Harry Styles by Kristen Shively

Kristin Shively is a senior at Dunlap High School and loves all things
art. Her favorite mediums to work with are acrylic paint and colored
pencil. Shively has been taking art classes since she was five, and
hopes to continue her love of art by attending school to become an
interior designer.

“Harry Styles is one of the biggest musicians and influencers of today, and his impact on society inspires me. His efforts towards promoting love and kindness are definitely needed in a crazy world today. He is an advocate for people of all races and genders, and is an amazing influence on young teens and adults alike.”

Mrs. Newman by Abby Miller

Abby Miller, who is home schooled, is seventeen and just finished
her junior year in high school. She has always liked art and using
different mediums. Recently, Miller has been enjoying acrylic paint and
watercolors. She has yet to decide what her she will do after high school,
but she hopes it includes art.

“My second-grade teacher at Germantown Hills Elementary was Mrs. Newman. Mrs. Newman always made me feel like I could be myself and have fun. She made learning exciting and inspired me to be creative. Even though she was my teacher almost ten years ago, I still remember Mrs. Newman as one of my favorite teachers.”

Aurora by Faith Marie

Faith Marie is a 16-year-old traditional artist who loves to use a variety of
mediums. She loves tea, rainy days, nature, and books. You can find her at
@faithmariedraws on Instagram.

“Aurora is a pop singer and songwriter whose voice is hauntingly beautiful. I love to put music on when I create and often find that it influences my art. Aurora inspires me because she has accomplished so much at a young age and continues to grow. I hope to be like that one day.”

Books: A Must-Have for a “Hot Girl Summer”

by Adeline Ferolo

If you’re going to have a Hot Girl Summer,
there is one accessory that is an
absolute must.

A “Hot Girl Summer” is a romanticized seasonal lifestyle perpetuated by various social media outlets—specifically Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok. This lifestyle trend is at its height during the summer, encouraging its participants to engage in practices of selfcare. A Hot Girl Summer is not limited by gender, encouraging anyone to become the best versions of themselves during the summer months. There are several interpretations that exist across social media platforms, targeting the social, mental, and physical aspects of an individual’s lifestyle. At the basis of any Hot Girl Summer is the feeling of personal independence, ultimately with the goal of becoming self-confident and reliant. With warmer weather and sunnier days eliminating seasonal depression, summer is the time to focus on yourself, whether it’s mentally, emotionally, or physically.

While social media is at the foundation of creating and popularizing this lifestyle, a Hot Girl Summer cannot be successful without a social media detox. From TikTok to Instagram, videos of Hot Girl Summer routines romanticize a perfect lifestyle. Initially, these videos can be considered inspirational and helpful in creating one’s own self-care routine—but, simultaneously, they can quickly lead to the harmful, often sub-conscious practice of comparison. At the root of many social media-related mental health problems, the practice of comparison can quickly become harmful, leading to questions like, “Why does my life not look like that?” This unfulfilling mentality is routinely observed across social media platforms and is the antithesis of a self-confident Hot Girl Summer mindset. By limiting social media intake and instead redirecting one’s free time towards a different, more fulfilling activity, self-confidence is more attainable. These activities could include working out, journaling, manifesting, or a personal favorite: reading.

As noted in an online study conducted by the University of Liverpool in 2015, those who read for pleasure instead of watching television or scrolling through social media reported stronger feelings of relaxation and satisfaction within their lives. Books are the gateway to learning more about the world and ultimately oneself as well. While social media is viewed in rose-colored glasses, books expose realistic depictions of everyday life. Whether it is a fiction novel detailing life in America during the roaring 1920s or a memoir intertwining personal anecdotes with political events, books open an uninhibited view into the world open to your interpretation. Books allow a reader to come to their own conclusion about characters and stories, ultimately practicing their own synthesis of events and people within their own lives. By empathizing and understanding with characters, a stronger sense of recognition of one’s own identity, beliefs, and ambitions is realized as well. This is at the core of experiencing a true Hot Girl Summer: to appreciate and acknowledge every aspect of yourself.

A Hot Girl Summer mentality creates personal accountability but also is a time for relaxation and realignment of priorities. For those who are interested in participating in my personal interpretation of a Hot Girl Summer, check out my recommendations:

  1. Girl, Woman, Other (2019) by Bernardine Evaristo. 10/10 STARS! Split into twelve chapters, following the lives of twelve distinct characters, Girl, Woman, Other provides a detailed look into the interpretations of race, class, and gender identities across generations. Set in the UK.
  2. All About Love (2000) by Bell Hooks 7/10 STARS Intertwined with personal anecdotes and psychological and philosophical ideas, All About Love explores the necessary role of love in our everyday lives.
  3. …or find another book! Lit. On Fire Used Books, a local bookstore located at 712 West Main Street in Peoria, IL. This local bookstore is proudly woman and LGBTQowned, boasting genres ranging from true crime to literary criticism and essays. The store contains both used and new editions.

About Adeline Ferolo

Stories, arguably, are the most underrated form of currency that floods the digital world, through highlighted Instagram posts and viral YouTube videos. As a rising senior at Richwoods High School, Adeline Ferolo aims to express herself and the issues closest to her authentically through engaging, storytelling, and other mediums. She is a competitively academic student. Her interests range across many creative outlets—as an active writer for the Richwoods Shield, the monthly school newspaper, and as a contributor to the youth-led blog EnviroWrite, which explores rising environmental concerns. Recently she has discovered her passion for the medium of film after attending the National High School Institute summer program at Northwestern University, where she had previously studied creative-intensive subjects ranging from sustainable architecture to graphic design. Within the past year, she has focused her efforts on exploring the visual medium in both her academic and personal life, opting to create experimental videos for class projects and continuing to explore different aspects of the visual language.

Art by Aryanne Westfall

Aryanne “Ary” Westfall is a sophomore at Bradley University majoring in Animation and minoring in Theatre Arts. She is pursuing a career as a storyboard artist and enjoys creating graphic novels in her free time. As a member of the Digital Art Team, Westfall spends her time connecting with other artists and creating as much as she can.

Mental Health & Women in Sports

by Kianna Goss

For the good of all, let’s normalize the topic of
mental health in athletics.

Oftentimes, as individuals, we have a million things that keep us busy. Sometimes we simply neglect our mental well-being, but many may fear being judged when opening up about their mental health.

On May 31, 2021, Japanese professional tennis player Naomi Osaka shared about her years of dealing with depression and anxiety on her Instagram account. She sparked a mental health discussion by openly stating that she would take some time away from the tennis court.

According to Matthew Futterman of the New York Times, this decision resulted in Osaka being fined $15,000 by the French Open’s tournament referee and leaders of the four Grand Slam tournaments. She also was threatened to be expelled from the French Open, which is a tennis tournament held for two weeks in Paris, France.

Although there was little support from the leaders of the tournament, other athletes stood with Osaka. Tennis player Serena Williams mentioned that she understands Osaka’s anxiety when doing post-match press conferences and, according to Jordan Mendoza of USA Today, she extended her support. Other athletes such as Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard joined in the support of Osaka on social media, applauding her courage and agreeing with her decision of withdrawing from the tournament.

This is not the first time women’s mental health has been neglected in sports. For example, writer Jessica Bennett of Ebony wrote in 2018 that gymnast Simone Biles revealed on ABC’s Good Morning America that she takes anti-anxiety medication and attends therapy. Biles received backlash after openly discussing her state of well-being. So many women of color deal with the battle of mental health, and the pressure of bringing it up to the public can be intense.

Mental health should be taken seriously in athletics because athletes deal with everyday struggles, too. In support of mental health in sports, several organizations offer help. One organization is known as Athletes for Hope, whose goal is to educate, encourage, and assist athletes’ efforts to engage in charitable causes. This organization gives athletes the tools for mental health resources and a space to share their mental health journey. Another organization that helps athletes is Beyond Sport, promoting social change in sports by having forums with leaders in sports, health care, and work in social change. The goal is to promote mental health through sports in the community.

Individuals can also have a positive impact. Social media is a great tool to start up a conversation, especially in support of someone taking time off to focus on their mental wellbeing. If you are an athlete and notice a lack of support in your athletic department when it comes to this issue, share your story and create change.

About Kianna Goss

Kianna Goss is a junior at Bradley University, majoring in journalism with a double minor in sociology and advertising with public relations. Community involvement requires the use of one’s voice; in Goss’s case, her voice, which she expresses through writing, is one of the strongest platforms she has. Being a Black woman, Goss often writes to give a voice to the Black community. In doing so, she gains control over a media narrative that portrays the Black community in a negative way. As a writer who expresses herself through many different forms expressions, she has written poetry, blogs, newspaper articles, and opinion pieces. She is always looking for more opportunities to grow as a writer and personally. Goss is involved in many organizations at Bradley University. She is currently the marketing/ communications director for Bradley’s Communication Agency, a peer mentor for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, a writer for the student newspaper The Bradley Scout, and a caller at the Bradley Fund. Being able to explore her creativity is what Goss loves most about Bradley. The Communications department is molding her into the journalist she aspire to be.

About Adrien Vozenilek

Adrien Vozenilek is a senior at Peoria Notre Dame High School. Currently, their focus is portraying family history and their Italian heritage through 2D works centered around heirlooms. Adrien will be a freshman at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and plans to become an art therapist for LGBTQ+ youth.

Easing the Burden

by Emmanuel Agyemang

While coming to the United States to study
seems like a dream come true, international
students can face seemingly insurmountable
hurdles—which leads to a mental health crisis.

Content Warning: Suicide

For many international students, moving to the United States is a privilege. Students who come to the United States as international students carry a lot of burden and pressure. Families back home expect these students to be successful in the United States, attain permanent resident status, and send money home if they are able. International students who go back to their home countries are stigmatized for being unable to make the United States their permanent home. Furthermore, even when they return home, international students find it very difficult to readjust to their home countries; they become foreigners in their own land.

Due to these huge expectations and pressures from home, most international students are not able to go back to their home countries even when they really want to—they will just be branded as failures (Xiao et al., 2019). Hence, there is a lot of anxiety that stems from the uncertainty international students face in the United States. International students have one year in the United States after their graduation to work or to volunteer. After that, they must be sponsored by their employer or leave the United States. Many employers refuse to hire international students because of the cost of sponsoring their work visa. Even if an employer decides to sponsor the work visa, things are still uncertain—the work visa is a lottery and not based on merit. Hence, there is no guarantee that even after meeting all the requirements you will get it. When President Trump suspended the H1B work visa in 2020 (Maura 2020), international students panicked.

Most employers refuse to go through this uncertainty. International students who have hopes of working in the United States are forced to wrestle with the fact that they might have to return to their home countries where their skills would be underutilized. Suddenly, hopes of a brighter future seem distant and the cold embrace of death seems appealing. Many international students deal with suicidal thoughts and attempts. To most international students, perhaps, death is a much safer plight than returning to their home countries and being branded as failures and disappointments.

The anxiety, uncertainty, and being culturally isolated is enough to cause mental anguish to any victim. The mental health of international students deserves more attention and discussion.

Furthermore, international students would be better served by having mental health counselors in their schools who are familiar with the problems international students face and can better empathize with them. Also, international students can reach out to the suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8225 to help cope with suicidal thoughts.

One can advocate for international students through the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers at nafsa.org. NAFSA advocates for common sense immigration policies for international students in the United States. You can donate to the organization or stay tuned to the organization’s updates in order to be more informed about immigration issues.

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.

Bringing Back Broadway

by Neve Kelley

As Broadway opens back up in New York City, local performing arts groups are navigating the post-COVID-19 world.

COVID-19 completely shut down Broadway and many other performance avenues resulting in performers having a great deal of uncertainty about their futures. Regional productions and national tours were stopped, leaving dancers, singers, directors, ushers, and more out of work. In estimate, 97,000 full-time employees in this industry lost their jobs—and that’s only in New York City (NBC News). Recently, though, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Broadway’s return coming in September, which gives these entertainers a new hope.

Producers have said that this reopening will be like starting a new show from scratch (The New York Times). Many cast members have left over the course of the past year and will need their roles recast. Likewise, returning cast members will have to completely re-learn music and choreography, orchestra members will have to re-learn scores, and many more obstacles will be faced. But cast members and productions staff are anxious and excited to return to the stage and ready to overcome each challenge.

Of the first to return, on September 14th, are fan favorites like Wicked, The Lion King, Chicago, and Hamilton (Broadway.com). Additionally, the Civic Center here in Peoria is known for hosting touring theatre productions, which why the shutdown hits so close to home despite our 922-mile distance from Broadway. The Civic Center had an exciting 2020 season planned, including BEAUTIFUL the Carole King Musical and the Blue Man Group, but that season inevitably was canceled. However, in light of Broadway’s reopening, the Civic Center has announced their 2021-2022 season that will open with BEAUTIFUL on November 23, 2021. Hairspray, Blue Man Group, and An Evening with Renee Elise Goldsberry are a few of the other performances the community has to look forward to.

Community theatre here in Peoria is also in the process of reopening. Chip Joyce, the Vice President on Corn Stock Theatre’s Board of Directors, has been very involved in the reopening process while also preparing to direct several shows in the coming months. Joyce says that both Corn Stock Theatre and Peoria Players Theatre plan to follow the CDC recommendations that are in place. “Because of the amount of time it takes to plan a season of shows, it is very difficult when the rules are everchanging,” he says. Joyce notes that at this time, Corn Stock shows will operate at 60% capacity, with smaller casts who are staged differently as to have cast members further from the audience. Despite the limitations, Joyce is excited and optimistic about the return of live theatre “I encourage everyone to go back and see live theatre as soon as you have the first opportunity!” He adds, “People went out of their way to be very supportive to servers and restaurants back when they were closed and could only do takeout, and now is the time to extend that same generosity to your favorite theatres!”

Read more about Broadway’s shutdown and reopening:
NBC News
USA Today

About Neve Kelley

Neve Kelley and is an International Baccalaureate student at Richwoods High School. In addition to being in an academically rigorous program, she is heavily involved in community and school theatre productions. Kelley takes private voice lessons, training in musical theatre and opera, and has been involved in choir and madrigals. Kelley is also a writer for the news section of the school paper, a Student Council senator, in various school clubs, and active in community service. Most Recently, she became a volunteer for Her Drive, a nonprofit aimed at providing bras, mensural products, and general hygiene products to help end period poverty. As part of that effort, she hosted a month-long drive in Peoria to help those in need.