Maria Sterr: Animation Storyboards

My name is Maria E. Sterr. I am currently studying animation, which I like to do in my freetime. Outside of that I like to go on walks and watch TV. I am trying to do more of the former than the latter activity. 

The animation is around skating. It follows a character lacing up her skates, waddling outside, and skating until she falls. It ends after the focus character stands up and continues to skate. The overall feel is supposed to be calm and more simple. It is based around the idea of going out for an afternoon activity during the weekend.

When creating the storyboard I wanted to develop an idea for how I want the character to look. My plan is to have the character be dressed in warmer colors so she can be different from her surroundings. The inside of the skating shack was brown and the outside has more muted tones of gray and blue. The character will stand out more in the outside background.  When creating it I wanted to focus on the character thus it seems more empty. To allow it to be more lively, I am planning on adding other background characters. Another thing to note is that most of the actions are mundane thus to aid the feeling of it being a winter activity not an adventure.

Lindsey Gurgul: Animation Storyboards

My name is Lindsey Gurgul and I am a sophomore in Bradley University’s animation program. I’m a transfer student, so this is my first year here. I’ve always liked drawing and watching cartoons, so I decided on being an animation major. I’ve grown up with my supportive family, who have definitely inspired this concept.

My animation is about a little kid kangaroo in his own little world. He’s hyper focused as he draws until he has finished his masterpiece and wants to share it with his mom (who, of course, loves it). I wanted a nostalgic and heartwarming feel with this story because I’m sure plenty of people can relate to pouring your heart and soul into scribbling on a piece of paper to share with a parent or loved one.

The storyboards focus a lot on the drawing process. Our mentor, Jamie Wunning, advised me to essentially just leave breadcrumbs of information, so the audience can get a taste of what is going on before it happens. Being that this is a short animation I also didn’t want to have to stretch it out for too long so that ended up working out in that aspect as well. To keep it simple, there is not a lot of camera movement, but plenty of cuts and different angles at different points of the drawing process.

Winter Air 

by Ayannah Garcia

The holiday spirit brings warmth to cold and dark winter days. “This is my winter song… December never felt so wrong,” 

—Lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles

When I think of the holidays, I think of the songs “Apocalypse” by Cigarettes After Sex, “Folklore,” and “Evermore” by Taylor Swift. We are now feeling the winter cold that was once an autumn breeze. I love and hate it all to a degree in which I can’t decide, so I never do. I burn for the cold chills and the nostalgia each drop of snow brings to me. Yet often the lack of motivation and sickness extinguish whatever energy that was flowing in my body. And still, my mind continues to amaze and exhaust me during these so-called “Happy Holidays.” Ideas flow through my brain but I’m too tired to get a hold of them, so I watch them slip away like snow falling through my fingers to the ground.

Christmas parties make me stay in my room until 4:00 AM watching TV, chilling with my dog, and not coming out unless it’s for food. I hear laughter from downstairs and wonder what it must feel like to not be anti-social. I can’t even talk the whole-time guests are over for holiday dinners. Winter might not be for me.

But it is for me. New Christmas movies and music releases make me feel alive. The anticipation of Christmas the next day on Christmas Eve ignites the dead feeling inside. It comes around for a month then leaves me in the cold darkness once the new year begins for eleven long months of sorrow. The warm kindle of Christmas still lingers even after it’s over for just a little bit. It sprinkles its leftover warmth over a sibling’s birth month. Then soars through the sky after its work is done—up, up and away into the clouds, and disappears, leaving scattered homes with decorations still up.

Sometimes it comes early and turns everything around. After Halloween, the trees are up, and it feels magical like a dream come true. Decorations on houses confuse me as to what month it is, yet some people don’t care. I like for Christmas to arrive when Thanksgiving is almost over, and then the festivities can start.

Cozy Christmas drinks and seeing snow is the best way to spend winter. Or even just sitting around in your house enjoying the wondrous views of the city. As it gets closer to Christmas, we countdown the minutes ‘til we can celebrate how we want to. Then it’s Christmas Eve and we hope for the day to quickly pass by so it can be Christmas already. Opening presents after waiting all night, with the feeling of warmth all around us is the best way to spend your time. All day we play with our new things and then it’s already time to go to bed. Christmas is now over but the magical feeling still lingers, and spreads throughout the house, out the window, and all around the town concealing itself within the winter air.

About Ayannah Garcia

Ayannah Garcia is a freshman attending Richwoods High School, where she takes part in the Pre-IB program, the Royalettes dance team, and the drama club. Outside of school, she loves to dance, read, journal, travel with family, and play with her dog. In addition to these activities, she is currently a member of the Finale Group of the Greater Peoria Illinois Chapter of Jack and Jill, an organization for young African American individuals who want to serve the community, and a member of her church’s youth group.

Top 5 Centers in Basketball History

by Gabriel Gross

Sometimes you have to understand the past to appreciate the present.

The NBA season has just started, where many modern centers are making their way, like Nikola Jokic from the Nuggets, or Joel Embid from the 76ers. Most people have heard about these players, but do they know about the all-time greats? Let’s look at some older centers in basketball history that shaped the face of the league.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was one of the most influential centers of his time. He played 20 seasons in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks, winning 6 championships in his career. He also holds the NBA all-time points record in a career at a whopping 38,387, though Lebron James is likely to surpass him in points this season. Lastly, he perfected one of the most iconic shots in basketball history: the skyhook! This one shot was so effective, not only because Kareem was over seven feet tall, but when he went to shoot it, the opponent had to come across his body, oftentimes fouling the player. Kareem said he developed the skyhook because when he was younger, he played with older, more skilled players. At times, this was the only shot he could shoot that wouldn’t get blocked. The skyhook is one of the things that helped deliver Kareem’s point record.

Another legendary player, Wilton Norman Chamberlain, played for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers. Before playing in the NBA, Wilt played with the Harlem Globetrotters. Along with Kareem, he also holds some incredible records. One of his most iconic records was his 100-point game. His famous season of 1961-62 was the big one, in which he averaged an astonishing 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds per game. In his career he averaged 22.9 rebounds and 30.1 points per game. The only other person to average 30 points per game for a career was Michael Jordan.

Third on the list is the big man Shaq. Shaquille O’Neal played for several teams in his career, notably with the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat, but for the bulk of his career he was known as a Laker. He signed with the team in 1996, joining small forward, Kobe Bryant, to become one of the most effective duos in basketball history, especially in the modern era. They won three consecutive championships from 2000-2002, and O’Neal led the NBA in player efficiency—a minute rating that shows a basketball player’s positive contributions while they are on the court—from 1997-2002. With a personality to match his size (more than seven feet tall), Shaq was such a dominant player that he once brought the backboard crashing down after a slam dunk. 

Next up is one of the best shot blockers of all time, Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon, who started playing basketball when he was 17 years old. Before that he was a soccer player, and his agility quickly led him to NBA success. Great on the offensive end, he was also an outstanding defender, as demonstrated by his record for career blocks at 3,830. Hakeem also won two championships with the Rockets in 1994 and 1995. He scored at least 20 points per game for the first 13 of his 18 seasons in the league.

Moses Eugene Malone is the last center on the list. He stood nearly seven feet tall and played for the 76ers and the Rockets. Moses came right out of high school and started playing in the ABA in 1974, making the switch to the NBA in 1976. Moses was an exceptional rebounder, leading the NBA in this statistical category six times. No one has ever topped his record of most offensive rebounds at 6,371.

These famous centers had unique playing styles that were very effective. Their contributions to the game went way beyond dunking the ball. Their legacies certainly influence modern centers today such as Nikola Jokic and Joel Embid. 

About Gabe Gross 

Gabriel Gross is an eighth grader at St. Thomas school in Peoria Heights. He is the Student Council president. He plans to go to Richwoods and apply for the IB program. He loves baseball, basketball, and traveling. He also enjoys learning about history and how much it has changed our lives today.


by Rabiah Na’Allah

Why do we do things?

I don’t mean breathing or talking or walking. I’m not

talking about using our feet or mouths or lungs. I mean

Things like posting that story about the black girl who got shot

Or changing our Instagram bio to “BLM.”

Maybe we actually care about Black lives

Maybe we actually are Social justice warriors.

We could be putting on a show.

But who cares?

People are dying.

But who cares?

The social justice warrior is doing things.

They are helping

They are posting

They are talking

Does it matter why?

Does it matter if they care

About the Black girl who got shot.

About Rabiah Na’Allah

Rabiah Na’Allah and is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Graphic Design and Cinema. She is from Peoria, Illinois, and the self-proclaimed middle child of three sisters. Rabiah is heavily involved in the University of Iowa Honors Program and serves as an Honors Outreach Ambassador and leader on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion council. She is involved in various organizations on campus including the Muslim Student Association, African Student Association and Student Advocates of Planned Parenthood. When she’s not working at school, you can find her doing photography, volunteering at a number of student productions through the Theater program, analyzing her favorite movies, or binge-watching Criminal Minds.

Art by Qaasaani Little

Qaasaani Little is a freshman at Richwoods High School. Little is a member of Student Leadership Team and Student Council. She has loved art for as long as she can remember, including painting and drawing. Little’s artwork is for sale. She also loves animals, after school activities, and is inspired by her mom for always pushing her to do my best. 

Can we normalize the “Freshman 15”?

by Liz Setti

Weight gain happens to everyone; why does it scare us?

Diet culture, the societal belief that a thin body is the ideal human appearance, has become so invasive in an array of aspects. For example, the countless amounts of diets to try, products sold to “burn fat” such as skinny teas and diet pills, and workout programs that promise unrealistic results. All of which fall into the diet and health industry that profits off people’s desire to be skinny. Another way diet culture is able to thrive is the negative connotation associated with weight gain, which can lead to a majority of the population feeling concerned about their weight. A great example of this is the “Freshman 15,” which generates fear by suggesting that people will gain a noticeable amount of weight during their transition into college. As an incoming freshman for the fall semester, I have fallen victim to fearing the freshman 15 despite how normal it is to gain weight during stressful times in life. Based off the conversations I have heard during my first week of college I can confidently testify that the freshman 15 is a consistent fear for many college students. 

In order to productively discuss normalizing the freshman 15, it is important for me to admit that I too am afraid of gaining weight at this time, which seems hypocritical for the argument being made—though it actually demonstrates how pervasive diet culture can be. However, being able to reason with my fear and actively work on normalizing the changes to my body contributes to dismantling diet culture and the negative connotation with gaining weight. Although my inner dialogue villainizes the freshman 15, there are many ways I have been anticipating and reframing my mindset around the possible changes that might happen to my body. I have been continually reminding myself that college is such a unique time in my life that I will never be able to relive again, therefore I want to lean into the experience as much as possible. For example, there may never be another opportunity for me to get pizza with my friends at 2AM after a party or indulge in the dessert section at the dining hall. Instances like these are so unique to the college experience and play a pivotal role in creating lifelong memories. I think it is helpful for college students to keep this in mind when talking about the freshman 15 not to justify the weight gain but understand why it is completely okay. It will take a lot of resistance to diet culture in order to make a world in which weight gain is deemed desirable, and a great effort needs to be made to normalize it, especially among a vulnerable group of people such as college students. 

About Elizabeth Setti

Liz Setti is a Peoria area native and graduated in the class of 22 from Richwoods High School. She is going to be a freshman at Loyola University Chicago this fall where she will study nursing. Liz is passionate about writing and has her own blog, “A Hidden Addiction” and was former co-editor in chief of the newspaper at Richwoods. Some of Liz’s favorite hobbies are running, cooking, and hanging with her friends. 

About Faith Marie

Faith Marie is a homeschooled 18 year old freshman at Ashworth College. She enjoys nature, rainy days, and her pet dog and snails. She has an abundance of love for Jesus and people of all kinds. The idea of creating art that has never existed before inspires her. You can find her on Instagram at @faithmariedraws or on tiktok at @_faitha.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

by Izaak Garcia

Making an indisputable case for the best three month-stretch of the year. 

Let’s be honest here: The progression of holidays, from the beginning of October until the end of December, is the best time of the year, no contest. Now I know that may seem like a broad statement with absolutely no concrete evidence to support it, but just hear me out for a second.

We start in the month of October, the somewhat beginning of fall. The weather gets colder, and the leaves fall off the red and orange trees, signaling seasonal change. As the temperature lowers, the fall clothes start to come out. Warm scarves, long sweatpants, and comfy sweatshirts dominate fall attire as the transition to winter is in full swing. And to top it all off, the spookiest day of the year, Halloween. Kids and adults alike, running around in costumes, asking for candy from everyone and anyone they can find. Scary movies flood the television and streaming platforms, from the classics like Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th to modern-day frights like The Conjuring and Barbarian.

And just like that, November is here, bursting in with cold gusting winds and perhaps even a little bit of snow. Día de los Muertos starts the month off right, with the celebration of those who have passed on, and a remembrance of the life we have now. The temperature continues to drop, and on top of those sweatshirts and sweatpants, puffy overcoats and winter jackets make their annual comeback. The leaves continue to fall from the trees, leaving them barren and lifeless, and in the mornings, frost starts to form on the grass, freezing it in place. In the midst of all this, finally, the fourth Thursday of the month comes: Thanksgiving. Turkeys galore, mountains of food, and most importantly, people to celebrate it with. Pies and baked sweets are made, and every year, the difference between pumpkin and sweet potato pie is argued (or at least that’s what happens at my house). In the background, football plays on the TV, and upon closer examination, it seems as if the Dallas Cowboys are getting beat… again. But, even with all these wonderful holidays, the best part of the year has yet to come.

Christmas! Hanukkah! Kwanzaa! No matter which of these holidays, as well as others, are celebrated during the month of December, there is no doubt about it: this is the best time of the year. Decorations of all colors sprinkle buildings and houses, and the lights of candles dance in the comfy homes of people across the country. Christmas trees go up, and ornaments are hung. Music is sung, danced to, and made as gifts are given and received. And if we’re lucky, snow falls during the night, creating a winter wonderland for everyone to play in the next day. With all this evidence, it’s almost impossible to dispute that this time of year is simply the best. 

About Izaak Garcia

Izaak Garcia is currently a freshman at the University of Southern California, majoring in Cinema and Media Studies with a minor in Applied Cybersecurity. He has played soccer with FC Peoria, Dunlap, and Richwoods for over a decade combined. Garcia has also played tennis for 4 years, securing a spot on both junior varsity and varsity teams. Along with this, he has competed with the Richwoods Worldwide Youth Science and Engineering team for Biology and English for 2 years and earned multiple awards for the school. Garcia is also heavily involved with the arts. As a multi-instrumentalist, he has played the saxophone for 8 years and piano for 2 years. During his junior year of high school, he was involved in theater at Richwoods as stage crew and manager. He helped with two productions and was being trained to be stage manager for senior year before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted school. Outside of school activities, Garcia is involved in Jack and Jill of America (an organization for young African American men and women to serve the community). He served as his chapter’s treasurer during his freshman year of high school. Along with Jack and Jill of America, he enjoys coding, learning new languages, and playing video games.

Art by Aryanne Westfall

Ary Westfall is a junior Interactive Media major and Theatre Arts minor attending Bradley University. She is the social media manager for DAT, creates webcomics in her free time, and enjoys all forms of sequential art. Ary hopes to break into the comic world or find work in pre-production art for television.