Friday, April 30, 2010

An oppurtunity to shine

An opportunity to shine

Al Stover / Reporting
Britney Locati / Photography

Published in issue 41.10 of the SFCC Communicator

Special education students from area high schools participated in mock interviews the event, A Chance to Shine, sponsored by District 81 and SFCC's Teachers of Tomorrow.
There were a total of 60 students from local high schools including Rogers, Medical Lake, and Jenkins High School in Chewellah, who were interviewed by SFCC students and staff as if they were in a job interview.

According to Tina Francis, a teacher in the Medical Lake school district, Special Education Training Resources in Vocational Exploration (STRIVE), a program that helped students build job skills, was dissolved three years ago.

"I met Linda Devlin, who was in charge of STRIVE and brought in students who had the idea to start A Chance to Shine," Francis said.

According to Francis, students participated in at least three interviews and were given feedback. Sandy Ross, the Teachers of Tomorrow adviser, said students understand what they need to do when it comes time to sit down and do the job interview.

"(Students know they need) the handshake, the appropriate dress and the skills they need going into the interview," Ross said.

Ross said many students also spent a year putting together a story board where they displayed their resume and images that featured their skills and accomplishments.

Anja Abbott, a high school student who wants to work with the elderly and children, said she liked the event.

"I'm kind of shy, so this helps with talking to people," Anja said.

Lorna Serrin, who is majoring in education with a focus on special education, said the event was a great opportunity for students to talk with people they usually do not come into contact with.

"It gets them out of their comfort zone a little," Serrin said.

Christopher Taylor, a senior from North Central, said the mock interview process was a little bit embarrassing.

Jenna Sterner, a second-year graphic design student, interviewed some of the students, including Taylor.

"He did an excellent job of answering my questions," Sterner said.

Other institutions around the nation have also implemented workshops to help special education students with employment skills. Ability Pittsburgh is a day-long event where special education students participate seminars and exercises which include mock interviews and resume writing, according to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership website.

Taylor said he felt good about the interviews and what he learned from the event. He also said he might go back to his old job at Salvation Army where he said his coworkers miss him.

"They want me to come back and be the boss," Taylor said. "I also want to get a car and have a good life."

To visit the Communicator website, follow the link:

SFCC Communicator

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Club food drive helps animals

Club food drive helps animals

Al Stover / Reporting

Published in issue 41.9 of the SFCC Communicator

Kara Nelson walks into SpokAnimal, carrying a large box of chew toys and blankets, passing cages with barking dogs inside.  Behind her, Luke Garza holds two large bags of dog food. 

Nelson and Garza are members of the Anime Club, a club whose members have an interest in Japanese animated film and graphic arts, and the business behind it.
According to Garza, Anime Club president, the club has been gathering supplies since fall quarter.  He said the idea for the pet food and supply drive came after the Anime Club realized that no other clubs were hosting a drive to help homeless or abandoned animals.  
"We realized we could do more good by helping these animals and (raising) awareness," Garza said. 

Students can donate pet food and supplies to the decorated boxes around campus. Supplies that can be donated include blankets and training pads.

"We had a lady who brought us six bags of food," Garza said.
Although the Anime Club has been working by themselves on the drive, Garza said the club has posted fliers around campus, and asks for donations during their club events and animated movies they host on campus. 
"We ask for donations rather than charge for admission," Garza said.   

According to Garza, the Anime Club has already gathered a large amount of supplies, including over 50 giant bags of dog and cat food. 
Nelson, who had previously volunteered with SpokAnimal, said club members volunteer in shifts to gather donations from the boxes every Friday.  When they have gathered enough supplies, they deliver the load to the animal shelter. 
"We walk around and see many of the dogs we have already helped," Nelson said. "We also ask the shelter what more supplies they need."   

Candice Watkins, volunteer coordinator for SpokAnimal said that it is great to have the club donate on a regular basis.

"We have 9,000 animals to care for, and having the club donate is a big factor that helps us," Watkins said. 

Anime Club adviser Yasuka Huff, said the club will be doing the supply drive next year.  
In addition to taking donations, Garza said the Anime Club hopes to set up an animal adoption day where students can adopt animals. 
"We still have to find out the process and the regulations on that," Garza said. 

Check out the rest of the updated content on the Communicator website

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nightmare remake can be good if fans keep an open mind

A young man sitting at his table closes his eyes for just a second while the faint sound of music fills the air.  Finding himself alone in the diner, he begins walking towards the kitchen where a figure comes out and attacks him.
The young man wakes up as the dark haired waitress pours him coffee and tells him he'll be kicked out they catch him sleeping.  The young man apologizes, then notices the cuts on his hand where the killer's claws had cut.

This is the first several seconds of the trailer for A Nightmare on Elm Street, which arrives in theaters April 30th. 

A Nightmare on Elm Street directed by Samuel Bayer, is a remake of the 1984 slasher horror film directed by Wes Craven.  Like its namesake, Nightmare is about a group of teenagers who are being stalked by the killer Fred Krueger, who has the power to stalk his victims in their dreams.  Although most remakes have been met with animosity and distaste, if a fan comes into the movie with the right attitude, they might find that they enjoy it.

The original film was notable for many reasons, including creating innovative and creative special effects, despite being on a budget of $1 million. The film would also go on to spawn several sequels, video games, and comic books. The franchise also heightened the careers of many of the cast and crew including Robert Englund (who only had a dozen films under his belt) who had starred as Krueger, Patricia Arquette who played Kristen Parker in the third Nightmare movie, and Johnny Depp who played the boyfriend who would end up getting swallowed by his bed.

Although some of the sequels were not as well received as the others, the Elm Street franchise is a horror franchise that is embraced by many fans and Freddy Krueger is a pop culture icon around the world.

No sooner that when Hollywood was planning to remake A Nightmare on Elm Street, fans were ready to grab their pitchforks and torches, as they do whenever a remake of a franchise is announced.  It wasn't until the beginning of April that people have started to come around.

Although I am a fan of the Nightmare series, I think that a remake is actually a good idea, and inevitable  It gives a new fans to experience something new, and old fans a chance to see Freddy Krueger and his work in a whole new light, so to speak.

Perhaps the biggest complaint I have heard fans make is that Jackie Earle Haley is taking over for Englund, who had played the character in eight of the movies.  I had recently read Englund's autobiography "Hollywood Monster..."and in it Englund talks about how he had grown exhausted of playing Krueger.  An interesting note is that Englund is actually excited for Haley playing the role.  He also spoke about how CGI can help enhance the film's premise of blurring reality and dreams, which had become a stable in the Elm Street franchise.

While Englund supported the idea of the remake using CGI, fans have also complained about the film using computer technology.  I agree that using too much CGI can ruin a film and the organic special effects and make-up used in the Elm Street films was used very well, I think that CGI can make the cuts between an awake sequence and a dream sequence almost seamless.  An example in the remake, is when Nancy (Rooney Mara) is being chased by Krueger in the pharmacy.

Other examples of complaints include, the possibility of Krueger being a sympathetic villian, and the casting of Mara as Nancy.

In addition to the Nightmare remake, there is also a documentary coming out called Never Sleep Again: The Nightmare Legacy, which features interviews of cast and crew members who have worked on all the Nightmare movies, and short-lived Nightmare television series.

I'm sure there will be fans of the remake and there will also be people who want Bayer's head on a silver platter.  Either way, there is always that bit of advice for anyone who is going to watch a Nightmare movie.

Don't fall asleep.


A Nightmare on Elm Street website

Never Sleep Again: The Nightmare Legacy

Never Sleep Again blog

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Alliance club displays human loss

Alliance club displays human loss

Al Stover / Reporting
 Heather Martin / Images

In front of the library, was a display of 606 flags.  600 of these flags are depicted in the image of the Star of David, while other six were of a pink triangle.  
These flags represent the 6.6 million Jewish people, and homosexual men executed during the Holocaust.

In remembrance of the Holocaust National Days of Remembrance, The Alliance put up this flag display in front of the library. 
According to the reader-boards on each side of the display, each individual flag symbolizes 10,000 deaths.

Clover Thompson, a second-year theater major and member of the Alliance Club, said Heather Keast came up with the idea for the display, suggesting the connection with the deaths of the Jewish people and the deaths of homosexual males during the Holocaust. 

"It commemorates a tragedy that should never be forgotten," Thompson said.

The board also displays other statistics, including prisoners of war, homosexual women, Romani, Jehovah Witnesses, people with disabilities.  The total number of deaths during the holocaust are estimated to be between 11-17 million.  The number of Americans killed in the last 10 American wars are only one-sixth this number.

Michaela Alden, a second-year student and biology major was just getting off of the bus when she stopped and looked at the display.  She said she learned new facts from reading the display.

"Everyone knows that Jewish people died, but I didn't know that other people were persecuted," Alden said.  

By the numbers:

People who were killed during the Holocaust

6 million Jewish men, women, and children
60,000 homosexual men 
250,000 homosexual women, ascocial, and disabled persons
3 million Prisoners of War
1.5 million Romani 
5,000 Jehovah's Witnesses

Friday, April 2, 2010

Covering the Showdown

What had started out as one of my favorite assignments for the Communicator back in Fall of 09, originally began as a favor to my photographer friend Jarad.

Jarad is a huge boxing and MMA fan and on his way out the door. He had previously covered MMA events in the past and had wanted to cover Northwest Fighting's Spokane Showdown event for the last issue in Fall Quarter. Being an MMA fan myself, I had always wondered what it would be like to cover a cage fighting event.

What kind of forced me to jump at the chance to cover the assignment was Jarad had mentioned Hilary was going to cover the event.

Now I love Hil to death, and I enjoy her writing, but I know she is not a big fan of sports, nor had she ever written a sport story before (later she would edit the Sidelines page for her last issue as EIC). After approaching Hil and telling her I would cover the Showdown, Jarad and I set up a meeting time and a plan.

The Showdown itself was held at the East Central Community Center and as I stood in the gym, I watched as competitors, family, and friends took spots throughout the gym, preparing themselves for the show, reminding me of wrestling matches that I went to in high school.

Other than some camera issues Jarad was having, and the horrible smell of sweat and pizza that filled the gym, . It was also at this time where I got the news hooks for the story. I say two because the main event was the title fight, and the match before that was going to be a girl fight.

Before the first fight, I did some preliminary interviews with the fighters and learned that many of them were fighting in the cage for the first time. I also managed to interview a mother who watched her son fight for the first time.

The outcome of the fights varied. Some bouts went all three rounds, while others were over in less than a minute. I went with the process of watching the match and recording notes (takedowns, times, submissions, etc), praying to God that Jarad was getting good photos, then running over and getting a quick quote from the winner, similar to Joe Rogan. One lesson I learned is that it's hard for some people to talk, even for a little bit, after they are trying to catch their breath.

After I had interviewed the last champ and taken some photos with the fighters (sometimes photos with the people are necessary), I went home and wrote the story, trying to figure which quotes and grafs I would put in. Talking about the title change and the chick fight were important, and I felt that having the quote from the kid's mom supplied not only an audience reaction, but also gave an interesting aspect of someone watching their child fight.

Like many stories I have written this year, this was on a tight deadline, and for that particular issue, Sidelines seemed pretty good as far as content went (the Men's Cross Country team had just won it's ninth consecutive championship), so I wasn't sure if the story would get printed in the paper. To my surprise, it was well received by my peers, despite a small controversy with the word 'mount' (which still made it in).

Related links:

Rage in the Cage