In March of this year (2014), 13 CORE students headed to the Uttarakhand Region in Northern India to embark on a humanitarian mission. Some students from the Outdoor Education Program also did some work for the schools and explored some of the beautiful terrain in the area. CORE students stayed in a compound run by CHIRAG and helped support the work of teachers in a local K-5 school by teaching English and ran camp-like activities.
Everyday millions of Canadians wake up and do seemingly meaningless tasks: brushing their teeth, driving to work, catching the bus to school or stopping by their favorite coffee shop. Little thought goes into these actions, and most likely even less into the environmental repercussions. The thing is, most we simply don’t realize the impact everyday actions can have on the environment. When most people think of helping the environment, recycling and walking to work or school often comes to mind. However, are these actions enough? Last semester, Dr. Aota’s Grade 12 biology class did a research assignment on the ecological footprints of the students. This included calculating their ecological footprint. An ecological footprint is the amount of productive land that is required for a person’s lifestyle, measured in hectares. This footprint takes into account food and water consumed, transportation, housing, waste management along with other requirements. The average Canadian’s footprint is 7.5 hectares. This means that if everyone lived like Canadians, we would need 3.5 Earth’s to support the populations. Most people don’t realize the energy requirements for the distance their food had to travel and how it was raised, or how much energy it took to create the clothes they’re wearing. Many students were surprised at how large their ecological footprint was, “I didn’t realize just how large my footprint would be. When [the website] told me it would take 2.75 Earth’s to sustain the population if everyone lived like me, that really put things into perspective”, explained Megan Forse, a Nepean grade 12 student. Forse, along with her classmates also looked into the repercussions if the per capita footprints were not reduced. The list of negative effects included world famine and mass ecosystem destruction. In response to this reality, Earth Overshoot Day was created. Earth Overshoot Day occurs once a year when Earth’s population has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. Imagine it as using up all of a paycheck, once it is all spent, a loan needs to be taken out. However, in the Earth’s case, the loan is never repaid, resulting in degradation of the environment. Last year, Overshoot day was August 20. Each year Overshoot day comes a little bit sooner due to increased population and consumption. Although this may seem dire, there are many ways to reduce the footprint, some of which include
Walking to school, work, etc
Buying local or organic produce
Buying clothes made of natural materials, such as hemp
Reduce electricity by turning off lights when leaving the room
Switch to fluorescent light bulbs
Reduce water consumption by taking short showers
Small changes can make a big difference. Reducing your footprint could be as easy as shutting off a light.
Richard Cole amazed the students of Nepean High School on Thursday, February 20th with his comedy-hypnosis performance as part of a fundraising effort organized by StudCo.
The week leading up to the performance, members of the council set up a table in the main hall to sell tickets. Students were presented with the option to “buyout” their last-period class by purchasing a four-dollar ticket to the event with proceeds going to Regina St. Public School, an underfunded elementary school located here in Ottawa.
After a shortened third period on the day of the show, students started to file into the Nepean auditorium. Everyone quickly found their seats and excited murmurs echoed through the room. Cheers erupted from the crowd as That Hypnotist Guy, Richard Cole, emerged onstage.
Some brief greetings were followed by exercises he encouraged the whole audience to take part in. One included imagining your fingers as magnets, firmly pressing them together, then trying to break them apart on his count of three. Like magnets, many students’ fingers continued to stay together even after they had stopped applying pressure.
This was only the beginning of his interactive exposition. After getting the crowd fired up, Cole invited volunteers onto the stage to be the stars of the show.
“The only crazy person I want up here is myself,” Cole said as he looked into the crowd of eager students willing to be part of the performance. When his ensemble of grade eleven and twelve students was chosen, they arranged themselves onstage, alternating boy-girl.
The show was full of excitement. Cole mesmerized the audience with his mind-control tricks. First, he made the students relax. He then put them into a deep state of rest before giving them instructions on what to do. Trigger words were used to make students onstage dance, laugh, and perform various other amusing activities. One student even danced with a stuffed monkey. The audience – as well as the people onstage – looked like they were having a great time.
Cole’s performance was very interactive. He would engage the crowd and communicate with them, weaving jokes and sly remarks into the banter. After a full hour of hypnotism, Cole left the students with great advice before allowing them to exit the stage. He told them to always believe in themselves and that everyone is able to accomplish whatever they put their minds to.
“It was interesting,” Margaux McLean, a grade eleven student, said after the show. “The hypnotist was very sneaky.”
Teachers, audience members, and participants alike seemed to enjoy the show. His performance was captivating, entertaining, and absolutely hilarious. Attending the show was not only the opportunity for students to watch a live hypnosis act, but also allowed them to miss their last-period class, all while raising money for a good cause.
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West End Voices
Music to My Ears
By: Antonia Junk
Issue 4 - Local Events
If Saint Francis of Assisi himself watched this how, he would say “this, was a concert.”, because at the West End Voices concert on the 19th of March, the Paroisse St. Francois d'Assise was filled to the brim. Hundreds gathered to listen to the efforts of high school children perform music that wasn't only pleasing to the ear, but beautiful to the soul.
West End Voices
West End Voices has been around for five years now, the joint choir made up of students from Bell High School and Nepean. The proceeds are split in multiple ways, funds going towards school programs in Africa and music programs here in Ottawa, while any food donations go to the Ottawa Food Bank.
This year, West End Voices has expanded, directed by not only Meredith Ward of Bell High School, but also by our very own Lee Carter and Rachel Handley of Glebe. Our choir expanded as well, now featuring singers from Glebe, as well as Bell and Nepean, and musicians from Lisgar and University of Ottawa. Presented by Lawrence Wall, CBC broadcaster, the night was a blast!
The concert opened up with a mass choir performance of “Past Life Melodies” by Sarah Hopkins, a beautiful, wordless, primordial, collective hum that set the bar for the rest of the concert. Following was a soulful performance of “My Love Has Found Me” by Carl J .Nygard Jr and “Home” by Phillip Phillips from the Bell High School A Capella Choir and Vocal Jazz Group.
The Nepean High School Chamber Choir came next , with warm, dreamlike songs like “Tabula Rasa” by Don MacDonald and “Stars” by Erik Esenvalds, a piece noted for being played with partially full wine glasses, creating an effect reminiscent of Pythagoras's “Music of the Spheres”.
Glebe Concert Choir finished off the single choir sets with the excellent “I Am Not Yours” by Z. Randall Stroope and “Elijah Rock” , which was arranged by Paul Hogan.
Immediately following, all the choirs formed a circle surrounding the audience, performing the soft lullaby dedicated to Martin Luther King, “MLK” by U2, before gathering on the risers and singing “Un Canadien Errant” of Mark Sirett fame. Said song was noted by the singers to be particularly excellent, showcasing both the male and female voices at different times.
Following a brief intermission, the University of Ottawa Odd and Wire String Quartet performed “Sepia Fragments”, a Juno winning piece by Derek Charke that was reminiscent of something out of the Hobbit, warm and magical.
The choir gathered a final time to perform the concert’s signature piece, “ Sunrise Mass” by Norwegian composer, Ola Gjielo, finishing with an encore of the sottish folk song, “Loch Lomond”
“Sunrise Mass” -the featured piece of the show, is a symphonic mass that, “goes from dark and dreamlike, to more emotional and dramatic, and eventually warm and grounded” in 33 minutes. Featured in four parts, the latin text speaks from the Ordinary, part of the roman catholic liturgy.
This musical journey was well worth the two years planning that was put into preparing the piece, not counting the six months of rehearsals that were required to pull off such a beautiful, but challenging piece.
As a performer
There's something special about being a performer in a concert, and it's not just the music. There's a sort of bonding experience gained from learning a piece together, rehearsing together, practising and perfecting and experiencing the moment in which the choir takes a collective breath and sings their first note.
As a performer, I can guess that I wasn't the only one who woke up early and within seconds realized it was show day and wished for a few more days of practice. But as the time doesn't run on our hopes, but it seems Mr. Carter's schedule, we didn't have much choice there. At 12:00 we were loaded on two yellow buses that rolled their way down Wellington to the venue, beginning what would be many hours of practice. Singing, getting on and off risers, more singing, arranging ourselves in the pews, even more singing; the schedule of the afternoon before the show. But when we were finally dismissed for dinner break, there was a collective sense of accomplishment. We knew we were ready, and huddled in the booths of Pizza Pizza with friends, we were a family.
As seven-o-clock came around, we gathered below the sanctuary dressed in our choir best (black dresses for the girls, black dress shirts and pants with a tie for the guys), and as we moved up to the stage and sang our little hearts out, it wasn't as a choir, but as one.
There is something to be said about music, that the high one can get from it is more effective than any drug, more addictive, and certainly more fulfilling. It can also be said that with music, there can be no doubt that there is such a thing as soul, because if so, music must have one, and it is channelled through every composer, singer, and concert hall, to the minds of everyone who hears her song.
West End Voices was no exception.
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The Forgotten Girls
Awarded 3rd Place in the Carleton University High School Writing Competition
Issue 4 - Poetry
At first they just warned us; We stayed strong, They cane for our pencils; We recited our work, They burned all our books; We told stories from memory, They made our teachers leave; We became our own teachers, They threatened us; We tried to stay fearless, They destroyed our school; We studied at home, They think we're worthless; We just want to learn, They shot our friend; Now the world knows our story.
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Honourable Mention in the Carleton University High School Writing Competition
By: Paxton Mayer
Issue 4 - Poetry
Preparing for his trip away, Straps on his combat boot. His camouflage pants are too large, The outfit doesn’t suit.
He hugs his crying fiancée, His life he did uproot. He boards and settles on the barge, Our foe he must refute.
His jacket here begins to fray, He learns how to salute. He follows orders from his Sarge, A soldier resolute.
In combat he’s in disarray, He knows he cannot shoot. His rifle simply won’t discharge, This is not his dispute.
At nine o’clock on Saturday, The sad song of a flute Surrounds his funeral so large, Remember the recruit.
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Classic NY Cake
By: Jessica Saulnier-Porter
Issue 4 - Recipes
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the pan
4 packages 250 gram packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3 large whole eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 ½ cups sour cream (not low-fat), divided
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
For the crust, stir the graham crumbs, sugar and melted butter until evenly combined. Press this mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool.
For the cheesecake, increase the oven temperature to 400 F. Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the 1 ¼ cups of sugar a little at a time, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl often. Beat in the cornstarch, vanilla and lemon zest. Beat in the eggs one at a time, on a lower speed, and scraping after each addition, then beat in the yolk. Still on low speed, beat in ¾ cup of sour cream. Pour this over the cooled crust.
Bake the cheesecake for 10 minutes at 400 F and then reduce the oven temperature to 225 F and bake for 25 more minutes. Turn off the oven, and leave the cheesecake in for an hour, cracking the oven door after 30 minutes. While the cheesecake is baking, prepare the sour cream layer.
Stir the remaining ¾ cup of sour cream with the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar and the lemon juice. Spread this over the top of the cheesecake as soon as it has come out of the oven. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely to room temperature, then carefully run a spatula around the outside of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan, then chill the cheesecake for at least 6 hours before slicing and serving.
The cheesecake will keep, if refrigerated, for up to 4 days.
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Education and the Workplace
Memoirs of a Co-op Student
Get on the 16 to Tunney’s Pasture, then the 95 to Slater and Bay. The beep that tells the bus driver to let me off also marks a new day at CO-OP.
CO-OP, more formally known as Cooperative Education is usually offered to grades 11 and 12, taking up either two or four periods of each day to give a student the chance to test drive a career. You learn new skills, improve on old ones, and get a sense of what it’s like in “the real world”, away from the hallowed halls of school and into the world of work.
The first two weeks of the semester are dedicated to the “Orientation” of the course, two weeks of preparing resumes, cover letters, learning about safety in the workplace and finding a CO-OP placement somewhere in Ottawa that fits you.
Once you’ve found a placement, you have to go to an interview. You get lots of tips from the Orientation on how to present yourself and how to do well, but the best thing you can do is stay calm and smile.
As an artistic student, I wanted to find somewhere where I could do lots of art and design. That path, plus my tendency towards wanting to help others, pointed me towards Jer’s Vision, an anti-bullying anti-discrimination organization focused towards helping and educating youth across Canada. It looked interesting, and I already had prior knowledge of the organization from school itself, so I applied for the position of artistic coordinator.
Once you get a placement, you aren’t totally guaranteed not having to be in school during work hours. Once or twice a month, students are called back in for Reflective Learning classes, including workshops from people in the world of work and further reflection on our skills gained and developed while at work. It also allows for students to share their experiences and get a sense of how the future may turn out after high school.
In my experiences with CO-OP, I’ve found that it has been a very positive experience and that I’ve learned so much. It is an enriching experience, and as a CO-OP student, I highly recommend to those entering grade 11 or 12 to apply once the option sheets come around. After all, you only live once, and CO-OP will help you make the best of it!
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It’s A Miserable Life
By: Ryley Alp and Michael Collins
Nepean High School’s production of Les Miserables is approaching quickly! Les Miserables is a journey over many years for a freed slave on the run known as Jean Valjean. He was arrested for stealing a loaf of bread and has taken into his custody an orphan child, which he promised the orphan’s mother he’d take care of her. Years later Jean Valjean is still on the run from the police, and all while during a french revolution. Les Miserables tells the story of injustice, love and the power of human connection.
The show is shaping up beautifully, and as the head of the props department I’ve come closely attached to the team behind the show. The production has given the whole group a chance to come together and create something spectacular. Without a class like drama production the friendships we’ve formed may have never been so strong. It gives everyone an opportunity to express themselves and meet new people, all while simultaneously giving us a chance to create. We’ve all become a family. A family with a deadline, a family with a goal, and a family with purpose; Les Miserables. "It’s hard to put yourself into the mindset of people (our age) starting a revolution knowing full well that they may die in the process, then you look around to the people on stage with you and think to yourself: sure we can do this.There is an immeasurable power in cooperation and support. This collaboration has been the best of my life." says Emma Makin.
The show is certainly a group effort, it is a student run production with our teacher and dramama Mrs. Coltman, our play on words expert Mr. Kanter and a couple other key figures along for the ride guiding the students in the right direction. There are six departments: Props a department in which all things used on stage by actors are made, Sets who make the location for the show, Front of house in charge of all things financial and marketing, Stage management the department in charge of everything behind the scenes, Costumes makes everything the actors wear on stage, and the Tech which consists of two gentlemen who make the mics, smoke, and lights all work. If you want to see behind the scenes looks of all this check out the NHS Les Miserables instagram account @miserableproduction.
Props this year has brought slight insanity to the department. With a large scale production such as Les Miserables we have tons of props, big and small, to create or find. An example of one of the more challenging props would be the period accurate rifles that have been made completely from scratch. There is not a day in the last month that I haven’t came home with paint under my fingernails and glue in my hair. But when you see something you’ve been working on used on stage the time and effort put in seems completely justified.
Sets had a huge challenge this year. Les Mis is a show that runs over the course of many years and many locations for which they had to find something versatile that can work for every scene, without the budget or the rotating set of the broadway productions. They have indeed made it work with the help of many many people include some art students and Mr. Miller as well as the amazing Mr. Davidson. "The amount of effort put into this production may be high, but the reward so far has been ever greater." declares Keene Imbleau, a Head of Sets and our resident Jean Valjean.
Front of House is the team that does all the advertising, creates the program, does a lot of organizing for the nights of the show and we also deal with the money. More importantly for all the people in cast and crew they order our super cool Les Mis hoodies. Basically it involves a lot of organization from me and my team, we have a lot of meetings and are frequently seen in the halls at lunch selling tickets and playing music. To be in front of house you need to learn to... Well, basically harass people. Funny we can market the show but we can't market ourselves. I'm still single.
Stage Management is that one extremely important group that you will probably never even see. They're the ones backstage organizing all the actors, props, and cues. Theyre at every rehearsal playing music, writing down blocking and writing down notes. If stage management were an object they’d be that ultra-important day-planner that has everything youre doing for the next year in it, if you lost you wouldn’t have any idea what’s going on. Our resident head stage manager Mel Halden says "Nope." when asked to sum up her prod experience and then proceeds to make a sarcastic jab about how they should have never let me do props.
There are about 50 people in this cast, most of whom need two, if not three or even four costumes. If you do the math that mean a lot of costumes for a High School production, and a large majority of them are created from scratch by the fabulous costumes team. The craziness and intensity of it all is summed up by Emma Davies "It was fun!" she says, while rushing away probably to go dye some pants or pin a dress.
With every new location and scene comes a new lighting design and layout. Which you can imagine is a ton of work for our very small tech crew to handle. Not only the lights but also the mics, which for a play that’s completely sung through and a cast of 50 you can imagine it’s a lot of work. Eric Welch says "Doing tech for prod is like going on a painful amusement park ride: at first you think it seems fun so you do it. Next thing you know you’re on the ground crying in the parking lot with a half eaten candy apple and some awesome memories."
The students in the show have been working on this show for a gargantuan amount of time, 6 days a week for hours on end living off Aladdin’s, Nos, and Shwarma, you’d think it’d be "miserable" wouldn’t ya? Well fortunately for this cast EVERYONE loves working with each other and looks forward to rehearsals everyday. Bronwyn Kelly said "It’s been such a lovely experience, and even though I’m not called for every single rehearsal I wish I was because once you feel the spark and the love between a company you never want to leave." And it’s true. This company has sparked ever since we sat down in the library and read the script with the whole cast. There’s been a sort of magic in the air. As much as Les Mis is about love, the people on stage and behind the curtain are even more. And as the days get closer and excitement builds we feel like we are part of our own little revolution, and it’s safe to say you’ll be missing out if you don’t join in. Lief Ramsaran put it best: ‘We made something. We have a final product, and it’s actually pretty amazing. You’ll be surprised."
The process has been a long one but we as a cast and crew are having the time of our lives. "For a musical with a plot that is so sad, I’ve never had so much fun or laughed so hard." states Rachel Mclaughlin. The amount of effort and time put in by every member of the company is intense but seeing it all come together is incredibly gratifying. Tickets are on sale now so if you haven’t already, go purchase them as soon as possible.