I was quickly corrected when I referred to A Million Shetland Ponies, in which Georgetown freshman David Benedetto (SFS ’13) is a musician, as a one man band.
“So, there are two members of A Million Shetland Ponies. It’s me and my best friend, Maxwell Q. Maxwell,” Benedetto explained. “The band’s been together for three years now, and Maxwell actually writes the music. Although I’ve tried my hand at that.”
It’s a little confusing, because Maxwell is a life-sized doll that dances with Benedetto’s help.
“Actually, I’d like to point out that he’s a person.”
Again, my bad. This Georgetown musical duo is little-known around Georgetown’s campus (“We have almost 90 fans on Facebook!” Benedetto said sarcastically), but it is very talented. Armed with about 17 songs in their repertoire that they’ll play in public, A Million Shetland Ponies has run the gamut of on-campus open mic nights. They took second in the D.C. Funniest College Comic competition, and in January, they came away from America’s Next Great Star, a traveling talented show which made a stop in Gaston, with $500.
Most recently, the group has put out a quirky, cute music video of the song they played at Next Great Star, called “The Argyle in My Socks.” Filmed on one of the upper levels of Healy Hall, the lovesong-video, above, features Benedetto dancing with and serenading Maxwell, (sometimes from inside a recycling bin), who’s dressed as “a lustful woman.”
A lot of students have to overcome adversity in order to get to college, but Mario Rocha, who is about to complete his first semester at George Washington University, pretty much has all other students beat: prior to arriving on GWU’s campus, the 30-year-old freshman spent 10 years in prison, having been wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder.
In his Washington Post profile of Rocha, Daniel De Vise writes that Rocha was incarcerated for the murder of Martin Aceves, who shot to death at a Los Angeles house party in 1996, when he was 16 years old. Four years ago, he was found to have been wrongfully convicted. He was tried as an adult and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment.
In the juvenile detention center where he was incarcerated, he began creative writing. He drew the attention of a nun, Sister Janet Harris, who found an attorney to advocate for his release. De Vise writes that Rocha stayed incredibly positive during an excruciatingly slow fight for his release—at one point consoling the attorneys who were prepared to console him when they experienced another setback in court.
After he was released, Rocha was the subject of a lauded documentary, “Mario’s Story.” He currently “is taking courses in physical geography, women’s studies, weight training and the media, along with Introduction to Criminal Justice, a subject to which he presumably needs no introduction.”
Rocha is attending GWU on a scholarship which he accepted with some reluctance.
Not to be flippant, but that must have been one hell of an admissions essay.
Time to bust out your “Peers Who Are Already More Successful Than I Ever Will Be” list and add the name Catherine Cook (MSB ’11). She hasn’t even started her sophomore year yet, but Forbes is writing about her and the website she and her two brothers run, MyYearbook.
I’d never heard of it, but apparently it’s pretty big (Compete shows almost 3.5 million hits this month). A quick visit shows that MyYearbook offers tacky graphics, inane quizzes (“What Kind Of Sex Should You Have?“), salacious stories, and the creepy opportunity to “own” other members.
Like Forbes, I think the site’s a little immature. Then again, I’m not the president of a site worth millions.
Naturally, Catherine’s got a MyYearbook profile, complete with annoying twinkling background and more than 50,000 friends. Interestingly, she also has a Facebook. I’m not sure what the guidelines are for social network wunderkinds, but this seems a little strange to me. Maybe she’s just monitoring the competition, though.
A source who spoke to Catherine recently told Mashable that it’s more of a PR pitch: Catherine is a 4.0 honors student with little free time in between extra-curricular activities, he says, and knows little about the running of the site when questioned. While the teen angle is a great way to promote the site, the force behind it is older brother Geoff, almost 30, who learned that age is a good selling point while garnering press coverage for a startup in his freshman years. Now too old to play that card, his younger siblings have been thrust in front of the cameras, says our source.
Hmm! Between that and the site’s code (outsourced to Mumbai), how much has Catherine actually done for the site, besides be interviewed?