West Jessamine High School Presents Sweeney Todd

West Jessamine’s drama department presented Sweeney Todd from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2. Here are some pictures from their first dress rehearsal.
Photos by Mia Zanzucchi


For your consideration…

Catherine Graham

Choosing a college is arguably one of the most important decisions any of us make – it really does determine how the rest of your life will turn out. Therefore, we should probably be taking it pretty seriously. Sorry for all of you out there who wanted to pick your school based on its winning sports teams or super cute colors! Now, you may be wondering what a real reason to commit to a college is. It definitely varies by person, but some reasons are pretty universal, so here are a few, in no particular order, for your careful consideration:

A school’s reputation – You want to go somewhere that you can get a respectable degree. Look for a college that specializes in something you’re interested in career-wise. For example, if you want to be a doctor or a nurse, and then consider a bigger university like a state school versus a small, liberal arts college since a bigger school is more likely to have a large, up-to-date hospital and lab facilities on campus.  Or maybe even consider a more prestigious school, like an Ivy League, for grad school. A Harvard PhD sounds pretty impressive, and the connections you make at these fancy universities can send you straight from the classroom to Wall Street.

Affordability – Sorry to get practical here, but cost should be one of the first things you consider in picking a school. Look for places where you can get big scholarships without taking loans out. So if you play a sport but maybe aren’t Division-1, consider a Division-2 or 3 school where they’ll pay your way through four years to play for them. A walk-on basketball player at a major university like UK could be a full-ride, star player at a smaller school like Georgetown College. Maybe even consider a work-study school like Berea so you can help pay your own way through school and not be stuck with student debts for the next decade.

Location – College “shopping” is kind of like real estate in the fact that location can really be key. You need to think long and hard about whether or not you really want a seven-hour plane ride when you want to come home. Location is the difference between seeing your family and friends every other weekend or once a year at Christmas. Also, in-state schools will have cheaper rated than public out-of-state schools, so that may factor in to your choice as well. Remember, if you plan to go on past a 4-year degree anyways, an in-state undergrad degree can save you a lot of money to put toward grad school. Plus, you can get that “far away” experience through study-abroad for a less committed, more exotic approach to picking your college location. If you love being that far away, maybe transfer out of state (or even out of the country) then or choose a foreign grad program.

Colt Onionation Report: A contemporary guide to selecting the perfect college

Mia Zanzucchi

Satire (n): The art of sarcasm typically directed from events that take place in the world; much like a caricature of the human race. Usually it is done through comedy. Example: This article.

Urban Dictionary defines college as “an expensive daycare.”

But for many high school seniors, juniors and even sophomores and freshmen, college will become their life. They’ll live in campus, make friends, suffer through required courses, thoroughly enjoy courses in their respective majors and one day join a network of successful alumni.

With that being said, choosing the right college for you can be overwhelming, stressful and irritating. Here are the four most important aspects of college life, shaped after endlessly researching and talking with some of the top universities in the country including Princeton, Yale, Columbia and Dartmouth, to remember when searching for the best college.

Name: I mean you could go to boring old University of Kentucky. Or you could go somewhere magical like Swarthmore or Bastyr or Villanova.
“What school do you go to?”
“I go to Walla Walla University.”
“I’m overwhelmed by your collegiate swagger. Let me offer you a job, buy you Mercedes and cook you a gourmet diner.”

Mascot: This is probably the most important criterion for your college search. If you really want to stand out and/or show your inner hipster, you’ll pick a college with a really weird mascot.
Delta State University fighting okras? Winner.
The UK wildcats? Boring.
The UC Santa Cruz banana slugs? Yes.
Georgetown College Tigers? Lame.
The Stanford University trees? Sign me up.
Asbury University Eagles? Overused.
Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops? I’ll be there.

A good, respectable mascot like the Stanford tree makes college way better; Photo: http://cdn03.cdn.gofugyourself.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/stanfordtree.jpg

A good, respectable mascot like the Stanford tree makes college way better; Photo: http://cdn03.cdn.gofugyourself.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/stanfordtree.jpg

School Colors: It’s crucial that your college’s colors be your favorite colors. My favorite color is purple. That’s why I’m not applying to UK. It would be financially inefficient to purchase everything I own in purple (which is everything) again in blue.

Sports Teams: I cannot stress how important it is that your future college has killer football and basketball teams. High ranked baseball, soccer and hockey if you go up north are also a plus. It’s really hard to have school pride if you go to Harvard and don’t have a good football team. You’d actually be a disappointment to your family.

College Corner: October

Catherine Graham 

Just a little more college-centered advice for you guys as we head into the fall semester (since I know you just don’t get enough at school anyways…)

Freshmen and sophomores – Start taking standardized tests early. All of the math you need for the ACT is through Algebra II, and many of you are already there. The more practice you get, the better you will do on standardized tests. If you start now, you can chill out by junior or senior year while the rest of your friends are freaking out about their scores for the first time.

Juniors – Pick up a Governor’s Scholars Program and/or Governor’s School for the Arts application from the guidance office. These are both time-consuming and in-depth, so even though they aren’t due until January (for GSP) ad February (for GSA), you need to start now.

Seniors – The perfect way to learn more about a college with no commitment is… a college fair! So head to local events hosted by almost any university you could possibly want to attend. Fairs and meet-and-greets are all over Lexington and Louisville; everywhere from UK and WKU to Yale and Harvard have representatives in town at some point and they host informational sessions that let you get to know their schools without ever having to visit. This can be really helpful for out-of-state universities. Some of these events are pretty fun too, with t-shirts and the occasional free dinner. If there’s a school you’re really interested in, go to their website and see when they’ll be in our area.

Dancing fools

Hallie Pinkston

Dance team at the Homecoming game on Sept. 27.

Dance team at the Homecoming game on Sept. 27.

Dance teams across the nation have been a part of school spirit for as long as I can remember. Being on the dance team has given me a greater understanding of what school spirit is all about. With practice twice a week and football games every Friday night, I guess you can say my whole life revolves around this wonderful team.  The 2013-2014 West Jessamine High school dance team includes Jillian Jones, Madison Gentry, Madison Preston, Alexis Davis, Haley Miller, Abby Foster, Courtni Humphries, our coach Morgan Miller and me.

It takes many things to be a part of the West Jessamine dance team: hard work, dedication and of course, all things dance. On this team, you must give your all not only during the routines but in conditioning as well. Besides dancing, we laugh and act silly but always make sure to give it our all.

We are much more than a team. We are a family. Even though we laugh and make fun of each other, coach included, we love each other a lot. When it comes to learning choreography, our couch is the most important member of our team. She does everything from teaching us dances to watching us perform or even just hanging out. She’s much more than a coach – she is a role model and a friend.

Being a small team makes us vulnerable in competition, but we know that our hard work will pay off. We have a “kick butt” routine with amazing music and choreography. We are ready for anything that the judges throw at us. We will be at every football and basketball home game, so come out and support the West Jessamine High school dance team.

Dance Blue comes to West

Gentry Fitch


That was the amount of money raised last year by the University of Kentucky’s Dance Blue event. Dance Blue is a 24-hour dance marathon run completely by students to raise money for the Kentucky Children’s Hospital and the Golden Matrix Fund. Both of these go to benefit pediatric cancer research and the countless families affected by childhood cancer throughout Kentucky.  Jarrett Mynear, a former Jessamine County student, founded the Golden Matrix Fund.

Since 2005, Dance Blue has raised over 5.1 million dollars and is continuing to grow throughout the Commonwealth by smaller events run by high schools called mini-marathons. All fundraising goes directly to UK’s Dance Blue fund to add to their total donation at the end of the year. For the past few years, schools like Lexington Catholic and Woodford County have held their own mini-marathons, pushing total donations past $75,000.

On March 8, 2014, West Jessamine will have a mini-marathon. The event will be a non-stop, 7-hour dance marathon, raising money for Mynear’s Golden Matrix Fund. Students will dance to a new music theme every hour and also learn Dance Blue’s own dance. Along with food and drinks, the event will have t-shirts made and handed out the day of the marathon.

Dancer fees are $40 (the dancer is welcome to give beyond the $40 as well), with a portion going to the t-shirt and the rest going straight to the fund. Donations can be brought in any amount, at any time, as long as it is by February 21, 2014. $40 definitely isn’t a small donation, but West’s Dance Blue committee will be doing school-wide fundraisers (bake sales, penny wars, ribbon sales, restaurant nights, etc.) to help offset dancer costs. There is a limited amount of spots, however, so the event will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The entire mini-marathon will be built around dance teams. Individual dancers will sign up for a team and give their donations to become a member under the name of the respective team. There will be teams for school organizations like NHS, Beta, tennis and drama where dancers will not only be able to dance with, but also compete against each other leading up to the marathon. There will be three pre-marathon competitions for each team: most money raised, most dancers in one team and most participation in pre-marathon fundraising (more information coming soon). The winner of each competition will be awarded with a trophy right before the “big check” is revealed at the end of the event. For students who don’t have a specific team they’d like to join, the Dance Blue Committee will be having their own team in which they will compete just like any other team would.

The whole idea behind this event is to help the Kentucky Children’s Hospital and Jarrett’s Golden Matrix Fund. The organization is centered on the idea that students can make a massive impact on children suffering through such an awful disease, and that is what Dance Blue is, an impact. It’s all For The Kids. FTK!

Look forward to an assembly regarding the event soon.


For more information: follow @WJDanceBlue on twitter, visit our website @ wjdanceblue.wordpress.com, email WestJessDanceBlue@gmail.com, or visit the official Dance Blue website (danceblue.org)

Out of this world: Gravity movie review

Hailley Stantz

The movie “Gravity” is the work of Oscar nominee Alfonso Cuarón and stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. The movie itself is an intense, mysterious, science fiction thriller and definitely a movie that has you up on the edge of your seat the whole time. If you like action and science fiction, this is a movie to see because it takes place in mysterious space. This gripping film has more action than any other film I’ve seen in a while and, at the same time, has tear-jerking moments that stuck through the whole movie. Cuarón went from directing low-rated “Great Expectations” to possible award winning science fiction thrill film about an emergency space fix on the space shuttle that goes terribly wrong. Cuarón captures every intense moment carefully, yet dramatically well.

“Gravity’s” main characters were Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (Clooney), and it described their adventure of being stranded in space and using every bit of their energy to get back home to mother Earth. Bullock and Clooney are Oscar winning actors who have played in many other dramatic and heart-felt movies. Clooney has been in high-rated movies such as “Radioman,” “Batman and Robin” (1997), “Three Kings” and his highest rated film “Fail Safe.” Sandra Bullock is famous for the true story film “The Blind Side” and also “The Proposal.” These two work well together in “Gravity” and seems to take the aspects of their characters into thought. The characters portrayed by these two actors are anything but typical, they are in space for once, and they are complete opposites of each other trying to work together to survive.

In my opinion, “Gravity” is compelled by action, drama, mystery and fear of the unknown. Never knowing what was going to happen next, I felt like I was in the movie with Dr. Ryan, feeling the terror that she was seeing and trying to fight against. It was an inner-self conflict that at one time almost won her over but was overcome by her confidence and bravery to get home, taking any risks it took to get there. It seems like a short film, but watching it will have you on the edge of your chair, wanting something good to come from the tragedy of being stranded in a place with no oxygen then giving every last ounce of energy to return home.

This gripping film got 98 out of 100 stars on the online review site: Rotten Tomatoes and I feel it would be safe to give it a 4 ½ to 5 out of five stars.


Being “the very best” and “catching ‘em all”

Young Koh

If you are reading this paper, it is most likely that you are a student at this school. In our millennial generation, it is also very likely that you have heard of, or once were, or still are a fanatic of the Pokémon cartoon series. Pokémon has aired around 700 episodes to date (and counting) in 14 seasons.

We grew up with Pokémon. We know the song: “I wanna be the very best, like no one else was…” As we hail these as elements of our precious childhood, are we submitting to the thought that we have to “be the very best like no one ever was?” We consistently complain about how stressful school is, but did we bit impose the very same stress to “be the very best” when we were merely children? Also, if we are as stressed as we say we are, why does no one fight this status quo that is so oppressing us? It should not be a surprise that with this early introduction and saturation to a world where one has to “be the very best,” everyone wants to “be the very best.”

However, this is not to say that competition is bad. In moderation, competition motivates people to do more and to be more than what is “ok.” Without competition, people would be satisfied to be doing what is comfortable and lack motivation to pursue greater goals. However, if we consistently push for all to “be the very best,” there is potential to put society in an utterly dog-eat-dog situation. Also, consistent and unfaltering pushes for dominance cause a lot of stress! We have quite enough of that, thank you very much.

The best remembered line in the entire song is, “Gotta catch ‘em all!” No, it is never enough to have six, ten or even a hundred Pokémon Ash can never quit on his quest because e never seems to have them ALL. This endless (and seemingly aimless) search for more can often be seen in our lives. It is also seen in a recent advertisement where a little girl declares, “If you really like something, you’ll want more of it. We want more, we want more, like, you really like it, ya want more.”

Although, if we stop to think, what more do we want? Does Ash really need to be ten forever in order to fill his backpack of 99 Pokéballs with Pokémon? When can we look beyond “more” and move on to being content? These are not rhetorical questions, but neither do they have easy answers.

We pursue more and we struggle to be the best, and in this struggle, we often forget why we started the chase. What is the evil in slowing down and re-evaluating the purpose of our own actions? It might not be such a bad idea, would it? Perhaps we should, but to each their own.

Read this Later

Judianne Speach

I almost put off writing this article until next month. However, I was convinced it’d be worth it to take twenty minutes and get it done now instead of taking the easy way out and writing about FCCLA.

It’s an awesome club, by the way. You should join.

But let’s not get off track. Procrastination. It’s safe to say that most high school students are affected by such a terrible curse. It affects me every day. For example, I should probably be studying economics right now.

Because of sophomore Zach Reiff’s struggle with procrastination, his failing grades might get him kicked out of Sweeney Todd. Caleb Bol says that he “puts the pro in procrastination” – corny, but accurate. I asked my classmate Clayton Collins if he had any struggles with procrastination, and he said he’d let me know next block. He never did.

“Procrastination is a disease,” sophomore Jackson Lee says. “I never wrote my essay for world history. The football game came on, and I had to watch it. So Microsoft Word was left blank.”

It’s true though. Procrastination is a disease. It kills slowly, gradually destroying the lives of everyone, especially teenagers. It causes failing grades. It leads to stress that can only be cured by sleep or food—which only creates more procrastination. It prohibits you from working to the best of your ability and then crushes dreams, leaving you feeling worthless.

So how do we stay away from this life-destroying, stressful, dream-crushing virus?

1) Put your phone away. Let’s face it: Instagram and Twitter are addicting, but they’re also time-consuming. Get your work done, then reward yourself with the hours you can spend scrolling through selfies and reading about who just went to Keeneland and how much money they lost.

2) Get sleep. I’m a teenager too, and I like to stay up half the night, believe it or not. But the more sleep you get, the more motivation you’ll have to get work done instead of laying there, too lazy to move.

3) Don’t put off assignments until the last minute. We all stay up late Sunday nights studying for Monday tests, or don’t stay up at all and choose to wing it and retake it later. But by getting your work done ahead of time, you’ll have more time to relax, and you’ll enjoy it.

4) Stop reading this article. I know these tips on how to avoid procrastination are cheesy and annoying. So yes, I’m telling you to stop reading about procrastination and go do something productive.