Children learn about Latin culture at camp

By Dan Somenek/Staff Reporter

Children ages 3 to 13 made maracas, played Latin bingo and danced to the “Macarena” at a Latin American Student Organization event last Saturday morning in the Andrews Hall basement.

LASO planned the event, called “Ninos, Come On, Vamonos!”, to happen during National Hispanic Heritage Month, which this year runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Karla Centeno, vice president of LASO, said the main goal is to enlighten young children with the Latin American culture.

“We hope that they’re able to experience it for themselves, learn some Spanish and overall have a good time,” she said.

Attendee Robert Dinkins said the children had the most fun and energy when the Macarena came on. Dinkins said his little cousin had fun dancing at the event.

“I remember doing the Macarena when I was little so it was good to see him get into it to,” Dinkins said.

Centeno said this is the first year LASO is sponsoring the event.

“We try to program at least two programs every year for Hispanic Heritage Month, and this one is one for the years,” Centeno said.

A total of 25 children registered for the camp.

LASO plans to continue this event and they hope to continue expanding children’s knowledge on the Latin culture.

“So far, I believe that the children have responded very well,” Centeno said. “Many of them were actually referred to the event by their Spanish teacher, so it shows that they already have the interest.”

This is not the only event LASO has put together for Hispanic Heritage Month.

“We also did a ‘Formation of Latin America’ Sept. 15, and it was a presentation of how the Latin American countries gained their independence, wars fought and key characters,” Centeno said. “In past years we’ve done other events like piñata making.”

Centeno said LASO has provided many activities over this month and hopes to improve and expand in the future years.

Dan Somenek can be reached at 581-7942 or


Students make a difference

Shelby Mileham, a junior psychology and health studies major, rebuilds a fence Saturday while winterizing the community garden behind the Charleston VFW. Winterizing involves pulling weeds and putting down tarp and mulch, Mileham said. (Kimberly Foster | The Daily Eastern News)

By Kathryn Richter/Staff Reporter

Eastern hosted the student-run “Make a Difference Day,” across Charleston and surrounding areas to promote community service on Saturday.

Eastern sponsored four different projects, two of them on campus and two in the surrounding area. The projects included a police department appreciation carwash, a community garden makeover, a city of Kansas park party and Casey Elementary School aid project.

Serena Loranca, a senior environmental biology major, helped to winterize the local community garden and was a volunteer organizer.

Loranca was said she was passionate about the project because it promotes green living and a sense of community.

“I think today is important because we need to make connections with the community and we can do that by giving back to one another,” Loranca said.

Loranca had previously helped establish the community garden over the summer. She said she enjoys spending time there.

Brittney Edwards, a freshman graphic design major, came out to the community garden to volunteer with friends.

“It’s a fun experience for me,” Edwards said. “It’s something I don’t normally do.”

Edwards came to the community garden with Lupa Ostiguin, a freshman pre-nursing major.

“We live in the city so we don’t normally do stuff like this,” Ostiguin said.

Samantha Cornwell, a junior English and history major, was also at the community garden.

Cornwell’s main duties of the day involved turning over the garden so it would be ready for planting in the spring and painting the pavilion.

“We’re out here showing the community that we don’t just go to school and party, we’re here to help,” Cornwall said. “It’s part of our community as well.”

In Kansas, volunteers from Eastern spent the day playing games with children and running booths at a local park opening.

Kristina Graves, a sophomore secondary education major, said that volunteering with the children at the park helped reaffirm her decision to become a teacher.

“I just like volunteering and I love kids,” Graves said.

Megan Rose, a freshman middle school education major, said she felt that by volunteering, it would reflect well upon Eastern, but that is not the only reason she wanted to volunteer.

“I just wanted to something other than sit in a dorm,” Rose said.

Rachel Fisher, the director of student community service, said she felt the day was a success.

“It really was a day that made a difference in our community,” Fisher said.

She said she felt the reason “Make a Difference Day” was so successful was due to the highly enthusiastic volunteers and the great locations and weather.

“It just shows the growing dedication of EIU students to the community around them,” Fisher said.

Kathryn Richter can be reached at 581-7942 or

AIS shows ‘Sounds of World’ through dance

By: Jessica Nunez/Staff Reporter

Students got the chance to travel the world and learn about many different cultures through music Friday.

The Association of International Students (AIS) sponsored their fourth annual “Sounds of the World Dance” in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

The event included individual and group performances by AIS members, an open dance floor for audience members, musical chairs, raffles and food.

The first performance included an interpretive Indian dance held by two international students from India.

One of the dancers, Samyuktha Chowdary, a graduate technology major, said she was proud to take part in this event for her second year at Eastern.

Chowdary said this is one of the many great activities Eastern provides for International students.

“We can feel free here and get exposed to other cultures while still expressing our own,” Chowdary said.

Cheng Nian, a graduate biology major from China, took advantage of this event to introduce Eastern students to Chinese traditional music, culture and arts. He invited his wife, Zhou Siyan, to play the Guzheng, a traditional Chinese instrument.

Siyan has played for 12 years practicing up to eight hours a day, and is always in search of other opportunities to play for students.

“This was a good opportunity to give students a perspective of Chinese culture and music,” Nian said.

Joy Ignalaga, a senior graphic design major from the Philippines and the media coordinator for AIS, led a Hip Hop dance with a group of other female International students.

“These girls were good dancers but they never danced Hip Hop before this performance,” Ignalaga said.

Ignalaga said the performance was all about exposing women to American culture. The women chose to incorporate international music from their own cultures as well songs they heard on the radio into the dance.

“There were ups and downs but we made it through. I know it was challenging for them but it was also a good experience,” Ignalaga said.

One important part of the event was getting the audience together to partake in the dancing. AIS provided multiple songs for all different types of students to get on the dance floor including the “Cupid Shuffle,” which many audience members joined into.

Arelys Flores, a junior biology major, said she came out to the event to get familiar with other cultures and styles of dancing.

“When you are familiar with different cultures you become more tolerant and accepting to different ways of thinking,” Flores said.

Jessica Nunez can be reached at 581-7942 or

Jazz, Classical share stage

Pianist David Hoffman performs a solo Friday during an EIU Jazz Ensemble performance in the Dvorak Concert Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center. The EIU Jazz Ensemble and Wind Symphony joined together for "Life in the Groove." (Miranda Ploss | The Daily Eastern News)

By Andrew Crivilare/Staff Reporter

Two genres of music shared a stage when the Eastern’s Jazz Ensemble and Woodwind Symphony played Friday at the Concert Hall in the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

The multiple-award-winning Jazz Ensemble took the stage first under the direction of Professor Sam Fagaly.

Fagaly said the ensemble had just performed little more than a week prior to their Friday night concert.

“We didn’t want to repeat too many parts,” Fagaly said.

The Jazz Ensemble was conscious of the fact that they were playing to an audience mixed with members primarily anticipating the Woodwind Symphony as well as their own fans, Fagaly said.

“We tried to have enough variety that the audience will find something they enjoy,” he said. “They seemed to enjoy it.”

Fagaly said the ensemble has been hard at work practicing together since the beginning of the semester but also devote time on their own to practicing skills they bring to the ensemble.

“Most of them are studying jazz,” Fagaly said. “The students work on improv on their own.”

Steve Kaiser, a graduate student studying music and the Ensemble’s guitarist, was met with applause during his improvisation during the Ensemble’s final number, “And Another Thing.”

Kaiser said to prepare for the improvisation the members of the band each turn to their musical heroes for inspiration.

“We try to emulate who we look up to,” Kaiser said. “Tonight, I was thinking about Pat Metheny, he’s a big influence.”

The Ensemble also sought to honor a jazz great when they performed “Boplicity,” made famous by Miles Davis, in a way resembling Davis’s 1949 recording as accurately as possible.

“Once in a while we like to pay tribute to a classic recording,” Fagaly said. “We try to recreate the recording as best we can since its such an important part of our literature.”

The Wind Symphony performed second, conducted by Alan Sullivan.

Sullivan started the Symphony off with an piece called “Graysondance.” Sullivan said the composer David Holsinger wrote it about Holsinger’s son in 1993.

Sullivan said the song’s hectic, upbeat pace betrays that Holsinger’s son was a little hyperactive.

The Symphony closed with a number called “Bayou Breakdown.”

“It’s like Bach meets Percy Granger meets jazz,” Sullivan said. “It’s the most different Bach you’ll ever hear in your life.”

Michelle Sullivan, conductor Alan Sullivan’s daughter, was on hand to watch her father’s first performance at Eastern.

“He was stressing out,” she said.

Sullivan said when the evening was complete and her father took his bow, she knew the concert had been a success.

“I remember him coming off the stage with a big smile on his face,” she said.

Lisa Gaza, a senior music major and French horn player in the Symphony, said Woodwind Symphony said she too thought Friday’s performance went as well as planned.

“We did a lot of rehearsals, getting the kinks out,” Gaza said. “But I think tonight we really kicked it.”

Andrew Crivilare can be reached at 581-7942 or

‘Night of HOPE’ attendees raise money over coffee

Jazz, blues and folk singer Reverend Robert performs a cover of the band Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher" Saturday during A Night of HOPE at Jackson Avenue Coffee. The night was dedicated to raising money for the HOPE Family Services, an organization helping victims of domestic violence. (Kimberly Foster | The Daily Eastern News)

By Sara Hall/City Editor

Attendees of “Night of HOPE” crowded in shoulder-to-shoulder on Friday at Jackson Avenue Coffee (JAC) to show their support against domestic violence.

Dan Reible, owner of JAC, described the evening benefit of music and food as their busiest night of the year. He said the event has gained popularity throughout the years because people are eager to show their support for HOPE, which stands for Housing, Outreach, Prevention and Education.

“It’s a great event,” he said. “(HOPE) is working towards a great cause. They offer somewhere for people needing to get out of an abusive situation.”

Reible said while all regular food and drink items at JAC were offered, many attendees opted for the café’s bread bowls of either wild rice and chicken or broccoli and cheese soup because all proceeds went towards HOPE.

Bands Motherlode, Reverend Robert and Some of Us provided live music. Poetry group Speak Easy also performed at the event.

In addition to the funds raised from the bread bowls, a silent auction was sponsored, with items donated from local artists and businesses. Raffle tickets were sold for a blown glass vase made by Randy Turner, of Paris.

Angie Hunt, housing and program director of HOPE, said the event originated seven years ago out of a need for a fundraiser, but also a way to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“It’s about funds, but also about raising awareness and coming together,” she said.

Hunt said she enjoys not only seeing people come out to support the event every year, but also entertainment and joy it brings attendees.

“The community and people of all ages come together and have the best time,” she said.

Pauline Kade, a HOPE volunteer and event committee member, said although Night of HOPE is now in its seventh year, and it has only grown and gained extensive support from community members throughout the years.

“We get a broad base of the community, not just one section,” she said. “It’s good that everyone in the community comes out to support (Night of HOPE).”

Hunt said the event remains relevant every year because the issue of domestic violence has not disappeared and continues to need support shown against it.
“Domestic violence can happen to anyone,” she said. ‘We need to come together to help it stop from happening.”

Shanna House, of Gayes, said she came to show her support for the cause because, as a teacher, she frequently sees the effects of domestic violence on others at her job.

“I see family and students affected by domestic violence,” she said. “It’s close to my heart. I like to support HOPE because it’s nice for people to have a safe shelter to go to and get help.”

Damiya Perkins, a senior family and consumer sciences major, said she attended the event because she supports fighting domestic violence, a cause she said is often misunderstood and needs to be stopped.

“People don’t understand the domestic violence factor. It affects both families and people’s lives,” she said. “Coming to this helps people understand the meaning of helping out.”

Reible said overall, Night of HOPE attendees were proud to show their support and were appreciative of the one-night event against domestic violence.

“We’ve had people thanking us all week for putting on this event,” he said. “We’re proud to be part and help what we do helps even the slightest.”

For more information on HOPE, visit

Sara Hall can be reached at 581-7942 or

O’Brien Field overflowed with music Saturday

A student from Centralia High School plays the baritone Saturday during the 35th annual Panther Marching Band Festival on O'Brien Field. 29 schools competed, Centralia taking 3rd place in the Class 2A section. (Kimberly Foster | The Daily Eastern News)

By Samantha McDaniel/Activities Editor

Eastern’s O’Brien Stadium was filled with competitive music and 29 high school marching bands Saturday.

The Panther Marching Band sponsored its 35th annual Panther Marching Band Festival for Illinois’ high schools to come see how their bands compare with others.

The 29 high schools that participated in the festival were split into one of four sections that were based off of the number of participants of their band, 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A.

Each section consisted of six to eight bands who played songs ranging from “This is Halloween” from the Nightmare Before Christmas to “Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood.

Awards for the best drum major, best auxiliary, outstanding percussions, general affect, best visual, best music selection, first, second, third place and participation awards were given to each section throughout
the day.

Alan Sullivan, interim director of bands and director of the Panther Marching Band and the Eastern Wind Symphony, said for his first year he thinks the day went really good.

“It went very smooth,” Sullivan said. “The day just seemed to go really smoothly. Except the wind, we didn’t have any problems with the weather. And with the 29 bands, it went well.”

Sullivan said he hopes the band learned something from the competition.

“I hope they learn from the judges’ comments and continue their musical education and learn from it,” Sullivan said.

Wendy Ronna, the director of the Hoopeston Area High School marching band, said she thinks her band did well.

“The competition is good to see how well you perform,” Ronna said. “In a competition like this, they have judges from all around who judge different parts of the performance, and their comments help the bands improve.”

The Hoopeston marching band took first place in the 2A section of the competition.
Wyatt Roberds, the director of the Granite City Marching band, said his bands performance was their best so far.

“We don’t care where they place as long as it was better than the last one,” Roberds said. “I tell them if you compete better (last) Friday night than today, then you lose. If you do better you are champions.”

Roberds said that while his band is competing with other bands, the real competition is with themselves.

Rodney Embrey, a Chatsworth resident, said he thinks the bands learn discipline and teamwork through competitions like the festival.

“They have to work as a team to do the routine and if they don’t have discipline it messes up the whole team,” Embrey said.

The other first-place winners were Atwood-Hammond for 1A and Mahomet-Seymour for 4A.

The second place winners were Oak Valley for 1A, Tri Valley for 2A, Champaign Centennial for 3A, and Normal for 4A.

The third place winners were LeRoy for 1A, Centralia for 2A, Robinson for 3A, and Champaign Central for 4A.

Sullivan said he hoped the bands had fun, whether they won or not.

“I am hoping they had a really enjoyable time on the Eastern Illinois University campus,” Sullivan said. “I hope they remember these memories and being able to perform in front of a big crowd.”

Samantha McDaniel can be reached at 581-7942 or

Basic Skills Test changes greatly reduce passing rate

By Amy Wywialowski/Staff Reporter

The number of students who passed the Basic Skills Test has decreased 57 percent since scoring changes were made to the test in 2010.

Doug Bower, associate dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, said the test itself did not change much, but the State Board of Education changed what scores are considered passing.

“Prior to this change about 90 percent of students passed, now only about 33 percent do,” Bower said. “They need at least an 80 percent in each of the subtests to pass.”

Along with these changes, students can take the test a maximum of five times in their lifetime if they hope to be a teacher in Illinois.

Education majors make up 35 percent of Eastern students, and these students need to pass this test to be able to take many of their teacher certification classes.

Stephen Lucas, the chair of the secondary education and foundations department, said the changes in the Basic Skills Test have contributed to decreased enrollment.

“Enrollment has been down because of the job market as well as this hurdle,” Lucas said. “Our general methods courses are down 40 percent enrollment from 2009, and we’ve had to drop sections and have some small sections as well.”

The Basic Skills Test will be Nov. 12 and students must register to take the test no later than Nov. 8.

“We’re providing a lot of new workshops, tutoring sessions, student-led tutorials, computer software as well as final prep. Students should plan to study about 7 to 10 hours a week,” Bower said.

Two of the new offerings include study groups and one-on-one consultations to set up a study plan.

Lucas said the student lead drop-in programs are often less intimidating to students and some students feel they can learn better from a fellow student instead of a faculty member.

Lucas said the department is also offering faculty-lead sessions.

Bower said these study groups can help provide a sense of community to help students work through their test anxiety and help one another.

Another resource is the one-on-one consultations to help students plan their study schedules.

Sharon Kim, a first year graduate student who works with Bower, conducts these consultations.

“I’ve had three students come in so far and they seemed to appreciate it,” Kim said. “I plan according to their schedules; I think knowing what they can and cannot go to helps.”

Although these changes have made it more difficult for students, both Bower and Lucas agree the changes were necessary.

“The state made these changes for a variety of reasons including the perception that teaching is an ‘easy’ profession,” Bower said. “If we want higher quality teachers, we need higher standards.”

Lucas said he is encouraging students to take the test as soon as they can, as either a freshman or even when they are still in high school.

“The test is similar to the ACT but it is still different,” Lucas said. “It is geared to information we expect students to have before college.”

Bower said one of the issues they are struggling to understand is that students who had good ACT scores are not doing as well as expected on this test.

“Many students struggle to remember the math formulas; they are not something we use every day in college,” Kim said.

Bower said the test is by no means impossible and students just need to think differently about it.

“They cannot just show up Saturday morning after doing their Friday night thing and expect to do well,” Bower said. “This is not just a College of Education initiative; it is an Eastern initiative and all the deans are on board as well as the Provost.”

More information about the Basic Skills Test programs can be found at or email Sharon Kim at to schedule a one-on-one consultation.

Amy Wywialowski can be reached at 581-7942