Detroit Dialogue December 2020

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Dialogue//Dec. 19, 2019




PAGE 11 » DPSCD officer teaches DSA students about what to expect if stopped by police


PAGE 17 » Mumford student makes impression in the ring



PAGE 21 »

Southeastern starts student-led meditation class to reduce stress




PAGE 8 » Students take on dress requirements ACADEMICS


PAGE 23» Western students display their work


PAGE 15 » Teachers take second jobs to make ends meet STUDENT LIFE


PAGE 6 » Cass Tech alumni share pride with students A PUBLICATION OF


PAGE 9 » Cristo Rey launches student drama club



2 Dec. 19, 2019 OPINION

College is challenging despite academic success in high school


Vol. V, No. 2 | Dec. 19, 2019

Detroit Dialogue is published by Crain Michigan State University Detroit High School Journalism to showcase the work of student journalists in the city of Detroit. Dialogue has been established as a forum for student expression and as a voice in the uninhibited, robust, free and open discussion of issues.

All content is prepared by students at participating Detroit high schools. Students receive advice and training from program staff and professional journalists from Crain Communications Inc. throughout the publication process. Michigan State University, Crain Communications and participating schools assume no liability for the content of Dialogue, and urge all student journalists to recognize that with editorial control comes responsibility, including the responsibility to follow professional journalism standards. Opinions expressed in Dialogue are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of participating schools, Michigan State University or Crain Communications.

ABOUT CRAIN MSU DETROIT HIGH SCHOOL JOURNALISM Crain MSU Detroit High School Journalism enriches the educational experiences of students in the city of Detroit. Our work brings high school students together with professional journalists, Michigan State University faculty members and MSU journalism students to produce a newspaper and news website about the issues affecting students’ schools and their peers. The program is coordinated by the faculty of the School of Journalism at MSU with the support of Detroitbased Crain Communications Inc..

OUR TEAM Joy Visconti, Director, Crain MSU Detroit High School Journalism


Jeremy W. Steele, steelej Scholastic journalism outreach director, MSU School of Journalism Joe Grimm, Program adviser & editor in residence, MSU School of Journalism


My first year of college was a rough ride. I had applied to Northwestern University pretty late in the game, but even Imani though I atHarris tended Detroit’s Guest most prestigious Columnist high school, I was sure I wouldn’t get in. After all, the acceptance rate was just 12%. But I saw no harm in trying, especially because my school had given me free application vouchers. Then I was accepted, and after a visit, some phone calls, and some very hefty scholarships, to my surprise I found that I was headed to one of the country’s most selective universities. That turn of events was surprising enough. But nothing could have prepared me for what would happen once I got on campus. You see, I’ve always been told I was smart. People in my neighborhood knew me as “the girl with the book,” and my friends told me I was weird because I liked to learn. I was always the teacher’s pet, and all of my teachers promised me I’d do great things in life. So walking into Northwestern, I was pretty confident that I’d do a great job, and have a good time in the process. And for the first few weeks of school, that’s what seemed to be happening. I enjoyed my classes: an African American studies course, an introductory Spanish course, a writing and reporting class, and a sociology class focusing on cities. My first small assignments, long lectures, and short quizzes weren’t easy, but I found the work manageable. I began joining clubs and making friends. But then, at just week five. I had my first round of midterms. Exams may be scary for all college students, but I’m positive that nothing compares to the fear, anxiety, and overall disappointment I felt realizing that I hadn’t been prepared by my high school to be there. While I thought I understood most of the readings, study guide questions showed me


Imani Harris was the student keynote speaker at the Crain MSU Detroit High School Journalism Program Awards Banquet on May 22, 2018, at the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit.

to be able to think through all the I had not. Every time I thought I material and answer questions we had studied the vocabulary and may have never discussed. It was verb tenses enough, I would fail more than preparing for one exam the small quizzes I gave to myself. And writing my first college essay? at the end of my junior year — I had to actually learn and be able to Let’s just say that without my use that knowledge now. school’s writing center, it would So, I studied. not have hapOr at least tried pened. It was “In my high school, to. I was basifrustrating, but I never really had cally mindlessly even more than doing quizlets, that — it was to try. I gained no constantly paralyzing. study skills, and rereading my All of a sudrarely had to think textbooks and den I felt stupid. critically. But at essays, and While others depending on could still party Northwestern, our writing and have a good critical thinking coaches for all time, I locked was the only way my essay needs. myself in my I struggled to room, crying, to pass.” keep up with trying to study, the pace and I and mostly prayconstantly wanted to quit. ing. All the information thrown at It wasn’t fair to me that I was me confused me, and I didn’t have struggling while everyone around the first clue how to study. In my me thrived because of the ways high school, I never really had to they had been set up for success. try. I gained no study skills, and Some of my classmates shared rarely had to think critically. But with me that they had had similar at Northwestern, critical thinking assignments when they were in was the only way to pass. I had to understand the readings enough to high school. Then I would think take them a step further and prove about how easily I succeeded in high school, and wish that I had some sort of argument. I needed

been given the opportunity to go to a school that challenged me to actually learn — not just to memorize what would be needed to pass the next test. I also thought back to how hard it was for my college counselor to help me submit my applications, much less support me in my transition to college. In Detroit as in any cities, college counselors often play other roles that make them hard to access for actual college concerns. My own counselor had so many students that I actually ended up basically writing my own letter of recommendation. And I thought about how no one had taken the time to have the tough conversation with me and my classmates about what we would find when we got to college. College is different. It’s nothing like high school, and it’s nothing like being in Detroit. Someone could have prepared me for the culture, and overall, shock of being in a new place that wasn’t created for people like me, but that never happened. After my disappointing midterm grades, I realized hat I would See TRANSITION on page 4 »

2019-2020 CRAIN MSU DETROIT HIGH SCHOOL JOURNALISM PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS Benjamin Carson School for Science & Medicine Principal Charles Todd Cass Technical High School Principal Lisa Phillips Communication & Media Arts High School Principal Donya Odom

Detroit Cristo Rey High School Principal Kevin Cumming Detroit School of the Arts Principal Lisa Reynolds East English Village Preparatory Academy Principal Larry Gray

Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School Principal Deborah Jenkins

Southeastern High School Principal Maurice El-Amin

Mumford High School Principal Damian Perry

West Side Academy of Information Technology and Cyber Security Principal Lenora Crawford

Renaissance High School Principal Verynda Stroughter

Western International High School Principal Angel Garcia

THANK YOU TO OUR CRAIN MENTORS AND SUPPORTERS In addition to the professional mentors listed along with student staff members in this publication, we wish to thank the following Crain employees for their assistance: KC Crain, Jason Stein, Omari Gardner, Kristen Pantalena, Phil Nussel, Dan Jones, Alan Luckwald and Terry Driscoll.

Dec. 19, 2019 3

THE DIAGNOSTIC Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine | ACADEMICS

Job Corps comes to Ben Carson By Sarah Kabala and Jamiya Jackson The Diagnostic Benjamin Carson High School became the first Detroit public school to adopt a certified nurse’s assistant program in addition to its various existing medical-focused programs. “It’s a brand new opportunity for seniors that we are hoping becomes an opportunity for a bigger proportion of seniors in coming years that gives them a chance to basically, by the time they graduate, or at least right after they graduate, to receive a CNA like a valuable certification,” BCHS college adviser Sean Henry said.

The program is offered at the Wayne County Community College through Job Corps, a federal program that trains people in high-need areas who are then able to get jobs. “Its expansive benefits include college courses that are completely paid for, the price of the textbooks and supplies, a weekly stipend, final stipend of $1,200, transportation to and from the college, tickets to professional sports games and concerts, and finally, health and dental services,” BCHS principal Charles Todd said. The course changes professors from one quarter to the next. The previous professor,

William R. Miller, a surgeon assistant, taught the class in order to have a positive impact and increase the number of the minority of physicians in the medical world. “It’s helpful to me in many ways because I can know the right medical terminology that will be used in the medical field and is preparing for my long term goal, which is to be a family care physician,” senior Aniqa Usha said. In addition to the students who are using the program as a stepping tool to into their respective fields, there are also others who are taking the class to enrich themselves even if they


Jamari Childs takes Suliman Islam’s vitals as Aniqa Usha assists.

are not interested in the medical field. It is only one of the various CTE programs that are currently being offered at BCHS. Todd said all students who take full



“The goal is to allow our students to have recognized crucial abilities when they graduate from high school.” — G W E N D O LY N M I A , T E A C H E R


Teachers, students to be trained in lifesaving measure

By Syeda Amina, Faith Redmon and ZamZam Aljahm The Diagnostic Benjamin Carson High School has received a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) grant from the National Academy Foundation. The African American Youth Initiative is worth a total of $235,000 over the next three years and will affect all of BCHS’s STEM classes and senior programs. The grant will also allow BCHS teachers to become CPR trainers, allowing them to train students in CPR. “It feels good to be CPR certified, but I hope I never use it,” senior Bassam Alasri said. This will give students opportunities to have more employable skills. “The goal is to allow our

advantage of all the program has to offer will benefit from it. “I feel like the skills that we are learning in this program are transferable to any career field,” senior Daira Lloyd said.


Shyla Hudson and Symphony Isabelle practice CPR on mannequins along with other students.

students to have recognized crucial abilities when they graduate from high school,” teacher Gwendolyn Mia said. The grant was possible due to the efforts of Mia, and fellow teachers Michelle Schwendemann, Kristen Maher, and


Brenda Belcher, the assistant superintendent Partnerships and Innovation. Classes will also be receiving color printers, which is a game changer for most students at BCHS allowing them to have more vibrant projects. Classes

Editors: Sarah Kabala, Norwin Islam & Aramis Underwood Adviser: Frank Odeh Crain Mentor: Alexa St. John, Automotive News

will also receive additional equipment. With these, classes like chemistry will get a chance to do more precautious experiments. “Safety gear,” would be useful, sophomore Lamarr Arrington said. “Color printer will definitely be nice.”

White Coat tradition continues By Amaris Underwood, Lanya Cooper and Remiyah Mitchell The Diagnostic On Nov. 13, Benjamin Carson High School held its seventh annual White Coat Ceremony for sophomores. The event was inspired by similar ceremonies held by medical schools for college sophomores. During the ceremony, the choir sang the National Anthem and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Soon after, they invited Dr. Lisa Randon, from Detroit Community Health Services, as a keynote speaker who spoke with students about preparing to be a health care professional. Then, students received hip-length white lab coats and recited a pledge led by BCHS senior Sarah Kabala. “The ceremony did a good job of honoring us, and the oath was a good preview of what we might expect if we choose the medical path,” said BCHS sophomore Lamarr Arrington. They promised to study hard in order to succeed in the health care profession. See COAT on page 4 »

Staff Writers: Bassam Alasri, Zamzam Aljahm, Syeda Amina, Kenneth Banks, M’kya Benson, Lanya Cooper, Saniya Davis, Derrian Dinwiddie, Mirazul Haque, Howard Jackson, Jamiya Jackson, Marrissa Lee, Asif Miah, Remiyah Mitchell, Tahmim Nazim, William Newson, Christian Ogburn, Kyree Parker, Abdur Rahman, MD Rob, Makayla Slater, Garrick Smith, Adon’ai Williams

4 Dec. 19, 2019 STUDENT LIFE


Dual enrollment key part of BCHS


BCHS student, Canaan Thomas, participates in chess tournament at Bunche Preparatory Academy in Detroit.

By Mirazul Haque and Bassam Alasri The Diagnostic Dual enrollment, a course offered at Benjamin Carson High School through Wayne County Community College, has always played a crucial role in the school’s development and allowed students to further their academics. This program allows students to take college level courses while also managing their normal high school courses. “I believe this is a program that benefits young minds and shows them what you must

Benjamin Carson prepare yourself for in college,” said Dr. Walter Davis, a Dual Enrollment professor. “It shows them that you can’t slack off and you need to put the time in to succeed.” Davis has been teaching for over 20 years and agrees with the fact that dual enrollment courses positively complement a student’s transcript and will allow them to graduate early from college. It is a golden opportunity for students to challenge

themselves and progress as individuals. “Dual enrollment was such a helpful tool in my studies because it taught me dedication and to persevere through the hard times so one day I can achieve success,” BCHS graduate Mustafizur Rahman said. Dual enrollment is a culmination of hardwork and perseverance. It provides an advantage for students because it prepares them for the future. Dedication and hard work is required but once you truly embrace yourself in the class, the possibilities are endless.


Dual enrollment benefits students CARSON BUILDS CHESS TRADITION By Makayla Slater, Kenneth Banks and Asif Miah The Diagostic Playing chess is starting to become a tradition at Benjamin Carson High School. Since 2016, the school has hosted a chess club. This year 10 students enjoy the competitiveness of this classic game. Chess club “ helps me make new friends and gain new experiences,” sophomore Shantoria Rice said. BCHS Chess Club is not only an afterschool program but students play in competitive tournaments. They also gain strategy skills, learn to be patient, and it challenges players to use their analytical skills. “Chess is a great game for anyone to learn, it helps with critical thinking, problem solving, long and short term planning, “ said BCHS Chess Club


City grads work twice as hard to be average FROM PAGE 2

have to figure out a strategy on my own. I had to teach myself how to study, learn my own learning style, and consistently focus on reading in between the lines to succeed. I ended my quarter on a strong note, but only because of my hard work and the access to outside help that I had. Still, I couldn’t help but think — what about those who don’t have what I do? Those who went to high schools with fewer resources than mine. Those who don’t have parents to call that can help them edit essays. Those who have to provide for their families and can’t focus solely on school. The ones who attend colleges where they don’t have access to dedicated counselors. Or those

Benjamin Carson coach Kwesi Matthews. BCHS Chess Club has been successful. Last year the club competed at a national tournament in Schaumburg, Illinois, outside Chicago. The club has been to two Detroit Metro Scholastic Chess League tournaments this year. Winning eight of out 10 matches in the first tournament. “We have had some success, it’s just another way we can show school pride and having students getting involved so our program can expand,” Matthews said. “Chess is a culmination of teamwork and perseverance,” senior Mirazul Haque said. Chess Club allows BCHS students to feel part of a team. “We feel close enough to be family, but sometimes we disagree,” Rice said. who might not have the skills to reach out for what they need, or who might have learned that asking for help wouldn’t yield any. Michigan is facing a federal lawsuit filed by advocates who say the state has deprived Detroit children of their right to literacy. I learned to read, but my experience making the transition to college revealed to me that Detroit students will always have to work twice as hard just to be average. I went to the best high school in the city and didn’t know that until it was almost too late. Reprinted with permission. Imani Harris participated in the Crain MSU Detroit High School Journalism Program as a student at Renaissance High School. She graduated in 2018 and currently attends Northwestern University in Chicago. A version of this piece originally appeared on the Detroit Students’ Blog and was also published on

By Jubair Ahmed and MD Rob The Diagnostic Many students at Benjamin Carson High School are taking advantage of the dual enrollment program. Dual enrollment is very beneficial in many different ways. It allows students to obtain college credits at no cost. This allows students to get a better understanding and helps them get college experience while still enjoying a high school environment. There are programs where students go to a college campus, but we have our own classroom inside the high school. The program offers biology and environ-

Benjamin Carson

mental science courses. In addition, some of the classes with the dual enrollment programs are on campus so that also allows students to get a vast reach on resources. Students will also be able to explore fields of study that help them choose a major and understand a certain path they are taking. Overall, though, the classroom’s environment is perfect. Students respect and help each other. The teacher Dr. Walter Davis works with us on the subjects until we understand them. One of the things that he constantly

says for us to succeed is “put the time in.” He’s always happy and has a smile on his face, which is what creates the positivity and students’ engagement in the classroom. Students learn many different cool things to do with science and how they impact our lives on a daily basis. Davis works with students and pushes them to go farther and achieve success. This helps motivates us to work harder towards our obstacles and the positivity that comes is absolutely amazing. We believe that dual enrollment is beneficial in every single aspect from how it helps us as students to how the staff handles and teaches us at Benjamin Carson.


Sophomores at BCHS receive their white coat and commit to lifelong learning.


Students allowed to wear coat as school uniform FROM PAGE 3

Sophomore Marvell Jones said, “The event was great,

and I learned a few new things about the medical field.” The students were celebrated and decked out in white coats, looking like true doctors. Students are allowed to wear their white coats as part of their school uniform and

should truly envision themselves as a part of the medical community. BCHS science teacher Linda Bradlin said, “I would consider this ceremony beneficial to anyone entering the health care field.”

Dec. 19, 2019 5


A public forum for the community of Cass Technical High School | STUDENT LIFE


Students go to Spain with choral group COURTESY OF MRS. E. EWING

Special guest Jazmyne Dennice and For Girls Only club members.



New club aims to empower teen girls By Tatyana Carter CT Visionary Cass Technical High School has a rising club For Girls Only that is changing and motivating girls who attend Cass Tech. For Girls Only is a club founded last school year with Principal Lisa Phillips as its sponsor. The club meets every Wednesday and it has about 50 members. FGO is a club meant to uplift and empower teen girls. Within the club they discuss controversial topics

and they share personal opinions on the topics. The club selects topics to talk about for a month and the members then complete various activities that deal with the topic. FGO was a club created by Phillips to be a support for girls who may need extra help with their confidence and a safe place where they can be open and comfortable about talking about their problems. Phillips noticed ninth grade

girls some years ago going down the wrong path and she held an all girls meeting in the CT Grand Theater and allowed the girls to put their thoughts in a box. Phillips found that the girls were really struggling with self esteem issues, so she decided to create a club to focus on girls and issues that relate to them. Phillips said the mission statement of FGO is “to empower See GIRLS on page 6 »

By Cheyenne Loper CT Visionary Cass Tech students Quinell May Jr., Anjel Mantel, and B'nathaniel Orlu were awarded a full sponsorship in the fall to perform in Spain and Portugal as integral members of the Community Chorus of Detroit (CCD). These students had the opportunity to travel to Europe in early September and showcase the skills they learned in the CCD, a choir of 70. There are only four students in the choir. As the only three selected for the task, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. The CCD is led by Thom and Diane Linn, who are both Cass Tech alumni. With weekly rehearsals on Sundays from 1:30-4:30 p.m., this choir was able to ensure, at no cost to the students, that May Jr., Mantel, and Orlu had all of the tools they needed to represent not only their school, but their city. “Interacting with different cultures helped me to see life through a different lens,” May said. The CCD is dedicated to serving the Metro Detroit area with emphasis on the city of Detroit. It is committed to maintaining the highest levels of artistic and professional integrity through its selection of


Quinell May Jr., Angel Mantel and B’nathaniel Orlu at Cass Technical high school before they departed for their trip.

great music, leadership, organizational development, religious expectation, and outreach. The CCD was founded in 2010 by Diane Linn, the current executive director and board president. She was contacted by Dr. Jerry Blackstone, former conducting department chair at the University of Michigan, to discuss his vision of a community chorus in Detroit. With Blackstone's recommendation, Joseph Baldwin, a master’s candidate at the University of Michigan, became See SPAIN on page 6 »


Wayne State hosts Decision Day By Ariel Tuff CT Visionary On Nov. 9, Detroit area high school students gathered in Cass Technical High School’s arena for Wayne State University’s annual Decision Day. The event was invitation only, and students were told to bring application materials such as: transcripts, official test scores, fee waivers, and in some cases, a completed application to their school of choice. Cass Tech counselor Monica Jones said Wayne State “wanted to make it convenient for those

students to come and apply and get accepted. Applicants dropped off their materials between 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and gathered once again to receive their decisions from 2-2:30 p.m. Universities such as Eastern Michigan University, Oakland University, Grand Valley State University, and others participated in the event and some even offered exclusive offers to the students: fee waivers, scholarships, and merchandise and application assistance. According to an article by U.S. News & World Report, college


Editor-in-Chief: Nyla Carter

tuition continues to increase and there are a variety of stressors during the college application time for seniors in high school. Some of the stress is reduced by the accessibility and easy access that Decision Day provides. The event was overseen by Wayne State Senior Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions Lajoyce Brown, in accordance with Jones, and Cass Tech National Honors Society volunteers. The volunteers helped the day See DECISION on page 6 »


CT Seniors, from left to right: Abdul Repon, D’aja Whitfield, Aaliyah Sanchez, Tahiat Tisha, Moumita Chawdhury, Imani Hall-Jennings.

Adviser: Jill Thomas

Crain Mentor: Don Loepp, Plastics News

6 Dec. 19, 2019 STUDENT LIFE

Legacy Week honors CT alumni​ Cass Tech By Kamryn Collins CT Visionary How important is the Cass Tech legacy to alumni? The Triangle Society held their third annual Legacy Week, Nov. 10-15. The events for Legacy Week were: Celebrate the Cass Tech JROTC, Veteran’s Day Observance, Trivia Tuesday, Cass Tech Conversations, Throwback Thursday and Photo Friday. Founded by the class of 1986 alumni members Terri Berry and Monique Bryant, the Triangle Society is dedicated to honoring the legacy of Cass Tech. It provided financial support for student organizations, and athletic/ academic programs that honor Cass Technical High School’s legacy of excellence The Triangle Society also hosted Cass Tech Conversations in the Cass Tech BlackBox Theatre. Light refreshments were served, and students, staff, and alumni had a chance to talk about Cass Tech’s impact. One of the panelists included Alex Kimbrough, Emmy award winning director and producer at WJBK FOX 2. “(Attending Cass Tech) gave me inspiration I could achieve anything, and being around people who had ambition and drive made it beautiful,” Kim-


Maki-Schramm has been leading chorus since 2012 FROM PAGE 5

the founding artistic director and conductor of the CCD. He remained with the chorus for two highly successful years before accepting a faculty position at Smith College. Upon his departure, the CCD conducted a national search


Students like opportunity for immediate decision FROM PAGE 5

to run smoothly. NHS members D’aja Whitfield and Abdul Repon were two volunteers. “I feel like it was important to attend because it was an opportunity: one, to save money instead of send off your (test) scores or send off your transcript and pay the application fee, and there was a whole bunch of schools you could apply to at one time; it was like a one-stop shop,” Whitfield said. Participants said they were grateful for Wayne State’s event and they hope more opportunities are on the way.


ABOVE: Students Jordyn Allen and Lamont Satchel speak at CT Conversations. RIGHT: From left to right: Terri Berry, Naytarsha Carrero-Berry, BreAnn White, Raynetta Manees, Alex Kimbrough, Monique Bryant.

brough said. The Triangle Society started Legacy Week as a way to teach new members of Cass Tech’s Harpand Vocal Ensemble about the rich history of the talented for a new conductor, selecting Edward Maki-Schramm from 12 outstanding candidates. In the summer of 2012, the CCD welcomed Maki-Schramm as its new artistic director and conductor to lead the chorus into its exciting future. If any Cass Tech students grades 9-12th want to join the CCD, please see Quinell May Jr. The CCD is looking for six more student members.

“...Decision Day, is important because it gives students … a close, immediate decision on whether or not they get accepted ....” Abdul Repon, NHS member and volunteer

“Overall it was a good experience, getting in contact with the schools and the admissions (staff ),” Whitfield said. Repon said: “I think the event, Decision Day, is important because it gives students … a close, immediate decision on whether or not they get accepted into the college they are interested in.”

group. The first Legacy Week was such a success that The Triangle Society decided to expound the celebration of Legacy Week to the entire Cass Tech community.


Students attend TEDxDetroit By Mariah Webster CT Visionary On Nov. 6, some Cass Tech students went to the TEDxDetroit event at the Masonic Temple. The annual one-day event celebrates what’s working and what’s next by shining a light on the people who are creating the future. TEDxDetroit consisted of 18 of the area’s leading “creators, entrepreneurs, educators, artists, geeks, designers,


New club has become popular at Cass Tech FROM PAGE 5

young women to believe in themselves.” During the month of November, the club discussed topics about beauty, self-care and confidence. One of the activities surrounding these topics was having the founder of DetroitReflections, Jazmyne Dennice, speak and motivate the young ladies about self love and finding it within themselves.

Cass Tech scientists, leaders, thinkers, and doers,” who were able to share their grand ideas for the world in a short amount of time. Cass Tech teacher Anita Crouch attended the event along with some CT students and had good reasons for taking the students to TEDxDetroit. “I wanted them to see the During this discussion Dennice describes her own personal story of finding self-love and shares tips on how young women can find self love. The club members also gave back to the community by preparing hygiene kits for an all women's shelter. They are preparing to go on a field trip during the month of December to personally provide the women with the kits. November ends with a sisters bonding Thanksgiving potluck. For Girls Only may be a new club but it is already popular. The leadership of FGO in the previous year and this year has

direction of which the city is moving,” she said. “For them to see a positive image of Detroit.” Sophomore Tiara Morris, who is a student in Crouch’s journalism class, described the event as “inspirational, and motivates you to go out and do what you want to do.” In the end, the event did what is was intended to: “share positive ideas for the world from Detroit.” helped the club become what it is today with their strong leadership, dedication and organizational skills. To expand the club, Cass Tech will be partnering up with The Urban Bloom Foundation, a nonprofit organization serving women of color in Metro Detroit. With this partnership, the girls will gain more knowledge of women who have overcome their own struggles and want to help lead women of tomorrow in the right direction. Later this school year the girls will spend a day in Chicago to experience traveling.


Dec. 19, 2019 7

A public forum for the students and community of Communication and Media Arts High School | STUDENT LIFE

STUDENTS COMPETE IN ‘SHARK TANK’ COMPETITION By Dallas Sanders The Communicator On Oct. 30 at the Boy & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, three out of four Communication & Media Arts teams competed in the Shark Tank. All competitors had to pitch their business ideas to win a $1,000 starting check provided by Forbes. The competitors were Tyler Parker (Ty Productions), Davon Schelgel (Cookies For College), and team Alexandria Johnson and Imari Derrick (Big Bracket the label). Each speech was timed for two minutes. The first competitor was Johnson and Derrick. They were selling hair bonnets and hair ties.

The next competitor Parker, who does photography Lastly, Schelgel was helping other African American entrepreneurs. After their speeches, the judges went to a private room to discuss on who would be the winner While picking the winner for the award, an anonymous donations donated $335 to each participant in the competition. After the decision was made, the winner was Schelgel for Cookies for College. “The purpose of Cookies for College is to show other young African American entrepreneurs that you do not have to fall victim to the school to prison pipeline, nor do you have to slack off in life

and never achieve your dreams,” he said. “That you can have a successful business that isn’t selling drugs like stereotypes will say you have to. Just a positive way of being a mentor and having hands on experiences for not only you or your more business oriented mind sets. It was very exhilarating. “My competition was compacted of some very strong minded people with great businesses. I am humble and thankful that all ended in my favor.” Johnson added, ”It was a great experience. I gained a lot of free advice to help me advance my business and I gain a few friends along the way in the end. I still felt like a winner.”


Davon Schelgel holds the first place check from the “Shark Tank”style competition. Competitors had to pitch their business ideas to win a $1,000 starting check provided by Forbes.



Teens work for financial stability

the importance of attending school on a daily basis. Because of Odom’s dedication towards serving as a team leader, CMA’s attendance rate is over 80% And her work at CMA is not done. Making CMA a fullservice multimedia school with Ivy programs is one of Odom’s achievable goals. Odom’s contribution to De-

By Angel McLaurin The Communicator Entering high school can be very challenging for many teenagers. Along with transitioning into their young adult years, students have to focus on their financial liabilities as well. Teenagers want to make their high school years their most memorable period of joy. However, preparing for an unforgettable year could result in money coming from the students pockets. Frequently, teenage students wonder where their next dollar is going to come from and what can be done to keep a steady source of income. These acts of financial consideration eventually results into teenagers getting a job at a young age. Though, all grade levels require financial support, seniors specifically require the most assistance for senior field trips, dues, and even senior merchandise. Here at Communication & Media Arts High School, several students balance school and employment together in order to pay for their senior year. ”It’s easy to balance school and work. If I can’t do it, I’ll just

See ODOM on page 8 »

See JOB on page 8 »


Donya Odom has been principal at CMA for 11 years.

Odom’s mission for success By Angel McLaurin The Communicator Communication & Media Arts High School Principal Donya Odom has served as the school’s principal for 11 years and contributed much to CMA’s environment. Initially, Odom started her position at CMA as an assistant principal. Following her accomplishments as an assistant principal, she was promoted to

principal. Odom has made it her mission to make CMA one of the best high schools in the Detroit Public Community Schools District. Inspired by the thought of supporting the community, Odom said she realized students needed someone that looked like her to guide them in the right path. “I have the best students in the whole city,” she said. “I’m


NEW STAFF CMA welcomes new staff members for 2019-20. page 8 » very proud of our work here at CMA.” Guided by Odom’s administration, CMA is ranked No. 3 out of the entire DPSCD. Additionally, Odom strongly expresses

Editor-in-Chief: Caleb Bailey Co- Editors: Jaylen Morgan, Angel McLaurin Adviser: Robbyn Williams Mentor: Chad Livengood, Crain’s Detroit Business

Photography Editor: Tyler Parker Business Manager: Meloni McNairy Staff Writers: Ariel Appling, Jathan Houston, Zaria Newton, Dallas Sanders, Precious Strickland Freelance Writers: Joshua Thomas, Kahliah Baker

8 Dec. 19, 2019 STUDENT LIFE


Staff changes at CMA Communication & Media Arts


Juniors Kalen Neal, Kimberly Horton stand with senior Dy’quann Williamson, junior Jazmine Colton, and senior Corrina Coleman as they pose to show their take on school uniforms.


UNIFORMS By Zaria Newton The Communicator “Cappa clausa” was the term first used for uniforms, originating in 1222. Uniforms have never been liked by many students. Some students feel that having a dress code holds them back from expressing their true personality and individuality. “We need more freedom. Of-

ficials shouldn’t oppress us with uniforms,” said senior Robert Rivers. Other students believe uniforms are unimportant. Advocates for uniforms believe they can stop a lot of problems, including bullying. Some kids are bullied because they don’t have the newest Jordans or the “dopest” pair of jeans.

Communication & Media Arts “I feel like it's necessary for uniforms. Some kids don’t have it like others so to decrease bullying uniforms should definitely be enforced.” said Mrs. Porter, CMA’s academic


Students discuss the meaning of Christmas By Tyler Parker The Communicator Every year on Dec. 25, people come together to celebrate Christmas. For many students, Christmas is the one day of the year where they come together with their family to exchange gifts and celebrate the birth of Christ. Even though Christmas is the time to receive gifts, it's also good to give to the less fortunate people

who don't have a family to spend Christmas with. Freshman Ahmaya Hudson said, “I celebrate Christmas by spending time with my family, having dinner and receiving and exchanging gifts.” Freshman Regi’anna Blair said, “Giving is more important to me because the more you give, the more you receive. Giving is more special because some other people are not able to have things.”

interventionist. In this generation, if your not flashing a Louis Vuitton belt or a designer bag, you’ll get dragged. Although the rules are still in tact, many students show their uniqueness through their own uniform. Students still tend to showcase unity through developing the necessities to add a unique twist to their uniforms.


Teen workers gain valuable life skills FROM PAGE 7

notify my boss to cut my days down but really you just have to set your own schedule,” said Bri’Janay Coleman Having a job at a young age can be very beneficial. Not only does young employment prepare you for what’s to come but it also can build your team working and communication skills. Merchandise associate

Terriona McCrary often develops better team working skills by quickly and efficiently working with associates to ensure that a customer leaves their store satisfied. Teenage employment is a preparation for time management, financial security, and personal development skills. ”It’s easy to balance school and work because I have set schedule which allows me to stay on top of my game,” said Charisse Alexander. “Without a set schedule, I could definitely be off of my grind.”

By Ariel Appling The Communicator During the summer, Communication & Media Arts High School had changes in the staff for the current academic year. One of the new staff members is Dr. Perk, who is the new assistant principal. Perk has been in the field of education for 16 years. She started off as a teacher, got promoted to a teacher consultant and is now an assistant principal. Growing up, she said she experienced many setbacks and adversities. She went on several interviews, didn’t get selected, and never gave up. “I think the biggest lesson I learned in life, is to persevere no matter what,” she said. “ … Life is about decisions and I am in charge of my own destiny.” Also new to CMA, Mr. Westcott is the new digital media teacher; Mr. Davis and Ms. Sparkman as our new counselors, as well as Ms. Porter and Mr. Blount as our new academic interventionists.


Principal prepares CMA for academics, life FROM PAGE 7

troit Public Schools didn’t only start at CMA. Prior to becoming a leader in chain of command, Odom served as a social studies teacher at Mumford High School. Odom and several others also helped come up with the DPSCD world history curriculum. From then, Mrs. Odom has served the DPSCD not only by preparing students academically but also preparing students to take responsibility in their everyday lives without their parents. “Before, I came to CMA I was a very wild student but Mrs. Odom believed in me and helped calm me down,” Kanay Taylor said. “She believes in her students and that’s what makes her a great principal.” Being a graduate from Central High School of DPS, Odom has much experience in the school system as a student herself. She knows how it feels to need a solid support system. Therefore, another one of her tasks that she has assigned herself is to be there for students when they need it the most.

Dec. 19, 2019 9


Drama Detroit Cristo Rey High School | STUDENT LIFE

Oh, the



Food trucks, like the Mac Shack, kept the crowd at Miracle on Vernor well-fed.

‘Miracle’ brings spirit to Detroit

By Lizbeth Morales The Howler On Dec. 6, the Southwest Detroit community gathered near Detroit Cristo Rey High School for the second annual Miracle on Vernor. The event, which ran from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., featured food trucks, music, games, and therapy dogs. It also offered haircuts, pictures with Santa, clothing, essential items, and services inaccessible to many during the holiday season. See VERNOR on page 10 » Top: Senior Ivyanna Peoples acts out a scene. Far right: Juniors Anders De Roa Torres, Fidel Castro, and Britanny Gomez play an improv game. Right: Juniors Andrea Estrada, Britanny Gomez, and Nely Esquivel play one of the many improv games at a Drama Club meeting.


Techniques to handle teen stress PHOTOS COURTESY OF EMILY LARA

Cristo Rey students channel creativity with new drama club By Rhiannon Slotnick The Howler his fall, juniors Kamio Green and Emily Lara brought a new creative outlet to Detroit Cristo Rey with the founding of a drama club. With more than 15 participants, it’s already a huge hit among students. “I was really surprised,” said Green. “Both me and Emily


thought it would take longer for anybody to be interested, especially juniors.” Not only do the creative juniors appreciate the number of students that showed up, the freshmen love the club and are hoping to continue this wild and somewhat new adventure until their senior year. At their first meeting, the group decided to do an activ-


ity called Scenes from a Hat, an improv warm-up that gave the club an idea of what was going to happen throughout the year. Students laughed and had fun as each group present its scene. “My favorite part of drama club is the improv,” said junior Britanny Gomez, who along with fellow junior Andrea Estrada, acted out a bullying scenario at a meeting. “You get to see

Advisers: Sydney Redigan-Barman & Michael Cleary Crain Mentors: Hannah Lutz & Jacqueline Charniga, Automotive News

how people express themselves and how they view certain situations.” Freshmen members are also having a great time experiencing something new, but some are already experienced drama devotees who bring their own contributions to the club. “I was in my middle school See DRAMA on page 10 »

By Kiara Dancy The Howler Life for teenagers is stressful. Challenging environments and immigration concerns are issues teens at Cristo Rey face that add stress to their lives. In addition to these challenges, teens at the high school still deal with additional stress from classes, family and friendships. “I am stressed out about all of this homework that we get every single day,” said Anyelina De La Cruz, a freshman at Detroit Cristo Rey. “Also, I am stressed about everything like after school clubs. A See TEEN on page 10 »

Staff Writers: Kiara Dancy, Lizbeth Morales, Nicolas Perales, Rhiannon Slotnick, Edward Zavaleta

10 Dec. 19, 2019 OPINION

It’s tough to stay motivated in school on my current state of motivation, As students, I’ve come to a conclusion. Now I we tend to lose our motivation to don’t claim this to be the case for do everyday tasks everyone, but I believe it can be good general advice. Some of us like simply payhave learned to take hold of our ing attention in struggle, despite the problems we class. There were have. It could be because we just plenty of things Nicolas that caused me to have strong willpower, or more Perales likely because we found that one lose motivation The thing that pushed us to overcome. in life. Sports, Howler In my case, I found the one college applicathing that pushed me to get up tions, parental expectations, schoolin the morning. It was a quote work, social life, worrying about my by retired Navy SEAL William future; all these things made me feel like staying in the comfort of my bed McRaven. He said, “If you want to change the world, start by making every morning. your bed.” The less time I spent being When I first heard those words, active, the more I felt the urge to they rang quit. I can’t through my tell you how Detroit Cristo Rey head like nothmany times I’ve ing I’ve ever thought, “It’d heard before. They caused me to be easy to just not do your homereflect on every single action I took work, just sleep, you’ve earned it. on a daily basis, and more imporYou’ll be done with school for good tantly, it gave me the motivation to in less than a year anyway.” Despite wake up every morning. One more how sweet that sounds in my head, day, one more breath, one step that’s the worst thing I could do. closer to reaching my current goal: When I lost motivation, the enlisting in the Marine Corps. whole world came crashing down I didn’t write this column to on me. My grades dropped, my make you impressed with my acrelationships failed, and I couldn’t complishments, though, I wrote cope. At the beginning of senior this as a way to help people get year, though, I finally gained control of my motivation. However, motivated. So I ask you, the reader, to take a step back and find somemany of my peers haven’t been so thing that resonates with you, just fortunate. as that quote resonated with me. I’ve begun to wonder, why are And use that to push yourself and some students doing fine, while get motivated. Once you find your so many more are struggling this motivation, you can do anything. much? After long contemplation


Club opens opportunities to try something new FROM PAGE 9

drama club and it was a lot of fun,” said freshman Ash Brown. “But here I get to meet new people as well as bring forth new activities for everyone to try.” After careful discussion, and with Principal Kevin Cumming’s

permission, the two founders have decided to have a character day for the drama participants. On this day, drama club members will stay in character all day, after going through training beforehand. The drama club has opened up many opportunities for students who want to try something new and for returning drama fans. It is a safe space where all are welcomed and encouraged to channel their creativity.


LEFT: Volunteers package food, cleaning, and health items. BELOW: Stylists give out free haircuts before photos with Santa.


Sponsor opts for event instead of holiday party FROM PAGE 9

The event is sponsored by MHT Housing, Inc., a nonprofit company that develops affordable housing. As part of their mission to positively impact every community, the company hosts the Miracle on Vernor in lieu of throwing a company Christmas party. Around the school and neighborhood, positive remarks were heard about the event. “I love the Miracle on Vernor,” said Cristo Rey President Mike Khoury. “It brings so many people together from the school and community in a wonderful celebration.”


Chronic stress can cause many health problems FROM PAGE 9

lot of things pile up and it is hard to control so time management is very important.” All of these sources of worry can lead to chronic stress. Chronic stress can cause anxiety, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system, and can contribute to diseases such as depression, and heart disease. Everyone is affected by stress at one time or another and it can feel overwhelming There are many ways teens today deal with stress, and not all

Rosa Gutierrez, assistant to the president at Cristo Rey, said she enjoyed the event as well. “Overall the Miracle on Vernor was awesome,” Gutierrez said. “Some of the people who came sometimes don’t have a warm meal. It was heartwarming to see

them come and receive one.” Junior Kamio Green also saw the holiday spirit. “Holidays are about spreading happiness to people around you, because you never know who needs that extra light in their life,” Green said.

of them are healthy. Eating better, getting enough sleep, taking time with homework and meditating are among the ways teens can manage their stress in a positive way. Eating better Eating breakfast in the morning before going to school and work helps students manage stress. When people get hungry, they also tend to get angry. Eating a good breakfast should help students focus until lunchtime. Cristo Rey offers hot breakfast in the morning, which is a great option for students. Getting enough sleep It is important to get enough sleep at night to prepare a healthy mindset for the following day. It is good to do homework when

first getting home in order to go to sleep on time. Students may not always go to sleep at a regular bedtime, but can at least try to have a nightly routine. Taking your time with homework Waiting until the last minute to do homework can cause a lot of stress. Students who wait until the last minute to do homework feel tired and may not do it at all. They may fall behind in classes, which makes them even more stressed. Meditation Meditation, which helps calm the brain, can create a quiet time for thinking about the day and taking a mental break. There are many apps and videos online to help with this and even just a few minutes can be beneficial.


Happy holidays? Not for those with seasonal depression

By Edward Zavaleta The Howler The golden leaves of fall cascading upon the street have long been replaced with joyful snow. Yet this transition of seasons brings with it many changes, in which scenery is simply one of them. It is important to recall that not everyone is put into a holly jolly mood with the snowfall and more hours spent inside. Many people experience a type of seasonal depression, called Seasonal Affective

Disorder, in which one will seem more retreated and isolated during the fall and winter months. The triggers are different for everybody and no two people may experience it in the same way. Some may explain it quite simply: as it gets cold out and you have less sunlight, you lose the energy to perform tasks. Others may find it challenging to put it into words. So with this, it is important to move forward this winter with an open mindset and patience for

people. Your sibling isn’t having mood swings for no reason and your best friend isn’t secretly moving away. Simply remember to approach people with a heightened sense of understanding this holiday season. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, they can reach out to their school counselor for support. Also, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also offers a free national helpline at 1-800-622-HELP.

ABOUT SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER • Seasonal affective disorder is diagnosed more often in women than in men. And SAD occurs more frequently in younger adults than in older adults • Complications that can arise with SAD are work problems, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, anxiety, and eating disorders. • A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression. • The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood SOURCE: NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH

Dec. 19, 2019 11

THE DSA MIDTOWN TEA Detroit School of the Arts | OPINION



How much stress can teenagers handle? By Braijene Fletcher The DSA Midtown Tea High school can be really stressful. Seniors are preparing and planning for graduation, prom, college, and life after high school. Juniors are testing throughout their whole year and freshmen are adjusting to the new challenges of high school. Sophomores might have the least amount of stress, unless the sophomore is new to the school. Adults will say high school is supposed to be the best years of your life. Homecoming, prom, lots of activities, and friendship all add to the excitement of high school life. However, with that excitement comes stress too: classwork, the SAT, state assessments, college decisions, financial aid, and the growing responsibility that comes with getting older. So why does high school cause more stress? With high school, comes more responsibility. If stress is not managed or controlled properly, it can cause health problems. Uncontrolled or unmanaged stress can lead to anxiety, depression, tiredness and weight gain. Being the new kid, adjusting to the high expectations of high school, to the increased and rigorous classwork load, worrying about what people think of them, dating, or even just getting an unexpected break-out can all spark stress in teenagers. These stressors can affect how teens interact with their peers. They can become mean and/or angry to their peers and friends. This can lead to conflicts/tension/friction in relationships, or even worse, could end a relationship. Teens who think or dwell on the negative things about themselves, which could result in low self-esteem. Dr. Erika Karres, a psychologist and editor of the book Mean Chicks, Cliques, and Dirty Tricks, wrote, “There are pressures from family situations and economic factors. Kids hear parents worrying about jobs. They may have responsibility for younger siblings. They're under pressure to do well in school and get into top-notch colleges. They're under stress to wear the right clothes, excel in


A photograph of a poster for the production of Shakespeare in Detroit’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

Actors reflect on Shakespeare THE DSA MIDTOWN TEA

DSPCD Police Department Officer Abraham Perez visits DSA.

DPSCD OFFICER TALKS TO STUDENTS POLICE STOPS By Ruth Connor The DSA Midtown Tea Imagine this familiar scenario: You are driving. You may be alone or with some friends in the car. You see red/blue flashing lights behind you. You pull over. You are scared. Being stopped by the police can be a very serious and scary matter. However, if you know how to act when stopped by the police, you can avoid further risks. Detroit Public Schools Police

Department Officer Abraham Perez visited some classes at DSA to demonstrate the what happens when he pulls someone over. When he stops a driver, he identifies himself, and tells the driver the reason for the stop. He also asks for the driver’s license, registration and insurance. Sometimes the driver knows, and tells the truth. Sometimes the driver knows, and lies. Based on the driver’s response, Perez uses his discretion. He wants the driver to be honest. If you

are honest, and your record is clean, you may get a warning. If you lie, well you just might get that ticket. Perez also suggests to roll down all the windows for better visibility. If passengers are fidgeting, or moving suspiciously, he may ask them to get out of the car. If a weapon is discovered, and no one claims ownership, all the passengers will be detained and go to the police station for further investigation. The car will be towed.

ACLU: THESE ARE YOUR RIGHTS IF DETAINED BY POLICE If you are detained by the police for questioning, the American Civil Liberties Union states you have the following rights: • You have the right to remain silent. For example, you do not have to answer any questions about where you are going, where you are traveling from, what you are doing, or where you live. If you wish to exercise your right to remain silent, say so out loud. (In some states, you may be required to provide your name if asked to identify yourself, and an officer may arrest you for refusing to do so.) • You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but police may pat down your clothing if they suspect a weapon. Note that refusing consent may not stop the officer from carrying out the search against your will, but making a timely objection before or during the search can help preserve your rights in any later legal proceeding. • If you are arrested, you have the right to a government-appointed lawyer if you cannot afford one. • You do not have to answer questions about where you were born, whether you are a U.S. citizen, or how you entered the country. (Separate rules apply at international borders and airports as well as for individuals on certain nonimmigrant visas, including tourists and business travelers. For more specific guidance about how to deal with immigration-related questions, see our immigrants’ rights section.)

Staff Reports The DSA Midtown Tea Shakespeare in Detroit, partnered with Detroit School of Arts, presented the play Romeo and Juliet on Nov. 14-15. Those who attended the play loved the production and thought the play was a success. Many DSA Theatre students performed in the play. Karrief Hubbard and Arise Rock performed the leading roles. Both have performed in DSA school plays. The DSA Journalism class asked them to reflect on their roles as Romeo and Juliet. “At first the language seemed a little intimidating, but I worked on it constantly. I knew that if I wanted to make Juliet come to life, I needed to first understand what I was saying. Once I got the language down, I began to work on my character. I found that Juliet and I had a lot in common. Her entire life she had never seen an example of what real love was supposed to look like. Consequently, she focused everything she had on Romeo, hoping that he’d become that love and support she’d never had. However, it wasn’t always that easy and relatable for me to play her. I had to be able to understand why she was willing to die for someone she’d only known for a few hours. I did my best to put that childish innocence into her character — and it made me think of kids nowadays. A lot of them go through a similar situation as Juliet’s. They don’t always experience love and because of that they try to fill up that hole with something else. It was


See PLAY on page 18 »

See STRESS on page 14 »


Adviser: Karen Lemmons Crain Mentor: Amy Bragg, Crain’s Detroit Business

Staff: Ruth Connor, Braijene Fletcher, Chloe Robinson

12 Dec. 19, 2019

VOICE OF THE VILLE East English Village Preparatory Academy | DETROIT

’Tis is the season to be jolly in the city


Campus Martius Park is ready for the holidays thanks to this 60-foot Norway spruce tree with 19,000 lights.

By Devon Bolton Voice of the Ville Detroit has many beautiful, exciting and unique things going on during this holiday season. The annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony was a great lead to the many festivities in Detroit. Thousands crowded Campus Martius Park on Nov. 22 to see the 60-foot Norway Spruce tree light up with more than 19,000 lights. The bright Christmas lights used on the tree also serve as a reminder of the glowing Star of Bethlehem which hung high above

the nativity scene of Baby Jesus. Senior Brandon Berry along with many students from the Ville attended the tree lighting ceremony. “Being downtown at the tree lighting was straight; I mean people from everywhere packed the park, where the decorations and colors made things festive,” he said. “I was impressed. There was no trouble that I noticed, and I had a lot of fun,” Berry said. Downtown Detroit was grand and heavily adorned with wreaths, bulbs, lights, youth caroling, ice skaters’ performers, city dignitar-


ies greeting the anxious crowd and the smell of hot coco was in the air. That’s what the evening entailed. Detroit kicked off Christmas season the tree lighting, which was followed by the Thanksgiving Parade. Troves of spectators watched the Art Van American Parade march down Woodward Avenue, a tradition that dates back to 1924, and of course, all the kids there waited to see Santa arrive in Detroit. Another holiday event in Detroit was Noel Night on Dec. 7.

EEVPA Paraprofessional Tracey DeShields attended this year’s Noel Night in the city. “Absolutely wonderful; many churches, organizations and businesses including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Historical Museum, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History all opened their doors for the large crowd to visit their establishments, and what a great time it was,” DeShields said. “Really, there is no place like Detroit at Christmas time. “There is no business like show business in the City of Detroit.”



EEVPA chemistry teacher Anura Hewagama has a Ph.D in biochemistry and molecular biology from Wayne State.


Students prepare for the SAT by reviewing study guides and taking Michael Gaston’s test prep class.


Juniors get ready to take college admissions test By Asianna Franklin Voice of the Ville As the school year progresses, juniors and some seniors at East English are preparing to take the SAT examination. Juniors are getting an early start studying for the test; many of them have a special SAT prep class taught by Michael Gaston. “It’s a good thing that some 11th graders have SAT Prep classes this early in the school year. Juniors last year took the classes kind of late, so they weren’t able to study as much,” said senior Mercedes Hughes. “I am so grateful that our school

has this class,” said junior Nathan Minter, “I believe it will help me to do better on the SAT than if I had no preparation.” The SAT is a standardized test designed to measure students’ skills in three core areas: evidence-based reading, writing and math. The exam is taken by high school students all over America as a college admission examination. Another test high school juniors and seniors are urged to take before applying to college is the ACT. The ACT, American Collegiate Test and the SAT, Scholastic Aptitude Test, have been used for

more than 60 years by colleges and universities to measure and assess prospective students’ academic competency and ability to complete college studies. At one time, Michigan’s high school juniors were required to take the ACT. Now, they must take and are expected to pass the SAT. Some students at East English are glad the administration arranged for them to have SAT classes; they believe with help and preparation that passing the SAT is possible. “I did not know most things on See SAT on page 14 »

Hewagama runs class to fit needs By Keilyn Trawick Voice of the Ville Soft spoken and mild mannered are two fitting adjectives for chemistry teacher, Dr. Anura Hewagama, a native of Sri Lanka, Kalutara. Hewagama is Wayne State University graduate with a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology. His interest in science started early in his native country, which is located in South Asia on the southwest bay of the Indian Ocean. He said, “I like to look at the environment, nature and how things happen in nature.” This also how he runs his class, looking at everyone differently, but sometimes teaches students individually based on their needs. Junior Marttez Woods said, “Mr. Hewagama goes into descriptive details when he teaches, and he makes sure all of his students

“I like to look at the environment, nature and how things happen in nature.” Dr. Anura Hewagama, East English Village chemistry teacher

have a proper understanding of the work.” Even his past students enjoyed his teaching. “Mr. Hewagama was a very understanding teacher, who always went over things more than once, so you would understand it, and he also gave you the opportunity to make up work after school,” said former student Lajachanae Minter, 19. Hewagama is married with two college-age children. In his spare time, he enjoys playing cricket and badminton.

Dec. 19, 2019 13 STUDENT LIFE

Journalism team collects canned goods for homeless By Asianna Franklin Voice of the Ville We’ve had snow and dealt with the cold; now we’re just waiting for the biggest annual holiday, Christmas. It is the time of year to spread cheer and goodwill to others, and that is what East English’s journalism team is doing this year. Keeping in the spirit of giving, Voice of Ville’s journalism team sponsored a successful canned goods drive at the school. All food products were donated to Bethany Lutheran Church to help feed the

East English Village homeless this Christmas. “It is really a nice thing to do; to give back to the community. It’s great knowing we have the ability to bring joy into others’ lives,” said coeditor-in-chief, Carolyn Townsel. The staff would like to extend special thanks to everyone who supports the Voice of the Ville journalism program. This includes the Ville’s staff, our families, and Detroit

Dialogue readers. Special thanks to Ms. Joy Visconti from MSU School of Journalism, the Detroit Dialogue support team and Crain Communications. “Thank you so much Ms. Visconti for giving us the opportunity to share our voices not only with classmates, but with other schools as well,” said Voice of the Ville writer Eric Major. “Merry Christmas, everyone! We hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday,” said Voice of the Ville co-editor-in-chief Elese Gaston.


The Voice of the Ville’s staff wishes everyone a Merry Christmas.




Senior Jon’ Nae Wright ponders over 200 service hours requirement.

Community service hours: Needed or an inconvenience? By Carolyn Townsel Voice of the Ville The minimum of 200 community service hours are required for graduating seniors in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. For some students, this seems like an impossible feat. Many seniors have little or no out of school work experience and trying to attain 200 work hours is an added burden to a senior’s an already exciting, but exhausting school year. Senior La’Trice Buford has completed 110 service hours so far. “I don’t think it’s too hard to finish 90 more hours,” she said. “Because there’s always a need for volunteers at my church and I love helping people.” But senior Eric Major said: “Community service hours shouldn’t be a graduation requirement. We already have so much on our plate this year, being burdened with the responsibility of trying to collect 200 hours is pointless.” Why is necessary to have community service hours? How are these hours important to students’ school achievement? A student’s transcript is a record of their four years in high school. It shows how well the student did in subjects; it gives assessment results

East English Village and tracks a student’s quarterly and yearly grade point average. With all this information on a student, why does the district require community service hours? Counselor Ayanna Kumasi said, “Students should be required to perform community service; it would help them gain real world experience, and that’s something they can’t get in classrooms. “Students can and do give back to their community in many positive ways.” What if a student has been active in organizations, clubs and sports? When do they have time to work and earn community service hours? Students should not have to interrupt their school activities schedule just to get community service hours by finding a job that may force them to quit sports teams or clubs. “Students can earn credit and money on a paying job and volunteering also has advantages,” Kumasi said. “Nonprofit organizations, clinics, churches, community centers are always looking for volunteers to help with their programs.”


Genise Turner has been with DPSCD for more than 20 years.

Turner comes from family of educators By Elese Gaston Voice of the Ville Genise Turner is an ESE (Exceptional Students Education) teacher at the Ville. She has been with Detroit Public Schools Community District for more than 20 years. Turner was born and raised in Sandusky, Ohio. She attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where she received her bachelor’s degree in business education. Later, she furthered her education and received her master’s degree in special education & learning disabilities from Wayne State University in Detroit. “Initially, I wanted to work

East English Village for a large corporation, so I majored in business,” Turner said. “However, after being influenced to teach by my mom and aunt, I pursued an education degree.” Turner comes from a family of educators. Growing up in a single-parent home, her mother emphasized the importance of a quality education. She made sure Turner and her siblings went to college or took up a trade. Most of them became educators. “My value of education came after having my daughter, Sier-

ra,” Turner said. “I wanted her to recognize me as a positive influence and a strong independent woman; this is what gave me the determination, strength and will to become a dedicated teacher.” Although Turner enjoys teaching at East English Village, she plans to retire in the next few years, and she is considering returning to corporate America or maybe learning another professional trade. Until then, students and staff at East English Village can continue to depend on her professionalism and commitment as an effective teacher and colleague.

14 Dec. 19, 2019 STUDENT LIFE



East English Village teacher Katrina Lewis-Rimmer dances during the talent show.

East English Village’s

GOT TALENT By Eric Major Voice of the Ville Students were amused and hyped as East English Village teachers and staff took to the stage performing acts, singing and dancing in the “Teachers Got Talent” show. From the beginning of the show, students erupted in laughter as staff imitated students in the busy halls during class change. Hoodies, locker conversations, cells galore, describe every wing in the Ville for the five minutes that students must go from class to class, sometimes on the opposite end of the building. Performers included Robin Barker Alicia Keys; she impressed students and staff alike with her powerful voice and electrifying talent playing the piano. Other acts were April Jones as Fantasia; Thomas Galasso, Bryant Tipton, Kenneth Williams and Wayne Johnson as the G Men, Melody. They sang the blues and several Motown hits ending with an all-time favorite, “My Girl” by the Temptations. The crowd chimed in surprising staff by knowing the words to the song. Germaine Clinkscale was the mistress of ceremony. She entertained the crowd with her humor as acts prepared to go on stage. “It felt great to host the talent


Managing stress can improve teens’ outlook FROM PAGE 11

sports, and even volunteer in their communities." Teens can deal with stress either positively or negatively. Some negative things that students do to

East English Village show; EEVPA has so many talented teachers,” said Clinkscale, “Many teachers came together to put on a show for the students.” Counselor Ayanna Kumasi led teachers and some students in hustling to the song, “I changed for you.” “I picked this song because it’s known and it’s a good song to ballroom hustle to,” she said. Kumasi’s also sang “R.E.S.P.E.C.T” by Aretha Franklin, which not only honored the late Franklin, but gave life to the DPSCD’s “Expect Respect” initiative, which highlights a new character trait monthly. Other staff who performed included Tracey DeShield, a new staff member who surprised everyone when she sang Natalie Cole’s “My Love,” and counselor Marques Blanford, who got students’ attention with his version of Marvin Winans’ hit, ‘Together We Stand, Divided We Fall.” Mark McGruder was the accompanist for many performers, and Katrina Lewis-Rimmer, who led a modern dance trio with senior Chrissa Lee and junior Bruce Benefield, spearheaded the “Teachers Got Talent” show. She worked

many hours organizing and practicing with staff to ensure the show would be a success. The talent show ended with business teacher Junita Moton’s energetic performance as Tina Turner. She wow fringes, stilettos and a long-flowing wig. Many students did not recognize her as she and the Ikettes, her backup singers (Lauaren WestMorton, Keisha Bryant and Assistant Principal Nadonya Muslim vigorously danced and sang “Proud Mary.”

deal with stress are procrastinate, avoid/ignore the problem, sleep too much, overeat, drink and/or smoke. These things will not solve the problem, and may increase stress. The positive things that students can do are exercise, strike a balance between work and play, find a hobby or activities that they enjoy, manage time, and talk to a trusted friend.

According to an article from APA Health Center, “Everyone is affected by stress at one time or another, and it can feel overwhelming. With the right tools, though, you can learn to manage stress before it takes a toll on your health. Managing daily stress can also lead to a more overall positive outlook on your life and wellbeing.”


From left to right: Assistant principal Nadonya Muslin, and teachers Keishia Bryant, Junita Moton and Lauaren West-Morton, were dressed for success for the talent show.

By Andrenae Rambus Voice of the Ville The halls are rarely ever quiet, but they sure are clean, thanks in part to Wayne Johnson, East English’s new custodian. He brings a fresh personality, energy and talent to the school. He’s more than a custodian — he’s an old school song lover who can be heard constantly singing hits by the Temptations, Spinners, Dramatics, Nat King Cole and many others while sweeping, mopping or wiping the school’s walls, desks and floors. ANDRENAE RAMBUS/ VOICE OF THE VILLE Then, without hesitation, he East English Village custodian breaks into a dance move while Wayne Johnson can be heard singing. Johnson attributes his singing through the halls. musical talent to his parents. “As a child growing up, my parents took us kids to church East English Village where we heard gospels and technology.” hymns, and then at home, they Three things that Johnson played music all the time,” he said. said helped him to be a positive Being assigned to East English person were church, parents and is a plus for Johnson. community. “Oh it’s fun here; I enjoy work“Of course, I love to sing. My ing at the Ville,” he said, “I believe favorite’s song is by Rodney Frankkids would have a better chance lin, ‘Forever for You’; I am inspired to be successful when we inspire by this song,” he said. them, you know, motivate them. Johnson also said he wants “I pray for the best for each students to keep education a one of our students at East Engpriority, for students keep family lish. We must talk to them. There important, and everyone should isn’t a lot of communication happray and be blessed for each day. pening, now that everyone is on


Teachers want students to take test prep classes FROM PAGE 12

the SAT, and it scares me how colleges are worried about my score,” said Da’Wiya Brewer. “I really like how our school now offers SAT Prep classes; it’s nice to know that my school is doing their best to help their students.” “The SAT is the hardest test I ever took,” said senior Geno Robinson. Colleges are looking for students with SAT scores above 1000; a perfect score is 1600. “A standardized test doesn’t determine how smart someone is … there are many intelligent students who don’t score high on the SAT; not everyone is a good testtaker, but it is very good that our students at the Ville are getting help,” said senior Army Instructor Sgt. 1st Class Paul Maxson. A lot of students who have already taken the SAT fear their

future is in jeopardy because they did not do well on it; but, the administration and counselors at the Ville think otherwise. Under Dr. Larry Gray’s leadership, it seems “all hands are on deck.” Teachers of all grade levels are urging juniors to take advantage of the SAT Prep classes, and some teachers are tutoring juniors on their own time. There are many who agree with JROTC teacher Maxon that tests don’t really assess most students’ intellect and academic abilities, but statistics still are piling up against poor testers including many African American students. According to College Board, “22% of African Americans scored between 600 to 790 on the SAT in 2019 and 45% scored from 800 to 990.” “Most Blacks didn’t score above 1000 on the SAT, so I believe having SAT Prep classes will make students one step closer to achieving the score they desire,” said senior Jacquan Henry.

Dec. 19, 2019 15

CRUSADERS’ CHRONICLE A public forum for the students and community of Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School | STUDENT LIFE



Band director Ronald Perkins Jr. says goodbye to his students to begin his responsibilities with the U.S. Army.

By Destiny Jenkins-Jones Crusaders’ Chronicle It was a very emotional week for King’s band students when they learned that Ronald Perkins, Jr., band director, must leave to serve his country. Perkins will start a new job with the U.S. Army. He began training Nov. 18 but won’t start the actual job for a year. “I am a cyber operations specialist with the U.S. Army which is a job in cyber security,” said Perkins.

“My main focus will be in defensive hacking, so I’ll initially be defending the U.S. government from cyberattacks from other countries.” Perkins graduated from King in 2005 and has worked at the school for five years. He first started as a choir director but after his boss retired, he became the band director. Perkins has had an impact in his students' personal lives. “Mr. Perkins has been like a father figure because he helped me

through life even though I felt like I couldn't do something,” junior Demarco Teasley said. “He made me confident about myself and what I can do.” Students who have been with Perkins for all four years of high school took the news of him leaving the hardest. Senior Devin Chisholm was heartbroken. “In the beginning of my ninthSee ARMY on page 24 »




Dance teacher Erika Stowall prepares dancers for the upcoming winter concert.

New teacher wants to empower dancers CRUSADERS’ CHRONICLE

When math teacher Casey Edgar leaves King, she begins her second job as an Uber driver. She has held this part-time job for two years.

FOR HIRE Teachers take on part-time jobs

By Aleia Shelton Crusaders’ Chronicle Cashier, custodian, tutor, balloon decorator, Shipt driver, adjunct instructor, property manager, airport ramp agent, medical assistant, studio musician, dance instructor, latchkey facilitator, lifeguard, travel agent, online instructor. and overnight receptionist. Those are some of the part-time positions teachers have taken on to supplement their income. For years, DPSCD teachers have received a pay that does not reflect their dedication nor

education. Educators are the building blocks for success and can have the greatest impact on the future, yet teachers believe they are undervalued and underpaid. Even those at the top of the pay scale are making less than in 2008. The biweekly pay has pushed many to take on a second job. According to the financial adviser for the Detroit Federation of Teachers, massive pay cuts came under the leadership of state-appointed emergency managers. “Teachers are grossly un-

derpaid. We are one of the few professions that take our jobs home on a regular basis and we aren’t compensated for it,” said English teacher and part time singer Deborah Spradley. Stancie Napoleon, a math teacher with the district for 17 years, also works as a cheer coach and Uber/Lyft driver to maintain everyday living. “My debt to income ratio was not being met in a sufficient way by my DPSCD paycheck,” Napoleon said. See TEACHERS on page 18 »


Adviser: Veronica Hollis Crain Mentor: Amy Steinhauser, Plastics News

By Peny Boone Crusaders’ Chronicle The King family welcomes alumna Erika Stowall as the new dance teacher this school year. Stowall has been dancing since the age of 4 and owns her own dance company, Big Red Wall Dance. Even though this is her first year with the district, she has been teaching dance for 11 years and comes with a lot of experience. “The students at my old school, Detroit Academy of Arts and Science, were able to travel to New York and perform for Good Morning America,” Stowall said. “We also performed for the Lions and also Thanksgiving parade.” Stowall said she wants King’s dancers to develop life skills through the art of dance and become knowledgeable people. “I really want to make sure that there are more performances outside the school setting, and they are traveling more doing competitions and international performances,” Stowall said. “I want to make smart dancers. I want to make students that use their skills in

other forms and other disciplines and other careers. What I hope the arts create is students that are well rounded and well versed in many other art forms.” Stowall said she wants to improve the dancers’ techniques, their performance quality, and get them more exposure to dancing outside of school. “She is a very good teacher,” senior Montia Sanford said about Stowall. “She has been teaching us different techniques like leg and arm movements. Also, we have been learning parts of an African dance.” Former dance teacher Denise Allen was the instructor at King for 11 years. At the end of last school year, she received a promotion as an administrator at another school. This move left Allen’s dance students with uncertainty about the dance program. “The transition has been good,” junior Melanie Davis said. “I’ve stayed consistent and give my all to the program even though the previous teacher left. I just enjoy dancing regardless

See DANCE on page 16 »

Staff Writers: Peny Boone, Tianna Davis, Arielle Drayton, Danielle Fisher, Joseph Frazier, Deja Jenkins-Jones, Destiny Jenkins-Jones, Ka’nya Logan, Jeremiah Miller, Aleia Shelton, Javon Thomas, Makyia Whitaker

16 Dec. 19, 2019 SPORTS




Wayne State University C2 Pipeline site coordinator Nedra Hall and students brainstorm ideas for King’s new podcast.

King students learn to make podcasts


Boys basketball teams receive more support than girls basketball teams. Attendance at girls basketball games is nothing like the attendance at boys basketball games, above right.

Girls team deals with disparity in basketball By Danielle Fisher Crusaders’ Chronicle Walk into any gymnasium during a girls basketball game and it’s obvious that the number of spectators is not equal to that of boys basketball games. The males’ athleticism outweigh females’ athleticism, and this is one of the reasons for the contrast in numbers. “I feel that there is a disparity and it’s because of just a natural consequence of the environment of boys when it comes to basketball,” girls varsity coach Willie Riley said. “They do a lot of dunking because they’re physically stronger and that adds a lot of excitement to the game, so then people naturally come from that excitement to watch it.” When playing sports for a school, all athletes should support each other, and the entire school’s population should come out to

King cheer on the females too. “It should be as equal as the boys basketball games,” guard and senior Makiaya Griffin said. “I know we don’t dunk and all, and it's not as hype, but we have talent too, in our own way. Some of us may be a little better than them. We support them and I feel that we should get the same support in return.” The dynamics of female versus male basketball isn’t only about who shows up to see the games. It’s also about financial resources available to the teams. “The financial backing from some of the shoe companies is not as prevalent for the girls games, so that eliminates some of the sponsorships,” boys varsity coach George Ward said. “Some of the

sponsorships that the boys receive, the girls don’t receive that. “If you look at the crowds at the girls games in high school, it’s a microcosm of what’s going on in our world. College (women) games are attended a little bit more than the high school games, but it’s not as many as the men’s games.” The members of the girls basketball team acknowledge that boys are more athletic but still want the support from the school, parents and community. “Boys get more support because basketball is not a feminine sport,” shooting guard and junior Marche Borden said. “Parents support their boys more already. They expect boys to go pro over females. I agree that boys can dunk, but it’s still wrong to support boys more than girls because girls still have the same heart. We’re all human, and we all try.”

By Tianna Davis Crusaders’ Chronicle Wayne State University C2 (College and Career) Pipeline site coordinator Nedra Hall, social worker Brittney Lawrence, and history teacher Dan Wolford have sparked an idea to start a new podcast for all DPSCD high school students using King as the pilot school. The goal is to connect students with one another outside of regular extracurricular activities. "We could put some pilot sample out there for the district to adopt, so it doesn't become a King high school podcast,” Lawrence said. “It becomes a DPSCD Podcast that's run out of King. That way we can start to incorporate what other people are doing in their podcasting at other schools." Hall came up with the idea while working with students in an afterschool program, C2 Pipeline Enrichment. The students have started experimenting with podcasting, and Lawrence wants to attach the podcast ideas to the STEM program. "Her students have already gotten started learning about how to do a podcast," Lawrence said. "But we wanted to put together our two ideas to make it more schoolwide." Lawrence and Wolford have teamed up to make the intro, transition, and outro part of the podcast flow better by adding


Teacher wants dancers at King to feel empowered FROM PAGE 15


Dance teacher Erika Stowall prepares dancers for the upcoming winter concert.

of the teacher.” Stowall has performed various styles of dancing: African, Caribbean, jazz, tap, ballet, and modern. She has won choreographer of the year more than once and won Kresge Artist Fellowship which awarded $25,000. In 2016, her dance

King music and spoken word. Wolford is including his musical program, Lyrical Crusaders, to help make the music by using software. "The software is called Ableton. It is a full suite of music production and recording technology," Wolford said. "We're going to use Ableton to record, edit, and master the podcast, so we can integrate music and spoken word into the podcast." Lawrence and her students are finalizing possible topics that will appeal to the student body. The group wants to create samples to help with different categories of the podcast. "One of the topics is going to be touching on the ‘Expect Respect’ campaign because that's something that the district is supportive of," Lawrence said. "Another topic may be about coding and STEM because that's a really popular field that a lot of people want to go into." Lawrence said she wants this to be a podcast for all DPSCD high schools that’s run out of King, so all students can participate in it. "We wanted an opportunity for students who may not be athletically inclined or who may not have an art they are passionate about to still network with other peers," Lawrence said. choreography earned her an Applebaum Emerging Artist in Residence at Ponyride. During the same year, she was the only dance educator affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education Group Project Abroad in Brazil. “I want to have more conversations with women about other areas where they feel unprotected and take those images and ideas and try to change them and morph them into something empowering,” Stowall said.

Dec. 19, 2019 17


Where are our reparations? African Americans should go to college for free We live in a world where racism lives on. Some people feed off it; others hate to watch it happen. Jackson As a proud Capela African AmeriMustang can I can’t see Voice why college education can’t be free for all African Americans.—that makes no sense to me. Many Native Americans can receive their college education paid for through Michigan’s Native American tuition waiver program. This is obviously because of how their land was taken from them by European immigrants. They suffered through a mass loss of population due to diseases carried by European immigrants and also were slaves. You don’t have to quote me on that though. You can find Native American history on If they can receive free college tuition, so should we. They received reparations. Where are ours? I’m not the first to make with this argument. Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote an article called “The Case for Reparations,” published in The Atlantic in which he gives detailed examples of how African Americans lives were screwed over by the government. The start of “The Case for Reparations” reads: “Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.” To me that’s enough said— that’s the whole case right there. White families have a step up on all of us because we were held back so much from pursuing opportunities. That’s what created the wealth gap. And the wealth gap is what makes it hard to afford college. See FREE on page 18 »


“When I’m in the ring I feel like anything can happen, and being in the ring I don’t show any signs of fear.”







LEFT: Ferris “Boomer” Dixon checks his phone for photos of himself in the boxing ring at Mumford on Dec. 6. Dixon hasn’t been able to fight or train since before Thanksgiving because of an illness. ABOVE LEFT: Dixon spars with Isaiah Darden, 13, at the Matrix Recreation Center on Nov. 3 as Darden prepared for a difficult match. “I work with everyone in the gym,” Dixon said. “We all help each other out.” ABOVE RIGHT: Kahlil Harvey wraps Ferris Dixon’s hands before a fight at Roberto Clemente Recreation Center on June 1. Harvey is Dixon’s uncle and his trainer. Dixon won his fight by unanimous decision after three rounds.


‘Boomer’ Dixon channels aggression into success in the boxing ring By Jalen Emerson-Neal and Daveion Huby Mustang Voice Ferris “Boomer” Dixon started boxing five years ago because he was always in trouble. The Mumford junior was fighting a


lot, and he needed an outlet for all his pent up aggression. Big brother told him to start boxing and Dixon’s uncle stepped up as his trainer. “When I started boxing it taught me how to discipline my-

Adviser: Sara Hennes Mentor: Krishnan Anantharaman

self and walk away from problems,” Dixon said. “When I’m in the ring I feel like anything can happen, and being in the ring I don’t show any signs of fear.” Five years ago, all Dixon knew was street fighting. By

sparring with guys at the gym who had more experience, he’s developed skills in a sport that he said feels natural to him. Dixon plays football at MumSee BOOMER on page 18 »

Staff Writers: Jackson Capela, Anthony Coopwood, Raechel Davis, Jalen Emerson-Neal, Daveion Huby, Raven Hutchinson, Aaliyah Johnson, Ka’Maria Jones, Logen Merritt, Ayrionna Robinson, Darcell Smith, Daija Thomas, Aniyjah Uddin, Daysha Wilkins

18 Dec. 19, 2019


“I don’t think that our students should get subpar teachers just because they have subpar pay for the teachers.”


Mumford boxer earned invite to Olympic Trials FROM PAGE 17

ford, and head coach Donshell English said he can see that Dixon might be able to use boxing to further his future. “Ferris is in excellent shape, and he’s committed to his sport,” English said. “As I look at him and talk to him, I can see his eyes light up every time he and I talk about boxing.” Dixon said he’s not surprised that his love for the sport shows.

Casey Edgar, teacher who also works as an Uber driver


Low pay, staff shortage means students suffer FROM PAGE 15

“You have to want to hurt or brutalize your opponent, and that’s what I feel when I’m in the ring. You have to learn how to take a punch and keep on going.” Ferris “Boomer” Dixon, Boxer and Mumford junior DAIJA THOMAS/MUSTANG VOICE

“I took off with it; I felt like this was me. I can carry myself in the ring, and I think that what you need to have is that dog mentality,” Dixon said. “You have to want to hurt or brutalize your opponent, and that’s what I feel when I’m in the ring. You have to learn how to take a punch and keep on going.” Dixon has found success with that mentality. With his record of 86-12, he has attracted attention from promoters, and he qualified for an invitation to the Olympic Trials this month in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Dixon isn’t the only boxer in the family. He has uncles and cousins who box, and his 11-yearold cousin, Kahlil Harvey, Jr., is No. 1 in the country for his age and weight. He’s too young for the Olympics, but he went to Lake Charles for the USA Championships. Dixon’s uncle, Kahlil Harvey, drives Dixon and his cousin to Toledo, Ohio, every day to train at Glass City Boxing Gym. Dixon said it got to be difficult to focus when he was training in Detroit but it’s strictly business at the gym in Toledo. “What distracts me the most are the deaths that happened in my family. I don’t feel focused when I’m going through a hard loss,” Dixon said. Dixon had to skip the tryouts in Lake Charles because, after a recent illness, doctors sidelined him for at least a month. He’s confident he’ll be in shape to compete soon. “I’ve won a lot of tournaments, and I’ve lost a few, and I look at my past tournaments and say to myself that I can win the next one whether I win or lose the first one,” Dixon said. “I know what I have to do to win it, so I just grind hard.”

Mumford senior Jataya Benson said she never uses heat or straightening products because she prefers to be healthy and natural. “I know straighteners have chemicals that can fry your hair and your brain,” Benson said, “and besides, they wreck your curl pattern.”

Study links hair styling products to cancer risk By Raechel Davis, Logen Merritt and Aniyjah Uddin Mustang Voice Mumford senior Trinity Lowe doesn’t straighten her hair. “I’m lazy, I don’t feel like it, and I know it’s better not to,” Lowe said. Lowe’s laziness could be keeping her safe. Many news sources have had reports recently about a study showing a possible link between hair straightening products and breast cancer. According to a story on salon. com, National Institute of Envi-


Actor: ‘I would never forget this moment’ FROM PAGE 11

not easy role to embrace but it made me realize how relatable Shakespeare is to today’s youth.


College debt can affect students for a lifetime FROM PAGE 17

Comedian Dave Chapelle brings up a great point: “The difference between a poor white child and a poor black child is that the white child thinks he’s not supposed to be poor.” That’s deep. If college is

ronmental Health researchers used data collected from nearly 50,000 women at risk for breast cancer. None of the women had cancer at the start of the study, but after eight years, 2,974 did have the disease. Of those women, a large enough number had used hair dye and straighteners to indicate a possible link. The study was published in the International Journal of Cancer.

The study showed more African American women who used hair straighteners got cancer, but they were more likely to use that product. For hair dyes, African American women were also more likely to develop cancer. The study said other factors could have caused the cancers. Senior Mia Linsey wasn’t aware of the study and wasn’t happy to hear about it. “I think it’s scary because a lot of people are doing it, including me, and I don't know if I’m going to get breast cancer,” Linsey said.

I hope that everyone can learn from my performance as Juliet. It was a very eye-opening experience and I think many people don’t often realize how necessary Shakespeare works are for us to read.” Hubbard: “Portraying Romeo was a big step for me. His

emotions were hard to portray. … Shakespeare in Detroit pushed me hard with articulation. I struggled with articulation because of my braces. … This play was an amazing experience. I enjoyed every bit of it. I would never forget this moment.”


free for African Americans then we might be able to heal that mindset. We have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to have a college education. Today a bachelor's degree can’t even take you to the places where you want to go. For instance, I want to be a teacher. In order to have a decent teaching job you need a master’s degree which adds on costs. With only a bachelor's degree, most

schools will not hire you. And that’s like wow! It’s crazy. You spent thousands for four-year degree and you can’t find a job. In that scenario you’ll probably be in debt for the rest of your life. A reason we live life is to find a passion. This just takes the soul, the happiness out of your passion. Most of what causes African Americans to be poor is debt. And guess where much of the debt comes from: college.

Teachers are one of the most consistent interactions children encounter outside of families and one of the most significant professions in society. “I feel our students deserve quality teachers just like other districts. I don’t think that our students should get subpar teachers just because they have subpar pay for the teachers,” said Casey Edgar, a teacher who has obtained a second job as an Uber driver to make ends meet. “I was educated within DPS, and I had amazing teachers and those teachers are the reason I was successful and why I came back to DPSCD. I love our students.” Educators must deal with increased class sizes, more district and standardized tests, changing curriculums, disruptive behavior, chronic absenteeism, and academic negligence of students and parents. “There are some teachers who have become jaded overtime. They are tired, overworked, and underpaid so then they react or aren’t as committed to their jobs as they would be if they were making what they are worth,” Edgar said. Now there are fewer people entering the teaching profession and even more leaving. As a result, the children, community, and future of America continue to suffer. According to an April article in Chalkbeat, “Low pay is a big reason teachers change jobs so frequently in Michigan,” and it might explain why “an estimated 1 in 5 — quit the profession within five years.” “I do not think it’s restricted to DPSCD,” Edgar said. “I don’t think teachers overall are compensated the way we should be. I cannot pay all my bills with the salary I make with DPSCD.” You might wonder, if African Americans fought so much, why should we still be fighting? We have to fight for our lives. So how do we solve this? We fight. We form rallies, we go to D.C., we do Martin Luther King, Jr. all over again. We work for candidates who are fighting for free college education for everyone. We vote. Everyone turning 18 in 2020, PLEASE VOTE.


Dec. 19, 2019 19

A public forum for the students and community of Renaissance High School | STUDENT LIFE

Club offers helping hand to community


Members of the Phoenix Outreach Club filling Thanksgiving baskets for Jerry L. White and RHS families who are in need this holiday season.

By Trinity Gammage RHS Stentor “We’re always working,” said Develyn Newell, Renaissance High School science teacher and creator of Phoenix Outreach. “We’re a working group. Every time we come together, we’re working.” Phoenix Outreach is a volunteer club at RHS that helps people in need. Newell said she saw a need for Renaissance students to be more active in the community. “I reached out to someone

that I know to find out if they needed some student volunteers and they said yes,” she said. “We just started from there.” To start the club, she got the help of Makayla Glenn, who is a senior at RHS and the president of the Phoenix Outreach club. “She and I had to secure community service opportunities and scope those who were in need before we started the program,” Glenn said. “A list of procedures, offers, etc. had to be established before we could even think of spreading the word of the club.”



Phoenix Outreach participates in many community service activities from filling Thanksgiving baskets to visiting rehab centers to teaching elementary students life lessons through a program called Babes World. “Babes World is a program where we train young people to go into the elementary schools and use puppets to teach lessons like dealing with peer pressure,” Newell said. Managing an entire volunteer club like Phoenix Outreach is not a simple task, but Glenn said

she believes the help of fellow volunteers makes it easier for her to handle. “When a whole club donates their time, we start to build an image that makes our club seem dependable,” Glenn said. “Often the responsibility of connecting with other organizations, preparing the agenda and keeping track of hours falls on me. It’s definitely rewarding though so I’m happy to do it.” Not only do student vol-

See OUTREACH on page 22 »



Duncan DeBruin actively discussing Ancient Rome with his world history class.

DeBruin is ‘like a college professor’ Renaissance makes updates to school cafeteria By Joelle Wimberley RHS Stentor On Nov. 4, Renaissance High School transformed the cafeteria into the Phoenix Cafe to improve student’s lunch experiences. Renaissance students came into a delightful surprise that Monday. After months of planning for the Phoenix Cafe, it was finally executed. “When I saw the social media posts about the Phoenix Cafe, I was extremely excited,” said RHS sophomore Kaila Jackson. “I couldn’t wait to get to school and actually see it.” RHS Principal Verynda Stroughter spoke to the student body at the beginning of the school year about


The well-anticipated Phoenix Café was opened in early November showcasing charging stations, high top tables, brand new chairs and a new menu.

this update as a part of her plan to improve the school and culture and the transformation started with the food. In the past, many students


Adviser: Joielle Speed Crain Mentor: Omari Gardner, Automotive News

complained about the school lunch describing it as “disgusting.” See CAF on page 24 »

By Brandon Bell RHS Stentor Active. Caring. Outgoing. Funny. These are just a few words to describe Duncan DeBruin, world history and AP computer teacher at Renaissance High School. He has been teaching for 10 years and spent the last five years at Renaissance where he has loved the experience. In addition to teaching, DeBruin holds a lot more to his name. “A husband, a father, a mentor, a teacher, and hopefully someone who is trying his best to make the people that come into his life better,” DeBruin said. His personality mixed with his teaching style makes being in his class an amazing experience, according to his students.

It doesn’t take a lot of energy to have fun in his class. “He gives us a big idea and then elaborates on it,” junior Ryon Williams said. “Then we talk about it while he relates it to current day.” Most of the students who have him agree that his teaching style is unique and fits well into the culture here at RHS. “He’s like a college professor,” junior Kenneth Rogers said. “He gives us something to think about, let’s us think and talk together as a class, and then comes back and discusses it with his thinking involved too.” Unlike some classes, DeBruin’s class isn’t one that you can fall asleep in because of his

See DEBRUIN on page 24 »

Staff Writers: Joelle Wimberley, Reel’l Barren, India Stubbs, Malaan Moses, Tianna Hamilton

20 Dec. 19, 2019 OPINION

Guns are weapons CBS News reported “as of Nov. 17, which is the 321st day of the year, there have been 369 mass shootings in the U.S., accordAmiyah ing to data from Pillow the nonprofit RHS Gun Violence Stentor Archive.” Does that make you wonder what’s really going on in society today? We are living in a world where we aren’t counting the days, we’re counting the number of mass shootings. Today’s generation has much more fear going to school than being at home. How do we protect our students from these mass shootings? Some say we need to have guards patrolling schools, but I disagree. If I went to school and saw armed guards patrolling, I would be more scared of them than a possible shooter attack. Men walking around with big guns would terrify me. Honestly, going to school sometimes feels a little nerve wracking with all the shootings that have happened. Anyone could have a motive to cause harm to students and no one would ever know until it’s too late. At Renaissance High School, we have security guards, but I don’t feel like they are doing their job all the time. The purpose of a security guard is to secure a facility and protect people. From past experiences, there were times where security couldn’t do so. I don’t think adding a gun to the picture will protect students from an armed human. After the Parkland shooting, Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, Florida, decided to act. They hired guards armed with semi-automatic rifles to patrol their school. Principal Bill Jones told The Bradenton Herald: “If someone walks onto this campus, they’re going to be shot and killed. We’re not going to talk with them. We’re not going to negotiate. We are going to put them down as quickly as possible.” I don't believe this is the best mindset to have. What happens when a guard is having a bad day and decides to take his anger out on someone other than the person causing harm? Patrol guards are humans and they can act on impulse too. They have emotions and feelings like everyone else. Mass shootings have affected our country in a tremendous way. The amount of people killed because of one harmful person is out of this world. The main issue is how to prevent mass shootings from happening. We must start with mental health and forming healthy coping skills for students. The focus needs to be addressing the well-being of students instead of arming security guards. This includes bullying prevention, addressing mental health and providing coping mechanisms.



Exploring students’ health


RHS social studies teacher Mr. Johnson discussing current events with his world history and geography class.

Like him or not, Johnson knows best By Tianna Hamilton RHS Stentor “I went over there like what do I have to lose,” Mr. Johnson said while reflecting on his second semester at Clark Atlanta University and what made him want to teach. “It was a lot of inspiring things that were said that made me think for a second, well maybe I can make a difference in the hood.” Johnson is a social studies teacher at Renaissance High School who has made an impression on students academically and socially for the past 22 years. “I've always been pretty good in history and it was the least amount of effort. I'm like, ‘Well I can be a history teacher!’ That very next day, I changed my major and that was it,” Johnson said. His teaching started at a junior high charter school where he taught for eight years before making the switch to the Detroit Public Schools Community District. “My charter school experience shaped me as a teacher, simply because we didn't have a lot of resources so I had to make up my own stuff,” Johnson said. The rest of his 14 years of teachings has been at RHS and he doesn't plan on leaving the district anytime soon. “I worked hard to build a reputation at this school,” Johnson said. “Sure you will make more money at different districts but I'm pretty successful at this school.” Johnson has never strayed from his end goal when teaching a student. “The objective is to make you better societal participants,” he said. “All this stuff is relevant:

Renaissance being on time, being organized, putting forth the best effort you can. All this means something inside the classroom and out. If it doesn't mean nothing, why are we even dealing with it?” If you are a junior or freshman at RHS it very likely for you to have one of Johnson's history classes and before you start you will probably hear enough rumors about him and his teaching style to fill up your entire history book. “Of course, they view me as a jerk and ‘Petty Johnson’,” he said. “But I know what's best for you and what I'm trying to do is make you a more successful person.” Senior Kaela Funches remembers Johnson being able to make something from 600 B.C or the 1600-1800s fun to learn. Kaela’s mother, Willette Gray, noticed Kaela being eager to learn history. “Well I actually realized that she's always been very studious but at the same time he sparked her curiosity about the curriculum,” Gray said. Johnson uses unique techniques to keep students engaged. “I try to make it relevant,” Johnson said. “I may give you something from Ancient Greece but I try to make it current to help you make the connection. That's why I always say there’s the textbook and the “Six mile” version as long as you get the concept we’re good.” Mr. Smith is the Economics teacher at RHS and has been teaching with Mr. Johnson for over 10 years. “I know what he's looking

for,” Smith said. “He has 11th graders, I have 10th graders so its helps me prepare my 10th graders to have him and know what he's looking for. It's also good to know that they’re going to get a certain teacher that's going to push them. “He's an outstanding teacher.” Senior Amber Crawford had Johnson during her junior year for world history and geography and said the class helped her become a better student. “Even though I didn't get the grade I wanted, after leaving that class I learned a lot as far as history and inhabiting better study habits so it was worth it in the end,” Crawford said. Crawford went on to say that class participation, studying, taking and understanding notes, asking questions, and being an overall active student helps you succeed with a teacher like Johnson. Others can vouch for some of the student body who says Johnson’s class is intense, but the outcome is always worth it. “I came out of his classroom with an A,” Funches said. “Sure it was a lot of hard work and time put into studying for tests and doing other assignments but that feeling of accomplishment made everything feel that much more worth it.” Crawford said she felt accomplished and pleased with herself after passing his class. “People say a lot of stuff about me, but what a lot of people don't see is the emails that I get every year when people go off to college say thank you,” Johnson said. “I'm here to make you a better societal individual. Somebody that's going to add some value.”

By Rhyen Anderson RHS Stentor The No. 1 high school in Detroit and one of the top schools in the state of Michigan is Renaissance High School. Some of the best students in the nation attend RHS and many successful people are alumni. How did they achieve this status? By rigorously working all their years at RHS. However, does rigorous work affect student health? “Anxiety, stress, and depression are the top concerns we have at Renaissance,” said RHS Principal Verynda Stroughter. RHS is a top tier high school with high expectations and the students attending have to conform to those expectations. However, not everyone can conform easily, therefore stress, anxiety, and depression becomes an issue as students struggle to stay afloat. “Students are competitive, and they feel like they are pressured by parents and families to keep a high GPA, test scores, and get into good colleges,” said RHS Assistant Principal Cindy Powell. What’s interesting is that every student’s mental health issue is different because each student thinks differently about RHS. Sophomore Anthony Jackson said that during his freshman year of high school, his mental health took a turn for the worse. “Personally, I’d say it was the stress put on by a lot of teachers who felt they were just being hard on you to nurture you,” Jackson said. “In reality, we’re being treated unfairly and it makes life harder on the students.” Jackson also stated that his old school was a lot easier because it was OK to fall as long as you always got back up. “It’s really easy to get caught in the current and left behind fast,” Jackson said. Lauren Myers is in the beginning of her freshman year at RHS. Like all freshmen, she is getting accustomed to life as an RHS student and she is hopeful about her future. “My mental health is fairly well but I’m very stressed because I don’t have good time management skills, therefore I’m having a hard time managing the work they give me for homework,” said Myers. “I feel that over the course of time, my time management skills will improve, and I will be able to do more work in a short amount of time.” Nia Heaston is a junior and a member of RHS Senate who finds attending school, playing sports, and talking to friends an outlet from other issues in her life. “I wouldn’t say that the school affects my mental health but life See HEALTH on page 22 »


Dec. 19, 2019 21

Southeastern High School | SPORTS



From left, meditation leaders Lazavier Cole, Kendall Williams and Jamila Russle.


Southeastern journalism students interview the girls basketball team as part of a Sports Media Day organized at the school.


Journalist Ramon Craig-Kirksey interviews basketball player Devin Waugh.


Southeastern bball teams hold media day for student journalists By Ashley Williams Hear the Roar f you thought the idea of a pre-season conference was just for college sports: you thought wrong. Days before the start of the 2019-20 basketball season, the Southeastern High School boys and girls basketball teams gave exclusive interviews to the SE Journalism class. This idea came from SE attendance officer and softball coach Kevin Persons. “I thought it would be fun,” said Persons. “Looking at college teams conferences and trying to bring it to a high-school level and implanting a vision for the athletes to go to a college level. I hope this is the first of many.” The Sports Media Day was held in the SE gym. Journalism students


Meditation class aims to reduce stress By KrisTia Maxwell Hear the Roar Southeastern High School students are allowed to present new ideas that are beneficial to students and staff. But more than that, they can organize and lead it. In October, sophomores Lazavier Cole, Kendall Williams and Jamila Russle had an idea of creating a student-led meditation class. But to evolve it from a dream to a reality, they had to take certain steps. First, they committed a week to create a presentation to present to principal Maurice El-Amin. The presentation gave information on what meditation is, the pros of it, why it should be a class, what good things can come from it, why people should meditate, and lastly, why it should be See MEDITATE on page 22 »

“The school has never done this before. It gives exposure to both the journalism team and the basketball players.”


Swing Out celebrates student success

Anthony Paciero, athletic director

asked team questions first, and then followed up with individual athletes. Pictures were taken during the hour-long session. Both Athletic Director Anthony Paciero and journalism instructor Jacqueline Robinson believe this is a great experience for athletes and journalists. “This was really cool. The school has never done this before,”

By Treyvon Simpson and Renetta Jones Hear the Roar Southeastern High School’s Honor Roll students took the afternoon off to celebrate their first quarter accomplishment. The Leadership Swing Out HEAR THE ROAR

See MEDIA on page 22 »


Journalist Terry Barber interviews De’Ante Walker.

Adviser: Jacqueline Mitchell Robinson Crain Mentor: David Muller, Automotive News

See SWING OUT on page 22 »

Staff: Ramon Craig-Kirksey, Nikia Gunter, KrisTia Maxwell-Gray, Malaya Reed, Treyvon Simpson, Amyre Spears, Ashley Williams

22 Dec. 19, 2019


Principal says RHS can help students with stress FROM PAGE 20


Students and faculty participate in meditation exercises in a new class at Southeastern High School.


Class was started ‘to let students be free spirited’ FROM PAGE 21

student-led and not teacher-led. To meditate is to think deeply and focus your mind for a period of time in silence where you are able to clear your mind, relax and focus. Some people use meditation for spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation. Cole explained that he started the class because he knows that students, including himself, have

classes and work that add stress. He said meditation is a stress reliever to students and that it could calm their anxiety. Cole also said that his goal is “to let students be free spirited, open minded and calm in school.” With knowledge of the class and its purpose, this reporter decided to attend a session. The first time I just sat and observed. I saw students engaged in yoga and actually participating with intentions of leaving calmer than when they arrived. My second time visiting I decided to participate. When I did,

I noticed that my body liked the non-strenuous exercises and that I was indeed calmer after I had arrived. The third time I attended a class, I interviewed students for feedback. One of the students, sophomore Christon Edwards said, “The only reason I joined the meditation class is because my girlfriend started it and I wanted to support her, but as I start going to classes I began to enjoy them. The classes help me focus and sort out different things in my life, therefore I am glad I decided to go.”

in general does, however school is an outlet to get away from my personal issues,” Heaston said. Stroughter said she recognizes the need for mental health awareness and believes more needs to be done to make mental health issues a priority. “Over time, we haven’t done the best job of teaching students how to deal with stress and anxiety,” Stroughter said. “We need to prioritize the concern to allow our students a way to deal with stress and anxiety.” Powell said she cares about the students wellbeing and doesn’t want them to be stressed about school. This is because she deeply understands what the students are being put through nowadays as she is mother of two who are both in high school. “I would want students to not stress out so much from these things and allow them to grow and develop,” Powell said. “They need to know that they are teens and they won’t be perfect. This is an

important time in their lives, but they shouldn’t stress out so much.” To the students, it seems like the school wants them to work hard, without caring for their time and mental health. However, it’s not the school’s intention to hurt the students, but to help the students because it has worked in the past. It’s all just tough love for the students. However, mental health is only one side of the same coin. How is the physical health of RHS students? “I helped with the blood drive a few years ago and many students didn’t have enough iron in their system to donate,” RHS health teacher Beth Plumridge said. “That showed me directly, that our students processed diet is already causing health issues at an early age. I fully believe that students would perform better in every aspect of life if their nutritional needs were met.” Plumridge said students have the biggest issue with nutrition in her opinion. She has witnessed this being a health teacher and she knows it’s due to students’ processed diet. She wants to make a change for the better and she is doing that by teaching students and making them aware of their own health as well as others.


Honor roll students (rear) J’Von Williams-Bey, Renetta Jones, Jamarr Stanford; (front) Shamiah Woods, Dorrian Johnson, Amyre Conley.



The Southeastern journalism staff interviews members of the boys basketball team.


Journalism students, athletes enjoyed the day FROM PAGE 21

Paciero said. “It gives exposure to both the journalism team and the basketball players.” “This is great practice for jour-


Club helps students care about people in need FROM PAGE 19

unteers receive community service hours that are needed for graduation through The Phoenix

Students honored for academic success FROM PAGE 22

nalism students,” Robinson said. “They practiced asking questions to write a feature, sports article from this experience. Students practiced asking questions to get information, clarify information and expand on information. You don’t get this from a textbook.” The athletes also liked the event. “It gave me a voice,” said

Totiana Brown, a member of the girls basketball team. “I was finally able to express how I feel about the double standards in girls and boys basketball without being criticized.” “I enjoyed it a lot,” said boys basketball player Justin Glenn. “It gave me an opportunity to tell my story.”

Outreach Club, but it also helps students give back to their own community. “It’s very beneficial to me because it helps me be more open with the world,” senior Angeliyah Perkins said. “It helps me make the community a better place.”

The students who participate in this club are not only participating for their own benefits. They can look outside of their own problems and learn to care about people in need. “Contribution to helping that need makes me feel valuable,” Glenn said. “Being a part of

celebrated 92 Honor Roll students who earned a 3.0 grade-point average or higher by the end of the first quarter. Nicholas Patterson, dean of students, coordinated the efforts. Senior Ariel Myers takes pride in her 4.0 GPA and encourages others to strive for the best. Phoenix Outreach is more to me than just looking good to colleges or having all my hours. This club gives me a purpose bigger than myself.” Volunteering in Phoenix Outreach does not feel like a chore, the students said. They enjoy giving back to their own commu-

“Follow your dreams and keep pushing even through your hard times, but always finish first and be proud of yourself,” she said. This is the third year Patterson has coordinated the Swing Out to celebrate academic achievement in the school. “Staying focused on your school work is very important,” said Amyre Conley, a junior with a 3.71 GPA. The students said it was a great way to start the Thanksgiving holiday break. nity and helping others. “We have fun every week. I love helping people. It’s part of my spirit and I just love volunteering,” Perkins said. What is the goal for Phoenix Outreach? “For the community to know that we’re here,” Newell said.

Dec. 19, 2019 23

THE WESTERN EXPRESS Western International High School | OPINION

Don’t change purpose of Mexican celebration By Liset Diaz The Western Express Quinceañeras are an important tradition in Latino culture, especially the Mexican culture. But some girls and their families are trying to redefine the honored traditions of the quinceañera and repurpose it to fit their own cultural identities. Being a Mexican Latina myself, I believe it's wrong to change the purpose of a whole tradition and give it the same name. Every ritual in the ceremony and specific action in the party have symbolism and meaning. For example, the big puffy dress the quinceañera (the 15-year-old girl celebrant) wears signifies the life change she will go through as she passes into adulthood. The choreographed dances the quinceañera and her court perform represent the transition from a happy end to childhood and the start of an exciting new adult world full of friends, family and love interests. The high heels her father places on her feet at the party symbolize her becoming a woman and her new roles in society. A quinceañera or quince for short, isn't only a fancy party where a 15-year-old girl wears a big dress and has a court just to be spoiled. It also isn't a tradition that's up for grabs for everyone, which means it isn't fair to change it. The religious aspects of a quince are a rite of passage filled with pride. The quinceañera typically has to have a mass in her honor at Catholic Church of her choice. This is a way of announcing to the community that a girl has matured into a young woman capable of so much success. Maybe as Mexicans we have allowed this special tradition to pass on to other types of Latinos because they have proven to respect the tradition. After all, it is an ancient Aztec tradition mixed with other customs from around the world. So, why do young girls nowadays want to take my tradition and change it so that it's no longer a quince, but an average sweet 15 birthday party? In doing this they miss the original point of the celebration. There are recent examples of girls who have replaced the honored hisSee QUINCE on page 24 »


Students showcase artwork By Sheyla Paredones The Western Express The creative and diverse work of Western’s student artists was on display last month in the Black Box Theater. Pieces made from a variety of materials, including self-portraits on large paper, showcased a wide range of artistic expression. The self-portraits required students to draw themselves while looking into a mirror. In addition, students in the advanced placement studio art class showed their “memento mori” project. The memento mori is a drawing of a table covered with a tablecloth, a skeleton resting on a set of books, a vase with flowers, and a green bottle on the side of a candle. Students invested hours in their pieces. Some brought color into their pieces by using oil pastels. “Honestly, I had never worked with this type of material, and that’s why it was a challenge for me,” said AP art student Deisi Bartolon-Morales. “But, overall, it was very fun and I enjoyed doing it.” Many students said they enjoyed working on these art projects. “It was nice to see everyone See ART on page 24 »


From left to right, student artist Marleen Piña, Western art teacher Kathleen Dickinson, student artists Eleanor Aro and Vanessa Ybarra.


Senegal trip creates memorable experience By Cameron Townsend The Western Express Chasing a soccer ball on the sandy ground, dancing to rhythmic music into the night and wrestling with my African brothers were part of my experience in Senegal, West Africa, where I worked with other Western students last summer to build a school in a village. We went with buildOn, a nonprofit organization that helps Detroit teens do community service locally and in developing countries. Getting ready to go to on trek sometimes seemed more challenging than the trek itself. We prepared extensively by learning about manners and respectful behavior and the culture of Senegal, including eating a Senegalese meal. In our village of Deffame, I learned how to speak in the local languages of Serer and Wolof, as we built a school while living with



The buildOn trek team poses for a photo before the farewell dance from the village of Deffame, Senegal, West Africa, in April.

our host families. We were all given Senegalese names. Mine was Babakai Fye. A favorite activity was sharing in a chat circle, where our trek leaders taught us lessons on how to love yourself, the importance of

friendship and mutual respect. We also learned what our strengths and weaknesses were. I believe that the chat circles brought my trek group closer. Sometimes the days seemed so long it felt like I was there forever.

Editor-in-Chief: Liset Diaz Advisers: William Bowles & Lou Santo Crain Mentor: Mary Kramer, Crain’s Detroit Business

One of my favorite memories was when my trek group stayed up late and wrestled the other kids in the village. There were a lot of ups and downs, but it was an amazing experience, which I am going to always remember.

Staff Writers: Sheyla Paredones, Cameron Townsend, Ricardo Sanchez

24 Dec. 19, 2019


Show helped students experience art exhibition FROM PAGE 23

working together,” said senior Geovanni Tinoco. Tinoco said he worked on his drawing for eight hours. Western Art teacher Kathleen Dickinson said the goal of the art show is to allow others to enjoy the art and to raise money to better enhance the next art show. “I just want to give the students an experience of how an exhibition art show feels like,” said Dickinson. Dickinson said she encouraged her art students to create pieces that they could proudly display on a custom made T-shirt, which was available for purchase by everyone, and served as a fundraiser. While strolling around the gallery filled with a variety of art pieces, students and families were able to enjoy musical performances by Western students.


New style is designed similar to a college cafe FROM PAGE 19

“Before the new menu I never was in line to get a school lunch. The food just wasn’t good,” said RHS sophomore Shamere Duncan. In the new Phoenix Cafe, lines are long and what students refer to as the “Renni six-piece wing ding combo” is enjoyed by many. Chefs also come in to cook customized meals for students once a week. They keep fresh pizza, chicken sandwiches and salads in the cafe. “If they have the Renni six-piece wing ding combo, I’m definitely getting in line to get it. That chicken is so good,” said RHS sophomore Olivia Jenkins. The Phoenix Cafe is designed similar to a college cafe. There are higher tables with the Phoenix logo on them, taller seats, booths and charging stations. “The redesign makes me feel more comfortable during lunch. And instead of not eating all day I can fuel my body with tasty food,” said RHS junior Alexis Harris.


Perkins reports for duty, unsure if he’ll return FROM PAGE 15

grade year, I had no idea what I wanted to do or be and if I was happy or not,” Chisholm said. “Over the course of years, he has inspired me to be a better me and better person and gave me the tools to be successful. It sucks that he’ll never be able to see how much he actually changed my life.” Perkins said he wants the best for his students even after he leaves King. He wants them to become the best people they can be and think about others.


FELICIANO BRINGS CONFIDENCE TO RING Western International By Ricardo Sanchez The Western Express Western junior Josue Feliciano is a boxing champion with a record of 29-3. Feliciano began boxing at the Downtown Boxing Gym at age 11. He said he started boxing because “my brother wanted to spare with me.” Feliciano said he gradually gained confidence by learning from his mistakes and by following the directions of his boxing coach, Sonic Luna. Luna has gone to his tournaments and is always seeking to perfect Feliciano’s boxing skills. Feliciano said Luna’s goal is to transfer good energy and confidence into every fight. Feliciano has learned to enjoy boxing even when struggling against formidable opponents. He said that with Luna’s help he goes into a match with a positive attitude and ends up having a good time no matter what the outcome is. Feliciano also studies the boxing techniques of his favorite boxer, the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard, who showed extraordinary agility, speed and preparation in his fights. Feliciano said that when he gets hit repeatedly in a match he thinks of all the training he does at the gym to improve his “craftsmanship.” He is learning that there is a lot more to boxing than strength and endurance. He said that in addition to learning boxing techniques he is improving his “tunnel vision,” which is a method of sharpening his focus and concentration. He says using “tunnel vision” helps him go into a fight with his main focus on his opponent and nothing else. “The students have to learn how to be functioning humans in society who care about people as much as they care about themselves. That's what I wish,” said Perkins. “It’s not wishing for the students in the band it’s wishing for people who come in contact with the band members.” Perkins isn’t sure if he will come back to King because, for him, it’s all about service and where he’ll be most beneficial. “If I find that I am being a greater service with the Army than I could be here (at King), I won’t be back. If I find I’m a greater service here then I would be back. It depends on where life takes me,” Perkins said.


Western student boxing standout, Josue Feliciano, pauses during a workout at the Downtown Boxing Gym.


Renaissance students defend teacher FROM PAGE 19

loud and active personality. “He can always uplift a class’s mood with his puns, jokes, and sense of humor,” Williams said. Even his colleagues love his energy, the way he handles his classes, his personality, and how helpful he is to everyone around him. “He is a very nice person, very generous,” said junior English teacher Curtis Towns. “He allows teachers and students access to his room, his microwave, his refrigerator. He’s very helpful if you need any support in any way; he extends his service and time to help.” Townes said that DeBruin has a great sense of humor that can be viewed as a gift and a curse and recently, it proved to be a curse. In the month of October, there were allegations of DeBruin being “racist” and “comparing black kids to slaves” when discussing Helots in Ancient Greece. The allegations were proven false but it left past and current students feeling as though they needed to defend his name. “It didn’t really affect me but I know he jokes around a lot so I figured it was just taken out of context for real,” said Rogers. The school has since then moved past the scandal. Students and teachers alike still see DeBruin as a mentor and good person and adore him as a teacher. “It’s always an awesome feeling to know that there are some students who look to you to make an impact on their lives when honestly I think teachers always play an insignificant role just because you guys are already coming in as such great kids, both behaviorally and academically.” DeBruin said. “But I mean if we are playing any small part, that’s awesome to know.”


Too many overlook tradition, significance of quinceañera FROM PAGE 23

tory and traditions of the quinceañera with elements of their own cultures, such as African and Islamic. These girls and their families have failed to see that a quince celebrates a young woman's Latina heritage and Catholic spiritual practices. Maybe these girls celebrate a quinceañera to add honor to this important passage of life, but too many have overlooked the deep significance and traditions of the quinceañera and turned them into birthday parties. This, I believe, is a disrespectful thing to do.


Detroit resident Wendy Vazquez wearing a typical dress for her quinceañera last summer.

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