Volume 90, Issue 3
the part untouched December 1, 2016
Manal Ahmed, Editor-in-Chief Becky DeAcetis, Editor-in-Chief Lola Akinlade, Online Editor Demi Glusic, Online Editor Hannah Hutchins, Features Editor Alo Garcia Escobar, Opinion Editor Jack Kosowski, Sports Editor Maria Thames, Photo Editor Olivia Griffith, Layout Editor Brianna Baez Rachel Benner Maggie Burnetti Anna DeNoia Rachel Dudley Luke Ekdahl Allie Goldman Jenna Grayson Abbey Humbert Ben Kanches Breezy Listman Kevin Loumeau Molly Magill Elizabeth Manley Colleen Mullins TJ Murbach Samantha Nelson Kyle Patterson Tia Petrzilka Matthew Price Georgia Sampson Kelly Shinnick Matthew Smith Brandon Simberg Maya Trott Paige Ward Maddie Wasser Savanna Winiecki
Hello, good morning, and welcome to Drops of Ink’s third issue of the year: our December Issue! (Or DOIcember, if you will.) You may have noticed, but our last issue was a wee tad different from past issues in the fact that it had a focus: politics. A good chunk of our stories in the last magazine focused on the then-upcoming election: the candidates, people’s opinions on said candidates, and voting information. This issue, we (as an editorial board), thought we might try something similar but with an entirely different (and slightly more controversial) focus: sex, gender, and a few things in between — The Part(s) Untouched. The majority of these stories fall under the features category, so as the Features Editor, it makes sense for me to talk to all of you wonderful readers. Quite some time ago, we as a publication decided that our website (lhsdoi.com, go check it out!) would be used as our chief news platform, meaning that the majority of our news-related stories would be published there as opposed to in the magazine. This paved the way and opened up our magazine for more feature content, which allows us to explore “bigger-picture” topics, in this case, sexuality. The magazine also gives us the opportunity to explore these topics further through the use of pictures and layouts, making these stories all the more powerful. As for the content of this issue, I won’t go into details (that’s what page 11 is for, check that out too!), but I will tell you this: Drops of Ink is aware that the articles that follow are a bit more controversial and a bit heavier than our usual stories. We as a staff, however, feel that these topics, the ones that get shushed and ignored and just flat out avoided, need to be discussed. Our goal as a publication has always been to be transparent with you, our readers, as well as the other students, faculty, and administration at this school. That means that we always try our hardest to be open and honest in everything that we publish. This is me, doing my best to be transparent. The stories in this magazine are serious and there will be people that disagree with them. But if we don’t write about it, who will?
Michael Gluskin, Faculty Adviser
Hannah Hutchins Features Editor
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org December 1, 2016
Rea der s
2016-2017 Staff Listing
Drops of Ink
12-13 Undressing the Code
Photo by Demi Glusic
Photo by Maria Thames
News Happier, Healthier, Higher Preforming
Items trending for holiday gifts and activities to do in Chicago this holiday season are featured.
The KKK Kase: Students’ Efforts to Bring the KKK to LHS
From catcalling to the evident gender wage gaps, Paige Ward sarcastically embraces the joys of inequality women face while growing up.
How to be Happy During the Holidays
‘Twas the Finals Before Break
Undressing the Code*
The leniency and rules of LHS’s dress code are examined and are put to the test through an experiment conducted by three DOI staff members.
Opinion A Female’s Future*
‘Tis the Season
Christmas may be the predominant holiday around this time of year, but some LHS students celebrate different holidays or a combination of two.
News of an attempt to create a KKK club at LHS 24 years ago is resurfacing and presenting itself amidst racial tension still looming over society today.
Photo by Paige Ward
Feature 6-7 What’s Trending & What’s Happening
Life of a Wildcat is a new lifestyle organization at LHS that encourages students to create healthy living habits for themselves.
19-21 What Goes Unsaid
15-17 The Naked Truth
The Naked Truth*
What Goes Unsaid *
A collection of narratives from anonymous LHS students, who share their encounters with sending and receiving nudes.
Sexual assault in high school is a topic not discussed often, as more encounters are reported starting in college, though the LHS administration does implement actions when cases are called to their attention.
The stress of the holiday rush can be eased by following this simple how-to guide about finding happiness among the holiday season tension.
Sports 25 Wildcat Stats
This 2016-17 school year will be the first time finals will be held before winter break, and the DOI staff reflects on the positive and negative aspects of this new change.
With winter sports starting their seasons, here’s a breakdown of every team’s players and years in school.
* = Focus Story
Cover photo by Maria Thames Table of Contents by Demi Glusic
Smiling on Skates
In result of tremendous dedication, junior Sophie Pearson has become a successful ice skater.
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‘Happier, Healthier, Higher Performing’ By Luke Ekdahl Life of a Wildcat is a new organization at Libertyville High School dedicated to informing students on ways to lead a safe and healthy lifestyle. Its goal is for students to make healthy lifestyle choices so that they can do well in all aspects of their lives. The organization mainly focuses on informing students to make healthy choices surrounding sleep, nutrition/hydration, mood/stress management, and alcohol and drugs. “The idea behind [Life of a Wildcat] is, no matter where a student is situated, whether they are in theater, or a mathlete, or an athlete, or an artist, whatever, I feel like a large percent of the population, if not all, wants to be awesome at something. And so, I think what oftentimes get missed--even though it seems obvious, is that lifestyle choices are incredibly important,” commented Dr. Brenda Nelson, the Prevention and Wellness Coordinator at LHS, and advisor of Life of a Wildcat. This organization was originally inspired by John Underwood, an Olympian in steeplechase and professional runner who started a program to help improve the lifestyle of athletes on and off the field. “[John Underwood] developed a program with these principles--his arena is athletes. He wanted to help young athletes and young people,” commented Dr. Nelson on the origins of the program. Life of a Wildcat supplies students with information on how to lead a healthy life and encourages students to follow those principles. “So everyday you just be healthy and perpetuate this image of healthy living,” said LHS senior Megha Adya. “I like the initiative. It was nice to help younger
kids to find a direction and stay away from drugs and alcohol. I thought that was a really good goal that the club has, so I wanted to be a part of it.” The organization supplies sports and clubs with information that is intended to be interesting and meaningful to the people in those organizations. Additionally, if a student wants more information outside of a club, they can sign up through a Google form for Life of a Wildcat on the LHS home page under the prevention and wellness tab, or through the QR code to the right, to receive additional content. “What Life of a Wildcat does, it really works to bring that content into the hands of kids in a way that, hopefully, is meaningful and appealing,” commented Dr. Nelson. The program is still in its infancy, with mostly seniors being involved, however anyone can fill out the Google form to receive content. Life of a Wildcat is marketed as a lifestyle rather than a club due to the fact that you do not have to receive information from a club or through the organization’s Google form to practice the healthy choices that encompass the program. “Right now it is just [in] the planning stage, so we are all just trying to figure out how bring this lifestyle to the rest of the school,” commented LHS senior Jenna El Ghatit, who is a part of Life of a Wildcat. The motto of Life of a Wildcats is “Happier, Healthier, Higher Performing,” which are the goals of the organization. As Dr. Nelson explained, students will use the information provided to them to lead a healthier lifestyle, thus being healthier, happier, and higher performing in many aspects of their lives.
Infographic by Manal Ahmed News
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The KKK Kase: Students’ Efforts to Bring the KKK to LHS By Rachel Benner KKK, an infamous three-letter series, is synonymous for hate. dedicated to the eradication of ignorance,” Waller voiced. The Ku Klux Klan, or KKK, is an organization that advocates for Mr. Matthew Leone, a current earth science teacher at LHS, was a teacher extremist views such as white supremacy, white nationalism, anti-immiat LHS during that time. gration and anti-Semitism, among other things. “Things happen all the time that you can make a learning experience What a lot of students may not know is that there was an attempt to [out of] for everyone. I wouldn’t call it disruptive. The teachers I knew at create a KKK club at Libertyville High School in 1992, 24 years ago. the time used it as a teachable moment,” Mr. Leone stated. According to articles from the Chicago Tribune at the time, three seIn February of 1993, that same school year, a guest speaker, Tom Marniors, who were later suspended for 10 days, passed out flyers and books tinez, a former Klansmen, came to speak to students about his days as a condoning the group and what they represent. member of the organization. He included details of his days as a white The hate literature was distributed for a few weeks before the students supremacist and his regretful decisions. To end the speech, he discourwere caught. Racial slurs against African Americans, Hispanics and Jews aged students from getting involved in extremely violent associations. were presented along with white supremacist references. In addition to these consequences, the students issued an apology, The KKK is a group which was published in the with three distinct moveDecember issue of Drops of Ink ments. The first started in in 1992. the 1860s and the second “You have no reason to fear in 1915. The third, us. You have reason to be diswhich is still currently appointed, but please do not be running, commenced in afraid. Please judge us not by the 1950s. The students that split second of thoughtlesshad the idea to spread it ness, but by the way we treated to LHS after one of them you before that instant and the wrote a paper about the way we will continue to treat group for English class. you afterwards,” proclaimed the Another spark came a anonymous students, who had few weeks before the signed the “membership list.” students were uncovered. This occurrence happened 24 Students of a neighboryears ago, so why now resurface ing high school, Warren it? Although this nation has Township, burned the grown a lot since the Jim Crow letters KKK in the team’s laws, racial tensions continue to football field reported the be prevalent in the United States Chicago Tribune. today, with violent incidents and Thirty to thirty-five protests taking place around the other upperclassmen at country. LHS signed a petition This is evident in communities endorsing the group. Inlike Ferguson, Missouri, where an formation in a 1992 issue unarmed black man was shot by of Drops of Ink displayed a white police officer in August that at the time of the 2014. Or in July in Baton Rouge, occurrence, there were Louisiana, where a black man 25 African Americans Photo Illustration by Rachel Dudley was held down by white police attending LHS and the Headlines from the December 1992 and January 1993 Drops of Ink issues show students’ shock and frustration officers and shot multiple times total minority student from close range. with the then-recent KKK events at LHS. percentage was 12. In addition, Tel Aviv University Today, according to the in Israel reported that in the year Illinois Report Card, there is a minority percentage of 18, more than 350 of 2014, anti-Semitic violence increased 40 percent worldwide, 3 percent in students total. America. Back in 1992, minority students from neighboring towns started to fear About 190 current KKK chapters remain active around the nation. for their safety. This was the case with John Borders, an African AmeriAccording to the New York Post, these organizations endorsed Donald can sophomore who lived in Vernon Hills. Trump as a candidate and even threw parties and parades to celebrate the “I find myself looking over my shoulder more now. I felt fairly comfortable election results. before this stuff happened,” said Borders in an interview with the Chicago Lily Marcus, a current senior who is Jewish, commented on the history Tribune. of LHS in light of everything happening in the world today. The teacher and student responses varied, but overall, there were two “I find [the event] rather hard to stomach. Today, we are just kind of reactions that were more prominent than others: the first was shock and ignoring basic rights and things that we should be much more proactive the second, bewilderment. Many attributed the actions to pure ignorance, about,” Marcus said in an interview conducted over email. “There are a including the Lake County State’s Attorney at the time, Michael Waller. lot of things that are being spoken out against, which is always import“It shows that ignorance can crop up anywhere, even in places that are ant, but I feel as if there is so much more we are ignoring.”
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Photos by Sam Nelson Layout by Kevin Loumeau
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‘Tis the Season
By Maya Trott and Matt Smith Layout by Maddie Wasser Photos by Molly Magill
As Bing Crosby once sang, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” But for some students in and around the Libertyville area, it’s not that exciting. For Jewish, Muslim, and non-religious students, this time of year, “the most wonderful time of the year,” may not be in December.
Merry...Hanukkah? Most people know that Hanukkah is around the holiday season and often realize that the date is not static, but many do not really know how much the date can change. Since Hanukkah follows a lunar cycle instead of a Gregorian calendar, which is commonly used throughout the United States, the date of Hanukkah can change to any time between late November and late December. This means that Hanukkah can sometimes fall over Thanksgiving, which a Jewish student, junior Sophie Richardson, describes as “so horrible. Like, Hanukkah is way better when [there’s] snow on the ground … that’s part of what makes the holiday season fun, just all being together.” Even though many people know about Hanukkah and other Jewish holidays, such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (since there is no school on those holidays), there is one glaringly large mistake that often happens: a disproportionate emphasis is placed on Hanukkah over other Jewish holidays. Richardson explained that Hanukkah is “not a big holiday. It’s actually like such a minor holiday, it barely matters, but it became Americanized and celebrated.” This has led to Hanukkah being celebrated in a way that is “loose. [The traditions are] made by each family,” Richardson stated. “We light candles every night. We usually do one party with friends, but that’s about it.” Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the major holidays for Judaism, although they often do not get as much attention as Hanukkah does. This is not the only misconception people have about Hanukkah. While many people think presents are given for every night of Hanukkah, this is rarely the case. “I do not receive presents each day. Now that my sister and I are older, we get big gifts for 2-3 days,” explained sophomore Hannah Rubinstein. Rubinstein celebrates Hanukkah with different traditions than Richardson: “My family [on] two of those days [of Hanukkah will] go to my grandparents’ house or aunt’s and light the menorah and eat deli food.” When it comes to Christmas, neither Richardson nor Rubinstein is particularly phased by
Sophie Richardson poses with her favorite menorah and dreidel lights. Hannukah poems, lights, and crafts add to her holiday cheer.
others’ celebrations of it. They both say, though, that it can be difficult when everyone else is talking about it, since they are excluded from the conversations. “I do feel left out [when my friends talk about Christmas] because they realize that I’m Jewish, and that they should just talk about the holiday season in general,” Rubinstein elaborated.
All about Eid Rarely do Muslim holidays fall around the “holiday season;” Muslims mainly celebrate Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr. “Eid al-Fitr happens after the month of Ramadan, so the month of fasting, and then we celebrate at the end, and then Eid al-Adha is when we do pilgrimage,” explained senior Areebah Waseem, who started the Muslim Student Association at Libertyville and is the president of the club. According to CNN, Eid al-Adha is the feast of sacrifice and commemorates when God appeared to Abraham in a dream and told him to kill his son to show obedience. Eid al-Fitr occurs after the month of Ramadan (the month of fasting). Families get together and a have a big feast and celebrate the end of Ramadan.
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Areebah Waseem smiles as she talks Chrismukkah and Beyond about spending time celebrating with her family. Bangle bracelets are worn during While most students only identify with one religion, some students at LHS are both Jewish and Christian. Sophomore Dylan Heimert is Eid-al-Adha and Eid-al-Fitr.
Neither Eid holidays fell around Christmastime this year. They vary each year on when they occur, due to the fact that Muslims also follow the lunar calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar. This year, Eid al-Adha was in September and Eid al-Fitr fell in July. Since neither holiday falls in November or December, Muslims are left out of this holiday season. “Five years ago, it was during the Christmastime, which was convenient for us, ‘cause a lot of gifts were there, like you know, discounts and stuff,” explained Waseem. Some students who don’t celebrate Christmas, like Waseem, can sometimes feel left out of Christmas activities: “I don’t get to join their holiday spirit. Everybody’s looking forward to Christmas, you know, gifts and family and a big feast, while I am pretty much… out to dinner with my friends that day just for fun. It’s kinda sad, but I am happy that I’m Muslim,” she said. With Christmas music blasting through the speakers as hallway usic, WISH, and the decorations around school, Waseem, along with other non-Christian students, have to see it and go along with all the “Christian-based religion activities and stuff like that,” said Waseem. “WISH, for example, is for Christmas, [and] that’s for Christians.” Many school districts around the country don’t have Muslim holidays off, except for New York public schools who take Eid off. “We have Jewish holidays, and then we have Christian holidays. Why can’t we have Muslim holidays?” said Waseem. “Islam is one of the biggest religions, or the largest religion, and it’s growing, you know. 1.2 billion people in the world are Muslim.” Many Muslim students want equal recognition for their holidays. For both Waseem and Libertyville junior Mariam Tolba, during their holiday, they miss school and spend time with their family. “We’re like partying all day, and some of us even come to school, but I like to party with my family,” explained Waseem. Eid translates to “celebration” in Arabic. Tolba has been trying to get Muslim holidays off since last year. She began a petition on Sep. 16, 2015, and was able to obtain 200 signatures. She was then invited to a school board meeting, but the board rejected her motion due to the fact that Eid follows the Lunar calendar, instead of the Gregorian calendar and the date switches every year. Tolba said she is currently trying to contact the Lake County Board of Education in order to have it on next year’s calendar. “It’s kinda like choosing between education and religion, and I feel like no one should have to do that,” expressed Tolba “I feel like all religions should be accepted and respected by the school.”
one of these people, as he celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas. Heimert and his family celebrate both holidays very similarly to the people who celebrate just one of them. Both holidays can blend into one, he explained: “‘Cause it’s the same season and they’re close to each other, I just call them the holidays.” A stereotypical question these students are asked is, “Do you identify with one more than the other? Like, you can’t be both,” to which Heimert said, “I identify with both, but I’m probably more educated in Christianity.” Libertyville is a mostly white and Christian-populated school. According to usnews.com, only 18 percent of students at LHS are minorities. Heimert, along with other so-called “cashews,” often put a lot of the attention toward their Christian side because of all the publically celebrated Christmas activities. Although it is often assumed that most everyone celebrates Christmas, many forget that Christmas is celebrated very differently from family to family. While senior Natalie Perritano may celebrate Christmas, her experiences are different from most others, as she does not consider herself religious. Perritano’s family’s traditions are pretty tame, as she explained, “We go to my aunt’s house at 2 in Rosemont. There’s usually some snacks out, and people put the presents under the tree.” As to why she still celebrated Christmas, Perritano said, “It’s the only time we see our family and so we just use Christmas.” She also stated that Christmas was the same for her family as others, but with “no aspects of religion throughout the day.” No matter how her family celebrates, Perritano explained that it is still Christmas, but for them, it is just “more of a family get together.” She does not believe that this is much different than anyone else since “the point and essence of it is still there with family.”
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hile teenagers are many things, there is one dimension too often ignored: our sexuality. The word sexuality can refer to several things; however, the main two are as follows: our capacity for sexual feelings and a person’s sexual orientation. We’re not talking about the latter one here. Our ability to experience sexual feelings for others is as integral to our existence as any other component, and it’s no secret, but for some reason, there’s a shame associated with publicly recognizing it. We’re expected to leave that part of us in the closet. The part left untouched is just that: our sexuality. It’s the way we send pictures of nudes to each other without really thinking of the consequences. It’s the dress code and how people objectify bodies. It’s the way we exist in a culture where sexual assault is far too real, victims far too disregarded, and justice far too insufficient. It’s the way half of us will be told to be careful when walking alone at night when we go off to college. The part untouched is the part of the narrative left untold. Here’s our hope of initiating that dialogue;
Here is thE part untouched.
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Seeing how much skin or flare they can expose without being called out, DOIers Georgia, Matthew, and Jenna wear midriff shirts and atypical attire in their conducted experiment.
UnDressING Code Story by Jenna Grayson and Georgia Sampson Layout by Olivia Griffith Photos by Demi Glusic
All LHS student handbooks dating back to 1984 have included dress codes, which have been altered and modified to fit fashion trends seen in the different time periods.
Look online for a longer story and the video version!
Drops of Ink
Bra straps, bodies, and shame. Nationwide, young women are publicFor some students who attended other schools before LHS, the ly expressing their dissatisfaction with school dress codes. school’s dress code is often seen as a privilege. LHS senior Annie LanWhether it’s bra straps or short skirts, it seems that girls are frequent- caster didn’t experience an environment where she was comfortable in ly condemned for their clothing choices. her clothing when she attended Warren Township High School. However, Libertyville High School has a dress code policy that is Lancaster said that Warren’s dress code was “extremely gender bimore up for interpretation, with the LHS student handbook stating: ased,” adding that “girls weren’t allowed to wear leggings, anything open“Students are expected to present an appearance that does not disrupt backed, anything that was like a tank top…[as well as] skirts or shorts or the educational process or interfere with the maintenance of a positive dresses that were above the knee.” Lancaster recalled that she “had several teaching/learning climate. Dress and/or grooming which is not in accord times where [she] was taken out of class” due to violations which she with reasonable standards of health, safety, modesty, and decency will found “more detrimental to [her] education than anything else.” be considered inappropriate.’’ After moving her freshman year to Libertyville High School, LanSince these guidelines are fairly vague, deciding if a student’s dress caster said that when she was made aware of Libertyville dress code, she meets these standards is up to LHS staff members. was “so excited.” She discerned that “LHS is more focused on making A positive of the interpretation-based dress code policy of LHS is sure that everyone feels accepted.” that it allows LHS staff members to focus on the clothing they believe to Likewise, LHS junior Michael Graham attended St. Joseph Catholic be disruptive, with some teachers at LHS appreciating the ambiguity of School, spending the majority of his primary school under a dress code the policy, like Mr. Brian Voss, who teaches sociology and AP macthat he described as “very strict with their uniform,” recalling that, “a lot roeconomics, and Ms. Andrea Lara, who teaches honors and AP U.S. of girls got detentions for having their skirt [deemed too short].” history. Although Graham stated that he doesn’t “think [the St. Joseph’s] Mr. Voss said that he aligns with interpretive dress codes because dress code itself has sexism,” but some “teachers can kinda take [a dress “[there are] things you can’t predict ahead of time.” code] and make it sexist for guys and girls and they focus more on girls Ms. Lara believes that having a dress code policy in place with because they’re easy targets.” specificity causes problems, asserting that, “it gets weird...it gets to where people are pulling out rulers [to measure skirt/dress length] and so forth.” Ms. Lara, who is also the sponsor of AdvoCats, a club at LHS that Since our modern dress code is pretty vague, it’s hard to understand advocates for feminism, explained her appreciation of LHS’s existent what is out of bounds. However, the dress code from 2000-2001 gave dress code: “One of the things that I’m proud of with our dress code is specific examples of prohibited clothing. So, we, the authors of the we’re saying, ‘We want to teach you first.’” piece, decided to see what would break our dress code by dressing After reviewing student handbooks from the past 30 years, it was against the code from 2000-2001 for two days. found that LHS’s dress code became strict in the 1999-2000 school year, Jenna: giving specific examples of what was prohibited. Breaking LHS’s dress code from 15 years ago was not difficult to During the 2000-2001 school achieve. On the the first day, I wore year, LHS’s dress code stated that a crop top and a skirt and although it “students are expected to wear clothfelt odd to wear this in the late fall, ing that covers them from shoulder no one seemed fazed or offended by to mid-thigh and backs must be my outfit. Aside from compliments, covered” and listed unallowed no comments about my outfit were garments as “see-through clothing, made by my peers or teachers that halters, tube-tops, short shorts, short I’m aware of. On the second day, I skirts, no underwear/undergarments decided to wear a shirt that referenced should show, half shirts, midriffs, my sexuality, since it may be seen fishnet shirts, hats, caps, sweatbands, as “distracting.” I felt some people bandanas, headwear, hoods; any glancing at my shirt throughout the -LHS student Handbook item of apparel that is offensive or day, but no one said anything. inappropriate or sexually suggestive, Matthew: pant waistline must be within a few inches of the body’s natural waistOur friend, and fellow Drops of Ink staff writer, Matthew Price, line; any item of apparel or jewelry associated with gangs, drugs, cults decided to help the experiment by giving us a glimpse of what it was or undesirable groups, chains (long and thick linked).” like for a boy to break the dress code. It was more difficult for Matthew These rules changed again in 2008-2009, and soon became the to dress to break the code each day. Aside from low riding and wearing current policy in place today. According to Mrs. Diana Gratz, a secretary a hat, there weren’t many rules he could break. On the first day, when in the assistant principal’s office, the original change in 1999-2000 could Matthew was low riding, almost no one noticed and those who did, have been due to, “who was writing the book at the time,” who may didn’t seem to care. However, when Matthew wore a hat at school, it have been trying to make it easier to determine what wasn’t allowed. caused disruptions throughout the day, whereas showing our bra straps But, in 2008-2009, they began to move away from the specificity beand midriffs did not. cause some of the administration “may have only been looking for those Georgia: specific items,” and not what was distracting. I would like to say that I am not a Trump supporter. But when I read Some teachers prefer LHS’s dress code before the 2008-2009 school part of the dress code that read “Students are expected to present an year, including Mr. Richard Brenner, who teaches AP calculus, geometry appearance that does not disrupt the educational process,” which was honors, and intermediate algebra II and began teaching at LHS in 1990. the same in the 2000-2001 and current dress codes, I knew that this shirt Mr. Brenner explained his preference of dress codes with explicitly would be sure to derail class in some ways. Some people who knew me stated rules: “[Dress codes] [were] more straightforward; [they] did not thought it was a joke, but others stared at me or got a little overwhelmed. differentiate between the sexes. Say [there was a rule where people] had to I learned that since politics has become so personal, wearing a shirt with have [their] shoulders covered, that would then be true for guys and girls.” Trump’s name on it was more distracting than a bra strap could be.
Students are expected to present an appearance that does not disrupt the educational process or interfere with the maintenance of a positive teaching/learning climate.
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Feature Focus Feature
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udes. Sexting. Child pornography. Caught your attention yet? While those four words may not be commonly spoken in high schools around the country, they are the part untouched — the narrative left ignored and the reality left slighted. Teenage sexting is a layer of a reality people prefer to avoid. It’s hard for parents to swallow the idea that their sons or daughters could be sending pictures of their privates, so pretending it doesn’t happen isn’t really that hard for some people. And yet, that doesn’t change the fact that it happens all the time. Every picture has a focus, and then there’s a background — a unique blend of colors, shapes, shadows and textures that gives context and meaning to the focus. To understand this article’s focus, some background needs to be given. First, sexting is more prevalent than one would think. According to a 2012 study conducted by the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, one in four teens admitted to sexting. Given the rise of devices and apps that make it easier to sext, this trend is only expected to have gone up since then. The other piece of context is just as essential. It’s the real name behind the euphemism of the word ‘sexting’: child pornography. While states may vary on their laws pertaining to child pornography, Illinois’s Juvenile Court Act of 1987, later amended in 2011, provides for more lenient sanctions for minors caught transmitting indecent visual depictions of themselves or other minors. “With the advent of cell phones, computers and the ability to transmit pictures, the law was amended to essentially say that juveniles should not be judged under the same level as adults,” School Resource Officer Dusan Racic commented. So, in the event that a student gets caught having sent or been in possession of child pornography, what happens? Under the amended version of the 1987 bill, minors found in violation of the law may be ordered to obtain counseling or compelled to perform community service. At the same time, it’s worth noting that no major sexting scandal has broken out at LHS; students who’ve engaged in this activity have not spoken out publicly...not until now. Using pseudonyms to respect the privacy of our sources, our hope is to relay the experiences of students at LHS, who’ve been involved
By Lola Akinlade and Alo Garcia Escobar Photo by Maria Thames, Edited by Kevin Loumeau Layout by Kevin Loumeau
in sexting in some capacity. By telling their stories, we recognize that it’s not completely representative of all the voices or all the students at LHS, but it’s a good first step towards coming to terms with the naked truth.
What had started out as more or less of a joke culminiated into a picture of a dick on Zara’s phone. He had said that he was in a mood — he had told her how horny he was feeling. So, kiddingly, she told him to prove it. And then when the picture came, she screenshotted it. “I just put my phone down and I was just staring at my blank screen, thinking ‘What just happened? I don’t know what to do with this.’” Zara hadn’t seen it coming. Automatically, she sent the picture to two of her closest friends because she didn’t know how to react. She had known the person for a while and he did not strike her as the type of person confident enough to send a nude. “I just kind of thought it was funny, knowing the person that he was. I never thought he’d actually do it, and I was like ‘Oh my god, this is something he would never do,’ so I was kind of in shock.” That picture did its damage, though. The two no longer spoke to each other after the incident. Zara attributes this to the awkwardness of the situation. “He never apologized. He never talked to me again. I think he was really uncomfortable with the whole thing.” When asked why she didn’t send a nude back, Zara made it clear that she didn’t feel comfortable sending a picture. In her view, even if she really trusted a person, there would always be a risk of someone else seeing it. She views the idea of sending nudes as a personal choice, but as for her, she doesn’t send them. “I just don’t want my picture out there, I guess. And umm...I don’t know how to take one.”
“Wanna show me your ass?” The words would have hit her harder had it been in
person, but they were typed on an electronic screen. Her immediate response was to block him on Snapchat. She thought to herself, ”No, I’m not having any of this.” The conversation had evolved from talking about homework problems to the immediate shift for a demand of a picture of her butt. She began to notice that “the camera just started moving down.” Hazel couldn’t understand why he would think to ask her for a picture of her butt in the first place, and a flood of questions about the impression she had been giving off began to consume her mind. “‘Why?’ What are they expecting? Most people send them thinking they’re gonna get something in return and I was wondering if I did something to give off that impression, that I would send pictures back? Or do you think of me in a way that you just expect nudes from me?” For the next few days, Hazel realized that the friendship that had developed between her and the boy had been irreversibly damaged. “It was really awkward, especially because I had classes with him, and seeing him in person the next day was really uncomfortable because it was like ‘I know what’ve you done.’ I thought of him a lot less,” she said. I know a lot, a lot of people send pictures and do that type of stuff, but it was still kind of like ‘Wow, I did not really see that coming and now I don’t think of you as highly as I did before.’”
Prior to starting, it should be noted that Asher’s interview was conducted over email at his request. His experience with sexting slightly varies from the other narratives. Throughout the course of last year, Asher found himself receiving pictures of cleavage from a girl. “They were completely unannounced, and in all honesty, kind of annoying because I knew that meant that she was trying to approach me, but the feeling was not mutual,” he explained. However, unlike Zara’s and Hazel’s cases, where sending nudes damaged the relationship, this exchange did not estrange the two individuals. “Her and I were good friends (and still are), so I didn’t tell anyone about her risqué pictures.”
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Although Asher describes his own encounter with nudes being uncomfortable and annoying, he does believe that it is “an acceptable way to indulge in the raging, rampant hormones inside all of us teens” only when there is a “mutual desire” from “both parties.” While sending nudes can be acceptable when there is a “mutual desire,” Asher is aware of the certain risks attached to sending nudes, such as “having the pictures be spread,” “being caught by parents/authority” and “being blackmailed with the pictures.” This risk only escalates while in a relationship. So, Asher believes in the importance of trust in a relationship, especially while engaging in sexting. “You should have that deep trust in your [significant other] that whatever sexual act you guys do—whether it be sending nudes or something as far as having sex—won’t be carelessly shared with the world.”
As Charlize was finishing up her homework, her phone buzzed with a message from a boy she knew. When she opened the text, she immediately “freaked out and clicked away.” The questions to her homework were long forgotten. There was only one question Charlize had on her mind: why had she just received an unsolicited dick pic? In a state of confusion, Charlize began to text her friends for advice. Everybody responded telling her to “block him, block him.” Charlize ignored her friends’ advice and admitted that she still keeps in touch with him. “I still talk to him. It’s not weird anymore, but I felt shocked and I was like, ‘Do I send one back?’ But I don’t do that. I’ve never sent one,” she said. Although Charlize has never sent a full nude, Charlize confessed that she will occasionally send pictures of her cleavage. “I’ll do ‘here’s my cleavage’ and that’s that, but that’s all I do; I don’t do anything else.” Charlize revealed that her main hesitation for not sending a full picture of her body is due to her own insecurities. “I’m so insecure. I don’t like my body. I know people give me compliments like ‘Oh, you have a nice body.’ But I don’t see it that way. I’m not going to show you any skin,” she said. “That’s why I’ve never worn shorts to school. I don’t like showing my legs, really. I’m always in a hoodie or leggings or something baggy, or like skinny jeans--that’s that. I’m just pretty insecure.” Another main factor that hindered Charlize from sending pictures is the fear of what may happen to her future. “I’m trying to go to college. If people find that out, you can get in serious trouble. I’m not trying to jeopardize that or my future,” Char-
lize said. “That can totally just ruin things for you because people screenshot nudes. There goes your life. Everyone has seen your body. I’m going to keep everything to myself.” Charlize initially divulged that she didn’t fully understand why people sent nudes, but she eventually boiled it down to the idea of confidence. She thought they might want one to think, “I’m so confident in my body, I want you to see what you’ll be getting if you hook up with me.”
It can be derived from Charlize’s case that a root cause of choosing not to send nudes is insecurity. In contrast, this is one of the sole reasons why Violet chooses to send hers. For her, the compliments she receives about her body boost her self-confidence. “As somebody who has been very insecure about their body all my life, it is not the worst thing to hear something nice about it.” Since a young age, Violet has received a fair share of “unsolicited and weird” nude pictures. The first time she received a picture, the emotion that immediately gripped her was one of terror. “I was terrified my parents would know that I received that. They’d be like ‘Violet what the f*** is on your phone?’ ‘Like, I don’t know. I didn’t ask for it.’” Even though the first time Violet received a graphic image was at a young age, in middle school, she reported her innocence wasn’t lost. “I mean it was surprising, but it didn’t really destroy my innocence,” she said. “By the time that happened, I knew what it was.” Violet chose to first start sending nudes to people out of the country because if they did get disseminated, it wouldn’t affect her. “It started with only people outside the country, and then it moved to people outside the state. Because then if they screenshotted it, they could show people, but I wouldn’t care if they saw it. It wouldn’t spread around,” Violet said. “Like, if a bunch of guys in Brisbane want to randomly crowd around my nudes, then okay. It would be weird if it was someone in Libertyville High School.” For Violet, choosing to send nudes is a personal choice; the reasons may vary each time. “Sometimes I send them for fun. Sometimes it’s because I’m bored. Sometimes the compliments are nice,” she said.
There’s this idea of omission — that some conversations are better left unsaid. And it’s
this thinking that’s stigmatized the ability to speak out on sensitive issues. Together, these collective narratives are the beginning of a dialogue worth having. Here are the students’ last words: “Honestly, if you want to, do it. Don’t be stupid; don’t let it get out, and if people are gonna find out, be ready. Take responsibility for it and if something does happen, be prepared.” - Zara “I think it’s your personal choice, but I guess you have to feel pretty comfortable in your body. It’s a very personal thing to share with someone else.” - Hazel “If you do get sent a picture, don’t screenshot it. Don’t share it with your friends. Don’t even save it onto your phone, c’mon. That’s a huge breach of privacy and trust and will most likely have significant consequences down the road.” - Asher “Considering I received two this weekend, honestly, I wasn’t as surprised...I wasn’t as phased... I opened a snapchat from him and I saw he was naked. I was like ‘woah.’ This is not what I wanted to see at a family dinner...I was talking to my friend and she got sent one too, ‘like, what is wrong with these boys?’” - Charlize “I never think I am going to get in trouble for it. I don’t think of the legality of it...I guess if I thought about it, it might be a bad idea, but since I am the one taking it, I feel that it is generally within my power. -Violet
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WHAT GOES UNSAID By Manal Ahmed and Matthew Price Photos by Paige Ward Layout by Becky DeAcetis SEXUAL ASSAULT: illegal sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent or is inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent (as because of age or physical or mental incapacity) or who places the assailant (as a doctor) in a position of trust or authority Depression. Embarrassment. Self-blame. Powerlessness. Anger. These are just a few of the horrifying feelings victims experience after being sexually assaulted. And yet, often no one will know that it even happened. The situations are taboo; a hush-hush occurrence where, through a combination
of shame and guilt, 70 percent of sexual assault cases go unreported, according to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, or RAINN. According to RAINN, in the United States, there are about 288,820 victims of sexual assault per year. The most common time for someone to be victimized? During their
teenage years and while at college, where the rates are three times more likely, but where only 20 percent of cases are reported. With that being said, itâ€™s clear that the topic of sexual assault is incredibly important to talk about and understand, especially for teenagers in high school. So why is it rarely mentioned?
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What do students think?
“That physics test raped me.” “I just got abused by my in-class essay.” A variation of these phrases may be heard by students while walking through the halls or sitting in class on an average day in school. All too often, high school students degrade sexual assault, not thinking twice about it, when in reality, these phrases are unjust and hurtful. According to health and physical education teacher Mrs. Joyce Amann, sexual violence is taught throughout the health curriculum that each freshman goes through. About 3-4 days of the sexual health unit are dedicated to talking about violence, as are a few days at the beginning of the semester when talking about mental and emotional health and during the drug and alcohol unit. Students learn what makes a relationship abusive; setting their personal limits and how to stay safe; overcoming abuse and how to get help; and other information, said Mrs. Amann.
The way that people talk about it is wrong, and the way that it should be talked about is not really brought up. -Anonymous rape victim
After freshmen take a health class at Libertyville High School, sexual assault is rarely mentioned again until the end of senior year during an optional campus safety session done by the College Resource Center. The lack of comprehensive education about sexual assault throughout high school can lead to students talking about it in a demeaning way and also not understanding the true issues that come with it. Sure, everyone can say “sexual assault is bad,” but do students really know anything beyond that? “All you really learn about [sexual assault] in health is to tell an adult [when it happens], and there’s no real education about what you should do if it’s happened to you in the moment or the effects of it,” Advocat member and junior Colin Hawkinson expressed. “I feel that in order to make students more aware of it, make it a bigger topic in health or gym class.” This absence of an ongoing sexual assault education could lead students to think that these cases are not taken seriously at LHS, or that there is no one that they could talk to, nowhere to go to, and nowhere to obtain support when dealing with a case of sexual assault. “Honestly, I didn’t even know that I could
report [sexual assault]. I don’t know how to report, or what would happen if I reported it. So, I think the school should advertise more: this is how you can report if anything is happening and this is what we’ll do,” Advocat member and junior Grace Schamberger stated. With a graduation level of 96 percent at LHS and only 4 percent of people living below the poverty line, Libertyville has proven to be a pristine and privileged community. However, sexual assault still shows its prevalence here, not just in at-risk neighborhoods, countries, and college campuses. Take, for example, a junior at LHS (who will remain anonymous for confidentiality reasons) who was raped as a high school student. “I think [that sexual assault] needs to be more talked about, but also less talked about, if that makes sense. The way that people talk about is wrong, and the way that it should be talked about is not really brought up. People are talking about [sexual assault] as if they know about it, and it’s kind of derogatory when it comes up,” she stated. She also expressed that whenever sexual assault comes up in a conversation, as a joke or seriously, she “kind of just walks away” because most people are uneducated about the topic and can be offensive or uncensored, whether they mean it or not. At LHS, many serious issues are given a lot of attention: promoting being drug free through Red Ribbon Week and symbolizing suicide awareness and prevention through Yellow Ribbon Week are two recent examples that will begin to occur annually. However, sexual assault is rarely mentioned or talked about. Schamberger agreed that sexual assault isn’t talked about as much as other issues within the school: “I think [sexual assault is] just as important and damaging as any other types of abuse that are paid more attention
WHAT IS ADMINISTRATION DOING?
to in school, and I don’t understand why.” he administration and LHS staff members agree with students and believe that sexual assault is a taboo topic that needs to be addressed more throughout students’ four years. “I feel like in this country, talking about sexual violence is something that we really shy away from. I think that part of it is that we have pretended, for a long time, that it just doesn’t exist. I also think that because there is such shame around sexual violence, that people who are survivors do not come
*Statistics from RAINN, DoSomething.org and The U.S. Department of Justice
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the G-P LST social worker. As of right now, there are various components of dealing with a case of sexual assault at LHS. Each LST has a social worker who is trained and is able to aid those affected by issues including sexual assault—Mr. Greg Loika in the A-F LST, Ms. Andersen in the G-P LST, and Ms. Lindsay Recsetar in the Q-Z LST. According to Ms. Andersen, when a student comes forward with a case of sexual assault, they are referred to their LST social worker. Some students may want to keep it confidential, keeping the situation between them and their social worker; some may want to speak to their dean to get more support; and some may want to get involved with the Student Resource Officer (Officer Dusan Racic), and press charges against their assailant. The choice is up to the student. However, instances of sexual assault are dealt with on a case-to-case basis. According to LHS principal Dr. Marina Scott, when a case of sexual assault happens on school grounds—for instance, during a class or a sport—the school must step in because it is their “duty as a school to intervene and create safe spaces for students.” If something were to happen off campus, it is that student’s own choice whether to seek LHS staff to obtain help. In order to reduce the taboo nature of sexual assault, the LHS administration is gearing towards adjusting and implementing certain programs to reduce the stigma around the topic. As stated by Dr. Scott, the administration is hoping to implement a program called Green Dot in the future. With this, the whole LHS campus would be pictured on a hypothetical map. Wherever any type of violence occurred (and was reported), whether sexual, emotional, or bullying, a red dot would pop up in that spot. On that same map, there would be green dots where a bystander responded in a positive way, such as by restricting the behavior, or by talking to the person who was affected. The program has not been completely planned out, but the LHS administration is hoping to put every student and staff through some form of training to educate them about being a bystander in any case of violence. Though the process of implementing this program is intricate, and requires training of all LHS staff and students, it is something that the
administration hopes to execute in the future to help fight violence in school and educate students about coming forward in these types of situations, whether as a person being abused or just as importantly, as a witness. “When you hear the presentation [of sexual assault] in terms of victim or perpetrator, you can say, that’s not me, that’s not me, but the bystander, you can’t say that’s not me, because [you] need to keep [your] eyes and ears open ‘cause [you] could be the person who helps someone,” Dr. Scott expressed. As LHS students prepare for their journey to college, knowledge on sexual assault is critical.
WHY TALK ABOUT IT? According to the Association of American Universities (AAU) and RAINN, one in every five-to-seven males will be sexually assaulted prior to leaving high school, and one in five women in college will be sexually assaulted. Therefore, not being 100 percent sure on what to do in case of a situation of sexual assault can be devastating. In Libertyville, many diminish the severity of sexual assault and never truly learn about how to react to a situation or even how to prevent it from happening in the first place. “If anything like that had happened to me [in high school], I wouldn’t know where to report it or who to talk to,” exclaimed Shannon Roche, a Class of 2015 graduate of LHS now at the University of Vanderbilt, in a phone interview. “I didn’t know how prevalent it was in college and how many women are affected by it.” Many colleges around the United States have online programs on how to prevent sexual assault and what to do if someone is harmed, including Indiana University, Vanderbilt, the University of Wisconsin Madison and others. According to Roche, who had to take an online course about sexual assault prior to registering for classes, there are also several resources students can use on campus, such as rape crisis centers and 24/7 support systems. However, even if the resources and knowledge become well-known throughout college (which isn’t always the case—a campus climate survey in September 2015 by AAU showed that out of 150,000 students from 27 participating institutions, 75 percent of them were not aware of the school’s resources), high school students can be unprepared on how to respond to sexual violence. According to the National Sex Offender Public
website, teens ages 16-19 are 3.5 times more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault, an age group right at the peak of high school. It is logical to assume that it is tougher for students to respond correctly to sexual assault if there isn’t much knowledge on the subject. Although college is the next step for many LHS students, sexual assault doesn’t just magically end after that and has continued to prove its prevalence through recent events. The topic of sexual assault has been extremely publicized lately as president-elect Donald Trump was accused by 11 women of sexual assaulting them. Stanford student and Olympic swimming hopeful Brock Turner was also convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious, intoxicated woman, spending just three months behind bars. A controversy around his case erupted and was focused on his sentence time; many believed he deserved a much longer sentence than what he was given, and this sparked national outrage. Even at LHS, sexual assault was a heated discussion recently with the school’s response this past summer to an alleged incident of sexual assault during a 2015 water polo postseason match. Former McHenry High School water polo player and current sophomore at Monmouth College Rebecca Dabrowski alleged that an LHS player sexually assaulted her underwater during the game. Two days after the incident, the Buffalo Grove Police Department started an investigation, but the case was closed without any charges. District 128 never conducted its own investigation, saying that they waited for the police investigation to finish and by the time it was over, they “no longer had jurisdiction of the student” because the alleged assaulter had graduated. These incidents demonstrate that sexual assault has proven to be very relevant, both nationally and in Libertyville. Just because sexual assault is taboo in high school does not mean the problem doesn’t exist.
**Sexual assault is nothing to be ashamed of, and if you are a survivor or are fearful for a friend, tell an adult you trust or talk to a social worker. They are always there to be of assistance and help in any way. The infographic to the left of this can provide you with resources available online, and at LHS.**
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A Female’s Future
By Paige Ward
Graphic by Sam Nelson From politics to the wage gap to sexual harassment, it is evident that women are viewed as less than men in today’s society. Man, it is so hard to pinpoint what the best part about being a woman is. And since I’m only in high school, I have so much to look forward to, but I honestly can’t decide what I’m anticipating most. Is it constant sexual harassment? The wage gap? Or maybe it’s old men deciding what I can and cannot do with my own body? See, it’s such a tough choice; they all sound so amazing. One of my favorite activities is walking through city streets alone. Taking a nice little stroll down the block to grab Starbucks is around a five-hundred foot walk, but man does a lot happen. I particularly appreciate the man having a cigarette who calls, “come over here, babe,” then gets offended when I ignore him. It’s almost like I’m not completely terrified. The situation gets even better when he decides to follow me all the way to the entrance of the store, and I’m actually a little disappointed when he decides not to follow me inside. On my returning walk, not only is he still there, but now there’s a group of men whistling at me and making very detailed comments about what they’d like to do to me. The truly spectacular part is that I can’t make any sort of answer without putting myself in even more danger. Things like this happen all the time, so no worries about women getting too relaxed in public places, especially not at night. It’s a miracle we even go out to get jobs, even if you ignore the fact that getting a job means being forever treated as inferior to our male counterparts. But obviously, you have to have a stable job in order to pay for disgustingly overpriced undergraduate educations. All my friends are super stressed about being neck deep in debt. I’m not quite sure what they’re worried about; after all, women get paid on average 80 percent of what men do, according to the American
Association of University Women, which isn’t that big of a gap. We can only ask for so much when dealing with the outstanding patriarchy, and we should be able to scrape by with only tens of thousands in debt. Of course, women don’t belong in the workforce but in the household raising children. The reason that only 21 companies on the 2016 Fortune 500 list were led by women probably has to do with them being incapable of leadership, not because of their gender at all. Why most women don’t just accept their assigned role as a human incubator is beyond me; they rarely do anything important anyway. I mean, for example, Hillary Clinton. Lifetime politician, human rights activist, prominent author...Nope, nothing important there at all. She should have just accepted that she would forever be known as Bill Clinton’s wife rather than trying to make her own success. Speaking of Clinton, did she really think she had a shot at winning the White House? Clearly a candidate with decades of experience in politics and respect for others would win against someone who is going to court for sexual assault if they were both men, but throw a woman in there and it’s a different story. Instead, the country did a collective gasp at the prospect of a woman in the Oval Office—what if she has PMS and starts a nuclear war? Seems entirely plausible. Personally, I’d rather have someone who rates women based on their appearance and openly discusses assaulting them than someone who has been the secretary of state on top of being a first lady and a senator. Makes total sense. All in all, being a woman is great. With an astonishingly extensive history of inequality, who wouldn’t want to be in our position?
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How to be happy during the holidays By Molly Magill
Photo by Elizabeth Manley As finals are approaching, it’s important to spread holiday cheer! “Happy holidays, happy holidays, while the merry bells keep ringing, happy holidays to you” rang in my mind as soon as I was assigned this story. Americans are bombarded with the idea of happiness, and the message comes in an increased dosage during the holidays. Everywhere we look, there are commercials of smiling families, songs about the simple joys of life, bright lights and cold nights and an ever-mounting pressure to somehow find time amongst the chaos to be…happy. And yet, as high school students, we are wrapped up with stress. Finals, college, gift giving, jobs, extracurriculars, parties, W.I.S.H. fundraising, and family commitments are thrust upon us, given as a gift of an overwhelming schedule. Usually, we just throw a bow on top of our busy lives and call it “holiday cheer,” but that’s not fair-- we should be truly happy. Believe it or not, happiness does not actually come from material things. Shocking to all of you, I’m sure. Perhaps the key to happiness during the holidays is not all the things we surround ourselves with, but the gift of unwinding and enjoying where you’re at in life. So, how do we do this? I wouldn’t call myself a happiness expert, but I have a few ideas. 1. De-stress. Time management is important. You’ve been hearing it for years so this is old news (haha journalism puns), but it’s true, especially when your time is so limited. Go to the M.A.S.H. for half of your lunch and get ahead on things. Don’t forget to enjoy all of the W.I.S.H. bake sales. Try brightening your room with Christmas lights to cheer you up! Simple things like these will add a little holiday cheer into even the most trying tasks. There’s a lot of pressure to find peace during the holidays, but that’s
impossible when we are so aggravated that we can hardly take a breath. When you find yourself getting overwhelmed with a to-do list as long as Santa’s, it’s important to take a step back. In the wise words of Tom Haverford from “Parks and Rec” -- “Treat yo’ self.” Take a bath, watch an episode of your favorite show, take a nap, do whatever makes you happy, and then finish up what needs to get done with at least a little positivity. Focus on what matters to you. We’re on the brink of being adults, so we’re old enough to know where our priorities lie. What makes you happy? 2. Take the time to ask yourself -- what do you actually enjoy? Make your schedule according to what you value. Yes, I’m sure some family events are mandatory and homework has to get done, but as young adults, we have the freedom to choose what we do with a good portion of our time. 3. Enjoy! Give yourself an evening with loved ones to forget about unchecked items on your to-do list. If you celebrate by going to your place of worship, baking, shopping, being with friends or singing along to the radio, go ahead and allow time to do that. Frank Sinatra tells us to “Forget your troubles, come on get happy,” so try and take his advice. Happiness is different for every person; to me, it’s singing Christmas music in church, seeing my 9-year-old neighbor scooter up to my house to ask me to color with her, writing letters to friends about how much they mean to me, and jamming out to Mariah Carey’s masterpiece, “All I Want for Christmas is You. I really hope that you can be happy. It’s hard to do that amidst the pressure of the holidays, the rest of the world keeps turning while we try to stand still. Do yourself a favor, take some time and look around at the beautiful things in life, even for just a little while.
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‘Twas the Finals before Break Staff Editorial
Photo by Abbey Humbert With finals before break, the Drops of Ink staff believes that students will be able have a real winter break and not have to worry about finals during vacation. When you think of winter break, what comes to mind? Maybe Christmas, sledding, hot cocoa, or New Year’s? Or perhaps you think of studying, review packets and reading from your class textbooks, and immediately all the joy of the season is sucked out of you. It’s the week every high schooler dreads: finals week. In previous years, finals week for first semester at LHS fell in the middle of January after winter break, a scheduling choice that many students opposed. The most common complaint from students was that preparing for finals during their time off made them feel stressed out, defeating the purpose of the so-called “break.” That is why many LHS students are relieved that this year’s finals are being held before winter break. You may have noticed that school this year started a week earlier than usual to compensate for this change. It is a change that coincides with other schools in the area. Both Warren Township and Stevenson High Schools have already moved their finals earlier in the schedule, while others like Lake Forest High School are considering doing so. As of now, it is too early to tell whether this adjustment will make much of a difference in students’ performance on first-semester finals. Nonetheless, the general consensus seems to be that having finals before the break is a welcome change. The DOI staff believes that taking final exams in December will allow students to enjoy winter break for what it’s truly supposed to be: a break. It is a time when students should be able to forget about school for two weeks and relax, and having finals before break will make this a reality. The change also means that schoolwork won’t interfere with all the holiday celebrations and festivities that occur during this time. Many DOI staff members also agreed that finishing everything for first semester before break allows students time to refresh during their off time from school and allows them to re-start school in January with a blank slate.
We think the change will also mean that classes will be more productive with their time. In years prior, because so many people would leave early to get a head start on winter vacation, we found that many classes wasted potential review time watching movies or doing other activities in the days leading up to break. With this off period now gone, teachers will be able to use more of their class time reviewing material for final exams. With finals being held before break, it will also be easier for students to retain information since it will still be fresh in our heads, meaning we won’t have to study as hard. When the school waited to have finals after the holiday season, students would often return from break and have trouble remembering much of the material that we were taught, which left us scrambling to cram as much studying as we could into the week leading up to final exams. The practice of cramming can have a detrimental effect on a student’s test performance. A study done in 2012 by researchers at UCLA found that increased study time was associated with more academic problems because it generally meant students were getting fewer hours of sleep. Having said that, the DOI staff acknowledges that there could be potential drawbacks to the schedule change. Link Crew leaders in particular stated that the break was a good indicator for freshmen students that final exams were on the way. It also gave them ample time to study difficult material at a leisurely pace even if, realistically, most students didn’t use the time to study. The change could similarly put more stress on teachers, as it gives them less time to finish grading everything from the semester. Despite the drawbacks, most of the DOI staff believes that taking final exams before the holidays is a positive schedule adjustment. It will relieve some of the stress students feel revolving around final exams and will allow them to truly relax and enjoy their time off during winter break. With that being said, enjoy winter break and do whatever you want, whether that means hanging out with friends or doing absolutely nothing at all.
Note: As this piece is a staff editorial, it is representative of the opinions of Drops of Ink staff as a whole. The staff is comprised of LHS students from each grade level and spans a wide range of opinions from two class periods, with 38 students total. The author(s) of this piece did not place their personal opinions in the story; they merely reflect the staff ’s thoughts.
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By Breezy Listman This issue of Wildcat Stats is based on winter sports rosters and numbers since the official seasons are just underway. *Those sports with asterisks by their name -- girls bowling and boys swimming & diving -- use numbers from the 2015-16 season. This is because these sports did not have finalized rosters by our deadline date.
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Smiling on Skates By Savanna Winiecki Photos by Lola Akinlade Layout by Allie Goldman
Skate after skate. Turn after turn. Leap after leap. Sophia Pearson glides her way to success through determination, preservation, and ambition.
Starting Off Young
makes sure that I’m on track, that everything is alright,” Person said. “I think he’s made me pursue my goals in ways that without him I don’t think I would be able to.” Howarth has played a huge role in Pearson’s life, on and off the ice, for the past 10 years. Howarth comments on his relationship with Sophia over email, “I try to be strong and supportive to her as I have the utmost respect for her work ethic and appreciate all that she has achieved so far and look forward to her future achievements.” Pearson’s primary motivation to continue skating is the pure happiness it brings her. She struggled to find words on how to describe the feeling of achievement and accomplishment. “[Ice skating] means everything to me,” Pearson said. “I feel like skating has kind of created the person I am and it’s brought me to where I am. It’s helped me realize what my goals are in life, not even just in skating, just in everything. It’s everything to me, it’s created who I am.” Since ice skating consumes most of her life, she is forced to make some sacrifices, like not participating in clubs or school sports. “I haven’t had some of the same experiences as normal teenagers... But it’s okay because skating is enough for me,” she said. All the hard work is put forth to her competitions. Pearson has competed in singles and pairs but currently is focusing on skating individually. Her favorite routines include slow, sad music that allows her to connect with the emotion of the song. Another favorite routine was from two years ago that had super funky and quirky music that she was able to use her emotions again. Some of her preferred moves include a double flip, where she jumps off the front of the blade and rotates twice, landing on the outside edge of the blade, and a layback spin, where she stands up straight on one foot then arches backwards while continuing to spin. The double flip allows her to go extremely fast into the turn and get extreme height on the jump. Pearson loves the layback spin because of its appearance. A little more than a month ago, Pearson competed at regionals in Minnesota, her biggest competition all year. In the past, she has been to sectionals and nationals, which are prestigious competitions. At nationals in Boston in 2014, Pearson and her skating partner earned third place in intermediate pairs. In that same year, the pair were crowned sectional champions. Pearson was a an alternate twice at sectionals in case a competitor could not compete.
Already as a toddler, ice skating became a part of Pearson’s life. She picked up skating when her older brother began playing hockey at the age of 3. When he quit, Pearson quit skating. However, a few years later when, she was around 6, her mother asked her if she would like to pursue ice skating again. Pearson accepted. “It was so much fun. For me, the challenge was fun and just being on the ice was fun. I always enjoyed learning new things, like having to fall and get up and figure out what I did wrong,” Pearson said. Even at such a young age, there was no doubt in her mind she was meant to skate and would continue to do so for the rest of her life. Her mother still has pictures Pearson drew of herself skating on the rink. “It’s funny to look back and realize her deep passion for ice skating at such an early age,” said Kristina Pearson, Sophia’s mom, over email.
High Commitment, High Pay Off
o tos c ph o
urtesy of Sophie Pearson
Ten years later, she’s still on the ice competing. Pearson has a special school schedule, by opting out of lunch and a study hall, allowing her school day to end after fifth period every day. Although, her day isn’t even close to being over. She has training from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. six days a week. She spends this time skating and training through ballet, stretching and flexibility classes, and workouts. She trains at Glacier Ice Arena with a group of her closest friends and Chris Howarth, her coach. “[Howarth] always keeps me positive. He keeps me going. I think he’s had a huge impact on my life, more than just skating. He has created a better person in me and he always
P e r f o r man ce
In every sport, everyone goes through ups and downs, and for Pearson, there’s been some bumps along the way. She has faced two major injuries, both taking her off the ice. One injury resulted from a jump where Pearson fractured her ankle and needed surgery. This took her off the ice completely for three to four months, but she couldn’t skate at her best for a whole year. “Overcoming that was the hardest thing I’ve done in skating because once you come back from that, I wasn’t
Drops of Ink
Photo illustration by Allie Goldman
half the skater I was before. Coming back and being worse than I was before was really hard, but what I learned from that was I learned that if I put my mind to something, I can do anything,” said Pearson. Her parents and coaches weren’t sure if Pearson would ever be able to come back because there was a chance her ankle would never fully heal. Colliding head-to-head with another skater resulted in a concussion. Although concussions take time to heal, it wasn’t as serious as her ankle injury. Injuries aren’t the only difficulties Pearson has faced; trying to master moves is another struggle. Pearson’s biggest challenge as a skater was to learn a double axel. She is still in the process of overcoming the jump, and it has taken many years to master, but she’s finally getting the hang of it.
and understand,” Pearson said. Marissa Mazzetta, sophomore at LHS, is Pearson’s closest skating friend. They’ve had plenty of time to become friends as they have skated five days a week together for six years. Their friendship really took off when they both attended Highland Middle School, where they would skate before school together. Traveling to school everyday from training bonded Pearson and Mazzetta together. The two don’t compete against each other but go to the same competitions. Mazzetta glowingly raved about Pearson’s qualities that help her succeed in skating and daily life: determination, problem-solving skills and positivity. “I think we both just try to lift each other up like when we’re down. And when we’re having a bad day of skating, we just try to cheer the other one up. We give each other advice on and off the ice,” Mazzetta described.
With ice skating being a huge time commitment, Pearson is not left with much time for anything else. As it is, her school schedule is already cut back. Getting home late from practice leaves her minimal time to do her homework. She has to miss school quite a bit for her competitions, and with that comes missed work she has to complete. Pearson always makes sure to stay on top of her school work and plan ahead of time so she’s not scrambling to make up anything. “Sophia makes compromises in order to effectively juggle a full academic schedule with a full training schedule,” said Kristina Pearson. “She also surrounds herself with a great group of friends that understand her schedule and passion for skating.” Friends are another aspect of life that Pearson tries to keep up with. She had never allowed her school friends see her skate until recently; Pearson said they thought it was amazing and were super supportive. Her skating friends are beyond supportive because they understand what it’s like to tackle all the hardships skating brings to her life. “They are my real support system when it comes to getting through hard things or anything. They are always there for me
The next step in Pearson’s skating career is to finish all the individual levels in skating as she completes high school. Pearson then wants to join a collegiate team. This would be extremely different from what she is doing now. Last year, Pearson and Mazzetta co-captained a high school figure skating team, IceCats, which is not affiliated with the high school hockey team. They organized a team for LHS and had to work with Bryant Kelly, LHS’s Athletic Director, to get the appropriate permissions to participate. Pearson and Mazzetta recruited some other skaters and created a team of six from nearby schools to compete in the US Figure Skating High School Competitions. Pearson plans to continue competing for IceCats throughout high school. Pearson has been successful in her skating career and has set specific goals like perfecting turns; however, that’s not Pearson’s biggest concern: “My main goal is always working my hardest and always being the best skater I can be and getting as far as I can with that.”
Drops of Ink
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327 South Milwaukee Avenue, Libertyville 847-816-8111