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The Vox Box

Encore for 17 Again

Just imagine what would happen if your dad returned to age seventeen and attended your high school for a week.  Just imagine if he guided you through an unexpected breakup.  Just imagine if he gave you the courage to stand up for yourself, your dreams, and your ideas.  Just imagine if 17 Again were playing in a theater near you.

Matthew Perry and Zac Efron play Mike, a middle-aged man whose hectic life and ongoing divorce troubles have him wishing for the “good ol’ days” of his senior year in high school, when he was the basketball team’s leading star with the brightest future ahead of him.  His skills in basketball attracted several colleges’ attention, but he threw away that dream in order to marry his high school sweetheart Scarlet.  …So when Mike wakes up to find himself at age seventeen once again, will he make the same decision?

Mike goes back to high school with his daughter and his son, ”undercover” as their long-lost cousin.  He realizes how detached he has become from his kids as he watches his teen daughter (played by Michelle Trachtenburg) throw away her future for her psychotic jock boyfriend and his son get tormented day in and day out by the same basketball team Mike himself was once apart of.  But can he measure up to be who his kids need?  Will his detachment from them as a father impair his ability to connect with them as a fellow teenager?  And will Scarlet, his almost ex-wife, give Mike the second chance that fate granted him?

17 Again is the fun-loving, spirited, and original family comedy everyone has been waiting for.  Its star cast truly delivers in this sensational film about life, love, family, growing up, and appreciating life’s simply breathtaking moments.

Defendant’s Mouth Taped Shut in Court

In Pocatello, Idaho, a judge ordered a defendant’s mouth taped shut after he lost patience with the man’s interruptions.

The move was ordered by 6th District Judge Peter D. McDermott during a probation violation hearing for Nicklas Frasure, 23, who was convicted of felony theft in 2008. The judge retained jurisdiction for sentencing depending on Frasure’s response to treatment, where Frasure had violated his probation, not taking his prescribed medication at his state mental hospital in Blackfoot.

Frasure interrupted with verbal outbursts and unusual behavior. After more outbursts, McDermott told bailiffs to silence him.

The bailiffs then found a roll of duct tape, tore off a piece, and put it over Frasure’s mouth, according to the Idaho State Journal.

What do you think? Isn’t this freaking hilarious?

Culminating Projects

For this year’s and last year’s graduating senior classes, a new graduation requirement has been added among the class and credit prerequisites: the culminating project. In this assignment, senior students are supposed to spend at least 20 hours in creating this project as well as writing a proposal letter and researched paper on the topic they chose. The project is very open to whatever students may choose to present on, but the main goal of the task is to make students experience “a learning stretch,”  which essentially means that they should be able to take away something from the work.

As a senior in the graduating class of 2009, I, myself, had to undertake the culminating project. In all honesty, it was burdensome and added already to the large amount of work I already had. For my project I had created a music video to a song my friend, Casey Ager, had written himself. The song he wrote happened to be his finalized culminating project. Here is the finished product.

But what I am really trying to get at is this: how do you feel about the requirement of the culminating project? Is it a good thing for students or another pointless graduation assignment? If you did a culminating project, what did you do it on? (Just out of curiousity)

The Glow:Spokane (high)lights

It’s been quite a while since a good ol’ ‘Glow’ article has hit the Vox, but never fear! My adventures will continue! With the first day of Spring Break comes the absolute need to get out of the house: my sister and I were ready and rarin’ to go. So where do you go on a springy day in the city of Spokane? (Yes…sushi, my friends, sushi….)

We headed down to 1st Avenue and hit up RAW, Sushi and Island Grill. It’s a great atmosphere, (and this sounds pretty cheesy,) yet you find yourself immersed in the ‘island feeling’ from the moment you walk in. High ceilings, majorly cool artwork (all ocean inspired, a really great octopus painting that I will steal one day…) and comfy bar-style seating throughout the resturant.

Well-known throughout the city of Spokane for their high-style cuisine, RAW isn’t just cooking up the seafood.  Craving some sushi on a Monday or Thursday? Stop in at RAW and you’ll also be able satisfy your craving for some karaoke! Mondays and Thursdays are marked by the ‘Karaoke on da Kouch’ when the resturant utilizes a little stage-area surrounding one of the most comfortable couches I’ve ever been blessed to sit on. (No joke…)

My Tried-And-True-FAVORITE: Winner of the ‘Best Sushi’ award by The Inlander’s “People’s choice” vote, RAW is always serving up something good. The first time I went I got one of the “New School Rolls”. The ‘Vegan Roll’, simply made of tempura, asparagus, avacado, cucumber, sesame seeds, and a crazy-good oishi sauce, is fantastic.  Another good sushi-choice is the Mexi-Cali: You’ve got some spicy crab mix blended with cream cheese and jalpenos and rolled up in fried tempura…amazing.  (Check out their website here…)

How does sushi stack up against your favorite foods? Any other good sushi places I should visit?

Video of the Week

Flight of the Conchords - “The Humans are Dead”

A hilarious look at the music of the post-robotic revolution world. Disclaimer: a not-so-nice word or two for those of you with virgin ears.

College Road Trip

We are quickly approaching summer, and with it, college tours and/or visits. Incoming juniors might just be looking at colleges they are interested in, or even just looking at colleges in cities they are visiting anyway. Incoming seniors have probably narrowed it down, and are visiting colleges they are planning to apply to. As College Confidential says,

Consider the advantage of visiting schools over the summer. If your senior-to-be has a list of, say, five or six candidate schools, a summer visit might help him or her refine the list to three or four before the new school year begins. College campuses are always lovely during the summer.

 Are you planning to visit any colleges over the summer? Have any seniors already visited colleges? Any tips?

Travel Spot of the Week

I missed last week due to circumstances beyond control of anyone but my AP US History teachher, but I’m back at it this week. This week, however, thinking ahead to summer, list a few places, that, if you had the time, resources and money, you would visit, in the continental US, Canada and Mexico.

 

 Where are places you love to go? Any oddball places you would HAVE to visit? Why would you visit the places you visit?

 

Charity-A-Day: Environment

Everyone seems to be going green these days, so here are some great ways to join in on the fun and help the planet out.

The Trust for Public Land: TPL is a nation-wide, nonprofit charity that seeks to conserve land for people. They are dedicated to ensuring the preservation and creation of parks, farmlands, natural lands, historical sites, costal areas, and waterways. There aren’t many volunteer opportunities, but donations are always welcome. They also offer a handful of “Shop&Support” options for those who would rather help by buying clothes or CDs.
www.tpl.org

Rainforest Action National:  RAN is an international organization bent on preserving our remaining rainforests and making the world safe and secure for future generations. They focus primarily on breaking our addictions to oil and coal by encouraging companies and corporations to go green. The closest chapter is in Seattle, but forming your own school-wide or community-wide chapter is happily offered as an option for those looking to offer a hand.
www.ran.org

Conservation International: CI is a high-ranking charity that promotes global respect, both for other people and for nature. Like RAN, they want to secure an environmentally safe future for us all. Their main strategies include saving species to preserve biological diversity, conserving landscapes and seascapes, empowering local communities with the knowledge and ability to help save the planet, and promoting awareness of “conservation ethic.” There are a number of campaigns you can get involved in, though as with TPL actuall volunteer options are limitied.
www.conservation.org

The Student Conservation Association: SCA is “America’s conservation corps,” specifically providing jobs and volunteer opportunities to high school and college students. This hands-on organization focuses on building trails, cleaning rivers, and restoring habitats in state and national parks. Weekend and summer programs are available for high school students, and internships and corps memberships are available for those 18 and older.
www.thesca.org

This site also has an extensive list of other top-ranked charities: www.charitywatch.org/toprated.html#enviro

Now get out there and go green!

Charity-A-Day: Education

As you may have seen in the Our Kids; Our Business section of today’s Spokesman-Review,  kicking off another week of charity-focus here at the Vox Box! We’ve investigated a huge range of topics; everything from Health, Animal Shelters, Food Banks, and more. Get ready and geared up for week two of ‘Charity-A-Day’!  Today we’ll tackle a big one: Education! (Yeah…the mention of that whole ‘school’ things usually inspires some groans and whining, but hold on - this is the good stuff…)

“Start with Trust”
The Better Busines Bureau is making education their main business with the BBB Education Foundation.  Found in Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana, the BBB works toward their goal to “promote and foster ethical relationships within our community” by inviting high school sophomores to discuss ethics and preparing our generation for what lies ahead. 

“…Raising a high bar for all students benefits all students.”
That’s the core belief of Seattle-based education charity, Alliance for Education.  Raising capital, creating challenging courses, and inspiring students within Washington, are just a few of the things Alliance does to “champion change and help drive effective strategies that will increase student achievement.” The Alliance for Education also rewards teachers: Two scholarship-awards are given out to remarkable educators and one award is granted to a notable principal. You can help this unique charity by donation or by volunteering at their annual October fundraising-breakfast…(and yes - by volunteering you get part of the breakfast…yummm, helping students can be delicious!)

“…Prepare students from underserved communities for success in universities.”
Accra, Mamprobi, Chorkor, and Dansoman: These are the areas of Ghana, West Africa that are being helped by the Darkwa Foundation.  With a branch in Bellevue, WA, Darkwa’s goal is to promote education in nurseries, pre-school’s, kindergartens, Middle schools, and primary school’s in Ghana - thus limiting poverty. The charity accepts donations as well as ‘In-Kind’ gifts, such as text books, curriculum guides, computers, and toys all to ”enable [the kids] to contribute to the development of their own country.”

I’m Going to Exercise on the COLBERT!

My friend was browsing Yahoo the other day, when she found a story about how Stephen Colbert, of Comedy Central fame, pretty much rigged the vote for the name of the new space module. NASA held a vote for what the name of the module should be, with a space for write-in votes. Colbert, on his show, asked his viewers to vote for ‘The Colbert.’ Overwhelmingly, they did, and it won the vote, with 230,000 votes. NASA decided to name the module the Tranquility instead.

However, they will be calling the treadmill that astronauts exercise on the “‘Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill.” The COLBERT. Yeah. Stephen Colbert has a treadmill named after him. You can find more about this here.

Do you think that the majority vote should have won?

Bring on Boston!

Their hearts beat rapidly.  Their fingers rest on the “start/stop” button on their watches.  Their minds are whizzing all over the place.  Their double-knotted running shoes toe the line.  Bang!  The gun is shot, and their legs power through the beginning strides.  Their shorts swish.  Their feet pound the ground.  A sea of committed runners set into motion a tsunami of history.

They are the heroes of the running world.  They are the runners who have beat the odds in order the chase their dreams.They are the selected runners whose achievements, times, and performances in previous marathons have qualified them for perhaps the biggest moment in their lives: running in the Boston Marathon. 

For Kara Goucher, a track-and-field champ gone marathon pro, there’s a goal much larger than herself associated with winning gold in Boston.  For the former NCAA champ, winning gold at this epic race will mean becoming the first American woman since 1985 to do so.  Although this will be only her second marathon, Kara has the heart of a champion that will take her straight to the top.  In 2007, she placed third in the 10,000 meters at the World Outdoor Championships and also beat world-renowned British runner Paula Radcliffe in a half-marathon.  Just last year, Kara competed in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the Olympic Games and qualified for the Boston Marathon by placing third at the New York City with the fastest time ever posted by a debut marathoner.

Stay tuned in for more Boston Marathon news—the long-awaited, anticipated running of the 113th annual Boston Marathon will begin tomorrow!

A Charity-a-Day: Health

American Cancer Society

The American Canccer Society is committed to  ”providing programs aimed at reducing the risk of cancer, detecting cancer as early as possible, ensuring proper treatment, and empowering people facing cancer to cope and maintain the highest possible quality of life.” according to the website, here.

The Relay For LIfe is the epitome of medical fundraising walks. The Relay for LIfe website, here, describes it as “Teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Relays are an overnight event, up to 24 hours in length.” I’ve heard it’s pretty much amazing.

Make A Wish Foundation

Make-A-Wish is an incredible foundation. It grants “wishes” to children with life-threatening medical conditions. The wishes fall from “I want a playhouse,” to “I want to meet Miley Cyrus and see her concert.” I personally have experience with Make A Wish, and I only have good things to say. Our “Wish Granter,” Mitch, was amazing. He came out to the airport to wish us goodbye. He lived way out in the country, and our flight left at 6 AM. He met us at abut 4:30 AM. Amazing.

However, if you want to volunteer, the Ways to Help page on the site is very informative.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation site, “Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide).”

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation holds various events throughout the year, but the one that’s most widely known is Great Strides, the fundraising walk. Spokane’s walk is held at the Jundt Art Museum on the Gonzaga campus. More information is here.

 

Studying Society

It starts about sophomore year - your mailbox gets bombarded daily with letters, newsletters, posters, and coursebooks featuring all the colleges within a hundred-mile radius.  Sometimes a three hundred-mile radius…sometimes they’re across the country! I’ve got a stack with my name on it at least four times a week…

I got an interesting one recently, blazened with large orange letters reading “Study Abroad”. (The only thing saving it from the recycle bin.)  The School of Field Studies, (SFS) has an amazingly organized, (and beautiful!) program, offering trips to Costa Rica, Turks & Caicos, Kenya, Mexico, and Australia. The SFS takes pride in the steps they’re taking to protect our environment and educate our generation:

“We believe that everyone has a valuable role to play in helping to protect our environment for future generations. As environmental problems become increasingly more urgent, so must our commitment to finding solutions.”

 SFS is just one of the many programs geared toward getting our peers to experience life outside of their comfort zone. (You really will learn more than to apply sunscreen when you study abroad.) According to Mary M. Dwyer and Ph.D. Courtney K. Peters and a survey conducted by the Institute for the International Education of Students, studying abroad “is usually a defining moment in a young person’s life…regardless of where students studied.”

In The Benefits of Studying Abroad, Dwyer and Peters found that, when asked about personal growth, 97% said that the experience inspired higher maturity, while 96% reported higher self-confidence, and 95% stated that it has had a lasting impact on their world view. But the real question is; Where do you want life to take you?

Where would you be interested in studying abroad? Based on it’s positive influences over a participant’s life, should studying abroad be a requirement in your college-years?

 

A Charity-a-Day: Military

Continuing with our Charity-a-Day thing… here is a wonderful list of organizations that aid or assist Military Personnel, their families, and Veterans. So as not to make a huge post, I created a pdf document for you all to look at.

Military Support Organizations

What are some of your favorite ways to “Support the Troops”? Do you have anyone in your family currently serving in the military?

Video of the Week

We’re all familiar with the name Robert Pattinson by now, whether he registers as a sparkly vampire or a doomed wizard. But what has he been doing besides playing hunky dead guys? Enter “How to Be,” Pattinson’s latest movie, an independent film about a dead-beat, twenty-something, would-be singer/songwriter who hires a famous self-help author to help him “be more normal.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaJHF_UNpx0

Pattinson also stars as Saldavor Dali in the movie ”Little Ashes,” set to release in the US next month. Unfortunately it’s rated R, so I’m not sure it’s legal for me to post the trailer here. A quick YouTube search brings up a slew of videos, if you’re interested.

Question: With three “Twilight” movies left to go, do you think Pattinson will be able to break away from this “perfect guy” role? Or will he forever be the hot vampire of every girl’s dreams?

Happy news: What a change…

It really does seem that all of today’s headlines have been slightly depressing…”Stock market crashes”…”economy has no future”…ect.

Willie the Parrot
This definitely is one of those classic, feel-good stories. As a Denver child choked on her breakfast of Wheaties, (pictured above), while her mom was out of the room. As if watching the child himself, Willie the parrot began to repetedly sqawk “Mama, baby,” making her mom’s attention come to the baby. (Who was turning blue at that point.)

Willie recieved a Denver Red Cross chapter’s Animal Lifesaver Award. 

Read here at MSN for more ‘feel-good’ stories.

What’s some ‘good news’ that you’ve heard recently? Does this happiness seem somewhat out of place in the media of today?

Approaching the AP Test: Essays

Here has been my thought process everytime I look at my planner for the past 6 days: “Oh gosh, I still haven’t done that practice test. Jeez, only twenty-something days. How many days is it again? Oh, yeah, 23.”

That somewhat nonsensical string of thoughts is, I’m afraid, what will be my life for the next 23 (23!) days. Because in about 23 days, more specifically 22 days, 13 hours, and 43 minutes, I am going to be taking my AP US History test. I’m not freaking out, because I know I’m going to be prepared, if I ever crack down and do a couple practice tests. However, I know some of my classmates are already talking about getting 3 hours of sleep in the nights preceding the test. I’d rather be awake then know every candidate from every election since 1780.

In the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be spotlighting a few of the parts of the test, and prep in general. The first is going to be the essays. For AP US, at least, there is 2 FRQs and a DBQ. For those of you who aren’t intimately familiar with the inner workings of AP classes, an FRQ is a free response question. It is an essay that you are expected to write in 35 minutes. It doesn’t have any supporting information, just a prompt. A DBQ is another essay, with a writing time of 45 minutes . However, this one has 6-8 documents included that you should use to strengthen your paper. Here are some sample prompts.

Anybody good at writing quick essays? If you’ve taken an AP class, were you good at the essays? Any other comments?

Stunning Performance on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’

No offense, but it’s obvious that this woman is not the prettiest gal on earth, but she has a voice to die for. Susan Boyle wowed everyone, audience, judges, and crew alike, of the show Britain’s Got Talent by her amazing and absolutely stunning performance of “I dreamed a dream” from Les Miserables. Coming from her, no one expected such a performance. In fact, everyone was laughing when she said she wanted to be like Elaine Paige, a famous actress and singer, best known for her work in Musical Theatre. Well, I won’t keep you in suspense much longer. (You Tube isn’t allowing anyone to embed this video, so I’m posting a link instead.) Susan Boyle, singing “I Dreamed a Dream”

What is the big deal? Why do they act so surprised? People like her can’t have talent? …I don’t know? What do you all think?

The Slam

So three cheers for another rendezvous through Spokane’s world of entertainment! Here at The Slam we’re going through all the shows, concerts, events, movies, (everything!), that Spokane has to offer! Here we go….Let’s investigate another week…

Local Music Nite @ The Inlander - Wed. April 15
The hard workers down at The Inlander are getting ready for the big, bad Local Music issue, (quite a big deal.) So this Wednesday, the day before the issue hits the city, they’re hosting a first-ever ‘Release Party’ at the Knitting Factory. Described by the Bomb Garden as an “evening of local rock, pop, folk, blues and electronica-ish-ness.” Hit this show up to see the one and only ‘People’s Choice’ champ. Cost is $5 and doors open at 6, music at 7.

Devil Wears Prada - Thur. April 16
Whew! This is going to be quite a party at The Knitting Factory. Not only do we have headliners Devil Wears Prada, but we’ll also be hearing from A Day to Remember, Sky Eats Airplane, Emarosa, and WE ARE DEVASTATION. Doors open at 6, but show starts at 7.

2009 Woman’s Show (ft. Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure) - Sat. April 18
This is a great cause to support, and what better way of showing your love to the breast cancer fund than participating in the 5k or 1 mile? Act fast: Online registration ends at noon this Thursday, while Team registration closes at midnight tomorrow.

Charity-A-Day: National/International Relief

For those interested in lending a helping hand to people hundreds or even thousands of miles away, here are some awesome charities to get involved with.

The United Way

In 2005, the United Way began a 10-year project to achieve three primary goals: cut the high school drop-out rate in half, cut the number of financially-unstable working families in half, and increase the percentage of healthy Americans by one-third. Almost half-way through this period, they are making astounding leaps towards these goals. You can help by donating to a specific area (education, income, health, or all three) or by volunteering at the local branch in Spokane.

United Way: http://www.liveunited.org/index.cfm
Spokane Branch: http://www.unitedwayspokane.org/

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is an international charity whose members and volunteers build houses for those in need. Though the homes are small and simple, they are often more shelter than their residents have ever had. Habitat for Humanity welcomes volunteer groups as well as individual help (hint hint for those youth groups or clubs in need of something to do).

Habitat for Humanity: http://www.habitat.org/default.aspx
Spokane Branch: http://www.habitat.org/cd/frame/frameset.aspx?url=www.habitat-spokane.org

International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee is a wonderful all-purpose sort of relief charity. They provide food and water, medical aid, education, and shelters to areas of the world torn apart by war or violence. In addition, they help refugees make a new life for themselves in the US. Though the closest branch is in Seattle, you can still help by donating, advocating, or simply staying informed.

IRC: http://www.theirc.org/

For those looking to do even more, here is an excellent list of the top-rated international relief charities in the country: http://www.charitywatch.org/toprated.html#intrelief

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About this blog

In 2006, then-editor Steve Smith of The Spokesman-Review had the idea of starting a publication for an often forgotten audience: teenagers. The Vox Box was a continuation of the Vox, an all-student staffed newspaper published by The Spokesman-Review. High school student journalists who staffed the Vox made all content decisions as they learn about the trade of journalism. This blog's mission was to give students an opportunity to publish their voices. The Vox Box and the Vox wrapped up in June 2009, but you can follow former staffers' new blog at http://voxxiez.blogspot.com.

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