Senior Spotlight: Lucas Walters

Oak Hall’s Arts Conservatory Program (ACP) allows students to expand their creativity in their given study (art, music, or theater). In an effort to make this year special for Oak Hall’s senior ACP students, we created A-Z questions for them to answer. We hope you enjoy!

By Aiden Wacksman

A – Advice you’d give your freshman-self? Stop worrying about things you can’t change. I think that’s one of the things. The biggest thing that a lot of people tend to fall prey to, it’s a waste of time and energy. When you think about “How am I going to invest my time and energy?” stop investing it in things that you cannot make any sort of substantial difference to.
B – Best ACP moment? I really enjoy the critiques, just because you get a lot of really helpful advice from other artists. A lot of them don’t do the same type of art as you, so you can get some really interesting perspectives.
C – Career goals? I want to be a board licensed pharmacist. So, I’m going to go to school and intern at a pharmacy and all that good stuff.
D – Favorite dessert? I don’t know, it sounds dry to just say ice cream, but definitely ice cream.
E – Most entertaining art show? I think it would be the AP art show that we did last year. I didn’t even get to see it because I wasn’t in town at the time, but I think the quality of the art would have made it more entertaining.
F – Future plans for your craft? That’s interesting, because I’m definitely not pursuing it as a career. So, future plans. I’m a part of a group doing art things, so we’re gonna see what we can do with that. Long form video content is one thing that is in the works currently, that’s really about it.
G – Goals for your senior year? Get accepted into a college and make a large, large amount of art.
H – Hoping to attend which college? I think honestly the base case scenario would be getting accepted into UCF which I think is possible.
I – Interesting thing about you away from your artistic ability? I really enjoy programming, I don’t do it as often as I would like to, so I get a bit rusty.
J – Favorite joke? I have no idea! It’s just the funny things that come up sometimes.
K – Keys to maintaining homework? Probably the biggest thing is communication with your teachers so that they understand what’s going on. Because if they don’t understand it, you’re going to start racking up bad grades, and it’s harder to change a grade when somebody actually writes it down, you know, it’s harder to get them to change it. So, if you actually communicate with your teachers and they understand what you’re doing, generally it’s going to turn out better.
L – Least favorite art style? I don’t really have a favorite or least favorite art style. Well, I definitely do have a favorite type, and that would be art that has a little bit more to it, it’s a little bit more complicated, that you’re going to have to spend more time thinking about, I think. I think the best kind of art is art that has a lot of effort put into it and you can see that’s there’s a lot of effort put into it. Well-designed, well-crafted things.
M – Music you listen to? A whole lot of everything. Really just whatever I like. There can be a lot of things that help you when you’re making art. For me I think it’s more about the tempo of the music than the actual genre, at least for when you’re making art. But really just whatever. 
N – Netflix or Hulu? I don’t have Hulu, so I guess I’m going to go with Netflix.
O – Outside hobbies? I don’t know. Losing weight maybe, that would be a good one. There’s really nothing to do outside in Florida because it’s so hot. 
P – Preparations for a big showing? I think the biggest thing is that you talk to someone about it. Whenever I talk to people about things it usually helps me to process through them. Whenever you’re going to have a big show, you’re going to be really nervous about it. Usually there’s not as much to be nervous about. Usually, it’s not a very big deal and you will figure out what you’re going to do or how you’re going to put things together just by talking about it.
Q – Question you would ask your future self? Did the side hobby of art actually end up becoming something or did it just stay a hobby?
R – Most relaxing part of your day? Usually right before bed, I would say. 
S – What would your Senior Superlative be? That’s a good question. Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe class clown, but I feel like I’ve stopped talking nearly as much as I did whenever I got to the school. It’s better to listen more than it is to talk. So yeah, I’m not sure about that one.
T – Favorite TV show? I enjoy Stranger Things. That’s the last really bingeable thing I watched.
U – Most underrated pet? I feel like chihuahuas get a really bad rep for being incredibly annoying or hostile, but with dogs it’s really all about how they’re trained. It’s not [their nature] or something. It’s just [that] usually people who get chihuahuas don’t train them and just want a “handbag dog”.
V – Favorite vacation spot? Somewhere new. Somewhere I can be with the people that I like to be around. I think those are the two big things.
W – What does it mean to be an Eagle? It means having a lot of really great opportunities when it comes to arts and everything else really. 
X – Have you ever had any X-Rays? No, I don’t think I have. 
Y – Your impact on the younger artists? That’s a really good question. I think one of the biggest things (this had to be taught to me whenever I started in the ACP) is don’t be afraid to tell people things about their art that they don’t want to hear. Obviously, no one wants to hear from someone that they don’t like their art. Whenever first year people are doing the critiques, they never want to say that they don’t like something, and if they do say they don’t like something, they’re going to put a lot of emphasis on “I don’t like it” rather than “I think it’s not good.” I think the biggest, most important impact is to make sure that they are able to give out criticism and are also able to take it.
Z – Favorite Zoo animal? Monkeys.

Just Because: Video of the Week

To bring some joy to your week, here is a video of 250,000 dominoes falling with designs in the forms of everyone’s favorite games! Some of the highlights are: Super Mario and Yoshi, Scrabble, and The Game of Life. According to the description on YouTube, “19 builders from 5 countries spent 7 days (over 1,200 combined hours) building the Incredible Science Machine.”

If you want to read a cool story about the group, you can click here which leads you to the Guinness World Records web site and an article written about the Incredible Science Machine members and how this group came to fruition.


COVID Hinders College Options

By Lucas Walters

It’s college application season, one of the busiest times of the year for high school seniors across the country. As many Oak Hall seniors steadily work through the college application process, there have been new issues on the minds of many applicants. Brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are new concerns about what college is going to look like for the graduating class of 2021.

“I can see a situation where a student might think, ‘Okay, yes, I like the University of California but do I wanna go all the way out there just to do online courses and stay in a dorm if I’m getting only a partial experience.’”

Despite these ideas about online schooling and students’ feelings about moving out of state, Director of College Counseling at Oak Hall, Myronee Simpson says that she is still helping to facilitate applications to many different schools.

“Thinking about my conversations with seniors, not so much. I’ve seen a wide range of applicants who are applying in state and out of state.”

This being the case, Simpson is anticipating that the progression of COVID-19 over the next semester will have a large impact on what schools students choose to attend.

“I think what’s gonna take place is that students are still applying to schools in state and out of state, and then I think what will happen – What I anticipate will happen is that, and this is kind of also predicting on how COVID progresses in the second semester, as we’re going through the year. What I think will happen is that when students in the spring get their decisions and they’re weighing in state and out of state options, I think what will take place is [COVID] might then factor in. If they’re thinking, ‘Okay maybe I don’t wanna go off, go too far away’, or for reasons health wise, financial wise, they may be looking to stay in state.”

Lastly, Simpson commented on the constantly evolving environment of many universities as they try to overcome the pandemic.

“For colleges, I know a lot of colleges that reopened had to put protocols [in place] in terms of testing, social distancing, they’ve altered the semesters. I know there are schools that after Thanksgiving this year they’re not bringing their students back, they’re going to have to send their students home for the duration of the break. So, schools have had to alter their semester protocols”

Thanks to the help that Simpson has been able to provide, most students are progressing steadily through the process of transitioning into higher education and applying to a wide range of institutions. Although much of the impact of the pandemic on students’ choices remains to be seen, it is clear that there will be new issues on the minds of students when considering their options. 

Holiday Travel Plans Altered Due to Pandemic

By Emily Malloy

As coronavirus cases continue to increase with Thanksgiving and various other holidays on the horizon, the new risks through traveling and doing what used to be considered “normal” is challenging to not only people, but to the travel industries during what is normally some of its most profitable few months. An article written by Elaine Glusac for The New York Times states that in a weekly survey done by market research firm Destination Analysts, which surveys 1,200 Americans, “only 28% expected to travel for the holidays, including both Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the same survey, 53% said they had traveled for the holidays last year.”

Because of the upcoming holiday travel craze, travelers should prepare for an increase of crowded planes (since middle seats have not been a purchasing option during the pandemic), keeping the six feet guideline as much as possible, wearing a mask, and the day-to-day cleaning and sanitary precautions we have become accustomed to. Some airlines including Southwest Airlines, Alaska, and JetBlue are considering making all seats available starting December 1 at the latest, and others like Delta are saying that this change will likely be made around January 6, 2021. Air quality in an airplane, however, is actually quite high with the air volume in the cabin being completely refreshed about every four minutes. 

But what about Oak Hall families? In a mini survey done at the Upper School, 15 students were asked about the holidays in the era of Covid and if the virus has altered any plans or traditions. While a majority of students said plans this year would be the same as in previous years, which includes safely seeing family members in town, the students who normally travel by air indicated that because of the virus their safety in an airplane was compromised. 

Not only are families altering Thanksgiving plans to remain safe, but other Thanksgiving Day traditions have changed due to the pandemic as well. Aside from football games on Thanksgiving, one of the most-watched programs is the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade”. In previous years, the parade route would have thousands of on lookers trying to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrity or float. This year, however, the parade route is shorter, the use of high school marching bands is in question, and the general public is not allowed to stand along the route to watch in-person. Thankfully, the parade will be broadcasted live, in the hopes of bringing a little bit of normalcy to this year.