Just Because: Documentary Review

This week’s review: Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

By Courtney Bolton

The documentary entitled Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things came to Netflix in 2016. This documentary centers around the idea of getting rid of unnecessary things in life in order to achieve true happiness. The documentary, created by Matt D’Avella, focuses on individuals living the minimalist lifestyle, including Ryan Nicodemus. Nicodemus says he felt a void in his life, like a lot of people, and he was filling this void with “things” (which is known as “consumer purchases”). This was an attempt to buy his way to happiness, living for a paycheck, and in his words, “Wasn’t living at all”. To a minimalist, everything they have either serves a purpose, or brings joy. Everything extra, everything unnecessary, is disposed of. Joshua Fields Millburn, Nicodemus’s partner and a member of The Minimalists says, “Everything that I look around at, I have to be able to justify to myself, not to anyone else, but justify to myself, does this add value to my life? And if not, I have to be willing to let go.” The team travels the country to promote their website, theminimalists.com, and the idea of living more deliberately, with less. 

The trailer for the documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

New Program at US Aids With Community Service Hours

By Aiden Wacksman

Since its emergence, the coronavirus has impacted schools across the United States. Students and faculty are required to wear masks, social distance, and uphold other safety procedures. These, however, were not the only subjects of change due to COVID-19. Graduation requirements for high school students such as service hours are now much more difficult to obtain, as opportunities are few and far between.

Luckily, at Oak Hall School, Media Specialist Evelyn Smith and junior Alison Rubin created the Read Aloud program to assist Upper School (US) students in obtaining volunteer hours. They can record themselves reading a picture book or a chapter of an age-appropriate novel, and then send it to Smith or Rubin via Microsoft Teams. The recordings are then shared with older Lower School (LS) and Middle School (MS) students. 

“I love the magic that happens when people read aloud to a captivated audience”

Evelyn Smith, Oak Hall Media Specialist

“The program exists thanks to Alison Rubin,” Smith explained. While the junior keeps track of volunteer hours earned by students who are members of the National Honor Society, Smith logs hours earned by other US students. Each “read aloud” can earn a minimum of one hour of service, but Smith explained that the majority of submissions have earned more than the hour minimum. 

Smith and Rubin started the Read Aloud Program not only to offer an opportunity for US students to earn volunteer hours, but also to promote literacy and a sense of communication between the LS, MS, and US. 

Smith hopes that this program will bring a sense of nostalgia to US students who contribute their recordings and believes that the program can benefit younger students in various ways as well. “It models the behavior we would like to see in our children and students,” she explained. She added that programs like these can promote the value of reading. “Reading aloud in middle school classes can also reinforce language arts instruction and comprehension, especially when students read along in their own books,” she said.

In the end, the Read Aloud program allows US students to earn volunteer hours and enhances the literacy of younger students. 

For additional information, students can visit the US/MS Oak Hall Student Library Resources Team.

Column: Life on Earth

This week’s topic: Food waste

By Mia Currie

Food waste is a far-reaching problem which has financial, ethical and environmental costs. There are a couple questions which need to be answered to understand this topic better. For example, what is food waste? 

Society has uttered the words “food waste” and “food loss” interchangeably for many years, but the words actually have different meanings.
1. Food waste are items that are fit for human consumption but are discarded
2. Food loss refers to resources which were lost in early stages of production 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), high- and low-income countries discard respectively 670 and 630 million tons of food per annum. Although the numbers may be similar, the sources of waste vary greatly. In low-income countries, food loss is more common than food waste. As stated by the website RESET, in Sub-Saharan Africa, 83 percent of food is lost during production while five percent is wasted by consumers. Contrasting this system, in North America, 32 percent of food is lost, and 61 percent is wasted by consumers. These numbers are shocking due to the fact that one of the biggest problems in the world today is starvation.     

Why has food waste increased so drastically in the past couple of decades?

According to the FAO, an estimated 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted globally each year. To put this into perspective, that is one third of all food produced by human consumption. Food waste is very closely linked to globalization. Similarly, supply chains are getting longer than ever before, and everything is available everywhere. There is nothing natural about being able to eat Indian mangoes in America or American apples in Indonesia year-round.

How we can help

There are many things we can do to help decrease food waste around the world. The two main ways are to share your surplus by donating it to your local food bank and ensuring that your fresh fruits and vegetables are eaten promptly. The second way is to turn waste into worth. There are many ways for us to recycle leftovers and ensure it does not simply get disposed of in the garbage. Find new recipes that incorporate miscellaneous products you find in your pantry and try something new. It is so important for people to become aware of this problem and try to minimize their impact on this already massive piling of uneaten food.

Spanish Club to Host Movie Event

By Avery Broom

Every year Spanish Club holds a movie night hosted at a student’s house. This year Spanish Club president, Alexa Katz, is hosting the event on Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. Katz plans to have the movie night outside on her patio, because of COVID, where she has outdoor seating and a TV. Posters around the Upper School has the location for the event, and the club plans on watching the movie REC, a Spanish “found footage” horror film.

According to Wikipedia, “The film centers on a news reporter and her cameraman covering a firefighter intervention at an apartment building in Barcelona. What began as a routine emergency assignment escalates into something far worse as a deadly virus spreads among the building’s occupants, turning them into bloodthirsty cannibals; escape is impossible as the government has surrounded the building to prevent the virus from spreading beyond it, and the pair continue to record the events that unfold inside, of which the film itself is the final result.” All students are invited to this event, and English subtitles will be used.  

There will also be food and drinks including some traditional Spanish cuisine. Katz says the purpose of Spanish Club hosting events is to encourage students to engage with Hispanic culture outside of the classroom. The goal of this event is to bring students into Spanish culture to help immerse them in the language for a better learning experience. If you can’t make this event, Spanish Club plans to potentially host a Cinco de Mayo party later this year as well.

The trailer for the Spanish film, REC

The Hall Hub – Double Feature!

This week’s topic: The Super Bowl

On this week’s episode of the Hall Hub, we have two (not one, but TWO) very special Super Bowl editions! The first is with our sports gurus Shailey and Aiden, as they discuss the game and how Tom Brady might as well be considered the GOAT!

The second part of our double feature brings Kaylee and Jen, with what some say is the best part of Super Bowl Sunday, the commercials!

We hope you enjoy!!