Student Interviews

This month’s interview is a very special treat. We are honored to have with us the winner of the 2011 mememeeeeThanksgiving Coloring Contest, Denisha Cummings. Almost two months ago, Denisha arrived in Room 206 thinking that it was going to be like any other day. Then she was presented with a challenge—the challenge of turning a perfectly boring black and white drawing into a work of art, with nothing more than a box of crayons. The coloring contest has a way of elevating human kind, and revealing the greatness in people. This year was no different. This young lady emerged as someone with a tremendous gift of creativity, and the technical skills to match. Her “Turkey of Few Words” will go down in history as one of the premier examples of minimalist genius in the history of the contest. So ladies and gentlemen, give it up for JCHS senior, Denisha Cummings.

[the crowd goes craaaazzzyyy…turkey calls rise throughout the room]

Mr. Gracey:
Denisha, I am so honored to have you with us today. Have you done much coloring since Thanksgiving?

Denisha:
Of course! I color at least 3 times a day, it’s how I stay so creative.

Mr. Gracey:
Where did you learn to color?

Denisha:
My mom, she colors even better than I do. The things that she can do with moonlight blue blows my mind.

Mr. Gracey:
One of the most fascinating things about your Turkey (pictured here) was not only what the turkey was saying, butcropped turkey also what the turkey was NOT saying? Everyone else who colored the turkey, made the turkey say, “Gobble…gobble”, but yours was different. Your turkey simply proclaimed a single “Gobble.” I was struck by it immediately. Can you comment on the single gobble?

Denisha:
Yes, that’s very perceptive. I envisioned him as a turkey with little to say, because after all…I wouldn’t have much to say on thanksgiving either, if I were a turkey.

Mr. Gracey:
There was also the American flag bib around the turkey’s neck? What did that symbolize?

Denisha:
I thought you might like that. It symbolized government, and how AWESOME you showed me it was! It has changed my life, and I owe it all to you. Somedays, I just lay around and read over my notes for fun.

Mr. Gracey:
Whoah! I had no idea that I had such an impact on you. How has your senior year been? Are you having fun?

Denisha:
It has been…well…I feel so superior. I’m having tons of fun!

Mr. Gracey:
What kinds of things do you enjoy doing for fun?

Denisha:
Coloring, sewing or designing something incredible out of ordinary things.

Mr. Gracey:
Why was Mr. Gracey’s Government class your favorite class? I’m assuming that IT WAS your favorite class…no pressure.

Denisha:
Government was my favorite class because of you! You made government so interesting. Every day was like storytime…stories of amazingness…especially the Howard Dean Scream! I mean, that guy, he can yell. I would certainly vote for him.

Mr. Gracey:
What kind of fun do you have planned for next year—college, the military, work, professional stuntwoman?

Denisha:
I plan on working, hopefully as a seamstress, with a little stunt work on the side. Sewing does get boring sometimes, but mostly I love it!

Mr. Gracey:
Are you more of a Democrat…Republican…or Independent? The world wants to know.

Denisha:
[Denisha motions to the band] May I have a drum roll please? I do hereby proclaim myself to be …an independent. Both side have such valid points, its just too hard to decide one or the other.

Mr. Gracey:
OK, we have reached the portion of the interview where I ask you some key questions that reveal who you really are. Are you ready? Here we go…

Mr. Gracey:
What is your favorite pasta?

Denisha:
I actually don’t like pasta that much, so I guess…potatoes.

Mr. Gracey:
Pong or Mario Brothers

Denisha:
Mario, all the way.

Mr. Gracey:
What is your favorite Bruce Springsteen song?

Denisha:
…all of them.

Mr. Gracey:
Whats your favorite catch phrase?

Denisha:
Coo coo kachew.

Mr. Gracey:
I feel like I know you so much better now, Denisha. Thanks for not holding back on us, and for answering the questions that people want to know.

JCHS senior, Bailey Manula, is a political junkie. This is just one of the many things that I have learnedBailey Pic about Bailey as a student in our AP Government and Politics class this year. Apparently, most of her fellow classmates ALREADY knew that Bailey was a very political person. They recently voted her “Hillary Clinton” (meaning most politically active member of the Class of 2011).

As interesting as all of this is, what is even more stunning is Bailey’s recent 1st Place finish in Mr. Gracey’s Fifth Annual Thanksgiving Coloring Contest. Her now famous Chinese Pilgrim (pictured here) CCF01202011_00000
will go down in the archives as one of the greatest entries that the contest has ever seen. The actual picture that she was given was a pilgrim shaking a turkey by the feet. Bailey decided to alter the picture, however, and made the pilgrim symbolic of the nation of China and the turkey became the United States. No one had ever seen anything quite like it, and since that time, she has appeared on the cover of TIME, NEWSWEEK, and COLORING MONTHLY. This once obscure girl from Jersey County, IL has become an international icon, and we are so very honored that she agreed to take the time to do this interview with us.

[Massive applause…autograph seekers try to storm the stage, but security stops them]

Mr. Gracey:
I’m so glad that you could join us here today, Bailey. I know things have been insane since the big contest. Has it been an adjustment for you?

Bailey:
Yes, people hand me blank coloring sheets all the time but I have to politely refuse because I am too busy with AP Government.

Mr. Gracey:
What has been the best thing about taking first prize in the coloring contest, and the worst thing?

Bailey:
Well the best thing is that my parents are proud of me for staying in the lines and the worst thing is that I got a call from Janet Napolitano [Secretary of Homeland Security].

Mr. Gracey:
Tell me about how you came up with the idea for the Chinese Pilgrim? Explain it’s meaning if you would.

Bailey:
With the current climate of the U.S. I didn’t feel it was appropriate to color a traditional Thanksgiving scene without making a political statement. So, judging by the position the turkey was in with the pilgrim, my mind automatically jumped to the U.S. and our position with China. It represents China collecting on our debts.

Mr. Gracey:
It must have been a big honor to be voted “Hillary Clinton” by your classmates. How is it that you have such an intense interest in politics?

Bailey:
Assuming that it has nothing to do with Hillary’s politics…or her fashion sense, I am a highly political person so I will take it as an honor. I have been intensely interested in politics for several years now, which has been cultivated by my parents who are constantly plugged into the news and current political affairs.

Mr. Gracey:
Who is probably your favorite American president of all time, and explain why?

Bailey:
That would have to be Calvin Coolidge, first off because he was just so cool. Secondly, because of his belief in laissez-faire government. And thirdly, two words, “you lose.”

Mr. Gracey:
Thank you for that obscure joke. Me and two other people in the world are laughing right now. Tell me, had you ever won a coloring contest before?

Bailey:
No, actually I have not. I don’t have the best coloring skills. I am more of an idea person.

Mr. Gracey:
Tell me about your holiday season. Did you enjoy yourself?

Bailey:
Lots of family time… what do you think!?

Mr. Gracey:
Tell me about some of the things that you are involved in—here at JCHS and outside of school as well.

Bailey:
Theatre, which consumes almost all my time (after AP Government) but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am also involved in Show Choir, NHS, Link Crew, International Thespian Society, and I’m almost sure that’s it.

Mr. Gracey:
Do you plan on graduating?

Bailey:
It’s optional? Oh my gosh! I had no idea. This could really change things.

Mr. Gracey:
What are your plans after high school?

Bailey:
Engineer, President, Supermodel…in no particular order.

Mr. Gracey:
OK, we have reached the portion of the interview where I ask you several questions that will reveal key things about who you really are. Are you ready?

Mr. Gracey:
How would you describe yourself politically…Democrat, Republican or Independent?

Bailey:
I lean more Republican–like Sarah Palin Republican, not John McCain Republican

Mr. Gracey:
What is your favorite pasta?

Bailey:
All kinds. Any carb is a friend of mine.

Mr. Gracey:
Pong or Mario Brothers?

Bailey:
Mario Brothers…whats pong?

Mr. Gracey:
What’s Pong? Are you serious?! I’m going to pretend that I didn’t hear that question and gie you a chance to redeem yourself with this next question. OK, here goes…What is your favorite Bruce Springsteen song and why?

Bailey:
Bruce who?

Mr. Gracey:
Well, Bailey, it has been our great honor to chat with you today, and we wish you the best of luck. Don’t forget about all of the little people!
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

December’s student interview is with Chrissy Tonsor. Chrissy deserves to be Krissy Homecominginterviewed because she had to put up with me all of last year in U.S. History, and half of this year for American Government. I’m not sure what she did to deserve that, but clearly she should get something for enduring such nonsense. Quite simply Chrissy is the bomb! Adored by her teachers, respected and loved by her classmates, Chrissy represents what all of us should strive to be—someone who watches-out for her fellow students and strives to make her school a better place. I can honestly say that she has done that, and for that we are thankful. So without further delay, ladies and gentlemen…Chrissy Tonsor!

[Intense applause from the studio audience]

Mr. Gracey:
So Chrissy, the big senior year is almost half over. How has this year gone for you? Can you share some highlights with us?

Chrissy:
Well Mr. Gracey, my senior year has been great!! I have already done so much this year. It’s unbelievable! I have had a great volleyball season, I got awarded the DAR Good Citizen Award, and I have been announced as one of the November Junior Rotarians. And now, after all of that, I am also able to say that I have been chosen as the subject of November’s student interview on the Way Cool Website!! Honestly, can my luck get any better? Hold on, will you…? [Chrissy jumps out of her chair and runs out of the room]
[Chrissy reenters…out of breath]

Mr. Gracey:
Nice to have you back, Chrissy.

Chrissy:
Well thank you Mr. G. As I thought about my incredible luck lately, I happened to think that I should buy a lottery ticket. So I just ran up to Motomart for a second. You can’t win if you don’t play ya’ know?

Mr. Gracey:
Yes, so true…On another subject, I saw you at our big election party. Did you have a great time? And please don’t let your answer be influenced by the fact that I spent days upon days, hours upon hours planning the party.

Chrissy:
I had a great time. It was a very good experience for me. I was very happy to join you and everyone else present on such an important day on my senior year…not to mention a very important day for Republicans.

Mr. Gracey:
Are you a political person? Democrat, Republican, Green Party…?

Chrissy:
I would have to say that I am not that much of a political person. I have my ideas on certain issues, but I am not one of those people who is very big into politics.

Mr. Gracey:
Next question, please explain to me why Government is your favorite class.

Chrissy:
Well I am sorry to say but Government is not my favorite class. Don’t worry though; it is near the top of my list. My favorite class would have to be mathematics and that is why I plan on becoming a math teacher. J

Mr. Gracey:
Awwww, well that is a very good answer then. I was ready to walk out of the interview, but if you are actually going to teach math, then you are free to call that your favorite class…even though most of us know that it isn’t as cool as my class.

Mr. Gracey:
So it sounds like you are already pretty focused on your future. Tell me about your plans for next year.

Chrissy:
My plans for next year are to go to Lewis and Clark Community College and begin working towards my degree in Mathematics Education.

Mr. Gracey:
Excellent choice. I myself am a proud graduate of LCCC, and look how successful I am. Speaking of college, what kind of music do you listen to? Do you have the new Miley yet? It rocks!

Chrissy:
Well I’m not sure what music has to do with my college plans, but since you asked, I am a very diverse person when it comes to music. I have everything from country to hip hop to even musical music on my ipod. The only thing is, I am not a Miley fan. So no I do not have her new stuff yet.

Mr. Gracey:
That is such a shame. Her talent is…unlimited. I will make you her new CD. What kinds of things are you involved in here at JCHS?

Chrissy:
I am involved in just about everything! I am a Link Leader, President of Student Council, and a member of Class Council. I was a starter for the Varsity Volleyball team, I am a dancer on the Panther Poms Squad, and I am hoping to be the catcher on the Varsity Softball team this spring. I am also a member of National Honor Society.

Mr. Gracey:
Wow! You are a busy girl! Tell me about your interests outside of school. For instance, I collect Asian beatles and have them mounted to put on my wall at home. Do you have any hobbies as cool as that?

Chrissy:
Oh my gosh, I love asian beatles too! That is so weird. Who knew? Along with collecting asian beatles, I like to go boating in the summer. This normally includes water skiing, swimming, tubing and/or wakeboarding. I also love spending time with my family and friends. Some of my other hobbies include dancing, playing/watching softball, and trying to keep up with everyone!! (This isn’t always easy)

Mr. Gracey:
Are you excited about the big Thanksgiving coloring contest? It will be here before we know it.

Chrissy:
I am very excited. Anytime I am able to show off my mad coloring skills I get excited!! I plan on putting on a clinic.

Mr. Gracey:
What advice do you have for incoming freshmen here at JCHS?

Chrissy:
Incoming freshmen, get involved. High school goes by so quick and before you know it, it’s over. The more you do, the better your high school years will go. You will also meet many new people when you get involved.

Mr. Gracey:
OK, we have reached the portion of the interview where I ask you several questions that will reveal key things about who you really are. Are you ready?

Chrissy:
I am soooooo ready!!

Mr. Gracey:
What is your favorite pasta?

Chrissy: Fettuccine

Mr. Gracey:
Pong or Mario Brothers?

Chrissy: Pong all the way!!

Mr. Gracey:
What is your favorite Bruce Springsteen song and why?

Chrissy:
I would have to say “Born in the USA.” The reason for this is because I [National anthem begins playing in the background], well, was born in the USA and I am very happy to be one of the many who can say that we were “Born in the USA.”

Mr. Gracey:
Well, Chrissy, it has been our honor to chat with you today. I know you are a busy gal. Thanks for taking the time for us.

Chrissy:
It was my pleasure, and truly one of the highlights of my life so far. Peace out to all of my class of 2011ers!

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