Lake Sumter State College's New Administrative Policies

Lake Sumter State College is a school that upholds professionalism, along with friendly staff members that treats the student body with respect and understanding. However, in the past semester, the faculty and students have begun to wonder if the school is getting too professional. The administration staff is beginning to make strict rules regarding student activities and the college as a whole. One of the new rules involves pizza delivery vehicles to show their car insurance when they deliver pizzas for student events.

Lake Sumter’s SGA officers had a few words to speak about this current situation. South Lake’s SGA President, Kaitlin Canterbury, stated, “This new administration has shut down Leesburg’s most popular Halloween House event. This was done under the claim that an inflatable is too much of a liability. However, Leesburg has seamlessly pulled of this event for the past eight years. Later, students performing in Leesburg SGA’s Battle of the Bands were required to carry insurance. Vendors who deliver goods would be required to have their car insurance checked before the delivery was made in case a student were to be hit in the parking lot. It is only a matter of time until this reaches the South Lake campus and affects not only SGA, but also all of our student organizations.  These new policies greatly interfere with the way both campuses have conducted events. The administration also has not communicated with the South Lake campus regarding these new policies, instead telling Leesburg SGA to notify the South Lake SGA. There is no dialogue with the students when communication with the students is a key factor to the success of our college.”

South Lake’s SGA officer Norah Emily stated, “My take on this whole situation, I think that administration is trying to look out for us, however I believe they are being a bit excessive with their decisions and final calls on things. It feels as though they are making decisions based on a fantasy world where we (SGA and the student body) have gotten hurt in the past; when our Reality World, none of us have gotten hurt and the majority of us are all safe adult students who know how to take care of ourselves and can hang out at event s and not get hurt. Administration is, in a sense, being overprotective parents and trying to make us live in a bubble wrap world. Instead of taking everything away like we did something bad; why don’t they just negotiate with us and come up with a compromise that we can both agree on?”

Is LSSC Meeting Its Values: What Do The Students Want?

By: Samantha Redditt
“Some advisors don’t give you exactly what you need when you’re planning for classes and the future”, said second year LSSC student Cristian Crawford, sharing his opinion based on his experience with Lake Sumter staff. “It’s ok to make mistakes sometimes but, when it comes to a student’s future, there’s no room for error!”, he continued. Another second year student, Stephanie Conti, stated that she’d like to see a greater social media output from the school. An anonymous participant wished there was more of a presence on campus for the arts, such as music or theatre. With a student population that is growing more each year, a school such as Lake Sumter needs to be in tune with and adaptive to the needs of its students. On the LSSC website, the school claims to abide by five values that should be covering these needs: “Be Affordable, Be the Best, Be Supportive, Be Challenging, and Be Student-Centered”. However, let’s see how LSSC students feel about the institution’s representation of its standards.

After surveying Lake Sumter students on the South Lake campus, many seem to be satisfied with the school as far as it’s values go. The biggest issues students are having involve the quality of education and the student-centeredness of the school. Some other changes they’d wish to see are included in the accompanying pie chart. Kaitlin Canterbury, LSSC South Lake’s SGA President had a lot to say on this subject, both on changes she would like to see and projects that Student Government is currently working on. “It’d be nice to see more of a partnership with LSSC and Lake Tech, to offer career certificates”, she said while adding that there should be more health-centric events, better-priced vending machines, more options for non-STEM majors, and better grass on campus. Kaitlin also revealed some developments that the SGA is currently working on, such as advocating for a gym on the South Lake campus, trying to convert Building 1 into a student-life area with the addition of the new science building this Fall, and getting more ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) training implemented to keep students safe and informed in dangerous situations.
A survey by U.S. News tells us the most common complaints from college students often include tuition cost, class scheduling, transferring credits, and the quality of professors. However, each college varies in its strengths and weaknesses, and Lake Sumter is no exception. David Weber, Executive Director of Planning and Effectiveness, implements hundreds of bi-annual surveys to Lake Sumter State College students. “The results of the survey data get built into college planning process”, Weber stated in an interview. “Our main areas to improve according to the 2015 surveys included parking, advising, financial aid and scholarships, and student growth”. Although this survey is helpful in some areas, the survey is redundant _ bubble-in questions are also restrictive when it comes to actual input of individual students’ thoughts.
Mr. Weber responded to the concerns over the quality and diversity of classes by saying the school wants to put more focus on general education courses and add more online classes. Implementing technological resources, such as Starfish featured on Blackboard, proactively engage the student and improves student retention. However, many anonymous survey participants admitted that the online classes are taking away quality from the education they’re currently receiving.
When asked about improvements in career opportunity he said, “We have been researching a handful of new program opportunities, some are looked at as being implemented this fall or next spring”. Weber also confirmed the previously mentioned collaboration with Lake Tech in the future, so students can easily move from both institutions. Other plans include replacing Blackboard with a program called Canvas learning management system instead of Blackboard and the beginning of the Health Science Collegiate Academy, a program this coming Fall where a partnership between Lake Sumter State College and Lake County public schools will bring more people into higher education earlier, to earn an associates or college credits during high school.
            Will this year’s anonymous surveys reflect the desires of current and incoming students? Will SGA be able to follow through with the changes they’ve mentioned? Finally, will you make your voice heard? If you are dissatisfied with some aspects of Lake Sumter State College, now’s the time to make it clear as our school continues to make changes and grow. Utilize the school’s suggestion box, attend an SGA meeting, or start a petition. Together we can make Lake Sumter State College a better place for everyone.

Clermont Home to Supercross Legends

By: Sarah Oulman
CLERMONT, Florida – Aldon Baker, one of the most well-known and successful trainers within the Supercross community, is currently training several of the sport’s top riders at his facility, which is located in the Clermont area. In an interview at this training facility, Baker gave a glimpse into what it is actually like to train these professional riders.
            When I asked Baker about his journey to becoming a trainer in his field, he explained that he initially trained individuals, specifically bicyclists, using cardio and strength conditioning techniques. Baker’s cycling career brought him from his home in South Africa to America, and once in the United States, the brand Oakley steered him towards working with motorcycles.
            Baker also explained that his elite training program did not come together quickly. According to the celebrity trainer, “The [conditioning and training] developed over time… It took 17 years to create the full training package”. He utilized his training from his own professional career in cycling and was able to accomplish a great feat, as he is now both well-known and respected throughout his profession.
            For many in the Motocross and Supercross communities, it is common knowledge that many of the professional riders train and live in either California or Florida. In most other places, the conditions wouldn’t allow the riders to constantly train, but in this sport, it is crucial that the athletes are always training and staying in peak condition. During the interview, Baker addressed the facility’s location in Central Florida and explained that the biggest advantage of the area is the weather. “Florida has good clay for tracks, and the riders can train all year round,” he stated. In addition, these professionals prefer Central Florida for several other reasons. Baker shed light on the fact that one major benefit to training in Central Florida is that there is an international airport close to the facility. He explained that “around 90% of races are located on the East Coast,” and with
the airport in such close proximity, the location is perfect for the riders.
Aldon is currently training several of Supercross’ most elite riders, many of whom are currently claiming the top spots in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship. These riders include stars such as Ryan Dungey, Marvin Musquin, Zach Osborne, and Jason Anderson.
A press release from Racer X Online in 2014 explains that Baker has also been the “athletic trainer to champions past and present like Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto, Ken Roczen, Adam Cianciarulo, and more…” (“First Look…”). Ryan Dungey, pictured above on the far right, is currently runner-up in the point standings for the 450’s in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship; while Marvin Musquin, pictured on the far left, is following close behind in 3rd position.
            For those who aren’t as familiar with Supercross as other readers may be, this sport can be defined as “a motorcycle race held in a stadium on a dirt track having hairpin turns and high jumps”. To succeed in Supercross, riders must consistently stay on top of their game, train as much as possible, and be committed to the sport itself.
Consider the fact that the Supercross races are widely televised and watched by many from across the U.S. and the world. These races attract “nearly one million fans in live attendance,” as well as engage with “10 million viewers around the globe weekly”. Once you know that, it is pretty incredible to think that some of the most celebrated riders live and train right here in Clermont. These top athletes have thousands of followers across their social media accounts. However, if you were to run into one of them in Starbucks or Wawa, would you recognize them? For those who follow Supercross or are involved personally in the sport, the answer would probably be yes. While this may be true, for the vast majority of those living in the area, the chances are that these superstar riders would go undetected.
Lastly, I thought it was important to ask Baker about the types of riders he accepts to train at his facility. The renowned trainer revealed that, when he chooses who to work with, he looks for “an individual with a good work ethic, consistency, talent, and ability". Baker went on to explain that his program is extremely difficult, and in order to succeed in both the training and competitions, riders must be able to eliminate any distractions and be motivated enough to give the sport their all.

Whether you have heard of Supercross before or this is your first time learning about the sport, I definitely encourage you to watch one of the races on television or attend one, if possible. The riders work exceptionally hard to compete well in the races, and so much more goes into the process than just simply getting on a motorcycle. Trainers, such as Aldon Baker, push the athletes to do their best every single day, and hopefully, you were able to get a glimpse into the lives of these hidden Supercross stars, many of whom live right here in Clermont. Although the championship is currently coming to a close, there are still a few more opportunities to watch these races in the following weeks. You can tune-in to the races on FS1, FS2, ESPN, FOX Sports GO, and more. For more information regarding the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship or how to get involved, check out the Supercross Live website here:

The Music’s This Way

By: Emily Schmidt

On the good days, the bad days, and the days you’ll remember for the rest of your life, there is usually one thing in common. Rather it be background noise, a full on soundtrack, or a little carpool karaoke, music slips into our lives everyday and contributes to the way we hold on to memories. When you’re sitting in a room full of people, at least a handful of the crowd would say that music on it’s own has created a memory that will go down as the best day of their life. Experiencing live music leaves a lasting impression like no other, and forever changes the way you feel about a certain tune, venue, or band. Today, the live music scene grows bigger and bolder, with a new modern wave of music festivals is becoming the next biggest trend.
In April, one of the largest music in the world, Coachella Valley Music Festival, happened in California’s Palm Desert, attracting over 400,000 people 2 weekends in a row, including myself. The draw to be a part of the magic took over the brains of ticketholders for the 10 months they knew they would be attending the magical desert trip. Coachella is the festival of the elite, where siting celebrities, from the Kardashian’s to YouTubers, is just part of the normal daily excursions. With something this popular, getting tickets isn’t the easiest. Snagging tickets is something that has to be taken very seriously, as they sell out in a matter of hours. Tickets go on sale before the lineup of the festival is released, which is a tactic that many other festivals do as well in order gain attention and speculation from the press and attendees.
Once the lineup is uncovered, they amount of people who will hunt down scalpers, or people who buy tickets and try to sell them for a outrageous markup, in order to get in on the action. Radiohead, Beyoncé, and Kendrick Lamar were the original headliners for the 2017 festival, but unfortunately Beyoncé had to step away due to the fact that she’s pregnant with twins. Many fans of the Queen Bee were disappointed in her departure, but others, including myself, were pleased to see that Lady Gaga would be stepping in her spot on the Saturday night headlining spot.  With world renowned acts coming together all in one place, the draw to the desert stages left people fighting for a spot in the action.
When you see a artist you love announce a performance or a festival appearance, you automatically want to jump in a car, bus, plane or train in order to see them perform, even if it’s just for forty five minuets and you are all the way in the back. There is something magical about live music that leaves people wanting to come back for more. Mark, an employee at the Lake Sumter Book Store, said that the production of sound and the feeling you get when you heard your favorite song is unforgettable. Zach, who provides security at the Lake Sumter Campus, said that maybe his best day ever would have been seeing his favorite band, Tool, live at a festival in Orlando. He notes that the energy you feel when everyone around you is signing along and has the same love for the band that you do, then that moment is unbeatable.     
My favorite memory is seeing my Vampire Weekend at a music festival a few years back, and I would say that Coachella is coming up on a close second to that memory.  Memories made with a connection to music become everlasting and live on in your heart forever. So imagine being reminded of that moment where you look up and see the artists that have changed the way you live your life. These songs and bands have made all of your awful and good days better, and being able to take a moment to personally reflect on those moments, all while standing in a field with thousands of other people who feel the same way is life changing.
Festivals are the future of live music. Being able to sell out venues is becoming difficult, and getting on the roaster for a festival is more convenient. According to Katie Nguyen, a talent booker for major festivals across the nation, headliners for these major festivals can make a few hundred thousand dollars for a 75 minuet timeslot, and second level performers can earn around seventy five thousand dollars for their performances. These prices are too good for most artists to pass up on, which leads to a lineup full of talent from all different genres.

As a college student, I want to live this period of my life to the fullest. I think that being able to make memories and live out great experiences is the best part of life, and attending a music festival with a few old friends, and making a few new ones is an experience like no other. After attending Coachella, I want to spread the word on the magic that it creates, around the festival and inside myself. I want the people my age to go and see all the beauty that comes along with music. Being able to engage with others and create bonds that you will carry for life is one of the most beautiful things we are granted as humans. So next time you see that artist you love performing at a festival that’s a few states away, take the challenge and make it happen. Grab some friends, a tent, and your dancing shoes, forget about work and school, listen to some tunes, and change the way you live forever. 

Inside the World of the Hermit Kingdom : Human Rights

By: Shannon Hansen 
North Korea, also known as the Hermit Kingdom where 24 million people are closed off from the world living under the Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un live in a world unlike many . The defectors of this country have experienced or witnessed inhumane and malicious acts for most of their lives and finally have the voice to tell the horrific stories behind one of the world's most isolated countries.
After the fall of Japan in World War II , Korea had been caught in the Cold War ,and while the northern region was controlled by the communist regime of the Soviet Union The United States had influence over the southern sphere. The first of the Kim family is Kim Il-sung whom had fought alongside the Soviet Union in World War II and following the war went back home and ran for president of his country. It is critical for a North Korean citizen to extensively be knowledgeable of the "Great Marshal" and his family that it is to be memorized and recited at an early age. According to Jihyun Park, North Korean defector , " There are children who learn about the dictatorship before they learn the value of their family, or before they remember their mother or father’s names. Jihyun had fled from North Korea due to the great famine that occurred in the late 90's that had caused her family to starve to death , Jihyun and her brother fled the country leaving behind their dying father ,and to never return again. Jihyun tells The Independent in an interview stories such as hers are common in North Korea.
Among the thousands of North Koreans that reside in South Korea many have difficulty adjusting to everyday life, while buying groceries or going to the cinema may seem mundane to average citizen it is foreign and strange to a defector. Teenage defectors are shocked the most by their sister country South Korea by the drastic contrasting lifestyles between North and South. Without any sort of insight on the outside world they are amazed by plastic cards that hold money and fast food like hamburgers and pizza and the food results indigestion. They are unaware of the difference between mouthwash and laundry detergent. In addition, to the trials of defectors adjusting to life , all adult defectors must forego psychiatric therapy for three months while learning their rights under South Korean law , and other basic skills to adjust to society.  Teenagers can spend two months to two years at remedial boarding school Hangyoreh Middle-High School due to difficulty with basic reading and math. Education in North Korea is useless for life in this country," said the school's principal, Gwak Jong-moon.
Life in the "Hermit Kingdom" is much like it was after the Korean War, majority of the country is unaware astronauts have landed on the moon , television has over thousands of channels, and most of all life does not revolve around the supreme leader. Reporters and journalists have been allowed entry into the country ,but with very strict rules. They allow foreigners to see what they want you to see and have guards beside you at all times. Among the various rules of outsiders into country it is forbidden to photograph any of the supreme leaders without consent and the picture must be full body only.  The restrictions and rules for a foreigner are absurd the rules the North Koreans live by are even more ludicrous. Girls are not allowed to ride bicycles , religion is banned entirely and considered a threat to the state , and viewing western movies is a crime punishable by death says Mina Yoon , a North Korean defector . Western movies smuggled in the country are seen as a "mortal sin" to the state and those who have the films use the utmost caution by covering windows with a "thick duvet" and locking their doors with more than two locks.
Human rights is an alien word and unimaginable to the citizens of North Korea ,   happiness and love is unfamiliar, and freedom is unimaginable. What do young college student, know about North Korea , LSSC student Stephen C. replied to this question by saying," I haven’t heard anything recently about North Korea". Perhaps there is not much coverage of North Korea on the news , another LSSC student comments "the news focus is more directed towards NK as a threat and focuses less on its people."  The unfortunate people trapped inside North Korea have two choices in life; live a normal Korean life under the rule of the Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un struggling to survive and constantly living in fear or taking a life or death chance in hopes of escaping and not being captured and taken back ,but with hope of a better life. Struggling to survive in the country with famine and brainwashed ideas and lies being coerced inside their minds with no sense of freedom or rights they are isolate from any outside help. Fortunately, programs and organizations like Liberty In North Korea, NKFreedom , and HelpingHandsKorea that help North Korean refugees adjust to civilian life is an enormous and impactful way to help and spreading awareness of what life is in North Korea. There are various ways to get involved by giving donations , fundraising , joining a rescue team, and also opening your hearts to the refugees to display kindness and warmth they have not experienced . The citizens of North Korea are prisoners to their own minds and ignorance, and due to no fault of their own they will never forget life in the "hermit kingdom" .

Hurricane Irma Recovery

On Saturday Sept. 9, Florida experienced a record breaking hurricane. Hurricane Irma had no mercy, with bringing down homes, businesses, and flooding neighborhoods. Everyone is still recovering, trying to make up what has been lost. If you are in need of assistance, don't be afraid to reach out. The following information is here to help anybody in the Lake County area. If you need further assistance don't be afraid to talk to officials, even friends, we are all here to help. 

LSSC Emergency Dean Hurricane Irma Recovery Resources
-FEMA Emergency Lodging Assistance Program 1-866-545-9865
-FEMA individual assistance 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
-Florida Disaster open shelters:
-Lake County: Lake Yale Baptist Church (Leesburg) & Grand Isle Baptist Church (Grand Island)
-Sumter County : Sumter Fairgrounds (Bushnell) & Wildwood Community Center (Wildwood)
-Red Cross shelter information 562-254-4498 (cell)
-Search for available local housing (apartments mainly)
-Lake Cares Food Pantry, 2001 W Old US Highway 441, Mount Dora, 352-383-0100
-Catholic Charities/St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, 1351 Paige Place Lady Lake, call 352-753-0989 for updated information on availability
-Family Christian Center Food Pantry, 16215 State Road 50 suite #302, Clermont, 352-242-1895
-New Beginnings Community Food Pantry “Alice’s Place”, Clermont, 352-404-6946
-Real Life Church food program Text “Irma” to 352-577-0115
-SNAP, Department of Children and Families
-Disaster Unemployment Assistance: provides unemployment benefits and reemployment services to individuals who have become unemployed as a result of a Presidential disaster declaration and are ineligible for regular state unemployment insurance (UI).

What Makes a Meme, Part 2: The Basics

A Study by Katie LeJeune
This is the second in a series of articles that will look at what makes memes go viral, as well as how we’ve ended up using them to communicate. You can read part one here.

The checklist for what makes memes go viral seems to be rooted in three key features:
Memes are funny.

Humor is easily the most important aspect of a meme. If it’s not funny, there’s no joke, and therefore no meme. Memes are fairly simple to create, but it’s the humor behind it that really sets the memeage into motion.

Memes are relatable.
Memes represent every emotion on the spectrum, from anger to anxiety and depression to joy. No emotion or situation has been left unmemed, which is important given how vital memes have become to communicating in the modern world.
Memes are easy to recognize.

This is a large part of why visual memes like the Bee Movie are so popular. There’s a distinct image or character that can be represented in various ways. It’s the same with the Lightning McQueen memes. If someone who’s in the know sees that distinct red racing car, they know they’re in for a good laugh.

“When people stop finding a meme funny,” starts Purvas, “it starts to die, and people stop referencing it.”
“Older memes like Pepe the Frog and troll face, they’re still funny but they kinda die out,” Eldredge adds. He then went on to explain the concept of meme calendars, which he believes is the reason so many memes nowadays are losing traction. “There’s a decline in memes because people are pushing too many out [in an attempt to make it on the calendar], and they all die too quickly,” he continues.
Eldredge’s claims are hard to ignore. New memes are born nearly daily, but only a few have the strength to carry on the legacy that memes before them had. At the time of writing, Twitter was obsessed with that screaming Meryl Streep image. Facebook is still churning out minions and macros with a fervor, and Instagram is still screenshotting those and sharing them with hashtags. Tumblr’s doing... well, Tumblr.

The point is memes are just as varied as the people and places that share them, something we’ll look more into in the next installment.

If you’d like to contribute your thoughts on memes, send an email to, subject line: “Re: what makes a meme.”

EDM On The Rise

By: David Vallecillo
Floridians and fans of dance music are taking the opportunity of attending three major music festivals in Florida’s major cities every year, including one known worldwide. From a music scene that made its mark with its first music festival in 1999 with about 1,000 people attending to today where attendance rose to 50,000-150,000 people. Whether you’re a regular festival goer or someone curious on what the hype is all about, attending at least one major dance music festival is something you have to experience at least once in your life.
Many expect to listen to EDM, dance, sing, and enjoy being “Under The Electric Sky”, however, these festivals have more things going on within the crowds. As an attendant of all three major music festivals, I can say that you’ll have a lot more stories to tell than saying you “had fun”.

Ultra Music Festival, located in Miami, is the world’s most recognized EDM festival along with being voted World’s Number One Music Festival by DJ Mag for two years straight. This festival happens every March and only the best DJs play as they can debut their newest songs to 150,000 people. Ultra also live streamed through and found thousands of fans streaming all over the world. As popular and fun the idea of attending Ultra seems, it is also very dangerous. I attended Ultra 2015 where everyone around me had to be more cautious because of the increased security and police. City leaders proposed to shut down Ultra completely because of the many drug incidents; fights, medical incidents, and public intoxications that took place the year before.
During Ultra, I enjoyed the production and quality of all the stages along with the sounds from the prestigious DJs. If I had to say the worst part about my experience at Ultra it would be seeing some people having bad reactions to their drug where they moved unconsciously and uncontrollably along with seeing sexual intercourse in a “Friendly John” port potty. I would only recommend Ultra to those who have experience with music festivals.

That same year I attended Sunset Music Festival in Tampa. Sunset happens every May at Raymond James Stadium where more up and coming DJs and artists play. It is small scaled in production compared to Ultra but safer, friendlier vibes from the crowd and staff. People were dancing with the security guards! This festival was the fewest in attendance of out the major three although I saw that as an advantage because of the extra space to dance away. With the festival scenery being more beach-like I felt that this is a perfect way to start off your summer.

The most local of the major three music festivals is EDC Orlando where I attended in 2016. EDC stands for Electronic Dance Carnival and is the only music festival with rides in it including the well-known Ferris wheel where you can view the main stage from the ride. EDC Orlando was made possible by the famous promoter group, Insomniac, who also hosts the prestigious EDC Las Vegas. This festival was where I experienced true rave culture and the epitome of what the scene is all about. People wore unique outfits and costumes as this festival was popular for allowing people to express themselves in an environment where others do not judge appearance. There was also the custom of exchanging plastic bead bracelets known as “Kandi” that is initiated by two individuals who connect their piece signs together followed by the interlocking of hands where the exchange happens and a final hug. I saw a more mystic and fairy-like scenery with their main stage included a giant owl looking around the crowd. The phrase “Under The Electric Sky” derived from this festival as it was meant to express the love the EDM community had for each other along with uniting under music.

After asking students if they had ever experienced going an EDM festival before and many of them attended at least one. LSSC Student Zach Ray said, “The EDM scene is definitely growing in Florida. You’ll see a lot more people attending these events in the coming years.”

The Tragedy Of Manchester

By: Khrystyne Barnett
On Monday night, May 22nd, tragedy struck Manchester, England. During a time where young and old came together to listen to their beloved artist, Ariana Grande. Salman Abedi, suicide bomber, killed twenty-two people and injured dozens more.
Prayers and wishes of healing are sending to those families and friends of the victims. Many officials such as Lake-Sumter State College’s president, Dr. Sidor, President Trump, and Queen Elizabeth II have given responses on the subject.

“As the events unfold in Manchester, England, I send my deepest condolences to all those here and abroad who have been impacted by these horrific acts. In times such as these, it continues to be important that we take care of one another and our students.  This event may bring up memories of the Pulse attack in Orlando just under a year ago. The LSSC community is strong; we showed that then and I know that we will continue to come together as a community now. - Dr. Stan Sidor

“We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom.”- President Trump

“The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert. I know I speak for everyone in expressing my deepest sympathy to all who have been affected by this dreadful event and especially to the families and friends of those who have died or were injured.”- Queen Elizabeth II

What Makes a Meme, Part 1: An Introduction

By Katie LeJeune  
 A screaming Meryl Streep, 80’s one-hit-wonder sensation Rick Astley, and the kids’ television show LazyTown. First impressions won’t help in figuring out the connection between the items on this list, unless, that is, you know your memes.
The word meme was first coined by Richard Dawkins, a British scientist, in his book The Selfish Gene (1976). Back then, the word meme meant “a unit of cultural transmission.” Its current definition is still true to its roots, but Internet memes, the focus here, are a little more specific. While still allowing the vague freedom associated with previous definitions, the Merriam-Webster description takes into consideration the visual aspects brought forward via the Internet’s nature. But to some, technical definitions don’t truly capture the essence of memes.
“It’s its own form of comedy,” explained self-proclaimed meme connoisseur Jonathan Eldredge, “but not everyone understands it.”
Eldredge’s best friend Ryan Purvas, another connoisseur, joined in: “It’s just something that people make to laugh at.” He shrugged, adding, “Like, not everyone will find an offensive meme funny, but some people will.”
Looking at context of memes is important in understanding them, and a large part of that stems from where we find memes. For connoisseurs Eldredge and Purvas, there’s a big difference in the where, but not in the why.
Eldredge gets most of his memes from Facebook site communities dedicated to memes and video games (Melee Hell in particular was brought up several times). Purvas prefers mobile apps like Instagram and iFunny. Both are able to reap the benefits.
“It’s like, not everyone is comedic,” explained Eldredge. “The easiest way to make someone laugh is to share a meme.”
 It’s also the easiest way to make friends, and no one knows that better than Eldredge. “Me and Ryan, we bonded more over memes than actually being friends.” He looks beside him at Purvas, who dabs slowly, as if to emphasize the point. “It’s like, literally this person would understand this completely, and so you share memes,” Eldredge summarizes.
 This is the first in a series of articles that will look at what makes memes go viral, as well as how we’ve ended up using them to communicate. If you’d like to contribute your thoughts on memes, send an email to, subject line: “re: what makes a meme.”

Universal's Newest Park, Volcano Bay, is set to Open in May

By Emily Schmidt

As Floridians, there is nothing more that we love than sunshine and amusement parks. Volcano Bay is Universal’s new water park that’s taking its home at the heart of I-4. The new park will have over 10 state of the art rides that vary from water roller coasters to a lazy river that’s full of surprises. This park has activities for the whole family.

But perhaps the most enticing part of the brand new waterpark is the brand new technology that comes along with it. There’s nothing more annoying than having to carry those pesky rafts up 4 flights of stairs in order to enjoy the ride. Volcano Bay has made it a goal to avoid making its guests out of breath before the ride even starts. Dale Mason, Vice president and executive art director for Universal Creative, sat down with Orlando Sentinel and explained how the float movement would work, “[t]here are magnets built into the track, so by sequencing the magnets, you actually pull the vehicle through the climbing portions of the attraction.”

With the opening of this huge new expansion for Universal, the company will have to hire nearly 1,700 people, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Jobs will vary from food service to parking, and of course, lifeguards will be needed. Over 400 lifeguards will be hired in order to help keep the park stay afloat. This is a great thing to happen to Orlando and it’s something that can seriously benefit the students of Lake Sumter. On one hand, you will be able to enjoy a brand new theme park that’s located right in our backyard, on the other; you can even seek employment. Either way, both of these options will leave you with a killer tan. The grand opening of Volcano Bay is scheduled for May 25th.

Which course type (seated, online, or hybrid) is for you?

By Kevin Kurz

Lake Sumter offers a variety of ways for students to take classes. If you want the classic college experience, you can sign up for a fully seated class. On the other hand, if you're looking for something a little more flexible, you can register for an online class or mix the two and take a hybrid course. But what course type gives the most bang for your buck?

After surveying students, it seems not all class types are created equally. I asked twenty students four questions:

-Which class type do you prefer?

-In which class type do you learn the most?

-Which class type is the easiest?

-Which class type would you recommend to new students?

Most students enjoy the traditional fully seated classes, while the online format was the least popular across the board. Perhaps this can be explained by student responses to the second question - the one where we find the biggest discrepancy. 60% felt they learned better with the fully seated option.

So what's wrong with online classes? Why do students favor the fully seated and hybrid format over online? Students like Dominic Camerino and Victor Grubman gave some insight. Dominic said, "Online is hard to stay on task at times." Victor claimed, "Online classes lacked guidance." Others felt differently. Andrew Raghunandan, who prefers the hybrid and online style, poses the question, "What's the point of going to class 2-3 times a week if the work is going to be online the majority of the time?"

Success in any course type seems to depend on the student. If you're more of an independently motivated person, online classes might be best for you. However, if you learn more from others, the fully seated format is your best bet. Hopefully, this will be a reminder to analyze our learning preferences before signing up for classes, so that we best set ourselves up for success.

Playlist Live Orlando

By Sarah Oulman

Every year, Playlist Live hosts a weekend-long event in Orlando for YouTube stars and fans alike. This three-day convention allows small Youtubers to gain insight on growing their own channels and gives fans the chance to meet large groups of famous YouTube Creators all weekend long. Attendees fly from across the nation for this event, and the 7th annual Playlist Live Orlando is already set to be one of the best events to date.

As someone who is currently a small Youtuber, I can easily say that I’m excited to attend Playlist Live this May. The convention is being held at the World Center Marriot again, and as usual, the hotel will be packed with attendees. Fans have the chance to meet their favorite stars at meetups, but for those staying at the hotel, there’s always a high chance of running into Youtubers by the pool or in the lobby. You never know who might end up in the elevator with you!

Playlist Live hasn’t released the full lineup of YouTube Creators yet; however, Ricky Dillon, The Gabbie Show, Rickey Thompson, Griffin Arnlund, and so many other well-known Creators have already been announced!

No matter what style of videos or content you tend to watch on YouTube, Playlist Live has something for everyone. Attendees can watch live concerts, listen in on panel discussions, meet their favorite Creators, and so much more. If this convention interests you, check it out and don’t miss out on a fun weekend in May!

Find out more about the event here:

We are not alone!

By David Vallecillo

For you curious or aspiring astronomers, NASA confirmed February 22nd; they discovered seven Earth-sized planets through their Spitzer Space Telescope. Astronomers also found that three out of the seven planets were located in habitable zones for potential life.

The Spitzer Space Telescope is NASA’s 720 million dollar infrared space telescope launched back in August of 2003. Spitzer trailed the seven new planets and bought NASA scientists 256x256 pixel detected photos of the planets and some of its surface. NASA’s scientists are able to conduct further studies of the planets surface thanks to the Spitzer.

“You can just imagine how many worlds are out there that have a shot to becoming a habitable ecosystem,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, an associate administrator at NASA during a news conference.

NASA named the planets, TRAPPIST-1, and is 235 trillion miles away from the Earth. Scientific study determined that the planets are positioned in habitable zones based on their distance from the sun. Two of the planets were found to be at the right temperature to inhibit oceans. This discovery impacted NASA scientists and aspiring astronomers as further study of TRAPPIST-1 has led to wonders of sustainable atmospheres.

"The TRAPPIST-1 system provides one of the best opportunities in the next decade to study the atmospheres around Earth-size planets," said astronomer, Nikole Lewis."The TRAPPIST-1 system provides one of the best opportunities in the next decade to study the atmospheres around Earth-size planets," said astronomer, Nikole Lewis.

Nikole was the first to announce the discovery of the seven new planets at NASA headquarters.

To find more exclusive and interesting facts about each planet, you can visit the NASA website here;

International Women’s Day, Everyday

By Kelsey Griggs

On March 8th, women everywhere came together for a day of equality. This day is known as International Women’s Day, a day celebrating feminism. On this day, feminism was celebrated globally. The women, and some men, of Lake Sumter State College found themselves looking at what feminism meant to them.

Despite the true definition of feminism, everyone defines the word differently. However, most believed in the same core value: equal rights for all people. When asked if they considered themselves feminists, most responded with a resounding "yes."

One female student, Nyssa Phokakul, includes denying gender roles in her definition. “In society, we are expected to be the ‘stay at home housewife’ when we are capable of doing much more than that.” Another female student stresses safety for women in her definition, saying that “To be a feminist is to want every woman to be able to walk down the street without being cat called.” She even plans to carry this with her into her career, where she plans to focus on helping rape and sexual assault victims as a psychologist.

Students Carina Vitale and Alara Nigro plan to use their feminist strength to become doctors. Alara Nigro explains that, “As a woman, most people expect you to be a nurse, but why stop there? Women can be doctors, and they can save as many lives as a man.”

Male student, Joshua Lowe, says he is a feminist, and he believes in “equality for women in all aspects.” Of course not all people consider themselves feminists. One male student, Adam Gross, does not identify as a feminist due to their radical nature. Instead, he just knows he believes in equality, regardless of gender, race, or sexuality.

Feminism may get a bad reputation, but the heart of the movement delivers one key message: a woman can do anything she sets her mind to, not just on the International Women’s Day, but every day.

LSSC's Short Play Festival 2017

By Kevin Yurasek, Director of Marketing & College Relations

Lake-Sumter State College will host The Short Play Festival 2017 featuring 32 short plays performed in 2 distinct shows. Tickets are $5 and available at the door.

LSSC began accepting submissions of 1-minute, 5-minute, and 10-minute plays in October, 2016, and within 2 months, received nearly 900 submissions from writers across the world. Of those, 32 have been selected and divided into two unique shows. Show 1 will be performed on Thursday, April 6th and Saturday, April 8th at 7:30pm and Show 2 will be performed Friday, April 7th at 7:30pm and Sunday, April 9th at 2:00pm.

The shows, with several world-premiers, will feature works by a number of prestigious playwrights, including a Juilliard fellow, an Emmy-winning writer, and a recipient of the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship.

Also among the selected writers are two Lake-Sumter State College students, who have been mentored by LSSC faculty as they prepare their works. Following the performances, the College will be sponsoring their membership to the Dramatist Guild of America.

Show 1 will also feature fight direction by Robert Aronowitz, an acclaimed fight director from New York who does fight choreography for colleges and university across the country, including Juilliard and NYU. He has also worked on a number of films and television shows.

The shows are directed by Amber Karlins, an LSSC English Instructor. Karlins is also an author, playwright, and screenwriter having won several dozen international writing awards, including Best Screenplay at the Charleston International Film Festival and 3rd place in the Best New Screenwriter category at the London Film Awards.

Press invitations to a meet & greet with LSSC students involved in the performances and selected playwrights are forthcoming.

A Foodie's Guide to Gluten-Free Eating

By Rachel Ilardi

What is gluten? According to The Celiac Disease Foundation, it’s “a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together.” In those with Celiac disease, gluten “damages the small intestine and nutrients can't be absorbed”, as stated by WebMD.

However, there are many food choices out there for us! Some of my top picks for gluten-free food: Chick-Fil-A and Chipotle are all the rage these days. Both websites show a detailed allergen list, showing which foods contain common allergies. Chipotle’s chart states that everything, except their tortillas, are gluten-free!

Hamburgers are everywhere and can be ordered in a lettuce wrap or on a gluten-free bun. These lettuce wraps can be found at Five Guys and BurgerFi. Others, like Red Robin, Culvers, and Wahlburgers actually provide their customers with gluten-free buns! Feel like staying in? Take a trip to Publix, where there are many gluten-free options. My favorites include Udi’s, Against the Grain, Glutino’s, and Amy’s, which also includes vegetarian options.

If you’re up for exploring, try Sprinkles and Erin McKenna’s bakery in Disney Springs! They offer amazing gluten-free desserts. My top find for gluten-free food is Uno’s in Winter Garden. They make fresh gluten-free dough into your own individual size circle of cheesy heaven. My family agrees the gluten-free pizza crust is better than the regular!

Their service for your gluten-free needs is amazing. If you ever visit that location, ask for Matt as your server. As we ordered, he took the time to explain exactly how they keep gluten-free pizzas away from contamination. Matt even asked specifically for a gluten-free shift in the kitchen so that he could thoroughly explain the process to customers. I’ve never found such great customer service when looking for gluten-free food.

LSSC Loves the South-Lake Animal League!

By Samantha Redditt

Tuesday, March 7th, Lake Sumter’s Student Government hosted an Animal Rescue Event. SGA brought some furry friends to campus! From 11 am to 1 pm at the Sails Pavilion, three puppies were waiting to play and hopefully get a forever home. These dogs were brought by the South Lake Animal League, a nonprofit, no-kill shelter, which houses approximately 125 animals monthly available for adoption by anyone 21 years or older.

Organizer of this event, SGA member Natasha Figueroa, said that this is “a great way to remind people the importance of adopting from animal shelters. Some dogs are mistreated in their homes and then just get left in places like this.”

The South Lake Animal League is located at 4648 Baptist Island Road in Groveland. Vivian Zielinski, an adoption coordinator with the shelter loves the shelter and said, "for the first time in my life, I love coming to work every day. It's an amazing place to work!"

We can all do our part to improve the lives of these animals in need. Whether it’s adopting a new pet, volunteering your time, or making a donation, they always welcome a helping hand. More details about the SLAL and pets available for adoption can be found at:

LaMelo Ball’s 92 Point Performance Impressive or Too Easy?

By David Vallecillo

“He started on fire. Just attacking the rim. They tried to double-and triple team him after he scored 45,” said father of Chino Hills’ basketball star, LaMelo Ball, following his 92 point scoring performance against Los Osos that’s got the attention of the national media. LaMelo Ball is a 15-year-old sophomore who attends Chino Hills High School in California and is the youngest of the three buzzing Ball brothers who also play basketball.

Ball’s performance Tuesday night led many fans and current players question whether his performance was impressive or just too easy.

On paper, Ball’s performance seems incredible but after the highlight video came out it showed Ball barely running half court to play defense which led to him getting open and scoring easy layups every possession. The highlight video went viral and it left many critical comments including a viral one from a current NBA Player.

Support the Orlando Cat Café

By Sarah Oulman

In a collaborative effort with The Animal League and Axum Coffee, the Orlando Cat Café has quickly risen in popularity amongst locals in the Clermont area and even travelers from across the country. Here, patrons have the opportunity to not only play with the sweetest rescue cats but also to give these furry friends some new homes. Getting a new pet is a major commitment. The Cat Café allows you to meet your furry friend in a comfortable environment before making your decision.

“The Cat Café usually has anywhere from 12-18 cats at a time,” said Kathie Camara, a volunteer working with the cats. Since opening in September of 2016, there have been 60 successful adoptions, which is a wonderful feat!

The cat play area and café are separated with two different air conditioning systems, meaning there is no cross contamination. As a result, those who are allergic can grab a coffee and watch the felines through a glass viewing window.

According to one worker named Chelsea, many people find the experience very stress-reducing. “A lot of people that can’t have cats come here so they can get their fix,” she stated. She explained that many people have family members who are allergic to cats, and for these animal lovers, coming to the Cat Café allows them to spend time with some sweet rescues.

The Orlando Cat Café has so much to offer, from serving coffee and baked treats at the café area to bringing rescue cats and potential pet parents together. They even host yoga with the cats several times a month, as well as a Pilates class! You won’t want to miss out on a wonderful time over at the Orlando Cat Café, so go pay the rescue a visit next time you’re in Cagan Crossings! Learn more at:

Christina Grimmie’s Leaving a Legacy

By Rachel Ilardi

“Christina Grimmie is dead.”

I was working at a Children’s ministry event that Saturday afternoon when I got the text. After a swift sadness, I was hit with a sudden jolt of shock. Just last night, Grimmie held a concert in Orlando that my friends and I had planned to attend, until one by one, all of our plans fell through.

Immediately, I needed to know what happened.

My heart racing, my friend told me that she was gunned down during her meet and greet after the show.

On June 10, 2016, Kevin James Loibl entered the The Plaza Live with the clear intent to shoot Grimmie. Further harm was avoided after Marcus Grimmie, Christina’s brother, tackled the man. This tragic event shook fans all across the globe. A sudden wave of grief hit all social media outlets that weekend, as fans and many celebrities took to memorializing Grimmie. The internet saw many dedicate songs to her life, such as Selena Gomez, singing a moving version of Transfiguration by Hillsong Worship, and Justin Bieber, fighting back tears as he dedicated his song Purpose. Lisa, a student at the South Lake campus, knew that the singer must’ve had a huge impact during her time on The Voice when Adam Levine, Grimmie’s former coach, offered to pay for the entire funeral.

Today, her memory still lives on in the hearts of fans and thanks to her family, Christina Grimmie’s impact lives on. On February 17th, the Grimmie family released their daughter’s song, Invisible, which she recorded before her death. According to Marcus Grimmie, his sister recorded somewhere from 50 to 60 songs before her death and their family plans to put the recordings to good use. Currently, the family is setting up the Christina Grimmie Foundation in her honor. All proceeds from her released music will go toward this fund, which will in turn serve causes that Christina Grimmie was passionate about during the course of her life. In personal experience, I have never gotten as emotional about a celebrity death as I did with the life of Christina Grimmie. Her impact was so powerful in so many ways and that legacy will continue to live on. In her spirit, the Christina Grimmie Foundation will push further to change more lives.

Support this cause by purchasing Christina’s new song, Invisible, and spreading the word about how this family overcame a tragic situation and turned it for good.

Devos the New Boss

By Kevin Kurz

On February 7th, Vice President Mike Pence voted in favor of Besty Devos, breaking a 50/50 tie in the Senate and confirming her as the Secretary of Education.

Devos's nomination was extremely controversial. Senators received a record-setting average of 1.5 million phone calls a day until her confirmation hearing. With such a controversial figure becoming the head of public education, I wondered how Lake Sumter felt. Asking a variety of students and staff at the South Lake Campus what their reaction to Devos's confirmation was, I got answers ranging from surprised and appalled to "Who is Betsy Devos?" The one reaction I did not receive was excitement.

The biggest criticisms were over her lack of experience and allegations of bribery. Jerod Cinco, (student), said, "If you're the head of public education, you should have experience in public education." Before being confirmed, Devos had never attended nor worked in a public school. Others worried she bought her position. Florida Senator Rubio received $93,000 from Devos and voted yes on her confirmation. Kristian Algarin, (student) commented, "The money shows she had influence over him."

Despite these apprehensions, some believe she can have a positive impact if she focuses on the right issues. David Walton, (professor) says, "I hope she addresses macro level issues, she won't be able to fix every little problem. She should focus on larger matters such as the college debt crises."

Love or hate her; she is in charge. Let's hope her success is our success.

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