Lions' Digest Winter Issue 2021

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DECEMBER 23, 2021



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Elisa Edgar



Adrita Talukder


Rachel Foster


Elisa Edgar


Ann Fathi & Jadelyn Ding


Clarissa Theiss


Ace Moore


Adrita Talukder


Adrita Talukder


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The majority of teachers in America are white women.

Walking into any average public school in the US,

including State High, is enough to make this clear. In

2020, 76.5% of educators were female, and nearly 80%

were white. Pennsylvania public schools in particular are

home to some of the least racially diverse staff in the nation.

When Dr. Seria Chatters, Director

of Equity and Inclusivity

at SCASD, first entered

the district in 2018, there were

eight employees of color. Eight

employees of color within the

entire district, including those

outside of teaching roles who

never stepped foot in classrooms.

As of the 2021 school

year, that number is now 24.

While a three-fold increase is

certainly a step in the right

direction, it seems hard to

fathom that such a small percentage

should exist in such

a vast district. Although State

College, and Centre County

especially, is a predominantly white area, the percentage

of students of color far outweighs the teachers they see

every day at school. This begs the question: Why? Why

are there so few of them?

One commonly repeated argument for why so many

schools lack POC teachers is that they simply don’t want

to live and teach here, something out of anyone’s control.

“That is an actual common myth,” Chatters said.

“When we think about it, we have an actual large percentage

of our teachers in SCASD that attended State

High. They graduate from here and go on to Penn State

and then they come back and they work here. So in

reality, if we held those same expectations for our students

of color as well, we should see a good reflection of

students who want to go into education going to Penn

State and then coming back.”


The reason why this theory fails to reflect the reality of

staff makeup can be attributed to many different factors,

some of which are impossible to measure with a

number or eradicate with a policy. For example, if the

high school experience for students of color in their

hometown was not a good one, they are much less

likely to return and teach. Some students graduating

from State High may not ever

see themselves coming back.

“If we make high school a better

place for all students to be,

and in particular students of

color, students with disabilities,

then we have a higher

likelihood of being able to

hire them back,” Chatters said.

Part of her job description

is doing just that; providing

equitable opportunities

to produce equal outcomes.

Equal outcomes means closing

the racial gap in graduation

rates, equal participation

in extracurriculars,

diversifying AP classes, and more. Essentially, the

hiring process starts long before it’s time to apply.

Besides hiring new faces from the outside, another

key way that schools can increase staff diversity is

hiring from within. In SCASD, as within many other

school districts, there is a far higher percentage of

POC paraprofessionals working on support teams

than teachers. Better pathways must be provided

for paraprofessionals who are interested in becoming

teachers to be able to get into the teaching field

in order to hire from within. Since those individuals

have demonstrated that they like working in SCASD

and already live in State College, they create promising

prospects for filling a new role. Often, lack of easy

and accessible pathways into becoming a teacher is

one of the main barriers that potential applicants face.

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05 | WINTER 2021

“We have a number of people that live in the community,

but sometimes navigating the Pennsylvania teacher certification

process is difficult, and if you’re by yourself doing

it, it could be even more difficult,” Chatters said.

State High is currently working to partner with outside

groups, as well as the Race and Marginalized Populations

workgroup within the district. A subcommittee of parents

at the Easterly Parkway PTSO are also looking to form a

group to mentor individuals of color or individuals with

disabilities who need a mentor to help them navigate the

certification process.

However, the hiring process itself has become one of the

main focuses for improvement for State High in the past

few years. Streamlining the process to be the same across

schools in the district is an important step to eliminating

interview bias, including “group-think,” which Chatters

believes must be removed from the process. After an interview

takes place, two interviewers often discuss their

opinions of the candidate together, and then record their

observations afterward. The problem with this practice is

that one person may think one way about a candidate,

but by the time their partner talks to them, they’re able

to convince them to change their opinions. By shifting

to individual, anonymous evaluations of applicants, everyone’s

perspective can be heard without bias spreading


The work doesn’t stop once a teacher is through the door,

though. With only 24 faculty members of color in a district

with close to 650 teachers, how often are those faculty

even going to see each other? How often will they have

a peer? Even after the district puts in substantial work to

hire more and more people, if they don’t feel accepted or

connected here, they stay for a year and then leave. Both

Chatters and the former principal of State High, Curtis

Johnson, have both been working to combat this issue by

establishing a mentoring program for diverse employees

so that they can connect them with each other. The group

will be meeting once a month and supporting staff while

they’re at State High.

The efforts being put into changing these problems are for

good reason; the detriments of not having POC representation

in school staff come in many forms.

“All students lose out when we don’t have a diverse teacher

workforce. And I wanna be really key on the fact that

white students lose out as well. When they are not seeing

diverse representations of people that they can learn from,

connect with, and are able to form these great relationships

with, they miss out,” Chatters said. “But, the reason

why Black students, Latinx students, Asian students,

and students with disabilities miss out most is because

they are not getting to see themselves reflected back in

these wonderful individuals. We know every human being

can probably think back to a teacher that they connected

with, that was special to them, that made them

feel special. And sometimes, there were some parts of that

teacher that you may have felt you can connect with. So,

for our students from many diverse backgrounds, when

they never ever get those experiences, it causes a significant

gap in their life to not see themselves reflected.”

Students who have never seen anyone similar to them in

a teaching role will have a harder time picturing themselves

sitting behind that desk. These gaps that are created

only stretch wider and wider as kids get older,

and feel more and more as if it’s too late, and being a

teacher is just something that wouldn’t make sense.

It’s also important to recognize that POC teachers in

school shouldn’t be confined to their identity. While

a Latina woman teaching Spanish or a Middle Eastern

man teaching Arabic is not a bad thing, people of color

have skills beyond teaching their language or culture.

To respect that people of color and individuals

with disabilities hold value across the education system

allows for students to be able to be excited and have an

opportunity to connect with teachers of all backgrounds.

With all of this in mind, keeping the status

quo in high schools everywhere, including

State High, is simply no longer an option.

“You’re going to get back exactly the amount of effort

you’ve been putting in. Doctor Bob O’Donnell, our superintendent,

he’s laser-focused on this issue because he’s

always laser-focused on doing what’s best for kids and we

recognize what research says. More diverse teachers really

do help with overall student outcomes,” Chatters said.

This year, Chatters is tremendously proud of the district

for putting in a great amount of effort to bring in

a more diverse staff which has helped identify the changes

that must be made within the educational system.

With the responsibility for the wellbeing of almost a

thousand students in their hands, it is imperative to her

that the small victories SCASD has made in past years

continue to grow and create a snowball effect of change.

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Every year come December, theaters across the globe

put on productions of The Nutcracker, drawing the

attention of millions young and old. The ballet, which

began as a children’s story, has since become a quintessential

staple of the holidays, and has been a part of State

College’s winter festivities for years. Nittany Ballet, the

Central PA dance studio nestled among the buildings of

Research Drive, puts on a yearly production of the ballet,

delighting viewers in what can only be described as a magical


The story follows young Clara (also known as Marie in

certain renditions of the story), who is gifted a nutcracker

doll from her Godfather, Herr Drossleymeyer, on Christmas

Eve. Before heading to bed, Clara places the nutcracker

under her family’s Christmas tree. What awaits Clara

in the night is the story of The Nutcracker, a wondrous tale

of thrilling battles, captivating dances, and the magic of


Senior Clara Pollock, who played Clara when she was in

6th grade, reflected on the role. For Pollock, the character

of Clara was her first lead role, and her experience of being

the main character in The Nutcracker was enchanting.

“It was one of my first ‘older kid’ roles, so I felt like I

was sort of growing up in that way. I wasn’t really dancing

with the younger kids anymore,” Pollock said. “It was all

just very magical, because being the main character of the

story, you get to experience the story instead of actually

having to dance so much. [...] It was pretty surreal. I

mean, looking back on it now, it wasn’t really the greatest

achievement, but I think as a little kid, [you] kind of

aspire to be her.”

As a senior, Pollock played the Sugar Plum Fairy. It was

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07 | WINTER 2021

Senior Clara Pollock, who plays the Sugar

Plum Fairy, rehearses her solo in Act 2 of The

Nutcracker on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Photo

by Adrita Talukder.

her last Nutcracker with Nittany Ballet,

and she came full-circle, performing

the role she once looked up to as a


“My first role, I was an angel in

The Nutcracker, which is kind of like

a full-circle moment for me, because

in the Sugar Plum Fairy there’s one

scene where she comes out and gets

to dance with other angels, so I [now]

get to see the little kids dancing,”

Pollock said.

Pollock isn’t alone in this feeling.

For many of the senior dancers, their

final Nutcracker with Nittany Ballet

has given them the opportunity to

fulfill their childhood dreams.

“It feels kind of weird sometimes

to think that you never thought you

would have [these] parts, and now

you’re in rehearsal, [and] the little

kids that you [once were are] watching

you in rehearsal, and it’s sort of a full

circle moment,” said senior Gabby

Showalter, who played Dewdrop.

While there’s a sense of gratitude

among the senior dancers for their

studio, their current roles, and each

other, with their final Nutcracker upon

them, they couldn’t help but feel a

little emotional. When thinking about

her experiences with The Nutcracker,

Pollock recalled her favorite scenes

from the show.

“I definitely like the final scene

when you get to see [Clara] hold up

the nutcracker,” Pollock shared. “But

also the end of Waltz of the Flowers,

because that’s traditionally a dance

with all of the older dancers, and I

feel like we just sort of find a good

community within it. I don’t know,

every time I hear the end of the music

and we’re just all on stage together,

I just feel like crying. Like no matter

what year I’ve done it. [...] I feel like

everything is just a lot more emotional

[this year] because in the back of

my mind I know it’s the last time I’ll

be doing it here with the same people.

I guess I’m just a lot more appreciative

[of] the time that I have.”

As Pollock’s time with Nittany

Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker

came to a close this year, she found

herself more aware of the time she has

left. For Showalter, on the other hand,

the finality of the upcoming performances

hadn’t quite hit her yet.

“It’s weird, I don’t think it’s hit me

yet,” said Showalter, reflecting prior

to the performances. “It’ll be the last

show and it’ll hit me on stage, but I

think it’s a little bittersweet, because

obviously it’s sad that I won’t be a

part of it anymore, but I guess it’s sort

of—we’ve worked towards this point,

so it’s literally and figuratively a graduating


Showalter has been dancing in The

Nutcracker since she was in Kindergarten.

For her, The Nutcracker has been a

yearly tradition that she’s taken part

in for over a decade.

“It’s almost become tradition at this

point, just because I’ve participated

every year for a while,” Showalter

said. “And also, [I’ve gotten] to be

part of that tradition for the people

that come and watch it every year. [...]

For me, I’ve just gotten so used to it

that it’s just a part of what I do at the


For many dancers, this is the case.

But for senior Anneliese Welsh, who

played the Snow Queen, The Nutcracker

has been a relatively new experience.

“My first full Nutcracker, doing the

actual thing, was in my sophomore

year, when I [moved to State College],”

Welsh said. “I haven’t done

Senior Gabby Showalter, who played Dewdrop in The Nutcracker, rehearses at the Nittany

Ballet studio on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Photo by Adrita Talukder.

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Senior Anneliese Welsh, who played the Snow Queen, rehearses in the Nittany Ballet

studio on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.

too [many] Nutcracker things, [and]

most people are like ‘oh yeah, it’s just

Nutcracker again,’ but I still feel really

excited—I have this childlike kind of

excitement about it because it’s this

tradition I feel very connected to as

a dancer, but also like I haven’t been

able to engage fully with for so long.”

While Welsh hasn’t been able to

dance in The Nutcracker for as long as

her peers, it’s still a show she’s grown

up with, and she has a connection

with it as deep as any other dancer.

For her, The Nutcracker isn’t only a

coming of age story, but a rite of

passage for dancers.

“The symbolism of the story itself

is very much about this coming age

story, which I think is just really interesting

from that perspective—that this

story about a young girl growing up is

the story that’s being told, because I

think especially in the time that it was

created, that wasn’t a story that was

super valued. To [now] see that story

being really valued is really interesting

[to] me,” Welsh reflected. “As a dancer,

[The Nutcracker] feels almost like a

rite of passage to be doing the roles

and learning the pieces.”

With performances on Dec. 10,

11, and 12, the lives of the dancers

became ever more hectic in the week

leading up to performances. Students

rehearsed for The Nutcracker for

months, and as opening night creeped

near, they spent long nights in the

studio, working to perfect their technique

for their performances. In the

midst of intensive rehearsals, it can

be difficult to step back and find joy

in what you’re doing, something that

Welsh worked hard to prioritize.

“I know in my brain [ballet] is

something that I love, and I do enjoy

it, but a lot of the time, especially

in the show week, which I get really

excited about, it’s easy to lose track

of remembering to enjoy what it is

that you’re doing,” Welsh said. “And

I remember the first year that I was

there, Connor would always say ‘it’s

the joyful pursuit of excellence’—

[which] is the motto of Nittany

Ballet—and he’d be like ‘what word

are we underlining?’ and it was always

‘joyful.’ And it was kind of silly, he’d

always say it, and we’d always end up

laughing, but I really do believe that

that is the approach that we have here

and it’s really important to remember

that and that’s something, especially

during Nutcracker, when it’s during

the holiday season, joy is this very big

thing to focus on.”

The teachers at Nittany Ballet emphasize

the idea of “the joyful pursuit

of excellence” to their students, along

with another key message: “taking it

all in.” For Pollock, the idea of stepping

back and taking in everything—

how far she’s come, and how the show

has come together—has been one of

the biggest things she’s learned during

her time at Nittany Ballet. Like Welsh,

Pollock is taking the time to enjoy the

process, especially with this being her

last Nutcracker.

“I think mainly I’ve learned about—

what my one teacher likes to say is,

‘taking it all in,’” Pollock said. “I

think it’s really easy, when there’s sort

of that pressure to perform well, to

sort of just like, have the performance

go by in a blur and not really recognize

your accomplishments and at

the end of the day, when you get on

the stage, you have to trust that your

technique is strong and just kind of

live in the moment.”

Nittany Ballet unveiled The Nutcracker

at The Mishler Theatre on

Dec. 10 and 11 at 7:00 pm and Dec.

12 at 2:00 pm. Students interested in

supporting Nittany Ballet and the

Performing Arts School of Central

Pennsylvania can donate by going to

their website.

Seniors Emily Maciejczyk (left) and Molly

Yoder (right) rehearse Coffee, on Wednesday,

Dec. 1, 2021.

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rediscover other nostalgic media. Nearly everyone,

teenagers and adults alike, went crazy when Twilight

was added to Netflix this summer, cementing our

society’s obsession with nostalgia and past decades.

As a society, we consistently cycle through fashion

and trends, often bringing back a singular decade

at a time. Throughout the past year, the Y2K era

of fashion has noticeably made a return with the

influence of Generation Z. You may have noticed

more and more people wearing these iconic staples

recently: low rise jeans(unfortunately), matching

velour tracksuits, cardigans, blinged-out baby tees,

Uggs, and denim on denim. Much of this style has

been repopularized with a spin due to influencers

such as Emma Chamberlain, in addition to the

collective admiration for movies that were popular

at the time, such as Mean Girls and Legally Blonde.

There’s an added benefit to the return of 2000s

fashion, too. It’s easily available in secondhand

shops, making it less environmentally taxing.


THE 2000s


Every few years, the world seems to find itself stuck in a

“time period” vortex. During this time, the present finds

itself obsessing over and captivated by the culture of the past.

For example, the 80s and 90s came back strong in the late

2010s. This past year, the world has been living for the iconic

Y2K style, which dominated the 2000s. The 2000s have seen

a comeback in all facets of our lives, most predominantly in

fashion and on social media.

The entertainment industry loves to exploit and capitalize

on the culture of nostalgia. One of the easiest ways to relive

the 2000s is to take a single moment to scroll through social

media apps such as TikTok or Instagram. Here, you will find

nostalgia-fueled videos aiming to “unlock hidden memories.”’

A classic example of this is point-of-view style videos, such

as “POV: watching The Polar Express on the last day of school before

break.” Creators of videos like these aim to remind viewers

of moments from their childhood. Additionally, creativity runs

rampant on social media, allowing users to recreate looks, indulge

in 2000s music (Duvet by Bôa is trending right now), and

In case you haven’t noticed, the revival of the

2000s is directly related to celebrity culture right

now. The recent rebirth of 2000s culture has been

cemented as a trend due to the reappearances of

celebrities from that decade. Britney Spears, a pop

icon of the 2000s, has been in the spotlight for the

past few months as she and the rest of the world

fought for the end of her conservatorship, which

had gone on since 2008. Additionally, Lindsay

Lohan is returning to the big screen to star in a

new Christmas movie on Netflix and Katy Perry

has dyed her hair black once again, returning to

her look from the past. Megan Fox is back in the

public eye after finding love with rapper Machine

Gun Kelly. With the resurgence of 2000s celebrities

in mainstream media, much of the general public

have found themselves romanticizing the 2000s.

Trends come and go, as they typically rotate within

the short-lived trend cycle. It’s smart to take advantage

of and admire this Y2K resurgence right now,

because it will inevitably end. But hopefully, this

doesn’t mean that 2010s fashion will come back,

because those were the darkest of days.

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The main sign in the 3 Dots lobby, located in downtown State College, PA, on Tuesday, Dec 7.

Photo by Adrita Talukder.

Music, along with the enticing

smells of a halal food truck,

fills the air of downtown State College

every Tuesday outside of 3 Dots.

Located at 137 East Beaver Avenue,

this arts innovation organization

has been ranked “Best Community

Space” in town for three consecutive

years. From the outside, 3 Dots is

recognizable as the building with a

lone piano sitting on the corner of

the street, inviting passersby to try

it out. Inside, a lounge area and loft

space provide a welcoming gathering

area to the public where local artists

are promoted through their gallery,

window space, and entry area. Its

vision, mission, and values are simple;

to shape State College into a vibrant

cultural destination elevated by the

humanities, local art, and change that

is community-driven.


3 Dots is open Tuesday-Saturday

from 12-5 pm to the public, and

holds “Makers Days,” workshops led

by local artists, every Wednesday and

Friday. Most nights after five, they

hold a wide range of evening events

such as Tuesdays on the Terrace and

First Friday. Tuesdays on the Terrace

occur weekly from 5-8 pm, where

community members are invited to

an open mic, socializing with live music

on the patio, and enjoying an indoor

gallery space. On First Friday, a

downtown-wide event that takes place

on the first Friday of every month, 3

Dots hosts live performances catered

with an array of various mocktails to

enjoy. The space can also be rented

out as a venue for events throughout

the week.

Tuesdays on the Terrace were created

as a natural result of the quarantine

that began in 2020. With indoor

spaces posing such a threat when it

comes to the spread of Covid, like

many others, 3 Dots looked for outside

alternatives to host events. Since

more people felt comfortable gathering

outside, the patio space outside of

their entrance became an easy answer.

3 Dots sets itself apart from almost

all other businesses and hubs downtown

by requiring all guests to be

fully vaccinated, as well as any gathering

of 25+ people to be fully masked.

This doesn’t come as a surprise,

though, to those familiar with the

work they do.

On Dec. 7, a Holiday Finale was

held at 3 Dots featuring volunteers

who catered the event with different

food, drinks, and wines. Described

as a thank you for all of the people

that have come out for the last six or

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so odd months of Tuesdays on the

Terrace, it celebrated all of the music

and creative endeavors that had taken

place there over time. Christmas jazz

music floated through the lounge,

brought to life by a grassroots jazz

band group. For most of the fall, they

were playing out on the patio before

taking a slight hiatus due to colder

weather. Keiffer Quandel on the bass

and Anton Fatula on the piano expressed

similar attitudes about Three


“It’s just a good time,” Fatula said.

“We’re super thankful that we get to

come here and play our music and

just see people happy, it always makes

our day better.”

One glance around the lounge is

enough to make clear that the organization

is built both by and for volunteers

from the community. Jay Q,

a volunteer who poured wine at the

celebration, comes to help out often.

“I come to most of the Tuesdays, or

at least once a week,” Q said. “I think

it’s just a really special space and lets

me interact with the community in a

An installation by Sanh Brian Tran at 3 Dots on

Tuesday, Dec. 7. Photo by Adrita Talukder.

3 Dots hosts a Community Jazz Jam at its last Tuesdays on the Terrace of 2021. Photo by Adrita


way I don’t generally get to. It’s just

kind of like a hangout.”

Events such as live music, social

dance, improv, local fundraisers, art

classes, seminars, and more are held

not just to bring people together, but

to make a change. Executive Director

Erica Quinn is not just an artist, but

an advocate and educator.

There have been over 30 grants

given to local creatives by 3 Dots,

which awards $1,000 grants funded

by trustees to fund creative projects

across the community. Trustees, like

Dan Trew, donate $100 per month to

go towards these grants.

“That money goes into a granting

program, and those grants go out

into the community for people who

want $1000 to creatively change the

community in some way,” Quinn


“Really, the limit is only what the

community wants to see happen,”

Trew added.

In 2021, activists and filmmakers

Pablo Lopez and Tierra Williams

produced “Black Tea,” a multi-part

video series furthering race-based

dialogue and addressing the racism

still present in Centre County every

day. In 2020, artists Julie Verdon

and Kieran Holland built an ‘Art-

To-Go’ machine that dispensed local

artwork from a repurposed cigarette

machine placed on 3 Dots’ sidewalk.

That same year, nursing home worker

Cindy Way placed bird feeders outside

nursing home windows during

the pandemic, which were filled and

visited by community members. If

you’ve walked past the wild geese mural

downtown, you’ve seen a direct

result of a 3 Dots’ grant.

Since its establishment in June of

2019, the organization has accomplished

considerable success such as

$500,000 in downtown economic

development generated this past year,

as well as 20,000+ people that have

passed through the space in 2021

to visit and attend events. When

Tuesdays on the Terrace were first

created, Quinn intended for them to

be “a place to experience joy.” Next

year, Quinn, along with everyone else

involved, hopes to see 3 Dots expand

their scope of impact on State

College with more grants for years to

come. The past few years, along with

a summer of patios and pianos, has

shown to everyone in town that 3

Dots is a place for people to find joy.

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“I am so happy to share one of the very common winter

recipes used in Egpyt and all over the Middle East.

Sahlab is a hot, milky drink that is usually made during

the winter in order to keep people warm. This drink is

super easy to make as it is basically a powder—that can be

bought from the international market here in Downtown

State College—mixed with milk. You can also make it

from scratch. This drink reminds me of the cozy winter

days back home, [when] I would wake up and find my

dad making Sahlab for us as a family. This drink is easy

to make yet so delicious and keeps everyone warm. I love

how this drink can also be eaten with a spoon depending

on the number of nuts you add to it, [and] I add way too

much to the sahlab mixture!”


- Milk or Vegan Milk

- Corn or Potato Starch

- Sugar or Honey (For Sweetening)


- Vanilla Extract

- Rose Water

Toppings (optional)

- Chopped dried fruits

- Shredded coconuts

- Pistachios

- Walnuts

- Cinnamon

Cooking Instructions:

1. Get a medium-sized pot and add 1 cup of water, two tablespoons

of sugar, and one tablespoon of Sahlab powder.

2. Place the pot on a medium stove and mix until the

mixture thickens. If desired, at this stage add optional

flavorings such as vanilla extrace or rose water.

3. After that, pour the drink into little cups and then add

any dry fruits and/or nuts on the mixture.

4. Drink or eat the sahlab with a spoon, depending on

how thick you make the mixture. Drink while warm.

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腌 笃 鲜 (YĀN DU XIĀN)



“ 腌 笃 鲜 is a warm soup made by simmering salted

and fresh pork together. The soup typically also includes

bean curd knots and fresh winter bamboo shoots. The

character“ 腌 ”translates to “cured”or“marinated,”which

refers to the salted pork. The character“ 笃 ”is

onomatopoeia for the sound of the water boiling with the

ingredients. The character“ 鲜 ”translates to“fresh,”

which refers to the fresh pork.“ 鲜 ”also connotes a delicious,

savory flavor. 腌 笃 鲜 is popularly eaten during

the winter and spring due to the abundance of bamboo.

Whenever I visit China, I often stay in Shanghai, my

father’s hometown. 腌 笃 鲜 originates from the 江 浙 沪

(jiāng zhè hù) area, so it is a dish that I have eaten

many times at Shanghainese restaurants.

Cooking Instructions:

1. Stir fry pork belly, salted pork, and cured ham in a pot

on high heat until lightly browned.

Add ginger root and Shaoxing wine.

2. Add 4-5 cups of boiled water, then lower the heat to

medium-low. Simmer for 2 hours or

until the meat is tender and the soup develops a white,

milky color. Add more hot water

as needed.

3. Add bamboo shoots and stew for another 30 minutes.

4. Add bean curd knots and stew for a final 5-10 minutes.

5. Add chopped green onion to the soup. Season with

white pepper powder.


80g salted pork (cured pork belly), cut

into 1-inch chunks

100g fresh pork belly, cut into 1-inch


100g bean curd knots ( 百 ⻚ 结 , bǎi

yè jié)

150g fresh winter bamboo shoots ( 冬

笋 , dōng sǔn), cut into 1-inch long


1 green onion, chopped

5 thin slices ginger root

1/2 cup Shaoxing cooking wine ( 绍 兴

料 酒 , shào xīng liào jiǔ)

White pepper powder ( 白 胡 椒 粉 , bái

hú jiāo fěn), to taste

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‘Tis the season…to finally pick up a book, check off your 2021 New Year’s Resolution to “read more,” or simply explore new

worlds. Below are the 12 Days of Bookmas. The titles span time periods, genres, and topics. Browse at your pleasure. Article by

Clarissa Theiss.



The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is old-Hollywood reincarnated. The story follows a Marilyn Monroe-esque actress

who is willing to do anything to gain fame and success. As she rapidly climbs her way to the upper crust of society, she

is torn between her career, her love, and her own morals. As the novel progresses, her life secrets are revealed through

an inexplicable interview with little known journalist Monique Grant. The plot toggles between Evelyn’s past and the

present. The imagery—especially of the red carpet gowns—firmly situates the book into its intended era of glitz and glam.

Having an imperfect protagonist with no true shining star made the narrative much more accessible, although her mistakes

are frequently rage inducing. The story balances the dark secrets of Hollywood with more broad themes of identity

and personal choice. With an ending that needs to be read twice, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is an enticing and

whirl-wind novel.


Imagine Ocean’s 11, except instead of George Clooney in a tuxedo, it’s a gang of teenagers who scraped together a crime

ring with knives, brutality, and a little bit of magic. Now add in brewing international (and romantic!) tensions, acrobats,

and a prison break. This is the first few chapters of Six of Crows. This fast-paced young adult novel is set in Leigh

Bardugo’s fantasy Grishaverse, which includes the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the King of Scars duology. However, Six

of Crows is by far her most enjoyable work. Perhaps it is the characters who, despite knowing twenty eight ways to rob a

man blind, seem all too relatable. Or, the representation for plus sized women, those who struggle with PTSD and touch

aversion, and sexual abuse victims. And, for enjoyers of this work, Netflix created an adaption of its’ partner trilogy

entitled Shadow and Bone. Characters from both collections of work appear in the show.


A perfect read for those who had an intense Greek Mythology phase in middle school, The Song of Achilles retells a

famous Greek myth of Achilles, a hero hailed for his speed and beauty, and Patroclus, a disowned prince. Miller replicates

the dispassionate vessel that myths are commonly told through with ease, while still stirring up vibrant and aching

emotions for the readers. The book hinges on the Battle of Troy, and the tragedy that follows. As with all Greek stories,

one can expect meddling gods, cruel twists of fate, and a love that rattles the stars. This book does a fantastic job of historical

accuracy, both to the time the plot occurred in, and to the reference text of The Iliad. Even though readers have

already been told the ending to the tale, Miller retells the myth in a way that feels as authentic as its origin source.


This novel follows the story of twin sisters, born in the same southern Black town before they were cleaved apart by

life. However, years later, their daughters are thrust together, and the sisters are forced to confront the past they spent so

long ignoring. Spanning half a century and two coastlines, The Vanishing Half ambitiously explores both personal battles

with race and sense of self, but also the cultural connotations of American history. All readers will connect with some

contemplation of this book. In fact, this read is guaranteed to spark self-realization, or at least some long looks inside.

Prepare for interweaving timelines and storylines so poignant it feels like a punch to the gut. The Vanishing Half balances

aspects of romance, familial connections, and tragedy with ease.

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These books are for the romance readers who despise Hallmark movies. The Brown Sisters is a trilogy series that follows

three sisters on their own journeys to love. Hibbert has dedicated her authorial career to writing the characters often

left out from mainstream media. For instance, Get a Life Chole Brown, the first of the set, introduces a chronically ill

Black woman, and Act Your Age Eve Brown revolves around two autistic love interests. Beyond her tasteful representation,

Hibbert is a master of writing love stories with imperfect characters and realistic relationships. It is a refreshing change

of pace from traditional narratives, without feeling intentionally different or quirky. The suggested order for reading The

Brown Sisters is: Get a Life Chloe Brown, Take a Hint Dani Brown, and Act Your Age Eve Brown.


There is such a thing as a portal to another world, and it’s called An Ember in the Ashes. The novel, set in a loose adaptation

of Ancient Rome, follows a young girl living under the thumb of the empire. When her brother is captured for

treason, she desperately turns to rebel aide. This path leads her to no other than the empire’s most dangerous soldier.

However, he is not as loyal as he may seem. Be warned: the book is not a rose-colored fantasy novel. There are potentially

triggering topics including torture, threats of r*pe, and child abuse. Also be warned: the characters in this book

are not superheroes immune to fear. Despite being set in a fictitious world, An Ember in the Ashes is home to extremely

realistic characters. This book does not invoke warm and fuzzy feelings. But it will foster extreme fury, fear, sorrow, and

above all, empathy.


Michelle Zauner is most commonly known for her rock band, Japanese Breakfast, for which she plays the guitar and

leads vocals. However, with Crying in H Mart, Zauner proves herself as a formidable author. The memoir revolves around

her identity as a Korean American, and spans her humble beginnings in Oregon to her mother’s battle with terminal

cancer. Zauner contemplates her heritage, and how distant she begins to feel from it, especially as she moves to the East

Coast, far away from her family. The memoir is made extremely accessible by Zauner’s simplistic writing style, allowing

readers to focus solely on the story she is telling. Crying in H Mart is a reminder of how quickly lives can change. It is

also a widely relatable story of a woman struggling to balance parental expectations with her desires and goals.


With the best authors, the story they’re telling doesn’t even need to be remarkable; their stylistic techniques and unique

voice are enough to keep even the most distracted reader enthralled. Brian Broome is one of these authors, except his

story is remarkable. Born in Ohio, Broome recounts his childhood, riddled with hidden crushes on other boys, racial

discrimination due to his dark skin, and a constant feeling of “otherness” hanging about him. As he grows up, he turns

to drug use to cope, a fact that Broome retells with unflinching honesty. Punch Me Up to the Gods is an authentic look

into the struggles Black men face in America. It is a timely and necessary read for anyone hoping to understand the

cultural complexities at play in our country.

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Need more

book or media

recs? Check

out the Arts &


section on the

Lions’ Digest



This isn’t a thriller in the traditional sense. There aren’t heart-pounding chase scenes or gory deaths. Rather, The Push

provides the darkest twist on motherhood, family dynamics, and the age-old question of nature versus nurture. When

Blythe, a woman haunted by her dark family life, gives birth to her first daughter, Violet, she tries everything to create a

bond with her. However, Blythe quickly comes to believe that there is something wholly twisted about her child, despite

her husband and mother-in-law insisting she must be doing something wrong. Blythe has another child, a son, and the

already strained family turns even darker. From inexplicable hatred to insanity, The Push is unbelievably unnerving.

This read is not comfortable, nor heartwarming. However, it is guaranteed to incite sweaty palms, racing hearts, and a

deep rethinking of what motherhood truly is.


The concept of a journey to the afterlife has been around for as long as literature has; the River Styx and pharaohs buried

with gold to buy their way to the next life are two of the earliest allusions to passing over. It is safe to say humans

have a fascination with what comes next. Under the Whispering Door is a fresh take on this classic trope. When a man

named Wallace is collected by the Reaper and taken to a small village, he meets the Ferryman who ushers souls over

the afterlife. But Wallace isn’t ready to go. Given a measly seven days, Wallace sets out to live a lifetime alongside the

enthralling Ferryman. With a story that already ended before it began, an author unafraid to mix humor with tragedy,

and a contemporary fantastical world, Under the Whispering Door is a complete contemplation of how we live our lives,

and what truly matters.


Haven’t heard the words “isolation,” “distancing,” and “loneliness” enough these past two years? Then, A Gentleman in

Moscow is the book for you! It’s 1922, and Count Alexander Rostov has just been sentenced to house arrest. He is ordered

to stay in a hotel right in the heart of Moscow. As political powers shift, rebels take the street, and Russian culture

is forever changed, Rostov sees nothing but the view from outside his hotel window. This unique narrative perspective

lays the foundation for the personal revelations Rostov experiences throughout his decades of solitude. Outlandish and

entertaining characters paired with meticulous attention to historical detail make A Gentleman in Moscow the perfect

read for any historical buff looking for a more personalized story. Even those who don’t typically dabble in historical

fiction can find enjoyment in Towles’ descriptive and lavish writing style. Regardless of the reader, this novel will drum

up a wide variety of emotions.


Cloud Atlas is whiplash in book form. A seemingly disconnected cast of characters strewn across time and space leave

one wondering if there was a printing error. However, as the work develops, Mitchell reveals the strings of fate that tie

them all together. This book is not traditional in any sense. Aspects of science fiction, philosophy, and historical fiction

are all present. It consists of six parts, each of which is dedicated to a new narrator and a new world. Mitchell is able to

completely change his authorial voice for each story, a feat rarely attempted. The overarching theme of this work will

hit some like a punch to a gut, and for others, they will donate the book to Goodwill and never think of it again. Cloud

Atlas is a very divisive read for this reason.

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17 | WINTER 2021

Pictured is the Nittany Quill, a locally owned business located in downtown State College that specializes in stationery and other gifts. Photo by Ace


This holiday season, consider shopping small, and

getting your holiday gifts from local businesses. Not

only are gifts from small shops homemade, but by shopping

small, you can support the local businesses that give

State College its charm. So, let this article be a guide to

the best stores to shop small (in a small town) this holiday


For your friends who are interested in art, there are

several different types of stores that contain great gifts for

you to shop from. For example, Uncle Eli’s Artist Marketplace

(located on 129 E Beaver Ave) is a great place to shop

for painting and sketching materials, including notebooks,

paints, paintbrushes, and pencils. And along with art

supplies, Uncle Eli’s carries a number of eccentric gifts

that may not be readily available in big-box stores. For the

music lover in your life, check out Chronic Town (located

at 224 W College Ave), a cozy record store and cafe that

carries all the vinyls you could possibly imagine.

Next up on the list is Love It boutique (1356 E College

Ave), Connections (130 S Allen St), and Plato’s Closet

(1526 N Atherton St). These are all great places to shop for

clothing if you have a friend or relative who likes fashion.

Both Love It and Plato’s Closet are resale stores, so they

would be helping the environment by reusing as well.

Connections is also a remarkable store because it includes

the newest fashions, and everything there is unique and


Stores like Kitchen Kaboodle (104 W Beaver Ave), The


Makery (123 S Fraser St), Tigers Eye (133 E Beaver Ave),

Ethereal (216 E College Ave), and Nittany Quill (111 S Fraser

St) are great places to buy little knick knacks. Kitchen

Kaboodle sells homemade trinkets for both you and your

home—such as decorations, pillows, and others. Ethereal

sells comfortable, older fashion clothes, accessories, and

crystals. Tigers Eye, located in Webster’s Bookstore Cafe, is

a great place that has vintage finds, with the selection ranging

from retro clothes to vintage home accessories that are

great grabs to spruce up your home.

Have a food lover in your family? Tait Farms (179 Tait

Rd) and Cake Shop by Tati (113 E College Ave) are great

places to shop. They have gift cards, jams/jellies, sweets,

and more. Webster’s (133 E Beaver Ave) and Bees Knees

Coffee (114 E College Ave) are great places to shop for

someone who loves tea or coffee (I personally recommend

Mulled Wine at Websters).

Last, but certainly not least, for the board game lovers in

your family/friend group, there is Master Goblin Games

(234 E College Ave Suite D) and Comic Swap (110 S

Fraser St). Both are great for D&D (Dungeons & Dragons)


But above where you shop, the most important part of

gift-giving is the thought you put into the gift. Though it’s

better to shop from locally owned stores and provide business

to small business owners, it doesn’t matter what gift

you give or where it’s from—what matters is the thought

put into the gift.

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Sitting down for an interview with Araelia Lopatic

and Tiger Cabus of Ma’aM, an up and coming

band from State College. Article by Adrita Talukder.

To get started, could you both introduce


T: My name’s Tiger, I’m 25, I play guitar, and I sing

in Ma’aM.

A: My name’s Araelia, I’m 24, and I play guitar and

sing in Ma’am. *holds up cat* And this is Tornado.

Pictured are Ma’aM members Araelia Lopatic and Tiger Cabus, the founding

members of the band. Photos by Cara Pentoney.

How would you say, over the years—like

what have you taken away and how have

you grown and changed over time?

A: Um, it’s funny because I was—so I was just listening

to some old music of mine that I had on my

phone that I forgot I did, because I just got a new

car and it starts playing music randomly when I get

in, um, but I just sat in the driveway because I was

waiting for [Tiger] to get home, and I was sitting in

the driveway just listening to my old music. I think

… the content has changed a lot for me. Maybe

trying to say, like more with fewer words, I guess is

something that I have learned, in a way. I used to

just try to cram as many words as I possibly could

into one verse to get my point across, I think now

I’m trying to like—yeah, say more with fewer words,

make things catchier, I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t

know. Lyrically, I think, I’ve changed a lot. Also,

just content-wise. Like I used to be like, it all used

to be super emotionally driven, like “my heart is

broken about something” now I feel like I’m more

heartbroken about the world itself rather than just

me and some dumb boy. So I think content-wise

that’s how I’ve grown. Which is kind of more sad.

What about you?

T: I think I’ve gotten more comfortable with

myself—I actually really, I never really sang before

starting Ma’aM, I was in a really punk-rock or

loud guitar music band, and I was always part of

the songwriting of the band but I never really sang

most of the lyrics, and now I’m doing that.

A: We were the first band you ever sang in, right?

T: Yep.

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19 | WINTER 2021

Are all of you from State College?

A: Tiger’s from Georgia, actually.

T: I actually grew up in Georgia, and I went to college,

well—I lived in Georgia until I was 21, 22, until Araelia

and our friend [...] went to California, and that’s when

we kind of started the band, and I left Georgia and then

we moved to State College and we officially started up

Ma’aM. So ever since then—2, 3, years ago.

A: The origin story is I bought a van, which I just took

to the shop yesterday, it’s covered in mold and it’s

dying. Um, I bought like an old Vandura and me and

my friend Cara, who takes all the photos of us—she

lives with us too—we were like ‘we’re going to California,’

and Tiger was like ‘I’m coming too,’ and we got

out there and the fires were happening up where we

were so we got stuck in this house in [...] California for

like three months, and Tiger and I started writing songs

together. And I was like “I know some people in Pennsylvania

who wanna be in a band,’ ‘cause I left a band

before that. Came back, Ma’aM.

T: And we’ve been doing it ever since.

A: We’ve been doing it ever since.

And speaking of your name, could I ask about

the origin story of your band’s name? Why


A: It’s funny, we were sitting out in California—‘cause

Tiger and I started this band because [of] our love of

country music. Like, I grew up listening to country

music, like kind of before Elliott Smith, I listened to

country music. And I kind of got into more things

when I was a teenager, but I just went back to it. And

[Tiger] also just loved country music. Anyway, we were

playing around with names and Cara, our photographer,

was like—we just always [go] ‘ma’am,’—so then we

were playing around with names and she was like, as a

joke, ‘what if you just named it Ma’aM?’ And we were

like, ‘that’s actually the best idea in the entire world.’

We almost named it ‘Dog Band,’ because we thought

that was hilarious. Because like, every single band has

‘Dog.’ It was just a joke, and then we were like ‘actually,

that’s a great band name.’

The bandmates are all obviously really close

to one another—how does that strong sense of

closeness influence your songwriting, the creative

process as a whole, and performances?

A: So we always say [...] ‘We’re a band, and we’re

friends. Isn’t that crazy?’ Uh, ‘cause we don’t—I gotta

knock on wood or something—but we don’t have band

Pictured are Ma’aM members Tiger Cabus, Jeremy Mertz, Spencer

McKee, Daniel Thomas and Araelia Lopatic. Photo by Cara Pentoney.

issues, we never fight.

T: We don’t. And we always hang out even if we’re not

practicing. There’s bands I’ve been in, where everyone

always sees each other on Thursday whenever we

have practice or something, and that’s about it. With

Ma’aM, I think it’s how much we’ve traveled and we

committed to doing the band that people are totally on


A: Songwriting-wise, Tiger and I definitely—so we write,

we write songs separately, and then sometimes we’ll

come together. We’ve written a few songs with Jeremy. I

think it’s because we’re such good friends, we’re really

open with each other. And just accepting of ideas and

whatnot. I don’t know. I could say we’re good at writing

songs together because we like each other, and it really

helps to like each other.

T: And we’re totally lucky I think where a lot of the

members of our band are songwriters—Jeremy writes his

own songs, Nate writes his own songs.

A: Because we’re all such good friends we help each

other with other bands. Jeremy has a band called Ghost

Music, that Tiger played drums for and I played bass

for the other day. Nate and I sing songs together—it’s

like, every single one of the band members has also

played in somebody else’s [band].

T: We’re all friends, we all wanna play with each other,

so whatever it is—that’s like the whole point of music, is

that we’re all—

A: I gotta go yell at a cat.

*Araelia goes to yell at a cat*

T: But yeah, I really think we’re very lucky where a lot

of the members of Ma’aM care about songs and care

about the friendship that we create from music.

*Araelia comes back with a cat*

A: This one’s Texas.

Head to lionsdigest1.com to read the full interview.

Winter Mag 2021.indd 19

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An interview with WNHL, a band formed by a group of friends who met at

Penn State. Photo courtesy of WNHL. Article by Adrita Talukder.

To get started, could you all introduce yourselves?

Kristen Nodell (KN): I’m Kristen, I am the singer and

rhythm guitar in the band.

James Russin (JR): I’m James, I play guitar.

Julie Larsen (JL): I’m Julie, I play bass.

Liam Nee (LN): And I’m Liam, and I am the drummer.

Kristen—I heard from my friends and Mr.

Merritt, who actually played WNHL’s music in

class once, that you went to State High. Could

you tell me about your time there? Were you

involved in music at State High?

KN: My time at State High. Ooh. Yes, I was involved in

music, I did Jazz Band, and one of my favorite things was

Rock Ensemble, which was a class where [...] you and

everyone in the class would learn some rock-n’-roll songs

and put on a show at the end. So that, I really loved to


Can I ask about the origin story of your band’s

name? What’s the significance of The Women’s

National Hockey League?

KN: Yes. What is the significance? James?

JR: So, well, in the article that was written about Kristen,

she specifically stated that she wanted to start a girl band.

And I said, ‘if you have trouble finding girl musicians, I’ll

play with you.’ So, the band’s foundation was it being a

girl band.

KN: Intent, yeah.

JR: Yeah. That was the original concept, so that’s where

the name came from. And I’m Canadian. I thought it

would be a funny name.

JL: And to be fair, I call everyone a “girl-ina” anyways, so

in some ways, it’s still true.

KN: And the real Women’s National Hockey League—

this is important—they just changed their name a couple

of months ago.

JR: Yeah, there’s no—there’s still a women’s national

hockey league, that plays the sport hockey, but that’s not

what they’re called anymore.

KN: No, they changed their name, so it’s all—so everything’s


JR: That cease and desist might not be fine. We’ll see.

KN: Yeah, but if any—if there’s any lawyers out there that

can help us solidify that for free...

JL: My uncle has definitely said that he would help us.

If it came down to it. Put that in the article. We have the

law on our side.

Your first EP is titled “We’re Young, We’re Hot,

We’re Best Friends.” How do your close friend-

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ships shape the dynamic of the band?

KN: How does our friendship shape our dynamic?

JL: I would say it just makes us way more comfortable

with each other and honest and we play a lot better when

we can have a laugh every once in a while. ‘Cause it’s hard

when things get too serious or too businessy, but if we’re

able to have a friendship, it means that we have a level of

respect for each other already and that makes us bond and

play better.

KN: That’s a good answer.

JL: Thank you, I just came up with that on the spot, but I

think it’s true.

To go off that, how does your closeness impact

the creative process and your performances?

KN: Yeah, our process often involves—I do the lyrics, I’m

into that. I often will do the lyrics and like a melody, kind

of on my own, and James will also write musical demos on

his own, and then we will kind of combine those and see

where we can go from that. Or I’ll bring a simple melody

and a phrase or something to James, and then he’ll build

off that. And what’s really nice about that process is that

then we can bring it to our talented musicians, Julie and

Liam, right after. Like we kind of have that base, and then

they add their own thing to that. And then on stage, because

we’re friends, it’s just so fun and silly, which I really

value, just having a good time.

JR: Kind of like Tetris, all the pieces fall into place.

JL: I call the Tetris piece that’s like six down, like it’s that

one. I wanna be that one.

KN: Ooh, that’s cool. I’d probably be the all four in a


JL: Should our next album have something to do with

Tetris? I’m just thinking out loud here.

JR: If it’s not gonna be baseball city, it could be Tetris


In “Give Up The Ship” you sing “And just like

a movie you jumped overboard/You said ‘this

shall be my new home.’” In the song there’s this

idea of finding your own place in the world and

coming to love yourself, leaving behind what was

familiar to you. [...] What are all of your personal

experiences with/connections to the ideas in

this song?

KN: …Yeah, I’d say in that yeah, like I recently moved to

New York, and finding my place. I grew up in State College,

went to school in State College, this was my first big

jump into totally unfamiliar territory, and just, discovering

how I fit or how I wanna fit in my own world.

JL: And like for me, bringing it back to the band, it’s

like, I feel like that can be really applicable to playing in a

band, where it’s like ‘where are we gonna fit in with each

other,’ and saying ‘yes’ to a band is one thing, and then

once you actually start playing together, like what does

that mean and what does it end up looking like, and how

has it shaped itself. So it’s like, in our ig lives, it’s relatable,

and within our band, I think it’s also relatable. Boys, any


LN: Me personally, it kind of—that whole idea of jumping

into the unknown, I think is a part that a lot of people

can speak to. Because I mean, I’m from a semi-small town

I guess, and every step I took in the past four, five years,

has been this I’ve never, have no realm of experience for

this or whatever, so I think it is a good song, especially

what we talked about with sort of young adulthood.

JR: I recently made the big decision to finish my physics

degree. And leaving the film world, I don’t know where it’s

gonna take me, but I’m excited about it.

What’s in the works and coming up for you

guys? Do you have any upcoming shows or new

music on the way?

KN: Yeah, the stuff coming up is that we’re doing a really

cool live-to-vinyl session in January, so if you had preordered

a song, you could pick what song you wanted, and

we’d be like ‘hey, la la la, thank you for ordering this, this

is for you,’ and it’s the only one of that kind. And we’ll

make a couple extras if you come to the shows, and you

can buy them there. But we have so many—well, not so

many—but we have a new EP that we’re sitting on, and

we’re working with a really great producer, which is really

exciting, to have someone else come in and add their style

as well. So we’re hoping to record that closer to maybe—I

think [...] May? And we’re super super excited for that.

And we’re hoping to come to State College and play some

shows, because we haven’t been there in a while, and that’d

be fun.

JR: Probably January, right?

KN: Yeah, I’m working on something.

Do you guys have a message you’d like to share with

your fans or anybody who’s checking out this interview?

JR: Thanks so much for listening. It really means a lot that

you take the time.

KN: It truly means so much. [...] I love seeing people send

me their Spotify Wrappeds and were on it, and I was like,

‘that is actually so absolutely insane. Any amount of listeners

is so cool to me. One to a million. So thank you much,

it truly does mean so, so much.

Head to lionsdigest1.com to read the full interview.

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22 | WINTER 2021



Through extensive research and deliberation (re: through a Google Form), the State High Publications

team, aka “Team Journ,” determined its top ten holiday music picks. We hope you enjoy.

01. All I Want for Christmas

Is You by Mariah Carey

Coming in at the top of our

list is the holiday classic, All

I Want for Christmas Is You.

You’ve likely heard it on the

radio, in a number of commercials,

or in the background of

every holiday party you’ve ever

attented—simply put, this song

is everywhere come the holiday

season. The uptempo love song

features bell chimes, jingle

bells, and piano.

02. Santa Tell Me by Ariana


Up next is another Christmas

love song. Nearly 20 years after

Carey’s All I Want for Christmas

Is You, Santa Tell Me by Ariana

Grande has found its place

among the top played Christmas

pop songs. Released in

2014, the song opens with an

entrancing violin, accompanied

with bells, before leading into

Grande’s beloved vocals.

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03. A Charlie Brown Christmas

by the Vince Guaraldi

Trio: This album, released in

1965, is the soundtrack to the

movie of the same name. For

jazz enjoyers, this is the perfect

album to listen to this season.

04. Last Christmas by Wham!

Unlike any other song on this

list, this synthpop song will

have you singing your heart out

to the lyrics.

05. It’s Beginning to Look a

Lot like Christmas by Michael

Buble: Need a break from commercial

pop? Check out Buble’s

cover of this Bill Crosby song,


which has become a Christmas


06. Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Grinch’

Soundtrack: This album features

the likes of Tyler, The Creator

and Pentatonix, making it

the perfect modern album to

listen to this season.

07. A Christmas Together by

The Muppets: The soundtrack

for the movie of the same

name, this album creates an

entirely new genre, what with

Muppets being the main vocalists.

08. Christmas Tree Farm


by Taylor Swift: For all the

Swifties out there, don’t fear—

there’s a Taylor holiday song

just for you. It’s upbeat, and a

song you just won’t be able to

get enough of.

09. Santa Baby by Ariana

Grande: The second Grande

song on this list—while this

one’s a bit slower, it still has all

the character you’d expect from

a Grande song.

10. Christmas Song by Phoebe

Bridgers: Last, but certainly

not least, is the song made for

those feeling the holiday melancholy

this year.

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