts to take over Arkham Island, home to the criminally insane of Gotham City. This game goes lengths to reinforce Batman’s abilities as an expert detective, and the hand-to-hand combat system is unmatched. You can also put your own puzzle-solving efforts to the test, as the Riddler has placed tons of puzzles of different varieties across the map. LittleBigPlanet is another one of those titles that really stands alone. A platformer at heart following the adventure of the loveable Sackboy, LBP has one of the most extensive level-designers ever created, and the biggest draw is sharing those levels with other users online. Customization is the name of the game. Its sequel, LittleBigPlanet 2, took it a step further and even allows its users to create entirely different games within the LittleBigPlanet level creator. It’s really something you have to play to understand.

The Timesplitters series is sort of like the

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Volume 6 Issue 6


Student Our Futures May Lurk in the (Job) Shadows “I job shadowed because I wanted to see what kinds of jobs fit my personality and what kinds of things I want to do after high school,” junior Allix Davis said. At her job shadow at the Cedar Rapids Police Department, she got to tour the “CSI” area, watch Power Points and meet one of the police dogs. Davis is one of 150 Jefferson students who have job shadowed in the last year, and the numbers are expected to rise, according to Cindy Hilby the building contact for job shadowing at Jefferson. A job shadow is a two to six hour experience observing a career that interests the student. “I enjoy seeing students get a chance to explore career options,” Hilby said. Hilby has been in charge of job shadowing for 13 years now and believes job shadowing is a truly rewarding experience. “I liked everything about the job shadow,” Davis said. “It was a great experience; there wasn’t one thing I didn’t like.” With only a few simple steps, any sophomore, junior or senior can partake

in a job shadow. These steps include first filling out an application online, second printing it out, third getting parent consent and lastly returning it to Hilby to room 228. After those four easy steps, the rest will be completed by Hilby and the company, Workplace Learning Connection. Workplace Learning Connection sets up job shadows for all the schools around the area. “I’d love to see every student job shadow,” Hilby said.

Chase Wedemeier Cedar Rapids Jefferson “If you are unsure what you want to do after high school try a job shadow.” As Davis mentioned, job shadows will not only tell you if you like the job, but if you don’t. “I love when students come back and say that they had a great time or also if they didn’t like it, which is more valuable,” Hilby said. So don’t be afraid

Learning outside the classroom is helping more to sign up for a job students prepare for their futures shadow that explores Photo courtesy of Federico Stevanin a career that might be

Job shadowing is a lot cheaper than exploring careers in college and Hilby encourages students to take advantage of the opportunity now. “It will help you to decide what job you will enjoy the most, or what one you definitely don’t want to do,” Davis said.

interesting, because one never knows, it could introduce the career that one may want to do the rest of their life. “You can’t lose anything by trying something new, or exploring something you may have an interest in,” Davis said.

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Volume 6 Issue 6

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Student Be Careful What You Post or Tweet Chase Wedemeier Cedar Rapids Jefferson When I log into Facebook and look at my live news feed, I see things like, “What a great day” and “Can’t wait for the weekend,” but the comments are not always that positive. There is a lot of negativity on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which can later be a huge disadvantage to those of us who demonstrate that negativity. We feel that we can release our feelings online, and although this might work, it may offend others around us. This is not a good way to vent and to give some better ways here are a few: go to the gym and work out, punch a punching bag, scream in a pillow or talk it out with parents or a close friend, not over the Internet. When we get a friend request over Facebook, we may ask ourselves how we know the person, and if we met them once we will most likely add them, or some of us may even add people without knowing them, but we should really know who we are adding as a friend before we accept them. Once we add them, they have access to all of our information which may later be harmful to us. One of those so-called “friends” may work at a place we are looking to work for, and before the employer considers hiring us, they may want to look at our Facebook

accounts. This is when that “friend” can show the employer our profile, and before we know it the employer can then see our pictures and posts through our “friend’s” Facebook account. This employer can look at our information and comments to see what kind of a person we are, and whether or not they should hire us based on the way we talk over Facebook, such as using foul language or disrespecting other people in addition to which pages we like, or groups we are a part of, which some may be considered offensive or inappropriate to the employer. This should hopefully give us some incentive to keep our Facebook posts or Twitter tweets clean because if we are going to be applying for jobs anytime soon, whether or not we realize it, one of our Facebook friends or Twitter followers may have a connection with an employer and if the employer sees things they don’t like, we are out the door without a second glance and they move on to the other people applying. Some of us may then question that action of the employer though, because we want to keep our private lives private and separate from work, and by employers looking at our Facebook or Twitter accounts this would be an invasion of our privacy. On the other hand, the employers’ actions may be justified because by checking a person out before possibly hiring them, it can prevent conflicts that may have later developed.

Some of us may have tried “Googling” ourselves, and this can show public documents that we have been in such as the school newsletter for attendance or GPA, but it can also show groups or pages that we have liked or joined on Facebook. So try it, and see what pops up and it may be nothing, or it may be Facebook things that we may want to unlike or leave the group if inappropriate, in order to focus on the positives rather than the negatives and also give a good impression to others. Now, we may be wondering how the Facebook stuff got to Google in the first place, but that is beyond my knowledge, but I know it happens, so therefore be aware. It goes back to the saying “someone is always watching,” and this is true because no matter what we try to “hide” or “block” from certain people online, one of our friends may be showing our profile or tweets to anyone or everyone, or it may be accessible by simply typing your name into Google search engine. So let’s think about that the next time we click the “like” button on a Facebook page, or tweet something negative about another person, because it can turn around and put us out of a job or create a bad reputation of ourselves that people will be aware of, which may not have been our original intention.


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Volume 6 Issue 6


High School Assembly - Summer  

High School Assembly looks back at the best of this school year and looks ahead to summer.

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