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The Dreaded Interview

By Emily Hutton

In the working world where an employer will decide if they would hire you or not in the first 20 seconds of the interview, it is important to be prepared, or you will find yourself not getting very far.

Julie Blais-Comeau, The Sticky Situations Blogger for the Huffington Post and author of Etiquette: Confidence and Credibility, says that when it comes to preparing for the workplace, it is almost like mathematics.

“To me it’s almost like a mathematical formula; E= c2,” said Blais-Comeau. “Etiquette will give you self-confidence and client credibility, and for someone that’s about to begin their career it will give them the confidence to succeed.”

When it comes to business etiquette, it isn’t just about the way you behave at the dinner table, it teaches people how to conduct themselves in a professional manner in whatever setting. From board meetings to network events, business etiquette will benefit a person when it comes to presenting themselves to future employers or clients.

“If any student wants to leave school and get a job, business etiquette is an integral part of it,” said Jacob Cooke, a Bachelor of Applied Business student at Algonquin College. “It starts the very moment that you apply for a job and carries through the entire interview process, if you don’t have the business etiquette skills to adequately present yourself no employer is going to take a chance with you.”

Even when in an international setting, students with business etiquette skills have an advantage when it comes to finding a career.

Suzanne Nourse, Founder and Director of The Protocol School of Ottawa, says that it takes a lot more than just researching the country you will be living in when applying to work abroad.

“Basically the world is divided in to 2 ways of thinking and approaching business. In Canada, the United States, and Western Europe, we don’t care about relationships so much. When we meet clients we are happy to get down to business. In a lot of the world we can not do business until we have a relationship.” said Nourse “It’s not just learning about the country or the language, it’s about learning, How do they think’.”

Whatever industry an individual chooses to invest their future into, having knowledge of business etiquette skills will help them succeed.

Julie Blais-Comeau is a well-known etiquette expert and offers classes and presentations, as well as one-on-one coaching. Her book is available on her website, Suzanne Nourse runs the Protocol School of Ottawa and offers presentations and classes on etiquette, the schools website is

Murder Mystery on Campus

By Emily Hutton

Murder Mystery was the theme of the formal dinner hosted by event management students at Restaurant International March 29 for Children’s Wish Foundation. With tarot card readings, a silent auction, murder, a three course meal and plenty of entertainment, the night was filled with fun and good times.

“There are two reasons why we choose a murder mystery,” said Olivier Martin, a team member and fellow event management student. “Murder mysteries are nice, original ideas that not many people think of [for an event]. We all liked the idea and it was something we just went with.”

Vintage Stock Theatre provided actors to play the suspects in the murder mystery. When a guest was suspicious of one of the actors they would purchase a sealed envelope with the suspect’s name on it. Inside the envelope was a question the guest could ask the suspect, and the suspect had to answer honestly. When they were sure of a suspect, they would fill out the sheet found on their plate of who they thought was the murderer.

Guests were thrown in jail if caught as a troublemaker, and others sitting at their table then had to bail them out. Wearing a rose could save a person from jail and could be purchased for three dollars. The first troublemaker of the night was Caron Fitzpatrick, professor of the event management program, with her bail set at $40.

“Well, you learn who your friends are when you’re put in jail and need bail money,” said Fitzpatrick, before sharing a good laugh with members of her table. “I don’t hold a grudge forever, only a decade.”

Upon arrival, guests had the choice between 1920’s accessories such as bow ties, long gloves, and headbands. After finding their table, they were able to mingle or have their Tarot card’s read by Adriann Sowchuk, who runs ‘GreenSleeves’ Tarot. Two silent auctions were also available, ending at 7:45 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Items up for bid in the auction were a Kuerig coffee brewing system, Personal Trainer gift certificates, a painting by Donald West, a pink Pearl necklace and earring set, and Haunted Walk passes. Jill Hache, the team leader and event coordinator said the team was aiming to raise $3,000-$4,000 dollars for Children’s Wish Foundation, a charity aimed at granting wishes of children diagnosed with a life threatening disease. 

“I’m confident we’ll reach just that,” said Hache a  student in the event management program.

The night was full of entertainment, laughs, and fun. Turning out to be a success for the event management students and Children’s Wish Foundation.

Slamming poetry event held at the Ob

By Emily Hutton

Audiences were snapping their fingers and shouting ‘SLAM!’ for their favorite performers at the Poetry Slam event on Oct. 16 hosted by Jamaal Jackson Rogers from Urban Legends Poetry Group.

Poets battled against each other at The Observatory for a chance to win $300 during the Poetry Slam event to a crowd of about 100 students who showed up to show their support for poets such as ArRay of WoRds. Who started the event by performing his original work “Raise the Asia!”, a comical and amusing poem about the different Asian cultures.

At the end of the night, the winner was Shaun ‘Sully’ Sullivan, who had finished second at the last Poetry Slam. The crowd was cheering loudly for Sullivan all night and made it no surprise that he was declared the winner.

“I waited all day for this,” said Sullivan.  “Obviously I wanted to win, nothing is worse than finishing second twice, it’s a liberating feeling and now I have money in my pocket to put on bills.”

The host, Jamaal Jackson Rogers, also known by his stage name Just Jamaal, originally started out as a rapper before getting into poetry.

 “I got into poetry because I thought it was a better way to communicate how I felt rather than music,” said Rogers.

“I just felt that the hip-hop industry didn’t have a lot of room for creative thinking and outside-of-the-box lyricism at the time, and low and behold, I do this full-time now,” he said.

 Even though Poetry Slam is a similar setting to a rap battle they are two very different types of performances.

“In a rap battle the focus is more head-to-head competition, where you have to go against one other individual and a lot of it is your really working on trying to defeat your opponent by how many times you can disrespect them with lyrics,” said Rogers.

“In poetry competitions it’s more you write poems expressing whatever it is you want to express, whether it be humorous or depressing and it’s not really towards anyone.”

Poetry Slam is a competition in which poets recite their pieces and are judged by a set of five judges with scoreboards picked from the audience. This semester, people who attended the performance were given ballots and were asked to vote on which they thought was best.

The competition consisted of three rounds. In the first round the eight poets were given three and a half minutes to recite their work and afterwards the audience was given a short break to choose which poets should continue in the Poetry Slam. The four favourites battled each other in the second round. 

It’s time for ‘Anamaniacs’

By Emily Hutton

Animation students will be displaying some of their best work for local studios at The Observatory April 27. The show gives students a chance to showcase their strengths and what they plan to do in the animation industry to potential employers.

Since September, the third-year animation class has been working on a short film. They create their own sets and texture and animate their own films. This then turns into a 30-second to 1-minute short film that is shown alongside their best work.          

“All the students are in one place then the studio representatives come in and see everyone all at once and get a feel for who they like and which students fit the needs of their studio,” said Derek Bond, program co-ordinator. “They then take the grad book and go back and combine notes and see who they want to interview and hire.”

The program has a 95 percent hiring rate and employers are 100 percent satisfied with the graduates they have taken on.

“It’s the perfect opportunity for pre-animation students to come in and see what they’re getting into [and] where we can take them,” said Bond. “Every applicant to the program gets an invite to the show so they can come and see what it’s all about, see if it is really what they want to do. It’s a good opportunity for them as well.”

This makes it well worth the 75 to 80-hour weeks. The students can work up to 110 hours depending on their work load.

“Sometimes we get to leave before midnight,” said Jessie Moore, a student in the program. “Which is pretty cool, but it doesn’t happen too often.”

 Apart from the local studios, Walt Disney and Sony Image Works have been showing interest in the students for the past few years. But the skills the students learn are transferable to different industries such as video games.

“I want to go to into the gaming industry, maybe work for a start-up company and then I can do a little bit of everything,” said student Matt Little. “If you go into bigger studios you have to focus.”

Students are taught everything from how to draw animated characters from scratch to the many principles of animation that they will take with them into their careers.

“Art has been integral in my life,” said Sabine Ng, another animation student. “Animation as been there since I was a kid … [it] just seemed like a course that fit my type of art style because I’m technical as well as creative and animation has a lot of technical aspects.”

Students said they are hopeful of finding a job after graduation, and are looking forward to what they future holds for them.

“I definitely want to do animation,” said Brad Weaver. “Whether that’s starting at the bottom or running a company, or if I’m doing movies, short films, or TV. I love doing it.” 

Yo Romeo, Where’d ya go?

By Emily Hutton

Algonquin theatre students and Ottawa based A Company of Fools theatre company have teamed together to bring a modern twist to classical Shakespearean plays, by adding humour and street theatre techniques.

Interactive Shakespeare Circus is about a group of actors who realize their leader, Sir Richard Lawrence III, is gone and they can do all the scenes they were told not to do.

“In the absence of their leader, they realize they can do whatever the hell they want,” said Al Connors the director of the play. “This is the first year there has been a partnership between this theatre company, A company of fools, and the college.”

A Company of Fools has been doing the play for about 20 years now, just in different versions. It’s structured like a sketch comedy, with multiple scenes that can be moved around to create a different line up.

“The collection of scenes and the way we are doing it here [at the college] are new,” said Connors. “But the [original] material was created and developed by A Company of Fools.”

Each scene is a different Shakespearean play. For example, one scene in the play is a modernized version of Romeo and Juliet, where the cast goes through each scene rapping the lines. The play is a mostly touring show aimed at younger audiences, though the company occasionally still does the show, performing in high schools, colleges, and universities.

Algonquin doesn’t always house people who find theatre plays enjoyable. “All of the scenes are either directly from or inspired by Shakespeare,” said Connors. “One of the reasons why the show has been so successful over the years is [by] using comedy we make the material very accessible to a non-theatre or non-Shakespeare audience.”

In other words this play isn’t just mean for people who find great enjoyment in watching a play. “The show was originally developed for street theatre,” said Connors. . “A lot of the bits are created to grab onto your attention and hold onto it as long as possible.”

The play starts off with a loud and vibrant opening scene that grabs your attention and has you asking, “Whoa, what’s going on?”. The fast pace, vibrance and energy from the actors keeps your attention  throughout the play.

 “It works for people who both really like shakespeare and are really skeptical, and are like ’ I hate this stuff but my friend dragged me to see the show so I will reluctantly come,’” said Connors.

Tickets are currently on sale for $10 per adult, and $8 per student, child, and senior. To make reservations, call the box office at (613) 727-4723.

Bartending students stir things up in mixology class

By Emily Hutton

Cuba libre. Mojito. Chelsea sidecar. Porn star. These are just a handful of the drinks you can learn to make in the bartending program. Students enrolled in this program learn the proper bar structure of high-end hotels, restaurants, and bars/lounges. Also the health and safety codes provided by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Mixology is taught by Antonios Vitaliotis, who has been teaching hospitality and tourism courses, such as hotel and restaurant management and customer service at Algonquin for 10 years. Vitaliotis has also been in management for 12 years in high-end hotels, lounges, and restaurants.

The class is based around 15 weeks for people who need experience a.s.a.p., such as cruise ships employees or resort employees. Also students who are planning on running their own bar/restaurant could take the course to gain experience for the industry. In class students learn the basics of each liquor including where and when it originated.

“They aren’t just learning about the liquor, they are learning about the history too,” said Vitaliotis.

In mixology, they learn about molecular mixology. Which is using scientific equipment and techniques to create the same drink in different ways. Equipment can range from blowtorches to vacuum sealers. 

Techniques normally used by a mixologist are adaptions of the ones used in molecular gastronomy. Which is similar to mixology, but with food instead of mixed drinks.

For example, to create ‘airs’, which is literally made from foam and air, you must combine the two in a siphon bottle equipped with nitrous oxide. Class activities consist of making drinks as the Cuba libre: which includes Coca-Cola, white rum, and fresh lime juice. Students create ‘Cola spheres’ while using mixology techniques. Including Coca-Cola and sodium alganate. While using an eye dropper, had put the cola mixture into a xantham gum and caster sugar solution to create the spheres.

To learn how to become a fast bartender, students compete in a timed race. They are given a list of five drinks by Vitaliotis and are told they have just under five minutes to complete the drinks and clean up their individual bars. While Vitaliotis stands on his podium shouting “hurry up, get it moving!”

“I like the class, and definitely find it a lot more fun than most classes.” said Alex Schultz a student in the program.

The class really isn’t as easy as it seems and students do drop out quite a bit. “The course is used mostly by first time students who think, ‘This program looks easy’,” said Vitaliotis. “Then they realize there is actually a lot of math and other factors involved and then drop out.”

The course has a large amount of university students who sign up for the program during the summer. As bartending is an excellent way to earn cash due to tips from customers.

“Every class is a memorable class, we have a lot of fun,” said Vitaliotis.

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