20 Years Later: From Marist Student to Administrator
February 2021 · Volume 115 · Number 2
An Interview with Mrs. Amelia Gleaton Luke ‘01
Christian Conte ‘21 Editor-in-Chief In May of 2001, a senior walked across the stage at Graduation, receiving her diploma with a goal to return to Marist in the future. Six years later, after earning her undergraduate degree in Biology and Science Education, she did just that. Now, 20 years after her Commencement, that former student is now one of the brains behind the operation that is Marist School: the Director of Campus and Student Activities. Meet Mrs. Amelia Gleaton Luke ’01. Luke is now in her 14th year as either a faculty member or administrator at Marist. From creating the master and daily class schedules to serving as a Student Council Moderator to overseeing Marist’s 70+ clubs and student organizations and leading The Terra Project as the Director of Sustainability, Mrs. Luke’s endless dedication is the reason that Marist keeps running. Recently, I sat down with her (in her brand new office space in the newly renovated Wooldridge Building) to discuss her journey from a Marist student to a faculty member and now administrator, calling this place home for over two decades. Christian Conte: So, looking at your 20+ years at Marist, how would you say the school has changed – could be in terms of the overall culture as well as physically? Mrs. Amelia Luke: Gosh, the physical campus has completely changed for sure. When I was a student here, we didn’t have Ivy Street or Centennial Center. We would all pack into the old, non-air conditioned Kuhrt Gym for pep rallies and Masses, and it’s insane to me that we were all able to fit in there. The 7th and 8th graders were stuck up in the rafters... *continued on page 4
Left: Mrs. Luke with her prom date at her Senior Prom. Right:The company of “Now. Here.This.” will perform live and in-person from March 24-26. Top right:Tokyo will host this year’s Summer Olympics, followed by Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.
Marist Theatre Triumphs Admidst Uncertainty
Caroline York ‘21 Features Editor “It’s the best five dollars you’ll ever spend on an evening’s entertainment.” You’ve heard this, the unofficial motto for Marist’s Theatre Department, many times before, but this year more than ever, Marist’s plays and musicals are striving to be the best five dollars spent. Last fall, Marist Theatre produced a special outdoor production that featured several small one-act plays on rotations in a single night to accommodate social distancing in the age of COVID. The play was heralded a success, and students and staff alike enjoyed the unique production.
Looking Forward to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics...in 2021
Lauren Guhl ‘23 Staff Writer
Billions of dollars spent, Tokyo as only the fourth city to have held the Summer Olymthe venues built, the athletes pics twice. Furthermore, these trained, and more than five Olympics make history as the million tickets purchased by first to ever be postponed or fans excited to witness some of canceled for a reason other than the best athletes in the world war. compete. However, due to the The National Olympic COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo Stadium in Tokyo, previously 2020 Olympics became another built for the 1964 Olympics held one of the many victims of a long, disappointing year of sports in Tokyo, has received a $1 billion postponements and cancellations. upgrade. It will hold the official opening and closing ceremonies, Now that 2020 is behind us, the as well as track and field events world is looking forward to the and women’s soccer matches. rescheduled Olympic Games set The collection of 33 venues for to take place from July 23-Aug. all 339 events are all standing and 8, 2021. waiting for the long-awaited start Tokyo won the bid of the 2020 Olympics—held in for the 2020 Olympics back in 2021... 2013, marking Japan’s fourth *continued on page 8 time hosting an Olympiad and This spring, the cast is preparing to put on another outdoor performance, one that is hoped to top this past fall’s magical plays. The musical, titled “Now. Here. This.” is unlike any other production Marist has ever done.
“Nothing makes me happier than telling an audience a story through scenes, songs, and dance.” - Emma Schwind ‘23 Christian Conte ‘21, a cast member in the upcoming production, explains that the show will be outside in the flag circle with the nearby steps, trees, and architecture serving as a large outdoor stage. He says that it will be “drive-in style, and audience members are encouraged to bring their comfiest chairs to watch the musical...” *continued on page 6
FEATURES The Future of Fashion
Sarah Cate White ‘23 Staff Writer Inconvenience forces innovation. There is no better example of this than how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the fashion industry. Designers refused to let the pandemic win in the battle of how fashion shows, trends, and fashion weeks will look in 2021. With so many people isolated from connection this past year, the world needs art. Art takes individuals out of the frustration and routine of their daily lives and immerses them in a world of creativity. So far, 2021 fashion has delivered chic trends just in time for spring, expanded the audience of high fashion exhibits and made this year’s fashion week as memorable as past years despite the unique challenges COVID-19 has presented the industry. Berlin kicked off the first fashion week this year, running from Jan. 18-24. For the first time in history, anyone could watch the models of German brands strut the runway virtually from home. Later in January, designers and models gathered in Paris to celebrate the semi-annual week, which is dedicated to showing off new designs and guiding the spring and summer trends for 2021. Huge influences in the fashion world such as Fendi, Valentino, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton followed Berlin’s fashion week lead by hosting online fashion shows. Fendi set the stage for its couture fashion show on a mirrored runway with fog about six inches off the ground. Only sending one model at a time, virtual viewers were shocked to see Demi Moore working the runway. Even though COVID-19 placed many obstacles in the way of 2021, fashion prevailed and is a roaring, thriving industry. While tuning into shows from my bedroom, I could not help but ask myself, “Is this the future of fashion?” Do not get me wrong, I can only imagine the exhilarating thrill of going to fashion week and observing the many looks live, but a small audience made the show exactly the vision the designers wanted. When it is safe to have spectators at fashion week once again, I hope the luxury brands will again live stream them. Another bright side of having smaller numbers of guests to the show was the ability for different brands to explore new opportunities they would otherwise not take. A mirrored runway, Valentino’s show taking place in the Galleria Colonna, and the virtual audience are all avenues that would not have been even thought to explore if it were not for the audience-free occasion. The spring/summer 2021 collections are becoming renowned with a crowd outside of the typical Upper: Moore walking the Fendi Fashion high fashion assembly. I credit the sudden influx of viewers of the fashion industry to the availability of the shows and expansion to internet influencers. The availability of these shows let viewers watch any time they show. Lower: Emma Chamberlain at fashion week in 2020. pleased, for little or no money, and as many times as they wanted. This new breakthrough of the art form is revolutionizing modern-day dress and the way society perceives fashion. Emma Chamberlain, Gen-Z fashion icon and YouTube personality, dedicated a video to attending the Louis Vuitton fashion show virtually for its autumn/fall collection. Vuitton teaming up with Chamberlain is genius for many reasons. The collaboration of the two allows fashion phenomenon Chamberlain to expand her wardrobe and style high-fashion pieces for everyday dress. It also expands Louis Vuitton’s audience to viewers who have little knowledge of fashion and promotes fashion week to millions around the world. Runway fashion is meant to be picked apart. Spotting trends is subtle, repetition of a piece, color, or size is the easiest way to predict the blooming style that is seeded in the runway. Chamberlain is an expert at taking one designer piece and making it wearable in an everyday outfit. High fashion is reaching an all-time peak for observers because oodles of people are finally learning how to interpret it. What was thought to be an industry that would get no buzz in such unprecedented times has been turned upside down and garnered a vast audience. Fashion has taken many hits but came back swinging with completely unique and unforgettable shows this year, serving us with many new trends and connecting us through our favorite celebrities.
A Magnifying Glass into the ELC Maggie York ‘23 Staff Writer
All around the world, students are being affected by COVID-19 and its severe impact on learning. Many have debated whether the class of 2020, 2021, or even 2022 has had it the worst. But one class we may be forgetting about is the youngest here at Marist: the Early Learning Center (ELC). Former Marist School President Fr. John Harhager launched the ELC so that faculty and staff have an on-site daycare facility for their young children. Although not many of the ELC’s young students have been physically affected by the virus or any of its side effects, their learning and social development are two great setbacks for many teachers. The first few years are some of the most important in a child’s learning habits, and this past year has been anything but habitual for many young kids. Between remote learning and limited social interaction during the pandemic, many young children are growing up in a completely different atmosphere than any current Marist students did in their preschool years. The biggest impact of COVID-19 has been on “the connection between the teachers and parents,” ELC teacher Katie Soskin said, as parents are no longer able to come inside to the classroom to drop their children off and converse with the teachers. Parents now have to wait outside the door to be greeted. In the ELC, Soskin said, there is no mask mandate because it is very hard to enforce with little kids. In the same way, social distancing is very difficult with kids of this age. “But the ELC teachers wear
Emmett Stowe plays in the ELC. Photo by Katie Soskin.
masks and have to stay within their classroom,” said Soskin. Teachers are trying to leave a little sense of normalcy for these kids by allowing them to be near their friends. Like the other teachers at Marist, the ELC staff taught their students virtually from March to August of last year. Teaching three, four, and fiveyear-old children is especially difficult because “their attention span is so small,” said Soskin. To combat this, ELC teachers sent daily videos to the kids with activities such as reading a book, singing a song, or having a weekly show and share. But Soskin said there have been upsides to teaching in the midst of a pandemic. “The smaller class sizes and not having as many kids in each room” helps to slow the spread of the virus and aids in teaching the kids,” she said. Due to the amount of change outside of the classroom for many of the ELC students, the teachers have kept a consistent teaching routine for the children. “Keeping the same routine every day helps so as the year goes on, the children start to learn and know what is next,” said Soskin. This helps keep the children interested in what they are learning and encourages them to still find school exciting. Recess, many of the children’s favorite activities during the day, is still on at the ELC! Soskin says recess allows children to get outside to explore and get some exercise. This is one of the many COVID-friendly activities of the ELC. As we all continue to live in this strange time, we should recognize how every single person has been affected, even the tiniest members of our community!
Sophia Stafford ‘22 Staff Writer When many locally-owned businesses were devastated by the pandemic and forced to shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions, there was one business that saw their sales boom: the chicken keeping industry. Spring is usually the time of year when hardware and feedand-seed stores start to ship in baby chickens because it is when chick-loving customers start searching for more hens to add to their flock. In addition, around Easter, many parents buy baby chickens for their children’s baskets. All this to say, while the spring season caused the usual spike in sales, sales during the pandemic rose even higher. This was the case for Wayne Agan, owner of Wayne’s Customs Coops in Temple, Ga. Agan got into the business of building chicken coops after his wife posted pictures of the one he built for his children’s chickens on social media. “The post just exploded,” Agan explained. “It was like everyone wanted one, so we thought, maybe I should start a business.” Agan started building coops for friends, but soon he’d built a thousand of them, and demand is still going strong. After 11 years, they’ve built almost 1200 coops in backyards across Georgia.
“Individuals are looking to chickens for eggs and to goats for milk, and they are moving from grocery stores to backyards.”
Unlike many other businesses, COVID-19 hasn’t really affected Agan’s. “We haven’t really been able to get around the homeowners too much. I mean, when we go out and deliver, they’ll come out and tell us where they want it.” Other than that, they haven’t had to adjust too many protocols because there is not a lot of necessary contact between the builders and homeowners. The biggest change was in the sales. “People are wanting to, I guess, live off the land, just in case [the pandemic] just keeps going,” Agan said. “They want to be able to have fresh eggs. We built a goat shed, and stuff like that, so they’ll have goats and pigs and everything else.” He notes that people want to be able to go out and get fresh eggs without having to go to the store every two days. In a time of uncertainty, people are looking for more certain sources for food to support themselves in the case of another lockdown. Individuals are looking to chickens for eggs and to goats for milk, and they are moving from grocery stores to backyards, beginning a new cycle of sufficiency. Backyard chicken keeping is just one example of people achieving self-sufficiency and self-reliance from their own backyards.
Feeling Stressed? Snap 5ense Can Help
A Sneak Peak at the Robotics Team’s Creative Solution to Stress
Claire Garvin ‘23 Staff Writer Each day, Marist students encounter many challenges, from homework problems to athletic practices to navigating the class schedule. One robotics team recently created an innovative solution, called Snap 5ense, to aid with the stress individuals often face. This monthly subscription box will provide students with creative solutions to reduce stress that appeal to each of the five senses. After spending hours meticulously researching the best solutions to stress, the robotics team assembled a subscription box filled with many great objects. For example, in order to appeal to the sense of smell, students will receive a small candle with tranquil scents, including orchids and other flowers. Similarly, the box will also include relaxing
beverages for students to satisfy their sense of taste, such as chai tea. They will also create peaceful Spotify playlists that students who purchase the subscription box will be able to access. Technology can seem “really scary, and you either consider yourself a tech person or not a tech person,” said robotics team member Grace Neil’ 22. “We wanted to make tech less scary and provide another route towards it.” By giving students these innovative resources in the subscription boxes, many students will realize the pleasure of technology and feel more comfortable exploring its applications. Based on their recent rise in popularity, the subscription box will also include LED lights, which will calm students through their sense of sight. The team’s research indicated that these lights can provide a calm
setting and impact students’ moods. At the forefront of their design are the snap circuits, which Neil explains are “basically like the buttons on the letter jacket” because they easily connect. This snap circuit appeals to students’ sense of touch by allowing them to effortlessly assemble, unassemble, and tinker with the set. The circuit board controls the included LED lights, and each month will provide instructions for different light settings. Many of the details about this amazing subscription are still yet to be determined, including the price and when it will be available. However, Neil explained that testing will begin this spring with production beginning soon thereafter, so keep an eye out for this creative innovation from the ingenious Marist robotics team!
Behind the Pages of Marist’s Guidon
Emma Schwind Staff Writer ‘23 At the end of every school year, students receive a yearbook reflecting all of the memories, students, faculty and staff, and other on and off-campus events throughout the year. But I have always wondered: What goes into making the Guidon, Marist School’s yearbook? Yearbook is a two- or three-term class that allows 10th-12th grade students to design and produce Guidon. There are various leadership positions that allow experienced students to lead the creation of the yearbook and help guide newer students in the course. Besides student pictures and school events, there are a variety of other pages in the yearbook such as birthdays, trends, and other spreads depicting sports and clubs that happen on-campus. Another incredible aspect of the Guidon are the student quotes scattered throughout about clubs, sports, activities, and events that have happened on-campus. It allows students to voice their opinions on what is happening on-campus and share their favorite memories. Maggie York ‘23, a yearbook staffer, is new to the elective this year. “I loved seeing how well the yearbook comes together each year and thought it would be cool to be a part of it and see all the work that goes into creating it,” York said. First-year Guidon member Caroline Baljet ‘23 said that her favorite part of the class is “learning about a club or team that I didn’t know existed before.” By managing pages that required her to reach out to various students for pictures and quotes, Baljet “got to know many different people from every end of the school.” According to Gigi Glennon ‘23, it is “super helpful when students, families, or faculty send in photos” because “the more photos, the better the yearbook!” Yearbook members reach out to the Marist community because they don’t just want to see what’s happening on-campus; they want to also see what Marist is doing outside of school for the friendship, birthday, and season-themed pages. Co-Editor-in-Chief Caroline Williamson ‘21, has worked with Guidon since 10th grade as “a way to give back to the Marist community in a creative way.” Williamson is excited about a new page in the upcoming yearbook focusing on student, teacher, and celebrity resemblances. According to Williamson, the hardest part of the class is “finding photos to fill our pages and making sure that we highlight every student at least 3 times in the book.” She is grateful that people have sent in so many pictures this year, especially because COVID has limited events on-campus.
“It allows students to voice their opinions on what is happening on-campus and share their favorite memories.”
Chickaletta pictured in coop built by Mr.Wayne Agan. Photo by Sophia Stafford.
Maddy Djuric ‘21 takes photographs for the yearbook at a 2020 football game.
20 Years Later: From Marist Student to Administrator (continued) An Interview with Mrs. Amelia Gleaton Luke ‘01
Christian Conte ‘21 Editor-in-Chief
Luke (left) poses with two of her colleagues and good friends, science teachers Kevin Lisle (center) and Kelly Mandy ’96 (right).
...AL: When Fr. Harhager came to Marist as President [in 2008], we started seeing a lot of changes to the physical plant, and to his credit, he was able to update this campus tremendously. Today, it’s so nice to see how bright our hallways are where everything looks new and fresh. Looking at non-physical changes, I think that even though we didn’t call it the “Marist Fam” when I was a student, it definitely existed. We were good about loving and building each other up, and my best friends now are still my best friends from Marist. So, while it’s physically changed, all the good at Marist that we think about today hasn’t really gone away.
CC: Cool! And when you were heading off to college at UGA, did you have any idea about what you wanted to study or that you wanted to return to Marist eventually? AL: That’s actually interesting. When I was a student, I was very close with the Director of Student Activities at the time, Ms. Harriet Corbett Austin. I did student government with her, and she was a huge mentor to me. Ultimately, I knew that I would love to have her job someday, but I also knew that if I wanted it, I was probably going to have to teach first, which I wasn’t quite sure that I was going to love. I was initially pre-med at UGA but didn’t end up going to medical school because I did not think that I wanted to go to school for that long. And it ended up that I was hired at North Gwinnett, where I student-taught, which was sort of a nice entry to teaching by already having a community there. Once I arrived back at Marist in 2007, I set a course to get a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and things just sort of worked out from there. At first, I taught high school biology and environmental science before moving to the administrative side in 2010. CC: When you returned now on the faculty side of things, did you have any Marist Mentors – any faculty members, now fellow colleagues, that you looked up to? AL: Absolutely. It was weird because I felt like I was becoming a part of this group of teachers that had all taught me. It took some adjustment to start calling them by their first names. Dr. Louisa Moffitt, Mr. John Martin, Mrs. Mary Ann Zins, and Mr. Tony Cordell were definitely people that took me under their wing and helped me find my place here. Mrs. Tricia Glidewell, who taught me AP Biology, is probably the reason I became a biology teacher.
“Everyone has friends, but at Marist you make Friends that you know you’re going to have for the rest of your life.” CC: As you think back to 20 years ago when you were making your college decision, what would you say to the Class of 2021 that is going through that same process right now as they figure out their next step in life? AL: Where you go is not a determining factor of your future because you can get a good education anywhere you go, so long as you choose to learn wherever you go. I really wanted to go to [the University of Virginia]; I got in but received no financial aid, so I could not afford to go there and was devastated at first. But, I got an excellent education at UGA and graduated with two degrees in four years. I think that it feels like everything if your future is riding on your college decisions, and it’s just not. In 20 years, no one is going to ask you what other schools you got into – that’s not a thing. And the disappointment fades; I haven’t thought about going to Virginia at all since I stepped foot on UGA’s campus. CC: That is fantastic advice, thank you. What favorite memories do you have from Marist – and that could be from your time as a student or a faculty member? AL: One of my favorite memories was from my senior year when I was the Homecoming Chair for Student Council, and we did an outdoor Homecoming dance that year. It was totally different to be doing something outside, but we made the most of it, and it was so much fun to experience with all my friends and to be a part of doing something that was new and original. Listening to John McGreaham ‘65’s stories in English classes was a highlight – he taught here forever and had these hilarious stories. I guess one of my favorite things is that I started teaching here the same year as one of my best friends did, so it was an amazing first 10 years working with one of my best friends from Marist, Mrs. Elizabeth Dete ‘02. CC: Similarly, when was a specific time when you really felt that power and love of the Marist Fam in any of your years here? AL: Definitely at Emmaus down at Holy Trinity. I remember another student trying to articulate how Marist was special, and he said that everyone has friends with a lowercase “f ” but at Marist you make Friends with an uppercase “F” that you know you’re going to have for the rest of your life. Like, “Y’all are my people, and I know I will always be able to turn to you.” And he’s still one of my best friends now. CC: After being a student here, you chose to return to Marist and work here, so something about this place must feel special. So, why choose to call Marist your home away from home for so much of your life? AL: Marist was definitely a home away from home as a student and because I felt such a sense of community here, I knew I wanted to work here if I ended up going into teaching. The kids are just the best and the nicest – from a teaching perspective, I had never once been thanked for a class [at North Gwinnett], and kids at Marist leave a class and say “thank you” all the time. It was astounding to me that that happened. I really just knew that the teachers had been here for a long time, it was a well-established community, and I just felt it was like a Homecoming – I was coming home when I was hired here. CC: As you reflect on these past few decades at Marist, how would you sum it all up in one word or phrase? AL: My first instinct or piece of advice is to say “you get out what you get in” and to really get out the full experience here, you have to be willing to put yourself out there and engage because what you get back is so tremendous, but you also have to take the first step. But the only word that comes to mind is home – I feel like I am home. Mrs. Amelia Gleaton Luke ’01 is the true definition of a Marist War Eagle and has called 3790 Ashford Dunwoody Road home for 21 years: six as a student and 14 as a faculty member and administrator. She lives with her husband, and two children, Hampton and Eloise. Thank you, Mrs. Luke, for all you do for our community each and every day. Marist would be incomplete without you.
The Age of Streaming Services
Gigi Glennon ‘21 Reviews Editor The familiar question, “What should we watch?” has now become restricted by what streaming services each family has. While cable and Netflix, which launched the streaming era in the 2010s, dominated screens for years, behind the scenes many more companies were working to produce their own streaming services. Now, innumerable services compete for your monthly subscriptions, including Disney +, Discovery +, Hulu, HBO Max, Peacock, Apple TV +, ESPN +, and Amazon Prime Video, just to name a few! So, which ones should you subscribe to and where does the television market go from here? Subscribing to every streaming service would be insanely expensive and honestly, way too much to keep up with. To make it easier, here are some easy ways to determine which ones are for you. Disney +, as in the name, contains almost every Disney-owned or -produced television series or movie, including Marvel, National Geographic, Pixar, and “Star Wars.” If you are a super fan of these, Disney+ is perfect for you! With every Disney Channel show, Disney+ is also a big win for families, especially those with younger children. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are also the best bets for families. With many genres and age groups, everyone in your household can find something they enjoy. Mostly older kids in your family? Peacock, HBO Max, and Hulu might be right for you. All feature a more mature selection of series and movies are great for families with teens or young adults. Any sports fan would love ESPN +, which carries many sports networks like MLB, NHL, MBA, PGA golf, and loads others. With the rise of fast and easy television streaming services, the popularity of cable has fallen as some families choose to use streaming services only. With the same amount of entertainment you get from different streaming services, why pay for cable? With subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime,YouTube TV, and Disney +, but no cable television, Caroline Baljet ‘23 misses “scrolling through the channels and unexpectedly coming across a movie or TV show I forgot about,” Baljet said. However, she does like that “there are no commercials and you can download shows and movies on the go.” According to the New York Times, the streaming era is expected to overcome cable television. Some cable companies are coming up with package deals that allow consumers to pay a monthly fee for a streaming service as well as live television. However, in the future, cable may disappear altogether. I hope this guide to streaming helps! Happy binging!
For more content and stories, visit our website at MaristBlueGold.com!
Two examples of streaming services, Disney+ and HBO Max.
Marist Art Gallery: Campus’s Secret Gem
Olivia Kincade ‘22 Staff Writer Almost every Marist student is familiar with Gunn, the building at the edge of campus that houses all Fine Arts classes. One of the most gorgeous locations on-campus lies in this building, but it oftentimes goes unnoticed and overlooked. What is this mysterious gem, hidden in plain sight? The Marist Art Gallery, home to amazing original pieces hand-crafted by Marist students. Students tend to pass the studio on their way to class, but few stop to peruse the beautiful pieces on display for everyone’s enjoyment. Stunning paintings on different canvases and materials line the walls, dazzling sculptures from ceramics classes steal the spotlight, and even art pieces hanging from the ceiling decorate the industrial space. If you have the opportunity to, stop by the art gallery and peruse the newest pieces. If not, take a look at the included photos until you have the chance to see the pieces in person. Finally, thank your peers who contribute to this gallery full of extraordinary work.
Examples of artwork by Marist students displayed in the Gunn art gallery. Photos by Olivia Kincade ‘22.
Marist Theater Triumphs Admist Uncertainty (continued) Caroline York ‘21 Features Editor ...“Now. Here. This.” was originally written for four cast members, but innovative Theater Director, Eric McNaughton ‘90, redesigned the production to accommodate the school’s company of over 25 actors. The show has a loose plot set in a museum, with themes of living in the present moment incorporated with science and time travel. Conte says the musical numbers dominate the production with several solos highlighting Marist’s best singers. At rehearsals, the cast and crew are taking many precautions when it comes to the pandemic. Cast members are wearing specially-designed singing masks that allow them to safely belt out their melodies. Every 20 minutes, “the cast takes a break to let the air purifiers clean the rehearsal room” said cast member Moira Udja ‘21. This year, understudies have a heightened role. Ujda explains that COVID-19 could force many actors into quarantine and that “understudies must be ready at a moment’s notice” to step into a role. For many actors, the production is a nice escape from the pandemic. Emma Schwind ‘23 Rehearsals “make life feel a lot more normal than usual,” Emma Schwind ‘23 said. Nothing makes [her] happier than telling an audience a story through scenes, songs, and dance.” During these challenging times, Caroline Baljet ‘23 has found joy in “getting the hang of songs and moments when 100 separate parts all blend together.” “Now. Here. This.” clocking in at a little over an hour, and will run the evenings of March 24-26. Each night, there will be a maximum of 200 audience members who will experience the show together, just like an outdoor concert or performance.
weeks (remember that schedule?), retreats, and school trips. AP Studio Art and chorale students visited York City—Yes, New York City! We even had the annual winter pep rally. February came and went with many more all-school gatherings including the Sacred Concert and winter sports wrapping up as spring sports geared into motion. The varsity boys’ swim and dive team won the state championship last calendar year as well. March and April, however, came as a total surprise to many when school and much of the world began closing after spring break. Trips, including Bearing Witness, the Barcelona exchange trip, and the AP art history trips were canceled as Europe went into lockdown. COVID-19 hit society hard, and Marist transitioned to virtual learning and the universe of Google Meets. Students were devastated when what we thought was an extra two-week vacation turned into months away from our friends and the campus we once took for granted. The 2020 seniors were impacted a lot. In place of a traditional graduation in May, commencement was pushed to July with limited family members in Hughes Spalding Stadium across two separate ceremonies. However, the Marist fam joined together—while 6 feet apart—to say good-bye to the seniors at an epic drive-thru send-off event in May. s we hea
As we headed into summer, many students’ plans such as camps, internships, or international trips were canceled. Families stayed home for most of the summer, watching Netflix, trying new hobbies, or playing with their siblings. Over the summer months, the Black Lives Matter movement swept the country following the news of George Floyd’s death and those of other innocent African Americans who were wrongfully killed at the hands of police.
Marist School President Fr. Bill Rowland even led Marist families as they marched for racial equality in June with the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Eager to start a new school year despite the challenges ahead, the class of 2021 came together for the annual senior sunrise. Marist started opening its doors back up for the new school year with hybrid learning and all sports and extracurriculars with new protocols in place. Although many Marist students were grateful to be back on campus, some missed the extra time in the morning to sleep in, for sure. Despite some restrictions, our community was still able to have a spirit week, a socially-distanced student section at football games, senior halloween, the new color wars, and an outdoor fall play! The play included a series of short skits including a 10-minute Macbeth, a satire of the New York DMV, and a closing dance piece at the end of the evening. Finally, after a relaxing Thanksgiving break, all Marist students could return to campus. Many were refreshed to see friends after such a long time apart. Marist’s Varsity Volleyball and Girls Cross Country teams both won state championships, starting out our 2020-2021 athletic season on two high notes! Our 2020 year ended with a football championship over Christmas break. Marist families and alumni gathered together at Center Parc Stadium to battle against Jefferson High School. After an intense game, Marist won the class AAAA state championship! 2020 was full of twists, turns, highs, lows, heartbreak, and love. But throughout it all, Marist stayed as a family though it all, virtually and in-person. Let’s bring that energy into 2021!
Actors rehearse in the flag circle, where they will perform live in March. Photo by Moira Ujda ‘21.
What a Year! 2020 in Review
Gigi Glennon ‘23 Reviews Editor What a year! If you had told me that 2020 would bring a state championship in football, a national movement for racial justice, a global pandemic, and so much more, I wouldn’t have believed you. The Marist Fam weathered so much together this past year, but it has made us stronger than ever. January 2020 started out just like any other year with blue and gold
Top: the Class of 2020 graduates and parents attended an outdoor, socially distant Graduation ceremony in July. Bottom: Carli Bowen ‘21 with her friends at Senior Sunrise on the first day of school in August 2020.
OP/ED Of Course Mr. Darcy Listens to The Smiths!
Amanda Altarejos ‘22 Junior Managing Editor Music sets people alight, but we are all particular with our choices. For one person, the sublime intensity of Mozart’s work may be the sun itself, but another individual might prefer Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of The Moon.” So, who’s to say that the characters we meet on dog-eared, annotated pages don’t have their own preferences? Take Jane Austen’s novel “Pride and Prejudice,” for example. It’s probably a “truth universally acknowledged” that 80s English rock band The Smiths is Mr. Darcy’s most treasured. I mean, who can blame him! Romance during the Regency Era surely must have required a few melodramatic tunes. Maybe more than a few, if you consider the hefty amount of broken hearts. Today is the day you catch one more glimpse into the minds of an English class’s most beloved protagonists: through their speculated music tastes, of course.
To begin with the embodiment of teenage angst, J.D Salinger’s character of Holden Caulfield, without a doubt, is a die-hard Joy Division fan. With the cacophonous melody and defiant lyrics of the post-punk band’s hit album “Unknown Pleasures,” it isn’t crazy to imagine Holden listening to it on repeat while walking down Broadway street. In fact, he’d probably write a whole chapter as to how Joy Division allows him to escape the reality of growing up. “Disorder” and “She’s Lost Control” both project emotional crises in a rebellious nature—perfectly suited to Caulfield as he makes his way through the tribulations of (almost) adulthood. The world of Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” is a frightening one. This dystopian novel’s main character, Guy Montag, slowly becomes the rebel he was taught to hate as he finds solace in forbidden books; they were his source of true intellectual substance when the world allowed none.
Christian Conte, Editor-In-Chief; Madden Callahan, Senior Managing Editor; Amanda Altarejos, Junior Managing Editor; Ryan Langner, OP/ED Editor; Caroline York, Features Editor; Katherine Guhl, News Editor; Kathryn Taylor, Sports Editor; Claire Payne, Faith Editor; Gigi Glennon, Reviews Editor; Maddy Djuric, Photography Editor; Dr. Justin Horton, Faculty Moderator
The Marist Blue & Gold is published six times a year, online and in print, by the students of Marist School, 3790 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, Georgia, 30319. All signed editorials reflect the views of the writers. Unsigned editorials reflect the views of the Blue & Gold. The Blue & Gold is a member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, Journalism Education Association, and Quill and Scroll.
Thus, if Montag ever found a dusty CD of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” hidden between the pages of a half-scorched book, I’m quite sure he’d keep it, stare at the four men walking in an oddly idyllic background, and later obsess over the music’s lyrical genius. “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun” would likely give Montag the hopeful meaningfulness of life he so desperately desires. Montag would absolutely listen to this album to keep a piece of happiness in a dark world.
Let’s return to stoic Mr. Darcy, who maintains a taciturn guise amidst heartbreak and high society drama. I truly believe that he would secretly idolize the spectacular discography of The Smiths as their lyrics can resonate with any man afraid to be outwardly ruffled by romantic distress. In particular, he’d have an affinity for their 1984 album “Hatful of Hollow.” Not only does the title allude to the appearance he puts on the save face, but songs like “What Difference Does it Make?” and “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” let Darcy loosen up and genuinely feel his internalized tensions with Elizabeth. The feelings he hides throughout the novel can be found in the lyrics of these songs—love, hate, angry disregard, and any others that one experiences when you get rejected by the love of your life. However, I would like to think that the beautiful words of The Smiths would have been the thing that pushed Mr. Darcy off the pedestal of pride and towards a second chance.
It’s More Than Squinted Eyes and a Mask
Kathryn Taylor ‘21 Sports Editor You are walking down the hall, the street, or even just an aisle in the store, and someone looks up and smiles at you. Smiling: it’s such a simple way of spreading joy, and it has actually been shown to have many positive effects. Not only does a smile spread joy to others, but science has shown that, in times of unhappiness or stress, smiling releases serotonin to improve your body and spirit. As Hayden Hollingsworth ‘21 hyped up the Marist Girls Varsity Swim team before a meet, she told them all to get up on the block, mentally prepare themselves, and then smile! This was the best piece of advice I have ever been given. I hyped myself up in my head, stretched, and then stood strong and smiled wide. In that moment, the smile powered my start and gave me a boost of confidence as I dove into the water.
“Not only does a smile spread joy to others, but science has shown that, in times of unhappiness or stress, smiling releases serotonin to improve your body and spirit.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been my goal to find something in each day to make me smile. Even if it’s as simple as putting on a happy song that reminds you of a good memory, it’s important to find something that makes you smile. Scientists have found that there are 16 different types of smiles, and chances are, there are so many different stories behind all the smiles you see in a day. However, there is one thing that you can control; you can control you. And if there is anything I have learned in my life, someone’s smile or even the smile from their eyes can make your forced smile change to a real one quickly. So reciprocate the smile; after all, isn’t that what you would want?
Looking Forward to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 2021 (continued)
Lauren Guhl ‘23 Staff Writer ...The upcoming Summer Olympics will include six new events in its program: baseball, softball, sport climbing, surfing, skateboarding, and karate. Baseball and softball both were sports that used to be in the Olympics but have been absent since the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Since both sports are popular in Japan, the host country was able to bid for them to be included in this year’s Olympics; however, there is no guarantee that baseball and softball will remain an Olympic sport after this year’s Games. Three different disciplines will make up the sport climbing event, which requires every climber to compete in speed, bouldering, and lead climbing. Climbers must scale a 15-meter high wall in speed climbing, complete as many bouldering courses as possible, and climb as high as they can during lead climbing before multiplying their place in each discipline to determine medal winners. Shortboards will be used to compete in the surfing competition on real, unpredictable waves at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach. There will be two separatre skateboarding events: park and street. On different courses resembling either a street with handrails, stairs, benches, and curbs, or a skateboard park, riders can select on which parts of the course they want to perform and what tricks to attempt. Karate is separated into weight classes and consists of kata, which is form-focused, and kumite, which is sparring. Combined with all the familiar sports at the Olympics, these new events will likely be highly-anticipated additions. With new events come new stand-out athletes, but some old favorites are set to return again for the chance to win more medals. Simone Biles, a U.S. gymnast, is looking to become one of the oldest women to win the all-around title and the first to be a repeat champion in over 50 years. In the pool, Caeleb Dressel has a shot at winning seven gold medals this year across freestyle, butterfly, and breaststroke events. Noah Lyles, an American sprinter, will be racing in the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 4x100 meter races, trying to fill a spot left by the retired Usain Bolt of Jamaica. Outside of the United States, 12-year-old Sky Brown of Great Britain is the youngest professional skateboarder in the world, and if she makes the Olympic team, she will become one of the youngest athletes to compete for that country. Naomi Osaka, champion tennis player, has said that she plans to compete for Japan for the Tokyo Olympics. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya became the first person to run a sub two-hour marathon back in 2019, and if he wins the marathon in Tokyo, he will become the third person in history to win the Olympic marathon twice. While the final logistics of the Games are still under review, there will hopefully be some form of the Olympics to look forward to this year. Whether they plan to watch swimming, basketball, or trampoline gymnastics, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be a bright and exciting part of 2021 for sports fans.
Left: Photos of Medals for the Olympics from Tokyo2020.org Above: Collage of Marist Athletics. Photos by Maddy Djuric ‘21
The Scoop on Service All You Need to Know About Girls Bible Study Caroline York ‘21 Features Editor It’s that time of year again. When the second term ends and the third begins, students begin to panic about the community service hours required to finish the year. With COVID-19 changing the rhythm of everyday life, it may feel daunting to complete these important hours. Campus Ministry, however, offers some tips to ease students’ worries. Every grade level has a specific number of service hours per school year. Mary Ujda, the new Coordinator of Student Community Service this year, had toadopt a new approach to service in an unprecedented year. Before COVID-19, most hours had to be in direct service, meaning students actively worked in the community, in-person. With the closure of many sites and a global transition online, Marist decided to allow students to fulfill their hours with direct or indirect service, which can be earned at home or even virtually. Regardless of the pandemic, for Ujda, nothing has changed about the intentions of serving. Campus Ministry continues to “offer students opportunities to serve that fit the Marist mission,” she said. COVID-19 has only changed the methods of serving, not the purpose. Whereas students typically fulfill most of their hours in one or two days with Habitat for Humanity builds, overnight stays at homeless shelters or days spent with residents at assisted living facilities, students now fulfill one or two hours at a time virtually or with short, in-person increments. New opportunities have arisen, including “virtual
tutoring, Google Meet visits with residents in assisted living facilities, and assembling sandwiches for homeless shelters at home,” Ujda said. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on homelessness, food insecurity, and unemployment. Ujda indicated that service from Marist students is needed more than ever during this time of crisis. If you’re looking for ways to serve, check out the weekly email Udja sends on Tuesday afternoons with service updates and opportunities. These emails have replaced the service announcements posted in Campus Ministry to keep students up-to-date on ongoing service. At the beginning of every term, Ujda visits theology class to inform students of the importance of service and getting ahead on hours. “Procrastination is not the way to approach service,” said Ujda, “especially in a year with so many unknowns.” So, the next time you’re virtually visiting someone or assembling meals from home, do not simply think about the hours you are earning. Instead, “think about what the community needs, not what you need,” Ujda said. Rather than focusing on hours, focus on those you serve.
This year’s retreat included a first: leader-designed masks.
Marist juniors and seniors assemble dressers for the furniture bank as part of the Galilee retreat. Photo by Mary Ujda.
Caroline Baljet ‘23 Staff Writer This winter, Marist School introduced five new extracurricular clubs. Among those is Girls Bible Study. Started by Kate Gillett ‘21, this club is for any girl in 7th through 12th grade that is interested in scripture, growing in her faith, or wanting to meet new friends. Like most clubs, Girls Bible Study meets during most activity periods but is a non-committal club, meaning that students can attend whenever they have the time. The club promotes flexibility to fit around students’ busy schedules. Gillett has been attending Catholic school for her entire life but felt that she could strengthen her knowledge of scripture. While Catholic school has certainly helped in understanding faith, rarely do students dig deep to understand the origins and meanings behind scripture beyond 9th grade. This inspired Gillett to create Girls Bible Study at Marist, a club solely dedicated to understanding scripture. She has been ready to create this start up for a year now, but because of COVID-19 and the infrequency of club meetings, it has been difficult to kickstart the club. Despite only having one term left at Marist, Gillett refused to give up on this calling of her’s. Gillett hopes to pass this club on to other students next year when she is gone, which means that leadership positions will be available for current sophomores and juniors for next school year. A typical club meeting for Girls Bible Study is very calming and hospitable. Gillett will first speak about the concept of Christianity, connecting these concepts to verses in the Bible. Then, she uses real life examples in addition to props in order to create an engaging meeting. After the initial talk, the floor will be open for discussion. The discussion contemplates questions that are provided at the beginning of the meeting. On occasion, Gillett will call in guests from Marist and even special guests from outside of our school community. The relaxed atmosphere provides a repose from students’ regular class schedules. Additionally, Girls Bible Study does not require many materials. Gillett provides the note sheets needed for the discussion, which are the only tools needed to engage in the meeting. However, to get the most out of the club, some students bring a bible and a notebook. Gillett created this club because she felt it was her calling to help make a difference in girls’ faith. Girls Bible Study is the best way to spend an activity period if you are looking for a break in your busy day. If you are interested in joining, you can contact Kate Gillett (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Embracing Change and New Beginnings Stella Chambless ‘24 on the Genesis Retreat Staff Writer
While physically separating us, the effects of COVID-19 have spiritually brought the Marist community and the world together. Compassion has been on full display since the start of the pandemic. Many individuals sacrificed their normal lives in order to protect those who are at higher risk, displaying a sense of community. Even a simple gesture like wearing a mask at school shows your concern for the safety of others. The overwhelming display of kindness and empathy is a nice reminder how we should always look out for our neighbors. The pandemic brought forth harm and disaster, but the communal combat against it begins a new chapter of love. The start of high school at Marist is symbolized by many things, one of which being the Genesis retreat. Faculty members Jenni Justus, Reinald Yoder, Andrew Johnson, and Megan Kennedy organized and moderated this year’s retreat for freshmen, ensuring COVID friendliness while still cultivating a strong sense of connection between the retreatants. If you were a student at Marist in ninth grade, you likely participated in the Genesis retreat. There, you probably slept in train cars and roasted marshmallows as part of your first overnight retreat. This year, students were able to gather in the warmth of classrooms with their groups of five students as well as their sophomore retreat leaders. The leaders transformed the classrooms, making them unrecognizable by replacing desks with blankets, yoga mats, and snacks. Some leaders brought speakers and electric candles to maintain the spiritual atmosphere, all while ensuring compliance with COVID-19 protocols. The retreat would not have been possible if not for the tireless efforts of the moderators, leaders, and student participants. “The biggest challenge was adapting the retreat to maintain health protocols and shifting the retreat’s location and timing to a one-day event,” said Justus, who coordinated the retreat while teaching remotely from home. “However, one of the benefits of planning the retreat during COVID was the increased flexibility offered by virtual meetings.”As Justus highlighted, even though there were many hurdles to climb in the planning, preparation, and execution of the retreat, it also brought on additional successes like leader-designed masks. “The leaders are the weavers of the magic,” said Yoder. “Their serious sense of purpose, their preparations and care, and their energy on the day of the retreat helped to create experiences for their groups that should spark personal and community growth.” “COVID has helped us realize how much we take for granted, and when everyone follows the rules and precautions, we can all safely engage with one another and form stronger bonds and relationships in the process,” said Justus. This retreat bonded the ninth grade class, preparing them for their high school experience ahead and exemplified a joint effort of our Marist community to protect its members. The retreat was also a repose from our daily lives. Expressing feelings and discussing deep topics such as personal relationships with God, ways to improve family dynamics, and the highs and lows of life, allowed for strong connections to grow among the freshman class. All in all, the Genesis retreat was a large success thanks to the efforts of its faculty moderators and sophomore leaders involved in planning.
“Supernatural”: 15 Years of Monsters, Classic Rock, and Heartache Madison Roberts ‘22 Staff Writer In 2005, the first season of a show called “Supernatural” aired on the WB, the now defunct TV network. 15 years later, the CW aired the series finale on Nov. 19, 2020. “Supernatural” has cemented its place as the longest running sci-fi/fantasy series with
recurring characters. The series has generally had decent special effects, considering that it began in 2005, and they noticeably improved over the years. The stunts have been well-coordinated and engaging to watch; the actors do many of the stunts themselves. The real reason “Supernatural” was on the air so
able to produce fantastic sets and wardrobes (though 500 shades of plaid is counting as a complex wardrobe). The show has consistently shown the rela-
Jovi, “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Renegade” by Styx, and, of course, “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas, which is played
Above:“Supernatural” season 13, episode16,“Scoobynatural”
long is not the cinematography, the action sequences, or the various monsters they fight; it’s the emotional connection that the fans have to the characters and the story. “Supernatural” built a strong fan base from the beginning, and the writers play off that with episodes like season six, episode 15, “The French Mistake,” where the brothers get transported
tionship between two brothers fighting to keep each other safe. Even though there have been some rocky plot lines (season 7), the show has still kept fighting with mythical monsters and, of course, the 1967 Impala. So, in order to fully capture what “Supernatural” is all about, here are the top five reasons why this series is one of the most iconic series of the last two decades.
Above: Jared Padalecki as SamWinchester and Jensen Ackles as DeanWinchester
show that could not be defeated. It survived the Writers Guild Strike of 2007, albeit ending with only 16 episodes in season three. The original plan was for the show to stop after its fifth season, but it still hung around. While the plots in later seasons become a bit more complex and somewhat contrived, at its heart, “Supernatural” has always stuck to its strong suit: connecting viewers to the lives of the Winchesters, Castiel, and other
to the set of a show called “Supernatural”, where the Winchesters see the lives of Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. In season 10, episode five, “Fan Fiction,” the brothers track a monster to a girls’ school, where they’re putting on a musical based on the fictitious “Supernatural” book series, written by a character named Chuck. “Supernatural”, despite its low budget, has always been
“Supernatural” may be a serious and at times funny show, but it’s also been an inspiration to its fans.
15 seasons and 327 episodes. That’s a pretty long “road so far,” to quote the way the show describes its past episodes. The series stars Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester and Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester, two brothers who travel the country hunting monsters and demons. Misha Collins joins the regular cast in season four as Castiel, an angel who sees the good in humanity. “Supernatural” was the
also unite over their love of the show and how it’s inspired them over the years.
For a show that was on the air for 15 years, “Supernatural” had to come up with creative ways to keep viewers entertained, such as producing many episodes in alternative formats. For example, in season four, episode five, “Monster Movie” was shot in black-and-white, like an old horror movie, and featured iconic monsters. Or in, season 13, episode 16, “Scoobynatural,” where the Winchesters were sucked into the cartoon world of Mystery Incorporated. “Supernatural” has always been able to come up with new ideas for their “monster of the week”-style episodes.
A Killer Soundtrack: “Supernatural” adds to its serious episodes with an awesome classic rock soundtrack with songs like “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon
in the season finale in all of the show’s seasons but the first. That song has come to mean a lot to fans of the show, which again demonstrates how much the fans are deeply connected to the series.
While “Supernatural” can be a serious show, they manage to have several humorous episodes. In season nine, episode five, “Dog Dean Afternoon,” Dean turns into a dog. The episode previously mentioned, “The French Mistake,” is full of funny lines making fun of the actors. Some fantastic one-liners from the show are:
The show, behind all the mythology, is about two brothers who always fight for each other and the world. It’s a show about family, but not just those related by blood. Sam and Dean find their family in other hunters and angels and even demons, and they always overcome challenges—even death—to save the world. Outside of the show, Jared Padalecki has a campaign called “Always Keep Fighting,” which advocates for mental health support. No question, “Supernatural” has cemented its place in television history as a fantastic show. Maybe it won’t always hold the title of longest-running scifi/fantasy series, but that doesn’t mean it will be forgotten by fans anytime soon.
Above: Promotional material for “Supernatural”
The Fan Base:
The “Supernatural” fanbase is one of the most dedicated. Appearing all over the internet, they’re primarily known for having a gif for every possible situation on tumblr, but the fans
So,“Supernatural” family, keep calm and carry on, my wayward son.
The DCEU: A Franchise on Fire
Tommy Bozzuto ‘23 Staff Writer With the recent release of “Wonder Woman 1984,” the current state of the DC Extended Universe, in terms of success and quality, is difficult to determine. The DCEU is perhaps the most divisive movie franchise amongst audiences. The DCEU began in 2013 with the release of “Man of Steel,” and has gone on to spawn a total of nine films. Depicting the heroics of some of DC Comics’s most beloved characters, the DCEU has come under fire multiple times by critics and fans alike. I have been following the DCEU since its debut; these are my findings on the franchise.
My overarching belief is that the DCEU tried to run before it had learned to walk. Instead of carefully establishing n vision and purpose in the beginning, the franchise started with risky and ambitious films such as “Batman vs. Superman” and “Suicide Squad” that set the DCEU off to a rocky start. This is not to say that it has not had success taking these risks. Overall, the franchise is difficult to define as a success or a failure, so let’s examine some individual films. Director Zack Snyder gave audiences a modern take on Superman in “Man of Steel,” which depicts Clark Kent/KalEl as he sets out to discover his identity on Earth while battling the steadfast Kryptonian legions led by the conqueror, General Zod. Although the film has been panned by critics for being hollow and over-the-top, I find it to be one of the best in the DCEU’s repertoire. Serving as a study of Kal-El’s purpose on Earth, “Man
of Steel” boldly ditches elements of the traditional Superman in favor of a more mature character. Snyder has a clear vision for the film, as it is a departure from the conventional Superman story, which I can greatly appreciate.
With “Batman vs. Superman,” critics and fans stood divided over the film’s relative success. The movie follows Batman as he struggles to live in a world that, he believes, is under threat by Superman. At the same time, Superman struggles to maintain his faith in himself and humanity. I appreciate this film as a bold blockbuster that intimately explores the characters in great detail. However, it is plagued by a convoluted and confusing plot in which events are set up in an overcomplicated fashion. The film contains far too many plotlines and characters for the audience to invest in, and as a result, “Batman vs. Superman” is a mess of a film. Coming right off the heels of the divisive Batman vs. Superman, critics and fans were united in their disgust for “Suicide Squad.” The film serves as an origin story for the Suicide Squad, a group of incarcerated villians who are united to fight on behalf of the government in exchange for a reduction in their sentences. The film is an utter disaster. The plot is derivative and shallow and is executed sloppily. The film doesn’t seem to know what to do with its characters, as the talented cast portrays the squad well, but these villains are given nothing resembling character arcs. The storytelling is so drab that about the first 20 minutes of the film are devoted to character introductions that are shown through flashbacks and voiceovers, sacrificing real char-
acter development for boring exposition. Granted, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the director, David Ayer, was given only six weeks to write the script, and the studio constantly interfered with production. However, this information is not enough to absolve the film of its flaws, making it the worst film in the DCEU. After the mess of “Suicide Squad,” audiences were treated to a welcome breath of fresh air in “Wonder Woman.” The film takes place during WWI, as Diana, an Amazonian warrior, fights on behalf of truth and mankind. The film is a delightful superhero adventure with a great cast and style. While the humor is creative and the action vivid, the film is held back from its full potential by a disastrous third act. Whether it is the villain’s disappointing reveal or the uncompelling dialogue, the third act effectively sees the progress made by the characters and the film undone. Despite my overall criticisms, though, the film is a solid addition to the DCEU. In 2017, “Justice League” continued the DCEU’s tradition of uniting audiences in their hatred. As an alien army seeks to conquer Earth, Batman and Wonder Woman unite a team of superheroes in hopes of defending the world. There is almost nothing redeemable about this film. The basic plot is a story we have seen a million times. The dialogue is stale and lifeless, the characters are boring, and the action disappoints massively, as CGI is overused and the film is digitally recolored. There is no clear vision for this film, as two very different filmmakers, Zack Snyder and Joss Wheadon, worked on this project. To me, this is the most disappointing and frustrating film in the DCEU. After a period of grim and cynical films, “Aquman” and
“Shazam” gave audiences fun and digestible journeys with great heroes to root for. On the one hand, you have “Aquaman,” a globetrotting adventure about Arthur Curry, prince of Atlantis, who must defeat his half-brother Orm to save both the land and the sea. The film is ridiculous, yet loveable. I think its strongest aspect is its self awareness in that it does not take itself too seriously and instead, embraces the inherent wacky nature of the title character, who is portrayed perfectly by the infectious Jason Momoa. Although don’t forget, at its core, it is still an action and adventure movie. Next, you have “Shazam,” a comedic family drama encompassed by the story of a boy who can turn into an adult superhero with one word. The film’s fun energy is a delightful new addition to the DCEU. “Shazam” is carried by the lead, Zachary Levy, who portrays the title character with such great childhood wit. At its core, the movie is about the importance of family, a message that appeals to all types of moviegoers. With these two additions, the DCEU is complete with barrels of laughs. Through non-linear storytelling, “Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” (yes, that is the actual, full title) depicts Harley Quinn, after breaking up with the Joker, forming a team of her own in the Birds of Prey. With a small scale, straightforward story, the film functions well with great practical action, giving audiences a break from big CGI noise. The characters are colorful, and the performances are lively. The biggest flaw with this film for me was the way it focuses on its characters. The movie feels less of a Birds of Prey movie, and more like a Harley Quinn movie, as she dominates its screen time, leaving less time to develop the other characters. The movie
would have functioned better if it only served as a movie for Harley Quinn (then at least the title could have been shorter). Still, “Birds of Prey” complements the DCEU fairly well. As the latest addition to the DCEU, “Wonder Woman 1984” takes audiences back to the 80s for a unique adventure. In the film, Diana is mysteriously reunited with her lost love, Steve Trevor, as Maxwell Lord, a failing business man, falls down a path of villainy that places the world in jeopardy. From the setting and premise, this movie is a complete departure from the first film. “WW84” frustrates me in that it fails to recognize simple logic at times. The fact that it is a superhero movie is not enough to explain away the lack of realism in the action and movie’s plot. Though it has been panned by critics and audiences for similar reasons, I actually enjoyed this movie. At its core, it is a love story between Diana and Steve that packs real emotion. The performances are great and the characters are nuanced and compelling. The movie is a nice return to the superhero movies of the 80s, as it pays homage to films such as Richard Donner’s “Superman” and “Superman II.” Though no doubt a flawed film, “WW84” is a fun, much needed escape, much like “Aquaman” and “Shazam” before it. The DCEU is young and still trying to figure out its own identity. However, as it has progressed, it has proven that, though not perfect, its films can still delight moviegoers such as myself. The franchise has proven to be profitable, but I will leave it for you to evaluate its artistic successes. I remain cautiously optimistic about the DCEU, and I must confess that I am rooting for it. In that regard, I would have to proclaim the DCEU a success… for now!
Submit to Rapier!
Clare DiBiase ‘21 Contributor Rapier is an art and literature publication run by Marist students in grades 9-12 since 1965. Our publication aims to highlight young artists, writers, and their work. Through curating student work, we inspire creativity among our student body while driving innovative artistic ventures. On our site, we encourage you to submit art forms such as photography, creative writing, poetry, music, graphic design, sculpture, ceramics, multimedia pieces, and everything in between. Use the following link to submit your art and writing pieces to Rapier 57: www.rapierpublication.weebly.com/
The Best Films of the Worst Year
Andrew Washington ‘21 Staff Writer What a year, huh? A pandemic, Joe Exotic, murder hornets, a global movement for racial justice… and that was just the first half! We’ve been through a cruel and challenging year, and now that we are two months into 2021, let’s take a look back at some bright spots of the year. These 10 films are what I consider to be the best films of 2020.
10. “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” dir. Eliza Hittman | 101 minutes
A quiet film that packs a punch, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” is an excellent film about a teenage girl in a time of great anguish. Newcomer Sidney Flanigan’s performance is devastating. Though quiet, she plays Autumn perfectly; she wears the teenage angst, heightened by the situation, to a tee. What I love about this film is how sensitive it is towards its subject matter.
9. “The Forty-Year-Old Version”
dir. Radha Blank | 124 minutes Writer, director, producer, and star Radha Blank creates a very bright future for her career with this film. It is extremely well written and is very funny—I can’t even deal with it. The jokes come so fast and they’re so sharp. I was lucky enough to see this film when it premiered at Sundance last year, and let me tell you, seeing this with an audience is a totally different experience than watching it on Netflix. The film’s black-andwhite aesthetic seeks to view the new and contemporary through the lens of the old, a symbol for the film as a whole.
8. “One Night in Miami…” dir. Regina King | 114 minutes
First-time feature director Regina King has crafted an excellent meeting-of-the-minds film for the ages with “One Night in Miami.” The film asks a multitude of important questions about celebrities’ involvement in the Civil Rights movement and attempts to address these questions with depth and profundity. But the film’s performances are easily its best part. All four of these four men – Leslie Odom, Jr. (Sam Cooke), Eli Goree (Muhammad Ali), Aldis Hodge (Jim Brown), and Kingsley Ben-Adir (Malcolm X) – do a stellar job and are among some of the best performances I’ve seen this year.
7. “Promising Young Woman” dir. Emerald Fennell | 113 minutes
“Promising Young Woman” is a wild ride that kept me on the edge of my seat until its surprise ending. Thrilling, captivating, and original, this film is a clever and meticulous revenge thriller for our times. It’s darkly comedic and tense, both of which I enjoy. Carey Mulligan’s lead performance is something to behold, and she is rightfully in conversation for awards this year. Writer/ director Emerald Fennell has crafted quite an audacious debut, and I am here for all of it. Also, I just have to point out that the music in this film is perfect. It really helps...
...to further the juxtaposition of the film’s bright tone and dark subject matter.
dir. Pete Docter & Kemp Powers | 100 minutes
Visually stunning, profound, and witty, “Soul” proves that Pixar is the best of the best by telling a deeply human and emotionally intelligent story. Beautifully animated, “Soul” is perhaps Pixar’s most experimental feature in that it deals with the heaviest material: the meaning of life. The film tackles heavy spiritual issues with aplomb thanks to its excellent script. With the right amount of wit and grace, the film and its screenplay are able to weave through these complex ideas smoothly. “Soul” is also very culturally significant and accurate, which I appreciate.
5. “The Father”
dir. Florian Zeller | 97 minutes Whoo, this movie, told from the perspective of a man suffering from dementia, was an experience (which is unexpected for this type of film)! You really feel as if you are struggling with him. This film and its beautiful screenplay kept me guessing the entire time, and Anthony Hopkins is perfect. Moreover, “The Father” is a perfect example of how setting influences tone and mood. It’s honestly kind of terrifying watching this film because you are faced with so much confusion and wonder about what is going on. This film was not on my radar at all, but when I saw it, I was floored!
4. “Da 5 Bloods”
dir. Spike Lee | 154 minutes Director Spike Lee has done it again with “Da 5 Bloods.” It is powerful, emotional, and I think, one of his best films. With a brilliant performance from longtime Lee collaborator Delroy Lindo, gorgeous cinematography, and a lush, nostalgic score, Spike’s new joint, “Da 5 Bloods,” overcomes its occasional messiness by delivering a message that is as timely as it is powerful. As Da Man Spike Himself might say, “Dis New Joint Iz On Sum Fo’ Real Stuff And Iz Among Da Best Dat Spike Has Tah Offa.”
3. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” dir. George C. Wolfe | 94 minutes
This film is a perfect follow-up to “Fences” (2016, dir. Denzel Washington) in the Pittsburgh Cycle adaptations in that it evokes the same, if not stronger, emotions out of its multiple moments of brilliance. The filmmakers took their source material and made an adaptation that achieves something very rare for play adaptations: it transcends the stage and becomes cinema. Viola Davis in her role as blues singer Ma Rainey is transformative and commanding, and Chadwick Boseman, in his final performance, gives it his all and more. He deserves an Oscar for this performance. This is his film. It is a soaring achievement that everyone involved should be proud to have on their resume.
dir. Lee Isaac Chung | 115 minutes This film is absolutely beautiful. It’s one of the most American films I have ever seen. In this family drama, a family of Korean immigrants move to Oklahoma so the father can become a farmer. To see this family dynamic and the way everyone interacts with each other is beautiful, but to see David (Alan S. Kim) and his grandmother Soonja’s (Yuh-jung Youn) relationship is so heartwarming and equally as heartbreaking. I love this film’s representation of America. This is a hopeful film that shows the fulfillment of America’s promises, which unfortunately is not the case for all.
dir. Chloé Zhao | 108 minutes Nomadland is a sprawling portrayal of the soul of America. It is a journey of self-discovery for Fern, played excellently by Frances McDormand, who, after the death of her husband, must search for a sort of new family in her times of grief and strife. Finding community in those you choose is part of the American dream. “Nomadland” is a stunning portrait of America and its people. Its docu-fiction hybrid, almost cinéma vérité, style allows for a window into a relatively unknown world. It is gentle, compassionate, and poetic, in a way. This film is rightfully at the top of many lists this year and is rightfully at the top of mine.