G L OBE issue 3, volume 87
HOMELESS clayton high school, clayton, mo.
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GL OB E
Sports 34 Athlete Profile
Read about CHS softball star, junior Sarah Shepard.
The Globe examines how homelessness impacts the Clayton community as well as the broader St. Louis Region.
10 Honey Lady
Clayton resident Joy Stinger makes her own wax, with the help of bees.
16 Alex Oren
A discussion with the singing and songwriting junior.
20 Pedaling for a Cure
A look at the benefit bicycle race, Pedal the Cause.
35 Leah Piepert
Golf stand-out Leah Piepert shines.
The Studentâ€™s Guide to Lunch
What to eat for the dayâ€™s most important meal.
38 38 38 39
Sicario The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Ant-Man The Martian
Opinion 44 Pro/Con
The Globe examines the dilemma of giving money to the homeless.
12 Carla Power
Clayton graduate is finalist for National Book Award in nonfiction.
22 Teacher Coaches
History teachers Kurtis Werner and Chris Livingston also coach sports.
46 Staff Editorial: Homelessness 47 Things Sophie Hates CONTENTS
editor - in - chief alex bernard
senior managing editors grace harrison
section editors sophie allen
reporters madeleine ackerburg
copy editors charlie brennan harry rubin webmaster lemuel lan business manager lucy cohen photo editors bebe engel
distribution editor robert hollocher editors
photographers sophie argyres
graphics editor victoria yi graphic artist cherry tomatsu design editor lawrence hu adviser
Professional Affiliations: Sponsors of School Publications . Missouri Interscholastic Press Association . Missouri Journalism Education Association . National Scholastic Press Association . Columbia Scholastic Press Association
The Clayton Bubble. You’ve likely heard the term being used before in referring to how enclosed Clayton students are within the 2.5 square miles of land that fall between the succinct boundaries of Clayton, Missouri. While the idea of being enclosed can possess a somewhat positive connotation, the Clayton bubble can also lead to seclusion and disconnect. I have come to realize that such disconnect can lead students at CHS to be unaware of and apathetic toward worldly issues that exist in our surrounding areas. This issue of The Globe explores the topic of homelessness, which is a perfect example of an issue that might not be of utmost severity within the small town of Clayton. However, through reaching out to experts from around the region, The Globe recognizes that homelessness is a problem that pervades areas just outside of Clayton. And, to say homelessness is not a problem within Clayton is also untrue. The Clayton administration told us that each year there are multiple students within the district that are homeless. The Clayton community is an amazing community with amazing people. But, don’t let such notions make you think that Clayton is a perfect or utopian place. A school survey we conducted led to perplexing results. 40 percent of students surveyed said that they wished they could help the homeless, but they don’t know how. This was eye-opening to me. If a problem exists, and you want to help, the best route to come to a solution is through education and exploration. Being passionate about an issue is all that it takes to educate yourself about it and to explore ways to solve it. Popping the Clayton bubble will lead to students becoming more understanding of and empathetic toward societal issues. Doing so will, in some instances, lead to students finding an issue they are passionate about. Once students find this passion, they will inherently find the energy and motivation to come up with solutions. So, do what you can to reach out of your comfort zone. You will be surprised at how much you can learn from the people and places around you. Find a passion. Branching out of the Clayton bubble has not only allowed me to become more aware of worldly issues, but it has also allowed me to meet new people and, most importantly, have fun. I have noticed that the best way to seize the multitude of opportunities that exist outside of Clayton is to be adventurous and to take risks.
FROM THE EDITOR
One example of a very minor risk I take in order to seize some of these opportunities is using public transportation. To watch a good game of baseball, I do not hesitate to hop on the Metro. The last St. Louis Cardinals game I went to, I was shocked when a few of my friends showed signs of being reluctant to utilize public transportation. It did not add up for me. Having preconceived notions about how something will turn out is not conducive to having fun. Those that expressed such feelings toward using public transportation are clearly people that are used to and overly reliant on the Clayton way of life, stuck in the Clayton bubble. Without taking risks, we are missing out. Don’t be hesitant. Be smart, make the right decisions, but know that stepping out of your comfort zone will lead to great rewards.
Noah Brown, Feature Section Editor
The Globe Newsmagazine exists to inform, entertain, persuade and represent the student voice at CHS. All content decisions are made by the student editorial staff and the Globe is an entirely self-funded publication. Not every story that our reporters write is published in the print newsmagazine. Visit www.chsglobe.com for additional stories and photos and for more information about the Globe itself. We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement - for more information about advertising and subscriptions, please contact our office: Clayton High School Globe 1 Mark Twain Circle Clayton, MO 63105 EDITOR’S (314) 854-6668 N OT E 5 email@example.com
PA N O R
The junior girlsâ€™ Powder Puff team celebrates after their victory over the seniors. PHOTO BY CARRIE NISWONGER
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
Outstanding Citizens of CHS Senior Daniele Skor and junior Anna Anzilotti attended the Missouri Bar meeting and luncheon on Oct. 8, where they were honored as guests of Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Patricia Breckinridge and each received Outstanding Citizenship Awards.
Shaw Park Ice Rink After the Proposition D bond proposal to build Shaw Park Square failed in 2014, the Clayton Board of Aldermen approved a maximum of $200,000 to repair the Shaw Park Ice Rink. The planned repairs should allow the rink to function for two to three more years, providing the Board time to consider options for permanent renovations for the rink.
Wash U to Host Debate
Washinton University will host a presidential debate next year. One of Washington University’s most prominent buildings, Brookings Hall (Erin Castellano).
NEWS Sanders Stepping Up On Tuesday, Oct. 14, the Democratic debate held in Las Vegas made history with a record viewership of 15.3 million. Most notably, the debate featured Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and current Democratic frontrunner and expected nominee for the general election, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s email scandal, the subject of great media attention ever since her campaign was launched last April, proved a popular topic during the debate.
Marysia Hyrc Takes Parkway West Invitational by Storm On Oct. 10, Clayton student Marysia Hyrc placed first at the speech and debate tournament at Parkway West High School in both of her events, United States Extemporaneous Speaking and Radio Speaking, as well as her Lincoln-Douglas debate. This is not the first time Hyrc has experienced success during her career with the speech and debate team - last year in the same tournament, she was the debate champion.
by LUCY COHEN and OLIVIA REUTER page editors NEWS
Washington University is set to host one of the three presidental debates on October 9, 2016. This debate, their fifth presidential or vice presidential parley since 1992, will give them the honor of hosting more debates than any other institution in American history. Tickets will be reserved for the Commission of Presidential Debates, with those remaining available to full-time Washington University students via lottery.
Marysia Hyrc with her first place trophy after winning her the final debate round. (Justin Seiwell)
Photo by Ella Engel
SAT-URATED WITH CHANGE The Princeton Review and high school students rush to catch up as the SAT experiences major changes.
This spring, high school students across the nation will be taking the ACT on steroids. CHS counselor Carolyn Blair used this term to describe the new version of the SAT being implemented beginning in March 2016. “It’s all of the content of the ACT, but it’s applied instead of just having to know the facts,” Blair said. The new SAT features four sections: critical reading, grammar and two sections of math, a substantial reduction from the previous ten small sections. Other changes include a larger emphasis on algebra II and basic trigonometry, an optional essay, the testing of vocabulary through context clues and the elimination of a guessing penalty. Since the announcement of the new test, test prep agencies have been working frantically to remain relevant. Teresa Bradley, territory manager at the Princeton Review, explained, “The test overhauled so we completely overhauled. We rewrote books, rewrote tests, retrained tutors. Everything the College Board did to write the new test, we did times 10.” Bradley insisted that, although the new test has not yet been officially administered, the Princeton Review remains a valuable resource. “The Princeton Review has been doing this for a long time. We know what we’re doing. We have these tests down. Our teachers and tutors are experts,” Bradley said. However, according to Blair, a member of the College Board committee, prep agencies like the Princeton Review are redesigning their programs based upon the same three sample tests that students also have access to. “It’s really interesting to me that people think they’re going to prep you for a test that they don’t have yet. All they have are the practice tests,
by NICHOLAS LEE feature section editor which you have, too,” Blair said. Since the revised version of the SAT has yet to be administered, it is anyone’s guess as to what exactly will be on the test. “Here’s the thing,” Blair said. “The [prep agencies] don’t know. They think that they know. Are they pretty close? Probably.” As part of her work on the College Board committee, Blair helped decide when and how to release the sample tests, considering both the students and the prep agencies. With the new SAT, the College Board is partnering with Khan Academy to offer free online test prep in an effort to create a more level playing field. Blair expressed hope that Khan Academy would be able to provide a comparable option to conventional prep agencies. “I think [Khan Academy] provides a level of access to prep that wasn’t there before, and I do think that’s important,” Blair said. However, the prep available on Khan Academy takes the discipline and motivation required of self study and does not yet have the same reputation as agencies like the Princeton Review. “It takes a student that’s self motivated enough to sit through and press through the prep,” Blair said. “I think there’s enough fear about the new SAT that there’s still going to be a lot of people paying for test prep.” With all of the anxiety surrounding the new test, Bradley expressed the importance of what a good score truly means. “A good score on any standardized test is the score that gets you into the school that you want to go to with the financial aid that you need to pay for it,” Bradley said. “That means something different for every student.”
“It’s all of the content of the ACT, but it’s applied instead of just having to know the facts.” (Blair)
THE BUZZ AROUND TOWN A look into Clayton resident Joy Stinger’s small business: Stinger’s Honey and Beeswax Company. by SOPHIE BERNSTEIN reporter Driving down Westmoreland Avenue, the bees are buzzing. Clayton resident Joy Stinger is the founder of Stinger’s Honey and Beeswax Company. Stinger is 80 years old, and has been living in the heart of Clayton for 32 years with her friend Alan Sherman. 28 years ago Stinger just wanted to plant a garden, but her wish blossomed into so much more. After planting her garden, she realized her yard did not have enough bees to pollinate the flowers. She started with one hive, but over the years she added more and more. Stinger learned that the honey must be extracted from the bees, or the bees will leave the hive. Extracting the honey is extremely strenuous work. A friend and mentor helped her through the process for many years. After eight years Stinger had too much honey to give away. Once Stinger had numerous hives she started a business. “I mostly sell my honey at the farmer’s markets, people come to my house or I wholesale the honey to businesses such as University Gardens, Winslow’s Home and Jennifer’s Pharmacy,” Stinger said. She used to extract the honey three times a times a year, but now the bees are producing less honey. Even though Stinger has more beehives, she is receiving less honey than she did 25 years ago. Honey is not the only product Stinger makes. “I have made quilts, pillows, candle items, beeswax and stools,” Stinger said. “Most times I will handmake an item for fun and I realize I could sell the product.” Stinger’s agenda is year round, from quilting to gardening to taking care of the animals. She loves to work and keep herself occupied. “I retired from my job as a graphic designer at 62,” Stinger said. “I love taking care of the chickens, rabbits, cats, plants and birds.” Check out Stinger’s Honey and Beeswax Company at the local farmer’s markets, or take a trip to her home at 7639 Westmoreland Ave. She welcomes visitors, but asks for them to call her first at (314) 862-0509.
(Bottom left) Jars of Stinger’s honey. (Top right) Stinger in her green house. (Bottom right) Stinger sitting in her home. (Photos by Cosi Thomas)
Photo from the Globe archives
HALLOWEEN DANCELLED For the first time in recent memor y, CHS is not hosting a Halloween dance. Costumes, contests, disguises and laughter swirl through the halls of Clayton High School on one October night every year. The Halloween dance was one of the school’s most popular events. This year, however, the dance will not take place. “After last year’s suspensions, there was not a big push from faculty to promote or support a Halloween dance,” STUGO advisor Kurtis Werner said. Kurt Kleinberg, also a STUGO advisor, added on by saying that administrators have a problem with the attire worn by many students at the Halloween dance. The administrators are calling for a dress code at the next dance and have also decided that a Halloween theme is no longer acceptable at Clayton High School. “It’s a huge blow for STUGO,” Werner said. “The [Halloween] dance was our largest fundraiser and also the most fun.” Seven STUGO representatives from each grade met on Thursday, Oct. 1 to discuss alternative dance ideas. Many new themes are being given consideration. “This is why representatives are elected,” Werner said. “When situations like these arise, they will be taken care of with an even better replacement.” “One alternative to the Halloween dance is having a winter formal in December,” freshman STUGO representative Eliza Copilevitz said. However, the possibility of another formal event did not seem to sit well with many of the STUGO representatives.
by MADELINE BALE reporter
“There was the idea for a formal, but I think that a lot of students like a fun, laid-back event that isn’t too fancy,” freshman representative Izzy Mills said. “Students already have two to three formal dances per year, so a relaxed dance would be very popular.” The rest of STUGO agrees with Mills. To keep things easy and casual, STUGO representatives are getting excited about the possibility of a glow dance. The group predicts that the neon colors and black lights will be a lot of fun for the students. However, another problem faces the representatives. The date of the Homecoming dance was later this year, and STUGO has to find a balance. They do not want their event to be too close to Homecoming, but they also do not want to host the dance too late either. Then there is the problem of finding a date that agrees with the schedules of CHS administrators who have multiple out-of-town conferences scheduled on the weekends around the original date of October 31. Student government representatives have a lot of options on the table and an important decision to make. “I think that whatever STUGO chooses will be liked by the students,” Copilevitz said. “[Representatives] are students too, and we will discuss the pros and cons of each option until we decide which one will be most enjoyed.”
WORDS WITH POWER
CHS alum Carla Power is a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in nonfiction
by CAMILLE RESPESS news section editor When Carla Power was just 4 years old, she and her family packed their bags and headed off to Iran, leaving their life in Clayton behind to live in this Islamic country for two years. Power, a CHS graduate of the class of 1984, would continue to take extended trips like this one throughout her adolescence. “Half of my childhood was spent in Clayton, but every two or three years my dad would take us out of school and we would set up shop, usually in an Islamic country,” Power said. “We lived in Iran, India, Afghanistan, Egypt and Rome. But we would always come back to Clayton.” Power found these experiences to be very rewarding, but living back and forth between the US and foreign lands did have its downsides. “It was sort of this weird split existence between suburban Missouri and living in the Islamic world. My parents were really interested in Islamic cultures,” Power said. Power’s father was a law professor at Saint Louis University. Through the various grants he received to educate abroad, including the Fulbright, he was able to explore his love for the Islamic world and also instill this same adoration in his daughter. Over 40 years after her first time leaving the US for an Islamic country, Power published her first book, a reflection upon her experiences with Islamic cultures. If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran was published in April 2015 and is a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in nonfiction. “My book is about a friendship between two very different people. It
is trying to look at where our views converge and where they diverge,” Power said. “It’s also a memoir. It’s about my life growing up and what it was like to live in Islamic societies in the 70s, when I was growing up, which was a really pivotal time in Islamic society’s history because all these things were changing.” The friendship that Power writes of is that of her and Sheik Akram, a Muslim man with whom she spent one year while studying the Quran under his guidance. The inspiration behind her exploration of the Quran and Islamic cultures stemmed from her aspiration to show Islam in a different light than the one that it is commonly viewed in. “I had known that I had wanted to write a book for a long time, trying to show another slide of Islam than what is predominantly reported in the news,” Power said. Power’s decision to take on this task was also based upon her desire to challenge the stereotypes existing about Muslims that dominate society today. “[He is a] Muslim man that has very different beliefs from the stereotypes that we know of which is the violent, extremist man or the quiet, muffled woman,” Power said. “Sheik Akram, who taught me the Quran, explodes every stereotype we have about what the Muslim world is about.” In her studies, Power not only gained a greater understanding of the Quran and Islamic societies, but also a greater understanding of herself. “I had always thought of myself as really cosmopolitan and liberal. I
thought that I was so well-traveled, so well-educated, that I had so many friends from different walks of life,” Power said. “But when I really drilled down, I realized that I don’t have many friends that think profoundly differently than me.” Power spent many hours with the Sheik over the course of her one year study. In doing so, she was able to form a bond with this man that, on the exterior, is very different from her. “Here’s this Muslim guy from a tiny, tiny town in India, a very conservative Muslim in many ways. And here I am - my mom was Jewish and my dad was Quaker, and I was raised secular, and I’m a feminist and an American,” Power said. “We found, surprisingly, many places where we absolutely agreed on so many things. To me, that was incredibly exciting.” In spite of the fact that Power went in and out the Clayton School District while growing up, she was still an active member of the student body, especially during her time at CHS. “I wrote reviews for the newspaper, which was called Clamo then. I wrote a couple of pieces for them,” Power said. “I was mostly into drama, that was sort of my big extra-curricular deal back then.” The ambition of Power’s classmates at CHS and the impact that had on her was one of the greatest factors that sculpted Power into a skilled writer. “I just remember my fellow students were so smart. We really raised each other’s games. It’s a fairly competitive school. It had a really healthy, friendly competition and some of the teachers were really fabulous,” Power said. Power’s journalistic work continued into her professional career as she was a foreign correspondent for Newsweek before leaving that position to become a freelance writer for Time Newsmagazine. When she first began in journalism, Power became attracted to writing about slower moving social issues in society. “Rather than telling what happened yesterday, [I liked] explaining much more glacier-like movements that we all know about. I wanted to unpack those and see how they happen,” Power said. One of the most profound stories that Power worked on at Newsweek was a cover story in 1998 about women living under the Taliban. In her investigation, she went to Afghanistan, something, according to Power, very few reporters were doing at the time. “It was a very unpleasant situation, especially in Kabul, where I went. It involved lots of sneaking around and trying not to get in trouble with the Taliban,” Power said. Although Power is currently turning more towards writing books and less on journalistic works, she is grateful for the experiences journalism has given her. “The ability to see the world and tell people stories and meet people who are totally different from you and try to understand the world and explain it to people, that’s a huge privilege. I pinch myself that I am able to do that,” Power said. Power credits her achievements in writing not to her own abilities, but rather the circumstances that allowed her to pursue her passions. “The older I get, the more I am sure that success is a matter of luck,” Power said. “Anybody who doesn’t acknowledge that is pretty arrogant.” Power is eager to deepen and complicate people’s notion of what Islam is, with her book, If the Oceans Were Ink, she is hopeful that will occur. “There’s sort of a dangerous simplification going on because of the headlines, because of ISIS. There are really dangerous stereotypes that are being used,” Power said. “There is a lot of hatred out there and unnecessary Islamophobia. I am really proud when people read this book and find out something new about Islam.”
(Left page) Sheik Akram (left) and Carla Power (right). (Photo from Carla Power) (Above, top) The cover of the book by Carla Power. (Bottom, right) Carla Power’s CHS yearbook photo. (Photo from CLAMO Yearbook)
SCULPTURE IN SHAW
A sculpture by Steven Gregor y is the newest addition to the Clayton public art scene. by PETRA SIKIC reporter
There’s a new kid in town. He can be seen at the Shaw Park playground. Don’t worry; he’s easy to recognize at about 16-feet tall and a weight of 17,000 pounds. The newcomer in question is the latest piece of public art to grace Clayton streets. Named “One of Us On a Tricycle,” this monumental sculpture is the work of South-African born and English-educated artist Steven Gregory. The stylized elephant sits astride a small blue tricycle, and boasts a head resembling the opening of a saxophone. The whimsical nature of “One of Us On a Tricycle” is characteristic of Gregory’s work. Gregory, a graduate of the prestigious St. Martin’s School of Art, often incorporates childish elements into his work. The Cass Sculpture Foundation describes “One of Us On a Tricycle” as “unnervingly humorous and wonderfully kitsch.” The sculpture was first installed in Shaw Park on June 23 as part of a long-standing cooperation between the City of Clayton and the Gateway Foundation. As Patty DeForrest, director of the Clayton Parks and Recreation Department, said, “The Gateway Foundation really works on identifying places they would like to see works of art in throughout the St. Louis Community.” Then, the Foundation places whichever pieces it has at its disposal in those locations. In doing so, they work closely with local authorities. Prior to selecting the Shaw Park playground, Foundation officials toured Clayton with the help of the Clayton Public Art Advisory Committee, the city’s chief advisory body on all things art. Out of the three potential locations they found, the playground in Shaw Park finally won out. Once the site had been chosen, the plan was subject to approval by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, and finally the Board of Aldermen. Having successfully passed both bodies, the sculpture still needed to garner the support of the Clayton community. Clayton has a rich tradition of public art, with some pieces, such as Fernando Botero’s “Man on a Horse” on Wydown Blvd. also coming by way of the Gateway Foundation. Public art, according to DeForrest, is an integral part of life in Clayton. “Public art adds to the character of the city,” DeForrest said. “[It] makes people talk about art and think about art. People in Clayton have a very fine appreciation of art.” So far, the general response has been mixed. Initially, there were quite a few negative comments on the piece, with some even referring to the sculpture as scary. DeForrest explains that this is quite normal for public art, especially when it happens to be more abstract in style. “Art, as people always say, is in the eye of the beholder,” DeForrest said. “What one person likes another person doesn’t. So we’ve just got to be really careful in deciding whether we like that piece. Does it have value, is it a sculptor who’s known for doing things people enjoy looking at?” Recently, though, DeForrest has started to see a shift in public opinion. “Some people like it, love it, some people hate it,” she said. “Some people don’t know what it is. Most people ask me why it doesn’t have a head, but I’ve started hearing sort of a turn in the conversation that
The statue can be seen by the playground in Shaw Park. (Alex Gerchen) maybe it is a nice piece to have by the playground, it’s supposed to be fun and childlike.” Even more importantly, the citizens of Clayton are becoming increasingly comfortable with the sculpture. “Just this past weekend, I received a photo of a family that climbed on it, and it is climbable. We don’t have a sign that says ‘Don’t climb that,’ as some art does, so we encourage people to climb it,” DeForrest said. One of the benefits of “One of Us On a Tricycle” is that it is so approachable, despite also being high in quality. “[It] helps people interact with art, and learn about the beauty of it,” DeForrest said. An added charm of “One of Us On a Tricycle” is that it comes free of charge to Shaw Park patrons. The Gateway Foundation covers all transportation expenses and has pledged to pay for maintenance costs throughout the sculpture’s tenure in Clayton. Although the piece is on loan to the City of Clayton for at least the next 12 months, DeForrest expects it to stay for 20 to 30 years. If it were not for the Foundation’s funding, such a long residence could potentially incur tens of thousands of dollars in expenses to the municipal budget. The latest in a string of overseas émigrés to come to Clayton, “One of Us On a Tricycle” adds to the city’s highly globalized culture. However, Clayton’s public art also has local connections, such as numbering one of Clayton High School’s own graduates, Ernest Trova, among its ranks. “I think we’ve got it all,” DeForrest said. “We’ve got a guy from Colorado, we’ve got a Clayton graduate, we have a guy that is from South Africa. I think it’s really exciting to have different [types of] art. I think it’s nice to know that we have stuff from around the world, and a few local artists too.”
Merrills working at her desk. (Felix Evans)
Dr. Kayra Merrills, new Spanish teacher at CHS, arrives with a rich histor y in the language. by ALEX BERNARD
and GRACE HARRISON
Until five months ago, Dr. Kayra Merrills, the new Spanish teacher at CHS, had her life planned out. After working for five years on her PhD and finally finishing her dissertation, she was looking for job opportunities at the collegiate level in the Maryland and D.C. area. Having lived there most of her life, Merrills was not anticipating having to move. However, everything changed in a matter of a few days. Mario, Merrills’s husband, was offered a job promotion in the medical sales industry in the St. Louis area. “[My husband] was offered the job at the end of May,” Merrills said. “We had to make a decision within three days of whether or not we wanted to do this.” For Merrills, the decision was not easy to make. “That wasn’t in our plans. This past year, I had been applying to universities and colleges to be a second languages education professor,” Merrills said. “This was a serious shock for me.” After weighing the pros and cons, Merrills and her husband decided to pursue his promotion and began the process of relocating to St. Louis. Although initially interested in university positions, Merrills expanded her search to include high schools in the St. Louis area, as well. A few days into her search, she came across CHS. “I didn’t know much about CHS,” Merrills said. “I did do a little bit of research on Clayton and saw that it was a great school district, but definitely not to the extent of what I know now, about what an amazing place it is.” Soon enough, Merrills flew to St. Louis to interview for a position as a CHS Spanish teacher. “I’m happy that I wasn’t stuck when I needed to move to St. Louis,” Merrills said. “I’m glad that I had the energy to be rerouted to a place that I don’t know.” At CHS, Merrills gets exposure to students of every grade level by teaching Spanish I, Spanish III and Spanish Conversation. “I feel like I won the lottery,” Merrills said. “Out of all of my teaching experiences [in elementary, middle and high school], this has been my
best. I genuinely really enjoy my students and I really am appreciative of all of the resources that Clayton School District has, and specifically the World Languages Department.” Merrills’s move to St. Louis was not the first significant change in her life. Merrills, whose father joined the American military when she was a baby, was born in Panama City, Panama. Her father had the choice to be based in Germany or in the United States and, upon the persuasion of his family, chose the U.S. Merrills was raised in a Spanish-speaking household; her mother, afraid that her five children would forget their Panamanian roots, did not allow them to speak English in the house. Instead, the children learned to speak English in school. Merrills used this experience as a native speaker and student of Spanish in her research in doctorate school. Today, she uses this in the classroom. “On a daily basis they are expected to do ‘verbals.’ After I’ve taught something, I ask each and every one of them to share a sentence or a question related to the vocabulary and grammatical structure that we are practicing. I do it, for the most part, in every class. That is one of the things that I do to help build students’ confidence,” Merrills said. Merrills has been able to use her experience of being exposed to an intersection of cultures from a young age in her teaching. “Being in St. Louis, there aren’t that many Afro-Latina women, so I proudly love to share that we exist. I am a black woman, but I’m also a woman of Latina heritage,” Merrills said. “I’ve never been confused about trying to choose one or the other. I am absolutely both. I grew up eating rice and beans. I grew up listening to salsa music and merengue.” Because of her unique genealogical history, Merrills has a unique perspective in observing racial conflicts involving people of African heritage and Latin Americans. “I can understand and relate to both of them because I feel duly linked and connected to both.”
CONDUCTING A LEGACY CHS graduate and now recognized orchestra conductor used his experience in Clayton to foster his development as a musician. by ANGELO VIDAL reporter “Like any high schooler,” prolific conductor and Class of 2000 CHS graduate Ryan McAdams said, “I was nervous about whether I would fit in or be worth being proud of.” McAdams is quickly establishing himself as one of the most thrilling and talented conductors of his generation. As a major symphonic conductor specializing in contemporary music, McAdams has made a name for himself in the music industry. He is the first-ever recipient of the Sir Georg Solti Emerging Conductor Award, and in 2015 alone, he has toured Italy, Canada and much of the United States, including St. Louis. McAdams is walking his own path of success which was carved right here at CHS. “I have only the fondest, warmest memories of CHS. I was so lucky to take part in the extraordinary arts program. It taught me how music could make community,” McAdams said. He remembered one individual especially. His choir teacher, Eric Anthony, was one of McAdams’ greatest inspirations during his time at CHS. “He saw my love and passion for music and gave me the space to ex-
Ryan McAdams in his senior photo. (From CLAMO yearbook)
F E AT U R
plore it,” McAdams said. McAdams associated with a common dilemma among teenaged students. He explained the trouble he encountered finding and maintaining close friendships due in part to stereotypes and teenage drama. “I was a weird, theater-bug kid. Choir is where I found my first real friends. We were all very different, a ragtag group of musicians, but Eric brought us all together. We grew close and even went to Europe together,” McAdams said. McAdams spent an exciting four years at CHS. He played large roles in the musicals, and even won an English award for the school. After his time at CHS, the next step on the path to success was college. McAdams received his Bachelor of Music from Indiana State University in 2004, a prestigious music school. He also received his Master of Music from Juilliard in 2006. McAdams’ experience auditioning for Juilliard was fairly abnormal compared to his other auditions. “I’d actually planned for my Juilliard audition to be just a warmup for another school. I never thought I’d get in,” he said. McAdams’ audition did not go well, but rather than feeling dejected, McAdams and the teacher plunged into a passionate discussion about their mutual love of Shakespeare. “I feel we made a connection, and I was the only one to be accepted into the Orchestral Conducting Program at Juilliard that year,” McAdams said. McAdams finds great inspiration through members of his family. McAdams’s wife, Laura Careless, is a performer specializing in storytelling through dance. “She is an extraordinary artist,” McAdams said. Another source of inspiration for McAdams were his parents, specifically his father. “My father was a theater director. He’s the one that taught me it was okay to be a straight man in the theater business,” McAdams said with a laugh. One of McAdams’ biggest inspirations is located right here in St. Louis. “Another one of my inspirations has to be the current music director of the St. Louis symphony, David Robertson. No one knows better how to enrich a community and bring them together through music,” McAdams said. Regarding pursuing passions, McAdams had a few words of wisdom to share. “Whatever it is you are passionate about that makes you feel isolated or different, go for it, and that is actually what will bring you closer to people,” he said.
Q&A: ALEX OREN CHS junior Alex Oren has a deep passion for music and aspires to make a living in the industr y. by THÉO FEHR reporter places out there where you can get recognized and noticed. Sure, it’s not gonna be the keystone of how you get started, but if St. Louis doesn’t take me to where I want to be, after that I’ll just go to Kansas City.
Q: How would you describe your sound?
A: I guess you could say I’m just more a product of my influences, and some are more influential than others. I like doing a lot of melodic stuff and rhythmic implementation in my music.
Q: What is your process for writing music?
A: I initially just tried to write stuff down, but you sort of lose how organic it is, and it becomes almost too sterile. Whereas if you don’t think about it, and it’s just coming out of you, like subconscious thought, I oftentimes will write music and not know what it means until I listen to it several times over again. Then, I’ll just know.
Q: You face a lot of criticism from your peers. How do you deal with this adversity?
A: In the beginning of sophomore year, that’s when that really started happening and I started really writing music, and some people were into it and others weren’t. And I used to think, “Is it good, is it not?” and, still, that’s always going to be my main concern. When I think of [the quality] of my music I don’t say it as, “Am I good or not?” It’s the specific song, so I don’t necessarily internalize that. I had a lot of people who did doubt me at school, and I didn’t believe it but it definitely idled around in the back of my head. But it’s been increasingly suppressed after people have said, “Don’t stop, don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re not gonna make it, you’ll do just fine.” And if I didn’t necessarily have that I think I would still be doing music, I just don’t think I would still be coming out every night to play, or entertain, or write music and post it publicly.
Q: What’s your favorite song you’ve ever written?
Oren playing his guitar. (Photo by Ella Engel) Q: So, the first question I want to ask you is what got you thinking, “I want to play music?”
A: I saw a lot of my friends in elementary school were really into sports, and I wasn’t really that much into sports. I had tried it, initially, and I had fun for a while. A few of my friends did play instruments and they were like, “You should pick up an instrument,” and I was like, “Yeah, I guess I should.” I just told my mom when I was like 6 or 7 years old that I wanted to start playing guitar. That’s how it all started.
Q: Where are you planning on taking your talents and your love of music?
A: So, in terms of where I’m gonna go first with my music, I know that St. Louis is not that much of a music town. It’s more of a sports town. I’m definitely willing to give it a chance because I think there’s still some
A: That’s something that’s gonna change every single time because, I think, any time you’re gonna ask me that question, it’s gonna be either the song I’m currently writing or the song I just did. If each song is not better than the previous one, then what’s the point?
Q: Do you feel that music has helped you learn things about yourself you didn’t know?
A: Definitely, like, a lot of my realizations and general epiphanies of how things work just came through the message I conveyed [in a song] that I didn’t realize I was conveying until later.
Q: What kind of offers have you had?
A: I’ve been contacted by Fat Possum records; some of the groups that they are working with is, like, The Districts and The Walkmen, [which] are some pretty famous ones. And then I sent an EP kit to Capital, and they were interested in it so I’m trying to work on that. I think that’s going to take some more time because you need a little bit more of a following, but they’re definitely interested to see where I’m going to go after that.
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FINDING HER VOICE CHS student Lydia Schuchard discusses her poetr y and summer writing workshop. by MARTY SHARPE reporter With the stroke of a pen, CHS senior Lydia Schuchard is empowered to voice her strong opinions and beliefs with ease. Schuchard’s passion for writing has carried her through a number of years filled with literary adventures. Schuchard began writing at a very young age. “I used to write a lot of novel-length stuff when I was really, really young,” Schuchard said. “But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to write more poetry, because for me, it’s just easier.” Personal essays have also become one of her favorite styles of writing. She explained that, contrary to popular belief, the process of writing a poem is no easy feat. The writing process itself consumes time, but general planning can take years. “There is this one poem I have been trying to write for two years, and I finally finished it around last July,” she said. “Because for me, it’s not enough to just have something happen to me and to immediately write it down. I have to have time to think about it and process how it changed me and affected the people around me.” While her works may take years to develop and construct, Lydia’s daily life is influenced by her writing, sometimes opening the door for new writing opportunities. “Sometimes I’ll be thinking about something and I will just write it down, sometimes right before I go to bed,” she said. “Later, I’ll come back to it and highlight parts to see if I can use them.” The ideas Schuchard develops and employs in her writing mostly stem from how she feels her life is affected by her surroundings. “I write about women in my life a lot, because I’m kind of obsessed with the idea that different people in my life have made me the way I am, and also the way mothers affect daughters and stuff like that,” Schuchard said. “So I write about my mom all the time. My grandma died last year, so I started writing about her a lot and how her absence or presence in my life affected me.” Although her writing has evolved to become more sophisticated and developed than ever, Schuchard’s writing ability sprouted from an unexpected source. “I first started writing because my friend and I were screwing around and making fake love poems, and then laughing at them for being super cheesy,” Schuchard said. “But then I found that I like doing this, so I started doing it on my own, and it moved from there.” Her work has been featured in The Works, the literary newspaper featured at CHS. Several of her poems have been posted in the halls for students to see as they make their way to their classes. Schuchard believes that aspiring artists in CHS should have a more direct way of voicing their ideas and meeting those that share similar artistic traits. “The problem with younger artists is that they have absolutely no method of getting their stuff out there, of getting advice on it or of actu-
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ally communicating with others who do the same thing,” Schuchard said. “When you have opportunities like that, you can meet a lot of really cool people who think the same way you do.” Over the summer, Schuchard went to a writing workshop, where she met and collaborated with students that shared skills and views in writing similar to hers. “When I went to the workshop, it was really great to be around a bunch of writers and to just be talking and writing all the time. It was a really crazy experience,” Schuchard said. “I was surrounded by kindred spirits.” While the prospect of a 14 day workshop seemed exciting to Schuchard, she was met with a hectic schedule, taking multiple classes every day which resulted in her learning new things about writing, style and technique. “There was one activity where there was a timer and you would just write something from memory that came to your head and after 15 seconds, you’d write another one,” Schuchard said. “We had readings every week which was really cool, because you got to hear what everyone had been working on.” In addition to the knowledge Schuchard gained from her time at the workshop, meeting and befriending fellow campers was one aspect of her trip she would never forget. “On the last reading, everyone started crying because there was this one girl who wrote about her sexual assault, and there was another girl who wrote about her friend who died of cancer, and all sorts of stuff,” Schuchard said. “It was crazy, because you got to know so many people so fast through their writing. It was a really cool experience.”
Schuchard presenting her work at the summer writing program. (Photo from Lydia Schuchard)
THE ART OF PICKLING Clayton residents Shelby Schagrin and Kristin Stahl share their hobby of pickling.
“I usually start at 7:00 in the morning and I’m not done till 10:00 at night. It’s an all day process for me. I have to be really committed to this process,” Shelby Schagrin said. Schagrin and Kristin Stahl, Clayton High School alumni and parents of current students, have learned the art of pickling. “I wanted to save the season’s bounty of cucumbers. Is that cheesy enough?” Stahl said. “Actually my grandmother also used to do it, and my grandfather told me my grandma used to sell bread and butter pickles, so out of nostalgia I wanted to start [pickling].” Schagrin has wonderful access to an organic garden. “My husband grows the pickles, he’s a great gardener,” Schagrin said. “Sometimes if I put garlic in [my pickles], he grows it, but most of the time he doesn’t.” The women have learned a variety of ways to enjoy their pickles. “A ham sandwich, that’s really good,” Stahl said. “The other night we had it with a little gouda cheese and those little crackers with a pickle on top.” “I could put them on anything,” Schagrin said. “Like, any sandwich cheese sandwich, hamburgers or hot dogs, I could put them on salmon, I could put them on a piece of toast with cream cheese, I could put them with peanut butter. Literally anything. They’re really, really, really delicious.” Both women practice pickle-making as just a hobby. “Right now I am thinking of just giving them out as Christmas presents,” Stahl said. “One of the other things that makes my pickles really really great is my labeling system. I have everything labeled, and these pretty little glass jars that I put them in. So it’s the whole process that just makes it really special … I only [pickle] once or twice a year, because it’s such a big deal. But I make a lot ... Everyone begs me for them,” Schagrin said. However, the pickles are not easy to make. “It’s a really big process, it takes all day to make them, and it’s really complicated, because first you have to cut all of the cucumbers. They have to be Persian cucumbers. And then you have to put them in a brine for five hours, so it’s a salt-ice mixture ... And then when all that’s done you have to start the pickling process, and after that you have to do the canning,” Schagrin said. “So the whole process ends up taking, like, seven or eight hours.” “They’re sweet pickles, it’s like, beyond delicious,” Schagrin said. “So it became kind of my signature thing. But it’s a really big process, it takes all day to make them, and it’s really complicated.” Although Schagrin claims that she is not a good cook, her friends and family would beg to differ. “We have a friend in New York, and something happened that was a
by CATHERINE WALSH and MIA REDINGTON reporters little bit bad. So I sent them all these pickles to New York, and they really loved them and it made them feel really good,” Schagrin said. “Also, I have this son-in-law that I send pickles to, who I’m crazy about, and he loves my pickles so much, so I kind of give my pickles to people all over.” In the end, the most important thing about pickling to Schagrin is the community she forms through them. “Everyone always asks me to make a business [out of my pickles], but it wouldn’t be a good business,” Schagrin said. “I just give them to the people I care about.”
Redington (left) visited Stahl (right) to learn more about the pickling process. (Photo by Madison Gudmestad)
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PEDAL FOR THE CURE
Clayton community members participate in Pedal the Cause, an annual bicycling event in St. Louis that raises money for cancer research. by MARICLARE GATTER and LAUREN PRAISS reporters
In the spring of 2012, Clayton parent Paul Keller passed away after his fight with melanoma cancer. Since then, both Keller’s wife, Mary Gaertner and daughter, Zoë Keller have been inspired to help other families facing the effects of cancer. While searching for a positive way to remember Paul Keller, as well as help other cancer victims and their families, Gaertner and Keller found Pedal the Cause. They began participating in the event and made it their goal to help find a cure to cancer. “Well, after you lose somebody, and so many people around you are dealing with cancer, you feel like you need to do something,” Gaertner said. “And this is a very small thing to do to help.” Keller, who was 17-years-old at the time of her father’s diagnosis hopes that their particpation can give hope to someone else in her position. “To me it more represents the hope that there will be another 17-year-old kid out there who’s parent gets another chance because there was extended research and they found something.” Today, 14.5 million people are affected by cancer in the United States. However, across the country, different fundraising events are gradually
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raising money to achieve the goal of a world without cancer. Through these fundraising events, communities grow stronger and revolve around those who are willing to assist the ones who are fighting cancer. Pedal the Cause, a St. Louis Community event that has raised millions, is a cycling challenge that connects people of all ages who have been affected by cancer, and raises money towards research at the Siteman Cancer Foundation and the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Over the past six years, people from across the St. Louis community have come together to race for an end to cancer. Executive Director of Pedal the Cause Jay Indovino has felt the impact of cancer in his own life and it is what drives his work for a cure. “I have watched many friends battle cancer and I also watched both my parents fight and subsequently pass away from cancer. Currently, we are at a point in time of incredible breakthroughs in cancer research yet federal funds are diminishing,” Indivino said. “So, I’m motivated to make a difference.” Founders of Pedal the Cause, Bill and Amy Koman, have also been significantly affected by cancer. After beating cancer twice, Bill Koman was
inspired to make a difference. The Koman family sacrifices lots of their personal time and effort into finding funding that will contribute to a cure to cancer. This led to the creation of Pedal the Cause. “After [Bill] was treated, at Siteman Cancer Center, and he was on the way back to a full recovery, we got really involved in the galas for the cancer center,” Amy Koman said. “And that is when we realized that it is what the community does, the money that you raise basically from the community, that can make a big difference for researching cures in the future. So, we did some research on biking events around the country and realized that was the way to go - to make the most money and to get the community involved.” Pedal the Cause is different compared to many other cancer fundraisers. In the hopes of involving the entire community, the event is accessible to anyone who wishes to participate. “There are several different ways in Pedal the Cause to get involved, whether it’s as hard as riding a hundred miles on a bike or just showing up to volunteer that morning or even just sending an email asking for a donation or giving one yourself it can vary,” Gaertner said. “You can do as little or as much as you want and it’s still good people are still donating and helping and I think that’s what makes Pedal the Cause so appealing to so many people.” Amy Koman agrees with Gaertner. In fact, Amy Koman believes that anyone, including children and senior citizens, should have the option to participate in Pedal the Cause. “Just to get the momentum going, and the formula that everybody can get on a bike - a spin biker on a bike - and raise money,” Amy Koman said. “The goals are containable enough, so anyone can do it.” In fact, Indivino effectively highlights that Pedal the Cause is an event where all people within a community can show their passion about finding a cure for cancer. “Everyone is affected by cancer in some way,” Indivino said. “Pedal the Cause has become a great vehicle for people to express their commitment in the fight against cancer.” Although Pedal the Cause is different than other fundraising events, it is an event made up of people who have all been touched by cancer. The community consists of active fighters, survivors and also ones who have had to endure the loss of someone they loved. This connection creates an impact that inspires a powerful and tight knit community with a consistent goal; beating cancer. “[Pedal the Cause] gives a sense of community with a group of people who have been through the same situation as me with events like this,” Keller said. “I didn’t realize that there were so many people out there that had experienced the same thing, so new connections, and new support systems.” Bill Koman believes that the community, especially the St. Louis community, needs to be aware about the epidemic and make an effort to act through Pedal the Cause. “Cancer is a lot about awareness too,” Bill Koman said. “A lot of people get cancer and do not get far along because they don’t get staged properly or they don’t get checked enough. And the more you are aware of how pervasive it is, the more awareness.” Although so many people around the world are affected by cancer, strong communities are uniting in order to help find a cure through different fundraising events. Each individual story from ones who have been affected are spreading rapidly and creating new ideas to discover different ways to conquer the epidemic. These new ideas that are transformed into fundraising events are positive ways for ones who have been affected by cancer to share their powerful stories. “I think everything powerful comes with a story,” Keller said. “And that somewhere in San Diego there was a story that made [Pedal the Cause] spread, and I believe that each area that it’s pulled people from, there’s been a story.”
Left, Bicycle leans against the Pedal the Cause banner. (Ella Engel) Above, Pedal the Cause participant. (Katherine Sleckman)
CHS GOES GREEN Clayton High School ser ves as a green example for other school buildings.
In 2013, Clayton High School achieved the Silver LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) Award for its outstanding leadership in energy efficiency. This is the second highest of four different standards of environmental friendliness: starting from the bottom, certified, silver, gold and platinum. The levels are separated by a 10 point difference which buildings receive not only for their technological efficiencies, but also construction done on the building, the quality of materials and the use of the building itself. In many schools throughout the country, solar panels have become a common utility for recycling energy. Funding for public entities has made this possible for many buildings. In 2013, CHS installed solar panels in order to save money and cut back on the need to obtain energy throughout outside sources. Tim Wonish, the Director of Facilities for the Clayton School District, oversees the day-to-day operations of building management. He worked
by DIMA BALDAUF and CAMILLA UMSTATTER
directly with Ameren UE to achieve the installation. “The inverters, [located on the back of CHS, toward the dumpsters], bring DC (direct current) and invert it into AC (alternating current), which goes back into the distribution system for the building,” Wonish said. “We save about $2,500 to $5,000 per year for every panel. [Since] CHS has three solar panel arrays, about 8-10 thousand dollars [go back into our pocket], and that money can be used for things like fixing the concrete or finishing up paint, etc.” The total amount of savings depends on the type of weather. If there is not a lot of sunlight, CHS simply cannot save as much energy. The total facility service budget for maintaining all the buildings and grounds for the entire school district is approximately $3.2 million, including utility cost for all buildings; therefore, solar panels are useful in saving money when considering that the given amount is for the entire District, not just CHS. Although saving money is a big incentive, CHS strives to set an
example for other schools and businesses. “[Another purpose to energy efficiency in CHS is] to model behaviors for our students and our community, so we have an opportunity where we can reduce our carbon emissions. It’s good for the planet and to model that certain behavior,” Clayton High School Principal Dr. Dan Gutchewsky said. One unique way CHS has shown this environmental awareness is through its installation of the greenhouse. The greenhouse itself would not be considered a system that helps to reduce energy given that energy input is needed to run it, but the technologies inside the greenhouse are modeled by the LEED certification requirements, meaning they cut back on the amount of energy that could be used. “The greenhouse was installed to teach students about plant research. Without it, students only have just a few weeks for their studies. The greenhouse manages variables such as light and temperature needed to sustain life,” Nathan Peck, K-12 science curriculum coordinator for the School District of Clayton said. But CHS has more uses for the greenhouse than just for the high school's studies. It provides the community with several plant research opportunities. “We partner with the Danforth Plant Center where we run experiments for them and report the results,” Peck said. “In the spring, if we have plants and we’re done looking at the academic side to them, we transport them over to the elementary schools [where] they have gardens. They can plant their own (which only just start to sprout), but we’ll supply the big plant. Because they don’t have time since they don’t have a greenhouse, they can see all the stages of plant life in a relatively short unit.” CHS has also been trying to cut back on carbon emissions through their lighting, heating and cooling systems. When the Center of Clayton was built back in 2000, it was equipped with the newest and most energy efficient lighting technology. The T8 lamps were the best the market had to offer. But in such a dynamic field, technology never seems to stay the best for long. “And when you think you got the best, new technologies like LED
lights come out. So now you think I got the T8 in here, that was the best, but no. Now they even have better lights. So now we go back through areas where we think we had nice, efficient light, but we can make it even better,” Wonish said. A few years later, the LED lights, which are even more efficient bulbs, were released. The LED bulbs are much brighter, and they do not need time to warm up or cool down in contrast to the previously installed lighting such as gym fixtures. Furthermore, although the initial cost might be a little higher, it saves money in the long run by using less power and having a longer lifetime. But like many other buildings, CHS is constantly pushing to be a model for efficiency. Wonish’s current plans are to upgrade the gymnasium lights to LED bulbs. “LED lights would reduce the energy costs up to 75 percent, and the lights can instantly come on and off, plus you get better lighting,” Wonish said. “The other [thing] is that they only draw one-tenth of the electricity of the metal halide fixtures.” Another upgrade CHS recently received is its HVAC (heat, ventilation and air conditioning) system. A new chiller and five boilers were put in place. The steam heat has now been replaced by hot water heat in order to conserve energy and improve indoor comfort. With Building Management, a software program, Wonish can control all the temperature, light and ventilation settings from his desk. It makes it much more easy to be energy efficient. “When nobody is in the building you don’t need to be 72 degrees. You can get by 78 degress or 80 degrees. You don’t want to go much higher otherwise it starts causing too much humidity in the building, which can affect the interior finishes. However, by doing that you save money and energy,” Wonish said. As miniscule as this may seem to do, the task has much more value when combined with other energy efficient procedures. When the schools cuts back the amount of energy used, the amount of money and energy saved starts to accumulate. Thousands of dollars are saved, and in addition, CHS is setting a standard for environmental leadership.
Left, plants in the CHS greenhouse. Above, solar panels on top of the commons. (Lisa Raymond-Schmidt).
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DOUBLE DUT Y
Livingston looks on while coaching 3rd base during a softball game. (Photo by Emma Barnes)
An exploration of the impact that taking on the additional role as a sports coach has on teachers at CHS. Four dollars an hour. According to CHS history teacher Kurtis Werner, that is how much money one teacher found he made if he broke his salary down and accounted for every extra hour he worked, including grading and other school-related extracurriculars. “Many people think teachers work an eight to three job,” Werner said, “and that’s just not true.” For teachers such as Werner, time commitment outside of the classroom plays an even bigger role. The one thing that sets Werner apart from many other teachers is his job as the head coach of the cross country team at CHS. CHS math teacher Kyle McCord experiences the same duality. “[Coaching] is a large time commitment,” McCord, junior varsity girls volleyball coach, said. McCord has been both a teacher and coach at CHS for three years. McCord, who helped bring the team at his previous high school a fourth place win at state, also acts as the assistant varsity volleyball coach. “I love the game,” McCord said. “I love spreading the joy of the game.” Christopher Livingston serves as head coach of the varsity softball team at CHS, as well as a history teacher. “Dr. Gutchewsky gave me a call in April two years ago, and offered me the teaching position, which obviously I was very grateful for,” Livingston said. “My next question was, ‘In what ways can I come in and help? Do you need someone to coach?’” Livingston taught history and coached softball at Notre Dame High
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by MICHAEL BERNARD and JACOB LAGESSE reporters
School for seven years before transitioning two years ago to Clayton. Livingston recently led his team to place first in districts against Rosati-Kain. Werner has been teaching history and coaching at Clayton since 2007. Werner also coached boys track and field for seven years before deciding to focus on his primary job and his family. “They had an opening when I got here, and I was very fortunate to get in,” Werner said. However, Werner believes that juggling the two jobs can have its downsides. “[Coaching] takes a lot of my time, where I’d rather be grading something,” Werner said. Werner spends hours at a time on his computer doing work related to the cross country team. “It does take a lot of time from your personal life,” Werner said. This also is a problem for Livingston who has a newborn daughter. Livingston believes that coaching makes teaching harder. However, according to Livingston, this does not impact his students’ learning ability. “If I ever felt that at any point that if my classes weren’t as good, interesting, fun as they could be because I was a coach, I would hang it up immediately,” Livingston said. There can also be advantages for the students, specifically, the student-athletes. “Being a coach makes me more relatable as a teacher, because I spend even more time with students and get a better feel for what is going on in their lives,” McCord said.
McCord also feels that watching the athletes grow is a big part of their relationship. Student-athletes oftentimes have trouble finishing homework on time due to their after school practices and games. The coaches understand this dilemma because they also have to allocate time to prepare for their teaching. “Cut yourself off [from homework] at a decent time,” Werner said. “I know Clayton students don’t get enough sleep, but try to get at least seven hours.” Whether the coach was a former student-athlete or not, they still are able to understand the difficulty of completing work. “There are only so many hours in a day,” Livingston said. “While you guys have homework, we are obviously preparing for classes, grading papers, preparing tests, things like that.” This relationship between a teacher and a student-athlete can help the stu-
“If I ever felt that at any point that if my classes weren’t as good, interesting, fun as they could be because I was a coach, I would hang it up immediatelty.” (Livingston)
dents who have trouble completing their work on time or who stay up late into the night struggling to finish. Teaching a class sacrifices personal time with families, due to the teachers need to finish work, and make sure classes are in order. This is the same for coaching. Coaches are forced to deal with late practices and games. According to Werner, juggling both of these jobs is the toughest work. However, McCord still believes that academics come first, before practice and games. “If I know that a student is doing poorly in a class, it’s my responsibility to say, ‘You need to take care of that,’” McCord said. Though both teaching and coaching is stressful, Werner sees its benefits. “It keeps you young, it keeps you active, and I think we need active teachers in order for Clayton to be successful,” Werner said.
Werner addresses the cross country team during practice. (Photo by Emma Barnes)
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r e p o r t i n g b y N I C K D â€™A G R O S A and OLIVIA JOSEPH
photos by MILLI BOKER
The Globe explores the effect homelessness has locally on members of the Clayton community, and the solutions people and organizations from around the St. Louis region are employing to help those in need.
C L AY T O N C O N N E C T I O N S
Giacomo Brao, a former CHS student, housed two homeless people, one in his shed, and one in his house. At age 16, Brao met the first of two homeless people he would eventually house, 17-year-old Sean. They met in the Central West End, close to where Brao lives. Sean lived in St. Louis when he was a younger child and went to school in the St. Louis area, then moved to California with his mother. “His mom apparently did a lot of meth so he started to do meth and sell it, got jammed, left his mom and came here to live with his grandparents, and then ran away from them,” Brao said. “And, that’s when I found him in the Central West End. At that point, he wasn’t selling meth, but he was doing it occasionally.” Sean introduced Brao to another homeless person named Josh, who was 22-years-old at the time. “Josh had left his parents two years before because he felt unwanted. He had pretty much just been drifting around [until I found him],” Brao said.
Sean stayed in Brao’s house for about two months in the summer and Josh stayed in Brao’s shed for six months through the winter of 2013. Josh denied Brao’s offer for him to stay in his house like Sean had. Ray Wood, a freshman at CHS, takes part in a similar situation, in which he part-time houses a fellow class member Mark(name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual), who lives with his aunt during the week. Wood shares the responsibility with Logan Snead, also a freshman at CHS. Wood and Snead take turns housing Mark on the weekends. Wood has learned a lot from the experience; he has been able to put himself in the shoes of someone that does not have the same opportunities that most of the people around him do. “It has been a rewarding experience because we have learned very much from [Mark] and it feels good to be able to do so much for someone,” Wood said. “I have learned many things from it and what it’s like to grow up in a less fortunate situation than my own.” Homelessness is an issue that affects members of the Clayton community. The School District of Clayton recognizes the existence of such a problem and has policies in place in order to address it.
C L AY T O N P E R S P E C T I V E
School District of Clayton’s Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Dr. Gregory Batenhorst. C OV E R
Clayton is an affluent and fortunate community. The community boasts a school district with an average teacher salary nearly double the national average, and is a district whose students represent it in an optimal academic fashion. Clayton, both the School District and community, see eye-to-eye on the issue of homelessness. Every year, the School District of Clayton deals with several situations of students being impacted by homelessness. Julie Engelhard, student services assistant for the School District of Clayton, handles the instances of homelessness as they arise. Although she acknowledges that Clayton has fewer instances of homeless students than other districts, Engelhard also made it clear that the Clayton School District does indeed experience occasional situations where students and families are affected by not having a stable place to call home. In the past year, Clayton has seen unprecedented situations regarding homeless students and families. “In the last five years, we haven’t really had more than six homeless students. This year, the last 12 months, has been a little different than other years. Usually, it’s a family that doubles up with relatives. Or we had a student who was living with a classmate here in the District,” Engelhard said. “In the last 12 months, we’ve had some where families are living in a hotel or come to us from another state as homeless, which is something relatively new.” The School District of Clayton’s Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Dr. Gregory Batenhorst explained the roots of Clayton’s problem with homelessness. “Just to give you an understanding of what it means to be homeless -- if you’re in a homeless shelter, living in a motel, living in a vehicle, living on a campground, living on the street, living in an abandoned building, or doubled up with friends or relatives,” Batenhorst said. “The two most common ways of homelessness that we see here are people who have to double up with their friends or family because they can no longer afford to live in the dwelling they were living in before, or they are in a homeless shelter.”
Due to Clayton being one of the more affluent communities in the region, Batenhorst stressed that Clayton’s connection with the issue is inherently different than that of many other schools. “If you’re talking about Clayton, homelessness doesn’t look like what people might think of when they think about homelessness, in regards to
living in a car. Have we had that? Yes. Is it common? No,” Batenhorst said. “If a family was to roll in here from California tonight, park their car in the CHS parking lot, and walk over here to this office the next day to say ‘We arrived from California. We are homeless and living in our car,’ they would be in school in the School District of Clayton that day.”
A homeless man sitting on the steps outside of a church in downtown St. Louis.
Students residing within Clayton’s boundaries are entitled to receive an education from the School District of Clayton. This stems from both federal law and District policy. Batenhorst is responsible for making sure the policies that are put in place are followed in regards to the way homeless families in the District are treated and cared for. “There are two things in play. There is federal law. There’s a law called the McKinney Vento Act, which is essentially the law that governs how organizations respond to homelessness,” Batenhorst said. “There’s a district policy that basically reflects the federal law saying that if someone comes to us and reports that they are homeless, we need to do x,y and z to help them access the school.”
Both Batenhorst and Engelhard gave examples of situations, and described the way that the District would deal with each. What remains constant throughout all instances, according to policy, is that homeless students are automatically provided with free or reduced lunch. What may seem like a small detail in the way that the District handles homelessness portrays the school’s willingness to provide such necessities for students in need. “We’ll provide whatever we need to provide, and I think one of the key things is getting them set up for the free and reduced lunch program, which is a federal program, so we’re going to make sure: A: we educate them and B: they’re not going hungry,” Batenhorst said. While there are some consistencies in the way situations are handled, all are unique and treated as such. “What should be very clear is that this is all about airing to the side of the family and the student and doing whatever that needs to be done, as the law says, to break down any of the barriers to accessing free, appropriate public education,” Batenhorst said. “That’s the key to all of this and you have to take it on a case-by-case basis. No two cases are alike.”
“THEY’RE JUST REAL PEOPLE AND THEY WANT TO BE LOVED AND APPRECIATED, AND I THINK THAT WOULD BE A GREAT EYE-OPENER FOR SOME PEOPLE” -- Roz McCoy
A homeless man asks for money near Skinker Blvd. in Forest Park (photo by Nick D’Agrosa).
Several members of the CHS community have realized a feasible route to help the cause of solving homelessness. Bebe Engel and Gabby Boeger, CHS seniors, took part in a project to help the homeless last year. After reaching out to members of the homeless community, they realized a possible way to become part of the solution. “We created this thing called Help for Homeless which are bags that people keep in their car and when they see [a homeless person] at a stop sign or intersection, they can give them the bag which has vital needs like high-protein snacks and toothbrushes,” Engel said. After doing outreach in the local community, Engel and Boeger met a homeless woman whose story was inspiring to them. The woman they met, according to Engel, broke her entire spinal cord and ran out of money as she attempted to pay for her medical bills. Her injury left her unable to find a job. As the homeless woman kept explaining her unique story, Engel and
Boeger became more and more inclined to help. “This lady was telling us ‘I’m so against drugs and alcohol.’ She is just trying to do these good things, and she really gave us an insight to her situation. We ended up buying her an (unlimited) Metro ticket for a month and she was so happy because she was like, ‘Now I can stay on the bus for warmth,’” Engel said. A major factor in becoming involved in helping the less fortunate is geography. One that lives in an area where a specific problem is ubiquitous is more likely to have the inclination to help. Roz McCoy, an administrative assistant at CHS, has a long history of helping the homeless. McCoy used to reside in downtown St. Louis, where homelessness is more common. McCoy provides the homeless she encounters with a plethora of different supplies and necessities. “I started off doing just blankets, and then I had a homeless person telling me that he doesn’t need those things. He needed to eat, so I combined food along with the other things that they need like blankets, coats, gloves and things like that. I’ve been doing that for 15 years,” McCoy said. Through her encounters and various experiences, McCoy has realized a lot of meaningful things about homeless people that only hands-on experience can lead to. “They’re just real people and they want to be loved and appreciated and I think that would be a great eye-opener for some people,” McCoy said. It is clear that getting involved and helping people in need is an effective way to become more aware of an issue -- in essence, becoming part of the solution.
THE STATE OF HOMELESSNESS
St. Louis is an urban and industrial city whose metropolitan area consists of 2.9 million people. As expected in a city of such size, a person walking or driving through the city streets of St. Louis will often times encounter homeless people. Dr. Patrick Fowler, an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, expressed the similarities between St. Louis and other cities with comparable characteristics. “St. Louis compares to other similar cities, urban centers. [St. Louis has] a decreasing number of homeless individuals -- people you see on the streets. But, the rate of decrease is kind of stagnant. So, we’re not making big changes. We can always do better,” Fowler said. However, disconnect between the inner city of St. Louis and more fortunate western suburbs would, according to some, make resolving the issues a challenge. The consensus around the St. Louis region is that in order to solve these structural problems, more cooperation and collaboration between the suburbs of St. Louis County such as Clayton and the City of St. Louis is necessary. Eddie Roth, City of St. Louis’ Director of Human Services, reiterated the importance of cooperation between each part of the widespread region. “Progress will be slow if suburban communities leave all of the heavy
lifting to the City of St. Louis. If we approach homelessness as a real regional issue -- we can move the stone and relatively quickly move toward the goal of ending street homelessness in this community,” Roth said. As Roth explained, only about half of the people receiving shelter in transitional housing and emergency shelters in the City of St. Louis (that participate in data collection) had their last permanent residence in the City of St. Louis. This yields a complex dilemma where the City of St. Louis is forced to “carry the burden.” Homeless people from other areas that live in communities which may lack a true, well-developed plan for dealing with homelessness gravitate toward the City of St. Louis. Each one of these plans that all respective communities have is called its Continuum of Care. “As with so many things in this region, we are fractured in how we approach homeless services. The City of St. Louis is its own Continuum of Care. So is St. Louis County. St. Charles and Lincoln Counties is its own Continuum of Care, and in Metro East, St. Clair County and Madison Counties have separate Continuum of Care,” Roth said. The process of tallying statistics and data on how many homeless people there are in a certain area is convoluted. A point in time count is the name of the process in which this data is collected. This, according to Roth, is required by the U.S. Department of Human Services to be conducted at least every other year. Roth explained the process in greater detail. “On a preplanned day usually in late January, organized teams fan out into the community and go to places where people without shelter are known to stay, such as encampment areas or abandoned buildings, and where people without shelter congregate for meals,” Roth said. “These folks are interviewed and counted, and the total count is arrived at by adding their numbers to a census gathered for same night at facilities that
Two homeless men converse on the steps outside of a church is downtown St. Louis. C OV E
provide temporary and transitional housing.” The last point in time count showed that the City of St. Louis had an unsheltered homeless population of 112 persons with several hundred staying in emergency shelter (554) or transitional housing (622). However, Roth noted that such numbers are incomplete since some shelters and facilities do not participate in these counts. Dr. Judson Bliss, the Director of Homeless Programs at St. Patrick Center in downtown St. Louis, is convinced that despite a seemingly low amount of homeless people in the area, there still exists a problem that needs to be addressed. “Through the midwest, whether you’re talking here or Kansas City, one person that’s homeless is not good. So, we don’t want to say it’s not a problem here,” Bliss said. Numbers can represent merely the magnitude of a problem. These data act as a confirmation that homelessness is a problem within the St. Louis area. Perhaps the more important part is the way a community goes about finding the solutions. St. Louis is not by any means near the bottom of the spectrum when it comes to solving homelessness. There are several groups and organizations that benefit the entire St. Louis region when it comes to providing service for the homeless. St. Patrick Center, a St. Louis homeless charity organization, is interested in finding the solution to homelessness. According to their website, they are “[...] one of Missouri’s largest providers of housing, employment and health opportunities for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.” Bliss is in charge of the development and execution of St. Patrick Center’s homeless programs, which seek to provide extensive, permanent aid to homeless people from around the region. Bliss believes that the solution to homelessness is simply housing, and his (and St. Patrick Center’s) work is centered around this specific belief. “A lot of people need a job, and they’re poor, but the main thing they need is housing. That’s our focus; that’s how people get better. Whether they’re poor and they need work, just think of how tough it would be to get ready and go to your job if you’re living in your car or a tent or some-
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thing like that,” Bliss said. “As you start thinking through it, it’s like ‘heck yeah,’ it makes a lot of sense.” The work that St. Patrick Center does is driven by a federal initiative called Housing First. As Bliss explained, the Housing First initiative is a method that reduces homelessness by providing people experiencing homelessness with some type of housing. “Even though we don’t really understand the problems, or what causes homelessness, we do know what fixes it, and that is housing. Real simple, right? If you live in a house, you’re not homeless,” Bliss said. “The big piece is Housing First as a community, and then working together as groups of service providers.” St. Patrick Center is an example of an organization looking for solutions. According to Roth, St. Louis’ Department of Human Services is, “who the public looks to explain what is happening with homelessness in the community, and what’s being done to help people who are homeless -and to deal with crisis involving men, women and families who have fallen into homelessness, such as during the cold winter months.” They have a small staff, Roth described, that works on helping service agencies put contracts in place, make sure the work is being done as promised, and processing payments for the work being performed. Roth spoke of the city’s desire to solve homelessness in the area by allocating money and resources to like-minded organizations. “ [$10 million] is given out in the form of competitive contracts each year to about two dozen private, non-profit agencies, many of them faith based, that provide services ranging from homeless prevention and street outreach, to emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing and supportive services that help people help themselves out of homelessness,” Roth said. Ending homelessness is ultimately in the hands of ordinary citizens and legislators alike. “Homelessness is an indicator of how well we are able to work together to provide basic shelter for a relatively small number of our total community who have a profound need,” Roth said.
The St. Patrick Center serves as a resource for homeless St. Lousians.
A homeless woman sits outside of a buidling in downtown St. Louis.
There is a recognized solution to reduce and eventually end homelessness. However, what is not so obvious is what causes people to become homeless. This is in part due to the variety of possible factors and variables that affect a situation -there is no formula or method to determine why people, in general, become homeless. Bliss detailed the “contributors” to homelessness, but he warned against calling them “causes.” Instead, he referred to the contributors to homelessness as necessary but insufficient causes. “Most people with a mental illness never become homeless, and most people with an addiction never become homeless, and most poor people never become homelessness. Anything you look at as a contributor is not a cause,” Bliss said. “Something they talk about in public health is a necessary but insufficient cause, so if something is typical or it has to be present for something else to happen, but it alone can’t make that happen, all these things, addictions, mental health and poverty are necessary but insufficient causes.” The topic of homelessness is often observed through a negative lens. People tend to be hesitant to establish any form of communication when in contact with a homeless person. The unwillingness to communicate stems from a lack of understanding of the situation homeless people face.
Bliss explained that people have the tendency to accuse the homeless individual instead of focusing on examining and solving the problem itself. Such tendencies can lead to an overall misunderstanding of the issues that exist. “Part of it is being educated about what are the issues, and the other part is not blaming the individual, and that is so in us. Not everyone was born in the same family, with the same resources and same messages and parenting styles and all of those kinds of things,” Bliss said. A school district like Clayton that maintains a high percentage of students going onto receive further education can struggle to understand seemingly unrelated and distant problems such as homelessness. However, through experience and education, members of such a fortunate community can still connect themselves with the issue. Once this is achieved, they will be more likely to participate in the solution. “This kind of stuff is part of our communities, and some folks don’t grow up with that, so they don’t have the social capital that you and I have, so it takes a community to say ‘Let’s support organizations like St. Patrick Center, Peter and Paul, community services, and other charity organizations to help solve this problem. It’s a solvable thing,” Bliss said. Homelessness, according to many, can be solved just with some cooperation and a community willing to come together to achieve a common purpose. Students have the opportunity to become part of the solution in a wide array of ways. “[Teens] can do a lot of things at a lot of different levels. A big one would be to advocate for greater access to affordable housing, so that involves talking to your legislators, mainly your federal legislators, to expand budgets for these programs,” Fowler said. “At a different level, every community in the country has a network of people working around homelessness and they always need volunteers. You can volunteer to do a lot of different things. It could be working at a shelter, it could be providing assistance in some of the planning programs, there’s a lot of things to connect.”
FILE PRO T H L E T E
LEAH-DING HER TEAM
Leah Peipert continues her stellar golf career into her senior year.
Senior Leah Peipert has watched the girls’ golf team grow since her freshman year when there were only six players on the team. Since then, the number of girls’ golfers has more than doubled, allowing the creation of a JV team in addition to the established varsity team. With such a sudden influx of new golfers, the team needed a leader and role model to set a strong foundation for the years to come. Peipert proved to be exactly the person for the job. “As captain, I have a leadership position to show the other girls kind of what dedication to the team means,” Peipert said. “I am also there to encourage the girls and help them realize that golf is a fun place to be as a team and to play the sport.” Peipert’s teammate, junior Olivia Reuter, admires the positive impact that Peipert has had on the team. “She really gives the team a clear example of what we need to do to improve as well as just inspiring us with her enthusiasm,” Reuter said. “She is also very knowledgeable about golf and she has the skills necessary to help the less experienced girls get better.” This season, the girl’s golfers focused on team building and growth. Although the team did not place very competitively, Peipert retained that it was a rewarding season. “We had really good days and we had days where we struggled a little bit, but we’re growing as a team and we’re getting a lot better,” Peipert said. While the team collectively did not have many wins, Peipert had a very successful individual season. Not only did she accomplish both of
photo by Abraham Park
by KATIE SPEAR reporter
her goals - setting a new personal record at her home course and qualifying for Districts - Peipert also ranked high enough at Districts to qualify for Sectionals. “Leah knows her game and how to play her golf style,” Coach Kim Shelley said. “She strategizes very well, analyzing the course and understanding how to read greens. I very rarely see her make a choice that was not well planned.” Peipert’s meticulous training helped her at Sectionals, where she was only three spots away from qualifying for state. Her top-notch performances throughout the season were recognized when she earned a spot on the second team All-Conference. Peipert’s dedication, skill and work ethic all contribute to her athletic achievement, but Peipert finds that the most important trait for golfers to have is something that sounds deceivingly simple: to maintain a good attitude. “Golf is one of the most frustrating sports out there,” Peipert said. “One day you could get the best score of your life and the next you can get the worst. ln my first match this season I shot worse than I did freshman year. There’s really nothing you can do about that. Sometimes you just have a bad day, but it’s really important that you put that behind you and say ‘I can do better, I’m going to do better.’” Peipert’s ability to maintain a positive outlook is something that sets her apart as an amazing athlete. Though her time on the CHS golf team has come to an end, the enthusiasm and dedication she brought to the team will leave a lasting impact.
SHEPARD ON THE HILL by ELISE YANG review section editor It was tied 8-8 inthe bottom of the last inning. Two outs. Junior Sarah Shepard stood in scoring position, on third base, just one base away from home plate and winning the game against Rosati Kain, the school that handed Clayton a heartbreaking defeat in the Class 3 District 4 Championship one year ago. Then she did the unthinkable. She eyed home plate and decided to delay steal home. Shepard perfectly executed the play by taking advantage of the Rosati-Kain defense, running home to score a run and secure a walkoff win. Not only is Shepard a strong offensive boost to the team, she is also the the team’s go-to pitcher, crafting a 10-2 record and a 3.50 earned run average. Transferring from St. Joseph’s Academy, Shepard has adjusted to the new team with ease. Shepard says that in addition to practices, playing multiple games a week has brought her closer to her teammates. “It has been really easy to like make the switch,” Shepard said. “I'm such an open person, I'm not shy and I will just talk to anyone on the team.” A difference in the two teams Shepard noticed was the level of enthusiasm in Clayton’s team that St. Joseph’s Academy lacked. “I didn’t really like St. Joe’s team because like no one put their heart into it and our coach just yelled at us a lot. It just wasn’t fun,” Shepard said. “At Clayton everyone is really excited to play. We are winning a lot. We have had the most winning season at Clayton in the past decade. That's fun.” Shepard did not always want to become a pitcher. At first, she hated softball. Her parents put her on a teeball team when she was young, but Shepard preferred soccer. In sixth grade, Shepard began seriously playing softball and joined a club softball team in seventh grade. She picked the pitcher position because of the amount of responsibility and leadership it takes. “I have always been a leader and the pitcher probably takes the most
photo by Carrie Niswonger
control because I’m in every play,” Shepard said. One of the ways Shepard has distinguished herself as the leading pitcher in the Suburban Central-National League is that she thrives on tough competition and pressure. “I love competing under pressure because it makes me play a hundred times better,” she said. Teammate Emily Sharp believes that beyond the amount of skill Shepard brings to the team, she has strengthened the team members’ connection with one another, making it easier to play as a team and work hard. “Not only is she a super-talented player, and she definitely is, but she brings this crazy enthusiasm to every game that really pumps everyone up,” Sharp said. CHS softball coach Chris Livingston also sees Shepard’s importance on the team besides being a phenomenal pitcher. In addition to her ability to bring the team together, she keeps the team focused on every play. “When she takes the mound, she’s poised and confident. I think the rest of the team feeds off of that,” Livingston said. “She’s a really good player but I think the other [characteristic] maybe unnoticed by other people is that she is very calm. A lot of really good players are really intense and they can get everybody kind of worked up. She has a good calming effect on everybody.” This year, Shepard has proven herself to be vital to the softball team’s goal of winning the Class 3 District 4 Championship. She struck out the first nine batters she faced over a familiar foe: the Rosati Kain Cougars. Ultimately, Shepard’s goal is to take her game further and play in college. She has already brought a new element to the softball team by giving them a taste of the post-season games. By setting an example for the other members of the team, she has undoubtedly increased the level of intensity and enthusiasm within Clayton’s softball team.
(Olivier Douliery/Acaba Press/MCT)
STUDENT GUIDE TO LUNCH The Hottest Lunch Spots in Clayton Pickleman’s This sandwich shop is loaded with all different subs to choose from. Located on Central Ave., many Clayton students go there for the delicious sandwiches which range from four to eight dollars. The sub shop also has a variety of salads and soups to choose from. Although this shop is located in downtown Clayton, it is not as busy as its neighboring shops like Chipotle and Bread Co. So, Pickleman’s is the perfect venue for someone who needs a quick lunch. Chipotle Chipotle is the busiest restaurant during the lunch rush in downtown Clayton due to its fast, filling and cheap Mexican food. A Clayton student can go to Chipotle for lunch and spend only seven to eight dollars--a reasonable price for quality food. However, the line for Chipotle is extremely long. It wraps around the restaurant, and sometimes outside the door due to the crazy interest for the restaurant. Despite its busy atmosphere, you can count on Chipotle for delicious food. Chick-Fil-A Located somewhat further from Clayton High School is the new ChickFil-A restaurant in Brentwood Square. Just having opened in September, Chick-Fil-A also has a huge lunch rush. The drive-through is packed with cars and, inside the restaurant, many people are standing in line. The quality of the food (specifically the chicken) is far superior to McDonald’s
by NIKKI SERAJI reporter or Burger King. Students are nearly obsessed -- you can count on seeing a Chick-Fil-A bag or drink almost daily within the halls of CHS. Posh Nosh Another well-known sandwich shop in Clayton, Posh Nosh is located in the string of restaurants on Maryland Avenue. This hodgepodge sandwich shop boasts an even larger variety of sandwiches than Pickleman’s. Although Posh Nosh is somewhat of a hidden gem in the Clayton community, it is still worthy of CHS students’ time. Posh Nosh is convenient for students to walk to, allowing even students without cars to take advantage of the hearty sandwiches. Companion Companion is another restaurant located in the string of shops along Maryland Ave. Open for breakfast and lunch, Companion has a little bit of everything. During lunchtime, the restaurant serves sweets, sandwiches, salads, soups, bagels and bread. The sandwiches are fresh and savory, but so are the soups that change everyday. While the line can get long, the time passes quickly and the fresh food is certainly worth the wait. Companion is extremely accessable to CHS students considering it is only a five minute walk from campus. Its close distance and mouthwatering food make Companion an ideal lunch spot for CHS students of any age.
ANT-MAN “I think our first move should be to call the Avengers,” new superhero Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) humorously proposes to his mentor. This twelfth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe had both eager and skeptical fans waiting for the newest addition of a superhero and the first film to feature Ant-Man. Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is the highest-grossing film franchise in the world. A shared universe of superhero movies, MCU includes the highly-acclaimed “Iron Man” and “The Avengers.” The film begins with Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), a former scientist and superhero, who years ago invented a suit capable of shrinking while retaining density and strength. In the present day, Dr. Pym is horrified to learn that Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), his former protégé, is close to replicating his particles to make a suit of his own. Pym desperately contacts his estranged daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), to steal Cross’s deadly weapon. The aged scientist searches for someone to replace his role as Ant-Man and decides on Scott Lang, a well-meaning cat-burglar and a desperate father looking for a second chance at life. With the assistance of his new mentors, Scott embarks on a quest to learn about his powers and save the day. Based on the comic character of the same name, “Ant-Man” only slightly deviates from the original comic storyline, which is not very wellknown to the superhero fanbase. Similarly to “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Ant-Man” overcomes its handicap as a less accepted comic. However, director Peyton Reed uses this aspect as an advantage for a comical approach to a Marvel origin tale. From Scott’s hilarious criminal trio to the awkward family reunion moments to the iPhone jokes, “Ant-Man” successfully makes its audiences roar with laughter. For MCU fans, this superhero film satisfactorily ends Phase Two, and has viewers eagerly awaiting for Phase Three. For both superhero fans and strangers, whether educated or incognizant of the Ant-Man, this film will not disappoint. As a bonus, Marvel included both mid-credits and post-credits scenes. Don’t leave your seats while the credits are rolling!
“The Visit” is a found footage movie about two children, 13-year-old germaphobe and wannabe rapper, Tyler (Ed Oxenbould), and 15-yearold aspiring film maker, Becca (Olivia DeJonge), who visit their grandparents (Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie) for the first time. At first everything seems normal, but soon their grandparents start acting strange. The kids believe their grandparents’ explanations for their weird behavior, but soon their behavior turns deadly and they become skeptical. The movie’s biggest problem is that it tries to be too many things at once. Scattered throughout the film are touching family moments, which seem out of place and quite random in the suspenseful film. While it helped character development, it was more of a useless subplot rather than a contribution to the overall film. The comedy in the movie also tends to take away from suspenseful moments, making what was once an exciting scene less tense. For a movie marketed as a horror movie, the actual horror scenes were not scary. The “horror” is instead loud jump scares: the grandma running down the hallway, the grandpa appearing out of nowhere in the
by SAN KWON reporter
(Official Movie Poster)/Wikimedia Commons
by ANNE GOODE reporter basement. It might be shocking at first, but it’s not going to keep you up at night, wondering if that strange noise was a serial killer or if there was something hiding in your closet or under your bed. The explanation of the grandparents’ strange behavior and motivations of the antagonists is briefly explained at the climax of the film. And by briefly, I mean two lines in the last 20 minutes of the movie explains the motivation, but even then, if you were digging around the popcorn bag, you would have missed it. Even after the brief explanation, there are still many unanswered questions. Despite missing a sense of fullfilment, the acting in this movie is excellent. Using child actors is often risky, but Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould both put in an incredible performance. Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie, who play the grandparents, are also very convincing. The overall cast are all excellent actors. While “The Visit” has a lot going against it, it is not terrible. The horror movie is funny and the jump scares will give you a rush of adrenaline, but I would not spend money on it. Instead, wait for it to come out on Netflix.
by SEAN KIM reporter
“Sicario” is not a two hour film full of exaggerated action. Instead, it is a slow-burn, realistic crime thriller with a very grim atmosphere that encompasses the entirety of the film. The movie begins with a definition that says, “In Mexico, Sicario means hitman.” This leaves the viewer in confusion, making them question who the hitman is. The film never allows for any time to think as the opening sequence begins with Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), an FBI agent, leading a hostage-rescue squad that raids a drug cartel safe house in Phoenix. The raid causes a short shootout. The shootout leads to the discovery of butchered corpses behind multiple walls in the safe house. Although the raid is successful, it results in the death of two officers working with Kate’s team. Wanting payback for the death of her two coworkers, Kate joins an elite task force that is responsible for carrying out operations in order to capture the leader of the drug cartel in Juarez, Mexico. Kate is accompanied by Matt (Josh Brolin), one of the members of the task force, and Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), Matt’s partner. While conducting each mission, Kate’s suspicion about the legality and the grisly reality of the drug war in each mission drives Kate to a state of constant fear and confusion, consequentially leading her to knowing things she would not have liked to learn. Emily Blunt delivers a strong performance, portraying Kate as an agent who has confidence, but who is also vulnerable. Blunt’s ability to pull off the two states of emotion is award-winning material. Although Blunt shows the audience her great acting capability, it is Benicio del Toro who steals the show. Del Toro does not have that many lines, but his facial expressions and the coldness in his voice tell the entire story. Director Denis Villeneuve incorporates his style of making the whole movie tense, making the viewer very anxious, anticipating the next attack. Villeneuve never lets the movie lose the tension, resulting in fewer action scenes during the film. The action in this film is purposeful -- people do not get shot just to get shot. People in the film are shot so the story can move forward. Along with the action is the grisly images of death that Villeneuve likes to incorporate in his films. Villeneuve does not allow for minimal blood/gore, nor does he allow for gore extravaganza. He adds them to incorporate realism into the film to support the horrors and the reality that people near the US/Mexico border face constantly. The gore provides the “shock” element in the film, supporting the dark and grim mood of the film. Although a large part of this “tension building” effect is because of Villeneuve’s vision, cinematographer Roger Deakins provides beautifully crafted shots conveying the dark mood that Villeneuve aims for. The lighting and color used for the film aims towards a more natural look, supporting the realistic factor for the film. Along with the beautifully shot film is the eerie soundtrack composed by Johann Johannsson. The music for the film strays away from the usual heart pounding, extravagant sounds of violins and drums. Instead, the music aims towards an emphasis towards low drums and low strings, perfectly capturing the dark mood for the film. The only criticism I have for “Sicario” is the lack of character develop-
Official Movie Poster (Wikimedia Commons) ment and what felt like an abruptly incorporated and somewhat lacking theme of revenge. Unlike Villeneuve’s previous film, “Prisoners,” which incorporates strong elements of revenge from the start of the film, “Sicario” includes the revenge theme unexpectedly, which ends up being confusing and as a result and does not resonate as much as the director probably would have wanted it to. Ultimately, “Sicario” is a great movie that intelligently shows the reality of the Mexican drug wars near the US/Mexico border through graphic content, great acting, no unnecessary violence, an eerie soundtrack paired with beautifully crafted shots and the sense of tension that covers the entirety of the film.
Matt Damon in “The Martian.” (20th Century Fox/MCT Campus)
THE MARTIAN The red rust dust, the harsh winds, the desolation: Mars. A planet that might prove to be the final resting place of the seventeenth man on Mars, Mark Watney. Watney, the lowest ranking man aboard the Ares 3 expedition to Mars, is a botanist and a mechanical engineer. Stranded after his team left, believing him to have died during a 175 kph sandstorm during their evacuation, he must find a way to grow food on a lifeless planet, establish communication with Earth and pray nothing else goes wrong. The book written by Andy Weir, initially published as a 99 cent eBook, is now a massive box office success as a movie, and to put it simply the hype is real. As a fan of the book, I felt the movie remained true to the book from the casting to the writing to the setting. Matt Damon, the star of the movie, proves to be an excellent Watney, matching the witty commentary and amiable personality that defined the book as well as this adaptation. The writing and dialogue was
by ZACH SORENSON page editor mostly effective although the pacing of the movie felt off throughout by blazing through massive amounts of time and reducing the magnitude of calamities that occurred in the book. Likely this was due to having created a movie that fits roughly within a three hour time window. Nevertheless, especially as a reader of the book, the story felt rushed beginning to end. But the visuals, oh, the visuals! The setting, CGI and practical effects were beautiful along the same vein of “Gravity” but with a great deal more red. It is likely “The Martian” will receive a vast sum of awards as already it is a box office hit, a popular movie among both critics and the general audience, as well as having 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie fulfilled the considerable expectations for both its visuals and acting. Apart from the issue of pacing throughout the movie, I concur the movie was an excellent cinematic success and certainly worth 4/5 stars.
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” based on the television series of the same name, features Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill), a CIA agent and former thief on a mission to extricate Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander), whose father is a former Nazi researcher who defected to the United States. The movie is set in 1963 in East Berlin, and Solo quickly discovers that Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), an agent for the KGB, is also after her. After evading Kuryakin, he contacts his superior, Saunders (Jared Harris), and quickly realizes that he has to work with Kuryakin, who immediately picks a fight with Solo during their confrontation. The two, along with Teller, are assigned to stop Alexander and Victoria Vinciguerra, owners of a major shipping company, from using Teller’s father to obtain their own nuclear weapons. Of all the elements in the film, one of the most important and noticeable elements is the relationship between Solo and Kuryakin. At first, the two are not compatible, arguing and criticizing with each other at various points in their mission. However, because of the cooperation needed in various parts of the movie and having Teller as a mediator, Solo and Kuryakin set aside their differences and past hostilities, even listening to each other’s orders, as shown when the two choose a lock to
by SOL KWON reporter
pick. The personalities of the two agents are central to the film’s tone and mood. Solo is depicted as a poker-faced, calculating individual who occasionally displays a nonchalant attitude, even when he is in a dangerous situation. In fact, Solo takes his time investigating and escaping from his enemies, eats a sandwich and listens to music, before driving a truck into the water to rescue Kuryakin. Kuryakin contrasts Solo’s personality by having issues in controlling his anger, which sometimes hinders the mission. The fact that the two, despite having incompatible personalities, are put together to cooperate with each other, shows that the film is more complex than it seems. Overall, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is not just a simple action spy film, but a complex work formed by various elements hidden in the story. The movie, unlike the typical action movie which only features a simple “hero against villain” plot, gives a chance for people to view the story in different perspectives.
VIOL A DAVIS
This year, actress Viola Davis became the first African American woman to receive an Emmy for lead actress. by LEMUEL LAN webmaster “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.” These were the impactful words of Viola Davis on September 20th at this year’s Emmy awards ceremony. For her powerful performance as the cut-throat lawyer in the enticing series, “How to Get Away with Murder,” Davis made history for being the first African American woman to win an Emmy for a lead actress in a drama. The excitement buzzed through the audience as people stood and applauded for the well-deserved actress as she approached the stage to receive her award. Davis embraced fellow nominee and friend Taraji P. Henson, while Kerry Washington was brought to tears over the historic moment. Indeed, Davis looked magnificent while standing upon that stage as she received her award, though she seemed surprised by her win. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there,” she stated firmly, her speech resonating through the hall. Davis was addressing the lack of opportunity for women of color in the Hollywood industry, stating that there was still a gap for diversity within film and television. And there has always been quite a lack of diversity within the industry. Just earlier this year, the 2015 Oscars ceremony was under criticism due to the lack of diverse nominations, hosting only an array of white, predominantly male actors, despite having powerful films such as “Selma.” Yet recently, the ABC network has began making a shift of produced television shows towards a greater diversity with people of color as lead roles. Newer shows, including “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Quantico”, have Asian leads, something rarely seen on television these days. The ABC network also hosts older shows, such as “Scandal,” holding powerful, black women making their own independent choices and decisions. America is slowly making the shift towards a wider range of people of color. In ABC network entertainment chief Paul Lee’s words, “We are thrilled that the Academy recognized Viola’s talent and her enormous contribution to her craft; and, we are honored that she calls ABC her television home. This is a monumental and historic moment for Viola, for ABC and for broadcast television.” And while this moment resonated as a great success for people of color, this begs the question of why we are seeing a shift now in 2015. Why do films and shows still lack the diversity that should be representative of our country as the supposed “melting pot” of the world? Why is our progress so slow, coming at a time so late, with racism and discrimination still an ever prevalent issue? Hollywood still whitewashes its films, placing white actors and actresses in lead roles, altering the appearance to fit some “standard beauty type.” People of color are stuffed into one-dimensional roles, being the two-bit villain or the side-friend, easily cast aside as being simpleminded. Although the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognized Davis’ emotional performance and skill, this reveals the greater necessity for more diversity within the portrayal of American stories. There are more perspectives and more facets to the American story than the familiar,
Violas Davis at the Emmy Awards Ceremony. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS) light-skinned protagonist. As viewers, we watch film and television in order to relate with the stories on screen. But how can people of color relate to stories which do not develop the issues behind their own culture, their various background stories or their different struggles? Ultimately, the lack of people of color in Hollywood is finally being addressed. While we may be several years late, the developing shift indicates a recognition to the minimal diversity within the media. Davis herself offers her thanks within her speech upon receiving her award, stating, “So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people that have Ben Sherwood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes, people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.” People of color are more layered than Hollywood’s portrayal. Just like any other human, they can be the romantic leads of their stories. They can be the heroes and saviors of their own problems. They can be so much more than the limited shells of archetypical characters shoved onto their heads. Pride should stem from the unique backgrounds that foster the diversity of America, especially when including people of color. There should be no shame, fear or lack of representation in order to fit the desired look. Indeed, this is the time of the present, where the societal constructs are changing for the better. For fairness. For honest stories of real characters with all sorts of people. It is about time Hollywood catches on.
COURSE LOAD Students sacrifice physical well-being in pursuit of academic perfection.
Sleep deprivation, stress and being overworked are all complaints that students make constantly throughout the school year. The effects of having too much on one’s plate is blatantly evident: bags under students’ eyes, a ridiculous caffeine dependency and not being able to stay awake during class are rampant at CHS. The necessary eight hours of sleep many students do not receive is not only detrimental to their overall physical health, but does not allow them to perform nearly as well as they would if they got the recommended amount of sleep. An overwhelming amount of research has gone into the positive effects of sleep on adolescent brains, showing that test scores are better, homework is completed more efficiently and stress is significantly lowered. However, these eight hours of sleep are rarely met. This can be dependent on several factors, such as homework, extracurriculars, family events, etc., but many times, students choose turn towards the teachers for blame. One might be giving too many homework assignments, another scheduling tests on the same day as another, but in the end, it all boils down to personal choice. Clayton’s ingrained emphasis on high grades and school participation sometimes causes students to overfill their schedule. Class selection sheets are packed with advanced placement and honors classes and zero
Photo by Nick Lee
by LAWRENCE HU design editor hours -- students even sacrifice lunch periods to fit more classes in, only to present the “well rounded” student that they only force themselves to be. While honors classes are intended to be rigorous, and AP’s even more so, this only results in the immense workloads that are the bane of so many students’ lives. Throw in an extra sport throughout the year, clubs and a zero hour class and we see someone who is only setting themselves up for failure. A bedtime nearing midnight, and often going past that, is the reality for too many at Clayton. A vicious cycle of sleep deprivation only causes students to perform worse on exams and quizzes. When students look at school starting times, shorter class periods and limiting homework as solutions, they should instead turn to their choices made academically. Dropping an AP or honors class will not ruin chances at a prospective college, but rather will allow more focus on other courses. A couple of rigorous classes are supplemental to one’s education, but when it becomes a scurry to take the burden of the most classes possible, then it may be time to rethink one’s goals in high school. In the end, it is only the student who decides their workload and, by making wiser choices, a healthier year can be achieved.
BLUE LIGHT Sleep deprived? The simplest solution may be to just turn off your phone.
by AMY TISHLER reporter We all know that Clayton High School students do not get the recommended eight and a half to nine and a half hours of sleep per night as recommended by the Center of Disease Control. Much sleep is sacrificed due to involvement in extracurricular activities, family obligations, and, of course, homework. However, your computer and other electronic devices may also be robbing you of a good night’s sleep...even after you turn them off. The crux of the problem is blue light, which is exactly what it sounds like. It is the bluish-tinted light emitted by television and computer screens, tablets, and smartphones. Royal Eaton, M.D., FCCP, D, ABSM, a board certified sleep specialist with Pulmonary Sleep Consultants in St. Louis explains how blue light interferes with sleep. Melatonin is a hormone, or body chemical, released by the pineal gland, a pea-sized gland in the brain. Melatonin “hastens the onset of sleep...helps you get to sleep faster.” However, blue light inhibits melatonin. This makes it hard to fall asleep even after your essay on Hamlet is complete. (And, when you can’t fall asleep, you start watching Netflix until two in the morning, further compounding the problem.) Eaton therefore suggests that teens avoid exposure to blue light for about two hours prior to bedtime. Impossible, you say! Homework is done on computers. Textbooks are online. Papers must be written on Google docs. Helpful resources, such as Khan Academy, are available on the Internet. Using computers late at night is unavoidable. What to do? According to Eaton, if you can’t shut off your computer as bedtime approaches, filtering out the blue light should be helpful. Ed Morrissey is a Partner and Chief Creative Officer at Integrity in St. Louis. His company focuses on developing websites, web apps, and mobile apps, and he spends much of his day looking at a computer screen. He explains that there are many ways to filter out blue light at night: “Common approaches include software such as f.lux, modifying color/screen settings within the computer’s operating system (OS), physical screen covers and, perhaps most importantly, ensuring a nice work environment with balanced natural light.” The computer software f.lux automatically filters out blue light at night; this gives the screen an orangish glow. In the day, it reverts back to normal light. It is available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux for free. You can download f.lux by going to justgetflux.com. The Android app Night Filter does the same thing as f.lux. Unfortunately, f.lux does not work on iPads and iPhones unless you jailbreak your device (not advised). An alternative approach to filtering out blue light is to get a physical barrier. For example, there are screen shields, such as the SleepSHIELD Anti-Blue Light filter. This shield for iPads and iPhones is available on Amazon for approximately twenty to thirty dollars.
A dubiously fashionable approach is to wear amber-lensed glasses, such as Uvex orange safety glasses, available on Amazon for about nine dollars. Eaton notes that simply dimming the brightness of your devices, however, is not helpful, since this does not specifically remove blue light. One of the methods described above is a better approach to improving sleep. “Being sleep deprived is a real challenge for young people, especially with what we know about [sleep’s critical role in the] consolidation of memory,” Eaton admonishes. If you want to do better in school, a good night’s sleep is key. As a final note, Morrissey says, “ The easiest, and most effective, way to minimize or filter out blue light is … do not use the device in the dark or at nighttime.” We all know that’s not going to happen. So why not give a blue light filter a try!
Exposure to blue light in the evening can cause difficulty falling asleep at night. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group/TNS)
The snack food being advertised on this billboard in the Shanghai subway is unmistakably Chinese - duck neck - but the model? The round eyes and lighter hair make her look as much Caucasian as Asian. (Devin Tomb/Penn State University/MCT)
THE ASIAN BEAUT Y PROBLEM A couple of years ago my cousin got plastic surgery. The procedure was called blepharoplasty, more commonly known as double-eyelid surgery. Many women in Asia have undergone the same treatment. After many summertime visits to Hong Kong, I am beginning to understand why. My grandparents praise my eyes, my brother’s height and my sister’s nose. The qualities of our appearances which are least representative of our Chinese descent. My grandparents have never left China, and yet they are trained to identify and value Western physical features. The white standard of beauty knows no limits. It is inescapable. You cannot spend five minutes in Asia without witnessing the countless, unrealistic expectations of Asian women. Advertisements lining the insides of subway stations and shopping malls depict glowing women with slim, defined facial features. Big, bright eyes and thick, sweeping lashes. Tall, skinny noses. Pale, pink-toned skin. High cheekbones and sharp jawlines. White women are subjected to similarly unreasonable standards of beauty. However, the standard inflicted upon other races is more than just unreasonable; it is literally unattainable. Though a white woman may not have the perfect white features shown in the media, she has white features. An Asian woman cannot have white features. The idea of enforcing a standard of beauty on her which comes from an entirely different race is absurd. By valuing whiteness over Asianness in Asian women, we create a culture of people who cannot accept themselves. We create women who go under the knife because the people and the media around them tell them,
by KARENA TSE reporter subliminally or not, that they have not reached beauty until they done everything in their power to alienate their natural Asian features. And even then, when they have tried their best to conform to Western ideals, they are not accepted. They are viewed with a combination of condescension and amusement. They are marked as “wannabes.” There seems to be no solution to the Asian beauty problem. The white standard of beauty is internalized in so many cultures that we have difficulty seeing outside of it. We point at Asian models and actresses and say “Look, diversity!” But most of these women are simply Asian women who look white. Instead of exclusively celebrating the beauty of women of color who satisfy Western ideals, we must celebrate the beauty of their natural racial features. Instead of calling a woman beautiful despite the qualities of her appearance which separate her from Eurocentric beauty standards, we must view her as beautiful because of these qualities. We cannot delude ourselves into thinking we have achieved equal racial representation in the media by celebrating whiteness in women who are not white. In doing so we even further push the virtually nonexistent boundaries of the Eurocentric standard of beauty. We need to fight our inclination towards whiteness. To do so will be uncomfortable, but it is a necessary step in our journey to total racial acceptance.
HELP THE HOMELESS:
“Hungry. Please Help. God bless you,” “Penny or a smile,” “Anything Helps,” “Seeking Human Kindness.” These are just a few of the simple messages one may read upon driving past a homeless individual on the street. As citizens of America, it is impossible to go through life without being faced with this moment, this one judgement call: “Should I give this person money?” Well, there are two options: help them out and give them the benefit of the doubt, or skip it, ignore them. The unfortunate truth of the current situation in society is that a majority of Americans go with the second option. Reality hits with easy excuses such as time constraints or the modern day frequency of credit cards rather than cash. Yet warnings from older generations, safety concerns and an instinctive fear of the unknown come into play as well. And the root of all these preconceived judgements is misconception. The truth is, the people society identifies as homeless fell to that state of being due to causes beyond their control. Touchy societal subjects such as alcohol and drug addiction, domestic violence and mental illness are leading causes of homelessness in the United States, as well as the well known factors of American poverty, unemployment and lack of affordable healthcare. On just one single night in January of 2013, Housing and Urban Development’s Point-in-Time survey observed 610,042 people to be homeless. An overwhelming 57,849 of those counted were Veterans. Currently, 40 percent of the homeless population are children. 61.8 percent of these homeless youth have reported cases of depression and 71.7 percent reported severe trauma, specifically, physical and sexual abuse. More than 20 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT. Obviously, the tangible evidence of their misfortune does not display the true tragedy which may have put them on the street. The time has come to ask this question: Why do we, as a society, continue to ignore these people if they have endured hardships unimaginable to the typical passerby? No eye contact, no acknowledgement of human existence, just walk. Blind to the pain the homeless may have suffered, countless citizens do not think twice. However, these people have a name, a family, a life to be lived. Instead of being treated as the humans that they are, the homeless population is
by ELISE LEVY reporter
Photo by Milli Boker
thrown aside. It’s time for an attitude shift, a change in point of view, to see the homeless person across the street as an equal, not a lesser. A human who deserves an equal chance. And sometimes it all comes down to human decency and kindness. So, skip the candy bar and give the homeless man on the corner a dollar. Spend five bucks to buy a pack of granola bars for your car and pass one on to the woman you drive past each week. Without these simple actions, change will not happen fast enough. Give someone the benefit of the doubt, because, who knows? It may brighten your day to brighten another’s.
Photo by Nick D’Agrosa
The Globe debates the decision between helping the homeless financially or finding an alternative way to help. by ZACH SORENSON page editor At the intersection between Forsyth and Skinker is the divide between Clayton and the greater city. This border is invisible and only present on maps and in the minds of bureaucrats and municipal politicians. But also present, and significantly more visible, are the panhandlers. Each taking places along the busy roads just outside of the Clayton city limits that are often clogged with traffic. These people beg, bearing signs with the message of their misfortune crudely fashioned with a length of cardboard and a sharpie marker ending simply with “God Bless” or “Have a Good Day.” Naturally, this brings discomfort to many, not the least of which are the beggars themselves. Many people find it easiest to avoid eye contact and grip the steering wheel, urging the traffic forward. Others still find it easier to give them a dollar towards a cup of coffee or a hot meal. The urge to give or run is incredibly strong because these people agitate and inflame our conscience and drive us to do the “right” thing, which, traditionally would be to give them a little bit of money. That is, until you realize the cruel and unfortunate truth. According to the 2014 Department of Housing and Urban Development report there are 578,424 homeless nationwide and 7,282 in Missouri, of which it is estimated that 60 percent have an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. 60 percent. What people fail to understand is the severity of substance abuse in the homeless community. Providing them with the means to acquire narcotics does not help them. Giving them the benefit of the doubt
does not help them. Long term support, rehabilitation and reintegration, however, can help them. The fact of the matter is that we, as individuals, cannot provide this for them but we can help others provide this for them. There are numerous shelters and soup kitchens, some specializing in homeless youth, abused women or veterans, but all of them helping hundreds, if not thousands, of homeless people each year. Those shelters are often overcrowded and underfunded, and you can help by volunteering, or donating money, or even just help provide basic necessities. What's more, you can help the homeless directly by buying them a meal or a winter jacket -- anything but give them money. It comes down to fact that you do not know them, you do not and cannot know what they will do with your donation. And, considering the statistics, it is nothing less than foolhardy to give them the benefit of the doubt. So, do not ignore the problem that homelessness presents in America, do not turn your back on people who truly need your help, but be reasonable and give your money to charitable services, like the Salvation Army or the dozens of small local shelters in and around St. Louis. The homeless situation will not be resolved by short term aid to the community -- it is only through the creation of new programs and the expansion of old ones that we can tackle the issue of homelessness in our community. It is only through the active long-term effort of our citizens and our government that we will ever be able to eliminate this abject destitution that we see on the streets just outside of our affluent Clayton.
STAFF EDITORIAL: HOMELESSNESS $
You are in your car stalled at an intersection. To your right, you see a person walking up and down the curb holding a cardboard sign, the message made illegible from excessive wear. They might be in their late thirties, wearing a dirtied windbreaker stained from sleeping on the streets and holding a plastic bag filled with scant possessions. Do you roll down your window and give a dollar? Or do you avert your eyes? In Jan. 2013, the National Alliance to End Homelessness reported over 600,000 people living homeless in the United States, 2/3 of which resided in shelters and 1/3 making up homeless families. Though there is little exposed poverty within Clayton’s sheltering suburban neighborhoods, chances are that many have encountered the homeless and at risk individuals on the streets of St. Louis. While unconscious disregard obscures the proximity of the situation, the homeless are, in reality, just around the corner. In 2012, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education documented 3551 homeless students in St. Louis City alone. Combined with the statistics from other districts, that makes over 24,000 enrolled students in transition for the state of Missouri. The coined descriptor demonstrates the day to day uncertainty experienced by homeless adolescents. These are individuals who may not necessarily sleep on the streets but take shelter with more fortunate friends. Individuals walking high school halls: CHS halls. They wear the same clothes, complete the same homework, and share the same worries. The only difference: these students have nowhere to call home after the eighth bell rings. Is it so easy now to ignore the problem? Contrary to popular stereotypes homelessness is society’s problem. Drug addiction, domestic violence, prison and mental illness are not the only causes of homelessness but factors that, when combined
with lack of education, work opportunities and affordable housing manifest in the well-known consequences. The main point is that the majority of the causes for homelessness may be resolved. As members of the Clayton community, we owe the human obligation to aid those less well off. Our heightened educational, career and social opportunities give us the ability to make a difference on the lives of others. So, why aren’t we taking more of an initiative? Most recently, while a Globe staff member was studying in a coffee shop near the central west end, a man stumbled into the café looking confused and approached her table. “Ma’am, I need to get home. Can you spare three dollars for metro tickets?” he said. He told her that he had been standing in the streets outside for the entire evening and was running out of options. Thus, the student faced a moral dilemma: Should she reach into her backpack and give him the three dollars, or lie and tell him she didn’t have the money? The most disturbing underlying question was: did she trust the stranger enough to help him? It was just another normal day at the coffee shop with her faith in humanity being called into question. But the allusion to society is irrefutable. Perhaps the real question we need to ask as a community is: do we trust individuals enough to help them? Whether it is at the intersection of a highway or inside a dim coffee shop, does it matter what the stranger did, does or will do when deciding whether or not to give them those three dollars, a granola bar or the opportunity for redemption? Most importantly of all, are we ready to face the answer? The Globie in the café couldn’t decide (if it counts, she ended up handing him $1.50). But perhaps Clayton will have an answer.
“HOMELESSNESS IS SOCIETY’S PROBLEM”
S PHIE a column by SOPHIE ALLEN, opinion section editor
There’s something about women’s health that male politicians will just never understand… Oh wait, all of it. This has been exemplified most recently when state legislatures across America began independently deciding to reduce or completely remove funding for Planned Parenthood, a nationally known non-profit women’s health care provider. Most famously, Planned Parenthood has been associated with abortions. Fortunately for women across the country, this isn’t even close to all that they do. According to their mission statement, “Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide. [Planned Parenthood] health centers provide a wide range of safe, reliable health care — and the majority is preventive, primary care, which helps prevent unintended pregnancies through contraception, reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections through testing and treatment, and screen for cervical and other cancers.” The abortion statistic has been hotly debated, so I won’t be printing a number here. I can, however, say with confidence, that abortions certain-
ly do not constitute all of the services provided by Planned Parenthood. The issue I, and many others, have with the defunding of Planned Parenthood is that it eliminates health care services provided to women with little to no finances to receive reliable medical care. Across the country, thousands of men and women are losing access to STD and cancer screenings, prenatal care, and, yes, access to a safe abortion. While the men in Congress may not agree on whether or not they would ever want an abortion, the people with the capabilities of either having a baby or having an abortion would like a say in the matter. Especially because, according to the Washington Post, federal funding cannot be used for abortions in most cases. That’s right, the very thing conservative politicians are attempting to defund isn’t using any of the money the government is giving, anyway. How ironic. Unfortunately, that isn’t the end of the irony. The true irony comes from older men making decisions about an issue that could change a young woman’s life. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, we can all agree: young women deserve to lead healthy lives, and old men shouldn’t have anything to say about it.
Planned Parenthood supporters gather in Tampa, Florida in August 2012. (Paul (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/MCT) OPINIO N 47 Videla/Bradenton Herald/MCT)
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