All posts by The Lions' Pride

A Working Relationship: The Mountain Between Us Review

The strikingly handsome Idris Elba (“Dark Tower,”) and the gorgeous, Kate Winslet (“Titanic”) star in “The Mountain Between Us.” Both Academy Award winners encapsulate the big screen in this fall flick. The movie was released in theatres on Oct. 6, 2017. With 45 days of continuous production, a temperature of negative 38 degrees Celsius and an altitude of 10,500 ft., shooting became a challenge for both actors and set crew.

Moreover, this movie was directed by Dutch/Palestine director Hany Abu-Assad, who is also a two-time nominee for Oscars in the foreign language category. Inspired by the novel written by Charles Martin of the same name published on June 1, 2010, the movie is tragic, yet romantic. Additionally, Charles Martin collaborates with Abu-Assad to theatrically bring the characters Ben Bass (Idris Elba) and Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) to life, as they explore how the persons will survive as they are the only persons for miles. The task at hand for Abu-Assad and Martin was to bring about a romantic relationship between the two effectively.

The movie begins as Ben and Alex travel to Denver for different reasons. Ben is a neurosurgeon who is in haste to perform an urgent surgery. Meanwhile, Alex who is a photojournalist is eager to return to Denver in time for her wedding the following day. From previous movies, both Elba and Winslet are ideal characters for The Mountain Between Us. Idris’ demeanor is one of resilience and strong-willed portrayed in “Thor” while Winslet survived tragedy in the “Titanic” and has been the epitome of a survivor since.

Ben and Alex’s desperate need to get to Denver is compromised when their pilot (flying them from Idaho to Denver), Walter has a stroke mid-flight, which is where the movie’s plot evolves.

The numerous mountains, a forest, and a frozen lake provide harsh conditions for the duo to persevere against. Alex and Ben, accompanied by the deceased pilot’s Golden Labrador, began a long trek towards civilization.

From the previews, it was eminent that survival would be the central theme of this movie. However, the title of the film “The Mountain Between Us” gives the illusion that this movie is solely about a couple who experience difficulties in a relationship. On the contrary, the movie is about being disconnected from civilization and persisting through hardship, which fosters a romantic relationship between the characters.

The movie addresses the possible outcomes of what is most probable to occur when two people are separated from civilization amidst chaos. Initially, arguments arise as Ben and Alex are stranded on the mountain, but mending occurs when they must cooperate with each other to survive and make it out alive.

Another major theme of this movie explores the rule of three which states that humans can only survive three days without water, three hours without shelter and three minutes without air. However, this movie tests the rule of three” as the characters are placed in a predicament that causes them to depend on each other defying the rule of three.

According to the book written by Charles Martin, the characters are separated from civilization for about four weeks, so it is relatively evident to figure out the outcome of this perilous yet mysterious journey.

The movie attempts to depict the possible outcomes of being separated from civilization and the journey of working together to make it back home alive. While watching the movie those that are familiar with the book and movie “Lord of The Flies” written by William Golding, would be reminded of the plane crash, arguments and chaos, and the need of cohesiveness to return to civilization safely.

With a PG-13 rating and a 103-minute run time, parents and guardians are strongly advised to accompany kids, due to minor sexual content and adult situations. The movie stirs mixed emotions on being faithful to one’s partner under the circumstances of separation. The theme is explored when in the movie Alex engages in a romantic relationship with Ben despite being on the precipice of her nuptials. It appears for most of the film that she has forgotten about her fiancé, but we are left to wonder if the romantic relationship occurred because of “cabin fever.”.

Overall, this movie is a must-see that will capture audience’s attention throughout the film. Both Elba and Winslet become the characters they were intended to be.

They both understood their roles and their real-life character traits are evidently seen when they must depend on each other to survive. Both characters are strong-willed and have excellent chemistry on screen. The only uncertainty comes as we are left not knowing whether Alex will tell her fiancé about her short-lived relationship with Ben

Hurricane Irma Leaves A Mark In Faculty’s Life

By Dr. Nicole McCoy

Nicole McCoy is an adjunct faculty member at the Key West Center, who decided to share her personal story involving Hurricane Irma.

I live on Cudjoe Key, which is where the forward eyewall of hurricane Irma struck on 9/10. I first became aware of Irma’s potential (and her potential track) on 8/31, which is quite a few days before most people, because I follow the amateur meteorologist blogs during hurricane season. You would think that a long lead time would be good, but in many ways it was a slow-moving torture. I think I wasted hours analyzing data on these blogs over the next few days; hoping against hope that they were wrong and Irma would turn out to sea. By Labor Day it was fairly clear that Irma was a substantial threat and we frantically began buttoning up the house.

We have lived down here for five years, but had just purchased this house 10 months before and were completely unprepared to seal up a house and our lot for a hurricane. We had never tested our hurricane shutters and found out the previous owner hadn’t left us the key. We learned that hurricane shutter locks can be picked fairly easily!

It took us almost three days to get the house ready and there was still more that we could have done. I had an office in our downstairs enclosure and I moved everything that was important or that was less than 2 feet from the floor (Wilma’s storm surge in 2005 was 18”) to our upstairs. My husband Sean tied down our boats. Our bigger boat was anchored to the house and the ground out front, and our small older boat, a 1971 Seacraft, which we had been restoring and was 95% done, was secured on the dock and davits out back.

On [Thursday],  we packed up our two cats, two dogs, and 11 year old son into our 16-year old Ford King Cab pickup and headed for Sarasota. We had to leave our Honda Civic behind, as it was broken and the part needed to repair it had arrived the Friday before the holiday weekend.

It was absolute agony watching Irma – an enormously powerful hurricane- head west and hearing the meteorologists tell us that she WOULD turn north, somewhere over the Keys. She slowed down substantially, and her arrival was delayed by almost a day. I couldn’t believe it when we watched her arrival as a Category 4 hurricane on Cudjoe Key Sunday morning. I thought for certain that my house, with its shingle roof,  would be gone.

It was a couple of days before one of my friends, who is a first responder, got down to the Keys and sent me a picture of my house–it was still standing and looked to be relatively okay. NOAA imagery confirmed that we still had a roof (missing shingles and more damage inside that would be discovered later). The relief we felt was enormous. And our big boat, that we had just purchased in February, had barely missed being crushed by a tree.

Unfortunately, we got 33 inches of storm surge inside the lower enclosure, which is more than we expected, and combined with the mold that occurred in the 8 days we were prevented from returning to the lower Keys, we had extensive losses downstairs. The 1971 Seacraft we were restoring is severely damaged, and we will be starting over again on that project. Our Honda is a total loss due to storm surge.

Nonetheless, compared to the other losses on Cudjoe, as well as the very severe damage on Big Pine, No Name Key, and Marathon, we feel extremely lucky. I had thought that getting the eye of Irma, where the winds are most intense would be horrible (and it was), but it turned out that the east side of the storm was substantially more damaging. Had we had the east side of the storm instead of the eye, I don’t think we would have had a house to return to.

A Higher Level of Reality


Disclaimer: The following story, photos, and accompanying items are fictionalized and are part of Saint Leo University’s Alternate Reality Learning Experience (ARLE). The events described did not occur. The characters are fictional and any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.

For the last two years, Saint Leo University has implemented an interactive learning mechanism known as the Alternative Reality Learning Experience, or the ARLE. Two years ago, the ARLE simulated an election, and was very successful, with many students actively participating. Last year, it continued the success of the election with The Presidency and added another event, The Trial of the Century.  The Presidency kept the political inspiration of the previous year, while the Trial of the Century, focused on a fictional criminal case. Both simulations featured many different departments and programs across campus.

This year, because of these successes, the University has decided to focus on the 1960s and connect with the Arts and Sciences theme that will run all year. The purpose behind these simulations is to allow students to start using the skills they have learned in college in a way that is closely related to the professional world.

According to Mr. Frank Orlando, instructor of political science, the ARLE features the participation of many students and departments.

“This year…we want another level of reality; we want the students to be even more immersed in the process,” said Orlando.

Because the ARLE is intended to instruct students about the real world, those involved are very focused on making it a believable experience.

“An ARLE represents real-world tasks, authentic assessment, and the most meaningful collaboration found in a university setting,” said Dr. Jeff Borden, the University’s chief innovation officer.

Both students and faculty are excited to participate in the simulations.

“The ARLE is beneficial for our students, and I’m excited for another go-round this year,” said Orlando.

On Nov. 3-4, 2017, Saint Leo University will retry Lee Harvey Oswald, and students will hear the evidence and decide once and for all if Oswald really did murder Kennedy.

The image above of the visual disclaimer will appear on all ARLE fictional articles for the ARLE so that readers will recognize that the articles they are reading are part of the fictional story line for the ARLE.

CAVE Hosts Majors Fair


On Oct. 4, the Center for Academic Vision and Excellence (the CAVE) hosted a majors fair in the SCC boardrooms between the hours of 11:00 am to 1 pm.

Some of the faculty participants included criminology, English, education, biology, marketing, management, computer science & info. systems, health care, social work, hospitality, religion, economics, math, international tourism and global studies.

Career planning, counseling services, and student success coaches were also present, as some of the academic departments in support of the fair.

Students had the opportunity to speak with faculty representatives from the different academic departments. If a student was still undecided or even interested in inquiring about another major, the fair allowed those students to explore their interests and get recommendations of future careers and job prospects.

Upon entry of the fair, students were given CAVE sponsored tote bags containing a ruled notebook, pen, and multiple handouts explaining how to access the services offered at the CAVE, the peer-assisted learning (PAL) coaching program schedule for the fall of 2017, the academic success workshop schedule and the 2017 fall tutor schedule.

Many of the faculty attendees handed out brochures containing information about their program as well as career options available. Kaitlyn Taylor, a freshman majoring in psychology, found the information she received at the event very enlightening.

“My experience at the majors fair was very insightful. I was able to talk to professors and career planning faculty about my possible career of choice. Initially, I wanted to major in Criminal Justice, but I decided to major in Psychology instead,” said Taylor. “I want to work for the FBI, and when I spoke to some of the professors in the Criminal Justice department, they clarified what route I should take if I want to pursue a career with the FBI. Thus, I got more information which helped me come to a more concrete decision on what I should major in.”

Overall, the fair was a success. Not only were students given helpful tips and meaningful advice, but they were also given a chance to create relationships with faculty from different departments.

Women’s Lacrosse Team Makes Blankets for Sunrise of Pasco

Handmade gifts elicit comfort in times of hardship. The Women of Saint Leo Lacrosse know this well. On Monday, October 9, the ladies gathered in Kirk Hall on University Campus and spent two hours cutting and knotting fabric to create blankets for women in need at the Sunrise of Pasco County, Inc. Domestic and Sexual Violence Center’s emergency shelter.

The blankets varied in size and pattern so that they may be used by the women themselves or by their babies or older children that they may have brought to the shelter. The finished blankets will be dropped off by Aubrey Hall, Saint Leo’s Green Dot Coordinator.

Green Dot is a program that works through Sunrise of Pasco to implement awareness of power-based violence such as stalking, harassment, or domestic abuse to Saint Leo’s campus. Hall explained that her goal is to “engage the Saint Leo community at large and bring light to a reality of which people on campus may not be aware.” The idea is that the widespread knowledge of what power-based violence is will reduce the chances of that violence occurring.

According to Hall, the survivors currently at the shelter will be able to choose their own blankets, and the leftover blankets will be placed in welcome baskets for new arrivals to the shelter. Having recently escaped tremendously difficult situations, women often arrive at the shelter with little or no personal belongings, so the welcome baskets would typically include things like shampoo or sweatpants.

Saint Leo students giving back to Sunrise of Pasco furthers the relationship between the two entities, and the women of the team enjoy the experience. Women’s Lacrosse Coach Caitlin Hansen is new to Saint Leo, but she said that the team had participated in creating blankets for Sunrise of Pasco last year and heavily requested continuing the tradition. Hansen felt that the project was good for the team because it “adds color to the day.” In the busy day of a student-athlete, it is calming to craft something beautiful and know that it will help someone.

The School of Education and Social Services encourages students to take part in Green Dot. Dr. Joanne Crossman, Women’s Lacrosse Faculty Mentor and Instructor of Education, expressed that it is positive for the team to reach out and let the women at the shelter know that people care for them. It is a display of “women supporting other women,” according to Crossman.

Next week, October 16-20 is the start of Green Dot week on University Campus. Several on-campus events will provide more opportunity to engage with Sunrise of Pasco, beginning with the Green Dot Melting Pot in the Student Community Center boardrooms 6:30 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. on Monday, October 16. There will be stories of survivors and information and tips about handling situations of power-based violence shared at these events.

Hispanic Heritage Month

On Oct. 3, The School of Arts and Sciences and the Spanish Club hosted a celebration that brought hundreds together.

Though the official dates for the Hispanic Celebration Month are Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, Saint Leo decided to dedicate the first week of Oct. to celebrating its Hispanic students and staff.

From the engaging sugar skull coloring sheets to the salsa dancing lessons, students and staff of all ethnicities came together to celebrate the Hispanic community. Megan Orendorf, Administrator for The School of Arts and Sciences, has helped organize the Hispanic Heritage Celebration since it first began. She sat at a table at the entrance of the event greeting everyone with a warm and welcoming smile.

“This is fun to be a part of,” said Orendorf. “It is so important to recognize the Hispanic culture since they are such a huge part of who we are.”

Karen Hannel, professor of Giants of the Arts and Arts of Appreciation, has also been doing the Hispanic Heritage Celebration since it Saint Leo began celebrating it some ten years ago. She spoke about the need for such celebrations.

“The purpose of this celebration is to heal some of the hatred brought on by racism,” she said. She further described how an event such as this one provides room for communication and understanding of different cultures.

Dr. Marcela Van Olphen, Spanish professor and Sponsor of the Spanish Club, also stood proudly by a table hosted by her Spanish class, which consisted of beautiful ceramics and woven baskets from Mexico. The table was always surrounded by students and staff who admired these works and enjoyed the jeopardy questions which tested their knowledge of the Spanish language.

“It is important to divulge culture. It is important to educate and to bring awareness to help appreciate and understand other cultures,” she said. “I am here because these are my roots. This is about bringing peace to the world. The Hispanic culture is extremely diverse and we ultimately all share common interests.” She spoke passionately about spending most of her life in Argentina, and her love for her country.

Though some students attended the event due to extra credit assignments offered by their teachers, a majority of the students were there out of personal interest.

Caroline Harvey, a Criminal Justice major, loved her time there as she learned how to dance salsa, and spoke about getting beat by the “red” team at a trivia session. The game consisted of questions about the many countries of South America, their geography, their foods, and famous people who originate from these. She had a good time teaching other students how to speak Spanish and was proud of her poster on Sonia Sotomayor, a Supreme Court Justice whom she is interested in.

At a table at the celebration, a drive and FundMe page was announced in hopes of raising donations and awareness to the countries that have been affected by the natural disasters which have occurred in these past few weeks. All of the proceeds will go to Caribbean countries who were affected by Irma and Maria, as well as Mexico. If you see a red, tall bin around campus, please stop and read the instructions to help collect the materials needed to help alleviate some of the stress and damage caused by these horrific storms.

The event encouraged students never to forget that all countries are family and that we should all be willing to help, even in the smallest ways possible.

Banding together for the Fall Into Song Concert

By Phillip Waitkevich

Last Tuesday, Oct. 10, in the SCC Boardrooms, the Saint Leo Rhythm Machine, the Saint Leo Singers and Chamber Singers, the Saint Leo Strings, and Just the FACTS banded together to perform seventeen songs from the 1960s for the Fall into Song Concert.

With only five weeks scheduled to practice (and only four weeks practiced because of Hurricane Irma), the groups had to dedicate themselves to many long hours of rehearsing, both scheduled and unscheduled. Dr. Cynthia Selph, the director of this concert, was very content with how the concert went.

“I think this concert got us off on the right foot for this semester. All of the soloists were introduced to new music they had never sung before,” said Selph. “The sixties songs sound simple, but they are very hard to pull off. I think we all experienced some musical growth and that’s what we’re here to do: to learn to be better musicians.”

It takes a lot of patience, determination, and courage to sing in front of an audience. The performers not only had to perform the songs at 4 p.m., but they had an encore show at 7 p.m. Why do they do it?

“I’ve been [singing] since I was little and it’s just brought me so much relief and so much joy that I wanted to share my talent with others,” said sophomore Anthony Marchitto.

The staff and performers weren’t the only ones who were happy with the event’s turnout. Audience members were swaying and tapping their feet while they listened to the songs of their childhood.

“I came here because my friend said it was really good. I know a lot of people who are performing, and I wanted to see how good it really was,” freshman Tabitha Martorano said.

The songs performed ranged from folk songs like “Scarborough Fair,” to early rock and roll such as “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix. Other popular songs included “Dance to the Music” by Sylvester Stewart, “Happy Together” by the Turtles, and “Hello, Goodbye” and “Yesterday” by the Beatles, and “Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke.

“The music was all chosen over the Summer. We wanted songs that represented the decade because this is the theme [that was selected by] the [School of] Arts and Sciences.,” said Selph. “We tried to get a variety of music that was popular. We had a Simon and Garfunkel tune. [We represented] Elvis Presley. Paul Anka [was represented]. A lot of those were really big names in the Sixties, but I didn’t want to do something that was all just exactly alike.”

As for the future performances, the groups are scheduled to perform again on Sunday in the Abbey for the Fall Family Festival. And in another five weeks, there will be a concert in the Winter.

“We have a pretty full performance schedule. They work hard and they learn quite a bit of music, but that’s what you do in college. I think their hard work pays off and they do a really good job,” Selph said.