Scholastic Bowl wins Conference

By Sophie Collings

The Mattoon High School Scholastic Bowl team has undergone some major changes― they’ve received a new head coach and lost one senior member from last season. However, because of leadership and determination, the team has rebuilt itself and is even stronger than before.

“Last year we didn’t win very much, but this year…we won conference, which was a big thing. It was the first time the school has ever had Scholastic Bowl win conference,” MHS senior and Scholastic Bowl team captain Charles Derrickson said.

Derrickson describes their season as “positive” and he attributes that to not only the players’ dedication, but their new coach as well.

“Our coach has been to Nationals before, so we definitely have more resources available, and also the players have a stronger drive to practice and learn more outside of our regularly scheduled practices,” Derrickson said.

Their new coach, MHS math and science teacher Brendan Aydt, previously coached Scholastic Bowl at Cumberland High School. Aydt says the main coaching difference is in the sizes of the two teams.

“I have a lot more players on the team this year than I’ve ever had. Cumberland had 290 students in the school, so we were usually having to recruit hard just to have five or six players on Varsity and five or six on JV,” Aydt said. “It’s been nice to see more participation. It has been more challenging to get into matches and get them playing time. Also, managing multiple teams at a tournament has been a new experience for me because we rarely had that at Cumberland.”

Aydt and his team alike have faced many new challenges this season, but because of leaders, such as Derrickson, the team has been able to easily overcome these obstacles.

“He [Derrickson] has really been very helpful. He has definitely been our highest scoring player, our MVP so far. He has made the All-Tournament team at almost every tournament we’ve been at,” Aydt said. “He’s put up impressive stats as a player, and he’s also taken on a big role in organizing the team, encouraging his teammates to study and really fulfilling a lot of the roles of an assistant coach since I don’t have an assistant coach this year.”

MHS senior and Scholastic Bowl member Kirsti Wattles agrees that Derrickson is a vital and very helpful member of the team, especially in his role as team captain.

“He knows a lot, which is really good for a captain, and he knows all of the rules and all of the requirements for each thing we’re going to.

He reads up on everything, so he makes it his job to know everything that’s going on and everything that will happen. He’s very well informed,” Wattles said.

“He makes us study trivia packets, and he prints them out for everyone. He gave me these two giant stacks of packets and he’s like ‘I want you to read all these,’” Wattles said. “He wants everyone to do well, and he wants everyone to work for it.”

Wattles added that Derrickson’s encouragement keeps the team motivated to do their best. According s his leadership role has been enjoyable, but it has come with a large time commitment. He spends approximately 23 hours every week studying and preparing on his own as well as with the team. Nonetheless, Derickson still enjoys every minute of his time spent on Scholastic Bowl and sees the greater impact it has made in his life.

“I feel most certainly it has helped me grow as a person because now I am able to work with more people and communicate on a more personal level,” Derrickson said.

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‘milk and honey’ walks reader through life with use of poems

By Abby James
Business Manager

rupi kaur’s journey through a life of struggle, hard work and life is beautifully annotated in her New York Times bestseller: “milk and honey.” The poems living inside the pages of this collection of poetry assist their readers who may be struggling or coming to terms with many different aspects of life.

During adolescence, many young adults begin to feel overwhelmed with the ambivalence of the feelings they experience on a day-to-day basis. Like many developing adults are instructed to do, kaur found a way to cope with her emotions, thus creating a beautiful desire to make life a little more glorious.

In an interview with Huffington Post Digital Marketer, author rupi kaur said, “I have this terrible habit of feeling too much and I want to express these feelings in the written form. I want to put words to feelings we have trouble putting into words. Like the breath before the kiss, I want to make the mundane beautiful.”

As a young female who has read kaur’s book, I have personally experienced her work in making monotonous life seem joyful and extravagant. In this book, kaur addresses some very mature topics such as violence, abuse, love and loss. However, throughout the four chapters in the text (“the hurting,” “the loving,” “the breaking” and “the healing”), kaur does not focus on the difficulties these issues bring upon their victims. The issues are addressed, but the main idea in the poems focus on learning from experiences and growing from them. For example, in the poetry collection, a stanza reads: “i didn’t leave because/i stopped loving you/i left because the longer/i stayed the less/i loved myself.” This poem addresses the importance of leaving unhealthy relationships. Students at the high school level need to be exposed to ideas like this; because some young adults stay in relationships that may not be the best for them because they feel as if they are too in love with their significant other to leave them. Too often, people suppress their own wants and needs for those of their loved ones. I think this is very important for the reader, especially if they have been affected by the topic being discussed. Too often people focus on being a victim to society’s wrath that they never begin the healing process. These poems allow one to view what the healing process looks like, which gives them a general idea of where to start.

Like the young adults that can relate to this book, David Nilsen, editor and lead critic at Fourth & Sycamore, writes that women struggling with the battles life has thrown at them can also connect to kaur’s poems.

“Kaur writes online and in ‘Milk and Honey’ primarily about different aspects of being a woman in a society that hasn’t made nearly as many advances in equality as it thinks it has, and many of her poems (and their accompanying art) have become anthems of sorts for young women sick of being shamed for their bodies, their desires, in some cases their own assaults,” Nilsen said.

While I was reading this book, I realized that I had dealt with many of the issues that were being discussed. This shows that kaur is able to write in order to connect to a larger audience about serious topics, which is something kaur deserves very high praise for.

However, I think the men and women reviewing this poetry collection have forgotten a key aspect to everyday life. Men and women experience body shame and assault. I think they should take it into consideration that both men and women from all different age groups could also benefit from the content this text embodies.

“milk and honey’s” author rupi kaur does a beautiful job of creating a book that people can connect to, but the people who have reviewed this fail to realize that each gender can experience the struggles society throws upon them in similar ways. For people hoping to learn to accept the things that happen in the world, grow from their own struggles or simply just enjoy beautifully written poetry, “milk and honey” exceeds all standards while the reviewers of the book hardly, if at all, meet theirs.

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[WITH_TEETH]: Nine Inch Nails album still popular, twelve years later

By Brennan Tomer

After nearly dying to drug and alcohol abuse while completing his fourth album,The Fragile, Trent Reznor released the record to critical acclaim in 1999. Nine Inch Nails frontman, (and only band member at the time of its release) Reznor, remained quiet for a few years, working on a few remix albums in the meantime. But in 2005, he released brand new Nine Inch Nails material in a record called “With Teeth”.

Nine Inch Nails is best defined as industrial metal, with elements of heavy metal and electronica bleeding in Reznor’s music. Being the only member of the band initially, he is solely responsible for the direction of the band’s music. His previous works, “The Downward Spiral” and “The Fragile”, were both raw, dark and angry in tone. “With Teeth” is more celebratory in tone, the music showing his recovery from drugs and alcohol. The album produced three hit singles, “The Hand That Feeds,” “Every Day is Exactly the Same” and “Only.” Instead of his songs being interwoven with each other lyrically like in his other albums, the songs do not relate to each other. However, all of the songs complement each other well enough that the record flows nicely. It’s much more song-focused, and its sound is much stronger than in previous works. It’s also much more rock-oriented in terms of sound.

Some songs are slower in tone, like “Right Where it Belongs” and “All the Love in the World.” Some songs are much faster and upbeat, like “The Hand That Feeds,” “You Know What You Are?” and “Getting Smaller.” “With Teeth” is Reznor’s return to his old music, but with the less disturbed and angry lyrics and an attempt of retaining his role as an innovative artist.

Despite being released twelve years ago,“With Teeth” remains as strong a record as ever, and is one of Reznor’s more well known works. The high sound quality, the music talent, the lyrics and vocals all remain strong points, positively reflecting Nine Inch Nails itself. It gets 4/4 stars based on sound quality, vocals and standing the test of time over a decade later.

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