Crazy dancing Mormons and more make Cabaret a hit

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By Liz Jimenez
News Editor ’04

Every year the Lassiter Chorus sponsors one of the most anticipated events the school has to offer. Cabaret has brought students the opportunity to musically perform for their peers for the past several years. Always a hit, the concert put on by your own peers provides impressive entertainment.

This year, though fewer than usual participated, the acts were perhaps some of the best Lassiter has seen. Big hits of the night included senior Jackie Holmes’ comedic performance of “Girl in 14G,” senior Shannon Easton’s soulful “At Last,” junior Maddie McConnell’s spirited “The First Cut,” and sophmore Addie Hampton’s romantic “Get Here.”

However, most memorable was undoubtedly the finale which included something never quite matched in Cabaret history. With an introduction by a rock n’ rollin’ Bert from Sesame Street, three crazy Mormons (seniors Brittany Cogbill and Bethanie Rogers, and junior Brooke Yates) took the stage dressed in their best rock garb. As the downbeat struck, each girl’s hand shot in the air, ready to jam.

Then, all of the sudden, a forth crazy Mormon, freshman Carter Wright, slid across the stage and into view. When he finally stopped just a few inches from the end of the stage, the crowd erupted in cheers. With this encouragement, the four dancers performed a hilariously entertaining production of the Goofy Movie’s song, “Eye to Eye” complete with moves straight out of the animated motion picture.

Finally, to end the night with a bang, all other performers joined the four crazy Mormons moves in classic Goofy Movie style.

Lassiter PTSA works hard to spoil students and teachers

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By Liz Jimenez
News Editor ’04

Lassiter students, residents of the infamous East Cobb snob district, unfailingly expect and take advantage of a number of monetary grants for special organizations, clubs, and of course, classes. Without these grants, such groups, which make up the very essence of a high school experience, would not enjoy the success they do, or even exist.

However, obtaining these grants is not always an easy job and often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. Therefore, the Laureate would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Priss Gerlach, the co-President of the Lassiter PTSA and any others who have worked hard to provide Lassiter with over $4,500 of the best materials possible ranging from calculators and computers, to marine aquarium lamps, to scrabble games, to microwaves for teachers.

This year alone the PTSA has obtained mini-grants for several organizations: $1,065 to the math department, over $335 to the foreign language department, $1,000 to the Laureate, $150 to the art department, $200 to the career and technology department, $240 to the language arts department, $450 to the math department, $30 to social studies department, $440 to the science department, $260 to special education, $125 for teacher lounges, and $200 for the school clinic.
In addition to these helpful grants, the PTSA will also be giving out several $500 scholarships to seniors this year and gives two teacher luncheons per year.

Thanks to the PTSA for all of their support of LHS.

A night at the play

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By Joseph Zollo
<GEEK> Editor ’04

Four nights. Two casts. One remarkable play. Ohberg & Co.’s production of Macbeth implements a combination of both humor and entertainment that keeps the audience tentative, focused, and inconstant suspense. The great thing about this type of play is that even if the actors make a mistake, the audience passes it off. There were times that I felt confused, as if the comedy were overshadowing the story. This, of course, is understandable taking into consideration the time limits that are imposed and the fact that the purpose of the play was to be comedic, not informative.

The play begins with Mrs. Reese (Brooke Yates and Holly Hansen) telling the audience about the play that is about to begin. Shortly after that, Henry (Marcus Thomas and Nathan Pyle) walks out to hammer down a sign that says “Please turn off all electronic devices,” the sound of the hammer is so loud that Mrs. Reese cannot be heard. The whole scene is quite humorous. One of the most hilarious scenes in the play was at the end when Mr. Peach (Jeremy Mabe and Corey Bradberry), who had been making occasional commentary throughout the play, walked out wearing a dress.

The amount of laughter in the crowd at that moment was beyond what words could describe. The actors who played Macbeth (Shea Eveker and Kirsten Milliken) could not have possibly done a better job, simple as that.

Jessica Tran ‘04 thought the play was “delightful and entertaining. A perfect treat to end a long week of working.” Lassiter graduate Jameson Retel ‘03 came all the way from Kennesaw State University to see the play every single night! He thought that “it was one of the macbetter plays I’ve seen for a long time. Essentially, you take a group of students; mix them with a nightmare or two; that’s what this play is about. This is the way Shakespeare was meant to be enjoyed.”

The cast and crew of Macbeth are to be commended for doing an exemplary job in both acting and entertaining the audience. This play proves that when these amazing kids focus on something, they can really concoct something truly “evil.” To quote Macbeth, “Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

Is there life after exemptions?

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By Dania Haider
Centerspread Editor ’04

For the past two years, Mr. James Carter has had a plateful with his new job as Lassiter’s pricipal. Throughout the past two years he has made many changes in Lassiter’s daily routine. The Laureate wanted to find out what Mr. Carter’s views are on Lassiter’s current standing and his plans for the future.

What were you like as a teenager?
Carter: I was an average kid. My parents were encouraging. I grew up in the inner Kansas City so I had to stay in school and be involved. I was a member of the band and orchestra playing the clarinet from the 4th- 11th grade when I picked up the tuba. I ran track, played baseball, basketball with the Boy’s Club, and some football. As any senior, I became a little bull headed my last year.

What challenges have you faced as principal at Lassiter and different schools?
Carter: Lassiter’s environment is the opposite of some of the other schools I’ve been at. In the past I have had to deal with guns, gangs, KKK, physical violence, homicide, suicide, car wrecks, and pregnancy. As always though, the majority of every school I have been at has been comprised of wonderful kids. I am impressed by Lassiter’s parent involvement and the involved kids. As in any school, two main challenges any principal faces are safety and security coupled with focus on instruction and student achievement

In the past two years, you have made significant changes, what are your thoughts on the tardy policy?
Carter: Statistics show a tremendous decline in tardies. Students need to learn the way things work in the real world. A job will expect the same responsibility.

What about the incredible numbers of students in ISS this year due to the new tardy policy? Is it worthwhile to remove students from valuable learning time?
Carter: The reason students are placed in ISS is not the school’s decision but instead the students’ for acting irresponsibly. The goal is to teach kids the importance of responsibility, allowing for an easier transition into the working world.

Now that there are no exam exemptions, has absenteeism also declined along with the number of tardies?
Carter: Absenteeism has remained constant. Exam exemptions were awarded when absenteeism was a huge problem at Lassiter. In the past few years, the absentee rate has gotten to the point it was at many years ago so there is no reason to continue rewarding the students.

What will happen with minimum day?
Carter: The county allows for only one period minimum day. Lassiter has been unique in allowing students two periods. Only one period of school. What this means is that eventually every student will be required to take at least one AP class.

Are there any policy changes you would like to make?
Carter: Prom will be a big issue. Location outside the county happens to be a big concern.

What are your goals for Lassiter?
Carter: Parents should be more involved in the planning process. Also, I would like to ensure that Lassiter gains a greater grasp on technology. Also, several of our facilities need replacement such as our track, locker rooms, and our theater. To enhance student achievement I would also like to implement more staff development and inservices.

March Hororscopes: With Lassiter’s resident psychic

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By Michael Mayer
Sports Editor ’04

Capricorn (December 23-January 20): You’re hunt for a job isn’t going so well. You should eliminate John Mayer.–then you can have the job of being my best friend.

Aquarius (January 21-February 19): When life gives you lemons, make a lemon castle with flamingoes.

Pisces (February 20-March 20): For you, sleeping equals bad luck. Think about it. Last time something bad happened to you, you had probably slept within the past couple days. So, obviously, just never sleep again, and you’ve got it made.

Aries (March 21-April 20): You are the worst sister ever. Actually, it’s between you and that sister who burned her brother’s house down with him in it. No, wait, it’s definitely you.

Taurus (April 21-May 21): You have much potential. Reach for the sky, Devry!

Gemini (May 22-June 21): You’ve let people take advantage of you. Now stop, and make a commitment to being less naïve. In the meantime, I’ll just be over here not stealing your stuff, making out with your sister, etc.

Cancer (June 22-July 22): I’ve been doing some thinking, and it’s about time you Cancer kids got a horoscope. I’ve also been wondering who would win a fight between the sun and the moon?

Leo (July 23-August 21): Start showing yourself more respect. After all, who else is going to respect someone who can’t dress himself?

Virgo (August 22-September 23): Anyone you see who is funny-looking is most definitely an alien. Anyone who seems hairy is an obvious werewolf. Oh, and the people making fun of you for your imaginary friends are just jealous.

Libra (September 24-October 23): You can’t always get what you want. So get what you need.

Scorpio (October 24-November 22): You’re too negative. Try focusing on funny, happy things, like Clay Aiken getting hit by a bus.

Sagittarius (November 23-December 22): You worry far too much about other people’s opinions of you. My opinion of you is the only one that matters.

The Laureate’s official guide to college interviews

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By Amanda Mull
Staff Writer ’04

One day, the phone call comes. It’s some guy you don’t know on the other end. He’s older, maybe. The name on the caller ID doesn’t look familiar. What could this possibly be about? You’ve told the Army recruiter on the phone time and again that camo just doesn’t flatter your complexion – he couldn’t still be after you to join up. You pick up the phone, greet the person in your best my-mother-told-me-not-to-talk-to-strangers tone of voice, and once you hear ‘Hi, this is *insert name here* from *insert school here*…’ on the other end, you know what’s up:
It’s time for a college admissions interview. They want to meet you at Starbucks on Johnson Ferry and Route 120 on Tuesday afternoon to discuss your application.
So, what does that mean? How should you act? What should you talk about? More importantly, what should you wear? Is your dream school actually rich enough to send someone to reject you in person? Did you make yourself look like an idiot by asking if Roswell Road and Route 120 are the same thing (don’t worry, I did that too)? Wonder no more, my fellow seniors, the Laureate has your back.

First, let’s start with dress, because a first impression is everything. Let’s try some do’s and don’t’s first. Don’t forget to shave that morning and then try and delude yourself into thinking it gives you an artistic, ruggedly-handsome appeal. Do appear neat, clean and freshly bathed, even if that isn’t your usual state of being. Don’t wear your Corona Spring Break t-shirt and a pair of old jeans. Do wear something you might wear to a nice restaurant – a button-down shirt and khakis or black pants are perfect for both genders. Don’t overdo it – being overdressed makes you look silly. Do make sure that you alter your dress relative to the location – if the interviewer wants to meet you in Roswell Park and walk around while you talk, and it’s February, bring a jacket and wear flat shoes. This may all seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at what you don’t think of once you start to realize that your interview could decide if you get into your dream school or not.

Next, what do you talk about? What issues should you stay away from? You’re going to get a lot of questions thrown your way, and they’re all going to be sort of mundane. Do your best to make them interesting and liven them up, because first and foremost, you have to keep your interviewer awake and entertained for an hour. If your test scores and grades are the most interesting things about you, don’t let on that that’s the case. You joined all those service clubs for a reason, and it wasn’t because picking up trash in the front parking lot was your idea of a fun Saturday. The college interview is the forum in which all the trash collecting and peer mentoring pay off (besides the warm fuzzies you may or may not get from the actual experience, of course).
Talk about how collecting clothes for needy families changed your perspective on wealth or about how your biggest regret is that there are only 24 hours in the day and you couldn’t fit the endless things in that you wanted to accomplish. Colleges want students that are hungry, passionate, and self-motivated, but they don’t want to teach you these qualities once you get there. You have to exhibit them yourself, and stuff like that doesn’t always come through in an application. Sure, your SAT score is on there, and it might be good, but there are literally millions of other kids out there that got a 1400 or an A in AP US history. Try and express to your interviewer the intangibles – what makes you an asset to the school that they represent?

Be prepared. In many ways, a college interview is just like a job interview – they ask you nearly exactly the same questions. The following are some that you can be almost sure to come across:

What is your biggest accomplishment?
What is your biggest failure?
What is your worst quality?
What has been your biggest obstacle?
Do you have any regrets?
What experience has meant the most to you?
What makes you different?
What are you most proud of?
What actions or experiences have best shown your leadership abilities?
Why should we let you in?

While it’s not necessary (and probably not even a good idea) to write down answers to these questions, you might want to spend a good half an hour before the interview going over possible answers. Nothing is worse than getting asked a question you hadn’t anticipated and sitting there, in stupefied silence, trying to think of a decent answer. Get to Starbucks early, get yourself a venti carmel apple cider, sit down, and go over what you want to communicate to the interviewer. Make sure that you’ve preplanned at least a few interesting things about yourself that you can fall back on if you’re caught off guard, especially if you’re the sort of person that gets nervous quickly or easily.

That pretty much takes care of the bulk of the interview, but there are a few quick suggestions that I need to make. Eye contact is great, and you should make a lot of it, but unbroken eye contact gets just a tad creepy. The same thing goes for smiling. Happiness is great, it makes you look well-adjusted, but don’t grin like a fool the entire time; that’s creepy too. Psychosis isn’t something most schools look for in their admissions criteria. Last of all, though, just remember that the schools aren’t looking for reasons to reject you, they’re looking for reasons to let you in.
Put your best you forward, and problems most likely won’t appear. If all else fails, take heart – some schools just use interviews to gauge your interest in the school and the content of the interview is not considered. It’s like a completion grade – show up, get a 100. It shows that you’re willing to take an hour out of your schedule in order to sit down and tell someone how much you want to go to school at wherever you’re applying, and that’s a big plus right there. The more competitive the school, the more likely it is that they’ll take the content of your interview into consideration, so make sure that you know your college’s policy before you breath a sigh of relief and just fire off any random answer. You shouldn’t have a problem, though, the preparation is minimal and you know the material. Besides, who doesn’t like talking about themselves for an hour?

Just remember, no creepy eye contact.

Barbie’s New Man

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By Dania Haider
Centerspread Editor ’04

So it turns out Barbie has a new beau. Barbie was introduced to children all over the world by Mattel in 1959, and her boyfriend Ken made his debut two years later in 1961. Their relationship must have dulled, because after 43 years, Barbie has a new man in her life, a music-lover named Blaine. Word on the street is that Blaine digs his guitar, loves hanging out in music stores, adores hip hop, and wants to be a radio DJ.

The Generation Girl line was discontinued in 2001 along with some of Barbie’s multicultural friends. However, there was still a demand for a new male adult doll. Introduced by the Generation Girl line, Blaine promises to bring a Barbie and her new friends a new wave of coolness. Mattel claims that Blaine is a more mature version of the “Totally Yo-Yo Zach” that was set to come out sometime last year. Zach was reportedly too old for the Skipper line, so he was never produced. This year, after modifications on Zach, Blaine was formed. With his “hair” and longer sideburns, Blaine models the kind of guy that Barbie, who has been remodeled herself several times, would fall for. Mattel plans on releasing Blaine in June of 2004.

Blaine is not the only male doll introduced into the line of Barbie’s friends. In 1988, Mattel introduced “Steven,” giving Ken a friend. This African-American doll became Barbie’s friend and Christie’s boyfriend. In 1997 Steven was sold wearing a swim suit; his head mold changed, and he was now known as Jamal. These dolls were introduced as a part of Mattel’s Shani line meant to reflect the influence of their cultural traditions.

For Skipper, Barbie’s younger sister, there was Kevin, who debuted in 1990 with huge, turquoise eyes. After six total versions of Kevin, Skipper’s former beau will be discontinued along fellow ex-boyfriends Ricky and Scott.

Unfortunately, it looks like nothing remains constant, not even in our childhood world of Barbie and Ken. Despite Barbie’s malformed girlish figure, it seems as if even these dolls have come to represent the inevitable changes of real life.

Lassiter prom will make history at fernbank

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By Harmoni Dossie
Copy Editor ’05

Between group planning, dinner reservations, picture parties and so much more, many of you guys have heard us girls complaining more than usual which normally means it’s that certain time again. Prom is right around the corner. For many juniors and seniors (and the occasional underclassman), prom is a time to get together with friends, dress up and have one heck of a time.

The 2005 Prom Committee, along with sponsors Mr. Peacock and Mrs. Arogeti, have been working extra hard to make the night unforgettable. With this year’s theme, it sure won’t be an impossible task. Mrs. Arogeti and Mr. Peacock both agree that the prom committee “has been working incredibly hard with decorations and such.” Others who hope it will be enjoyable are Lassiter students.

Krista Stire (12) commented, “I’m very excited. It’s senior prom; I’ve been looking forward to it and I can’t wait to wear my dress.” Junior Amanda Morse stated, “Prom is definitely gonna be a lot of fun; I just have to get past the strenuous planning!” Jackie Favara agreed. She said, “All of the hard planning will be worth it because it’ll be a fun night.” For other junior girls, it will be all about dressing up. Lauren Dilbeck said, “I can’t wait to get dressed up and get my hair and nails done.” One lucky sophomore, Shira Lewbow, exclaimed, “It’s cool to be one of the only sophomores going and I’m really excited about going with Jeramy.”

The girls aren’t the only ones excited. Steve Enriquez (11) says, “I can’t wait to get crunk at prom.”

For those who do not know, prom takes place on Saturday, March 27 at Fernbank Museum. Tickets are on sale now in the gym concession stand for $60 a couple or $30 for a single ticket. Starting March 15, tickets will be available in the morning as well. Hope to see everyone there; don’t forget to have an amazing night!

Ross Arney, Lassiter’s epitome of bass perfection

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By Lauren Eudy
Features Editor ’05

“The headstock of my Hohner 6-string was broken in a car accident…I was actually more upset about my bass being broken than my car being totaled,” admitted Lassiter’s resident bass addict. This statement is a typical one for Ross Arney, who has been teaching himself to play for over five years. “[Teaching yourself] forces you to learn more about what you’re doing on the fretboard,” he claimed, explaining his choice to skip lessons.

On the other hand, he is more than willing to give lessons to the would-be bassists of Lassiter. When asked how he goes about teaching his own peers a craft which he originally taught to himself, he was thorough in his explanation: “I usually start the ‘future virtuoso’ where they want, but I make sure to teach the fundamentals, along with the cool techniques.” His main student is junior Bryan Carlton, who has been learning for almost a year. After seeing each of them perform at Open Mic Night, everyone there was impressed by both the musical abilities and enthusiastic attitudes which led them to play in front of potentially critical peers.

The passion that possesses Ross was evident when he was asked about why he gets such a high from playing his music. Lighting up at the mere mention of it, he said, “Bass is the way for me to release my musical expressions; I really enjoy writing and performing my music because I love the feeling of accomplishing something that makes people stand back, look at the big picture, and say ‘wow’.” Not only does he meet the criteria for inspiring music, he also holds his own as a third degree black belt at Starr’s Tae Kwon Do. “That is definitely not as important to me as playing bass though,” he admitted frankly.

Every aspiring musician holds an admiration for those incredible players who continually inspire him to improve his music. Ross cited Ryan Martinie of Mudvayne fame, along with Victor Lamonte Wooten, and two Lassiter students, Nick Jenkins and Joey Weigel. “Check them out,” encouraged Ross.

“I hope to become famous in a band one day, and later, after the band has ended, I would like to do some recording work for various artists, as well as release some solo CD’s,” he confirmed candidly. While his lofty goals may seem unrealistic to the common person, there is no doubt that Ross is driven, possessing both the grit and the essential skills necessary to fulfill every one of them.

Thinking that perhaps other hopeful musicians could pick up some tips from this determined guy, I asked him what advice he would give to others. Without flinching, he said, “Don’t play bass with a pick!” Moving on to a general piece of guidance, he said, “ Don’t settle for what’s easy to achieve… try to break away from what’s easy, and push yourself to become great.”
There’s no doubt that he’ll accomplish all that he strives for and blow mediocre musicians out of the water on the journey.

Danielle the tiny dancer

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By Rachel Reinke
Staff Writer ’06

Lassiter’s sophmore ballerina extraordinare

Most people at Lassiter who know of sophomore Danielle Berke would never guess that she has a fondness for the good old days of listening to Raffi, that she has been known to play in the creek behind her house with her dog, Max, or that she has a mouth like a sailor. To many, she is the quiet, hardworking scholar who is never less than humble about her incessantly excellent grades. Well, if you have heard anything less than that about Danielle, then you clearly have much to learn about this fabulous girl.

The fact that Danielle is an outstanding ballet dancer may not come as a surprise to those who have seen her tiny 5’3″ figure. A dancer of thirteen years, she began at the Academy of Ballet Arts, simply so mom could picture her only daughter in a tutu. Ballet clicked for Danielle, and it soon became her passion. After attending a summer dance program in Milledgeville, she realized that, by moving on to become part of the prestigious Atlanta Ballet, she could receive better training in the hobby that was quickly becoming a huge part of her life. Atlanta Ballet soon became a second home to Danielle where she has devoted twenty-plus hours a week for four years in classes and rehearsals in addition to seasonal productions at the Fox Theater and four- and five-week programs in the summer.

Having this much devotion would seem to leave no room for grades or concern for school at all. However, Danielle is more than concerned about school: she makes her honors and A.P. classes her top priority. She’s kept up the juggling act for as long as she has been dancing, through both middle and high school, and it’s now more of a normal fixation than something incredibly complicated. “It’s gotten progressively difficult, but I’ve had a lot of practice,” Danielle says in regard to keeping up with her marvelous performances at school and at dance.

She learns from everything in her life, not only through friends, dance, and school, but also through her family, especially her twin brother, Michael. “Being a twin is both a blessing and a curse. I’ve always had someone to experience things with; even in preschool, Michael and I were always together. I’ve always had someone to relate to; we share experiences. He’s always a part of everything I do.” A constant companion has had no effect on Danielle’s uniqueness, and even though she and her brother spend lots of time together, the inexpressible closeness of their relationship still baffles many of those who come in contact with them. Rather than loathe each other, Danielle and Michael remain each other’s closest friends, biggest fans, and a have the kind of sibling relationship most parents only dream of for their children.

While dance has given her an expert lesson in becoming disciplined in every aspect of her life, she doesn’t let her passion or schoolwork get in the way of what she loves most-having fun. “If I could only do one thing for the rest of my life it would be to laugh,” Danielle says with a signature cackle. She knows not to take life too seriously, and this philosophy shines through in her individuality, spontaneity, and ability to cheer anyone, no matter how angry at the world they may be. As far as friends go, Danielle says, “I like to surround myself with people who can see the positive in life so I’m not bogged down by the negativity.” To many of her friends, these words describe Danielle perfectly.