November 2017

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Page 1

Ensemble evolution Encore enrollment expands

Music 4

Mastering hte art of rebuttal Coach, debaters weigh in on how to argue effectively

Debate & Forensics 6 Laying the foundation for sucsess Senior travels to Vegas for masonry competition Living 4

Dragons hit the road Football reclassified as 4a, travels in new directions



Living 4

Pittsburg High School 1978 E. 4th Street Pittsburg, KS 66762

@ @PHSStudentPub

Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 Vol. 99 Issue 1

Photo by Maddy Emerson

The road to safety

words by |    

With his backpack strapped over his shoulder and his flute case clutched in his hands, senior Gabriel Norton was preparing to cross the crosswalk adjacent to the PHS tennis courts, on his usual way home after school. He had waited for cars to clear and felt safe. Turns out, he was not as safe as he had thought. A few seconds after Norton started crossing, he was struck by a vehicle. According to the Pittsburg Police Department’s (PPD) accident report, the driver slammed on his brakes when the truck beside him suddenly halted. But when the driver saw Norton in the crosswalk, he could not stop in time to avoid hitting him. “I was in the air for a bit and then I landed on the ground,� Norton said. “It was hard for me to move. I closed my eyes for a bit and, a little while after I opened them up, I thought I was

dreaming. When I woke up and I was still on the ground, I could remember what happened.� Norton sustained a dislocated collarbone, body lacerations and broken nails. After a short stay in Via Christi Hospital and time at home recuperating, he returned to school in an arm sling. He replaced his one-strap backpack with a rolling suitcase. After three years in marching band, he left his flute at home because he could no longer perform. “I had a surgery where [the doctors] put some metal plates and screws right here,� Norton said, pointing to his head. “They want me to stay in my sling for a while.� Nowhere in the PPD’s accident report does it say the student driver was not paying attention when he hit Norton. According to the report, the vehicle in the left lane obstructed the driver’s view.


Pittsburg’s city manager Daron Hall, however, contradicted the report, saying the student driver was distracted. He said inattention is PHS’s main road problem. “That kid got hit in a crosswalk. There was a crosswalk and the driver blew it. It could have been so much worse,� Hall said. “Everybody needs to just chill out when they’re driving around schools, supermarkets or wherever people are.� PHS is on Fourth Street, which is a 40 mph four-lane road west of Free Kings Highway owned by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT). The accident instigated discussions regarding road safety at PHS among district officials, the City of Pittsburg and KDOT.

Continued on page 3

Math dept. adopts new textbooks           


words by | Kali Poenitske

On Sept. 27, a parent meeting was held to explain the new math delivery system. With only 24 hours notice, over 90 parents and students attended what was supposed to be a 30 minute meeting, but turned into an hour and a half. Parents voiced concerns about the effectiveness of the new instructional method, which was set into motion by a new textbook adoption. Principal Phil Bressler and members of the math department fielded questions about the new delivery system and implementation of group learning. Over a month after the meeting, questions remain unanswered about the effectiveness of the delivery system and how students’ progress will be monitored. During the spring of 2017, the math department considered various math materials before deciding on the College Preparatory Math (CPM) program. The teachers instituted a new class format in which students work in groups to complete daily assignments. To the students, the change seemed to be a complete overhaul of the system. “Obviously, any curricular change is going to have some hiccups and is going to be stressful and hard to adjust, but changing so drastically so fast in my most important year of high school is concerning because my grade is dropping,� junior Carter Uttley, an algebra II student, said. According to math teacher Rhonda Willis, the change is not curricular, but is instead a new way of learning and teaching. “The curriculum is the same. What’s different now is, instead of just feeding information to

Math teacher Rhonda Willis helps sophomore Mikayla Kitchen study for the upcoming math test in honors algebra II. Photo by Maddy Emerson

students and expecting them to mimic what they’re seeing us do, we’re helping guide them through more of a discovery process,� Willis said. Bressler finds the new system to be a step toward higher level learning since it teaches students to think deeper and share their results with the group. “The traditional delivery system has been

direct instruction. The problem they had was they don’t understand why,� Bressler said. “We’re trying to get kids to think more mathematically instead of just being a calculator. The students [who] have always been at the top, now instead of the reasoning why they did it staying inside their own head are now being shared with classmates who might struggle.�

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In-Depth Booster


Friday, Nov. 3, 2017

Math dept. adopts new textbooks


Continued from page 1 words by | Kali Poenitske

Holly Kent, a parent of sophomore Carmen Kent, who is enrolled in algebra II, attended the parent meeting. One concern she has is about the emphasis on group learning. “My daughter has grown frustrated that her group is often not engaged in discussions to find answers to problems or concepts in the material,� Holly said. “Her experience is that most of the time group members have difficulty staying on task. She feels like the responsibility then falls on her to complete the lesson and make sure the rest of the group understands the material.� Willis believes group learning can be beneficial to everyone. “Statistically, this is the right way to learn whether you are a high student or a low student,� Willis said. “Research shows that working collaboratively helps everyone. Some students don’t like it, but it will help them and we’ll work with them and try to make sure every student is where they need to be.� However, Wayne Bishop, a math professor at California State University in Los Angeles, disagrees. Bishop was a member of the 1999 and 2001 state adoption content review panels in California. CPM ultimately withdrew its application to be considered as a curriculum, but not before Bishop evaluated it. “Being told wrongly by a convincing fellow student, a situation common in un-led team settings, is far worse than being told what is correct by a competent teacher,� Bishop stated in his findings. Junior Leah Wescott, who is in algebra II, feels she is struggling. “My group has kind of got to the point where we can’t ask questions at all,� Wescott said. “We try to figure it out, but we kind of just sit there pretty much the whole class period.� Uttley shares Wescott’s complications in algebra II. “Right now, it’s so one-sided with the instruction and the actual teaching. The teachers are doing what they’re supposed to do, I’m not holding it against them, but what they’re supposed to do is not enough for those of us who have been taught through repetition our whole lives,� Uttley said. “We don’t have the capabilities, and we’re not use to teaching ourselves all this math without any instruction. It’s super one-sided and the teachers aren’t teaching.� In the standard CPM program, teachers are “facilitators� who monitor class discussion, pose purposeful questions and promote productive struggle instead of standing at the front of the room lecturing. But according to Willis, the department has recently altered the structure. “If you were going to teach the way CPM says, the teacher would be a facilitator. That is not the way we are doing it because we know we need a more active role in the classroom,� Willis said. “The way CPM would train us is let the students struggle through. As teachers here at PHS, we are far more active than what a typical, trained CPM person would probably be.� As teachers are combining more of the traditional system with CPM, sophomore algebra II student Sophia Pinamonti is noticing a difference. “Now we’re getting worksheets and do them as a team, but then we’re going over them with the whole class, so that’s better because [the teacher] works with us after we do it,� Sophia said. “Last chapter, I feel like we did do good on the test because we figured out what we needed to do. This chapter, we’re getting a graphic organizer to work them out in, so that’s helped.� The process of picking a new textbook required the math department to research different textbooks and styles. The new textbooks only include homework problems where the old textbooks had examples of how to work the problem. Now, those examples are online at “We didn’t have very many [textbooks] to choose from because there weren’t many that met our expectations. Most books are very traditional, and the thing is, if you look at our scores compared to national and international, we’re not where we need to be. Something needs to change,� Willis said. “This is what’s being discussed at the state level. If we aren’t willing to make those changes, then somebody is going to make those changes for us and it won’t be math people doing it. Change is going to come, so why


not be the ones choosing the change.� Math teacher Trevor Elliott believes CPM offers the students a deeper level of learning. “The benefits that were discussed when the new textbook series was chosen were the changing standards and test applications that are moving towards more situational based questions and deeper thinking that is emphasized at the state and national level,� Elliott said. “Students have to focus on the principled knowledge, which is the understanding of the concepts and ideas, instead of on only the procedural knowledge, which is simply steps. Understanding the concepts and ideas can allow for applied learning and higher retention of material to be used in the next class.� One of the main concerns with a new system is the question of how it will be monitored. Though CPM has only been implemented for three months, students’ progress will eventually be observed through Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing and ACT scores. After personally conducting research, Holly’s worries were not alleviated. “This program has been around for 25 years and has been highly controversial,� Holly said. “It is by no means is a ‘new’ way of teaching and there is empirical evidence available that would suggest that CPM may actually be detrimental to student success.� In addition to MAP and ACT, formative and summative assessments in the form of tests and quizzes are currently being used. “Well, it’s still early. Now, we are evaluating a lot of it from observation,� Willis said. “We will have MAP scores over time. We’ll have state assessments to look at and ACT scores to look at. Granted, that takes some time, but it takes time to evaluate a program. It’s not immediate.� Previously this semester, Uttley did not feel that students were able to reach their full potential in working with CPM. “I don’t even feel like I have a math class. I go into class to sit there and do my work. I do everything I’m asked to do, but what I’m asked to do is definitely not contributing to class learning,� Uttley said. “There is definitely light in CPM, but the execution right now is where it’s going to be for the whole year. I don’t think there’s any farther it can go this year without more training with the teachers or drastic changes in the program. Right now I think it’s at the level it’s going to continue to be at, which is unacceptable.� Willis believes students will be able to overcome these challenges and will see improvement in the future. “[CPM] teaches students to think and not just watch and copy. How can that be wrong? It teaches them how to think deeply about mathematics, to communicate with each other, and they’re learning math in the process. We are not hurting any students. We would never ever jeopardize a student’s education to try something new,� Willis said. “This is a lot of work. I’ve never worked this hard. And we absolutely wouldn’t be spending the time if we weren’t confident this was the best thing for kids.� Elliott has seen his students progress this year by learning real-world skills during class. “The conversations that students are having within the groups about the material and their ability to work together to accomplish a task that may cause some struggle is a definite positive,� Elliott said. “Having the ability to work together





CPM math book that is currently used

with their peers allows students to acquire soft skills that will be beneficial outside of the school setting.� Wescott also researched CPM once she heard it would be implemented in her math class. “I did a bunch of research on it and it said it brings down 20 percent of ACT scores in math and every program that has started it has taken it away the next year because of how bad it has worked out,� Wescott said. “The state that started it, ended it because of how bad it was.� Dr. James Tenbusch, a previous superintendent in Illinois for over 15 years, conducted a threeyear survey with Zion-Benton High School in Zion, Illinois, using the Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS). EPAS, which is a linked series of three tests, is designed to measure a student’s educational progress and college readiness. Zion-Benton High School used CPM for three years before it was discontinued. “Results showed that the gap between means student performance on EPAS System mathematics aptitude tests and associated college readiness cut scores doubled during the first year of exposure to the CPM curriculum, and quadrupled during the second year,� Tenbusch stated in his findings. “CPM student readiness for a college mathematics curriculum was observed to decrease by approximately 10 percent per year.� One of the reasons CPM was chosen was because of the math department’s belief of possibility for ACT scores to increase. “There’s absolutely no way an ACT score could not be helped if you are teaching students to think more deeply and how to understand math more deeply,� Willis said. “I think we have been doing our students a disservice because you go take the ACT and few questions are like what we’ve shown you, they [require] more thinking. With the ACT, they take that basic skill and work it into a strangely worded situation or a weird situation, and we have not taught students how to work through that. But now, we are teaching them to think through that, so I would anticipate them going up.� Willis encourages parents and students to have trust. “We were very intentional about truly wanting to do what’s best for kids. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we are 100 percent committed to trying to be the best teachers we can be,� Willis said. “We are teaching hard, but we need students and parents to work with us. We would never do anything to inhibit a student’s education, and I just hope people believe that.� Willis strongly believes in the new delivery system. “I think the concerns we have is not a curriculum concern. I think that CPM was easy to blame, even if there were some low test scores because I still have some students who score low. What they score low on is not what we’re doing in class. What we’re doing with CPM is working. They’re doing well on that part. The reason they are not doing well on the review [problems] is because they’re not doing their homework. Those who are participating in class are picking up on what we’re doing, it’s good. It’s working, but we just have a large population of students who aren’t doing their homework, so those skills that they were missing, they’re still missing. Some students need to really step it up and make sure they know how to do the homework and they do the homework piece.� The Booster Redux contacted other members of the math department, but they declined to comment.

Algebra two math book that had previously been used

News The


Friday, Nov. 3, 2017

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Basic driver saftey test Answers on bottom of page 1.) True or false, when driving, you must yeild to the right-of-way to all pedestrians True False

3.) True or false, when more than one car arrive at a 4-way stop the driver on the right goes first True False

2.) True or false, when turning right, you do not have to yeild onto oncoming vehicles going straight ahead or turning right True

4.) True or false, it is illeagle to drive on a sidewalk except to cross it (such as entering a driveway) True False


The road to safety A closer look at Fourth Street Continued from page 1 words by | $  %   

SCHOOL SPEED ZONE Norton said his daily walks home showed him the dangers of Fourth Street’s 40 mph speed limit. The speed limit, which makes it difficult for drivers to see or stop for pedestrians, was the cause of his accident, he says. The driver was not speeding, the report shows. “At that [crosswalk] where kids are walking up to cross, the speed limit is kind of high,� Norton said. “I think it should be lower around that area.� Norton’s idea of reducing the speed limit is not new to KDOT. A gap study measures the amount of time for a pedestrian to cross the street. KDOT considers 60 gaps in an hour to be sufficient, according to state traffic engineer Brian Gower. On Oct. 29, 2015, KDOT conducted a gap study on Fourth Street, which found an insufficient number of an averaged 20 adequate streetcrossing gaps per hour. The survey took place between 8 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. KDOT would support a school speed zone of no less than 25 mph on Fourth Street, the traffic investigation report shows. Superintendent Destry Brown said the school district shares KDOT’s sentiments and would like a school speed zone. However, the City of Pittsburg would be responsible for implementation, maintenance and costs. The city is not convinced that a school speed zone would be the best option, says Pittsburg’s public works director Cameron Alden. A school speed zone would solve for one aspect of traffic safety while negatively impacting others, he says. “It can create an artificial sense of security, kind of like children and signs,� Alden said. “You can put those signs up and now someone thinks, ‘Hey, it’s okay for me to play in the street and I don’t have to worry about being safe.’� Hall said the speed zone would decrease space in between vehicles and require a flag person to direct traffic. He said it would hinder traffic. “The safest thing would be to make the speed


limit five mph and everybody would just have to crawl out of school, but the reality is you just can’t slow everything down to a crawl,� Hall said. “How safe can we be and not just stall the entire town?� Pittsburg police officer Matthew Peterson, however, said the city should implement a school speed zone for PHS. Most high schools have a 20 mph speed limit, he says. “There would be complaints from people that are in a hurry in the mornings, but you have to put the safety of the students and the other pedestrians above the inconvenience for somebody that doesn’t leave in time to go to work,� Peterson said. “I don’t know what other complaints people would have other than they have to slow down and pay attention to the people walking.� On Oct. 16, four weeks after Norton’s accident, Hall, Alden, Brown and three state traffic engineers met to discuss a possible school speed zone and other traffic measures. This was the first time Brown had spoken with state traffic engineers or seen KDOT’s 2014 and 2017 traffic studies of Fourth Street. But Brown said when he attends meetings like these, he does more listening than speaking. “[The city] always asks me, ‘Well, what do you think we should do?’� Brown said. “[I say] ‘I’m here to have you tell me. You guys are the traffic people.�












TRAFFIC LIGHT The intersection at Fourth Street and Free Kings Highway currently lacks a traffic signal. At the time of KDOT’s 2014 intersection safety study, 12 accidents occurred at the intersection in two years. According to the crash analyses, 10 of the crashes resulted in property damage, one involved injury and another involved a fatality. The intersection’s crash rate is higher than the statewide average of 10 crashes per 10-million entering vehicles. PHS school resource officer and former state highway trooper Dave Petrey said a traffic light would be safer than the intersection’s current two-way stop. Traffic lights interrupt

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heavy traffic, permitting pedestrians to cross, according to KDOT’s official website. “It would get our students back on Fourth Street safely,� Petrey said. Alden said the city has not installed a traffic signal because the intersection does not meet any of the nine warrants from the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). If no warrants are met, KDOT will not allow the city to install a traffic signal. “This is a case where the city would like to see a traffic signal,� Alden said. “If one of the warrants could be met, the city would move forward with trying to get a traffic signal put in there.� KDOT’s 2017 traffic study recommended that the city conduct a study to evaluate the effectiveness of a single-lane roundabout, where yield signs and markings would direct drivers. Roundabouts cause minimal delay in traffic, the study shows. Roundabouts have been shown to reduce fatal and injury accidents as much as 75 percent, KDOT’s website shows. The city has conducted no such study and doubts the effectiveness of a roundabout. “Roundabouts are extremely expensive unless you just have a ton of land and they’re out in a very rural area,� Hall said. “[They] take up a lot of space and they also slow down traffic.� FLASHING CROSSWALK LIGHTS On Oct. 6 — 11 days after Norton’s accident — the city installed two rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFB) on the crosswalk adjacent to PHS’s entrance. “The signal was already ordered and going in, so the accident didn’t create a situation where we went out and put a signal [RRFB] in,� Hall said. “It was coming out of Florida and was held up by [Hurricane Irma] or it would have been in by then anyway.� According to the official website of Carmanah, the RRFB producer, pedestrian-activated buttons activate rapid flashing yellow lights, which improve yielding rates. “The flashing light seems to be what people need nowadays to get their attention,’� Hall said. However, Brown disagrees, doubting that drivers will yield. “KDOT thinks people ignore [RRFBs]. People drive and they blow through them all the time,� Brown said. “I don’t think people understand them or pay any attention to them anymore.� Brown said he has voiced his concerns to the city, but the city maintains that flashing lights are an effective way to improve traffic safety. “The traffic thing is different than going to talk to [the city] about snow removal,� Brown said. The school district hired a contractor to install a sidewalk from Fourth Street to PHS’s driveway, according to Brown. It is now ready for pedestrians. At this time, no decision has been made to take any further action in addition to the flashing lights.

Driver safety test answers: 1.) True 2.) False 3.) True 4.) True




Friday, Nov. 3, 2017

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Ensemble evolution & '       ( 

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s approximately 12 percent of the student population gathers in one room, vocal music instructor Susan Laushman reflects on the growth of her program throughout the

years. Over 15 years, the vocal music program, Encore, has grown dramatically. The number of students increased from 13 to 72. “We built this program from scratch. When we started to grow by leaps and bounds, I was surprised.� Laushman said. “Now it is an expectation of mine I try to maintain.� Although she awaits a larger choir each year, Laushman considers the hardships that come with controlling the group. “Classroom management is the most difficult,� Laushman said. Though Laushman believes managing the group is the most difficult, guidance counselor Jessica Stegman feels she still does an exceptional job. “Mrs. Laushman does a wonderful job bringing the level of students and voices together, all while managing the size of the class,� Stegman said. The class size is part of the reason Encore senior Chloe VanBecelaere believes her Encore experience has been great. “It is fun having a huge number of kids try out for districts. [I love] pulling up to contest with this huge sea of purple because

As he stands on the risers with his fellow encore students, Junior Neo Holmes feels he will make it through districts. “I have confidence I will make it,� Holmes said. “It seems like a lot of fun.� Holmes has only been involved with encore for one year. Photo by | %  & 

everyone watches,� VanBecelaere said. VanBecelaere also expressed how having a large choir does not only benefit the group but the entire program. “More members generate greater interest from the community. More kids in Encore means more family members watching, so crowds are larger too,� VanBecelaere said. “The bigger, the better [because] a greater mix of voices means a fuller, prettier sound.� Unlike Vanbecelaere, senior Daniel Bell has noticed

a few things that make the class difficult. “Some students get annoyed quickly with the talking but Laushman controls it,� Bell said. “Also, a lot of the times it gets really hot in the class.� He acknowledges the positive aspects of the choir as well. “Despite that we are really tight on our risers, there is a lot of talent in the choir,� Bell said. “No matter where we perform, we still sound amazing.�

Meet the majors




As a drum major, senior Izabelle Lunday feels her duties include helping band director Cooper Neil with anything he needs. Drum majors are responsible for managing time and keeping track of all 75 members. “At games, we have to make sure everyone’s uniforms are put away, every part of their uniform is in their bags as well as their instruments.� According to Lunday, being a drum major is more than knowing how to conduct. “[It is about] showing that you are serious and that you’ve taken the time to not only know your instrument, but others as well,� Lunday said. “Also, Neil knows that [we] are capable of doing a part of his job if ever needed.� While they have many responsibilities, drum majors encounter difficulties as well. “If Neil is gone or there is a substitute, [we need to] know where everything is,� Lunday said. “Just in case an instrument breaks or a part of your uniform is missing, or even just to find a piece of music. Being a performer is different from being a drum major. “As a performer, your focus is on being uniform with everyone else around you. Drum majors stick out, so the three of us try extra hard to be uniform.�

Junior Aiden Harries is also a drum major. “I think it’s an important leadership role that gives me the opportunity to explore what it’d be like to be in charge of a lot of different responsibilities,� Harries said. Drum majors are given the opportunity to conduct during performances. “We are also in charge of making sure people are keeping good time and playing their music correctly and, if they’re not, helping them with that,� Harries said. Harries also encounters difficulties as a leader. “I think being in charge is difficult because you don’t know if you’re always in the right,� Harries said. “It’s also difficult to have that kind of pressure knowing you have to be at a higher standard than everyone else.� By being a drum major you are in charge of many people. “It puts you in that position of whether or not you want to be a leader or a follower,� Harries said “[and] just gets you in that mindset of what it’s like to have a lot of people listening to you and taking into account what you say.� Harries has been playing [music] for six years, including the trumpet, saxophone, piano, guitar and the ukulele. “I was excited to be the only junior to get [drum major], and I will for sure run next year,� Harries said.


   As a drum major, senior Kaitlyn Rhea feels she is like a right hand to Neil. “If you want to be a band director for your career, it’s like training for that,� Rhea said. For Rhea, being a drum major includes helping the performers with any issues. “If something goes wrong with their instrument we have to try to help them no matter, [even] if we know how to or not. If there are any problems and Neil is busy, it comes to us.� There are some differences between being a drum major versus a performer. “As drum majors, we look at everyone’s feet, everyone’s horn angle, to make sure they fit [in their formation] and they’re playing their parts perfectly.�Rhea said. Rhea sees the expectations of a drum major, including trustworthiness and responsibility, as defining qualities. “It [also] shows that you have a certain level of maturity that a lot of people may not have,� Rhea said. She does, however, difficulties on and off the field in terms of discipline. “You have to be a good ‘Switzerland’ when people fight, so you can’t take sides,� Rhea said. “You also have to try and do whatever you can to just resolve it.� Rhea, who has played an instrument the past seven years, plans on minoring in music.

Info Complied by |  "  Graphic by |    Photos by |  #    $ %  & 

Sophomore Kylee Eidson sings as a part of girls glee, led by Susan Laushman. “It is completely different than encore, there are really great things about encore, but there’s also a lot of big pros about girls glee� Eidson said. “Its an all girls class and you get a lot more opportunities.� Edison joined Girls Glee last year and plans to continue participating in the future. Photo by |  #   

Auditioning with Glee words by |   % 

This year 14 girls from Girls Glee have the opportunity to audition for District choir for the first time. Districts is a competition where students sing individually for an all-districts choir performance made up of other qualifiers from Southeast Kansas area. “My Girls Glee group has improved over the last few years and I just wanted to keep adding more challenges for them and rewarding their efforts,� vocal teacher Susan Laushman said. “I left it optional for them [to audition], in case they weren’t comfortable with that yet.� In preparation for the auditions, the girls are given three songs to rehearse for the tryouts which are on Nov. 4 at Fort Scott Middle school. “You are given three songs to rehearse and prepare with and when you go to tryout, the judges will pick one for you to sing,� junior Denise Bustamante said. In the Girls Glee class, they had separated the ones auditioning from the rest for them to practice on their songs. “Class was a little different but we are still a family,� sophomore Sapphire Blakemore said. “We all know each other and when one of us is having a bad day, we can always help out and that’s what I like best about the class.�

 ) '     For the love of music   *    

Junior Andrew Riachi

Junior Brittney Bramblett

“I wanted more

“I like the culture and

instrumental music.�

style of jazz.�

Senior Seth Hoffman “(Mr.) Neil said he wanted more trumpets so I volunteered.�

Sophomore Felicity Kramer Junior Jazmin Havens “I have wanted to play the “The sound of the violin since I was little and violin has always been cool to me.� this helped me learn how.�

Senior Kiel O’Neal “[The orchestra] didn’t have a bass player and I thought it would be fun.�

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Theatre The


Friday, Nov. 3 2017

@ @PHSStudentPub

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Senior P.J. Monsour by Aubrey Bolinger

Senior Crispin vonWinklepleck by Malayna Brown

Addy Campbell by Morgan Noe

Defying Stereotypes:            


he word blocking has two meanings for senior P.J. Monsour. With being on the offensive line in football he blocks players to save the quarterback, but Monsour is also involved in theatre and switches his perspective of blocking to his movements around the stage. Monsour, along with senior Crispin vonWinklepleck who both participate in football defy the jock stereotype by also being thespians. “I like knowing I am breaking a stereotype because I hope [doing both football and theatre] becomes a trend,� Monsour said. “I think it is pretty cool that I am doing both and [proving] a lot of people [wrong who] say, ‘theatre is not manly you are in football,’ but I am over here [thinking] I don’t care I can do what I want, I think it is fun.� Monsour started playing football in seventh grade and has played ever since. He decided to give theatre a try his freshman year. “Theatre seemed like a lot of fun,� Monsour said. “The program here is amazing, and I honestly love performing, singing and dancing in front of people.�

ball with fellow players. vonWinklepleck also began football in Theatre and sports have differences, but seventh grade and continues to play fullthey also share similar aspects. Sophoback. The thought of joining theatre came more Addy Campbell, who participates in up last year during his junior year after softball and theatre, relates the two time vonWinklepleck talked to his classmates after time. about the opportunity. “Theatre is mental because there is a lot “A lot of my friends told me I might be of memorization involved. It is similar in good at it,� vonWinklepleck said. “I was softball because there is muscle memory,� already in a music class so I decided why Campnot try joining theatre and bell said. see if I like it, and I ended “[Theup liking it.� atre and When vonWinklepleck softball] found out he enjoyed are both performing, he was not a team. surprised, mainly since he You have clicked with the people to put in around him. effort all “I like my theatre of the people because I can be time for myself,� vonWinklepleck both. � said. “I am one of those All people who will go home % &  ! ' #   #  

 ## three and watch all of the ‘High students School Musical’ movies. I have just love stuff like that.� never been mocked for partaking in both, Even though vonWinklepleck enjoys they have only received shocked expresspending time with other theatre kids, he sions due to the time commitment of both also finds time to sit down and talk foot-



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Thespian Point System Troupe 3149

Thespian society is specifically designed for theatre students. A point is a way of keeping track of how much time has been spent by a student in what is considered quality theatrical work. One point loosely represents ten hours of work. There are multiple ways to get points including technical crew, being in a show, and supporting the arts, such as being an audience member.

1. Cassie Hurt-McLarty: 275 points


Q: A:

activities. “People think I am insane to do both,� Monsour said. “They cannot imagine doing theatre and football at the same time because football is so much and theatre is so much.� During softball season and a theatre production, Campbell can spend her time at the school from 6:30 in the morning to 6:30 at night. Though the time commitment consists of long days, Campbell could not imagine not being able to take part in two hobbies, and is thankful she can pursue both. “I did not want to have to pick one over the other,� Campbell said. “I love both of them.� Monsour, vonWinklepleck and Campbell all encourage more athletes to branch out of their comfort zones to break the stereotype. “Being in theatre and sports teaches good discipline,� vonWinklepleck said. “I think it is good [that I do both]. Especially since I am a senior it will hopefully open the horizons to the younger kids, and will give them a wider perspective on high school.�

Theatre director Greg Shaw recognized for Tony Award

Were you in attendance when the award was given? “No, that would have been cool. They [only] provide the winner with the full experience.�

Q: Were you in the top 10, 20, 50? A: “Out of the 11,000 plus nominations, there were 20 that were recognized, one winner, and then 20 of us that were deemed honorable mentions.�

McKenna Shaw: 148 points

Q: A:

What were your thoughts when you were nominated?

3. Matthew Buck: 142 points

“Well you have that humbling moment of thinking I’m not worthy. It’s another one of those times when you find out that yes you made the right decision, yes you are making a difference, yes people are understanding the effort and they pay attention to all the details and it gives you confidence that the things you’re teaching are justified.� Graphic & Info Complied by | (  

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Tech crew works behind the scenes With four more theatre productions coming up this year, the tech crew has been working to make things flow behind the scenes. Many students do not realize the actors are not the only ones who work to make the play possible. The tech crew does jobs behind the curtain to make the shows possible such as lighting, sound, building the set and even doing hair and makeup. “[Most people don’t know] how much of

a time commitment being on tech crew is,� senior Miranda Madden said. The tech crew is a versatile group, as each play requires very different preparations in the set, lighting and characters. Different plays also may take a different period of time to prepare for. “It mainly depends on the show, some shows are a lot easier to design than others are when it comes to lighting,� senior Hailey

Denton said. “It can really take anywhere from three weeks to a day. It really just depends on the show and how elaborate the set is and what the director wants to do.� “It gives me something to do, something to be a part of,� senior Kylee Barnhisel said. “Its rewarding to put on a show for people [especially] one we’ve worked so hard on.� The tech crew puts in a lot of time and effort to make productions achievable, but it

can also be a rewarding job. “I really enjoy being able to see the final product of weeks of work come together on opening night,� Denton said. “I hope this brings to attention that there is more to meets the eye the next time you go and see one of our shows.�

 Debate & Forensics The


Friday, Nov 3, 2017

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Members of Forensics are looking forward to...

Mikayla Kitchen, 10 “I am looking forward to getting to meet new people and growing, along with competitors.�

As a new member of debate, Freshman Jessica Neef is enjoying the class. “It is really hard, but it is also really fun,� Neef said. “I like researching, creating cases and searching through new evidence.� Neef wrote a paper preparing her for her debate. Photo by | !"  #

Mastering the art of a strong rebuttal

Coach, debaters weigh in on how to argue effectively

For students who want to voice their opinions, debaters advise them to be well-versed on their topic. “Research is really important, but also having a basis for your argument,� Garzone said. “You have to have evidence to back up what you’re saying, but you s he stands at the podium, legal pad and pen also have to be very knowledgeable about what you’re in hand, junior Austin Edwards prepares to talking about. In a rebuttal, that’s what can win rounds.� deliver an eight-minute speech about educaBy addressing the opposing stance, debaters are far tion reform. more likely to stay on topic and appeal to judges. This year, policy debaters argue the national topic: “A lot of people don’t like to acknowledge the other “The United States federal government should substanside,� sophomore Jordan Akins said. “What you have to tially increase its funding and/or regulation of elemendo is take a look at the other perspective and research tary and/or secondary education in the United States.� their side. See what they’re saying and why they believe Preparing stances for and against the resolution, dethat. Then, you can go ahead and counterclaim that.� baters research topics like computer education, charter Clash is an element of debate that promotes arguschools and standardized testing. mentation based directly on another’s arguments. However in recent years, society has seen the princi“Clash is essentially this idea that you have two ples of debate decline. competing [arguments] going against one another,� “Whenever people feel really strongly about somejunior Austin Edwards said. “They either contradict thing, they are emotionally charged one way or the or can’t happen at the same time, so you have to weigh other,� speech and debate coach Julie Laflen said. “The the options and pick whichever [argument] would be problem is we’re not listening to what the other person comparatively advantageous.� is saying. All we can think about is how we disagree The significance of the rebutand we can’t wait [until] we get to tal stems from summarizing key offer our opinion next. In the debate points in the round and comworld, you have to listen [and] look paring them through clash. at the evidence read in the round “Clash and rebuttals are closeto need to show why [it is] more $  %  ! & ly tied together,� junior Nathan superior.�   '  ( Newby said. “Clash is killed Many in the debate community ) *    if you don’t use your rebuttals agree that argumentation in the real '  !    properly and [argue] what’s world is ineffective. !    important in the round.� “When the presidential debates (  )  (* +! The structure of policy debate [were] going on, there [were] so (,! !does not permit emotional armany open-ended claims being . /   0  guments. In forensics, students debated that [weren’t] really valid,� can practice Lincoln-Douglas junior Haley Garzone said. “In poldebate, modeled after the senate icy debate rounds, it’s quite profesdebates between Abraham Linsional, but in the real world, it gets coln and Stephen Douglas that focused on underminpretty heated.� As hashtags and trending topics dominate newsfeeds, ing the other’s argument based on morals and values. Edwards strongly advises against this method in more users are engaging in controversial conversation. policy debate. Consequently, teenagers use social platforms as “We don’t use ad hominem attacks,� Edwards said. forums to voice their opinions. At such a divisive time, “Once you start focusing on the person making the arguing has emboldened many to speak out, but often argument and not the argument itself, that’s how you ineffectively. The Booster asked debaters how they argue effective- know you either lost the argument or missed the point to begin with.� ly in and out of the classroom. Laflen fosters these skills in her class by rehearsing The format of policy debate consists of four speech drills, cross-examining the opposition and anaeight-minute constructive speeches, intended to conlyzing evidence. struct or build up a team’s arguments. Then, each de“We [practice] so many skills at once, we don’t even bater presents a five-minute rebuttal focusing on their realize what we’re doing,� Laflen said. “Debate isn’t just winning arguments. about arguing; that is such a small part of what we do. “In the rebuttal, you look at all the things that have It’s about being able to think on your toes, listen to been said in the entire debate round and narrow down something and question its validity. I just love watchthe biggest points to be made,� Laflen said. “Usually, ing [debaters] use those skills and not even realize that this is very subjective because you may think somethey’re doing them. I’m truly hoping those skills overthing is way more important than your opponent or flow into other aspects of these kids’ lives.� judge may think, so you have to be really strategic.� Story by |    

Nathan Newby, 11 “I am looking forward to trying to apply some of the things I learned over my debate season and see how well that treats me in forensics.�



Jordan Akins, 11 “I look forward to writing my speeches because I really like to do that.�

Evelyn Shawn, 12 “The general community that surrounds forensics is one that is extremely positive and it gives the students the opportunity to work as a team to reach a common goal to benefit everyone but also allows students who prefer to work individually to do things on their own and experience individual successes.� Photos by | !"  # 2   3+!(


Graphic by | 1+  !%   

Top Ten Ranks of PHS Debate and Forensics Evelyn Shawn 1015 

Walter Sours 1065

Emeral McCauley 1109

Justice Lankford 1144

Meghan Gina Mathew 1829 Austin EdHess wards 1313  1299 

Nicole Konopelko 1123 

Brooklyn Hellwig 1083 

Hannah Casper 1036 

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or senior Coltin Oehme, competing at the World of Concrete and Masonr y Tradeshow in Las Vegas will become a realit y in Januar y. “I’m really ner vous and excited about this competition. I don’t know how to put into words how I feel,� Coltin said. “I have never been to a competition this large before. The only thing that compares is when I [competed] at the state level and won second.� He has been involved in the For t Scot t Communit y College masonr y program for the last t wo years, and has had experience outside the program for even longer because of his family’s involvement in masonr y. “Coltin has grown up in and around a masonr y family, so I have worked with him a lot,� Nacoma Oehme, his uncle and masonr y instr uctor, said. “I own Next Generation Masonr y as well as teach, and last summer Coltin worked for me on masonr y crew as a laborer.� Each year, Nacoma selects one student in his classes to at tend the tradeshow and competition in Januar y. He has taught these skills for the past eight years. “I wish that the masonr y program was more popular with high-school age students than it cur rently is,� Nacoma said. “There is a chance to lear n a life-long trade that can make students a lot of money as a career or help

Senior Coltin Oehme prepares for the World of Concrete and Masonry Tradeshow held in Law Vegas in January. “I’m building projects right now, [preparing for Vegas],� Oehme said. “I’m practicing different designs and different laying techniques in case the project they give me is a little tougher than I think.� Oehme has been enrolled in the Masonry program for two years. Photo by |    

pay to fur ther their education.� The high school pays for the program’s courses and college hours. These courses include: masonr y, welding, and car pentr y.

more determined person,� Coltin said. “[This competition] will be a great lear ning experience for me and it will be awesome to see what kind of competition I will

Coltin is one of 34 students who are taking advantage of this oppor tunit y. “This program has done so much for me. It has made me a


From Sept. 16-19, representatives of Health Occupations Students of Amer ica (HOSA) met at the Hilton Alexandr ia Mark Center in Washington D.C. for the 11th Annual Washington Leadership Academy. PHS junior and Kansas HOSA president Rachel Ruiz at tended the conference as a par t of Kansas’ officer team. All states brought their team of officers. “We got to work in lit tle group activities to help our leadership qualit y skills,� Ruiz said. “The next day we had sessions where we would lear n about leadership and how to be a bet ter leader. We would do teamwork activities to help us with that.� This year’s conference theme was emotional intelligence. Ruiz and the other officers received new health science cur r iculum to take back to their states. As the state president, Ruiz is responsible for at tending the national conference and br inging the information to her state office team. “Rachel benefits PHS by put ting our

HOSA chapter in the spotlight,� said Stuar t Perez, the school’s HOSA advisor. “She also has first-hand knowledge of what is going on at the state level and is able to relay that information back to our chapter.� Rachel now represents both Pit tsburg High School and the state of Kansas, when she was chosen to be state president. “It’s a really long process,� Ruiz said. “I had to fill out a lot of paper work, take a quiz. At the spring conference last year, I had to give a speech. Then I was elected, I had to do a conference call with the state adviser and they chose me to be president.� Ruiz said she looked into medical schools and lear ned more about medical career options. “I want to be some kind of surgeon in the future, so the medical field is something I want to do,� Rachel said. “I’m really passionate about [it] and I’ve always had the passion, so that’s why I do HOSA.�

Junior Rachel Ruiz attended a HOSA conference in Washington D.C. “Being in Washington, D.C. made me feel patriotic,� Ruiz said. “It was amazing to see all the different monuments.� Ruiz was elected as state HOSA president in March. Photo contributed by Rachel Ruiz



stories by |     & 

As teens, commuting to and from school can be a stressful experience whether you are a dr iver, walker, biker or even passenger. Following the recent incident which occur red r ight outside our school on Four th street, a crosswalk sign with f lashing lights was installed in the 40 mph speed zone. Some may think this would br ing ease to student pedestrians, but the faint f lashing lights are hard to see in the day time for dr ivers excelling at 40-45 mph. While captur ing the picture for our front page road safet y stor y, we

were curious as to how well the f lashing lights worked. We were shocked to find out that with one at tempt to cross, five cars drove right through the crosswalk without even hesitating to stop while the lights f lashed. While this ultimately resulted in our photo, it cer tainly caused us concer n. The real solution would be to institute a school speed zone around the proximities of the school. Ever y other school in our district has a 20 mph speed zone, except for the high school. Stopping for crosswalks would be more

manageable for dr ivers at 20 mph than 40 mph. Pit tsburg High School should have a school speed zone, especially since PHS is in a residential area. After all, the speed limit on Rouse Street was lowered form 40 to 35 mph. The distr ict should be more proactive in pursuing a school speed zone and the cit y should reconsider its stance. After all, teens are still lear ning how to dr ive, so shouldn’t safet y be a priorit y?

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Friday, Nov. 3, 2017

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Dragons hit the road                2017 Season 2018 Season Both Seasons

Bonner Springs 127 miles Shawnee 125 miles De Soto 125 miles Olathe, KAN. 111 miles Chanute KAN. 64 miles Andover, KAN. Witchita, KAN. 146 miles 164 miles

Ulysses, KAN. 390 miles

Kansas City 130 miles Harrisonville, MO 110 miles Fort Scott, KAN. 64 miles

Carl Junction, MO. 20 miles

Labette County, KAN. 64 miles

28 miles Webb City, MO.

Total Miles traveled: 2017- 659 miles

2018 - 1,073 miles

Dylan White Junior photo by |    

photo by |    

Dylan White- “The change in divisions was good for us. I think we can go far in the playoffs next year, now being 4A.� “Being 5A is difficult when you have the Blue Valley schools and the Mill Valley schools that are much bigger and have more athletes than us all around.� “The drives next year will suck because they are so far but we get out of school earlier, so that’s a plus.�

Sam Roark Sophmore

“I think that with the division change, we will still be playing really good competition, and will continue to work just as hard as we do playing 5A schools. The change from 5A to 4A was necessary because we just didn’t have as many students as the other schools in 5A, so that gave them an advantage over us. I don’t think the travel difference will affect us much because we know they are business trips. We are just going to take care of our business. Six and a half hours one way will be a long drive, but I think it will be a good opportunity for team bonding.�

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LJ Butcher Freshman

“Honestly, I don’t really think [the division change] will change much. We are going to prepare for the game the same way we would prepare if we were still in 5A.� “I think that changing us to 4A wasn’t the best idea, even though we’re a smaller school. Compared to other 5A schools, we compete really well with them, so I don’t think switching us over was the best idea.� “I think it will be a fun experience for our team, getting to enjoy the long bus ride across Kansas to play some football.

Strong swing


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On October 16, the girls golf team competed at state in Emporia and placed third. “A golf team has not qualified for a state competition since 1974 at Pittsburg High School,� golf coach Mary Packard said. “We beat all third and second place teams and two of the first-place teams. No girls golf team has ever earned a state trophy at PHS.� The team participated in ten tournaments this season, six of which they placed first. “We practiced fundamentals all season

Run the state

!"    #$ % & Q: *      

           + A: It was bittersweet because I enjoyed it, but it was also sad because it was my last year.

Q: *      , 

  + *   

  + A: I ran better this year than I ever have before. State was fun, I got 9th which is higher than I’ve ever gotten.

Q: *      


A: I’m really excited to be

commited and a part of the track and field progam, I hope to eventualy make it to nationals and develope to be the best runner I can be

and we went to Emporia two days before the tournament to practice on the course,� senior Jamie VanWyck said. “Our goal this year was to work together as a team and keep our strokes really close.� VanWyck traveled to state with three other teammates freshman Samantha Maceli and Hannah Holloman and junior Lauren Valenzuela “We competed with four girls,� Packard said. “Every score was going to count, other teams had six golfers.� Several of the girls placed individually

Spike to it '     (#     )

The girls volleyball team finished their season with 28 wins and 9 losses for the season. They also placed 3rd in SEK league play. Pittsburg hosted substate, but fell in their first match against Mill Valley.

at state, Valenzuela placing 20th, Maceli 16th and Vanwyck 11th. Now having a state title the girls golf teams standards and goals have raised. “Our expectations are a little bit higher now,� Valenzuela said. “We’re now known for being one of the top teams in SEK and so we’re going to have to work hard to keep that status�

State bound

Kick to it

The varsity tennis team finished their season by sending their number one doubles team, Maddie Baden and Madison Vogel, to the 5A state tournament. The duo lost both of their matches, but ended their season in a tiebreaker set against their opponents from Salina South.

The varsity soccer team came out with 6 wins this year 9 losses and 2 draws. The dragons lost in the first round of the playoffs against KC Washington.