Listen to some amazing high school kids perform excerpts from the Guild Wars 2 soundtrack

It's no secret for anyone who knows me that I happen to be a long-time MMORPG player, but no game has grabbed my attention as completely as Guild Wars 2 has, due in no small part to the beautiful visuals and the incredible soundtrack. I'm a huge fan of video game music, having been to my share of Zelda and Final Fantasy concerts when they've been in the area.

Today, the ArenaNet folks have shared this amazing performance of excerpts from their Heart of Thorns expansion, performed by the Evergreen Philharmonic, in Issaquah, WA.

What makes this performance extra special is the composition of the orchestra itself: It's composed primarily of high-school students from the Issaquah area.

The Evergreen Philharmonic has been active since 1988 and has been an audition-only orchestra since 1991. Evergreen Philharmonic functions as an honors youth orchestra within the Issaquah School District, and has students from all three Issaquah High Schools. Evergreen has performed in a variety of venues, such as the Washington State Ferries, the University of Washington, the University of British Columbia, Disneyland, and the University of Southern California. The orchestra has also travelled to perform in Paris, London, Quebec and Boston. In May of 2011 Evergreen Philharmonic played at Carnegie Hall, New York.

Read more about the Orchestra, this performance, or Heart of Thorns. Long live high school music programs! Read the rest

Photo of the raddest high school math teacher in 1970s SoCal

Math teacher at Dana Hills High School in southern California, late 1970s. Pitted. So pitted.

Posted by the engaged educator's son on r/OldSchoolCool and making the rounds again. Read the rest

How to win the Soap Box Derby - a high schooler's essay from 1957

My late father-in-law, Joe, was born and raised in Los Angeles, growing up during the heyday of hot rod culture. When I knew him he drove Corvettes and Camaros. In high school, Joe and his brother built Soap Box Derby racers. I recently came across an essay about Soap Box Derby racing that Joe wrote in 1957 when he was a student at Los Angeles High School. His teacher wrote, "This is one of the most *interesting* reports I've ever read!" He received a C+, though, because his spelling was atrocious (It was bad when I knew him, too - I think he had undiagnosed dyslexia) and he neglected to add footnotes or a bibliography. Here's a PDF scan of the essay.

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David Byrne and St Vincent celebrate Color Guard with astounding Contemporary Color show

David Byrne and St Vincent are touring Contemporary Color, a concert accompanied by a huge, choreographed color guard show. Read the rest

Yearbook photos selectively altered for modesty

Students from Utah's Wasatch County are pissed that some of their yearbook photos were digitally edited to reveal less skin while other photos of students wearing similar clothes went untouched. From Fox13:

Educators said the students know the dress code and there was a sign warning them that their pictures may be edited. However, the Wasatch County Superintendent admits the school erred in not applying the same rules to each student.

“We only apologize in the sense that we want to be more consistent with what we`re trying to do in that sense we can help kids better prepare for their future by knowing how to dress appropriately for things,” said Terry E. Shoemaker, who is the superintendent of schools for the Wasatch County School District.

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A day of Yik Yak hell in high school

Yik Yak is a social app that's basically an anonymous, hyperlocal bulletin board. Over at New York Magazine, Will Haskel, a senior at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut, wrote about the day this social media product fueled incredibly antisocial and brutally nasty behavior among his classmates. To illustrate, just a few of the endless stream of posts from the day:

“L. M. is affiliated with Al Qaeda.”

“The cheer team couldn’t get uglier.”

“K. is a slut.”

“J. N. is a fag.”

“The fact that O. P. has diabetes makes me happy.”

“S. D. + 10 years = trailer park.”

“Nobody is taking H. to prom because nobody has a forklift.”

“J. T.’s gonna get lynched at SMU.”

"A Gossip App Brought My High School to a Halt" (Thanks, DMD!) Read the rest