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D EC E M B E R 13, 2012

Old Impressions

Students living in the BV District since grade school discuss outdated reputations

Bingham and Bjornson as seniors in Dec. 2012. Photo by Maria Betancour t. rnson

Bjo Abbey Bingham and Emma

Will Butts, Andy Butts, and

Price as juniors in Dec. 20 12. Photo by Emily Moore.

Will Butts, Andy Butts, and


or new students, decisions about others are based on first impressions. However, students who have lived in the BV District their whole lives often get stuck with old reputations and outdated impressions. Spotlight discusses how fresh perspectives can detect these preset and sometimes unfair impressions.


Sean Price Photos on the left courtesy of Emma Bjornson and Kate Price.

Making Magic: Spotlight profiles amateur magician senior Rey Irwin. Since freshman year, Irwin has mastered multiple card tricks as well as created his own card tricks and illusions.



Life of Pi Film Review: After reading Life of Pi in CA class, many students head to theaters to watch the film adaptation. Spotlight News Editor Mitchell Bird reviews the film.


Senior Countdown


Days Until Graduation




Letter from the editors...


his month, many of our readers will be surprised to see old snapshots of their friends and peers. No, our photographers did not disappear and force us to dig up the old stuff (although all three of them mysteriously became ill during press week). The center spread, ‘Old Impressions’, calls attention to students and how they perceive each other. Many of our readers have lived in the Blue Valley school district their entire lives, which can sometimes make them immune to changes in their peers. A reputation formed in fifth grade can carry into high school. New students look at the school, students, and statuses with fresh eyes, allowing them to look over former events and memories. We hope that by reading this story and by looking at the old photos, readers will look at their peers in a new way and realize the changes that have taken place since kindergarten. Remember the shy girl in middle school? Remember the boy who got picked last in gym? Look at these people again and see the changes; look at how far students have progressed since grade school. Do not wait until a class reunion to realize their transformations. We wish you the best of luck on your finals and a wonderful holiday season! Editors in Chief

Meghan Ketcham and Maddy Wilson

Visit our updated website: You’ll find the following stories: *Extra pictures from India Nite. *Information on the new Blue Valley rugby team *Ryan Williams’s opinion on Black Friday *Spirit themes for the basketball games *Mr. Kirk’s award *Our print paper- online! *Online photo galleries from past sports games. @BVWSpotlight


Follow us on Twitter and “like” us on Facebook for more. Web Editors in Chief: Tucker Paine and Abby Krstulic


Kansas Scholastic Press Association


National Scholastic Press Association


Columbia Scholastic Press Association

PACEMAKER WINNER National Scholastic Press Association

•Reporters: Derek Bullis, Abbey Fiser, Jourdan Gish, Cheyenne Jones, Taylor Lake, Calvin Lee, Connor McGovern, Kate Price, Jack Rogoz IV, Harrison Whitney, Ryan Williams, John Wilson •Assistant News Editor: Mitchell Bird •Section Editors: Katherine Byrket, Emily Binshtok, Jacob Paschal, Lauren Pino •Managing Editor: Emily Moore •Online Editors in Chief: Abby Krstulic, Tucker Paine •Editors in Chief: Meghan Ketcham, Maddy Wilson •Photo Editor: Elise St. Louis •Photojournalists: Coleen Bost, Lea Puech •Web Master: Danielle Jacobson •Business Managers: Emily Binshtok, Tomos Ridenhour •Adviser: Debbie Glenn

Spotlight is printed nine times a year for the students and the BV West community. Its goals are to inform, entertain, and interpret through editorials and bylined articles and to provide an open forum for communication for students and faculty members. Spotlight aims to be fair, accurate and impartial. The content of this publication is determined by its student editors and may contain controversial subject matter. Spotlight does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the faculty adviser, the administration of Blue Valley West, or USD 229.


Tragedy for Twinkies


spotlight news

Hostess Brands Inc. shuts down snack cake production EMILY BINSHTOK Business Manager and Section Editor


ovember 21 marked the end of an era. For 82 years, Hostess Brands Inc. has been America’s sole supplier of iconic brands like Wonder Bread and Twinkies. Hostess has recently announced its decision to shut down the company and close 33 bakeries and 565 distribution centers, resulting in lay-offs for thousands of employees. The decision to close the bakeries came in response to widespread employee strikes that made the company unable to reach its daily levels of production. Workers went on strike because of what Hostess called “necessary pay cuts.” Hostess has declared bankruptcy twice during the past decade, and was again having financial difficulties in 2012 before its closing. The last shipment of Hostess products went out on Nov. 26. Immediately, customers began stocking up on Hostess products. Some simply wanted to enjoy their Twinkies and Ding-Dongs before they were discontinued, but others bought the snacks in bulk in the hopes of selling them for a higher price. “I went to the Hostess store in Shawnee Mission,”

junior Alonzo Hayes-Hall said. “I just bought what I could and threw in some of everything.” Within two days of the initial Hostess press release, Hostess products were appearing on eBay for ridiculously inflated prices. One seller offered an individual Twinkie for $5,000, while another tried to sell an entire box for $50,000. The box of Twinkies currently has two pending offers, and the new bidding price has reached the whopping sum of $120,000. “A couple weeks ago, when I was in the library, my friend ran up to me and said, ‘All the Twinkies, they’re all dead,’” freshman Chelsea Oakman said. All of the Hostess Brands will be missed, but Twinkies in particular are an icon of American culture. They have been around since the 1930’s, and were especially popular during World War II. Even though they have no nutritional value, many Americans have fond memories of finding Twinkies and other Hostess products packed in their lunchboxes as children. “I’ve been eating Ho-Hos for years,” Hayes-Hall said. “It’s like an addiction. I would pay at least a grand for a box of them if it was the last one in the world.” Ho-Hos are a popular snack, but Twinkies are more often featured in pop culture. It has often been said that

a Twinkie could survive anything, even the end of civilization. A scene from the popular movie “Zombieland” involved characters searching for the last few boxes of Twinkies in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. “Believe it or not, Twinkies have an expiration date,” ‘Zombieland’ character Tallahassee said. “Someday very soon, life’s little Twinkie gauge is going to go empty.” However, these sweet treats are unlikely to be gone for good. Hostess is currently in the process of selling its assets; auctioning off its brands to the highest bidders. “[The Hostess Brands] will likely be sold to another company,” Hostess Brands Inc. spokesperson Blynn Austin said. “The company as a whole will be completely shut down.” Many corporations have expressed interest in individual Hostess brands. Hostess said in court that it is currently negotiating with over 110 companies, including bakeries, large supermarket chains, and overseas corporations. Several of these potential buyers have shown interest in spending large sums of money or even purchasing the company as a whole. An initial bid on Hostess’ assets is likely to come as early as mid-January. Until then, the fate of the iconic Hostess Brands will be left unknown for fans like Hayes-Hall and Oakman.

Setting New Standards

Common Core Standards Initiative’s universal standards impact classes RYAN WILLIAMS Reporter


n 2010, Kansas joined 37 other states to make the switch to the Common Core Standards Initiative. The majority of students and teachers enrolled in public school districts are affected by this change. It was not until recently, however, that this educational reform impacted classrooms at BV West. “We’re taking it slow, but we’re working our way into it. We’re taking our time to really examine things,” Assistant Principal Linda Kapfer said. The Common Core Standards Initiative is defined on its website as “a state-led effort to establish a shared set of clear educational standards for English language arts and mathematics that states can voluntarily adopt.” It aims for more schools to have higher educational expectations, which they hope will improve overall student performance. With Common Core, high school classes will have a larger focus on quality over quantity. Unlike previous state standards, Common Core Standards focus less on how much content is taught, but instead focus on teaching the content in depth. Before, each state had its own process of developing its own educational standards. Common Core, however, is the same for all states that use it. This should make it easier on students moving between school districts around the country. “If a student moved in the middle of high school from

Colorado or Michigan or anywhere in the country to Kansas, to BV West let’s say, then they should essentially be working on the same skills,” Communication Arts teacher Trenton Stern said. Common Core also makes the transition less difficult for students that move to other countries, because the new standards are up to par to with international standards. This is important because it’s easier on the students, but also because the United States has been lacking in comparison to other countries. During a study among 49 other countries, the U.S. ranked 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading. The new Common Core standards will hopefully raise this ranking. Despite the fact that the changes are currently intended to be only in the math and English departments, they will still have an effect on other classes. “Because math and problem solving are across the board, it will have an impact beyond the math classroom,” Stern said. “Just as the reading standards will have an impact particularly in areas of science and social studies, to say the least. So it’s not just an English thing.” Common Core plans to close the gap between what is taught from teacher to teacher. “Students are going to find that some of the differences they might see between teachers aren’t going to be there anymore,” Kapfer said. State leaders who are members of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSO) and the National

Governors Association Center (NGA center) are the creators of this modification to the educational system. These groups are made up of teachers, school administrators and education experts. They brought Common Core into existence for one fundamental purpose: to better prepare students for college. This, they hope, will make them more successful in college and ultimately more prepared for a career. “There are lots of surveys that show more and more students are not ready for college,” Kapfer said. “Blue Valley of course may be above the national norm on the success of our students, but we’d still like to see every student be successful in college.” Teachers are being affected more than anyone by this new initiative. “Change is always scary, but change can be a very good thing,” Stern said. “I think it forces teachers to look at what they’re doing. Any time you’re forced to reflect upon your own teaching practices then I think only good comes out of that.” Since the curriculum will be changing, many of the current textbooks will also be subject to change. “As we look at textbooks, like right now CA is up for new textbook adoptions, they’re really examining and piloting books and coming to conclusions about which ones will fit these new standards the best,” Kapfer said. Common Core is an educational experiment that could dramatically improve college readiness. Only time will tell if it will be effective.


news 4{spotlight


of a Problem

Popular energy drinks may have hidden health risks CHEYENNE JONES Reporter


ome people need that extra “kick” in the morning to get out of bed and face the day. Whereas some people reach for a steaming cup of hot coffee, others go for a 5-Hour Energy or a can of Monster. However, recent reports filed with the F.D.A. may stop them from reaching for that morning boost. In a report released by the F.D.A., the popular energy shot, 5-Hour Energy, has been blamed for 13 deaths over the last four years. This seemingly innocent beverage has 90 filings against it. There are 30 reports that state its involvement in serious or life-threatening conditions, such as heart attacks, convulsions, and even a spontaneous abortion. In Hagerstown, Md. a 14-year-old girl went into cardiac arrest and died after drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster within a 24-hour period. She suffered from a pre-existing condition that weakened the walls of her blood vessels, but her doctor never warned her against caffeine consumption, according to a CBS News report. An incident report filed with the F.D.A. does not conclusively state the product as the cause of the death or injury, but does place it under investigation. Previously,

the F.D.A. was investigating the possible risk of 5-Hour Energy, Red Bull, and Monster, but now the investigation is open to outside experts. Investigations of the other ingredients, such as taurine, that are commonly used in energy drinks, have confirmed that these ingredients are safe. The F.D.A. also reiterated in its report that the amounts of caffeine found in coffee and tea are considered safe. Even if the F.D.A. were to enact new regulations, it would be difficult to put them into effect. Some highcaffeine drinks, such as 5-Hour Energy and Monster, fall under the category of dietary supplements, whereas Red Bull is classified as a beverage. This disorganization places energy drinks under different reporting requirements and warning labels as cited in the New York Times. Research by the Mayo Clinic indicates that consuming 600 mg of caffeine on a daily basis can cause anxiety, irritability, panic, and sleep disorders. These adverse effects are caused by the way caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. For many children, adolescents, and adults, safe levels of caffeine are not established. A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics warned against the adverse effects of caffeine on the developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems of children and adolescents.

Despite these reports, many BV West students do not plan on lessening their caffeine consumption. Senior Zac Selstad drinks 5-Hour Energy and takes caffeine pills once a month, Monster Energy every other day, plus Red Bull and Mountain Dew every other week. “It hasn’t killed me yet,” Selstad said. “It probably should have, but it hasn’t yet.” Students are not the only people at BV West harboring a caffeine addiction. C.A. teacher Trenton Stern drinks a can of Red Bull every morning. “Red Bull is like my expensive morning coffee,” Stern said. “It is likely a caffeine addiction or at the very least, Red Bull offers some superficial placebo effect. Plus, Red Bull gives me wings.” Despite the bad rap caffeinated beverages are receiving, they will not cause convulsions or unexpected mortality if consumed in moderation. “Until more definitive information is available, I will likely continue to drink Red Bull,” Stern said. There may be changes to energy drinks in the future, but Monster, 5-Hour Energy, and Red Bull consumers have no need to fret over the future of these beverages, for something that may soon have a F.D.A. warning label should be consumed with discretion.

Now You See Him... Now You Don’t



spotlight features

Rey Irwin, an undiscovered magician, showcases his talents TAYLOR LAKE

M. Irwin said. Magic is something that Irwin has become very passionate about during his high school career and enior Rey Irwin has been perfecting his is potentially something he would like to pursue magic tricks since freshman year. Irwin’s as a career if he can improve on his magician skills father told him about his grandfather who even more. had been a magician, and Irwin thought it would “I think being a magician as a career would be be fun to follow in his footsteps. fun because it’s something I love, but right now “My grandfather was a magician,” R. Irwin I’m no where good enough to make a career as a said. “I’m not sure if it was his occupation or just magician.” R. Irwin said. a hobby, but I thought it would be interesting to While attending the Renaissance festival Irwin learn magic.” met two magicians who gave him some informaIrwin used some old magic stuff he found in tion on ways he could make being a magician a his house to learn a few tricks when he first becareer, if that is something he is interested in docame interested in magic. ing in the future. “My dad has a lot of magic stuff, but doesn’t “I showed them one of my tricks and they sugperform any,” freshman Mary Irwin said. “My gested that I join a magicians society, but I ended brother found it and started to use some of it.” up not joining because of the cost.” R. Irwin said. Freshman Irwin year R. Iralways carwin learned ries a deck “My favorite kind of tricks are the simple a few simple of cards with ones that mess with people’s minds. Messing tricks and by him no matsophomore ter where he with people’s minds is always fun.” year, he was goes because a rey irwin performing good magiSenior for some of cian should his classes, be prepared including both JAG and advisory. From then on to perform whenever they are asked. Irwin has R. Irwin enjoys performing his tricks for anyone a favorite deck of cards that he acquired from a that wants to watch. trade with another student a few years ago, and “I started freshman year and by sophomore her carries it with him a lot of the time. year I was pretty good,” R. Irwin said. “My favorite deck was one I got from this guy Irwin has mastered a multitude of card tricks by trading a bunch of Yu-Gui-Oh cards,” R. and has even invented his own allusion. In this Irwin said. trick he asks an individual to pick a card, and R. Irwin enjoys being a magician because he then he shuffles the deck. R. Irwin then asks the likes to see the reactions of people when they are same individual to say the first word that comes to amazed by a trick. For him, the tricks are very mind. With this information, R. Irwin is magisimple to learn and perform. cally able to tell the person what his of her card Although R. Irwin will not share how to do was. his magic tricks with anyone who asks, he has “I’m not going to tell you how to do them, but taught his sister how to perform a handful of card my best tricks are the simplest ones that amaze tricks. people the most.” R. Irwin said, “One of my best “My brother will teach some simple card tricks ones is one I came up with on my own.” to me so I know how to do some of his favorite Irwin will take any opportunity to learn a new tricks,” M. Irwin said. allusion. When Irwin learns any new tricks he Although M. Irwin enjoys magic because of its performs them first for his family and friends to simplicity, R. Irwin enjoys magic because it is all be sure it will work. This way, he doesn’t ruin the about confusing people. surprise. “My favorite kinds of tricks are the simple ones “He finds a lot of new tricks often, and when- that messes with people’s minds,” R. Irwin said. ever he finds a new trick he will show it to us,” “Messing with people’s minds is always fun.” Reporter




World Famous Magicians • Harry Houdini Best known for escaping chains, ropes, handcuffs and straitjackets

• David Copperfield Best known for making the Statue of Liberty disappear from view

• David Blaine Best known for being encased in a block of ice for over 60 days

• P.C. Sorcar Best known for his famous Indian rope trick and the flying carpet

• Doug Henning Best known for his escape tricks, colorful clothes, and bushy moustache


features 6{spotlight

Club Revival: Many clubs of the past make their comeback during the 2012-2013 school year


French Club students active this year Chess Club brings a hobby to school


onjour les étudiants! Français est très chouette ! To students who do not speak French, this can be translated as: Hello students! French is very cool! French club is reviving itself and becoming a new and improved organization. Senior Sonia Kumar is excited about all of the new changes they are making this year. “My friend Ellen Reid started French Club at BV West a long time ago, and I think it is important to keep the tradition going on,” Kumar said. “I am really passionate about French and really enjoy Madame Domoney, and I want everyone to get that experience and more.”

With the help of French teacher, Mme Domoney, Kumar believes that she and her fellow members can create a whole new French club with fun activities and after school field trips. “We go to Mimi’s Café every year, so that is definitely on the calendar,” Kumar said. “I also think it would be fun to go see a French film in theaters, read and act out a French play, and have a French potluck where everyone makes their own type of French dish.” If French food, language, and culture interest any students, then they are encouraged to learn more about French Club by visiting Mme Domoney in room 270.


game that is more than just kings, queens, and pawns. A game that involves predictability, logical thinking, and quick decisions. A game that is making its comeback at BV West. A game known as: Chess. At the start of the school year, sophomore Ryan Davis and sophomore Michael Lark knew that chess club was an important activity to bring to the school. They asked Communication Arts teacher Brett Myer to sponsor this club, and he gladly accepted the proposal. While many students believe that chess is only an intelligent man’s game, Myer explains that anyone can learn to play the game. “Chess is an easy game to learn, but

not easy to master,” Myer said. “There are many layers to the game: different strategies, planning ahead, predicting opponents’ moves, and more.” Although this game is simple to pick up, Myer says it is imperative that students understand there is a great deal of skill involved in becoming a professional “chess-er.” “These are not easy things to get good at, but over time people develop these skills,” Myer said. “It just takes dedication and practice – like most things in life.” To any students who are interested in joining chess club or watching the participants, they can stop by room 174 and cheer on fellow BV West chess clubbers.

Swing Club returns after hiatus


lthough this is not Dance Team, Swing Club is the next finest organization for students who want to dance and have fun. Since 2010, Swing Club was on hiatus until students decided to revive it for the 2012-2013 school year. Senior Kirsti Stahly wanted to create a fast-paced club like swing club, but she needed a sponsor for this activity, and senior Abby Krstulic recommended she contact Ms. Rager. “I actually did not know Ms. Rager, but Abby introduced me to her, and I knew she would be a great sponsor for the club,” Stahly said. Swing club had its kick-off in Nov., but members are still welcome to join. Stahly believes that this club is a great

way for students to have fun and make new friends in the process. “I think people should join because dancing is fun,” Stahly said. “And not only will you learn super cool tricks to impress your friends, but it is super easy too. Plus it is just a fun way to hang out with new people.” As president of the club, Stahly believes that her duty is to make sure all interested students feel welcome in the club. Even if students do not know how to dance, Stahly still encourages them to join because the whole point is teaching others how to swing dance for life. “Swing dancing is just really fun and something that everyone can do,” Stahly said.

Senior Kirsti Stahly and junior Jared Jacobsen practice swing dancing at the December Swing Club meeting on Dec. 5. Stahly revived the Swing Club this year after it being on hiatus since her freshman year. Courtney Rager offered to sponsor the club.



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spotlight in-depth

Then and Now

A New Look at Old Friends




spotlight in-depth

Many students remain friends after nearly twelve years

Spotlight discusses old friendships and forming new perspectives on familiar faces

EMILY MOORE Managing Editor


new student walks into an unknown classroom to sit in the only open chair in the room. All of the other students are watching and secretly, or not so secretly, trying to figure out who this new person is. Some may ask questions, try to make friends, or just be curious from a distance. This is the essence of a first impression. New students see the school and its students with fresh eyes. It is an opportunity for the new student to make a friend. Likewise, it becomes a chance for existing students to have a fresh start with someone. A person that does not have a preconceived perception has the ability to construct their opinion of a person based upon the present rather than the past. “When somebody moves in, they don’t know about the past and things like that,” sociology teacher John Rost said. Many students have been in the BV District their entire lives and have gone to school with the same people since kindergarten. Many see this as a positive because they are able to develop long-time friends, but there is a negative side to this as well. After spending years with the same people, connotations relatively stay the same and can get in the way of forming new relationships. “They probably miss out on a lot of friendships,” Rost said. Students who have lived in the BV District since kindergarten have watched their peers mature and grow. That can be a sentimental thing with close friends. However, many are stuck with a reputation that no longer fits who they are. Most of the time, these reputations come from students who do not even know them. It is often difficult to ignore these set statuses when students go to school with the same people for twelve years. “When you are with the same people, at the same schools all your life, it’s hard to forget about it or take a break from it because it’s always there,” senior Molly Brown said. However, new students have fresh perspectives. Because they do not have preconceived opinions of others, new students are able to form their own opinions based upon the present. Moving to BV West in 2011, senior Amber Zuschlag, talks about observations that she made when she first moved into BV West. “Most of the people who talked bad about other people were the ones who had lived here and been with the same people their whole life,” Zuschlag said.

Zuschlag explains that she has not always found much truth in the dated conclusions of other students. “Someone who has been talked about, I haven’t seen them to be whatever they were described as,” Zuschlag said. Rost says that the spread of false or obsolete rumors are, in fact, a common occurrence. “Teenagers spread rumors, and that may give a false impression of someone and they are not really like that,” Rost said. When misconceptions occur, they often stick. Sometimes one event sparks these judgments, but other times a group can trigger them as well. No matter how the judgment occurs, it was an action that got a judged reaction. These things may create a lasting impression in any student’s mind. “There’s a few people I still judge off of things that happened, mostly in middle school,” Brown said. “So I definitely think people have unfair judgments toward others.” Once judgments are made, they can become a way of categorizing someone in a way that may or may not be true. Sometimes, reputations last a lifetime. “Well they’ve known them forever, so they don’t really get the chance to, fresh and new, meet someone and form their own opinion,” Zuschlag said. “They have had this opinion forever. Even if the person changes and becomes a better person, they are still going to feel the same way about them because they have known them forever and that is the preset they have of them in their head.” Rost emphasizes that in his sociology and psychology classes, they discuss how personalities continually change and evolve. “Your personality is kind of your base of who you are and whether you’re outspoken, or talkative, outgoing, or whether you’re quiet,” Rost said. “And that evolves in an entire lifetime, not just in our young life. I think you’ve got to be open to really get to know people and be careful on the impression you make of someone.” In high school, many students realize how much they have changed and can only hope that others have noticed it as well. “From my personal view, I know that I have changed a lot,” Brown said. “Especially if you look by going from Kindergarten. But even in high school I’ve changed.” Students are not the only ones who ignore others that evolve. Teachers also feel this pressure of a preset impression as if it were their own.

“Well when I’m a teacher or a coach, I don’t like to hear what other teachers and coaches think of kids they had one year,” Rost said. “I don’t want to have any impressions of them because it might prejudice me. You know, sometimes kids change.” Also people act differently with various environmental and situational stimuli. When there are students that one only sees at school, it should be kept in mind that that is just one environment and might actually change the way they are perceived. “The person you may know at school may not be the same person on the basketball court or at a party,” Rost said. Students often get the wrong impression with certain personality traits. Rost encourages students to reach out to other students and to get to know them despite the surface. “Another example, it happens with girls, well it can happen to anybody, sometimes they’re quiet and you think they are kind of snobby and stuck up and that’s not the case at all,” Rost said. “But you don’t find out because you don’t converse with them. So maybe this person may have been a good friend but you never took the time to get to know them.” Rost recalls an activity that he had to do with the rest of his senior class when he was in high school. This activity was supposed to get everyone to meet and get to know someone that they did not usually associate with. “They do a senior retreat at Bishop Miege High School, which I’m sure they still do. One of the activities is a senior walk and they pair you up, I don’t know how they do it, but they paired kids up that don’t normally share experiences,” Rost said. “After a series of questions, they get to know them and it kind of makes you sad because all four years you lockered down the hall from me but we never got to talk.” If students have gone to the same school their entire life, they are almost expected to know everyone, however, it seems that nobody knows everyone on a personal level. Yet, everyone forms and makes lasting impressions for themselves and others. “The thing I have always wondered is what do people think of when they think Molly Brown?” Brown said. “Like what do people think when they think of my name? I would love to find out because you know there’s going be good and you know there’s going to be bad but you just wonder, how are people going to remember you? When graduation comes around and we all part ways, how are people going to remember you?”

Mackenzie Lujin and Emily Webb Photo Courtesy of Mackenzie Lujin.

Lujin and Webb as juniors in Dec. 2012. Photo by Maria Betancourt.

Emily Moore and Jessica Lahasky Photo courtesy of Emily Moore.

Moore and Lahasky as juniors in Dec. 2012. Photo by Lauren Pino.

Changes in the BV District since 2000:

2000: •29,691 households in the district

2012: •nearly 45,000 households in the district •BV Hilltop Campus announced 2004: 2008: 2001: 2011: •Average ACT score: •Cedar Hills Elementary •Construction began •BV West opens •Aubrey Bend Middle 24.8 School Opens on BV Soutwest School Opens •66 percent of •Average ACT score: 24.8 students attend BV schools for 12 years Information compiled by Meghan Ketcham from, BV District handbook, and The Spotlight Volume Ten, Number Nine. 2002: BV West’s Jiggy the Jaguar mascot made his first appearance

2006: •Average ACT score: 23.9

2010: •BV Soutwest High School opens •CAPS opens



spotlight arts

Life Of Pi: Movie Review Senior summer reading book released in theaters MITCHELL BIRD


Assistant News Editor

ver the years audiences have been introduced to movies based off of books, examples include Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief, Cirque Du Freak, City of Ember, amongst many others. Most of the time it has been shown that the book will always be of infinite superiority over the movie. However every now and again they get it right and the movie ends up being just as good as the book. To sum Life of Pi up in one word is a tough challenge as only one word is worthy enough to describe this movie: majestic. Over the years many lost at sea movies have graced the movie theaters, however none have been as unique or compelling as Life of Pi. Spoilers below. The beginnings of Life of Pi are slow, using the first thirty to forty minutes to tell how Pi grew up in a zoo in Pondicherry India and how his family sold the zoo in order to move to Canada, and how he ultimately ended up at sea with a Bengal tiger for 227 days. Its slow beginnings move faster once the ship begins to sink and Pi is forced onto a life raft with an orangutan, a zebra, a hyena, and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. As the movie progresses the audience feels horror, despair, and hope. From the beginnings when the hyena to mercilessly kills the orangutan and zebra to the end when Pi tells his alternate story for the insurance company, who tried to figure out how the boat sank, emotions are swirled and played with like a child’s toy. The two main actors Irfan Khan, who portrays Pi as an adult, and Suraj Sharm, who plays him at the age of sixteen do a wonderful job in portraying Pi. Khan does a wonderful job narrating and telling the story in conjunction with Sharm, who acts as

LAUREN PINO Section Editor


t BV West, many students participate in the art program at all grade levels, but the upperclassmen tend to shine brighter than underclassmen because they have more time to be in diverse art classes and develop their skills. However, despite being in less advanced art classes, some underclassmen can stand out just as much as more experienced art students, like sophomore Aparna Kakarlapudi. Kakarlapudi currently has only one art class at BV West, Drawing I with Debra Waldorf, and she also has private art lessons outside of school on Thursdays. Her diligent training shows through in her work, but even with so much hard work put towards art, Kakarlapudi still sees art as a hobby. “When I was younger, I enjoyed art,” Kakarlapudi said. “Now, I am doing [art] all the time.” She likes creating art because it is such a stress reliever and is not the same as other academic subjects. “It’s not always logic or numbers or words,” Kakarlapudi said. Kakarlapudi has a certain way that she likes to approach making art. “I prefer using pencil and colored pencil because I like to be in control of what I am making,” Kakarlapudi said. “When I draw, I like to be able to control everything.” As an up-and-coming artist, she takes inspiration for her art from many different sources. “I am inspired by my mom, my teachers, and even my friends,” Kakarlapudi said. “And sometimes I am inspired by what others have done, and I make it my own.” Kakarlapudi is looking forward to possibly taking Painting, Photo, Digital Imaging, and Ceramics at BV West and, in the future, sees herself majoring in psychology and minoring in art in college. She wants to always keep art as a hobby, but she is keeping her options open. “If I get bored, I will teach art,” Kakarlapudi said. As Kakarlapudi is only a sophomore, it is only to be expected that she will have even greater success in her remaining high school career and that students will definitely see more of her work hanging in the West Gallery Hall.

a boy who, after being lost on a boat, loses and regains his connection with god. Despite being such tough roles to film and play, both actors bring the characters to life in a manner that made the earth shake in a spellbinding performance. However the most mesmerizing part of this film was in its cinematography and editing. When the ship that Pi is on sinks and Pi is flung into the ocean he goes underwater and sees the ship sinking to the bottom of the ocean. What we see there is one of the most beautiful shots in movie history, a shot of beauty in a time of horror and despair, clashing and molding together to create one nearly perfect scene. Everything that is shown in this movie was breathtaking as if it were handcrafted from a master artist’s hand. A graphic masterpiece consisting of a whale shooting out of the ocean, Pi gazing into the universe itself, carnivorous algae stripping the flesh from fish. Every scene had an underlying beauty to it that shocked and amazed the audience into craving more. Life of Pi is an amazing movie well on its way to be nominated for best picture. Its gorgeous cinematography that captivated audiences, wonderful acting that brought the movie to life, and unique plotting allow for a spectacular movie. Moviegoers who have not yet had a chance to view this motion picture should put this at the top of their list of to see movies.

Rating: A+

Artist of the Month: Aparna Kakarlapudi


The Science of Rock ‘n’ Roll

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Union Station exhibit offers new insight into beloved genre


ABBY KRSTULIC Online Editor in Chief

ince its beginning, rock ‘n’ roll has caused a variety of reactions from its audiences. From parents declaring it “obscene” and horrific during the 1960’s, to the launch of MTV in 1981, this genre has been around for a while, and throughout time, it has influenced people in ways they could have never imagined. On Nov. 17, Union Station launched the

world premiere of a brand new exhibit titled The Science of Rock ‘n’ Roll. This new mini museum explores instruments, history and shows audiences how Rock ‘n’ Roll is more than a genre. This music-lover’s paradise is here in Kansas City until May, when it will relocate to another city. Should you decide to make your way downtown to pay the $13 and experience the history of rock ‘n roll, here are some of the things that you might find. Find more pictures and information online at WWW.BVWNEWS.COM

True or False? True or False: Churches were incredibly accepting of rock ‘n’ roll and even helped organize concerts. False- churches were convinced that rock ‘n roll was obscene and horrible and even held public burnings of records.

Interactive Section


fter passing the history section, visitors are able to play around with instrument sounds on large tables. They can add drums, a lead guitar, and many more in order to create their own songs. Once they are done, they can scan their “backstage pass” and put their e-mail into the computer to send all of their songs to themselves. Following those tables, all rockstars or new music lovers have the opportunity to record

True or False: Juke boxes obtained their names from juke joints, or rowdy bars. True- juke boxes were available in various places, especially in juke joints, where they got their name.

their own songs on different instruments, along with singing along to their favorite rock songs in a karaoke booth. These interactive aspects add something special and fun to the overall experience. If one wants to get through the exhibit quickly, then it is something easy to skip over; however, stopping and trying all of the instruments or songs in the karaoke booth makes for a fun visit.

True or False: Music sales fell from $14.6 billion to $6 billion in the new century. True- the 1990’s saw a boom in music sales, and this sudden decrease is mainly attributed to online piracy and accesibility of music on the internet.

History Section


s new rockstars enter the exhibition, they can stop by mini booths that provide information on rock and roll in a certain decade. The decades start with the 1950’s and go through the new century. Each booth contains a basic overview of the decade and how music, and even the world, changed over the ten years. Each booth also contains artifacts from the time period. ArtiFrom top left: After a making a recording, visitors can scan their “backstage passes” and submit their e-mail to get their songs sent to them. • Sound booths are availlable for everyone to share their favorite concert experiences. They can also record themselves singing to their favorite rock and roll tunes. • Music lovers have the opportunity to play their favorite rock ‘n’ roll instruments and record their own songs in the exhibit. Instruments include drum sets, guitars and pianos. Photos courtsey of Abbey Bingham.

facts range from old jukeboxes to The Rolling Stones’ concert tickets. In addition to the information, the booths provide unique audio information by playing songs from the decades in that specific booth. More information is intertwined with the interactive portions, too. Diagrams and even more artifacts help tell the story of rock and roll as well as provide information on how our brains process music. Artifacts decorate each and every booth, providing every music fanatic with a unique visual for each decade. This booth contains a keyboard, a magazine reporting John Lennon’s death, a Def Lepard VIP pass and many other things. Other booths included items such as original records, action figures and various autographed items. Photo courtesy of Abbey Bingham.



spotlight sports


Sports briefs by:




Section Editor

Online Editor in Chief


Boys Basketball

tarting off with a strong win vs. Olathe North set the BV West boys basketball team up for a great season. Led by seniors Joey Lillis and Conley Wilkins, the Jaguars expect to have an unforgettable season of accomplishments. Trying to put their name up with the other elite Jaguar teams will prove a very difficult task. This year’s team is very young which is very exciting for the future of the program but may hurt the success of the team this year because of the lack of experience. “I am very excited for the upcoming season as we have a lot of talent on this team,” said junior Zack Engelken. “I feel like this will be a memorable season this year and again, I am very excited to get this season underway.” The Jags may have a considerably young team this year but they have very talented underclassmen that have the skill to do a lot this year. Many young players saw a solid amount of time last year including Parker Roy, Connor Kaiser, Ryan Ralston, Zack Engelken, and Blaise Gammon. This young group of players has proved their talent, and they will receive yet another chance to do better for the team this year. Last season was a very solid season for the boys basketball program but they have lost some talented seniors including Collin Wiles, Brett McMakin, and Tripp Roy. The seniors this year should expect great performances from Lillis who received 6A All-Class Honorable Mention last year. “I was very impressed with the strides we made as a team last year,” Engelken said. “I am hoping to continue the success we have made over the past couple of years and accomplish more.” The most important tournament of the year is the State tournament.With all of the regional teams striving for the prize of winning state, there will have to be a considerable amount of practice and focus needed. The basketball team is willing to put in the time and effort required for this type of honor, but only time will tell what the future will hold. In recent action the Jags lost a tough game to rival BV Southwest. Although the teams were tied a half, the final score was 66-55. They’ll look to bounce back on Friday, Dec. 14 against Blue Valley High.



V West wrestling is already off to an impressive start, as they went 4-1 as a team at the Spring Hill duals. Seniors Nadir Zayyad, Alex Craven, Matt Penner, Matt Paxton, and Jacob Paxton look to lead the way for the wrestling team this season. Having a team full of seniors can be very beneficial to the program because of the leadership and experience each individual has. “Our team this season is a very senior heavy team,” BV West wrestling coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “Although our team has some newcomers, we still have a lot of experience. This season should be an excellent season.” With the amount of experience this team is loaded with, they look to take advantage of every key meet this season. Some key meets this season include the JoCo Classic, Blue Valley Duel, EKL, and regionals. “I am very optimistic for this season,” junior Luke Wassel said. “I am very excited to see what this season has in store for us. I think that this team could go a long way and make this one of the best seasons of wrestling at West.” Recently, senior Matt Paxton accomplished a feat that only three other wrestlers at BV West have reached. At the Spring Hill duals, Paxton recorded his 100th and 101st varsity wins. Also, on December 7th, the wrestling team traveled to Nebraska for the Nebraska Duals. Matt Penner, Matt Paxton, Jacob Paxton, Nadir Zayyad, and Chall Jenkins all received all-tournament team honors, as they went 5-0 in their pools. Matt Paxton, Penner, Zayyad, and Jenkins all went a perfect 10-0 for the tournament.This team is very optimistic because of the amount of experience they have as a whole. Students at BV West shouldn’t be surprised if some State tournament champions emerge from the wrestling team.

In a tight game against Olathe North, senior Joey Lillis goes up and around the basket for a layup. In the end, the Jaguars were victorious with a final score of 45-42. Photo by Elise St.Louis.

Girls Basketball T

he Lady Jaguars basketball team will look to have a lot of success and growth this season as they have a young squad that could be competitive in the EKL. They will be led by their only senior, Jordan Wright. The team competed at the Joplin tournament last weekend as the season got underway. “We knocked off the #1 seed Nixa,” said sophomore Katie Lenson. “And we also got a win against Marshfield, and ended up placing 3rd.” The Joplin tournament was definitely a good start to the season for the girls basketball season with a couple wins under their belt and an upset of the number one seed in the tournament. This year will be a year where they will try to work together to gain experience because of their lack of upperclassmen. Their goals for this season are based on growth as a team and individual players. “Our goals for this season are just for all of us to try and focus on improving,” said sophomore Adriana Jadlow. “And working to get better since we are a young team and hopefully come out of the season with some wins.” They will be hoping to place well in the EKL this season, even after losing star player Erika Lark from last season. Lark was a key player, contributing 16 points per game, and the Jags will miss her presence on the court. They have started the season off on the right foot, and will hope to match this success throughout the rest of the season.

ast year proved to be a successful year for boys swim and dive; finishing in the top 10 at state as well as second in EKL, the team hopes to repeat their success this year with the leadership of some seniors. With the leadership of Kyle Fecteau and Austin Cosner, the only two seniors, the team strives to help get back to where they were last year, and try to pass on success. With two junior swimmers, Alec Faust and Danny Pankratz, being the two stand outs among the younger swimmers, they will also have a big example to set for them, to make sure the younger swimmers follow closely behind and strive for excellence. “Everyone is varsity so you compete against everyone,” senior diver Kyle Fecteau said. “So for most people it’s just about making an improvement every meet.” The swim and dive team has a couple of big meets including the Shawnee Mission East Invitational and also the Olathe Invitational,” Fecteau said. “And of course EKL and State. The Blue Valley Invitation is a big one for many swimmers and divers because its in late January before right EKL and State; so it’s a good place to get a good boost of confidence before the most important meets of the year. “Shawnee Mission Dive Invite in late January is always a big deal since it’s right before EKL and State,” Kyle Fecteau said. This season is about having a bunch of young talent and having the need for multiple younger swimmers to perform well, like freshman Jordan Cowen, and sophomore Kent McDonald. The team is extremely focused and excited to get the season started because they feel like they have a strong team and could contend for a State championship. With only two seniors leading the way and showing some of the younger swimmers the strokes it could be a uphill battle but they feel like they can get there. “Anything is possible; with hard work, a lot of success is possible.” Fecteau said. “I hope to set a stage for dedication and strong performance both in and out of the pool; we practice a lot more than any other sport without receiving any attention.”

Sports briefs by: HARRISON WHITNEY Reporter



Boys Swim & Dive L

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TUCKER PAINE Online Editor in Chief

Girls Bowling

his year the Jaguars bowling squad will undergo a near complete overhaul after losing 10 seniors from last year’s team. Last year was the team’s inaugural season after Blue Valley added girls bowling as a sport for all five of the high schools in the district. Last year, the team enjoyed a lot of senior leadership that they will be missing during this season. The team will likely be very inexperienced and will be focusing on having fun and trying to have a good rebuilding year, while gaining some invaluable experience along the way. “We had a lot of really good bowlers who were seniors,” junior Hana Coniglio said. “And they left so it will be interesting to see how we do this year and I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.” The team will likely be brand new and will have to try to persevere through any rocky patches that might come up as a result of their lack of previous bonding. The girls are confident that they will be able to work through any issues that may arise. “I actually don’t know anyone on the team yet,” said Coniglio. “I think we are all going to have a main goal of just trying to get along and have a good season so that we can improve again for next year.” The team will participate in a series of competitions with other local and regional schools as they look to boost their merits and improve as the year goes on. The girls will have a lot of similarities to swimming as every competition they try to best their highest score and help the team to beat the other schools. Traditionally there will be several bowlers from each school competing and they will usually combine the scores of each bowler from a single school and then assign each school a final place depending on which school’s bowlers had the most total points. “I hope to have a lot of fun this season,” said Coniglio. “And I also hope to meet a lot of new people through the team this season.”



spotlight opinion Jack rogoz

Calvin lee

Legalize It? Residents of Kansas and citizens around the country push for the legalization of marijuana


ecently, the states of Colorado and Washington welcomed the legalization of recreational marijuana with the adoption of Amendment 64 and Initiative 502. So why aren’t we doing the same thing here in Kansas? The illegal status of marijuana is detrimental and has only caused harm to the United States. The “legalize” movement has created a petition made to allow the use of marijuana in Kansas that is already garnering support, even though “Mary Jane” isn’t supposed to be officially legalized until 2014 if the petition passes. Opponents of this and other legalization laws hold multiple economic, social, and religious reasons as sufficient evidence against legalization, but we disagree. Marijuana is one of the most beneficial and therapeutically active substances known to man. The way many physically ill people see it, marijuana is not a drug, it is a medicine that can help reduce the side effects of conditions like epilepsy, asthma, tuberculosis, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and glaucoma (as BV West students learned in health class). Marijuana’s biggest use, though, is in combatting the harsh side effects of chemotherapy. Cancer patients undergoing chemo face not only massive pain, but also increased risk of depression coupled with a complete loss of appetite. Marijuana aids patients by decreasing pain and stress, and also by increasing malnourished patient’s appetites. With all of the health benefits that marijuana provides, it seems ridiculous that groups would fight to keep it illegal. Despite the medical benefits of marijuana, the plant was made illegal by the United States in the late 1930’s. One reason why it is illegal is that in the 1937 a smear campaign was run by Dr. A. E. Fossier. In his book “The Marihuana Menace” he stated that he discovered journals speaking of the “hasheesh-eaters” a group of people associated with marijuana. Dr. A. E. Fossier believed that this group would deliver marijuana to a certain type of boss. Fossier thought the journals he discovered said that after smoking weed, these “hasheesh-eaters” would remain loyal to someone once the affects of the plant went away, otherwise known as brainwashing. Fossier twisted his journal findings and linked marijuana to violent behavior, claiming that it gives people the mentality to kill. Another reason why marijuana is illegal is that it once was associated with racism in the 1800’s (back when racism was far more commonplace) and it was also said to have “no acceptable medical use,” which has since been disproven.

Should marijuana be legalized in Kansas? (Kansas residents polled)

Clearly, inhaling smoke, no matter what it is from, isn’t wonderful for your body. According to CBS News, in 2011, tobacco products claimed six million lives. Other dangerous substances are killing people as well. Alcohol alone claims on average 75 thousand lives each year, according to MSNBC. Even aspirin and caffeine are the cause of 2,500 deaths annually in America. The one “harmful” substance that does not cause massive annual deaths is marijuana. That’s right, marijuana has never been directly related to even one death. A myriad have sources have proven this; all it takes is one google search to reveal the truth. Web MD even argues marijuana won’t kill you. It is the safest illicit drug in the modern world, yet it remains illegal while tobacco and alcohol are openly sold all across the country. The medical benefits of marijuana greatly outnumber the harm it can potentially do to the body. THC poisoning only sets in when an individual smokes about 4 pounds of weed, and thats not probable. Overall, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs are much more detrimental to the human body than cannabis. People with diseases wouldn’t be prescribed marijuana if it were harmful. But marijuana does not only have medical benefits, it also helps our economy and national security. If America as a whole were to adopt laws much like those in Washington and Colorado, there would be an immediate increase in government revenue. Washington’s Initiative 502 taxes pot at three stages: growth, distribution, and sale. With the tax rate for weed set at 25%, the Washington Office of Finances is predicting revenue of more than half a billion dollars per year. Yes, the sale of a simple plant could rake in $560,000,000 for Washington every year. This is just the beginning. Imagine if every state were to adopt similar policies. The result is an estimated $15-25 billion in yearly revenue for the government. I would say that is a pretty good return for letting adults smoke as they please. Another benefit that legal weed would bring is the weakening of the notorious drug cartels. Although it is hard to get exact financial statements from criminal organizations, Washington Post reported in 2006 that nearly 60% of cartel’s revenue came from marijuana. By channeling the cartel’s market toward safe, controlled dispensaries, buyers would be directly funding the United States government instead of criminal kingpins. The loss of revenue would not only shrink the power of cartels, but it would also decrease the ability of cartels to push harder drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine on their customers. Lower usage of


Reporters these extremely dangerous drugs would be a big boost to public safety. Along with that, weaker drug cartels and safe dispensaries would greatly reduce both national and international crime rates. It is prohibition all over again. Marijuana being outlawed has created more problems than it has solved. Not only is it the reason behind some of the gang violence today, similar to the prohibition movement during the 1920’s and 30’s, but it has also turned honest people who smoke marijuana into criminals. This is just wrong, and it stems from polarized opposition to legalization laws. The biggest concern marijuana opponents have is how people will function in public. Initiative 502 regulates issues like driving while high through a legal limit (much like the .08 BAC law), but only time will tell how the roads are affected by large numbers of high drivers. Another issue is the so-called “slippery slope” of drug legalization. The logic behind it is that once marijuana is legal, people will ask for more drugs to become legal until eventually there is no such thing as an illegal substance. Although this is a logical argument, it’s not like politicians will be rallying to legalize meth. The final issue brought up against marijuana is the moral and spiritual issues smoking causes. Most religions, besides Rastafarianism of course, are either neutral or against the use of any substances that alter one’s state of mind, including pot. This would imply that many Americans are, in theory, against marijuana. Despite this, the Constitution’s separation of church and state prohibits government from making laws based on religion. All of this is reason enough to legalize marijuana, but perhaps the most historically significant reason to support Washington and Colorado is the fact that marijuana used to be a staple of America. As learned in US History, It was the source of almost all rope and cloth. King James I ordered all Virginia Company territories to grow it. Even George Washington grew it in large quantities at his estate Mount Vernon. Perhaps marijuana legalization is the type of full-circle change America needs. It is obvious to us that legalizing pot gives the U.S. big gain with little drawback, so maybe we should all calm down and accept marijuana as a good thing. All we can do spread the word. Perhaps Thomas Jefferson summed up the pro-marijuana argument best when he said “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.” Americans really should, like it or not, legalize it.


*the opinions reflected in this article are not necessarily the opinions of the Spotlight staff, or anyone except the writers.

Harrison Whitney



According to some, the world will end on December 21st; Fact or Fiction?

ver the years there have been many outlandish tales of an impending apocalypse. According to the Mayan calendar, in a couple of weeks on December 21 the world is supposed to end. This has many people panicking-- I assure you, though, the panic is unneccesary. The Mayans have a theory that involves a “polar shift,” which means the reversal of the North and South magnetic poles. Another theory is “galactic alignment,” which would destroy Earth because of the gravitational effect between the Sun and a newly created black hole. The Mayan calendar supports a “Polar Shift.” A Polar Shift is reversing the polarity of the whole world. To put it in simpler terms if it occurred today a compass would point south when it was facing what we thought was north. In the past 15 million years scientists found pole shifts occur four times every one million years, which averages out to once every 250,000 years. If the Pole Shift did occur then the Earth would be subject to Solar radiation, a complete climate change, and dangerous weather patterns. If the poles reversed instantly, the globe would be subject to massive earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and massive flooding due to icebergs melting. Now, I don’t believe that this will happen in 2012, because scientists unexpectedly got evidence in the 1950’s while exploring the seafloor. For a pole shift to occur, it take anywhere from 1,000-28,000 years. This counters the Mayan’s idea of a rapid pole shift and the mass chaos that would ensue. The Mayans had three calendars, called “The Haab, The Tzolkin, and The Long Count.” The Habb is a 365-day solar calendar divided into 18 months of 20 days and one month of only five days. The Tzolkin calendar, which numbers its days from one to thirteen, and in a sequence of 20 days repeats itself each cycle. The last one is The Long Count, which is an astronomical calendar, that is calculated to be 2,880,000

Maddy Wilson



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days longs. Mayans believed that after all those days the universe would destroy itself and come back. A slight problem with the Mayan calendar was it did not include leap years. Because of this, the “apocalypse” was technically suppose to happen a long time ago. Another theory that NASA and many scientists believe will happen is that a Black Hole called “Sagittarius A” will devour many planets around the sun. Researchers say that that gas clouds and stars are combining and making their way toward the Galactic Center. The Galactic Center Alignment is the alignment of the December solstice sun with the Galactic equator. It occurs as a result of the precession of the equinoxes, according to research. They call this “era-2012”. This is when the Sagittarius A Black Hole and the sun line up, and the black hole that will be 3 times the size of the Earth will explode and destroy our planet. The scientists call this alignment “nuclear bulge,” which would yield no survivors. I don’t believe these will happen because recently NASA released an article explaining that they were wrong, and that December will just be another December Solstice where the North Pole will tilt a little bit and leave more places in the dark for just a little bit longer than usual. I tend to believe the people who are scientists, and those who have actually been to space and have satellites and been on multiple space expeditions to the moon. Not random apocalypse nuts. My explanation for this world ending chaos is that the world will not end in my lifetime. I believe the world will be perfectly fine when we all wake up on December 22, 2012. With all the evidence pointing away from the world actually ending I believe we all have many more years on this planet. So everyone quit buying survival kits and worry about Christmas and everything that is on December 25, 2012.

Give us a break!

Abbey Fiser

Seniors struggle with the pressure of homework, tests, and applying for college

Editor in Chief


s the reality of the last year of high school begins to sink in for many students at BV West, students are frantically scrambling to make life-altering decisions and apply for colleges and scholarships among a myriad of other things. It is crucial to apply to as many colleges as possible, so that there are a large number of potential opportunities. It is obvious that the application process is not an easy one—along with applications come letters of recommendation, essays, and other requirements based on the school. Applications also cost money—not all parents can pay for the large number of applications their children are applying for; and so, students also must work for money. The process is long, and does not end when the applications are complete. Once accepted, one must consider which college he or she is actually going to attend. Students must narrow down the colleges that may not suit them as well, and begin the long journey in picking the school that will have the best fit. In order to do this, time and effort is once again required. Realistically, students should visit all of the schools they are seriously considering attending. With a five-day week full of assignments and studying, teachers make it relatively impossible to miss enough school necessary for attending these college visits. Also, the amount that some teachers are expecting seniors to do is detrimental to

Reporter the research process. To remain sane, people need some time to relax; they need time to hang out with their family, or exercise or nap. With the current homework load, it seems that teachers are entirely unsympathetic to the fact that as seniors there are truly more important things to do. It would be nice to have the weekends to figure out the fast-approaching future without having to focus on an upcoming math or biology test (which often coincidentally fall on the same day). School is supposed to prepare seniors to plan their futures, yet with the amount of work being given, there is not much time to balance applying to college and dealing with the homework and test stress that has come along with senior year. Personally, we think much of senior year should be spent preparing for the future. With all of the stress that comes with first semester senior year, seniors also have to make time for extra curricular activities.. Some activities are every night and take at least two hours. Now with that in mind, we speak for the seniors at BV West when asking teachers to consider this. Our future comes first; teachers should be a little more lenient when delegating assignments or judging whether or not something is “late”. Hopefully our school will begin to help with allotting sufficient time for applying to colleges and making decisions. Until then, we will continue to deal with the stress as so many in the past have.



spotlight photo essay

Above and


BV West students dedicate time to unique sports outside of school Design by Elise St. Louis Photos by Coleen Bost and Elise St. Louis • From top left clockwise: Sophomore Nicholas Friedeman practices his slap shot. His hockey team, the KC Stars, practices every week on Wednesday and Thursday at the Kansas City Ice Center. • Sophomore Avery Kaustinen blocks his teammates shot during a drill. Kaustinen has been a goalie for many years and has won a national championship on a previous hockey team. • Sophomore Miranda Osborne works on her Biellmann spin in open rink practice. Osborne is currently working on a routine for an upcoming holiday recital at the Kansas City Ice Center. • Senior Michaela Olthoff rides her horse Patrick around a barnyard. Olthoff has ridden Patrick for five years and won multiple competitions with him. • Junior Kennedy Arnold practices her routine for upcoming competitions this winter. Arnold has recently gotten back on the ice due to an ankle injury she received last year.

Spotlight December (with page 13)  

Vol. 12, Edition 4

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