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STORIES September 2011

• Wauwatosa West High School • 11400 W Center Street, Wauwatosa WI • Volume 16, Issue 1



New Associate Principal Matt Byers’ experience makes him the best man for the job

Lunch Plan New schedule to

An Addition to Administration New Wajahat Alig Staff Writer

Matt Byers, previously a Dean of students and director of student life at Pius High School, has been appointed Wauwatosa West’s new associate principal. It was a position left vacant after former Associate Principal Paul Thusias bid farewell to the halls of West for the position as Greenfield High School’s principal. Byers started work early in August. The country-alternative music lover has been in the field of education for nearly 25 years. “I’ve worked in a coed school, I’ve worked in an all girls school where 40% of the population is African American, 40% is Hispanic, and less than 10% are white and just last year I was a consultant at an Islamic school” he said. “I’ve been working in administration as the Dean of students, assistant principal, director of student life, and athletic director over the course of the last 13 years”. Beyers says that the reason he enjoys working in administration is the same reason teachers choose to teach, to help students. Also having experience in the classroom, he feels that no matter what part of the school one is working in, administration or in class, the job is to help students. “I enjoy working with people and helping kids…It’s a really fun time in people’s lives, it may be confusing but it’s also exciting. In this point

bring challenges and improvement Ali Fabieng Guest Writer

Senior WAJ ALi and new associate principle Matt Byers discuss Byers experience as a teacher and his new position at West. Byers replaces Paul Thusius as Associate Prinicpal.

in their life in High school people are discovering what their potential might be.” According to fellow Associate Principal Lena Patton, Byers was hired for a number of reasons. “He has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to working with a diverse population of students and also parents being at Pius and St. Joan Antida. He served as a Dean for several years which to me speaks volumes

to being able to deal partly with the disciplinary role of administration”. Patton also believes that the ability of a person to relate to students is also highly important, an ability Byers exhibited in his interview. “It all comes down to performance [in an interview]. Unfortunately at this point we don’t have a really sound hiring practice where we’re able to view or know more about teaching or ad-

ministrative performance.” Jason Zurowik, former Tosa west Associate Principal and current Asssociate Principal at Wauwatosa East, was a student of Byers at Pius XI High School and believes that he is an excellent man for the job. “I had Mr. Byers for Social Studies. He was also my football coach. He was a leader in the school and I looked up to him because he was far and he developed g Please see

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All the Rules You Need to Know Policies offer new incentives for students to succeed Jennifer Flynng Staff Writer

With the new school year starting, the first thing on most people’s list of priorities probably isn’t reading the handbook. However, it might not hurt to take a look at some of Wauwatosa West high school’s new policies. In fact, several are already becoming popular with students. This y e a r,

West will be implementing what the school handbook calls “a system of incentives to foster high achievement and reward positive decision making.” So, what are these incentives? If you were here last year, you probably heard something about the plans to change exams this year. While no one seemed to know for sure what was exactly going to be changed, speculations ranged from no exam exemptions, to getting rid of exams altogether. Most people probably wouldn’t have minded the latter, but the new policy may still be considered a positive change for many. Although

current seniors will have experienced West’s previous policy of allowing two exemptions per semester, this year’s freshmen and sophomores will be the first underclassmen to be able to exempt any exams at all. Instead of exemptions being reserved for juniors and seniors as in the past, every grade will now be able to exempt; however, the limit is one exemption per semester. The requirements, on the other hand, remain the same: no unexcused absences, no exempting project exams, a B or above in the class, no more than three unexcused tardies, and no more than five absences. Despite

this being good news for underclassmen, not everyone is happy. “We waited two years. Freshmen and sophomores shouldn’t be able to exempt,” said junior Susie Shively. Exam exemptions won’t be the only thing being opened to more students this year. While students have previously had to wait until their junior year to have study hall in the Trojan Room, freshman and sophomores will now be able to enjoy the vending machine, TV, and couch-equipped room as well after meeting certain requirements during 1st quarter. g Please see

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What’s the best period of a long school day? Lunch, of course! For the 2011-2012 school year, lunch will be a little different at Wauwatosa West. For starters, there will only be two lunch periods instead of three. According to West Principal Frank Calarco, the three lunch periods and multiple passing periods during 5th hour caused many students to be tardy to class. Students and teachers were losing a lot of time in the classroom. “We’re hoping that kids gain back some instructional time and that we don’t have as many kids in the hallways,” he said. Wauwatosa East High School modified their schedule from three to two lunch periods last school year. East student Joe Metz says, “I think that it's more crowded at lunch because there's two instead of three, but both lunches are at a reasonable time and not too late, so it's good and bad.” East Principal Nick Hughes said, “The change has dramatically reduced the number of bells and interruptions during the lunch hour. The changes made to the food service area have made the lines go faster and adding a few minutes to each lunch period have given the necessary time to eat. Students and staff have grown used to the changes and I could not envision going back to three lunches.” However, serving and sitting over 500 students during a single period does present some challenges. As a result, the cafeteria serving area has been expanded to help serve a larger number of students. The construction was paid for by the cafeteria food company Sodexho. Carpenter Tim Erickson says, “The serving area will be bigger.” He also said, “Students will be able to g Please see

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September 2011


Meet the New Teachers Coming This Year Quick notes and quotes from some of our staff’s newest members

Amie Brooks- French “I was looking for a French position and was really drawn to the Wauwatosa community... This is my first full time teaching position” Former teacher at Whitewater Middle School and is from Arizona. Tori Franz- Spanish Teaches Spanish 1 and 2, also freshman volleyball coach. “[I’m most looking forward to] teaching at a high school again. Last year I was in a MS and I much preferred HS. I think it’s a very important time in students’ lives and I like chaperoning homecoming and prom. I’m kind of a geek like that.” Jim Ludeman- Tech Ed (East and West) “I missed teaching. I retired for a semester and realized that I still had teaching in me that I wanted to do. I just fell in love with the kids.” Former teacher at Oak Creek for 34.5 years. Mostly will be working with Project Lead the Way. Kellie Meyer- English “I want to bring a challenging curriculum that enhances students’ skills” Former teacher at Verona High School. Guy Kammerer- Band Director “I hope to take all the skills and talents of the students and use them” Former teacher at Waukesha South Riley Mewes-Social Studies “I’m a pretty good soccer player. I will probably be volunteering at some point this year with some program. I coached at Brookfield Central girls’ soccer for the past 4 years.” Former teacher at Germantown and has been friends with Mr. Guse since Kindergarten! Nick Kepke- English “I was a substitute teacher at Slinger High School, Grafton, Kettle Moraine, and Hamilton-Sussex... [teaching] has always been a passion of mine, I wanna help kids succeed not only now but also in the future... I’m a swim coach, I love swimming, I’ve been the girls swim coach at East for three years” Challenges: “A tremendous amount, challenges with students, curriculum, but I welcome challenges I think it’s a good thing to have challenges.”



A New Lunch Plan continued from page 1

come in, pick what foods they want, and then they go to the ‘point of sales’ where they pay for the food.” Instead of going to a specific cashier to pay for your food, students will buy ale carte and hot lunch and one of three cashiers will accept payment. Cafeteria cashier Bonnie Itzek says, “The idea is to make it easier, faster, and all in one area.” She also adds, “It will be easier for the cashiers and less time consuming.” In order to allow for the increased number of students to each lunch, West administrators decided to allow students to eat in multiple areas. Students will have the option of eat-

All the Rules You Need To Know ing in the lunch room, the learning center and the Trojan Room. Student Matt Zanton says, “I don’t really care as long as I can eat my lunch.” West Librarian Jeanine Brennan said, “I like the change in lunch periods. But it will affect the noise level in the library.” Since the learning center is right below the library, there will be a need for glass doors to cover the open library. And for those of you who buy hot lunch, start bringing an extra dime with you! Hot lunch meals are now $2.35 instead of $2.25. Student Raul Pliego comments, “We are in a recession right now, that’s not cool!”

For Up to Date News and Special Features You Won’t See Here, Visit Featuring: Student Blogs, Event Photos, Videos, Broadcast Productions,


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Another policy being put into place later in the year will be open campus lunch. Although it won’t be put into place until second semester, juniors will now be able to leave for part of the day just like seniors. Why the new privilege? “It’s the transitioning stage between middle school and college,” said new associate principal Matt Byers. “If kids are being responsible, they should be able to have more freedom.” Like exam exemptions, certain requirements must be met to have open campus lunch, including a GPA of 2.5 or higher, no suspensions, and no unexcused absences. Both juniors and seniors will need to have either a 4th hour study hall and A lunch, a 5th hour study hall, or B lunch and a 6th hour study hall to participate. New privileges won’t be the only changes to the handbook. The long-standing rule of shorts being below the fingertips has now become “as long as the first knuckle on the longest finger on your hand when your arms are hanging by your side.” While the dress code may be slightly more lenient, rules on MP3 players, on the other hand, are tightening up. Although last year’s handbook prohibited the devices, many teachers still allowed them during certain times in their classrooms. This year, Byers says, it’s the rule. However,

whether or not teachers may still have their own rules is yet to be seen. One thing that is already definite though, is the change to lunch times. While no one saw C lunch on their schedules, that doesn’t guarantee they will be eating any earlier. B lunch will now take over previous years’ final lunch spot, starting after 5th hour—which will now be the regular 51 minutes as opposed to the normal 56—at 12:45. This will mean there’s a break between the two lunches, as well as an additional five minutes to lunch periods, which will now be a half-hour long. Because each lunch will be more crowded, work was done on the Learning Center over the summer to allow for additional seating space. The reason for the change, according to Byers, is the disruption B lunch created during the middle of 5th hour classes. So, whether you’ll be leaving for lunch, exempting your math exam, or wearing half-inch-shorter shorts, the school’s new policies are likely to have an effect on you, and hopefully, a positive effect on the entire school. After last year’s introduction of the Steiner Center, the Trojan Way, and of course, a new principal, this year certainly isn’t failing to bring about a number of changes of its own.



September, 2011


The People You Should Know Nine people who can help your day run smoothly Zakiya Robinson gManaging Editor

1.   Rulers of the School

Our Principal Frank Calarco and Assistant Principals Lena Patton and Matt Beyers all help to make Tosa West a learning environment. Ever have a problem you need fixed, the administration is the one for you. Packing in whopping hours a day, each administrator is concerned for the welfare of the students. Implementing student mentors, the creation of culture week and extended privileges were all administrative decisions. They work to please the community for a safer and healthier learning environment. Power Quote: “If you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it, change your attitude (the way you think about it), Maya Angelou said it, let’s do it West”

2. The Organizer

Michele Cervantes is the administrative assistant to the principal’s office. Not only is she a shoulder to cry on about a lost sweater, but a school event coordinator. If you ever need to clear a date for a trip, cry about a lost item or leave a message for an administrator. “Madame C” is the go to girl. Power Quote: “Put your best Converse forward

3. The Patrol Man

Officer Braun may look scary at first glance because of his massive height and shiny badge, but he truly has a heart of gold. As an advisor to Key Club, Officer Braun helps direct students to the paths of community outreach. Not only is he the man to go to for community projects but he is the school police officer. If you ever have a stolen item or leave your keys in your car, his office is there.

ticular can direct you to your guidance counselor with ease and answer most questions you have even before seeing you counselor. Any questions that she can’t answer go to our guidance counselors who coordinate or schedules and help our lives run smoothly. If you’re ever in need of guidance on a large decision like choosing a college or whether to join a trade, they are the people to go to. Power Quote: “How you do anything is how you do everything. “ Becker Barbara Lauenstein, “Lau”, the director of the career center cares for the human resource portion of Tosa West. She advises Key Club and other outreach programs at West. She also helps students find jobs and internships that will take them far in the future. For information on college visits, community outreach programs and college application help, check in with “Lau”. Power Quote: “It takes a whole village to raise a child and that’s what we do at Tosa West.”

7. The Jacks of All Trades

5. The Guiding Light




9. The Muscle Man

An Additon to Administration strong relationships with his students and student-athletes. If you had an issue or a problem…he knew something wasn’t right and would reach out to you and try to help. Mr. Byers is the reason that I went into education, he inspired me to make a difference for kids, because he made a difference for me.” Though he does not believe that the professionalism of staff and the rea-


8. The It Girl

As a new addition to the West staff, Jeff Gabrielen, the athletic director is there for all players and aspiring players at West. Mr. G can help with counseling players about athletic options they may in the future. As a new bright light to West, we look forward to his presence in our school.

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Sarah Looker, Kevin Mitchell and Kosta Zervas live up to their title. Serving as secondary guidance counselors, our student supervisors are always around. A jammed locker can be opened with a click of a key, and so can a locker room. They help coach Tosa West sports teams and can help new students navigate the campus.

4. The Sunshine Lady

Kathleen Erickson (and the guidance counselors) makes sure West runs smoothly. Mrs. Erickson in par-



6. The Career Center Guru

Candice Miller, the activities office director can handle pretty much anything. If you need to pay a fee, or are looking to purchase sportswear, her office is always open. Even when you need change for an obnoxiously large bill, knock and she shall change it. To top it all off she manages funds for some pretty important auxiliaries at West. The activities office manager is something thing like a dream come true Power Quote: “Rock on!”

Betty Marks is the first lady you see in the morning and she’s always wearing a smile. If you need a late pass, or need to call your mom to tell her you forgot your lunch, she’s always there. She also distributes bus passes to those who get them. One of the kindest people on the Tosa West staff is Mrs. Marks. Power Quote: “Be on time.”


sons for working at a school change from school to school, the biggest change for him is the extra layer of management in the Wauwatosa School District. “I’m used to things being contained in the High School so the highest I had to go is the principle, maybe the president of the school who are in the same building. Here there’s a separate building, there’s district policies to be aware

of, you have communicate back and forth with them, and you have to stay on the same page with East and two middle schools”. With all this extra management, he feels that it might be harder to change policies or implement new ideas. Byers looks forward to

the new school year and working with teachers and student. He has already taken the first step in trying to become part of West’s community as he is the advisor for the new Freshman Mentor program. It is currently the only activity he is advising, but he has been a part of numerous organizations in the past including Model UN and Mock Trial. In the words of Zurowik, “West High School is truly lucky to have Mr. Byers as an administrator!”



September 2011

girls tennis

Practice Pays New Tennis Courts Girls Tennis Team works hard to achieve new heights Fresh Courts Breathe New Life Into Trojan Tennis Ellyn Kirtley g Editor-in-Chief

Brittany Howard g Guest Writer

In the opinion of Wauwatosa West’s girls’ varsity tennis team, unattractive sock tans, scraped knees, and sore ankles are all small prices to pay for a chance at a winning season. Though the 2011-2012 school year did not begin until September, members of the tennis team began training at the beginning of August. Despite West’s losing record last year, head coach Kosta Zervas feels the current team shows promise, saying, “We have a strong team up and down.” He believes the team’s main advantage this year comes from its large number of returning players. “We have a lot of girls coming back from last year with varsity experience,” he said. However, the team is not without its flaws. “Our weaknesses [are] just playing consistent tennis,” Zervas reflected. He then continued to say: “[We need to make] sure our opponents are able to stay in the game with us; and make…[them] work harder for the points.” In essence, Coach Zervas wants the players to learn to consistently play good, fundamental tennis. In order to improve, West’s tennis players have participated in nonconference matches. Senior Leah Mott said that Coach Zervas has been working the team very hard this year during practices. Another senior, Katie Adams, also commented on the

Breanna Subotichg Staff Writer

work they have done thus far: “[We’ve played] 7 or 8 matches this season and a scrimmage, and we are only a week into it. So we are hitting the ground running.” West’s coaches hope that this will prepare the team to do well in their conference matches. Adams feels these early matches will benefit the team in the long run. “We’ll have a lot of playing time behind our back,” she said, continuing, “[This will] benefit us further down the road when conference comes around.” But just as important as technique and experience is having a cohesive team. Over time, and as a result of extensive training and hard work, the players have learned the importance of cooperating with each other. “Since we’ve been together for the past three years,” said Mott, “we have formed really good chemistry.” Adams agrees that the tennis team has bonded extremely well. Of the seniors on the team, she said, “We can help all of the younger girls feel their way out. Although it’s an individual sport, everyone’s game counts toward the winning score.”

During the summer you may have noticed a lot of construction going on by the tennis courts. The old courts were ripped down, so now the Wauwatosa West tennis team has a fresh set of new blue and green courts. The money came from the district capital improvement funds, and our school has been asking for this money for 5 years. The school’s old tennis courts were there for about 42 years. They were the original courts constructed in the year 1969, which was 8 years after Wauwatosa West opened. It was very important that these old courts be replaced because they were deteriorating to the point of being hazardous. According to Wauwatosa West’s new Athletic Director, Jeffrey Gabrielsen, other schools were actually refusing to p l a y tennis matches at West because of the terrible con-

dition of the courts. Members of the girls’ tennis team are happy with the change. Varsity senior Megan Falk says, “I’m happy that our team won’t be known for having the worst courts in the conference anymore”. She is also excited to have brand new courts for her final year on the tennis team. Another Varsity senior, Ellen Sauter, is also happy with the changes. “I think the best part is the California corners, so the balls don’t run onto your teammate’s courts.” Not only were new courts put in, but the entire configuration of the area was improved, and a new spectator section was built. Now there is an area on the sides of the courts with bleachers, so all parts of the courts can be seen well. Megan’s mom, Wendy Falk, loves that the bleachers are on the side of the courts for an easier view. She said, “I like that you can watch matches from the walkway in between the courts too, so you are able to focus on a specific match.” Sauter is also happy with the spectator section. She loves the viewing accessibility. The new tennis courts are already turning out to be a good fix to our school. Hopefully they will stay strong and be there for many tennis teams to come.

West Side

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the betterment of the community, will support candidates for school office, and will serve as a constructive critic. Columns and reviews will be signed unless there is a consensus of opinion among the WSS editors. Copies of the complete WSS editorial policy are available in Room 267 at West High School. Letters to the Editor: Letters are accepted from all readers. Editors have the right to edit for length and obscenity, but will not alter the original meaning of the materials. All submitted letters must be signed. Subscription information: For a sub-

scription, please send $20.00 payable to Wauwatosa West High School. Send to West Side Stories, c/o Wauwatosa West High School, 11400 W. Center St. Wauwaotsa, WI 53226

Awards: Wisconsin Newspaper Associations awarded West Side Stories a second place in 2007-2008, a first place 2008-2009 in the General Excellence category. West Side Stories has also received a Bronze Medalist ranking from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. A number of students have also placed individually in state and national writing competitions.

Editors: Ellyn Kirtley: Editor-InChief Stephanie Eberle: EditorIn-Cheif Jack Wongtam: Design and Layout Editor Zakiya Robinson: Managing Editor

Photographers: Mitchell Stingl Wajahat Ali Designers: Wajahat Ali Staff Writers: Breanna Subotich

2011/2012 issue 1 sep  

2011/2012 issue 1