The Express - September Issue

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1-800-273-8255 This number saves lives.






CONTENTS: THE EXPRESS STAFF Editor In Chief………..........................Megan Yates Print Editor……………............................Tessa Regan



Get up to date on September world news, including events in Germany, Cuba, Afghanistan and the United States.

Senior Gabe Peterson prepares to do a back squat during his strength and conditioning class, Sept. 8. “Weights class is fun because I get to set goals and compete against my friends,” Peterson said.



Online Editor…………..........................Liz LaHood Managing Editor………..................Julia Moser Sports Editor……………......................Jack Nitz Photography Editor……..............Lindsey Farthing Design Editor…………….....................Sabrina San Agustin Business Manager…………….....Abbie Kratofil Online Chief Writer……….........….Rachel Hostetler Print Chief Writer…………..........….Elizabeth Caine Chief Photographer....................Bailey Thompson Writers Quinn Brown • Jessica Toomay • Hannah Rakolta Anna Bailey • Alyssa Gagnon • Lizzie Lively Reagan Kauth • Lucy Halverson • Thomas Rose Reagan King • Lindsay Maresh Libby Addison Payton Porter • Avery Sigg Alex Cowdrey • Ashley Adams Photographers





Grabbing a typical quick fix of caffeine in the morning, senior Sam Stubenhofer picks out an energy drink at Quiktrip to help him get through the day ahead.

Senior Joey Owens participates in the student section at the varsity football game, Sept. 10.

Laura Benteman • Anna Shaughnessy Norah Alasmar • Lila Vancrum • Maci Miller Remi Nuss Designers Sophie Dellett • Regan Simeon Adviser Jim McCrossen

Assistant Adviser Amanda Ford






OPINION The Price is Not Right


1-800-273-8255 Battling suicidal thoughts in addition to other mental health issues is hard for students such as Ollie Watson. He and other members of the Northwest community share their experiences and give advice on how best to help those who are struggling.





Sports editor Jack Nitz shares Karen Punswick, a Northwest highlights of the best sporting teacher, shows her Husky moments over the past month. pride by teaching at Northwest after graduating in 1995.





The Just Mac is a basic mac and cheese served at the new restaurant, KC Mac N’ Co.

Find out which senior football player you are most like by taking this quiz.





“How are you doing today?” This often trivial phrase is regularly used to approach those struggling with mental illness. Unfortunately, it can be one of the most infuriating things to hear. From an outside perspective, this simple question may come from the right place, but it often does very little to help one’s state of mind. We are not writing this to sound cliche or tell you life is great. We are writing this editorial because we truly want to help anyone who is struggling. September is Suicide Awareness Month. As you will see in our cover story, this topic is something we take incredibly seriously. Often, suicide is seen as an uncomfortable or taboo subject to talk about. And, when it is talked about, it does not receive the attention it deserves. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. for high school-aged students, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another CDC study showed that more than one in three high school students had experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2019, which was a 40 percent increase since 2009. Having suicidal thoughts is not just an effect of mental illness. Those tendencies can also be caused by external factors and a struggle to find one’s identity. Almost half of LGBTQ+ students surveyed and nearly one-third of students unsure of their sexual or gender identity reported that they had seriously considered suicide. This number is far more than that of heterosexual students, according to the CDC. Further, the CDC found that the number of

black students who reported attempting suicide in 2019 rose by almost 50 percent. Even though so many students struggle with these issues, we cannot say we know what those who experience suicidal thoughts go through; to say we do would be insensitive. We do not take this matter lightly, so please believe us when we say, that to us, you and your struggles are valid. Wherever you are in your life, wherever you come from, whatever you do, whatever you are trying to accomplish, please know that you are valued and loved. We understand that overcoming mental struggles is full of hardships and that process looks different for everyone. We know that reading this will not magically make you feel better or necessarily have some lasting impact on you, which is why our goal with this is instead to help you get through today. Northwest, you are incredible. And, in case you have not gotten our message by now: you are valid. Accepting what we are saying might be hard. Hearing someone say this to you is a lot easier than actually believing it yourself. What can be even harder is telling someone else that you are struggling. Asking for help may be the toughest part of the entire process, but it must be done to properly recover. The prospect of sharing personal struggles and being vulnerable around others can be challenging. It may even be something that not everyone is ready to do. If you ever find yourself (or know of someone) in need of help, take action. We have provided a list of resources to utilize if you ever need it. We love you, Northwest. You are not alone.



MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES Hotlines National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255 The Friendship Live: 800-971-0016 Text TALK to 741741 Trevor Project (LGBTQ): 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP

Local Help Zero Reasons Why JOCO: JOCO Mental Health: 913-268-0156 BVNW Mental Health Board on Instagram @bvnwmentalhealthboard

Psychologists/ Mental Health Providers Anxiety/Depression/OCD: Brookside Anxiety Heather Smith, Ph.D.


ADD/ADHD: KU Pediatrics & KU Children’s Center Martin U. Barnard, Ph.D.




The Price is

Not Right

Written by Lindsey Farthing, Design by Regan Simeon and Sabrina San Agustin

My name is Lindsey Farthing, and I have a bone to pick with you. As a senior in high school, I am starting to apply to colleges. During this process, I have learned more about the expenses of college and higher education. The farther I look into the financial side of attending an out-of-state university, the more discouraged I get. As a resident of Kansas, I can attend an in-state university for around $10,000 per year in tuition. However, if I were to go out of state, I would pay $23,000 per year. This number is just the average amount I would have to pay for an out-ofstate education in the U.S. This is ridiculous. An American could go to college for under $8,500 per year in tuition in France. Similarly, in Spain, an American could go to college for under $5,000 per year in tuition. How is it that one can travel halfway around the world and attend college for less money than if they were to go to an out-ofstate university in the United States? When I bring these numbers up to adults, they tell me I am too young to understand how in-state versus outof-state costs work, but that is not the case. I understand that since I live in Kansas, my parents pay taxes for Kansas schools and universities. Since we give Kansas our money, Kansas gives me cheaper college tuition. I get that. What I do not understand is how tuition almost doubles when I look at colleges one state away. How can so many out-of-state colleges charge up to $50,000 a year from their students who just

want a college degree? According to a Georgetown University article, the majority of jobs in the U.S. that have a salary of $75,000 per year or more require college degrees, meaning that college is hardly optional in this day and age. There is no shame in attending a junior college or a state school such as the University of Kansas or Kansas State University. They are excellent institutions. However, there is also no shame in wanting more. So many kids, myself included, work hard during high school to earn good grades, do well on standardized tests and be involved in extracurricular activities. I would be lying if I said doing all of that wasn’t in part to impress colleges, because it is. Sadly, even with all of the “resume builder” things I do, it still won’t be enough to help cover the cost of your out-ofstate universities. I will be attending Kansas State University in the fall of 2022. I am content with this option, but I do fear there will always be a part of me that wishes I could have gone somewhere else. I hope by the time my kids are seniors in high school, this will have changed. I hope they can go wherever they would like, without having to worry about the cost. After all, it is disheartening to know that so many students cannot attend the colleges of their dreams because of the cost. Please consider decreasing the cost of out-of-state colleges so that a hard-working Kansas kid like me can go to their dream school — without it costing an arm and a leg. Not so sincerely,





SCAM Written and Design by Julia Moser

emember when you were little and you would that, we often change ourselves. To be slightly different is play with your favorite Barbie doll? What was honestly terrifying in the eyes of a teenage girl. her body type? She was skinny. We viewed her When all the role models and influencers we see on social as the ideal girl. We saw her as perfect, so we media look perfect, there is no doubt a normal girl is going to wanted to be her. Ever since we were young, we question her self-worth. have grown up with this image of what we are supposed to The truth is, it is all photoshopped, unrealistic and look like in the back of our minds. We try so hard to fit in, to ultimately fake. Yet, we constantly find ourselves wanting be considered normal. We want a flat stomach, skinny waist, to be something that is not real. Why do we strive for such pretty face, small thighs and more. unrealistic standards? I have struggled with my appearance. I know others I believe the answer is to be liked. Perhaps to impress who have struggled with their appearance, as well. Girls a boy. Boys want a picture-perfect girl. The media is everywhere battle with their image. subconsciously brainwashing young males to think girls need In fact, according to a Fox News survey, 96 percent of to look like models to be considered beautiful. If you do not teenage girls say they would like to look a certain way, you are not pretty. If you change their physical appearance if they are not skinny, then you are not considered could. “hot.” The media has vastly accentuated a The constant While men also encounter body false stereotype of teenagers. beauty standard image issues, the majority of the issue is My question is why? Why do we care pushed on females. What makes all those so much about what other people think we are so eager characteristics the standard for teenage of us? The constant beauty standard we to have as girls girls? are so eager to have as girls destroys us. destroys us. The answer: social media. The negative effects social media has on Social media has bred young women young females is absurd. Social media has to be insecure. Young women struggling convinced teenagers that having stretch with their appearance has been an issue marks, acne, or cellulite, is gross. long before the internet. However, it has been exaggerated Taking everything into consideration, girls find immensely since the boom of social media. When you scroll themselves extremely self-conscious. through your Instagram Explore page, you see the perfect, Girls, you have been given this body for the rest of your most beautiful girls. They have not a single flaw — everything life. You do not get another body for yourself. If you do not about them is simply gorgeous. They seem to have everything love your body, take care of it and love yourself, then no one going right for them; they seem popular, liked by everyone else will. Remember who you are because that is the best, and most importantly, they fit the mold of the perfect girl. most beautiful version of you. You are more than what a guy The desire for acceptance is a basic human instinct. We all thinks, what social media thinks or what anyone else thinks. want to fit in, to belong, to not be the In the end, you are beautiful in every way possible, so own it. outcast. In order to achieve



HEY, WHAT’S GOING Research by Elizabeth Caine, Design by Sophie Dellett

U.S. WAR IN AFGHANISTAN • Former President Trump made a deal with Taliban officials in February 2020 to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan in 14 months. • The U.S. finished pulling out of Afghanistan Aug. 30.

TALIBAN’S NEW CABINET • The Taliban announced their new all-male government on Sept. 7. • The Prime Minister is Mohammad Hassan Akhund. He was one of the founding members of the Taliban in the 1990s.

BIDEN COVID-19 MANDATES • U.S. President Joe Biden announced new COVID-19 measures Sept. 9 that require approximately 100 million U.S. workers to be vaccinated.



ON IN THE WORLD? TEXAS ABORTION LAW • New abortion legislation went into effect in Texas on Sept. 1, becoming the most restrictive law of its type in the U.S. • The law bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy without exception.

CUBAN VACCINATIONS • Cuba announced on Sept. 6 it will soon begin giving the Covid-19 vaccine to children as young as two. They are the first nation to do so. • The country is using its own homegrown vaccines.

GERMAN INVESTIGATION • The German federal prosecutor’s office began an investigation Sept. 10, looking into a series of hacking attempts aimed at lawmakers amidst worry that Russia was trying to interfere with the Sept. 26 German election.



HOUR OF POWER Strength and conditioning classes have tripled in enrollment over the last five years, which students attribute to the positive, yet competitive, environment the class provides.


Written by Hannah Rakolta and Lindsay Maresh, Photos by Remi Nuss, Design by Rachel Hostetler

hen strength and conditioning coach Clint Rider came to Northwest five years ago, there were just over 100 kids enrolled in the weights program. Now, there are 360. Class rosters have had an influx of students, including a large jump in the number of girls taking the class, according to Rider. He said when the class began, there were only five girls enrolled: there are currently 75. Senior football player Drew Ranallo said he began taking strength and conditioning because the class piqued his interest. Ranallo also said the class

has helped him improve on the football field. “I started lifting weights in seventh grade, and I saw this as an option and it looked fun,” Ranallo said. “I would say lifting weights has really helped me athletically.” In Strength and Conditioning I, students learn about getting the correct form down and safely lifting weights. Sophomore Kennedy Fenley said the basic skills you learn in this class help enormously, especially if you want to see valid results. “Learning how to do simple things like a proper squat, incline, bench and power clean is really helpful,” Fenley said.

Freshman Mia LaBounty deadlifts during her fourth hour strength and conditioning class. “I really do enjoy weights class. I would say that it is one of my favorite classes because I love all the people there, and it is a nice break from sitting down all day taking notes,” she said. (Photo by Remi Nuss)

Freshman Mia LaBounty agreed with Fenley, saying weights class has given her the advantage of lifting weights correctly. Senior football player Gabe Peterson has been taking weights since his sophomore year. Like Ranallo, Peterson said he began taking the class due to its requirement for football. Peterson holds the squat, bench, power clean and vertical jump records in the 242 pound weight class as well as the all-time school record for power clean. Peterson said one aspect that adds to the culture in weights class is that students set goals at the beginning of the year. “Coach Rider has really developed a drive in all of the people to achieve [their] goals,” Peterson said. According to Peterson, there are additional aspects outside of lifting that make strength and conditioning a good class. “It’s a really nice break to have, [it allows you to] let your stress out,” Peterson said. Prior to her knee injury, sophomore Lainie Douglas said she feels similarly to Peterson’s statement. She has taken strength and conditioning since her freshman year. Douglas said the weights class offers her a chance to relax. “I can just relax [and] not think about everything [and] just get everything out of my brain,” Douglas said. Adding to Peterson and Douglas, LaBounty said weights class provides a good break to have fun and relax outside of her more difficult classes. Along with getting a chance to relax and destress, Rider said everybody is included and has a great time in the weight room. Rider said the environment of the class is very important and has an impact on how



Senior Gabe Peterson performs a side lunge goblet squat. “[Weights] helps me excel in other areas because it allows me to become stronger for sports, make good friendships and set goals,” he said. (Photo by Remi Nuss) people lift weights. class I count on for having a good time.” “[The environment] has to be LaBounty agreed with Fenley and energetic because I think if you’re added that weights class stands out going to put yourself under a weight to her because of the community and or if you’re going culture within the to be in any type of room. When you go into movement-based “When you go into activity [you have to that class you feel that class you have the energy],” the energy rise and feel the energy Rider said. how the coaches are rise and how In previous always supporting years, Peterson said you and always the coaches are the class was just cheering you on,” always supporting required for sports. LaBounty said. you and always But, due to the Strength and environment created conditioning is also cheering you on. in the weight room, a class students several kids, not just describe as a place - MIA LABOUNTY student-athletes, to be social and have started to enjoy gain friendships. the class. LaBounty said before entering the class “Something special about this class she did not know most of the people in is the energy,” Fenley said. “It’s always a it, but there were many opportunities to

bond with the other students and form new friendships. Peterson said he did not know many people in his classes, but has gained many friendships throughout his years taking the class. “Throughout lifting with them and talking with them I’ve made a lot of new friends,” Peterson said. Due to the culture and growth in friendships, Ranallo said he would recommend this class to everyone. Ranallo said some other reasons he would recommend this class include all the skills students learn and the opportunities presented to them during weights class. “I recommend this class to other [seniors], and I also recommend this class to underclassmen, to freshmen especially, because I personally believe getting into the weight room is a really important thing in life,” Ranallo said.





The popularity of energy drinks and other highcaffeine beverages is impacting teens’ mental and physical well-being. Written by Lizzie Lively and Alex Cowdrey, Photos by Laura Benteman, Design by Sabrina San Agustin


enior Sam Stubenhofer would function fine without said he started drinking caffeine but still prefers coffee at church when he having it. was just two years old. “I feel as though it’s more “It’s been like a very of a habit I formed and long time [since I started drinking not an actual addiction,” caffeine]. And then progressively Stubenhofer said. Senior Sam Stubenhofer grabs a Celcius from I’ve just added in more and more Though Stubenhofer does Quicktrip as a different caffeine option in the [caffeine],” Stubehofer said. not believe he is addicted to morning. “I feel like I’ve built up a tolerance over Now, Stubenhofer said he normally caffeine, he did mention he the past four years of having high doses of caffeine gets up early in the mornings to grab a needs it occasionally. every morning,” Stubenhofer said. (Photo by Laura coffee from Starbucks. “I feel like there are some Benteman) “It has become a habit where I don’t days when I need that pickintentionally set aside time to get me-up. And those are the long-term effects of caffeine on the coffee, I just naturally get up earlier days I’m a little worried about myself,” body but is not too concerned. and get coffee,” Stubenhofer said. Stubenhofer said. “I don’t know about [the effects], I Like Stubenhofer, Rooney said she also wouldn’t say I don’t care about them, sophomore Kate has concerns about but like, even if I knew them, I probably Rooney said she her caffeine intake, would still drink both [coffee and usually has a cup especially regarding Alanis],” Rooney said. I feel like there of coffee in the her sleep. Both Rooney and Stubenhofer said are some days morning, followed “I definitely think they noticed the physical impacts when I need by an energy drink it makes me not go to caffeine has on them daily. Stubenhofer in the middle of the bed as early because said he is hyper-aware of the effects that pick-meday. then I am like, ‘oh, I when he drinks caffeine on an empty up. And those Rooney said she can just have an energy stomach, describing how his hand are the days I’m spends around $15 drink or coffee in the twitches. on caffeine weekly, morning, and then I’ll Rooney added she feels a bit of a little worried while Stubenhofer be fine,’” Rooney said. a delay between her brain and her about myself. said he spends Stubenhofer said actions when she has caffeine. around $30. he is concerned for “Physically I just think it makes me Stubenhofer also his health later in life, run a little bit slower. Like I’ll be active, - SAM STUBENHOFER said he believes he most specifically his but my brain isn’t there yet,” Rooney drinks anywhere heart. said. from 150-300 milligrams of caffeine “I make the joke that if I don’t die School nurse Becky Imlay said she daily. by cardiac arrest, I failed at life. But I believes sleep deprivation is the cause “I will have a double shot of espresso feel like that’s [what] I’m most scared of students’ caffeine addictions. and a cold brew, or a Bang or a Redbull about [with] the whole caffeine thing,” “I think everybody is on their phones [a day],” Stubenhofer said. Stubenhofer said. at night, way too late. And the blue light Stubenhofer said he believes he Rooney said she does not know the from the phone really stimulates your

09.30.21 brain to stay awake,” Imlay said. “Then Haggerty and added that companies you get up in the morning and you’re market to students because they are tired. And so the natural thing to do is overly stressed. just have caffeine.” “They know [students] are stressed Imlay added that caffeine, when out, staying up too late, doing sports, dosed properly, is not unhealthy, doing homework and working. however, it becomes a problem when [Students] are the perfect candidates to people have too much of it. sell caffeine to,” Imlay said. “It’s when you start doing energy As far as decreasing teen’s intake of drinks with all sorts of things in there caffeine, Haggerty said to start small that you don’t know what they are, or and implement steps to help replace you start doing the [caffeine] powder, the craving for caffeine. that you can get into a lot of significant “Wean yourself off if you’re getting a health risks,” Imlay said. venti coffee just go down to the normal Health teacher Molly Haggerty said small size [and] give yourself different caffeine has an addictive component types of snacks to snack on during the and can also cause withdrawal day,” Haggerty said. symptoms such as headache, fatigue, Haggerty said by decreasing caffeine irritability and exhaustion. intake, people will see their moods Imlay agreed and added that caffeine improve and become healthier. is considered a drug. “That will kind of light up the reward “It’s similar to a cigarette, your body center of the brain and release some gets used to it, it craves it [and] it wants feel-good chemicals in your brain,” it,” Imlay said. Haggerty said. “I think doing the right Haggerty said she recommends not things for our body will make us feel exceeding 300 milligrams of caffeine better in the long run.” a day. Most energy drinks such as Bang have just that amount in one can. “Physically, caffeine is a stimulant, which means it’s going to increase heart rate, brain activity and blood pressure and just kind of get them a little bit more amped up,” Haggerty said. Imlay said she notices students coming in and saying they feel on edge after drinking too much caffeine. “It just kind of makes them feel jittery, and it makes their heart rate go a little bit faster,” Imlay said. Haggerty also mentioned she thinks a lot of brands market toward teens, which is another reason for students like Stubenhofer and Rooney to consume caffeine daily. “The idea behind getting a younger generation hooked on their products is that you are going to use them longer, they are going to make more Sitting in a Starbucks, senior Sam Stubenhofer shows money off of you and you off his favorite drinks. “My go-to Starbucks order is are more easily persuaded a grande cold brew with two shots of espresso with to buy those types of things,” almond milk, and my go-to energy drink is just a Bang,” Haggerty said. Stubenhofer said. (Photo by Laura Benteman) Imlay agreed with

Bang 357

mg of caffeine

Coffee 330

mg of caffeine

Alani 200

mg of caffeine

Celsius 200

mg of caffeine

Students and parents consider the trials caused by suicidal thoughts and give advice on how best to support those struggling with mental illness. Written by Ashley Adams, Anna Bailey and Quinn Brown, Photos by Bailey Thompson, Design by Sabrina San Agustin

09.30.21 Editors note: This story mentions depictions of self harm, depression and attempted suicide.


h en junior Charlotte Holland was nine years old, she attempted suicide for the first time. “My thoughts were that I just didn’t want to be here anymore,” Holland said. “I was in the mindset where everything sucks. I didn’t want to do anything; everything was way too much. It all gathered up I didn’t want to feel my emotions, and when depression happened, it all hit at once.” Holland said it took a while for her to reach out for help. “I had a lot of suicide attempts when I was 9 to 12. When I was 13, I started to reach out for help from my siblings,” Holland said. “I wrote many [suicide] notes in my journal when

COVER | 15 I was younger. [They were] for my family.” Holland’s mom, Kim Holland, said it can be scary to watch your child go through depression and experience suicidal thoughts. “Some days there are a lot of struggles. It’s kind of like driving in the dark sometimes; you don’t know where it’s going, and you just pray you’re on the road,” Kim said. Holland said the most effective coping method for dealing with her suicidal thoughts is introducing distractions. “[My suicidal thoughts] happen all the time unless I’m extremely distracted. They’re pretty persistent, not right now, but I have dealt with them being 24/7 [when] there was no distraction,” Holland said. Mental illness is a common struggle, Kim said, and more people are spreading awareness as more people speak up. “There has been more awareness

Junior Charlotte Holland has faced suicidal thoughts since she was nine years old and said that distractions are what have been able to help her get through it. “[Social media] is more of an outlet and using dark humor to cope,” she said. (Photo by Bailey Thompson)

about mental health because people from every walk of life are coming forward and saying it’s so much more common than people think it is,” Kim said. Senior and co-chair of the Mental Health Board Lauren Martin said people need to realize having a mental illness is just like having any other injury. “[It’s] just like when you break a bone, or when you get a common cold, people don’t freak out or make excuses for your cold; they just get you treatment. And I think that’s what mental health needs to be,” Martin said. Martin has struggled with her mental health since she was 13. She said she joined the Mental Health Board as a way to share the importance of mental health. “[The board provides] a safe place for students to talk about their mental health and find others who might be going through the same thing,” Martin said. Martin’s mom, Jennifer Martin, said her advice for those struggling with mental health is to reach out for help. “I think counseling is always good, finding out what are the triggers, making sure you avoid those types of situations and just keeping calm,” she said. Society does not want to admit that mental illness is as important as physical illness because it makes people uncomfortable, according to Martin. She said it is still important to treat it as a physical illness. “I think the best way to protect our peers from being engulfed in their mental illness is really just realizing that it’s an illness, and the only way to deal with it is either, go into therapy, or get actual physical medicine,” Martin said. Senior Ollie Watson said he has struggled with mental illness since sixth grade. Turning to peers and trusted people in his life, he said, has helped him along the way. “Healing is never linear; the battle is definitely uphill. But, my therapist helped me understand that’s ok,” Watson said. His therapist, Watson said, is one person who makes him feel understood. He said his parents were not completely understanding of his

16 | COVER mental illness at first. Growing up in different generations, Watson said, creates a misunderstanding in life experience, making it hard for parents to see the validity of what their child is struggling with. “My parents try when they can, but they haven’t been the best,” Watson said. Watson shared that at first, his parents were not the most understanding in his struggle with depression, but they have learned a lot along the way. Watson’s mom, Reneé Watson, said even when hard days come along, it is vital to remember they are only temporary. “Depression and suicidal thoughts are not short-term problems. One thing to remember is that there are going to be good days and bad days. But, you just need to focus on the progress you have made, and don’t let the setbacks cause you to give up,” Reneé said. Watson said there are many small things friends can do to help one another if parents are not a safe route.


“When people help me take aware of other people and their everything day by day, it honestly feelings,” Kim said. really helps and lets me know Both Watson and Holland said they’re there for me,” Watson said. “I providing distractions for your understand it’s not my friend’s job to friends can help them avoid racing help me get better, thoughts, an but small things overwhelming feeling like that honestly that often comes with Depression is a help a lot.” anxiety. Encouraging Holland said hard thing to face words from peers although it can be alone, so if you’re can help calm a challenging, people feeling suicidal, I whirring mind, need to reach out for Watson said. help. know you can’t “Hearing that “Depression is a just get out of I’m not alone, hard thing to face that mindset right and having help alone, so if you’re tak[ing] things day feeling suicidal, I know away. Just try to by day, helps me a you can’t just get out find someone who lot more than just of that mindset right can help you. telling me that I away. Just try to find have a long life to someone who can help live or that it gets you,” Holland said. - CHARLOTTE HOLLAND better,” Watson If someone tells you said. they are suicidal, it is Kim said that it is crucial to take important to first talk to that person into account other people’s feelings and find out if they are planning around you. anything, and then go get an adult, “You never know when someone Martin said. says they’re good, if they’re really “[First] ask if they can talk. Try to good or not. [You should] be more get them on the phone, try to get them on FaceTime, try to get them preoccupied, so they are not able to go through [with] whatever they’re planning on doing,” Martin said. “[Then] get an adult involved as soon as possible.” School social worker Anyssa Wells said the best thing a student could do to help support another student who struggles with suicide is to encourage them to contact an adult or another resource who can help. “I think it’s really hard to work through [mental illness] when you’re struggling. It’s hard to do that alone. I think the biggest thing is to show them support and care by telling them, ‘I think it’s really important that we go talk to an adult because we can’t do things on our own,’” Wells said. Wells also said people must understand that their mental Senior Lauren Martin is co-chair of the BVNW Mental Health board. “I think it’s very important illness does not make them to realize mental health is something anyone can be struggling with,” Martin said. Watson and any less of a person. Holland agreed that reaching out to a friend can help. (Photo Illustration by Bailey Thompson)

09.30.21 “[Stuggling with] mental health is something that doesn’t mean you’re bad or any less than; I think mental health is important because there are moments in your life where there’s gonna be a struggle, but it’s important to find ways to work through it and find help,” Wells said. Wells also said it is crucial for people to understand the importance of mental health especially since the start of Covid-19. “I think it’s important now more than ever to spread awareness of mental health because it is so prevalent, and everyone experiences a little bit of struggle, a little bit of sadness, a little bit of anxiety, especially [because of] the changes that have happened in the last 18 months,” Wells said. In addition to Wells, health teacher and adviser for the BVNW Mental Health Board Molly Haggerty said there are signs people can look for if they believe someone could be suicidal. “Some of the warning signs might be withdrawing from activities, not hanging out with friends anymore, sleeping too much, not sleeping, eating too much, not having any appetite or general sadness,” Haggerty said. “A lot of times people forget it can also come out as anger because they’re not quite sure why they’re feeling that way, [so] they could lash out at people.” Haggerty said substance abuse can also be a precursor to suicide. “Sometimes it could be students who are not just recreationally drinking, but abusing substances [and] getting to the point where they’re regularly passing out or blacking out,” Haggerty said. Haggerty also said self-harm techniques, such as cutting oneself, can be another warning sign. Watson said it is important to discuss the importance of mental health when warning signs are present, and that people should check in with their friends regularly. “People shouldn’t be scared of asking their friends if they’re suicidal or even just hurting,” Watson said. Reneé said that, as a mom, she agrees that kids need a support system. “With help, there’s hope at the end,” Reneé said.

COVER | 17

Senior Ollie Watson has struggled with mental illness since he was in sixth grade, and he said being able to turn to his friends has really helped him. “It was uncomfortable at first, but opening up about it really helped me get better. The more I open up, the more honest I can be with myself, the more I can get better,” he said. (Photo by Bailey Thompson)

In 2019,


of high school students seriously considered attemping suicide

#2 Suicide is the

cause of death for ages 15-34

Of those,


attempted suicide

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In the U.S.


kids from grades 9-12

attempt suicide each day



Return of the student section at sporting events provides a much needed boost for athletes and coaches. Written by Lucy Halverson and Reagan King, Photos by Anna Shaughnessy and Bailey Thompson, Design by Sophie Dellett


ue to Covid-19 restrictions last year, only two fans per player were allowed to come to sporting events. Senior cheerleader Sophia Steiner said while cheerleaders were able to be at the games last year, the energy did not feel the same. “It was just so different because you would be cheering to a few parents and you wouldn’t really get much of a response,” Steiner said. “It’s awkward if you’re screaming at a crowd and they’re just looking at you.” Senior soccer captain and spirit leader Ryan Masterson said the lack of viewers impacted the spirit of those actually playing the sport. “Last year’s spirit, wow, honestly

it felt like we had no spirit last year because of Covid,” Masterson said. The head boys’ soccer coach, Brian Pollack, agreed with Masterson, saying there was a lack of energy last year. “Last year, it was primarily players having to hype themselves up, and really bring the energy on the field because there wasn’t any energy provided by the stands,” Pollack said. After the first soccer game of the 2021 season, Masterson and Pollack both commented on the immense change of energy in the stands. “Just seeing the rowdiness and the fun and the fact that [the spectators] were engaged, it made all the difference to our game,” Pollack said. There was a considerable change

of energy within the team due to the increase of fans, which overflowed the student section at the first soccer game. Masterson said it felt good to play in front of people again. “It’s a lot of fun when everyone is out there screaming their hearts out,” Masterson said. “It gives you more adrenaline and more reason to play.” Pollack said the number of spectators in the stands impacts the players and the attitude of the viewers. He said it is crucial to have student spectators at every game. “If it were like that every home game it would be amazing, because [student energy] is so important. [The team’s] energy level is at a peak just because of the fans,” Pollack said.



Soccer was not the only sport that Athletic Director John Hilton said mentioned one of the best ways to keep saw an increase of spectators in the he, along with Student Government, is sophomores and freshmen involved, stands. Varsity volleyball player and working to create more opportunities but also appropriate, is for the junior Alayna Pearson said having for students to attend extracurricular upperclassmen to be good role models. an interactive student section at the school events. “Our seniors did a very good job first volleyball game of the season “We did the tailgate for the first the other day, at the volleyball game helped unsettle soccer game,” when our younger kids started booing. Northwest’s Hilton said. “And [The seniors] did a good job at not only opponent. I think the more telling them, ‘hey we don’t boo,’ but I feel like having “I loved that things we can telling them why we don’t boo,” Hilton [the student put out there for said. school spirit is section] was students to be a Along with helping the always a good thing, loud; there was part of is going underclassmen understand what is just being proud of so much energy to drive them appropriate at games, the spirit leaders coming from to attend more want students to know that it’s fun to the school you go to. them. They events.” go to games and contribute to school were all there to Although spirit. -SOPHIA STEINER watch the game there are more “Freshman and sophomore year I and to cheer us opportunities to didn’t really understand that having on. Everyone dressed to the theme, be a part of the student section this fun at games was what made them and I think Olathe [East] was pretty year, Hilton said he is concerned about fun,” Steiner said. “Have as much spirit intimidated,” Pearson said. the underclassmen not experiencing as you can. It’s not lame to be super Similarly, Steiner said the students school spirit and school at its full level excited or happy about these things.” were very interactive with the yet. Hilton said he is relying on the Pearson agreed with Steiner, saying cheerleaders and helped them cheer upperclassmen to show them the ropes. school spirit can make school life on the football team during their first “Our freshmen and our sophomores interesting, and that it is crucial to the game. don’t know how to act in the games and energy around school and activities. “The student section was so loud at those events. And so making sure “We’re all tired from waking up early behind us, and you could just see that the juniors and seniors who have in the morning, we’re all forced to be genuine joy on people’s faces,” Steiner been to those events before know what here. There are going to be some good said. “Even if we are losing or they it means to positively cheer for their days and bad days, but I think school made a bad play, the student section team [is important],” Hilton said. spirit is going to make the time go by still cheers on the team.” Hilton and some of the spirit leaders faster and unify us,” Pearson said. Now that the Northwest community has the opportunity to watch games and be in the stands again, Pollack said going to sporting events is a good way to get involved with school events. “I think sharing in the success of Northwest students is important, beyond the classroom,” Pollack said. Pollack also said school spirit makes people want to show up to school. He also said it gives students something to be proud of. Steiner agreed with Pollack and said there is a certain level of pride that comes with showing school spirit. “We missed out on a lot last year with not being able to go to games. And I feel like having school spirit is always a good thing, just being proud of the school you go to,” Steiner said. As a spirit leader, Masterson said he is focused on getting students who would not usually go to games to show up and bring more spirit. “The thing that makes school spirit is Above: Dressed in black for the themed soccer game against BVN, seniors in the front of the student section celebrate a goal, Aug. 27. (Photo by Anna Shaughnessy) the people and everyone putting in the Top left: Students cheer on the varsity volleyball team in their first game of the season effort to do the chants and be loud at against Olathe East, Aug. 28.(Photo by Bailey Thompson) the games and assemblies,” he said.



HUSKY HIGHLIGHTS Senior Celeste Nabors prepares to add to her painting, “String of Fate,” in her portfolio seminar class, Sept. 1. “This piece is about the Chinese myth of the red string of fate,” Nabors said. “The myth is about a string of fate that connects two people who are destined to be soulmates.” (Photo by Lindsey Farthing)

Junior Grant Stubblefield cheers on classmates at the Husky Pep Rally, Aug. 27. “My favorite part [of the rally] is I get to be loud and kind of treat it like a student section,” Stubblefield said. (Photo by Bailey Thompson)

Seniors help lead the student section in rooting for the Huskies during the first football game, Sept. 3. “Now that we’re seniors we get to lead the chants and be loud. We got really into the game and really fired up,” Lucas Devorak said. (Photo by Laura Benteman)


HUSKY HIGHLIGHTS | 21 Junior Simone Beeler (center), senior Ella Buffington (right) and senior Erin Cherilus (left) participate in the sheep brain anatomy lab, Aug. 30. “During the lab, the thing on my mind was the smell. It wasn’t a bad smell, but it was unsettling, especially combined with the cold brain. And yet, it was morbidly interesting,” Beeler said. (Photo by Bailey Thompson)

(Above) Junior Alaina Garms works on the intro project for her jewelry class, Sept. 1. “My favorite part about taking this class is that we have our own freedom to design our own jewelry,” Garms said. (Photo by Maci Miller) (Left) Junior Fredric Villapeña plays the clarinet at the Husky Pep Rally, Aug. 27. “My favorite part of performing was displaying our band’s hard work from the past several weeks,” Villapeña said. (Photo by Lila Vancrum)



Nitz’s Picks

Sports Editor Jack Nitz shares his selections for the best games of the past month Written by Jack Nitz, Design by Regan Simeon

After scrambling outside of the pocket, senior Mikey Pauley runs for a touchdown in the football game against Blue Valley High School, Sept. 3. The Huskies defeated the Tigers, 35-21. (Photo by Jessica Witt) Behind a stifling defense and an explosive run game, the varsity football team kicked off the season with a win over Blue Valley High, 35-21, in a rematch of last year’s playoff loss. The Huskies started strong with a 73-yard rushing touchdown by senior Mikey Pauley and held a 14-0 lead going into halftime. Pauley and junior Grant Stubblefield would go on to combine for 377 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. Head coach Clint Rider said he was proud of the team’s performance and enjoyed seeing his players return to play in front of a large crowd. “To see our kids compete at a high level in a big-time game with a big crowd was great. There were high expectations, and to see them execute and respond to adversity was special,” Rider said.

On a through ball from a defender, senior Andrew Mitchell scores a goal in the game against Blue Valley North in the FAT CAT Tournament, Sept. 4. “After the second game [against BVN], when we won, the team was excited to have gotten revenge but knew it was just a building block for state.” (Photo by Lindsey Farthing) The varsity soccer team opened its season against Blue Valley North on Husky Night with a 3-2 loss. Coach Brian Pollack said he was proud of the team’s effort on the field. “I saw passion on the field, which I want to continue, and I saw a team that played well together,” Pollack said. The following week, the Huskies took part in the FAT CAT tournament. After going 1-1 in the first two games, the Huskies faced off against the Mustangs in the third-place game — a rematch of Husky Night. The Huskies redeemed their loss, winning the game, 4-0. Pollack said he told the players before the game that it was the ultimate chance to get redemption against the Mustangs. “I told the boys that when you get a second chance, you make good on it, and we did that today,” Pollack said.


NITZ’S PICKS | 23 In the first game of the season, the varsity volleyball team defeated Olathe East, 2-0 (25-23, 25-14) in the Spectrum Sports Volleyball Slam at St. James Academy, Aug. 28. The Huskies got off to a strong start, winning the first set, 25-23. Junior Alayna Pearson said because they were playing in front of a large audience, the Huskies knew they had to start out with energy if they wanted to win. “With the game being televised, and with a lot of our student body here, we just knew we had to play our hardest,” Pearson said. In the second set, the Huskies took control early and rode the lead to the win, defeating Olathe East, 25-14. Haggerty said she was impressed with the team’s performance, specifically on offense. “We fought hard and played well as a team. We had a balanced offense where everybody contributed, and I want to repeat that,” Haggerty said.

Junior Gabbie Troutner jumps in the air to celebrate a kill in the game against OEHS, Aug. 28. The Huskies defeated the Hawks 2 sets to 0. (Photo by Bailey Thompson) The varsity cheerleading squad held Cheer Bowl II, the second annual flag-football game pitting BVNW cheerleaders against each other, Aug. 29. The game finished with Team Purple defeating Team Pink, 12-6, behind two rushing touchdowns from senior Kaylin Kirchmer. Kirchmer said it was fun to score. “[Scoring two touchdowns] felt good, but it was more of a team win,” Kirchmer said. A group of seniors on the football team served as coaches and referees for the game. Drew Kaufman, the head coach of Team Purple, said it was fun to be a part of the experience and help lead his team to victory. “We were just trying to have fun and shut [Team Pink] down on defense because we had a really explosive offense,” Kaufman said. “It was a game of pride for the football players, so to come out here and get results was fun.” Senior Ella Schaal tries to protect her flags from junior Grace Bowling in the second annual Cheer Bowl at the DAC, Aug. 29. “This year we were pretty competitive, but it is just for fun; it was a fun game,” Schaal said. (Photo by Laura Benteman)

To read more on BVNW sports, visit



Karen Punswick teaches her fourth hour Honors ELA 10 class. “I love digging into literature with students and seeing them make authentic connections with the text, each other, and the world around them,” Punswick said. (Photo by Anna Shaughnessy)

ALWAYS A HUSKY Two current staff members reflect on their time as students at Northwest.

Written by Payton Porter and Jessica Toomay, Photos by Anna Shaughnessy, Design by Julia Moser


lue Valley Northwest opened in 1993 and has had tens of thousands of students. A select number of BVNW students have become employees within Blue Valley, with some coming back to work at Northwest. Two current staff members, Karen Punswick and Stephanie Keller, fit this niche. Punswick teaches ELA and Keller is the school counselor for students with the last names Mj-Se. Punswick went to school at Northwest from 1994-1995 and Keller attended from 2006-2009. Since Keller graduated, there have been some changes made throughout the building, a major one being the atrium.

“The building itself is the same in a lot of ways, but one of the main differences [is] the atrium. It used to be a ceiling full of glass, so you could see through it; that’s why it is called the atrium,” Keller said. While attending Northwest, Keller and Punswick were involved in a variety of school activities. Keller said she took part in several sports and clubs as a student. “I played softball, basketball and volleyball. I was in National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society,” Keller said. Punswick, who came to BVNW as a junior, said she was involved with several extracurriculars at Northwest as well. “I was in student government, I was in debate, I ran cross country for one

year cause I figured out I could run far, but not fast [and] you kind of need to do both. I was in clubs; I helped start the spirit club [and] National Honor Society,” Punwsick said. While both said they enjoyed being involved in many extracurriculars, they also noted the other parts of high school they remember fondly. Keller said her favorite part of high school was the variety of different classes in her schedule. “I just liked being able to learn about a lot of different things because you got to choose the classes you liked. Sometimes when you get into college you’re only in one type of field, so it was nice,” Keller said. Punswick, who was among the earliest students at Northwest, said she had many favorite parts of life at BVNW.

09.30.21 houses right before the games, nothing “My favorite part of high school damaging. I remember that was [was] the opportunities that were given probably my biggest rebellion,” and the memories made with people Punswick said. as we really were here trying to start As for why they decided to something. I’ve never been a part of become teachers, Punswick opening a school [since then], and that was a neat opportunity,” Punswick said. said several people inspired her to become an English Both staff members also talked teacher. about some of their most memorable “My great grandmother was moments while in high school. a teacher, my grandmother Keller, for instance, said there was a was a teacher and my mother was heavy snowfall on the day of her prom. “We had prom really early, I think my a teacher. I knew I wanted to be an English teacher my junior [and] senior year, and it snowed out. It was senior year in high school because supposed to be at Union Station, and I of the influence of my English was sitting in the hairdresser’s chair, teachers, which were Mrs. Paugh but then my mom came in saying that and Mr. Pribyl,” it was canceled,” Punswick said. Keller said. Keller said One funny They always say, she took a memory Punswick ‘once a Husky, always different route, said she remembers first working as a is being involved a Husky,’ and so that math teacher, and with powderpuff is true for me, as well. then becoming a football. school counselor. -STEPHANIE KELLER “[This was] totally “Before I was a not supported by counselor, I taught the school, but I middle school math and I really remember we still did powderpuff and loved working with kids,” Keller said. girls spent the night at each other’s “I found that sometimes the content houses and went and TPed everyone’s took more time than actually being able to work with the kids, so [becoming a counselor] seemed like a natural fit

(Left) Stehpanie Keller’s yearbook picture as a senior in high school, 2009. (Right) Keller demonstrates how to properly bunt a softball, 2009. (Photo by Katie Miller)


A yearbook photo of Karen Punswick in her senior year of high school, 1995. for me.” Both Keller and Punswick also talked about the different lessons they learned after high school. When reflecting on her high school experience, Keller said she should not have overthought situations as much as she did. “Some of the things that I look back on that were huge deals then didn’t necessarily impact me years later,” Keller said. “I wish I could tell myself that back when I was in high school, that this might not be as important to me in a year or five years, but you don’t have that perspective when you are that age.” Punswick reflected on her high school experience as well and said it is important for Northwest students to find a solid friend group. “Make that large [friend] group smaller so that you find a community, because that is how we grow. That is how we build relationships, and that is how we thrive,” Punswick said. Keller agreed with Punswick’s idea of community and discussed how she still feels that sense of community at Northwest, even as a staff member. “They always say, ‘once a Husky, always a Husky,’ and so that is true for me, as well,” Keller said.



Mac N’ Woah A Kansas City restuarant specializes in comfort food with a focus on mac n’ cheese Written by Reagan Kauth, Photos by Lindsey Farthing, Design by Rachel Hostetler


1707 Locust St. Kansas City, 64108

arlor is home to seven small restaurant fronts, including Mac N’ Co. If you continue straight back from the entrance, you will run right into the KC Mac N’ Co. stand. Although the menu is small, there is something for everyone. While waiting for food, one can take a seat in one of the many comfortable seating areas. Soon after finding a spot to eat, the food will be ready. The food comes in a tin to-go container with plastic silverware, which helps keep the casual vibe.

Just Mac $13 The Just Mac is perfect for any mac and cheese lover. It is a basic mac and cheese with a unique flavor. This flavor comes from the fact that this mac and cheese is fried up in a frying pan, leaving the cheese slightly crispy, along with the noodles. Because of how it is made, this mac and cheese is not the creamiest, but it is still a great dish. This dish was also a nice option to take home and save for later. The Just Mac reheated easily and still tasted just as delicious a few days later. The Just Mac is for anyone who loves a simple, easy mac and cheese.


Honey Serrano Mac $16 If the Just Mac sounded good, but you want a little more, this is the one for you. The Signature Honey Serrano Mac is the Just Mac with Honey Serrano chicken and jalapeños added on top. Although the chicken is supposed to have a sweet and spicy taste, it lacked the expected spice. While this flavor was unexpected, it was still tasty. Although this chicken was not as spicy as expected, the sweetness and crispiness made up for it. This mac n’ cheese is for someone who wants to try something new and different.

The Co. Wedges $5 Unlike the other two dishes, this one has nothing to do with mac and cheese. The “Co. Wedges” are potato wedges with an avocado ranch dressing on the side. These wedges are the perfect side for any french fry or potato lover. While they are not very crispy on the outside, these wedges are extremely fluffy on the inside. They have a strong, almost spicy flavor, so the ranch is not even necessary. The flavor of the ranch is not for everyone. It is super liquidy and has a bit of a southwestern taste. While the wedges are good, the ranch does not do anything good for them. This is the perfect dish for those who enjoy mac n’ cheese and want a side that compliments it well.




GAME DAY GALLERY Sophomore Lauren Croom serves the ball during the first volleyball game of the season, Aug. 28. “I was on cloud nine because I knew that this was a great start to the season, and we put in the hard work in practice to get this win,” Croom said. The Huskies won the game against Olathe East High School, 2-0. (Photo by Bailey Thompson)

Senior captain on The Pack dance team Claire Jandric gets ready to perform at the Husky Pep Rally, Aug. 27. “The support from the student section is always my favorite part of performing,” Jandric said. (Photo by Lila Vancrum)

Senior Drew Kaufman makes a tackle in the football game against Bishop Miege, Sept. 10. “I definitely feel pumped up after making tackles,” Kaufman said. (Photo by Anna Shaughnessy)


GAME DAY GALLERY | 29 After receiving a pass from a midfielder, junior Sam McIntosh turns to take a shot on goal during the first home game of the season against Blue Valley North, Aug. 27. “I get a moderate amount of action as a forward, and when I get it, it’s usually the goal-scoring kind of action,” McIntosh said. The Huskies fell to the Mustangs, 3-2. (Photo by Lindsey Farthing)

Trying to run the ball, senior Ella Schaal protects her flags from junior Kate Newby in the second annual Cheer Bowl at the DAC, Aug. 29. “This year we were pretty competitive but it is just for fun, it was a fun game,” Schaal said. (Photo by Lindsey Farthing)

Sophomore Saraphina Wambi serves the ball to her partner during tennis tryouts, Aug. 19. “For me it wasn’t about getting to play tennis again, it was more about getting to see the girls on the team and just getting to play tennis with them,” Wambi said. (Photo by Bailey Thompson)


30 | ADS







A&E | 31

Which Varsity Football Player Are You? Design by Regan Simeon

1. What is a sport you wish

2. What is your favorite

3. What is your favorite

was offered at Northwest?

genre of music?

movie genre?

a. Water Polo

a. Country

a. Comedy

b. Hockey/Ice Skating

b. Rap

b. Horror

c. Gymnastics

c. Pop

c. Drama

4. What is your bigggest

5. What is your favorite

6. What is your favorite


school subject?

after- game snack?

a. Spiders/Snakes

a. Math

a. Ice cream

b. The dark

b. Gym

b. Pizza

c. Getting an “F”

c. ELA

c. Smoothie

7. Who is your favorite

8.What is your favorite

Disney/Pixar character?


a. Lightning McQueen

a. Christmas

b. Wall•E

b. Independence Day

c. Buzz Lightyear

c. Halloween


Mostly A’s: You are most like Zach Yates, Mikey Pauley and Max Muehlberger Mostly B’s: You are most like Gabe Peterson Mostly C’s: You are most like Drew Ranallo

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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 September Issue of Volume 29. Subscription rates are $10. The Express is printed by The Sedalia Democrat, 700 South Massachusetts, Sedalia Mo. 65301.

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