On Apr. 20, the School of Arts and Science, in collaboration with the Department of Language Studies and the Arts, put on a production of SASSabration at 7 pm in the Selby Auditorium of the University campus. This event featured performances by the S.A.S.S. (Soprano Alto Second Soprano) group and also special guests, the Slam Poetry club, here at Saint Leo. The event started promptly and the auditorium was completely filled with students, parents, and faculty. The event was hosted enthusiastically by Milynthia Foard, who is a sophomore psychology major at the University.

S.A.S.S. is a group of female acapella singers made up of sopranos, altos, and second sopranos at the University. This event is special for the group as three of their members are seniors and will be graduating on Apr. 29. One of the senior members, Jasmine Collins, who is a psychology major, is the only beatboxer to the group and has been a part of the group for all her four years spent at the University.

Collins spoke enthusiastically about her time in S.A.S.S. and how she felt about the event, “This event especially, it hit home a little bit, it’s my last one… It’s a little bittersweet. “

The night progressed with performances by the S.A.S.S. group and solo performances by members of the group; these performances were received with great commendation by the audience. The Slam Poetry club members, who were special guests to the event, also gave entertaining and eye-opening performances, which set a tone for the night. Foard, who hosted the event, gave a resounding performance of one of her original poems, which shook the audience with its enriching content. Foard is also a member of the Slam Poetry club and has performed at many other University functions.

The Slam Poetry club’s faculty advisor Marissa McLargin, instructor of English, was in attendance and she also performed a poem of her own.

McLargin enthused about the collaboration between the S.A.S.S. singers and the poets of the Slam Poetry club, “Anything that introduces students to the arts, shares art with the community, is a wonderful gift from Saint Leo, to Saint Leo.”

McLargin touched on the importance of art and expression to the Saint Leo community, especially in light of the experiences shared in the personal poems performed by the students at the event.

“The students are able to relate to the performers, because of their age, race, nationality. It puts a more personal touch on the students who are watching,” said McLargin.

Pamela DeCius, director of S.A.S.S., was also in attendance, performed and spoke about the effect of art and expression on the Saint Leo community and the world at large. DeCius also spoke about the importance of having these platforms in the Saint Leo community, as it allows for students to express themselves thoroughly, and for others to share in these expressions. The Slam Poets and singers spoke and sang about difficult topics, which had an immense effect on those in attendance. The themes of self-love, social, and racial issues resonated through all the poems shared at the events.

“People respected each other… They got something out of it. We were sharing, and people forgot all their iPhones, iPad, I-whatever, and it became a ‘we’ and it became an us,” said DeCius.

In light of the themes represented in the poems shared by the performers, DeCius shared that she felt bittersweet about the Slam Poets’ performances,

“In the moment that I am like ‘this is fabulous’, I think to myself, these are young adults and they have seen, felt, heard these things that I was hoping to not have them worry about right now,” said DeCius.

Titanic Violin Sold for 1.5 Million Dollars

The violin claimed to have been played by the leader of the band on the Titanic was sold for a shocking 1.5 million dollars ( £900,000)  in Wiltshire (UK.)

The violin allegedly belonged to Wallace Hartley, who died along with thousands of others when the ship infamously sunk in 1912.

The auctioneer, who sold the violin, had expressed that it was the “most iconic” memento that could have been retrieved from the ship. The violin was allegedly the one that was played during the last hours of the ship’s tragic accident to calm passengers and crew.

The violin was not the only keepsake from the Titanic that was up for grabs; other smaller memorabilia were available.  Cutlery, old photographs, and newspapers were sold too, the price at which these were bought ranged from $15-$200.

The violin itself had quite a journey before reaching the auction room.  Wallace Hartley, the owner of the violin, had made quite a name for himself as he became renowned for having lead his fellow band mates in continuing to play music as the ship was sinking. One of the hymns they are remembered to have played was “Nearer My God to Thee.”

Following the tragic event, the violin was found with the owners corpse in the water. The violin was sealed in its leather case, and Mr. Hartley was sadly found dead in a life jacket. Maria Robinson, who was engaged to William Hartley at the time, had written a diary entry stating that the violin was returned to her once it had been retrieved from the water.

After her death in 1939, the violin was known to have been in the possession of Ms.  Robinsons’ local Salvation Army Citadel before landing in the possession of the current owner’s mother in the early 1940’s. The owner who bought the violin in was anonymous, and the only information on the buyer who bought it at the auction was that he was British.

Controversies regarding the authenticity of the violin have been ongoing for quite some time; the fact that the violin had survived this long was questionable.  Many people refused to believe that the violin is in this good of condition after being in really cold water for that long.

However , forensics have been able to authenticate the violin, and even found salt deposits within the violin which undoubtedly must have come from the sea water it was once submerged in. After almost a decade, the violin was authenticated by Henry Aldridge & Son, the auction house at which it was sold.

The competition to be the highest bidder for the violin was quite high.  The auction of this item had drawn many antique collectors and enthusiasts from all over the world. Its popularity was not unexpected, as it had previously drawn almost 320,000 viewers in the United States during a short-term exhibition.

The opening bid for the violin was a mere $80 before being valued in the hundred thousand range within only a few minutes.

Keepsakes from the Titanic are known for being auctioned off at exorbitant prices.  The plan of the ship, which was used to help the captain and crew investigate further into the sinking and escape plan was sold in 2011 for $360,000 (£220,000.)


Another School Shooting in New Mexico School

A 12 year old boy went to his New Mexico middle school, Berrendo Middle School with more than a backpack, paper and pencil. On January, 14, 2014 the student brought a 20- gauged pump shotgun loaded with three shells.

The boy entered his school gymnasium and starting firing randomly. According to CNN news the first shot was characterized as a “bird shot” and then he fired at the ceiling. The second shot he aimed at the gym floor but the third one was the dangerous one. He shot at the stands where he hit two students severely injuring them. The chief of police stated that the victims were chosen at random, even though there was evidence that the student did plan for this event to happen. His parents’ only statement was that they will be “praying that God will be with everyone who has been affected.”

Even though this terrible event has occurred, the two students did survive the incident. One student is in critical condition but the other student is stable. The school was closed down Wednesday, but the school will reopen Thursday. Many students are afraid to come back to school fearing that the incident will reoccur. The only thing that the school knows is that there will defiantly be three students that will be missing. 13 year old Kendal Saunders who got shot in her right shoulder, an unnamed 12 year old who got shot in the chest, and of course the suspect of this crime. The police have stated that the gun that was used during the attack belongs to one of his parents. He has been taken to an unspecific location in Albuquerque. A judge has ordered the suspect to receive an evaluation and a mental health treatment. Since he is a juvenile officials have not been able to name him; however, this might change if he gets tried as an adult.

After this incident has occurred, the police department issued three search warrants allowing them to go through his locker, school bag, and his home. Out of these warrants they were able to find evidence of him planning the shooting. Authorities also believe that before he fired he gave out a warning to a few students who must have know what was going to happen in the gym because they ran out just before it happened.

Between all this tragedies there was a hero that did come out of this story. A brave teacher, John Masterson, stood up the shooter after the third shot. Masterson did not know that the gun ran out of ammunition so when he stood up to the shooter in his mind he knew he had a chance of getting shot. The teacher stood up to the student and had a gun pointed, doing such a heroic act.

It seems like shootings are starting to become more common in school. Not just middle schools but there have been incidents in universities, high schools, even elementary schools. The other issue is that these are not incidents that happen in one isolated area of the United States. This can happen anywhere and to anybody. I asked two students about their insights regarding to situations like these. Shanel Sabino, a Saint Leo freshman said,“ I feel very safe here at Saint Leo University  and I don’t believe that anything like that would happen here but things like these can happen to anybody. It just takes one unstable person to make a tragedy like this happen and that unstable person could be anybody.” Another student that attends Saint Leo had a slightly different opinion about her safety here in, not only at Saint Leo but in this area of Florida in general. “I always watch the news and I never expect things like this to happen near my home. Just a few days ago I saw a headline involving a shooting that happened in The Cobb theatre in Wesley Chapel. That is a place I go quite often and if it happened that close to where I live then who knows, something like that could potentially happen here.” Says Grace Quarles.

Terrifying Secret your Smartphone is Hiding

Think about this: We carry our smartphones with us everywhere we go and we store them in back pockets and purses where they are in contact with dollar bills and old receipts. We use them almost everywhere and set them down on any readily available surface- class desks, kitchen counters, bathroom counters, park benches, the ground, and tables at restaurants.

We also pull them out multiple times a day, whether it is to check Facebook or email, make an important phone call, take pictures, or listen to Pandora. To say smartphones are the young generation’s constant companions would be an understatement; they are an extension of our limbs.

It should come as no surprise that our smartphones are breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. With them coming into constant contact with the outside world and being stored in dark, warm places, bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, boils, sinusitis and food poisoning have been found growing on the surfaces of many smartphones. “[I’m] very surprised to learn of this information, and I will definitely be more cautious and more aware of who I let borrow my phone and where I set it down” said Daniel Francois, a sophomore at The University after learning this.

A study published in 2009 in the “Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials” details the bacteria level of the cell phones of 200 hospital staff members. Research showed that 94.5 percent of the phones were contaminated with some type of bacteria, many of which were resistant to multiple antibiotics. A more recent study done in the U.K tested 30 mobile phones for levels of potentially harmful bacteria, or the total viable bacterial count (TVC). The study showed that twenty-five percent of the phones exceeded the acceptable TVC by ten times and had eighteen times the TVC as a handle on a public restroom toilet. “There is too big a habit among cellphone carrying people to just set our phones down anywhere, no wonder they are all covered in harmful bacteria. I would be conscious of where you set your phone down, try to keep it in one place. And to wash your hands frequently” said Shannon Werner, a senior at The University.

In light of this new information, remember to always be mindful of the bacteria growing on your smartphone. “If you have good hygiene to start with, not allow other people to handle your phone, don’t frequently put your phone down on germy surfaces, and be sure to wipe it with a disinfectant that is electronic safe, you shouldn’t have the problem of harmful bacteria growing on your phone in the first place” advises Freshman Lauren Muglio. Becoming more mindful of observing good hygiene and who you pass your phone to when looking at photos or watching a video will decrease the amount of harmful bacteria on your phone. A gentle swipe with an antibacterial wipe nightly should kill all harmful bacteria, even if you only do this once a week its better than what you’re doing now, which is probably nothing. Some companies even offer anti-microbial shells and screen protectors to guard against these scary germs. Following just one of these tips will greatly decrease the amount of harmful bacteria growing on your smartphone and lead to a healthier life.

Why People Vote for Trump

Watching “The Tonight Show” one evening, a familiar face appeared on the screen – an ever-present face that has been plaguing social media for the past few months ever since his announcement for presidential candidacy: Donald Trump.

In a recent interview, Jimmy Fallon asked him how he planned to build his infamous “wall” without the help of immigrant labor – the wall that will supposedly solve all the problems of illegal immigration.

“We may build it with immigrant labor, we may, but it’s going to be a great wall,” Trump said; “At some point maybe it’s going to be called the Trump Wall.”

In a quest to find answers as to why a man who has become well-known for controversial — and quite frankly, rude – comments on hot topics and other candidates, questions were posed to one of the University’s Political Science classes.

Bringing up Donald Trump’s name in a class full of opinionated and politically informed students generally seems like a touchy situation, but interestingly, Trump is one of the only things that the whole class agreed on.

“He has no solution, but he just speaks his mind,” one student said.

“Exactly. He says what everyone wants to say, but he has no solutions — any solutions he makes, he makes them up on the fly,” said a second student.

“If you don’t have solutions, you’re just complaining,” another student summed up the class’ argument.

Many Americans are probably wondering the same thing as that class: what makes a reality TV star and businessman think that he’s qualified to be the president of the United States?

The answer is: nothing. Public opinion keeps him in the polls, and it has brought him to the top position, poised for a possible Republican nomination as the GOP frontrunner.

Trump, a businessman and reality TV star with a net worth of 4.5 billion dollars according to Forbes, has absolutely no experience in office. What distinguishes him from other candidates is, to put it blatantly, his bluntness.

People want to follow people who have a determined direction and are unwavering in their opinions – it gives them security and makes them feel protected to see a person who shows determination. Most people can relate to those who “tell it like it is” – something Trump is extremely well versed in. Fittingly most known for his signature phrase on “The Apprentice”, “you’re fired,” Trump, a graduate of Wharton School of Business, earns his wealth from real estate and television.

“He’s not a politician, and people like the frankness of his language,” said Political Science professor Francis Orlando; “Because of that he’s such a stark contrast to politicians.”

People want a change; they’re tired of the stereotypical “politician.” Trump’s approach to the issues in the forefront of the election is fresh and unique, and he earns respect for his aggression without regard for “political correctness.” It only takes one comment for someone to think to themselves, “Maybe he’s on to something.”

Granted, Trump’s method of stirring up the passions of the people might appeal to the politically uninformed and those who are fed up with the current system, but his high-profile has proven both beneficial and detrimental.

“He’s already a media star; visibility is very important and because of that he already starts with an advantage,” Orlando said; “He’s visible, brash, and not a politician – because of that he’s going to do good early on.”

The question remains: will this be enough for him to win the presidential race?

“This brashness could backfire when you make inappropriate comments. You can only go so far before people start getting offended,” said Orlando.

Trump has offended most other presidential candidates, journalists and even TV personalities. However, those who agree that Rosie O’Donnell is a “loser” most likely support a candidate like Trump. On the other hand, his uncensored dialogue is more characteristic of a Kardashian than a potential president of the United States.

Trump’s personal prejudices cause him to suffer the loss of support from more liberal Republicans, but he has no problem gaining the support of right-wing conservatives, which has proven effective in the development of his campaign. Only time will tell if he wins over the rest of America, but if it doesn’t work out for Trump, he’s still a billionaire.

Vice Presidential Mock Debate

Vice Presidential Mock Debate


“When was the last time you were in an elementary school classroom not for publicity purposes?”

Two college students from their stools on the stage took a second to think about the question posed.

Senior Jacob Gates began his statement, mentioning his three kids with reminiscence, claiming to be “as involved as I possibly can be as a U.S. senator.”

As Senior Emily Mincey provided the audience with her explanation, bringing up her fourchildren, Gates quietly joked, “It’s not a competition.”

While the amount of imaginary children Gates and Mincey have may not be a competition, the event which brought them both to the stage was. Mincey and Gates are a part of the Alternate Reality Learning Experience, a university-wide mock presidential campaign. Mincey is Elizabeth Chase, a Congresswoman from a cattle ranching family in Central Florida who is running on the Republican ticket with Charles Franklin. Gates, as Christopher Sampson, is a senator from Colorado running with Democratic presidential candidate Rachel Bowman. At the Vice Presidential Debate on Oct. 21, the candidates answered student-submitted questions from student moderators representing the Communications, Education, and Psychology classes involved with the A.R.L.E.

Throughout the debate, Gates, as Senator Sampson, explained his views on how to reform the “Draconian laws and measures,” which plague the American system, touching on topics like the drug war, the Black Lives Matter movement, ISIS and gun control.

“We need common sense legislature in this country,” he said. “We need to end the gridlock.”

Gates claimed that Republicans are using debated social topics like Planned Parenthood to “get ahead,” and causing government shutdowns.

“The Bowman-Sampson administration stands for reform within social justice issues,economy and society as a whole without the interference of big businesses and political corruption,” said Zoe Mathieu as Rachel Bowman.

Not only was political corruption discussed while the various scandals which had occurred throughout the A.R.L.E. were brought up, issues, which are prominent on college campuses, were also addressed. Political apathy, although an ironic topic to talk about in a room dominated by Political Science students and professors, became a hot topic during the course of the debate.

“We have to get Americans to care again,” said Mincey as Elizabeth Chase. “Our goal as Republicans is to restore the significance of the American worker and with the right leadership this can be realized.”

In a recent interview, Burke Tomaselli as Charles Franklin, the Republican presidential candidate, supported his running mate’s statement; “The American Dream is coming to a cruel awakening that is met with a sense of lethargy and entitlement.”

The Republican Party plans on combatting this apathy through promoting positive change by stimulating small business growth, keeping Americans secure, and reforming the education system by eliminating and replacing underperforming programs.

“There’s thousands of arts scholarships that go unclaimed every year; STEM subjects are important but we have to have a broader focus on multiple disciplines as opposed to just the sciences and technology,” said Mincey as Elizabeth Chase. During the debate she also protested excess standardized testing; “it’s keeping the joy out of the classroom.”

The Franklin-Chase administration aims at appealing to middle class, everyday Americans who identify with these issues.

“Our supporters are common, hardworking Americans who strongly believe in the principles of our country’s founding and want to help this country achieve what it’s truly capable of,” said Tomaselli as Charles Franklin.

The presidential debate will be held on November 13th at 7 p.m. in the Boardrooms, where Tomaselli and Mathieu will go head-to-head and discuss prominent issues as Charles Franklin and Rachel Bowman. Students can submit questions and attendees will be able to vote for their favorite candidate to determine the future — imaginary — president of the United States.