Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Mar 31, 2022 in Stuff You Should Know

Actor Makes History at Oscars

On Sunday night March 27, 2022, Troy Kotsur won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work on the film CODA. Kotsur is the second deaf actor to receive an Oscar for acting. Marlee Matlin first achieved this in 1986 when she won for her performance in Children of a Lesser God. Matlin is also Kotsur’s costar in CODA. Kotsur was the favorite to win the Academy Award because he had already won several awards for this movie role. He won in this category at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the British Academy Film Awards, and the Critics’ Choice Movies Awards.

In the film CODA (an acronym for Child of Deaf Adults), Kotsur plays Frank Rossi, a Massachusetts fisherman whose entire family is deaf except for his daughter, Ruby. The family is challenged when Ruby wants to move away from home to attend music school. Kotsur says what he loves about this movie is that it does not portray people with disabilities as limited or as victims. Instead, it shows a warm and loving family that is just like any other hearing family.

Kotsur began his acting career at the Deaf West Theatre in Hollywood, where he met Marlee Matlin. He also met his real-life wife, the actress Deanne Bray at that theater. He says that what’s important about winning this award is that it might inspire other young deaf children who want to enter the film industry someday. The attention that he is receiving will hopefully create more film jobs for deaf actors and actresses in the future.

Dig Deeper  How many Academy Awards did CODA win on Sunday night? Do some research to find out more.

Need a “Peptoc”?

A global pandemic, political tension, the Ukrainian invasion, and rising gas prices have made the last few years stressful. In fact, a 2020 study from The Lancet show that the COVID-19 pandemic–and the resulting quarantine and economic crisis–have led to actual post-traumatic stress symptoms in many people. This can cause confusion, anger, and depression. So how can we manage this stress? Some methods include taking time to breathe, focusing only on things you can control, exploring creative outlets to turn your mind to other things, and exercise. Experts who study mental health also suggest focusing on the positive and performing acts of kindness for others.

a group of students using technology
Some young kids made a series of voicemails aimed at making us feel better.

One California elementary school art teacher named Jessica Martin took this advice to heart. She started a project called the Peptoc Hotline with her students at West Side Elementary School. Anyone can call this number to receive free words of encouragement from elementary school students in English or Spanish. Once callers select a language, they can choose from a menu that includes options such as receiving a pep talk from kindergarteners, hearing children laugh with delight, and more.

Martin’s own six-year-old son is responsible for naming the project (the name is how he sounded out the words “pep talk”). What started as a small experiment has quickly exploded. The hotline now receives about three to four hundred calls every hour. A recent GoFundMe campaign raised $26,000 for the project. This will help it continue through the end of the 2022 school year.

Dig Deeper Call the Peptoc Hotline at 707-998-8410. Take time to check out the different options and hear the different messages. Write down a few of your favorites to share.

Deadly Spring Weather

Last week saw some violent weather for several parts of the United States. Texas and Oklahoma were heavily impacted by severe tornadoes with winds of up to 130 mph. So far, two people have been killed and more than two dozen injured by this storm system, which included an estimated 31 tornadoes. The storms destroyed houses, businesses, a church, and a high school. More than ninety thousand Texas homes and businesses were left without power. Governor Greg Abbott has declared a disaster for sixteen Texas counties. Authorities are grateful that the tornadoes didn’t hit during the day, which likely would have led to a much greater loss of life.

In Louisiana, the same storm system spawned a tornado that hit the same neighborhoods that were ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It also caused heavy rains of up to eight inches in some places, which caused dangerous flooding. Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama were affected as well, with damaged buildings, downed trees, and lost power in many places. The storms continued east, impacting about fifty million people from Indiana to Florida. Cities such as Columbus, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Savannah, Georgia, saw strong winds, hail, and tornado watches.

Dig Deeper What do scientists know about how tornadoes form and the weather conditions that cause them? Do some research to learn more and write a summary of what you learned.