Archive for the ‘ Features ’ Category

How to End Poverty

By Saiarchana Darira

This research paper was originally written for Ms. Mezeske’s Math Honors Class.

My eyes open, and it’s another day. Suddenly problems overwhelm me, and I start worrying – worrying about college, the ACTs, the SATs, and writing this paper in time. Thousands of mile away, a child in poverty opens his or her eyes. Worries plague their minds too – but these are different ones – about having enough to simply stay alive. The problems in a first world country seem like nothing in a third world country living in poverty. Poverty is one of this world’s greatest problems, and it affects millions of human beings on a daily basis. To an average human being, problems like poverty seem impossible to solve. But, can the solution to poverty actually be simpler than one thinks? Poverty is something that is solvable. Here is how to end poverty.

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The Freshman Experience

By Michael Staudt

Freshman year in high school can be very intimidating or amazing. In movies, freshman in high school usually are not treated well, or are simply bullied to extreme levels. However, I am going to test these theories of freshman year experiences, here at TCP.

Throughout interviews I conducted with several freshman, I got one result. Most of them enjoyed the school and would never want to go back to their previous school. Most of the freshman I interviewed were nervous about the homework they had heard about at the open house. However, once they started to work out the homework throughout the school year, most of them agreed that it was a decent amount.

“I love TCP! I feel like I fit in more here then at my old school,” said Isabel Garcia.

“I love the teachers and the people at TCP,” stated Arath Aguayo.

Many of the freshman interviewed also expressed a feeling of fascination with the experiences they had had this year. Many of them had gained more friends then they had at their old school and liked the teachers more here.

To conclude, many of the freshmen attending TCP have expressed fascination and happiness during their freshman year. Some of them are a bit anxious about the sophomore semester, but are excited about the new classes that are available. Personally being a freshman, I believe that my freshman year has been enthralling, electrifying, and joyful. I am glad that I am attending TCP and along with other freshman, will remember this year for decades to come.

A Review of the first season of FX’s Legion

By Kaleb Lyonnais

On March 29, FX premiered the first season finale of Legion, a television program about the character of the same name taken from Marvel Comics.  The eight-episode season was short but potent, distinguishing itself with creative use of special effects and a uniquely-unpredictable plot.

Legion is set in the same continuity as the X-Men movie franchise. The X-Men are a group of mutants, people with superpowers gained through random genetic aberrations. They were created in 1963 by Stan Lee who, after creating many other superheroes, was tired of writing origin stories for each character. David Haller, the mutant known as Legion, is the son of Professor X, the leader of the X-Men. However, with minimal references and no crossovers with the movies, anyone can understand Legion even if they have not seen the X-Men.

David is telepathic and telekinetic. Unfortunately, he is also schizophrenic, having hallucinations of strange voices and images. At the beginning of the season he believes that whenever he hears someone else’s thoughts, whenever he sees something fly across the room, or whenever anything inexplicable happens, that it is a symptom of his insanity.

As the story progresses David does not know if he is insane or if he has superhuman abilities. He must decide who he believes, the psychiatrists who want to treat his illness or the fellow mutants who want to train him to use his power.

Meanwhile David’s new friends, a group of mutants from the “Summerland” institute, are at war with Division 3, a government agency trying to control mutants. The mutants vs. government motif has been done in the X-Men movies, but Legion took the novel approach of focusing on telepathic deceit instead of combat.

Special effects are used throughout the series to portray these illusions, from monsters projected into people’s minds to entire fantasy worlds with different laws of physics. The producers stated that they aimed for a 1960s aesthetic, with bright colors and surreal scenes. The result is a memorable and palpable affect that provides continuity between the real world and the various illusions.

Much of the story is told in a non-linear order. Courtesy of another mutant, David and his new friends explore his memories. They visit many incidents where David’s power manifested, jumping from year to year. David’s memories have been corrupted, leading to an unreliable, convoluted search for the truth. Despite this complexity, the audience can follow the story easily as David tries to explain it all.

Legion‘s cast is small, allowing the audience to focus on the story instead of trying to keep track of all of the characters. David is played by Dan Stevens, who does an excellent job acting confused and uncertain without dehumanizing the character. Rachel Keller plays David’s love interest Syd, a woman with an intense aversion to physical contact (which, considering her ability to switch bodies with people she touches, is a reasonable precaution). Aubrey Plaza plays Lenny, David’s friend who dies the first episode, then makes recurring appearances as David hallucinates about her. Their allies/co-stars include the memory-exploring Ptonomy (played by Jeremie Harris), the body-sharing Cary and Kerry (Bill Irwin and Amber Midthunder), and the leader of Summerland, Melanie (Jean Smart).

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the show is its portrayal of mental illness. David begins the series in a mental hospital where melancholy patients endlessly take pills from uncaring psychiatrists. Several times mental illness is used as a trick to convince mutants that they do not truly have powers. Even David’s real hallucinations (as opposed to the real events he thinks are hallucinations) are revealed to be the result of meddling by another psychic mutants. The series gives the impression that mental illness is a lie and that mental hospitals are traps for social outcasts.

Because of the unreliable narrative and layers of illusions, the plot takes turns that are nigh unpredictable. It is made clear to the audience that David is both telepathic and schizophrenic, but this makes it unclear which events are real and which are imagined. Every episode has a revelation about an seemingly-real character doing something unreal or a seemingly-unreal event launching a real plot line.

Legion has a unique style of storytelling and captivating special effects. Its characters have multi-faceted motivations and do not rely on stereotypes to fit into the story. The plot, while complex, flows smoothly and does not resort to patronizing the audience with exposition. It is an enjoyable show to watch and an excellent experiment in entertainment.

 

Pink Diplomas: Gender Bias in Upper-Division Math and Science

By Amanda Bertsch

This essay was written for Tri-City Prep’s Math Honors class, which asks students each spring to write a paper on a topic in mathematics.

“What are you even doing here? You belong in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.”

These are the words that greeted Eileen Bertsch when she went to ask her calculus TA a question. Shocked, she didn’t respond, walking away without the answer to her query (Bertsch). The year was 1980.

Almost a century after the first women graduated from engineering programs, she was facing some of the same blunt rejection that these pioneering women engineers struggled through. As a freshman in college, she was hearing the same sexist rhetoric that had persisted for decades, still as sharply obvious as ever. Her calculus TA, while a particularly blatant example of why women are underrepresented in engineering, was only one of a series of challenges she and her sister Patricia Haslach would face as they earned engineering degrees. Continue reading

Essay: Hamlet and Finding the Reality in Ecstasy

By Katherine Christians

This essay was written for Tri-City Prep’s College Composition 102 class.

The protagonist’s father appeared before him; ashen and dressed for battle. The form of his hulking parent is transparent enough to grant him the ability to see the trees behind the once-living man. The ghost of his father tells the harrowing tale of his death to his son; one not of natural causes; but of murder. The son is left alone, bloodless and shaking, with one task: to avenge his father’s death. Though the dramatic air to this moment is admirable, the fact that a ghost appeared to tell his son of it’s murder; is questionable, to say the least. If someone assaulted someone else and then proceeded to tell the jury that they did so because a ghost told them to, their sanity would most likely be questioned. But when such a thing happened in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the audience seemed to have no qualms believing in the actions of a madman.

The Shakespearean tragedy, Hamlet, is the story of a young man who’s father just died, and an uncle who stole his throne. Wrought with anger and confusion, Hamlet is told, by the ghost of his father, that his uncle, the new king, was his murderer. Bent on getting revenge for his father’s wrongful death, Hamlet “pretends” to be corrupted with ecstasy; or madness. As the play progresses, Hamlet’s actions, and sanity, grow more questionable; until, finally, Hamlet’s deranged activities lead to the death of his uncle, mother, peer, and himself. The question that haunts the audience during the play is: was Hamlet truly mad, or was he just pretending? Continue reading