March 17, 2010

Lazy no more!

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:51 am by The Lyon

See? Not even 2 hours after, I got this all figured out.

(In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can go HERE or HERE to find out)

But no worries, everything back up again. And because we the Lyon think you readers deserve some good laughs, you can check out our extra March/February tidbits right here.

Cheerios!

COURSE SELECTION GUIDE

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:48 am by The Lyon

FOR STUDENTS, BY STUDENTS

BY ANDREW KOO AND LAURA NYMAN

Course selection week, beginning this year on the 22nd, can be a time to rejoice at newfound control over our own educations, or a time of intense self-doubt. Despite the surplus of course pamphlets, brochures, pres-entations and handbooks, in those last few moments the choice is left entirely up to us. Choice is a freeing thing, until we‘ve had too much of it.

The first thing to remember when selecting your courses is to do what you love. While it‘s important to study-up on prerequisites (especially for university and college bound students), high school is the beginning of exploration. Everyone should take at least one course they love, and one they have no experience in. For your general enjoyment, we‘ve written a sort of anti-course guide to help you out along the way.

SAP (Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology) (HSP3U)

SAP is always a popular elective among grade elevens at Mac, with as many as four separate classes running every year. The textbook is generally boring and outdated, but the pic-tures of 90s youth culture (street gangs and basketball) are entertaining, and the exam is only an hour and a half. Class discussions are pretty much daily.

Financial Accounting Fundamentals (BAF3M) and Fundamental Accounting Principles (BAT3M)

The grade 11 and 12 accounting courses are arguably the most useful for life outside of school, as they teach basic, practical skills. As anticipated, classes can be bor-ing and slow at times, but in-class work periods offer great opportunities to listen to music. A workbook is provided for each course, including a study guide and working papers, and much of each course is completed independently. An ideal course for anyone interested in enrolling in a university or college business program.

Guitar Music (AMG2O or AMG3O)

Mackenzie‘s guitar course is aimed at rein-forcing basic skills and teaching new tech-niques. While the class is ideal for students with an interest in music, it isn‘t the best place for slackers looking for an easy credit. ―At first I wasn‘t great, but I practiced really hard and in the end I could fluently play many chords,‖ says one student.

Computer Science (ICS2O, ICS3U, and finally IC-S4U)

For those enthusiasts into computer programming, this string of courses emphasizes plenty of thinking and teamwork. Though it requires a lot of patience and hard work, the effort can pay off with writing the advanced placement exam, and possibly earning a university credit. ―It‘s a great environment to work in every day. I had a lot of fun, but I also had to put a lot of time into it,‖ says once grade 12 student.

Studies in Literature (ETS4U1) or The Writer’s Craft (EWC4U1)

The English department offers two courses separating the compulsory course into specialized disciplines: litera-ture and writing. Generally, the former consists of ex-amining and interpreting literature (course texts include Findley‘s The Wars, Morrison‘s The Bluest Eye, Ibsen‘s A Doll House, and Gilman‘s ―The Yel-low Wallpaper‖), while the latter allows one to explore the skills necessary in writing. This past year, the Writer‘s Craft course included an online component, in which students were asked to publish a specific piece of writing on a class blog every week.

Media Studies (EMS3O and ASM4E)

The grade eleven media studies and grade 12 new media courses offer a unique look into the different aspects of media, including the deeper meanings behind advertising campaigns. ―You get a rare perspective of the nuts and bolts behind media production, and what makes them tick‖, one student says. Much of each course is oral and presentation based. Last semester, the Media Studies class took a class trip to MuchMusic‘s MOD!

Canadian and International Law (CLU3M and CLN4U)

These two courses stress developed thinking and a criti-cal approach to current legal issues. Students also got to examine historical beginnings and the evolution of law. The grade 11 course is significantly lighter, and is not required for the senior course. ―Even though law is a good class to pick up on legal jargon and learn about famous Canadian cases, none of these things are actually put to use in the course until the exam,‖ according to one student.

Course selection week, beginning this year on the 22nd, can be a time to rejoice at newfound control over our own educations, or a time of intense self-doubt. Despite the surplus of course pamphlets, brochures, pres-entations and handbooks, in those last few moments the choice is left entirely up to us. Choice is a freeing thing, until we‘ve had too much of it.

The first thing to remember when selecting your courses is to do what you love. While it‘s important to study-up on prerequisites (especially for university and college bound students), high school is the beginning of exploration. Everyone should take at least one course they love, and one they have no experience in. For your general enjoyment, we‘ve written a sort of anti-course guide to help you out along the way.

SAP (Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology) (HSP3U)

SAP is always a popular elective among grade elevens at Mac, with as many as four separate classes running every year. The textbook is generally boring and outdated, but the pic-tures of 90s youth culture (street gangs and basketball) are entertaining, and the exam is only an hour and a half. Class discussions are pretty much daily.

Financial Accounting Fundamentals (BAF3M) and Fundamental Accounting Principles (BAT3M)

The grade 11 and 12 accounting courses are arguably the most useful for life outside of school, as they teach basic, practical skills. As anticipated, classes can be bor-ing and slow at times, but in-class work periods offer great opportunities to listen to music. A workbook is provided for each course, including a study guide and working papers, and much of each course is completed independently. An ideal course for anyone interested in enrolling in a university or college business program.

Guitar Music (AMG2O or AMG3O)

Mackenzie‘s guitar course is aimed at rein-forcing basic skills and teaching new tech-niques. While the class is ideal for students with an interest in music, it isn‘t the best place for slackers looking for an easy credit. At first I wasn‘t great, but I practiced really hard and in the end I could fluently play many chords, says one student.

3

Computer Science (ICS2O, ICS3U, and finally IC-S4U)

For those enthusiasts into computer programming, this string of courses emphasizes plenty of thinking and teamwork. Though it requires a lot of patience and hard work, the effort can pay off with writing the advanced placement exam, and possibly earning a university credit. It‘s a great environment to work in every day. I had a lot of fun, but I also had to put a lot of time into it, says once grade 12 student.

Studies in Literature (ETS4U1) or The Writer’s Craft (EWC4U1)

The English department offers two courses separating the compulsory course into specialized disciplines: litera-ture and writing. Generally, the former consists of ex-amining and interpreting literature (course texts include Findley‘s The Wars, Morrison‘s The Bluest Eye, Ibsen‘s A Doll House, and Gilman‘s The Yel-low Wallpaper), while the latter allows one to explore the skills necessary in writing. This past year, the Writer‘s Craft course included an online component, in which students were asked to publish a specific piece of writing on a class blog every week.

Media Studies (EMS3O and ASM4E)

The grade eleven media studies and grade 12 new media courses offer a unique look into the different aspects of media, including the deeper meanings behind advertising campaigns. You get a rare perspective of the nuts and bolts behind media production, and what makes them tick, one student says. Much of each course is oral and presentation based. Last semester, the Media Studies class took a class trip to MuchMusic‘s MOD!

Canadian and International Law (CLU3M and CLN4U)

These two courses stress developed thinking and a criti-cal approach to current legal issues. Students also got to examine historical beginnings and the evolution of law. The grade 11 course is significantly lighter, and is not required for the senior course. ―Even though law is a good class to pick up on legal jargon and learn about famous Canadian cases, none of these things are actually put to use in the course until the exam,‖ according to one student.

NEW COURSE, NEW TECHNOLOGIES

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:47 am by The Lyon

MACKENZIE BEGINS TO PLUG IN

BY ROBBY MUFF

It‘s not often that new courses are introduced to a school. This year at Mac, a Communication Technology and Innovative Learning course (IDC4U) was offered for grade 12s. Mackenzie was one of six schools in the TDSB who piloted the new project.

During the course, students studied different learning styles, the importance of technology in the classroom, discussed issues with technology in schools and learning, and were taught some skills including: website design, movie editing, podcasting, concept mapping software, flash, SMART technologies and Photoshop.

Ms. Extavour taught the new course. She believes that technology is an important asset to a student‘s learning. “So many of their great ideas are ex-pressed through modern technology and using the technology has become second nature to them.”

The course’s goal was to investi-gate how technology effects teens today. The students completed many assign-ments that would benefit Mac by bringing more technology into classrooms, such as the on-line Macover survey. This tech course was a whole new experience from the ‗sit in a chair and listen to your teacher‘ routine.

For one of their big projects, stu-dents were paired up with teachers for four weeks and introduced new ways of bringing technology into their classrooms. Ashton Taylor, for example, helped Mr. Cade create a website for his class. Other students taught their assigned classes how to use Photoshop, designing and imple-menting SMART board and Clicker ac-tivities, teaching workshops on movie maker, and making a movie for the special education department.

Lily Meshadiyeva enjoyed her experience in the new course. ―I would recommend it to anyone who dis-likes being graded purely on test or exam results, who likes interacting with others, and who is ready to experi-ence something new. This course was so much fun and I looked forward to coming to class every day. I learned so much and can’t think of a better course that I could have taken instead.‖

Not only was this exciting course new at Mackenzie- it made a huge impact on the school. The class submitted a video to Best Buy’s “Best in Class Fund” contest that won $20,000 worth of new technol-ogy. More than 80 submissions were received nationwide and Mackenzie was one of the top three. (See the win-ning video yourself: http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=9zljPxO8eNU)

Principal Ms. Green was thrilled with the win. “We’re proud of our stu-dents and staff. This recognition is a dem-onstration of the kind of creativity and dedication that makes our school so spe-cial.”

Mackenzie also won $10,000 ear-lier this year in Best Buy’s Tech it Away initiative, in which students and commu-nity dropped off unwanted household elec-tronics at schools for the purpose of elimi-nating recyclable material from land fill dump sites.

So what will it take to get more technology into Mackenzie classrooms? According to Ms Extavour, ―The best way to get more tech at Mac is for the students to ask for it, for the school to budget and fundraise for it, and for the teachers to be more comfortable with it. Once you have seen what the tech can do- you’re sold.‖

Ashton Taylor highly recommends this new tech course. ―It‘s a great ‗family‘ experience, plus you get to learn so much about technology and you get to make all these new, amazing friends.‖

David Vinnikov agrees that this is a course worth taking. ―IDC was an awe-some course. I really had a lot of fun learn-ing about technology and applying it to Mackenzie. We won $20,000 for the school. What else can I say? I definitely recommend this class to everyone.‖

Future students should consider choosing this one of a kind new technology 4U course next year. It gives Mackenzie students a chance to really show-off their skills and creativity. It‘s a course unlike any other that is packed with excitement, diversity, and learning.

‘TIS THE SEASON

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:46 am by The Lyon

FOR STANDARDIZED TESTS

BY ELLEN ASIEDU

The end of the holiday season brings the beginning of a new season in high school. It‘s standardized test season. Stress is palpable and the tension can be cut with a knife.

This evaluation season, though, things are different. Low success rates in mathematics is a problem that‘s facing schools across the TDSB, and at Mackenzie the issue seems to be magnified because of the success that our MaCS and Gifted students usually demonstrate.

EQAO math scores are ―…not where we want them to be.‖ says Mr.Dallin, one of the vice-principals. With this in mind, teachers sprang into action and cre-ated a Numeracy Committee to address the issue. Ms. Karegeorgiou, head of the math department, revealed a strategy being im-plemented in hopes of raising EQAO scores. ―We‘re holding testing in the cafeteria rather than in the class-rooms.‖ As well, the 911 Club has been created in hopes of restoring the stan-dard.

―What club?‖ you ask. Clearly, get-ting the word out is another issue at Mac. Moreover, peer tutors for math are few and far be-tween in comparison with student need.

But perhaps the reason why grade nines aren‘t doing as well lies within the test itself. In grade nine, students are coming from a vari-ety of mathematic backgrounds. Eve-ryone is at a differ-ent level and in a semestered system, teachers scramble to bring everybody up to the same stage to be able to write the EQAO within five months. This en-deavour is made harder when it‘s considered that some grade eight students haven‘t been promoted to grade nine, but transferred.

―There‘s a lot of pressure on us,‖ said one grade nine stu-dent. ―…because it counts towards our report card mark‖.

Perhaps it would help if the math and Literacy Tests were both done in grade ten.

In grade ten students are in their second year of high school and are a little more acclimatized to learning ex-pectations. They know what to anticipate in terms of high school writing, therefore making them more prepared to take the Literacy Test. At Mackenzie, the Literacy Test average is 90%. No problem there.

This leads to the conclusion that stu-dents in semestered institutions like Mackenzie are not given sufficient time to develop strategies and digest material enough to spit it back on a test.

Alas, EQAO tests have been written and students have to wait until next September to see how well they made the adjustment. But some of them can be consoled with the fact that standard-ized mathematic tests are done with.

If you‘re reading this and you‘re scheduled to take EQAO this semester, I highly recommend that you join the math club or get a friend to help you.

Be prepared.

HOW TO FAIL

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:46 am by The Lyon

FEEL GOOD BEING BAD

BY LAURA NYMAN

A week or so ago, I found myself writing a test for my grade eleven Functions class—describing in inordinate detail the principal that as probability of success de-creases, probability of failure increases. I definitely felt my probability of success de-creasing as I faked my way through twenty questions on sine curves, and turned in my eraser-marked, crumpled and torn test. I was surprised to find, however, that my pending failure wasn‘t accompanied by any kind of regret or guilt. Rather, I skipped down the hallway towards a well-earned lunch period. I was nearly giddy.

It‘s not as if I‘ve ever been an ―average‖ student. Far from it. I remember the first, and only, failing grade I‘ve ever received on an assignment: an angry red ―R‖ carved into an essay on the ordinary contractions of the diaphragm causing hiccups. I was in grade three, and I was scandalized.

Lately, however, I‘ve been experiencing a strange kind of trend after writ-ing—and bombing—particularly difficult tests. I have learned to take pleasure in my failure. My recent tests have been dismally grouped into two separate categories: exam practise (as in, learning to cope with failing is good practise for coping with exam results) and fridge-door decoration. In some perverse way, the former group brings me just as much pleasure as the latter, and for one simple reason: it feels good to be bad.

It‘s liberating, the momentary rebellion against expectations, and against the system. The space of a week in which the failure isn‘t yet confirmed on paper, and thus isn‘t yet a reality. There is a certain amount of pride, not in failing, but in not caring. High school is not always my first or foremost priority, no matter what my teachers and parents may believe, and failing a test (or two, or three) is evident proof of this. Even if my only aim is proving to myself that I have a life outside of William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute.

Despite our teachers‘ unwillingness to let the education system take the blame for our failing grades, success is completely dependant on the environment we learn in. At a school as especially academically superior as Mackenzie, it is the suc-cessful students who receive academic luxuries. Those of us with wide-eyed fear of the very real prospect of summer school are often forgotten by our teachers.

And, like so many things, failure becomes cyclical. Students are unwilling to be pushed towards better study habits and better grades, and teachers, frankly, are unwilling to push them. Failed tests certainly aren‘t spread out across the school; it is a select group of students who can claim responsibility for lowered standards and av-erages at Mac. But without encouragement, these students remain on their fast track, not to success, but to gifty-fiftys and perhaps, in a few years, gifty-diplomas.

Next time you get a bombed test back, I encourage you to accept your failing grade with a smile. Because, after all, it‘s not the mark, but the way you feel about the mark, which matters. A failed test does not equate to a failed semester. Besides, there are still four months, well, three…two and a half…two weeks…four days…until the exam. Let‘s call this one practise.

MACKENZIE MAKES THE HONOUR ROLL

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:41 am by The Lyon

BY SIVANI VIJAYAKUMAR

Once again Mackenzie has proved its academic record by placing third out of all the high schools in the TDSB for level 4 achievement in all subjects. While this is a drop from the pre-vious year, this is still good news for Mackenzie.

One of my teachers men-tioned the fact that as Mackenzies academic re-cord is becoming well known, more parents want to send their children to this school, which is proba-bly why we have so many students.

Talking to the students, many admit that Mackenzies academic re-cord is why they;’re here, but when asked what they think of Mackenzie placing third in the TDSB most replies were similar to, “…thats great!” Students felt this was a great achievement but it didnt hold their attention for long. After all, at a school like Mac, the honour roll isnt something were not used to.

MACKENZIE MAKES THE HONOUR ROLL

BABY IT’S COLD INSIDE

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:40 am by The Lyon

Chilly Classrooms, Shivering Students

BY CATHY TRAN

Perhaps complaining resides in teenage nature, but almost every Mackenzie student has been complaining about how cold the school‘s been for the past three months. I can‘t help but agree. As I walk out of each class, I find myself shivering and trying to warm up just from being inside.

Students admit that the cold distracts them in class and some wish they could wear jackets in school. One anonymous grade 9 student said that she ―find[s] [herself] shivering, and looking at the clock every five minutes, anxious to get out of the cold class. A grade 11 student even protested, ―We pay an activity fee that‘s $20 more than my friends‘ schools! Shouldn‘t we at least get enough heating?

Unlike us students, the teachers don‘t feel as cold. Dr. Burt from the science de-partment and Mr. Tebbutt from the English department said that though they‘ve noticed the cold in different classrooms, standing to teach all day keeps them warm.

Despite all differences, many agree that the classes downstairs are coldest. The coldest of the cold is the presentation suite, while the computer rooms are the warm-est. One Mackenzie student said that ―the window seats are always the coldest.‖

Our principal, Ms. Green, admitted that even the office is sometimes cold and empathizes with the students who have to learn in the cold environment. ―I advise everyone to wear extra layers, she said.

The guidelines for all TDSB classrooms and offices is 20°C, while the gyms, stairs and corridors average 18°C, which isn‘t bad at all because according to the Oxford dictionary, room temperature is ―generally taken as about 20°C.‖ So what ac-counts for our chilly school?

Ms. Green replied that the building is old and doesn‘t have much insulation anymore. But, she assures us that more windows will be replaced in the coming months, which should help solve this frosty problem. Students, on the other hand, suggest replacing our heating system.

The head caretaker, Mr. King, said that the board decided to make schools more environmentally friendly by low-ering average temperatures to save energy. But, the gas bill for December alone was still $631!

Part of why the school‘s so cold may be because no one tells the caretakers their complaints. The caretakers are always moving around so they don‘t freeze up as we do. ―If people find it cold, they need to come tell me. I won‘t know if they don‘t,‖ commented Mr. King.

CHILLY CLASSROOMS, SHIVERING STUDENTS

BY CATHY TRAN

IT‘S GETTING COLD IN HERE

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:39 am by The Lyon

SO PUT ON ALL YOUR CLOTHES

BY NIKKI KHRANOVSKAYA

The weather is really strange, but one thing we all can agree with is that it’s cold. Here are a few tips to help you stay warm at Mackenzie.

Check the forecast – even if it seems warm in the morning, it may be very cold in the afternoon on your way home, or the other way around.

Keep an extra pair of shoes in your locker – that way if your feet get cold and wet outside, you can always change into comfy dry shoes. Dry feet are the secret to staying warm!

Don’t open the doors for no reason! If you are leaving the school, make sure the door closes behind you, especially the door leading to the parking from the caf. No one likes to feel a cold gust of wind while trying to eat.

If your class is in a portable, make sure the teacher is already there before you head out, so you won’t get stuck in the cold, or ask the teacher to put some sticker on the door when he or she arrives.

Don’t start playing snowballs for ―exercise‖ to get warm – you might get wet and cold. Plus there doesn’t seem to be much snow. But other than all this, enjoy your winter!

A FARMER, SOME MAGIC, AND A MEAN VIOLIN

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:39 am by The Lyon

BY MIKE VICHNITCHKINE

Owen Pallett‘s latest album, Heartland, is ―very interesting‖, in the words of one student. Upon hearing about the basic idea, another student could only say, ―what the . . . ?‖ The plot of Heartland, a concept album is as follows: A farmer named Lewis travels the fantasy land of Spectrum, battling evil creatures with magic as he tries to come to terms with his love for his creator, Owen Pallett. If that isn‘t worthy of a ―WTF‖, I don‘t know what is. And yet, Pallett manages to make it work. With intense orchestral hooks and gripping melodies, the man who once just co-wrote string arrangements for other bands carves out his own musical persona. He‘s weird. He‘s kind of a nerd. And he plays a mean violin.

Pallett‘s first two album were both excellent. Without Heartland’s electronic influences, Pallett‘s talent shone clearly. Both were deceptively rich in sound, despite being solo endeavours. Nevertheless, Heartland will be a lot of peoples‘ first taste of his eclectic musical style. Despite being undeniably strange in presentation, it is much more accessible than his previous works. Its electronic elements are bound to catch the interests of many peo-ple who just aren‘t that into orchestral music. It is, however, much less personal than his two older albums. Whereas Has a Good Home and He Poos Clouds dealt mostly with regular people and their issues, Heartland‘s Lewis is difficult to relate to, being about a farmer in a make-believe world. Regardless, I think everybody should give it a listen. To say the least, it‘s entertaining.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS IS BACK

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:38 am by The Lyon

IT’S A PARTY IN THE W.L.M.

BY MASHA GORELIK

At January‘s Battle of the Bands — the first Mackenzie Battle of the Bands in about half a decade — the rock-star attitude was realistic and the feeling of a real rock concert was definitely present.

Blue Forest Way opened with a bang. More specifically, they opened with a rock version of Richard Strauss‘ ―Also Sprach Zarathustra‖. It was epic, in every sense of the word. Lead singer Jonathan Leong-Sem‘s stage presence was impressive throughout the rest of their set, and the whole band was obviously psyched to be on stage.

Ace of Spades‘ set also had a memorable beginning. As the band launched into ―You Give Love A Bad Name‖, lead singer Ashby Kissoondoyal tossed a stack of play-ing cards into the crowd: aces of spades, obviously. The band‘s assigned cover of Madonna‘s ―Vogue‖ didn‘t quite come together, but the original track they played sounded great. Hopefully they‘ll keep working on new material.

Perfect Plaid Shirts offered a refreshing break from hard/classic rock. Their set was loose, poppy, and a little bit goofy. Their cover of Weezer‘s ―Undone (The Sweater Song)‖ was great, and even included some spoken word, and they did a really funny par-ody of Miley Cyrus‘s ―Party in the USA‖. Now that was a really unique way to work a really annoying song.

Even though I‘m not, to be honest, a fan of loud rock music, I really started en-joying myself when I Fear the Plague came on stage. Aidan Schiff-Kearn and Victor Mayboroda did an outstanding job on guitar, Steven Iarusci was great on vocals, and so was Daphne Feng when she joined the band to sing the female part of a song by Eva-nescence. The beat that Jonathan Ramotour set to the song was catchy, and needless to say, the crowd went wild. I Fear the Plague‘s music had a metal tinge to it, which made the songs intense.

The crowd‘s optimism and enthusiasm in supporting each and every perform-ance is strongly commended. When Responsible Government, a teacher band, appeared on stage, a funny and sort of surreal feeling came over the room. It was as if their pro-fessional attire disappeared, and we were able to witness their real personalities, with-out the pressure of the usual strict student-teacher relationship. Their performance had everyone smiling.

While the judges were deliberating for a good half-hour about the winner of the Battle, the bands decided to distract the crowd by improvising songs like ―I Wanna Be Sedated‖. Finally, the deserving winner was announced: I Fear the Plague.

GRAND THEFT BANDNAME

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:37 am by The Lyon

Before releasing “Heartland”, Owen Pallet recorded under the name Final Fantasy, which he obviously stole from the popular videogame. Very few band names come out of no-where — most are stolen from somewhere.

Most people assume Ace of Spades took their name from the Motorhead song. “Everyone thinks that”, says lead singer Ashby Kissoondoyal. “But it was just something that came to us when we were in a rush to name the band”.

Blue Forest Way took their name from a street a number of blocks north of Mackenzie. “It‟s Blue Forest Drive, actually”, says bassist Josh Amar. “But a friend said she didn‟t like how the „Drive‟ sounded, so we changed it to „Way‟”.

I Fear the Plague is a lyric from a Blue Oyster Cult song. “We were going to go with the line before it, Rats in the Hold”, says guitarist Victor Mayboroda. “But we liked all the connota-tions of I Fear the Plague”.

In a display of school spirit (I think), Mackenzie‟s teacher band took their name straight from our school‟s namesake: Responsible Government is what William Lyon Mackenzie fought for, and what we would call democracy.

STORIES BEFORE THE STORM

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:37 am by The Lyon

ANIMAL IS HARD TO FORGET

BY KSENIA GUELETINA

This month’s book is a new collection of short stories by Alexan-dra Leggat. Leggat is a freelance writer and editor, as well as a creative writing teacher at the University of Toronto‘s School of Continuing Studies. She has published two other short story col-lections as well as a volume of poetry. The collection in question is entitled Animal and for once, the blurb at the back summarizes the book’s appeal succinctly and accurately. The phrase that struck me most was ―palpable tension‖, as this perfectly describes the thread weaving together all these stories. We meet a woman reconciling the loss of a lover and her own aging. We hear a seemingly innocuous conversation over dinner. We watch a re-tired actress re-learning what’s important. Leggat paints extraordinarily vivid pictures of these characters, snapshots in time. Her descriptions are always just enough, never cloying the reader with too many details. The characters in her stories don’t necessarily get easy answers and some of them don’t get answers at all. Whether it’s an office worker looking for the cour-age to change, or a life coach who dreams of playing football, the most important thing is that these are stories about people who are standing on a precipice and Leggat doesn’t always reveal whether or not they win their fight with gravity. As a reader, I enjoyed this book immensely. It is starkly and incredibly well-written. It is effortless afterward to close your eyes and see the scenes that she lays out, to feel the tension like the quiet, ominous feeling in the air right before a thunderstorm washes it clean. It’s an easy book to become immersed in and it is a difficult book to stop thinking about.

The stories are about a wealth of subjects, and though the question of chil-dren and of growing old is a recurrent theme, Leggat mostly writes about the changes that come with those situations; the physical changes and the changes that you sustain as a person. These are not easy subjects and the way she handles them is admirable. She doesn’t preach, which is something that crops up distress-ingly often when reading about these topics. She is writing about people and about the choices that they are faced with, and she is definitely worth reading.

ARE HUMANS ANIMALS?

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:37 am by The Lyon

BY CAROLYNE WANG

Two months ago, the Lyon re-viewed Animals by Don LePan. When asked to comment on his title, LePan said, “The main thing it suggests, to me at least, is a com-monality between human animals and non-human ones. But of course it’s often used in ways that emphasize a presumed contrast between humans and non-human animals.”

This brings up an interesting question: what does “animal” mean? Writers use the word “animal” to signify “not human” and “a wild human” at the same time. So, when one says, “that person is like an animal” or “an animal-like sound came out of his mouth”, it makes sense and yet is still ironic (humans are technically animals, so isn‟t it natural for us to emit “animal sounds” or to “act like an animal”?).

Maybe the use of the word “animal” should be restricted in certain contexts. For example, “that person is like an animal” should become “that person is like a wild, untamed animal” or “that person is like a cute little furry animal”. Otherwise, “animal” can mean anything from human to un-controllable wild cobra.

As for Alexandra Leggat‟s interpretation of this word and why she chose it for the title of her book, she writes, “[Animal] sums up everything that this book stands for in one word – the fight for survival; instinct, wisdom, inno-cence, beauty and ugliness, the hunter and the hunted. It’s about the complexity of relationships, grappling to exist with the bevy of earth’s creatures – even one’s self.”

SLEEPLESS IN DENMARKA

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:36 am by The Lyon

A FIRST-PERSON REPORT FROM COPENHAGEN

By Zack Bernholtz

This past December, I attended the Conference of The Parties 15 in Copenhagen. Many of the participating countries have not done enough, in my opinion, to slow the environmental degradation of our world, and contin-ued to fail the cause at the negotiations. However, some countries did succeed in standing up for their beliefs, live-lihoods, and land. During my time in Copenhagen I at-tended United Nations delegations, organized and partici-pated in protests, helped create the youth policy on adap-tation, questioned world leaders, met youth from all over the world, and got very little sleep.

At the end of the conference a Copenhagen Accord was reached. The accord states that the need to limit the increase in global temperatures is simply ―recognized‖ as a ―scientific view‖, and therefore does not necessarily have to be adopted as a target. The text includes no targets for emissions reduction. Overall the document is a complete failure and was pushed upon developing countries—many of whom did not end up bowing to pressure and signing.

Canada‘s environmental policy, trends and eco-logical focus rank 59th out of the top 60 global emitters, in a study published by the Climate Change Performance Index. Only one country, Saudi Arabia, ranked lower. Canada plans to expand the Alberta tar sands to three times their current size by 2020 by developing more of the area that can be exploited for the creation of this ―dirty‖ oil. Plans to convert synthetic crude oil produced from tar sands into gasoline could cause the emissions of a Toyota Prius to equal those of a Hummer 2. This is a result of the increased amount of energy and water required to produce tar sands oil.

American President Barack Obama went behind the backs of the UN and the majority of the UN member states, assembling an accord that outraged the rest of the world. This was then presented to poorer nations without negotiation: either they signed it, or they lost the adapta-tion funds that may help them to survive the first few dec-ades of climate breakdown. Adaptation funds are funds allocated by developed nations to lesser-developed nations, or those nations who are most affected by climate change. These funds are just beginning to be established, however one hundred billion dollars per year will be required, ac-cording to many estimates. A donation of only twenty-five cents a day from each citizen of the developed world would reach this estimate.

In the backroom negotiations at the Copenhagen Accord, China opposed legislation calling for an 80% re-duction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Chi-nese government was not interested in improving the global climate at these talks, only in hindering negotiation and progress. Though the United Nations agreements on climate change are meant to be unilateral and interna-tional, China has decided to go about this on its own terms, hindering potential global progress.

Britain, France, Germany, Greece, and Sweden have already met their targets for reducing emissions be-low required levels, as specified under the Kyoto Protocol, negotiated in 1997 and put into practice in 2005. Across the European Union, Kyoto targets are well on track to be met by 2012. However, these countries must take a stand on factors that will affect other nations of the world, like increased temperature causing desertification of sub-Saharan Africa, and rising global sea levels. France has risen to the challenge, pledging money to an adaptation fund for those most affected by climate change such as small island nations, sub-Saharan Africa, and low-lying nations.

Tuvalu is the fourth smallest country in the world (in terms of physical size), and has a population of only 12,000. This remote island nation‘s highest point is 5m above sea level. According to current environmental trends, a temperature increase of only 2 degrees Celsius (as predicted by 2100) could submerge Tuvalu, as well as others with similar geographical landscapes. The leaders of a few of these countries told personal stories, and stood up against other nations who are seemingly comfortable with the destruction of their land and way of life.

Overall, the conference brought together 110 heads of state from the 192 countries represented in the United Nations. Even though these leaders have heard the scientific evidence, and possess the knowledge and technology to create a sustainable future, they didn‘t. The leaders of our world didn‘t stand together, and as a result have decided to maintain a lifestyle that could shatter our future, kill millions, and displace hundreds of millions by 2100.

We Only Got 40 Hours to Save the World

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:36 am by The Lyon

How Are You Accumulating Forty Hours of Community Involvement?

I volunteer at CARD (Community Association for Rid-ing for the Disabled) once a week for about four hours. We pick a horse and get them ready — we groom them, we tack them — then we bring them out and get the rid-ers on. We lead the horse during the lesson, or we hold on to the rider and help them stay on the horse. The riders might have a physical disability or a mental dis-ability or both. They‘re really diverse. I really love horses but my parents don‘t send me to camp because it‘s too expensive, so it‘s a good way to spend time with horses for free. All of the horses are really sweet. It feels nice to help people and to do what you love to do. — Yeng-Ching Lee

This Little Lyon Got Lazy

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:11 am by The Lyon

Sorry guys. It’s not that this issue isn’t out yet (it’s been out quite a while…) but this particular Lyon is having trouble posting stuff.

It shall be up by the end of this week!

And now to do things differently…

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:51 am by The Lyon

Hi again!

Sorry for the (long?) hiatus, but the Lyon is now back, with an awesome makeover! That’s right! Gone is the annoying long paper that’s hard to turn! (Not that it matters online…) and now, our news is all about Mac Mac MAC!

Just a note: Past issues can be found in the “Archives” section, as they are no longer categorized. In fact, all articles will now be found in the Archives section by publication month.

Don’t forget there’s always a search bar underneath “Categories”!

Enjoy! (:

And also a   HAPPY ST PATRICK‘S DAY TO EVERYONE!

PS. I’m not sure whether this is our February or March issue… ><

In any case, another issue coming up in about a week and a half (:

February 3, 2010

And our “new” issue is out…

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:21 pm by The Lyon

Yes, yes, we know, it’s no longer January, and Battle of the Bands long passed, and the Free the Children Raffle happened last year. But hey! New issue! That in itself is a reason to celebrate. That, and the end of exam break, the beginning of a new semester. One filled with looking out the window on a stuffy afternoon hoping June would come to an end…Enough daydreaming on my part, here is your January news.

I’d also like to mention, we have a new addition to the GAMES PAGE. Bineh Kalra has been kind enough to join us again this year to provide us with the brain-twisting mind-bending two minute mysteries. Thanks Bineh!

Have a good one. and happy semester two!

Representing Mackenzie on a National Stage

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:16 pm by The Lyon

Andrew Koo

It’s only three-hundred meters, but the distance is merely a symbol of how far Brandon Pludwinski has come.
A grade nine student at Mackenzie, Brandon partook in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay this past December. In an event sponsored by iCoke, Brandon was one of over one million applicants across Canada who applied to be a part of the ceremony that spanned the globe. Through a process of daily questions and a written essay, he was one of only seventy students in Toronto to be selected by iCoke.
iCoke provided the opportunity for Canadian youth with Olympic aspirations to get a taste of the sense of pride and nationalism associated with the long-standing tradition of the Olympic games.
The torch began its trip in Olympia, traveling around Greece, last year. It then was flown across the Atlantic Ocean, arriving in British Columbia on October 30th. It is currently running a loop, journeying across the ten provinces of Canada, carried by famous Olympians and contest winners like Brandon, finally arriving back in Vancouver on the 12th of February for the opening ceremonies of the winter games.
Brandon was scheduled to run at 5:03 PM on December 30, in the small town of Powassan, near Nipissing. Located in the North Bay area, it is one of over 1,000 small communities which the torch passed through. His friends and family took the short trip with him, to cheer him on.

“I first heard about the torchbearer through commercials. I’m an Olympic freak; if you ask any of my friends to say one word about me, I’m confident they’ll say ‘Olympics’,” says Brandon. For a year and a half, he answered a daily question on iCoke.ca, which awarded him additional entries to be the torchbearer.
An exclusive group of hopefuls with the highest number of entries advanced to the second round, in which applicants had to write and submit an essay describing their “commitment to active living”. iCoke was seeking adolescents who best embodied the “Olympic spirit”, positive and active participation in their community, and leadership qualities. Brandon wrote his essay on maintaining a healthy lifestyle with family and friends.
During a lunch period in school, Brandon learned via phone from the Vancouver Olympic Torch Relay Committee that part of his dream had been achieved. Understandably, he was delighted that he won. “As soon as I heard [from the committee] I was…jumping around and had the biggest smile. I couldn’t sleep at night because I was so excited!”
Brandon is a ski racer for the Ontario team, and his dream from a young age was to turn professional in the sport. “To be representing Team Canada in the Olympics would make me immensely proud. I train everyday. When I ski, it feels like I am as powerful as I can be. It’s like everything is in that moment for a purpose and time stops.” Brandon races in a league that puts his skills to the test, and has performed well, winning several medals.
He looks up to Kelly Vanderbeek, a female Canadian Olympic skier. “She went from the hills of Ontario to winning world cups. It proves that with the right attitude, you can accomplish anything.”
Brandon is one of a few students in the TDSB that will be given the honor to carry the Olympic torch, making him a representative of the school board and country. “For me it’s about proving a point that if you believe and are passionate about something, you can achieve it.” Already maturing and becoming an inspiration to others, Brandon is anticipating his chance to become a part of history. He’s demonstrating the excellence and values that are part of the ideal Olympic competitor, and those qualities will drive him in progressing toward his Olympic dream.
“I am too young to be an athlete in the Olympics but just the right age to be a torchbearer,” Brandon said. “This is my way of being part of the third Canadian Olympics.”

A $20, 000 Win on a Whim

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:15 pm by The Lyon

Mithula Loganathan

Fourteen students. Three days. One video. Twenty thousand dollars towards our school. Mackenzie students never cease to impress.
Friday October 16, 2009 marked the submission deadline for the Best in Class Fund, a Best Buy initiative involving 80 schools nationwide, all competing to win $20, 000 in technology. While most schools began working on their proposals weeks in advance, Mrs. Extavour’s IDC4U class started brainstorming ideas a week prior to the deadline and pulled together an award worthy video within three days, bulldozing all competition and reeling in twenty grand for Mackenzie.
Information and Communication Technology (IDC4U), a grade twelve course introduced this September, is offered in only six schools across the TDSB, Mackenzie included. The curriculum focuses on the use of technology for improved education, investigating various learning styles and building skills in Adobe Photoshop, Flash, Web design, as well as exploring less ventured areas such as podcasting. Regardless of the program’s base focus, attempting to pull off a prize worthy video in the amount of time provided was certainly an endeavor in itself.

When informed about the contest from teachers Ms. Dyke and Ms. Cuttle, the IDC4U class immediately jumped on board, scurrying to brainstorm ideas and develop a strong theme to use. The students were required to submit an engaging proposal outlining any consumer technologies they hoped to integrate in the classroom as well as explain how these new incorporations would provide educational benefits. While many schools chose to take a documentarian route, aiming to explain the importance of various technologies, Mackenzie students cleverly took another approach.
With Sara Bakun leading the project, Anurathan Sivarajah and Wajeeh Syed as the film editors and Kelvin Chan responsible for video conversions, the troop of fourteen began their assignment, unaware of how well they would do. After three days of filming, the responsibility was handed over to Wajeeh and Anu, who found themselves up until 5 o’clock Friday morning, trying to pull their week’s work together.
The winning slogan, “technology will set you free”, sum up the video’s concept, but what exactly do these words mean?
“Well, within these walls, we can be everywhere in the world. We wanted to change a common mindset we found among adults, as technology is not necessarily a confinement but in truth, the seaway to an ocean of endless possibilities” explained students Henry Xu and Ashton Taylor.
When Mrs.Extravour’s class received news of their achievement (and $20, 000 prize), they took to the halls of Mackenzie, parading around the school with chants, laughter and a frenzy of “hip-hip-hoorays”. While the use of the prize money is still in the midst of the planning stage, new installments are expected to begin as of next September. What began as a mere assignment in need of completion ended with a major win for Mackenzie.

Battle of the Bands

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:14 pm by The Lyon

Masha Gorelik

What’s this all about? Well, Mackenzie’s latest musical event, “Battle of the Bands”, is coming up on Friday, January 15, 2010 from 6:30 to 10. The bands that will be competing against each other are: Ace of Spades, Blue Forest Way, Perfect Plaid, See MoreShirts, and I Fear the Plague. All of these talented musicians will be rocking out in our very own school cafeteria, so I really wouldn’t miss it if I were you. If you were in the cafeteria area during the last week before the break, Ace of Spades provided everyone with a sneak-peek of what they will be playing during the concert. Tickets are being sold after the break, so if you haven’t bought yours yet, hurry before they run out! Music Council has been working very hard to host this event, and all proceeds are going to Mackenzie’s Free the Children. Their current goal is to raise $8500 to build a local school in Sierra Leone. To sum it up, ticket = charity + a great show. So grab your tickets and see you all there!

Ready, Set, Raffle!

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:13 pm by The Lyon

Anamika O

It’s Monday morning. We dreadfully roll out of our bed to get ready to go to school. Somewhere in Africa and in many other developing countries is Monday morning as well, but there, the children would be happy to roll out of bed to go to school rather than pick up a gun or go out to search for food that they might not even find. We, living in Canada, are very lucky to be able to go to school and have a roof over our heads. We, as lucky as we are, should help those in need because as Bill Clinton once said, “We cannot build our own future without helping others to build theirs.”
Free The Children, founded in 1995 by Craig Keilburger, is the largest network of children helping children through education. Mackenzie is proud to be part of this network. Our Free The Children team’s goal is to raise $8500 to build a school in Sierra Leone. They have run many events over the years to reach their goal, such as food days, button sales, and most recently, the weekly Internet Cafe.
A week before the Christmas holidays, Free The Children sold raffle tickets for two dollars to help reach them reach their ultimate goal. With irresistible prizes, it’s no wonder they’re already halfway to their goal of $8500! Let’s hope we raise enough money for that other half soon, so children around the world will be as lucky as we are to go to school. GO MAC!

Java After Dark a Smash Hit

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:12 pm by The Lyon

Ksenia Gueletina

This semester’s Java After Dark was a resounding success. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to come to Mackenzie’s semi-annual coffeehouse performance, it’s a collection of non-mainstream acts organized by Arts Council at the end of each semester. It’s a two-part event split by an intermission complete with delicious free refreshment and, of course, coffee. This year, the first half was entirely cinematic, consisting mostly of projects done by the students in the art classes that are currently running as well as some of the choice picks of short films from previous years. The second half was dominated by music. There were three original pieces; a piano and vocals piece composed by Tara Mills, a grade 12 Mackenzie student currently learning conducting, a short piano composition by a returning Mackenzie graduate and a song with guitar accompaniment by Jonnathan Leong-Sem (last year’s Joseph in Joseph) that was inspired by the show “Smallville”. There were also a couple of guitar pieces: an acoustic duet and a solo on the electric entitled “Ocean”. As usual, there were singers. An a capella version of Michael Jackson’s “Smile”, Kate Nash’s “Foundations” and Oleg Mityaev’s “Queen of Nepal” with guitar accompaniment as well as Regina Spektor’s “On the Radio” with piano accompaniment, followed by a piano piece and a monologue, which was the only dramatic performance that evening. Overall, the quality of the program was excellent and the event was not the talent show that it might sound like to someone who has never attended. It felt very intimate, and all of the performers were obviously very passionate about their choice of medium. The audience was also very friendly and everyone involved was there to have a good time. This was helped by the fact that the library was transformed into a dimly lit stage that showcased this kind of personal performance. There weren’t a lot of dramatic performances this time, but this is unusual for Java after Dark events and undoubtedly, this spring’s Java will have a lot more skits and monologues. So if you like great music and great acting, come out next time for an amazing evening.

A Reason to Get Outdoors this Winter

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:09 pm by The Lyon

Anat Kabanovski

Toronto’s hottest winter attraction is back for its seventh year! With WinterCity’s Toronto-wide festival during the winter months, there is no reason to hold anyone back from enjoying the city to the fullest. WinterCity festival is comprised of three different-themed event-series, celebrating culture, entertainment, creativity, and cuisine.
The Wild on Winter (WOW!) Series at Nathan Phillips Square helps spectators ignore the cold chills with free entertainment every weekend. This includes fire installations, aerial dance performances, live music, dance, ice sculptures, skating parties, and spectacular performances by international groups. The RBC WinterCity Lodge offers daytime crafts and entertainment and evening comedy.
One of the fantastic performances at Nathan Phillips Square is the Tower of Light show, a large-scale outdoor production involving fireworks and fire sculptures, music, lighting, special effects, and spectacular images. This event takes place on January 27th, 28th, and 29th at 7 pm at the square.
The Warm Up Series exhibits special performances produced by Toronto artists and institutions. Many of Toronto’s attractions and arts companies provide exceptional events for adults and kids. For deals on admission, visit the official WinterCity Festival site.
Last, but definitely not least, Winterlicious adds a series of delectable culinary events to Toronto’s winter celebration. Numerous fine dining restaurants have special prix fixe menus available, offering dishes for a reduced price. Furthermore, during the fourteen days of WinterCity, Winterlicious will be hosting cooking demonstrations and other culinary events at a variety of locations.
In 2010, the WinterCity Festival is again sponsored by RBC and will take place from January 29th to February 11th, so brace for the cold and join in the best that Toronto has to offer in the wintertime!

East Meets West at Spadina and Dundas

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:08 pm by The Lyon

Daphne Feng

As a Chinese-Canadian, I am extremely familiar with the downtown community located at Dundas West and Spadina known as Chinatown. Over the years, the area has been my mother’s favourite destination for authentic Chinese sauces, spices, foods, and beverages. It is the place to go to explore east Asian culture in Canada.
In addition to being one of the largest Chinatowns in North America, Toronto’s Chinatown is also one of the most authentic, with a large population of ethnic Chinese residents living and working in the area. In Chinatown, street signs and store displays are bilingual, written in English and Chinese, and fruit and vegetables are commonly sold in boxes outside small supermarkets. Inside these supermarkets, the smell of raw fish and spices is ever present. And outside, the streets are nearly always packed, greatly resembling China and its constantly growing population.
New Chinese immigrants to Canada often find home in this community, as it provides a smooth and easy transition from the small towns and villages of China, to the urban Toronto life. But though Chinatown is very authentic, it still reminds visitors that they are in Toronto. Chinatown is not just for Chinese-Canadians, but for all Torontonians to experience the culture of the east!
To get to Chinatown, take the subway to Spadina Station, then take the 510 Spadina streetcar to the intersection of Spadina Ave. and Dundas St. West. And come hungry! The numerous restaurants will have your taste buds jumping. 欢迎光临 Chinatown!
(欢迎光临 – though literally translated as “welcome”, is a Chinese term meaning “happy exploring”, or “go on and enjoy/explore”)

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