Challenge Week Film Festival Winners!

Congratulations to the three winning teams of SLA's first-ever Challenge Week Film Festival. Students from Gold and Silver Streams were tasked with creating a three-minute documentary film in just three days. Here's the prompt they had to answer:

Tell the truth about your neighborhood.

Special thanks to the media facilitators from the University Community Collaborative at Temple University, who came to train participants at the start of the challenge. We couldn't have done it without you!

First Place: Kensington
Sam Dennis, Hannah Layton, Johnny Saldivar, Charles Velazquez, Taytiana Velazquez-Rivera

Second Place: West Philadelphia
Ajanae Mills, Arielle Moore, Jevon Price, TK Saccoh, Sandra Watson
Third Place: Bella Vista
Jhazzelle Majarucon, Israh Mohammed, Destiny Patton, Sopheary Sok
Audience Choice: Mayfair
Laith Abuhartheith, Ijustice Avery, Conor Meier, Tia Roberts, Alex Torres

4th Annual Rough Cut Photo Exhibition- URBN Annex- Pearstein Gallery, Drexel Univ

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Join us for another amazing FREE exhibition of original photographs, both print and digital display.

All prints are available for purchase (print to order) to sustain and expand our photography program. 

Rough Cut Photolab
"I'm Not The Same Anymore"
URBN Center Gallery, Drexel University
3501 Market St
Phila, PA 19104
Thurs, 6/16


Trilladelphia (True, Real Philadelphia) Mosaic by Red and Orange Streams

This year was SLA’s first annual Challenge Week. Challenge Week is the final, full week of school, in this case, from June 13th through June 16th. All of the freshmen, sophomore, and junior streams collaborated with each other to work on separate service learning projects. Red and Orange Streams collaborated together to work on a mosaic inspired by Isaiah Zagar’s Philly Magic Gardens.

Students were first told about Challenge Week in the beginning of the year. Students were told that Red and Orange Streams will be working together to create a mosaic and we discussed some of the things people could bring in and how we are going to set this up. In May, after all of the students forgot about Challenge Week, our two streams got together again and talked about what the week is going to look like.  

On Monday, Red and Orange streams met early in the morning for the trip to the Magic Gardens. After a tiring walk from school to 10th and South Streets, we entered the Magic Gardens and were amazed by the detail and thought put in by Isaiah Zagar. Zagar had put together a beautiful array of mosaics throughout the building and the surrounding areas. As seen below we were amazed at his story and what he had spent his life doing.

Freshmen ​Bea, Sydney, Leo, and Caroline enjoying a Monday at the Philly Magic Gardens.
The next day, we began working on our own mosaic. Unfortunately, our tile and glue orders never arrived making Ms. Giorgio and Srta. Manuel take a road trip to New Jersey to go buy some themselves. Once they made their way back to Philadelphia in the early afternoon, we were able to start our work. Red and Orange Streams’ students cut the mirrors and smashed the tiles. With the help of Yaara, Zagar’s former right-hand woman we were able to put all the tiles on the wall by the end of the day. Going into our final day, we knew we were on pace to have a successful Challenge Week project.

Bea and Caroline beginning the work on the mural by gluing tiles onto the wall.
Tuesday's finished progress on the wall.
On Wednesday, the students of Red and Orange Streams started the grouting process. We decided on a maroon grout, and the students got to work grouting and making the mosaic come to life. We also split into groups to write speeches, invite people, write articles, and prepare our mural.

Sarah mixing the grout.
Meymey, Alyssa, Ben, Amelia, and Carolina inviting the media, Isaiah Zagar, and many other dignitaries to our presentation.
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The finished grouting.
​On Thursday, we were able to make some finishing touches on the mosaic. Once we were done, we hosted many dignitaries, SLA students, staff, and parents to our ribbon cut ceremony. Christina Santana, Kwan Hopkins, Amado Alfaro-Allah, Avi Cantor, and Darlenny Rodriguez made short speeches and the ribbon was cut.

We would like to thank Isaiah Zagar and everyone else at the Philly Magic Gardens for allowing us to feel inspired by their work. We also want to thank Ms. Giknis, Ms. Giorgio, Srta. Manuel, and Ms. Johnson for buying us the supplies that allowed us to be awesome. A big thank you also goes out to Naima’s mother and Yaara for helping teach us how to cut glass, smash tiles, cement the tiles onto the wall, and grout the tiles. Another great thanks to Santucci’s Pizza for providing us with lunch.

We pulled information and inspiration from our trip to the Magic Gardens to make a mosaic. So what did we learn from all of this? We learned how to collaborate with two streams, make a mosaic and make a mosaic with our values and Isaiah Zagar’s style.

Written by:
Majd Bostani
Autumn Lor
Leo Cassel-Siskind
Becca Snyder
Eli Zimmerman
Shamus Keough

Q4 Art Blog

For our final quarter of art we started by traveling to the Rodin museum and sketching. I chose to sketch the thinker, I positioned myself behind him because I wanted to challenge myself and try to capture the his angles with charcoal. 
For the next weeks I tried to do something different each week, starting with charcoal, then transitioning to paint, then watercolor and lastly with a marker. 


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We received over 250 submissions and will screen nearly 100 films at PFS Roxy, UArts and Drexel.

We're also offering Workshops/Panels led by Industry professionals, showcasing our 4th PhotoLab Exhibition at Drexel, hosting nightly social events AND we're holding a massive Awards Gala at Suzanne Roberts Theatre on Mon, June 20th. We'd love to ensure the SLA community is aware that it is FREE for all high school students. 

Hoping you can all be part of this amazing, action-packed week! O
ur major events are listed below with links to sign up. 

You can direct people to our profiles on social media:
FB- Rough Cut Media
TW- @roughcutmedia

Here are a few of the larger events we'd love for you to be our guest:

Would love for students to be a part of our Workshops & Panels
(professionals are literally flying in from LA to run these)
Workshops- (25pp per workshop- register here)
-Cinematography (almost sold out)
-Sound Design for Film 

Panels- (60pp per panel- register here)
-Inequity in the industry
-Power of Youth Media
-Making an Independent Feature

FILM FESTIVAL KICK OFF (Mon, 6/13 7-930pm)
Planetarium at The Franklin Institute
-select films projected on dome
-live band scoring the films
-original poems by 2014 Philly Poet Laureate- Soledad Alfaro (one of my graduating seniors)
-cash bar
Reserve FREE Tickets Here
ROUGHCUTphotolab EXHIBITION (Thurs, 6/16 730-930pm)
"I am not the same anymore"
URBN Annex Gallery, Drexel University
-hundreds of original photographs, print and digital display
-all prints on display available for purchase (Print to Order basis)
-FREE and open to the public, just come on down!

AWARDS GALA (Mon, 6/20 6-930pm)
Suzanne Roberts Theatre
Red Carpet 6-7
Awards Show 7-930
Red Carpet 930-1030

Live Performances

-School of Rock
-PYP- Philly Young Playwrights
-PYPM- Philly Youth Poetry Movement
-Other Special Guests

Reserve Your $15 Tickets Here 
-free drinks included, compliments of Cambridge
After Party (1030-1am)
Cambridge, 1508 South St.

Scott Pilgrim V.S Taming of The Shrew

Scott Pilgrim V.S The World is a romance comedy. This movie focuses on the love life of Scott Pilgrim. A 22yo, man who has been finished high school for a couple of years now. Throughout, the movie Scott is having thoughts and flashbacks from his past relationships. And, they mess with his mind a little bit. The movie started off with Scott dating a High School Asian girl named Knives. About 30min in, Scott goes to a party to a party and meets a girl, who he continues to stalk for a week, until he finally decides to ask her, even though he is still in a relationship with Knives. In, the long run. Scott dumps Knives for this new chick named Ramona. Throughout the time with Ramona, Scott feels that since Ramona and Him are in a relationship, then they have to kiss.  Another thing is that Scott believes that to be with Ramona that he has to defeat all of her ex boyfriends (Who wants to fight him). That shows how his love for Ramona is real.

In, The taming of the shrew there was a guy named Petruchio, and Petruchio had to tame a shrew named Kathrine. He tamed her by not listening to her. He tamed her by making her follow what he said with no talk backs. He showed this throughout many scenes. And, the two things that in both stories they have expectations on relationships. They feel that when they are in these relationships that the female has to go with the ideas. And, to their expectations the females do follow what the expectations are. To conclude, both of my stories are showing the male expectations in a relationship.

Scene Example #1

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In this scene Ramona introduces the concept that in order for them to be together that Scott has to defeat her ex seven boyfriends. Scott’s reaction is shown on his face. At, first Scott questioned the process, but he also thought to himself that, he has to prove his love with her. So, scott decides to go with the “plan.” This proves my thesis that the male expectations of a relationship, in this case Scott’s expectations are that he has fight for Ramona’s love. But, this also proves a point in real life that people think that in order to show someone that you love them, then you have to fight for them.

In the taming of the shrew, my first quote comes from a part in the book when Hortensio, Petruchio, and Katherine were out at night, and Petruchio and Katherine had a little altercation about how the moon is shining bright. You can read the quote down below.

Quote #1

"Petruchio: Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!

Katherine: The moon? The sun! It is moonlight now.

Petruchio: I say it is the moon that shines so bright.

Katherine: I know it is the sun that shines so bright

Petruchio: Now, by my mother’s son, and that’s myself, It shall be moon, or star, what I list, Or e’er I journey to your father’s house...

Hortensio: Say as he says, or we shall never go

Katherine: Forward, I pray, since we have come so far, And be it moon, or star, or what you please. And if you please to call it a rush candle, Henceforth I vow it shall be for me."

Act 4 /Scene 5 / Lines 3- 7 - 14-15 (Pages 185 & 186)

This quote shows how Petruchio wanted something from Katherine, and at first she wasn’t going for it, but then she coped with it. Petruchio wanted Katherine to agree that the moon was shining bright in the night, but Katherine steadily said that it was the sun shining bright. A Infuriating Petruchio, brought the attention of Hortensio, Hortensio then told Katherine to just agree with him, or they would never leave where they were. Katherine listening to Hortensio; gave into what Petruchio was saying and agreed with him. Also, she then said that whatever you say for here on out, then she would go with it. This example proves my thesis statement showing that the male expectations of a relationship is  that Petruchio’s ideas of the relationship is for his woman (Katherine) to agree with anything he says, no matter what. With no talk back, because he will get stubborn.

My next example goes back to Scott Pilgrim V.S The World. In, this example Scott feels that when in a relationship, what comes with is is kissing. After, Ramona tells him about defeating the ex boyfriends, the word that stuck to him, is when Ramona said “relationship.” Scott was more worried about that than the seven ex boyfriends. Scott then proceeded to say “Since, we are in a relationship, does that mean we can make out?”. Ramona said “Sure,” then they started to make out on the bus.

Scene #2 Example

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In this scene it supports my thesis statement that the idea of male expectations in a relationship. This, time the expectation was that since they were in a relationship then they had to make out. That was Scott’s expectation. Also, Ramona coped with the idea of Scotts. This relates back to when Katherine coped with Petruchio’s idea of the relationship was that she had to listen to what he said, even if she didn’t agree.

In, both of my examples, they tend to show the male expectations on relationships. They tend to both focus on what they think how the relationship should be ran. The stories focused on being dominate and showing their strong will. Petruchio and Scott both showed their dominance in a few different ways. Petruchio showed his ways by arguing with Katherine, treating her badly, and being stubborn. While, Scott fought for Ramona which showed his will to be with her, and he made out with her, to show his affection. Both, stories in different ways and maybe some similarities, sill prove the male expectations of a relationship.

Q4 Final Art Portfolio by Jesse Shuter

For the final quarter of art we started by exploring the Rodin Art Museum. It was a great experience to see some beautiful statues. I chose to sketch a side view of a unique sculpture that sat in a window and the head of the sculpture was sticking out of the window and facing me from me side angle view. It was, at least to me, a cool drawing.

For the rest of the quarter we were left on our own to produce whatever product we so choose. I created two drawing the first opportunity. One of a memory, the NFL Draft, and the other of my childhood favorite animal a Tree Frog. Then for the following two sessions I took longer but came out with paintings each time. I wanted to focus on animals because to me they are the most interesting things to create in art. It was a great opportunity to branch out on our own.

Art 2 Final Blog

Unfortunately, this is my final blog post of the year and I can truly say that I enjoyed my art class this year. I felt like I saw myself growing with every bit of knowledge I gained about the different types of art and every type of picture we drew and or painted. This quarter, we worked throughout the entire thing without guidance from our art teacher who was away for a surgery and recovery. But although she was away for the quarter I think that I still was able to do good with my last pieces of the year. 

My first one is a sketch of a statue from the Rodin Museum. Before our art teacher went away for surgery, we all took a trip to the Rodin Museum and just sat in the nice weather and sketched things that were in sight. It was a very relaxing assignment and a good start to the quarter. I drew a statue on the outside gate of the museum and I was able to finish in the short amount of time we spent there.

The second drawing marked the beginning of our four hour drawing venture. For the rest of the quarter, our assignment was to do three, four hour drawings and submit them one by one. The second drawing is a drawing of Sasuke from the anime, Naruto. First I drew Sasuke with pencil (which was very difficult being that he’s such a difficult character to free-draw) and then went over my pencil lines with a Sharpie marker. The third drawing was another character from Naruto, Zabuza. This drawing was the hardest for me because even though I was drawing him from scratch, there were multiple times where I had to erase because parts did not look correct to me. I erased so much that there were black spots that got put on the paper. The final drawing is that of a samurai standing in front of a red moon. This one was by far the longest one because of all the detail that I put into it. Not only did I draw out the samurai, (which took so many hours) but I also went over the whole thing with a fine point Sharpie to make it look sharp.

Q4 Art Gallery

This quarter, Mrs. Hull garnished our weekly art assignments with a healthy helping of independence. In the first week, we had to sketch the figures we saw at the Rodin when we took a quick field trip to the museum. In the subsequent weeks, we had to create three independent projects of our own. I let my creative juices flow for each of them, putting in four hours of work into each. In her absence, I tried to make Hull proud before I graduate! We miss and love you and wish you a speedy recovery!

Darius Purnell Final Art Show 2016

For my final art pieces i wanted to keep it random but I ended but keeping a theme of superheroes when lost for ideas.

The first piece which wasn’t my choice of subject was of a replica of The Thinker in The Rodin Museum Garden. I wanted to make the piece my own so I purposely left out the face, feet and hands. I also tried to limit texture just to add a new look. I changed the hair but adding more to it and making it thicker.

My first 4 hour piece I did a character analysis of a villain from a story I write on the side; The Ghost. I drew a detailed sketch of his helmet, gauntlets, boots and clothing. I also took the time to point out each aspect of the pictures.

Second 4 hour art piece, I drew a ;lesser detailed picture of a hero that would appear later on in the story that my fictional villain is from; The Electron. I took the time to try to draw out his muscle features and I spent a long time playing with different costume detail designs and hairstyles. After I finished, I noticed I forgot the legs so i drew a quick sketch with my last ten minutes as well as a hand showing off his powers.

The last 4 hour art piece, I did a deadpool sketch out of memory. I did many layers. I first did an outline. Then I took another paper and drew his armor and pads. My third piece of paper I drew his under armor. Finally I added everything together on a last piece of paper and sketched a bear on the other side of the piece. I also added my own spin by putting a chimichanga in his hand instead of a gun.

Advanced Art Q4 - Katarina

This time I really wanted to be creative with my art. For the first 4 hour piece I wanted to do eater nature or abstract, so I combined the two concepts. I first drew a sun set, and then I made it look like there is a corner bent, and in abstract colors and shapes I made what it made me feel. For the second I wanted to do designed and poems, but not to use any color. And por the last I did an abstract painting I call "Heaven and Earth". I wanted to plant, so I decided to make it more artistic and use it for my project. Hope you enjoy!

Final Art Show

For the first project we were suppose to choose an area of the park that we liked. I chose the fountain behind the gates but found it very difficult since I couldn't get the best view. I liked this area because it was peaceful and elegant which is what I wanted to portray in my photo. I think that my work could have been cleaner but I wouldn't change the area I chose.
My next photo was inspired by a song that I really liked and my crush.  I also wanted to try something a little different and do block letters. It took me a while to get the letter the way I wanted by I wanted to add more so I wrote all of the lyrics to the song around a heart of the name title. I also included my crush's name in the picture.
My next picture is of a dress and a girl blowing a bubble. I really liked drawing a dress so I wanted to do it again but I wanted a face to go with the dress. I personally like the picture of the girl blowing a bubble because I think it was the best picture of a person I drew 
For my last photo I wanted to reflect over the pictures I drew over the year but I also wanted to try
drawing the letters again so I drew out Art in Art supplies and redrew the art I have created over the year

Q4 A2 Art progression

Through Quarter 3 to Quarter 4, I have been busy working on the continuation of my art collage on a big piece of paper. Everyday I had that class I would work on it. At the end of the week, I would upload my progress of the collage on the slide since I wasn't doing anything different the class was doing. When I finished, I started doing the last objective Ms. Hull never assigned me when she left and that was to sketch for 4 hours. I drew my last masterpiece before turning it in using a pencil. Not much is really said, but I drew a picture of a knight helmet.

See here.

Eleanor Shamble Q4

For my art pieces, I just generally did what I wanted? I can't say I had a specific theme this quarter. I also discovered that my drawing tablet is, in fact, useful, so I started using Firealpaca. It has this awesome brush called fluffy and I love it. (That's the digital art stuff in the last few slides.) I also did an animation, but I couldn't embed a scratch video in the slideshow so I attached it below.

Quarter 4 Artwork

Each and every drawing that was done in this class has had some sort of impact on what i do as an soon to be artist. My first drawing was of my name, I started with just bubble letters and then i started to put a little twist because i didn't want it to be super boring. So I added most of the things that I am really interested in which made a nice twist. I Also done the same with my drawing of my nickname. At the age of 13 I had a dream of starting a company that does a lot of the things i do for people now. which is basically fix phones and computers. Which is also things I enjoyed doing on so many levels. and last was just a drawing of the word Art surround by random objects to make use of the random space that was left on the paper. i was absent Week 1 assignment so i didn't really get a chance to sketch anything for that.

Q4 Art Gallery - Lotus Shareef-Trudeau

Wk 1

For the first piece of art that we had to complete we went to the Rodin museum to draw some inspiration from there. While there I chose to sketch a street lamp that I saw. Though it was daylight, I decided to draw the lamp as if it was dark outside. I tried to portray it as if it was emitting light, to do this I drew moths fluttering around it and attempted at creating shadows.

Wk 2 & 3

The second piece of art that I made was a collage. I took a canvas and painted it a solid orange color. I then cut out a few interesting pictures from magazines that I had and an old picture from home and glued them down to the canvas. After that I recycled some snapple bottle caps that were lying around my room and a broken artificial flower and glued them to the canvas as well. Lastly I draped a string of beads onto the collage using thumbtacks. I really enjoyed making this collage because I found a way to turn a lot of the stray, sort of useless objects all about my room, into something I like to look and and can hang on my wall.

For the third piece of artwork that I made I did another collage on a canvas. The first thing I did was paint it, this time it was not a solid coat but had more variation, I used blue and black paint. I went through much of the same process with this collage as with the last, looking through magazines for pictures that caught my eye and browsing through old photos that would work with the feel I was going for. I used duct tape for the picture and watered down glue to paint onto the backs of my magazine images so that it would produce a more thin and even coat. Lastly for an extra touch I used markers to create a few designs on the canvas and on the images and I cut out clouds to stick onto the image of the man by the train tracks.

Wk 4 & 5

The next piece I made was a painting of a nebula. I used watercolors because they do a good job of expanding on the page in a way that looks natural as opposed to the deliberate strokes of a paint brush that would come out using another type of paint. I restricted my mini nebula to a circle shape so that it is more compact and it looks like its own mini universe contained inside a small space.

After that I used colored pencil to color draw a picture of an alien. It is based off of a picture of my little sister.

The next drawing is based off of a picture that I saw. I really liked the picture because the stripes on her cheek show that she’s a warrior even though it may not look it. I used chalk pastels to color her in.

I based another drawing off of a picture of Jennifer Lawrence. Again I used chalk pastels to color. I used mostly muted colors save for the blue of her eyes because I wanted them to pop more.

Wk 6 & 7

In the 6th and 7th weeks I got really into drawing butterflies. I filled up this page with various drawings of butterflies that I drew throughout the weeks. They’re really beautiful creatures and I tried to capture how delicate they are by applying less pressure to the page when drawing creating a fainter, more subtle line than I normally would.

This next drawing is a depiction of a girl hiding her feelings behind a veil of material things, wearing a mask of indifference. At a time when I was feeling somewhat down on life I began to doodle in my notebook. I tried to channel my feeling through drawing and ended up personifying the feelings that I had at the time. This picture was created with pen.

I drew a picture of a man in a spacesuit and behind him were planets and other planetary objects. I used a combination of pens, markers, and pencils to complete this drawing. I think that space is a beautiful thing and this drawing reflects my desire to learn more about the mysteries of the universe.

Brian's Q4 ArtWorlk

This is definitely going to be my very last assignment ever submitted for Art. I've got to say I had way more fun than I thought I would end up having when I first started this course back in September. But going to this past 4th Quarter, we were basically given freedom to do what we wanted. The first week the class drew a picture from the Rodin Museum, and then the rest of the way we did 4 hour art pieces. I centered my 4 hour art pieces around the sport of baseball. Mainly because my first 4 hour art piece is a painting of the Reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper and my second 4 hour art piece is a picture of the SLA Rockets symbol with the Letters SLA, and a baseball inside the rocket and a baseball bat going through. I did this because I am on the baseball team. I had the most fun with the Bryce Harper painting because of all the detail that went into it, from making sure I illustrated where all the shading was to showing the wrinkles in his jersey. I just had a lot of fun with it. Overall I'm happy with the effort I put into my work. It wasn't the easiest stuff considering art isn't one of my hobbies, but I learned new things and it helped with what I did.

Sean Morris: The Biological Factors of Crime

Sean Morris

The Biological Factors of Crime

While we typically use the terms “bad to the bone” or “bad blood” as a figure of speech for someone we don’t like, it turns out that the terms might be more literal than what one might assume.  Recently the new science in the world has allowed for studies to be done into the biological factors of a criminal's body to determine what factors can cause someone to become a criminal.

Some of the research that has been found into this subject involves chromosomes. Essentially what chromosomes are threadlike strands of DNA in the cell that carries the genes in a linear order. Alternations in the chromosomes are part of what can lead to disorders in the body like down syndrome. In regards to how this relates to criminal behavior is that having an an abnormal number of chromosomes can be causation for a dictator. With some diseases that are further added in their toxicity based upon environmental situation some people can become a powder keg of crime waiting to go off. Alternatively it becomes up to the legal defense team to prove that their is a direct correlation between the disease and the actual crime, otherwise it's just spectral

Another biological factor that becomes a component into crime is addiction. Addiction is basically and typically when someone takes a certain kind of drug that activates the reward centers of the mind so much so that people have an insatiable desire to recreate and keep that “reward” going. Within the biological underpinnings of this condition is a trait that causes addiction to happen  more due to inheritance from a family member, most likely a parent. However the law will still arrest and prosecute individuals but without seeking any medical assistance for them.

In conclusion the law and neuroscience are still a road from which much distance must be traveled on. While we need to prosecute people who break the law to ensure a more productive society, we must also know when the prisoner of the system may be just as much a prisoner of his body.

Lie Detection

Lie Detectors


Lie detectors come in many ways to detect that someone is lying. Telling someone is lying can be judged on sweat or nervousness. Lie Detection can also be based on the study of the brain and getting wavelengths that spike this is a polygraph. Does looking at the brain instead looking at physical appearance more accurate? The answer to that question would be no it’s not as accurate as looking at a polygraph and examining the brain. A lie detector lets you know the physiological changes considered to be associated with lying. These studies of lie detection only started studies on this last year. The fMRI is not accurate because of course some people will be nervous being there and running tests. The machine will just make them even more nervous causing the machine to spike and incriminate themselves. The court system isn’t allowing the lie detection methods as evidence just yet due to the chance that it’s not accurate and stable.

The background info that the audience needs is that lie detectors aren’t accurate machines and that's why they aren’t brought into court just yet. The viewpoint of the person getting tested is that they are already nervous that they can have a chance to go to jail. The other point is that they are “accurate” but in most cases they aren’t. On the other hand people think that the people are nervous because they are wrong. Imagine being in their position.. First, being on trail would make a person nervous even if you didn’t do it. Then on top of that then being tested on would of course would make you nervous. I believe that these testing have to be further improved before they are used in the courthouse.