Several weeks ago, millions of Americans tuned in to watch Super Bowl LIII, which saw the New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams in a low-scoring game. One of the most talked about elements of the event, however, was the Halftime show. Headlined by the pop rock band Maroon 5 and their lead vocalist Adam Levine, the show also featured special guests, including rapper Travis Scott and Outkast member Antwan “Big Boi” Patton.
To the surprise of many people, however, the performance included a surprise cameo by the animated cartoon character SpongeBob Squarepants. The titular character of the popular Nickelodeon animated TV show of the same name, SpongeBob instantly made headlines with his appearance, despite the confusion of some.
To explain why SpongeBob was included in the Halftime show, one must go back several months to the tragic passing of SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg on November 26, 2018, who died after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In response, SpongeBob fan Israel Colunga started a petition on Change.org to have Hillenburg honored at the then-upcoming Super Bowl LIII, “as a tribute to his legacy, [and] his contributions to a generation of children.”
Colunga proposed Maroon 5 perform an iconic song from SpongeBob, titled “Sweet Victory.” Initially created by rock singer David Glen Eisley, “Sweet Victory” debuted in Season 2 of the show, in the episode “Band Geeks.” Released on September 7, 2001, “Band Geeks” saw SpongeBob’s neighbor Squidward Tentacles putting together a band to perform at the “Bubble Bowl”, the show’s parodied version of the Super Bowl. Ultimately, SpongeBob performed “Sweet Victory”, to the great appeasement of Squidward. “Band Geeks” has been recognized by both fans and critics alike as one of the best episodes of the series.
Colunga’s petition gained well over a million signatures in the weeks before the Super Bowl. In response, the Twitter accounts of Maroon 5 and Mercedes-Benz Stadium (The Super Bowl venue) teased a performanced of Sweet Victory at the game. During a rehearsal of Maroon 5’s performance, several reporters noticed an image of SpongeBob on the screens inside the stadium. Heading into Super Bowl LIII, many seemed confident that “Sweet Victory” would be performed.
During the Super Bowl, however, only a brief clip from “Sweet Victory” was played, in addition to a short animation featuring Squidward and SpongeBob. The quick intro to “Sweet Victory” was performed as a method to introduce rapper Travis Scott and his expletive-heavy performance of “Sicko Mode.”
While some appreciated Maroon 5 permitting a cameo from SpongeBob in their performance, many were outraged at the group, viewing that it was an inadequate tribute to Hillenburg - and that nothing short of playing the song itself would suffice. Furious Reddit users even caused the site to crash for several minutes. “Heading into the show, people were expecting a bit more than a wink and a nod, with many folks believing that Maroon 5 might be playing ‘Sweet Victory,” reported Kevin Skiver of CBS.
It is confusing why the NFL did not allow for “Sweet Victory” to be played during the show. Maroon 5 was already surrounded in controversy before their performance, with many potential artists, including Rihanna, Cardi B. and Jay-Z declining to perform at Super Bowl LIII in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick's controversial protests of the National Anthem. Maroon 5 was even criticized for accepting an invitation from the NFL to perform. A performance of “Sweet Victory” could have been a way for the NFL to gain positive press coverage in the wake of so much controversy. Instead, Maroon 5 has been heavily scrutinized for not playing “Sweet Victory”, and the rest of their performance was panned by critics as well. Bryan Rolli of Forbes even described it as a “boring halftime show performance for an incredibly boring Super Bowl.”
Ultimately, Maroon 5 missed the mark on their Super Bowl LIII Halftime show - and one can only hope that next year’s performance will be less controversial and more exciting.
This is why each year the senior class hosts a fashion show at McMahon, where students can have fun and show off extravagant clothing to their peers. There are categories such as formal and casual wear that students get to model for their parents and friends. It is also a way to raise money for the senior Post Graduation Party (PGP). People who buy raffle tickets have a chance of winning prizes such as an iPad. This is a fun way for students to release their inner-model and have the spotlight for themselves.
The way the fashion show works is that there needs to be over 100 students that volunteer to participate. This is all because numerous stores donate their clothes for students to wear. Seniors are also required to sell as many raffle tickets as possible to collect funds for their class. There is a certain amount of money they have to collect in order to have a PGP and if the goal isn’t met, then this might not be possible.
Mrs. Duddy, a parent who is in charge of the raffle for the Fashion Show said, “In the past we have found that having at least 100 models makes it more financially successful because it is a major fundraiser to run the PGP. The more participating, the more people will buy the tickets and come support the graduating seniors.”
Unfortunately, this was not the case this year. Two weeks ago there was a meeting in the cafeteria and it was released that only about 60 seniors had signed up to participate in the event. In the past there has been over 100 students participating in this school production. Most of the people in charge of this event are parents from students attending McMahon, and they were the ones who called for a meeting. After some debating between coordinators (parents) and students, it was announced by that the 2019 Fashion Show was cancelled. A lot of the students that had volunteered to model were upset by this.
“It is a tradition that has been going on at McMahon for so long and it was just upsetting to hear it would be my class that ends it,” Jason Cabrera (‘19) said after the meeting.
However after listening to the students that had signed up and wanted the show to happen, coordinators (parents) of the event have decided that the show must go on. Last week was the first official meeting and the date of the event has been rescheduled for March 22nd.
Senior class president, Victoria McCaffrey, encourages her classmates to be more involved in school activities. “It is such an amazing event because us seniors get to come together and create another memory! Also even if it’s out of your comfort zone, sign up anyway. There are a lot of people that are on the same boat as you, but once you get up there you will realize how much fun you’re having. Overall, it is so fun to get dressed up and have fun with your classmates.”
Josh Stendbergh moves with a fixed purpose and destination through the hallways with his school issued chromebook opened flat on his hip, connected to his over-ear headphones. Stendbergh, a freshman at McMahon, isn’t hard of hearing or ignoring those around him, he’s just trying to stay focused.
Stendbergh, best known for being the boy with the open laptop, has become a fixture at this school; however, Pridetime wanted to know a little more about this energetic, yet relaxed freshman.
“I am one of those guys who focuses a lot through music,” says Stendbergh.
Stendbergh says he listens to all types of music, “Country, Rock, Rap, R&B, everything.” He listens to music in order to cancel out the noise and distraction in the hallways sometimes.
Stendbergh says he’s always motivated to do things in my life, it’s just the focus he has to put into it to get it done. His goal is to stay focus, get his work done, and have his freetime after.
In his freetime, he plays video games, listens to music, does his homework, and comics. His favorite console is the PlayStation 4 where he plays Call of Duty and Over Watch. He likes to relax after he does his homework.
In the future, Stendbergh wishes to be an animator. He watches and teaches himself animations. One of the biggest things he does in his free time is also watch and make his own comics.
Out of all the people in his life, he gets a little emotional and expresses that he looks up to his mom because she’s always been there for him no matter what and helps him through anything and everything.
Stendbergh wants people to know that he’s very friendly. He’s either listening to music while going about his day or acknowledging, greeting and communicating with people.
Even though you see Stendbergh in the hallways with his chromebook listening to music, it’s great to make new friends and find out different things about different people.
For the past four years, senior Charlotte Hussey has walked the halls of Brien McMahon with a purpose: to get into Chamber Choir, get a lead in the musical, and have success in lacrosse. With the four years coming to a close, Hussey can say that she has successfully completed two-thirds of her goals.
“Even if you don’t accomplish all of your goals, you will learn a lot and have fun along the way,” Hussey says.
Ranking 10th in the senior class, Hussey does so much more than just study for tests and quizzes. In the fall, she plays on the varsity Soccer team, in winter she performs in the musicals, and in the spring, she plays Varsity Lacrosse. While doing so, she is also the senior class treasurer, president of the Junior Rowayton Civic Association, and a member of the Chamber choir.
While coping with stress and anxiety, Hussey has had multiple accomplishments throughout her time at McMahon. From being recognized as a News 12 Scholar Athlete to being accepted into the University of Michigan, Hussey hasn’t stopped working hard to reach her goals. With three more college decisions on the way, Hussey has much to look forward to in the future. If you would like to see Hussey in action, come see her play the role of Lisa in Mamma Mia on March 8, 9, 15, and 16 or catch her playing lacrosse on the field in the spring as #1.
Yerson Villalobos is a sixteen-year old freshman just starting at McMahon, who has dealt with a lot, but tries to see the positive in difficult situations. Three months in at a completely different school, Villalobos is beginning to see the difference from his life before to his life now.
Villalobos started first grade at the age of seven at a public school in Honduras until he was twelve years old. Later, he got the opportunity to go to an educational institution called El Sembrador with a full scholarship by taking a test that he passed. At El Sembrador students are committed to the integral development. They provide growth opportunities that are shaping new students with high spiritual and moral values. The only downfall was that he would have to live on campus at this school since it was almost an hour away from his home and he was only given the chance to leave once a month.
He had been studying in El Sembrador for four years before he came to the U.S. It was hard on both him and his family because he wasn’t able to see them everyday. He and eight other boys slept on mattresses with stacked up wood in one room. The room was big enough for all of them to sleep on one side and do homework on the other. They were woken up at five in the morning everyday by a bell signifying that they had to get ready for school. At two in the afternoon, when school ended, the bell rang again reminding them to go to work.
“Once the bell rang at two, that meant we all had to get in a straight line together and walk to work. If you were late you’d get in trouble,” Villalobos says. “We worked two hours a day without getting paid and we all had different jobs.”
The school had its own rules and was very strict, meaning the students had limited chances to get penalized or they’d be taken out of the school. They were punished by cutting down trees or veneering items every Saturday if they were found not respecting the school rules. Although the school was strict and competitive, Villalobos explained that it wasn’t always like that. “Once in a while, all the students would get together and compete in any game you could ever imagine which was always a lot of fun. We did plays and played in our school band, too.”
Villalobos couldn’t keep in contact with his family throughout the week since one of the rules was to not have any technology devices with you. He was given a phone on Friday afternoons and had to return it on Sunday afternoons before classes started on Monday. “We were given an old fashioned phone during the weekends because we weren’t allowed to have new phones.” Villalobos says, “The first thing I would do when I had it was call my family immediately because I would miss them so much during the week.”
During the time Villalobos was in El Sembrador, his father got very ill. Villalobos wasn’t able to leave school without his mother picking him up. She couldn’t take him out since she was far, so she had to call the school to let the administrators know that Villalobos needed to be dismissed. That’s when his mother decided that they would move to the U.S for a better life of their own. Villalobos then dropped out of school and packed his bags to start his new journey.
“When my mother first told me that we had to go to the U.S., I wasn’t very excited. It wasn’t that I was scared, I just didn’t want to leave the environment I was in,” Villalobos explains. “After thinking about it and seeing the positives, I thought about what it would be like to live in a totally different country and finally reunite with my family again.”
Villalobos has very few family in U.S. including his older brother who is a McMahon alumni, who he hadn’t seen for years. The process of Villalobos and his mother coming to the U.S. as immigrants was overwhelming, but they knew that it would be worth it.
After finally getting comfortable at a new school, Villalobos says. “This school is bit more relaxed and simple but I imagine as you go into a higher grade, it will start to get more difficult. Since I started the school year late, I want to focus on sports next year as well as maintaining my grades.” Villalobos had mentioned that he is very athletic and likes just about any sport. His favorites including soccer, volleyball, and basketball. He is hoping to make the soccer team next year and follow in his older brothers’ footsteps.
Villalobos’ future is very important to him, as well as his family and making them proud. “In the future I plan on graduating, getting into a good college, and becoming an engineer. I know by studying and working hard I will be able to make that happen.”
Have you ever wondered why AirPods are so popular? Why have they been such a huge trend? AirPods were released on December 13th, 2016. but this past Christmas was beneficial to the Apple company due to so many people purchasing the Apple product. If you observe closely when walking down the McMahon hallways, you’ll realize the amount of students wearing AirPods, but why? What makes AirPods so appealing?
According to McMahon students, especially the athletes, the feature of no wires is more beneficial than just the way it looks.
“AirPods are great for athletes, I don’t have to worry about the wires getting in the way when I’m working out at the gym,” said McMahon star swimmer Henry Velasquez (‘20).
Soccer player Aly Molina (‘21) agreed, “If anyone runs with regular headphones they know it sometimes becomes irritating when the wire starts to move around with you while you’re running and you try to find a place to put it. They’re discrete and there’s no problem with them getting in the way of your work out.”
However AirPods have many other flaws, due to Apple’s recent iPhone releases, which now require an adapter if users want to charge and use wireless headphones at the same time, many iPhone users got sick of this and used AirPods as a way out.
“I was really annoyed with having to bring two different sets of headphones with me to school (one set for my phone and one set for my computer),” said Molina (‘21).
The technology has also been an amazing asset of the trending product. You can easily pause a song by tapping on one of the pods and skip a song by tapping on the other. AirPods connect to your phone through Bluetooth. To charge your AirPods you simply place them back in the case, and to charge you’re case you must plug the lightning cable into the connector on your case (which comes with Airpods) and then plug the other end of the cable into a USB port.
Although the apple product just recently became a huge thing in Norwalk despite the product being released a few years ago, AirPods have predicted to have selling numbers from 50-55 million by next year, and increase to 100-110 million by 2021.
AirPods have overall been a huge impact of late 2018 and 2019 to apple consumers, especially the youth. I’ve had AirPods for a few months now and I’ve had a great experience with them so far,” Molina (‘21) claimed.
Apple fans have even more fantastic news coming up this year. It has said to be that “AirPods 2” will be released in 2019. There has been multiple rumors that they will be released in the first half of this year. This device will surely shake the world.