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Book Review: “Simon Vs. the Homo-Sapiens Agenda”

Book Review: “Simon Vs. the Homo-Sapiens Agenda”

May 12, 2018

I’m sure most of you have heard of the movie Love, Simon, which has captured the hearts of most of its viewers. The movie is based on the book Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli, which I finished reading recently. It tells the story of high school junior Simon Spier who is trying to do normal teenage things, while also trying to hide the fact that he’s gay. The story begins when Simon’s classmate Martin Addison finds Simon’s emails with an anonymous closeted gay guy at school who uses the pen name Blue. Martin screenshots the emails and uses them to blackmail Simon, saying he’ll expose both him and Blue unless Simon sets Martin up with his friend Abby. From there, Simon has to try to maintain his friendships and do well in the school musical, while also trying to come out to his friends and family and discover who this mystery boy is. In my opinion, the book was absolutely fantastic. It was very relevant to high school experiences today, and has a very realistic portrayal of the LGBT community. On top of that, it has a very gripping plot. There were several nights I stayed up past midnight just because I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I didn’t know what happened next. To make it even better, the book ranges from absolutely hilarious to heart-wrenching to extremely dramatic, and it really makes the reader really feel what the characters feel. My opinion isn’t the only one you will be hearing in this article. I got a chance to speak with freshman Sofia Bostrom, who also read the book and gave it a fantastic review. She is one of the people who read the book after seeing its movie adaptation, Love, Simon. She said she figured the book would be either okay or way better than the movie, and she believes the book has more relationship development. As I mentioned, Bostrom saw the movie as well and thinks it definitely did the book justice. I have not yet seen the movie, so I’ll have to take her word for it. She told me her favorite character was Bram, the lovable soccer player. He was fun, friendly, and a cool dude. Next, I asked her if she thought the book could be improved in any way, and said she thought it didn’t need any improvement. It was very accurate to real life LGBT experiences, and it had some fantastic and well-developed characters. Lastly, I asked how she would promote the book and her words were: “You wanna support gay rights? Of course you do!” All in all, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is an amazing book, and I would encourage anyone who has not read it to change that now.

Prep Seniors Begin Their Slide… Or Do They?

Prep Seniors Begin Their Slide… Or Do They?

February 18, 2018

Imagine a class of seniors, reclining on couches in the Fishbowl, Kit-Kats or bags of Sour Patch Kids in hand, not a care in the world.They breeze through the hallways, weightless and laughing, already accepted into their dream college. That’s how it’s supposed to be, right? Second semester of senior year? The long foretold “Senior Slide”? Well, kind-of. We’ve heard about the legend of the Senior Slide since we were freshmen. We’ve watched as class after senior class have slowly fallen apart—or wanted to, at least. But when the time finally came for our Slide, I began to notice and interesting combination of emotions within this year’s senior class: guilt, frustration, stress, and denial alongside all those foretold Senior Slide perks. Of course, it is only February. After three more months of IB testing, college classes, and Ms. Talic’s Prueba Orals, we might be telling a very, very different story. When I ask what Senior Slide means to him, senior John Martone laughs and tells me, “I get home and think I don’t want to, so I don’t. I try to do the bare minimum.” Mariah Bruner chimes in, telling me, “This sucks. It just sucks.” Andy Moen, no regret as he leans back into a Fishbowl couch, says, “Senior slide means hardcore coasting.” Already, I’m beginning to notice the obvious trend. In history class, Maura Cofell shares that her personal goal for this semester is to do as little as she can. “But the thing is,” she tells me, sounding tired and defeated, “I still feel like I’m doing a lot.” Hope Robak and Henry Smith III haven’t simply let go and given up like some. Their intentions, at least, are positive. Hope tells me, “I think yeah, I should try at this! but then it just doesn’t really happen…” Henry says, “I’m trying not to slide as much as I can…” He stops talking, but the sense of foreboding lingers, as if a “but” should rest at the end of his sentence. Magali Seymour is extreme in her opinion: “I won’t, but if I burned this school down, the seniors could roast marshmallows and have a bonfire.” After four, six, or seven years, I guess some people are just ready to begin writing new chapters to their lives. As I delved deeper and deeper into exploring the agony and frustration that we feel, as almost-graduated, college-accepted students, I decided to ask Mr. Nydeen if he had any advice for second-semester-seniors. “Advice? The most successful individuals are the organized ones and those who are still involved.” “So you’d say the Senior Slide is definitely real?” I continued. He responded without a shred of hesitation. “Oh yes. Especially after seniors receive that little letter that lets them know they’re accepted. And get this” he adds, with a pointing finger, “—I can always change the recommendation.” I scribble this note down as horrified seniors gasp around me. Teachers can really do that…? As exhausted and jaded as we all might be, I’m still surrounded by three-sport athletes, high-achievers, club leaders, student ambassadors, and insanely-committed theater kids. Disappointingly, I think this adds up to the fact that the Senior Slide isn’t all that it’s hyped up to be.

The Great “First Week of School” Debate

The Great “First Week of School” Debate

September 9, 2017

This year, rather than the typical “dreaded first day of classes,” Prep faculty and administration decided to shake things up a little! Before school officially started, there were a couple of community-centered events. On Monday, August 21st, the Prep community gathered for an all-school picnic. The next day, there was an opportunity to volunteer at La Cruz, an income-based housing complex in South Saint Cloud. On the first day of school, we participated in multiple activities with our advisings and grade levels, in addition to some school-wide events. In our advisings, we played multiple brain games and puzzles to work on thinking “outside of the box.” With our grade levels we “broke the ice” with some games to get to know each other better. The rest of the afternoon was spent running around campus for a scavenger hunt. Thursday was our Convocation, the official start of the 2017-2018 school year, and, conveniently, picture day. The rest of Thursday and Friday morning we attended classes, and Friday afternoon we had our annual “Prep Fest." There were minute-to-win-it games and other activities, played by one member from each grade. The day came to a close, and our 161st school year was well underway! Below, Cullin Egge '18 and Lizzy Kolb '19 give their opinions on the first week of school this year. Pro Alternative First Week of School: Cullin Egge In my opinion, the first week of school was an inviting and invigorating experience for all students to share. The school picnic was an awesome opportunity for new students to meet their classmates and teachers and for returning students to reconnect with friends. And teachers. Don’t forget about them! The day of volunteering brought our community together, but also gave us the opportunity to locally spread some of our Benedictine values. Both of these events were great bonding experiences for all involved, especially for those new students who hadn’t yet got the chance to familiarize with peers. While some students may have thought the bonding activities on the first day of school were unnecessary and boring, Senior Genesis Knoblach thoroughly enjoyed these activities, saying “[They] gave day students the opportunity to learn more about the resident students,” further explaining, “Normally we wouldn’t mix so much.” Although it was very hot and sticky outside, I think, overall, the scavenger hunt was an amusing and entertaining activity. Our Student Council President, Regan Mies, brought some great advice with her to the convocation, where she gave a heartwarming speech to the school. Picture day comes around every year, but for seniors, it was our last “Cheeeese!” before graduating this Spring. The energy in the air at the Prep Fest was electric! It was fun for those participating, but even more so for those watching! The colloquium was a blast, and a great way to end the first week of school. For me, this year’s spin on the typical “first week of school” was a fun and refreshing start to the year, and hopefully a kick-off to the best year yet! Pro Traditional First Week of School: Lizzy Kolb  While some may have enjoyed the festivities during the first few days of school, I was not the biggest fan. Trust me, I am a fan of playing a couple get to know you games, but these games reminded me a little bit more of forced family fun than anything else. I felt as though I had been plopped right into the middle of an awkward family reunion. The only practical benefit that I could see from our first three days of school would be to introduce middle schoolers, freshmen, and incoming students to the rest of the school population. However, they had spent the prior week doing just that. Our peer mentors were working hard before the year started to make sure that all new students had a smooth transition into life at Prep. Peer Mentor and Student Council Secretary Tina Chen gave me her opinion about the beginning of the school year saying, “After nine full days of ice breaker activities, I was completely burnt out.” If I thought that I had to play too many name games, I can only imagine how the new students and peer mentors felt. Even for those of us who weren’t peer mentors, the days felt long, but it wasn't the same type of tired. Instead of knowing that I had worked hard that day and had given it my all, the only thing that I had really done was figured out some clues in a picture scavenger hunt. I would have rather been spending that time talking to my teachers or learning something in class. Either way, the 2017-18 school year here at Prep has begun, and although I cannot know for certain what events are in store for next year's first week of school, I can at least know that I won't have to play another ice breaker game for at least a few months.

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