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the express

LIVING THROUGH FEAR Two students share their stories of sexual assault and rape. PAGE 14


CONTENTS | 05.06.21


THE EXPRESS STAFF Editor-in-Chief .......................................Emma Johnson Executive Editor...............................................Bella Rinne





During May's Asian American Heritage Month, teacher Sarah Lee speaks on the increase in hate crimes she said she noticed since Covid-19 began.

The swim team celebrates senior Cydney Willenbring on Senior Night, April 20. Check out more photos from the spring sports season.

Assistant Executive Editor....................Tessa Regan Print Editor..........................................................Izze Lentfer Online Editor.......................................Maggie McCready Design Editor.......................................................Erin Reece Graphics Editor.......................................Courtney Krebs Social Media Editor..................................Lola Shipman Managing Photo Editor............................Rachel Sarff Quality Photo Editor.................................Mitri Krishna Co-Sports Editors.......Jonny Isaacson & Jack Nitz News Editor.....................................................Megan Yates National Editor.............................................Jack Bensing Chief Writer..................................................Maddie Oliver Writers Anna Bailey • Elizabeth Caine • Kathryn Case • Katelyn Gau • Rachel Hostetler • Reagan Kauth



Reagan King • Abbie Kratofil • Liz LaHood • Matthew Lemke • Lizzie Lively • Emily Moser • Julia Moser Mauri Peterson • Raabia Qureshi Photographers Savannah Bridges • Amanda Carvalho • Grace Davis • Lauren Kline • Jenna Soltwedel • Bailey Thompson Designers Sophie Dellett • Emma Gau • Alyssa Peterson • Sabrina San Agustin Adviser Jim McCrossen

Assistant Adviser Amanda Ford Senior Kyle Hamera said his family has had to navigate the rising price of college tuition.


05.06.21 | CONTENTS


14 COVER: LIVING THROUGH FEAR Junior Kyra Bugg said she did not like the way she looked and did not want anybody to see her body after she was raped. “I was mad at myself and felt guilty. People tried to blame me and tell me it was my fault,” Bugg said. (Cover photo by Mitri Krishna)






Guests at Creative Culture have access to a plethora of DIY crafts, a plant potting station and more.

Sophomore Ashleigh Eblen creates car air fresheners, she calls freshies, with her mom, Laura Eblen.


EDITORIAL Our community needs rebuilding Opinion: Protect students' civic rights



Senior Carlie Johansen said social media creates a false idea of teenagers needing a perfect body.

OPINION The Bible is not a guide to politics My mental illness is not a trend


EDITORIAL | 05.06.21



hink back to March 6, 2020. That time on our own, it is understandable that day, the diversity council put finally experiencing a winning football game together a series of dances and might feel abnormal. When it does happen, performances to celebrate the many though, the experience of sharing your spirit colors that make up our school. in a community of students is a great way to Awed silence, frenzied cheers and laughter stay socially engaged and ultimately become filled the gym. In these moments, we were happier. But don't take it from us; a study together, united: One Northwest. in the Connecticut Foundation of Schools It seems like that was the surveyed thousands of their students last time we truly felt like a on varying degrees of school spirit Vaccines are rolling community. When the famed and found the more connected a out, we are learning student is to school activities like spirit stick went up in flames at completely the hands of 2020 seniors just a clubs, sports or co-curriculars, the in-person and we few weeks later, our collective better and more well-rounded their have hope that a spirit did, too. academic career became. We want sense of community our student body to reflect this, too. Lockdown restrictions forced will begin to creep us into isolation for seven School pride goes beyond cheering back into the halls. for the sports teams; Blue Valley months, limiting interaction We are in charge with our school friends and Northwest should be a safe and of making that teachers to just a few Zoom comfortable place for students to happen. meetings throughout the day. feel accepted and cherished. That's Combine that with limited what it means to be a part of a access to sports events and the cancellation community. To combat the loss of safe space for of school dances, assemblies and spirit week an entire year, when we come back this fall we skits, and we can see why the foundation of our need to celebrate our school and rebuild our school pride has crumbled. community. This means pushing for new and But not all is lost. Vaccines are rolling out; innovative clubs, pitch ideas for the greatest we are learning completely in-person; and, we diversity assembly in history and dress up for have hope that a sense of community will begin spirit week with the utmost enthusiasm. Our to creep back into the halls. We are in charge of lives won't necessarily change with a newfound making that happen. passion for the Huskies, but perhaps this This shift back to what we once thought approach will bring in just a bit more light in as "normal" won't be flawless. After so much the classroom. We all know we need it.

05.06.21 | OPINION




uring my time in high school I’ve become increasingly civically active, from attending my first walkout in protest of gun violence freshman year to attending a Black Lives Matter protest this summer, put on by our very own Black Student Union. This, along with covering our local government and school board for BVNWnews, shaped me into an engaged student and community member. However, there are few protections put in place by the district to ensure students can experience these events without consequence. Passiveness toward government operations runs rampant in this country. In 2020 we reached the highest percent of voter turnout in 120 years, and it was still only 66 percent of the voting age population. Political apathy is a disease to democracy itself and the way it can be combated is giving students the opportunity to be involved from a young age. Since kindergarten, we have learned that students are the future of America. If Blue Valley believes this, then they will ensure that their students not only have the right, but are encouraged to be civically active. The Blue Valley School District has no policies regarding civic engagement except the Walkout Guidelines they developed following the Parkland shooting in preparation for the March for Our Lives protest. There are some portions of this policy that are concerning: one of the most glaring is that any student participating in a walkout who is not present in class

during attendance will receive an unexcused absence. Unexcused absences put students at an academic disadvantage, as they are not allowed to make up work they missed for credit. If a student partook in a walkout on the day of a test, this could set them back in the class a letter grade or more. Walkouts, however, are not the endall-be-all of civic engagement, which is why protections must be in place for students who want to be involved in other ways. There is nothing stopping kids from being punished for working on campaigns, meeting with representatives, working at a poll site, protesting and more during school hours. The Blue Valley attendance policy lists the following as acceptable reasons for an absence: illness, necessary appointments, family emergencies, religious observances, family vacations, personal matters and participation in a school approved student activity. While some of these could vaguely cover certain aspects of civic engagement, without any deliberate mention, there is too much power in the school administration's hands on what constitutes an excused absence. As a member of the student media, I have been granted privileges to be civically involved as my absences can be attributed to newspaper, a school sponsored activity, but not every student has that opportunity, which is why Blue Valley must do better. School districts across the country produced policies that protect the civic engagement of their students. One in particular is Fairfax County

Public Schools, a district in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. In 2019 they introduced a civic engagement option that allowed one partial school day absence each school year to participate in civic engagement. These absences must be pre-arranged with school, parent-approved and the student must show proof of participation in the activity. While the policy is still close to the bare minimum of what students deserve when it comes to protecting their right to be active in their community, it's a start. That's why I’m calling on the Blue Valley Board of Education to create a policy that gives students the ability to have excused absences when it comes to civic involvement. Rather than being reactionary and waiting for a student to be denied an opportunity, let's be preventative and grant students this right.

Since kindergarten, we have learned that students are the future of America. If Blue Valley believes this, then they will ensure that their students not only have the right, but are encouraged to be civically active.

OPINION | 05.06.21



POLITICS Written by Lizzie Lively


eligion is a huge part of many people’s lives, but we must ask ourselves the question: why is it so prelevant in politics? Our country was built upon freedom of religion and the separation of church and state, so why is it so hard to actually separate them? Religion is based on morals; it tells people how to act in order to achieve a goal. The reason religion is so prevalent in politics is because these morals affect people’s political beliefs. If someone is morally opposed to the legalization of marijuana due to their religious beliefs, they’re going to vote against its legalization. But in cases like LGBTQ+ and ethnic minority rights, where your vote affects human rights, religion should not affect somebody’s vote. In fact, minority rights should not be voted upon or debated at all. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I’m angry. I’m angry

that my human rights are debated on courtroom floors by people who don’t know what it’s like to actually be LGBTQ+. Why should I have to argue for my right to marry someone I love? Religion is a huge factor in the legal discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, especially Christianity. According to The Pew Research Center, in 2019 65% of American adults identified as Christian. This prevalence of a certain religion is due to the colonization of America. It’s hard to spread other beliefs and ideas when you’re oppressed. Of course, other religions have risen in prominence, but Christianity still dominates politics. For a religion that promotes love and unity, a lot of its followers seem to be vehemently opposed to equality. It’s such an uphill battle for LGBTQ+ rights that same-sex marriage wasn’t even legalized until 2015. All this animosity toward samesex couples is based upon one chapter from the Bible, Leviticus, and specifically these two lines from the King James Version: “you shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” and “if a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” In other translations of the Bible, “male” is actually translated as “young boy” or something similar, meaning these verses would actually be against pedophilia. In the original Greek version, the word “arsenokoitai” was not translated to mean “homosexual”

or “male” until 1946. In a German translation from the 1800s, one of the lines actually translates to “man shall not lie with young boys as he does with a woman, for it is an abomination.” The first German translation of the Bible to use “homosexual” was made in 1983. Other translations also translate this line as being against pedophilia, not homosexuality. The Bible also includes other rules that many Christians do not follow. Leviticus 19:19: “do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.” If this rule can be ignored, then the rule regarding homosexuality can be ignored, too. The line needs to be drawn somewhere. The Bible also often contradicts itself, such as in its views on violence. In Exodus, the Bible says “thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” But in the gospel of Matthew, it says “ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” In one verse violence is justifiable, but in another verse it isn’t. These contradictions and the cherry-picking of the Bible is another reason religion should not dictate your vote in matters like these. In a country whose constitution is based upon freedom and liberty, it’s absurd that we let religion so strongly influence the political conversation. We need to focus on voting for human rights instead of against them. We must educate ourselves beyond our religions and learn to vote without their influence. After we better educate ourselves, we can focus on eliminating the choice of even voting for or against human rights. Basic human rights should not be legislation that is voted upon, they should just be granted. The problem with organized religion, particularly Christianity, is that it often crosses the line into discrimination and hatred and that is unacceptable. Freedom of religion means the right to practice whatever religion you choose, not the right to impose your religion upon others.

Read the full opinion on BVNWnews.com

05.06.21 | OPINION




Written by Liz LaHood


Trigger Warning: discussion of mental illness, self harm and suicide n recent years, we as a society have done a great job of ending the stigma around mental illness. This improvement has brought about more inclusion and awareness for these very real conditions, but, there comes a point where things go too far. Speaking as someone who has struggled with mental health problems for her entire life, the way conditions like depression, anxiety, OCD and others are commonly represented can be very damaging to anyone who struggles with a mental disorder. With the help of the current social climate, things like being “depressed,” wanting to “kill yourself” or being “so OCD” have become normal phrases or reactions to minor inconveniences, which is very unsettling to people genuinely struggling with these issues. Molly Pierce, a licensed professional clinical counselor, said that the further normalization of mental health problems has been beneficial to society, but there still should be limits. “In some cases, especially with younger people, I think there’s less stigma around it,” Pierce said. “But in some cases, there’s a little bit of an over-generalization...without knowing the whole criteria and all that it really means to fit that diagnosis.” Although making jokes can help make a situation more manageable, there is a limit for how far they should go and who should be making them. Growing up, I felt like I was posing as a depressed person to gain attention because of how normalized it was. It took me a long time to realize that how

I was feeling was not normal and that seem like something that can garner my feelings were even valid. sympathy from others or make you The reality is that how mental more relatable and edgy, but all that illness is portrayed in all forms of does is sensationalize it, which sets media is much different than what the wrong impression for further it’s actually like. Apps like TikTok generations. showcase people’s real journeys and Pierce said that it is very important struggles with conditions such as to educate yourself on these topics to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder make sure to avoid spreading incorrect and borderline information to others. personality disorder, “I would encourage but there are also a people to keep thinking Mental illness lot of people on these about mental health and platforms spreading talking about mental health is not a trend, false representations and the fact that but also to maybe seek that cause harmful information from reliable it has become stereotypes. Don’t sources,” Pierce said. get me wrong, there’s “And keeping into account something nothing wrong other people’s feelings and “desirable” with sharing your experiences, and wanting among Millenials to express yourself and experiences with and Gen Z feels what you’re feeling, but also mental health or making jokes to help consider the impact that insensitive and you cope, but making might have on someone disrespectful. it seem like something else, too.” enviable isn’t OK. Unless you do struggle Although there are from a sort of mental some benefits to the disorder, or think you do normalization of mental illness, such as and haven’t been properly diagnosed, more information and inclusion about you have no room to joke about or it, this change has brought about a state make light of it. Not only does that of normality that doesn’t sit right with make others feel invalid, but it waters me. Mental illness is not a trend, and down the whole topic, which in reality the fact that it has become something is extremely serious. “desirable” among Millenials and Gen Let’s get this straight. Being mentally Z feels insensitive and disrespectful. ill is not fun. No matter how much it When misinterpreted online, I have is romanticized by teens and young seen topics like self harm and suicide adults, you don’t want it. Stop acting come off as something “beautifully like you do. tragic,” which is incorrect on all levels. Having a mental disorder might

FEATURE | 05.06.21


ALWAYS PRESENT, NOW PREVALENT Written by Abbie Kratofil and Reagan King, Photo by Bailey Thompson, Design by Courtney Krebs

Hate targeted at Asian Americans gained national attention recently; students say it is present within the community.


ince the start of COVID-19, to racism include her parents and Despite a rise in racism toward Asian many Asian Americans online posts, but not typically “in the Americans, Lee said she has never felt have experienced a rise in educational setting,” Peng said. discriminated against or hated because discrimination. When confronted with racism, of her race at BVNW. She said that the Sophomore Allie Pannell Peng said she attempts to educate the Blue Valley staff she works with are said ignorance is to blame for the person being racist by explaining why very cognizant of what is going on in racism she has experienced. their action was offensive. Peng said the world, and have always been very “People always assume, ‘Oh, if you’re she believes that when situations of kind. However, Lee said she finds it Asian, you’re so smart.’ That’s not racism occur in school, students should interesting that not many staff members always true; we don’t know everything be vocal about talk openly with her just because of our race.” how wrong racist about the increase of Pannell said she remembers in math remarks are. Asian hate crimes. Tell us what you’re class, she did not understand a lesson Sarah Lee, an ELA “I just move on, thinking. Tell us and asked another student a question, teacher at BVNW, like ‘oh, it’s not what you think who then loudly said, ‘Oh my goodness, said she never going to happen to this Asian is asking me a question.’ felt threatened or me, I’m not going to could be made Pannell said she would like to see feared for her safety do that, my friends better. We’re here change in the way people respond and because of her race aren’t like that’,” to help you. talk about racism experienced by Asian until recently as Lee said. “But that Americans by spreading awareness and Asian hate crimes doesn’t help raise - AMY PRESSLY trying to break stereotypes. become more awareness or solve “When people witness something like frequent. the issue.” that, it’d be nice to think [they] would “Part of me worries that could be To better represent Asians in BVNW, stand up for you,” Pannell said. “I think me,” Lee said. “There is no reason why Lee said the school could highlight the that would happen more if we talked it won’t be me. Just because I live in issue of rising anti-Asian hate crimes. about it. For example, I know we had a a certain area and feel comfortable, “Some parents might feel like it’s diversity assembly a while back, and it doesn’t mean if I go to Target or go pushing too much of an agenda,” Lee stuck out to me because, not that it’s anywhere else I might not be targeted said. “But school’s a place where you’re not very important to talk about those without any rhyme or reason.” educating students to not just be smart, who are Latina and African American, Once COVID-19 spread globally, but to be better citizens of the world.” [but] Asians were never represented in Lee said discrimination against Asians When students hear their friends that assembly.” escalated. She said a driving force make jokes with underlying racist Pannell is not the only student who of this racism was the fact the virus connotations, Lee said she wants people has experienced the was linked directly to a to speak up and be able to say that it is impacts of other country, and that country not right. students’ ignorance happened to be China. “I’m just asking [them] to be a decent Part of me in school. Sophomore “The media and human being,” Lee said. “A lot of times worries that Lydia Peng said she certain political figures people are so afraid of hurting each could be me. first experienced of influence started to other’s feelings, like everyone is a racism in first grade joke with the name of fragile butterfly. But wrong is wrong, - SARAH LEE when a kid in her class COVID-19 and called it and right is right.” Lee said people should take the stretched his eyelids to the ‘Kung Flu’ or called it time to educate themselves about the make fun of her. the ‘China virus’ openly and publicly Peng said the issue was ignored by without any shame or any remorse for discrimination many Asians face by teachers and she was not taught how to the repercussions that could come with reading the news laterally, which means deal with racism by the school. Sources that,” Lee said. “[That] definitely targets reading news from multiple sources to ensure they are getting the most that have taught her how to respond a certain race.”

05.06.21 | FEATURE accurate depiction of what occurred. She said people should be more cognizant, whether that is from reading the news or reaching out to a friend in the Asian community. “Be a little bit more open and vulnerable to ask the Asian community, ‘how can we help,’ but also, ‘how are you doing’,” Lee said. As students comment on the underrepresentation of Asians and lack of response to racism at BVNW, experts studied the increase in hate targeted toward Asian Americans and how people should respond to it. Dr. Jean Kim, a psychiatry professor at George Washington University, writes nationally-read articles on Asian American issues. Kim said COVID-19 increased hate crimes, including physical attacks on randomly selected Asian Americans. She said this is because people blame China, and by extension Asian Americans, for COVID-19. Reflecting on her own experience as a member of the Asian American community in a Zoom interview with The Express, Kim also said there are fewer opportunities for Asian Americans in her field. “You feel like you’re not the norm in terms of who’s in charge or who’s a leader,” Kim said. “I wasn’t in the circles of people who get more promotions or mentorship.” Kim has spent a lot of time in classrooms. In medical school, Kim said a professor referred to her as “a shy oriental girl.” She said she has experienced this stereotype multiple times during her educational career. Kim said reading a variety of sources and stories, especially those by Asian American writers, is important to ensuring exposure to diverse perspectives. The importance of taking the initiative to educate oneself also extends to BVNW administrators and staff to ensure issues of racism and discrimination in school are addressed. BVNW Principal Amy Pressly said the school has worked to educate teachers in understanding unconscious bias and microaggressions. Acknowledging the school is never done improving, Pressly said she encourages students to come in and share suggestions for how to better respond to discrimination.

09 “I don’t have all the answers, no one person has all the answers. That’s why I think it’s important that kids have a voice,” Pressly said. “Tell us what you’re thinking. Tell us what you think could be made better. We’re here to help you.” Ultimately, Pressly emphasized the importance of students speaking up about any experiences they have had in school with racism. “If you feel that you have been discriminated against or racist comments have been made, please share with somebody,” Pressly said. “If you don’t feel comfortable sharing with an administrator, talk to a teacher

you are close to and ask the teacher to either [come] with you, or come on your behalf to us. Then we’ll start to investigate it.”

Stay educated and read the latest stories, issues and opinions from the Asian American perspective from NBC News.

English teacher Sarah Lee said she feels China and U.S relations are not the best. “At first [coronavirus] was called the Wu Han virus because the first case came from Wu Han. From there I feel like it escalated.”



GAME DAY GALLERY Senior Henry Nelson serves during the match against Shawnee Mission South High School, April 1. (Photo by Mitri Krishna)

Junior Mikey Pauley attempts to throw out a runner stealing second base in the boys varsity baseball game against Mill Valley High School, April 5. (Photo by Rachel Sarff)

Freshman Lovie Pulliam runs hurdles at the varsity track meet against Blue Valley High on April 9. (Photo by Bailey Thompson)



Freshman Elliese Thurlby swims in the 100 meter butterfly race in the girls varsity swim meet against Shawnee Mission South, March 30. “My favorite part of swim is being with the people... they help me push myself to be a better swimmer,” Thurlby said. (Photo by Rachel Sarff)

Senior Jane Winkler battles for the ball during the soccer game against St. James Academy, April 20. “It’s not just about our record, it’s about having fun outside playing a sport we all love,” Winkler said. (Photo by Grace Davis)

Freshman Lainie Douglas and Senior Olivia Shin cheer on their teammates in the varsity softball game against Blue Valley West, April 12. “I am so thankful for the community we have built,” Shin said. (Photo by Celia Harris)

FEATURE | 05.06.21


THE TUITION GAME Students express concern over college tuition prices and the impact the heavy expense may have on current and future plans. Written by Raabia Qureshi, Photos by Jenna Soltwedel, Design by Sophie Dellett


ousing, meal-plans, tuition, and text books. In light of the thousands of dollars dedicated to such expenses when acquiring a college education, Junior Ryan Toon doesn’t want to graduate college with $80,000 in debt, he said, or any other large amount. Although Toon has already hopped on board for researching and planning out his future college expenses, he said having divorced parents makes the situation much more difficult. “It puts a weird element into things, and it’s definitely a concern to an extent, because even though I’m in a very fortunate position, it’s still such an obscene expense, and it’s crazy to think that this is so difficult for me,” Toon said. Toon said his parents split on good terms and work together with him to discuss his future college plans. In the midst of researching financial aid opportunities, Toon

found college tuition and aid to be much more complex while having divorced parents, he said. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requires data from the parent with more legal custody, he said. Fortunately, Toon said, both of his parents have equal custody. In addition, Toon said he spends almost the same amount of time living with each parent. Although both of these situations allow for Toon’s parents to work together and decide how much they’re able to contribute to his college expenses, the need to pay for their own living expenses individually adds a financial burden and complicates the process. Because of this, Toon and his parents are researching and taking advantage of financial aid opportunities, he said, such as scholarships, financial aid webinars, and third-party organizations. Looking into the future, Toon said he expects himself to pay for a portion of his

tuition himself, despite his parents’ contributions. “I’ve saved a little bit but it’s still hard to think about, and it’s so expensive that saving up now seems like it would barely make a dent in some ways,” he said. “I’ll definitely be working through college, and I hope to possibly find summer paid internship opportunities.” With his plans to major in computer science and computer programming, Toon said he hopes to avoid large amounts of debt in the future, even if it means not attending the college at the top of his list. “I guess I always grew up having this mentality that I could just go wherever and do everything. But it’s just not necessarily feasible,” Toon said. “It kind of sucks having this moment of realization that not everything is perfect, and you can’t necessarily get to completely go where you want to go.” Junior Lauren Martin agrees with

05.06.21 | FEATURE


Toon. As a student aspiring to double an emotional or mental trophy has to ease their worries and determine major in criminology and psychology, become a societal norm, Martin said. whether they could afford it. At the end Martin said her chances of actually Not only does this cause big schools of his college experience, Hamera said pursuing her majors are slim. to increase their prices, public state he plans on graduating with little debt Most Kansas schools don’t provide schools also become pricier due to with the help of his own savings, aid, satisfactory education for her majors, competitiveness, which makes it and financial contribution from his she said, and difficult for middle and lower class parents. the out-ofstudents to receive a regular education “I’ve actually been state schools as well, she said. applying to quite a few Our education which do, carry “[Parents] pride themselves on [scholarships] over becomes a race. It an unbearable getting [their children] hired and the past few months, financial burden. creating this computer-like child who just because that becomes a game “It’s really is only there to be a trophy, saying would basically mean of who can get the hard when you that they got into the school,” Martin I have less debt after highest scores, get have something said. “Our education becomes a race. graduate school. And I you’re It becomes a game of who can get the think scholarships are into the best college passionate highest scores, get into the best college that amazing resource in the nation, and who that can help a lot about, and it’s in the nation, and who can get into the can get into the Ivy something Ivy Leagues—it’s just all a game.” of kids if they apply you’re really and are fortunate Leagues—it’s just all a looking forward enough to get the game. to, but you just scholarship,” Hamera don’t have the said. -LAUREN MARTIN opportunity to Martin said the do it because of education system money,” Martin said. needs to create a bigger window Although she said her parents for scholarships and financial aid. are not financially challenged, their Furthermore, viewing admission income is right at the cusp; financial into larger and pricier schools as aid through FAFSA and scholarships would still be insufficient and put her in debt later on. The great difference between college prices for students now and what their parents paid for college is frightening, she said. While Martin has a few more months to narrow down on the price she’ll be paying to attend college, Senior Kyle Hamera committed to his college last December through early decision. As a future student at one of America’s most prestigious yet priciest universities, Hamera said he will be attending University of Chicago with a major in economics. “One of the biggest [criteria] when looking at college was cost. I want to go to a place which was at least affordable and wouldn’t put me into thousands and thousands [of dollars] in debt,” Hamera said. Although known for its high expenses, The University of Chicago ended up being an affordable option, Hamera said, due to the need-based financial aid provided based on his family’s income. Looking at the grants provided to him and an estimation of future expenses, Hamera said he and Due to the high price of college, many students turn to financial aid programs such as his parents utilized price calculators FAFSA and scholarships through universities and other outside sources.


COVER | 05.06.21

Junior Kyra Bugg said after she was raped, she had long term effects with her mental health. “I was disgusted with myself and the way I looked,” Bugg said. I felt guilty and did not want to tell anyone. I thought I was trapped and alone.” Sexual Assault Awareness is represented by the color teal. The teal blue handprints represent the places Bugg said she was touched.

05.06.21 | COVER


LIVING THROUGH FEAR Survivors of sexual assault and those who support them share their experiences with trauma and recovery, highlighting the need for awareness in the BVNW community. Written by Maddie Oliver and Lizzie Lively, Design by Erin Reece, Photos by Mitri Krishna

ex-boyfriend and met up with the same alleged abuser to talk about the breakup. “The day before [I was raped], I broke up with my boyfriend who I was dating for about a year and six months. Trying to get over him, I went to a party at this girl’s house,” Bugg said. “The guy who assaulted me, he wanted to make sure I was OK and wanted to talk unior Kyra Bugg said she was about the breakup, which ended up to sexually assaulted and raped be a lie. I ended up getting in [his] car.” her freshman and sophomore Later on, Bugg said her alleged year by someone from her abuser proceeded to touch and then friend group. rape her. Her freshman year, Bugg said “He started to touch my thigh and she was forced to perform oral sex I got really uncomfortable. Things on her alleged abuser in a separate moved pretty fast,” Bugg said. “He room, away from everyone else at a pushed me to the back of his [vehicle] homecoming after-party. and tried to take off my shorts, but my “After homecoming, I went to an shorts were really tight, so he couldn’t after-party. I went take them off. He to lay down in a pulled them [to] the back room area inside of my inner and the music thigh, and he grabbed I realized that was very loud, so I a condom.” was trying to rest Bugg said she was he was trying to ‘cause I had a bad forcefully vaginally manipulate me headache,” Bugg penetrated. into thinking it was said. “The person “I told him to stop, that assaulted me and he didn’t stop,” my fault or that comes over, and Bugg said. he didn’t mean he’s asking me if To make him stop, to, which is a total I’m OK, and I was Bugg said that she told half asleep, so I him she had to throw lie now, but at the was like, ‘Yeah, up. Afterward, Bugg time, I believed I’m fine.’ He then said her alleged rapist him. dragged me by attempted to apologize my arms when I for his actions. -KYRA BUGG was lying down on “He gave me a long the floor, pulled apology, and that’s the down his shorts..., and forced me to part that really confused me. I realized [perform] oral sex.” that he was trying to manipulate me In her sophomore year, Bugg said into thinking that it was my fault or she went to a party to get over her that he didn’t mean to, which is a total Editors note: The following story depicts rape and sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised. The name Jane Smith is a pseudonym for a sophomore at BVNW who requested to have her real name left out of the story due to her concerns for privacy. The Express corroborated her story through third parties.


lie now, but at the time, I believed him,” Bugg said. After her traumatic experiences, Bugg said she now struggles with forms of PTSD, anxiety and body image issues. “I have flashbacks and people see that. They might think I’m weird, even though I can’t help that. It’s something that I can’t stop necessarily,” Bugg said. “[After what happened], I started wearing sweatpants and sweatshirts all the time; I didn’t want anybody to see my body. I just felt like he took a part of me and I couldn’t get it back.” Similar to Bugg, sophomore Jane Smith* said she was raped this past July. “I was talking to this guy and we had hung out a few times,” Smith said. “Sex hadn’t happened yet, but… I had gone into a bathroom with him. We were doing stuff and I said I felt uncomfortable.” Smith said the guy knew she was uncomfortable, but told her that sex would happen no matter what. Smith said he forced her to nonconsensually perform oral sex and then penetrative vaginal sex. When describing the healing process, Smith said she had a hard time hanging out with friends and that she was in denial about calling the experience rape. “[Healing] definitely comes with a lot of denial for me and hanging out with people outside of that has been a challenge,” she said. “I used to be a really social person before the incident, and I keep to myself a little bit more now because I want to be extra cautious. If I hang out with guys, I’m very cautious with that now. It definitely has put into perspective all

COVER | 05.06.21

16 the problems people have said about sexual assault.” Two weeks after she was allegedly raped, Bugg attended Marillac Campus at KU Med, where she said she had to discuss and learn to cope with the aftermath of being raped. Now, Bugg said she does EDMR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, to help her cope with her PTSD and anxiety. After learning of the commonality of sexual assault in the BVNW area, junior Henry Burvee said that as a male, his point of view on the topic is extremely different. “It really opens my eyes to me being a male and not having to worry about getting gas or walking alone at night,” Burvee said. “I can remember when one of my female friends showed me her pepper spray, rape whistle and other things she carried around to protect her from sexual assault. I was absolutely stunned to realize how a

male like me has never had to worry about anything like that.” Myra Beckford, Bugg’s mom, said that the possible reason sexual assault isn’t talked about enough is because the topic is “taboo” to discuss. Due to this lack of awareness, Beckford said she believes that many victims shift the blame of what happened to themselves instead of their abusers. According to health teacher Molly Haggerty, sexual assault is covered in the Health and Wellness class, a graduation requirement. Haggerty said the curriculum for the class allows a week to talk about sexual harassment, assault and rape. Additional topics that are covered are healthy relationships, consent and the resources victims can use to get help. While she believes the current curriculum is essential, Haggerty said she wishes that more time was devoted to this topic. “You could spend a whole month on

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in the United States. Females ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape or sexual assault, according to RAINN, (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network).

it, and we get a week to fit everything in,” Haggerty said. “I feel like my role is just skimming the surface, introducing them to topics, giving them that surface level information so they know how to recognize it and some common vocabulary terminology and maybe access to some resources.” Jane Smith said she believes the Blue Valley School District should do more with raising awareness about sexual assault, especially the mental aspects of recovery. “Everyone knows what rape and sexual assault is but I feel like they could focus more on how it affects people, because it does affect people differently, and everyone has different stories with it,” Smith said. After reflecting over his minimal learning in health class about sexual assault, Burvee said that Blue Valley should highlight the legal punishments for comitting sexual assault in their curriculum. “I think Blue Valley implementing educational approaches for sexualrelated misdemeanors and felonies would be a great idea,” Burvee said. According to public records from 2017-2019, in the Overland Park area, 95 victims had filed police reports after being raped. Out of the 95 cases filed, only 21 arrests were processed and made. After deciding to press charges against her alleged rapist, Bugg said she followed through with the legal procedures to get him prosecuted. “I gave my statement. I talked to the detective and he was like, ‘You did good, thank you. I’ll let you know. Keep in touch.’ stuff like that,” Bugg said. Months later, Bugg said she asked her mom if the detective got back to them regarding her case. She said her mom told her there is not a lot of evidence and the courts are backed up. “I still haven’t heard anything, and that’s been over a year now. I’m pretty sure that they closed my case,” Bugg said. Smith expressed concern for how her case would be handled legally if she decided she wanted to take legal action against her alleged rapist. “I know a lot of people would probably want me to take legal action, but I just don’t really want to,” Smith said. “I feel like my case wouldn’t be taken seriously.”

05.06.21 | COVER Upon seeing her alleged rapist unexpectedly after the incident, Smith said she felt drained and didn’t know how to react to the situation. “It was very scary, I was not expecting to see him at all. You feel stunned because you realize that they’re an actual person and they did this to you,” Smith said. “You definitely feel small in that situation. You feel deteriorated after seeing them.” After she was promised by school personnel she would not share any classes with her alleged rapist, Bugg said she blames Blue Valley’s disorganization for placing him in one of her classes. “[After I saw him in my class], my teacher had to take me to the bathroom and then down to the office because I was hyperventilating,” Bugg said. “[School personnel] said that there was some kind of switch with [my alleged rapist’s] schedule and he somehow ended up in that class.” Head counselor Beth Ricke said that if counselors are made aware of the situation, an abuser and victim will be separated and put in different sections for the current and all future semesters. “If students are inadvertently scheduled together, the counselor works with the involved students to resolve the scheduling issue as quickly as possible. It is always our goal to help students feel safe at BVNW,” Ricke said. After watching her daughter blossom in recovery after her experiences, Beckford said she advises that any sexual assault victim find someone they trust and seek help. “You have to find somebody you can trust, whether it’s a parent, counselor or therapist. Keeping it in will eat away at you,” Beckford said. “The moment Kyra told me, I could tell a weight got lifted off her shoulders and we started working on an action plan to get her better to build a stronger future for herself. Find somebody that you can trust, whoever that is, and seek help because it truly does make a difference.”


Kyra Bugg poses next to the clothes she wore on the night she said she was raped. “I never thought it would happen to me,” Bugg said. “I was only wearing shorts and a green top when I was raped. What you’re wearing is not the problem; it is the people.” According to RAINN, (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)







According to BVNW School Resource Officer Anthony Garcia





REVIEW | 05.06.21


Shake ‘n Make Creative Culture is gourmet milkshake and craft spot located in Prairiefire.

Written by Emily Moser, Photos by Rachel Sarff, Design by Sabrina San Agustin

5661 W 135th Street, Suite 2220, Overland Park, Kansas 66223

The “Life of the Party” milkshake, a birthday cake flavored milkshake, is loaded with a variety of sweet treats. Topped with whipped cream, a vanilla cupcake, a sprinkle covered ice cream cone and a strawberry wafer, this milkshake tastes as good as it looks, if not better. The mason jar is drizzled with strawberry syrup and filled with a sweet, smooth vanilla milkshake. The milkshake has pieces of birthday cake mixed in to add a fun flavor and creates a chunky consistency, which is not exactly what I’m looking for in a milkshake. While very delicious and sweet, the portion size is somewhat small for the steep price of $14, which was the flat rate for all milkshakes. Quickly after being served, the milkshake melted all over the table, creating a large, sticky mess.

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The “Life of the Party” milkshake is a birthday cake shake topped with a cupcake, whipped cream, sprinkles and a chocolate coated ice cream cone.

Hello Lovely The “Hello Lovely” milkshake is strawberry cheesecake flavored and is a pretty pink color. The mason jar is lined with strawberry sauce and topped with a perfect, bite sized piece of cheesecake.

But First Coffee The “But First Coffee” milkshake is a fun twist on your favorite caffeinated beverage. The milkshake itself is creamy and topped with a glazed donut, chocolate biscotti and chocolate covered espresso beans.

It Was All A Dream The “It Was All a Dream” milkshake is a combination of chocolate and peanut butter deliciousness. Because of the richness of flavor and quantity of sweet treats on top, this milkshake is easily shareable with a friend.

05.06.21 | REVIEW


Creative Culture is the perfect spot to grab a milkshake and craft with your friends on a weekend afternoon. There are eight delicious milkshakes, all priced at $14, and 12 crafts varying in price. Located in Prairiefire, Creative Culture is minimalistically decorated with natural wood accents. The store is very organized and supplies are easily accessible for all customers to customize their crafts. Walk-ins are welcome at Creative Culture, but customers also have the option to book private events.

The macrame rainbow is one of 12 crafts available at Creative Culture. The helpful staff provided all the necessary materials to make the rainbow, while still allowing creative freedom to the crafters. In the center of the store there is a large craft supply area filled with customizable materials of varying colors and styles to fit each crafter’s desires. For the rainbow specifically, customers are able to select their own colors of yarn. Because of the easy access to supplies, crafters are able to move at their own pace without feeling rushed by staff members lingering over their shoulders. The macrame rainbow was rated a three out of three on the difficulty scale, but proved to be self-explanatory and simple with the help of a clearly outlined directions sheet provided by the staff. For such a simple craft with basic materials, the price of $25 was unreasonably expensive.

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The rainbow macrame is one of many crafts guests can choose from. It was ranked 3/3 stars of difficulty, but the directions were easy to navigate.

Creative Culture is also home to a Plant Bar, allowing customers to pick their own plant to pot right in the store. There are a plethora of plants to choose from, including succulents and cacti. The selection of pots is diverse as well, ranging from simple terracotta pots to decorative ones with stripes. Customers have the option to decorate their terracotta pots with paint. Potting is made easy with immediate access to rocks of all shapes and sizes and moss to add a decorative touch. While it is a simple activity to add some greenery to your own home, it comes at a high price. Plant prices start at $8 and pots start at $18. Each individual pot and plant is sold at a different dollar amount, but all were unnecessarily expensive for the size.



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Guests at Creative Culture can paint the pot that holds their plant of choice.


FEATURE | 05.06.21


Junior starts business selling car air freshners to raise money to pay for Camp Barnabas, a special needs sleep-away camp.


Written by Mauri Peterson, Design by Emma Gau, Photo by Amanda Carvalho

very day one can find junior Ashleigh Eblen shaking jars and packaging the many scents of freshies to meet her goal of 10 to 15 orders a week. Eblen began her business, Creations By Ashleigh, in October, 2020 selling what she calls “freshies.” Freshies are car air freshners made of aroma beads and fragrance oil. Eblen started her business in order to afford the increased cost of attending Camp Barnabas, a sleepaway camp for kids with disabilities. Eblen said she has attended Camp Barnabas for five years and due to COVID-19, the cost doubled. Ashleigh’s mom, Laura Eblen, said Ashleigh always had to earn money to pay for a portion of her camp fees, but this year Ashleigh also wanted to pay

for three more kids to attend camp with scholarships to other individuals with her. camp being $1500 for the week.” “We have always had the rule for Eblen said the main reason for Ashleigh that [because] she liked camp starting her business was not to make so much, she had her own money but to earn some of because of the love for I think Ashleigh the money to go to Camp Barnabas. camp to give her “Camp Barnabas lights up when that benefit of hard inspired me to start she talks about work and to see the my business. We are her business. You value of a dollar,” raising money for kids Laura said. “In the to go to camp with can tell it gives past she has made me,” she said. her a sense of bath bombs and In order to get the confidence and she lip balms, but she business running, really liked making Eblen said they started feels empowered the freshies, so multiple platforms to - LAUREN RICHTER we turned that buy freshies. into a business “We have a website, with the goal of not only being able to Instagram (@creationsbyashleighllc) afford her camp, but [also to] give three and Facebook, and on Instagram and Facebook we have a link and they click that link and it goes right to my website (creationsbyashleigh.com),” Eblen said. Laura said at the end of January, Ashleigh started selling freshies out of ShananiGanns, a local boutique. “Every week we go up and drop off more freshies, so they have been a huge supporter. I like [that] they are a local business and it is all made up of other local makers,” Laura said. Eblen said she enjoys the process of making the products for her business. “I love making the freshies. I help my mom package the freshies, she lays them out and I am the one that packs them,” Eblen said. Laura explained the process of making the freshies, from measuring out aroma beads to packaging the freshies. “What we have found is a really good balance of 10-15 orders a week, Junior Ashleigh Eblen pours aroma beads into her watermelon shaped cookie cutter to [Ashleigh] is involved in the entire prepare the freshy to be baked in the oven. “I hope to keep my business going for a long process from start to finish. There is time to make sure kids can go to camp with me.” Elben said.

05.06.21 | FEATURE some parental supervision but for the most part this is Ashleigh’s business,” Laura said. In order to make their desired profits, Eblen and her mom are attending the Chick Event, an event for local vendors, at Town Center Plaza from May 1-2. “That entire weekend we’ve heard that it’s super busy, and if we make a lot of fresh freshies, then we should be able to hit our $6,000 goal,” Laura said. “We ordered 200 pounds of beads and I don’t even know how many pounds of fragrance oil, and Ashleigh works on it every day as we have 40 jars going right now.”

Camp Barnabas inspired me to start my business. We are raising money for kids to go to camp with me



- ASHLEIGH EBLEN Intensive resource teacher Lauren Richter said ever since Ashleigh started talking about her business in class, she has seen Ashleigh grow in many aspects. “I think Ashleigh lights up when she talks about her business,” Richter said. “You can tell it gives her a sense of confidence and she feels empowered and it’s her own thing that is giving her so many opportunities to practice valuable life skills.” Ashleigh said she hopes to continue making freshies and running a business in her future. “I hope to keep my business going for a long time to make sure kids can go to camp with me,” Eblen said. Laura said that she has big hopes for the future of Ashleigh’s business. “I’d love for this to take off and be able to employ several individuals, that would be an absolute dream,” Laura said. “We want to start with scholarships and then see, but it would be really cool if we could turn it into something that not only gave back to the community, but also created jobs.”



FEATURE | 05.06.21


Students open up about struggling with eating disorders given society’s beauty standards.

Written by Julia Moser and Elizabeth Caine, Photos by Grace Davis, Design by Alyssa Peterson


ating dinner one night with her best friend as a freshman in high school, senior Carlie Johansen received a call from her doctor stating her electrocardiogram, or EKG, results came back significantly low. Johansen’s EKG results showed her heart rate was at 45 beats per minute, notably lower than the average for a teenage girl. According to the University of Missouri School of Health, the average should be between 60 and 90 BPM. The results were a symptom of Johansen’s eating disorder. Johansen’s doctor wanted to keep her in the hospital for seven months in order to improve her health. However, Johansen said she believed she had enough self-determination to get better with a nutritionist and therapist. Johansen said this moment changed her life and was the turning point for her to reach out and get help. “It all changed in two seconds because of what I was doing,” Johansen said. “I realized I need to start living my life. I was literally dying, and didn’t know.” As a freshman in high school, Johansen said she felt the pressure to look stereotypically perfect because that is what she thought guys would like and want from a girl. At the age of 15, Johansen was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder causing people to obsess about weight and what they

eat. According to the National Eating being a young girl in America’s society, Disorders Association, it is estimated we’ve obviously grown to see that social that 30 million Americans have suffered media has become such a huge factor from an eating disorder at some point in our everyday lives and it’s not really over their lifetime. something we can get away from,” Disordered eating is when an Hofmann said. individual engages in abnormal eating Johansen said that she would scroll patterns or food behaviors on a regular through social media and see models basis, while an eating disorder is a with the stereotypical perfect body as behavioral condition characterized by well as people striving to achieve that severe and persistent particular look. disturbance in eating BVNW nurse behaviors. Becky Imlay said Junior Aly one of the biggest It’s so hard when Hofmann struggled causes as to why someone is forcing with disordered people develop food down your eating since she was eating disorders is 10, which turned into from the unrealistic throat, and a lot an eating disorder way society paints of people would her freshman year people. She said be like ‘just eat,’ of high school. This social media has year, Hofmann was created a culture and I hated that clinically diagnosed that if you don’t look because I’m trying with anorexia perfect all the time, my hardest so you nervosa. then that’s a bad Both Johansen thing and people dog telling me to just and Hofmann agree on you and make eat or trying to that social media rude comments. give me advice is influenced them to “Teens look at develop their eating this perfection that not helping at all. disorders. Johansen doesn’t really exist. -CARLIE JOHANSEN and Hofmann said They feel like they have to look a certain the beauty standard in today’s society includes having a way all the time, and so it becomes obsessive,” Imlay said. small, skinny waist, a flat stomach and a big butt. Today, Hofmann said even younger kids are on social media and being “[The pressure of] being the embodiment of physical perfection, and introduced to the beauty standard.

05.06.21 | FEATURE

“‘It’s just crazy to see how young of an age these kids are and how they’re being exposed to these things so early on,” Hofmann said. As an 8 year old, Hofmann said she remembers the first time she was ever self-conscious about her body. She said she would find herself upset when her friends would eat a bunch of junk food and not gain weight. “It’s not normal for an 8 year old to think like that. That was a defining moment of when I first realized that I was having these body image issues,” Hofmann said. During the worst part of her eating disorder, Johansen weighed only 70 pounds. She said all she would think about was food. She would sit at school lunch and contemplate whether to eat. Johansen said the thought of food took over her mind. Likewise, Hofmann would only eat one meal a day and said she would feel insanely guilty afterward. Imlay said it is common for people with anorexia to restrict their calorie intake and specific foods, causing them to become underweight. She said some symptoms that often emerge are hair loss, decrease in body temperature, decrease in heart rate and fatigue. “Your body temperature goes down because everybody needs a little bit of body fat or tissue to maintain your temperature and when you get super thin like that you can’t maintain your body temperature,” Imlay said. “Your heart rate can get dangerously low because you’re just not feeding your body, so it’s definitely restricting.” Imlay said eating disorders have an


immense impact on people’s mental health as well. She said it can negatively affect their thought processes and distort their view of themselves. “Your brain just doesn’t function right because you need fats and you need good nutrition for your brain to work right,” Imlay said. According to BioMed Central (BMC) Psychiatry, based in London, 11% of anorexia nervosa patients experience a full relapse, 19% a partial relapse, and 70% do not relapse. Imlay said that people with anorexia sometimes relapse quickly and a small amount of them develop a chronic condition. She said it is a long term battle that you fight your whole entire life.

Johansen said one of the biggest challenges she faced was people telling her to “just eat.” She said people did not understand what she was going through because it was all in her head. “It’s so hard when someone is forcing food down your throat, and a lot of people would be like ‘just eat,’ and I hated that because I’m trying my hardest, so you telling me to just eat or trying to give me advice is not helping at all,” Johansen said. Johansen said she would go to bed most nights at 6 p.m. because she was so mentally and physically exhausted. She said the combination of not eating and obsessively thinking about food drained her. She said when there’s a constant little voice inside her head saying all these negative things, it takes all of her energy. Hofmann, too, said she was mentally exhausted, so she sought help. She said her eating disorder was an internal battle, but after reaching out for help, she realized how much her eating disorder consumed her mind. “Eating disorders are classified as a mental illness, which a lot of people don’t know. They think it’s just a body image issue, and oftentimes these eating disorders do go hand in hand with other mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety,” Hofmann said. Hofmann’s mom, Jamie Hofmann, said she suspected her daughter was struggling with something before she told her what she was going through. “When we would ask her, she wasn’t at that time ready to admit it, but we were keeping an eye on it,” Jamie said. “There [were] a few things that kept tipping me off and finally I just had to confront her. At that time, I think she was ready to tell me what was going on because she didn’t like what was happening in her life.”

FEATURE | 05.06.21

24 Jamie said although she suspected that Hofmann was struggling with something, it was still a shock when she found out about Hofmann’s eating disorder. “It was a bit of a shock because you think, this kid’s got it all together. She’s beautiful and she’s smart. Why would she feel this way?” Hofmann is currently in recovery, receiving treatment from an outpatient facility. Hofmann said she decided to get help because she wanted to get her life on track and wanted a better future. She said the outpatient program has been super beneficial and she enjoys the supportive environment. Jamie said it is a relief that Hofmann is now in recovery and they have been able to find the best resources for her. “Although we are early in this journey, I am really hopeful and I think we’re doing great so far. I’m hopeful because I think we can get through this and I think she will be successful because we have the right tools,” Jamie said. At the age of 15, Johansen went to her mom, Leslie Johansen, and opened up to her about her struggles, stating she was not OK and needed help. As a high schooler, Leslie struggled from bulimia, an eating disorder in which someone binge eats, followed by methods of

self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting to avoid weight gain. Leslie said she was devastated because she knew exactly what her daughter was feeling, but she knew she could overcome it. Leslie was surprised because while Johansen was growing up, she said she worked so hard to make sure her daughter never felt this way. As sad as she felt, Leslie said she believed she was the person who was meant to have the daughter who went through an eating disorder because she knew she could get her through it, no matter how long it took. “Because of my experiences, I really felt like I knew what she was going through. So it was a little bit easier for me to parent her through it,” Leslie said. From a parental viewpoint, Leslie said she saw all the strength that comes from suffering with an eating disorder. She said the hardest part was watching her daughter struggle, even though she knew it was going to be OK in the end. “It’s so hard to tell a

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons medical journal, 229,000 cosmetic procedures were performed on patients ages 13-19 in 2017.

teenager, ‘it’s gonna get better,’ because we know it’s going to happen as parents and adults, but it’s just so hard to tell you guys that,” Leslie said. After two years of fighting, Johansen has fully recovered. Her mom said she is extremely proud of her daughter and Johansen is the strongest person she knows. Johansen said that there are still days when she has negative thoughts, but she controls herself. “The voice is still in your head but it’s all about how you deal with it. That’s when you know you’re better, because that’s when you realize it’s not healthy and that those thoughts are not good so you need to fight them,” Johansen said. Looking back at her journey, Johansen said she would not take it back as it has made her a stronger person. She said she loves to help people through sharing her story. Johansen posts about her story on social media because she wants people to know that it’s OK to be struggling and there’s no shame in having an eating disorder. Johansen wants to tell anyone struggling with an eating disorder to keep fighting. “I would say, just don’t give up, because I did sometimes. Just don’t give up, it takes time, be patient, it’s going to be so worth it in the end,” Johansen said. Hofmann wants people to know that eating disorders are more common than people think. She said both men and women of all shapes and sizes can suffer from eating disorders. Hofmann encourages people to seek help if they need it. She said through finding support, you are going to become a much better person and you are going to be able to reclaim your own life and personality back. The biggest takeaway Johansen said she gained from all of this, was learning what being beautiful actually means. “I’ve learned the definition of beautiful,” Johansen said. “I’ve learned that no one really cares that much what you look like. Now I realize none of that matters, it’s your personality that matters. If you’re nice and outgoing and you just have a good attitude and outlook on life, that’s what’s pretty, that’s what’s beautiful, it’s not what you look like on the outside.”

05.06.21 | FEATURE
















Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-931-2237 Helpline phone hours are Monday-Thursday 11AM9PM ET & Friday 11AM-5PM ET. For 24/7 crisis support, text ‘NEDA’ to 741741

A&E | 05.06.21




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Colorado State-Pueblo Cal Poly SLO John Brown Oklahoma State SWOSU Arkansas Oklahoma

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The Express sent a survey to the entire class of 20201 and recieved 211 responses about about their life after high school. Reporting by Kathryn Case, Design by Bella Rinne

ABOUT THE EXPRESS CONTACT INFORMATION Mailing address: 13260 Switzer Rd, Overland Park, KS 66213 Phone: 913-239-3544 Website: BVNWnews.com

RESPONDING TO THE PUBLICATION Letters to the editor may be submitted electronically on our website at BVNWnews.com under the “Contact Us” tab. Letters may be published either on BVNWnews.com or in our print edition. Letters may be edited.

ABOUT US The Express is the official high school news publication of Blue Valley Northwest High School, an open forum distributed to all students seven times a year. This is the April Issue of Volume 28. Subscription rates are $10. The Express is printed by The Sedalia Democrat, 700 South Massachusetts, Sedalia Mo. 65301.

DISCLAIMER This is a student publication and may contain controversial matter. Blue Valley Unified School District No. 229 and its board members, officers and employees disclaim any responsibility for the content of this student publication; it is not an expression of School District Policy. Students and editors are solely responsible for the content of this student publication.



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