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Television Show to Film at West High January 6


Television show to film at West High on Jan. 6


The View will travel to West High to cover student reactions post-election


Maggie Terry, Reporter

West has been the center of media attention recently. The front page New York Times article surprised everyone and thrust our high school into the national spotlight. Now, another news organization has thrown their hat into the ring.

The View, a daytime ABC show contacted Principal Gregg Shoultz a few weeks after Thanksgiving break, indicating they wanted to visit West.

“[The View was] already looking for a school to talk about the election and we just popped out to them,” said Ala Mohamed ‘17, a student who was approached to do an interview.

The View initially considered several high schools but settled on West because of The New York Times article, according to Mohamed.

Students were selected by Shoultz and were contacted before winter break for pre-interviews conducted over the phone.

“They asked us questions like ‘what are your views?’ and ‘how do you feel about the election?’ [and] ‘what made you want to get out there and protest?’” Mohamed said.

“[They asked what] the environment at West was before the election and what it was after the election,” said Michael Moonjely ‘17, another student approached to do an interview.

The crew, including correspondent reporters Clay Aiken and Sunny Hostin, will arrive in the morning and conduct individual interviews with students before school. Some of the students will participate in a closed panel interview in the afternoon, and the producers will shoot some footage throughout the school.

“I’m kinda nervous cause I don’t know what they are going to ask,” Mohamed said.

“I feel fine, I’ve done public television a couple times before but not national television. The focus is on the school and not on kids being interviewed. I’m nervous but excited,” Moonjely said.

The segment is expected to run on ABC sometime next week. Stay tuned for more updates.

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Inside "The View" Filming at West High


Inside ‘The View’ filming at West High


The View reporters Clay Aiken and Sunny Holst interview students today regarding their reactions to the election.


The View reporters Sunny Hostin and Clay Aiken talk with producers and Principal Gregg Shoultz after conducting student interviews in West High's library before school Jan. 6.

Sunny Hostin, Clay Aiken and The View production team paid a visit to West High today, Jan. 6, to film a segment regarding student reaction to the election.

Hostin is the Senior Legal Correspondent & Analyst for ABC News and a co-host on The View. This morning, she interviewed senior Jade Merriwether and sophomore Lujayn Hamad in the library at around 8 a.m.

“[I am] happy about how smart and insightful the students were that I spoke to. Also, a little surprised how informed everyone was during this election,” Hostin said. “These are students that aren’t even eligible to vote yet, but are very familiar with the issues. Those that were old enough to vote knew which issues were important to them [and] explained why they voted the way they did. You have many informed voters here and I appreciated that.” 

Erika Merriwether, mother to senior Jade Merriwether, observed the filming in the library this morning. 

“I think that Jade and all that have been interviewed can promote a message of inclusion–and dare I say acceptance–and I am very proud that they were selected to represent the spectrum of political movement and you know, just social views,” she said. “I’m proud that she is participating and I’m proud of all the other students as well.”

Correspondent Clay Aiken, who was the first runner up in American Idol in 2003 and has since ran for Congress in North Carolina, sat down with seniors Ala Mohamed and Michael Moonjely. 

“This school is probably one of the most diverse that I’ve ever seen. It’s really impressive,” Aiken said. “We have been talking to a small group of students; they have been open and honest and very forthcoming. I’d say courageous, some of them, which is nice, especially for kids who are sixteen or seventeen years old. And the atmosphere at the school has been pretty welcoming.”

Faculty were told by Principal Gregg Shoultz that the segment is predicted to air on Thursday or Friday of next week.

Various students were interviewed one-on-one throughout the day and those that were able met in the afternoon for a panel discussion led by Aiken and Hostin. In the discussion, the students, who were from varying idealogical standpoints, had conversations about their response to the election. The students said that there were “definitely” moments of tension, noting that at one point they shouted at each other. 

“It’s one [thing] to talk about these conversations, but it’s a completely different thing to actually take action of listening and sharing your opinion respectfully,” Jade said.

“It was such a good experience to sit down and see both sides and see a side you really didn’t know,” Mohamed said. “Just knowing they feel the same way we do when we’re like ‘Oh, we’re scared to wear our [Hijab] scarf’–they’re scared to say their opinion. Knowing both of our choices have consequences was really eyeopening.”  

Mason Hanson ’18 didn’t know what to expect from today. 

“We were interviewed by The New York Times but that was for something that was written. It wasn’t watching the reactions on our faces or talking to each other,” Hanson said. “It was what we were individually saying whereas this was a conversation among us. It was definitely nerve-racking not knowing what to expect.”

Afterward, however, the students all said they learned from each other and they believe these kinds of conversations should happen more in the future. 

“People always feel like they can’t talk about [controversial issues] because they don’t want to make someone uncomfortable, but I feel like that helped,” Hamad said. 

“You have to be uncomfortable, because then these things don’t get talked about and the problems are still there and it grows,” Jade added. “Now, we’re trying to obstruct the problem, which is really good… it was definitely a very uncomfortable moment, but there were times like ‘Wow.’ It was worth it.”

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Casting the inevitable 'RussiaGate' movie

Thursday, March 23, 2017 by Becky Lang in Arts & Leisure

See it?Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP; Peter Kramer/AP

If American history has taught us anything, it’s that we need the tinsel and lights of Hollywood to fully understand any political scandal.


To rush that process along for the Trump administration's ongoing RussiaGate story, we've gone ahead and cast the movie. We’re going to need all of Hollywood’s silver foxes, and everyone’s going to have to grow jowls.

It’s not going to be pretty, but it’s going to be insane. Would you watch it?

-- President Donald J. Trump played by ... Charlie Sheen

Donald Trump is actually the hardest to cast. If he could play himself, that would be ideal, and I actually think he’d be down. Beyond Alec Baldwin, an obvious choice, Charlie Sheen might bring the right level of snivel and swagger.


-- White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon played by ... Jim Gaffigan plus 90 pounds

There are not many people in Hollywood with the checkered jowls of Steve Bannon. If Philip Seymour Hoffman were still here, he’d be an obvious choice (RIP), but Jim Gaffigan could be a close second. He would have to put on weight and eat a lot of nitrates to get the role, though.


-- Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway played by ... Felicity Huffman

Luckily, Hollywood presents us with quite the buffet of Kellyanne options. Suzanne Somers? Toni Collette? Ultimately, I feel Felicity Huffman would bring the right level of severity, wit, and angular death stares.


-- Vice President Mike Pence played by ... Steve Martin being as unlikeable as possible

We’re going to need every white-haired older man Hollywood has for this film, even if they’re far too cool to play these characters.


-- White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer played by ... Andy Daly

I feel that Spicey is going to pee his pants publicly at some point, and I think Daly could capture this scene well.


-- Speaker of the House Paul Ryan played by ... Steve Carell

He’s proved he can play both dorkily innocent and openly sleazy dudes by now, and somehow Paul Ryan manages to be both, so this is an obvious choice.


-- First Lady Melania Trump played by ... Elizabeth Hurley

Are we in this mess to begin with because we haven’t cast Elizabeth Hurley in enough movies? That would be a dumb theory! But she is magical and will capture Melania perfectly.


-- Russian President Vladimir Putin played by ... Jude Law

The Young Pope will probably get canceled soon, so he’s about to be free. Not only does he look like Putin if you squint, but he was born to pout moodily while shirtless on horseback. Fun fact: For a second I considered Macaulay Culkin after Googling “Young Putin.”


-- Campaign Manager Paul Manafort played by ... Christopher McDonald

This one was the easiest of all. No explanation needed; this man is Shooter McGavin.


-- FBI Director James Comey played by ... Stephen Colbert

To me, Comey looks like if Stephen Colbert were to be stung by bees.


-- Attorney General Jeff Sessions played by ... Clay Aiken

We could dig really far into the list of actors from either Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Horton Hears a Who! to find our perfect Jeff. I considered Kristin Chenoweth briefly, but I think Clay Aiken plus aged makeup would do a fine job. Bonus: He has political experience. 


-- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson played by ... Donald Sutherland plus 40 pounds

Again, Hollywood lacks the proper chin girth to cast this role. Donald Sutherland’s icy gaze would bring a sense of uncanny weirdness to the fact that this man is our Secretary of State.


-- Businesswoman/daughter Ivanka Trump played by ... Emma Roberts

Katherine Heigl is the obvious option, but she wouldn’t bring the right level of slippery charisma. Plus, Emma Roberts would “put butts in seats,” as they say in the movie biz.


-- Senior Adviser/Son-in-Law Jared Kushner played by ... Dave Franco

They don’t look 100 percent alike, but Dave Franco just feels right here.


-- Political Consultant Roger Stone played by ... John Travolta

Travolta has already proven that if you slap a pair of fake eyebrows on him, he can do anything. He was brilliant as Robert Shapiro in The People vs. O.J. Simpson, and he’s going to be just as smarmy as Roger Stone.


-- Supreme Court nominee judge Neil Gorsuch played by ... Anderson Cooper

While he does have an Anthony Bourdain look about him, a silver fox like Cooper will bring an earnestness to the plotline wherein Trump’s own supreme court appointee helps impeach him -- that’s what’s going to happen ... right?


Photo credits: Trump/Sheen: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP. Bannon/Gaffigan: Evan Vucci/AP; Facebook. Conway/Huffman: Richard Drew/AP; Facebook. Pence/Martin: Timothy D. Easley/AP; Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP. Spicer/Daly: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP; iDominick/WikipediaCommons. Ryan/Carrell: J. Scott Applewhite/AP; Katy Winn/AP. Trump/Hurley: J. Scott Applewhite/AP; Richard Shotwell/AP. Putin/Law: Mikhail Klimentyev/AP; Frederic Auerbach/WikipediaCommons. Manafort/McDonald: Matt Rourke/AP; David Shankbone/WikipediaCommons. Comey/Colbert: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP; Cliff Owen/AP. Sessions/Aiken: Steve Helber/AP; Richard Drew/AP. Tillerson/Sutherland: Cliff Owen/AP; Ibsan73/WikipediaCommons. Trump/Emma Roberts: Mark J. Terrill/AP; Instagram. Kushner/Franco: Carolyn Kaster/AP; Instagram. Stone/Travolta: Palm Beach Post/AP; Matt Sayles/AP. Gorsuch/Cooer: Susan Walsh/AP; Evan Agostini/AP.

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Clay Aiken Celebrates North Carolina Overturning Controversial HB2 'Bathroom Bill'


Clay Aiken Celebrates North Carolina Overturning Controversial HB2 'Bathroom Bill'

3/30/2017 by Colin Stutz


Courtesy of Netflix
Clay Aiken on Netflix's Chelsea with Chelsea Handler.

Still, some LGBTQ and civil right advocates are unsatisfied with the outcome.

Clay Aiken voiced his support for a deal North Carolina lawmakers reached on Thursday (March 30) to repeal the state's controversial HB2 "bathroom bill" that limited transgender peoples' rights to use restrooms matching their gender identity.

"Never underestimate the power of college basketball in the state of #NC    - So long #HB2 #HB2Repeal," Aiken tweeted after the state's House passed the bill 70-48 and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed it into law. 

Aiken is a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, and was the 2014 Democratic nominee in the state's 2nd congressional district election.

Never underestimate the power of college basketball in the state of #NC - So long #HB2 #HB2Repeal

When HB2 was passed last March under former Gov. Pat McCrory, it received a massive political and financial backlash that included a face-off between the basketball-loving state and the NCAA. 


A pride flag stands a half mast during a memorial service on June 12, 2016 for the victims of the Orlando Nighclub shooting.

The NCAA responded to the bill, saying it would not allow North Carolina to host college championship games through 2022, unless changes were made to the law by Thursday. 

The bill that passed on Thursday was only a partial repeal of the bill and has left LGBTQ and civil rights advocates unsatisfied. While it eliminates rules about restroom usage, it includes a three-year ban on the local nondiscrimination ordinances that were the cause for HB2's passing last year when Charlotte sought to expand protection for trans people. Lawmakers claim will provide time for ongoing your cases on transgender issues to resolve themselves. 

Cooper said the new law is "not a perfect deal and it is not my preferred solution," but claimed it was all he could pass with the state's Republican-controlled legislature. 

A number of LGBTQ and civil rights groups and advocates have spoken out against what some are calling a "fake repeal," including the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal. 

Shame on you @RoyCooperNC and everyone in the #NCGA pushing this dangerous and fake repeal. We will not be fooled. We will fight on.

We call on @NCAA a to stand with us and transgender people and against discrimination. Don't settle for this fake repeal. #RepealHB2

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