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focus central { } francis howell central high school | volume fifteen | issue one | 8.8.2011


If there is an “L” in front of the page number, that means you should start from the left brain side. An “R” means you should start from the right brain side of the paper.

L-SEVEN {inside the mind} Students suffering from disorders like ADD, ADHD and schizophrenia can find help in the halls of FHC in the guidance department.

L-TWELVE {the aftermath} The symptoms of concussions have never been more clear, yet what causes a concussion has never been more elusive and frustrating to medical professionals.

R-FOUR {iBrain}


josh wade

Walk down the hall and you’re bound to see a couple — or a hundred — students with their iPod out. Cody Jones looks into the reasons why students love their music so much.

R-SEVEN {brain food} Your brain is what you eat. Give it the right type of food and it’ll perform better for you. Find out what fruits and nuts will give your noodle what it needs to flourish.

R-TEN {ink blots} hypnosis



delve | 4-27-2012

bad habits


Do you see what I see? Ink blots can reveal differences in personality; find out where your answer lands you on the scale of creative to logical.

[delve] By Allison Comfort staff reporter

It is an often complaint that students are overloaded with too many tests. Test preparation and studying take up a student’s after school hours, not to mention having extra curricular activities that they cannot skip. But what does the stress of studying really do to the brain? Is it really that bad when someone’s brain feels fried from studying? James Feuerstein, a psychologist who works as a private practice counselor and assistant professor at St. Louis University, says that there is much more going on than most students realize. The fried feeling of an overstressed brain is not just the imagination and neither is the blank you pull when the test is in front of you. “Stress is normal,” Mr. Feuerstein said. “It’s necessary to succeed. The brain produces epinephrine, which affects the hypothalamus in the brain, and gives you a short burst of energy and is also used in the ‘fight or flight’ response.” Normally, he says, if a student studies a little bit each day leading up to the test, they will not have any problems. However, it is when the brain is under undue stress that things start to go wrong. “When you’re under a lot of stress, the brain produces a lot of glucocorticoid. This can actually shrink the memory center in the brain,” Mr. Feurstein said. “This is what happens with prisoners of war in Iraq and people with PTSD. Your memory is actually reduced. And the extra adrenaline and please read more: testing, PAGE 8

Strain on the brain

Being overstressed can reduce a student’s memory during tests

“[Stress] is necessary to succeed. The brain produces epinephrine, which affects the hypothalamus in the brain, and gives you a short burst of energy and it also used in the ‘fight or flight’ response.” { James Feuerstein } psychologist Feuerstein works with his patients as a private practice counselor. He also is an assistant professor at St. Louis University. | Delve


Tranceformation of the brain By Jerianne Harrison staff reporter

It is senior Amber Roth’s first time experiencing this feeling, this change. She has no idea what to expect. So she just sits back and relaxes as much as possible. Before she knows it, she feels a tingling sensation, rushing throughout her body. Her mind is suddenly under the control of Mr. Steven Bohning. “I didn’t know I was hypnotized but I knew something different was going on,” Roth said. “When [Mr. Bohning] started off, it was if you’re going down these stairs and his voice sounded normal at first, but then it deepens and it’s almost like an intercom, like a God-like thing.” Unlike Roth, people such as junior Jasmine Chandler, do not even realize a difference in their state of mind or that they are hypnotized. “At first, [I couldn’t tell a difference.] It felt like I was on laughing gas. I was in and out [of the trance like state] in the beginning and probably like two minutes or so into it, I was completely gone,” Chandler said. Although Chandler did not notice a change in her state of mind, Mr. Bohning would disagree. He says that there is no reason that they should not remember the process. “It kind of depends on who you are talking to, but most people would say [they don’t notice a different state of mind.] But I don’t necessarily know that I agree with what they’re saying. I think what I mean by that is that people are willing to play that role and they believe that part of that role means not being completely conscious of

It took two or three days and watching the videos people took of me to get all of the memories back.

everything that’s going on,” Mr. Bohning said. “But if you ask any person what they did during the process, they’ll say they know something changed. So I think they know they are in a different state of mind, but they don’t always know they are ‘hypnotized’ necessarily.” According to Michael Posner, an Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oregon, the minds of those being hypnotized are being manipulated. According to WebMD, specialized MRI brain scans showed less activity in two areas of the hypnotized brain. The first area is involved in visual processing. The other may be important in handling conflicts. In Roth’s

experience with hypnosis, she says despite knowing what he was saying was not true, she felt as if she wanted to do the things Mr. Bohning was telling her to do. “I remember I was told by Mr. Bohning that I hated everyone and wanted them to leave,” Roth said. “I thought to myself ‘why am I doing this, why is this happening,’ but part of me knew that I wanted to do the things he was telling me to do.” Anyone can be susceptible to hypnosis, mostly because those people are more willing to participate in the process. The person has to be able to concentrate and focus all of their attention on the

delve | 4-27-2012

I was really confused and my friends had to walk me to my next hour. I was supposed to go to seventh hour, but went to fifth hour.

Jasmine Chandler { junior


instructions, according to Mr. Bohning. “The person has to be a willing participant and have to be able to concentrate and focus all of their attention on just one thing. They also need to trust the instructor,” Mr. Bohning said. Hypnosis starts to work when a person becomes suggestible to it. When they become suggestible to hypnosis they then enter a different state of mind. They are so focused on listening to the suggestions of the instructor, that it is almost like that’s all they know. That person decides not to pay attention to distractions, to relax as much as possible. “Some people only go into the trance so far, but it works the best when it is very deep and that person allows it to get deep. It’s like they are in a different state of mind, and they really are to a certain extent. Not thinking like a normal, rational, aware person,” Mr. Bohning said. “They’ve chosen to set aside all the other distractions and just stay focused on one thing. So it’s almost like a form of meditation, it’s almost like a form of extreme concentration.” According to Total Health Clinic, hypnosis is like the period of time just before you go off to sleep, comfortable and relaxed and although very aware, also unaware. “I was zoned out during my whole next hour. I was drooping, exhausted, weird, relaxed and tingling in the brain. I felt super used for like an hour,” Roth said. “When I look back on it, it was really cloudy. It was like a dream. I was watching myself do everything.”

photos by shannon kelley

amber roth { senior

Want to save $40 on your tux? Stop by Room 139 in the next couple days and pick up a Savvi Formalwear card from Mr. Schott and you can save a boatload on your tux for prom. Stop by soon, supplies are limited. | Delve


Traumatic times trouble teens By Madelyn Newton staff reporter

Traumatic experiences can dramatically change a life without one even realizing it. The effects of an experience can drastically influence one immediately or can wait until later in life to change one’s life. Sophomore Alli Benney can relate to this trauma because of the death of her mother when she was in first grade. It taught Benney to cherish every moment. “I don’t think I will ever fully recover from my mom’s death, but I did get through it with the help of my family and friends,” Benney said. Because Benney was so young, it was hard for her to fully understand the situation. She remembers every hospital visit and moments from when her mother became sick. “I was very confused and had a hard time grasping it because I was only in first grade,” Benney said. “It didn’t exactly hit me right away.” While people experience the same horrors day in and day out, the effects can vary greatly. According to Michelle Cwiklinski, Master of Science in Physical Therapy, Master of Education and Clinical Instructor of Physical Therapy at the University of Puget Sound, some effects of traumatic experiences may


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never end. Cwiklinski says depending on the circumstance, the experience can be detrimental to one’s life or it can be a learning experience. It depends on the person and the perception of the experience. Some changes due to such experiences include an increase in heart rate which leads to heart disease, eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety, memory loss and violent behavior. “Sometimes people will find something to substitute for the pain caused by the experience, leading to addiction,” Ms. Cwiklinski said. All people can be affected by traumatic experiences but they may not have the same symptoms. Some suffer from disease after an experience and for others, parts of the brain are improved, according to Cwiklinski. “Sometimes this affects the memory section of the brain, the hippocampus. When someone remembers the experience, it can trigger a sensation that causes people to experience the same feelings,” Cwiklinski said. “Also, the emotional system can get better.” Although there are many physical and

emotional changes, Cwiklinski explains symptoms that people can acquire. Some choose to repress their emotions and keep to themselves. Child abuse is an example because in many situations, people let their emotions take control further on in their life. “Child abuse is very repressive. Sometimes it comes out later in life, in forms of depression and violent behavior,” Cwiklinski said. “If you look at basic stress results, stress levels go up. If people have a negative response, heart rate may go up and they could experience mental illnesses, depression or anxiety attacks.” All of these changes are not necessarily caused by the victim, but due to changes in the brain itself. According to The British Journal of Psychiatry, http://bjp.rcpsych. org/, there is evidence from neuroimaging studies which explains that the brain could be dammaged due to psycological trauma. “Biochemical changes in the brain cause harmful hormones in the brain to be released into the body,” Cwiklinski said. “It causes post traumatic stress disorder which includes chronic stress, depression and changes in mood.” According to Cwiklinski, what one goes through after the trauma is based on their

perception of the experience. “September 11, 2001 was traumatic for many people even though it affected people indirectly,” Cwiklinski said. “Some focus on the experience and constantly think about it leading to perseveration.” Cwiklinski explained that there are different effects experienced at different ages but specialists are still researching how these effects differentiate based on age. Many students have had a traumatic experience early in life and have had to deal with the effects all of their lives. After Benney’s mom passed away, she has overcome much pain throughout her life. “At first I was very quiet and I didn’t know how to talk about it, but then it made me cherish everything I had and the great support from my family and friends,” Benney said. The aftermath of a traumatic experience depends on the reaction from the victim. Therapies can also help to overcome an experience. For Benney, going through her mother’s death has caused her to be thankful for the blessings she has. “It affects how I really appreciate everything I have because you never know when it’s going to be gone,” Benney said.

Dealing with disorders By Karley Canova staff reporter

There are many people sitting in classrooms that deal with issues no one ever knew about. They keep quiet about the things going on inside of their brain. Depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, insomnia - these are some things that several students have to deal with. Some are worse than others, and having to deal with them while being in school makes it worse. “My heart will race, my body will start feeling numb or like it’s asleep,” said junior Abby Jungers. “I get all shaky.” Jungers must deal with anxiety, which is something caused by stressing over a large selection of categories, genetic inheritance or some kind of traumatic experience. During school, before she took medicine, Jungers dealt with a couple of panic attacks a day and missing school. “Every once in awhile before I took

medicine, I’d hear a voice saying things. It made it really hard to sit in class,” said sophomore Jimmy Smotherman. “I couldn’t focus.” Problems like these are labeled as “social and mental disorders,” for lack of better term. Many of them, like depression, are caused by chemical imbalances, traumatic experiences or personal problems. “It’s mental torture sitting there thinking about it. I can’t focus on school. It’s not comfortable,” said Jungers. “When I have [a panic attack], the rest of the day I’m out of it. My brain just doesn’t work.” Having these problems makes it hard to stay still and ignore the pain or feeling that the person just needs to get out. For many students, attendance is hard to keep up because they have to leave, because it is either too much to handle or they have some sort of therapy session ahead of them. “They are more focused on their disability

than schoolwork,” said counselor Mrs. Michelle Breuer. This is especially true for Smotherman, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. “I couldn’t focus. I kept hearing something in my head that would distract the crap out of me,” said Smotherman. He also missed out on quite a bit of school, mostly in his freshman year, due to constant therapy appointments. After he was able to get it more under control, with the help of medication, Smotherman was able to get back on track. “It wasn’t bothering me to the point where I’d need someone to help me anymore,” said Smotherman. At school, there is a limit to what the teachers and school counselors can do to help them. The counselors are there for support and academic assistance, rather than hardcore therapy. “We’re not that type of counselor,” said Mrs. Breuer. “We try and help to get them out of the problem. We help to guide, help

them feel safe, support them. There is a light at the end of the tunnel; what can we do to help them get to it?” Many times the school counselors will refer students to Ms. Rhonda Wurm, the Education School Counselor. She is at the school Mondays and Tuesdays, and then attends to other schools for the rest of the week. She helps explore the problems with students by offering support and possibly leading the student to their own answers. “I don’t want students to feel like they’re labeled that way. I like to speak about it in more general terms,” said Ms. Wurm. She believes that by allowing the student to speak their mind, they can lay the pieces of their mind out and sort them out in a much more organized fashion. From here they are able to better take care of their problem. “Being able to talk about things that bother you ... There’s just something healing about that,” said Ms. Wurm.

Depression photo illustration by kelci davis

• persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood • feelings of hopelessness, pessimism • decreased energy, fatigue • weight loss or weight gain • thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts

Schizophrenia • social isolation and withdrawal • irrational, bizarre or odd statements or beliefs • increased paranoia • becoming more emotionless • hostility or suspiciousness

Anxiety • • • • • • •

muscle tension physical weakness poor memory fear or confusion inability to relax constant worry shortness of breath | Delve


jump from page 3: Testing

glucocorticoid actually affect the synapses of the brain, which are essential in getting messages to the other parts of the body.” So maybe the blank that some students pull when they take a test is not all in their heads after all. Stress may be normal during test taking. “When the brain is under constant stress, the brain is always producing adrenaline and glucocorticoid, which can cause major damage to the brain. However, the amount of testing students do is probably not going to do much damage to them,” Mr. Feuerstein said. However, administrator and director of

AP testing Dr. Joyce Gang thinks that studying is not all that bad. “I think it stretches [students’] brains,” Dr. Gang said. “The more practice they get, the more they know what they’re doing when they take the actual [AP] test.” Sophomore Erica Swanson, however, does not think that school demands much studying for success. “On some tests that don’t involve a lot of memorization, if you pay attention in class and do the homework then you get a good grade. But when you have to memorize vocabulary or terms, then you have to study more,” Swanson said. “After I study, I feel tired but relieved, because I know I’m going to do well on the test. So it’s worth it.” Swanson said she does a lot of testing, but her feelings contradict what Mr. Feuerstein says.

5 testing tips find common ground: make the topic relate to you. it will dramatically increase your chances of retaining new material.

visualize: most people are visual learners. if you aren’t given visual representations to help you, make your own by making charts and using highlighters.

teach someone: teaching helps you learn it faster. if you are able to teach it, you understand it.

spend time: by spending extra time on difficult information, it will help you get more familiar with it.

study routine: if you find yourself falling asleep while studying, change your study location. *according to

“After graduating high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. SCC gave me the time to figure it out before transferring to a four-year university.” ~ DJ Shocklee SCC alum Francis Howell Central alum

Find SCC on : Ask your counselor how to get started at St. Charles Community College. Call 636-922-8000 or visit


delve | 4-27-2012


Lights out Athletes miss important games after suffering from hard head collisions By Cody Jones


staff reporter

n the highest tier of high school playoffs the varsity soccer team had ever advanced to, junior center Nic Powers pushed his body to the limits in order to help the team advance closer to state. The ball was kicked into the air, provoking Powers to jump after it. He took a leap, then the world went black. Over the past few years, the concussion has come to a prominent light in the world of athletics. The blackout Powers suffered was at the hands of a concussion. Common with concussion victims, Powers can not recall what occurred that night. “Honestly, I don’t remember anything. I blacked out. My team said I jumped and then someone elbowed my head,” Powers said. Due to the recent outcry, all levels of sport have taken some form of action to prevent the re-injury of the brain. The

most impactful change has been the permanent removal of any athlete that shows any signs of having a concussion. Due to this rule, Powers was kept out of the rest of his varsity soccer sweet sixteen playoff match, and prevented him from playing in the elite eight matchup four days later. Despite the pleas of athletes, the recently passed Missouri law HB 300 makes a return of concussed athletes illegal to perform. “An athlete who appears to have sustained a concussion is to be immediately removed from play or practice. The athlete is not allowed to return for a minimum of 24 hours,” the law states. Trainer Anna Rozanski was in charge of determining whether or not Powers’ injury could be deemed a concussion. After spending minutes on the turf, Powers got up and walked to the bench. Slowly he regained consciousness, but clearly, according to his teammates, was

in a lucid state. Rozanski gave a quick questioning to determine Powers’ state of mind. “She asked me where I was, who I was playing and stuff like that. I couldn’t remember any of the answers,” said Powers. The verdict was clear and Powers was out. The 24 hour rule does not mean an athlete can simply return to action after 24 hours of rest, however. Depending on the severity, the injury might keep players out for extended periods of time. Senior football player Josh Wade suffered two concussions in the span of three weeks, with the second keeping him out for the remainder of the season. Wade suffered the first concussion in the opening game vs. Troy. After a one game recovery period, Wade was allowed to return. After about a quarter and a half of his first game back vs. Holt, Wade suffered his 2nd concussion. Due to the recurring conditions, Wade

was given a tighter leash for a return. If he were to overdo it, he may have faced permanent damage to his brain. People have reported blackouts, memory loss and various other symptoms well past the time of the original concussion, all seemingly because athletes get back to action too quick. Rozanski refused to let this happen to Wade. He would have to wait until he could pass the impact test. High schools have implemented the immediate post-concussion assessment and cognitive testing, or ImPACT system. It is a test comparing the mind in a normal state, and the mind after a concussion has seemingly been suffered. The test is used to determine if a concussion was suffered, and if so, it is a basic way to diagnose the severity. Wade took the test immediately after the Holt game, and found himself staring at less than satisfactory results. please read more: lights, PAGE 10 | SWEAT


bracing for

jump from page 9: lights

“Right after the concussion my impact test results were extremely bad. It was frustrating because I felt like I was doing good but the results said otherwise,” Wade said. With the strict new law in place, Wade became extremely limited in what he could and could not do. “I wasn’t allowed to do anything athletic for a while until I passed the concussion test again,” Wade said. What was limiting him athletically, was also hampering him academically. At school I still had to do everything but it all seemed a lot harder because i couldn’t focus and had headaches all the time,” Wade said. Weeks passed and Josh continued to fail the ImPACT test. Senior night was approaching, and Josh began to realize he would never play another down of high school football in his life. The last play he was involved in was the one that ruined his season. Despite all the desire built up in his heart, Wade had to sit out and watch from the sideline. “It was really emotional because I wasn’t able to spend the senior night game on the field with my fellow seniors,” Wade said. As the teammates he had played with for four years straight struggled against Francis Howell North, Wade’s emotions bested him. His season, his passion, his brothers, taken from him in the blink of an eye. Whether it is a severe concussion or even a mild one, these monstrous head injuries have the ability to seriously derail the career of high school athletes. While the stateissued preventative restraints may protect the future of athletes, they also leave a hefty toll emotionally on anyone who was unlucky enough to have suffered a concussion. Wade lost an entire season and Powers lost a chance to help his team to the final four. If the concussions had never occurred, the fall sports season might have had a drastically different outcome.

imPACT Every year, dozens of students at FHC suffer from one of the most misunderstood injuries an athlete can sustain: concussions. To combat this, the school district has taken measures to educate and protect students from future concussions.

Headaches are a common symptom that may occur immediately upon impact.

By Ben Morrison

Depression is a symptom that can occur almost anytime after a concussion.

Nausea is a very unpleasant symptom that may occur within a day of a concussion.

Taste and smell problems are less common symptoms which may occur in the first week.

During practice with the girls soccer team April 4, sophomore Madeline Wagner got hit in the head with a soccer ball. Something that happens all the time during a soccer game or practice. This was no ordinary ball-to-the-head impact, however. Wagner was hit in such a way that the impact caused a concussion. After she was hit, Wagner knew that she was not reacting normally. There is normally pain associated with taking a ball to the head, but this was more than that, according to Wagner. “My head was pounding, I couldn’t hear and I doubled over,” said Wagner. “It hurt worse than a normal ball too.” Athletes are at risk for many different injuries, but one of the injuries most focused on in recent years has been an athlete’s risk of concussion. Concussions can be caused in almost any sport, so the focus is well deserved. The Congress of Neurological Surgeons defines a concussion as “a clinical syndrome characterized by the immediate and transient post traumatic impairment of neural function such as alteration of consciousness, disturbance of vision or equilibrium, etc. due to brain stem involvement.” However, the severity of the symptoms in a concussion can vary greatly, and whether or not someone suffers a concussion and how severe it will be is almost entirely unpredictable.

What is known is what can cause a concussion, though it does not help determine when an athlete will actually endure one. “Concussion may be caused by a direct blow to the head, face, or neck or by a blow elsewhere on the body that transmits an “impulsive” force to the head,” according to the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. Sports are normally where one would expect to see a large amount of concussions, but they can come from other places as well. “You can get a concussion in any sporting activity with contact, and outside of sports you can get them in car accidents, from falling off of your bike, and injuries like that,” said athletic trainer Anna Rozanski. “Someone kicked a corner kick and it hit my head,” said Wagner. “But it hit me in the back of the head instead of the forehead.” For athletes like Wagner, there is also no way to prevent a concussion. You can’t prevent a concussion like you would prevent an ankle sprain, there are no pre-concussion exercises,” said Rozanski. “We just make sure people are properly educated, that sports have the proper equipment, and that procedures are carried out correctly.” So with that, Wagner was diagnosed with a concussion. She experienced common concussion symptoms, such as headaches. “Sometimes I would talk and not remember what I was saying in the middle of my sentence, and I had a headache from

Wednesday to Saturday,” said Wagner. “I also had pressure in my head.” Because of the unpredictability and potential harm caused by concussions, many tests have been created to determine whether or not an athlete has suffered a concussion. One of the big components of these tests is a baseline, or pre-concussion, test. “If an athlete was not tested before injury, the neuropsychologist must use demographic information, prior school grades, or current reading level to estimate the athlete’s premorbid baseline,” says the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. Because of the high risk of concussion during sports, the Francis Howell School District employs a concussion test with a pre-concussion baseline. “There are many types of tests, the big category being standardized concussion tests, and ImPACT, which the school uses, is one of these,” said Rozanski. ImPACT, or Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, prides itself on its use of baseline tests. “One of the keys to ImPACT’s approach to concussion management is to compare an athlete’s post-concussive performance and symptoms to a baseline (pre-concussion) level for that athlete,” according to the test integrated into the school district, some athletes are required to participate in a

baseline ImPACT test. “In our school district, certain sports are mandated to take the test,” said Rozanski. “Athletes in football, cheerleading, softball, and boys soccer in the fall, those in wrestling and boys and girls basketball in the winter, and anyone in baseball, pole vaulting, high jump, or girls soccer during the spring are required to take the test.” Though some athletes are not required to participate in testing, it is still a smart idea, according to Rozanski. “[The ImPACT test] is good for two years, so an athlete needs to retake the test after two years,” said Rozanski.“It’s encouraged that all athletes get tested, because concussions can occur in any sport.” Rozanski said the two-year mark is chosen because of the way the brain develops. “Research shows that the brain changes approximately every two years,” said Rozanski. “So we make athletes retake it every two years to stay current.” Wagner has also been improving on her ImPACT scores, and may be able to return to practice soon. “[My score] improved, on one of the sections I originally got seven right, but I only got two right when I retook it. The second time I retook it, I got more right, but took longer,” said Wagner. “Once I reach my baseline, I will enter a recovery stage, which will take a week, and then I can return to play.”

Concentration problems are common and may occur within hours of a concussion.

Irritability is an annoying symptom which can occur immediately upon impact and last for quite some time.

Light and noise sensitivity are less common problems that may occur a week after a concussion.

Fatigue is a common symptom that will generally occur within a day of a concussion.

staff reporter

connection By Matt Lundberg


sweat editor

ach year, thousands of athletes take the field in Missouri to participate in high school sports. The risk of injury may be something that seldom runs through the minds of these athletes, but it has become a growing issue according to the the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA). Out of all possible injuries resulting from sports, concussions can have the longest lasting effects on athletes in the future. In 2011, the percentage rate for head injuries per athlete in the state of Missouri was .95 percent. However, according to MSHSAA, if the overlap of students who participate in multiple sports are taken away, this number increases to 1.2 percent. This study only takes into account reported concussions for MSHSAA sponsored athletics, so this number could potentially be larger if other numbers are taken into account. As a result, MSHSAA has devised a large quantity of regulations to regulate and minimize concussions in the state of Missouri. Concussions have become such a large issue that the National Football League (NFL) has handed out large fines for helmet to helmet contact. Concussions have become an issue of national interest and are causing many regulations, but returning too early from a head injury could have potentially life threatening consequences. Despite the risk of death from concussions, diseases such as Parkinson’s can be attributed to concussions. This issue has been addressed with baseline tests and preventative measures, but have any steps been made to treat post concussion syndrome? Post concussion syndrome (PCS) refers to the symptoms an individual experiences, usually after a mild or serious head injury. These symptoms most often include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea. These can be attributed with most head injuries or even mild headaches, but the damage


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that concussions cause to the human brain cause an even more severe level of side affects. According to, concussions cause abnormalities in neurological behavior. “Abnormalities following mild head injury have been reported in neuropathologic, neurophysiologic, neuroimaging, and neuropsychologic studies.” (this is on a website study) Concussions can cause changes in social ability, cause memory loss, perception of images, and cause sensitivity to changes in light. These may not seem like severe consequences on the surface, but individuals who suffer from PCS have these symptoms for months or even years after they were initially injured. In extreme cases, PCS can be seen in physical actions of individuals as they recover from head injuries. According to Dr. Saad Naseer, radiologist for Medicus medical management, the physical changes seen in individuals can vary widely. “Concussion syndrome is comparable to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Dr. Naseer said. “You can take two identical soldiers, put them through the same environment with the same weapon, same armor and have them see the same graphic images. One of these men will come home and resume a normal life, while the other will never mentally be the same.” The same can be seen in concussions and according to Dr. Naseer, doctors cannot explain the reason. “There is a certain psychological change that occurs in some people when the experience head trauma,” Dr. Naseer said. “The issue is that doctors cannot explain why.” Many say that imaging and technology should allow doctors to see the reasons behind long lasting concussion syndrome. Imaging, however, only plays a limited role in detecting concussions. When an individual comes into a hospital waiting room complaining of concussion symptoms, doctors follow a set of

procedures according to Dr. Naseer. “The first thing doctors will do is send the patient to get a CT scan to check for bleeding so that they can treat any immediate threat the patient could be exposed to. If they don’t find any bleeding, the doctors turn to MR Imaging.” Dr. Naseer said. Even with these forms of imaging, doctors cannot detect the true cause of long lasting PCS. “MR Imaging is designed to detect abnormalities of the brain such as tumors or cancer. Since concussions do not alter the true shape of the brain, doctors cannot see the cause on the surface, therefore they cannot cure the patient,” Dr. Naseer said. This presents a great challenge, and annoyance for physicians and other medical officials. “Doctors work in three ways,” Dr. Naseer said. “When doctors can see the problem and treat the problem, they do so happily. When they see the problem and cannot treat it, they get mad, but when they cannot see the problem and cannot treat it, yet they know something is wrong, doctors get annoyed.” Despite this annoyance, little progress has been made because the technology needed to do so has not yet been developed. Doctors realize that something is wrong with current methods and turn to new equipment and new plastic composites rather than new approaches to prevent injuries all together. According to Dr. Naseer, steps need to be taken to educate athletes, in contact sports, about different ways to accomplish the sports goals. “The problem with recurring head injuries is that studies make us build new plastics for helmets and pads which only leads to harder hits and more intense collisions,” Dr Naseer said. “Until we educate athletes to simply take an opponent to the ground rather than drive them through the ground, we will

FAILED while an x-ray cannot detect a concussion, they are used to find possible fractures or skull damage associated with the injury obtained.


see no decrease in head injuries.” Dr. Naseer, a former professional boxer, has personal experience in an arena in which head injuries occur on a regular basis. “It is an interesting phenomenon that we see in sports,” Dr. Naseer said. “Rugby players experience an astoundingly less amount of concussions than football players.” This seems like an absurd claim, according to Dr. Naseer, but if you break it down, it seems to make sense. “Rugby players wear no padding or protective equipment, so they constantly have an awareness that they are exposed,” Naseer said. “When a rugby player makes a tackle, they don’t try to obliterate their opponent because when they hit the other player, the feel the impact as well.” The other advantage that rugby players have is that without the extra padding, they can see their body’s natural warnings. “Without the extra padding, rugby players can see bruises

bleeding of the brain can come with a severe concussion. a ct scan evaluates if there is bleeding of the brain that could cause neurological damage

ct scan

and cuts and other signs of injury that football players have hidden underneath layers of padding and protective equipment,” Naseer said. “This allows for rugby players to see injuries and to know that something isn’t right with their body and these athletes allow those spots to heal, and this minimises serious injuries.” In this sense, the injury breakdown makes sense, but that doesn’t explain what causes concussions to last longer for some people than for others. According to pubmed. com, concussions are individualized and require treatment on an individual basis. “Although a small minority are malingerers, frauds, or have compensation neurosis, most patients have genuine complaints,” RW Evans of pubmed said. “Contrary to a popular perception, most patients with litigation or compensation claims are not cured by a verdict. Treatment is individualized depending on the specific complaints of the

an mri checks for abnormalities in the shape of the brain, hemorrhaging, tumors, etc. however, concussions alone do not change the physical brain.

mr imaging

patient.” Treatment can be extremely effective in terms of recovery, according to Evans, but concussion treatment still relies heavily on research. “Although a variety of medication and psychologic treatments are currently available, ongoing basic and clinical research of all aspects of mild head injury are crucial to provide more efficacious treatment in the future,” Evans said. With research regarding PCS and PTSD still taking place, concussions still possess too much grey area for doctors to have a specific treatment for concussions. With doctors still not knowing the direct reason behind lasting concussion symptoms, these head injuries have become touchy subjects in the medical field. At this point, Naseer believes that educating athletes different will be the key to preventing or decreasing the amount of head injuries experienced, thus eliminating PCS in individuals. | sweat


Left brain logics How it works

a left-brained person likes logic and makes sense of things: A. forms strategies B. turns data from the external world into language. C. continuously dumps old information to make room for new. D. it processes from part to whole by arranging pieces in a logical order before making a conclusion. E. to solve a math problem or work out a science F. experiment, you break it down. deals with things the way they are in reality.


in focus | 4-27-2012


a left-brained person is a list maker:

A. detail oriented, order/pattern, perception B. includes reality based, practical and safe activities. C. makes us think in logical ways. D. Is verbal, rational, analytic, conscious and practical. E. enjoys making master schedules, daily planning, completing tasks in order and checking them off when they are accomplished. F. wants to know the rules and follow them.

Making the gears work together Logical classes prove to aid problem solving to help for future issues encountered by students By Blake Beck delve editor

While the class goes over last night’s homework over standard deviation, a student raises his hand. Expecting a question concerning algebra, the teacher calls on the student, who asks one of the most common questions a math teacher has been asked. “When are we ever going to use this?” Math teacher Mr. Eric Heumann has been asked this question countless times and his answer almost never changes. “First, I tell them that I’m a lousy person to ask because I took math to be a teacher. But I usually tell them you never know when you might use something. Some of the jobs in the future don’t even exist today with how fast technology changes. I then ask them is it ever bad to know more than you need to know,” Mr. Heumann said. While these classes assist with training for future occupations, they are also necessary in honing

“It [math] also makes you sort one’s problem solving skills. And it is not just math classes, but through problems, particularly science classes as well, that help word problems, to find pertinent information with solving and discard problems, the irrelevant according to or extraneous science teacher “My hope is that [my information,” Mr. John Mr. Heumann classes] are helpful in Kozlowski. “It is just terms of problem solving. said. As for science, the inherent How useful they are is Mr. Kozlowski nature of math really for other people to hopes to give and science the classes,” Mr. judge. Students that have students taken my class are better confidence to Kozlowski said. “That’s all it solvers than before they solve difficult and complex is, is problem came in.” problems. solving. Other “I just want classes have { Mr. John Kozlowski} to give kids the a lot more science teacher encouragement memorization, Mr. Kozlowski feels that, by taking science and math to jump into a but not math classes, students will better themselves when it comes problem without and science.” to solving real life problems in the future. He encourages his students to work as hard as they can on problems immediately According to and tells them they are able to solve any problem if they try. finding a Mr. Heumann, solution,” Mr. math classes Kozlowski said. help with problem solving by teaching logical “Sometimes a solution doesn’t become apparent before you sequencing, among other things.

actually jump into a problem.” Mr. Heumann hopes to send a similar message to his students. “[I want to show them] that they can do more than they think they can and give them confidence to attack many types of problems,” Mr. Heumann said. The effectiveness of math and science classes on problem solving is yet to be determined. “My hope is that [my classes] are helpful in terms of problem solving,” Mr. Kozlowski said. “How useful they are is really for other people to judge. Students that have taken my class are better solvers than before they came in.” It is important to note, however, that science and math classes are not the only ones that assist in problem solving, but are extremely helpful in the long run. “You have problems to solve in most of your classes,” Mr. Kozlowski said. “Anything from English classes, where you have to sit down a write a convincing essay. It’s still problem solving.”

Classroom setting

t h e c l a s s ro o m s e t t i n g i s f i t for a left brain thinker and learner:

A. excels in words, language, math and science B. works better with a written outline of the lesson on the board. C. enjoys lectures and dicussing the big concepts. D. prefers study notes written line upon line of text , a room relatively quiet and orderly and individual assignments. E. has numbering and spelling skills. F. academic pursuits deal with symbols such as letters, words, and mathematical notations. G. easily memorizes vocabulary words or math formulas. H. knows the consequences of not turning in papers on time or of failing a test. | in focus


Mastering multitasking Technology proves to slowly be rewiring our brains, bringing growth to educational development By Sean Gundersen communications editor

One, two, three... six tabs open. Three of them social networking, others stem off into the latest scoop on Peyton Manning and Adele, maybe even a feigned attempt at trying to get some homework done. Nevertheless, our generation performs a daily balancing act with all the information that is both thrown at us and sought out daily. The question is, how are all of these technological outlets affecting the way that we as humans work and operate? For some time now neurologists and psychologists alike have pondered the lingering effects of the 21st century’s most beloved habit: feverish connectivity. As told from the opinion of Larry D. Rosen, PhD, research psychologist and professor in the psychology department at California State University, brain evolutions due to technology and its growing influence will essentially have some positive and some negative effects depending on the viewpoint. But none can deny that as technology reaches younger and younger generations, they are also becoming more and more susceptible to cognitive change. “The evolution of brain plasticity is a continual process that is ongoing during the day and particularly at night as the brain attempts to prune useless connections and consolidates useful ones,” said Rosen, “[in regard to the effects on future generations] the world is evolving with younger people getting respect from older people due to the ease with which they embrace the new options in their virtual worlds.”

This new breed of thinkers is slowly emerging, innovative and zealous, prepared to take on whatever is thrown at them. Their arsenal is vast, unyielding, and in a state of perpetual growth, or so it seems. “The web connects more ideas together more rapidly and this has strong positive effects on creativity. But pursuing ideas deeply becomes more difficult; we will be more visual, more willing to try things out, but less systematic and thoughtful,” said Allan Collins professor of psychology at Northwestern University. Because of the relatively new studies being done on this subject, most research as of yet is merely speculative. This “potential evidence” shows the impact that technology has had in such a short time span on actually rewiring the brain to fit its impulsive and fast moving functions. “I think we will see increased activity in the brain areas such as the prefrontal cortex of or even the hippocampus – the seat of memory. On the negative side I think we might see less activation in the areas involved in learning facts which might evolve as we experience what has been dubbed the ‘Google Effect’ where we do not remember material that we

know we can look up online or at a computer,” said Rosen. Rosen may be right, the days of going outside armed only with one’s imagination and a stick to place in the mud may be coming to an end -with a brand new age on the horizon. A bracing new world of thought, with endless possibilities and improvements still unexplored. “Until about age 12, I didn’t have a computer,” said senior Michael Barbara. “After that, I found that between the Internet, cell phones, and video games, learning from the world around me and going outside became pretty much obsolete. I had all I needed at my fingertips.”

Sweeney strays from ‘smart kid’ stereotype By Alli Keisker

print executive editor

You may see her playing a sousaphone, marching in a formation with the Spartan Regiment. You may see her tossing batons, performing with both the color and winter guards. You may see her volunteering to tutor for the National Honor Society. You may see her behind the scenes in theatre; volunteering wherever she is needed. You may see her creating a Gay-Straight Alliance at our school, hoping to make a difference. You may see her as the ‘smart kid,’ but she sees herself as junior Amy Sweeney. “I think a lot of people will just identify me as one of those ‘smart kids’ who only cares about school, which to be honest, is a pretty accurate description of what I’m all about,” Amy said. “In addition to my strange love for learning, however, I also have a passion for arts and humanities.” Amy says she has been stereotyped as the ‘smart kid’ nearly her whole life, all because of two tests she took in elementary school. In the first grade, she was tested for Spectra and passed. Spectra did not alter her academic setting much, but a year later, in second grade, she was tested for another program: SEGA. SEGA represents self-motivated students with exceptional abilities who are taught a challenging curriculum with academic acceleration. It also provides the best and the brightest an opportunity to receive individual attention from their instructors, to grow with a very close group of peers and to get a head start on their academic conquest. Amy was one of these students. “As a SEGA kid, you see a lot of interesting things happen during a crucial period in your development,” Amy said. “Basically what SEGA is is a unique opportunity to be surrounded by the most creative and brilliant minds in your age group.”

Throughout elementary and middle school, the mouse-like, ‘smart kid.’ I don’t want to be Amy was in a classroom of no more than eight who people want me to be, and I want to show others they can be who they want to be too,” other students including the teacher. “You get to know these people extremely Amy said. Friend and senior Jazmyn Burnitt-Erp was well. You share laughs, you stimulate each other creatively, and you produce some who convinced Amy to join marching band outstanding things,” Amy said. “SEGA allows when they first met. She feels Amy has made a person to blossom as an individual and a lasting impact on her and has shown her to teaches him or her how to thrive in a tightly-knit always be herself. “She has still shown me how to always be work environment.” Though SEGA helped Amy to succeed above confident and not let anyone influence the her class, as middle school ended for her, the way I think. I would say [her personality is] program did as well. This caused her to be very complex. She is the most unpredictable thrown into high school knowing merely eight person I know. She has so many quirks, and once you think you get to students from her class know her tendencies, she out of 2,000. changes them,” Burnitt-Erp “SEGA had its said. “I’ve known her since limitations, for me at There are so many I was a freshman and I still least. After eighth grade, preconceived notions haven’t figured her out.” the skills acquired that arise when you Along with Burnitt-Erp, in SEGA lose their see a person’s grades, senior Genesis Carter relevance, and you and I wish they could all also has been touched by realize how far behind be dismissed because Amy over the years she has you are socially. There seldom do they hold true. gotten to spend with her. are other people out Amy Sweeney {junior “Amy is one of the there and a multitude of personality types to adjust to.” Amy said. smartest people I know and her level of “When I hit high school, I instantly came to common sense and people skills are out of spite my previous educational experiences this world,” Carter said. “Little does she know, because they had hindered my social growth she’s inspired me to be a better person in the to a point that I thought it would be impossible little time that we’ve become close. I look up to her, and I admire her boldness.” to recover from.” By not only changing her style, but joining so Despite SEGA being a social blockade, Amy has not let that stop her from succeeding many extra-curricular activities as well, Amy has through academics, activities and social been able to break away from being attached aspect of her life. The SEGA system allowed to such a small group setting and become part her to walk across campus from Saeger of much larger groups. Some of her closest Middle School and take advanced English and friends she met through her involvement in Mathematics classes her eighth grade year. band, including Burnitt-Erp and Carter, who This is where she met a majority of her current perform with her in winter guard. “Every experience you have diversifies friends, most of which are seniors. While her peers know she does not feel any yourself and helps you meet new people. I better than they are, Amy says she sometimes absolutely enjoy being part of larger groups, feels as if people make assumptions about her such as band or color guard, because I have the opportunity to get to know how to work and her grades. “There are so many preconceived notions with all kinds of different people,” Amy said. that arise when you see a person’s grades, “You can be booksmart without being exposed and I wish they could all be dismissed because to the plethora of personalities out there, but seldom do they hold true,” Amy said. “I do not you really can’t learn much about true humanity fit into a cookie-cutter straight A student plaster or even yourself without contact with others.” You may see her play her final note during the mold, and I have never met a person who did.” With the hopes of losing the ‘smart kid’ halftime show, marching off the field with her stereotype, Amy has been frequently changing Regiment. You may see her catching the last her style since middle school. Her hair has baton, performing with color guard or winter been a variety of colors and styles, including guard. You may see her leaving the library from the hairstyle that gave her the most attention: tutoring. You may see her after the play, smiling at the results of the show. You may see her as dreadlocks. “I’ve changed my style so much because the ‘smart kid,’ but everyone else sees her as I’ve always wanted to break the stereotype of Amy.

Right brain reasoning Emotions

sensitive dislikes structure people skills feels deeply for others tends to be positive passionate impulsive and impatient mind jumps a round


sees the whole in parts thinks while speaking inventive charismatic personality makes decisions on gut feelings tends towards dyslexia disorganized needs approval takes risks

Classroom setting does not do well on tests learns lessons the hard way day dreams difficulty with higher math unlikely to read instructions enjoys creative writing thinks outside the box difficult time staying focused


thinks in pictures excels the arts pliable creative visionaries story tellers | advertisements | in focus



Rushing relationships Because the teenage brain is not fully developed yet, teenagers tend to jump into relationships By Jessica Mugler copy manager

“What were you thinking?” A commonly heard phrase throughout the teenage years, this question now has a scientific answer helpful to teens and baffled parents. The answer is this: we are not thinking. Not completely. This is because teenagers’ brains are not fully developed yet, a fact that has proven myths about the teenage brain untrue. According to EDinformatics, the brain continues to change into the early 20's with the frontal lobes, responsible for reasoning and problem solving, developing last. The lack of the last developments can be seen in many areas of a teen’s life, especially in their relationships. As teens crave a Facebook relationship status and long for that special someone, they tend to become caught up in this lust and rush into relationships hastily. This may work out, or may backfire. “Teenagers rush into relationships because they are eager to grow up and feel more like an adult,” sophomore Emilie Harty said. “Being in a relationship can make you feel like you’re one step ahead.” According to Harty, this is seen in her life through people jumping from person to person in their love life, which is different than

adults. In adults, various parts of the brain work together to evaluate choices, make decisions and act accordingly in each situation, according to Discovery Health. The teenage brain does not appear to work like this, thanks to the underdevelopment of the frontal lobes. “Teenagers need to have a feeling of belonging, so once the ice is broken, friends can be made quickly,” sophomore Kaylee Lunsford said. “Once at this stage I would definitely say many teenagers can rush things, especially with the opposite sex.” Lunsford expresses that some teenagers do move slow in their relationships, those who are shy and timid, while others can jump into things. “I know some people who hate being single and continue to move from one boyfriend or girlfriend to the next,” Lunsford said. “However, I also know many people who like to take this slow and easy.” This wild dynamic and brain development not only impacts a teen’s life, but also the school community. Tension caused by dating around is felt through the whole student body. “If you’re constantly dating people then you’re constantly breaking up with people, so that can cause a lot of drama and potentially give you a bad name,” Harty said. An example of one couple

who has lasted despite their quick beginning is seniors Rafael Robertson and Michelle Aiello, who have been dating approximately three years and five months. “We didn’t really take it slow; I asked her out after a couple of months,” Robertson said. However, their relationship has a few key differences which, compared with short-lasted relationships, can make all the difference. According to Robertson, communication makes all the difference in a relationship, which is what he suggests to people beginning new romances. “We don’t fight and we communicate,” Robertson said. “You can stay together by avoiding just a few words to break up. It’s pretty easy actually.” Nonetheless, this lasting relationship is rare in a high school. The command “act your age” can now take on a whole different meaning, as scientists and parents are learning that immature acts committed by adolescents are a part of their genetic makeup. Perhaps when teens believe they are truly in love after a week or will get married after a month of dating, these rushed beliefs are due to the underdeveloped teen brain. “School is filled with relationship drama and single kids sitting there with a bag of popcorn watching it all unfold,” Lunsford said. “I feel like that’s how high school is in general and how it’s always been. That’s just life.”

infocus be heard| april | april27,27,2012 2012


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staffeditorial S

Imagination’s been left on playground

ometimes, teenagers have the rare opportunity to just sit and watch children play. The kids run around with their arms spread, gleefully shouting to their observers that they are superheroes. Other children lay on the concrete and draw elaborate pictures of flowers from their made up world with sidewalk chalk. An exceptional sense of nostalgia rushes through the teenager’s body. They would give up anything to be able to have that kind of imagination again, to be entirely entertained by a puddle of water for a solid half hour. Yet, between three hours of calculus homework and trying to understand what Koz was talking about in organic chemistry, there seems to be no time to just sit and let your imagination run wild. Our minds are trapped by white walls, in a bland building, in a monotonous cycle of classes. Our greatest creative endeavor comes f r o m coloring in countries on a w o r l d map. While we could be at our creative peak (as seen by all those embracing highlighter hair colors,

Buddy Holly style glasses and an obsession with Tumblr and Pinterest), the bland school environment we are forced into destroys any chance creative growth. While it is true that art, theatre, choir and a select few other classes offer an escape from the humdrum of the school day, it is rare students are able to invest much time in any of these classes at all. Instead of doing a project that utilizes a student’s vast imagination, teachers choose to take the easy way out and slam yet another essay on our desks. While essays have their place, so do drawings and compositions and videos and songs and culinary works of art. Many students, when given the opportunity, embrace a chance to show their creativity. Whether it comes to creating a “Hipster Hell” to mirror Dante’s Inferno or making an entire song about the flaws of the death penalty, there are ways to stimulate both the left and right brains of students. It seems that many teachers and administrators dismiss creativity, claiming that a school is “a place to learn.” However, just because we need to fill our minds with knowledge does not mean we need to have the fun sucked out of the learning process. In order to grow into adults, we need to develop not only our left brain, but teachers choose to take the easy way out and slam yet another essay on our desks. While essays have their place, so do drawings and compositions and videos and songs and culinary works of art.

It seems that many teachers and administrators dismiss creativity, claiming that a school is “a place to learn.” However, just because we need to fill our minds with knowledge does not mean we need to have the fun sucked out of the process. In order to grow into adults, we need to develop not only our left brain, but our right brain as well. While logic can help us to get a good job and a strong starting salary, our imagination is what will carry us through hard times, allow us to stand out of the crowd and create revolutionary devices. Aside from personal development, creativity will soon become just as vital to our careers as our abilities to integrate an equation or calculate the polarity of a molecule. The world and economy is shifting from an industrial, office-based atmosphere to one requiring creativity and imagination. If the point of waking up at six in the morning is to go to a place that will prepare the future generation and give them the tools to be successful, then the incompetence of our district has shone brighter than any students could imagine (even if we had actually been developing imaginations all this time). When we get into the world, there won’t be any point in time when your boss is going to ask you to find the area of a polar graph or write a ninepage literary analysis on a play that’s hundreds of years old. If this complacency continues, we are merely being set up for failure. We’ll step into college, but might as well

step over the side of a cliff. No parent pays taxes in hopes their student will receive a perfectly mediocre education that will in no way prepare them for what lies outside of the white walls. And then, when parents and alumni turn their attention to the schools they came from, the schools will turn right back around and say that, as students, we didn’t try hard enough, we had our head in the skies and we didn’t embrace our studies. Too bad administrators can’t seem to understand that the sky is exactly where our heads should be, dreaming of something bigger and better than the white-walled prison we’ve been sentenced to. But, then again, even convicts can paint and create sculptures out of soap. So maybe instead of having “Welcome to Francis Howell Central” carved into the stone in front of the building, we should pick a more appropriate greeting, like “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.” The entire student body is crying out in one way or another: let us learn, let us imagine, let us create, let us grow. The inability and extreme denial of this district is about as encouraging as a six-week cancer sentence. But hey, who knows, maybe our district will read this to be more than an angsty teenager trying to avoid doing “real work.” Maybe by letting us embrace our childish enthusiasm, teachers and administrators can smooth out their stress-causedwrinkles and have a little fun too.

12 be heard | april 27, 2012




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11 | be heard

In hopes of categorizing the personalities of students, the Central Focus staff asked students what they saw when they looked at this inkblot. Some answers were very similar, but key descriptors — such as “clown shoes” — made the difference between someone’s view being logical or creative. To weigh in on what you think the blot is, go to, click “Front page” and look for the “Quick Poll!”

I see a butterfly.

Kayla Kammermeyer {senior}

It looks like a bat coming out of a cave. You can see its wings. Kara Parr {senior}

By Margaret Borgmeyer Be Heard editor

do you


I see a tree with bushy leaves. Bailey Hight {junior}

I see a symmetrical blot of ink. Drew Crask {senior}

10 be heard | april 27, 2012

A guy riding a motorcycle. Grant Navatril {junior}

{be heard}

Effort defines grades

Gundersen speaks on how the education system views intelligence


’m no bigot. If you look at my attendance record for the school year, you’ll see a goose egg in place of days missed. If you meander past the couch I sleep on, By Sean you’ll see a stack Gundersen of school books communications and papers. In editor short, the better part of my life is directed by school. But what does such an anecdote ultimately add up to? I hesitate to say that everyone would jump on the assumption that I’m as smart as can be, but I certainly have my

reservations. Even though I stress the importance of schoolwork in my life, I don’t think grades in high school are, or should be, the basis for a person’s intelligence. Granted, I take my schoolwork very seriously. The way I see it, I’m single handedly carving out the determining factors for my future everyday when I enter our school. But the fact of the matter is, this is all beside the point. As good of grades as I get in school, I know I’m not a genius, I just try hard. God knows why some of the time, but it happens. In my mind, school — try as it may — has little to no effect nor gauge of how smart some people really are. I have friends who are so incredibly smart it sometimes scares me. But they are not all necessarily at the top of their respective classes — not

that it matters in the first place, as Valedictorians are now a thing of the past in order to coddle the sensitive souls of society. Maybe that’s a contributing factor to a lack of effort, but when you take a step back from the of cynicism of grades, what do we get? An unrepresentative peephole into the true reach of a lot of bright young kids. Teachers pinpoint true intelligence regardless of a student’s individual grade. I know they do. They’ve got a spidey sense for it, but the sad thing is there’s still nothing to be done about the “problem” — if that’s even the correct way of putting it. If there is a “problem”, per se, I believe it lies in the instances where students in many classes can issue what teachers teach, and vomit it right back at them in return for an A.

Granted, a number classes are certainly worth their salt; they’re just tragically outnumbered in the long run, leaving unaddressed the possibility for a challenge and deep sharing of knowledge in a lot of classrooms. Don’t get me wrong. Once more, my undying love for school is matched by few other things in life. However, I can’t see past the blatant flaws in “the system;” a structure built on praise for all. But is that really what we as a unit need, let alone deserve? Unfortunately we’re living in a world where the gifted classes are disappearing, it’s becoming easier and easier to get inside an honors or AP level class, and MTV reality shows have become the pulpit of our lives. Have no fear, AP Jersey Shore is well on its way. | be heard





Deciding whether or not what you wear makes an impact- does feeling foxy make you happy? Does feeling sloppy make you dreary? Let’s find out.

By Lizzi Holland the scene editor

When I wake up in the morning, one of the first things that crosses my mind is the classic, “what am I going to wear today?” Dress or skirt? Jeans or sweatpants? The possibilities are endless. But, the ultimate question my outfit depends on is whether or not I plan to ‘dress for success’ or ‘scrub-adub-dub’. Now, to some people, picking out what they are going to wear is not a life or death decision. Some are able to merely throw on the closest articles of clothing and walk out the door. I am not one of these people. I noticed years ago, that when I take the time to pick out something that I particularly enjoy wearing, my entire day seems better; colors are brighter, people are nicer and school is less dreary than usual. This all brings me to the question - does dressing well really affect your mood? Does clothing have a psychological and sociological effect? According to sociologist Mr. Ernest Harms, the answer is yes. “Dress is founded primarily in the world of emotions,” said Harms. “It is not only a kind of covering but also a kind of mimicry through which man expresses many of this subjective social sentiments.” In other words, clothing choice comes from each particular person’s viewpoint of

their place in society. If you feel like you are of a higher class, formally educated and powerful in your position, you are more likely to dress to fit that role. Others, such as psychologist Mr. Farouk Radwan believe that dressing well can have a direct correlation with selfconfidence. “Your subconscious mind does not differentiate between your body parts and the clothes you wear, and so it considers clothes an extension to your body,” said Radwan. “The result is that your self image differs according to the clothes you wear and so does your self confidence.” And this self confidence is a major factor in your overall mood. Those with confidence typically feel more assured in their status and position in the world, improving their entire outlook. “I often feel better when I’m dressing well,” said senior Mikelle McClintock. “Some days when I’m feeling lazy or tired and just throw clothes on I feel gross all day. Like, I feel less confident.” Therefore, if you ever find yourself feeling down, or plain, take an extra minute when you get dressed in the morning - it may have more of an impact than you think. I’m not saying it is time to burn all of your sweatpants and sneakers, but just remember that it is okay to leave them in the closet every once in awhile as well.

the scene | april 27, 2012

Nutrition for your noodle By Allison Comfort staff reporter


Mountain Dew from time to time to get their brain jumpstarted? However, this will not be good in the contributes to healthy long run, and although it provides a temporary blood flow and a lower energy boost, there is no concentration or clarity blood pressure should of mind involved, Guenther said. promote brain health And, to keep one’s brain in tip-top shape for the whole day, there is a specific schedule a student should follow. “You shouldn’t go more than 16 hours without eating,” Guenther said. “And during waking hours, you should eat something small at least every five hours.” Family and consumer science teacher Ms. Grace Clifford says it is not just mood students need to be worried about. It is also good to build the brain’s strength up. The way to do this, Ms. higher learning Clifford says, is with the brain’s key component. capacity and bet“The brain is made up mostly of proteins,” Ms. ter motor skills Clifford said. “So, eating foods high in proteins is good for your brain. Foods that are nutrient-rich and organic, not messed with, are good for the brain too.” Senior Abby Benz, who is enrolled in a foods and nutrition class, says it is definitely worth the classwork to be able to live a healthier lifestyle. “[The class] helped me become more aware of the things I put in my body. The teachers show us how to cook healthy things that taste good too. I try to eat healthy by avoiding fast food. I try to eat rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, healthy in general,” Benz said. which are essential for brain function


strawberries .


helps protect the brain from oxidative stress and improves learning capacity and motor skills


In high school, it is not uncommon to see students splurging on sweets and easy-tograb foods that do not quite constitute a meal. However, this might make taking tests more difficult. Registered dietitian Karen Guenther at SSM St. Joseph Health Center says that there is a definite link between mood and food, which can affect even the most study-happy student. “There’s a lot of food that can increase the serotonin in the brain,” Guenther said. “There’s been a lot of research into this area of the brain. The foods that researchers say can affect the brain include: nuts, blueberries and other colorful berries, and omega fatty acids, which can be found in fish products and the aforementioned nuts. Carbs also increase serotonin, which affect positive mood, and so do complex carbohydrates and proteins. Eating a diet packed with these foods leads to a brain that’s in better shape for the rigorous testing and studying the school employs. However, it is not just those foods that students need to eat. There are some things students need to stay away from as well, Guenther says. The main thing to avoid is sugar. This could be a hard one for students to abide by. Who has not downed a Monster or

oranges help improve memory


. .


good sources of vitamin E




help improve memory

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Schedule an appointment with Charisse, Sheri, Stacy, or Nickie to take advantage of this amazing deal before Prom! 636.928.1233. Located right across the street from FHC. | the scene



How can you train your mind to make good habits and break bad ones?

making and breaking

HABITS Stephans is making the decision to break her habit, and stop biting her nails. The plan was a success, and she quit biting her nails, just in time for prom.

Sophomore, Hailey Stephans, has the habit of nail biting. She decided to cover her nails in nail polish remover, in order to make them taste bad, and break her habit.

By Caitlan Good staff reporter

Everyone has a habit, from self-harm, to doing your homework directly after school. Whether the habit is a good one, or a bad one, it is always hard to change your habits. If someone is making a new habit, it is hard to put the new daily activity into an old routine, but it is easier than if the habit is being broken. When trying to break a habit, the mind does not like to change what it likes to do at a certain time everyday. The mind has reason behind every habit, good and bad, and changing the routine is very difficult. According to Dr. Michelle Seliner, teenagers make habits in order to deal with something that has happened in their past. Being a doctor that focuses in self harm, Seliner believes that appropriate treatment to stop a habit must be taken. “The individual would need to go through therapy,” said Seliner, “or the appropriate treatment to the individual case, whether it be self-harm or nail biting, there is some reason behind it.” Habits and addictions are two different things, an addiction is something your body cannot live without, and a habit is something that a person can stop, if someone self-consciously wants to. It

all depends on setting a goal or a plan. Without a plan, and the follow through, the teenager cannot break their habit. While the mind may see the bad habit as an addiction, the body knows it’s not necessary. Healthier alternatives can be found, and are somewhat necessary, in order to break a habit. Whether the habit is big, like self-harm, or small, like nail biting, if a person sets their mind to it, they can break it. Finding a replacement activity, like writing or drawing, can better a person’s chances at breaking their habit. The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology says that habits are made based on the goals a certain person has. A habit would be changed because goals change. Say someone wanted to quit smoking because they were having a baby. Before they knew about the baby, they did not care about their health, but as soon as they know they are bringing in another life to care for, they quickly realize that they need to be there for that baby. Their goals change, therefore their habits change. The question is, how is the decision made to make, or break, a habit? The person would have to consciously decide, “I am [not] going to... anymore.” The current behavior must be changed, and

a goal must be set. Following through is the biggest part of beginning, or ending, something in life. If there is no commitment, or it’s just sometimes it will be followed through on, and sometimes it will not, will the goal really be met? No. If someone is breaking a habit, most of the time finding something to do to replace the time spent doing whatever it was that they used to do. In most situations, changing the habit to something more productive is a good thing, but if there is a serious addiction involved, that may be the worst thing you can do. It all just takes a little bit of conscious planning, and support. Planning is is huge part of changing habits. Making a plan, and following through, is the easiest way to change something in life. Without a plan, the whole goal can crumble, and the person can avert back to their old ways, faster than they made the decision to change their life. How can a habit be made? Set a goal, decide what habit needs to be broken. Senior Sara Orlet made the habit of brushing her teeth three times per day. It all began when she got braces in middle school and knew she had to brush her teeth more frequently. The goal was to brush her teeth three

times a day. She planned out time throughout the day to brush them, and eventually it became a habit that she follows years later. “It started with my braces,” said Orlet. “I had them for three years, and I just got used to it. It just became a habit.” Breaking habits is a different story, once something has become a habit, and it is something that is done every single day, sometimes at the same time, depending on the habit. Sophomore Hailey Stephens has the nail biting habit. It started when she was younger, she would be trying to get stuff out from under her nails, and it eventually turned into a nervous habit. Stephens is currently trying to break her habit, and says it’s working better than it has when she tried before. “I’m trying to stop so I have better nails for prom with [my boyfriend],” said Stephens. “It’s a disgusting habit. I think it’s working better because I’m more committed this time.” Set a goal. Plan. Commit. Those are the general steps to making and breaking any habit. It may be an addiction to the brain, but it can easily be trained to feel otherwise by changing personal own behavior, slowly, but surely.

the scene | april 27, 2012


Jazz helps me open my mind. Improvisation is a huge factor when I practice jazz music, so it does make sense for my mind to work different ways when I hear jazz. Looking past all the transcribing, listening and engraving it takes to learn and improvise at higher levels, you really just take your own route that you want others to hear. So in my mind, my thoughts go different paths in my brain to solve problems and do homework through


I listen to rap because it will help channel whatever mood I’m in or how I’m feeling. If I’m in a bad mood, I’d listen to Gucci Mane probably.

Janiala Bonner {senior


Metal makes me less aggressive because instead of taking that anger out on people in everyday life, I get to save it for later. It makes me an overall happier person. It also relaxes my brain and puts me into an isolated state, especially with songs I know the lyrics to, so it makes it easier to focus. Zakk Hooper {junior

different techniques. Elliot Russo {senior | the scene



“Simple Little Melody”

by sean gundersen

“Your Hand In Mine” by Explosions in the Sky

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

This song is very special to me. I have a very fond memory of it playing in my head, laying on a grassy hill, the stars illuminating the night sky...

“Pale Blue Eyes” by The Velvet Underground

Don’t ask me why, but this is my favorite song. The vibe embodies my life and soul,and what can I say, Lou Reed speaks to me.

“Sophomore Slump Or Comeback Of The Year” by Fall Out Boy

Make fun of me all you want. FOB is my eternal favorite band. Pick up on the story of my life, “I’ve got a sunset in my veins” and “I swear I’d burn the city down to show you the light”.

“With or Without You” by U2

After this song is all said and done I have to sit and think over the past 5 minutes of my life and escape paralysis. Bono’s cry towards the end of the song is unrivaled. Period.

“The Ballad Of Love And Hate [live]” by The Avett Brothers

“This song comes from the band that inspired the ever popular Mumford & Sons. Seth Avett takes this moving 6 minute solo at their Charlotte, N.C. show on this inspiring song.

“The Wolves (Act I and II) [live]” by Bon Iver I was at a very turning point in my life when I heard this song live. “What might’ve been lost.” Rang through the rafters as I let the tears roll. Life changing experience let me tell you.

“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd

I grew up on this band. The collective album of “Wish You Were Here” has always been my favorite and the correlating song is no exception. I could forever enjoy the opening guitar picking and accompanying song.

“Transatlanticism” by Death Cab for Cutie “I need you so much closer.” Fighting against the inevitable divide. Beautiful.

“Trapeze Swinger [live]” by Iron and Wine

Harmonizing thoughts

Your music choices may be more than passing whims — they can reveal your state of mind. By Cody Jones staff reporter

It is no mystery students have become absorbed by the rhythms the world has produced for us. The connection to teenagers and music is evident by the way we survive the day. As the worksheets get passed around, the headphones get pulled out. Some teachers even do the liberty of providing musical broadcasts to working students. This obsession over music is not just a random occurrence in life, there is a rhyme and reason behind it. According to an interview conducted by with Don Campbell, an author who has done extensive research on the brain and music, people use music as a way to channel emotion. “Music can relate to emotions. It creates autonomic automatic responses,” said Campbell. With everything occurring in the lives of often emotional teens, music is used as the bridge to say what they simply cannot. According to Campbell, music does in fact play a part in the moods people are in. “By selecting certain kinds of music, we can improve our lives and decrease our stress,” he said. Music can also be used to correlate with

daily activities, making them a breeze to perform and creating a joyful experience in what may be a stressful situation without the help of tunes. “If you put a rhythm behind your exercise, you don’t become as tired as quickly because of our natural tendency to fall into a pattern. If you want to do 100 pushups, you will start counting because you need that rhythmicity,” Campbell said. The most prevalent reason teens have such a strong connection with their music lies within the neuroscience of a developing brain. “Different ages need different sounds. The brains of high school and college students are still developing and myelinating in such a way that sometimes sound allows them to focus better,” said Campbell. This may be the reason that students are always seen with earbuds in. So the next time a teacher asks a

student to take out their headphones, the student can stand up and firmly say “It helps me learn all this stuff better,” knowing darn well that scientific studies have got their back. However, that is not advised, and the music should be implemented more in a study period, where, according to Campbell, it will be more useful.

If you youtube this song live you’ll find a high quality recording of a show this band did for 200 very lucky people. The flow and succession of this song is touching from beginning to end. Love it.

“You Are The Moon” by The Hush Sound

No words. Let the melody take you in. Each passing piano chord resonates in my soul. All I know is that I want this played at my funeral. Morbid? Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.


the scene | april 27, 2012

{the scene}

Awaiting apocalypse

Zombie craze is spreading through school like a plague Illustraion by Lizzi Holland


By Blake Beck delve editor

n October 2010, the television show “The Walking Dead” made its debut on AMC. The show, an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name, was instantly praised by critics and zombie fans alike. The zombies of this program, characterized by their aggressive, violent nature, is a prime example of today’s image of a zombie. This image, however, took quite some time to evolve, according to junior Jasmine Chandler. “The [zombies] went being dumb, slow walking brain seekers to George A. Romero’s “Living Dead” series where they actually

develop a sense of reason and are way more cunning,” Chandler said. Romero’s version of the zombie was a precursor to today’s, which has been made famous by films and television shows such as “Night of the Living Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead,” and most recently, “The Walking Dead.” According to Chandler, the violent nature of these zombies make for a much more engaging and entertaining movie. “The new ones are a lot faster and more vicious than before,” Chandler said. “They don’t just want your brains, they want the whole dang thing.” Sophomore Nickolas Shuler agrees with Chandler. “I prefer the new kind, compared

to the old classic ones where they rise from graves. That’s really not horrifying,” Shuler said. “It makes more sense, to be honest. I strongly believe that some sort of disease or parasite is capable of destroying the human mind and turning people into mindless, aggressive monsters.” Oddly enough, both Chandler and Shuler, while enjoying movies and television shows for the entertainment value, prefer videos games because of the idea of controlling your destiny. “You feel more immersed in a video game,” Shuler said. “Games like Left 4 Dead and Dead Rising make you actually feel like you’re a part of it rather than watching or

reading a story.” Whether it is a movie, video game, or television show, it is the seriousness and realism of the zombie genre that attract so many fans. The slight possibility of an actual zombie apocalypse appeals to many, including Shuler. “What sets it [zombies] apart is that I feel like there is a hidden truth and possibility of it, which makes it truly horrifying,” Shuler said. “The idea behind a virus or parasite taking over the mind in reality is close to happening.” According to Shuler, parasites that can take over the minds of animals and force them to act in a violent, senseless manner already exists.

“All it would take is for that parasite to evolve and adapt and bam! It can take over human minds and we got aggressive, violent monsters attacking other humans and spreading the parasite,” Shuler said. While Shuler enjoys the scientific aspect of it, Chandler is more interested in the moral of zombie stories and what zombies represent, which, to her, is something much deeper than mindless violence. It’s the part of humans that we ourselves fear,” Chandler said. “That down and dirty core that we were born with but over time that it wasn’t mean to be shown. Way more than gore!” | the scene


Do you like frozen yogurt? if you bring the coupon below to orange leaf on wednesday, april 25, you will receive a dollar off of your purchase. a percent of your purchase will go to the Central Focus.


go to go to go to go to go to go to go to go to go to go to go to Tweet at @fhctoday and send us a picture of your combination of frozen yogurt and toppings.

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our staff

Alli Keisker - Print Executive Editor Kelci Davis - Visuals Executive Editor Ellen Hinze - Multimedia Executive Editor Blake Beck - Delve Editor Matt Lundberg - Sweat Editor Lizzi Holland - The Scene Editor Margaret Borgmeyer - Be Heard Editor Maddie Wilson - Design Editor Sean Gundersen - Communications Editor Sean Carroll - iFocus Editor Karley Canova - Reporter Allison Comfort - Reporter Caitlan Good - Reporter

Francis Howell Central High School 5199 Highway N St. Charles, Mo., 63304 Phone: 636.851.5636 Fax: 636.851.41


Cody Jones - Reporter Ben Morrison - Reporter Jessica Mugler - Reporter Maddie Newton - Reporter Mary Niebur - Reporter Ben Sandfort - Reporter Drew Anderson - Photographer Alyssa Beckering - Photographer Matt Cochran - Photographer Jerianne Harrison - Photographer Elise Thomas - Photographer Savannah McEachern - Photographer Matthew Schott - Adviser

why do we do what we do?

the central focus, along with, are student run publications which look to serve the francis howell central community through relevent, realiable journalism. the newsmagazine is meant to be have analytical outlook on topics and stories which matter to our readers. we are always looking to improve, and feedback is always appreciated.

interaction | april 27, 2012

francis howell central high school | volume fifteen | issue eight | 4.27.2012

Central Focus April 2012  

Volume 15 Issue 8