CATS Academy Courier

"A Trusted Students News Source with an International Twist"

Filmmaker Michael Barry Interview

Interviewed by Anastasia Dvoryanchikova


I Heart Piano Concert Inspires

By: Helena Fauvel

On February 13th, the Fine Arts Department hosted their annual “I Heart Piano” Concert   as a tribute to Valentine’s Day and peace around the world. At the event students were allowed to secretly dedicate songs to their friends, admirers, and valentines! The class of advanced pianists led by Ms. Segal presented songs inspired by the themes of romance, love, and passion. The beautiful event, which took place in Salon B, was attended by over seventy students, faculty, and staff members.

Lilian Wang, a musician performing in the concert, is an example of how dedication and persistence with guidance from Ms. Segal can lead to the production of beautiful music. Although she began to play the piano at six years of age, she had to stop playing for eight years because of other time commitments. Admission to CATS Boston led to a renewed passion and she began to play again with the help of the lovely Ms. Segal.

During the concert, Lilian played a poetic French song called “Comptine D’un Autre Été”. “The song makes me happy and I wanted to make other people feel this way too by playing it.  I learned the song during the winter break and I thought it was a good fit for the Valentine piano concert,” explained Lillian.

Throughout the remainder of the concert, other talented students played songs written by famous composers, such as Ben Anderson, Davichi, Ning er cen, and Yiruma.  Overall the concert was a great success and displayed the tremendous piano talent CATS has to offer.  Congratulations to everyone who played at the event and a special thanks to Ms. Segal for making it all possible. We look forward to next year!

Filmmaker and Historian Presents Film on Vietnam

Film is a meaningful artform that gives its director a way to deliver creative content through both a visual and oral means. The creator is allowed to dig deeper into the content and create an emotional connection with the audience while making the topic come into a more focused view. This  method of film can be especially used when director’s create films based on historical events. On the February 16th, the power of film was displayed in full force when CATS Academy Boston welcomed a historian and filmmaker, Michael T. Barry Jr., who introduced his film The Universal Soldier: Vietnam. The film focuses on the nature of the Vietnam War while discussing both Vietnamese and American perspectives about the war.

How did you come up with an idea of making the film “The Universal Soldier”? Where did you get inspiration from?

The title itself comes from a protest song “The Universal Soldier” of the 1960s, which questions the whole idea of going to the war, since all humans share the same universal feelings and emotions. My collaborator, Karen Turner, professor at the Holly Cross, decided to develop this content with the material that she had collected over the years. Also, we wanted to reach out to the millenniums, who are so distant from the war, in the way that was both compassionate and intimate with those experience.

What is one thing you would like to highlight from “The Universal Soldier”?

Without any doubts, those conversations with veterans, who were going through all the struggles. At the same time, I was taken aback by how generous, kind and giving veterans were. Both Americans and Vietnamese. All these individuals were open minded and wanted to share with young people the continuous impact wa hadr on their lives, and what they have been through. Coming back to the question, I  don’t want to underscore the generosity veterans had in their approaches to people. I haven’t seen  this among many others individuals.

Besides the emotional part, your research involved factual information, which was based on the cruel reality of the war. Did you have any doubts about showing the devastation of the Vietnam War before the process of filmmaking?

        Yes, absolutely. At the beginning we were anxious to push young people away by talking about violence. We had to do it delicately, but it turned out that our audience was mature enough to embrace it. Another challenge for us was to deal with emotions. Our fear was that sensitive material might set some patriotic veterans off, which rarely happened later in process.

To reach your audience in the most accurate way, did you use filmmaking as a technology or more in an artistic way?

It was done mainly in an artistic way. The initial idea wasn’t to show the technological process in the film industry, but to let people speak out. It was purposefully filmed with small cameras and microphones, so that interviewees don’t feel pressure. We were aiming to get the most authentic stories with less technologies, as the oral historians.

As a historian and a filmmaker, what do you see as a goal for your career?

My biggest goal is to give voice to people whose stories were unheard and marginalized, especially by the government. As well I want to make both veterans and audience a part of these projects to integrate tolerance and acceptance in our community.

From Your own experience, what advice would you give to young filmmakers?

That’s a tough question. But I would say: be open. When it comes to interviews or any content that includes other people and their stories, it is important to stay respectful to their life-stories and emotions attached to them, so that they don’t feel embarrassed. To be a good filmmaker in this kind of genre is to stay collaborative.

Forum on Race, Ethnicity, and Power of Friendship

By: Tova Turner and Sandrea Celestin

On February 9, 2018, several students organized a forum on race and ethnicity. Its purpose was to discuss the historical and current issues surrounding racial and ethnic social dynamics in the United States.

After the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s led by many African-American leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, James Baldwin, and Malcolm X, our nation saw significant changes that improved the lives of Black citizens.  However, today, minority groups in the United States still face great racial and ethnic discrimination.

In our forum we discussed how the history of slavery and segregation affected the lives of Black Americans. Some of the topics we discussed were how Black Americans were harassed in the process of desegregation in the 1960’s, the evolution of use of the N-word, racial profiling, police brutality,  the Black Lives Matter Movement, the rise of White Supremacists and Nationalist groups. The forum was important because minorities still face injustice and discrimination today, and this is not talked about enough.

The intention of the forum was to start a conversation about how these issues affect our country, as well other countries where similar racist and xenophobic behavior takes place. Our goal was to inform our community about how social prejudice still exists today. We took on this responsibility with optimism, and we hope that honest communication and the power of friendship can help lead the way to a better society.

On behalf of the students who participated in the forum (Tova, Sandrea, Kate, Norah, Jet, Lexi and Jalyn) thank you to the students, faculty and staff for joining us in this important discussion.

Futsal Tournament Arrives at CATS

By: Nina Sunago

A sport that used to be completely unknown by many members of our community is not anymore. This month, the term “FUTSAL” gained a whole lot of meaning. The first CATS Futsal Tournament, filled our school’s gym with people who desired to see what it was all about and which teams would become the big winners.

Competing in the Gym were eight teams in the men’s brackets, and four teams in the women’s brackets. Many had creative names like THE GUCCIER GANG, FAB5, and STAGE 5.  Among the twelve teams, three of them were entirely made up of faculty and staff, who joyfully took up the challenge to compete against student teams.

After a lot of fun, and sweat, CLUB DE TOBY and BIRITEIRAS won the prizes; fifty dollar gift cards for the Cheesecake Factory. The MVP’s of the tournament, Thiago Peres and Paola Guzman, were chosen by our voluntary referees. So, FUTSAL, another very successful sports event was added to our community. And there are more events to come. Students can expect the CATS Madness Basketball Tournament in the beginning of April, and hopefully a Football Flag Tournament later in the semester.

CATS Cafe Showcases Student Musical Talent

By: Helena Fauvel

The CATS Cafe is an event that happens periodically in our community.  It is an upbeat opportunity for students play and sing music they like – songs can be in English, Portuguese, Russian, Vietnamese, Spanish, Chinese, or any language.  The enjoyment of music any language is of course universal.

When CATS Cafe is held, it takes place during lunch and advisory time on Tuesday and Friday. If you want to participate, you will always be welcome. But, if you only want to watch, that’s ok – every performer needs an audience!

Come to the Cafe, it is a great opportunity to relax and have fun with your friends between class periods. It’s also a great opportunity to show your musical talent.

CATS Cafe will return after break to the Student Lounge, so watch for announcements about the next date so you can come and enjoy the atmosphere.

Poetry Out Loud A Success

By: Sasha Chernysehva

What is poetry and why do we need it? It is individual for everyone; it can be a beautiful composition of words, a meaningful narrative, or a simple leisure activity.  For me, poetry is a cure; and sometimes, when life  gets hard, I prescribe myself an hour of simply reading poetry out loud. That in my opinion, is a good reason for the CATS English department to “prescribe” for us all a Poetry Out Loud week.

During the Poetry Out Loud week at CATS every student was required  to learn a poem from the Poetry Out Loud website by heart and recite it in their English class. The winner of the internal class competitions, went to the school competition where they recited two poems. The winner of the school competition, earned the chance to participate in the state contest.

All of the students were explicitly told to choose a poem that speaks to them in some way. So even though they put an immense amount of effort into their performances, students actually enjoyed doing it. There are a couple veterans of Poetry Out Loud who merit special recognition because they successfully participated in the school contest for two or three years in a row.  Livia Qeli, was the winner of this year, with her poem “Dear Reader” by Rita Mae Reese, and Anna Merzlyakova, who earned second place last year and took the third place this year. They managed to capture the attention of the audience and show them how amazing it is to listen to poetry. As Mr. Levine would probably say: “They shared a lot of awesomeness.”

The Poetry Out Loud week was outstanding this year, and the CATS community is very proud of how much talent and potential it revealed in our students. A big thank you to all who participated, and special congratulations and good luck to Livia Qeli who will represent CATS community at the state level!

Microwave Fried Rice Dorm Recipe

By: Jessica Ngo

Time: 30min | Serves: 1 person | Tbsp = spoon


3 Tbsp of rice (raw)

4 Tbsp of water

⅛ Tbsp of oil


¼ Tbsp of chosen seasoning

(soy sauce, salt, tomato sauce)


3 Tbsp of peas

3 bacon slices, chopped


2 Microwave Safe Bowls

Spoon/ Fork


Put all ingredients into a microwave safe container.

Stir and Cover.

Microwave 20 minutes.

Add in Bacon

Leave for about 5 minutes.

Stir well and Enjoy!

March 2018 Artist of the Month

By: Tinna Wang

mar- art

Up ↑