'Unfinished' New Band in Town

posted under by Skuna River Review

By: J. Robertson

A new band plays in town, and the evolution of this group formed from four BHS students is interesting.

In May of 2007, Jeremy Blount and Jordan "Jiggy" Griffin formed an acoustic group. Griffin played his Johnson acoustic guitar while Blount sang. They called themselves "Unfinished," referring to the group’s lack of electric guitars and drums, which traditionally compose a rock band. Less than a year later, Unfinished is an accomplished group made up of four Bruce High School students. The band has performed four shows and recorded their first album, Small Town Nobodies, in fact they sold T-shirts with that title on them.

Some of the first songs that Griffin and Blount learned to play together as part of their acoustic group were covers of Pearl Jam’s "Last Kiss" and Crossfade’s "Cold." Later that summer, the two decided to further their project and moved from the acoustic sound to a full-fledged rock band. Griffin bought a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar and Jeremy bought an electric bass guitar. Unfinished kicked into overdrive, however, when Jacob Samuell and Caleb Hanley joined as rhythm guitarists. Zeke Griffin, brother of Jiggy, whom Blount describes as a "rock band veteran," offered his percussion expertise as the group’s drummer.

The band began practicing in an upstairs bedroom of Jiggy’s home, which was transformed into their "music room" complete with amplifiers and stray wires littering the cramped space. The group then began writing their own songs. Blount mostly writes lyrics with occasional help from other band members. The musical accompaniment are developed in an impromptu fashion: each band member contributes his sounds to add to the finished product. "You can’t turn creativity on or off, it just happens," Blount explained.

Only two weeks after Samuell and Hanley joined the band, they held their first public performance as part of the BHS talent show. Of the 4 songs they performed that night, three were originals. They finished with a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s "Simple Man," which has become a staple at their shows. Jiggy’s guitar solos won the crowd over, making their first appearance a success among the BHS student body.

After playing at a private event, Unfinished then traveled to Tupelo to perform at The Musician’s Playground on January 8. The Musician’s Playground is an event center, which showcases rock bands from across the country. While there, they gained advice from other bands who were more "schooled in the business," according to Blount. On January 25, Unfinished performed alongside Silver Bullet, another local music group, on the stage of Cinema 22 in Bruce. The show was widely publicized and a huge success. Despite inclement weather, the turnout surpassed all expectations. "It showed us that both Unfinished and Silver Bullet have a dedicated hometown fan base," Blount said.

For those interested, Unfinished plans to have another show with Silver Bullet, at Cinema 22 on Friday March 14. Doors open at 7 at admission is $5. They recorded their first album, "Small Town Nobodies," on February 2 with David Holloway at Diamond H Sound in Smithville. CDs are available for purchase from band members for $10 each.

Students Compete in Brain Bowl

posted under by Skuna River Review
By: Shevante Welch

Speech and Debate students and AP students interested in competing in the upcoming Brain Bowl have begun practice for the University of Mississippi Academic Invitational Tournament to be held March 1. Team Captain J. Robertson will compete with teammates John Mark Busby, Ariel Keon, Jotavius Jones, Dustin Vance, and Corey Collins. Allison Movitz, AP and Speech/Debate teacher, is their coach for the after-school practices and the competitions.

Sixty-four 64 teams will compete for the championship round and trophies. Each team consists of four members and up to four alternates who compete by answering trivia questions in any subject. Teams are allowed to make "half time" substitutions of alternates.

In the competition, there are two types of questions. Toss-ups are one-part and are worth five points each. If the team wins the toss up question, they are asked a bonus question. If the answer is wrong and the question was completely read, the other team then has five seconds to answer the toss-up question, without restatement of the question. If a player confers with another team member during a toss-up, the response does not count, and the question is offered to the other team. A natural pause (approximately a count of two) is allowed between acknowledgment from the moderator and the beginning of an answer. The moderator has sole discretion to determine if a pause was unacceptably long. If an answer to a toss-up is given after the permissible natural pause has expired, the moderator will announce that time has expired and allow the other team a chance to answer. This rule is designed to prevent a competitor from buzzing in while still figuring a response. The competitor should be ready with the answer when acknowledged; stalling will result in a forfeit of the team’s response.

Bonus questions have multiple parts that are worth up to ten points each. A team will have twenty seconds to complete bonus questions. Timing begins when the moderator completes two readings of the bonus question. After the first reading of bonus questions, the captain may interrupt to give the answers to the questions. If the bonus question is two parts, each part is worth four points; supplying correct answers to both parts is worth ten points. If the question is composed of four parts, each part is worth two points, and ten points are earned by supplying correct answers to all four parts. A bonus question to a team after that team answers a toss-up question correctly.

The game is played in two, ten-minute halves. Each half begins with a toss-up question. The first player to signal and be recognized by the Moderator gives the answer to the toss-up question and must do so without consolation and within a natural pause of being recognized by the moderator. The Moderator will recognize a contestant by stating the name of the school and/or the contestant’s name. The team’s captain can only answer bonus questions. Any answer given by a non-captain player will be ignored. The captain speaks for the team after conference or discussion. The round ends with the expiration of the two ten-minute halves or when the question pool is exhausted.

The Bruce High School Brain Brawl team, who won 4th place in their first competition in November 2007, will compete double elimination rounds against area public, private, and parochial schools.

February Co-Op Student of the Month

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The Bruce High School Co-Op Student of the Month for February is Ariel Keon. Ariel is a senior and President of the Bruce Chapter of the DECA club. She works for Fred’s in Bruce. After graduation, she plans to attend Mississippi University for Women in Columbus where she will major in English with concentrations in Theatre and Speech. Ariel is the daughter of Scott and Vonda Keon of Bruce.

New Semester Courses

posted under by Skuna River Review
By: Kayla Howe

With each new semester, classes that are worth one-half credit change subjects. Some students continue in the same room with the same teacher whereas other students report to a new classroom and to a new teacher. When a student passes both classes, they earn one credit toward the units needed for graduation requirements.

Economics, taught by Jeff Patton, replaced American Government. Rudy Pope now teaches a new crop of students in his Driver’s Ed classes. Instead of Speech, Allison Movitz now teaches Debate. Personal Finance took the place of Business Law taught by Sandy Aron. World Geography replaced MS Studies taught by Angie Newlin. Last of all, Jeanne Cole’s Nutrition and Wellness replaced Family Dynamics, and some students from Driver’s Ed last semester now take Cole’s Health class.

American Government Classes Write Letters

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By: Kayla Howe

Jeff Patton’s senior Government/Economics classes just finished writing a letter to any one of our three Congressmen. In the prompt, Patton provided his students with a fictional amendment. The students were to decide and convince one of the congressmen to vote for or against the amendment. The amendment concerned punishments for all violent crimes. It would be a letter that would not be sent. By using a stack of information that Patton printed off from the internet, and also from the American Government textbook, this was to teach about the government and civil liberties – rights of an accused person. The rubric was based on order, organization, vocabulary, creativity, and took three days to complete. As a result, the final product had to be two pages hand-written. Patton says that several letters were excellent and that the class will continue to do more writings. The goal will be to show improvement with each additional project. "Incorporating writing is varied way to teach the class important lessons," Patton concluded.

BHS Holds Beauty Review

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By: Ann-Claire Mullen

Bruce High School Annual Staff hosted the BHS Beauty Review that began at 1:00 p.m. for K-4 and ended with 5th through 11th grade competitions. The Beauty Review winners for the 2007-2008 year were Gemi Moore and Jayline Cruthirds, Sarah Erwin and Cole Brassfield, Caitlyn Burt and Brylee Poteete, Janna Turner and Braiden Lee, Sydney Stephan and Cameron Clarke, Juliana Cain and Kenston Wright, Haley Hubbard and Hunter Owens, Elizabeth Whitten, Myranda Bennett and Devin Davis, Ashley Hubbard and Ted Esom, T’Ericka Thornton and Keron Bell, Ann-Claire Mullen and Curtis Lyons, and Diana Landeverde and Jacob Samuel.
For the afternoon competitions, Leah Malone was the emcee, and the entertainers for this event were Linda Ann Ward, Stephanie Hill, Janae Harrelson, Elizabeth Hathorne, Satrina Massey, and Lyrix.
Later that evening the Senior Pageant took place. The winners for the night were Leanna King and John Mark Busby. The beauties and beaux were Allie Hillhouse, Hannah Odom, Beverly Cole, Jennifer Smith, Jayla Hubbard, Kenosha Tillman, Preston Quillen, Briceson Donahue, Zach Brower, Chance Inman, J. Robertson, and DeClinton Glaspie.
"All the hard work and preparations paid off. The Beauty Review was a huge success! We raised allot of money toward the production costs of the year book," stated Sandy Aron.

Q&A with Daniel Wu

posted under by Skuna River Review
By: J. Robertson

Students at Bruce High School might have noticed a new face walking the halls this year. That face belongs to Daniel Wu, Bruce’s exchange student from Taipei, Taiwan. Daniel’s host parents are Roger and Donna Williams of Vardaman. I had the privilege of sitting down with Daniel and talking to him about his time at Bruce High School.

Q: What has been different about your life in America so far?

A: Well, Bruce is a lot smaller than what I’m used to. Taipei is that capital city of Taiwan, so it is very crowded and there is always something going on. Here, almost everyone in high school has a vehicle. In Taiwan, however, most people use public transportation like subways or buses.

Q: What about school?

A: School is also very different here. In Taiwan, I belong to one class. Our class stays in the same room all day. Instead of changing rooms for different classes, the students stay in the same room and the teachers change rooms. You become very close with your class; they’re like family to me. We have no janitors, and it is the students’ responsibility to clean up the school. Since it is not mandatory to complete high school, everyone takes school very seriously. There is a huge emphasis on education in Taiwan. Instead of 6-weeks tests, we only have 3 major exams throughout the year in Taiwan. They are very serious and people spend lots of time studying for them.

Q: What is your favorite subject?

A: I enjoy math because it is a lot easier here. In Taiwan, calculators are strictly prohibited. People in my class celebrate when they get a 60 in math. It’s very difficult compared to here, where we can use calculators and everyone usually makes good grades.

Q: What is your least favorite subject?

A: History is very difficult for me. I have trouble remembering all of the names, dates, and stories. However, this is probably just because I am not from America and not familiar with the history.

Daniel will attend Bruce High School for the rest of this school year after which he plans to attend a university in America. He is excited about spending the rest of the year in Bruce and looks forward to meeting new people and visiting more places around our area.