THE STANDARD the standard blue valley southwest | volume 10 | issue 4
MOre variety, Better society
A lack of diversity can impair oneâ€™s level of cultural awareness Pages 15-17
2 | contents / the standard / feb. 2020
contents feature 12 | Going Clubbing 22 | Coming to America 24 | Streaming Services 26 | TikTok on the Clock 29 | Be My Valentine?
sports 7 | Hidden Helpers 18 | Making History
opinion 15 | More Variety, Better Society
news 5 | Basics of the Bond 9 | Imagine Southwest 20 | Sips and Smiles 31 | Celebrating each day
volume 10 / issue 4 www.bvswnews.com
on the cover
Graphics of people representing our schoolâ€™s diversity. People should become more culturally aware of their surroundings. pages 15-17
graphics by siri chevuru
4 | editor’s note / the standard / feb. 2020
editor’s note T
he start of the new semester indicates that I am closer to finishing my junior year. I will admit, it has been as monstrous and challenging — if not more — than I expected. I find myself in AP and Honors classes for eight hours of my day, but my mind constantly drifts to design inspiration, story ideas and interviews that I get to do. Newspaper has become my creative outlet from all the stress that comes with being a junior. Through all the stress, I still have time to ponder over my perspective regarding issues in society. Newspaper has not only given me a break from my stressful schedule, but it has also given me the opportunity to voice my opinion. To share my beliefs regarding topics to a larger audience than the thoughts in my head. In this issue, you will see that everyone voices their values and opinions regardless of the audience’s perspective. Whether that be taking a stance on the lack of diversity at our school and how that affects students’ level of cultural awareness, or giving mention to the students who traveled hundreds of miles to be here. Maybe you take interest in learning about how valuable our sports managers are in high school sporting teams, or you want to hear the story of our wrestling teams first-ever girl wrestler. Or, maybe you are interested in sharing weird holidays that you believe in and are passionate about. Everyone has a story to tell and everyone has their own opinion that should be shared. There is no wrong or bad opinion because your opinion is part of your identity. The Standard has given me the chance to express my voice regardless of who is or isn’t reading. I hope you enjoy reading all the stories we have prepared for you in this issue.
the standard editor-in-chief isha patel online editor karley kent design editor siri chevuru social media manager sahar baha staff writers luke hottovy sydney wilson rebecca suku maddie sack keithan sharp jamie malmkar ellie phillips staff photographer josiah davis adviser rachel chushuk
| social media manager
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: email@example.com
news / the standard / feb. 2020 | 5
basics of the bond District passes 2020 bond initiative
esidents within the Blue Valley boundaries received a mail ballot to vote on the 2020 bond, a proposal to better the district. Deputy superintendent Mike Slagle has dealt with the bond since square one. “Over the past two years, I’ve worked a process with our Board of Education and our community to come up with a set of bond projects that are necessary for the future of our kids and staff here in the Blue Valley School District,” Slagle said. A bond is an elected issue in which a school district can ask the residents within it for money. Districts can then use this money for projects they have previously spelled out for the patrons. Deputy superintendent and incoming superintendent Tonya Merrigan said the bond is similar to a line of credit. “It’s a line of credit very similar to when you’re doing improvements to your home, and you have to go to a bank and say that you need money to make improvements, then you draw it down as you need it,” Merrigan said. Social studies teacher Mike Hardin said the bond can be explained as a program in which schools are able to ask the public for money. However, in this case, this election will be a no tax rate increase election. This means that the amount of money paid in taxes will not increase to
To all Blue Valley Recipients
support this bond. “When you think of a school bonding initiative, what a school district is usually doing is asking for either an increase or a renewal of a current property tax rate on property in order to fund new improvements or ongoing operations,” Hardin said. The bond has three phases: reimagine, reinvest and reinforce. With these three phases, the district will be able to keep up with the constant upkeep necessary to better the district as a whole. The first phase is reimagine. “Education has changed a lot in 30 years, and yet our buildings look exactly the same,” Merrigan said. “So we need to think about how do we reimagine the spaces that we have.” The basis of the reimagine piece is utilizing the spaces the district already has. While reinvesting might seem similar to reimagining, there is a profound difference. “We have 37 facilities across the district,” Slagle said “They range in age, but really, we have some of our district buildings in the northern part of the district that are approaching 30 years old, 35 years old. So those need constant update, upkeep, constant reinvestment to make sure that they are up to date for our kids.” The third and final phase of this bond is reinforce.
6 | news / the standard / feb. 2020
This step involves upgrading the safety of the district’s schools and facilities. “The third area we had was reinforcement, which is a strong safety message,” Merrigan said “We know that, again, things have changed in 30 years and we want to ensure that our schools are safe. So you will see some safety measures that we have in there. One big one is that we would have uniform locks in all of our schools so that teachers can quickly lock a classroom from inside if we ever needed.” School board member and Southwest parent Jodie Dietz said she thinks the new locks will be a great addition. “I was looking over the list of the things that ... are on the project list,” Dietz said. “I’m always looking at safety issues. One of the things I think that really needs to happen is that all of our classroom doors, the locking mechanism needs to be modified or enhanced in some cases.” These locks will be an addition to every school ensuring that all doors will be able to be locked from the inside without a key. This is one of the many upgrades the school will receive as a result of this bond. Hardin said one of the bonuses of this bond is the addition of a new elementary school. “For Southwest, I would say for sure, it’s going to be that the community is going to continue to grow and not become overcrowded,” Hardin said. “We’re building a new elementary school with this bond money. That elementary school’s not going into Northwest, the elementary school’s not feeding into North, those are full areas. It’s feeding into here. And anytime that you’re able to build a new school, you’re able to keep class sizes low.” Overall, this is a change for the entire district. The last step of this process was to count the votes and view the results. The bond was approved on Jan. 28. Slagle said the passed improvements will begin shortly. According to the district website, “Blue Valley voters have endorsed the bond election 73.8 percent to 26.2 percent. The $186,835,000 bond will reinvest in facilities and technology, reinforce school safety and reimagine learning environments and programs that will benefit students and staff for years to come.”
news / the standard / feb. 2020 | 7
managers talk about their jobs asstisting sports teams
ports teams make up a large part of a school’s identity. Banners hang in the gym recognizing athletes’ achievements and ice cream is passed out after each state victory. However, some people who spend hours helping the team are sometimes left out of the spotlight. Senior Ashley Schuler has been a girls varsity volleyball manager for three years and a boys swim manager for two. “Volleyball I [managed] because all my friends were volleyball players and I stopped playing volleyball because I’m a swimmer,” Schuler said. “I wanted to still be able to hang out with them and stuff and they could never hang out because they were at volleyball. So I started managing volleyball so I could see them more.” From filling up water bottles to keep track of data, a manager always gets the job done. They make sure the team has everything it needs to be at peak performance. This is senior Alyssa Krahenbuhl’s first year managing the wrestling team. “I thought it’d be different...and something nice to do,” Krahenbuhl said. “Also, I know some other guys on the team.” Krahenbuhl said she has a lot to do, and she doesn’t have a lot of help to do it as well.
Wrestling manager Alyssa Krahenbuhl rewatches the videos from a previous compeition to make sure the stats are correct. “I video all the guys in their matches, and I make sure that they have everything that they need,” Krahenbuhl said. “I make sure all the scores are right and all the videoing is done and I [also] fix everything up.” Schuler said she records many things for both boys swim and girls volleyball. “For volleyball, I take stats on the iPad every game, so every time someone touches a ball, I have to record it,” Schuler said. “For swim, I record all the swimmers times and I do their splits. So when they’re swimming a 200 I record every 50 [meters] so that they know if they’re staying consistent.” Since they also must attend practices the managers often have to mold their schedule to ensure that they can be there for the team whenever they are needed. Krahenbuhl said she’s “spread thin” because of her many activities she is dedicated to along with managing the wrestling team. “I have to keep myself organized especially when wrestling because there will always be a tournament this day and a tournament that day,” Krahenbuhl said. “You just never know when you’re needed.” Through having to adapt and do new things as a manager, Schuler said her communication skills have become more professional because she works with the athletic office a lot. “I’m one of those people that like to have things to do. I think that’s one of the reasons I manage. But like... [I’m] more busy for sure,” Schuler said. “But I’m able to work around it and during volleyball, I would go to work out at the beginning of practice.” This is junior Kayla Schnettgoecke’s first year managing the girls basketball team. She said learning how to manage her time is what she has gotten out of this experience so far. At the start of practice, she runs laps around the school.
“My time management [has] really gotten better just because I’ve spent the whole night doing homework and, that’s not how it’s supposed to be,” Schnettgoecke said. Cranfield said that focusing is the key ability she gained. “[I’ve been] able to handle a lot of things last minute situations that are thrown my way, and just multitasking in general,” Cranfield said. Schuler said managers are still able to have fun with the team, even though they’re not physically competing. “Honestly, [my favorite part is] all the van rides; they’re all ridiculous,” Schuler said. I love the team. They’re funny and the coaches are funny.” Schnettgoecke said she gets into the game and gets excited
when the team does something well. “I mean, for me, [the best part is when I’ve jumped off the bench,” Schnettgoecke said. “When we score like, I don’t know, it just gets me really excited.” Even though the managers are usually hidden and not acknowledged by many students, they are still seen as part of the team. “I get included in like all the team dinners and stuff and snacks [and]tournaments and stuff. So I get all the free food,” Schuler said. “But then, like I said before, I love the people. They’re fun to be around. So that’s probably the main reason I stayed, too.”
Senior Ashley Schuler calculates boys swim times on her clipboard after a swim meet.
feature / the standard / feb. 2020 | 9
TikTok on the clocK students discuss the newest popular social media platform
10 | feature / the standard / feb. 2020
n the midst of a generation that has an obsession with social media, it is very hard to capture the attention of any teenager. However, one application — TikTok — has accumulated a massive following and user number based on its unique sense of humor and ability to make anybody “famous.” The “For You” page is a feature of the app that allows people to be recognized for using certain hashtags or popular sounds. It’s not necessarily where users go to see someone they personally know on the app, but rather a way to explore the current trends and entertain themselves. If a video makes it on to the “For You” page it typically gets a lot of likes and views and can potentially launch a user into TikTok fame. The school has a number of students who, like many others, have received an impressive amount of likes or followers on TikTok. Senior John Harrick’s TikTok took off when he began to film the morning announcements every day. “I remember at the beginning of the year when I thought TikTok was so stupid,” Harrick said. “Flash forward to now and I’ve been posting the announcements every day all year long, and my very first video has nearly a million views.” TikTok’s platform gives practically any average person the opportunity to go viral because of an original idea. The jokes on the app can sometimes be seen as crude, but many, including senior Chloe Fuleihan, believe this is all a part of what makes the app so uniquely
humorous. “My favorite part about TikTok is the creativity and variety of jokes and talent that you find,” Fuleihan said. “[The app] was great when it was just random people making jokes, but now it’s cool to see people using it to show their talents like makeup, singing and art.” TikTok dances and songs have also become a massive trademark on all platforms of social media. One of the app’s most successful users, Charli D’Amelio, has created a large following for herself through choreographing quick, catchy routines that are easy for other users on the app to learn. This is especially popular amongst teens because they allow something trendy to do with friends or even just for fun. Freshman Lee Smith said TikTok is one of her favorite ways to entertain herself, but scrolling on her “For You” page can only interest her for so long. “I’ve [spent] so much time on the app now that not too much really tends to catch my eye,” Smith said. “It’s super popular now because there’s a ‘For You’ page, which used to not even be a thing. Now you can get on it for doing something as simple as eating chocolate … people just blow up for no reason.” What users share on the app does not necessarily have to be super creative or funny, but more just able to relate to a specific profile of people. Junior Jaylie Hicklin gained TikTok popularity, once again, from posting the school announcements, but she also shares videos of her
“I think the videos are very entertaining to watch and you see a bunch of people on the app that are like you,” Hicklin said. “They are super relatable and so addicting, and I always find good songs on there, too. It’s like the newest form of news and communication for our generation.” The videos are also very easy to share or repost on other social media, which spreads its success even more. Each user is different and promotes their content to a different group of people, which makes everyone feel included and relevant. However, many believe that some of the jokes are taken too far. “Probably some of the most annoying things about TikTok are the clout chasers and people getting upset over things that are just meant to be funny,” Smith said. “I guess in some light, the jokes are offensive, but everyone is entitled to their own opinions about it, and I think it should just stay light-hearted.” There was a time before TikTok when the app went by a completely different name and brand trademark. Music.ly was essentially the same exact app, but with less of a focus on obtaining attention from others via the “For You” page. It seems now with TikTok that anybody can share a second in the spotlight. “People recognize me in some random places and it’s super weird,” Hicklin said. “Once at a soccer tournament in
Michigan, some girl just came up to me and asked if I was TikTok famous, and it was really funny. It’s crazy how much attention we’ve gotten for just reading the announcements.” Harrick also said he is often noticed in public for his videos and it makes him feel like a “mini celebrity.” TikTok, unlike many other social media apps, doesn’t favor anyone in particular. Each school and each city has its own versions of TikTok stars. Fuleihan said that this is something she is thankful for having in her life, and it makes her laugh on a daily basis. “In my opinion, TikTok definitely deserves the hype,” Fuleihan said. “It’s just as important to pop culture as any other social media platform is, and the variety of content is what makes it so special and funny to people my age.”
12 | news / the standard / feb. 2020
Going Clubbing students weigh in on new clubs and their various functions and meetings
ricket Club is a fairly new club that was first assembled in October. Junior Nityanta Saripalli is a founding member of the club and said he has been a fan of the sport since his childhood. “My parents just showed me what cricket was when I went to India,” Saripalli said. “I was maybe [in] fifth grade, I think. So I bought myself a cricket bat and a ball. They told me all the rules, and how the game works and that’s just how I learned.” Although Cricket Club was created in the fall, the prime season to play is in the late winter and spring, so right now the members are working on practicing and logistics for the upcoming season. “We meet about twice a month for now,” Saripalli said. “But then as our games start getting scheduled, [we will meet] maybe like once a week.” Although cricket isn’t a school-recognized sport, the club is not intramural in nature either. “As of right now, we’re just planning on working with other clubs and the other districts and other schools,” Saripalli said. “And we’re just going to do little matchups with them and just have fun and play games with them.” Even though the club isn’t a school-
sponsored sport, members still plan to utilize district property, for which they have to obtain permission and coordinate with other activities. “We’re still working our schedule out because we have to talk to the district people to get permission to use fields,” Saripalli said. “We’re still working on the entire schedule.” Although the club hasn’t gotten full clearance to use district fields that hasn’t stopped them from hosting their own practices and dedicating time to the club and sport. “We have two hour practices when we do practice,” Saripalli said. “And every now and then I just like whip out a cricket bat and just practice a bit.” Saripalli said that although he is content with the club, it is difficult to find new members. “The hardest part is just convincing people that cricket is an actual sport and it’s actually a fun sport,” Saripalli said. “A lot of people who we ask to join Cricket [Club] were like, ‘There’s no point for me to do it because it’s not a sport I’ll be using in college’ or ‘It’s not like a necessary sport for me to grow as a person,’ but the thing about Cricket Club is that you can connect with people that you wouldn’t normally connect with. It’s just a fun time to hang around and just play the sport.”
endama Club was created just at the tail end of last semester by senior Andrew Jin and Spanish teacher RJ Palmgren. Senior Faith Henzlik has been a part of the club since its inception and said she was drawn to it in part by her own curiosity and the sponsor. “I’m in AP Spanish with Palmgren who is the sponsor of the club,” Henzlik said. “He was having posters all over his classroom for it and I just saw it and I love Palmgren, so I was like, might as well try it out, so I went to the first meeting and loved it.” A Kendama is a Japanese skill toy which consists of a ball tethered to a rope that when maneuvered correctly will connect the ball to the very top of thehandle. It is starting to gain recognition throughout the world with more annual competitions. Henzlik said Kendama Club has been meeting about once every two or three weeks during one half of Timber Time.
“It’s pretty new, so we just kind of go in there and there’s a bunch of fun people that are in it,” Henzlik said. “We just mess around with it for the most part.” Although Henzlik and the others may be more casual with Kendama, Jin has shown real proficiency at it. “[Jin’s] the one who came up with the idea, and then got Palmgren to sponsor it, but he is super talented at it,” Henzlik said. “And one day, he actually set the world record for it. It hasn’t been approved yet, but he sent it in to be approved.” Getting members to come during Timber Time is a hurdle for all clubs, and Henzlik said it has been a challenge for Kendama Club, too. “I would say getting more members and, I think there’s a lot of people who in the beginning said they’re a part of the club, but don’t necessarily show up to every meeting,” Henzlik said. “I’d say that’s the biggest obstacle.”
Political discussion club
t the conclusion of the 2018-2019 school year, the Political Discussion Club was being brainstormed and was eventually formed in August. Corralling a lot of the ideas for the club was senior board member Reed Krewson with president senior Jessa Boutte. “I am a board member, so I’ll help to run a meeting I’ll help to, you know, find a topic and then discuss the topic,” Krewson said. The club was additionally long thought out before its original start this year. “I kind of helped the president get it up and running, kind of get the ideas and everything together last year,” Krewson said. “But then this year was the first that we started having meetings.” The Political Discussion Club meets every Wednesday during Timber Time and focuses on decisions made in the country as well as the world to showcase civic argument and information. “The good thing about the political discussion club is that it’s something new every time and it’s kind of on the whim of what’s current,” Krewson said. “So it’s kind of hard to, you know, foresee what a big topic is going to be.”
Krewson also said that is exactly what he and others find their allure in the club to be: the influx of information regarding the common citizen and their opinions on a political platform. “I think political literacy is really important, and I think encouraging that among my fellow peers is very important,” Krewson said. “And because if you’re more up to date on what’s happening, and you’re more informed, you’re more likely to vote and be a part of the political process in our country, which I think is very important.” Despite a core group of members, Krewson said Political Discussion Club doesn’t see a larger new member turnout week in and week out. “The lack maybe of people willing to express their opinions or another thing is just there’s so much stuff going on. It’s hard to devote, you know, your half of Timber Time to talk about politics when you need to go talk to teachers and whatnot,” Krewson said. “But we’re always there if anybody ever wants to join us, or anything else.”
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opinion / the standard / feb. 2020 | 15
MORE VARIETY, BETTER SOCIETY a lack of diveristy can impair oneâ€™s level of cultural awareness
t is no secret that the school district and Johnson County as a whole are not very densely populated in terms of minority groups. Our school in particular, with 84% of the students being white, does affect our community’s level of cultural awareness. To some, it doesn’t pose as an evident problem, but for others, it brings up the concern of our students experiencing a culture shock when they leave the Johnson County bubble due to the lack of diversity. Cultural awareness is defined by someone’s ability to recognize the different ethnicities, races, religions and cultures that surround them. Being able to distinguish these differences within a population and reacting appropriately to those differences formulates a good sense of cultural awareness. Most individuals jump to the idea that diversity is only defined by race and ethnicity, whereas in reality, it covers a much wider spectrum. Diversity can also be viewed through the unique perspective of socioeconomic status. In our community, most students have a similar socioeconomic status, which presents itself as another area in which we lack diversity. Junior Lexi Lindman is new to the district and said she experienced a sort of shock when exposed to our very uniform community, with most students having similar, if not the same, socioeconomic status. “All the houses look the same, everyone wears the same thing,” Lindman said. “It was like this mold that you have to fit.” In our cookie-cutter community, students often feel the need to reform to certain social expectations in order to blend in. This makes expressing diversity a challenge and almost impossible due to the immense amount of peer pressure that exists in high school. Although most students share the same socioeconomic status, there are a few who do not fit into this figurative mold, which often times can create a divide between classes. Sociology teacher Jason Pendleton said only a few of our students are of a lower socioeconomic status and that impacts a community’s awareness of these kinds of issues. “Statistics show we have 95% of our students are doing pretty well economically,” Pendleton said. “And only 5% of our student body is on what’s known as free and reduced lunch.” Pendleton said this large imbalance in status is a good thing, but also prevents students from being aware and empathetic of other people’s lives and experiences. For some students, like freshman Jyoshika Padmanaban, a lack of diversity does create a negative
environment for the people of a minority. “I was kind of sad at first because I knew that other schools had Bollywood dance teams,” Padmanaban said. “I kind of wanted that.” The lack of diversity not only singles out minority groups, but can also make some students feel uncomfortable embracing their diverse backgrounds. Pendleton said his concern is not only for the community as a whole, but for his own children as they grow up in a community where minority groups’ cultures aren’t always celebrated. “I have a freshman here, and I want him to be able to feel comfortable socially interacting with a lot of people,” Pendleton said. “The only way to become comfortable and familiar with people is to have social experiences with them on a regular basis.” Being able to have those interactions is difficult for students, especially when they’re only exposed to such a small percentage of minority groups. In our community, where minority groups represent less than a third of the population, people’s ability to explore and interact with other cultures is made difficult. For most students who have grown up in the same community, there isn’t a notable reaction to the lack of diversity. For some, a lack of diversity is viewed as an opportunity to express individuality in a cultural aspect. The concern of not being culturally aware is still present, but for some students, like senior Chloe Shi, there wasn’t a negative reaction to the lack of diversity. Rather, a more positive reaction to being a part of a unique minority group. “I didn’t really have a reaction just because I’ve always sort of gone to schools this way,” Shi said. “I appreciate it because it helps me see how I’m different from everyone else.” Whether the reaction is positive or negative, the issue regarding a lack of cultural awareness within our community and its effect on people still arises. For minority groups, having their culture represented poorly in numbers, and not having their customs and ways of life celebrated is not only socially uncomforting, but also a negative influence on one’s self-esteem and confidence. In a community where cultural awareness isn’t a valued aspect of living, certain false beliefs are formed around less celebrated cultures. “[People] might talk bad about other cultures not knowing what they do,” Padmanaban said. These stigmas are impactful on a community’s functionality and ability to accept one another despite the differences. Breaking the boundaries surrounded by
I think people need to get out of the 15 minute radius that we live our lives in, and experience other people’s cultures
these false beliefs is vital in being able to communicate with people of different cultures. Judgment and a lack of understanding creates stereotypes that become the perceived view of certain cultures. Sophomore Hamdan Tariq said a lack of cultural awareness is directly tied to the formation of these stigmas and stereotypes. “[Some students] have stereotypes or bias that have never been rebutted,” Tariq said. “They’ve never had a oneon-one discussion or interaction with another group or demographic.” The effect of these stereotypes is more impactful than most people perceive it to be. Stereotypes start as an opinion that can often times come from the media. It then it becomes this commonly recognized idea that everyone assumes of a culture. When exposed to a variety of cultures, people are able to develop how to communicate with those individuals appropriately. In a community like ours, where there is no specific emphasis on that, it is difficult to lessen the culture shock that students may experience when they graduate. Ideally, the hope is that everyone is able to leave this school and continue a life somewhere else, and the chance of those that place having a higher population of minority groups is probable. “It’s probably good to help grow,” Shi said. “It shows that people are moving on from just the Johnson County bubble.” With a new environment comes the challenge of overcoming the culture shock that a lot of students will inevitably experience. The reaction can take a positive route in which the exposure is beneficial and comfortable, or it can take a negative route in which the reaction is confused and unaware of how to communicate with other groups. The chart below displays the different ethnicities represented at our school.
White African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic, Multi-ethnic
ALASKA NATIVE & AMERICAN INDIAN
Data from the building count document for 2019-2020. Total school population is 1,107.
“It might be negative if they’ve been taught to not be accepting,” Tariq said. “It might be better for them if they’re taught to be open to new ideas.” In the end, it comes down to how much of an effort the student makes to become comfortable with interacting with different groups. When there is no strive to make those communications, students are essentially rejecting the opportunity to become culturally aware. Our community may lack cultural diversity, but it is making an effort to spread awareness. Through participation in the annual Diversity Assembly, Culture Festival and classes like sociology, there are things that can help create a more culturally-aware community. Leaving the Johnson County bubble and making the effort to interact with different cultures will ultimately create the most effective form of awareness. “I think people need to get out of the 15-minute radius that we live our lives in,” Lindman said. “And experience other people’s cultures.” An effort needs to be made and change needs to happen. People can start by celebrating culture in our in school activities and clubs like the Muslim Student Association and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Once they build a general understanding of the cultures that exist around them, it is critical that those skills are taken outside of the bubble. Whether that means driving out and communicating with culturally different individuals or visiting a local Masjid, Church or Temple. In order to lessen the culture shock and create a more interactive community, all cultures need to be acknowledged. Cultural awareness is based on the ability to communicate with others despite socioeconomic or racial differences. At the end of the day, we are all human and we may not share the same beliefs or have similar lifestyles, but that should not matter. “You’re going to have to purposefully put yourself in situations to interact with people who are economically, culturally, racially [and] ethnically different than yourselves,” Pendleton said. “Get to know them as individuals so that you can have a better perception and evaluate people based upon how they interact with you as opposed to your preconceived ideas about them.”
18 | sports/ the standard / feb. 2020
Making History wrestling team welcomes first female wrestler
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Sophomore Hannah Glynn wraps her arms around her opponent trying to tackle her to the ground
inning her opponent to the ground, sophomore Hannah Glynn waits for the referee’s whistle to blow making her the winner of the match. Glynn said she began her wrestling career back in seventh grade when she joined the middle school wrestling program at Aubry Bend. However, when high school rolled around she was unable to wrestle due to the program being all male. Head wrestling coach Cody Parks said he kept Glynn in the loop about the process of creating a girls program. Last year, the district approved a girls wrestling program to be implemented throughout the district. Glynn said she jumped at the opportunity. “I needed a break from competing in CrossFit,” Glynn said. “And this was the first year that they were doing girls wrestling. Everything just kind of lined up with the break I was taking from competing and [the] new program.” Glynn said her parents were at first hesitant of her wrestling because it was all boys and did not want her to get hurt. But, after the girls program was introduced, they were supportive of her decision. Glynn said she enjoys the practices after school and said the team was very welcoming, making her feel like a part of the team.
“It’s like anything, you look around and don’t see, you know, faces like yours,” Parks said. “It’s always tough … she doesn’t see a ton of girls around [and] that is a tough situation, but I think it’s more of... the guys work and she works to have those relationships. And so I see more of her relationships like individually with the people that are helping her.” Glynn said she was at first nervous to join the team and didn’t know what it would be like. She said she often talks to the team’s female managers and is more close with them. “[The boys are] of course stronger and it’s I guess a little awkward because they don’t know what they can and can’t do,” Glynn said. “And they don’t know whether to go easy on me or go hard on me.” One of Glynn’s teammates sophomore Andrew Farrell said having Glynn on the team has not reallychanged the dynamic. “I don’t work with her but, I have other friends on the team that do and, she’s just really strong and she can basically hang with all the guys and match their competitiveness and all that stuff.”
Sophomore Hannah Glynn pins her opponenet to the ground Glynn said she competes in the weight class of 123 and began her season with a 12-1 record. “I just go out there and try my best until I hear a whistle,” Glynn said. “I have pinned most of my matches [and] I have made about 90% of them cry.” Parks said the coaches knew of Glynn’s athletic abilities from her past athletic activities and said they further discovered her high work ethic and attention to detail this year. “She understands the sport, so when you understand the sport, she’s just another athlete that we have in the room working hard doing the right thing,” Parks said. “Nobody treats her any different. The guys know her, they practice — whether they train, whether they help her — that’s just what we do in our program to anybody.” Glynn said her recent loss was one she learned from and moved past to keep trying harder. “She’s only lost one match and she’s lost to what they consider the best,” Parks said. “And it was a very close match until the end. And some of those things [she did], we’re going to remedy those things.” Parks said he thinks Glynn is the team’s shot at having a girls state champion based off of the skills progress she has demonstrated already. Farrell agreed. “She’s been doing really well,” Farrell said. “For [her] first year wrestling, [she’s] taking it really seriously...I think it is insane to watch.” Going into the season, Glynn said she just wanted to have fun and try a new sport unaware of her success.
“It’s... [normal] having maybe one meet per weekend,” Glynn said. “I think state is in... late February, so as long as I can keep winning and try my hardest, I’ll try for state.” Parks said other than her competing in a different uniform and wrestling girls he said she is still a Southwest wrestler. “She’s the perfect first person,” Parks said. “If you’re going to start a sport and you had to pick somebody to go through it and it goes through like this, I don’t think there’s anybody else that could do it. I think she’s the only one that could probably [be] tough enough to do it.”
| ishapatel photo courtesy of Janos Glynn
20 | news/ the standard / feb. 2020
Sips and Smiles A look into Southwest Sips: a student-run business
preading smiles and delivering drinks, Southwest Sips is a business managed by the students in the connections class. Connections class teacher Jackie Malec started the program three years ago. Malec said she got the idea from another teacher at Blue Valley North High School and decided that it would be the perfect project for her class to take on. “I really liked the idea and I was looking for a small business for our kids to run and I wanted it to be easy, something the staff would be interested in,” Malec said. Malec said she and the students take orders from the staff at school, pick up the drinks at Sonic, interact with the employees there and then come back to distribute and collect the money for the drinks, which are $2 each. “It’s a great practice skill for our kids, especially with teachers that they don’t know, so they’re being asked to approach someone that they are not familiar with, and have a basic conversation,” Malec said. Southwest Sips is also an enjoyable experience for the students involved and offers a break from the classroom. Junior Monica Hura said she is very fond of the program and finds it a great way to communicate with those around her. “I like to deliver the drinks to teachers and just hang out with friends,” Hura said. Another purpose of the business is to educate students on management skills and practice handling finances. They count out any change necessary, discuss any information regarding the business and total up their profit after they complete the drink distribution. Freshman Paras Virk said the process of collecting the money and doing the calculations involved with it, interests him the most. “I have learned a lot about how to deal with money and how to count it,” Virk said. The business has made rounds around the school, and many teachers eagerly wait for the day their drinks arrive
Junior Gabi Ricci delivers a Sonic drink to athletic administrative assistant Diane Murdock. with a friendly messenger. The group delivers the first and third Wednesday of every month. Science teacher Katie Lesando is one of Southwest Sips’ most frequent customers. She said she loves the program because of its inclusion of special education students. “I also just really, really enjoy a cherry limeade in the middle of my Wednesday, ” Lesando said. “It’s the peak of my day.” The remaining profit goes toward the connections class and the special education budget. The group spends the money on pizza parties or more Sonic drinks. Malec said their business was popular when she began the program and that it has only expanded since then. “Numbers-wise, as the building grows, the number of orders grows, which of course causes more profit,” Malec said. “The kids have done a really good job of getting the word out. They hang posters in the teachers’ lounges and staff restrooms so the teachers are aware.”
While doing delivery rounds for Southwest Sips, senior Jackson Deves gives frequent customer, science teacher Katie Lesando, her drink. The business has also fostered friendships between the students and created a memorable way for them to get to know one another better. Freshman Avery Ferguson is a peer tutor that works with the connections students and helps out with Southwest Sips. She said she is benefitting from the program because she gets to fulfill her passion for helping others, assist the students and meet new people. “The program is really fun because I have the chance to meet a lot of new teachers and make stronger friendships with the students that I’m helping,” Ferguson said. “We can talk about it outside of school and it is something that we look forward to every class.” Not only does the program allow for the students to have an entertaining outlet, but in the process, Southwest Sips provides an interactive way of teaching students important skills they will carry on with them for the rest of their lives. “It’s something that’s fun, but it is also a break from the normal work that they usually do and it additionally teaches financial, social and life skills which are very beneficial,” Ferguson said.
Setting out drinks, freshman Lyha Garret prepares them for distribution.
22 | feature / the standard / feb. 2020
foreign exchange students explain expectations compared to reality of life in the U.S. his year, the school welcomed four foreign exchange students from different parts of the world to study while experiencing American culture. All four exchange students, including Italian senior Alessia Luca, began the process out of mere curiosity and continued the pursuit until they landed in the United States. “I was at school and I was so bored and I would go online and stuff [when I] saw one of my friends was in America,” Luca said. “He texted me how to do it and I came back home and asked my parents and they said, ‘yes.’” However, the experience was very different for Pakistani senior Yawar Khan. He is here through the KennedyLugar Youth Exchange and Study, which provided him with a very competitive scholarship that was difficult to obtain. “I think 8,000 [or] 9,000 people apply and they only select 77 people,” Khan said. “So I gave the test [a shot] then I got no calls for a month ... then it was like my 45th day, I got a call for an interview, and I was losing my mind.” When he came to the U.S, Spanish junior Jon Goenaga had many
expectations but has since learned that most of the stereotypes were false. “There are stereotypes like people are fat,” Goenaga said. “There are always school shootings.” Luca said she was shocked when she experienced her first lockdown drill — something that’s unheard of in Italy — but has never felt an imminent threat. All four foreign-exchange students expected Americans to be fat and wealthy, but they said in reality Americans are just as fit, if not more fit, than the people of their home country. “I think I was 14 years of age or something at the time when I saw an American,” Khan said. “He was fat, he was rich and he was in a five-star hotel, so my image was pretty much confirmed 100% at that point … And then I came here [and] none of that is true.” Even though not every American is a millionaire, the sheer size of the U.S. allows for larger living spaces than in the bustling cities of Europe and Pakistan. “These are giant houses, like a hotel for us,” Luca said. “My [Italian] friends call my [host family’s] house a castle.”
Yawar Khan, Pakistan
Ben Wilbur, Germany
Luca said in Italy, Americans are perceived as mean and closed-minded, but she has observed that Americans really are not like that at all. “You’re very nice people, more than I thought,” Luca said. “When we think about America, we think of the people who have the money and they are very cold.” Food has also been a mind-opening experience for the exchange students. German senior Ben Wilbur said his favorite part about the U.S. is fast food. He said they have a few fast food options in Germany, but not even close to the amount present in the U.S. Meanwhile, Goenaga said the portion sizes are extremely large here. “They are huge,” Goenaga said. “In Spain, you have to ask for four plates to be good and here it’s like one and you can’t even finish it. And also drinks — in Spain you buy each drink. You don’t have refills, [but] here you drink it and they bring you another one and it’s so weird.” The polarization of Western and Middle-Eastern culture became clear to Khan when he said one of the reasons for his travels was to try the food.
| 23 Alessia Luca, Italy
“We don’t have tacos [in Pakistan], we don’t have burritos here,” Khan said. “So Mexican food, Chinese food — I’m loving tacos right now; they’re pretty much the best thing by far that I’ve [eaten].” Even school has been an extreme adjustment for the students. Luca said in Italy a student must choose a careerbased school to attend by their third year of middle school. “When we pick high school in Italy you have to pick [a field of study] — we have science high school, so if you go to the science high school, you do just math, physics, biology and that’s what I do in Italy,” Luca said. “I do just five hours every single day and I go to school Monday to Saturday.” Wilbur said he has had to adjust to an entirely new school schedule because school is not an all-day event in Germany. “The school is so long, from 7:50 to 3,” Wilbur said. “[In Germany it’s] 8 to 12:25,
but I have one more year of high school than you guys do, so that’s probably why.” Even though it’s long, Wilbur and the other three exchange students agreed that American school is much easier than what they are used to. “It’s easier to get good grades,” Goenaga said. “In Spain everyone fails; math class for example, last semester we had like 30 people in class and 25 failed.” Khan said being able to live and go to school in a country that is often made out to be enemies with his native country has opened his eyes to the similarities between all people. “Some people in Pakistan think that the U.S. is hatching plans every night and day to attack the Middle East, and so, coming here I’m like, ‘they are just living their own life and we are living our own life,’” Khan said. Also, Khan said dealing with peoples’ insensitivities has been one of the biggest
Jon Goenaga, Spain
challenges he’s faced, especially since he is not from a European country. “I don’t blame you guys for calling us terrorists and stuff because that’s what’s shown to you in the media, and I don’t blame Pakistanis for having a bad image of the USA because when you open a Pakistani news channel they are cussing out Trump and they…[are] talking against him,” Khan said. All four foreign-exchange students said they have loved their experience in America and would love to come back if possible. “I have international friends now. Like, I’ll stay in Pakistan, but the USA will be my second home,” Khan said. “I look forward to coming back here, so I think it has affected my life in a good way and I think it’s really awesome.”
..... Ben Wilbur ..... Jon Goenaga ..... Alessia Luca ..... Yawar Khan
24 | feature / the standard / feb. 2020
175 students surveyed about video streaming services
$8.99 - $15.99 per month
$8.99 - $12.99 per month
“[On Amazon Prime], you’ll search for something and you think you can watch it, I’ve heard, and then have to pay for it.” — seniorkatieflood
Best Content 42.9%
“At first I was skeptical of [Disney +] since it’s new, but it has a lot of the old stuff which I like to watch.” — freshmanshobinarayan
12% “The best part [of Netflix] is that there’s a lot of options, but that’s also the worst part because a lot of time is spent just looking for something.” — junioralyssacangelose
6.9% “The best part [of Netflix] is it has a lot of different cultures with TV shows and movies.” — sophomoregracekrone
Netflix Hulu Amazon Prime Videos Disney +
Time spent watching media per day None
“If not a little bit each night, I’d say, over a week, [I watch] maybe a couple of hours.” — seniorkatieflood
Most Used Device “I usually use my laptop or I use my TV to watch shows.” — junioralyssacangelose
Television shows vs. movies
“I like the ‘Hannah Montana’ movie because it also brings back a lot of memories and I liked the plot.” — freshmanshobinarayan
Television Shows Other
“I like to watch ‘The Office,’ because it’s reallly funny and entertaining.” — sophomoregracekrone
26 | news / the standard / feb. 2020
imagine southwest teachers explain the process of resdesigning the school curriculumn
hanges are a constant part of school systems. Recently, a huge change has been put into action for the school, in an attempt to reconstruct how the students learn in a more updated and realistic manner. It’s called “Imagine Southwest.” Principal Scott Roberts is one of many leaders on the team helping put the program into action. He said he hopes all students will be engaged in school after it’s complete. “It started when we did a survey almost three years ago and from what students told us and what staff told us, there was a big disconnect,” Roberts said. The survey contained questions involving how relevant or meaningful the students believed the school curriculum was and to the staff’s surprise, only 38 percent of the students thought it was. “We also asked, ‘Do you feel like your teachers know you and interests outside of school?’” Roberts said. “Teachers had this really high number and students had this really low number.” After realizing multiple aspects of the school system did not meet the needs of both the students and staff, “Imagine Southwest” was born. “I have noticed that education just kind of happens to kids and that they don't have a say in their education,” Roberts said. “We should be asking how you want to learn and how you want to experience things. So we're going to try to start figuring out how we can start to provide that for the students.” According to the plan, the process is meant to last four years. It started in 2018 and began with surveys and testing to see which steps to take next. The first two years are called “trials.” The last two are focused on implementations in the school curriculum and final touches. “Next year, we have to design everything and get started,” Roberts said. “By the fall of 2021, the school should look quite a bit different. Yeah, it's going to take time, but then those implementations will happen. So for students that are freshmen, their junior and senior year is going to look different.” Science teacher and professional development coordinator
Melissa McCarty is also a leader involved in “Imagine Southwest” and said she hopes to redesign the school in such a way that it is more similar to the outside world. “We don’t want students always traveling hour by hour, working on two completely different topics,” McCarty said. “We'd like to help students see some more relevant learning experiences. We want to make it feel like what they're learning in one hour interacts with what they're learning in another hour, and they can see the connections a little bit more.” The type of education where students have seven different hours and subjects may change with the redesign process in one way or another. “For the most part, our high schools are pretty disciplined,” Roberts said. “Well, the world isn’t really disciplined like that for the most part. For example, if you go to a doctor, multiple agencies are going to work together and that’s multidisciplinary. We feel like students need that experience. The world of work is much more global, interconnected and multidisciplinary than what our current structure of high school is.” McCarty said during the third quarter of this year, teachers are putting some changes into action. She said changing the daily schedule, start and end time, free periods during the day and the learning structure of the classrooms are all future possibilities. “We have a lot of ideas,” McCarty said. “We really would like to do more of pairing different classrooms together. So, a science and a math class could teach together and have more flexibility in the class day. Maybe not as flexible as Timber Time, but sections of time where students could get more work on classes that they need more work on and less time in a class that they don't need to work on. We want to individualize it for students and would love to see that in the future.” Part of the redesign has already been put into action. For example, a grading system in Spanish classes was one of the first steps in this process. This way, the most recent assignment is worth more than the previous one, giving students the opportunity to improve their skills as they obtain them.
“You probably have noticed you’ve done more group work and maybe more presentations — different kinds of learning, maybe less lecture and more interaction,” McCarty said. “I have definitely seen a shift as far as teachers planning their classrooms differently.” Roberts said he realizes that a handful of students will not like the change that redesign brings, and would rather go to school to complete book work, memorize material and take tests like a standard classroom. “In some ways, that might be approximately the experience that a student has and for them, that’s OK,” Roberts said. “We also have to build a schedule around that, but we know that is actually not how the world really works. How do [students] have these new experiences even though they may thrive in a different fashion? That’s the idea.” Roberts said ideally, the redesign will incorporate features students can use in order to better prepare themselves for college or help them consider a different career pathway. “Blue Valley has been on students to go to a four-year college, but it’s not for everybody,” Roberts said. “So what does a student do who maybe feels like they shouldn’t go to a four-year college? We want this to help them.” Roberts said programs like CAPS are necessary for “Imagine Southwest” to be successful. He said it is very important for all students to have an experience like it in high school to avoid a bad attempt at college their freshman year. “We have these partnerships with Johnson County Community College where you can actually get industry certifications and get college hours for free while you are still a junior or senior in high school because maybe the four-year degree isn’t exactly what students need,” Roberts said. “Students could spend their time getting college credits, getting industry certifications and expanding what their opportunities are, because there’s a lot of job opportunities that we don’t traditionally see.” By using the CAPS model in the making of “Imagine Southwest,” the staff could potentially assist students who do not see a four-year college being well suited for them.
“What we are working on is, ‘How do we have professional connections and how can we provide professional connections for our students?’ It’s very similar to the experience that kids have at CAPS,” Roberts said. “When you go to CAPS, you get a mentor and you work on authentic problems.” Sophomore Emma Payne said she plans on taking classes at CAPS in the future to help her get an idea of life outside of high school. She said she wishes she could have an experience more like it in her home building. “I am really looking forward to CAPS and as a student relatively new to the school district and Southwest, I heard a bunch of good things about it,” Payne said. “I have always been curious about why it is so far away. I think it would just be easier if we could do all the same things here during the school day.” Payne said she had never heard of “Imagine Southwest” before, but McCarty said the staff has been working to get spread the word and this is the year they focus on that. “We’ve been getting student feedback here and there, but we’re hopeful this semester we can really push it out to lots of students,” McCarty said. “We have a few groups of students that naturally are together during the day like AVID and study halls that we use to help us spread around this idea.” Though there is a lot of work that must be put into this program coming together, the end result is meant to benefit all students for the better. “You know, it’s a lot of work and the staff is working super hard on it,” McCarty said. “I mean, the teachers are always doing more and they’re working a lot. So everything we do is not going to be perfect and we’d like a little grace from the students, but we do want honesty from the students. Know that we truly do want to make this better for you.”
feature / the standard / feb. 2020 | 29
Will you be my valentine ? students discuss the process of dating in high school
he social rules of dating change from one generation to the next. There was once a time when guys and girls couldn’t speak to each other unless they had been formally introduced. Through time, the formalities seemed to blur and a more informal approach to dating has been set in place. For sophomore Faith Steiner, the first step in dating is talking on Snapchat. “I would say that Snapchat is definitely a step down from getting that person’s number,” Steiner said. “Some people just meet through classes, but most times you meet mutually through Snapchat. With Snapchat it’s easier to add people and get to know them. You can start streaks and get to know them overall.”
step 2 S
tage two is all about curiosity and trying to find out what comes next between talking on Snapchat and becoming a couple. Before committing to a relationship, there’s always a step in between, known as the transition. Senior Jenna Davenport defines step 2 as being “a thing.” You aren’t talking to anyone else, but you aren’t exclusive. “It’s mostly where you start hanging out in person, at school and different places and really getting to know that person for more than just their favorite color,” Davenport said. She also said having “a thing” with someone is another way of “just getting to know that other person better while not being considered a couple yet.”
step 3 Hanging out
or junior Leah Goldstein, after the “awkward talking phase,” the next step is hanging out. Hanging out with someone doesn’t mean that you are a couple, although it is less serious and can mean being able to do fun activities with someone in the context of “still getting to know them and being friends.” “The third phase is pretty much going on cute dates, going out to dinner, just having normal conversations and building into the stage where you guys are getting comfortable together,” Goldstein said. “It’s not really the stage where you could sit in a room and just talk or look at each other, so you have to stick with more activities like going to the movies.”
step 4 A
ccording to sophomore Alex Yang, dating someone means “actively spending time with that person and really knowing them on a deeper level.” When people start dating, the relationship is more personal. You are able to start being more comfortable with one another. “You need to have a positive attitude and really be caring with each other,” Yang said. “You have to remember to have an open mind throughout everything.” A big change in dating happened when social media and dating websites started popping up everywhere. Now, most people meet through Snapchat or friends, a big change from the 19thcentury courting. According to The List, an online magazine, there was no such thing as just two young people going out on a date. It was much more formal and there were many rules you had to follow. “When I was in middle school,” Goldstein said. “I thought relationships were the stupidest thing. I didn’t see a reason to have one at all and I said to myself that I would never even try to be in one, but as I’ve gotten older, I feel like you can do more because you have a car and you can go out and the relationship can progress into something that may even last past high school.”
feature / the standard / feb. 2020 | 31
Celebrating Each Day students share their opinions on National Holidays
J 14 anuaryJanuary National Dress Up Your Pet Day The dynamic between pet and owner has sparked a new opportunity to show a pet’s unique personality with costumes.
J anuary 4 February National Random Acts of Kindness Day
This day is related to mental health and the idea that one small gesture can change a person’s day. Many choose to celebrate this day by opening doors for people, giving small gifts, compliments, and many other actions to show affection.
J anuary 9
J anuary 4
National Napping Day
National Superhero Day
This day is after daylight savings time returns and is intended to help people catch up on the lack of sleep.
“I think (National Days) are just fun. I think it gives you a reason to celebrate each day. I know that they do not always pertain to everybody, so when they do pertain to you, it is an extra celebration of the day.” — freshmanreagancannon
This day was created by Marvel Employees in 1985. The day is celebrated with costumes, movie marothons, etc. However, the day is not only about fictional charecters, it is also meant to honor military personnel.
“Sometimes (National Days) are really dumb and nobody understands the point of them. But, it’s pretty nice to be like. ‘Its National Cupcake Day. Everybody gets a cupcake!’” — sophomorelenadickerson facts cited from nationaldaycalendar.com | elliephillips
J anuary 4
Star Wars Day On this day, fans across the nation voice their apreciation for Star Wars. The saga began in 1977 and May the Forth has been celebrated since 2011.
J 19 anuary
National Ice Cream Day National ice cream day was founded by the President of Ben & Jerry’s in 1985.
J 22 anuarySeptember National Elephant Appreciation Day
According to savetheelephants.org, elephants play a key role in maintaing the Savannah. This day was organized in efforts to spread awareness for elephant preservation.
J 17 anuary
National Take a Hike Day On this day, people pack up their trail mix and find a spot to hike. It encoarages people to go outside and enjoy the outdoors.
“My favorite day would be either national frog day or I believe that there is also a national vomit day.” — seniorjacksonsalin
National Go Barefoot Day This day began in 2004 after a tsunami in Indonesia. It was created in efforts to encourage people to donate shoes and help those in need.
J 16 anuary
National Roller Coaster Day
The first roller coaster was created by J.G. Taylor and the first ride was taken in 1884 at Coney Island. National Roller Coaster day was organized by enthusiasts and has been celebrated since 1986. On this day, many people travel to their local amusement park.
J anuary 2
National Name Your Car Day
This day is for give your car a name. Each car seems to have its own charecter and many people veiw this as an opportunity to choose a name that reflects it.
National Answer The Phone Like Buddy The Elf Day The movie Elf came out in 2003. In the film, the main charecter answers the phone with, “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?”
“I love celebrating National Ice Cream Day with my friends. I think it’s really fun to go get ice cream together.” — juniorkennaplaster