Food Culture

by Izaak Garcia

Imagine this: You’re walking down the street, stomach rumbling up a mighty storm, searching for a place, or a few places, to grab a bite to eat. As you look around, you see a food truck called Pepe’s Red Tacos parked on the corner of the street. You smell the aroma coming from the truck and BOOM. Just like that, you’re already salivating. Your legs move as if they have a mind of their own, carrying your body towards the smell like a cartoon character. But just as you reach the truck, your eyes flick over across the street, and another restaurant comes into view: Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. Your face falls, and your shoulders slump. An impossible decision must be made: sink your teeth into a delicious, flavor-filled taco from the best taco truck in the city, or devour a whole plate of crispy, juicy chicken and perfectly-made fluffy waffles.

There’s just no way you can easily decide, and as you pace around trying to figure out which establishment to eat at, you look up and see something that makes your stomach practically cry out. The world-famous, mind-boggling, …Burger King. Naw, I’m just kidding—but believe it or not, there are a lot of those in Los Angeles. You are in a big city after all, and there’s going to be a bunch of fast-food places. But even with all the fast-food chain restaurants in LA, I guarantee you won’t have to look for more than 5 minutes before you find good food that will change your life. Alright… maybe it won’t change your life, but it’ll definitely make you feel good.

The great thing about eating food in Los Angeles is that there is never a shortage of different cuisine from around the world! From Asian fusion, Italian, Latin American, and so much more, LA is a clash of cultures wherever you go. Mexican taco trucks dot the city, Korean barbeque in Koreatown, and outdoor French cafes. Outside of the city, in places like Santa Monica, you can find the famous Italian restaurant Fritto Misso, or in Beverly Hills and Malibu, the world-renowned Japanese restaurant Nobu. Even in the northern city of Los Feliz, smaller, more homey restaurants such as the Figaro Bistro and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams are absolutely wonderful to get away from the rush of central Los Angeles.

No matter where you go in the Los Angeles area, you are bound to come across a plethora of hidden gems, filled to the brim with good food, and even better people. It isn’t often that you find yourself in a place with so much diversity in food culture. But when you do, be sure to take full advantage of it!

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. 

Getting Older

by Artaves Johnson

As I get older, I feel different as I knew this day would come

It’s like growth is a blooming flower

Waiting for the beautiful sun to shine down upon it

The older you get, the more you know

It’s like having the mind of NASA

The stars winked in the sky

As I began to grow old, it was like it all flashed before my eyes

My skin begins to wrinkle

Before I yawn, I will have a wife

One day I’ll be an old elderly man

My soul gets older with each blink I take

Sometimes, I wonder if that will be my fate

As I get older, my will becomes stronger and stronger

My bones become more fragile and unable to move as I lay kinda lifeless 

I hear a noise

Boop, boop, boop

Is how my heart sounds when it begins to stop

Why do we fear

by Ayannah Garcia

Why do we fear; there is nothing wrong with it as far as I can see

So pack your bags, face it head-on, and take a leap

A leap of faith, which Miles Morales said

Hesitate too much, but you are already over the edge

Flying past things down into the abyss 

All the things you see on the way might be a sight to miss

I really want someone to take me away from here 

Now I know why we fear

Mental cages are the first reason

Barriers that remain unseen and come every season 

If we don’t have them danger would hurt us since we are so carefree

And when I break it, I conquer my fear but what about me

My body might be broken from the fall

Might have to pick me up or I will crawl

Sorry for all the trouble I have caused

Forget everything I did and we will all take a pause

Pause and think of everything that led to this

That first time when I felt the feeling that was not bliss

Maybe I was crazy and just making everything up

Or maybe it was the first time that feeling stuck

I don’t know a solution; fear has not been dealt with yet

My process is starting over and baby steps

Slowly overcoming the little things

And my process starts with tying my shoestrings.

Fear

by Anonymous

Fear is when you get nervous like you badly want to accomplish something

Beat, beat, beat goes the sound of my heart

The feeling of when one of my family members has been in a horrible accident

It’s so terrifying I could eat all my fingernails 

When I have a tingling feeling that something strange is going to happen

When I get a bad report about something that happened at school

Fear is when I go to the stage and do something important

The feeling of nervousness when I don’t make the team

I fear one of my family members will die

Fear when my uncle died and I wanted to cry

Fear is when my grandma gets hurt

But when she cries, I try not to

When I get the feeling, I run as fast as lightening

Fear makes me stronger

We use fear to overcome our obstacles

So face your fears

Do not cry in tears

Be brave

Be strong 

Be focused

Never let fear bring you down

Fear will make you stronger

Fear will make you brave. 

Bravery will make you free

Sometimes I Wonder 

by Anonymous

Sometimes

I wonder what it’s like to stroll in the mind of a mentally healthy person

I wonder

When I see the bright smiling girls in my class

If their minds are plagued with the same anxiety and self-loathing

Perhaps this is how everyone feels 

And I am not as emotionally damaged as I claim

Because I truly don’t remember 

What it’s like to be okay

Sometimes I break down in tears

Not knowing how to or when to gear

It all gets too much

But when I finally let out my emotions to someone

I’m considered a weak one

I wonder when this is all going away

Not having to worry about anything

Trying to be someone you’re not is a real pain

In the end

We 

As in you and me, we’re never meant to be

A Graduate’s Guide for New College Students

by Kianna Goss 

As I near the end of my senior year of college, I get nervous about where I am headed next. The scariest part about graduating college is having no idea of how to tackle “adulting.” It reminds me of the first time I came to college; I didn’t know what to expect. I had trouble adjusting to the new environment, figuring out balance, and learning how to become more independent. However, I eventually got into the swing of things that made me love college life and the experience I was gaining. 

Through my experience I’ve learned a lot through trial and error. I learned how to balance academics and social life, how to budget, and enjoy life in the moment. Adulting consists of trial and error because you might not always have everything figured out right away.

If you are nervous about starting your undergraduate experience like I was then here are five pieces of advice for anyone who’s about to start college for the first time. 

  1. Don’t overpack supplies for your dorm room. I understand wanting to make your dorm feel like your home away from home. However, dorms are not that big and by the time you move out of them you might not use half of the items you purchase. Also, you will need money for textbooks, which are not cheap.
  2. Speaking of textbooks, find good bargain deals. School bookstores are often more expensive when it comes to purchasing textbooks. One way to save money on textbooks is to use websites such as Amazon, Chegg, or any Facebook groups for your school. 
  3. Join clubs or organizations. This is a great way to get involved on campus and to enhance your college experience. It is also a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Coming to college can be a little nerve-racking and making new friends can ease those feelings a little. Also, it’s nice to meet new people from different backgrounds and cultures, which can be a learning experience for you as well.
  4. Take advantage of the resources available to you. As a student, most on-campus resources are covered by tuition and fees and are often offered for free as a result. For example, students at Bradley University have access to tutoring in the library, and the Smith Career Center provides assistance with resumes and LinkedIn. There is also a safety cruiser to take students around campus during late hours, as well as other resources.
  5. Enjoy the experience. No matter how many years you spend at college, they will go by quickly. Through the late-night grocery runs, difficult situations, social activities, accomplishments, and everything else that comes with college, you will appreciate it more your last year. You will also see your growth throughout the years. There’s also a chance that the friends you meet in your first year will not be your friends later. However, the friends that stick until the end of college will most likely be your friends for a lifetime. So, through trial and error, you will figure it out. 

These are just a few tips on how to adjust to your first year of college. Although I will be starting a new journey, it’s okay to be uncertain about the future and not knowing the next moves. I’m sure I will figure it out, and you will too. 

About Kianna Goss

Kianna Goss is a senior at Bradley University, majoring in journalism with a double minor in sociology and advertising with public relations. The importance of community involvement is to use your voice. Kianna’s voice is one of the strongest platforms she has, and utilizes it through her writing. Being a Black woman, Kianna often writes to give a voice to the Black community to gain control over the media that portrays them in a negative way. Kianna is a writer with different form expressions. She has written poetically, through blogs, newspapers, and opinion pieces. Kianna always looks for more opportunities to grow as a writer and person. Kianna is currently the social media director for Her Campus, works as a peer mentor for Bradley’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and is a team leader/caller at the Bradley Fund. Being able to explore her creativity is what she loves most about Bradley. The Communications department is molding her into the journalist she aspires to be.

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. 

When You Fall In Love

by Jamari Williams

When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness

Of course, I would cement my love for you

As long as you love me, I’ll stay by your side

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength

I love her and someday we will get married

I am like a fish, in love with a bird that can fly

My love is like a red rose

A million stars in the sky

One shines brighter that I can’t deny

A love so precious

To love is to share life together

To build special players just forever

Till love gives in and speaks in the whisper of art

I can say I love you in so many ways

No one else

Love sleeps in my dreams

I love you without knowing how, when, who, or from where

Forever in my heart is where you will be

Love comes quietly, finally drops about me

I love you like the mountain snow, so fresh, so fallen

You are genuine

Love saves me from me again

The way you love me is the way I always wanted to be loved

You are the reason I melt inside

I pinch myself

He was truly in love

The Mystery on Alcatraz Island

by Gabriel Gross

It is June 1962. Overlooking the chilly waters of the Alcatraz prison on San Francisco Bay, four inmates lie in their beds. From the outside, it appears nothing is amiss. The trick has worked. The four men put dummy heads under their pillows, carefully handcrafted with real hair attached to deceive the guards. They wait until the right moment and then make their move, quickly carving out a wider gap in the vent in the wall. Three make it through: Frank Morris, and brothers John and Clarence Anglin. They are the only people to ever escape Alcatraz. 

This operation had been planned for at least one year. The men had set up a secret workshop, which contained a raft made out of 50 stolen raincoats, a musical instrument called a concertina to inflate the raft, as well as paddles. The inmates needed time to discover a way out from their secret hideout, which was located behind their cells and down a secret unguarded corridor. Its roof was about 30 feet tall. Eventually, the men noticed piping traveling to the ceiling, which they used to get out. There was a vent blocking the men from escape, but this didn’t stop them. They pried the vent open and held it in place with a bar of soap carved into a fake bolt. The men carefully planned their escape and would make their attempt on June 11th. They were able to escape their cells, travel to their secret hideout, climb through a latch in the ceiling and get onto the roof. The inmates then made their way to the beach with their makeshift raft and took off into the frothy waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Now let’s talk about the evidence behind this mystery. Many young risk takers have plunged into the Pacific and made the swim, but the odds were against these brave adventurers. With the sharks and the tough swirling currents, there is a slim chance they made it through. The other option is that the men did make it to land. In planning the escape, their idea had been to steal clothing from a local store. They also planned to steal a car. However, no robberies were reported. Another factor that could have aided their escape attempt was if the inmates’ families provided them supplies or a place to stay. This is extremely unlikely because the prisoners’ families were very poor. The men were never found, and the FBI closed this case on December 31, 1979, after investigating for 17 years.

Nevertheless, in 2013 a strange letter was given to the police. The author wrote, “My name is John Anglin, I escaped from Alcatraz in June 1962. Yes we all made it that night, but barely.” To this day, the Alcatraz escape is one of the top unsolved mysteries in the world. Did they survive the night and make it to the mainland, or did they vanish into the depths of the sea? Whether they made it to land or not is up to your imagination.

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.

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 ekraemer.myportfolio.com. 

On “Only One Awake”

by Rabiah Na’Allah

There was a time when the air was so still, the only thing I could hear were my own footsteps. It was the day that I would be moving back home to Peoria, IL after being on the Iowa City campus for three weeks in September 2020. Living in a dorm at the height of the pandemic was ultimately the reason my parents insisted I move back home. They were worried for my safety. At the time, I hadn’t been able to do too much exploring because of COVID, so this moment outside stands out as one last adventure. My family would make the journey from Peoria at around 8:00 am. They’d drive straight on the highway for 153 miles to get me. The soft roar of our Honda Odyssey’s engine would be the only sound against the quiet morning on their way. 

I had been up for at least 24 hours hanging out with friends, packing up my dorm, and soaking up every last bit of Iowa City before I’d be stuck in my hometown like a high schooler again. The sleep deprivation combined with the reality of leaving my friends overtook me all at once and I started to cry. All I wanted was to be free. I wanted to get to know this new place but I didn’t have the time. I then thought about it some more and realized it was only 5am. I actually did have some time. I zipped up my suitcase and put the last bit of packaging tape on my box. I decided to go outside. I wanted to walk around aimlessly with my camera while very few people were up yet. I couldn’t really think straight, and my head was pounding, but for some reason, I just wanted to feel the morning air on my skin. On my walk, I came across this beautiful house. What drew me to it was the singular lit-up window I could see from where I stood on the sidewalk, in contrast to the other darkened ones. The light let me know someone was there. At this moment I felt no one could understand how I was feeling, but the light in that beautiful blue home relaxed me. I was suddenly at peace.  

When I see this photograph, I can immediately hear a soft hum. The sounds of the early morning take over the neighborhood. I can imagine the occasional car, breeze, and senior citizens up for a walk. This moment is morning dew. The kind where there is a little water on the grass, and some fog in your line of view. It would be 63 degrees and the breeze would come and go. It’s my idea of perfect weather. You wouldn’t need a coat, and there would be no beads of sweat on your forehead. You could walk without thinking of the time, and everything you saw would be beautiful. You’d be comfortable in your isolation. You’d be the Only One Awake.

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.

Ending Senior Year

by Kamia Fair

After 4 years

I’m all cranked and geared

I’m ready to start my new and new beginning 

Hopefully my story has a happy ending!

The ride was fast but long 

I’ll sing my favorite song 

As I start my new life 

I’ve never been so ready to see 

What’s ahead of me 

But I’ll hold steady so I can see the better me.

As I end this tight path 

And go down a new one 

I hope everything goes right for me.

I hope I become who I want to become. 

I’m forming into who I want to be and I’m happy for me.

I worked hard to succeed 

And success is what I need, 

I’ll lead the way as I become a better me

I hope to encourage and help others 

Bring out the better them

This is not the last, but this task is done!

About Kamia Fair

Kamia Fair was born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, and is a senior in high school at Manual Academy. Fair loves nature and R&B music. She has many personalities—one is a free spirit and another is closed in and shy. She loves anything that has a true meaning. Fair’s book is her voice and freedom. She likes to write about things like her past, present, and future, as well as the things she lives around. What inspired her to start writing poetry was trauma that happened in her past. It began as an every day journal, to finally bringing it out her inner self. Fair hopes to bring more people like herself from her community to write— or at least more people from her community to read what she speaks, and hope for it to inspire them and hope for them to hear her voice to feel where she is coming from.

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