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Cool Aquaman

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Standard Students

The latest DC film Aquaman lifts Aquaman’s profile from that of pond scum to a character with depth and a cool factor never seen before.

FORUM

Check out our softball season preview as the Lady Sharks start their season on Jan. 19. The team is trying to avoid a third straight 30-loss season.

A&E

MDC-TV won its third consecutive Suncoast Regional Emmy. The latest is for the series Sustainable Fashion/Fashion Forward.

Softball Season SPORTS

NEWS

Another One

Robin Aitken writes about how the American education system’s emphasis on standardized testing harms students’ self-esteem and discourages curiosity.

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4VOL. 8, ISSUE 2— SEPTEMBER 4VOL. 9, ISSUE 8— JANUARY 26, 15, 2017 2019

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Gymnastics

She Wanted To Be Like Spider-Man Now She Has A

Gold Medal in Gymnastics

Turning Heads: Dual Enrollment student Bianca León performs a front aerial flip during one of her training sessions at Leyva Gymnastics Academy. León, a psychology major at Kendall Campus, has represented Puerto Rico on the national stage, winning gold at the Central American and Caribbean Games last summer in Colombia. CHRISTIAN ORTEGA / THE REPORTER

Bianca León, a dual enrollment student at Kendall Campus, won a gold medal in gymnastics at the Central American and Caribbean Games last summer in Colombia. She expects to earn her her high school diploma in June and her associate’s degree in May of 2020. This July, León will represent Puerto Rico at the 2019 Pan American Games. By Christian Ortega christian.ortega005@mymdc.net Fourteen years ago, Bianca León fell in love after a field trip to Octavianos Studio of Gymnastics in West Kendall. That day, the hyper four-year-old found an outlet for her pent-up energy. Since then, her passion for gymnastics has not waned. León, 18, won a gold medal for Puerto Rico at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia last July. In doing so, she became the first female gymnast in the island's history to earn a

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gold medal in gymnastics. "I can't imagine my life without it," León said. "Everything about it has become like another sense, almost. You can tell when you're too low and about to faceplant while flipping just because your body is so used to the movements and all the feelings are second nature." Working on a beam that's only four inches wide and 16 feet long, the five-foot-tall, 125-pound León has developed a knack for exploding off a narrow plank and repeating her routine over and over with the spryness of an alley cat. "Just being upside down is what caused

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me to love [gymnastics]," León said. "Like many other gymnasts, you start off because you have way too much energy and I would run around my house, couch and counter trying to be like Spider-Man." The dream started with that field trip to Octavianos, a facility that has since closed. The coaches at the large complex were left awestruck with the talent she displayed. After enrolling in classes, her career snowballed. León spends, on average, six hours a day training. She splits each session, varying from uneven bars, floor exercises, conditioning and balance beam, her specialty.

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The rest of the day is spent homeschooling through her high school curriculum and college courses at Kendall Campus. She is expected to earn her high school diploma in June and her associate’s degree in psychology in May of 2020. Though she was born in Miami, León is eligible to represent Puerto Rico because her parents were born on the small island, which is a territory of the United States. "Being able to represent my family's country makes me proud," León said. "Seeing everyone's face light up when I returned TURN TO GYMNASTICS PAGE 8

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THE REPORTER Reporter Alumna To Serve As Reporting Fellow At The Texas Tribune For Summer 2019

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Wolfson Campus Unveils Art Installation Wolfson Campus celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by unveiling the art instillation Induction Chromatique outside of building 1 on Dec. 7. Induction Chromatique is an artwork by Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez to representing Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that individuals have the right “to participate in the cultural life of the community.� The piece was given to Miami Dade College as a donation from the International Service for Human Rights as part of their ongoing project The Route to Human Rights. —Vanessa Gimenez

Jazz At Wolfson Presents Series To Host Bobby Floyd

Food Distribution Event At Paul L. Dunbar K-8 Center

Bobby Floyd will perform at the Jazz at Wolfson Presents Series at the Wolfson Campus auditorium, 300 N.E. 2nd Ave., Room 1261. on Jan. 23 at noon. Floyd will be playing the Hammond B-3 organ. He has worked with musicians such as Ray Charles and Dr. John as both an organist and pianist. The Jazz at Wolfson Presents Series is a visiting artist series. It was launched by Miami Dade College professor Michael Di Liddo. The event is free and open to the public. 
For more information, contact Michael Di Liddo at mdiliddo@ mdc.edu or at (305) 237-3930.

The Black History committee at Medical Campus will host A Day of Activism, a food distribution event, at Paul L. Dunbar K-8 Center, 505 N.W. 20th St., on Jan. 15 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Medical Campus students and faculty and Dunbar staff will assist in food packaging and distribution. Food packing will begin at 8 a.m. while the food distribution event will take place later on throughout the day. Students can sign up to volunteer by contacting Peggy Martin, head of the Black History committee, at (305) 237-4539 or pmartin4@mdc.edu

Kendall Campus, 11011 S.W. 104th St., will host a Plaque Reinstallation Ceremony to honor Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 16 at noon outside of building 3. The event will consist of a 50-minute tribute ceremony by Barry Scott followed by the plaque re-installation. Shirly Ferguson, a former member of Miami Dade College’s Black History Month committee, will rededicate the plaque. Barry Scott is a motivational speaker, writer, director, producer, voice-over artist and actor. He will discuss the civil right movement and King’s legacy. The event is sponsored by Kendall Campus’ Lead MDC, a leadership speaker series under Student Life. For more information, contact Lauren Adamo at (305) 237-2321 or at ladamo@mdc.edu —Lauren Dominguez

Freedom Tower To Host Lecture On African Diaspora The Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd., will host “Africanization� of the Americas, a lecture lead by John Frazier, on Jan. 19 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Frazier, an art history professor at Kendall Campus, will discuss how the Western world has misrepresented the number of Africans affected by the slave trade and use artworks that showcase the African diaspora. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees must register at: w w w.eventbrite.com/e/africanizat ion-of-t he-a mer icas-johnfrazier-associate-professor-of-arthistory-at-miami-dade-collegetickets-53608845500 —Heidi Perez-Moreno

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Riane Roldan, who served as A & E editor and social media director for The Reporter during the 2016-17 school year, has been selected as a summer of 2019 reporting fellow at The Texas Tribune. Roldan, 21, will serve as a general assignment reporter. She is currently a senior studying journalism at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, where she is the news editor for The Berkeley Beacon, the college’s student newspaper. Last summer, Roldan interned at WLRN in South Florida as a radio and digital intern. She previously interned in Miami Roldan at the Medill Justice Project, an award-winning investigative journalism program from Northwestern University. In May, Roldan was selected to participate in the 2018 New York Times Student Journalism Institute. Two months later, she participated in the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Student Project. At The Reporter, Roldan was awarded two first place awards in 2017 by the Florida College System Publication Association for in-depth reporting and news writing. “I’d say to any student that wants to join The Reporter that if you put in the hard work, it will definitely be worth it in the end,� Roldan said. —Heidi Perez-Moreno

Career Coaching And Development Workshop At M.A.G.I.C. Miami Dade College’s Miami Animation and Gaming International Complex will host On the Road to Success Career Coaching with Chris Delboni on Jan. 23 from noon to 1 p.m. at Wolfson Campus, 300 N.E. 2nd Ave., Room 8106. The workshop is meant to help students with their career goals. The free program will start with Delboni a workshop that will transition into the 12-week program that will incorporate one-on-one coaching sessions with Delboni. There will be one-hour-per-week individual sessions throughout the course of six weeks. Interested students can register for the program during the workshop. Delboni is a former journalism professor at Florida International University and the University of Miami. In 2016, she quit her teaching position to start Delboni Communications, where she hosts workshops and trains individuals on personal and professional development. For more information, contact M.A.G.I.C. at (305) 237-3560 or visit their website at magic.mdc.edu —Patrick C. Gross

Miami Dade College's Idea Center To Host 1 Million Cups Miami Dade College’s Idea Center will host 1 Million Cups on Jan. 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Wolfson Campus, 300 N.E. 2nd Ave., on the fifth floor of building 8. Founders of startup businesses will be able to pitch their ideas in a six-minute presentation and receive feedback on how to improve their business. Participants can apply at www.1millioncups.com/present 1 Million Cups, launched by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in 2012, is a national educational program that helps entrepreneurs interact with their communities. The event is free and open to the public. Guests need to register at www.eventbrite.com/e/1-million-cups-miami-tickets-52375546670 For more information, contact Pamela Santos at (305) 237-7823 or psantos1@mdc.edu

MarĂ­a Elena VizcaĂ­no, who served as editor-in-chief of The Reporter during the 2016-17 school year, has landed a summer internship at the Dallas Morning News. VizcaĂ­no, 22, will start the 12week paid internship on June 3. She will work on the breaking news desk. VizcaĂ­no currently serves as assistant editor for investigations for The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she is a senior studying journalism. Last summer, she interned on the Orlando Sentinel’s breaking news desk. In July, she participated VizcaĂ?no in the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Student Project. At The Reporter, VizcaĂ­no was awarded first place for in-depth reporting in 2017 by the Florida College System Press Association for a story she wrote about an Honors College student killed in a murder-suicide by her father. “I’m grateful for my time at The Reporter,â€? Vizcaino said. “Without that experience, I don’t know where I’d be.â€?

On Stage To Host Outdoor Performing Arts Festival at Kendall Campus

New Director Of Recruitment At North Campus

Kendall Campus’ concert series, On Stage, will host its first annual Outdoor Performing Arts Festival at the Kendall Campus soccer field, 11011 S.W. 104th St., on Jan. 19 from noon to 6 p.m. The festival will include performances by students, faculty and alumni from the music, theatre and dance department at Kendall Campus. The festival will also have dance and music workshops and face painting. Local food trucks will be available. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Carolina Salazar at (305) 237-7710 and at csalaza4@mdc.edu

Willie Wood is the new recruitment director at North Campus. He started on Nov. 13. As recruitment director, he will be in charge of assisting precollege advisers and work with dual enrollment and high school programs. “I hope to provide new leadership and ideas, and have more students getting involved by recruiting other students, leading tours and helping new students Wood adjust,� Wood said. Wood previously served as the assistant director of transfer admissions at Florida International University from April 2017 to December 2018. He graduated from Nova Southeastern University in 2009 with a double major in legal studies and public administration.

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Free Falling: A child dives into an attraction at the Children's Holiday at North Campus on Dec. 8. The free-fall ended on a large cushioned mat-type area. Among the highlights at the event were face painting, a petting zoo, bounce houses, an obstacle course, a train ride, video games, food trucks and snow.

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Winter Wonderland: A girl throws a snowball at other children during Children's Holiday which was held at North Campus on Dec. 8.

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Strike A Pose: Children pose for a picture with North Campus students who are dressed as popular Disney characters such as Elsa from Frozen, Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, Drosselmeyer from The Nutcracker and Aladdin at the Campus' annual Children's Holiday on Dec. 8.

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Game On: North Campus students play a video game on a PlayStation 4 in the renovated recreation room on Dec. 12. The rec room was redone in an effort to give students an area where they can destress.

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Emmy

MDC-TV Wins Third Consecutive Emmy ‰‰ On Dec. 2, MDC-TV was awarded their third Suncoast Regional Emmy. The team won for their ongoing series Sustainable Fashion/Fashion Forward under the Informative/ Instructional category.

By Heidi Perez-Moreno heidi.perez003@mymdc.net MDC-TV is on a winning streak. For the third year in a row, the network won a Suncoast Regional Emmy on Dec. 2 at the 42nd annual Suncoast Regional Emmys in Orlando. MDC-TV won for Sustainable Fashion, the second installment of the ongoing series Fashion Forward, in the Informative/Instructional category, a new award. The winning team includes executive director Ariel Rubalcava, producer Nastassia Alayeto Alvarez, sound engineer Amed Torrecilla, video engineer Richard De La Vega, production assistant Josephine Aiello and videographers Daniel Rodriguez and Maikel Garcia. “Everybody is happy,” Rubalcava said. “We try to do our best work because we love our profession. When the Academy gives you

an award, you feel blessed.” MDC-TV, a college broadcasting station located in North Campus, has been viewed by more than 1.3 million homes in Miami-Dade County and broadcasts seven days a week in English, Spanish, Creole and French. The station can be viewed on AT&T U-Verse (Channel 99) and on Comcast (Channel 78). It was spawned when the College took the reigns of MiamiDade County’s community access channel in 2008. It is run through the College’s School of Entertainment & Design Technology. MDC-TV’s previous wins have been under the Special Events Coverage (Other than News or Sports) category for their coverage of the Video Game Concert performed at North Campus. “The team had to learn how to be daring and different,” Rubalcava said. “We’re always changing how we do things in our productions, and this project was no exception.” Sustainable Fashion, hosted by Miami fashion designer Rene Ruiz, explores how Miami Dade College’s Miami Fashion Institute at Wolfson Campus produces

HAUSSER NODARSE PEREZ / THE REPORTER

Three-Peat: MDC-TV won their third consecutive Suncoast Regional Emmy on Dec. 2 for their ongoing series, Fashion Forward, in the Informative/Instructional category. The winning team included sound engineer Amed Torrecilla (left), producer Nastassia Alayeto Alvarez (center left), executive director Ariel Rubalcava (center right) and videographer Maikel Garcia (right). eco-friendly garments. The almost 30-minute episode focuses on the Upcycle Project, which mentors students on using sustainable fashion in their clothing and encourages them to use designs that will not harm the environment. “I believe we’ve always set

ourselves to a higher standard,” said Alvarez, the producer of the series. “We strive to produce quality content.” The Suncoast Regional Emmys are a chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and are regarded as one the highests achievement in television.

The organization was founded in 1955. “The Emmys were wanted and well-deserved,” Aiello said. “The Academy recognized what a small station could do.” To view the winning episode, go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo u1wFa9i4M&feature=youtu.be

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Student Profile

New World Student Who Lost Vision In Left Eye Wins $25,000 Scholarship ‰‰ Nelson Brito, an 19-year-old student at New World School of the Arts, was awarded a $25,000 scholarship by the Taco Bell Live Más foundation. Brito, who is blind in one eye, has used art as a way to pursue his ambitions. By Teresa Schuster teresa.schuster001@mymdc.net For as long as he can remember, Nelson Brito’s life has revolved around art and the freedom it affords him. Brito Through his passion, the New World School of the Arts sophomore was awarded Taco Bell’s $25,000 Live Más scholarship last summer. “Before I received the scholarship, I didn’t know how I was going to pay for my bachelor’s degree,” Brito said. “Thankfully, now I can continue to work with what I love.” It was through Taco Bell’s scholarship that his dream was given new life, simultaneously helping him define his passion and develop a way where it can prosper. “I like to work with other people, help clients and keep working in my personal projects,” Brito said. “Being a graphic designer is a stable job that does not restrict me on doing my own stuff.”

The scholarship required Brito to submit a two-minute-long video that tells the story of the applicant’s life’s passion. In the video, Brito speaks fervently about his love for art. “As a kid, I loved to paint,” he says, as some of his childhood artwork appears on the screen. “It was a unique way to express my words and thoughts into an image.” While Brito’s art mainly revolves around graphic design and digital painting, he also works on painting, drawing, video art, photography and stop-motion animation in his spare time. Brito’s journey hasn’t been easy. When he was a child, he endured multiple surgeries due to a cataract in his eye. By age four, surgical complications would leave his left eye blind. This has been a struggle, he said, affecting his ability to do graphic design. “Before being a graphic designer, it’s known that you don’t simply start drawing digital on the computer, you have to learn to draw with paint and pen on paper,” he said. “When you draw live objects, it’s harder for a person with only one working eye. You perceive the world differently.” The surgeries also resulted in Brito’s eye being sensitive to light, making it difficult for him to look at a computer screen. Although the problem has gotten better, he still has to take breaks to keep from straining his eye.

“ 

Being a graphic designer is a stable job that does not restrict me on doing my own stuff.

Nelson Brito, New World School of the Arts student

PHOTO COURTESY OF NELSON BRITO

Multitalented: New World School of the Arts student Nelson Brito, who is blind in one eye, was awarded a $25,000 scholarship from the Taco Bell Live Más Scholarship. In addition to being a graphic designer, Brito is also a photographer and artist.

The only thing I have in this world is my word and

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Brito emigrated to Miami from Cuba three years ago, when he was 16 to reunite with members of his family and to search for better opportunities to pursue art. “I think they saw what I have been through before and how I became an artist, and why I am still working,” Brito said, when asked why he thought that he won the scholarship. “I think it was because of my struggles in the past, and then what I am pursuing in the future. I want to become a creator.” The announcement was shocking to Brito. He had only applied for the $10,000 variant of the scholarship because he didn’t think that he had a chance to receiving a larger amount. “He decided that becoming blind in one eye wouldn’t be a barrier for him and he wouldn’t give up,” said Brito’s brother, Santiago. “He doesn’t give up in anything he does. He just loves painting and expressing every idea that comes to his mind through art.”


6 NEWS | JANUARY 15, 2019

THE REPORTER

Grant

$250,000 Grant To Create Employment Opportunities For Disabled Students ‰‰ Miami Dade College received a $250,000 grant from the Able Trust in November. The funds will help the College create more employment opportunities for disabled students by helping develop the Model for Enhanced Employment and Development Plus plan. By Corbin Bolies corbin.bolies001@mymdc.net Miami Dade College’s work program for disabled students is about to receive a significant boost. The College received a $250,000 grant from the Able Trust on Nov. 27 to help create employment opportunities for disabled students. The College is one of two institutions to receive the grant and the funds are expected to help develop the Model for Enhanced Employment and Development Plus (MEED+) plan, an extension of the existing MEED program. “Over the years, we looked at what the needs of people with disabilities needed to succeed in what we call successful employment—a career path,” said Susanne Homant, the CEO of the Able Trust. “Miami Dade College was particularly attractive to us because of the body of students.” The idea to award the College the grant grew out of a visit

Homant paid to Wolfson Campus in September of 2016 to speak at a conference. Once there, she took a liking to the student body. “I saw a lot of people with visible disabilities that were comfortable,” Homant said. “People with disabilities were clearly welcome on campus.” That led the Trust to start informal discussions with MDC in hopes that the College would commit to applying. That took about a year before the application was officially submitted. “When you give an organization a $250,000 grant, that’s a lot of money,” Homant said. “It took them a little while to say, ‘can we do this?’” Another aspect that intrigued the Trust was the College’s relationships with businesses, believing it essential in providing students with quality job placements suited to their future careers. “That was very critical to us, as that’s where the jobs are,” Homant said. It was these factors that pushed the College, among 12 other applicants, to be awarded the grant. Throughout the negotiations, the process was spearheaded by Helen Muñiz Bermudez, the director of the ACCESS and MEED programs at Wolfson. Bermudez co-wrote the

proposal with a job de v e lop e r at MDC and serves as the grant’s project director. The dean of students at Wolfson CamMuñiz Bermudez pus, Jaime A nzalotta, was also instrumental in getting the grant awarded. He toured Wolfson with Homant and participating in the negotiations. The grant is comprised of both public funds raised through the Trust and funds contributed by private donors. In its implementation, the goal is to provide students with disabilities internships and career job placement within three years. The first assessment will be conducted in early June, with each follow-up falling during a six-month timeframe. The Trust will measure how many students have been placed into jobs, the number of career services offered and the amount of career workshops provided by the College. “It’s a long-term positive effect on the economy when you put a person in a position for their skills,” Homant said.

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Gold Medalist Balances Gymnastics While Vaulting Through College And High School FROM GYMNASTICS, FRONT

from Colombia made everything worth it." León will once again represent Puerto Rico at the Pan American Games this summer. The competition will be held in Lima, Peru. But it hasn’t been easy reaching the pinnacle of her sport. She has overcome various maladies. León has torn the meniscus in her right knee, suffered countless ankle sprains and has had both shoulders pop out, common injuries in a sport that is notorious for ravishing the body. At 15, the psychological aspects of participating in gymnastics for more than a decade began to take its toll. She felt burnt out—a symptom of the mental demands the sport makes on its young athletes. "I was an awful competitor," León said. "I couldn't shake my nerves whenever I went to perform and it led to many mistakes."

León took a year-and-a-half hiatus. With the assistance of a sports psychologist, she was able to return to the sport. León came back reinvigorated under the tutelage of a new coach, Maria Gonzalez, and gym, Leyva Gymnastics Academy, which is named after Gonzalez’s son, Olympic silver and bronze medalist, Danell Leyva. Despite the renewed exuberance, León faced an uphill battle. She was not in condition to face the sport's rigorous demands. As Gonzalez put it, she was overweight and her muscles had begun to show signs of atrophy because they were not being used at the same rate she normally used them during her break from the sport. There was also mental rust to overcome. “Before I started coaching her, she would always compete nervously. I remember watching her compete and she would warmed up well and then when it came to

CHRISTIAN ORTEGA / THE REPORTER

Suspended in Midair: Bianca León performs a switch leap, one of her many balance beam routines.

CHRISTIAN ORTEGA / THE REPORTER

Try, Try Again: Bianca León prepares to mount the balance beam during one of her training sessions.

her routine, she would lose her balance and she had a hard time keeping her emotions under control,” Gonzalez said. “When she started training with me, I already knew her weaknesses. It wasn’t easy and she had to get back to her old form. It was hard, but now she’s another person.” In the gym, León provides relentless energy to her teammates. Between routines, she is chatty and quick to share laughter with those around her. During a recent session, as she practiced a difficult variation of an aerial cartwheel followed by a progression of flips, she quickly got off the mat after each failed repetition with a smile on her face, laughing off the thoughts that at one point delayed her ability to progress. After a handful of attempts, she finally landed her routine and unleashed a hearty laugh before

announcing: “It’s about time.” She briskly moved on to practice dismounts. "She's incredibly supportive as a teammate," said Paula Mejías, a teammate of León's on the Puerto Rican National Team for the past five years. "She's a very hard working person and she's always pushing herself to do better." But León knows that there will be a time when she has to step away from the beam and stop competing. Her time seeing a psychologist inspired her to pursue sports psychology. She hopes to help athletes who experience the same issues that once plagued her career. "I fell in love with [sports psychology]," León said. "I love helping people and I figure I have an advantage. I want to use my experiences and past to push people to reach their peak as athletes."

"Just being upside down is what caused me to love [gymnastics]. Like many other gymnasts, you start off because you have way too much energy and I would run around my house, couch and counter trying to be like Spider-Man." -Bianca León

Gold Medalist: Bianca León poses with the gold meal she won in gymnastics for Puerto Rico at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games last summer in Colombia.

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10 SPORTS | JANUARY 15, 2019

THE REPORTER

Men's Basketball

Despite Early Season Struggles, Sharks Confident As Conference Play Ramps Up ‰‰ The men’s basketball team has hit various road bumps this year after playing a challenging schedule, pitting them against some of the nation’s top teams. The Sharks, who are 5-14, hope to draw on that experience as they start Southern Conference play. By Christian Ortega christian.ortega005@mymdc.net Adversity comes in many forms; in sports, it tends to follow losses. Losses can act as a chisel, wearing away at a team’s foundation ultimately splitting them apart as frustration mounts. That’s not the case for the Miami Dade College men’s basketball team. Despite what head coach Kevin Ledoux calls “one of the nation’s toughest schedules,” the Sharks (5-14) have remained steadfast in their journey to claim the Southern Conference championship. “This team is tough,” Ledoux said. “The record doesn’t indicate how good this basketball team is and how [good] it is going to be. We’ve been in every game we have played [basically] so we’re feeling pretty good considering what the record is.” The Sharks high-octane offense is averaging 102.1 points per game, placing them second in the nation. They are also in the top ten in field goal attempts and three-point field goals

attempted nationally, according to the National Junior College Athletic Association. But the team has faced problems with efficiency. They’re 176th in field goal percentage (42.0 percent), 162nd in three-point field goal percentage (31.5 percent), 143rd in rebounding margin (+3.6 rebounds per game) and they’re averaging 16.3 assists per game while committing the same amount of turnovers per game. Ledoux is unfazed by the inefficiency the team has shown at times. He uses it as an example of where the team can grow. “Obviously our goal is to win games, not lose them,” Ledoux said. “So I think with playing these top teams, our guys’ experience what it takes to be a top program. [That] helps our team out as the season moves to conference play. Right now our biggest focus is to make sure the players’ confidence stays high and we maintain our chemistry. We have a special locker room and we have players who have stuck with each other.” Ledoux has worked hard at keeping team chemistry. He has leaned heavily on the Sharks eight sophomores. They dedicate time in practice to what he calls the five H’s: heartache, highlights, hope, heros and history. Players gather to speak about moments where they’ve felt heartache, highlights, an example of hope, a moment where they have felt like a hero or a hero of theirs and a meaningful life story.

“There’s a lot of trust in our teammates,” said sophomore forward Nicholas Kratholm, who is averaging 10.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. “We play so hard and fast that we have to know we all have each other’s back during the games.” There is also a marked difference in last season’s team mentality compared to this season. “Last season, toward the end when things got tough, the atmosphere changed,” said forward DJ Russell. “It’s not that we gave up, but we seemed to not push ourselves as much. This year we’re pushing each other. We’re learning from our mistakes and we’re more confident in our potential.” Russell is one of this season’s highlights. The sophomore leads the team in scoring (19.6 points per game), rebounds (11 rebounds per game) and is second in field goal percentage (50.0 percent). With the Southern Conference portion of the Sharks schedule underway, the team has shifted its focus toward a possible post-season run at the state tournament. “We’re ready for anything,” Kratholm said. “Apart from a game or two, we’ve been able to matchup against tough opponents so now our goal is to show that we’ve grown from this schedule.” The Sharks' next game is at home at the Theodore R. Gibson Health Center, 11011 S.W. 104th St., against Broward College on Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Veteran Leadership: Sophomore forward DJ Russell is averaging 19.6 points and 11 rebounds per game for the Sharks this season both tops on the team. REPORTER FILE PHOTO/OMAR NEGRIN

Women's Basketball

Lady Sharks Aim To Repeat As Southern Conference Champions ‰‰ The Lady Sharks women’s basketball team went on a timely seven-game winning streak in December just before Southern Conference play was slated to start in early January. They are hoping to repeat as conference champions. By Christian Ortega christian.ortega005@mymdc.net The Lady Sharks women’s basketball team is 9-1 in the past ten games, including a seven-game winning streak in December. Undefeated at home (6-0), the reigning Southern Conference Champions are hoping to capitalize on their most recent success to propel them through conference play and repeat as conference champions. The Lady Sharks are 12-7 on the season. Head coach Susan Summons said several factors have contributed to her team’s recent success. “Their ability to play together as a team and recognize the impact they can have in the game if they play as a team on the offensive end and defensive end,” Summons said. “Our full-court zone press and trapping defense has been a factor. We’ve been working on it all season and they’re starting to embrace it.”

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Picking Up Steam: After a slow start, the Lady Sharks have won nine of their last 10 games just as they enter the heart of their Southern Conference schedule. After starting the season 3-6, the Lady Sharks have used a stifling defense of late to keep opposing offenses at bay. They have solidified their identity as a unit that plays hard-nosed basketball, not

allowing second-chance opportunities and turning opponent’s missed shots into easy points in transition. During their most recent 10-game stretch, the Lady Sharks are holding opponents to

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71 points per game, outscoring them by 21.2 points per contest. “Games are won on the defensive ends and on the boards,” Summons said. “It’s a huge factor.” On the season, the Lady Sharks

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are seventh in the nation in points per game (88.9), fourth in rebounds per game (50.4) and thirteenth in rebounding margin (15.5). They are also averaging more turnovers than assists (17.8 to 17.2). “You’re bound to have a bad shooting night,” Summons said. “I’m just glad those nights have happened now and not later when we’re in conference [play] and we’re trying to win a conference championship.” Summons said the team’s biggest key this season has been their depth. Four players—Ganette Chism, Michelle Pruitt, Daliyah Brown and Toi Smith—are averaging double digits in scoring with Brown leading the team with 16.8 points per game. Pruitt is also averaging a double-double this season, averaging 15.8 points and 10.9 rebounds per contest. “We have players across the team that can step in the game and improve our play when we need them,” said Pruitt, a forward. The Lady Sharks' next game is at home at the Theodore R. Gibson Health Center, 11011 S.W. 104th St., against Broward College on Jan. 16 at 5:30 p.m.

MDC The Reporter


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THE REPORTER

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// SPORTS Christian Ortega, Sports Editor  // 

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B christian.ortega005@mymdc.net

Softball

Lady Sharks Look To Rebound After Back-To-Back 30-Loss Seasons ‰‰ This year’s Lady Sharks softball team features some familiar faces, as all of last year’s freshmen laden team returns. After finishing the season 15-30, they are trying to assure that this season’s story has a different ending. By Alexzandria Windley alexandr.windley001@mymdc.net The last time the Lady Sharks softball team made it to the Florida Collegiate System Activities Association Athletics State Tournament was 2016. That ended a six-year run of state tournament appearances for the team. Since then, the Lady Sharks have posted a pedestrian 33-60 record over two seasons, including a 15-30 mark last year. They’re hoping to avoid a third-straight season with 30 losses. “There’s a big difference between the team from last year to this one,” said sophomore catcher Erika Yatabe. “We play together as a team. There [aren’t] any divides between the players.” One reason for last year’s struggles—the team was almost entirely composed of freshmen. “The team was inexperienced last year, they weren’t really aware of how much was required from them and how much work goes into the season,” said Lady Sharks head coach Gina De Agüero.

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New Hope: The Lady Sharks start their season on Jan. 19 at home versus ASA College. They are trying to avoid a third straight 30-loss season. With a lack of a veteran leadership to guide them, they found themselves unable to close out games as the season progressed. Their play was uneven throughout the season; they had a three-game winning streak to start the year but lost eight straight to end it.

The team finished the season near the bottom of all major statistical categories. They closed out the season with .226 team batting average, 151 runs scored and an on base percentage of .301. Now they’re back with a chip on their shoulder.

“They’re more focused [this year],” De Agüero said. “[Last season] they got a taste of what they don’t want. They’re competitors and right now they’re focused on starting the season right.” Melissa Mayeux is the team’s undisputed best player. She

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posted a team-leading .371 batting average, eight home runs and 27 runs batted last year. Mayeux, a returning sophomore, said she has noticed a change in the team’s attitude this year. “The practices have been more intense, and because of that, the team has now began to trust in each other,” Mayeux said. The Lady Sharks' strength this year is expected to be their defense. De Agüero said she has seen her position players develop to the point where they can hold opponents to minimal points while their pitching depth is capable of keeping them in games. The rotation features sophomores Amanda Aragon, Tiffany Dodson, Chiara Bias and freshman Ariana Arroyo. On offense, De Agüero stresses the need for consistency. “The hardest part will always be getting out, and staying out of slumps,” De Agüero said. “But it’s something we have to keep moving forward from. If something’s not working, we have to find another way to approach it so we can get better.” The Lady Sharks open their season against ASA College on Jan. 19 at the softball field at Kendall Campus, 11011 S.W. 104th St., at 12 p.m.


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THE REPORTER

Movie Review

Aquaman Is More Than Just A Fish Boy ‰‰ Dante Nahai reviews the latest DC film Aquaman, a film that manages to lift up the curtain behind Aquaman and portray him as more than just the butt of fish jokes. By Dante Nahai dante.nahai001@mymdc.net In any type of comic book media, there is always a misconception about Aquaman. He was the butt of every super hero joke, those jokes mainly repeating the same pattern that Aquaman is “lame” and he can talk to fish. As someone who has read his comics in the past and watched the movie, I can say those are all false. The latest film in the DC Universe, directed by James Wan, shows that Aquaman is more than just a fish boy. Starring Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry, the hero’s full name, we see a much more accurate depiction than most adaptations. Of course, Momoa’s Aquaman seems more metal than the comic book one—always seen drinking a beer and having fun in the face of danger. But the movie doesn’t just tell the story of Aquaman. His cast of characters have a big role in the film. The film introduces Mera, played by Amber Heard, his main love interest both in comics and movies and a character originally introduced in 2016’s polarizing Justice League. Her story

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Golden Star: Jason Momoa stars as Aquaman, shifting the character from the punchline of jokes to the one cracking them. was changed from her first comic appearance, where she was sent from another kingdom to kill Arthur. In the film, however, she comes to him asking for help. His half-brother, Orm Marius, is played by Patrick Wilson. In the film, he is trying to rule over all the hidden societies in the ocean. Mera is also forced to marry Marius, requiring Arthur’s assistance

to save her and, therefore, save Atlantis. While watching Aquaman, I was very happy with what I saw. The action scenes’ choreography was well executed, with interesting camera movements throughout that gave a heightened sense of thrill. Another positive aspect were the effects of the film. Some people

try to argue with films like these, with the most common complaint being too much CGI, but how else are you supposed to make a film where half of it takes place underwater? Besides that, the effects were fluid, with some minor issues that are only noticeable if you try and look for them. One recurring theme in comic book films like this is comedy.

Comedy can either ruin the momentum of scenes, or sometimes there isn’t enough. Aquaman struck a good balance between seriousness and comedy, with the jokes not being forced or ruining the meaning of scenes. Unlike other comic book films, Aquaman is a breath of fresh air. It shows audiences and comic book fans alike who Aquaman truly is.

Oscars

Oscar Host Debacle Sets Bad Precedent ‰‰ Corbin Bolies comments on Kevin Hart leaving the Academy Awards and how, in an age when everything risks offense, the circumstances of his removal shouldn’t have required it.

By Corbin Bolies corbin.bolies001@mymdc.net In a year full of events that upended the entertainment industry, the Academy Awards managed to top them all. During a bizarre two-day period, Kevin Hart was appointed the host of the 2019 Oscars and then stepped down after a series of homophobic tweets from the late 2000s resurfaced, causing widespread backlash. The resignation occurred after multiple apologies were attempted for the comedian, all of which were rebuffed by Hart (even though, in his Twitter posts announcing his departure, he gave the apology the Academy allegedly wanted). That's left the Oscars without a host again—after much speculation as to who would take the job in the first place—and a Hollywood staple left disgraced. Such a pattern has become commonplace throughout the industry, with celebrities’ past and current remarks getting the better of them. But even during a time when the line for decency lies at caution’s feet, it’s hard not to wonder whether every situation

requires a banishment. That’s not to say some don’t warrant it. In the most prominent example this year, Roseanne Barr was fired from her self-titled show in May due to racist remarks she made about a former Obama White House official and, in the aftermath, gave wildly varied reasons from medication (she claimed to be on Ambien) to mistaken race (“I thought the b**ch was white,” she yelled in a YouTube video). That resulted in the cancelation of her show (since revived and rebranded The Conners) and a fall from television royalty. It also isn’t the first time for the Academy. In late 2011, when Eddie Murphy was set to host the following year’s ceremony, the group fired producer Brett Ratner after he made homophobic comments at a Q&A for his film Tower Heist. Murphy left in solidarity and Billy Crystal returned for his ninth stint, but it showed that the Academy took swift action for justified cause. In Hart’s case, there wasn’t a maze required to navigate his responses. He immediately responded on Instagram with acknowledgements that he had changed (yet without referring to the specific tweets themselves) and then, in subsequent posts, felt remiss that years-old words could cost him the opportunity. They were consistent, apologetic (even without directly apologizing) and weren’t dismissive of the contents

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Fallen From Grace: Kevin Hart is pictured here (far right) in 2019's The Upside. Hart dropped out of hosting next year's Academy Awards due to prior homophobic tweets. of the tweets themselves—Hart stated repeatedly that he had changed. Even critics of the tweets thought the situation provided him and the Academy opportunities to work with LGBTQ+ groups to rectify the mistake. Instead, 5 weeks before the ceremony, the program is without a host. Rather than rectifying the moment, the ordeal became another casualty of the Hollywood of 2018, one where mistakes can bring down even the most

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acclaimed individuals. That’s not to use the word “mistake” broadly—people like Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein didn’t just make mistakes. They’re alleged to have preyed upon people and subjected them to various amounts of sexual harassment and assault. But in the essence of Hart’s tweets, it’s not hard to think that his opinion and acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals has changed. Even in progressive political figures like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, we’ve seen

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shifts in how people have come to accept members of the LGBTQ+ community. The Academy likely feels it made the right decision—in a year when viewership is down and the ability to excite viewers is harder, it wouldn’t have been the wisest move to stick with someone under intense scrutiny. However, in an industry already hard enough to break into, having every word you’ve said or written become a means of downfall isn’t always the best way.

MDC The Reporter


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// A&E Corbin Bolies, A&E Editor  // 

T (305) 237-7657 

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B corbin.bolies001@mymdc.net

Series Overview

A Look Back At The Year Of The Walking Dead ‰‰ Ethan Toth writes about the last year in all things The Walking Dead, noting how the franchise has gone through numerous events that have upended it. By Ethan Toth ethan.toth001@mymdc.net The latest episode of The Walking Dead, titled Evolution, appropriately summarizes how 2018 affected the franchise. With humble beginnings in 2003 as a comic series, it has now spawned: a main show, a spin-off in Fear the Walking Dead, multiple video games, novels and merchandise galore. This year, however, has been the franchise’s most turbulent yet. It included the loss of protagonists and major characters in both shows, two lawsuits, three television movies announced, a new showrunner, an almost cancelled video game and a crossover with Tekken 7. It’s hard to believe all of this could’ve happened in a year. Andrew Lincoln, the star of the main show, left the series after starring in every episode since the show’s debut in 2010. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Lincoln cited missing his family and kids as his main reasons for leaving. “I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older,” he said to the publication. “It was that simple. It was

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Change Year: Andrew Lincoln left The Walking Dead after eight years as the show's lead, one of many eventful moments for the franchise in 2018. time for me to come home.” His departure came as a blow to both the fans who’ve stuck by Sheriff Rick Grimes story over eight seasons as well as the cast, who were quick to call each other “family.” Frequent co-star Danai Gurira said this in an Instagram

post: “I truly believe Andrew Lincoln is the best leading man on television. He has made us all better with his leadership, dedication, heart, and generosity.” Even though Lincoln has left the show, he was immediately confirmed to star in three television

movies to continue his character. Who’s to thank for this new direction? Scott Gimple, the showrunner from the fourth through eighth seasons, recently gave up the position and handed the reigns over to Angela Kang, who has been writing for the show

since 2011. She has served as coexecutive producer of the show since 2013. Gimple is now in the newly created position of Chief Content Officer, overseeing the entire Walking Dead television universe. The move has brought improvement to the show among viewers many of whom had grown increasingly dissatisfied with Gimple’s direction as a showrunner. It seems Kang has breathed new life into the series with better critic reviews, even if viewership has been lower than average for the show. Moving away from television, the video games have also gone through major events. Firstly, Overkill’s The Walking Dead received less than stellar reviews from critics. Then there is the Telltale Games saga, where the episodic game series was thought to have been canceled after the company filed for bankruptcy. Luckily, the final installment was revived by Skybound Entertainment, a multiplatform entertainment company founded by original creator of the comic book series, Robert Kirkman, as well as David Alpert, a producer for the show. Regardless of the franchise’s quality or behind-the-scenes drama, there will still be fans living and breathing everything The Walking Dead. Only time will tell whether the show continues to have success or drop dead like previous zombie franchises that couldn’t stand the test of time.

Local Band

South Florida Band Magic City Hippies Stands Out In The Crowd ‰‰ Alexzandria Windley profiles South Florida band Magic City Hippies, focusing on their music and a sound that differentiates them among Miami’s music scene. By Alexzandria Windley alexzandr.windley001@mymdc.net Born and bred in the musical swamps of South Florida, Magic City Hippies is a band that uniquely separates themselves from most EDM and rap-focused South Florida artists. Blending their style of funk, hip-hop, and a tinge of John Mayer, the trio have paid their dues before making it big. Starting out as the Robby Hunter Band (named after lead singer Robby Hunter) before lead singer and guitarist got fed up with his tiring one-man band, Hunter recruited the likes of bassist/guitarist John Coughlin and drummer Pat Howard before they toured together as the Magic City Hippies. With their transition from solo projects into a trio, the band continued to tour the South Florida music scene: playing dive bars in Brickell, college parties in Palmetto and even the occasional wedding helped them grow their hometown cred. After two years

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Fresh Sound: Magic City Hippies blend funk and hip-hop to break out in the crowded music market. of stomping their soles to Miami’s musical beats, the band eventually expanded to five members (with a specific focus on Howard, Hunter and Coughlin,) and finally released their 2013 self-titled debut EP, Magic City Hippies. The album cover itself encapsulates the feel of Miami: the South Floridian sunset creeping in the background, the pastel colors of

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green and blue surrounding it and at the focal point, a nose and sunglasses (presumably Hunter’s) with the reflection of his two other bandmates, serving as a reminder of the band’s intrinsic ties to the South Florida community. The band’s sound does indeed differ from most South Floridian artists. One can argue the majority of Miami’s artists have a heavy

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rap/trap sound or even go in an EDM route. It’s clear for Hunter and his bandmates that they did take heavy inspiration from 70s funk artists and most of John Mayer’s discography. This inspiration shows in the band’s rhythm-infused, soft-rock focus debut EP. Starting off the album with the self-titled song Magic City Hippies, MDC The Reporter

the band uses this song as more or less an introduction to themselves. Filled with chill guitar riffs, simplistic drums and a groovy bassline, the trio has used this song as a statement, signaling the change from the Robbie Hunter Band to Magic City Hippies. The rest of the album continues on similarly, with slow jam tracks like Never Say No, Que Paso? and their sleeper indie smash hit, Corazon. The band continued riding this wave of success all the way into 2015, with their EP release, Hippie Castle and its lead track Fanfare hitting number one on Spotify’s Global Top 50 list, their follow up singles Hush and Heart Wants also had a warm response. As for the upcoming schedule for the band? Well, it certainly doesn’t slow down. The trio has a winter tour starting in January that runs until midFebruary of next year. On top of this, the band plans on releasing new music later next year as well. From all the late night shows, sleepless nights and unpaid gigs, it appears that Magic City Hippies have finally made it on their way. Not bad for a band that started deep in the streets of Miami.


14 FORUM | JANUARY 15, 2019

THE REPORTER

Decorations

Holiday Lighting Has A Major Downside

‰‰ Claudia Hernandez writes about the pros and cons of holiday lights, and encourages readers to reconsider them.

By Claudia Hernandez claudia.hernandez047@mymdc.net Are Christmas and New Year’s decorations really worth the high electricity cost? Decoration time is one of the costliest seasons of the year for electricity bills. People climb ladders to hang lights around their roofs and businesses hire professional lighting installers to untangle and organize thousands of strings of lights in their offices. For the observer, it is a holiday paradise. But is it beneficial to homeowners or business owners paying for the adornments? An increase in business profits is the most important factor in why companies invest

a huge amount of money into the holiday spirit. Brandon Stephens, the president of a professional holiday decorating company, stated that the average cost of a display in the United States is approximately $1,650. So, how do holiday lights help the business? Easy. People always look for beauty around them. Falling snowflakes, giant ornament decorations, and flashing colorful lights attract the eye of the consumer. Now more than ever, photos circulating the Internet about a business means free advertising. Therefore, the more elaborate the decorations, the greater the chance of people posting about them on social media. An increase in social media exposure means an increase in sales for the business. It is a marketing cycle that helps boost revenue, especially in the holiday season. As a result of more companies being interested in making bigger light showcases, employment within this market has also profited from it. The founder of Decorating Elves in Tampa, Florida, Nick Schriver, said that his company currently has more than 50 full-time employees. Ten years ago, he did not even have a company, as he was working individually. In addition, another company called Christmas Decor announced that their sales rose by fourteen percent last year and that they are expecting an increase for this year as well. Additionally, extensive technological

Education

Education Shouldn’t Prioritize Grades ‰‰ Robin Aitken writes about how the United States’ education system allows little room for curiosity and critical thinking.

By Robin Aitken robin.aitken001@mymdc.net If you look at the state of education in the United States, you might be underwhelmed. There is a problem with how we educate, which is demonstrated in the Pew Research Center’s global education ranking: the USA is in 27th place. With that in mind, why is the ranking so low? I believe that the answer lies in our methodology. We educate our children to retain material that they will soon be tested on via standardized testing. In other words, we throw information at high rates to developing minds, and expect it to be recalled only a week or two later. This strengthens what we call recall functions, but does not help synthesize what is learned. I worked in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami program, and on my first day, I was introduced to my Little. He was a bright 3rd grader, eager for some form of mentorship. Now, to be blunt, I was not sure what to do during our meeting time. He was not failing in any regard and, in fact, excelled in school. So, I decided to give him a math warm-up, just to see where he was at. He got 6 out of the 10 problems correct, and it was like lightning flew from his fingertips to the keyboard, as he Googled what this meant as a grade. The grade he received was a…D. He was crushed, slumped over, thinking he failed himself.

I bring his story up because it is a familiar American story. A child fails a few tests, and being told they got a D introduces them to the concept that they are worth that grade and nothing more. At no point did my student ask “Oh, I missed some? Which did I miss and why?,” but rather, “How is this grade going to affect my total score?” A 3rd grader should not be concerned with making these mistakes. This is what is wrong with standardized testing, it devalues the person taking the test. We focus immensely on the concept of fact feeding, rather than critical thinking. If we distill a deeply analytical mind in youth, we might be able to catch up to the likes of Finland, which is one of the countries with the best-ranked schools in the world. And they have no homework, 50-minute mandatory recess, and no multitude of standardized testing. Unfortunately, when we have to cover a certain amount of information with students, we don’t allow much room for curiosity. The mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell, but did you know that the origin of that word is Greek and means thread + small grain? Education is viewed as a direct course. But many kids can’t follow suit, and that’s okay. Some children are visual learners and need to see what they are learning, while others need to pace the room while repeating it out loud. But, no matter how annoyed we may be with the pace of learning, we must learn as a civilization to be patient. We need our future generations sharp if they wish to excel.

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development has created a cheaper option for people. LED lighting can keep the prices of electric bills a lot lower. A string of a hundred large and traditional light bulbs costs about nine cents an hour to run, in comparison with half a cent an hour for a string of mini lights. Yet a similar string of LED lights will only cost 0.05 cents an hour. However, the downside to holiday lights has unfortunately increased in severity throughout the years. Safety has become one of the most important factors in the decision of whether or not people should hang lights during the holiday season. In recent years, the most common decorating accidents have been falls. The Consumer

Product Safety Commission said that in 2017, falls from ladders were the cause of three deaths. Also, in 2016, they estimated 14,700 holiday decorating-related injuries that were treated in emergency rooms, which means that there were 240 daily during November and December. The impact that these lights have on the environment is another negative aspect of their popularity. An international organization that raises awareness about light pollution, named Globe at Night, says that excessive amounts of lighting can wash out stars in the sky, disrupt ecosystems of nocturnal wildlife, and waste energy. Plus, it can affect human health as well. Unnecessary lights can increase difficulty in sleeping, provoking a change in the amount of melatonin produced, which causes headaches and increases anxiety. Overall, there are both pros and cons for the existence of holiday lights, for both consumers and businesses. The most important aspects that everyone should consider before deciding to use them are safety, cost, and timing. It is true that they make streets more beautiful to look at, but it’s not supposed to be an easy decision. It is wise to research about it, forecast the spending and be aware of the positive and negative consequences that lights bring. Let it shine. But don’t let your bills or the environment burn.

China

China’s Goal Of A Unified Society Harms Minority Groups

‰‰ Genesis Sotomayor writes about how the Communist Party of China uses surveillance techniques and re-education camps to indoctrinate marginalized minority groups.

By Genesis Sotomayor genesis.sotomayor001@mymdc.net In many ways, China has been described as a police state. Considering the direction which their technological advances have taken the country, there’s a touch of Orwellian despair in the air. Perhaps an even bigger brother than what George Orwell’s 1984 could even conjure. The country is maintaining a steady increase of state surveillance, which is managed through the social credit score, an incentive from the Communist Party of China that rewards “good behavior.” Or take for example the electrical vehicles that now give China’s government real time information on the car’s model, mileage, battery charge, and precise location. As we speak, a gait recognition system is being developed by the Chinese firm Watrix, that allows cameras to recognize a person based on their silhouette and the way that they walk. In their attempt to harness data and artificial intelligence, the Communist Party of China is creating a different type of policing that is even more capable of predicting and eliminating threats to the ruling party. This can be seen in the government’s effort to haul thousands of minority ethnic communities to “vocational training centers” revealed to be re-education

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internment camps. The Uyghur population are a Muslim minority concentrated in Xinjiang, located in the north-west region of China, who are facing repression from the Communist Party of China. Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other ethnic minorities are being hauled into what China claims to be re-education camps designed to equip these groups with vocational skills. However, these re-education camps employ different tactics that facilitate political indoctrination. In these camps, detainees are forced to learn Mandarin Chinese (Uyghurs and Kazakhs speak different languages), and learn patriotic songs that praise the Chinese communist party and its history. Detainees who fail to obey guards are punished by being forced to wear an iron suit, an outfit made of metal claws and rods, or have their hands and feet chained for days. The goal of these internment camps is to promote the communist party’s agenda of creating a united China. The controversy that revolves around this agenda is the pervasive threat to privacy, even though privacy and individualism aren’t a top priority to China compared to the West’s culture. China’s government justifies these camps by claiming that they crack down on religious extremism, but what these camps cause is an erasure of cultural and political identity. Gaining a united China through the means of forced cultural and religious assimilation. A contradiction to these camps is the fact the Communist Party of China party has used these ethnic minorities to display a sense of diversity and flavor in the Han centered culture. The narrative that is being understood here is that people can be different but not so different that the government cannot trust them. The constant surveillance can go as far as having government mandated guards living with ethnic families to educate them about the Communist Party’s policies. What is being showcased is the pervasive indoctrination of marginalized peoples.

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JANUARY 15, 2019 | FORUM

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Genetics

Human Genome Editing Would Require Changes In Society ‰‰ Teresa Schuster writes about recent advances in gene editing technology, and their potential impact on humans and society.

By Teresa Schuster teresa.schuster001@mymdc.net The issue of human genome editing has recently been brought to our attention due to a researcher in China announcing that he had edited the genes of two babies, which would be the first time this occurred successfully. Genome editing, in this case, was accomplished using a process called CRISPR. In it, part of a gene is cut out, and sometimes a different DNA sequence is inserted to replace it, changing the gene. Discovered in 2013, this procedure has vast potential for genetically modifying plants and animals. And it can be used to modify humans as well. Research and experiments on human cells in laboratories have shown the potential

to remove mutations associated with cancer, or certain genes that cause genetic disorders. While the ethical issues involving the genetic engineering and modification of humans are complex, their becoming widespread would create interesting legal and societal implications. What is often most feared about genetic modification and engineering is that it will extend beyond fixing and replacing defective genes, and develop into the practice of altering genes in order to select traits deemed desirable, like intelligence, or a particular hair or eye color. And although this does have potential, imagine society if it had thousands of people with the intelligence of Albert Einstein, its prevalence would inevitably result in changes in many policies. Some of these changes have been foreshadowed in cases involving animals: the cloning of which is legal, and has been for some time. For example, the U.S. Jockey Club, with which horses are required to register to participate in races in North America, prohibits the cloning of horses. But cloned horses are still in high demand. In 2013, the horse team that won a prestigious polo tournament in Argentina was comprised of six cloned horses. Since all of the horses were clones from the same champion horse, this gave the team a

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tremendous advantage. Previously, top horses were bred to produce horses intended to have a genetic advantage. But why bother when they can be cloned, and guaranteed to be an almost identical copy of a champion? If this type of genetic modification in humans became widespread, we would most likely see similar regulations designed to level the playing field, along with many others. Like anything else, genome editing has its downsides along with its benefits and incredible

potential. As such, it remains a highly controversial issue. Human genome editing has been banned in some countries, and many others have enacted restrictive laws against it. While the U.S. doesn’t outright ban it, it does not fund scientific research on it. Human genome editing is still a relatively young field, and genetically modified humans most likely won’t be prevalent anytime soon. But, if they ever are, society will undergo dramatic changes to accommodate them.

Independence

Marriage Is Necessary, But It Can’t Fix Relationships ‰‰ Alexandra Joseph writes about how she realized that marriage is not a solution to relationship problems, and how the mentality of independence has discouraged people from investing in their relationships.

By Alexandra Joseph alexandra.joseph005@mymdc.net For a long time, I wanted to get married to my long-time boyfriend. I felt that with all the trials and tribulations that we had been through, we should have been ready for the next step. What more could we need but to tie the knot? So I decided, without his opinion on the matter, that we were going to get married. I was narrow-minded to think

that at 20 years old, marriage was the answer to all my problems. To all our problems as a unit. Me and him, he and she, would become we, and everything would be better. And then like a villain in the night, infidelity crept up on us. My eyelids weighed a ton, my flesh scrunched up tight as my nails dug into my own skin. Tears rushed down my face like waterfalls. We had reached the end of peace. I felt like I died. No one had taught me what marriage was, and I began to ask myself if I wanted to get married at all. I didn’t know many married people and those who were married were on their way to divorce. Has the necessity of marriage lessened? Why aren’t people interested in happily ever after? Marriage should be the goal that everyone strives for, but there are too many factors preventing it. The independence of women has enabled men to get away with not fully devoting and investing in a relationship. Men believe that money is the only factor in getting women and use that as leverage, and women have come to believe that their bodies are the only leverage in getting a man. What happened to falling in love

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because of conversations that captured your mind and fed your soul, making you wanting more? Money and sex is all it has become. Money and sex will never lead to a truly wholehearted marriage. Men believe that a woman who wants to be independent has no right to ask them to pay for dates or for anything, while women don’t want to waste their time with a man who can’t pay their bills and take them shopping, especially if he expects to have sex. This has made the whole dating thing confusing, and so we forget about marriage. Dating is the pathway to marriage. You’re never supposed to stay in the dating phase. Dating with intent means that you are dating with purposeful ideas. That you have things you want out of the relationship, and begin to transition from dating to marriage. Deep down inside, I realized that the true meaning of dating is finding your opposite equal. Finding someone who has different values as you, but can agree to disagree because you have decided that you’re here to learn from and teach each other. Then, you should move on to marriage. Marriage should be the place where love constantly grows, because we have that right. We are designed

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for marriage. When I was younger, I believed that everyone had a soulmate. Then I grew up and wasn’t sure what a soulmate was. I felt it was my duty to never need a man, and it was the duty of men to know I never needed them. Every turn you see, people saying they need to be independent, the don’t need a man. In reality, we need each other. But with people in the media screaming to use men for their money, women like me who do not agree become so independent that we do the man’s job for him. We constantly tell men that we don’t need them for anything, and that creates pain for real men who want to provide. The passive men use the mentality of the independent movement to benefit themselves, believing that they can get away with being with a woman and not investing in the relationship. We are in a world where we give and take from each other. This might sound like a bad thing, but it isn’t. When the world has beaten up men, we women should shield them and love them. And when the world has threatened women, men should be there to protect them.

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