SGA Presidential Candidates: A Deep Dive commentary

Politics and Activism, School Events

By: Ronan O’Comartun

There are three candidates in the running for Student Government Association (SGA) president: junior musician Jamir Lawson,  junior visual artist Chloe McNeill, and junior visual artist Day’Shaun Barrett. 

With a deep dive into the psyche of each candidate, proactive members of the Baltimore School for the Arts student body can make up their minds on which presidential candidate to vote for. 

Jamir Lawson

Among the rush of hungry BSA students filing into Cafe Fili at the end of the school day was candidate Jamir Lawson. Lawson sat down prepared to defend his candidacy and explain his validity as a possible president.

“I think our biggest issue facing our school right now is lack of communication,” Lawson explained. “Across the board there is an extreme disconnection between not only arts and academics, and if I am elected president, I plan to bridge those lines of communication.” 

Lawson elaborated that he intended to fix this “by being more involved.”

According to BSA’s SGA interest meeting, one of the SGA’s goals for the next school year is to be more involved, something that couldn’t happen last year due to scheduling. 

To combat this, the elections are taking place in May of the prior year, an initiative pushed by Jamir Lawson in his SGA position this year.

“I think, in the way that our school is ran, This is a big reason why I push for spring elections because a lot of our issues in our school and a lot of things that get resolved and a lot of planning that happens happens we were told in the summer and the days leading up to when school started.” Lawson says, “So if there’s a student leader in those meetings such as calendar meetings, when concerts are planned, this will bridge the gap between students not knowing things beforehand and administrators knowing them.”

Chloe McNeill

In the hallway of the 6th floor at BSA, Chloe McNeill was interviewed while on break in her painting class.

This is not the first time McNeill has taken interest in Student Government. Since the existence of BSA’s SGA, McNeill has been Visual Arts Department Representative. 

Why should people vote for McNeill? “I feel like people should vote for me because I’m a trustworthy candidate,” McNeill explained.

But how trustworthy? Is McNeill only running to pad her already very hefty college resume? Or is her political pursuit a genuine concern for the student body? 

McNeill clarified, “I was more thinking about college when I ran for a second time for visual arts because I felt like that would show my dedication but this time, it was more for the school because I had more control over what goes on.”

A common theme the voter will pick up on is that for the majority of the candidates, communication is very important and one of the main running promises. 

McNeill went on to add “One thing I want to do as president is further communication with BSA because right now the communication… it sucks.”

“And so there’s a bunch of different schedules that go on,” McNeill elaborated. “Like people are having department shows, we have showcases, we have presentations, and then they’re all bunched up. People aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, the work isn’t shown the right way, and then everything goes askew. So I want people to be able to recognize the work that we have.” 

When asked what can realistically get done while in office, McNeill says, “people were like I want to get vending machines I want to get sports, realistically we’re not going to get that this year like with sports you need more teachers and we’re already here from 8 to 4 and with vending machines that’s a whole city thing that the school itself can’t do.”

“I feel like we have to keep it realistic with like issues between students issues within the school scheduling stuff” McNeill says. 

When asked about her opponents McNeill quietly replied:

“Not that I don’t trust Day’Shaun, but because I feel like he wouldn’t take it as seriously. I trust Jamir with it. We were both going to ask each other to be the other’s vice president. That’s why we’ve been cool throughout the whole campaign. And I feel like he’s very passionate about it, with all the work he did for the Black history Showcase, I feel like I can trust him with it if I were to lose.

McNeill and Lawson were considering running together but ultimately decided to campaign separately for the position of president. 

McNeill explands, “Jamir doesn’t know a lot of the people, I feel like it’ll take long for him to gain their trust. And then, like, people who say they were voting for me, I feel like they won’t go to him if they have a problem. They’d probably go to me.” 

Despite all this big talk McNeill is confident in her ability to stay sane in complete solitary confinement. 

“Yeah. I’d give me a couple weeks.” McNeill said solemnly.

Day’Shaun Barrett

Our final contender in the presidential arena is Day’Shaun Barrett, who possesses a refreshingly unfiltered approach. When questioned about why he is drawn to a leadership position, he responded with a brazen declaration: “The power.”

While this may instill fear into the hearts and minds of the few students who care about their student president representative, fear not, as when Barrett was asked if BSA were to take on a capitalist, socialist, communist, or fascist regime, he did not choose fascism. 

“I know what capitalism is, I don’t know what the other two are.” He stated bluntly, “socialism is good. I’ve heard it’s pretty good. I don’t— I think it’s like just being nice to people, just being cool with people. I think that’s a good thing. Being social? Yeah, being social and just working with people and making sure that they have the best of each other.”

Despite saying “The power”  as one of his main motivators Barrett also believes, “I feel like most of it is just mostly for everybody else. I’m a team player, I get stuff done when I feel like it. When I feel like it most of the time, because I’m just like, I’m free.”

This is Barrett’s first time participating in SGA, when asked how he knew what he was doing he responded with, “No clue. No clue. I was going to talk to Quinn about like how she did it because I think that’s integral to like talk to the former president about this.” 

Barrett’s main policies revolve around the visual arts department and making zoom meetings mandatory for coach class. In Barrett’s words: “Make, like, Zoom mandatory, like if you’re going to have coach class, have that be mandatory for students that want to come.”

Along with this, Barrett wants to garner more coverage of gallery openings. “Most of our stuff is just put on the back burner. And I just want people to be like: ‘oh there’s nice art here.’ Like, they got visual artists at school” he adds. 

Readers may be scratching their noggins wondering why Day’Shaun Barrett did not choose to run for Visual Arts Representative, Barrett says, “ I probably should have ran for visual artist representative, but I feel like I want the power, I love the power… I think there’s some things that could change…” 

Barrett kept his views on his opponents brief, “I don’t know who Jamir is. I’m different from Chloe because I’m just iconic. I’m saying that she’s not iconic, but I’m iconic.”


Are you unwittingly succumbing to a grand conspiracy that gives the illusion of control within the chaotic corridors of our school? Or are you seeking someone with the strength and determination to truly make a difference? 

Student Government at BSA is still in its infancy, and there is a glimmer of hope that one day it will evolve into something impactful. But for now, your vote determines who will sit in those meetings, fighting to be heard amidst the constant dismissals.

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at

Black History Month Showcase Photo Series

Archive, School Events

By: Asad Ali

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Nutcracker Photo Series

Archive, School Events

By Paz Posada-O’Malley

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My Inside Look into Sophomore Scenes

Archive, School Events

By: Tessa Lake-Goldstein

Sophomore Scenes went out with a bang as our ensemble of sophomore actors worked tirelessly to perform their scene work on Monday December 19th, and Tuesday December 20th, 2022. As a part of the ensemble, I was relieved the long awaited process was over. The production was a quick display of the ensemble’s talent right before students closed off for a much needed winter break. 

BSA Sophomore Acting Ensemble. Photo by Asad Ali for the BSA Muse.

This project encompassed the entirety of the sophomore actors’ first semester, and the actors to come will go through the same process. It’s a part of the theater curriculum, and allows the ensemble to present their work in front of a live audience: their first experience with that at BSA. It’s an exciting experience, as many can attest, and showcases how talented our classes here at BSA really are. 

It started in September, with each actor getting assigned to a different director: either theater teachers, Tony Tsendeas, Paul Reisman, or theater department head Becky Mossing. The actors were then cast by different directors in their various scenes,  something that would challenge them while simultaneously utilizing their talents. 

It was a much-anticipated process and one that left each actor biting their nails while they waited to hear their scene partner and what scene they would be tackling for the next three months. After the celebrations and relief ensued, everyone settled into their projects with an open mind and ambition to work. 

We had a wide range of scenes, stemming from a three-person take on Hamlet in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead to a two-person scene from the modernist play Waiting for Godot.  The diversity in style made for a very engaging and contrasting performance that kept the audience involved in the complexity of each character and their future; in whatever ten-minute blurb of stage time they had. 

During each acting period, students would work with their respective directors, analyzing the script for action words, verbs, and objectives before blocking their scenes. It took months. Each new day came with new discoveries and different ways to portray emotions and movement. It was an ever-changing process, and that’s not to say each scene has finished. As we learned in our classes, the work is never done, and everyone always has the opportunity to grow. 

Regardless, by the time sophomore scenes rolled around the tenth grade ensemble was incredibly nervous, “I spent a lot of time on this scene, because it really is our whole first semester project. As freshmen, we saw the now junior ensemble working on their scenes, and I always thought, wow! I can’t wait to do that next year. Now that it’s really here, it feels kind of surreal, but I’m just excited for you all to see it,” says sophomore actor, Zoe London.

So, if you were fortunate enough to see this year’s performance of sophomore scenes, you saw firsthand how hard our actors worked and the results of a long and grueling three-month process. The work is never done here at BSA, and there’s certainly more to come in the acting department.

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at

History of Mozart’s Requiem

Archive, School Events

By Amalie Nohe-Moren

On January 6th the BSA Choir and Orchestra performed Mozart’s Requiem. In honor of the amazing performance and all the music students’ hard work here is a bit of insight on the history of this famous piece. 

The Requiem in D minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the most performed and well-known Requiem Masses of the last centuries. From its commission to its completion, the piece is surrounded by dramatic tales. 

A requiem mass is a type of composition intended to accompany the religious ceremony of a Requiem mass also known as a Mass of the dead. The  name suggests it is a Mass in honor of someone’s death, often played at a funeral. 

The Music played during a Mass of the dead provides catharsis to those in mourning. It evokes deep sorrow and reminds people of the great power of God to give and take. 

Mozart’s Requiem would be the last composition he would write, as he died before he could complete it. This event, as well as some mystery surrounding the commissioner’s identity, lead to wild rumors and eventual misinformation becoming part of the complex history of the Requiem. 

The story goes that an unknown person solicits Mozart to write the piece, and originally he is uninterested, so he asks for an unreasonable high price. However, the commissioner agrees to it, so Mozart is forced to begin. While writing the piece, Mozart begins to have fears that the composition he is making is for his own funeral. He becomes terribly ill and tells his wife, Constanze Mozart, that he believes he is being poisoned. Eventually, he dies after the work is completed. 

This would be the story his wife would tell biographers which went on to inspire  plays by  Antonio Salieri, another composer who was acquainted with Mozart, as being the perpetrator behind the poisoning. 

The first play, which created this story, was Mozart and Salieri by Alexander Pushkin. The play inspired the Tony award winning play and the Best Picture film  Amadeus

The story of Amadeus fascinated the public. It depicts the idea that talent is a gift from god and is unfit for a person like Mozart, who is characterized as a crass and childish man. Salieri is the opposite of Mozart and believes he is superior in character, which brings him to curse god for passing him over when he believes he deserves genius.

 Salieri isn’t just jealous but is envious of Mozart and decides to kill him, so he commissions a Requiem from Mozart anonymously.Through the plot of Amadeus and the idea that Mozart was poisoned by anyone was a fabrication, the true story behind the requiem and the composer’s death is still fascinating. 

First, Constazne’s motives for lying about the creation of Mozart’s Requiem are mostly due to her wanting to keep all the profit from the piece’s commission. 

The truth was that Mozart did not live long enough to complete his work, and in order to have the piece finished, other composers helped use the pieces Mozart left behind to create the work we know today. However, if anyone found out that this happened, it would decrease the public appeal of the piece as well as force Constanze to split the profits. 

Though Mozart probably wasn’t poisoned, his death was still forever intertwined with the Requiem. One account states that while writing the Lacrymosa, a movement in the mass, Mozart was so terrified by the words he was writing that he stopped after eight bars and died before he could ever finish it.

 Almost half the composition was left incomplete at Mozart’s death. Despite this, the Requiem was pieced together in the end to be the masterpiece it remains to this day. It is a great Mass as it channels deep emotions to humble all listeners before the great face of death.

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at

Headline photo caption:

BSA music students preform Mozart’s Requiem. Photo credit: Baltimore School for the Arts Instagram.

Seniors Ada Lojzim and Sam Canick in their Halloween costumes. Photo by Ella Haber for the BSA Muse.

What Does School Spirit Look Like at BSA?

Archive, School Events

By: Quinn Bryant

What comes to mind when you hear school spirit? The BSA Muse anonymously polled 15 students to answer this question. 

The polled students felt student-led events, school pride, and pep rallies commonly symbolize school spirit. Pep rallies are typical at traditional high schools. However, a school like BSA can’t have them without changing its persona and structure.

“This is not a traditional high school, let’s not try to make it look like one,” says Dawn Strickland, assistant Principal for Student Support at Baltimore School for the Arts.

Even with the untraditional nature of BSA, students still find school spirit in other ways. In the poll, students felt BSA displayed the most school spirit through school performances that leave students in a cheering roar, like Expressions, the Black History Month showcase, and the Hispanic Heritage showcase. 

However, those moments still left 40 percent of the polled participants to question whether they have school spirit or not. Strickland described Spirit Week as “a time for us as a family to celebrate our beloved BSA”, and 33.3 percent of the poll would somewhat agree that there is a sense of camaraderie and community between the students and staff during spirit week.

Like Spirit Week at many other high schools, each day of BSA’s Spirit Week is devoted to a different theme. The first day of Spirit Week was Halloween when everyone came to school dressed in their costumes.

“This place is going to be on fire on Halloween, no matter what we do,” says Stickland.

The second day was Rainbow Day, where each grade, art staff, and academic staff had different colors. The day was originally supposed to be School Colors Day; students would have worn BSA’s newly chosen school colors, black and purple, which coincidentally were Strickland’s school colors when she was a student at BSA. The day was changed, according to Strickland, because students advocated that a rainbow day was a better representation of BSA.

Wednesday was Twin Day, a day to be someone’s twin and dress alike. Thursday is Throwback Thursday when students throwback to the year 1979–the year BSA was founded. Although the theme is the late 70s, Strickland commented, “We can throw it any way we want, as long as we throw it together.”

The week concludes with pajama day on Friday. 

Although BSA has moments of school pride and togetherness, Strickland believes that school spirit is still a growth area for the community. What might seem like a fun week to give students a sense of high school normalcy at this pre-professional high school, is a much larger initiative to not only increase school spirit traditions but to also bring the future generation of alumni back to BSA. 

Strickland believes BSA’s menial traditions are not strong enough. Strickland stated that “If it were, things like our homecoming would be flooded with alumni, which isn’t happening.” 

Strickland is advocating to add spirit week to a list of many experiences BSA will see as an effort to get more alumni to return. The way one gets alumni to return, according to Strickland, is to give them something to remember.

“These alumni at other schools like Western and Dunbar, come back year after year because of the social experiences they got when they were students,” says Strickland. 

The school administration’s goal, now, is to capitalize on BSA’s uniqueness to create original, creative, and fun traditions and events that draw alumni back. After all, it’s BSA’s uniqueness that has so many students auditioning here every year.

“I feel like even if spirit week this year isn’t the most fun or creative, it’s a good opportunity to come together as a community,” said one of the polled students. “I complain about BSA a lot, but I would rather die than go anywhere else. We’re the best school ever.”

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at

Headline photo caption:

Seniors Ada Lojzim and Sam Canick in their Halloween costumes. Photo by Ella Haber for the BSA Muse.