Law School

by Emmanuel Agyemang

As a child, there would always be a smile on my lips whenever I was asked what I wanted to become in the future. When I was 12, I wanted to be a doctor, though I was uncertain, and later that year, an astronaut. At 15, my friend told me that perhaps I could not become a doctor or an astronaut. He was my best friend and he pointed out that my talents were better suited to the law profession. I pondered on it and decided he was right. I was the best writer in class. My reading skills and command over the English language was commended by teachers.

The journey has been long and arduous since then. I went to Bradley University, majored in political science, graduated magna cum laude, passed the LSAT and applied to law school. I was accepted to numerous law schools but I chose UIC Law and began in the Fall of 2022.

Law school is entirely different from undergraduate school. In undergrad, there are generally assignments due every week to keep you on your toes from falling too far behind on readings. Even if you do not perform well on a final exam, grade points for participation, attendance, extra credit, and weekly assignments may prevent a total defeat. There is no such protection in law school. There is usually one final test that comprises 100 percent of one’s grades throughout the semester, with no salvation from quizzes, participation or attendance.

The readings are extremely dense and there is almost no time for anything else other than constantly reading to understand the materials. Though undergrad and law school both test for memory as well as understanding of the materials, law school requires much more memorization. Also, even though professors will try their best to aid your understanding, most of the time you will be teaching yourself. Professors come to class expecting students to have already learned the material and they usually only supplement your understanding or add nuance to the readings.

Law school is graded on a curve where only a certain number of people can get an A in any given class. Hence, your answers have to be more precise and accurate compared to your peers’ answers in order to stand a chance of achieving an A. Due to this, the environment is very competitive and can be hostile. 

Yet, with perseverance, I was able to endure the first semester and I ended on a good note. Even though law school is such a challenge, I still feel that my talents are well suited to the profession and a smile still comes to my lips when I think about what I want to become: a lawyer. As the new year starts, I brace myself for another semester, and hopefully, a better one. Good luck to me, and congratulations to my younger self for attaining the heights he dreamed of!

About Emmanuel Agyemang

Emmanuel Agyemang is an international student from Ghana
and a recent graduate of Bradley University with a degree in Political
Science. He has an interest in pursuing law in the near future.

2023: The Year of The Movies 

by Ayannah Garcia

Get your popcorn ready for the top movies set to release this year!

“I believe films are a piece of art”

– Ava DuVernay

In 2022 we saw the release of some major films like Glass Onion and Guillermo Del Torro’s Pinnochio. There were also some incredible gems in the sand like Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All At Once, Tár, Causeway, and many more. The upcoming movie releases in 2023 could very well shatter the box office records of many 2022 films. Directors such as M. Night Shyamalan, Christopher Nolan, Greta Gerwig, Wes Anderson, Denis Villeneuve, and David Fincher are coming back to the big screen with features that are a must-watch. Here are some motion pictures to look out for in 2023.

First up is Oppenheimer, directed and written by Christopher Nolan and starring Cillian Murphy, Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Gary Oldman, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Rami Malek, and Kenneth Branagh. Oppenheimer follows a scientist named J. Robert Oppenheimer as he works with a team of scientists, leading to the development of the atomic bomb (IMDb). Generating interest after Nolan’s previous directorial film, Tenet, and Pugh’s return to the big screen in The Wonder, in addition to the star-studded cast, Oppenheimer is one of film critics’ top choices as a must-watch film when it is released on July 21, 2023.

Next up is Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig, which will also be released July 21, 2023. Barbie stars Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrel, Emma Mackey, Simu Liu, America Ferrera, Ncuti Gatwa, and Issa Rae. The main storyline follows Barbie as she sets off to the human world to find happiness after she’s expelled for being a less-than-perfect-looking doll (IMDb). 

Another great movie that is on Variety’s list for most anticipated movies of the year is Dune: Part Two, directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya Coleman, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, and Florence Pugh. Dune: Part Two follows Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) on his revenge warpath against the conspirators who killed his family, as he must make a choice between love and fate while he tries to prevent a dreadful future. Denis Villeneuve returned to the big screen in 2021 with the success of the first film in this 3-part franchise, gaining positive reviews for the depiction of certain aspects of the book like the Sandworm. The second part is sure to raise the bar in that department; Dune: Part Two will release on November 3, 2023 (IMDb).

Another highly anticipated movie set to release this year is Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, an animated feature starring Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfield, Oscar Isaac, Jake Johnson, Issa Rae, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Velez, and Rachel Dratch. Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson, the sequel to Into the Spider-Verse follows Miles Morales on his adventures with Gwen Stacy and a new group of Spider-People across the Multiverse to face off with a more powerful, stronger villain than they have previously encountered. Following the acclaim for the animation style of the first film, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse will have to meet high expectations when it is released on June 2, 2023.

While there are plenty of other films scheduled for release in 2023, the highly anticipated films on this list are sure to make 2023 the year of movies. Happy watching!

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.

Art by Ellie Kraemer

Ellie Kraemer is a sophomore and an animation major at Bradley University who lives and breathes her artwork. Becoming a professional artist and animator has been a goal of hers for many years, as various works of digital art and experience have held a pivotal role in her life. Intrigued by the diverse storytelling prowess of interactive media, she aims to get involved in the productions of visuals for video games and animated series after graduation. You can find more of her work at 

Latino and Hispanic Representation in Mainstream Media

by Aby Rosano

While Latino representation in film and television has come a long way in recent years, there’s still lots of room for growth.

Representation in film and television has come a long way in the last few decades, beginning to show more authentic depictions of different cultural/ethnic groups as the industry becomes more diverse. Still, it’s important to consider why such representation is so important, as well as how it’s improved from past negative stereotypes. 

But before we begin, it’s important to recognize and acknowledge the difference between Hispanic and Latino; “Hispanic” refers to someone with ancestry from a Spanish-speaking country (includes Spain, excludes Brazil), whereas “Latino” refers to a person with origin from anywhere in Latin America and the Caribbean (excludes Spain). They are ethnic and cultural groups, not races. 

For a long time, the only kind of depiction of a Latino character usually came in the form of a domestic employee (a gardener or a maid), an illegal immigrant, or a criminal involved with drugs. This was partially a result of political climates; there wasn’t enough coverage of the kinds of lives that different Latino families lived, so exaggerations were usually made based on unrealistic stereotypes. Even now, those cliches are still prevalent; Latino characters often speak little-to-no English or speak with a heavy and comically exaggerated accent. Most Latina women are oversexualized and written off as hotheaded sexy “bombshells,” reinforcing the fetishization of Latina women. 

The lack of Latino representation has also been extremely harmful through the oversimplification of the many cultural differences. There are 33 countries in Latin America, and all of them have differences in their cultures, traditions, and forms of Spanish spoken. Past depictions of Latino and Hispanic cultures have, for the most part, only included people from countries like Mexico or Puerto Rico. And yes, both of these countries have wonderful cultures, but there are more cultures that deserve to have representations in the media. 

According to a Los Angeles Times article (linked here), despite the Latino population continuing to grow, as of 2017, Latino actors only held 6.2% of roles from the highest grossing films of that year–even though they made up 18.1% of the US population that year. Even as population increases, growth of diversity percentages aren’t keeping up the way they should. Still, we shouldn’t deny that changes have started to show (albeit very slowly). Within the last few years, we’ve started to see more authentic depictions of Latino characters, breaking stereotypes and reclaiming the different identities that Latino individuals may have. 

There is still a long way to go before Latino and Hispanic representation breaks even. There are so many different cultures and identities still left to be seen on screen. As someone of Uruguayan heritage that rarely gets shown in the media, my hope is that we will start to see a wider range of inclusion, for people of all underrepresented races and ethnicities. Representation is about more than just undoing a history of racism and xenophobia. It’s about making sure people from all over feel seen and accepted in our day and age. 

About Aby Rosano

Aby Rosano is a senior in the International Baccalaureate program at Richwoods High School. She is heavily involved in theater; at school, she is on the executive board for GSA and is part of the newspaper club. Outside of school, she loves reading, writing, and baking. She hopes to one day work in both the publishing and film industry to tell all sorts of stories.

The Cinema of Attractions

by Izaak Garcia 

The development of the “cinema of attractions,” a concept in filmmaking that emerged in the early 20th century, is one of the most influential ideas in the history of cinema and has long permeated the art of making films. From the very start of the production of films, the goal was to not only make something outside the contemporary boundaries of current art, but to appeal to the people who would want to see it as well. With this relationship of making art and wanting people to see it, film was allowed to flourish into something that could be experimented with and ultimately changed for the better. 

So, what exactly is the cinema of attractions? Conceptually, the cinema of attractions uses vivid imagery on screen to delight and entrance audiences, prioritizing these things instead of the story or plot of the film. In the early 1900s, when films were just starting to grace a bigger screen and bring in large crowds, filmmakers wanted to draw even more people to the cinema to see the spectacle that they had created on screen.  Once that was accomplished, even more importantly, filmmakers needed a way for audiences to keep coming back. This birthed what filmmakers now call the cinema of attractions. It is the reason why A Trip to the Moon, made in 1902 and directed by George Melies, was not only popular for audiences to view, but also laid the groundwork for films that were to be made in the future. A Trip to the Moon showed the audience that the limits of what you could see on screen were endless. Audiences could lose themselves in a fantastical world without having to worry about the consequences of leaving their current one. The exploits of the characters within the film were not so much created to develop the individuality of their own stories and backgrounds but to engage with the audience viewing their journey. This is ultimately the goal of the cinema of attractions and is what keeps the audience wanting more from the art form. 

While the cinema of attractions may have found its origins in the early 1900s, the concept is still quite prevalent today. Spectacles made by filmmakers keep growing in complexity, and they are still viewed by audiences with awe. Two good contemporary examples of this would be James Cameron’s Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water. CGI and visual effects alone would categorize these films within the realm of the cinema of attractions. Even though both movies have involved storylines and character development, the unique and striking images that are created with special effects are what draw audiences to see the films. Audiences will always come to the theater if they know that what they are about to see has never been seen before. It is what attracts people to the cinema and always will.

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. 

Skate Break

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. 

Skate Break was mainly created because I assumed when I was finished it would be the perfect time for winter activities. Overall I am pretty proud of how it turned out. I like how it flows nicely together and I think I did a good job on the colors and backgrounds. I feel bad that I decided to cut two background characters because I liked their design, but I did so since they did not really fit anywhere and would clutter the screen too much if I forced them in. My favorite part was the first person perspective because of how smooth it was.

I learned a couple of useful things. The big one that was most recent was if I did not set the program correctly it might mess with the colors in the final video. The more interesting aspect was messing around with 3d effects in After Effects. It was one of the steps I used to get the first person part in the film. I then retraced the footage created in Photoshop since it flowed too fast and was out of place in the video. The retraced footage is part of the final cut and it fits better. Overall it is just nice to see it all come together.

Joey’s Drawing

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.

Joey’s Drawing is about a little kangaroo, Joey, unleashing his creativity by making a drawing for his mom (Mom). He’s truly just in his own little world, doing what he loves as everyone should. I wanted to capture the wholesomeness and nostalgia of scribbling on a page and giving it to a loved one who will genuinely cherish it. 

There were plenty of things I learned over the course of this project. Being that I hadn’t really animated too much before this, I was able to discover and test out the principles of animation through this. Just squishing objects or characters made this project more dynamic. Going along with that, I learned a lot about how subtle things can make such a big difference in a sequence. Adding blush to Mom when she sees the drawing was all Jamie’s idea because she looked uncomfortable without it, and I could totally see that once she pointed it out. In general, I also learned the value of critiques. Just one small piece of advice can really add onto the viewing experience, and I should definitely get the input of others way more often. 

I had so much fun with this project, so thank you Giving Voice for giving me the chance to make it!