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the standard blue valley southwest | volume 11 | issue 4

Dealing with Divorce students with divorced parents discuss the impact it has made on their upbringing pg 12-13

2 | contents / the standard / april 2021

Contents news

16 | Unity in the Community


8 | Take Off with Taft 12 | Dealing with Divorce 14 | Rockin’ with Robotics 18 | Bon Appétit 20 | The Power of the Mind 22 | Overland Park Coffee Tour

Opinion 5 | Just Be Kind 10 | Influential Words, Impactful Poems volume 11 / issue 4 bvswnews.com @bvswnews on Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat


Overland Park Coffee Tour

on the cover

a family picture is torn apart, but still connected while the family goes through a divorce pages 12-13 photo illustration by Siri Chevuru



Take off with taft


Influential Words, impactful poems

Online exclusive

4 | editor’s note / the standard / april. 2021

The Standard

Editor’s Note S

pring break just ended and I’m already counting down the days until the beginning of summer break. I’m delighted by the thought of waking up to stress-free days. The classes I’ve taken this year have been no less than challenging. With my schooling being virtual this year, it has admittedly been difficult to concentrate at times because I’m cooped in my room from the start of the day to the end. Between being flooded with assignments, preparing for class and studying for tests, the stress from school has been accumulating. The end of school not only represents peace for me, but the beginning of a new chapter. As a senior, this’ll be the last year I’ll roam the halls and experience high school. There are many things I’ll miss, and many I’m excited to escape, but one thing I’m happy I partook in is newspaper ­— I made many friends and honed my skills. Walking into the class always thrills me because I know I’m surrounded by supportive people and friends in an environment which is laid back, yet challenging. The class was a place where I learned, challenged myself and grew. From the time when I was promoted to Design Editor to opening up my rough draft to see the entire story marked with corrections, I know I’ll carry all the memories, the happy and the sad, into my future. I know many students around this time are also stressed by the fact that we have less time to maintain or raise their grades. On top of that, we also have the pressure of getting a good grade on our finals and AP tests. As cliche as it sounds, it’s important to de-stress. Maybe try checking out a new coffee place to hang with your friends or taste different menus. You could also consider manifesting your grades and future. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you’ll find relief from your stressful life.

| design editor

editor-in-chief keithan sharp online editor karley kent design editor siri chevuru social media manager sahar baha business manager rebecca suku staff writers ellie phillips erica peterson logan brucker macy kennedy adviser rachel chushuk

The Southwest Standard is published seven times a year for students, faculty, and surrounding community of Blue Valley Southwest. It is an open forum for student expression. Therefore, the opinions expressed within this paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the administration of Blue Valley Unified School District #229. Letters to the editor and reader responses are encouraged for publication. The Southwest Standard reserves the right to edit all submissions for both language and content and encourages letters to be no more than 350 words. All letters must be signed and names will be published. The Standard 17600 Quivira Road Overland Park, KS 66221 Website: bvswnews.com Email: bvswnews@gmail.com

opinion / the standard / april 2021 | 5

Just Be Kind

6 | opinion / the standard / april 2021

When voicing an opinion, people need to remember that kindness matters


hroughout the 2020-21 school year there has been a variety of feedback given by the community in response to a multitude of decisions that have been made by district administration. Between the positive, the negative and the downright disrespectful, most agree that the feedback has been mixed. However, the feedback has been increasingly disrespectful and given with less mind to the people on the receiving end. While people have varying opinions, the most important thing to remember is that feedback is directed at real people. “With every decision that is made, there are varying opinions and a variety of reactions. The feedback is important,” chief communications officer Kristi McNerlin said. “We want to know how our parents, our students and our staff

feel about decisions. This year they’ve been fairly divided on some decisions.” While these decisions are divided, McNerlin said the degrees of respect have varied as well. Even though many are polite and civil, some have gone so far as to cross the line with a disregard for truth and respect. “I think it crosses the line when someone is unhappy with the decision and is disrespectful in their reaction,” McNerlin said. “It is not a bad thing to disagree, but when you are disrespectful in how you voice your opinion it crosses that line and can sometimes even quiet your voice.” Principal Scott Roberts said he has received many mixed responses to decisions that have been made within the past school year. “It has been mixed, to say the least,”

Roberts said. “And I would say that frustration is probably the most common situation.” While this frustration may be justifiable, the actions that follow are not. Even though it is not quite business as usual, every decision that has been made has been made with an abundance of thought and regard to the community. “Sometimes, it’s not always perfect for what we have at Southwest, but we try to do what’s best for the school system,” Roberts said. “Our ultimate goal throughout this year is we want students to learn, we want students to be safe and we want our adults [to be safe].” While situations are frustrating, due to the nature of his position, Roberts said he has received an abundance of negative feedback this year compared to previous years.


“I understand being passionate, but we come to a point sometimes where behavior crosses a line when you try to bully or threaten.” “I have had very positive interactions throughout the year,” Roberts said. “I have also had more negative reactions than I have had in my other 11 years in this position, although that is common everywhere because people are frustrated.” School board member Jodie Dietz described a similar experience and said she has also received a surplus of disrespectful interactions, both virtually and in-person. “Some responses have been very positive and encouraging. Some feedback may not agree with decisions we’ve made, but it’s been very respectful,” Dietz said. “Then we get to an area where some of the comments and emails we’ve received have not been respectful. And they have been incredibly negative and hostile in tone.” It is important for everyone in the community to remember basic human decency, especially when communicating. Sometimes even the most simple of lessons can be the most important when expressing concern in difficult scenarios. “I have always lived by the code that my parents taught me,” Dietz said. “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.” Dietz said it is understandable to have strong opinions regarding

| schoolboadmember jodiedietz decisions with real implications on daily life. However, she said she has received irrational threats during her time on the board this past year. “I understand being passionate, but we come to a point sometimes where behavior crosses a line when you try to bully or threaten,” Dietz said. “It takes a turn when you threaten people in order to get what you want.” It is important that people come to the understanding that many people are doing the best that they can do with the resources and information that they have. While this is not an excuse for inappropriate actions and responses, it is important to remember that even one threat is one too many. “Sometimes the voices that are louder, are also the voices that are fewer,” McNerlin said. “We want to model for our kids, for our children, what we would expect to see of them and it’s OK to disagree.” | macykennedy

8 | feature / the standard / april 2021

junior Taft Barr explores a new hobby: flying airplanes

|9 tarting lessons in flight school with the support of his family, the dream of junior Taft Barr is now becoming a reality. Airplanes, including historic planes, have been an interest for Taft since he was a child. “As a kid, I had a huge interest in airplanes, especially airplanes from WWII and WWI,” Taft said. “I am a fanboy of a lot of WWII airplanes, they just look cool, they sound cool and they’re really fast, so I’ve always wanted to fly an airplane.” Along with the initial interest in historic airplanes, the interest in airplanes has been passed down from generation to generation in the Barr family. The influence of Taft’s grandfather and father have impacted him greatly on this new journey. “What really got me into flying is probably my dad, who was a pilot when he was younger, and my grandpa, who is also a pilot,” Taft said. Taft’s father, Tony Barr has been a mentor and Taft said Tony has helped him improve flying in many aspects. “Whenever I come home from flight school, he always talks to me about how I can improve and any tips or pointers that I need to have and he encourages me a lot,” Taft said. “I can’t wait to fly with him someday.” It is a topic of discussion at the dinner table between Tony and Taft, as Tony shares how flying has impacted him and his learning experience. Many things have changed since Tony has learned how to fly a plane, so having the opportunity to learn what is new is a bonding experience. “He and I talk a lot about his experience flying and what he is learning as he pursues his private pilot license. And I can share with him my experience from years ago. We’ll talk about things that he’s doing well and things he doesn’t feel like he is doing as well as he wants to and I’ll give him some advice on that,” Tony said. “It’s nice to have that conversation and kind of connect my younger self 34 years ago to what’s happening now.” As Taft’s interest has grown for years, Tony is thrilled he has a chance to be involved. “Taft has been interested in planes and flying for years, I would say even as

early as 4 or 5 years old,” Tony said. “Taft has a great interest in history and is an expert really in the World Wars that the U.S. fought in. He has studied and knows a lot about military aircraft, and so we have talked a lot about that over the years and now we finally have a chance to help make this happen for him.” Although Taft is just starting out, his dreams for flying are big. “I fly a Cesler 172 and it’s pretty boring, but like I said, I have a huge interest in WWII planes and I would really like to fly a German BF109,” Taft said. “Those are really cool in my opinion, they just look cool, they sound cool, but you know, you got to start somewhere.”

“When you’re lined up on the runway and you just push away and you just feel all this power in front of you and you lift off. It’s just an incredible feeling, seeing the ground past you.” | juniortaftbarr Taft is relatively new to the whole flying experience, but said he has fallen in love with the adrenaline that the hobby includes and is looking to become a pilot in the future. “It’s a really cool experience to fly over everything, see your house and [during] some maneuvers, you can feel some G’s [gravitational force equivalent]. It feels kind of unreal and it’s just cool to fly,” Taft said. “I hope to become an airline pilot in the future and it’s also a really cool hobby for anyone who wants to try it out.” With the adrenaline, there comes risk. There are many factors that can impact a flight that Taft has learned to overcome. “[One time] I was coming in for a landing and there was a really heavy

crosswind, probably almost 24 miles per hour, and the airplane started to tip a little and I almost chipped a wing,” Taft said. “I guess you could say that I almost crashed a little, but I didn’t.” To learn to fly can be a big commitment. Not only with time, but financially as well. “I go to the airport and fly almost every week on the weekends and then occasionally I’ll go over to do some ground school where I learn about practical stuff like emergency procedures, air spaces and how to talk to ATC (air traffic control) and all that stuff,” Taft said. “It’s pretty expensive — flight school for a private pilot’s license can cost up to $10,000.” Even though it can be an investment, Taft and his parents have deemed it an acceptable expense. Tony said he is proud of how far Taft has come with little prior experience. “He has just started to learn in the last five months, and based on what Taft tells me about his progress and what’s he relaying to us from his instructor, I would say Taft is progressing at a rate that is above average,” Tony said. “Taft is a really smart kid, physically he is very coordinated and he’s responsible, and those are three keys to being an effective pilot: smart, physically coordinated and responsible.” With the thrilling experience of flying, Taft said he most enjoys feeling the power of getting off the ground. “When you’re lined up on the runway and you just push away and you just feel all this power in front of you and you lift off,” Taft said. “It’s just an incredible feeling, seeing the ground past you.” Even though Taft is fairly new to the flying world, he said he is growing to love the experience. “I think it’s the fact that you get to be in control of this big machine, not a car, but something that can fly,” Taft said. “You kind of get on the same wavelength as the airplane and you’re communicating with the airplane, and it is a weird way to put it, but it’s like your expressing yourself with the airplane and it’s just something I like to do.” | ericapeterson

10 | opinion / the standard / april 2021

INFLUENTIAL WORDS, IMPACTFUL POEMS Poetry is the most powerful form of communication


ords are one of the most powerful tools a person can use. They bridge a lost connection between one and another. They inspire people to find their way and to find themselves. They heal the sorrows of the writers and comfort the reader. They teach emotions and experiences that can only be felt within the context of those words. Of the many forms of words that can be crafted, one of the most impactful ways is through using them in the form of poetry. Words are polished and refined to be condensed into a saturated section. AP Literature teacher and sponsor of Creative Writing Club Strom Shaw said poems capture the vigorosity of a moment and the message the author is trying to convey. “I often describe poetry in class as prose with all the water wrung out of it,” Shaw said. “It’s language condensed into its most potent form.” The poem, although it is comparatively a shorter piece of work, enhances the words’ meaning and creates a powerful narrative that entices the reader to learn

the history and emotions present within the poem. Senior Jordan Courtney recently began to write poetry seriously. She said poetry has hidden meanings that are amplified through literary devices and structure. “There’s a lot of things that go into making words powerful because words themselves are powerful enough,” Courtney said. “But if you just add tiny little things to them, that’s kind of like the armor that makes them even more powerful.” Shaw said poems can encourage the author to explore themselves and simplify their feelings into compact and loaded sentences. “Powerful poems are brave, they go places that were likely difficult for the poet to go — and that doesn’t have to be painful,” Shaw said. “Sometimes it’s difficult to accurately capture how someone feels... but any time a poet goes somewhere in themselves that is painful to process and requires a little bit of bravery to dig into it, and then to share that out, I think that makes a poem powerful.”

It is important to acknowledge that “powerful poem” is a general term because there truly is no category that sets poems aside because all poems, in one aspect or another, are powerful. Furthermore, people interpret poems differently and prioritize different things. For vice president of Creative Writing Club and junior Carolyn Brotherson, poems are something that show the truth of the author. “I really do think if someone’s being authentic and they have the intention to maybe change lives or maybe open up people’s eyes, I think that is enough to make that intention of wanting other people to know your story or to hear things that they may not have heard before,” Brotherson said. “It’s enough to make the piece powerful.” Courtney said poems reveal the author’s true identity. “A lot of people say actions are the most powerful thing but I think words can really show who you are a little better than actions because you can mask who you are with actions,” Courtney said. “But the words you say whether it’s good or bad,

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really kind of reflect the true you hidden underneath everything.” Poems make people think, doubt and influence their beliefs. Brotherson said her favorite poem that made people think and doubt was written and presented by her friend. “She spoke about a topic that a lot of people are aware of, but not enough people talk about and I think that’s very powerful, and that’s what poetry should be about,” Brotherson said. “People should talk about things that other people are afraid to talk about.” However, not all powerful poems have to contain elements that challenge. A poem simply has to be. Creative Writing Club President Hannah Young said simply expressing ideas and emotions are enough to create an impact because they teach others to show empathy. “Every time you learn about someone else’s experiences, it makes you a more intelligent and understanding and compassionate person,” Young said. “I think you will always benefit from hearing what someone else has to say, because even if you didn’t feel like you learned anything directly from it, you learn someone else’s perspective and thoughts. And that in itself is so valuable.” The loaded words take the reader on a journey through the author’s head. Shaw said a technique he likes to use is narration. This type of poetry usually doesn’t include a back story, but rather focuses on a specific moment. “It just throws the person into that event, and [the reader] gets to experience the feelings, the intensity, whatever it is with it,” Shaw said. “And I think it’s powerful in that way, and that it lets people experience what other people have gone through without needing to be any more than just a page.” However, there’s not just one cut-instone way poems can be written. There’s free verse, rhymed poetry, sonnets and many more. Each is created differently, but still impacts the same. Brotherson said she believes slam poetry is the most powerful form of poetry. “Especially spoken word, I find very powerful because it’s a way that really taps into this part of human society, like empathy, where it really allows us to connect with other people,” Brotherson said. She said the most impactful poem she

heard was at a slam poetry competition about growing up as a Black teen in Kansas City. “I never really thought about it like that before, because Southwest is kind of this isolated [place],” Brotherson said. “But hearing her speak like that, it really changed my perspective.” Connection is a vital component to poetry. It helps people grow and feel heard. Young said her most eye-opening experience with her own poetry was when she shared it at a poetry slam competition because people resonated with it.

A lot of people say actions are the most powerful thing but I think words can really show who you are a little better than actions because you can mask who you are with actions. But the words you say whether it’s good or bad, really kind of reflect the true you hidden underneath everything.” | seniorjordancourtney “That was the most powerful [poem] that I’ve written so far,” Young said. “Not because it’s any more powerful in itself than the others, but because that one person heard it, and people listened and people related to it.” The beauty of poetry is the freedom that comes with it. Authors can write without having to be weighed down by grammar and structure, and readers can interpret it in the way they see fit. They can simply enjoy a piece or develop a life-changing perspective. Sometimes, that change is not so obvious. “Sometimes it reflects back things that you want to be true about yourself,” Shaw said. “It’ll reflect back in the sense that it’s like, ‘OK, that’s not true about myself right now, but I want it to be true.’ So it gives you perspective.” Poems are not restricted by age, gender or even race; they are something everyone

can enjoy and experience. Young said Shell Silverstein is one of the poets whose poems are shared with everyone. She thinks it’s interesting the way he involves different groups of people through his poetry. “[Silverstein’s poems are] goofy, and it’s for kids, but a lot of it has really deep meaning,” Young said. “And I think that it’s just amazing that his poetry was able to touch so many people of all ages — the mothers who read it to their kids and the kids who read it.” Poems not only influence the reader, but create an impact on the writer. Writing poetry helps express the author’s true self and their experiences. Courtney said she uses it as a way to convey herself to the world. “I kind of write poetry in order to express myself, because I, personally, have a lot of trouble socially interacting with people in what is considered the correct manner. I kind of used poetry as a way to show who I really am on the inside,” Courtney said. “I find it a lot easier to use eloquent language and really ornate words to describe who I am.” Poems heal wounds and help the writer level with themselves and their circumstances. They organize thoughts and bring structure to a chaotic life. Young said it can be thought of as a kind of therapy. “Poetry is a great way for me to transfer my thoughts to paper and also use it to slow down and really listen to what I’m saying and see how I really feel about something,” Young said. Shaw said he has seen first-hand how poems alleviate the trauma that the writers carried. Although writing poetry can’t conquer all the pain and sorrow, Shaw said it was inspirational to see his students challenge themselves and be strong while exploring their deepest fears and memories. “[I saw] the students deal with some stuff, like some students really dealt with some trauma in their life through those poems and hadn’t dealt with that previously or were trying not to go there or think about it. And they were brave and went there,” Shaw said. “Just seeing the bravery and seeing these students and these young people deal with real issues in their life was just really powerful.” | sirichevuru

12 | feature / the standard / april 2021

Dealing with Divorce Students with divorced parents discuss the impact it has made on their upbringing


s one may imagine, spending the past year in the trenches of a global pandemic can encourage some deep individual reflection and growth. For some students, this consists of addressing their parents’ divorce and the unique complications it can introduce to daily life. Junior Jessica Bell said despite her parents being divorced since she was 6 years old, it continues to affect her family life and platonic relationships as a young adult. “I was so young when it all happened so I do not remember much about my parents getting divorced,” Bell said. “When we were younger they fought, but they never did

around me and my siblings. Even today, they never bring us into the middle of anything and they get along very well.” Divorce often has an effect on the family dynamic as well as the individual children. Junior Ali Fabrizius said that her older brother took the brunt of the separation and to this day she doesn’t know the real reason why her parents split. “Since I’m the youngest out of all my siblings, my parents still keep a lot of things from me,” Fabrizius said. “It bothers me that I don’t really know why they split up, but I guess I’m lucky because I don’t really have a bad opinion on either of them.”

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When a family experiences a divorce there is also always a chance of one or both parents remarrying. This has the potential to blend families and create either additional trust or animosity between them. Senior Harrison Powell said that his family dynamic was forever changed after the divorce. “It was definitely a hard adjustment for me at first but growing up with step-siblings eventually became normal,” Powell said. “It doesn’t affect my activities or school life now as much as it did when I was younger, but it is always a hard thing I had to go through and I appreciate others who share a similar experience.” Students who are still in contact with both biological parents tend to have to adjust their schedules to split up the time equally. Fabrizius said this makes her life very busy and difficult to navigate with extracurricular activities and work. “I always had a very complicated schedule of splitting time between both parents when I was in elementary and middle school, but now since I’m older and get to drive myself everywhere, I can mostly come and go to either house whenever I want,” Fabrizius said. “I’m always really busy with sports

and work so I typically only see my dad once every week or two weeks.” Powell said that he spends the most time with his mom because she lives the closest to the school.

“It doesn’t affect my activities or school life now as much as it did when I was younger, but it is always a hard thing I had to go through and I appreciate others who share a similar experience.” | seniorharrisonpowell “At this point in my senior year, I will be leaving for college soon and I have a future to prepare for,” Powell said. “It’s easiest for me to stay with my mom just because of her convenient location, but I still see my dad pretty often.”

Fabrizius said that legally and financially, the divorce was a long and complicated process, but she feels like her family is in a much healthier place now. “At times it was hard to know what to believe, but as time has passed, my parents have grown to collaborate on their parenting,” Fabrizius said. “The whole process seemed to last forever just because of all the paper work and lawyers, but I think my family has reached a very healthy point and I can’t imagine it being any other way.” Bell said it’s unfortunate that divorce has become so normal and it is never something that she would want to put her own kids through. “My parents getting divorced has impacted my life incredibly and I would not be the same person had that not happened,” Bell said. “I learned a lot about myself and relationships, and while I respect how well all of my parents get along, I have used this experience to learn that a divorce is something I will avoid at all costs in my lifetime.”

| karleykent

14 | feature / the standard / april 2021

Rockin' with Robotics Drafting III students discuss their robots and what drafting has to offer midst this past year’s struggles and drastic changes, the robotics team has found more ways than one to continue growing their skills whilst working together through a distanced learning environment. After months of changing plans and a very loose set schedule, the robotics team has continued to apply their skills learned in previous years to design and create a functioning and successful robot. Junior robotics member Nate Kaestner took drafting I and II, and is now part of the robotics team while enrolled in drafting III. “[Drafting III] is where you’re applying all of your knowledge from the first two drafting classes to build a robot,” Kaestner said. Because these students have had two previous years of experience within the drafting classes, drafting teacher Cody Parks said there is a surplus of programs they are familiar with to complete the task of building their robots. “There’s a long list they use. There’s an inventor 3D program,” Parks said. “There’s AutoCAD, there’s Revit, which is 3D architecture.” With all of these different programs to choose from for design, students have endless opportunities to bring their visions to life. “There’s all kinds of programs, there’s all kinds of machines in here, overwhelming at times,” Parks said. Junior robotics member Luke Nelson said the roles these programs have in the process of


designing and building each robot. “CAD is computer aided design, so you can draw 3D parts on a computer screen and then you can just send it to the 3D printer,” Nelson said. Once the students and their teams have successfully designed and built their robots, they are then entered into competitions for their robot to compete in. “[FIRST Robotics Competition] comes out with a competition,” Parks said. “That competition tells you exactly what your robot has to do whether it has to lift, grab, drive.” In a normal year, members would have a much more set schedule when it comes to the building and design of the robot, as well as the competitions themselves. “The first semester is all about building and programming and then the second semester is all competing and everything,” Kaestner said. However, due to the nature of this past year, things have been vastly different in the competitive robotics league in their actual competitions. “Last year it was different because you went to the actual competition and got to see the robots in action and they placed,” Parks said. Overall, just like any other class, things would look much different under different circumstances “If it were a normal year we would have had it built and we would be onto a different project now and we would have essentially been through

A completed robot from the 2020-2021 robotics season.

| 15 Sophomore Logan Garber and junior Cullen White adjust wires on their robot.

the entire robotics season,” Nelson said. “It was supposed to start when school started back in August, but because of COVID it didn’t and we got a super late start on it. There were a lot of hiccups because of COVID.” With these changes, the robotics team has continued to grow their strengths and succeed through adversity by helping one another. “My favorite aspect is the team-like collaborative process, because you get lots of social aspects and when you’re collaborating with your team in this class, it’s just really fun,” Kaestner said. The freedom to do what the members want to do with their knowledge over drafting leads to a very laid back atmosphere. However, Nelson said there’s no shortage of work to complete. “I guess you could classify it as an easy A, but it takes a lot to get to that easy A,” Nelson said. Because there are two prerequisite drafting classes before students are allowed to enroll in the Drafting III/Robotics, there is a lot of work and learning put into those previous classes before students can achieve this. “[Drafting I and II are a] lot more computer work, where [robotics] has a lot more hands on,” Nelson said. There are many different reasons as to why students choose to join drafting. “I’ve got a lot of friends in the class, but I also really like the design aspect,” Nelson said. “And

Juniors Emmanuel Aligaz, Trey Duckworth, Zach Wilcox, Cullen White, Luke Nelson, sophomore Logan Garber and junior Bryson Schnitta showcase their robotics work.

you really do learn a lot if it is something you’re legitimately interested in.” Parks said the class requires individual and team responsibility. “It’s more project-based and it’s more student driven. I’m more of a facilitator, and they tell me what they need,” Parks said. “I’ve tried to keep projects moving, and I’m the guy that tries to help them get over the hurdle but most of what they create — ­ what they do — is from their own hands.” With robotics being a very heavy teamwork -based class, it is very important that students are able to work well together as a team. “The type of team is a little bit of everything everybody’s got a little bit to add, and they’re all driving toward one goal,” Parks said. Parks said he has high hopes for the upcoming years for robotics. One of his main goals is to see the program grow into a broader student community. “I’d like to somehow involve more girls,” Parks said. “I think that there are so many opportunities for female engineers.” Parks said drafting III is worth the dedication to the previous classes before it. “You can find a little niche in here and I think that’s what’s pretty cool,” Parks said. | loganbrucker

16 | feature / the standard / april 2021

Unity in the Community Spanish National Honor Society’s fundraisers for the Guadalupe Centers offer reciprocal benefits


he Guadalupe Centers is a non-profit social service agency that offers everything from a charter school for 1,700 students in the pre-k through twelfth grade, to rental and homeless assistance, to a Meals on Wheels program and much more. For the past two years, the Spanish National Honor Society (SNHS) has organized fundraisers and events to support the Guadalupe Centers and raise awareness for their mission. In 2019, a school-wide pickle ball tournament raised $2,000 for the Guadalupe Centers’ youth recreation program, and this school year, the SNHS social media campaign, Goals for Guadalupe, is expected to raise over $2,000 once again. Spanish teacher RJ Palmgren said it was a natural partnership from day one. “We really focused on trying to help out our community, so we started investigating different organizations that do different things to support the Latino community here,” Palmgren said. “And that’s how we stumbled upon the Guadalupe Centers.” Ricky Olivares, the youth director for the Guadalupe Centers, said oftentimes funding is restricted, so having the funds from different sources opens up a wide range of opportunities to help more people. “If [funding is] from the state they want Missouri residents, if it’s from the county, they want Jackson County residents, if it’s from the city, they want city residents,” Olivares said. “Fundraisers like the one that you guys do and donate to us, or

ones that we do ourselves, those are those unrestricted dollars that help us serve these residents outside the state, outside the city limits, outside the county limits, that are in need and want to participate in these programs.” Olivares said the Guadalupe Centers does not turn anyone away based on race, age or residency, and they now serve in all metro neighborhoods, not just Kansas City, Missouri. “If we have a kid that comes from Kansas City, Kansas, and wants to participate, we don’t turn them away strictly because … this is Missouri funding,” Olivares said. “We find that funding through other sources or through our own fundraising that we do throughout the year.” Just like many other organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the way the Guadalupe Centers can operate, especially the youth recreation program. “They’re going to put more of that money toward the afterschool program, and the reason for that is because a lot of parents have had to pick up second jobs and are having to work different hours than normal,” Palmgren said. “A lot of the kids are going to the after-school program more than in previous years, and they think that is due to COVID and the impact it has had on our community.” The Guadalupe Centers’ youth sports leagues are a yearround staple, but Olivares said many of the activities have shrunk or disappeared altogether due to the pandemic. “I was running the Mayor’s Night Kicks program, which

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is a soccer program, and we went from having 12 high school teams [and] 12 middle school teams, with about 18 kids per team, to serving maybe about 40 kids, 50 kids in more of a soccer camp situation.” Olivares said the youth center prides itself on giving children a comfortable environment, especially during afterschool hours, but the pandemic has affected many of the children.

“We’re trying to raise money to put

toward their activities so that we can help them out, but also raise awareness about all of the good they are doing and encourage other people to help.” |seniorlindseyvitha

“We did not have any basketball this year, very limited baseball and so it took a big toll,” Olivares said. “I think our kids, you can tell in the way they are outside when nice days happen; They are running around, throwing the ball, they’re just anxious to do something. Senior Lindsey Vitha, an SNHS officer, said Goals for Guadalupe goes beyond donating money and it’s really about pushing people to give back to the community. “We’re trying to raise money to put toward their activities so that we can help them out, but also raise awareness about

all of the good they are doing and encourage other people to help,” Vitha said. Vitha said it is easy to be complacent and forget about the metro area outside of Johnson County, but Goals for Guadalupe is a chance to learn and experience how other people live, even if they are just 50 minutes away. “We don’t really think about what life is like outside of our little bubble, so I think it’s really important that we are doing this kind of stuff,” Vitha said. “It helps all of the students see different cultures and understand that these kids are just like us, so they need as much help and deserve as much as we have.” Olivares said the Guadalupe Centers is always looking for help, and volunteering can take many different forms. “There’s a limited staff that we have, so a lot of our coaches are volunteer coaches for all of our sports, and also volunteering with the seniors programs, those are [some] possibilities,” Olivares said. Not only has the partnership helped the Guadalupe Centers, but Vitha said the chance to help the community is the most rewarding aspect. “I think it’s very important not only for the sake of helping other people, but also just for personal growth,” Vitha said. “It feels good to help out other people, and I think it makes you grow as a person when you’re giving back to your community and giving back to people who need it. It means a lot to the Guadalupe Centers and the kids there.”

| keithansharp

18 | feauture / the standard / april.2021

Bon Appétit students and staff offer insight on different diets and why they choose to follow them


egan, vegetarian, pescatarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, low-carb, keto. Although diets are primarily associated with fitness and weight loss, people adopt diets based on a variety of factors. On top of health reasons, many adhere to a specific diet because of their personal beliefs or values. Senior Nityanta Saripalli said he has been a vegetarian for his entire life due to religious tradition. Saripalli said he practices Hinduism and is a part of the Brahmin caste. The majority of Brahmins do not eat meat and significantly limit their consumption of animal products. “It wasn’t really a choice per se because I was born into it and I’ve just been vibing with it for forever. Milk is OK, but eggs are something we don’t have,” Saripalli said. “Also any byproducts, such as gummies like Starbursts and gelatin, which come from animal bones, are something else we don’t have.” Saripalli said despite being teased when he was younger, he fully embraces being a vegetarian now and enjoys explaining it to his peers as they’ve

become more understanding with age. “Now, being vegetarian is pretty common, and you can find multiple people who are vegetarians in high school,” Saripalli said. “It is kind of cool because I know five or six myself, and it is fun to talk about it.” However, some diets can pose challenges by restricting certain foods or limiting calorie intake. This could potentially lead to exhaustion or other negative side effects. Senior Kenna Plaster said she experimented with a 3-day juice cleanse a couple of years ago in an attempt to become healthier. “I found a brand when I was on Instagram and it looked like all the juices were really good, so I became curious to try it out,” Plaster said. “I have always heard good things about juice cleanses from people at my Pilates studio, so I decided to give it a shot.” However, Plaster said the process was extremely taxing because she had to control her hunger and abstain from the food she consumed on a daily basis.

“It was really tough to not eat anything besides juices each day, so it was mentally draining,” Plaster said. “I found I wasn’t as energetic as normal, and I don’t think it helped me overall, so I wouldn’t do it again.” Sophomore Vriti Patel said her passion for the planet and involvement in climate activism influenced her to start practicing veganism last year. “Normal diets for meat-eaters just take up a lot of carbon emissions. I’ve realized that you buy a lot of things that are premade and you engage with a lot of fast food more often,” Patel said. “In climate activist groups, veganism is used as an alternative to reduce your carbon footprint because you can’t eat out as much and you have to look for replacements. Plus you don’t contribute to your carbon footprint through the emissions produced due to the transportation of meat and dairy products or their creation itself.” Patel said becoming vegan has caused her to emphasize balance and pay close attention to make sure she is eating nutritious meals to sustain her body.

| 19

“I think I have to be more conscious because it is very possible to be malnourished when being vegan if you don’t eat the right things or eat at the right time,” Patel said. “I have to watch out for my nutrients and make sure I’m getting everything I need to be a healthy human.” Similarly, band teacher Laura Bock said she was motivated to become a vegetarian because of her desire to practice a sustainable lifestyle and preserve her individual impact on the ecosystem. “My little sister ended up going into environmental studies, so I had some folks in my periphery who had become vegetarian," Bock said. "It seemed like a pretty noble thing to do, so I decided to give it a try myself.” Bock said she became a vegetarian when she was 19 years old and through college, became further aware of the meat industry’s repercussions on the environment. “I was starting to see how much energy it took to raise, feed, slaughter

and transport a cow for example and the amount of waste and methane gas that entire process produces. I also remember seeing statistics on how much water it takes to grow a cow to its full size to be slaughtered,” Bock said. “So I decided if I can reduce or eliminate my meat consumption, that’s going to ease up the burden on the environment.” Bock said she appreciates the health benefits of avoiding red meat and the advantages of having a nourishing, plantbased diet. “I haven’t had any major health problems since becoming vegetarian other than having a bit of anemia, so I learned I had to take some iron supplements and watch that,” Bock said. “Mentally, I definitely feel good about making the choice to become a vegetarian and hopefully doing things that will help out the earth.” | rebeccasuku

20 | feature / the standard / april 2021

The Power of the Mind

Manifestation, the act of willing a desire into reality, is growing in popular culture

10 things to know about manifestation: 1: Thoughts become things. 2: Everything is energy. 3: You are always manifesting. 4: You can’t manifest for someone else. 5: Clarity is key. 6: The universe always responds. 7: Apparent failure is part of the process. 8: You are worthy to receive. 9: Divine timing governs the outcome. 10: Uncertainty is your greatest spiritual leader. information from sarahprout.com

Creating a loop of GRATITUDE According to powerofted.com, there are three steps in order to create a relationship of gratitude with the universe. The first step is to have a mindset of expecting the good. Essentially, this means that if you believe that good things will come, they will. In order to have a gratitude loop, you must also be willing to receive the good. Many people often self sabotage themselves by pushing good things or opportunities away unintentionally. You must recognize what is beneficial to you and believe that you deserve to have those things. The last step is to simply shift your mindset to be more appreciative. If you have a grateful outlook, your heart and mind are more open to accept things from the universe.



“I think that when you think about something all the time, or you are constantly writing it down, you are going to subconsciously make decisions that will move you toward that goal.” | seniorcarolinehoggatt


| 21

369 Method The 369 method is an extremely popular form of manifestation that involves the physical writing out of goals and hopes. It is very appealing to many because of its simplicity. This method involves choosing a goal or something that you want to manifest. You then write this out three times in the morning, six times in the afternoon, and nine times at night.

Vision Board Intention Journal Gratitude Journal Bedtime Reprogramming Letter From Your Future Self Manifestation Affirmations Prayer Practice Positive Networks Act the Part Higher Self Visualization information from thriveglobal.com

The Law of Attraction The law of attraction is a concept that suggests that thinking positive thoughts will attract good occurrences and energy, while negative thoughts will have an adverse effect. This ties into the theory of manifestation because the philosophy is centered around people having more control over their own lives than they think. It is believed that there cannot be an empty space in one’s mind, so it is important to fill that space with positive affirmations. The philosophy is also centered around energies and how similar energies are attracted to one another. There are many ways to incorporate this method into your lifestyle. By having a mindset of growth, you can drastically improve your mental health. information from verywellmind.com

| elliephillips

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coffee tour A review of various coffee shops in the Overland Park area

McLain’s Market 10695 Roe Ave.

4.5/5 coffee



3.5/5 comfort & noise



I could easily recognize the sweetness from the caramel in the latte paired with the perfectly proportioned coffee. It was not watered or milked down and the pastry offered a light and fruity flavor. The space was dimly lit in the mid-section but had natural light coming through from the front as well as a patio in the back. Music is a little louder, making it an impractical study spot, but the large variety of seating options and wood accents with plant decor make McLain’s a cute meeting spot for friends.

iced caramel latte with a blueberry danish

Revocup 11822 W 135th St.

3/5 coffee

3.5/5 bakery


comfort & noise

3.5/5 aesthetic

The dulce de leche flavoring was almost overpowering in the latte, but I’ve had the fresh brewed coffee before, and it tasted very rich and smooth. The loaf didn’t taste very fresh, but the fruit helped balance the sweetness of the coffee. The space was very dark with very little natural light coming from the front and dark furniture all around. Noise was very low, but seating options weren’t the comfiest. With the wall across from the barista work area being covered in art from local artists, the space was very intriguing.

Other places in Overland Park worth a try: Jinkies Coffee and Hangout, The Roasterie, Pilgrim Coffee Co., Brew Haha Coffeehouse, Mudpie Vegan Bakery & Coffee.

iced dulce de leche with a mini raspberry loaf

24 | feature / the standard / april 2021

Summer Moon 9127 Metcalf Ave.

3.5/5 coffee




comfort & noise

4.5/5 aesthetic

Definitely a very milky coffee, so not the best option for people looking for a caffeine jolt. The moonmilk (special sweetened milk exclusive to the Summer Moon brand) and coffee ratio is very disproportionate, but their menu can accommodate for that by offering different options with different coffee to milk ratios. The snicker doodle cookie was delicious and the notes of cinnamon added brilliantly to the coffee. The area was crowded and had relatively loud music playing so not the best for studying. The aesthetic overall was very clean and bright with white walls and an accent brick wall.

winter moon iced latte with a snickerdoodle cookie

Cafe Equinox

8424 Farley St.

4/5 coffee

2.5/5 bakery

4.5/5 comfort & noise



A very well proportioned coffee with a slight, but noticeable caramel flavor pairs well with the homemade Pop-tart. In addition to the Pop-tart, there is a chive bread making the bakery selection very small and restrictive. With various different seating options available in the greenhouse, in warmer weather it is the perfect place to study. The aesthetic is very pleasing with all of the greenery and the fascinating koi fish pond.

iced caramel latte

Parisi 7261 W 80th St.

4.5/5 coffee iced caramel latte



4.5/5 comfort & noise



The coffee is superb and very smooth in texture. The Parisi brand has perfected the art of rich and luscious coffee. The bakery items taste very fresh and match with the Parisian aesthetic. With very comfortable seating options and a lot of natural light, the space is perfect for studying when not too crowded. The aesthetic is extremely appealing with the teal chairs accenting the marble tables and gold lining found throughout. | saharbaha

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BVSW The Standard - Volume 11 - Issue 4 - April 2021  

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