All posts by Julianna Smith

Gilmore Girls to return for four episodes on Netflix

Netflix has officially announced the revival of the beloved television series Gilmore Girls and has teamed up with creator Amy Sherman-Palladino for a four-episode revival.

Many actresses and actors have chosen to return to play their characters one last time. Some of the returning celebrities include: Alexi Biedel (Rory Gilmore), Lauren Graham (Lorelai Gilmore),  Scott Patterson (Luke Danes), Keiko Agena (Lane Kim), Yanic Truesdale (Michel Gerard) and Kelly Bishop (Emily Gilmore). Luke’s daughter, Lane’s twin sons, town weirdo Kirk and auto-repair woman Gypsy are also set to return to the series.

Unfortunately, Melissa McCarthy will not be returning as Sookie, nor will Edward Herrmann as Richard Gilmore. McCarthy was not invited back by Sherman-Palladino, as she assumed McCarthy would be too busy to reprise her role, but stated she would gladly write McCarthy into the script if she became available last minute.

Sadly, Herrmann passed away in December of 2014. Bishop, who plays the wife of Herrmann’s character addressed the emotions in returning without Herrmann saying that the revival will address his absence and pick up just four months after Richard’s death.

Many of Rory’s ex-boyfriends will also be reprising their roles. So far, Matt Czuchry (Logan), Milo Ventimiglia (Jess) and Jared Padalecki (Dean) will be returning. Sherman-Palladino has said Rory will not be married, but she will be dating at the start of the revival; however, it has not been said just who it is that Rory is dating. 

New characters will also be introduced in the four-episode series including: a Peruvian couple, a man who never smiles and more. Some have wondered whether or not any new characters will be played by Sutton Foster, an actress from television show “Bunheads,” also created by Sherman-Palladino.  

Each of the four 90-minute episodes will run over a season; starting with winter then spring, summer and finally fall. The revival will take place in present-day, about eight years after the end of season seven and 16 years after the beginning of the series.

Filming has begun, with a slew of pictures being tweeted and sent out by those reprising their roles in the series. Although no release date has been set, fans are already impatiently awaiting the return of their favorite Gilmore Girls.

Transgendered student spurs debates in Missouri

The use of a girls’ high school locker room by a transgender teen has sparked a debate and divide in a Missouri town.

Lila Perry is a 17-year-old transgender teen who began to feel like a girl at age 13 and began to change her physical appearance when classes started in August.

Perry began using the girls’ locker room at Hillsboro High during her senior year to change for gym as she, like any other girl, wears skirts, makeup and styles her hair. Perry’s school offered her a single-occupancy restroom, but she did not want to use it because she did not want to feel segregated from the rest of her peers.

Perry was clearly seen as unwelcome in the locker room in less than two weeks of school. Many students were uncomfortable as they saw Perry as a boy in a wig changing in the girls’ locker room. These students gossiped about her in the halls, complained to teachers, principals and even parents.

The debate began at an August school board meeting where a Hillsboro native, Derrick Good, spoke on behalf of a group of parents.

“Girls have a right to privacy of their own bodies, and parents have a right to raise their children the way they want,” Good said.

Even students staged a walkout to “give the students a voice.”

When Perry found out about the protests, she dropped out of gym class. On Fri., however, Perry, with help from others, held her own rally.

“When it comes to bathroom access for transgender students, guidance is pretty clear as far as the federal government and LGBT advocacy groups are concerned: Kids should be allowed to use the restroom and changing room that matches their gender identity,” CNN.com said.

Senior legislative counsel for the Human Rights Campaign, Alison Gill, said that students can use unisex or single occupancy bathrooms if they would like to, but it should be their choice, not the school’s.

Missouri as a state does not have any laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity in education. The Hillsboro School District’s anti-discrimination policy makes no reference to gender identity.

Despite all that is going on around her, Perry is staying strong.

Leadership skills put to work at Camp Carl retreat

Every year, student council hosts a leadership retreat at Camp Carl.

The meeting on Mon., March 2, was held to inform possible “presenters” about the process and duties of the job. Presenters are a big part of the retreat and teaching attending students important life skills. Students must have already attended the retreat to become a presenter.

Possible leaders must go through a five minute interview with Mr. McMahan and Ms. Kotecki. The interview will mostly be the interviewee talking about what he or she is most interested in presenting on and if they have a specific teacher they would like to present with.

“There’s going to be a different feel to leadership this year, but I think it’ll be great. There’s still going to be tons of fun and games but students also get to hear from their teachers and peers about their personal leadership experiences,” attending teacher Danna Kester said.

Presenters need qualities like passion to teach peers about leadership and being capable of having fun but also being serious when presenting their topic to the attendees.

This year, the retreat is on Thurs., April 23 through Fri., April 24. Students will be separated into groups where there are various activities and stations that each teach a different pillar of leadership. Some of these pillars are time management, community service, how to deal with stress and planning for college.

There are two groups of students attending the retreat. The first group are the attendees who have been elected by a teacher to go. This group of students will be split up into teams and assigned a teacher and presenter. The other group consists of the presenters who are the people who plan the presentations and activities for the retreat.

There will be 12 groups consisting of one teacher and one to two students or “presenters.” Each group will come up with a presentation on a topic of choice for anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes. Presentations typically consist of an introduction, an activity and a review of what was learned.

The role of the presenter is to work alongside the teacher to create an inspirational and motivational presentation that can be expanded on in a discussion with the groups they present to.

It is preferred for the presenter and the teacher to be able to put a personal connection in their presentation so that the topic and goals that go along with the topic seems more realistic to the students. If the attendees hear about a real-life situation relating to the topic, they are more likely to listen to what is said and to apply what they learn.

Some activities include a water balloon toss, a three-legged obstacle course, rope swings and constructing a tire bridge with a team.  There are also activities done with the entire group of people attending the retreat. Some of these activities are capture the flag and a bonfire at night before it is time to go to bed.

“In the past, my experience at the retreat was truly great. I got to meet so many new people who I never thought I would become friends with.  The tips and skills they taught were more helpful than I ever thought they would be. I’m looking forward to the next retreat and meeting new people again,” sophomore and hopeful presenter Olivia Hauser said.

The goal of the retreat is to have a leadership conference that will inspire students to conduct self-assessment of their own leadership skills and weaknesses. Those planning and hosting the retreat hope that students who attend will bring back the things they learned and maybe even teach those skills to their peers and possibly the community.

The retreat is fun and educational for everyone that attends, even for the presenters and teachers who have already attended in previous years.

2015 Grammy’s award the year’s best musicians

The 2015 Grammy award show was expected to have a vast number of viewers and was also expected to have some of the best musical performances of the new year so far.

There are a total of 83 categories in the Grammy’s ranging from “Best Opera Recording” to “Best Gospel Album.”

Nominees for record of the year were “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX, “Chandelier” by Sia, “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith, “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift and “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. The winner of record of the year was Sam Smith with “Stay With Me.”

Sam Smith won big at his first Grammys, including awards for “Best New Artist,” “Best Pop Vocal Album,” “Record of the Year” and “Song of the Year.”

One of the biggest upsets throughout the whole show was Beck beating Beyoncé for album of the year. Kanye West jokingly ran up the stage and pretended to interrupt Beck’s acceptance speech, as he did to Taylor Swift when she beat Beyoncé at the 2009 VMA’s.

It was later that night that Kanye admitted he was joking in his actions but not in his motivations. He does believe Beyoncé should have won over Beck. Beck released a statement saying he was surprised he won and still has ample respect for West.

There were also awards given out for the rap, country and rock genres.

In the country genre, Miranda Lambert won best country album for her most recent album “Platinum,” Glen Campbell won best country song with “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” best country duo/group performance went to “Gentle On My Mind” by The Band Perry and the Grammy for best country solo performance went to Carrie Underwood with “Something In The Water.”

In the rap/R&B genre, Eminem won best rap album for “The Marshall Mathers LP2,” Kendrick Lamar took home the Grammy for best rap performance and best rap song with his hit single “i.” Best rap/sung collaboration was won by Eminem ft. Rihanna with “The Monster.”

There were not only awards given out for individual artists, there were awards given out for music films and compilation soundtrack for visual media. There were also some awards for music in other languages, such as Spanish.

The late Joan Rivers was celebrated by winning the Grammy for best spoken album for her audiobook “Diary of a Mad Diva.”

Rivers is not the only artist that has received a Grammy after death. Others include Ray Charles, George Carlin, Amy Winehouse, Elvis Presley and Notorious B.I.G.

There were a total of 26 performances at the Grammys.

The first performance of the night was AC/DC as the opener. The band was ranked the 19th best performance of the night by The Hollywood Reporter. The number one performance per The Hollywood Reporter was Beyoncé, even though her self-titled album did not win for album of the year.

Sam Smith and Mary J. Blige’s performance ranked second and Sia’s performance with Kristen Wiig and Maddie Ziegler dancing ranked third.

The 2015 Grammy awards were a big television success and pulled in an estimated 26 million viewers.