Conant Crier The student-run news site of Conant High School Thu, 11 Feb 2021 05:27:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Conant Crier 32 32 The Crier Wants to Know: how is Kamala Harris becoming the first female Vice President significant to you? Fri, 12 Feb 2021 19:00:40 +0000 Embed from Getty Images

Kamala Harris made history when she was sworn in as Vice President on January 20, 2021. She became the first woman and the first woman of color to ever become Vice President. We asked Conant’s female students and staff how Kamala Harris becoming Vice President is significant to them. 

Provided by Nandana Voolapalli

Nandana Voolapalli ‘24

“By becoming the first female Vice President, Kamala Harris has set a course for the rest of history. She is living proof for me and millions of other girls and women all over the nation that we too can accomplish whatever we set our minds to. Our race or ethnicity does not stand in the way of achieving our dreams. These are words that have not been possible to say for hundreds of years. Now, I along with many others say it with confidence and passion.”

Anjali Vasishth ‘24 (no photo)

“Making history as being elected the first woman and that too of color, Kamala Harris has broken significant barriers for women in politics. In the past few years, we have started to see some women enter into roles of power on the professional front. But never has a position like the Vice President seemed like a tangible seat that women could hold. As a young woman of color myself, seeing Harris’s inauguration gives me hope for the future of women in politics. Having an equal say in our country’s foundation, the government, is essential for our country’s growth, and it’s a reform that’s been a long time coming. For me, Harris has warranted young girls to dream big and made them understand that political success is not a distant dream, but in fact, an achievable goal.”

Gizel Fahimi ‘23 (no photo)

“Kamala Harris being elected for vice president was so amazing to see because she is the very first woman vice president. This is such a momentous occasion and I know she will accomplish great things.”

Provided by Molly Tobin

Molly Tobin ‘22

“When Kamala Harris became Vice President of the United States, as the first female VP in this nation’s history, for adolescent girls like myself it truly feels like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders. While some men may be able to comprehend situations women face such as abortion, gender equality, and other significant issues, they will never know what it feels like to be in those situations. I feel truly represented and heard for the first time in this nation, and it feels like a new and brighter day in the US.”

Provided by Khushi Thakkar

Khushi Thakkar ‘21

“What made Kamala Harris becoming the first Vice President be something that is so significant to me is having that representation. Not only from the perspective of someone that’s a woman but from someone that knows and understands what it’s like being a person of color in America. Finally, we have someone in office that knows the little things like what it’s like to be made fun of for bringing Indian food to school or having oil in our hair. Whether it’s issues big or small, having someone in office that knows what it’s like and understands our perspectives just gives me confidence that our experiences will be accounted for in making decisions for the better of our society and that potentially, America can extend that possibility for other people of color like me one day.”

Provided by Jasmin Mundi

Jasmin Mundi ‘21

“Madam Vice President Kamala Harris’ veneration for the sacrifices of those who paved her way provides an impeccably refreshing juxtaposition with the arrogant and entitled figures of America’s former presidential administration. I profoundly resonate with the generational resilience not only prevalent in her story but intrinsically intertwined with that of my family as a first-generation born and raised American citizen. The remarkability of Kamala Harris’ political endeavors renewed my hope— a desire to build a system derived from equity is not only a possibility, but an obligation for those committed to our government of the people, for the people, and by the people.”

Samantha Serrano, Social Studies teacher (no photo)

“Regardless of partisan politics, I can appreciate the fact that we have a female in the White House who proudly represents historically under-represented voices within the United States. It will be interesting to see what evolves out of the new administration, as Biden has the most diverse cabinet in Presidential history. We will see how the American voter receives the proposed agendas of Kamala Harris and rest of the presidential cabinet. For some Americans, the message is too progressive, for others, a necessary step in the direction to heal.”

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The Crier’s picks for Black History Month Fri, 12 Feb 2021 16:00:54 +0000 Diya Thomas | Conant Crier

The arrival of February means a couple of things: a drop in temperatures, Valentine’s Day, the Super Bowl. However, most importantly, it means the beginning of Black History Month, the national holiday to honor the neglected but integral role the Black community plays in American history and culture. In honor of Black History Month, the Crier staff shared some of their favorite Black artists and their work. 

What is your favorite book by a Black author and why?

“My favorite book would be Misty Copeland’s autobiography because it really captured her struggles as the first African American Prima Ballerina at a professional level. I really loved learning about her life story.” Jamie Okulanis, ‘23

“‘Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave’ by Frederick Douglass. It’s very compelling and paints a brutally honest historical picture of America that we often like to skim over and ignore.” Johanna Selmeczy, ‘22

“‘Hidden Figures’ by Margot Lee Shetterly is a phenomenal read. It is really well-researched and developed, and tells an extremely important and compelling story.” Ella Saputra, ’23

Who is your favorite Black author and why?

“My favorite black author is Nicola Yoon because she writes books that always have such interesting storylines that make it hard to ever forget. She was the author of two books, ‘Everything Everything’ and ‘The Sun Is Also a Star,’ both of which have been made into movies.” Nandana Voolapalli, ‘24

“Maya Angelou. Her poetry is incredibly emotional in the best way.” Johanna Selmeczy, ‘22

What is your favorite song by a Black artist and why?

“I really like Tyler the Creator’s album ‘Igor’ which has a lot of my favorite songs such as ‘Earfquake’ and ‘I think‘. I really love his voice, and the vibe of his songs are really 80s and 90s esque. His rapping and singing are the best. I’m not a big fan of rap, but he’s definitely someone I’d listen to.” Sallaria Ansong, ‘23

“‘Purple Rain’ by Prince. It’s a classic.” Ella Saputra, ’23

‘Halo’ by Beyoncé. It has good vibes.” Dana Khatib, ‘21

Who is your favorite Black musician and why?

“Florence Price definitely deserves more recognition in the classical music world!” Ella Saputra, ’23

“Kendrick Lamar, he has very meaningful songs that express a lot of strong emotions and very deep commentary on our society.” Jessie Hairrell, ‘22

“Michael Jackson. He’s legendary, and his music and influence are unparalleled.” Johanna Selmeczy, ‘22

Who is your favorite Black athlete and why?

“Kobe Bryant. A super influential athlete and his death impacted many.” Christiana Kirov, ‘24

“Sydney Leroux, USA women’s soccer team. She’s really talented and inspiring.” Maria Ahmad, ‘23

“Ibtihaj Muhammad, her story is very inspirational.” Dana Khatib, ‘21

“Simone Biles is just an unbelievable human. Her athleticism, power, artistry, and character are unmatched.” Ella Saputra, ’23

What is your favorite movie/show by a Black artist and why?

“‘Us’ by David Peele. Such a clever movie and has so much hidden meaning. One of the best made psychological thrillers, in my opinion.” Christiana Kirov, ‘24

“‘Sister, Sister’ by Kim Bass. It’s funny and one of my favorite shows.” Maria Ahmad, ‘23

“‘Grey’s Anatomy!’ Shonda Rhimes is a queen!” Morgan James, ‘21

Who is your favorite Black actor/actress and why?

“Lupita Nyongo. Her performance in ‘Us’ was incredible, and she really is very talented.” Christiana Kirov, ‘24

“Morgan Freeman, AKA God in every good movie. He is the best for obvious reasons.” Jessie Hairrell, ‘22

“My favorite black actress is Madison Bailey. She started on “Outerbanks,” and I absolutely love her. She’s super open about mental health struggles and how to reach out for help.” Morgan James, ‘21

“Kevin Hart because he has an amazing ability to take hold of any character that he plays, and he has an amazing sense of humor on screen.” Jamie Okulanis, ‘23

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New Teacher Spotlight: Jon Babcock Thu, 11 Feb 2021 16:00:51 +0000 This school year, Conant has nine new teachers. Seeing as most students won’t be introduced to them in the typical way, the Crier is providing short features on each. Today, the Crier would like to introduce Jon Babcock from the applied technology department.

Kana Nagoya | Conant Crier

Crier: What is your background as a teacher?

Babcock: I am a second year District 211 employee. Last year I was at Palatine High School. I taught all applied technology classes, Geometry and Construction, Woods, a special applied technology class. I’m also a D211 alum. I graduated from Fremd in 2014. So I went to Fremd, I know all the applied tech teachers there, I ended up teaching at Palatine and made a whole new team of teachers there, and now I’m at Conant. I’m doing a tour of D211. Here at Conant, I’m helping out with the Science Olympiad, as well as any sort of set building teachers need help with.

Crier: Why did you become an applied technology teacher?

Babcock: I really enjoyed my math and science classes, but what I really enjoyed is when my applied tech classes were applying the math and science concepts to them. Fortunately, I was in geometry at the same time as I was in some applied tech classes, so seeing the patterns of geometry and applying them to applied tech was very interesting. Getting to see a hands-on environment, actually being in a lab environment where you display what you know through projects, is how I like to learn. I don’t like to sit and read and take multiple choice tests. I’d rather do a big project and show you what I know.

Crier: What is one thing that you keep in mind when teaching students?

Babcock: I think the most important thing is the flexibility aspect. Whether it’s a link or a website, just making sure it’s readily available in every form possible is very important. If something is not working for one person you have to be malleable to accept and understand them.

Crier: What is something challenging about teaching in this remote learning environment?

Babcock: With applied tech, we are a very lab heavy type classroom, so it makes it difficult to teach in this remote learning environment. Just the encouragement of coming in for academic support or coming into those clubs related to applied tech is more important than ever now because some of the skills, knowledge, and know-how really kind of hit a wall with e-learning. We do a lot of talking, reading, and quizzing during this remote learning environment, but we’d rather have you in here to experience it. We’re really trying to do things as safely as possible to get kids in and just really encouraging kids to utilize these opportunities.

Crier: What at Conant are you excited about or looking forward to?

Babcock: I’m the most excited to see the clubs and activities come back. For a lot of my classes, I’ve been talking about what clubs are happening after school that day, as well as what’s happening after school the following day. I won’t see them for two days so I want to let them know what are some opportunities that they could take advantage of today and tomorrow, because I think socialization is the biggest thing that everyone is struggling with and a lot of motivation has been lost.

Crier: Why should students take applied technology classes?

Applied technology teacher Jon Babcock

Babcock: I think the most gratifying feeling as an applied tech teacher is hearing students say, “Oh, I’ve learned about this before” and showing the kids that are in their common core classes such as English, math, history, science, and saying, “Yeah, you know I have seen this before and now I’m applying it to a project” or “I’m using tools in the applied tech facility to deepen that understanding of whatever that content is.” I think that is what really makes our classes cool. There’s so many opportunities that almost make you feel like you’re not studying anymore because you’re just in a different classroom where you’re applying it just a little bit differently. No one likes to cram for a test the night before, but if you just are casually exposed to all this content, and maybe a sit down classroom environment versus up on your feet lab, you’re not really studying and you’re just kind of absorbing. So that’s why I would say take applied tech. If you’re not loving math, science, we will show you the other side of the coin related to those fields and how they work in the real world.

Crier: If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

Babcock: I knew that I wanted to be a teacher by the end of eighth grade. I just didn’t know what subject. I thought I’d be an art teacher, or a math teacher, or a history teacher. But then I found the applied tech department and knew that that’s what I wanted to do. If I weren’t a teacher I think there’s a lot of great success stories coming out of trades fields where you’re an apprentice and you’re part of one of these unions. Whether it’s electrical, welding, carpentry, construction, any of these trades unions are looking for young talents that are smart. They want to see successful people join our fields, and sometimes they get a bad reputation. I think I definitely find myself enjoying those fields, because I practice them to a minor degree, being a [drama] set builder at Palatine and helping out teachers this year at Conant. I love that style of thinking, such as how do we construct this, how do we build this, how do we solve these small problems that create such a big structure. It’s really cool to see how it comes to life. So if it weren’t for the support that I had, I think I would’ve been looking at the trades field.

Crier: What is something that you’ve regretted through your high school experience? Do you have any advice for students?

Babcock: I would say especially now, just ask your questions. I think that one of the benefits to this remote learning environment can be the private message on Zoom, because it’s not an email that you send right at the end of class to the teacher. Maybe teachers close their email and can’t answer it for a long time. But if I have that in the moment feedback, that private message questions for maybe several students that saw the same question, maybe I didn’t teach something. And that could happen. I think regret wise is not getting involved enough. I think there are tons of cool clubs and activities that you have to just go out and see for yourself and not let your friend decide what you want to do, or what they’re doing, because you might have friends that are super athletes and you’re not an athlete. So, don’t always lean on your friends but be a leader and if something sounds interesting try and reach out to that teacher and learn more. So just staying involved in what piques your interest is always important.

Crier: Do you have any messages for students?

Babcock: A phrase I grew up hearing a lot was always “take care of your tools, and your tools will take care of you.” My grandfather was in the trades fields his whole life. I grew up going to his garage and seeing the whole workbench station. We use tools of all shapes and sizes, and leaning on each other to help each other out is especially important now. Whether you see yourself as a battery or not, you need to keep yourself fully recharged, because you can’t go into a day without being charged. That tool aspect is maybe a little old but, taking care of yourself, getting up in the morning, and keeping everything balanced is so important. I think kids might be struggling to come in because they’re just used to waking up, logging into Zoom, and calling it a day. We’re trying to encourage you to come in and start feeling normal again. We don’t want you sitting at home. We want you here. So “taking care of your tools, and your tools will take care of you” is a motto I live by.

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PALS conducts comfort item drive for Children’s Advocacy Center Wed, 10 Feb 2021 22:01:02 +0000
Ella Saputra | Conant Crier

PALS club conducts a comfort item drive for the Children’s Advocacy Center to help children healing from abuse.

PALS is conducting an item drive through March 19 for the Children’s Advocacy Center, an organization in Hoffman Estates that provides support services and advocacy for families and children that have suffered abuse in North and Northwest Cook County.

PALS is collecting store-bought and DIY items such as stress balls, fidget spinners, playdough, no-sew blankets, coloring supplies, toys, gift cards, and more. These items were specifically requested by the Children’s Advocacy Center. Donations can be dropped off at the main entrance vestibule where a designated box will be located.

The items will benefit rescued children at the Children’s Advocacy Center as they heal from abuse and trauma. “My hope is to simply spread some joy to the children,” said Emilia Rudzinski, ‘22, one of the students in charge of organizing the PALS drive. “It would truly be wonderful to help bring a smile to someone’s face.”

Not only will the items bring some joy and love into their lives, but also provide them comfort. “Toys can be used simply for having fun, but for these kids the fidgeting gadgets can also be used for bigger issues such as anxiety,” said Sadhana Viswanathan, ‘22, the other student in charge of organizing the PALS drive.

All students and community members are encouraged to participate in the drive as a small act of kindness can go a long way.

“It doesn’t take a lot to make a change,” said Viswanathan. “Just think a five dollar donation is equivalent to skipping on your Starbucks date one time. This is more than enough to put a smile on someone’s face.”

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Conant Theatre premieres student-directed winter plays Wed, 10 Feb 2021 21:53:34 +0000 Neela Gilbert and Jessie Hairrell contributed to this article. 

Producing a show during a pandemic wasn’t the only thing unique about this year’s winter play. Unlike most years, Conant Theatre opted out of their one-show production. Instead, they hosted a showcase of four short plays all directed by students. On Feb 5, Conant Theatre got together in Conant’s auditorium to view the final recordings of their student-directed plays for the first time. Here are some of the highlights from the event.


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“drivers license”: record-breaking and boundary-defying Mon, 08 Feb 2021 13:38:02 +0000 For a couple of weeks, “drivers license” became the soundtrack to most teenagers’ lives, whether you recognized it or not. The song released by seventeen-year-old Olivia Rodrigo has enjoyed unprecedented popularity and success, from being all over TikTok to obliterating multiple Spotify and Apple Music streaming records. Not only is the song a musical success, but the internet also exploded over the possibility of a backstory to the song, one that has neither been confirmed nor denied. Watch the video to see our reaction to the song, as well as our discussion and opinions behind the artistic and narrative aspects of its release.


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Dear future college Thu, 04 Feb 2021 13:59:13 +0000 Dear Future College,

Johanna Selmeczy | Conant Crier

Hello! You don’t know me yet, nor I you, but I am nonetheless eager to attend your institution. I’m sure that when I get wind of my acceptance, my reaction will be subdued. I’ll be sure to handle it with dignity and nonchalance as I make a seamless transition into young adulthood, my youth now seen through a rose-tinted lens as I cast a ready eye to the horizon.

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, allow me to reclaim the moniker of a high school student who was just accepted into college.

In reality, I’ll probably scream at the top of my lungs until my voice fails me, fling my arms around my parents until my shoulders are sore, and dance to music only I can hear until my legs give out. I’ll call my friends, my hoarse voice cracking as I try to convey my excitement over the phone, and probably drive to Oberweis to forget about health for a while. I’ll relish in the gargantuan weight that was just lifted from my shoulders that had been there for so long I forgot I was carrying it. I’ll be a kid again, if only for a little while.

Not that you need to know about that. After all, you don’t know me.

Sure, you know what I sent you. But you don’t know me. Not really. All you can see is what I provide to you: my test scores, GPA, extracurriculars, essays, letters of recommendation, class rank, awards, family alumni. The best parts of myself, amplified and carefully chosen to look as closely as possible to the model student, while simultaneously highlighting what makes me “unique.” 

The whole admissions process is so enigmatic that I sometimes wonder whether you even know what you’re looking for. For example, the discrepancies between who is admitted with “legacy” status and who isn’t are extremely significant. One study shows that this practice of favoritism has allowed for socioeconomic discrimination against applicants, allowing wealthy students an advantage over their poorer counterparts. I would ask you, then, which do you care more about: merit or money?

Speaking of funds, as I’m sure you’re well aware, somehow you’ve gotten away with charging students for applying to your school. The national average cost of an application is $44, and some institutions charge over $100. Just to apply. Even if I get rejected, that fee is lost to the abyssal maw of the school’s bank account.

And that’s not even to mention the cost of tuition. Although I certainly appreciate the recent “discounts” that you’ve provided due to the global pandemic, the fact of the matter is that the cost to go to college has been steadily increasing since 1980. In the 1980’s, the average cost of tuition to attend a private university was $9,882 per semester. Nowadays, students are lucky if their dorm fees cost that little, with the average national cost of room and board at $11,500 for public schools and $12,990 for private universities

Americans currently owe $1.71 trillion in U.S. student loan debt, and there are 44.7 million Americans strapped with this economic burden. That’s $739 billion more than the national credit card debt.

I’m sixteen years old, and I have to weigh whether going to my dream school is more important than my parents’ retirement. 

I’m sixteen years old, and I have to undergo a process that strips me of my individuality and degrades me to test scores and racial quotas.

I’m sixteen years old, and I have to decide what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Well, we all have to grow up sometime, right?

Look, there isn’t a “fix all” solution to this. And, to be fair, you’ve made some solid strides in the right direction. The practice of the holistic review as a way to better assess the circumstances of the whole applicant, although still veiled in mystery, is a good first step. Also, the availability of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a lifesaver for many in order to escape the ruinous mountains of student debt.

However, you have a long way to go before we’ll be able to reach a mutually beneficial equilibrium. Full transparency throughout this whole process would be the next big step. But first, you need to sort out your priorities. You’re under more scrutiny now than ever, what with the college admissions scandal and affirmative action court cases starting to air your dirty laundry.

So, whoever you are, I hope I don’t regret my decision to accept you. Thank you for your consideration, I’m looking forward to our future correspondence.


Johanna Selmeczy

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Conant siblings start fitness account to stay active during the pandemic Thu, 04 Feb 2021 13:56:18 +0000 When not in school, siblings Farah Cisse, ‘22, and Yusuf Cisse, ‘24, are at the gym, documenting their fitness journey through a fitness account on Instagram. They started their account on Sept 6, 2020 and have reached over 600 followers since then.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all student athletes in one way or another, and Farah and Yusuf are no exception. Since they weren’t able to play their regularly scheduled sports, they turned to social media for motivation to continue their fitness journey.

“When we were in lockdown it was truly disappointing to not be able to go to the gym everyday,” Farah said. “But this motivated me to try new ways to stay active like running, yoga, at home workouts, etc. I even learned how to do some calisthenic type skills.”

Although the Cisse siblings were able to acquire new hobbies during quarantine, their athletic experience usually keeps them busy all the same. Farah plays volleyball for Conant and at Pipeline Volleyball Club. Yusuf plays basketball for Conant and Big 3 AAU. They both run track for school and train at TNT-Ignite, a track and field training academy. These seasons have been delayed or cancelled multiple times due to ever changing state regulations. However, with the recent shift back to Tier 1, their seasons have resumed.

They both explain having more time for exercise has been one positive that has come out of the pandemic, as well as starting their account. “With school being shortened and remote, I have more time to fit in exercise during the day, either before or after school.” said Yusuf.

They started their account to inspire others and share their fitness journey. While Farah mainly runs the account now, Yusuf takes the pictures and videos posted to the account. The siblings post content almost every day varying from photos, videos, or Instagram stories of their workouts, meals, and tips.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Farah Cisse || 𝐅𝐈𝐓𝐍𝐄𝐒𝐒 (@cisse_fitness)

Farah posts Instagram stories talking about how her workout went that day and throws in motivation for their followers along the way by sharing her struggles during that day and how she felt after pushing through.

Taking this journey together has been a bonding experience for both Farah and Yusuf. Yusuf said, “We’re able to share helpful content to people while also learning from ourselves.”

“My favorite part about having this fitness account together is that I can look back at our first posts and compare them to recent posts to really see how much we’ve improved,” Farah said. “Seeing that progress really motivates me to see how strong I can really get.”

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IHSA allows select sports to continue with season Thu, 04 Feb 2021 13:42:41 +0000
Christiana Kirov | Conant Crier

On Jan 27, the IHSA released their decision on the possibility of conducting sports seasons.

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors had a special board meeting on Jan 27 to make a decision on how winter sports will play out. They emphasized the amount of thought they put into the decision and the difficulty of making a perfect choice for everyone. They also took into consideration the fact that traditional spring sports missed a season in the previous school year (2019-2020).

When and which seasons will start?
In the end, they agreed on starting practice for boys/girls basketball, boys swimming & diving, dance, cheerleading, boys/girls bowling, girls gymnastics, and badminton as soon as possible, with an end date set for March 13. Although dance and cheerleading will not have an in-person state series, virtual Sectional and State Final meets will be conducted, where teams will need to record their performances and submit them to be judged.

Badminton practice will also start as soon as possible for the winter season, but it will end later than usual, on April 3.

Boys soccer practice will begin March 1 and end April 17. Football practice will begin March 3 and end April 24. Girls volleyball practice will begin March 8 and end April 24. Wrestling practice will begin April 19 and end June 12. These four sports will also not have a state series.

Boys gymnastics practice will begin March 15 and end May 29. Baseball, boys/girls lacrosse, girls soccer, softball, boys tennis, boys/girls track & field, and boys volleyball will begin April 5 and end June 19. For these sports, and badminton, there have not yet been a decision on whether they will have a state series.

Students who play sports that are not playing during their traditional season can play on high school and non-school teams at the same time.

What are requirements to participate?
All sports, except football, will be required to hold practice on seven different days prior to holding a contest. Football will require individuals to practice on 12 different days before holding a contest. The first game for football will be March 19. Student athletes who play basketball or boys swimming & diving, then play football will need to participate in practice on 10 different days before their first contest.

Winter sports can begin contests as soon as the school’s region is at the appropriate mitigation status and they have met the required number of practices.

To keep students safe, it is required that all student-athletes participate in mask-wearing, with the exception of swimming & diving, gymnasts on an apparatus, and outdoor events where social distancing can occur.

All game personnel not participating in a contest also need to wear a mask.

What about sports that are currently not in-season?
Sports that are out of season can conduct contact days through June 4. They are limited to three days per week with a maximum of six hours per week.

Despite being tasked with the difficult challenge of running sports with COVID-19, IHSA has said it is optimistic and proud of giving student athletes an opportunity to do what they enjoy doing. Yet the bigger challenge comes after, maintaining the safety of everyone for another sports season, which will require the effort of not only IHSA, but students, coaches, and families.

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The Winter Showcase: a student-directed Conant Theatre production Wed, 03 Feb 2021 14:25:35 +0000
Provided by Conant Theatre

What does a family performing Hamlet in a tornado, a trio of friendly ghosts haunting a theater, a little boy who loves killing bugs, and a pair of cats taking over the United States government have in common? They are all plays being performed by Conant Theatre at this year’s Winter Showcase! In a fully digital rendition of four short plays, each directed by a student, all are welcome to have a couple of laughs and watch the production on
February 5th and 6th

The plays have been completely filmed and edited before their premiere, with the cast utilizing green screens in order to convey the illusion of performing together. The editing crew has spent the past two weeks refining the multiple takes and perfecting the shows in order to present a polished final product to viewers.

Benjamin Jones, Winter Play Director and English and ESL teacher, explained the significance of the plays being performed in spite of the difficulties that came with COVID-19 restrictions. “Theatre is as much a state of mind as it is a place. The stage for theatre is important, but it’s really the performances and growth and experience of sharing the art and putting together a play that’s the reality of theatre. We can do that wherever we need to.”

Adya Verma, student director of “Shine a Light,” discussed some of the challenges she had to face in her leadership position. “One of the hardest things about a virtual show, which never occurred to me, was getting the cast and crew to bond. It was really hard to feel the same connection and camaraderie you do with a normal show.” However, that quickly changed as filming concluded. “I could really feel their connection and bond,” Verma said. “Their improvement and ability to adapt was on full display, and they did amazing.”

Although students couldn’t see each other in person, they were able to support one another and build a community over Zoom. The synergy of each cast is palpable in every show.

“Them/Us” is special because this show was made to be done during the pandemic,” Charlie Holcomb, student director of “Them/Us,” said. “It’s weirdly existential, and looks deep into the question of ‘what do we do when we no longer have a purpose?’”

Indeed, all of the plays in the winter showcase were made to be performed while in quarantine. They were planned to have flexible elements so they could be done using theatre of the mind, digitally, or some sort of hybrid option. This made the difficult process of transforming live theatre to fit the screen just slightly easier. 

“As someone on the film crew,” Reyna Parayno, student director of “Grandma Buddy,” said, “I can definitely say that filming and editing have been a challenge to figure out and execute during this production. It’s a lot different from editing the musical because everything was done online.”

The abrupt transition from the hybrid filming of this year’s musical, “Freaky Friday,” to the winter showcase was jarring for many individuals. Editors like Parayno had to work through individual filming errors, audio difficulties, and a heavy time crunch while stuck at home. 

Alec Bohman, student director of “Space Cats,” perfectly encapsulated why everyone should get tickets to see the virtual premiere. “I mean, look in your couch. You probably have eight quarters somewhere. Tickets are two bucks, what else are you gonna do? This is an option that supports your fellow students, and it’s a fun time!”

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