The New Taylor Swift: Are You “… Ready for It?”

By Jordan Norkus

Arts & Entertainment Editor

“I’m sorry, the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ‘cause she’s dead,” said American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift in one of her latest singles, “Look What You Made Me Do.”

On Friday, Aug. 18, Swift deleted everything from her official website and social media accounts. The Associated Press (AP) reported that it was three years to the date from when she dropped her single “Shake It Off” and announced her fifth studio album “1989,” and just a few days after her courtroom assault trial victory against a former radio DJ in Denver.

“I was actually shocked when she decided to delete all her social media and start all over to tell everyone she’s going ‘dark,’” said senior Emily Shea. “I never saw it coming, especially from her since she’s like the queen of social media.”

The next week, Swift released a series of teaser videos showing different parts of a black snake—which many fans believed was related to the feud Swift had last year with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West.

“I actually love the new Taylor,” said senior Marissa Gallante. “She’s getting her revenge on the people who did her wrong.”

However, other people weren’t as impressed.

“I think she knows she’s losing fame so she deleted her social media just to get attention,” said sophomore Andrew Peloquin.

Swift released the song “Look What You Made Me Do” on Thursday, Aug. 24—which is the first single from her upcoming studio album, “reputation.” The song received mixed reviews, with some believing that Swift has strayed too far from her original country pop roots.

“I love Taylor Swift. Artists switch up their style and grow all the time and she is doing just that,” said freshman Samantha O’Donnell. “All of the negative media attention from the past year is making it hard for her to grow as an artist and make music she wants to make, and no one deserves that.”

The AP also reported that Swift received her fifth Billboard Hot 100 No.1 for “Look What You Made Me Do” and it received the highest weekly streaming and sales sums for a track in 2017.

“Her first single from this new album is really catchy and it’s such a jam,” said Shea. “I loved it when I first heard it.”

The world premiere of the music video for “Look What You Made Me Do” aired on Sunday, Aug. 27 during the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards and later became the most watched music video within 24 hours.

“I love how in her ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ video she makes fun of herself more than anyone else, which just proves how strong she is,” said O’Donnell.

After giving a sneak peek during the Florida State and Alabama college football game on Saturday, Sept. 2, Swift released her second single from “reputation,” titled “…Ready For It?”

With select United Parcel Service (UPS) delivery trucks in Atlanta, Nashville and New York advertising the album cover on the side of the trucks, “reputation” is set to release on Friday, Nov. 10 and is available to pre-order now on iTunes.

“I think her new album is going to be really good, especially because she’s building up so much hype about it with everything she’s doing to say she’s starting over,” said Shea. “I do miss her old music though and hope someday she’ll go back to writing music like that again.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Fashion Trends at the 7th Annual President’s Gala

Sacred Heart University’s President’s Gala – photo by Mark F. Conrad 9/8/17

By Meliha Gutic

Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

The seventh annual President’s Gala was on Sept. 8, held in the William H. Pitt Center and hosted by President John J. Petillo, PH.D.

Due to the fact that over 3,100 students had RSVP’d, the Gala was held in the Pitt Center which comfortably accommodated the student body.

Inside, the Pitt had been transformed into an all white area, with drapery, tables and couches, creating a classy yet laidback feel.

They served hors d’oeuvres, dessert and they also had a beer garden for students 21 and older. A DJ played popular music and students seemed to be mingling and having a good time.

The blue lighting and the props assisted in making the aesthetic match this year’s theme: “Under the Sea.”

“I honestly did not even pay attention to the theme, or even notice anything that was “Under the Sea,” but the transformation that they did in the Pitt was amazing. I couldn’t believe it was even the Pitt,” said senior, McKenzie DeGroot.

Students came dressed to impress and they did not disappoint.

Guys wore bowties and suits in attempt to replicate Petillo’s classic look.

“I love that the guys wear bowties, because it’s honoring Petillo and the fact that he’s hosting this gala for us. And everybody loves Petillo, so I think it’s great,” said senior, Haily Reatherford.

In the past three years, the ladies have stood out with the common trend of the Gala: “blackout.” The trend “blackout” describes the simplicity of all black outfits coordinated with jewelry and shoes to make their look unique.

A black dress is a classic look and it stood out from the white interior of the Pitt Center.

“I think everyone at the Gala looked great. I did notice that most of the girls wore black, but they made each look their own. Wearing black will always be in style, no matter what,” said DeGroot.

Rompers and two-piece sets were also popular at the Gala. Two-piece sets consisted of a crop top with either shorts or pants as the bottom.

“I personally wore a two-piece set because it was just more comfortable and I know that it can get hot at the Gala sometimes. I wasn’t underdressed and I noticed other people had two-pieces on so I didn’t feel like I stood out too much,” said senior Abby McCarthy.

Lace was another trend at the Gala and it made its way into the dress code of the evening. Like black dresses, lace is a timeless fashion piece, because it always makes a return.

“My dress had lace on the back and because the rest of my dress was plain, I think it added a little something extra so it didn’t look boring,” said DeGroot.

The President’s Gala tends to show off everyone’s best looks, and the students always have a blast.

“I’m super sad that this is my last Gala, but I’ve created memories that I’ll never forget,” said Reatherford.

Summer Theatre with Sacred Heart’s Repertory Company

From left are TAP members Jordan Norkus, Courtney O’Shea, Edward Feeley, Zachary Lane, Gwen Mileti, Justin Weigel and Dan Murphy. They will perform Avenue Q in the Little Theatre at Sacred Heart University from July 13-30, 2017. Visit edgertoncenter.org for additional information. Photo by Tracy Deer-Mirek 7/13/17

By Jordan Norkus

Arts & Entertainment Editor

Sacred Heart University’s Repertory Theatre Company presented their first-ever Summer Theatre Program this past July.

“It was a chance to fully immerse in theatre for an entire month, which is something I’ve never been able to do,” said senior Edward Feeley.

The month-long event included 12 performances of the Tony Award-winning musical, “Avenue Q,” four outdoor performances of “Macbeth,” the Emerging Artist Series, and New Musical Workshops—resulting in a final tally of 24 shows done in 25 days.

“There was little to no downtime between the shows and rehearsals, which sounded stressful but wound up being really fun,” said Feeley.

An average day for the cast and crew members started at 9 a.m. and ended around 11 p.m. Every day was packed with “Avenue Q” and “Macbeth” rehearsals, reading through new scripts, singing through a new Pre-Broadway musical, workshopping with the two winners of Sacred Heart’s National Playwright Competition, and performing back-to-back shows on the weekends.

“We slept very well at the end of the day,” said senior Zachary Lane.

With so much going on, it was important for everyone involved to manage their time wisely. Memorizing lines and doing the prep work before the month began made the workload easier.

“I had to put my head down and show up to whatever the rehearsals were for the day,” said senior Patrick Robinson. “It needed a full commitment and there was no time to take it lightly.”

Putting on multiple shows at once also meant portraying different characters. According to the cast, each role demanded its own share of creative involvement.

“It was a unique challenge, but one we were all up for,” said Lane. “We all became very good at changing gears after the first couple of days, and it quickly became second nature.”

The challenges didn’t end there. Putting on “Avenue Q” meant introducing a whole new component that the Theatre Arts Program has never done before: puppets.

“Avenue Q” is an R-rated musical that follows a recent college grad and his new-found friends as they find their “purpose” in life. Similar to “Sesame Street,” a majority of the characters are puppets.

“We learned how challenging it was to control these puppets—constantly making sure you’re both looking in the same direction, emoting large enough so the audience can tell how your puppet is thinking and feeling, and making sure puppets don’t upstage anyone,” said sophomore Courtney O’Shea. “It took a lot of practice, but once we started using them everyday, we began to get the hang of it and started to feel very connected to our puppets.”

The production of “Avenue Q” wasn’t the only aspect of Summer Theatre that introduced something new. “Macbeth” was performed outside in the University Commons Amphitheater. The show was free and open to the public, and audience members were encouraged to bring picnic dinners and a bottle of wine.

“The outdoor setting made everything seem a little more epic, especially the fight scenes,” said Feeley.

The cast experienced some challenges performing outside like passing cars and loud crowds nearby. However, they used the outdoor elements to their advantage.

“One aspect of performing outside was that nature incorporated itself into the show,” said sophomore Andrew Peloquin. “The wind, the birds chirping, the sun setting, all of these changed the mood of the show and made it into something so much bigger.”

The Emerging Artist Series was another big feature of Summer Theatre. The company welcomed two high school students who were the winners of Sacred Heart’s National Playwright Competition: Brie Leftwich from West Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Gwendolyn “Wendy” Kuhn from Georgetown, Texas.

“Working with the high school playwrights was a blast. They worked so hard and cared so much about their work,” said Robinson. “It was a great experience for them, but also for us as we had the opportunity to work with young writers and help them in their process.”

When the month was over, the cast and crew felt closer than ever and were proud of what they’ve achieved.

“We became one giant family that put the ‘fun’ in ‘dysfunctional,’ said sophomore Justin Weigel. “We spent every waking hour together for an entire month and laughed and made memories I’ll never forget.”

“American Horror Story: Cult” Premieres

By Meliha Gutic

Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

On Sept. 5th, “American Horror Story: Cult” premiered its seventh season on FX.

It was announced this past winter by creator, Ryan Murphy, on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” that this season would be based on the 2016 presidential election.

In previous seasons, there have been underlying themes, such as insane asylums, witches and ghosts.  This season will be a political theme and showcase the current political climate.

“I don’t follow politics, but seeing it in that context played out on the show really freaked me out. It was interesting to see,” said senior, Alex Grobleski.

In the first few minutes, recurring actors, Sarah Paulson (Ally Mayfair-Richards) and Evan Peters (Kai Anderson) are introduced.

Paulson plays the character of a Hillary Clinton supporter, while Evans character portrays a Donald Trump supporter. Paulson and Evans have reappeared on screen for every season of American Horror Story, always portraying a new character.

The season highlights Ally Mayfair-Richards’ phobia of clowns and how suddenly when Trump is elected, this phobia returns and she starts to see them everywhere. It debilitates her everyday life, to the point where she has panic attacks constantly, and cannot decipher what is real versus what is a delusional episode.

“Because of American Horror Story, I have a horrible fear of clowns, one that I never had before,” said Grobleski.

Kai Anderson tries to embody Trump and finds him to be an inspiration. In one scene, he takes Cheetos and puts them in a blender. He mixes it and uses it as a cosmetic tool for a change in his appearance.

This is a reference to our current political nature and how Trump has been portrayed.

The whole episode alludes to the difference between Trump supporters and Hillary supporters. For example, Paulson and her wife live in the suburbs with their son. Peters, on the other hand, is a blue haired, crazed man, who lives in a run-down home, and attempts to gain more Trump supporters through radical actions.

“Honestly, it was weird to see how they portrayed Trump supporters versus Hillary supporters. I’m not sure I would agree with the portrayal, but I guess that was their [the creators] vision,” said senior, Sam Sood.

“Cult” is played out just like the other seasons of American Horror Story. The scare tactics add a horror element and the clowns are sure to spook some viewers.

“In terms of seasons, “Murder House” was the scariest, but this comes in as a close second—especially when the family next door gets murdered by clowns. It is kind of hard to tell after one episode, but it was still scary, ” said Grobleski.

Since this season’s theme is the 2016 presidential election, it calls out viewers to look at how they have been acting during the time of the election. The theme’s relevance to current events makes this season one of the most relatable.

“American Horror Story: Cult” airs at 10pm on Tuesdays, on FX.

Sacred Heart Dance Company Presents “Fall/Rise”

Sacred Heart’s Dance Program presented their show “Fall/Rise” to represent the obstacles and successes of the Dance Program. Photo by Ryan Touhey/Spectrum.

By Lauren Finan

Staff Reporter

Sacred Heart University’s Dance Company performed their spring semester showcase on April 21 and 22 in the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts. The name of the production, “Fall/Rise,” portrayed the obstacles and successes that the dance company has gone through.

The music the performers danced to ranged from R&B, instrumental, to hip-hop.

The costumes had a large variety such as leggings paired with a tank top with a plaid shirt tied around their waists to traditional salsa dresses.

“I liked how none of the costumes were identical for a selected performance. Each dancer had a different variation of the simple idea the director wanted,” said junior
Brittany Joseph. “For example, no single dancer had the same color as another but it would be the same style of clothing.”

Around 75 students and family members were in the audience to support the 50 active members in the dance company.

Junior Rosilita Cormier has been a member since her freshmen year in 2014. She performed in two dance numbers in the production.

“My favorite dance in the show is my duo with my best friend, Alexa Tricairo. Alexa and I have been dancing together since our freshman year here at Sacred Heart University,” said Cormier. “We have been members of the Hip-Hop Crew, Competition Hip-Hop Crew, and the Dance Company.”

Cormier said that this would be her and Tricairo’s first opportunity to show off their abilities as they have choreographed their dance piece independently.

“The Unforgiven” began the second act of the production. This particular dance number had a live piano performance as well as a live painter. The painter painted the solo dancer while she was performing.

“I thought the solo dance routine accompanied by the pianist was a great way to draw the audience to unique music,” said Joseph.

The dance member’s auditioned for the performance in December. When returning for spring semester in January, they officially began to practice. Each dance routine would practice for an hour and fifteen minutes once a week.

“I am in two dance routines. The first is ballet and the second is a more modern contemporary number,” said senior Olivia Druckery.

This production is Druckery’s last performance at Sacred Heart. She was most excited about this show because it is her final performance with all the girls that she
started the company with.

The dance company was formed when Druckery was a freshman and she has seen the program evolve firsthand.

This production was to showcase all that the program had to overcome to be where they are today.

“We started it four years ago and it is amazing to see where the company is headed,” said Druckery.

At intermission, the program had the audience view a film that introduced the senior girls who have been with the dance company since the beginning.

“I thought they did an outstanding job and always made me want to see what the next performance was going to be like,” said Joseph.

The 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards

By Cindy Sanawong

Staff Reporter

The 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards will be held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 7.

Each year, this award ceremony recognizes the best in film and television. All of the categories and nominees are chosen by MTV’s producers and executives and then the general public votes online for who they want to win.

This year’s host is American actor, comedian, singer, screenwriter and producer, Adam DeVine. He is known for productions such as “Pitch Perfect” and Comedy Central’s “Workaholics.” This will be his first time hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards.

“I think Adam DeVine will do Adam DeFine,” said junior Eddie Feeley.

Before the ceremony, the MTV Movie & TV Awards Festival will feature live performances from artists such as All Time Low, Zara Larsson and Bea Miller. Tickets are available for the public to attend the festival and it will also be streamed live on mtv.com.

For this 26th edition of the award ceremony, changes have been made.

Formerly known as the “MTV Movie Awards,” this year’s show marks the first time that the ceremony celebrates both films and television shows.

Gender-specific award categories have also been removed and actors are now merged into one category, such as “Best Actor in a Movie” and “Best Actor in a Show.”

Daniel Kaluuya, Emma Watson, Hailee Steinfeld, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy and Taraji P. Henson are all nominated for “Best Actor in a Movie,” and Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Gina Rodriguez, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Mandy Moore and Millie Bobby Brown are nominated for “Best Actor in a Movie.”

The two big awards of the night are “Movie of the Year” and “Show of the Year.”

“Movie of the Year” nominees include: “Beauty and the Beast,” “Get Out,” “Logan,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and “The Edge of Seventeen.”

“‘The Edge of Seventeen’ should win ‘Movie of the Year’ because the plot is very relatable and the acting is superb,” said junior Thayrone Veloso.

“Beauty and the Beast” is nominated for four awards; just under “Get Out,” which is nominated for seven.

“I’m the biggest Disney fan in the world and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is my favorite,” said freshman Shannon Fleming. “This deserves ‘Movie of the Year.’ The story is so old and so original, you can’t not love it.”

“Show of the Year” nominees include: “Atlanta,” “Game of Thrones,” “Insecure,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Stranger Things,” and “This Is Us.”

“‘This Is Us’ should win ‘Show of the Year,’” said senior Danielle Tenney. “I loved the message and the real life relationships and complications the family goes through to tell a great story.”

Other categories include: “Best Kiss,” “Best Villain,” “Best Host,” “Best Documentary,” “Best Reality Competition,” “Best Comedic Performance,” “Best Hero,” “Tearjerker,” “Next Generation,” “Best Duo,” “Best American Story” and “Best Fight Against the System.”

Which movies and TV shows will take home the “golden popcorn?” You can tune in on Sunday, May 7 at 8 p.m. to find out.

The Fourth Annual Jobimfest

The Sacred Heart University Academic Music Program presented the 4th annual Jobimfest, celebrating the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, on April 19, 2017, in the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts. Joe Carter and the Brazilian Jazz All Stars played the music of acclaimed Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. Photo by Mark F. Conrad/Sacred Heart University.

By Stephanie Pettway

Staff Reporter

Sacred Heart University’s Academic Music Program presented their fourth annual Jobimfest on Wednesday, April 19 in the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts.

The festival celebrates the music of Brazilian songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, pianist and guitarist, Antonio Carlos Jobim. Director of Academic Music Programs and Professor Joseph Carter performed alongside the Brazilian Jazz All-Stars as they paid tribute to Jobim.

“I love Jobim’s music. It all started when I researched more of his music based on two songs,” said Carter. “I came to realize there was so much within this one composer that I felt he would be a good person to expose others to.”

Jobimfest began with the performance of the first song, “Piano na Mangueira” (Piano in Mangueira). After finishing the song, Carter introduced the band.

Carter played the guitar, Tim Moran played the saxophone, Hendrik Meurkens played the harmonica and vibes, David Fink played the bass and Adriano Santos was on the drums and percussion set.

“When preparing for this concert, I knew that these musicians would work well together. They would understand the music, though we wouldn’t be able to rehearse together due to logistics,” said Carter. “However, I knew they would be able to quickly assess the material during sound check and be able to perform it on a high level.”

As the show continued, Carter mentioned that the lyrics for the songs “O Morro Nao Tem Vez” (The Hill Has No Chance) and “O Amor Em Paz” (Love in Peace) could be found in the program. He said that Jobim wrote lyrics that were multifaceted and similar to poetry.

Jobim composed around 600 songs in his lifetime, so Carter had many options when he had to decide which songs to perform.

“There are so many to choose from that sometimes it’s not which to choose but which not to choose. His compositions are so varied, as far as genre, that I try to pick different types in variety,” said Carter.

Many of the students in the audience were from Carter’s Latin American music classes, so they were familiar with Jobim’s work since they learned about him during the Brazilian period.

Some students were pleased to see their professor perform, especially the specific songs that were discussed in class. They could see the passion that he had from class transfer to the stage.

“I liked seeing Professor Carter play. I have him for my Latin American music class, where he played some of the songs to the class,” said freshman Erin Perotta. “The class is interesting because it is something that you don’t normally learn, so it’s completely new for me. He’s also very passionate about what he teaches and it makes it easy to focus and listen in class.”

Even some students who aren’t Carter’s students were pleased with the festival.

“I enjoyed the performance considering it isn’t something I would have gone to on my own. I came with a friend who came for the class, but I ended up liking it,” said
sophomore Deanna Scalzo.

Jobim was the primary source force behind the creation of the Bossa Nova style, a genre of Brazilian music. He left many songs that are currently included in jazz and pop standard collections and many of his works are played by Brazilian and international artists today.

“He is, in my opinion, the most important and influential Brazilian composer of the 20th century,” said Carter. “He’s the person that contributed the most to the development of Brazilian music in all its forms.”

SHU L.O.V.E. Celebrates Women

The Sacred Heart University Choral Program hosted “A Celebration of Women” on April 22, 2017, performed by SHU LOVE, the ladies-only vocal ensemble. Photo by Christopher Zajac/Sacred Heart University.

By Julius Brown

Staff Reporter

On Saturday, April 22 Sacred Heart University’s Ladies-Only Vocal Ensemble, or SHU L.O.V.E., presented “A Celebration of Women” for their Pops Concert. The Edgerton Theatre was the stage for creative expression and celebration of women.

“This whole performance is to let women know that they are not alone, and actually surrounded by support,” said Anna DeVeau-Jaibert, director of SHU L.O.V.E..

SHU L.O.V.E. performed a wide variety of powerful female centric songs. From the soft gentle cadences of “Songbird,” to the strong and determined chorus of “I Will Survive/Survivor.” The celebration of women and women’s rights resonated on stage at every point of the performance.

“Shout out to the SHU choir for acknowledging the power of women,” said junior Winnie Victor.

Along with celebrating women, the concert also served to celebrate the ensembles Director, DeVeai-Jialbert. Members of SHU L.O.V.E. appreciate the amount of awareness that DeValue-Jailbert has brought to women’s rights through the ensemble.

“Anna has just done so much to support and help with empowering women on this campus through this ensemble,” said graduate student April Jauregui. “She also made it more than just a SHU thing, she has made women’s rights a point in the community, by inviting the actual community.”

Also, a part of the SHU L.O.V.E. celebration was a foundation from the surrounding community. A dance performance by the Anacaona Enrichment Program’s all women dance team was included into the celebration of women. The event provided a positive environment for girls and women from all walks of life to feel acknowledged.

“The entire performance was just filled with great energy. The energy along with the great message felt very inspiring and empowering,” said sophomore and SHU L.O.V.E. soprano Stephanie Doheny.

Accompanying the tones of the ensemble were stern and direct lyrics of equality and women’s suffrage. Powerful classics like Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” and Sigourney Truth’s “Ain’t I A Woman” symbolize the fight that women continue to fight every day.

“Women have gone through a lot in 2016, and 2017 looks to be interesting, but we continue on,” said DeVeau-Jailbert.

Unity and equality were reoccurring concepts throughout the night. Male audience members, whether loved ones or just students, were also in attendance to support the female centric event.

“I am glad to see that the importance of women’s rights is so heavily acknowledged here at SHU, it shows that actual difference can be made,” said senior Christiano Lopes.

SHU L.O.V.E. continued their performance with multiple soloist sections that allowed for select singers to flex their vocals.

“It just felt great to step out in front of that audience to send that message of empowerment, all through my voice,” said sophomore soloist Maria Ogundolani.

Other sections of the performance included a duet from SHU L.O.V.E. members Wendy Estavien and Meredith Conroy who performed Beyoncé’s “If I Were A Boy.”

The sequence of songs culminated in a soulful performance of “I’m Every Woman.” Audience members cheered and clapped at the huge show of support and acknowledgment for women.

“This whole night just felt right, this is how we should celebrate each other as women. Girl Power,” said Ogundolani.

“13 Reasons Why” Premieres on Netflix

Dylan Minnette, Exec. Producer Selena Gomez and Katherine Langford seen at Netflix ’13 Reasons Why’ Premiere at Paramount Studios on Thursday, March 30, 2017, in Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Eric Charbonneau/AP.

By Cindy Sanawong

Staff Reporter

“Get a snack, settle in. Because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. Or more specifically, why my life ended,” said lead female character Hannah Baker in the first episode of Netflix original series, “13 Reasons Why.”

That is exactly what Netflix enthusiasts did during the premiere of “13 Reasons Why” on Friday, March 3.

The series is based on the 2007 Jay Asher novel which was listed on The New York Times Best Seller’s list of young adult novels in 2011.

Created by Brian Yorkey, the show deals with sensitive issues of suicide, bullying, sexual assault, anxiety and depression.

“I like the book better than the TV show,” said junior Samantha Bartol. “Both of them are good in the fact that they show the importance of being kind to one another. And they also have feminist themes, which I think is really important to be talking about right now.”

The show centers on the life and death of Baker. She is a junior at Liberty High School and commits suicide because of 13 different reasons. These reasons are then explained to each of the characters who had influenced the end of her life.

The explanation of her death was passed on through a mysterious box that appeared on the main male character, Clay Jensen’s doorstep. In the box are 13 recorded cassette tapes that Baker recorded before she died.

These cassettes were Baker’s personal diary accounts of her traumatic high school life, experiences that she went through and the reasons why she ended her life, which are revealed on the tape.

The tapes reveal several other characters, including her former friends Jessica Davis and Alex Standall. Even Baker’s close friend, Jensen, is mentioned in one of her recordings.

Every person included in the cassette tapes were a huge contributing factor to why Baker commits suicide.

“I’m in the middle of the show right now and I’m looking forward to seeing how Clay was involved in Hannah’s death because he’s a main character and I feel like the show will take a major twist when he gets to Hannah’s tape about him,” said senior Tom Spierto.

Baker pinpoints the start to her life’s downhill spiral when she went on a date with her first high school crush, Justin Foley. They went to the park and she had her first kiss. The date seemed fun and innocent, but what she didn’t know was that her date had taken an unflattering picture of her. He showed it to one of his friends and his friend then posted the picture all over social media.

Baker’s high school peers attacked her by body shaming her and they made a list that went around the school. She was also cyber bullied and guys sexually harassed her by treating her as a sexual object, rather than treating her as a human being.

This was only the start of her torment.

As high school goes on, more events take place with different students adding to her pain.

For Baker, she felt that her life and high school reputation were in complete shambles and felt that there was no way out.

She takes her own life in the ending episodes by slitting her wrists in a bathtub where her parents find her.

Her parents play a big role in the series by pursuing a lawsuit against the high school for not doing anything about bullying. The end of the season shows her parents getting to listen to the tapes and finally understanding why their daughter took her own life.

American actress and singer Selena Gomez was one of the executive producers for the show. She and two of the cast members, Alisha Boe and Tommy Dorfman, got matching tattoos of a black semicolon, which represent mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

The story sheds light on how it’s okay to ask for help before something serious and tragic happens, as in Baker’s case.

“I can’t stop watching it,” said junior Nina Miglio. “To relate to each character is a powerful feeling and I think they nailed that aspect. I hope they make more seasons.”

Literary Spring: Jilly Gagnon

By Stephanie Pettway

Staff Reporter

On April 6 in the Art and Design Gallery, Sacred Heart University’s English Department hosted comedy and young adult author Jilly Gagnon for their Literary Spring.

The Literary Spring showcases established authors. Guests then speak about their journey as a writer, their works and also read a small number of passages from their
published writings.

Gagnon presented her young adult fiction novel, “#famous,” and her adult comedy book, “Choose Your Own Misery: The Office,” co-written with Mike MacDonald.

Another one of her books within that series is titled “Choose Your Own Misery: The Holidays.”

“I didn’t think I was going to write neither comedy or young adult fiction,” said Gagnon. “But I did know, once I got to college, that I was going to at least write books.”

Gagnon spoke about how she got to where she was, with her currently being a full-time writer in Chicago. She said it’s like always having an essay due and you are your own professor.

She also talked about the difficulties she had to face trying to get her first book published, such as finding an agent. She explained how one must become comfortable with getting rejected, yet still have the drive to want to keep pursuing what they are passionate about.

After telling the audience her background, she gave a brief description of her novel, “#famous.” The story is based off of Alex From Target, a teenage boy who became a
Twitter sensation after a picture taken of him went viral.

Following the same premise, the novel tells the story of a girl named Rachel who tweets a picture of a cute boy named Kyle which then quickly goes viral. The story is told in both the perspectives of Rachel and Kyle and how they deal with the events that occur once Kyle gains fame.

The other book she spoke about was “Choose Your Own Misery: The Office,” which is based off the book series, “Choose Your Own Adventure,” by Edward Packard.

The book allows the reader to decide how the story pans out based on the options given. Gagnon states that the book follows “the constant misery of working in an office.”

Combined with humor and reliability, Gagnon’s voice allows her to connect with a wide demographic. It is also a reason why she liked writing personal essays for magazines.

“I think my strength as a writer is my voice. I like to put my own imprint on what I am writing,” said Gagnon.

During the presentation, she delivered humor with jokes to transition between topics, which had those in attendance laughing.

“I loved how funny she was,” said freshman Ashley Penczynzyn. “She was incredibly engaging.”

Some of the audience members included students from a creative writing class at Sacred Heart. Many of them liked what Gagnon had to say and now consider reading her works.

“I enjoyed her sense of humor. Makes me definitely want to pick up one of her ‘Choose Your Own Misery’ books,” said junior Dayne Kepler.

When she opened for a question and answer session at the end of the presentation, she offered advice to inspiring writers.

“I think it is great to do something different,” said Gagnon. “Sometimes we get stuck on a project we are working on, so it helps to change gears to get your mind going. But what you don’t want to do is stop writing when you get stuck.”

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