The Paw Print

Novi Middle School's Student Newspaper

Volume 20 Issue 6 / February 12, 2020

NMS IN THE NEWS

Novi Middle School Orchestra performing

Orchestra and Band prepare for annual MSBOA Festival

By Sudeshna Phanindra Kumar

For students in both seventh and eighth grade participating in the band and orchestra, it’s that time of year - festival time! But, this is not just any kind of festival.


Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) was founded on February 3rd, 1934 by Dale C. Harris and Mac E. Carr. MSBOA not only hosts Band and Orchestra Festival, but also competitions such as All-State, State Solo and Ensemble Festival, State Jazz Ensemble Festival, and much more.


MSBOA Festival takes place on Saturday, February 29th, at Walled Lake Western High School. This is an event where orchestra students perform their concert pieces and sight read for a group of judges. Sight-reading is when students and the conductor get a piece they have never seen before and have to play it for the judges to the best of their ability. The orchestra then gets graded on how well they play.


The seventh-grade Concert Orchestra is playing the pieces: Double Trouble, Ablaze, and Asia Minor, while the eighth-grade Symphonic Orchestra is playing the pieces: Russian Sailor’s Dance, Tam Lyn, and Two Songs of Newfoundland.


Everyone is both excited and nervous about this important event, but the real question is, are they ready? Let’s find out from some staff and students from NMS.


Ms. Hickey says, “For sight-reading, we need to work on the notes and rhythms. Also, we need to improve on recognizing the key signatures. For the concert pieces, we need to work on the piece as a whole in order to do well in Festival.”


Some more band and orchestra players said that they do not feel ready and need to keep working on the rhythms. While, on the other hand, some other bands and orchestra players are saying that their class is doing OK, but still have to fine-tune a few areas.

AP or IB? Deciding is not as easy as 1-2-3

By Prannav Kadhirselvan

High school scheduling is very hard to decide. I will try to help you with deciding it. High school years are very important years for any teen. It is important to make the right choice for your schedule. Make your schedule based on your interests and your passion which will make you enjoy high school. If you do courses based on what your future job is going to be, then there is a chance that you will be accepted in a college that teaches the specified education.


AP Courses

Advanced Placement is abbreviated as AP. Advanced Placement is a program run by the College Board (the makers of the SAT) that allows you to take courses at your high school, which can earn you college credit only if you pass the test and/or qualify you for more advanced classes when you begin college. AP classes are designed to give you the experience of an intro-level college class while you’re still in high school. AP exams are scored from 1-5. If you get above a 3, you pass the AP class. The test for AP courses is about $94. AP Capstone is a 2-year course: AP Seminar for 11th grade and AP Research for 12th grade. AP Capstone course develops students' skills in research, analysis, evidence-based arguments, collaboration, writing, and presenting. AP classes will only give you credit for colleges in the US, unlike IB courses.


IB Courses

International Baccalaureate is abbreviated as IB. IB courses also give college credit. B classes come in two forms: "higher level" and "standard level". Some colleges only give credit for the higher-level classes (like Stanford). IB class tests are ranked 1 to 7. Unfortunately, taking an IB exam isn’t cheap. There's a $172 registration fee as well as a $119 fee per exam. Like AP Capstone, IB diploma is a program that makes you do almost all IB courses in 11th grade and 12th grade. It is a rigorous course and you also have to do a 4,000-word essay over 2 years with the assistance of teachers and 150 hours of community service in 11th grade and 12th grade in order to get the IB diploma. Colleges really accept IB diplomas.


IB vs AP

What is better for college credit AP or IB? Well… they technically both are the same, but AP courses are slightly better than IB courses, but it depends on who you ask. However, according to some, the IB diploma is way better than AP capstone because colleges respect it more (like Penn State). It is extremely normal to take a normal course, but it will not give you college credit. It is normal to not take AP Capstone and IB Diploma.

Why do we have leap years?

By Milan Thurman

This year is 2020, and that means a lot of special events- the U.S. Presidential election, the Olympics, and one in particular- the leap year, where another day is added to the month of February. All of these events happen to fall on the same four-year rotation. So what does the leap year mean? And how is it even possible to just cram another day into the year?


When was the leap year started?

The leap year has existed for thousands of years, starting in 45 BC with Julius Caesar. He founded the Julian calendar, an early Roman system of keeping track that seemed almost perfect. However, a mistake was made, causing the estimation of a year to be off by 11 minutes and 14 seconds. This may not seem by much, but by the 1500s, the calendar was 10 days off--and that was a problem.


It was solved by the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, which corrected for the mistakes of the Julian calendar, and skipped ahead to reset. The Gregorian calendar, which is now used today, added on February 29th as the new leap day. Interestingly enough, the Julian calendar’s leap day did not have February 29th, it simply repeated February 23rd.


How is the leap year possible?

The Julian Calendar decreed that an extra day should be added in any year divisible by four (1400, 1996, 2020, etc). But how could you just shove another day in the year without disrupting the year as a whole? As it turns out, the Earth’s full orbit around the Sun- a year- is not 365 days as we’ve been taught, it’s 365 days and around 6 hours (to be precise, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds). So, if you multiply 6 hours by 4 years, you get 24 hours- exactly one day.


Leap Years and Centuries

In every year divisible by 100, the leap day is skipped.Why? Turns out a year is not exactly 365.25 days, it is actually 365.242216 days long. It might not be a big difference, but it adds up. Also, in every year divisible by 400, the leap day isn’t skipped. To put this simply, 1600 and 2000 are leap years, but 1700 and 2100 are not.


Interesting Leap Year Facts

  • If we hadn’t added the leap year in 45BC, by 1460, we’d already have been a whole year behind.

  • Only 0.07% of the world is born on a leap day. That’s a 1 in 1,461 chance.

  • Rapper Ja Rule and Khaled are “leap day babies,” which are babies who are born on February 29th.

BEYOND OUR BLUE ROOF

Coronavirus putting the world on high alert

By Mandira Sardar

A new virus strain is taking over the world. It's a form of coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The outbreak started in Wuhan, China, and it's spreading incredibly fast. Normally, this is a virus in birds and mammals. But with humans, it causes respiratory issues and in other forms, (ie. SARS) and it can be lethal.


At first, it was thought that it came from a seafood market that some cases were possibly linked to. However, the very first person had not even come into contact with it.


“The first person known to have been infected by the Wuhan coronavirus had never visited the city’s seafood market – regarded as the epicenter of the outbreak – according to Chinese researchers”, says the South China Morning Post.


In an article by the Lancet, only 27 of 41 patients had come into contact with the market. So what about the other 14 people? This increases the possibility of the initial jump occurring elsewhere. Later on, more people getting infected reported not going to the market (Chinese health authorities), indicating person-to-person transmissions.


As of February 11, 2020, there have been a total of 44,794 reported cases with 1,112 deaths. Person-to-person spread has also been reported outside of China, including in the United States and other countries (CDC). The number of cases in China spiked before the Lunar New Year when people are traveling. While the Chinese government issued the quarantine on Wuhan last month, about 5 million people had already been traveling, increasing the risk of the disease spreading.


On February 2, the United States government placed travel restrictions for all people who had visited China in the previous 14 days. The government suspended entry for foreign nationals while US citizens and residents are subject to health monitoring and quarantine. The CDC expects that the number of cases in the US will increase over time due to person-to-person transmission.


According to the CDC, symptoms may include coughing, fever, shortness of breath, or even pneumonia.


Since there is no vaccine, some of the best ways to stay healthy or prevent the spread of the virus are:

  • Wash your hands before and after you eat or rub your nose, eyes, or mouth.

  • Wash your hands after you sneeze, blow your nose, cough.

  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw it into the trash.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Stay home when you are sick

Muslims' citizenship questioned in India

By Rida Salim

Many people are not aware of the growing crisis Muslims face in India. Although Muslims are of the minority in India, the country holds the second-largest Muslim population in the world; approximately 11% of the world’s Muslims reside in India. As of 2018, India is reported to have 1.34 billion people, 201 million of whom are Muslim. In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected into government with the BJP party. Driven to make India a Hindu-Nation, he created laws and programs that marginalize minorities in India.


Assam Citizenship Tests/ National Register of Citizens (NRC)

Jeffrey Gettleman, a winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, and Suhasini Raj, an investigative journalist who has worked for over a decade for international and Indian news, have recently published an article in The New York Times regarding the undemocratic Assam Citizenship Test drama directed by the Modi government. A program in Assam, an Indian state, called for millions of people, many of whom were born and raised in India, to prove with documentary evidence that either they or their ancestors were Indian citizens.


However, in developing countries like India, documentary evidence, such as birth certificates, were nonexistent in many cases, thus making it difficult for people to supply evidence. In response, India provided documents for Jews, Christians, and Hindus, but noticeably excluded Muslims. Because of this, the citizenship test resulted in about two million people, many of whom were Muslims, “declared stateless and hauled off to a prison camp.” An article by BBC also states that “The BJP maintains their policy is only aimed at illegal immigrants, but there are real fears it could be used to throw out any Muslims.”


Consequences

As for the citizens who fail to present evidence of their Indian ancestry, they will be sent to jail or one of the petrifying, monstrous detention camps being built around India. An article by Independent described one of these camps, where people are being held against their will. “The Goalpara camp is one of at least 10 planned detention centers, according to local media reports. It is around the size of seven football pitches and designed to hold 3,000 people. Officials plan to have a school and hospital at the center, as well as a high boundary wall and watchtowers for the security forces.”


Citizenship Amendment Bill

The lower house of India’s parliament has passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which will further cause the hardship of Muslims in India. This bill will require migrants who want to be citizens to take a religious test, allowing citizenship to people of a plethora of different races and religions, but not for Muslims.


Attacks on Muslims in India

According to an article by the BBC, Muslims in India are facing harassment and attacks. Shaukat Ali, a Muslim trader in Assam, was cruelly attacked by a mob. During the attack, he was beaten with a stick and kicked in the face. Not only that, but the pious Muslim was forced to eat pork- a food forbidden for Muslims & Jews to consume. Mr. Ali was deeply affected by this attack. “I have no reason to live now, " Mr. Ali had said, "This was an attack on my entire faith."


Mr. Ali is not the only Muslim who has been a victim of an assault by Hindus in India. An eight-year-old Muslim girl from the Muslim Bakerwal community was kidnapped in Kathua, an Indian- administered district in Kashmir. This young girl was held captive in a Hindu- temple, being, as the BBC article states, “...Drugged and repeatedly gang-raped and tortured before she was murdered.” The reason for this attack was part of a plan by Hindu men to drive her community out of their state.


The disturbing news is that Prime Minister Modi did not immediately ask the Hindu mob to stop. Instead, weeks of pressure were needed for them to step down. BJP, Modi’s party, defended the men and did not want them to step down. In several other cases, members of the BJP party defended those who were violent against Muslims and did not seem to care much about victims of attacks.


Another case of violence towards Muslims being overlooked was an accusation of a group of Hindu men murdering a 50-year-old man because he was suspected of killing a cow, a holy animal to Hindus. Jayant Sinha, civil aviation minister in Mr. Modi's cabinet, said, according to BBC, “He helped the convicts, who were BJP members because he believed they were wrongly convicted.”

from an article by Hindustan Times illustrating one of the detention centers being built in India

Trump's plan for the Middle East receives mixed reviews

By Alexander Dyga

For years the State of Palestine and Israel have been in a constant struggle for land. Both claim right to areas they don’t currently occupy and as of now, there is no clear cut set of borders. President Donald Trump seeks to change this.


President Trump announced the outlines of a peace plan for the Middle East, as he stood next to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on January 28. According to Mr. Trump, the plan is merely a “suggestion.” He also acknowledged that Palestinians are unlikely to support the plan at first, but dismissed any concerns, calling the proposal as a “win-win.”


CBS News claims, “It took less than three hours for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to declare the plan dead on arrival, saying “a thousand no’s” to the idea and calling it a 'conspiracy'.”


While many would consider this reaction quite rash, it is fairly easy to see why the decision was made so quickly. Upon casual inspection the plan appears to favor Israel greatly, allowing them to have more territory than Palestine and keep the holy city, Jerusalem as their undisputed capital.


Another problem presents itself at first glance, not all of the proposed Palestinian land is in one place! Certain sections of it aren’t even connected to each other, and all of it is surrounded by what would be Israel’s territory. President Abbas ridiculed the proposal, comparing it to “swiss cheese.”


American critics also point out that the proposal seems to unfairly support Israel. It would give them almost everything they have long sought and an obvious advantage if violence ever broke out between the two nations.


As unlikely as it appears now there is still a chance this peace plan could go through. U.S Ambassador David Friedman makes clear the Palestinians will have 4 years to get on board with the proposal.


Will there finally be peace in the Middle East? Like many aspects of politics, only time will tell for sure.

Shootings lead to some new gun restrictions

By Rebecca Borlace

In 2019, US President Donald J. Trump revised laws preventing gun access, hoping that it would aid in the prevention of school shootings. While there has been some controversy on whether the change in laws was helpful or harmful in cutting down on school shootings, these are the new laws put into place.


Now in 24 states, including Michigan, the law clearly says that upon completion of specified requirements, any law-abiding persons the legal age of 18 or older can purchase a rifle or shotgun, and must have it out in the open unless they own a concealed weapons permit. You cannot drive with your gun accessible. Even so, there are also some constrictions on what guns you can purchase and where you can bring it. You may not possess, sell, transfer, or manufacture any of the following: machine guns, automatic weapons, silencers, mufflers, short-barreled shotguns and rifles (unless as permitted by federal law), or armor-piercing ammunition.


Anyone who owns an illegal firearm may face felony prosecution which may lead to going to prison for up to five years, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. There are also restrictions put into place on bringing any firearms into schools.


A gun may not be sold to any individual who meets the following requirements;

  • Individuals who have been classified as insane (and sanity has not been restored by court order)

  • Individuals who are under court order for commitment (to a mental health institution)

  • Any individuals convicted of a felony (unless their gun ownership rights have been restored)

Control of Kashmir continues to cause conflict

By Tarun Panampully

India and Pakistan are two countries that seem to be at war with each other all the time. Their conflict started roughly 70 years ago when the two countries separated. In the 1950s, India was a vast country stretching from Pakistan in the West to Myanmar in the East. This all changed when most of the Muslims living in India decided to separate current day Pakistan (and Bangladesh) from India. This caused many revolts and wars. Over the course of Pakistan's history, they have fought four major wars against India, which India has won all four of these wars. Today, India and Pakistan are fighting over the control over the northernmost state of India—Kashmir. These arguments on who should rule Kashmir started in 1947 when Pakistan became independent.


The state of Kashmir experiences a lot of trouble as Indian and Pakistani soldiers fight over the land. Soldiers from each side have engaged in small combats multiple times, often leading to death and enraged countries. India and Pakistan have avoided going to nuclear war as the death toll and damage would be too much for any country to handle. China also has control over a bit of this Indian state and they have been an ally of Pakistan in the past conflicts. As of today, India has control over 55% of the land in Kashmir while Pakistan controls 30% and China the remaining 15%.


The Indian government has taken peaceful steps towards taking care of this situation as the ruling democratic party has made the decision in parliament to enforce the fact that Kashmir is an Indian State. After this decision, many schools that were previously closed due to terrorist attacks from Pakistan, have now been reopened. There are many signs that show the Indian state of Kashmir will go back to normal, but will it be possible to forget all the terrorist attacks and the violence brought upon them in the past?

Brexit made simple

By Shashank Madhu

For the past 4 years, the term “Brexit” has been commonly heard in the news, “But what is it?” Well, this is a simplified explanation and history of the topic, and let’s begin.


To put it simply, the term “Brexit” (short for British exit) refers to the United Kingdom (officially known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) leaving the European Union (also referred to as the EU). The European Union is an economic and political union involving 28 European countries. allows free trade between its members, which means goods can move between member countries without checks or extra charges. The EU also allows free movement of people, to live and work in whichever country they choose.


The Beginning

In June 2016, The United Kingdom hosted a referendum (the fancy term for a public vote). There were two choices- leave the EU or remain in. 52% of people opted to leave and 48% of people voted to remain. Most voters in England and Wales supported Brexit, particularly in rural areas and smaller cities. That overcame majority support for remaining in the European Union among voters in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Younger people tended to vote against leaving, while older people tended to support it.


Delay

Under Article 50 of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty, a legal process sets the United Kingdom on a two-year path to departure, making March 29, 2019, the official divorce date for the United Kingdom and the EU. Soon, the EU pushed back the departure date to April 12 due to disagreement in the British government. Unfortunately (at least for pro-Brexit officials), this didn’t stop the squabbling, so British Prime Minister Theresa May pleaded for more time. The departure date was pushed to October 31, 2019.


New Prime Minister

In July 2019, Theresa May resigned from office due to disagreement with Parliament over the Brexit withdrawal agreement. She was immediately succeeded by Boris Johnson, who was pro-Brexit. But opposition by lawmakers forced Boris to extend the deadline. The deadline was extended once again to January 31st, 2020, and the United Kingdom officially left the European Union on that date.


What Happens Next?

For the next 11 months, the United Kingdom will enter a transitory period, in which it will continue following the EU’s rules and negotiate the future trading relationship between the two entities.

SPORTS, CLUBS, & ACTIVITIES

Cause of Kobe Bryant helicopter crash still undetermined

By Aaron Zhao

Kobe Bryant was one of the greatest NBA players of all time. He was a shooting guard for the LA Lakers for 20 years. Sadly, he recently died in a helicopter crash at the age of 41. His daughter, Gianna, and seven other people in the helicopter died as well.


He died in Calabasas, California on January 26, 2020. No one knows exactly why the helicopter crashed, but experts have confirmed that the engine of the aircraft was working perfectly fine seconds before the crash. The remains of Kobe’s private helicopter were found on a hillside. Later, investigators found that the helicopter had slammed into the hillside at almost 200 miles per hour, instantly killing the passengers.


Although the experienced pilot, Ara Zobayan, was driving the helicopter at the time, the helicopter had to go through extreme fog on its way to its destination. The pilot told traffic control moments before the crash that he was going to try to climb above a cloud layer, investigators have gathered enough information to prove that he then descended in a left turn and missed clearing the mountain. This might have been because of thick fog blinding the pilot.

Kobe was not only an incredible basketball player, he was inspirational to a lot of people. He worked hard and never gave up, Kobe and Gianna’s death has left many grieving all over the world.

TRAVEL & LEISURE

Just one more page...

By: Nandita Talluri

Need something to read? Check out these great books in the NMS library!


One of Us is Next 5 Stars

Author - Karen M. McManus

Genre - Mystery

Sequel to One of Us is Lying


Preview - When a game of truth and dare goes wrong, students at Bayview High are forced to pick dare unless they want an anonymous person to reveal their darkest secrets. Four students try to match the clues before it’s too late. But then one of their prime suspects for creating the game dies. Coincidence or not? In this dark turn of events, students must find the person behind it all before they lose someone else…


Review - I loved this book! The characters often hid secrets from both their friends and family. There were countless twists and turns, and the book often left me clueless as to who was behind the game.


Virals 4 Stars

Author - Kathy Reichs

Genre - Adventure / Fantasy


Preview - Tory is staying with her dad on an island for vacation. She always got in trouble with her friends, this time she may have taken it a little too far. When she and her friends rescue a wolf pup that was being tested on, they get a disease that alters their DNA. While battling this they uncover a secret lost in time.


Review - This book is full of surprises. I enjoyed the plot and the complex, intricate characters. It is one unique book that combines both humans and animals in an interesting mystery.


White Bird 4 Stars

Author - R. J. Palacio

Genre - Historical / Realistic Fiction


Preview - The comic book is by the author of the popular book Wonder. For those of you who have read Auggie and Me, this book is about the story that Julian’s grandma told him (The Julian Chapter). A story about love, friendship, family, and war centered around a white bird.


Review - This book addresses the hardship that families faced during World War ll. I enjoyed this sad and heart-warming book. It also shows that there is more to people than meets the eye, and you should take time to meet people.

What's for dinner? Earthquakes, flying waiters, coral gardens

By Divya Nelluri

Modern restaurants have embraced the various new technologies available today to create astounding places to dine, from frightening simulations to undersea restaurants, I’m sure that you’ll find something to eat interests you.


One of the most unique restaurants in the world is the Disaster Cafe in Lloret De Mar, Spain. Normally, people are terrified of earthquakes and prefer to be wherever there is a lower chance of one occurring. However, at the Disaster Cafe, people actually pay to experience a simulated 7.8 earthquake. An elevator takes thrill-seeking customers to the “depths of the earth,” where they will be seated in a cave themed dining area. The “earthquakes” begin with the lights suddenly flickering, eventually enveloping the room in darkness. Then, everything begins to shake. The food and beverages will normally go flying, which is one of the main reasons you get served with abnormally heavy plates and glasses.


Another interesting restaurant is Bird’s Nest Restaurant in Thailand. Set among the treetops, tree pod dining is an impressive way to experience a meal. The dining pod, located 16 feet from the ground, is enclosed by lush treetops and views of the encompassing sandy beaches. The pod is designed with a firm frame that is covered in weaved rattan (the thin pliable stems of a palm used to make furniture) and can support up to four diners. Visitors can rest and appreciate the surroundings when their food and drinks are presented by a “flying” waiter, harnessed to a zip-line.


Lastly, the Ithaa Restaurant in the Maldives is ranked the number one restaurant in the world. This top-notch restaurant allows you to dine five meters below the surface of the ocean with panoramic coral garden views and fusion menus matched with fine wines.


In conclusion, three of the most unique restaurants in the world are the Disaster Cafe, the Bird’s Nest Restaurant, and the Ithaa restaurant. Maybe you will consider going to one of these places for vacation!

Tree-top dinner table

ENTERTAINMENT & OPINIONS

Dear Wildcat

By Audrey Wisniewski


Dear Wildcat: I’m in 8th grade, and we just started high school scheduling. Everyone seems so excited about it, but I'm just really nervous. What if high school isn’t everything it is supposed to be? How do I shake away the nerves?

- Scared Freshy


Dear Sacred Freshy: I’m in the same boat you are. Everyone hypes up high school for so long, and then all of a sudden, it is here and you may not seem ready for it. What you need to do is not be scared, but be excited for new times. I get that you are nervous, but if you look on the bright side, it won’t seem so bad. And if you have any questions that might settle those nerves, there are both middle school and high school counselors who can answer any questions you have.


-----


Dear Wildcat: Two of my closest friends had a bad falling out and aren't friends anymore. You would think I could still be friends with both of them, but one of them is still very hurt by the whole situation. So whenever I talk to them, she will get annoyed and I have to stop talking to them and go see the other one. It is all very annoying, and I just want it to stop. They are both my friends, but if this keeps going on, I might just go insane. What should I do?

-Annoyed Friend


Dear Annoyed Friend: That does sound very annoying, and I am sorry you have to deal with that, and here is what I would do. Your first friend sounds like they have a very serious grudge against the other person. Now that is a personal problem you can’t do anything about, but what you can do is talk to them and explain that you get that they are mad at your other friend, but you don’t want to deal with the consequences that come along with that. If they can stop getting annoyed whenever you talk to the other person, that would be great. If after a while they still get annoyed, maybe you should just give them some space to do a real-life check. Let them figure out if they want to stay mad at this one person or just get over it and move on.


-----


Dear Wildcat: One of my biggest fears is getting lost and not knowing where to go. In NMS and soon NHS. I am terrified of the always-changing schedules and new classrooms I have to find. No matter how hard I try to remember where my new classes are, I always end up taking a wrong turn and being late to class. What should I do?

-Lost Kid


Dear Lost Kid: I feel you. When I was in 7th grade, and I had quarterly classes, I was also worried that I wouldn’t be able to find my class. What you need to know is 1) NMS is not as big as some people may make it out to be, and it has a very simple layout. 2) Every quarter or semester look at the school map they gave you at registration (or look online) and look for the class there. 3) Then see if you have any other classes around the general area so you can get a picture of where your class is. If all else fails, 4) go to the counselors and have them either show you where your class is or see if there are any other ways you can find your classes easier.

What's Behind the Curtain? A History of the Oscars

By Alexandra Malan

Many of you know of the Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, but do you know the history? The Origin? Why do the Oscars exist?


What is the purpose of the Oscars? Wikipedia, explains them as being “given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). The awards are international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy's voting membership.” As you can see, the awards aren’t just given by someone like your next-door neighbor, they’re given by more prestigious people (but no offense to your neighbor).


How did the Oscars come to be? Funny you should ask. The origin of this prestigious event actually started like this: “The first Academy Awards presentation was held on May 16, 1929, at a private dinner function at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with an audience of about 270 people,” according to Wikipedia. From the 270 people that the Academy Awards audience started with, it’s a bit bigger now. That could likely be the effect of the invention of the TV, which the people in 1929 had only been introduced to two years prior. This year the live audience was 23.6 million, which may seem like a lot but is actually the lowest live TV audience in the history of the Academy Awards.


Who gets to participate in the Academy Awards? Can I just walk in and go sit next to Brad Pitt? The answer is no, you have to be invited. On the Los Angeles Times website, it says, “Oscar nominees each receive a pair of tickets and can request an additional pair.” Let’s just say that, unless you are related to or have a connection with a nominee, you don’t really have a chance. After the nominees and their guests are included, then we move on to the members of the Academy Awards. The Los Angeles Times explains, “Snagging those tickets involves a process that will be familiar to anyone who has tried to score Dodgers playoff tickets in recent years. Members receive an email around the holidays, inviting them to enter a ticket lottery. And while the academy has embraced online voting, the lottery is conducted the old-fashioned way. Names are written on slips of paper and then pulled out of a drum.” Better hope you have good luck if you are really dedicated to going to the Academy Awards.


Where are the Academy Awards? Are they always in the same place? The answer to that is also no. This year they took place in Hollywood at the Dolby Theater. The Academy Awards took place there last year as well. The Academy Awards have taken place at the Dolby Theater since 2013. Before that, they’ve been taking place in theaters and hotels all over the LA area.


When do the Academy Awards take place? Because I know that this time next year, you’ll all be sitting in front of your TV’s waiting for the Academy Awards to start. On the Vanity Fair website, it says, “The Oscars are usually held in late February or early March—though that will change in 2020.”