In Advocation of Video Projects

I’m trying to say what really matters. Because I don’t have much time left.

None of us do, really.

So, I’m trying to say what I need to say.

I thought for a long time what I would make this blog about. And it took a while before I decided I would write a post In Advocation of Video Projects.

I decided this because Video Projects were one of the most fun things I did in High School. This has less to do with the projects themselves, and more to do with the people I did them with. Video Projects were this ultimate excuse to spend a day with a great group of people, just joking around on camera.

Whether it was reenacting a scene from Shakespeare for English or explaining a theory in Math or…teaching a lesson in AP Chemistry, Video Projects were always a blast.

Most recently, I made a video for AP Chemistry. More specifically, I made:

An Idiot’s Survival Guide: How to Survive AP Chemistry (In 10 Simple Steps)

Before I paste the link in here, I’d like to clarify a few things. First! I’m a sap. And the end of the video gets pretty sappy. Second! Unfortunately, Mr. Portis felt that if I wanted to get a grade higher than a C…I had to actually put “educational information” in my video. It had to be “worth-while“. Sometimes that Mr. Portis can be pretty crazy. Anyway, that means that there are  a few…serious parts in the video.

All in all, I hope you enjoy it. The link is below.

Click here.

I had so much fun making that video. It was the perfect way to finish off my Senior Year. Especially my Senior Year in AP Chem. Because whether we like it or not, AP classes start to hold a sentimental value as the year progresses. It’s hard to spend an entire year with 20 other kids in one class and not feel some kind of attachment to them.

Anyway, to all the teachers of this world: Maybe video projects don’t always work the best with helping students understand material…but they sure are fun.

They sure are worth it.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

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The End, Pt. 2

May 31, 2013

The End, Pt. 2

Well, that’s The End of High School.

Perhaps some will say that High School isn’t really over until we walk at graduation or take our diploma. But I can’t help but feel that it’s really…done. Because this next week will be filled with the formalities of graduation, it’s not actually school. As of yesterday at 9:59, we no longer had any obligations to attend a class at Gull Lake High School. If you ask me, it’s over.

But that’s okay. Because after 9:59, I spent the afternoon with some of the greatest people on the planet.

The Group

The trip we took to South Haven was a huge success. After setting up camp, we spent the afternoon having a blast on the coast of Lake Michigan. The sun was high, the sand was hot, the water was frigid, the times were good, and the chips were warm and greasy from laying out.

Feet

In general, there was a buzz of joy in the air. There was also quite a bit of sand flying in the air. But that was mostly due to the hole Logan decided to dig. He even brought shovels and everything. For some bizarre reason, he felt this intense desire to…dig a hole. I suppose he’s free to do whatever he wants, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t slightly odd. I’m trying not to see symbolism in the fact that a bunch of High School Seniors dug themselves a hole on their first day of break.

Logan

Anyway, when we weren’t helping Logan dig, we were chasing each other into the ice bath that was Lake Michigan. Or we were playing a rag-tag game of 500 (a game played with a football and points are given out to those that can catch it). Or we were taking walks down to the impressive pier that stretched proudly into Lake Michigan’s waters. Or we just…laid around.

Carly

Later, as the afternoon began succumbing to night, we moved camp to one of the grills located by the pier. Logan and Maxson fired up the grill and threw hot dogs, burgers, and pizzas on there for us all to eat. We had ourselves a little picnic. Storm clouds threatened to dampen the party’s mood, but there were very few things on Earth that could ruin the elation we felt.

Digging

Because we had finally done it. It doesn’t even seem real to me yet. But it’s true. It is all over. Every single class since the first one I took on our first day of High School, Freshman English, all the way to the last class I was in before we left, AP Literature. They’re over.

If I had to look at this blog as a story, I would say this is the climax. The moment of highest tension. The moment when that last bell rang at 9:59 and High School ended. The moment that I’ve marked as: The End. Of course, there’s still a little bit of resolution to get through.

In any case, a day at the beach with a great group of kids was the perfect way to end High School.

Zach

When I started this blog, I mentioned pretty frequently that I was scared of this moment. The End. But I think I’m okay. It’s not so bad. My time at the beach made it strikingly evident that I’d still have my friends. What more could I ask for?

Jacob

So, I’m looking forward.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Forward

The End, Pt. 1

May 29, 2013

The End, Pt. 1

Today was my Last Full Day as a Gull Lake High Schooler. Tomorrow will be the Class of 2013’s Last Day as Gull Lake High Schoolers.

You know, a lot of the Seniors have been phrasing things like that lately. They say things like: “Today is our Last Monday!” or “This is our Last Full Week!” or “This is our Last Seminar!” So and and so forth…And it’s gotten me thinking about why we do that, why we phrase things like that.

I mean, we do the same thing in Track and Cross Country during hard workouts. In particular, Ben and I will analyze the number of repetitions we have left until the entire team gets a little math lesson. Say we’ve got a workout consisting of 400 repetitions. Say…10×400. After one, Ben and I might say something like: “Hey! After we do eight more…we’ll only have one left. So, we’re basically done.” Or after we do five, we’ll burst into Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi. Get it? Because we’re “half-way there”. Then at six, we might say: “We only have to do everything we’ve done over again…minus two!

Now, when it comes to hard workouts I can pinpoint the two reasons we do this. One: Simple math is a good way to get your mind off the pain of running. Two: When we look at the workout in a certain way…it doesn’t seem all that bad. Hard workouts are rough, and we can’t wait for them to be over. Because the best part of running is the satisfaction of being done.

But running isn’t quite like High School. I mean, I’m sure there are a few kids out there that are just itching to get out of here. But I’m sure there are also a few, myself included, that are kind of saddened by it. So, why would we mark each passing Last with loud pronouncements? With running, we just want it to be over. But do we really just want High School to be over?

No, I think we phrase things in ways that make us feel best about the situation at hand. It’s all about perspective. It’s all about how we want to see things. It’s like Coach Hawkins said today in his end of the year speech: “There’s a silver lining in anything. You just need to see it.” So, with hard workouts…Ben and I look to The End. Ben and I mark each passing 400 with celebration. But with High School, we mark these Lasts as a sort of salute. We’re saying good-bye to all the great Mondays or Fridays or weeks or Seminars that we had at Gull Lake. We see The End coming and we pay homage to it by celebrating each little step that draws us closer.

So, I hope every Gull Lake Senior had a great Last Full Day of High School…despite the exams. I know I did. I got to spend one more day as Coach Portis’s student. I said good-bye to Mr. Belz. I got one last speech from Coach Hawkins. And I spent one Last Lunch with a group of people I truly treasure.

Tomorrow, it’ll really be The End. Tomorrow, it’ll all be over. Everything this Year of Lasts has been leading to: The Last Races, the Last Shows, the Last Tests, Days, Weekends, Meets, Practices, Dances, Banquets, Rehearsals…It’ll all converge.

I’ll walk the halls one Last Time.

And then I’ll go to South Haven for a day at the beach.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Dinner of Champions

May 17, 2013

Dinner of Champions

Today, I ran my last competitive race ever. I ran a single mile at our Regional Track Meet. Come Monday, I’ll be turning in my uniform for the last time. I’ll be saying good-bye to the bold GL I’ve worn on my chest for four short years.

Ben and I both ran the mile. And we both got PRs. I got around 4:41-42. Ben got about 4:46-47. Our coaches form of “listen for the gun, look for the finish” timing is not an exact science. So, we were somewhere in that range.

Tonight, I went out for fast food. With four of the greatest guys I’ll ever know. Ben, Jeremy, and the two Sams, the Distance Squad.  Now that most of us are no longer running competitively, we feel absolutely no guilt about throwing a greasy burger and fries down our gullets. Not that I usually have an immense amount of guilt anyway…We had a Dinner of Champions. And it was so tasty.

While it’s great that I can be a fully satisfied, guilt-free customer at McDonald’s or Burger King…the taste of saturated fats is a little bittersweet. Because it’s all over. It’s really all over. Running was how I helped define myself throughout High School. I was Brian Wiegand. I ran Cross Country and Track. That’s what I did. And now…well, now what? What do kids do with the free time they get after school?

High School is really about to end. There’s less than 10 days of school left. That’s nothing. Nothing! Next week will hold my Last Monday, my Last Friday, and it will be my Last Full Week of School. See how I capitalized those? It means they’re important.

I think I’d like to offer some advice. Granted, I’m not some wise sage full of brilliant advice, and the tokens of knowledge I do think I have to offer…may be tokens of foolery. But I’ll give it a go.

Life is a high speed train. It zooms along the clock’s face endlessly and unceasingly. There are certain moments in it’s trek that it may slow down just enough, offer just a slim enough window, for you to jump aboard and take over for the conductor. This is a good thing to do. These windows are things such as tryouts, auditions, sign-ups, meetings, etc. Get on that train. Because things like Track, things like PAC, things like Cross Country. Those things are worth it. So unbelievably worth it that if I lived a million, trillion Lives…I’d go do something every single time. I’d go meet amazing people like Jeremy or Ben or Sam or Sam.

As I’ve said before: I think the success of a Life can be determined by how eager you are to tell someone about it on your death bed. Getting involved as much as you can is one way to make yourself excited about Life.

There’s nothing like the feeling of being on a team, being a part of something bigger than yourself, it’s absolutely glorious. That Dinner of Champions wasn’t great because of the Big Mac, it was great because of the people I was with.

Unfortunately, my days of High School extracurriculars are over. Cross Country has long since finished. PAC ended earlier this week. And now Track has vanished as well.

But it’s all just part of it, it’s just part of growing up and heading out. The good thing is, I get to go into the world knowing that I’m carrying with me a little bit of Coach Portis, of Mr. Nott, of Coach Flynn, of Coach Hawkins, of Mrs. Stahr, of Jeremy, of Ben, of the Sams. I’m a Gull Lake boy, through and trough. Which is kinda cool.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The "Friends Forever" One Month Rule

I’m going to type out some lyrics. Some very well known lyrics. And I would be quite surprised if you were able to read them without hearing the annoying tune playing in your head.

As we go on, we remember

All the times we had together

And as our lives change, come whatever

We will still be friends forever

I despise this song. Absolutely despise it. I think it’s got a rotten tune and the lyrics are as cheesy as the end to every bad romantic-comedy you’ve ever seen. I’ve got nothing against the artist, Vitamin-C. I think the girl did a great job with the song “Vacation”. (Which plays at the start of the animated short Pikachu’s Vacation, the opening to Pokemon: The First Movie.) But every year, right around this time, I hear “Friends Forever” played and I…cringe.

And yet…

Well, here we are in our last month of High School and…I might’ve caught myself singing it a few times. After about the 30th time I absentmindedly heard myself hum the chorus (the only part I know) of that terrible song, I decided to make a rule in my mind.

The “Friends Forever” One Month Rule: Most sane people will spend their entire lives despising the song: “Friends Forever”…Except in the one month before graduation…Then it’s kind of okay…

I think this rule has a few clauses, like certain times during that month where it may sound a little better than others. For example: The day after your last High School dance. Now that Prom has come and past, things are starting to seem a lot more real. After the Conference Track Meet and the Festival of the Senses (both happening this upcoming weekend), the next big event I’m looking forward to is Graduation itself. And that means I’ll probably be hearing a lot more of “Friends Forever”. I guess I’m all right with that.

Heck, there’s only four weeks of school left. That’s chump change, chump change in the grand scheme of things. Might as well just say school’s over now.

Four weeks.

I better get my “Friends Forever” kicks while I can. I better listen to “In My Life” before it gets old. I better jam out to “Forever Young” before it makes me wanna blow my brains out.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Speculations

April 25, 2013

Speculations

Ah, yes. Springtime in Michigan.

The Track season is in full swing.

Prom is just around the corner.

Talk of graduation is becoming more frequent.

Mock Election pictures are being taken.

And today, it was hailing one second and sunny the next!

Yes, it certainly is a Michigan Spring.

With the talk of graduation, comes Speculation about who will win all the different awards that are given out to the Senior Class. For example: Who will be Valedictorian and Salutatorian? Or: Who will be honored by each of the different departments? Or: What athletes will be recognized for their impressive achievements?

From what I’ve heard, Valedictorian and Salutatorian are neck and neck. We’re talking about two kids who’ve taken so many AP Classes, their GPAs can be brought down by an A in a regular class that isn’t weighted by AP standards.

At Gull Lake, just to clarify, Seniors are awarded in a number of different ways. Primarily, there’s the Valedictorian and Salutatorian; they’re determined by GPA. Then, each different department (Math, English, Science, Social Studies, Publications, Business, etc.) honors one or two students for their achievements in that subject area. Lastly, there are things like Class Musician, Class Poet, and Class President (of course, Class President has been decided for quite a while) who all speak or perform during the graduation ceremony.

I think these awards are exciting to Speculate about because it gets me thinking about my class as a whole and the sort of people that fill it. It’ll be cool when we finally hear who wins what because I think it will helps define who we are as the graduating Class of 2013. We’re the class that had Cara as our Class President. We had so-and-so as Valedictorian and what’s-their-face as Salutatorian. Our Math expert was [insert name here]. The Class Musician sang that song at our graduation.

Or maybe Lance will just get every honor. A very real possibility. Kid’s a freakin’ genius.

Anyway, it’s just another reason to be excited for the rapidly approaching graduation season.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Yellow Monster

April 16, 2013

The Yellow Monster

One of the single most iconic symbols for school: The School Bus. The Yellow Monster. The horrible metallic can filled with brown, rubbery seats and BO. Luckily, being a Senior means that you don’t have to ride the bus…usually.

Unfortunately for those of us in extracurriculars, busses are usually how the school decides to transport us precious cargo. Most recently, I was aboard a bus destined for Lansing and the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association (MIPA) Award Ceremony.

At 6:40, the Newspaper and Yearbook crews arrived in Mrs. Jolin’s room, ready to head out. By 7:00, we found ourselves crammed into our very own Yellow Monster. I sat next to a good friend of mine, Shelby. Both of us were exhausted and immediately began searching for the easiest way to sleep.

I think the creator of the bus did his best to make the seats impossible to sleep in. I also think that the creator of the bus succeeded in that endeavor. Shelby and I shifted into a million different positions and couldn’t find a single one that was sleep-worthy. Our attempts to find comfort rapidly became more and more absurd and I’m pretty sure we tried to stand on our heads at one point, to no avail.

The other problem with sleeping on a bus is that the shock absorbers are just Slinkies. Honestly, that bus was so bumpy I felt like I was gonna projectile vomit all over Shelby.

People say: “It’s the journey, not the destination.” This rule does not apply to bus rides. With bus rides, the destination is all I can ever think about. Thankfully, we did finally arrive at the MIPA Award Ceremony. I was on this trip as a member of the Gull Lake Reflection’s Newspaper Staff because this blog is technically part of the school newspaper.

Well, The Life of an Idiot was submitted to compete against other High Schooler’s blogs across the state.

And…it came first. Which is kinda nuts. I’m still not entirely sure if I believe it.

Anyway, the bus ride back wasn’t as bad as the bus ride there…My spirits were considerably lighter.

And you know what I did that night before I went to bed? I snatched up the certificate from MIPA…And I pinned it up next to my rejection letter from Western’s Theatre Program. I don’t even know why I did it. I don’t have a dang clue. I don’t see much of a connection between my blog and my theatre endeavors…But it just felt right.

Now I fall asleep every night looking at defeat and victory.

Life is good.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

College Bound

April 13, 2013

College Bound

I talk about college a lot. What Senior doesn’t? I think it’s the thing we’d all rather not think about, but it’s also the thing we have to talk about.

Personally, I’ll be attending Western Michigan University when the Fall of 2013 rolls around. And that fact became very, very real the other night when I signed up for housing and orientation.

As far as housing goes, I’m pretty excited to be rooming with a good friend of mine, Brady. Of course, I’ve heard that rooming with your friend is a bad idea, but I think Brady and I will be able to coexist peacefully. Brady’s a pretty laid back guy and easy to be around. The only possible issue I can foresee is that we’re both Messy Marvins. But neither of us seem to mind the mess…So, when our room morphs into a nuclear fallout zone, it’ll only bother our suite-mates.

And then there’s orientation. A whopping two day orientation spent on Western’s campus. There’ll probably be all sorts of gubbins about tours and dorms and cafeterias and classes and…God knows what…But that’s not really what I’m most interested in. What’s really got my attention is the fact that I’ll be signing up for my Freshman Year classes.

That’s pretty nerve wracking.

I took a little glance at Western’s Undergraduate catalog…It’s over 800 pages long. Granted, it’s not only a class catalog, but that’s a large portion of it. How am I supposed to choose between all of those classes? The toughest class decision I had to make in High School was whether I wanted to take “Creative Writing: Children’s Lit & Short Story” or “Creative Writing: Poetry”. Now, it’s like I’ve got to choose between “Creative Writing in Medieval Times” or “Creative Writing About South American Butterflies” or “Creative Writing While Standing on Your Head” or “Creative Writing in American Sign Language”.

And I’m just sitting here like: “Can someone else make this decision?”

I suppose I’ll just have to listen to the good ol’ gut. It’s gotten me this far. Hopefully it’ll carry me a little further as I set off…College Bound.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Home Stretch

April 9, 2013

The Home Stretch

Spring Break is over. It’s only Tuesday and it already seems like it’s been an eternity since I was in the Sunshine State’s pan handle. But now…oh, now we find ourselves in The Home Stretch.

If I’m doing my Math correctly, which I’m probably not, we have 35 school days left. From what I’ve heard, we get out on Thursday, May 30th. How about a little more Math? (I have no idea why I’m voluntarily doing Math. Heck, I get enough of it in Pre-Calc. Oh well, only 35 days left. I suppose I can handle a little more.)

So, 35 days. We spend about 6.8 hours in school every day. That’s 238 hours of school left. Or 14,280 minutes. Let’s take out passing time and lunch, shall we? 12,530 class-time minutes until the Seniors leaves Gull Lake High School. (Granted, I didn’t take into account the early-release day we have coming up. Or the half-day that we’re going to have. So…maybe it’s not that accurate. Gimme a break.)

Okay, well that’s all fine and dandy…But let’s take this a step further.

Let’s say that we truly attended school for 180 days every year of our schooling career. Obviously, that’s not true. We’ve had snow days, we’ve been sick, we’ve gone on vacation. Whatever. Just go with me. That means we’ve completed 98.50% of our time at Gull Lake Community Schools. For those of you who are Mathematically challenged like myself, we’ve got 1.50% of our schooling career left. (Until college, that is.)

Alright. That’s kinda nice to see all laid out…But let’s go one step further.

Keeping with the above assumption that we truly attended school 180 days each year, we’ve gone to school 2,305 times. Those measly 35 days we have left? Well, we’ve already attended 35 days of Gull Lake 65 times…If that makes sense. What we have left, we’ve already done 65 times (almost 66 times, truly). So, one more time is like…nothing.

There’s a million different ways to look at it. But the bottom line is that our Senior Year is rapidly approaching it’s close. The Year of Lasts will soon have it’s Last Day. There could very well be people walking the hallways of Gull Lake High School that I’ll only see for 35 more days. People that I’ve already spent 2,305 days with. People that I might never see again. It is the greatest Truth and greatest tragedy of anything that comes to a close: People that you may have once called friend become nothing more than memory.

But I suppose it’s nothing to worry ourselves over. Because it’s just part of Life. Nothing lasts forever. We’d be foolish to think anything to the contrary. Especially when we’re being stared in the face by the conclusion of the largest aspect of our Lives thus far.

35 days.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

15 Plays Later

March 7, 2013

15 Plays Later

When this trimester began, I was put in a class called: “Guided Study”. This class was created to give students who struggle with classwork some extra time to study. I’m there as a member of NHS and I help the kids with their homework when they need it.

When they don’t need it, however, Mr. Nott and I discuss plays that he’s assigned me to read. Since the trimester started, I’ve read 15 plays. And they’ve all been so unbelievably good.

Death of a Salesman

Equus

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds

The Runner Stumbles

I Hate Hamlet

Fools

Moon Over Buffalo

Mother Hicks

Step on a Crack

Selkie

Dark of the Moon

The Miracle Worker

The Glass Menagerie

Wait Until Dark

And The Foreigner

I’ve visited rural, southern towns plagued by superstition in plays like Mother Hicks or Dark of the Moon. I’ve been taken to fast-moving, city apartments in Moon Over Buffalo or Wait Until Dark. I’ve laughed at absurdly satirical comedies like I Hate Hamlet and Fools. I’ve been intrigued by thought-provoking dramas like Equus and The Glass Menagerie. Mr. Nott even had me delve into the world of plays for children with works like Selkie and Step on a Crack. He told me that: “Plays for children must be better than plays for adults. Kids have an ability to understand great Truth, more than we think they can. Most kids nowadays are malnourished, they aren’t given the kind of entertainment that helps them grow.”

While every single play has been amazing…I don’t know if any of them topped The Effect of Gamma Rays. If I had to choose a favorite, that would be it. In fact, if you ever come across a copy of the play, snatch it up. Read it.

Unfortunately, the trimester is rapidly coming to a close. Pretty soon, I’ll have to say good-bye to the kids. Luckily, Mr. Nott and I have discussed letting me continue my play reading even after I leave the class. I mean, he’s got this huge crate full of all his favorite plays and I’d love to read them all…There’s only one problem…

With this trimester ending, more and more Seniors are talking about the end of High School. And it’s made me realize that I can postpone thinking about the end all I want but it’ll still be there. I can keep reading plays in the third trimester…But that’ll end eventually. So, maybe the crate will go unfinished.

While that could be a depressing thought…I suppose I should just be happy that I was given the amazing opportunity to (somewhat) have an Independent Study of Drama in my Senior Year. What PAC Rat wouldn’t want that?

For now, I’ll just ask Mr. Nott to keep piling the plays on. I’ll deal with the end when it gets here.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

When Gull Lake Glitters

February 19, 2013

When Gull Lake Glitters

There are two times a year that Gull Lake Glitters. The first is during the Summer when the sun reflects off the lake…But that’s not the time I’m interested in talking about.

The second is during the murky period between Winter and Spring when all the Gull Lake High Schoolers harboring secret talents come out of the woodwork to show their stuff at the annual talent show: Glitter.

Glitter is a parent created and organized talent show that is generated once a year and performed one night at Comstock Auditorium. Auditions happened over the past two weeks and the Call Board will be updated later this week with information on what acts were accepted.

For the past three years, I’ve been a Glitter MC. And for the past three years, Glitter has been an absolutely brilliant highlight to every Spring. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll be accepted for a fourth year of MCing.

While being a Master of Ceremony is an absolute blast…I don’t think it’s the best part of Glitter. I think the best part of Glitter is discovering that the quiet kid sitting next to you in Plane Geometry has a set of pipes that would make Adele cry. Glitter is all about the students of Gull Lake High School stepping up and saying: “Guys. Guys look what I can do!”

My Sophomore Year, this Senior named Garrison sang Folsom Prison Blues in a bass that I couldn’t believe. Or last year, Ben sang Lonely Boy and I still remember the first rehearsal I watched him and my jaw absolutely dropped. Or Caiti! She sang Sailor Song last year and her voice was so present, so full. It was awesome. (Granted, maybe there were a few people who know of these “hidden” talents. But I sure didn’t have a clue until they opened their mouths.)

On the other end of the spectrum, there are kids that sing often and therefore most people know they’ve got a throat of gold. This Junior, Grace, comes to mind. And this girl that graduated my Sophomore Year, Sarah.

Glitter is this amazing opportunity for Gull Lake High Schoolers to realize that the hallways are filled with talent. They’re filled with singers, dancers, songwriters, DJs. musicians…hula-hoopers. And that’s something to be proud of.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

A Snowy Friday

February 8, 2013

A Snowy Friday

Last night, snow fell over Michigan. Lots of snow. And that was rather fitting.

Because today is Sno-Court. Overall, it’s A Snowy Friday.

Sno-Court is a lot like Homecoming. It’s essentially identical. But there is a very noticeable difference between the hype surrounding both events. I think it’s fair to say that people get more excited about Homecoming. Maybe it’s because Football is so unbelievably American, or maybe it’s because Winter is a hard season to get “pumped up” in.

In any case, it’s not entirely fair to compare Sno Court to Homecoming because, in the end, it’s all working towards the same goal: Creating School Spirit. And that’s a goal to be admired.

Schools are filled with hundreds upon hundreds of kids, and all of them are different. There are Basketball players and there are thespians, there are AP students and there are blow-off class regulars, there are shy mice and social butterflies. But they’re all members of the same school. We’re all Gull Lakers. Whether we like it or not, this is the hand we’ve been dealt in Life and Sno Court is about being proud of that. It’s about smacking your fist against your chest and booming: “I am Gull Lake.” It’s about knowing that being a Gull Laker makes you special.

We’re all…”On the same team.”

Now, if you’ll allow me to get really, really…out there, I’d like to try and make a connection. I recently saw a motivational video in which a young boy (Kid President) gave the world a pep talk. And one of the things this little boy said was: “If Life is a game…Aren’t we all on the same team? I mean really, right? I’m on your team. Be on my team.”

I think that’s a point Truer than anything I’ve ever heard. If a High School can come together and be proud of what they stand for as Gull Lakers…Couldn’t humans come together be proud of what they stand for?

And I think, when we really get down to it, that’s what School Spirit is about. That’s what Sno Court is about. That’s what Homecoming is about. It’s about realizing that we’re not really all that different. We may come from different places and we may believe different things…But we’re all Gull Lakers. We’re all humans. We’re all…here. Living.

Anyway, I’ll get off that soapbox and come back down to the real world.

Today was great. Today was A Snowy Friday, but the snow did little to dampen the mood of Gull Lake High School. Today was fun.

Especially because the Seniors totally kicked some butt at the Snow Olympics.

And I’d say that’s all thanks to a little School Spirit.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

Thick snowflakes fell from a black, quilted sky. The air was cold and still, there wasn’t even a whisper of wind. The snow seemed to muffle all the sounds of Life at Gull Lake High School. That silence came as a stark contrast to the rowdy gymnasium that I’d just left.

I’d spent the whole Basketball game sitting with the most musical kids at our school…the Pep-Band.

That’s where I always sit. Personally, I think that’s the best place to be at a Basketball game. Maybe I think that because a lot of my friends are Band Geeks, which means I can usually find a home amongst the many bleachers full of brass, woodwind, and (insert name of another kind of instrument). But it’s not just the people that makes sitting with the Pep-Band special. It’s the Music.

Every so often, in mid conversation, everyone around me will suddenly pull their instruments up and a rendition of “Thriller” or “The Final Countdown” is suddenly filling the air around me. And that makes me smile. It’s almost like being in a musical…Sort of.

Anyway, that’s not the only kind of Music that makes the Pep-Band section the best. Every so often, Ms. Latham will instruct Ben or Joy to play some music from these huge speakers at the top of the bleachers. And it’s always a song groovy enough to make the whole section dance. Ben and Joy both have really good taste in Music and they make it a point to play only the best parts of the catchiest songs.

And that’s where I spend my Basketball games. Sitting with the Pep-Band, talking to some Band Geeks, listening to some good Music, and occasionally watching the intensity of the Basketball game that’s unfolding below.

I’m like a Pep-Band Groupie.

So, there are two big reasons I’m writing this post.

1.) To talk about the best place to sit at Basketball games.

2.) To talk about an Epiphany that I had as I was leaving last Friday’s Basketball game.

See, I had to leave early because I was taking the SAT on Saturday. As I was leaving the gym, the noise of the crowd and the game was almost overwhelming. The second I reached the outside, though…silence. Complete silence. It was snowing that night and the flakes of snow that fell were the fattest I’ve ever seen. It was as if the snow caused everything to stop. I didn’t hear the passing of cars on the road. I didn’t hear the sound of the cheers from the gym. I barely heard the sound of my own breathing.

I walked through this comforting silence. I walked through it and thought about what I had to do the next day. The SAT was just another reminder that I’d be leaving Gull Lake soon. And, with that on my mind, I turned back to the school. Just to get another good look at it.

And…it was beautiful. I don’t even care how silly that sounds. How could a building be beautiful? I haven’t a clue. I have no idea. But it was. I suppose the more I think about it…The more it makes sense. Why wouldn’t I feel an attachment to Gull Lake High School?

That was where I became who I am today. That’s where I met Coach Portis and Coach Hawkins and Coach Flynn. That’s where I met Mr. Nott. That’s where I learned. That’s where I laughed. That’s where I read the Call Board, telling me that I’d received my first role in a play as Jason. That’s where I spent countless hours with countless people who I would call nothing less than: “Friend.” That was where I became me.

It was a good couple of minutes before I turned my back on the school and made my way through the heavy snow to my car.

Of course, there will soon come a day that I won’t be sitting with the Pep-Band anymore. And there will soon come a day that I won’t be able to call Gull Lake my High School. But that day isn’t today. And that day isn’t tomorrow.

And I’m grateful for that.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

My Epiphanies as a Pep-Band Groupie

The Last Hoorah

January 9, 2013

The Last Hoorah

Across the nation, it’s hard to find a High School that doesn’t offer some sort of…Last Hoorah to their graduating Seniors. Even Rydell High does it! At Gull Lake, we call it “Grad Bash”. Grad Bash is The Last Hoorah for the Seniors of Gull Lake High School. And this year, it’s finally my turn to go on that magical trip.

(Luckily, I’ve turned my form in already. At the end of this month, the price to attend goes up $15. So, to any Gull Lake Seniors out there that haven’t signed up yet…Get on that.)

I still remember when my sister, Molly, went to hers…

Graduation had just finished and we were out on the plaza beside Miller Auditorium, on Western Michigan University’s campus. (Miller is the stage Gull Lake uses to present graduates with their diplomas.) A few buses waited patiently in the parking lot, prepared to take all the Seniors of Gull Lake to a location only known by the bus drivers and the parents that organized Grad Bash. Molly and the Class of 2010 ended up returning to Western’s campus for a night of blow-up, bouncy house fun in the Rec. Center. The Class of 2011 put on their boogie shoes for a night of line dancing at Cowboy-Up. The Class of 2012 was taken up to a community center in Grand Rapids and spent the night playing ping-pong and video games, climbing rock walls, and dancing.

Secretiveness is part of the magic that is Gull Lake’s Grad Bash. None of the Seniors know what they’re doing until they’re there. And I think that’s pretty cool. The mystery surrounding Grad Bash makes it exciting. Even if I had the chance to know where we were going, I wouldn’t want to hear it. Because it’s the unknown that we show an interest in.

Mystery is intriguing.

In the end, of course, I’d still go to Grad Bash if it wasn’t a secret. What’s really important about the evening is the camaraderie that fills the heart of every Senior. I can feel it start even now. Sometimes…I walk down the hallway and I look around at the faces of my peers, the faces of my fellow Seniors, and it feels right. It feels like: “Yes. We really did this. We really made it through these 13 years of school.” Of course, we all have much more difficult challenges ahead of us…But we did this. We played the game and we played it well enough to get here. I even feel this connection with kids I barely know. They’re a fellow Gull Lake Senior, and that’s enough to make me want to smile and wave.

Because we did it together. We made it this far together. We’ve seen each other achieve and we’ve seen each other fail. We’ve seen each other laugh and sometimes we’ve seen each other cry. We’ve seen each other excited and we’ve seen each other scared. We’ve each found our niche and we’ve all become different people. Some of us are writers. Some of us are artists. Some of us are Basketball stars. Some of us are PAC Rats. Soccer players. Band Geeks. Poets. Wrestling champs. History buffs. Quiz-Bowlians. Football beasts. Mathematicians. Equestrian masters. Scientists. Golfers. Outcasts. In-Crowd. Track and Cross Country runners. KAMSC kids. Tennis players. Just there. Presidents. Nerds. Jocks. Slackers. Hard workers. Some of us are this. Some of us are that. Some of us are none of the above. And some of us…well, some of us are Idiots. But all of us make up the Class of 2013. And we made it this far together.

That’s what Grad Bash is all about. It’s all about raising a glass to the past 13 years and having one night of relaxed fun before we turn to face the rest of our lives.

Because…the future is pretty scary. But we can think about that after Grad Bash.

To the Gull Lake Class of 2013, I say: “Thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for more than you could ever possibly know.”

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)

The Assignment

December 27, 2012

The Assignment

Currently, my first block is a Guided Study class that takes place in Mr. Nott’s room. I’m there as a member of NHS and I tutor the kids in the class that struggle with completing their homework. It’s actually a lot of fun. I’ve had a few really, really great classes in my High School career, and this class is certainly up there in my favorites.

The kids are great. Mr. Nott is always fun to be around. I’m learning a lot from the experience. And I’ve also been given a very special Assignment.

Mr. Nott offered to let this Guided Study class double as an Independent Study class for me and I jumped at the opportunity. An Independent Study in Drama? Can you say: “Dream come true”? So, Mr. Nott started assigning me plays to read on the side. So far, I’ve read Death of a Salesman, Equus, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds, and The Runner Stumbles. And they’ve all been really, really good. I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me. A man who’s spent his entire Life working in the dramatic arts probably has a pretty great idea of which plays are good and which are bad.

I remember the first day of class when he proposed this idea to me…

“Brian, I was thinking about assigning you a few plays to read…try and see if I can get you interested in studying theatre.”

“Oh, that’s what I was planning.”

“Good. Good. Then I’ve got a few plays that you’ll need to read before going off to college.”

“That sounds great, Mr. Nott.”

And since then, I’ve read four plays. And I can’t wait to read more. Probably the best part about reading these plays is that they’re always coupled with discussion sessions that Mr. Nott and I have when none of the kids need help. We pull two chairs together, sit down, and try to unwrap the layers that surround each of the plays…

I don’t really know how to describe those discussions. I know for a fact that Mr. Nott is an excellent teacher because he knows exactly how to phrase questions in a way that the answer always dawns on me like this beam of light from the heavens. Sometimes, the answer becomes so obvious and so clear to me that I start to laugh. I can’t help it. It’s always the same. It’s this weird feeling of realization I get as I finally understand what the playwright was trying to say and I get a little giddy. And I laugh. But his questions are always asked in a certain order and said in a certain way that I’m guided to the answer that I must have somewhat known all along but I never would have realized without Mr. Nott’s help.

It all kinda reminds me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The way that Charlie receives novels from his English teacher and he reads through them and turns in essays for all of them. Luckily, I don’t have to write essays about all these plays. Nor do I have to read entire novels. It’s pretty easy to burn through a play in just a few hours. A novel is a much larger task.

Anyway, I’m so happy that Mrs. Stanton (the NHS advisor) placed me in that Guided Study class. I’m so happy Mr. Nott is taking the time to kindle the fire of my interest in theatre.

I can’t wait to see what play he’s going to give me next.

-Brian Wiegand (An Idiot, A Superman in training)