Story by Meghana Mohankumar
“O Captain! My Captain!”
This famous line was written in a poem by Walt Whitman about the death of Abraham Lincoln. However, it also plays an iconic role in the book Dead Poets Society, written by Nancy H. Kleinbaum.
The first time I picked up this book I thought the beginning was slow and it was hard to remember who all of the characters were, but after the introductions, this book takes a turn for the better.
Dead Poets Society is set in a prestigious all-boys boarding school called Welton Academy. The school takes pride in its successful students who get accepted into Ivy League schools. According to the headmaster, Gale Nolan, the key to success at Welton Academy involves four pillars: tradition, honor, discipline, and excellence.
The book starts slowly by introducing all of the characters. The main character, Todd Anderson, is the shy new kid. Almost everyone at the school seems to have their whole life planned by their parents. Even when it comes to decisions as simple as extracurriculars, these boys do not have any say in what they do.
Then, John Keating is hired as the new English teacher. Keating changes the way the boys think about their entire lives. Unlike the other teachers at Welton Academy, Keating uses unconventional methods like ripping pages out of the textbooks and having the students call him “O Captain! My Captain!” to show them that language is a powerful tool and the importance of being able to express themselves through words.
The boys then find out that Keating used to be a student at Welton Academy and that he used to be a part of the Dead Poets Society. This was a group of students who would meet in a nearby cave to read poetry. So, the boys decide to restart the Dead Poets Society. They use Keating’s lessons to discover who they truly are and what they are passionate about.
This book is filled with several surprises and twists. Some find love while others find themselves. The last half of the book is filled with challenges the boys must face and a bittersweet ending.
Kleinbaum’s writing makes the reader understand the pressure the boys feel. Her descriptive language shows you how passionate the characters are.
The Dead Poets Society teaches you to appreciate the beauty of life and emotion. While poetry has never been an interest of mine, this book teaches you to love poetry and to enjoy it. The Dead Poets Society relates to younger audiences by discussing the pressure students feel when it comes to their future and how to truly live. What I loved most about this book was how inspirational it was. It made me rethink everything. Keating does not only teach the students at Welton Academy, but he also teaches the reader when he whispers, “Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary.”
Quotes like these make the Dead Poets Society an inspirational book that can relate to so many people around the world.
Author- Nancy H. Kleinbaum
Published in 1988
Based on the script for the movie written by Tom Schulman starring Robin Williams
Age rating: PG
Photo by Kate Zuverink
Story by Olivia Schroeder
Picture the scene of 29 high school cheerleaders dangerously lifting bodies into the air on one leg with one girl in the back, getting ready to perform a skill that could paralyze her for life. That girl was my friend Madison Spanopoulos on August 19, 2019, and it was one of the scariest days of her life.
Keep that picture in your mind, but now we should talk about something else. I have accepted that I will never know or understand why most people believe that cheerleading is not a sport. I have been a competitive cheerleader since I was seven years old and have completely fallen in love with it. Although cheer will forever have my heart, as all things do, cheerleading also comes with a few down sides.
To name a few, constantly being injured is a weekly occurrence, hearing people make hurtful comments such as “Cheerleaders are weak” or that “Cheer is not a sport” does hurt a lot. Most athletes have put their whole life into this sport and others, such as Madison, have even risked their lives.
Now we will return to that previous scene. As Madison began to take her first running step, everyone was cheering her on loudly and encouraging her to do well, but as soon as she jumped to flip, everything went downhill. She flew high into the air, but panicked and came crashing to the hard floor, landing on her back. That day, I watched my friend’s eyes roll to the back of her head, and I watched her get carried out by a stretcher as tears rolled down my face.
Thankfully, Madison woke up with only a concussion, but when she came back to school, people were not supportive of her. Students started to say that just because someone got hurt, it still does not mean it was hard work.
Cheerleaders, specifically our team, have worked incredibly hard to get where we are today, putting in countless hours of work each week throughout the year. The sport is not just reciting chants for our school. There is a whole other side that is more serious and dangerous. We practice for five to six days a week and, yes, it is tough, but we love every minute of it. When we hear people saying that the activities we do are easy and that it is not a sport, it affects us because the passion that we have worked so hard towards our whole lives for is being disrespected. We have suffered broken bones, torn muscles, back problems, head issues and many of us, even surgeries because of the amount of work we put in.
Nobody will know how dangerous cheerleading is, or what it consists of until they have experienced it for themselves. We respect your sport. Now, why can you not respect ours?
Video by Abigail Chovan and Myla Tissander
By Rachel Nguyen
Back to school seems to be a time of dread for most kids in the modern day and age. To ensure a good year, there are a few simple ideas to think about.
1. Wake up everyday with a positive mindset.
Of course this is not as easy as it sounds. Most people are tired and groggy in the morning, and let’s be honest, it is difficult to wake up with a grin. But in order to wake up with a positive mindset, just breathe. Realize how precious that breath is, savor the feeling of being alive, experience every sensation and smile in even the groggiest state.
2. Maintain motivation throughout the day.
When motivation is dropping, try to think of little parts during the day to look forward to. Maybe it is a specific time during a passing period, maybe it is a nap after school, maybe it is a trip to the coffee shop. Having something to look forward to helps keep your spirits up.
3. Avoid complaints.
By simply avoiding any opportunity to slip a negative comment in the day will automatically seem better. Most people do not realize, but every complaint, even the typical ones heard in the hallway every day, like “I’m cold. I’m tired. School sucks” can be a serious mood-killer.
Keeping these small tips in mind can help make for not only better attitude, but a better school year.