VistaNow The Student News Site of Mountain Vista High School Tue, 29 Sep 2020 01:49:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 It’s Time for Passion and Curiosity to Take Over Our Education System Tue, 29 Sep 2020 01:48:55 +0000 I remember a time when I was excited to go to school. Learning wasn’t a chore, it was a passion. As a kindergartner, my favorite part of the day was the car ride to school. Every morning I was beaming with excitement and an eagerness to learn; learning was my passion. Now, I’m the complete opposite.


 The K-12 education system is a worn out and outdated system that has only let down the children of the future again and again. An education system established around class ranks, statistics and memorization will never be effective in equipping students for their futures. In order to make the education system worthwhile, the current curriculum must be reworked to invoke passion and curiosity into its students at a young age rather than memorization and unhealthy competition. 


“K-12 education is an exhausted, bloodsoaked battlefield. So let’s redeploy some of our education passions, on all sides, to an area where we may be able to find common ground: providing a foundation,” said opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof (1).


Instead of reforming the amount of homework students have each night or whether it’s necessary to take art or physical education, politicians and educational board members must shift their attention to the matter at hand; the wellbeing of their students. A basic education should be supplied to every student, an education that equips each student with the knowledge and skills for success during all stages of life. Students are taught how to survive, not how to learn. 


“School kills curiosity. When do children get to ask questions about things that interest them? As soon as they are at primary school they have to shut up and learn. It’s not the fault of teachers. They have so many targets to meet,” said educator Matt Caldwell (2).


Obtaining knowledge over a good grade will always be more effective. If schooling systems harvested curiosity and encouraged passion during all stages of the K-12 system, students would be eager to continue their education and actually be able to make a change in the world. 


Basic education should revolve around creating a desire to learn, grow and adapt; as soon as this educational shift occurs, the wellbeing and insurance of national and global security only increases. Passion is what drives mankind to do great things; it pushes individuals to use their limited time on earth efficiently and successfully. It is what encourages citizens beyond their limits and to reach goals that they set.


As soon as our classrooms are booming with passion and curiosity, so will our workforce and society. Schooling is one’s foundation for success, so it is politician’s and board members’ duty to spark this passion of learning for life. If education is going to be deemed as a priority, it’s time we get our priorities straight. 


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If You’re a Teenager, You Need to Watch ‘The Social Dilemma’ ASAP Mon, 28 Sep 2020 21:28:22 +0000 Photo courtesy of The Social Dilemma (2020)

“The Social Dilemma” (2020), a seemingly straightforward documentary that ultimately became an eye-opening, slightly terrifying and educational piece. The film dives into the hard truth about social media and its effects on users, specifically focusing on defining the unnamed problems within the technology industry. 

The film’s unique structure jumps between different perspectives and provides a transparent view of the world of social media. Director Jeff Orlowski invites viewers to put their phones down and tap into the facts, real-life examples and the effects of our ever connected world. The main perspectives shown were of those who work in the technology industry and a fictional family of five. Each perspective breaks down different aspects of the social media world, explaining and exhibiting each one in a seamless fashion. 

The interviewees set an ominous tone during the first 10 minutes and only continued that trend throughout the documentary. It gave the film a personal feel, making it seem as if you have known these people your entire life, even taking the time to explain how they are sucked into this unintentional hole with the rest of us. This portion essentially broke down exactly how companies target users by collecting every piece of their information to create a model designed only to stimulate addictive habits to entice users in continuing the use of their platform. 

The fictional family of five is the perfect embodiment of what 21st century families look like — voodoo dolls of technology all thrown into one household. The dialogue was not only entertaining, but painfully accurate and helpful in supporting the situations that were exemplified not even two seconds before. 

Throughout these two perspectives, viewers are met with terrifying statistics and insight into just how these companies have created such an impact on our society. The strategies are truly eerie, just because they really do work. Focusing on engaging, growing and advertising with users has created a rabbithole that an entire society has found itself trapped in. 

“Advertisers are the customers, we’re the thing being sold,” Co-Founder of Humane Technology Aza Raskin said. 

These stone cold facts took center stage in my mind, which honestly only heightened the validity of their argument: viewers are forced to evaluate themselves and understand how they really aren’t themselves, just the product of well-produced advertisements. 

“How much of your life can we get you to give to us?” former executive of Facebook, former President of Pinterest and current CEO of Moment Tim Kendall said. (13:52)

As this line settled in my mind, I was forced to come to terms with the true impact of seemingly harmless technological advancements. Captivated by the somewhat distressing theme of the documentary, feelings of panic and realization left me frozen in front of my screen. I had unknowingly tethered myself to an online persona that I will never escape from, a persona that almost feels as if I signed a contract designed to waste away my life. 

Growing up in the world of social media has tainted my upbringing in a sense, but I feel as if this is common knowledge for Generation Z teenagers. In reality, our generation’s interests, what we buy, our actions, our morals, news, political views and everything in between has been built by feeds that are tailored to gradually influence us. 

It would be foolish to not watch the documentary. The informative agenda undoubtedly shows the negative effects of social media and exemplifies what being engulfed into this world so early means for our generation. It is our duty to understand the complexities of the world we live in, and this is one way to do it. 



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Masks Galore Meets the High School Principal Mon, 21 Sep 2020 16:48:00 +0000 Insight into Mountain Vista High School Principal Michael Weaver’s perspective in light of COVID-19 and school re-openings. 

There are a total of 2,389 students at Mountain Vista, each one of them known by name to principal Michael Weaver. It is not uncommon to see smiling principal Weaver, 2017 Administrator of the Year, floating around the halls, greeting the crowd of students bouncing from class to class. 


Ever since Weaver’s start at Vista in 2011, he has served as a friendly face during all the twists and turns that come with being a high school principal. One of these twists was the advent of coronavirus and the challenges it created in returning to school.


“I personally was kind of looking at all the different possible ways that we would go back,” Weaver said. “ I just kind of started to look at each of the scenarios and [had] a strategic plan for each one.”


Weaver prioritized the wellbeing of all members of the Vista community, which was especially difficult due to the ever changing circumstances surrounding the virus. 


“As weeks go by, things change on a daily basis,” Weaver said. “Having a foundational plan was semi-effective, but the things we thought about one day [were] applicable, and the next day they’re not.” 


Classrooms, lunches and every other aspect of going to high school in 2020 became a hot topic as the school year neared, particularly in regards to what changes were made because of the virus. 


“We started coming up with a thousand different questions and had at least answers under the protocols under social distancing and how to manage that in the most safe way,” Weaver said. “There are a lot of pieces, whether people are 100% in agreement with them or not, they have to understand that we are trying to make it work.”


COVID-19 has inconsequentially served as a new chapter of Weaver’s career and has provided him, along with the staff and student body, a surflux of emotions. He refers to the community as “pawns in the game,” and has been approaching this game with empathy and the ideology of keeping everyone’s best interest at heart. 


“I’ve tried to find this balance without getting too emotionally involved in any specific aspect of it. It has challenged me. This is my 34th year [as an administrator], and I’ve never seen anything like this, and I think that in itself has created a change,” Weaver said. “I think that you have to be ready for things that you would have never anticipated, not just in education, but in life.”


As the face of Vista, Weaver carries a substantial amount of weight on his shoulders, but with COVID-19 added into this leadership role, it makes the task even more challenging. Feelings of stress have been extremely high, but Weaver maintains a positive attitude. 


“We’ve established a trusting relationship between myself and our community over the years that I know that they think I’m trying to do the right thing,” Weaver said. “I’m so thankful that people are pretty understanding of where we are.”


As of now, Vista is on a hybrid schedule. The two cohorts rotate in and out of the building; some school days are filled with a pileup of browser tabs from every class, while others are filled with socially distanced classrooms and masks galore. 


Moving forward. That’s what the majority of all the conversations, board meetings and decisions are aiming for. Although a normal school year is far from sight, Weaver has a word of advice for Vista’s students in each grade, advice addressing everyone’s slightly tinted high school experience.  


Freshman, hang on and be patient because the normal of [the] high school experience that all the other classes have had, [you haven’t]. The kids above you will show you the way once we get back to normal…

Sophomores, [you] have a responsibility to step up and begin to lead in different ways that they may not understand or are ready for…

Juniors, there’s a transition between remembering and knowing what it’s supposed to be like, but living this strange unique expectation. We fully believe that by the time they have an opportunity to lead, that they will remember what it’s supposed to be like… 

Seniors, nothing is going to look like what you had planned in your minds, and we understand that and we’ll do everything we can to try and give you guys experiences that are meaningful and make it special with no guarantees.” 





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5 Iconic Teen Dramas For Your Binge List Thu, 23 Jul 2020 22:51:54 +0000 //EMERY DAVIS//

Whether you’re a natural born binge-watcher, or can’t stand to be on the couch for more than an hour, everybody has a favorite TV show. You may prefer the shows that require little to no thought and can be left on in the background of everyday activities. Or perhaps you’re more attracted to grittier shows with detailed plots and distinguishable character development.

Whether you favor one type of show over the other, this list of five binge-worthy, addictive shows has something for every high schooler looking to cure their pandemic-driven boredom.

5. “Freaks and Geeks” (1999)

Found on: Amazon Prime Video

Based around the ‘80s, this classic follows two groups of high schoolers: the “freaks” and the “geeks.” While the younger main character is spending his freshman year navigating the terrifying halls and avoiding stereotypical high school bullies, his older sister is thriving with the burnouts under the bleachers. The freaks spend all their time cutting class and questioning the point of getting an education, while the geeks spend all their time focusing on academics and the art that 1980s film is. “Freaks and Geeks’” stark contrast between the two groups makes for a humorous plot paired with strong life lessons that come from high school mistakes. Though it only ran for one season, it’s a great start to grow your binge watching stamina.

4. “Gossip Girl” (2007-2012) 

Found on: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play

Though it’s totally unrealistic, you can’t help but become enveloped in the story of “New York’s elite.” “Gossip Girl” is the story of teens growing up in New York City’s Upper East Side, who attend a posh private school and have lots and lots … and lots … of money. As mentioned, it is incredibly unrealistic, as you constantly see the clearly underage teens broodingly sipping scotch while deep in thought. The character development within each individual is flawless, as your opinions on each character may change by the end of the series. Don’t worry though, if you end up having no commitment to the show, yet are interested in what happens to the characters, you could always pick up a copy of the books, written by Cecily von Ziegesar.

3. “Derry Girls” (2018-present) 

Found on: Netflix

This “TV” program showcases teenage life in Northern Ireland in the 1990s during an ethnonationalist conflict called “the Troubles.” While the show does include a little bit about the ethnonationalist issues at hand, it mainly focuses on a group of five teens who attend a Catholic secondary school, where they often find themselves getting in trouble as a group. “Derry Girls” is a light hearted comedy for people of all ages, but especially teens, as it captures the truly awkward and chaotic years we all suffer through yet enjoy.

2.“That ‘70s Show” (1998-2006) 

Found on: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

This is one of the shows that doesn’t require too much of an attention span to enjoy. With its goofy cast of unforgettable and iconic characters, “That ‘70s Show” has a bit of humor for anybody to enjoy – from dad jokes to drug humor. Not only is it a comedy, but it also has a deeper and more emotional substance that many people enjoy. Flecks of romance and personal struggle are sprinkled into the show to give it more of a realistic feel since, as we all know, life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Plus the music throughout the show is mainly ‘70s rock…what’s not to like?

1. “Skins” (UK) (2007-2013)

Found on: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

This British offering is extra intense and edgy, like no teen drama you’ve ever seen before. What sets this show apart from your typical teen drama is the fact that every two seasons the show sheds its cast to bring in new characters and new, unique storylines. Not only that, but many of the writers on the show are teenagers themselves, and who knows the teens mind better than teens themselves? Each episode of “Skins” follows a specific character within his or her respective generation, discussing difficult topics such as drug abuse, eating disorders, sexuality, heartbreak and intense academic pressure. Though it sounds like a lot of sadness and difficult topics, the show features excellent cinematography and euphoric feel-good moments involving the lovable and iconic characters whom you grow to love. 

Hopefully now that you have this handy list, you’ll give some of these shows a try. Whether or not you’ve never heard of these shows, now is the perfect time to give them a chance. What these programs all have in common is the struggles and challenges that we all face as teenagers. 

Television is not only to entertain, but to help us forget about our own issues and instead focus on the issues of the characters we love and may keep within our hearts for years to come.

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The Marching Halts Mon, 20 Jul 2020 04:16:06 +0000 //EMERY DAVIS//

Whether students look forward to it or not, the fall semester is drawing nearer and nearer. With many uncertainties and some confusion because of COVID-19, students wonder what school may look like in the upcoming school year. 

Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, whether the marching band season would take place or not was up in the air. However, on Tuesday, July 7, the Colorado Bandmasters Association (CBA) finalized the decision to cancel the marching band season altogether. 

It was a long discussion where many proposals were made, including spectator-free events, virtual concerts and in-school evaluations of bands, rather than the usual competitions.

This upcoming season would have been junior Ryan LaTourrette’s third season with Vista’s Marching Band; though he didn’t want the season to be cancelled, LaTourette recognized that the decision was for the students’ best interest. 

“My feelings [about the season being cancelled] are mixed. I believe that they should not have cancelled marching band this year,” LaTourrette said. “On the other side, it was the safer choice. Colorado would have made a risky decision if they were allowing kids to be out and near others, while probably not [social] distancing because we’re teenagers. That would have been a bad look for CHSSA and [the CBA.]”

With the marching band season being cancelled, participants will not only miss out on important growth which comes from the classes they are enrolled in, but also the social aspect of the extracurricular. Many of the marching band students value the bonds and friendships they build throughout their time with the marching band, along with the opportunity to travel. 

“It’s always so fun to perform with your friends, and it makes me sad to think that will no longer happen,” senior Jenna Lester said. “[What I’ll miss most this season] is being able to go to competitions and performing in front of other schools, as well as seeing their performances.”

The CBA website states they believe the cancellation of marching band season will provide “an opportunity for all of us to seek new ideas, activities [and] instructional processes that will enhance the growth of instrumental music education.”

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PHOTOS: Class of 2020 Graduation Thu, 09 Jul 2020 21:46:26 +0000 //EMERY DAVIS & SOREN BROCKWAY//

Lightning delays, social distancing and masks. The class of 2020 experienced a graduation unlike any other Mountain Vista High School has seen. On June 27, 2020, Mountain Vista seniors walked across the stage at EchoPark Stadium in Parker, Colo., stepping into their future lives after high school. 

Due to COVID-19, graduation for the class of 2020 looked much different than what the students envisioned at the beginning of the school year. Each student was only allowed two guests to ensure social distancing was maintained between spectators. Chairs on the field were arranged alphabetically, with six feet between each seat on every side. As students crossed the stage with their diplomas, they received an elbow bump from Principal Michael Weaver rather than a handshake. 

Though this year’s setup and mood was a little different than it was in previous years, it was still a regular graduation ceremony with several speakers. Just as one of the five speakers was approaching the podium to give their speech, an immediate evacuation was called because of lightning in the area. 

For half an hour, seniors and guests waited in cars as the lightning passed. Once the area was clear, graduates returned to their seats and the speeches continued without further incident. Speakers included Student Body President Colby Field, Student Body Vice President Kate Sherman, Principal Michael Weaver, DCSD Superintendent Dr. Thomas Tucker and senior McClain Easton. 

Along with speeches came artistic performances. Seniors Liam McChesney and Samantha Garvey performed pieces showcasing their singing skills, along with senior Emma Holt performing one of her poetry pieces. 

Though the school year’s abrupt and premature ending concerned students regarding end of the year activities, the seniors remained positive and, fortunately  were granted the graduation they have anticipated for 12 years. Regardless of the current epidemic and social justice war raging in America, anybody could tell the seniors were thankful to have walked across the stage on the cloudy day of June 27.

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Why Smartphones Make You Less Smart Wed, 06 May 2020 23:10:51 +0000


Our generation is growing up in a time of constant stimulation and instant gratification. It seems as if everything we could ever need or want is right at our fingertips, and one of the biggest, and most common tools we have easy access to is a smartphone. They provide us with a world of inspiration and unlimited knowledge to hold in the palm of our hand, and with so much access to many helpful tools and resources, it wouldn’t be wrong to think that smartphones are in fact helping to make us smarter, right? However, that assumption is far from the truth. From the persistent distractions, decreasing social skills and lowered cognitive abilities that they cause, our smartphones are doing a lot more harm than you would think.

Think about it; is there ever a time during the day when you’re not on or near your phone? No matter what, it’s constantly on our minds, consciously or subconsciously. These so-called “smart” devices that we hold in such high esteem are actually draining our brainpower. This is proven in a study that came out from The University of Texas at Austin, by Assistant Professor Adrian F. Ward and other co-authors. The study claims that “the mere presence of one’s own smartphone reduces available cognitive capacity,”. 

The study conducted an experiment in which 548 undergraduate students participated, and they were given different cognitive tests when their phone was either placed on a desk, in a bag or in a separate room, in order to discover how the presence of their smartphone affected their performance. Many of the results came back as expected, finding that cognitive ability increases the further away the smartphone is from the participants, with the most glaring finding being that no matter what, knowing that your smartphone is nearby attracts automatic attention. 

Even when we aren’t consciously thinking about our smartphones while trying to do work or complete a task, it’s always there in the back of our minds draining our brainpower. As Ward explained when releasing the study, “Your conscious mind isn’t thinking about your smartphone, but the process of requiring yourself not to think about something uses up some of your limited cognitive resources. It’s a brain drain.”

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m able to see the truth even in my own habits. It’s a rare occasion when I’m able to finish a homework assignment without checking my phone in the middle of it, or thinking about what I could’ve missed in the time I’ve set it down for, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who notices this. 

In an article that summarizes the many problems with our reliance on smartphones and outlines research from many neurology experts on the topic, the author says that “smartphones are causing real damage to our minds and relationships, they have impaired our ability to remember. They make it more difficult to daydream and think creatively.”

Using our smartphones has become increasingly habitual and addictive to the point that we can’t go about our day without it. Our minds feed off of the thrill we get from looking at social media or sending a text message, and we often forget how to live our lives free of this technological burden that not only is a constant distraction but also lowers our intelligence, takes away our creativity and causes us to require more effort for simple tasks. 

The most effective solution derived from almost all experts and research scientists is simple; separation. It doesn’t have to be all the time, just enough to allow your brain to detach itself from needing stimulation from technology to function, and so you can regain and develop some lost cognitive ability and brainpower.

We all are capable of living a more beautiful and happier life, but we seem to be missing out on it without even realizing. It’s hard to thrive in an impatient, dopamine-driven society, but I do believe that a change can be made not only to improve the lives and future of our generation, but also to help individuals to feel more in control, focused, and maybe even a little smarter.

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Only in America Sun, 03 May 2020 18:13:02 +0000 //PAIGE GERLING//

Only in America do people in scrubs stand in the way of screaming protestors. Only in America is the fine line between chivalry and pure ignorance blurred. Only in America do people masquerade around preaching misguided statements, thinking they are above the law. It is a disgrace to our country and the principles it should stand for. 

While the world sits anxiously in their homes, hundreds of people across the country are crowding together in protest. “The right to petition is ensured under the First Amendment,” is the sentiment coming from the protestors who rebel against stay-at-home orders. However, the First Amendment does not ensure the right to idiocy. Yes, it is true that the First Amendment ensures the right to petition, but when hundreds of people are repeatedly violating the law by doing it, there’s a different scenario. 

Undoubtedly, millions of people across the country have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The number of unemployed persons rose by 1.4 million to 7.1 million in March.” Millions of adults from across the nation have stopped going to work in-person, working from home instead. And, according to Pew Research Center, The onset of coronavirus has approximately 40% of working-age adults working from home. 

The harsh situation faced by many Americans makes this unprecedented time even more critical, and it is up to us to treat it as such. It is easy to list the number of things that have gone amiss, and it is easy to respond and retaliate. 

As a teenager, I may not yet know what it feels like to lose a job, or what it feels like to lose faith in the people who are supposed to protect us from this looming threat. However, I do know that protesting the orders that are put in place to keep us safe is not the way to go about the situation.

While all 50 states have some form of stay-at-home order in place, it also seems that many states are teeming with protestors, decrying their own safety. When protestors flock state capitol buildings in herds, do they expect any results? 

The more people who swarm state governments, the longer the wait. If perhaps 500 people (who, given the supposed issue they are protesting) swarm together, who knows how many other people they have brought along with them? In the form of handshakes, hugs, coughs, sneezes and even passing somebody walking along the street. 

By swarming in crowds, people who oppose stay-at-home orders are making the situation worse for themselves and every citizen of the world who is trying their best to comply with the motions set in place. For every crowd of people who protests, a family could have to wait another day for a meal, or a working citizen may have to wait a bit longer for their next paycheck. 

A virus with no face and no personality, much less an identity, manifests itself into a powerful being which, for some, dominates every waking thought.

This virus may seem like a bleak prognosis at times, but we are selling our potential short. With the help of thousands of doctors, nurses, law enforcement, essential workers in all fields, and, of course, millions of citizens who stay at home, we can defeat coronavirus. 

Only in America do we have the laws and abilities to come together as a community (staying six feet apart, of course) and make a difference. By doing our part, even if that means just staying at home and watching television (if you are able to), we can help defeat the coronavirus and the multitude of societal symptoms that come with it.

Works Cited

“Coronavirus Protests: The Moment a Man in Scrubs Confronts Drivers.” BBC News, BBC, 21 Apr. 2020,

“Employment Situation Summary.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3 Apr. 2020,

“Most Americans Say Coronavirus Outbreak Has Impacted Their Lives.” Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project, 7 Apr. 2020,


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The Spark Words Create Fri, 27 Mar 2020 18:57:02 +0000 //MANDIRA GOWDA//

If there’s any commonalities between generations, it’s literature. For years, authors have written about the faults they see in society and inspire the youth in real life. In the 1920s-1930s, authors took a nihilistic stance and wrote dystopias and fantasies to distract from looming threats. During WWII, authors wrote about the disparities of war and the atrocities of humankind. For our generation, children born in the 1990s-present, authors write about revolution. 

Any popular fiction book, ranging from “Harry Potter” to “Divergent,” has one theme in common: a fanatical villain and a courageous hero. The hero starts out as unwilling, as someone who doesn’t want to go on a mission but finds that that they need to in order to defeat a villain. The villain is an extremist in their beliefs, and will do absolutely anything to maintain their control. While these novels may seem like winding fantasies, they almost always represent our society.

As kids grow up with these novels, they begin to make this connection themselves. The author writes the villain in symbolism to today’s society, representing a dictator-like figure laying down an unjust and immoral law. The hero represents the reader, and as the hero fights to defeat the villain, the author inspires the readers to defeat theirs, anywhere from an abusive figure to the government. 

Throughout history, the theme of revolution has always been prevalent; it’s not a new idea for the 20th-21st century. In fact, one of American history’s most popular books has generated protests, sparked uprisings, and inspired the power to change the law.: “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. As all AP Literature kids know, “The Grapes of Wrath” documents the migration of protagonists from Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression and the thousands of obstacles they face. While many regard this book to be boring and too slow-moving, it was surprisingly fast-paced in allowing the audience in the 1930s-40s to advocate for themselves and take a stand against an unjust law. 

According to Charlotte Ahlin, a writer for Bustle, “The Grapes of Wrath” made many people furious when it first came out, but it soon influenced more people to “advocate for government intervention, and Congress finally passed legislation to help and protect migrant farmers.”

Thousands of books like this, ranging from “Das Kapital” by Karl Marx to “The Wild Fire” by Lung Ying-tai to “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” by Frederick Douglass, have inspired nations of citizens to stand up against an oppressor for what they believe in. 

Yet all of these literature pieces, no matter the time period, only had an impact because their audiences recognized these metaphors as symbols to their own life. In this generation, it’s time we do the same. 

Our world is as dystopian as it can get. With political discrepancies and uprisings, totalitarian regimes, global warming, poverty, hunger, gun violence and the threat of disease and war, you name it, we got it. Nearly every single problem our planet faces is modeled in modern young adult literature; nearly every single young adult dystopian novel models current problems our society faces. 

As young adults ourselves, it’s time we stand up for our beliefs. As the generation that has the power to change the world, it’s time we take a stand and begin the spark towards a revolution. As the children of the world, it’s time we demand for a change, because it’s our lives on the line. It all begins with literature. 

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Who is Call Me Karizma? Tue, 24 Mar 2020 04:31:56 +0000 //EMERY DAVIS//

“I speak for the kids that I help with my music, let’s do this.”

Morgan Parriott has always been an individual with visions of change and ingenuity. From the small 8,000 person town of New Prague, Minn., Parriott has always been a little different from the norm. Though he received criticism in high school for being different and chasing what seemed like impossible dreams, he went on to make a name for himself in the world: Call Me Karizma.

The first time Pariott played his music for a crowd was at the young age of 16. Within a couple of years after his first show, he had earned a spot on a 60-day American tour, where he was an opening act for musicians Blackbear and Mod Sun. Since 2015, the year of the tour, Blackbear has become one of the most popular hip-hop artists worldwide. Little did Call Me Karizma (also known as just Karizma) know, he would end up performing as the main act on his own headlining tour.

Karizma’s interest in achieving his destiny of becoming a musician stemmed from his interest in world-renowned rapper, Eminem. Not only has he picked out some of Eminem’s traits to apply to his sound, Karizma added his own special touches to his music to make it stand out amongst other artists.

“I don’t really have a genre,” Karizma said. “I think it’s more like rock music, but just with rap infused [into it.] It’s [primarily] guitar and drums, that just sound like rock music.”

“I started listening to [Eminem] at a young, young age and I related to him, so I was like, I want to make music just like him,” Karizma said. He appreciates Eminem’s complete transparency and risk-taking, which has translated into many of his own songs. 

“[Eminem] did stuff that no one would nowadays,” Karizma said. “That’s why he’s the greatest, because he said things people were afraid to say.”

One song expected to spark controversy is his 2018 song, “Johnny,” which is the story of a school shooter who goes on a killing spree in his school, ending with his high-achieving classmate Cindy at the end of the barrel. He was advised not to release the song, as it could have been taken the wrong way, being from a school shooter’s perspective.

Karizma recalled his management team telling him: “We can’t put this out unless you at least change [the tone] and make sure that people know that it’s like about mental health, not just glamorizing a shooter.”

Regardless, he took a chance and released it.

Later, on his album “The Gloomy Tapes, Vol. 1,” Karizma uses his fourth track, “psa: johnny” as a statement to explain the release of the song. In simple terms, he expresses his belief that mental health is an important factor in the minds of youth today. He believes gun violence and mental health go hand in hand.

“As a society, we have ignored countless signs of mental illness and blanketed these issues with prescription pills and stigmas that only polarize these kids who need help the most,” he said. “No boy, hardly yet through puberty, would ever do what Johnny did without being mentally ill and drastically affected in a negative way by our society.”

Mental health has always played an important role in Karizma’s life, which has translated deeply into his career and lyrics. His advocacy for mental health has never been something Karizma has hidden from fans and friends. Fans bond with him through his words, beautifully written with feelings of not only sadness but also healing. The community he has built is one based on acceptance, kindness and awareness.

Not only has Karizma built his empire of fans from his euphoric sound and deep, meaningful lyrics, but also the deep compassion he shows his supporters. 

“Don’t [pursue music] for the wrong reasons,” Karizma said. “The wrong reasons like making money and trying to get girls and all that because that’s what not to do.”

After every show, and even between some tour dates, Karizma holds meet and greets at malls and parks. All he truly wants is the love and support from fans. He’s not all about the money. 

“When I meet fans, and I see they have tattoos of my lyrics and stuff, knowing that they’re down to ride forever, is the greatest thing,” Karizma said. “It’s like you’re just creating a family throughout the whole world with music that I just make in my bedroom.”

Karizma has been and always will be driven by the connection between himself and his supporters. He focuses on the positive people in his life and disregards those who try to discourage his undeniable hard work. 

“The only people that drag you down are those people that are either jealous of where you’re at, or they’re just mad that they haven’t like taken the leap to get there,” Karizma said. “No one can really bring you down but yourself.”

As far as Karizma and his team know, an album is in the works, with his newest song set for release on March 27. Though what’s to come beyond that is currently unknown, Karizma hopes to continue adding to his fanbase and growing individually.

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