The Complete and Utter Guide to the Academy Awards, In Its Entirety

By Gabe Nisker

Funnyman Jimmy Kimmel hosts this year’s Academy Awards and we’re in for a treat. Whether you’ve seen the movies or not, this guide is for you. We’ll look here at how to win an Oscar pool, what to look out for and general fun Oscar trivia.

Chapter 1: What the hell is La La Land?

At risk of sounding pretentious, how dare you. Read that again — this time, I’m (kind of) kidding. Honestly, La La Land is magical, a movie worth experiencing for yourself. It’s the story of a guy and girl who have come to Los Angeles to make their dreams come true. It’s also a musical. If you’ve got time for only one Oscar movie – it’s this one. It tied the record for most nominations with 14, tying Joseph Mankiewicz’s All About Eve and James Cameron’s Titanic. Now that’s a fun fact you can drop on your friends when watching the Oscars! More fun facts to come.

Chapter 2: I’ve seen, like, one of these. I need to catch up on my movie-watching.

There’s a few ways to go about this. Please, don’t torrent – artists deserve to be paid for their work, even if it is relatively expensive to go see tons of movies. Instead, use more reliable sources. Pick one or two movies to see in theatres (I’m suggesting La La Land and Moonlight as true cinematic experiences) and stream whatever else you can at home through Netflix, or iTunes/Google Play, among other streaming services.

Here’s some of what’s available on Netflix:

The Jungle Book – nominated for Best Visual Effects

The Lobster – nominated for Best Original Screenplay

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi – nominated for Best Sound Mixing (my advice: skip this)

Zootopia – frontrunner for Best Animated Feature (this is a must-see!)

And on top of all that, the nearly 8 hour (5 part) documentary OJ: Made in America is available on CraveTV. It’s supposed to be incredible. I’ve been trying to clear a weekend for ages.

Chapter 3: I haven’t heard of half of these Best Picture nominees. Why did I miss them? Can you tell me about them?

Odds are, if you go to the movies in the months of May-August, you’ve seen your fair share of comic book movies. The Oscars’ large pool of voters tend to go with more difficult films — arthouse films, they’re called. Arthouse films are far more niche than your average summer blockbuster. Among the Oscar nominees, there are also some biopics designed for Oscar attention, heartwarming stories for the whole family. Because of something called the recency bias, most of these “Oscar” movies are released in the late fall and winter season.

Anyways, they’re all really good (in their own way, that is. Some aren’t my cup of tea). Let me run through them for you.

FrontrunnerLa La Land

A musical about making it in Hollywood, as I said above. In this writer’s opinion, it’s easily going to take home the trophy, having won at almost all the guild awards (the award shows specific to a certain sector of Hollywood, like the Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild or Producers Guild).

Critic’s ChoiceMoonlight

Moonlight swept up local critics’ awards and with good reason. It’s a powerful story of an African-American kid coming to terms with who he is. Brilliantly shot, phenomenally acted – it’s going to win at least one other award (Mahershala Ali for Best Supporting Actor, probably) but I don’t think it has as big of a shot in Best Picture at this point as it did at the start of the campaign.

The Next 3:

Manchester By The Sea: If you like part depressing, part hilarious slice of life movies with a lot of dialogue, you’ll love this. Really, though, I enjoyed it but it’s far likelier to take home Best Original Screenplay for the phenomenal work done here by writer/director Kenneth Lonergan.

Hidden Figures: The one guild award La La Land didn’t win is one they didn’t even get nominated for. Anyways, it happens to be a big predictor of Best Picture success. Hidden Figures, the based-on-a-true-story film about Katherine Johnson’s involvement in the Space Race, picked up the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Ensemble. Actresses Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae were all great. Spencer picked up an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress as well.

Arrival: There seems to be a yearly spot in the Best Picture race for science fiction. We’ve had Gravity and The Martian in recent years. This year’s no different but this film is. A truly fascinating take on an alien invasion, Arrival takes its time but it’s so worth it. Want to sound smart? When this movie gets mentioned, mention to your buddies that Amy Adams should’ve been nominated. She was phenomenal.

The Longshots:

Lion: This true story is almost too crazy to be true. It’s the story of Saroo Brierley, who got separated from his family when he was little, ended up far away and tried to locate them years later with only a handful of memories. Dev Patel, nominated for his work as grownup Saroo, is pretty good — but the real snub here is Sunny Pawar as 5 year old Saroo.

Hell or High Water: This should be more of a contender than it is. An all-American movie directed by an Scotsman, it’s a bank robbery movie and a critique of banks all in one. Jeff Bridges is one of many great performances here but he’s the one who got nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

Hacksaw Ridge: The only one I haven’t seen is a war movie based on the story of Desmond Doss, who saved lives without touching a weapon. Andrew Garfield plays Doss and is nominated for Best Actor. Director Mel Gibson is also nominated.

Fences: Whether Denzel Washington wins an Oscar for this or not (he’s pretty good), I’m a firm believer this should’ve stayed a play. Not much more I can say except congratulations to Viola Davis. In what is really a lead performance, she will definitely win Best Supporting Actress.

Chapter 4: I’m in it for the celebrities. Who got nominated? Who’ll be on the red carpet? Is there anything I should look out for at the show itself?

Among the big stars walking the red carpet, you’ve got Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a dynamite pair from La La Land. There’s Casey Affleck, one of the Best Actor frontrunners for his work in Manchester By The Sea. There’s also Denzel Washington. From what I’ve noticed, big names are lacking in the award categories (Matt Damon is nominated as a producer for Manchester by the Sea, if we want to go there). Then, there’s the presenters. For starters, we’ve got Captain America and Black Widow — Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson. There is also this one guy named Leonardo DiCaprio — he’ll be presenting the Best Actress award, since he won last year’s Best Actor for his role as Hugh Glass in The Revenant.

Chapter 5: Who should I put my money on in my Oscar pool?

For what it’s worth, I’m going to try and predict some of the categories on the record here. Here are some of my picks.

Best Picture: La La Land

Best Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Best Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea (Indications are this is a coin-toss between Affleck and Denzel Washington. Fittingly, I flipped a coin).

Best Actress: Emma Stone, La La Land

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Fences

Best Original Screenplay: La La Land (I’m still torn on whether to choose this or Manchester by the Sea)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight

Best Animated Feature: Zootopia

Chapter 6: Hey Gabe, before you go, can you give me some Oscar fun facts to impress people?

This is also not-so-secretly the chapter in which I show off useless trivia I picked up from months of tracking the Oscar campaign. I’ve already given you good tidbits up above. Most of these come from Variety or The Hollywood Reporter (like this article right here) Let’s go for it.

  • Meryl Streep has been nominated for a ridiculous amount of Oscars. The most ever: 20, actually, now that she was nominated this year for Florence Foster Jenkins. She’s only won 3.
  • The average runtime of an Oscar Best Picture nominee this year is just around 2 hours and 5 minutes.
  • Best Original Score nominee Thomas Newman has been nominated 14 times. How many times has he won? Zero.
  • Damien Chazelle would become the youngest Best Director winner in Oscar history, if he were to win. He’s 32 years old. However, he’s not the youngest nominee of all-time — that would be 24 year old John Singleton, who directed the 1991 film Boyz N The Hood.

Chapter 7: How To Enjoy Watching The Actual Awards Show

Aside from trying to guess the categories, I try and make the show fun in a couple of other ways. These are called prop bets. You see them with sporting events like the Super Bowl — these bets extend beyond the game, to anything ranging from the coin toss to the length of the national anthem. For the Oscars, they pertain to the winners’ speeches, presenters’ pronunciations of names (thanks John Travolta!), swearing, selfies and so much more. Thanks to a site called sportsbettingexperts.com, I’ve copied a few of them over here for your enjoyment. For anything here, bonus points if you can call your shot and name who exactly it will be.

Academy Award Prop Bets

Will the Best Actress winner cry during her acceptance speech?

Will the Best Actor winner cry during his acceptance speech?

Will any category produce a ‘tie’ for the Academy Award?

Which winner will make the longest acceptance speech?
Best Actor Winner
Best Actress Winner

Will any of the acting award winners continue their acceptance speech ‘after the music begins’ to cue them off?

Will a presenter mispronounce the name of a nominee or winner?

How many people will watch the 2017 Academy Awards TV broadcast?
Over 34.5 million
Under 34.5 million

Will any winner drop their Oscar trophy on stage?

Will someone speaking on stage refer to Meryl Streep as ‘the greatest actor/actress of our time’?

Will someone ‘take a selfie’ on camera during the Academy Awards broadcast?

Will any Academy Award winner swear during their speech (accidentally or not)? 

Chapter 8: Enjoy

Now that you’ve gone through a surprisingly long chapter-by-chapter guide to the Oscars, you’re ready for Oscar night. Schedule a 3–4 hour block on February 26th and have fun!

Chapter 9: Why are you still here?

This article’s over. Go home.

How to Earn Credits While Travelling

By Jacob Calderone

Read his Humans of FHCI article here

Between drowning in homework and studying for multiple exams, high school courses are not only challenging but also time-consuming.

What if there was a way to complete courses ahead of time while traveling the world? It turns out that there is a way to finish off courses early and explore all of what our world has to offer at the same time. Programs like Blyth Academy offer just about every high school course imaginable and every dream destination you can think of. How much fun would it be to do Biology in Australia and Fiji? Complete Visual Arts in Asia? What if there was an opportunity to study Classical Civilizations in Rome? These opportunities, otherwise known as International Classrooms, are adventures that create memories that last a lifetime.

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In the summer of 2016, I traveled to Italy
where I completed Grade 11 English (Ironic, I know).

Going on this trip was one of the best decisions of my life, as I have always wanted to go to Italy and obtaining a course credit simultaneously was just a bonus. We traveled through Sienna, Florence, Sardinia, Venice and Rome for about a month with a group of roughly 60 people from all across Canada.

Now you may be wondering, what did we do every day in Italy and how were you able to coursework? For those wondering, we did not just eat pasta and pizza all day and listen to old men singing in Italian. Each morning we woke up and had breakfast as a group and for the rest of the morning, we had class inside the hotel. Each class had a maximum of 10 people in a group, which was extremely beneficial because the teacher had the opportunity to help each person individually for an extended period of time. As soon as lunch came, we were given the opportunity to go out and explore each Italian city for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. Some days we would be given tours, go to famous monuments, and even some fancy restaurants to dine. Near the conclusion of our trip, we had a final exam and then a banquet in Rome.

Not only am I benefitting immensely from already completing grade 11 English (I don’t have to do all those essays and of course the exam) but I also got to experience a place that I have always wanted to go to.

 

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Couples of FHCI: Jordan and April

Interview conducted by Andreea Iurea

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How did you two meet?

April: At elementary school in grade 7.

What do you most love about him/her?

Jordan: I love her smile.

April: I love how he makes me laugh all the time.

Do you think Valentine’s Day should be celebrated?

Jordan: I think it should, just to spice things up a bit.

What does love look like to you?

April: It is when you can be comfortable being yourself around your partner.

Jordan: Love looks like…uh…I don’t know.

What makes you feel loved?

April: When he treats me like a queen.

Favourite date idea?

Jordan: Long drives and eating amazing food.

April: Going out for an adventure.

What’s your favourite way to spend time with your significant other?

Jordan: Watching movies.

April: Doesn’t matter what we do as long as were together, it’s my favourite time.

Would you rather give gifts or receive gifts?

Jordan: Giving gifts is nice unless I’m broke.

April: I would rather give gifts but I’m always broke.

How do you know when you’re in love?

April: I didn’t really know, it just hit me.

Jordan: You know you’re in love when you still love the person even after do the stupidest things.

Dinner at a fancy restaurant or fast food takeout?

Jordan: Fast food takeout (when I’m broke).

April: Anything, as long as the food is good.

Who is your celebrity valentine?

Jordan: Can’t say, I’m gonna get in trouble…

April: I don’t need a celebrity valentine, Jordan is enough.

You can pick two qualities in a guy/girl, which do you pick: faithfulness, humour, or intelligence.

April: Good humour and faithfulness, that’s what I love about him.

Jordan: Faithfulness and intelligence, because April doesn’t have good humour, but she’ll crack me up once in a while.

Couples of FHCI: Josh and Hazel

Interview conducted by Olivia Gould

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How long have you two been dating?

Hazel: 9 months and 3 weeks and 1 day.

What is one thing you love about your significant other?

Hazel: He’s very sweet, once I was really wet from rugby practice in the rain and he brought me a sweater and stuffed chocolate in the pockets.
Josh: She’s really supportive and comes to all my basketball games to cheer me on (even the ones outside of school).

What do you think about Valentines day?

Hazel: I like it because you can cherish each other everyday but its nice to be able to treat your significant other extra special for one day.
Josh: I think its nice, its a good way to appreciate the person you love.

If you had to decide on a couples costume for next Halloween, what would it be and why?

Josh: I could be Ash and you could be Pikachu.

Hazel: No, that’s not cute.

Josh: You could be Moana and I could be the big guy with a hook, or ketchup and mustard!

hazel: No!

How did you spend your valentines day?

Josh: We shared an ice cream at Demetres and saw a movie.
hazel: We also played a little bit of Pokemon Go.

Couples of FHCI: Keaton and Sasha

Interview conducted by Andreea Iurea

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How did you two meet?

Keaton: I sat beside her in computer science in Grade 10.

What do you love most about him/her?

Keaton: She laughs at my jokes even when they aren’t funny, and she makes me feel special.

Sasha: He makes me feel special and always makes me laugh!

Do you think Valentine’s Day should be celebrated? Why/why not?

Sasha: Yes! It’s fun if you have someone to celebrate it with and it gives you an excuse to give and receive a gift and go on a date.

Keaton: Yes, because you can show your love all day without any complaints. You also get presents which consist of chocolates, and who doesn’t love chocolate?

What does love look like to you?

Keaton: When you can be stupid together

Sasha: When you can be comfortable saying anything to them and not feel judged.

What makes you feel most loved?

Keaton: When you can look at each other and say how much you love each other.

Sasha: He never forgets to remind me how he feels.

You can pick two qualities in a guy/girl, which do you pick: faithfulness, good humour, intelligence

Keaton: Faithfulness & good humour.

Sasha: Faithfulness & good humour.

Favourite date idea?

Keaton: Going to a fancy restaurant, then coming home and watching the office.

Sasha: Go out for dinner or a movie and then come home and just chill and watch Netflix.

Favourite way to spend time with each other?

Keaton: Sit in bed, watch Netflix, and eat.

Sasha: Doing anything with him is always fun, he’s my best friend.

Would you rather give gifts of receive gifts?

Sasha: Give; it’s fun to see their reactions to the present.

Keaton: Give because giving the perfect gift is a better feeling than receiving anything.

How do you know when you’re in love?

Keaton: When you can’t get her out of your head.

Sasha: You don’t really know, you just feel it and then realize that you’re obsessed with them.

Dinner at a fancy restaurant or fast food take out date?

Keaton: Fancy restaurant.

Sasha: I love both! But I prefer take out because its more chill.

Who is your perfect celebrity valentine?

Keaton: Jennifer Aniston

Sasha: Justin Timberlake

Breakups of FHCI: Danielle and James

Interview conducted by Andreea Iurea

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When did you break up?

Danielle: June.

Are you still friends?

Danielle and James: Yes.

What are the rules for exes to remain friends?

Danielle: Remember to be nice.

What is your favourite memory with your ex?

James: Meeting the fam at her sisters birthday.

Danielle: Going for ice cream.

Do you think Valentine’s Day should be celebrated?

Danielle: Of course! I love Valentines Day! Great excuse to eat lots of chocolate.

Let’s play a game! How well do you know your ex?

Commonly used phrase(s)? 

James (about Danielle): “Oysh” “Smush”

Favourite place to eat?

Danielle (about James): Ferraro

Favourite artist? 

Danielle (about James): Drake

James (about Danielle): Gavin Degraw

Biggest dream/goal/aspiration? 

Danielle (about James): To be Harvey Spector.

Favourite show?

James (about Danielle): The Bachelor

Danielle (about James): Suits

 

Couples of FHCI: Daniela and Max

Interview conducted by Andreea Iurea

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How did you two meet?

Daniela: We met in grade 9 at Forest Hill.

What do you love most about him/her?

Daniela: I love that I can be myself around him 24/7. He also puts up with my craziness and loves me for it, which is pretty great.

Max: I love the combination of funny and cute she carries. I also love how she’s very kind hearted and always trying to do the best possible thing for both of us.

Do you think Valentine’s Day should be celebrated? Why/why not?

Max: Personally, I like a day dedicated to couples. But at the same time, if it wasn’t celebrated I would not feel the need to have it.

Daniela: Yes, I think Valentine’s Day should be celebrated. It is a great holiday to spread love throughout schools, families, and couples. It definitely isn’t just for couples and is a good reason to show the people you love how much you care for them.

What does love look like to you?

Daniela: To me, love looks like kindness, understanding, and support when you need one another.

Max: To me, love looks like something that is good and addictive. Because love is very great, if something were to happen it would be very hard to overcome.

What makes you feel most loved?

Daniela: When someone does something to support me in a hard time or make me happy without a reason or being asked too.

Max: I feel the most loved when people care for my needs over what they want personally and when people are there to comfort me when in need.

Favorite date idea?

Daniela: Dinner, Raptors’ game, ice cream to follow.

Max: A nice dinner then cuddling and just chilling, having fun.

Favourite way to spend time with each other?

Daniela: Just chilling and watching TV together.

Max: When we just casually hang out and are ourselves.

Would you rather give gifts of receive gifts?

Daniela: Both! Don’t like receiving them without also giving, but definitely like receiving presents.

Max: As good as a feeling it is to give a gift and see her happiness, obviously it is better to receive a gift as you gain the item as well, which makes you feel even more cared for.

How do you know when you’re in love?

Daniela: It’s more of a feeling than something you can describe. But love to me is when you can completely trust someone and they are the person you go to for everything. You always want to be with him/her and want to hear about everything happening in each other’s lives.

Max: You don’t necessarily know if you’re in love until you think about losing them. If you believe you cannot lose your partner then you are in love. As well, love is a feeling that just comes to one and you can tell when it comes.

Dinner at a fancy restaurant or fast food take out date?

Daniela: Depends my mood, but usually nicer restaurants!

Max: I think dinner at any restaurant where you can sit down and talk. Doesn’t need to be fancy.

Who is your perfect celebrity Valentine?

Daniela: Matt Bomer or Zac Efron – can’t decide.

Max: Selena Gomez.

You can pick two qualities in a guy/girl, which do you pick: faithfulness, good humour, and intelligence?

Daniela: Faithfulness and intelligence.

Max: I think all are very important and that is how you know someone is special. When they carry all three.

Humans of FHCI – Jessie S.

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This interview was conducted by Matthew Lindzon and Andi Mayer-Goodman

My aspiration in life is to graduate from school, get a job in a field I genuinely enjoy, and ultimately to be happy. I believe that no matter how much success is brought upon me, it means nothing if I am not living my life with a smile on my face with the people I love.

Who is your role model, and why?

It might seem like a typical “obsessed teenage girl” answer but I would have to pick Beyoncé Knowles Carter. Not only is she the most hardworking, credentialed triple threat in the world, she also beams with pride about her heritage and preaches about female empowerment. For those around the world who need a quick dose of inspiration, Beyoncé’s encouraging words and powerful music are the best medicine. She is the truest testament for someone who achieved success through working extremely hard and I am honoured to be a true fan and have her as a role model.

What is one thing you learned from your time at school?

If there is one thing I have learned from my 3 years and counting at FHCI, it is how to adapt to constantly changing environments. You learn in high school to develop thick skin when a test does not go your way or when you have a teacher you do not like, but it is the social changes that are the hardest to go through. Sometimes you lose friendships and have awful fights that you never imagined would happen, but relying on the bonds you have made with other people proves that you can cope with whatever curveball gets thrown your way.

Do you think the school system will help with your future endeavours?

I firmly believe that the school system does a fair amount of harm but also a fair amount of good. My plans for the future are to get a degree and pursue a career, and so far the current system has provided me with many skill sets to achieve that goal. On the other hand, the school system is not tailored to meet everyone’s specific needs. I am not saying that every student needs personalized classes or anything, it would just be nice to have a wider selection of courses and smaller class sizes to best tailor students so they have the ability to self-actualize and prosper in their future endeavours.

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The Community Transit Committee

By Nicole Smith and Erisa Shahinaj

The community transit committee is a student club at FHCI that works with Metrolinx and Green Communities Canada to promote alternative ways of getting to school besides driving. We promote walking, biking, or taking the TTC to school. Our other goal is to find ways to reduce congestion around the school caused by the 33 bus re-route and the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown. You may have heard us on the announcements or have seen our posters around the school. We collaborate with different organizations to voice student opinions on the TTC and their commutes to school. We also run campaigns around the school such as surveys and contests, which helps be able to provide the best possible outcome that benefits the students.

If you are interested in joining the community transit committee be sure to come to room 231 on Mondays at lunch to provide your input. Community service hours are also awarded to members of the committee! 

Can We Guess What Type of Commuter You Are Based On Your Interests?

By Nicole Smith and Erisa Shahinaj

We can guess what type of commuter you are by answering these questions:

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1. Pick your favourite school subject:

a. Science

b. Geography

c. Gym

2. Where would you rather walk?

a. Downtown

a. The Beaches

c. Treadmill

 3. What is your favourite drink?

a. Coffee

b. Water

c. Gatorade

4. What is your favourite pastime?

a. Reading

b. Photography

c. Listening to music

5. Pick a picture: 

a. Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 8.55.58 AM.png

b. Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 8.56.01 AM.png

c. Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 8.56.04 AM.png

6. Do you like pineapple on your pizza?

a. Yes, how else would you eat it?

b. Gross no way!

c. I don’t care its pizza!


If you…

Chose mostly A:  TTC rider

Chose mostly B:  Walker

Chose mostly C:  Cyclist

Congratulations! You are mostly a ____________ ! This quiz was brought to you by the Community Transit Committee! Come join our club on Mondays at lunch in room 231 for a fun time and community service hours!

 

It Is Past Time for Prison Reform

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Please Note: The following is an opinion piece

By Rachel Nirenberg

If you follow American politics at all, you’ll find that it’s impossible to have any sort of discussion about race or the criminal justice system in the United States without hearing the phrase “prison-industrial complex”. Though it’s recently made its way into the mainstream and even been invoked by centre-left politicians such as Hillary Clinton, the concept is not new and has origins far older than Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. It was initially coined by Angela Davis, an American activist known for her historical connections to the American Communist and Black Panther parties. In her 2003 book titled Are Prisons Obsolete?, Davis explains the concept of the prison-industrial complex:

Each new prison spawned yet another new prison. And as the U.S. prison system expanded, so did corporate involvement in construction, provision of goods and services, and use of labor. Because of the extent to which prison building and operation began to attract vast amounts of capital – from the construction industry to food and health care provision – in a way that recalled the emergence of the military industrial complex, we began to refer to a “prison industrial complex.”

To put it simply, as the number of prisons in the United States increased, so did their need for goods and services which were provided by private companies. Whenever you involve private companies, the purpose of whatever you are creating shifts. Since private companies by definition seek to make money, you have now created a class of people who have a vested interest in ensuring the proliferation of prisons. For big companies, the logic is simple. In order to make the maximum profit, prisons must not just continue to exist but must increase.

The corporations that stand to benefit from the prison industry aren’t always obvious. Take, for example, the case of the phone company AT&T, who, for a price, provides phone calls from inmates to family and friends. If AT&T wants to make as much money as possible, a prison system with empty prisons and thus no one to use their services is not in their best interest. Therefore, AT&T joins lobbying groups such as ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), which advocate for tough-on-crime legislation that ensures that the prisons that currently exist stay full and that new prisons are always being built.

Though the issues with the American legal system often get the most press, anyone pretending that the same issues do not exist in our Canadian system is kidding themselves. Despite falling crime rates, the number of incarcerated Canadians and the severity of their sentences continues to increase. Billions of dollars are spent building and maintaining prisons here too and as a result, the private companies who contract with the government stand to make huge profits.

The increasing privatization of the prison system is not the only issue present in our system. People of colour, especially black and Aboriginal people, are greatly overrepresented in Canadian prisons. Together, black and Aboriginal Canadians make up about 7% of the general Canadian population but account for 35% of the prison population. The reasons for these disparities are, of course, nuanced and complex, but it is clear that systemic racism plays a significant part, despite the Charter and other legal sanctions meant to protect minorities from discrimination. Criminalization of visible minorities and institutionalized racism are often presented as solely or at least primarily American issues, but it is obvious that they are present in Canada too. The insidious denial of their existence does nothing to help anyone but instead makes them even more difficult to address.

The Canadian government must also look seriously at the human rights abuses rife within its criminal justice system. The case of Adam Capay, an Aboriginal man who spent four years in solitary confinement awaiting trial, horrified the nation for a brief time but ultimately did not horrify it enough to create any real change. Solitary confinement, which is widely accepted, even by the government, to be a cruel and unusual punishment is used far too often in Canadian prisons. Though solitary confinement is officially a “last resort”, half of all Canadian prisoners report spending at least some time there. In 2015, Prime Minister Trudeau called on his Justice Minister to investigate and eventually phase out solitary confinement, but so far, this has been for naught; no concrete action has been taken.

It is past time for the government to take responsibility for the serious issues present in our justice system. Privatization of prisons, racism by law enforcement, and the denial of the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment are not solely American problems. Canadians who smugly assert our justice system’s superiority to that of the United States do nothing to solve the problems inherent in it and enable a passive, lazy attitude that allows these problems to continue to go unaddressed. What Canada really needs and has needed for decades is a comprehensive system of reforms meant to address the issues in Canadian prisons. If we as a society continue to be unable to even acknowledge these issues exist, change will not come. It is time to pull back the curtain, take a long, hard look at our justice system, and get our hands dirty fixing it.

Course Selection – Grade 11

By Esther Eisen

Accounting

Culminating Task (with percentage): None

Exam (length and percentage): 2 hours, 30%

1.  Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

I did enjoy this course because it is a mix between business and math. I liked learning information about the financial aspects of service and merchandising businesses.

2. What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

I particularly liked learning how to make financial documents (e.g. trial balance, income statement, 8 column worksheet, balance sheet, general journal) in order to keep track of a business’ money and day-to-day transactions.

3. Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

I did find this course useful because I did not know anything about the types of records businesses needed to maintain prior to taking this course.

4. What was your reason for taking this course and are you happy with your decision?

I took this course because I was unsure whether or not I might want to be an accountant when I am older and because I thought that I would enjoy it.

5. What do you wish you had known going into this course?

I wish I had known that it is a much simpler course than other university and mixed courses and has a much lighter workload.

6. What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. Lots of textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.)?

We were not assigned that much homework.  We had textbook questions to do once every few weeks or so and they only took around half an hour or less to complete.

Chemistry

Review #1

Culminating Task (with percentage): None

Exam (length and percentage):  2hrs, 30%

1. Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

Yes, I did enjoy this course. I really liked the information we learned.

2. What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

I enjoyed learning about organic chemistry the most and I enjoyed how much more in depth it was than grade 9 and 10 science.

3. Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

I did find this course useful because I want to go into sciences.

4. What was your reason for taking this course and were you happy with your decision?

I took this course because I like chemistry and I’m thinking about studying it in university. I am happy that I took it.

5. What do you wish you had known going into this course?

I wish that I knew that math is a part of chemistry. It’s not hard math but just know that it’s there.

6. What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.)?

It’s not an overwhelming amount of homework, probably just a bit less than the amount of math homework. It was mostly worksheets and sometimes there was textbook reading.

Review #2

Culminating Task (with percentage): None  

Exam (length and percentage):  2hrs, 30%

1. Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

To be honest, I didn’t enjoy it because it required a lot of study time and I had a lot of homework. I started to find it kind of somewhat enjoyable halfway through the semester.

2. What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

Learning about how to find the amount of product produced when given reactant info was fun, as it was just a calculation. Finding the percentage of an element in a given compound was interesting as well (called percentage composition).

3. Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

It’s not useful in my opinion, but might be for some people. I don’t think knowing about how to calculate things like an element’s concentration in reactions will be used in the future unless you work in a lab or with chemicals. So for me, it wasn’t useful because I won’t be using this information in the future, but for someone heading in that direction, it would be.


4. What was your reason for taking this course and were you happy with your decision?

I felt like it would be useful for getting into university. I’m glad I took it because I know that it’s required for what I plan on majoring in for university (life science). But other than that, I would have liked to take a different course, as I didn’t enjoy this one.

5. What do you wish you had known going into this course?

I wish I knew that I would have to study a lot, and not to underestimate the course due to how easy it was in grade ten. Also, that it’s a huge jump from previous years.

6. What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.)?

Occasionally I’d get some homework, usually textbook questions. Homework was given about 2-3 times a week on average, but about 6-11 questions are often given (which takes a while to complete, so I’d consider it carefully). Sometimes we’d be required to do a lab report (about 7 questions long) and hand in a typed hard copy. I had to do about 3-4 of these in the semester.

 

Physics

Review #1

Culminating Task (with percentage): N/A

Exam (length and percentage): 2 hours, 30%

1. Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

I did enjoy this course because I really got a chance to understand how everything in life works. In the other sciences like chemistry and biology, you get to look at the structure of things, such as atoms or living organisms. In physics, you get to understand how the things we take for granted work, such as motion, forces, and energy.

2. What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

The main three units discussed were kinematics (motion), dynamics (forces), and energy. They were all interesting in that once you learn the first few concepts, everything begins to build on each other, making it interesting to understand how the world works. My personal favourite was kinematics.

3. Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

Personally, I didn’t find this course very useful in that it is a science that is not used as often and does not really tie into other parts of my day (other than math). However, for those that want to go into a field of something that involves physics, or even just want to better understand how things work, this course is very useful and interesting.

4. What was your reason for taking this course and are you happy with your decision?

My reason for taking this course was because I want to go into something in the future involving science, so taking all three sciences in high school was my best bet.  I’m happy with my decision because even though physics is not my favourite science, it was really cool to learn about it. I had never understood physics until I took this course.

5. What do you wish you had known going into this course?

Before going into this course, I wish I knew that the whole thing involves math, specifically trigonometry and algebra.  Even though we are learning physics concepts, we use math to apply the concepts, making it tricky sometimes.  For those who really don’t like math, or it isn’t one of their stronger subjects, I don’t recommend they take it.

6. What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. Lots of textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.) ?

My teacher always wanted us to study every day after his lessons, so that was mainly our homework. He also liked us to use the textbook, so he would either assign textbook note making and questions, or he would just expect us to do it, especially at the beginning or very end of a unit. Overall though, the workload was not that bad.

Economics

Culminating Task (with percentage): Present your ISU on an economic issue (15%)

Exam (length and percentage):  in class (15%)

1. Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

I did enjoy this course because I got a chance to understand the economy better and understand how everything works.

2. What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

There are 2 main units: microeconomics (the individual and the economy) and macroeconomics (the economy as a whole). In microeconomics, students get a chance to learn about the laws of supply and demand for a product, while in macroeconomics they learn about the supply and demand for all of the goods and services in the economy. I enjoyed learning both of these units.

3. Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

This course was useful in the way that it allows me to better understand how money circulates through the economy, and learn interesting material such as how to calculate GDP, the pros and cons of different business ownership, how income is distributed throughout the country, and so much more.

4. What was your reason for taking this course and were you happy with your decision?

I took this course because I wanted to better understand the economy. I feel like before I took this course, whenever I would listen to the news and they would be talking about economics, I didn’t fully understand it the way I wanted to.  With taking this course, I wanted to get a chance to learn about the basics of economics, in order to be able to understand the economic side of the world better.  From this course, I got the information I wanted to think like an economist, making me happy with my decision.

5. What do you wish you had known going into this course?

I wish I knew there was a culminating project.  Personally, I’m the type of person that doesn’t mind tests, so a final examination would have been fine with me. Now that I have to work on an ISU for the culminating, and study for the in-class exam that comes shortly after, it makes the final days of this course much more stressful.

6. What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.)?

Because Grade 11 Economics is a mixed course, I never got crazy amounts of homework.  We had tests at the end of every chapter that I had to study for, so we would get assigned a little bit of textbook homework to review.  We had a couple of short essays and worksheets, but other than the final ISU, the homework load wasn’t that bad.

Introduction to Sociology, Anthropology, and Psychology (SAP)

Culminating Task: None

Exam: 30%, 1.5 hours

1. Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

I loved this course! It was definitely one of my most favourite courses that I’ve ever taken. I just found it so interesting and the lectures were so captivating. The classes went by so fast.

2. What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

My favourite unit was psychology, but honestly I found all of it to be very interesting. I also enjoyed when we talked a lot about how the school system could be changed.

3. Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

I found this course very useful because it helped me improve my note-taking skills. I also think it’s a very good basis of knowledge if I want to continue social sciences in university. 

4. What was your reason for taking this course and were you happy with your decision?

I took this course because it seemed interesting and I was very happy with this decision. It was my favourite class of the day!

5. What do you wish you had known going into this course?

I wish I had known that the first unit (anthropology) is the most challenging and not as interesting as the other units. If you decide to take this course, which you should, just don’t be discouraged if you don’t do as well as you’re hoping for in anthropology because it counts less at the end and it will get easier.

6. What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.)?

This is a university course so the homework can get pretty heavy, but always manageable. The good thing is that the actual material is not very hard. There are a lot of textbook questions and reading and there are some essays and maybe one project.

Philosophy

Review #1

Culminating Task: None

Exam: 1.5 hours, 30%  

1. Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

I loved this course. The social sciences are honestly so interesting, especially philosophy. You get all of your deepest questions (What is life? Why are we here? Is there a god? What is my identity?) about life answered. By the end of the course, you learn so much about yourself and the world around you and it really changes your perspective on things.

2. What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

This is probably the most interesting course you will ever take in high school, in my opinion at least. It can get so trippy and mind-boggling sometimes you just question everything you thought you knew and it’s so cool.

3. Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

This course was really useful for me personally because I love all the social sciences and this course really helped me understand more of what I am interested in. Especially if you’re also planning on taking the grade 11 SAP course, a lot of the terminology intersect and both courses benefit each other.

4. What was your reason for taking this course and were you happy with your decision?

I honestly didn’t know what I was going into, going into this course. I took whatever I knew about philosophy which was basically just the “what is life?” course to me. I’m so happy because I took a chance on this course and came out so successful.

5. What do you wish you had known going into this course?

I wish I had known the amount of studying this course requires. It doesn’t come as a problem to me most of the time, but I really underestimated it. Most days you don’t get homework (maybe only once or twice a week if even that) but a lot of time is needed to study for tests, essays, etc.

6. What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.)?

You’ll get the occasional worksheet once or twice a week, but unless there’s an essay, assignment, project or test, there’s not much else. Spend a lot of time studying for the tests! They’re not hard if you pay attention!!

Biology

Culminating Task (with percentage): N/A

Exam: 30%, 2 hours

1.    Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

I really enjoyed this course. I love sciences and learning about the way things work, and this course sparked my interests and made me more excited to continue with senior level sciences (as this was the first one I took).

2.    What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

In this course, we learned all the basics of every major field in biology, but didn’t go into too much detail so it wasn’t that hard to understand. First we learned the basics of life by learning about all the different kingdoms and domains, and then we learned how life came to be through evolution, the mechanism of change with genetics, and then more specifically into the anatomy and physiology of plants and the anatomy and physiology of animals (which led to a fetal pig dissection).

3.    Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

It was a really good basic introduction into the way biology works, and we learned enough that I felt satisfied with what I had learned, and it kept me engaged and excited to take more biology because I knew that there was so much more that I could further my knowledge in.

4.    What was your reason for taking this course and are you happy with your decision?

I have always been interested in sciences and think that this is what I want to study in university. This was the first senior science I took and it really solidified my decision. I really liked the way it was taught and it made me excited for future biology and science courses.

5.    What do you wish you had known going into this course?

There were minimal projects and few lab reports. The main way that we were evaluated was through units tests, with a few quizzes to check our learning at various points through units. It’s mostly memorization, so it takes time to study but generally wasn’t that challenging. The course was also taught with handouts and taking notes from powerpoint presentations, and the textbook was used more to support what we learned in class (not a primary source of knowledge).

6.    What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. Lots of textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.) ?

There was minimal homework assigned, usually just a few textbook questions a couple times a week and then studying before big tests.

Girls’ Gym

Culminating Task: Sports skills evaluation (15%)  and a presentation (15%)

Exam: None

1. Did you enjoy this course? Why or why not?

I enjoyed this course because I enjoy playing sports and it had a relatively small workload.

2. What were some course highlights (what did you enjoy learning, what did you find interesting)?

My favourite units were the swimming unit and the badminton unit. I also enjoyed the assignments that we did because we got to pick our own topics.

3. Did you find this course useful? Why or why not?

I found this course useful because it allowed me to stay active and exercise. I also learned a lot about mental health during the health unit.

4. What was your reason for taking this course and were you happy with your decision?

I took this course because I enjoyed gym in grades 9 and 10. I made the right decision by taking it because once again I enjoyed it.

5. What do you wish you had known going into this course?

There’s nothing I wish I would’ve known going into this course.

6. What was the amount of homework and typically what kind of homework were you assigned (ie. textbook work, essays, projects, worksheets, etc.)?

Grade 11 gym is more project based so we only had like 2 quizzes and I don’t think we ever had a test. For culminating we had sports skill evaluations and had to do a presentation.

Extra: Overall it’s pretty similar to grade 10 except we do more assignments and fewer tests.