From Broadway to Rockwell: Meet Mr. Dave Walker

by Sandro Gvaramia

A good teacher puts their heart into teaching, by doing so, the students feel their passion and hard work. When a teacher works hard for the students, students will put in their effort as well.

Dave Walker, a drama teacher at Rockwell, exemplifies these qualities of a great teacher. He has been involved in acting for 25 years. He has toured with Broadway many times, and has an immense experience in and knowledge of acting. He recently got married, settled in Utah and is currently starring as Joseph Pulitzer in a production of Newsies at the Hale Center Theater in Orem.

“I wanted to teach at Rockwell because I love seeing young students’ devotion and passion for acting at a young age,” Walker said. “This made me want to share what I have gained from all of my experiences as an actor.”

He has enjoyed teaching students at Rockwell and believes that every one of them has a bright future in acting. Student actors at Rockwell really are great at what they do, but some students who have talent for acting are either shy or afraid to take a step for many reasons.

“There are a lot of students in drama and all of them outside of acting are different at what they do in their spare time,” Walker said. “Some love music and some play sports, but that does not hold them back from doing what they are passionate about.”

Students love Walker and say that he has an ability to spark a passion for acting in them.

“Dave is one of the most splendid human beings I have ever met,” said Rockwell senior Jake Meese. “He’s blunt, he’s understanding, genuine, and kind. I have learned so much from him. I will be forever changed by my interactions with him.”

Walker has worked with many respected actors and producers. He has played dozens of roles and has come to teach at Rockwell to give young student actors his insight. He encourages all students who are interested in acting to pursue it as early as possible.

“If you ever thought about wanting to be a part of the drama program, you are always welcome and encouraged to do so,” Walker said. “There is no time like the present.”

A Look into the Life of a Foreign Exchange Student

By Sandro Gvaramia

Studying a year abroad is both an amazing and a challenging experience. You get to meet people, make friends, and get a second family (if you’re lucky enough) outside of your home country.

Imagine leaving your normal life behind – your family and everyone and everything you’re used to ever since you were a baby – and starting a new life without people you have been with all your life. Although it might seem really hard at first, it actually gets easier as you start to adjust and open up. Plus, it helps when you’re aware that this is just for a year or so.

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Rockwell’s foreign exchange students pose for a photo. Credit: Ashlee Milton

There are many ways to spend an academic year abroad. You can pay for it on your own or you can win a scholarship which completely pays for the year abroad. Either way, you become an exchange student, but if you’re not mentally and psychologically prepared for it then you should maybe give it a second thought. There are cases when exchange students cannot finish what they started for many reasons, but usually it’s because of being homesick.

“I miss my family, but my boyfriend and friends help keep my mind off of it.” says Rockwell senior, Sarah Olsen, from Denmark.

Speaking of homesickness, I think this is the hardest part. Now you will not be homesick the day you arrive in a foreign country because you are all excited, but after several weeks or maybe months you’ll start to feel homesick, and not just about your family, but about everything and the way things used to be. This is totally normal, and there are countless ways to cope with it.

Another thing that may come as an obstacle is the foreign language. For some students it can be really difficult, especially since knowing just your native language can make it hard enough not to say anything about speaking the second language fluently. Nobody expects of you to know the second language fluently, so there’s nothing to worry about. You might just need a basic knowledge of ways to interact with people that do not speak your first language. If you are really determined to have a successful exchange year, you can always find a way to master the language.

Besides being homesick, a cultural shock can be really hard to bear especially if you have not been fully prepared for what’s to come.

For exchange students that spend their years in the United States it can be a lot easier because every foreign exchange student goes through trainings where students are informed about what living in the United States is like. The people who inform you this stuff are Americans, so students are getting first-hand information about what their exchange experience will be like.

Regardless of preparation, there are still students who have a really hard time adjusting, which is totally normal. It can be stressful feeling constantly culture-shocked, but this is where the host family can be of help.

Host families are a huge part of an exchange year. If you win a scholarship, you are funded by the US Government, and then wait to be notified about your host family. No exchange student gets to choose which state they will be placed in or which family they’ll be living with.

“My host family is great at taking me places.” says Reia Martaba, a Rockwell junior from Japan.

Some exchange students get really lucky with their host family. They form strong relationships with their host family as they become like second families outside of their home country who they really bond with.

I have learned a lot in my experience as an exchange student from the country Georgia. I think the biggest thing I have learned so far is how to be more of an adult and become more independent. Each exchange student will get something different out of their experience abroad – it all depends on the student and how they react to things that may happen during their year. Experiences will vary with ups-and-downs, but it all comes down to how the student is willing to shape their exchange year based on their involvement, their attitude, and their relationship with their host family.

Premy Tangpong, a junior from Thailand says, “I think joining the sports team and school in general is one of the highlights of my exchange year.”

Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day with Crazy Socks

by Chae Ewell

57465075592__4538064A-1197-4508-AFBA-854C50ECD312Each year, March 21st marks World Down Syndrome Day. Down Syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that occurs when there’s an error in the process of cell division, resulting in an extra chromosome. The most common form of Down Syndrome is trisomy 21, a third 21st chromosome. This is why we celebrate on March 21st (3/21).

“My sister has trisomy 21,” said Rockwell freshman Doug Ewell. “I think it’s really cool. She is one of the most optimistic and happy people I know.”

As the chromosomes look like socks, we invite you to wear crazy socks on World Down Syndrome Day, March 21. Wear mismatched, crazy colors, knee highs, tie dye, or crazy patterns of any kind. Doing so will help spread awareness and honor those who live with Down Syndrome every day.

(Image via TheStranger.com)

 

The Blue & Gold Unwind: Dealing with Stress and Anxiety

by Katie Hull

Everybody deals with stress. I do too. I have an incredibly stressful life that sometimes overwhelm me. I have a job, go to school, deal with the stresses of having a social life and extra-curricular activities. It is normal to be stressed, it is okay to be stressed. It is okay to have a screaming all day breakdown. Don’t stay there. There are ways where you can find help; you can find outlets for this stress and you can find people who will help you and listen to you.

I had a lot of responses from my “How do you deal with stress and anxiety?” poll on Instagram this week. Thank you to all of those that did. One of the main responses I got was journaling and writing. Many people said that they feel better after they write down all of the stress they are feeling and why they think they feel this way. Another person said something similar, they make to do list so whatever they are stressed about they can figure out how to handle it one at a time. A few responses said that they cry or hold it all inside. Crying is a perfectly healthy way to let out your emotions and I fully support you. Holding it all inside is not a healthy way to deal with stress. I understand that you don’t want to hurt anyone but the people who love you the most will want to help you get through these things. You need to let it out.

Music. Music is a great way to block out the world and other people for a little while. It can also help some people to accomplish their work faster and better. Find a playlist that helps you release all these built-up emotions.

Another way is set aside some time for yourself. Spend at least ten minutes every day doing something you love. Reading, playing video games, singing, watching a movie, or talking with your friends, do something that makes you happy. Basically try to spend time doing something that gets you away from all of these stressful situations. The end of the term is almost over and fourth term can be a fresh start. You can do it. Summer is gonna be here before you know it.

Tell Your Story with the GSA

by Katie Hull

The Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) is having a special meeting Thursday, March 7. It is at 3:00 pm in room 22.

This meeting is to share the stories of all those who have come out and have dealt with all of the effects afterwards. This is to make more people aware of the GSA as well as welcome anyone and everyone who would like to join. This meeting is to tell your story and hear theirs. You will be heard and welcomed in without a second thought. This meeting is to gain a new perspective on something that most people haven’t heard. Whether you are gay or straight this meeting is all about support and hearing one another.

“We hope this will be a good opportunity for anyone who attends to put themselves in the place of others,” said the GSA advisor, Mr. Hampton. “Whether you want to share your story or simply listen, we’d love to have you.”

The clubs’ students decided to do this because wanted to share their stories and have them heard. If you do not want to have your name on your story but still want it shared, Mr. Hampton has invited you to share your story anonymously. Send your story to his email, jhampton@rockwellhigh.net, and he will share your story without attaching your name to it. For and added bonus, snacks will be provided at the end! Hope to see you there!

Books Everyone Should Read

by Sandro Gvaramia

Image via Marshall Sellers

Good books can change you drastically and help you become a better person. They change how you look at and understand things and make you think differently. Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information. When people read books, they tend to interpret and visualize everything in their heads. Books affect your emotions and some people feel as if they have lost a friend when there’s no more pages to read. No matter where you come from, what language you speak, or what religion you do or do not practice, good books can affect you and those effects can last forever.

Here are books that I believe everyone should read at least once in their lifetime. Not because they have fantastic plots or unique literary devices, but are universal and timeless in the feelings they evoke within us.

1. ‘The Catcher in the Rye’
If taken too literally, it can seem like a slightly stupid book. It is an American classic and speaks for a generation. A generation that did not want to grow up. As the world is growing up around us, we are slowly exposed to the reality of relationships, hardships, adulthood, and a realization that our mothers and fathers will not be around forever. Everything that made our childhoods magical will come to an end at some point in our lives. Along with that comes the later realization that this is not a bad thing because every good thing has an ending.

The main character is a teenager named Holden who thinks that his life could not get any worse. Growing up he struggled in school even though he was a bright kid. He is a deeply polarizing character; you either think he is a rebel or a whiner. A lot of us are like Holden, at times we feel alienated. We tend to be stuck in our own idea of things and anyone who thinks differently or is more shallow than us, is a phony. At the same time, there are people we would do anything for and whose approval we relentlessly seek. Back when this book was published, there were a rarity of books that dealt with the lives of teens which made it an unique perspective.

2. ‘1984’ by George Orwell
The book was written in 1949 in a fashionable style for that era- revolutionary for its time. It predicted a dystopia with a bleak view of the future. It brought together many political strands such as Nazism, Communism, and Fascism and took them to their logical conclusion: a totalitarian state which controls every aspect of people’s lives, even their most private thoughts, desires and feelings.

3. ‘Persepolis’ by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis is about Iran. Marjane Satrapi points out in her introduction that Iran’s story is one that many people think they understand, but they don’t. It is a story often told in terms of violence and religious extremism, but the people of Iran and their stories are so much more than what we see on the news.

The book tells the other side of Iran’s story, that of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers – decent people caught in a country that is continually torn apart and put back in new challenging ways.
You should read Persepolis to better understand the world around you, to understand that all over the world, despite the religion, race or age, there are good people everywhere you go.

4. ‘Norwegian Wood’ by Haruki Murakami.
The book takes place in the 60s in Japan and tells a story of a young man, Toru Watanabe, who finds himself involved in a tragic situation when his best friend commits suicide. It is a beautiful and captivating story with compelling characters.

5. ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ by Philip Dick.
This is a sci-fi book, written in 1968. The novel is set in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco, where Earth’s life has been greatly damaged by a nuclear global war. It follows a story of a man called ‘Blade Runner’, who is assigned to find and bring back the Nexus-6 Model Androids. The novel explores the issue of what it is to be human and whether or not empathy is a purely human ability.

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