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The Auroran Today

Jaela Staker – Life’s a movie

“I am a perfectionist when it comes to the things I love.”

“I am a perfectionist when it comes to the things I love.” 

And for Jaela Staker, MHS Senior, one of those things is her love for film. As a senior she has already been encountered with the cliche question of, what is your plan for next year?

With this senior question in mind, Jaela has part of her pathway envisioned for herself. She desires to pursue her love for film in a more formal setting as a film major. Well known film major programs are located on the east and west coast, but there are still offerings that are more local. Currently, Jaela is looking into Augustana College for her route in filmmaking specializing in set design,  scoring movies, and perhaps one day even in directing. 

Jaela’s love for film is tethered in her childhood memories where movie watching was a shared family experience. Around the holidays, it was a family tradition to load up the family car, sneak away snacks, and go to a showing of a newly released movie. 

When looking back on this tradition, Jaela realized, “these showings became really special to me.” 

Jaela’s mom, Evelyn Staker, agreed. 

“We spend a lot of time bonding going to the movies,” shared Evelyn. She noted that the family doesn’t always agree over the film rating, but they have always enjoyed discussing the things they like and dislike over the years.  

Over the years, Jaela’s mom has noted the way in which Jalea has changed. 

“I have seen Jaela become more confident and truly come into her own. She embraces her own – her ideas, her fashion,” said Evelyn. She described Jaela as kind, fun, and quirky. 

Despite her self proclaimed introverted personality, Jaela, if her life could be a movie, would live in the liveliness and chaos of Mama Mia the musical has to offer. 

Jaela said, “it would be so fun in there. [It would be the] time of my life.”

Jaela acknowledged though that a better character that represents herself is the main character, Shizuku Tsukishima, a 14-year-old student, from the movie, Whisper of the Heart. Shizuku is guided by her deep love for writing and reading.  The protagonist abruptly leaves school thinking she has it all figured out only to find out that there is still a lot still to learn.

“She is so me. What writing is for her is what movies are for me.”

— Jaela

“She is so me. What writing is for her is what movies are for me,” said Jaela.

Both Jaela and her mom, described Jaela as “hilarious” and “fun” which is fitting given her favorite type of movies are rom-coms, no matter how cliche.  

Another main reason she has developed such a strong affinity for films is for “how much happiness it can give a person,” shared Jaela.  

Jaela’s friends during filming.

Jaela doesn’t just like the storyline. She is interested in how the movie is made. By taking Introduction to Film, an MHS dual-credit English elective, taught by Mr. Meyer, she received some first hand instruction on the technical part of filmmaking through a video project. This assessment confirmed her post-secondary plans. 

Her success in this class was partially due to her creative nature and tapping into her friend groups to cast in the roles for her video project. But just like the main character, Shizuku, Jaela doesn’t quite have it all figured out with film making. Jaela noted that in terms of directing, she wasn’t well enough planned. 

“Meeting the deadline was hard,” admitted Jaela.

Now all MHS Seniors, Estella Bland, Amaya Wagner, and Mahayla Martin dressed as children for Jaela’s Art of Film production.

Luckily, the film panned out, kudos to her main characters – her closest friends. 

Along with movies, Jaela is significantly shaped by both her family and interactions with her friends. 

“I get a lot of my personality from friends,” admits Jaela. “We are pretty loud. We don’t really do anything, we just talk, but that is most of the fun.”

Jaela encourages her love of film onto her friends. One of their favorite activities is to go to the drive-in theater together. 

The next time Jaela attends the drive-in with her friends, you could read a movie critique over the movie that she watches where it will  be published on The Auroran Today in the Arts & Entertainment  section.

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About the Contributor
Mrs. Alex Rauenbuehler
Mrs. Rauenbuehler is an English teacher that oversees the journalism program at MHS. She is a proud cliche English teacher that is a lover of poetry, lamps, cat themed decor, and oversized sweaters. Her teacher pet-peeve is when people do weird things to font. When not at school, you can find her preferably at home with zero plans or obligations hanging out with her family.
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