The Cord News The Student News Site of Dakota Ridge High School Wed, 04 Mar 2020 21:17:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 I Am Not Okay With This–Remarkably Okay Wed, 04 Mar 2020 19:21:53 +0000 Sydney Novak (Sophia Lillis) is seventeen, her father has just died, and her life seems to be a series of pitfalls. She also has telekinetic powers. Welcome to I Am Not Okay With This.

Released to Netflix on Feb. 26, the TV show features seven, roughly 20 minute long episodes that catalogue the narrated diary of angsty Syd Novak. Produced and directed by Johnathon Entwhistle and Christy Hall, who worked on The End of the F***king World and Stranger Things respectively, I Am Not Okay With This slots itself into place as one of Netflix’s rare and memorable jewels. 

The show takes place in the fictional town of Brownsville, Pennsylvania, which is host to weed-riddled sidewalks, abandoned train tracks, and the decayed charm of small-town Western America. Sydney Novak, who’s played by former IT actress Sophia Lillis, is trapped, angry, and in a vicious state of mourning after her father’s suicide. Brownsville acts as another pothole for the teenager, and the shadowy, deep brown tones of the town mesh beautifully with Syd’s internal conflict.

I Am Not Okay With This is timeless, set somewhere between the ‘80s and the early 2000s. It bleeds with nostalgia, but the real shine of the show comes from its characters. 

Lillis’ performance as Syd is magnetic. The curl of her shoulders, the uncomfortable lilt of her voice, and her sharp tongue all reek of teenage awkwardness, which Syd seems to be chronically cursed with. Her telekinetic powers spoof Stephen King’s Carrie, but don’t exhibit a girl crazed by trauma and religious fire–rather, they exhibit a young woman whose isolation spills out from her in the form of cracking walls and projectile bowling balls. Syd personifies the restless anger of all teenagers, their anger at the world and at

Photo Credits:
Sydney (Sophia Lillis), Stanley (Wyatt Oleff), and Dina (Sofia Bryant) are the pivotal characters of the show.

themselves. Her powers don’t act as another cliche, but as an emphasis on how growing up sucks and growing up different sucks worse.

Counter to Syd is the enigmatic and eccentric Stanley Barber (Wyatt Oleff). His opening scene is a waltz and possibly the most charming character introductions to ever grace a show. After first meeting Sydney, Barber leaves with a graceful bow and a casual “what a world we live in,” which sets up the curious dynamic Stanley and Syd have throughout the show’s running. As the two main characters, Stanley and Syd’s relationship is the biggest turn-on for the series. Their conversations are raw, honest, and weird — chemistry no doubt from the actors’ previous work together on the horror film IT. Their friendship is unforced and refreshingly intimate. 

The handful of side characters in I Am Not Okay With This carry less magnetism than the two leads, but don’t inhibit the show’s impact. There’s Dina (Sofia Bryant), Syd’s best friend and love interest. She has all the traits of an outgoing, endearingly ditzy golden girl, and it’s unsurprising Syd is hopelessly in love with her. However, Dina and her boyfriend Brad Lewis (Richard Ellis) float in shallow territory

Photo Credits:
Sydney Novak (Sophia Lillis) and Stanley Barber’s (Wyatt Oleff) onscreen chemistry is phenomenally done.

character-wise. They seem underdeveloped and more plot points than real people. Syd’s mother (Kathleen Rose Perkins) and her younger brother (Aidan Wojtak-Hissong) mirror Syd’s own loneliness, but are shadows of fully-developed characters. Despite this, I Am Not Okay With This still creates a sense of realism and never strays too deeply into the realm of deathly flat characters.

This show could have fallen short. The premise of a teenager in a small town, dealing with the death of a family member and some untapped power is not new or especially unique. What makes I Am Not Okay With This stand out among the flock of cheesy and cringe-worthy coming-of-age stories is its ability to focus on the niche of the characters and how they interact with each other. I Am Not Okay With This is touching, funny, and mean. It is subtly dark, riddled with unrequited love and hurt, but also consolation — such is life. As Stanley Barber expertly put it, what a world we live in.

I Am Not Okay With This is a must-see.


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Eagles Stun #24 Doherty Spartans on Buzzer Beater Wed, 04 Mar 2020 19:17:35 +0000 The first round of the CHSAA 5A State playoffs was held on Wednesday, February 26th. The Dakota Ridge Eagles found themselves matched up against the Doherty Spartans. The Eagles came into the game as the 41st seed and Doherty the 24th seed making the Eagles the underdogs. 

The Eagles knew that being the underdogs they had very little respect from the higher seed, and saw it as motivation. “The disrespect felt like a slap in the face and then I realized what I have to do and what my team has to do in order to win that game,” Gino Corridori (11) said. The Eagles came out motivated as they were battling back and forth with Doherty and keeping it very close throughout the first quarter. Although the Eagles found themselves down 10-8 after the first 8 minutes of play. Going into the second quarter, The Eagles had the wheels turning and showed they can compete with the Spartans. Dakota Ridge won the second quarter and managed to take a 28-26 lead at the half.

In the second half, the Eagles continued to play like it was their game and were giving it their all. Motivated by the idea of disrespect kept fueling the team and allowed the Eagles to keep fighting and keep the game close. There was no sign of either team pulling away as the game continued to be neck and neck. But at the end of the third the Eagles were down and Doherty led 37-36.

The fourth quarter was a quarter that will stick with the Eagles for a long time. Going in tied, Dakota showed they weren’t going to back down and let their season end. The quarter was back and forth, and in the final minute Eagles Center Gino Corridori was fouled and went to the line with two free throws and a chance to tie the game at 49. “After I got fouled I realized that this was the senior’s final season and the team’s season was basically resting on my shoulders at that moment and these will be the most important shots of my high school career.. Maybe,” said Corridori. “After every practice I was shooting 50+ free throws too so I knew I was ready to make those free throws.” Corridori made his free throws and tied up the game. Immediately after, Doherty called a timeout with 21 seconds left to try and win the game. When both teams stepped back on the court, and Doherty started their play, they chewed down the clock and got a shot off with 6 seconds remaining, but the shot didn’t fall and the Eagles’ Taeshaud Jackson (11), grabbed the rebound and took off down court, and put up a lay up at the buzzer, to stun the Spartans, and win 51-49.

“When I got the rebound I knew I had to make a play instantly, just having a visual of how much time was left on the clock trying to rush down the court and win the game for my team,” Jackson said. “After I made the shot my mind was racing. I was really just nervous to see if the refs were going to count it or not, but when they did I was super excited for my team knowing we had won the game,” Jackson Jr. said, reflecting on his game-winner.

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Once Upon a Mattress Starts Spring with a Laugh Sat, 29 Feb 2020 17:41:01 +0000 Once Upon a Mattress hit the Dakota Ridge Mainstage Feb. 27th, with two more productions showing the 28th the 29th. Written by Jay Thompson, the musical depicts the story of a young Prince Dauntless [Jordan Day Rhynard] trying to find a worthy enough princess to marry, despite the Queen Aggravain’s [Ella Arnold] vicious grip. When a less-than-decent Princess Winnifred [Bella Virginia] shows up to win the prince’s hand, trouble ensues. 

After four months of after-school line readings and dance rehearsals, the musical’s first public showing was held on Thursday 28th.

“When we have the audience helping us and giving us that feedback instantly, of laughing and getting involved with what’s happening on stage — it always infused the show with so much more energy,” Liam Walter (11), who plays King Sextimus, said about the show’s opening night. “I think it went absolutely phenomenal tonight.”

“Opening night went great,” Bella Virginia (11) said. “There’s obviously going to be hiccups, no matter how many times you run a show, but those hiccups make the show even better. I think it was a perfect opening night.”

The musical takes a twist on the classic tale of Princess and the Pea, depicting exaggerated versions of characters like a mute King Sextimus [Liam Walter], a deadbeat magician wizard [Jordan Trigg], and a minstrel [Alyssa Keller] who acts as the singing narrator of the story. 

“It’s [Once Upon a Mattress] like Shrek, but reverse,” Emmalee Ketchum (12), audience member and past theater participant, said during the musical’s intermission. “I’m really liking it!”

“This was my first actual lead position,” Walter says on his role as the king. “First time having spots on me, first time I had a mic, first time for a lot of things. Also, the first musical I’ve done. So, it was a lot of new experiences, but it was absolutely amazing and I loved every second of it.”

Virginia plays the lead role as Princess Winnifred, a loudly Scottish and distinctly unlady-like princess. “It’s a pretty good commentary,” Virginia says, “that you don’t have to be conventionally beautiful to be worthy of love. I think what made it even more fun to play her [Princess Winnifred] was the more I worked with her and the more I was her, I saw bits and bits of her in myself and it helped me gain more confidence in little everyday things that I used to be self-conscious about.”

Once Upon a Mattress will show again tonight, Saturday the 29th, with an admission of ten dollars for students and twelve for adults. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the door.

Photo credit: Adrienne Marko
The musical is roughly two hours, held at 7 p.m. in Dakota Ridge’s auditorium. James Young, Once Upon a Mattress’s director, says in his director’s note, “you’re bound to laugh a lot.”

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Warren Tech Cosmetology Students Compete For Creative Title Fri, 28 Feb 2020 16:33:54 +0000 After months of learning and practicing, the hair and makeup division of Warren Tech held their competition and showcase of cosmetology skills on Thursday, February 13, where they competed to see which team could express the most creativity and uniqueness in the form of makeup and hair styling. 

The teams all had around 5-6 students that were each assigned a role for the creation of their own unique idea. Each idea was carefully curated by students in order to make the most creative, unique, detailed, and meaningful projects possible. These cosmetic creations ranged from mummies to werewolves and even to Disney characters such as Maleficent. In order for these ideas to come to life, there had to be a full team, including a model, a hair stylist, a body paint stylist, an esthetician (makeup artist), and a nail tech.

“I loved meeting new people in my team and working together to prepare for the presentation,” hair stylist Katie Eckel (12) said.

Each team had three hours to take one shot at impressing the judges so they could hopefully take first place in the competition. In order for each team to work as efficiently as possible, the students had to all work together and at the same time to get as much detail applied to their model. “My favorite [part about the competition] was the community that we all have within the cosmetology division,” said hair stylist Annabella Meneghini. 

With about 10 teams in total competing for the top prize, many of the students began to feel nervous as the 10 judges conversed in a room to decide on the top three winners of the competition. As the nerves continued to rise,  Sophia Tavanello, junior at Dakota Ridge High School, who was a model for her group, hoped her group’s presentation was enough to impress the judges. “It was nerve-wracking because we had to focus on perfecting everything at once,” said Tavanello. 

Tavanello and her group used the theme of “Day of the Dead” to model a mummy for their presentation. They used fake blood, bandages, cultural cloths, and face paint makeup to create an “living dead” theme. “My favorite [aspect] was the creativity that was involved because we brought all the skills that we learned together and we pulled it off,”Tavanello said. After all the work her team had put together, she and her group were pleased to find out that they won second place in the competition. 


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Three IB students Created the “Who We Be?” – “D-RIDGE” Murals to Leave Their Legacy at the School Mon, 24 Feb 2020 15:01:40 +0000 The students and staff of Dakota Ridge were recently met with an emboldened addition to the school that came as a surprise to many. However, most don’t know where the two murals bearing our unique chant came from, or why they were installed. They brought a lot of questions, and people were slowing or stopping in the halls on the way to class to take in the artwork. 

Photo Credits: Maya Sheehan
Alyssa Sheehan, a senior, was drawn to this project especially because of how it applied the creativity part of CAS. “I’ve always been drawn to creative and artsy ways to complete an assignment, and there was a lack of color and art in the hallways.” She was also looking for a way to leave a mark on Dakota as she is completing her final year at the school. “I wanted to do something meaningful; this is my legacy. I’m leaving something as a senior that years of students will now get to see,” Sheehan said.

These two murals can be credited to three IB Dakota Ridge students, Audrey Zur,(11), Angelina Reneau (11), and Alyssa Sheehan (12). These three students used applicable creative skills obtained in the International Baccalaureate program and implemented them to create a CAS project that would brighten the halls of the schools.

“We chose to do a mural because we wanted to make sure that everyone would be able to see the positive message we were trying to spread. It is meaningful because it promotes the message that everyone is in high school together,” Zur said.

CAS, which stands for Creativity, Activity, Service, is one of the requirements necessary to receive an IB diploma. There is a lot of room to be individualistic within the CAS project guidelines. However, it requires a range of experiences and a series of purposeful activities to be completed with significant outcomes. These activities aren’t specific, and can vary from person to person, but need to include personal challenge, thoughtful consideration, planning, a review process, reflection, and personal learning. CAS also challenges students to bring in aspects of global engagement and diversity to their projects to encourage international unity and depth of understanding. 

Photo Credist: Alyssa Sheehan
The mural idea for this CAS project took time and careful planning, it started with brainstorming but eventually progressed to more specific ideas and layouts. “The original idea had always been based on using the school cheer, but the design for what else is on the mural was the harder part. We spent a lot of time studying other mural artists to figure out what we wanted to do and fell in love with a geometric color blocking style, then to make it more fun and brighten the school, we chose a gradient rainbow color scheme. Alyssa had the great idea of making the eagle look like it was breaking through that pattern and it turned out great,” Reneau said, depicted here working on setting up a digitized projection of the mural said.

For Zur, Sheehan, and Reneau, this meant combining multiple and different creativity and thinking skills to come up with an idea for a finished product that would fulfill these requirements. “Creativity: we had to come up with design, Activity: physically making and painting it, and Service: bringing more color and positivity to our school hallways by giving the murals to the school. Also, we implemented global engagement by writing  “you are loved” in 24 different languages on the wings of the eagle,” Sheehan said. But this wasn’t just a means to an end to get the project done for credit–the girls also wanted to “…make something nice for the school that someone could look at and smile,” Reneau said. 

Photo Credits: Angelina Reneau
As Alyssa Sheehan, left, and Audrey Zur, center, work on the second part of the mural, they have a bigger vision in mind. “For the design, we wanted to make something that was positive and that didn’t exclude anyone. This is why we avoided putting a football or soccer ball into the design,” said Zur. “The goal was to make art that spread a positive message to our school. The ‘Who We Be’ cheer is also the cheer we said on orientation day and will be the cheer we say on graduation. It is meant to help unify the school.”

This brought the challenge of a planning process that would bring color and creativity to the school, but also keep everyone equally involved. The solution was a school-wide survey to combine the ideas of students and have equal representation within the mural. This survey helped narrow ideas and gave other students a voice that helped tie the project back into the themes the students were conveying in their artwork through the use of the DRHS chant. “This was part of our goal to unify Dakota Ridge to show that while we are diverse, we have Dakota Ridge as something that relates us to one another. Specifically, IB is a globally-minded program; therefore, we wanted to give representation to some of the diversity that Dakota Ridge has,” Zur said.


Photo Credits: Maya Sheehan
The variety of colors in the mural was a purposeful effort to promote the diversity we have in Dakota whether that be religion, ethnicity, beliefs, or opinions, and unify everyone in spirit, and the boldness drew the attention of passing students and the admiration of staff. “ I love when we collectively represent all voices. The messages bring about pride in being part of the Dakota Ridge High School community. I believe the images, colors, and messages all contribute to a positive image of our school and community,” said Jelinek, and Micah Snider agrees. “It is engaging and brings individuals together fostering community. Including and valuing art increases creative capacity and insight, the ability to make connections with people who aren’t like you. In addition to bringing people together, the murals can offer individualized experiences as well. Affecting emotions, provoking thought, or challenging viewers in some way,” Snider said.

The staff reactions to the mural captured the message the students were hoping to achieve. “I love the murals.  The coloring and messages are outstanding. These students have really captured the unique chant our student body uses during competitions and at graduation.  I believe this messaging creates unity among our student body as it is unique only to Dakota Ridge,” Dr. Jim Jelinek, principal at Dakota Ridge, said. He had been meeting with the students prior to seeing the mural for permission and approval to create and hang them in the school, and when he finally saw them, reacted with the utmost enthusiasm. 

 Micah Snider, art teacher at Dakota Ridge, was impressed.  “WOW! They did such a great job planning and executing this project,” Snider said. “The murals are vibrant and refer to an energetic cheer that describes a positive aspect of our school’s spirit. They contribute to our school environment and add a sense of pride. It’s hard not to smile and imagine students chanting ‘Who we be’ while passing under them.”

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Inside the Factory of a Public Library: How Do They Keep it Running? Thu, 20 Feb 2020 17:51:26 +0000 The first public library was opened in 1833 in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Since then, public libraries are struggling to keep the general community consistently using the library. Between the growth in use of technology, and the falling interest in books for teenagers, the library is taking further measures to make sure they stay open. 

Brian Mosbey is the office manager at the Columbine Library in Littleton, Colorado. While completing his Masters in Library Science, he has faced many questions revolving around the growing problem with keeping the public coming to the library. According to Moseby, the library has become less based on getting information to people, and more on creating a gathering place. “In order to get people continually coming into the library we really strive to listen to the public and their needs, whether it’s verbal comments or our own observation as to what is happening,” Mosbey said. 

More than two years ago, Columbine Library went through a complete renovation, and the community meetings that were held were to see what the community wanted from the library, and programs were created based on the most popular trends. Through the Epic STEM competition, “Every Child Ready to Read” program through storytimes, and the “Romance in the Rockies” featuring author Robyn Carr, “We hope these events are big enough that they can catch people’s attention and make them want to seek us out even more,” Mosbey said.

Photo Credits: Emilya Barwick
Columbine Library holds a Teen Area for ages 13-18 for a studying location and young adult novels targeted for teens.

At the Bemis Public Library, they are also offering more programs for all audiences. Between monthly music concerts, author talks, teen laser tag and gaming, children story times, the activities are countless. 

In 2019 Bemis Public Library offered 187 adult programs with 6,529 attendees, 495 children’s programs with 12,801 participants, and 73 teen programs with 1,985 in attendance. According to Nancy Trimm, a connected staff member at Bemis Library, “There are so many events happening at the public library that we truly believe there is something for everyone here.”  

Even with all the programs most public libraries provide, it is still a struggle to acquire teen presence in the library. According to Common Sense Media, the studies show that nearly half of 17 year-olds say that they only read for pleasure no more than one to two times a year. 

Photo Credits: Emilya Barwick
Kylie Williams, an honors student at D’Evelyn High School.

Kylie Williams, a sophomore at D’Evelyn High School as well as a member of the Teens Advisory Board at Columbine Public Library, was always a participant in the library’s activities. “My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was younger, so the library was a place my mom could take my sisters and that was safe, free, and kid friendly,” Williams said. 

To Williams, the library provides many outlets for teens that are not used, and very well should be. Whether to study as a high school student or volunteer for the Summer Reading Program, almost all Jeffco Public Libraries provide for all ages; teens have many outlets to become regular patrons.  As Williams said, “Come in on a lazy Sunday, pick up a book off the shelf, and simply reading for a couple hours is attention that public libraries are starved of from today’s youth.”

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The Sundance Film Festival: Is it still effective? Thu, 20 Feb 2020 17:46:49 +0000 The film industry has long been the place for controversy, debate and opinions. Since its conception in the 19th century by Thomas Edison, it has evolved to be the center of innovation in the arts and excellent creativity in developing a story that attaches to most of the audience’s senses, all at once. As it’s grown through the years, films have begun accumulating bigger budgets, production teams, and of course, bigger audiences. With the scope of film nowadays, film students, small producers and independent filmmakers are often missed in the sea of corporate and mass produced films.

The Hollywood Sign of Hollywood hills – famous as the symbol of the film industry.

This is where the Sundance Film Festival comes in. Originating in 1978 in Salt Lake City, Utah, it has grown to become the largest and most well known indie/small film festival in the country. Sundance’s mission has forever been to showcase the untapped creativity and gold mine of innovation that exists outside the large studios in film. However, with its huge increase in popularity since its beginning, one is only left wondering: is it still a small film festival?

According to the Official Sundance Institute, this year Sundance was home to 118 feature films and over 122,000 attendees. The 118 features were selected from a record-smashing 15,100 submissions, of those, 3,853 were feature length. On top of that, Sundance has been covered by countless large news stations, such as The New York Times, AP News, NPR, The Guardian among others. With all of this publicity, skeptics are now left to consider if Sundance has strayed too far away from its original vision as a small film festival. Does Sundance still help indie artists, or is it too popular at this point?

Photo credit:  Luke Rankin
Luke Rankin (12), Warren Tech film student.

Warren Tech film students keep a close eye on Sundance.  “I think it’s a bit of both but in a good way,” Luke Rankin (12), Warren Tech film student said. “On one hand you have the indie artist who comes in just wanting to show their film to people and maybe get some distribution of the film. On the other hand, Sundance is so well known that even if the film doesn’t win any awards it will still be viewed and there’ll maybe be that one person that can’t stop thinking about the movie, and at that point you’ve done your job.” 

Rankin agrees with Sundance and its mission deeply, praising it for its hand in creating the main

Alex Richardson (11), a student at Dakota Ridge High School

stream film trends we have today. “A lot of really unique films come from Sundance, and I think without it we would not have such an interesting film industry” Rankin said.

After a lot of stiff competition and good movies, this year’s top prizes went to the movies Minari, Boys State, Epicentro and Yalda, a Night for Forgiven. The audience awards were awarded to Minari, Crip Camp, The Reason I Jump, and Identifying features (Sin Señas Particulares).

“I really like the direction these films are taking the industry. There are a lot of unexplored parts of society that these films cover with grace.” Alex Richardson (11) DRHS student said.  Richardson has followed Sundance for many years.

Small indie artists simply have a greater connection with new ideas and techniques compared to famous, mainstream producers.”

— Alex Richardson

Brian Elander (11), another student at Warren Tech, disagrees about the connection of indies and mainstream movies.  “The thing is that there is no correlation,” Elander said.

Regardless of which side, it’s undeniable how film students and up and coming directors can start their career at Sundance, which in and of itself can

Brian Elander (11) film student at Warren Tech.

bring new minds and ideas into the film mainstream.

Even though Sundance has grown to a gigantic size, it still remains an excellent place for indie artists to showcase their imagination and reshape the cultural mainstream in the U.S. film industry. New techniques, art styles, aesthetics and topics have popped up this year at the festival, and Sundance will continue to be the birthplace of a good portion of mainstream ideas and blockbuster films.

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The Timelessness of Love, Growth, and Maturity: A Little Women Review Thu, 20 Feb 2020 17:45:12 +0000 Historical period dramas are certainly not for everyone. They feature lace-wearing, horseback-riding women who  have a knack for getting pulled out of trouble by some handsome nobleman in disguise. Frankly, they can get a little over-sentimental in their romanticization of the past, often omitting wars and political conflicts to focus solely on the love lives of the movie’s characters.

Despite the canned love affairs of many period dramas, I actually was excited for the release of Little Women. Featuring some of my favorite actors, such as Emma Watson, Timothee Chalamet, Saorise Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Meryl Streep, I knew that the movie certainly wouldn’t be lacking for talent. My one concern, however, was the extent to which the film would preserve the integrity of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel by the same name.

Photo Credits: Sony Pictures
“It’s possible to be right and foolish.”
—Aunt March

As a little girl, I had fallen in love with the down-to-earth, spunky March family, and felt especially connected to the feisty Jo, who loved nothing more than to write–just like I always have. There have been dozens of TV and movie adaptations of the novel, but none of them had ever truly had the same magic that the book did, and I was worried that the 2019 remake would adhere to the same period drama formula that has become dry to me.

However, despite my reservations, I came to the consensus that the film is a masterpiece. Everything from the costume designs to the nuances of each character were well-developed and beautiful, and I can easily say that it is one of my new favorite movies.

The novel itself hosts a cast of characters as individualistic as any real human being, with the rebellious and intelligent Jo, reserved and artistic Beth, charmingly narcissistic Amy, and measured and gentle Meg living together in wonderful dissaray. Greta Gerwig, director of Little Women, remained faithful to each character in the way that they dressed, talked, and interacted with the world in the film.

Photo Credits: Sony Pictures
“I intend to make my own way in the world.”
—Jo March

The movie was nominated for six Oscars, and it brought home the Oscar for costume design. Each costume, beyond being just beautiful examples of late-1800s design, represents the way each girl presents themselves in the world. For example, Meg dresses in gentle pinks and purples during the beginning of the film, showing her youth and beauty. Later on, as she becomes a mother and a wife and realizes that she has to work for success in the world, her clothes become plainer and more subdued in tone, representing her newfound maturity. This color symbolism is characteristic of all the film’s clothing, including jaunty yellow vests, robin’s egg blue gowns, and violet capes.


Photo Credits:, CTMG Inc.



Photo Credits:, CTMG Inc.
The stark contrast between Meg’s gowns are clear, but her optimism and youth never truly fades.










The film has a defined aesthetic of its very own, which is a characteristic of other Gerwig films such as Lady Bird (2017). Little Women uses gentle earth tones, peppered with pops of color, texture, and shadow that immerse the viewer in the cozy world of the March family home. This, besides the pure relatability of the characters, is perhaps the reason why the film is so great–it weaves an entire detailed universe out of the fictional town of Plumford, New England (based off of Louisa May Alcott’s childhood home, Concord, Massachusetts).

A challenge Gerwig faced throughout the creation of the film was how to grapple with each character’s concept of independence. During the writing of the novel, Louisa May Alcott incorporated the then-revolutionary idea that women aren’t items of property who need a husband to belong to. Gerwig, in making the movie adaptation, struggled with making this feminist idea prevalent in the film, while still allowing romance to be an aspect of the plot.

Photo Credits: Sony Pictures
“The world is hard on ambitious girls.’
—Amy March

One of the watershed moments of the film was when Jo confesses to her mother that while she loves her sisters and her independence, she can’t help but feel an innate need to share her life with someone else romantically. This keeps Jo authentic, and proves that period drama heroines can be their own people and still want for love.

Photo Credits: Sony Pictures
“Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is all a woman is fit for.”
—Jo March

“…the speech Jo gives [to her mother regarding her want to be loved] is from another book Alcott wrote. I believe it’s Rose in Bloom: ‘Women have minds, as well as just heart; ambition and talent, as well as just beauty. And I’m so sick of people saying love is all a woman is fit for.’ But then I added ‘But I’m so lonely,'”Gerwig said in an interview with Film Comment on how she managed to develop the connection between Jo’s feisty independence and her vulnerability.

Each character learns and grows into themselves in their own way, from learning that life isn’t always Christmas cakes and daisy chains, to realizing that no matter how hard failure strikes, the sun will rise the next morning. These messages are positive reminders that hard work and perseverance are the most surefire ways to become successful in the world. Though each character’s achievement of success is different, everyone ends up at a point in their lives where they are truly and honestly happy with who they have become.

“I’ll be homesick for you. Even in heaven.” —Beth March

Those who have reservations about period dramas might see this movie as another sappy coming-of-age romance film, but Little Women transcends the rudimentary ideas of love and maturity–it reaches into your soul and causes you to question what you believe and who you are in the world.  I can genuinely say that it was one of the most profoundly touching, artful movies I’ve ever had the delight of watching.



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Students Make their Voices Heard at the First Student Voice Panel Thu, 20 Feb 2020 17:27:16 +0000  Valentine’s Day brought voices together at Dakota Ridge High School.  Students and teachers used the day off to participate in a Student Voice panel in which they discussed concerns and brainstormed solutions about how to make improvements to our school — together. 

Both students and faculty were well represented at the morning meeting. At the beginning of the session, the room erupted with conversation. First, the teachers had time to speak, then the students had time to raise awareness about issues. Both students and teachers asked each other questions about how our school can change for the better. 

One issue that came up is that some students feel too ashamed to ask for assistance when they need it – whether it be social, emotional, or academic. 

Students also said that they would like to have more freedom when it comes to school projects. 

“I want to see better interaction between teachers and students and how they need to be more understanding of each other so that we can have a better environment that facilitates more open discussions and having more help in classrooms and things like that, just understanding that students and teachers are human beings,” Jonathan Pazen (11) said. “I heard a lot about how teachers are understanding of some of the circumstances that students are going through and how teachers are really trying to be more supportive in students’ lives.” 

But the discussions weren’t all about just positive feedback.  “I did hear some negative feedback about some of the teaching methods and large workloads that students get, and they feel like they’re not always given the freedoms that they want, especially with regards to projects and things like that. I heard that a lot of students want to display their creativity in their classes.”  Pazen said.

Steffan Agne is an 11th grader who also participated in the session. “I thought the student voice panel was a positive activity.  I really enjoyed speaking with the teachers and they were relatively receptive to it, and I enjoyed that,” Agne said.

Near the end of the morning, students brought up how hard college admissions are, and how there is so much testing and stress about the SATs. 

Other issues discussed included the student suggestion that DRHS needs better disciplinary practices in classrooms, and that students who have absences need more time to complete work that they miss. 

“I heard a lot of positive feedback about how even though it’s cliquey here, there are different groups of people that will migrate towards each other like those cliques that are really close and make a good community with each other, and so that was some positive feedback,” Chloe Meehan (11) said.  Meehan also mentioned some of the negative feedback she heard. “Probably some of the disrespect that teachers feel from students and the immature behavior that students tend to show more every year because of the bad influences that the upperclassmen have on the lowerclassmen,” Meehan said. “Issues at this school that are important to me are definitely more integration between groups of people and collaboration with maybe the Diversity Club and the soccer team.”       

Overall this activity led to a positive interaction between students and teachers and was the first step to keep lines of communication open. 


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2020 Winter Formal: A Night in Greece Wed, 19 Feb 2020 19:46:17 +0000  

“The front of the mosh pit is not meant for short people. I fell down to the bottom of it, that was kinda scary,” Heather Allen (10) said.

“I thought the venue was nice and a good size for the turnout. There seemed to be more cohesion within the group of students there than most dances,” Paul Tschour, science teacher at Dakota, said.

“The dance was amazing! I loved the venue. Baldoria on the Water, it was such a pretty place to portray the Athens theme and the lights and vines with the pillars gave everything a very rustic feel. Dancing was a lot of fun, too, not as crazy as Homecoming but there was a moshpit on the dance floor throughout the night, and everyone was jumping and singing along to the music. Whether you went with a date or a group of friends, it was easy to have a really good time,” Maya Sheehan (10) said.

“The dance was low key, kind of fun. Great music,” Christian Woodmansee (12) said.

“Dances are a fun opportunity to hang out with your friends outside of school,” Megan Stahmer (10) said.

“This year’s winter formal was the time of my life! It was just all sophomores having fun and just being themselves and just enjoying life!” Avery Williams (10) said.

“This is lit,” Mae Gojanovic (10) said.

“I like how I made new friends,” Jordan Pidek (10) said.


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