Heritage dancers shine on stage

Heritage High School is home to a plethora of talented students. There are the theater kids, athletes, musicians, artists, and even four talented ballerinas. Abby Specht ’13, Karina Okoren ’13, Hannah Kois ’14 and KT Wicker ’16 have all been cast as leads in Littleton Youth Ballet’s upcoming production of The Wizard of Oz.

Specht and Kois have been given the unique opportunity of sharing the role of Glinda. After receiving the news, both were excited.

“I think I cried tears of happiness. Glinda was the part I really wanted, so I was ecstatic,” says Kois.

“Hannah and I have always gone over choreography together (singing it and marking it with our hands during lunch) so it’s been nice being able to do that again! Sharing Glinda has also challenged me to become a better dancer. Hannah inspires me,” adds Specht.

Wicker also shares her part of the Tin Man with another dancer at the studio. After seeing the cast list, she was also overjoyed.

“I was super excited,” she says.

Okoren is cast as Ozma, the queen of Emerald City. Her auditioning experience was slightly different from the rest of the girls.

“Well I found out I got Ozma exactly after the auditions because I was still undecided if I should do it or not, and they told me they had made up Ozma for me so that I could still be in the show even with the limited time I have to be at rehearsals. So I felt honored!” Okoren shares.

This is LYB’s first time performing The Wizard of Oz, making it a new experience for all of the dancers.

“The Wizard of Oz has all new music and choreography so each rehearsal is exciting,” says Specht.

All four dancers love the process of putting a show together.

“During all of the rehearsal and even up to the show, it’s really great to feel like a part of a big family. Everyone gets so close,” says Kois.

The girls will perform at 1:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. on March 16 and 2:00 P.M. on March 17. All three shows will take place at Lone Tree Arts Center, and tickets can be purchased at www.lonetreeartscenter.org.

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Designing the Future

The Concurrent Enrollment Fashion Design Class creates dresses for a paper design challenge. The class meets two days a week at Ames Elementary.
Photo courtesy of Alex Obourn.

For many students concurrent enrollment is a possibility to study outside the walls of Heritage and to test the waters of possible careers before heading to college. For for senior Alex Obourn the concurrent enrollment is just that.

Alex is one of eight students who takes the Fashion Design course at Ames Elementary near Tony’s Meat Market on Dry Creek.

“I found out about the class last year from Mrs. Perry. She knew I am into Fashion and sewing so she asked if I was interested in taking that class,” says Obourn.

The class meets early Tuesday and Thursday for two hours which replaces Obourn’s first and second hours.

“Mrs. Rains, our teacher, has a coffee machine and it only costs 50 cents, so we are all very awake in the morning,” Obourn beams.

The class learns about fashion trends, major designers, how to sew, what it is like to be a designer and manufacture clothes, and how to draw and color their designs. They design outfits for paper dolls and fandangos; and  create a phone case, aprons, an outfit of choice, and an optional project for FCCLA.

Obourn blushingly says, “My favorite design is my outfit for FCCLA; it is a long jacket with a skin tight dress. The drawing is cooler than it sounds.”

Alex believes that anyone who is interested in fashion design should consider this class because not only do the students learn how to sew and create outfits, but they can meet and become friends with other amazing people who take the class. Though, if anyone wishes to take the class she recommends they talk to their counselor soon because Mrs. Rains told her that if more students do not sign up for the class they may have to end it.

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Viewing art in a different light

It’s called “upcycling” but don’t be fooled by its name; it’s certainly not recycling but just as eco-friendly.

The concept of “upcycling” boils down to the creative preservation of waste products. The Upcycle Magazine website deems it “taking an item that is no longer needed or wanted and giving it new life as something that is either useful or creative.”

No matter how it is defined, “upcycling” is a trendy and relatively new means of creating resourceful art and home décor.

“I think it’s a really interesting way to make art,” says Kristina Hagman ’14. “People make really creative pieces that way by using materials you wouldn’t normally see.”

Heritage art teacher Ms. Stacy Mangold is also fond of the trend.

“I find it very exciting. Art can be created with found objects of one sort or another and reconfigured or repurposed in many ways,” says Mangold.

The project ideas that “upcycling” has given rise to are seemingly endless. Websites such as Pinterest are great places to begin the imaginative search for creative projects to tackle.

A good starter craft for the beginner crafter is decorating a 3D cardboard letter or letters from a craft store, such as one’s initial or a word. They are relatively cheap to purchase and are simple to decorate. One method of decoration is applying glue in any desired design. After allowing the glue to dry, the letter can be painted with acrylic paint, thus giving the appearance of a fancy embossed wall decoration.

Rock painting is another cute and easy craft. Transform any smooth rock into an adorable garden critter by applying acrylic paint and an outdoor sealant.

Unwanted items such as terracotta pots, chip bags and old silverware can be transformed into trendy decorations through the art of “upcycling”. The possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to creating “upcycled” art.

A slightly more intermediate craft can be done using potato chip bags, or any such bags that are lined with aluminum. Shrink any desired bag in the oven and after cooling, the shrunken bags can be used in numerous ways, like serving as bookmarks, being molded around the wrist as a bracelet and even being turned into earrings, for those more experienced jewelers.

If there are unused terracotta pots lying around, a cute faux gumball machine can be created with minimal materials. An upside down terracotta pot serves as the base of the machine while the upside down terracotta tray acts as the lid, perched on top of a glass bowl that holds the candy. Simply glue on a fake gumball machine dial to complete the look. Careful, while it looks real, the dial doesn’t really turn to dispense the candy!More intermediate crafters may want to try mosaics. Virtually anything can be mosaicked, from an old table to a new picture frame. Just apply glue to the surface and add glass, tile or broken pottery in any desired pattern. After drying, the cracks can be filled with grout and the product can be sprayed with a sealant.

Old silverware and pop can tabs can be transformed into beautiful bracelets, projects that perhaps more advanced crafters may want to tackle.

Look around. Creative inspiration can be found anywhere, even in the little things.

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Chuck Hagel confirmed as Secretary of Defense

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

The United States’ new Secretary of Defense is a decorated war veteran and recipient of two Purple Hearts. He’s a former investment banker, a former CEO and a former senator. As a young man, he was a community organizer for Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign. He’s a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and he heads the Atlantic Council, a think tank that strives to strengthen trade and economic bonds between the U.S. and the nations of the Eurasian continent. Chuck Hagel, if nothing else, is a highly accomplished man.

“I am very optimistic about Hagel as secretary, and think he is very qualified,” says Kaylene Wright ’13. “He is a veteran, he has voluntarily opted out of the ‘safer’ option, and works hard for veterans and their families now.”

President Obama nominated Hagel for the position of Secretary of Defense on January 7. This nomination was met with criticism for nearly two months afterward. Some claimed he is anti-Semitic, given his statment in a 2006 interview that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people.” Some scorned his desire for direct diplomatic engagement with Iranian and Palestinian groups.

Others claimed he is anti-LGBT, though Hagel has officially apologized for remarks he has made to this effect.

“I appreciate how when our Colorado Senator Mark Udall questioned him on marriage equality, he said he would support LGBT soldiers and make sure that they weren’t discriminated against,” says Wright.

Many powerful individuals on Capitol Hill supported his nomination. Former secretary of state Colin Powell and secretary of defense Robert Gates endorsed Hagel, as well as dozens of current and former U.S. ambassadors. Notably, several rabbis and Jewish lobbyists have supported Hagel — Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the pro-Israel lobby group J Street, went so far as to tell the Christian Science Monitor in late 2012, “The notion that Chuck Hagel is anti-Israel is ludicrous.”

Hagel endured a long series of hearings and filibusters before the Senate approved his nomination on February 26, 2013. Immediately, he faces cuts to the defense budget because of sequestration in addition to tensions in nations including Mali, Iran, North Korea, Israel/Palestine and Afghanistan.

As Secretary of Defense, Hagel exercises command and control over all of the branches of the United States Military subject only to orders from the president, according to Title 10 of the United States Code.

“I hope Hagel will prove a competent Secretary of Defense,” says Jake McKnight ’13. “I have high expectations of him — if he wasn’t qualified for the job, President Obama wouldn’t have nominated him.”

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Forever Unified

Nuggets players Wilson Chandler (left) and Corey Brewer (right) high five players as they leave the court.

For three years now the Denver Nuggets have made an annual visit to watch a Unified Eagles Basketball game. This tradition started when former Nuggets player Chris “Birdman” Andersen, now with the Miami Heat came in 2011. Ever since then the Nuggets are eager to come back to Heritage and attend a Unified game. Last year players from the team included Kenneth Faired, Timofey Mosgov, Kosta Koufous, and Corey Brewer. “We want to come back every year if we can, it’s one of the first events we schedule,” says Doug Fulton, Denver Nuggets Community Relations Coordinator. “It’s everything that’s right about sports.”Through Project Unify all of this is possible. The project unites professional athletes and Special Olympics teams. Few select players stand along the sidelines and cheer on the 17 athletes and nearly 80 partners.

“It’s fun to see the kids have a good time and smiles on their faces,” says small forward Corey Brewer who returned from last year.

Nuggets players Kosta Koufous (left)and Danilo Gallinari (right) pose with unified players during the game.

At Unified the score doesn’t matter and baskets call for a celebration. That overwhelming support  keeps the Nuggets coming back. The Nuggets also bring their own announcer, cheerleaders, and of course Rocky, the team mascot. During substitutions and breaks between quarters they throw t-shirts into the crowd.

“It’s good to support them because they always support us,” says center Kosta Koufos, who also returned to Heritage for this special event.

For first time visitors, watching Unified is remarkable and unforgettable.

“Everybody is on the court having a good time,” says forward Wilson Chandler.

“It’s great to meet new people and see the team, high school, and community,” says small forward Danilo Gallinari.

For one night of the season it doesn’t matter if you are a partner, player, or professional athlete because on that night everyone is connected and unified.

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