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Theater Review: “What the Constitution Means to Me”

By Camila Cruz, age 16

Forward Theater’s production of “What the Constitution Means to Me,” directed by Jen Uphoff Gray, captures audiences with its unique approach to considering the United States Constitution.

Leading actress Colleen Madden of American Players Theater portrays playwright and protagonist Heidi Schreck in this autobiographical play. Madden opens the play by introducing herself as Heidi Schreck and explaining her connection to the Constitution. As a high schooler, Schreck competed in constitutional speech and debate contests, for which she earned college scholarships. At age 15, Schreck loved the Constitution and its study, and she felt deeply inspired by this “living document.”

The first part of the play revolves around 50-year-old Schreck “recreating” one of her high school competitions. She acts like her polite and invigorated 15-year-old self. But she also pauses her reenactment to comment on how her understanding of amendments and clauses has deepened through time and experience. [Read More]

The Animal-Like Gods of Ancient Egypt

by Marco Flores Gonzales, age 9

Did you know many Ancient Egyptian gods had animal heads? For example, Sobek had a crocodile head, Ra Harakitti had a bird head, and Anubis was a jackal.

Ancient Egyptians had a way of thinking about religion that was rooted in their experiences with nature. This meant that their gods took and incorporated natural experiences into religion. Their gods took the form of animals such as cats, crocodiles, and bulls. Among the lower gods were Maat, the goddess of justice represented with a feather on her head, and Khum, the god who modeled a man on his potter's wheel represented with a ram’s head.

Ancient Egyptians associated natural phenomena with particular gods. The gods represented the forces of nature and helped facilitate everyday activities; these gods created the destiny of the society. [Read More]

Exploring the Artistic Depths of the James Watrous Gallery

by Camila Cruz, age 16, and Ayelen Flores, age 13

At Simpson Street Free Press, we are always on the lookout for art. Recently, student reporters from Simpson Street took a trip to see the James Watrous Gallery at the Overture Center for the Arts. Just like writing, art is a form of discipline and expression. Both of these draw out individual imagination and creativity to convey meanings that reach deeper than the surface.

So, on a bright and sunny summer day, our reporters arrived at the Overture Center at 4:30 p.m. and made our way up to the gallery. The James Watrous Gallery is located on the third floor, where one of the gallery staff greeted us at the entrance and gave us an overview of gallery highlights and ongoing exhibits.

The Watrous Gallery is a program of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. The gallery showcases the work of local artists and, more generally, artists from Wisconsin. We had the opportunity to view featured collections by Colin Matthes and Alison Gates, which were on display from April 28 to July 23. [Read More]

From Bronx "Breaks" to L.A. Rap: The History of Hip-Hop

by Zayn Khalid, age 12

Hip-hop was created nearly fifty years ago. Many of us listen to hip-hop every day, yet many people don’t know its history.

It all started back in 1973 when, “DJ Kool Herc” threw a party for his sister in their apartment building on Sedgwick Ave in the Bronx, New York. He played a type of music called “breaks'', which included some drums, funky percussion, and bass put together. This was where hip-hop was born.

Being a DJ in hip-hop was all about moving your finger back and forth on the vinyl and being creative with it. Later it evolved. People started putting rhyming couplets, which are two-lined poems, in front of the music, then to triplets, three-lined poems, and then to multiple rhyming lines. However, people in Harlem and the Bronx did not believe that rap would ever be a real genre. That changed in 1979 when producer Sylvia Robinson gathered three kids and recorded rhymes over a beat that turned into the famous hit ”Rapper's Delight'' by Sugarhill Gang, which sold millions of copies. The lyrics in that song were stolen from lyrics they heard at parties. This angered many in the community because Sugarhill became known for something the community was already doing. [Read More]

The Life, Legacy, and Tragic End of Selena

by Elim Eyobed, age 12

Selena Quintanilla Perez or simply Selena was a bilingual singer and performer in the early 1990s, and was later murdered on March 31, 1995.

Selena was born on April 16, 1971. Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr, practiced music, and her mother, Marcella Ofelia Samora, was a stay-at-home mom. Selena grew up in Lake Jackson, Texas, speaking English. Later on, her dad taught her how to perform songs in Spanish so she could start performing. When she was 10, Selena started singing for her family band, Selena Y Los Dinos. The band recorded seven albums all together and 31 singles.

In 1989, Selena decided to go solo. Her most popular songs were “Tu Solo Tu” which was No.1 on the charts for 10 weeks, and “Amor Prohibido” which reached No.1 for nine weeks. [Read More]

Exploring the Award-Winning Restoration of the 1868 Brisbane House in Arena, Wisconsin

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13

The historic Brisbane House in Arena, Wisconsin, is renowned for its builder's past. William Henry Brisbane, known as an "abolitionist," faced significant scrutiny when he embraced this cause and subsequently relocated from his Southern home state.

Born on October 12, 1806, Brisbane began his journey as a cadet at the Norwich Military Academy in Norwich, Vermont. He later inherited 33 enslaved individuals from his family. While residing in a South Carolina house with his slaves, Brisbane underwent a transformation in his beliefs, recognizing the inherent wrongfulness of slavery. He made the courageous decision to set his slaves free, a move that garnered heavy criticism and disdain from his community. Nonetheless, this opposition did not deter him from persisting in his human rights campaign. To escape judgment and pursue his cause, Brisbane left South Carolina and settled in what is now Arena, Wisconsin, embarking on a new chapter in his life.

Brisbane harbored grand plans to construct a house where he could reside and eventually provide accommodation for others after his passing. The house was built in the "I-style," a design Southerners transported with them when they migrated North. Characterized by its towering structure and an interior adorned with numerous large windows that facilitated excellent ventilation in the summer, the house also featured tall doors. Remarkably, the house still stands in good condition. [Read More]

How Early Jazz Developed in New Orleans

by Aissata Bah, age 12

There are many opinions of what is important in jazz history, specifically in New Orleans. The musical genre contains history that takes roots in colonization, slavery and much more.

New Orleans was founded as part of the French Louisiana colony in 1718. The territories were given up to Spain, but returned back to France in 1803. At the same time they were returned, Thomas Jefferson bought the territory in the Louisiana Purchase, meaning that New Orleans became part of the United States. People who could speak English began migrating to the area and extended the boundaries of the city. The massive amount of free and enslaved Black people in the area had brought elements of the blues, spirituals and rural dances to the rise of jazz music, since the early 18th century.

The region had a mix of French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean cultural heritage. The residents had an appreciation of good food, wine, music, dance, and also celebrating the many cultures and languages within the city. [Read More]

Germany's Fairytale Castle Come to Life

by Dayanara Flores Gonzalez, age 14

Neuschwanstein is a castle that is located in Germany, which took 17 years to construct. It took 15 men to carve the king's bed and it took them 4 ½ years to finish. Neuschwanstein was a fairytale brought to life.

King Ludwig, who was known as “the Mad King”, developed an obsession with German mythology. In 1861, a performance by Richard Wagner's opera Lohengrin left the King enchanted. When he succeeded to the throne three years later at the age of 18, his first act was to summon Wagner. Once Wagner made money, Ludwig would become his patron.

Meanwhile, King Ludwig would create fancy fairy tales with the everyday story of ancient German knights and make money out of them. Wagner recreated the German legend on stage and showed the struggles of God between good and evil. Ludwig was named Mad King because he was seen as a man with no reality. [Read More]

Monona Mural Is Beloved Local Example of Public Art

by Ayelen Flores Ruiz, age 13

Wisconsin boasts a plethora of stunning and remarkable murals throughout the state, each distinguished by the unique messages they convey. One compelling illustration is the "Water, Land, and Sky" mural located in Monona.

Positioned conveniently on West Broadway, opposite South Towne Mall, this mural is accessible to the public at all times, allowing visitors to capture photographs with it. Crafted in the summer of 2017, it is the result of a collaboration between the city of Monona and Dane Arts Mural Art.

The "Water, Land, and Sky" mural serves as a tribute to the beauty of Monona and its vibrant community. Local artist Rhea Swing breathed life into this masterpiece, with the active involvement of Monona residents, including those from Winnequah Elementary, the Monona Senior Center, and members of the Ho-Chunk Nation. [Read More]

The History and Evolution of Majorette Dancing

by Atisse Robbins, age 12

Majorettes encompass more than just dancing; they hold a significant cultural role, particularly in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as a tribute to Black culture.

The first majorette performance, known to history, occurred in 1968 at the Orange Blossom Classic in Florida. Alcorn State University introduced the first majorette group, the Golden Girls, composed of eight dancers. Originally, majorettes were carnival performers who skillfully manipulated their batons. Originating as Dansmarietjes, this style made its way to the American South and evolved into the HBCU tradition we recognize today.

Majorettes incorporate various dance styles like jazz, hip-hop, ballet, burlesque, kick lines, and bucking to both entertain audiences and pay homage to those who paved the way. At Alcorn State University, Junior Jakayla Loften is a member of the Golden Girls, and she credits her participation to personal growth, both as a dancer and as a woman. [Read More]

Secrets of the Ice: Archaeologists Discover Ancient Arrowhead inside a Melting Glacier

by Camila Cruz, age 15

As glaciers begin to melt, archaeologists in Scandinavia are discovering artifacts that help them learn more about the past. Recently, researchers found a well-preserved 1,500-year-old arrow, in what they believe is an ancient hunting ground.

The archaeologists who discovered the arrow are part of “Secrets Of The Ice”, a group of scientists and glacial archaeologists in Norway who explore and pinpoint glaciers. This arrow is not just any arrow. Not only is it believed to be older than the Vikings that inhabited the land from roughly 800-1100 AD, but it is also extremely well preserved.

The arrow was found between two rocks in Norway in an area where ancient people likely hunted reindeer. The archeologists think that the arrow was lost in the snow when one of the hunters missed a shot. Archaeologists believe the arrow was frozen into a glacier, and when the glacier melted it made its way down to where it was found. The fletching which helps stabilize the arrow while it’s flying is gone, but the arrowhead is still attached to the shaft, which is a unique discovery. [Read More]

Marilyn Monroe's Life of Fame Had a Tragic Behind-the-Scenes

by Siwoo Park, age 12

Marilyn Monroe was one of the most iconic film stars of the 1950s, and to this day, she remains a timeless image of beauty and style. Her rise to Hollywood fame was a “rags-to-riches” story, but was her reality all fame and glory?

Norma Jean Baker, later known as Marilyn Monroe, was born on June 1st, 1926. She was the daughter of Gladys Baker, who was a film editor for RKO Pictures. Unfortunately, Gladys’ mental state worsened after Norma’s birth, and she was transferred to a mental institution. During her childhood, Norma was put in orphanages and foster homes.

In 1941, Grace McKee Goddard, a friend of Gladys Baker, took Norma in as she could no longer afford to help her. Norma’s best alternative was to get married at the age of 16 to her 21-year-old neighbor. She married James Dougherty in 1942, but he joined the Merchant Marines and was sent to the South Pacific. [Read More]

Hades: Feared Ruler of the Underworld

by John Agbo, age 13

Among the pantheon of Greek gods and goddesses, one figure stands out for his immense power and influence: the Lord of the Underworld. His dominion over the afterlife and his pivotal role in the creation of the seasons, through the abduction of his wife, Persephone, make for a fascinating narrative.

Hades' father was Cronus, the titan lord, and his mother was Rhea. Cronus overthrew his father and, in fear that his children would do the same, decided to swallow them—Hestia, Hades, Poseidon, Demeter, and Hera. One of Cronus’ children, Zeus, was hidden away, but years later, he returned to free his siblings. Cronus coughed up each child. Hades landed in a crater, symbolizing that he would rule the Underworld. [Read More]

Helena Rubinstein Built a Multimillion-Dollar Beauty Empire

by Ermiyas Abiy, age 8

Have you ever wondered how the makeup and cosmetic industry started? Are you curious to know who built a multimillion-dollar beauty industry? Helena Rubinstein was one of the first women to achieve this feat.

Helena Rubinstein was born on Christmas Day, December 25, 1870. She founded a global cosmetics empire, which began her journey of becoming one of the wealthiest women in the world. She used her wealth to create a product that would become one of the most successful on the planet. The foundation, a face cream, helped women's health. The brand was named after her and still exists to this day.

Helena always found business opportunities, especially when she visited some relatives in Australia. She discovered that women's skin was damaged and drier in hot weather. She combined her cream with a family formula that improved women's skin, leading her to be even more successful. [Read More]

International Wood Sculpture Festival Honors the Legacy of Harry Whitehorse

By Elim Eyobed, age 13

A festival in honor of Harry Whitehorse, a late Ho-Chunk sculptor from Wisconsin, brought people from all over the world to our backyard. A group of Simpson Street Free Press reporters attended the event and watched some of the world's best woodcarvers create their masterpieces in real time.

The Harry Whitehorse International Wood Sculpture Festival was a week-long event showcasing woodcarving styles from various cultures. The festival took place at San Damiano Park in Monona, from June 14-22.

A semicircle of tents greeted guests arriving at the festival. The tents, which were designed based on traditional Ho-Chunk homes that used to be on the property, housed the artists in residence. In front of their respective work stations stood each artist’s national flag. [Read More]

Learn About Kendrick Lamar's Legacy in Rap Culture

by Zayn Khalid, age 14

Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, also known as Kendrick Lamar or K-Dots, has been on top of the hip-hop/rap podium for 14 years. Kendrick is known for his albums like “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “DAMN”, as well as his lyrical attention and creativity. Most of his music is politically charged and speaks about his upbringing involving gang culture.

Kendrick was born on June 17, 1987, in Compton, California. When he was young, he liked writing poems and stories. Kendrick grew up around a lot of gang culture in his hometown, which he openly writes about in his music. Later, at the age of 16, he started his rap career and went by the name of K-Dots. Kendrick then spread his mixtapes around and gained interest from music companies.

Kendrick’s mixtapes got so much attention that he ended up with a deal from Top Dawg Entertainment. He then released two mixtapes and started working with up-and-coming artists like Jay Rock, AB-Soul, and Schoolboy Q. Kendrick let go of his stage name, K-Dots, and began to use his name in 2010. His first album with Top Dawg Entertainment was “Section.80”, which was exclusively released on iTunes, but can now be found everywhere. Rap legend Dr. Dre took Kendrick under his wing and became his mentor in the music industry. Later, Dr. Dre signed Kendrick to his record label, Aftermath Entertainment, part of Universal Music Group. That put him alongside Eminem and 50 Cent and helped Kendrick take his career to the next level. [Read More]

The Greek Demigod who Became the God of Medicine

by John Agbo, age 13

In Greek mythology, the most powerful gods, known as the 12 Olympians, could not bring back the dead. Only Asclepius, the god of medicine, could. However, Asclepius wasn't always a god; he was born a demigod.

Asclepius was the son of Apollo and Koronis, the god of the sun and a mortal, respectively. In some myths, his mother abandoned him as a child and left him to be raised by a dog and a goat. His father, Apollo, raised him and taught the young demigod the secrets of medicine. Asclepius was tutored by Cheiron, a wise centaur and the teacher of many legendary heroes who lived on Mt. Pelion.

In some myths, Asclepius married Hygeia, another god of health, but in others, she was his daughter, and he married Epione instead. Asclepius had two sons and four daughters. His descendants, known as the Asclepiads, also carried on his legacy of medicine. [Read More]

Ares: The Fierce Greek God of War

by John Agbo, age 13

Ares is known far and wide in Greek mythology as the god of war. He is also one of the 12 Olympians and the most unpopular of them all because of his quick temper and aggression.

Ares’ parents are Zeus and Hera, the king and queen of the Greek gods. Ares was the father of the Amazons and their queen Hippolyta. He had many other children, including Phobos, the god of fear, and his twin brother, Deimos, the god of terror, along with their sister, Eris, the goddess of strife and discord. They all accompanied Ares into war. Due to his unlikeable nature, he earned himself some names like “hateful Ares," "the man-killer," "curse of men'' and many more.

Ares lost almost as many battles as he won. Ares' son Kyknos pillaged his way to the Oracle of Delphi, which Apollo did not like, so he sent Hercules to kill him. Ares fought Hercules, but the hero could not be harmed because he was protected by Athena. Hercules managed to wound Ares by the end of the fight. Ares also lost against his rival Athena, who beat him by throwing a boulder at his head and knocking him out. She helped the hero, Diomedes, wound Ares with his spear. Ares fled to his father, Zeus, on Olympus, but his complaints were ignored. [Read More]

Exploring the Architectural Wonder of Istanbul's Blue Mosque

by Mahalia Pearson, age 13

The Blue Mosque is located in Istanbul, Turkey. It is an architectural masterpiece constructed and preserved since the Ottoman Empire. Its unique design, both structurally and within its interior, makes it an attraction for people worldwide.

The mosque was built as a statement piece for the Ottoman Empire's achievements and greatness. During the building process, Ahmed I declared that if anyone did not win a war, they would not partake in the building process. Due to this statement, there were many wars. Later, when the Ottoman-Safavid war occurred, the Ottomans had to give back many territories to the Persians. When they gave back these territories to the Persians, there was a debate about building the mosque because people thought it was inappropriate or violated the Divine Laws as the treasury financed the mosque instead of the war riches.

Nonetheless, in 1609, the mosque's construction began, which occurred during a time with several complications, such as drought, famine, and the absence of military victories. As these problems occurred, Ahmed, I wanted to leave a positive legacy, so he was uninterested in other duties and activities happening in the kingdom. Instead, he wanted to ensure the mosque was more significant than the Hagia Sophia and Suleymaniye. [Read More]

Rosetta Nubin Was the Guitar-Playing “Godmother” of Rock and Roll

by Riya Adhikari, age 12

Rosetta Nubin was an incredible singer who mixed her church roots with the blues. Despite being dubbed "The Godmother of Rock and Roll," her achievements and diverse musical abilities remain relatively unknown.

Born on March 20, 1915, in the small town of Cotton Plant, Arkansas, Rosetta's parents were cotton workers. While her mother actively participated in the local church, little was known about her father, except that he sang during his free time.

At the age of six, Rosetta, performing religious songs alongside her mother, went by the name Little Rosetta Newbin. Renowned for her exceptional guitar-playing skills, she became exposed to the early recordings of blues queens like Ma Rainey and The Trio of Smiths: Bessie, Trixie, and Mamie. Blues, predominantly sung by females, was the era's most popular music, and Rosetta found herself immersed in it, blending it with the music of her upbringing. [Read More]

Learn About the Ruler of the Greek Gods and Lightning

by John Agbo, age 13

Zeus is the king and supreme ruler of the Greek gods and the Olympians. He is also the god of lightning and thunder. Greek mythology is rich and vast, and it would be difficult to tell the whole story of Zeus, so here is a short story of his life.

Zeus’ father was Cronus, and his mother was Rhea, Cronus’ sister. Cronus took control of the heavens with the help of his mother, Gaia. He has a sickle made of adamantine provided by Gaia. When Cronus defeated his father, he feared his children would overthrow him, so he swallowed them: Hestia, Hera, Demeter, Hades, and Poseidon. When Rhea gives life to Zeus, Gaia worries about his safety, so she tells him to hide on the island of Crete. There, Zeus was raised by Nymphs, which are tree spirits.

Upon reaching adulthood, Zeus went to his father and had himself swallowed so he could feed him a mix of wine and mustard. This would then make Cronus cough up his children, who were born immortal, stayed alive, and had grown inside his stomach. After freeing his siblings, Zeus married his sister Hera. [Read More]

Princess Peach Returns in a New Solo Game

by Amare Smith

It’s been nearly two decades since Princess Peach got a new game, and now Nintendo just announced that she would be getting a second game called “Princess Peach Showtime”. This game was released on March 22, 2024.

The game is only playable on the Nintendo Switch, which left fans needing clarification as Nintendo is coming out with a new console. However, fans anticipate that Nintendo will slowly shift from the Nintendo Switch to the newer console in the next few years. Nintendo has yet to release or announce information regarding the new console, but they will officially make their statements later in 2024. While most didn’t expect Peach to have a new game this year, many are excited to play the game and learn more about the new console later this year.

In the upcoming game, Princess Peach has a few character roles to play. During her levels, she has to beat her enemies and tackle various obstacles. “Super Princess Peach” was the first game of her own. Not many fans enjoyed the first game, but good memories were made, and there are high hopes for the new game. [Read More]

How Local People Maintain the Great Mosque of Djenne in West Africa

by Dayanara Flores Gonzalez, age 16

Djenne is one of the oldest towns in sub-Saharan Africa. Dating back to 250 BC, it grew as an essential connection in the trans-Saharan gold trade and is described as the "Twin City" of ancient Timbuktu. Djenne's rich past is an integral part of Islamic history. It was a center for the spread of Islam in Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. Djenne continues to be a representative of Islamic architecture in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ancient architecture in West Africa uses Earth elaborately. It is home to an abundance of clay houses that blend into its natural surroundings and is the largest earthen mud structure in the world. Every spring, there is a festival that brings the entire town population together to celebrate faith and heritage. This festival is called the Crepissage or the "plastering."

The residents of Djenne work together every year to replaster the Great Mosque. Like the town's traditional clay homes, the mosque contains earthen mud walls coated with adobe plaster. The Sudano-Sahelian architecture, the original structure of the mosque, is believed to have been built around the 13th century. The mosque has been reconstructed at least twice. [Read More]

The Mythical Adventures of Dionysos, Greek God of Wine

by John Agbo, age 13

The Greek god Dionysos, was often depicted as a wild party animal, but his tale has humor, drama, and suspense.

Dionysos, the son of Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, and Semele a mortal, was born under unusual circumstances. Zeus’ jealous wife Hera tricked Semele into asking Zeus to reveal his true form and she was burned up by the sight of him. In his grief, Zeus rescued the unborn demigod, Dionysos, and put him in his thigh to continue his growth. [Read More]

Memorial High School Builds New Art Wing

by Moore Vang, age 15

For the past year and a half, Vel Phillips Memorial (VPM) High School, along with other high schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), has been in the process of renovation and will be finished by the start of the 2024-2025 school year. These renovations are part of the Madison schools' $317 million 2020 Capital Referendum. So far, Memorial has already finished some parts of construction throughout the building such as the music wing, bigger windows in classrooms, and many other features. As a student at VPM, the most exciting addition to me by far has been the new and improved art wing, and here is why.

This art wing is located at the far right of the school and is made up of one bright white hallway, tall ceilings, and massive windows that are over six feet tall and seven feet wide. Highlighting this section of the school are posters, drawings, paintings, along with other pieces of art. Individual classrooms that are devoted to this section are drawing, painting, pottery, video, and many others. In all these classes, there is a dimming light feature which provides better lighting and makes the room livelier along with having more space for supplies, shelves, and other things needed for certain classes. All of these new features benefit both students and teachers in a major way.

Although the art wing at Memorial was not treated well in the past, it now provides many great benefits for both teachers and students. A major improvement is the amount of space in classrooms, providing more room for shelving, supplies, and space for students to collaborate together. Students enjoy having more opportunities to do new things in a creative environment. [Read More]

Ray Charles: A Soulful Genius and Pioneer of Musical Innovation

by Atisse Robbins, age 12

Ray Charles was born September 23, 1930, in Albany, Georgia. Ray was a highly influential American musician who left an amazing mark on the music industry.

He was known as “The Genius.” Charles revolutionized popular music by seamlessly blending various genres such as rhythm, blues, gospel, jazz, and country. His extraordinary talent as a singer, songwriter, and pianist, combined with his innovative approach to music, earned him a lasting legacy as one of the most celebrated and respected musicians of the 20th century.

Ray Charles was born into a modest family and began losing his sight due to glaucoma at a young age. Despite this challenge, he displayed an early affinity for music by teaching himself how to play the piano by ear. The sounds of jazz, blues, and gospel-influenced Ray. Charles honed his musical style which would later spread worldwide. In the 1940s, Charles embarked on his musical journey performing in the vibrant Florida music scene. Inspired by jazz pianists like Art Tatum and Nat King Cole, he soon ventured into rhythm and blues, infusing it with gospel to create a soulful and expressive sound. [Read More]

Exploring the Family Life of the Aztecs

by Marco Gonzalez, age 9

In Mesoamerica, Aztec culture had many interesting practices and beliefs. Their family life was especially important, even though some of its characteristics might seem strange today.

The Mesoamerican culture considered it important for married couples to have kids. Aztec parents would have big celebrations that would last over a day when their baby was born. They would also wait to name their newborns until the celebration. During labor, women were helped by neighbors and other local women since they had no midwives. After giving birth, the mother would wash herself and her newborn in the river or the closet body of water, and the umbilical cord was kept in the house.

The Mesoamerican male's responsibilities included supporting his family and his government through his hard work and paying taxes. Young women were taught to do chores such as weaving and cooking while young men often followed their fathers while they worked. One of the main roles of an Aztec female was to raise children until they were ready to leave the home and marry. [Read More]

Apollo, The Greek God of Light, Healing, and Dance

by John Agbo, age 13

In Greek myths, Apollo often appears with nicknames like" The Rouser of Armie" and" Far-Shooter" due to his popularity in the Greek world. Apollo is associated with light and healing. He has a twin sister who rules the moon, and he rules the sun.

Apollo was born of Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, and Leto, the Titaness of modesty, childbirth, and motherhood. In some stories, Apollo was born with a golden sword. He is mainly sculpted naked as a beardless youth, and his personality is described as bright, joyful, and powerful as the sun. Apollo fathered many children, most famously Orpheus, who almost returned from the underworld with his father's gift of music, and Asclepius, who inherited his father's gift of healing and medicine.

Apollo'ss domain in archery led him to be involved in the Trojan War. In the war, he helped many Trojan heroes, including Hector, Aeneas, and Glaukos, with his divine intervention. He led the Trojan army with Zeus'’ shield, which radiated fear, and brought a plague to the Achaeans with his arrows. The attack Apollo led with the Trojans demolished the forts of the Greeks. He also made Paris'’ arrow fly to Achilles'’ heel, killing the near-invincible hero. [Read More]

The Profound Effects of Music on the Human Brain and Emotions

by Aissata Bah, age 13

Music serves as a form of art and tradition, expressing a wide spectrum of emotions, including anger, amusement, and sadness. It wields a remarkable emotional power that can transform one's mood, evoke physical sensations, and trigger the retrieval of long-lost memories.

The human brain responds to music in profound ways. When we listen to music, various parts of the brain come into play, including the temporal lobe, amygdala, frontal lobe, cerebellum, and hippocampus. These brain regions are involved in processes related to memory, emotions, communication, and muscle control. They help individuals analyze the components of music, such as instruments, lyrics, and musical chords. Moreover, the brain can recognize harmonies and notes, grasp lyrics, and synchronize with the rhythm, giving rise to new emotional experiences.

Music holds a special place in the hearts of many people, offering both enjoyment and therapeutic benefits. According to the Berklee Music and Health Institute, music can open pathways to healing. It has been used as a therapeutic tool for various conditions, ranging from alleviating subjective distress in chronic pain syndromes to influencing the reward circuitry in addiction disorders, the psychomotor pathways in Parkinson's disease, and even the functional connectivity changes in autism spectrum disorders. In simpler terms, music can serve as a form of medicine for trauma, chronic pain, addiction, and conditions that involve a disconnection between the brain and the body. Remarkably, music therapy can provide strength to patients undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy, and other medical treatments due to its emotional effects. [Read More]

J. Cole: From Trailer Parks to Platinum Records - A Rap Legend's Journey

by Zayn Khalid, age 13

Jermaine Lamarr Cole, also known as J. Cole, is considered by many to be one of the best rappers of all time. Cole uses rap and his platform to preach about racism, poverty, single-parent households, political corruption, and drug abuse.

Cole was born in Frankfurt, Germany, on Jan. 28, 1985, on a U.S. Army base. His father was an African-American soldier stationed there at the time. Cole's mother was a white postal worker. His dad left when Cole was a baby. Cole’s mother moved Cole and his brother, Zach, to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where they grew up often living in trailer parks. It was during this time that Cole fell in love with rap.

Cole began playing the violin in an orchestra and taught himself how to rap and produce music. Cole held part-time jobs while still working on his artistic craft. Cole attended St. John's University in New York and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2002 with a communications degree. [Read More]

Unraveling the Mythological Legacy of Poseidon

by Dani Garduno, age 12

Many know Poseidon as ruler of the oceans, however, there is a lot more to his legacy. Greek mythology is based on Greek gods and goddesses, which include Hera, Hades, Athena, Zeus, Hermes, Persephone, and many more.

Poseidon is the god of the seas and floods, as well as the god of storms. Some might even call him the bringer of earthquakes and destruction. He is a key figure in the battle over Olympus and for total control over the universe against the Titans.

Greek mythology illustrates Poseidon as a mature and bearded man holding a trident. He is frequently sculpted riding his golden chariot and being pulled by some hippocamps (half-horse, half-serpent sea creatures), dolphins, seahorses, fish, and other marine animals. Perhaps the most celebrated representation of Poseidon is his bronze statue measuring two meters in height (6.5 feet). This was located in a shipwreck off the coast of Cape Artemisium in Greece. [Read More]

The Ongoing Mystery of the Loch Ness Monster

by Will DeFour, age 13

Many urban legends have endured through the ages, whether it be monsters such as Bigfoot, Mothman, or the Yeti. However, while almost everyone has heard of these characters, their existence is debated. One of the oldest is the Loch Ness Monster, also known as Nessie.

The Loch Ness Monster's first recorded sighting was by an Irish Monk named Saint Columbia. According to legend, he banished the beast to the loch, a large body of water in Scotland, and the creature still lives there today. In 1933, the monster was sighted again and its most iconic photograph was taken.

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Why do Horses Appear in so Many Myths?

by Ian Kosharek, age 11

Horses are not only interesting creatures, but they have also been featured throughout history in various stories across many countries.

For example, Greece has the famous Trojan horse, a story about a giant wooden horse that was rolled into the city of Tory. The Trojans thought it was a surrendering gift but they were wrong. The Greeks rolled the horse into the castle. After which soldiers broke out of the horse and won the war. However, Greece is not the only place with horse stories; other places like the Middle East, India, China, Britain, the Roman Empire, and Norse land also have stories.

Along with stories, there are also myths about horses. One myth is that horses are color blind. In reality, they mostly see blue and green but find red and yellow hard to recognize. In contrast, their night vision is amazing. People also say that horses sleep standing up but they actually sleep lying down and like to rest standing up. [Read More]

The Legend of Persephone

by Dani Garduño Martinez, age 11

Greek Mythology has inspired many ideas and ways of thinking in our world. Many people looked to and are still inspired by mythological characters to explain experiences in our everyday lives. In this particular story, the Ancient Greeks explained the changing seasons through the story of a goddess being kidnapped by the devil himself.

Persephone is the goddess of spring and vegetation; she also plays the role of the queen of the Underworld. Demeter is the mother of Persephone and goddess of vegetation and grain. Hades is the god and king of the Underworld. Lastly, Helios is the god who sees everything. All of these gods and goddesses play a key role in this story and Greek mythology. [Read More]

Plants: Poultice or Poison?

by Juan Esteban Palma, age 10

It is important for humans to understand that some plants have medicinal properties and have been utilized for centuries to heal wounds or maintain well-being. In ancient times, healing plants were grown in special gardens and used to heal injuries. Today, there are still many plants used for medicine or other needs.

The cosmetic industry is one place we see the use of plants. Specifically, many plants have pleasing smells and soothing oils that can help with skin problems. Two plants that are commonly used in today’s cosmetics are jojoba and aloe vera. They are usually found in dry places and are known to moisturize and soften skin. [Read More]

Who Created These Mysterious Pillars in Ireland? — by Jonah Smith, age 14

Strange pillars reside in County Antrim, Ireland. They have an unusual shape that appears to be man made. These tightly wedged pillars descend in tiers, in a staircase all the way down to the sea. These columns are mostly hexagonal, though the number of sides these structures have may vary. Although their shape implies that they are manufactured, the complete opposite is true. [Read More]

Drake's Musical Journey: From TV Star to Global Rap Icon — by Zayn Khalid, age 13

Drake has been topping the charts for years, and unlike most artists, he does it across genres. Known for how emotional his music is, Drake is arguably the most popular artist in the world, dominating the rap and R&B industry for the past 13 years. [Read More]

Hermes, Olympian Trickster and Master of Many Realms — by John Agbo, age 13

In the world of Greek myths, Hermes has the most domains, or roles, due to his upbringing. He is one of the 12 Olympians and is considered the trickster of them all. [Read More]

Despicable Me 4 Hits Theaters on July 3rd — by Amare Smith, age 20

If you’re a fan of the “Despicable Me” franchise, you won’t want to miss Despicable Me 4 once it hits theaters on July 3rd. Gru and Lucy, a couple and the movie's main characters, reveal that they have a son named “Gru Jr.” welcomed into the family. Gru is still on the search for jobs that don’t have to do with him having to become a villain. [Read More]

Puss in Boots Sequel Set to Air Late 2022 — by Amare Smith, age 18

In 2011, the Puss in Boots movie was released. It was a spinoff of the hit movie “Shrek.” Since the film's release, many films have been made and displayed on Netflix. Ten years later, Puss in Boots finally has its sequel! The sequel will center around Puss getting his nine lives back after losing eight. To get his lives back, he must go on a journey to find a genie to grant him a wish. [Read More]

How K-Pop Dominated the Music Scene — by Aissata Bah, age 12

BTS is not your usual boy band like One Direction or Backstreet Boys. BTS is a K-pop group that sings most of their songs in Korean. This expansive genre trails back to the mid-20th century. [Read More]

Science Fiction Writer, Octavia Butler, Recognized by NASA — by Elim Eyobed, age 11

Who is your favorite writer? Hemingway? Shakespeare? Well, one great writer you may have never heard of is Octavia E. Butler. Butler was an esteemed African American author who was recently recognized by NASA for her groundbreaking talents. NASA scientists even named a Mars landing site after her. [Read More]

Learn the Tragic Story Behind the Monstrous Medusa — by Anissa Attidekou, age 12

Medusa: the most common thought would be a hideous woman with snakes for hair. Believe it or not, Medusa was not always like this. Her story is a long and heartbreaking one. [Read More]

The History behind Famous Iconic Cartoon Hello Kitty — by Sol-Saray, age 10

Many of you may know Hello Kitty, but can you really call yourself a fan if you do not know her history? [Read More]

Behind Prince, the Dynamic Pop Legend — by Elim Eyobed, age 11

If you live and breathe air, you have definitely heard of Prince. His album, “1999”, almost singled him out as one of the greatest musicians of all time. Prince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958. His father, John Nelson, was a jazz pianist, and Mattie Nelson, his mother, was a vocalist. His life at home was not stable, so at the age of 12, he left and was adopted by the Anderson family. [Read More]

Athena: Ancient Greek Goddess of War — by Anissa Attidekou, age 12

Athena (or Athene) is the goddess of war and daughter of Zeus. Athena has always been a well-respected goddess in Greek mythology. This is because she has always had a strong presence and fierce aura, which can be a main reason why Athena is the goddess of war. [Read More]

El nuevo género musical nigeriano se hace camino hacia la corriente principal — por Aissata Bah, 12 años de edad; traducida por Yoanna Hoskins, 17 años de edad

Un nuevo género musical, Afrobeat, está llegando a las listas musicales. Desde Lagos, Nigeria, continúa creciendo a partir de sus éxitos. Afrobeat tiene un sonido claro y distintivo que muchas personas reconocen. Se caracteriza por sus ritmos complejos, mucha percusión, voces repetidas e inglés pidgin. El género tiene melodías alegres, divertidas y enérgicas que se bailan la gente de alrededor del mundo. [Read More]

The History Behind Zodiac Signs — by Emily Bautista, age 13

Zodiac signs are a topic of mystery for many people. Many people do not know how they came to be or what they are used for. [Read More]

Ghost Towns and Glaciers: The Legend of Kennicot — by Anissa Attidekou, age 13

Despite the fact that ghost stories can be scary, they are always interesting. The tale of this ghostly Alaskan glacier might give you a chill, but it will also get you hooked with its unique story. [Read More]

Do You Want a Pony as a Pet? — by Dilma Attidekou, age 8

Many years ago, people used all different kinds of ponies to haul carts or to farm. Today, ponies are often enjoyed as pets. [Read More]

Super Mario Bros. Movie is a Blockbuster Success — by Amare Smith, age 19

The Super Mario Bros. Movie has been one of the greatest movies of 2023. It was planned by Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Super Mario, and was animated by Illumination Studios. Two plumbers named Mario and Luigi (who are brothers) accidentally go down a pipe leading them to separate areas of a different universe. To rescue Luigi, Mario needs help from Toad and Princess Peach. [Read More]

Movie Review: The Right to Read — by Kadjata Bah, age 18

A new documentary film called the Right to Read adds to growing national debates about literacy and the science of reading. This timely and compelling film is streaming for free until March 9, 2023. [Read More]

Akodessewa Fetish Market; Famous Voodoo Exchange — by Lah’Nylah Bivens, age 15

Lomé, the capital city of Togo, hosts the biggest voodoo market named the Akodessewa Fetish Market. [Read More]