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Dance team takes 2nd, 4th at Lindbergh competition. Find out more details about the team’s performance on

A NEW LOOK FOR THE NEW YEAR Check out the new look of Launching on Jan. 6, 2014, featuring easier access to photos and videos.

delve 3-8 | sweat 9-13 | in focus 14-19 | the scene 21-26 | be heard 27-30 | interact 31 | aperture 32

SIX {graduating early} Seniors Tanner Early and Maddie Edwards celebrate early graduation at semester and reflect on their plans for the future.

TWELVE {fall sports off season} Student athletes in soccer, football, cross country and softball train and prepare for their sport during the off season, hoping to improve their success for next year

TWENTY-TWO {tuning in}

fall sport recaps


Christmas music seems to begin playing earlier and earlier each year. How soon is too soon to begin hearing “Jingle Bells?�

TWENTY-THREE {17 days} Winter Break has 17 days in it. We have 17 ideas for you to fill your days off, from sports to plays to concerts, find some ways to make your holidays festive and fun.

TWENTY-EIGHT {desensitized} ice hockey



Black Friday nelson mandela

opening shots | december 13, 2013

6 3

Brayden Densmore talks about the Typhoon Haiyan and the desensitization of America towards foreign tragedies.

{delve} Shoppers wait in line to purchase discounted shoes at Macy's in Costa Mesa, Calif. on the morning of Black Friday. Macy's opened at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and 7 a.m. on Black Friday.

photo by MCT Campus

Give thanks, then go shopping As the Black Friday tradition shifts into Thursday, students still find bargains By Erin Rowland


delve editor

o many, it marks the beginning of “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” After a delicious Thanksgiving feast with family, millions of people leave their homes at odd hours of the night, hoping to score great deals on everything from TVs and computers to boots and coats. Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, is a holiday tradition for Americans everywhere. Junior Ashley Marlo has worked at Rue 21 since August and worked her first Black Friday this year after having shopped on Black Friday in years past. “Since I started working in retail, my Black Friday traditions have stopped,” Marlo said. According to CNN, in 2012 307 million people, or one in three adults, braved the large crowds of rowdy shoppers at stores opening anywhere from eight on Thanksgiving night to four in the morning the next day. Since Black Friday began, stores have been opening earlier and earlier in hopes of attracting more customers and beating their competition.

“I think it’s unfair, especially to people who work on Thanksgiving. I had to start work at seven, and it took away time from my family,” Marlo said. Marlo used to go Black Friday shopping, but she realized there wasn’t really a benefit to it. “I think the lines are ridiculous. I don’t think it’s worth it. I never get anything good; I always end up buying things for myself,” Marlo said. Senior Julie Groeblinghoff disagrees. She has a tradition of Black Friday shopping with a friend every year. “On Thanksgiving this past year, I was with my family until eight, and then I got ready and went out because the stores opened so early,” Groeblinghoff said. Groeblinghoff is unhappy with how more stores are opening earlier on Thanksgiving. “You could have the whole evening with your family, then you would get ready and then go out,” Groeblinghoff said. Many stores opened earlier with the hope of getting more customers into the store by being open longer and offering better deals.

“I don’t think they’re going to make any more money than they already do because more people are going to come, but then less people will come on actual Black Friday,” Groeblinghoff said. Another way stores are trying to earn more money on the major shopping day is by offering online deals that are comparable to their instore offers. The Monday following Black Friday has become known as Cyber Monday. Online Black Friday shopping has also increased dramatically in the past few years. In 2012, 41 percent of Thanksgiving weekend shopping was done online, according to CNN. The 2013 estimate was 51 percent. Senior Kyle O’Keefe was an online shopper this year. “In an era where everyone is lazy, it just saves everyone time when they can plop down in front of a computer and load one web page,” O’Keefe said. O’Keefe has never been an in-store shopper and definitely sees more benefits in doing his shopping online. “By basic economics, the prices aren’t actually dropped that much; they aren’t

actually that great of a deal,” O’Keefe said. O’Keefe used his shopping to buy Christmas presents this year. Most of the deals he got were similar to those offered in the stores, if not better. He sees online shopping as an easier alternative to facing the massive crowds. “It’s not worth fighting through a sea of people, with only a minute chance of actually getting the item,” O’Keefe said. But online shopping is just one new frontier for stores to explore. Retailers will continue to search for ways to beat their competition. However, it is unclear if opening earlier is the best solution. “I don’t think it’s profitable if they keep opening earlier and earlier, because I know that when we opened at six, people didn’t start showing up till 10,” Marlo said. And Marlo may be right. According to Bloomburg, this year was the first since 2009 to see a Black Friday Weekend spending decrease. This puts more pressure on stores to find other ways to draw in customers and make large profit on the most important shopping day of the year. | delve


Photo by Kortney Sheahan

Taking n the tech tr ubles

New club allows students with interest in technology gain experience By Joey Silver staff reporter

The Greek Squad, a word play of Best Buy’s ‘Geek Squad’ and the fact that Spartans originated in Greece, is a group of teachers that help train and educate the staff on technology to better help students improve their learning and academic success. They are the go-to staff when other staff members have technological trouble. They have been around for a while but weren’t called the Greek Squad until a few years ago. Now the Greek Squad wants to extend their leadership styles into the student body by forming the Junior Greek Squad. “They [The Senior Greek Squad] thought it would be beneficial for students with an interest in computers/ technology to have an opportunity to explore that interest at school,” Mr. Ryan Kelly, the technician for FHC, said. The Junior Greek Squad is a new club consisting of juniors and seniors who assist Mr. Kelly. The purpose of this club is to help students and staff with technological issues and to help the students on the Junior Greek Squad gain experience. Each student will set aside one hour of the day


delve | december 13, 2013

in order to be a ‘TA,’ or technician’s aid, for Mr. Kelly. “I think having a Junior Greek Squad is a good idea,” Mr. Kelly said. “It would be difficult to have an after school club to work on computers and the like; working with district equipment during the day is the best way for students to get experience and enjoy their club.” The members of the Junior Greek Squad will follow Mr. Kelly around and learn how to deal with certain issues. The main goal is to get the members to go off on their own and deal with the issues themselves. “To start off, students will mirror me learning the way the school district technology department likes things to operate,” Mr. Kelly said. “But the idea is that the club members will be able to troubleshoot issues for teachers the same as I do.” Applicants to the club are required to have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA along with no D’s or F’s in any of their classes during their time on the Junior Greek Squad. They also need a resume with specific qualifications to work with Mr. Kelly on computer and technology related problems. In addition, applicants need three letters of reference, two

from current faculty at FHC and one personal reference. The application deadline has closed, and they are now in the interview process. “Basically, if you can work with computers, you can make the club,” Mr. Dave Stofer, a member of the Greek Squad, said. “We are looking for different kids with different specialties, so if a kid is really good with Excel, they could help a teacher make a spreadsheet.” Junior Gina Cole has applied to the Junior Greek Squad, and she thinks the club is a good opportunity to learn more about technology and put on her resume. She plans on going into computer maintenance and networking. “I applied because technology interests me,” Cole said. “I like learning about technology and helping others fix stuff.” The Junior Greek Squad is looking to help kids interested in technology by giving them real life experience with computers and contributing to a good resume. “Our aim is to help kids with an interest in this area gain experience,” Mr. Stofer said. “It will help build a good resume.”

Two sisters, two different worlds Rebekah and Hannah Kunzer share their story of transition from their life in New Guinea to America By Emily Herd staff reporter

The tropical jungle surrounds the handmade house that is a few miles away from the village of Kabahirou in Paupa New Guinea. Every night, the sounds of bugs and animals in the jungle echoes in their home as the Kunzer family sleeps. Now, instead of hearing the sounds of the jungle, they sleep to the noise of ambulance sirens wailing and Americans honking their car horns. Even the simple changes are extremely diverse. For most of their life, Rebekah and Hannah Kunzer were in a small village in New Guinea where they have been missionaries, reaching out to the community and its people. In the summer of 2012, their lives changed drastically when they moved to Missouri to be with their family and start a new life. Sophomore Rebekah Kunzer lived in Papua New Guinea for almost 15 years, and she grew accustomed to the culture and people of her village. Rebekah and her family moved to the island, New Ireland of Papua New Guinea to be Christian missionaries to the people of New Guinea. They built their own house in the jungle a few miles away from the village, and her father learned to speak fluently in the tribe language Patpatar.

“We would translate the Bible into their language; my father became fluent in their language and planted a church that he would preach in every week day,” Rebekah said. The move to a third world country was not the only sacrifice they had to make. They also had to give up the civilization of America and have the kids grow up in the rural culture of New Guinea. If there was an accident, people would call a helicopter and fly to the nearest hospital in Australia. Life was more risky and dangerous, and the native people’s lives were in poverty. “I grew up in a village where people lived in huts made of bamboo and grass, with no running water and dirt floors,” Rebekah said. “Also, most villages don’t have roads leading into the capital, so they have to take a helicopter to go there or even to the hospital.” Not only was safety an issue, but so were the women’s freedoms and respect as an individual. In New Guinea, women are viewed as property and not equal to men causing women to be in dangerous situations. When Rebekah moved, she explained how living in America allowed her to have many rights and freedoms as a woman compared to the scarce rights in New Guinea. “The biggest difference is just the way that I’m treated,” Rebekah said. “There,

women are viewed more as property, so I had a lot less freedoms than I do in America.” In their tribe, most children don’t go to school, so in order for the Kunzer sisters to have a good education, they had to be isolated from their family and the people of New Guinea. For nine weeks, the girls would fly to the private school Numonohi Christian Academy (located in Goroka in the highlands of Papua New Guinea) where they lived in dorms with other student missionaries from New Guinea. For those long weeks at school, they were separated from their family and had no way of contacting them due to the lack of technology in the village. Senior Hannah Kunzer misses her friends who went to the academy and the people of New Guinea, but she is also jubilant she moved to be with her family. Moving to America also forces her to be social and make new friends. “I miss all my friends and the village that we lived in, because we had good relationships with people there,” Hannah said. “But moving here has taught me how to be more social and come out of my shell.” Next year, Hannah plans to go to the University of North Georgia (an Army ROTC college) and then join the army as

a translator in foreign affairs for 4-6 years. She plans to major in Arabic, and minor in either Russian or Korean. “Because I’m a missionary, I’ve always had a love for different countries, cultures, and languages,” Hannah said. “The army puts the language and culture together with the mental and physical challenges that I like.” After the army, she wants to be a missionary again due to her strong interest in foreign countries and their language and culture. Her move from New Guinea to America has inspired her to reach out to others, just as she did while missioning in New Guinea. “I possibly might go back to New Guinea after the army, but I’m really interested in Spanish speaking countries so I might mission there or go to the same country where I was stationed in the army since I will know the language there,” Hannah said. Hannah’s mission to reach out to foreign countries thrived from her childhood and missioning in New Guinea. Her everyday experiences and interactions have stemmed her desire to aid foreign countries and learn new languages. “My upbringing and personal experiences have shown me that other people’s needs are important over mine and that people need help,” Hannah said. | delve


Moving on with their lives Graduating early allows seniors to start their lives a semester early By Emily Klohr staff reporter

Senior Maddie Edwards is determined to get on with her life rather than spending unnecessary time in high school, and she has the opportunity to do so. Seniors who have received the number of credits required to graduate from are eligible to graduate after their first semester of senior year. Some students graduate early in hopes of starting college, while others spend the extra semester working to pay for college. “If I have the opportunity to move on with my life, why not take it?” Edwards said. Edwards has chosen to take classes at UMSL starting in January to get her general education credits out of the way. She plans on continuing to commute to UMSL when she starts her degree next fall. “I want to be an elementary or middle school counselor and get my minor in music therapy, so I can teach kids how to use their voice to calm anxiety and depression,” Edwards said. Edwards is in Chamber Choir and will continue to sing with the choir after graduation. “The only downside to graduating early is that I can’t travel with the choir, but I’ll still be able to sing during the spring concert,” Edwards said.

The final day of school for students graduating early is Dec. 20. They will still be able to go to senior prom and walk with their class in the spring if they choose to do so. Senior Tanner Early has also decided to take this opportunity. “I decided to graduate early because I’m not as much a participator in high school as the average student may be. Things like school dances and extracurricular activities aren’t very important to me, and I don’t desire to stay in high school any longer than I have to,” Early said. Students who are planning on graduating early must complete the minimum number of credits before being considered for this opportunity. “Students can double up on certain subjects to get their full amount of credits in time for early graduation,” Early said. Students who graduate early can spend second semester working to pay for college, starting college, or just enjoying their free time. “I recently got a job and plan to work during second semester and summer to build myself up financially so I can start going to SCC next fall,” Early said. Students who are considering early graduation must talk to their counselor to determine if this is an option for them. Mr. Dustin Bailey, a counselor, has already spoken with students planning to graduate early this year.

“We have about 15-20 students hoping to graduate early this year,” Mr. Bailey said. In addition to completing the required courses and receiving 24 credits, students must fill out an eighth semester waiver and have it signed by their counselor, parents, and principal. The eighth semester waiver verifies that the student has received the credits and permissions necessary to graduate after first semester of their senior year. For some students, this opportunity doesn’t allow them to participate in several events that are important to them. “Students who graduate early can still come to concerts, sporting events, and senior prom, as well as being able to walk with their class during the graduation ceremony, but they can’t take part in winter or spring sports,” Mr. Bailey said. Graduating early allows students to free up their schedule, go to college early, get used to college life while still at home by going to a community college, or get in on January acceptance to a college that might be hard to get in to. “It can be a great thing, but it does take away the spring semester of your last year of high school, which can be a really fun time of school as everything wraps up. I think it really depends on the individual student, what their goals are, and what works best with their situation,” Mr. Bailey said.

Current Events: Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa dies at 95 on

Dec. 6. Here is student reflection on this influential figure in history.

“Mandela man who





for his country and would do anything to make it happen.” Sophomore Cameron Lundberg


delve | december 13, 2013

“Mandela affected the world in more ways than we can count. He was an inspiration to leaders and activists worldwide and was a living example of what politics should be. He was visionary.”

“He went to jail for 27 years and became the president of South Africa. He was an advocate for world peace and inspired people from all over the world to be peaceful and civil.”

Senior Ethan Hammer

Junior Haley Allen



By Katelyn Viola staff reporter

Some celebrate Christmas. Some celebrate Hanukkah. Some celebrate both. Senior Stephanie Gerling will experience celebrating Hanukkah, The Festival of Lights, for the first time. She will be participating alongside a family that celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah. “My boyfriend, Michael, and his parents celebrate Hanukkah, so I’ll get to celebrate with them,” Gerling said. “I’m really excited.” Gerling will be participating in a few of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Since she is new to the holiday, Gerling will be experiencing it with little to expect, but she is eager to try it out. “It will be fun trying out something new, while doing my own traditions,” Gerling said. “I think it’s neat how different religions celebrate different holidays and take on different traditions.” Gerling is delighted to play traditional Jewish games for the first time. “We will play a Jewish game of dreidel,” Gerling said. Dreidels are small wooden tops. Players spin dreidels. The dreidels have little Hebrew letters on each side. Depending on what letter it lands on, the players either give or take coins. Art teacher Mrs. Lisa Milos Harlan has celebrated Hanukkah her whole life. There are several traditions to do on Hanukkah. One of them is to light a candle every night for each of the eight nights on something called a menorah. “You light one, and then you light the shamash candle, which is the lead candle,” Mrs. Milos said. They would light the lead candle and then one more every night until there’s eight. As Gerling lights the menorah, she will participate in a speech. “We recite a traditional Jewish prayer

in English. Then we recite it in Hebrew,” Gerling said. There are different kinds of food to eat during Hanukkah. Gerling will be trying a traditional Jewish food called potato latkes. “There’s potato pancakes, which are sort of like shredded potatoes and fried,” Mrs. Milos said. “You can have applesauce or sour cream on top.” Jelly donuts are a popular dessert around this time. There’s also brisket which is made in a marinade. “People also give children little pieces of chocolates wrapped in a gold foil called gelt,” Mrs. Milos said. To get into the Hanukkah spirit, Mrs. Milos and her family listen to music. “We listen to the Adam Sandler ‘Eight Nights of Hanukkah’ DVD. It’s more humorous,” Mrs. Milos said. “There’s also a prayer that we sing over the candles when we light them.” The story known as “The Miracle of the Lights” goes that there was a lantern in a synagogue that had enough oil to last one night. It wasn’t supposed to, but it lasted for eight nights. Thus the eight nights of Hanukkah. The first night of Hanukkah happens to be on Thanksgiving this year. “We’re going to have a combined celebration of both holidays that day. It won’t happen for another 70,000 years,” Mrs. Milos said. While Gerling is looking forward to Hanukkah, she shares her excitement for Christmas, which she has celebrated her whole life. “It means happiness and cheerful times,” senior Roger Lewis said. Lewis’ favorite holiday is Christmas, because it’s close to his birthday. “Instead of getting a few little things, I get one big thing,” Lewis said. Gerling expresses her love for the food around this time of year. “For dinner, there’s ham and green bean casserole. The potato casserole is my favorite,” Gerling said. “My

favorite dessert is pumpkin pie.” Lewis likes to keep it simple for the meals on Christmas day. “I have hot chocolate for breakfast, and I just kind of eat dessert for dinner,” Lewis said. “Pie is my favorite.” Gerling’s favorite part about Christmas is being with her family and seeing everyone cheerful and her family enjoys decorating the tree together. “Ornaments are my favorite, because we have old and new ones,” Gerling said. It represents the time they have celebrated Christmas as a family from past to present. Gerling believes Christmas is the perfect time for people to enjoy being around their loved ones. “People get lost on what Christmas is. People think about what and how much they should spend on gifts or being envious of other people’s gifts,” Gerling said. “Having good times together is what matters.”

The menorah is a traditional symbol of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and represents the Miracle of Lights.

Photo courtesy of Rita Milos Brownstein


Families, friends share beliefs, activities with others during holidays

Trimming Christmas trees and hanging stockings are traditions that play out in many Christian families. | delve


Hunting down the turkey drive

Students donate 150 turkeys for families in need as part of St. Charles County fundraiser By Rachel Large staff reporter

This year, in honor of Thanksgiving and the holidays, the school tried a new type of charity: the turkey drive. The idea was proposed by one of the principals, Mr. Lucas Lammers, in hopes to raise money to buy turkeys that will be donated to families-in-need. “This year, FHC was invited by St. Charles County to participate in the turkey drive,” Mr. Lammers said. “Dr. Arnel and I, along with the Principal Advisory Council (PAC), ultimately pulled the trigger and made it happen.” Students could donate by placing frozen turkeys in Mr. Lammer’s office. The goal was to raise at least 500 turkeys. Mr. Lammers also placed a high expectation on the amount of people that would participate, not expecting to reach it since this is the first


delve | december 13, 2013

year the school has participated. “I only got 22 turkeys placed in my office,” Mr. Lammers said. “Overall, we collected 150 turkeys, and I say that was successful.” Students could also donate loose change at lunch to jars placed in the cafeteria, competing by class to get the most money at the end of the event. Silver coins and cash added points to the class’s score, and pennies took away points. Junior Zachary Harrellson took advantage of the opportunity, donating 3,000 pennies to the seniors’ jar, totaling a whopping $30. “I donated all those pennies to the seniors’ jar so they would lose,” Harrellson said. “I also donated because I felt like it was something I should do.” Harrellson feels that next year more people should participate in order to make the drive more fun.

Junior Andy Moats also donated in order to see the seniors lose, but this time money was placed in the juniors’ jar. “I donated about $10 in random change,” Moats said. “I felt like I was expected to donate, but it felt good to help families-inneed.” Moats, unlike Harrellson, didn’t feel the turkey drive was very engaging. “I really don’t think donating whole turkeys to the school is what teenagers would do,” Moats said. “But I do like the idea and the message behind it, and I would like to see something like it again.” Despite the juniors’ attempt to beat out the competition, the seniors won with $169.62. The juniors came in second with $125.14, the freshman came in third with $46.93 and the sophomores came in fourth with $44.08. The seniors got ice cream at lunch on Dec. 4 for winning.

150 345.77 169.62

Total turkeys collected

Total dollars collected

Dollars collected from the senior class


Making the time

Senior Derek Mielke shakes hands with one of his opponents after finishing a race. Mielke has been a part of the Spartan swimming team since hise freshman year.

By Morgan Brader staff reporter

Most athletes do as much as they can to come out on top. Whether it’s scoring the most goals in a soccer game or making the fastest time for a race. Varsity swimmer senior Derek Mielke pushed himself to swim to the best of his abilities in every swim meet he competed in. His hard work paid off and rewarded him with two individual records. One of which he recently broke early November during the conference finals. This star swimmer has been conquering the water since he was 11 years old. His passion for swimming brought him to try out for the school’s swim team, which landed him a position on the varsity team as a

freshman. Throughout his four years of varsity, Mielke qualified for the conference finals, the last competition of the boys swimming season. This year, he thought it was time for another record. Aiming for another record, Mielke prepared himself and got in the mindset to succeed before racing. He was confident in his abilities and knew he had the dedication and experience to finish first. He had competed for a record in previous races and based on his past performances, Mielke suspected the odds of him carrying out a victory were in his favor. “I wanted this really bad. They didn’t have any individual records for this event, so I thought it would be

photo by Ashley Marlo

Star swimmer Derek Mielke breaks his second record

cool to win one,” Mielke said. In the conference finals, Mielke achieved what he set out to do. He broke the 100-meter butterfly record with the time of 54.2 seconds. “I was so relieved after the race. I just wanted a record and was close before,” said Mielke. Mielke broke his record recently in early November, but record breaking wasn’t a new experience for him. He has also broken the record for the 200-meter Freestyle race during conference finals as well, so after breaking the 100 Butterfly record, Mielke wasn’t surprised. “I expected to win, so I just shrugged it off after I finished,” Mielke said. “No big celebrations, since I’ve done this before.” | sweat




photo by kelci davis

offense with a similar, relentless defense that keeps the pressure high on the opposing team, focusing on trapping the opposing team and forcing turnovers. To prepare for this, the team has been working on conditioning and getting up and down the court as fast as they can. “We run a lot more at practice than we did last year; we’re smaller so we’re going to have to out hustle teams. We have workouts every day before


Frank Davis Cameron Stroh Allen Erby Marc Crawford Joe Shields Patrick Connely practice, film session; there has been open gym through the whole fall season as well,” Hayden said. This hard work, paired with a new offense and a new style of defense, is sure to delight fans that come to the games says Assistant basketball coach Scott Thorpe. “We are going to be a fun team to watch this year. We have a young team and are filled with rising talent,” Coach Thorpe said.

Game plan: Coming off of a strong season last year, the team has been on its usual swimming drills, intermingling speed, endurance, and technique to see where each swimmer fits in. “Some days we swim longer workouts such as 500s, for the faster workouts 200s. We also

have practices where they practice techniques for different strokes and all the pieces like starts and turns,” said head swim coach Jessica Graslie. This year the team has upped the amount of time they spend in the pool, and working on racking up the yardage by practicing in the pool on

Fridays. On top of that, the team has been practicing on land before hopping into the pool. During the dry land portion they run and work on their strength and core. “We’re really working on focusing during practice, and using the whole 90 minutes in the pool,” said senior Hayley Lechner.


photo by Ashley Marlo

Carli Buchanan Megan Smith Jordan Sheets

Shane Quinn Mitch Miller Justin Allen Andy Moats Corey Robinson Matt Soderstrom Matt Dickens Graham Nave Nick Johnson Kyle Sery Alex Calvert

Key Players

Carli Buchanan Megan Denardo Sheridan Alecsick Hayley Lechner Courtney Zalmenoff Madi Wagner Katherine Wolf photo by Kortney Sheahen

Girls Swimming

Key Rising Swimmers

Game plan: Lacking in height this year, the boys basketball team plans on making up for it by running the other team into the ground. This season, the team plans on hitting fast and hard, pairing their speed with a new, aggressive offensive strategy. “Our drills are much faster paced, and we are scrimmaging more to get used to a quicker gameplay style,” senior forward Justin Hayden said. The team will pair this faster

Tre Curry Justin Hayden Blake Kreder Jaylen Ray Stefon Whitson

photo by Kortney Sheahen

Boys Basketball

Key Players Rising

Game plan: On land, the team has been working on conditioning and strength through Victory Performance Training, whose roster of trainers include a retired professional MMA fighter/ USA bronze level coach and a former marine. On the ice,

the team has been working on offense strategies to score. “We’re really working on breaking out of the zone and working the puck deep into enemy territory and feeding it to the point,” junior Shane Quinn said.

The older , the wiser Spartan hockey team shoots for success this season By Tori Cooper staff reporter

photo by Ashley Marlo

Sophomore Hunter Zeig skates across the rink and goes in for a shot against his opponent. The Spartans played Clayton on Nov. 18 at the


10 sweat | december 13, 2013

Ice Hockey has started this season with a great shot. All of their time and effort has paid off as they have taken the victory of four games and also tied one out of its ten games so far. It’s still too early in the season to predict its success, but it seems that the players have high hopes for their team. Junior varsity player Kyle Gismegian is currently injured and can not play this season, but he sits on the sidelines supporting and helping his team. He has strong feelings towards the achievements

of the team, even though the team has some disadvantages. “Our team is going to do well, I think that we are going to make playoffs except that our team is a little smaller [in height],” Gismegian said. Laced up and ready to dominate, the boys hockey team is shooting for a comeback from their 20122013 season. Aware of their weaknesses from last year, they are preparing themselves for the other teams advantages. When people think of hockey games, the first thing that comes to mind are the brutal

The winter sports teams gear up for their seasons with new strategies and tactics to boost their gameplay and amount of wins.

By Tyler Tran staff reporter

Key Players Rising Emma Raup Haley Allen Mary Kate Berck Lauren Nosal Erica Swanson

photo by Kortney Sheahen

Game plan: It’s said that at times the best offense is a good defense, and that’s the idea that the girls basketball team has adopted this year. Like the boys, the girls basketball team lacks in height, so this year the team has placed their focus on their defensive game, working on rebounding and shutting down the other team’s offense.

Jacob Gajewski Caleb Gossett Bryce Bachowski Tate Bennett Zach Litzinger Jake Mattson Joey Ziegler Kyle Mellor Zack Hayes Nick Taylor Luke Diener Joe Eads

photo by Ashley Marlo

photo by Dohen Galllagher

Game plan: This year the wrestling team sticks to its tried and true formula. Most of the team has gone through extensive off season work according to head coach Steve Cross, wrestling through Perler and a Greco-Roman style program, both of which gives the wrestlers new strategies and

techniques to add to their arsenal. Add multiple weekly sessions with Victory Performance Training, and the end result is a very fit team. The team is very young as well, consistently of all juniors. “The team this year is consisted of mostly juniors and a few sophomores, but most of them

season. Getting far in playoffs seems to be a common goal among the team. They have pushed to become better than last year, like all sports teams, they have created a goal that they hope to reach. This has been possible from all of the effort and dedication the team has put in. Senior varsity player Matt Soderstrom, also a forward for the team, has made one goal this season, but has assisted with three giving him a total of four goal points he has given the team. He is one of the three seniors enjoying their last season on the team. He too agrees that the teams motivation is in the right place as they strive for greatness. “I think that we are highly motivated to win this season, we have a really good team this year and we know it,” said Soderstrom. To be on the varsity team is an honor and to be pulled up during the freshmen season is exciting for an athlete.


battles, this is one of our major weaknesses. Its defense has to be one of their biggest advantages. With other teams shortest guys being six one and our shortest being five three there is less of a chance of us winning in a fight. Now that the team has taken into consideration its weakness, the players and coaches seem to be ready for this season. Junior varsity player Shane Quinn is a forward for the team, making three goals this season alone, also assisting four goals. This has given him a total of seven points that he has either made or helped make. He is a key player for the varsity team since his freshman year. Knowing the team and how they work, he has seen the ups and downs of the team. “We just didn’t have enough drive last season not like we do this year” Quinn said. The motivation of the team has changed since last year, the players seem to be really confident in this

fundamentals. “We’re a young team, so we’re hammering down taking care of the ball, rebounding, and defense,” assistant coach Edmund Mulholland said. The team’s goal this season is to continually improve and snatch the district title. Their first home game is Dec. 10 against Fort Zumwalt South.

Key Wrestlers Rising

Defensively the team has been working on getting the puck out of their own zone efficiently and secure their side of the rink. On top of all of this, Nave adds the team has been focusing on staying loose and just having fun.


Quinn is one of the key playmakers in the team according to the team’s goalie, junior Graham Nave. “If we need someone to make a big play and drive the offense, Shane is the guy to do it, he gets our offense rolling.” Nave said.

Girls Basketball

“One of our goals this year is to be top defensive team in the conference, letting up the least amount of points,” said sophomore point guard Emma Raup. On top of that, the team has thrown some new, dynamic offensive plays that turn up the heat on their opponents. All this, the new offense and the defense, will be built on the strong foundation of

Hockey Hunter Zeig Christian Dahl Steven Martek

Kaitlin Nolan Chelsea Ayres

have already wrestled a full varsity season last year so they’re experienced and they know what to expect,” Coach Cross said. Coach Cross adds that most of the wrestlers have been in the wrestling program since sixth grade, making group of wrestlers that have a lot of experience.

Junior varsity player Andy Moats only has good things to say about the freshmen and his team. “We have a couple freshmen coming up and they are pretty good, Daniel Geringer and Gabe Vendetti, as for the team we haven’t necessarily improved it’s just that we’ve gotten more experienced and older,” said Moats. As for Moats, he is a defense for the team. He has assisted with six goals this season. He is a player to watch for at the games. He is a driven player that has set his goals high for his team, believing that anything is possible. “Honestly we are shooting for the Wickenheiser, which means that we would go to Scottrade which would be pretty cool,” Moats explained. The other goal for the team is to make it to the Challenge Cup, this would put them up against teams such as CBC, De Smet, and Chaminade. These teams are tough teams to beat, but who knows what this season will lead up to. | sweat


Staying fit throughout the winter for his sport, junior soccer player Andrew Keller continues to enjoy the intensity on the field by playing club soccer. “Club [soccer] starts around now. I practice three times a week, and it gets me into better shape for high school [soccer],” Keller said. “I love soccer, and I’ve been playing club [soccer] since I was really little, and I don’t know, it’s


By Alex Buhse

For junior softball player Alyssa Mathis, an off-season is practically non-existent. After the fall season comes to an end, Mathis continues practicing her sport with her softball summer team, making her sport ongoing. “My summer team is having workouts, so we have workouts every single day,” Mathis said. “They’re intense, and we have practices and it’s pretty much still on-season for us. It’s

Junior Alyssa Mathis practices batting for summer Softball. Mathis participates in summer softball to help her prepare for high school softball.



off-season because we’re not playing, but we’re still in training.” Despite having to workout as if she was still in season, Mathis still remains content with attending her summer team’s workouts and enjoys the pay off it has later in the year. “I do it over the summer because it keeps me good and in shape and busy,” Mathis said. “It’s fun, and we get to travel and go around the United States and play other teams.”


photo by Kortney Sheahan

photo by Darby Copeland

Junior Kevin Bayer lifts weight on the bench press. The football team focuses on strengthening and drills over the off-season to get ready for the fall.


tb sweat | december 13, 2013

sweat editor

Since the beginning of November, all the fall sports have come to a close. Over and done with practices and games, athletes are now left with deciding what to do to stay in shape for their sport and how to prepare for next year’s coming season. Depicted below are several athletes who make sure to stay fit for their sports by remaining proactive over the off season.

“We usually do core workouts, which are squats, hand cleans, and bench [workouts],” Bayer said. “Right now we’re doing a lot of reps and [lifting] low weight just to get back into the groove of working out.” Bayer ensures that the team still has much to work to on to bring success to the team’s season next year. “We haven’t maxed out yet, but we’re pushing because we really want to win a conference title this year,” Bayer said.

o Fo 12}

just a good way to get out there and play soccer with your friends and have fun.” As to how playing soccer in the off-season affects his performance during season, Keller simply stated that it keeps him healthy and his skills sharp. “Because I’m always consistent with soccer, I’m not lagging behind on my fitness because I’m always playing,” Keller said.

As the fall season comes to a close, fall athletes begin their off-season activities


Ending the season with the best football overall record since 2006, junior running back Kevin Bayer, along with the rest of the varsity football players, have been making sure they can live up to the tremendous record next year by continuing to stay strong. Attending morning workouts in the weight room every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Bayer completes a series of workouts with his teammates to stay in shape and ready for the oncoming season.

photo by Abbie Kaplan

photo by Ashleigh Harding

week, Drnec still places emphasis on the necessity for consistency and staying on schedule with his workouts to remain close to his peak fitness. “You don’t have to try as hard after the season’s over to stay in good shape to pick it back up again later. If you don’t [run at all] though, then it will end up biting you in the butt,” Drnec said. “I did a road race awhile ago. I’m not in the 17 [minute range], but I’m still in the 18 [minute range], so it’s still keeping me in shape.”


Taking it easy from the cross country season but still maintaining a steady workout plan, junior cross country runner Jake Drnec slows down from his usual five to six workouts a week during season, easing down to fewer, and less intense workouts. “I usually run once or twice a week and then do a couple road races,” Drnec said. “I’ll usually just run for 25 to 30 minutes. It just keeps me in the groove of things.” Despite only running a few times a

Junior Andrew Keller receives the soccer ball while playing on the field. Keller plays club soccer along with his friends to keep his skills sharpened and his mind occupied.


Cr Co o s un s try


Junior Jake Drnec exercises with his fellow runners. Those on the cross country team who decide to improve their skills follow a series of workouts to perform over the winter until track season starts.

A look back, a glance forward Athletes, coaches recap the past season, explain what they’re doing to improve for next year


photo by Jessica Mugler

The Howell Central girls volleyball team hit the ground running at the start of the season. According to Head Coach Mark McAfee, the preseason activities helped the team prepare for the season. “Our morale was excellent going into the season,” Coach McAfee said. “We had an excellent camp at Truman State University, and the chemistry was really good between the girls.”

Cross Country

This soccer season, of course, was highlighted by the team’s amazing jump from the last seed to claiming the district championship. What would become a memorable season started off rough, according to junior co-captain Tristyn Hasmer. “We lost our first game to

“Throughout the season, we all got to know each other better, and we worked together really well,” senior Rachel Lee said. “We were all really close.” The team went on to take third place at the St. Charles West tournament and seized the opportunity to play against Francis Howell, delivering a home game defeat to the Vikings. “Beating Howell was probably my

Despite a satisfying season, cross country started off badly with varsity seniors Alex Buhse and Jake Plevnic suffering injuries that effectively kept them on the bench. “We had two big injuries on varsity, and we were hoping that they would recover and by the end of the season, we’d be good,” senior PJ Brown explained. “But as the season went on, we figured

Desmet, and we had a few losses in a row,” Hasmer said. “We were probably 7-13 going into the last six or seven games, and we had a pretty good win over Oakville, our last season game.” The team entered the district tournament seeded in last, which wasn’t a big deal

seven on seven [drills]...we did a lot extra to ensure that we would be prepared for this season.” The Spartans began the district tournament with a well fought win against Hickman. “Columbia Hickman game, first round of playoffs -- such a momentous win was very emotional for me,” senior Kendall Morris said. “To have

favorite memory from the season,” Lee said. “We beat Howell in their new gym, which they hadn’t lost in before.” The team ended the season with a final score of 13-13-2. They went on to districts and won their first match before going on to play Howell once again. “We played well against Howell, but we ended up losing, but we played

out that woud’t happen. Once the team kicked into gear, the Spartans had success in a number of races, notably the sophomore girls’ win at the St. Charles West meet and the varsity boys taking second at the Warrenton meet and third at the Quail Ridge meet. “At the end of the season, we kinda came apart; we didn’t race our best and [junior Walter

according to senior forward Nick McCullough. “Being in last seed didn’t discourage us; it fueled us. It only made us want to win even more and prove everybody wrong,” McCullough said. The team ended up taking the district tournament and claimed its third district championship.

my team make it that far into the playoffs, and to be a part of it, was something I’ll never forget.” The victory streak was ended soon after by a loss against Rockbridge. “The recurring theme this year was the only team that beats Howell Central was Howell Central. We really shot ourselves in the foot a few times, which was really hard,” Carey said.

Despite a few troubling losses, the 2013 season was the best season the Spartans have had since 2006. Carey also has high hopes for the Spartans next year. “I think next year’s team will do well. I think they saw that hard work pays off. The sky’s the limit. I would love to come back and watch them beat Howell.”

really well against them,” Coach McAfee said. “Howell went on to win the district championship in a match that was easier for them than ours was.” Coach McAfee looks to next year’s team with optimism. “We have a good nucleus of kids coming back, and we had a good JV program, so we’ll have some kids moving up from JV,” McAfee said.

Lembeck] was the only one who really pulled through and made it to state,” Brown said. Head Coach Michelle Breuer reported feeling bummed out about the conclusion of the season for the other runners on the team. “Team morale for the girls seemed distant when they didn’t make it through districts; I see so much more talent. The boys were much more disappointed,” Coach


photo by Ashleigh Harding

photo by Julia Becker

staff reporter

According to senior Ben Carey, the football team started the season ready and willing to make this season a season to remember. “We knew we needed to put a lot of work in to change; we knew we could do better, and we expected to do better,” Carey said. “In the off-season, we had the team trip, workouts,

Breuer said. “I wasn’t happy. They all worked so hard throughout the season and the summer.” The runners are looking forward to next year’s team with optimism. Brown also believes the future of the team is secure, especially with athletes like Lembeck and junior Zach McKinley. “But I think it’d be a lot better if they didn’t do their second fall sport and just ran,” Brown laughed.

Hasmer, who will remain on the team next year, predicts another successful season for the Spartans. “We’re losing about five seniors, but we’ll have probably nine senior starters next year,” Hasmer said. “Next year’s team is looking to be solid, maybe the best we’ve had in a few years.”

Soccer | sweat

photo by Caitlyn Sanders

By Devin Chen


HIGH STAKES TESTSTake Over Standardized tests force teachers to focus on material being tested instead of what they believe to be learned

By Erin Schroeder print executive editor

High stakes tests, standardized tests that will result in important rewards or repercussions for the test taker, have been rapidly growing in prevalence in schools around the nation. The weight and importance that is placed on these tests by legislation such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top has resulted in a pressure on teachers to spend much of their class time preparing for these tests instead of going more in-depth in the subjects. Some teachers, like Algebra teacher Ms. Dena Rulo, have to shape their entire curriculum around preparing for the End of Course exam (EOC). “[The EOC] does impact what I teach, because some of the topics that show up on the EOC exam are not really true, important Algebra topics,” Ms. Rulo said. “I have to cut time from my curriculum to teach things that aren’t important Algebra 1 topics, because they have showed up on the EOC exam.” Ms. Rulo sees more importance in the understanding of complete concepts and subjects opposed to students only knowing the exact types of problems that will be featured on the EOC. “I want my kids to move on to geometry actually remembering how to do this stuff and knowing how to do it, not just covering it. My goal as a teacher is to have them retain it and learn it for mastery,” Ms. Rulo said.


Even more so than Ms. Rulo, AP Art History teacher Mrs. Michelle McCune has a single test that is central to all of her teaching: the AP Art History test that is administered every May. In fact, the ultimate goal of the class is for students to score a 3 or higher on the AP test in order to obtain college credit for the class. Because of this, AP teachers like Mrs. McCune take special care to cover everything that they think will show up on the test. This, however, comes with disadvantages. “The new thing AP is doing is they’re now making it where there’s only going to be 250 pieces that they give us ahead of time that they’re going to expect the students to know,” Mrs. McCune said. “So on one hand, I like it because it’s narrowing for me, and I’m not always playing the guessing game of what artwork I should teach, but then at the same time, it makes me really sad, because there’s a lot of pieces I enjoy talking about that are not part of the 250.” In addition to the limits that AP tests already place on what material is taught, Mrs. McCune believes that the Unites States, and the Francis Howell School District, is on the track to becoming more and more standardized. “Apparently European countries are more open to change and to changing the traditions of school and how it’s taught. And unfortunately, in the US, somehow we can’t seem to get to that level; we can’t seem to make that change,” Mrs. McCune said. “It’s almost like making it more rigid, and I’m always about being more creative and thinking in terms of how

else can you make your brain work.” Despite the ways in which high stakes tests have inhibited them from teaching what they want to and the way they want to, both Ms. Rulo and Mrs. McCune have found ways to use the tests to their advantage. “The AP programs are really strong...It’s heightened my standards, and it’s made my teaching better, because it’s such a difficult exam that I have to up my game. I would probably have Art History a lot more fun, but because of this exam I have to be a lot more careful and make sure I cover material,” Mrs. McCune said. Similarly, Ms. Rulo utilizes the scores she gets back from EOC tests to help her improve her teaching. “We look at [test results] because if I score low in one area but another teacher scores high-- that’s what our [Professional Learning Communities] time is for-- I can say ‘hey, clearly your kids did a lot better than mine, so how did you teach that topic’ or ‘what did you do differently,’” Ms. Rulo said. Even though teachers have found ways to make light of the heaps of testing affecting them and their students, according to Mrs. McCune, they cannot be used to accurately measure how much students understand material. “But I think, unfortunately, it’s like how do you measure what students have learned? That’s the way it is, I guess, that whole standardized thing, that everyone gets the same exam. It’s hard to know how to get away from that,” Mrs. McCune said.

“It’s almost like making it more rigid, and I’m always about being more creative and thinking in terms of how else can you make your brain work.” -Mrs. McCune

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in focus | december 13, 2013

Learning how to memorize ‘Teaching to the test’ proves detrimental to students’ ability to learn. By Emily Klohr staff reporter

Many students believe school has become a place where they have information crammed down their throats just long enough to be regurgitated onto a scantron sheet, rather than a place to actually retain what they are being taught. Sophomore Kaleigh Zehnle believes teachers want students to retain what they learn, but they end up focusing mainly on material that will be on the test. “Sometimes teachers spend a lot of time on certain topics they really want us to retain, and those are the things I tend to actually learn,” Zehnle said. Teachers tend to teach students what is going to be on a test, and as a result students aren’t able to learn as much, according to Zehnle. “I think teachers should teach certain things that we need to know for a test, but it also keeps us from learning as much as we could, because we’re just trying to memorize certain pieces,” Zehnle said. “Teaching to the test,” so to speak, affects students’ ability to learn as well as their level of stress when it comes to finals. “‘Teaching to the test’ doesn’t necessarily make finals harder or easier for me, because we’re learning what’s on standardized tests throughout the semester. However, it’s difficult to remember information from past units, because I start to forget what we learned after the test so I can focus on the next unit,” Zehnle said. Students often feel the need to cram information in for tests, which ends up limiting their ability to retain that information past the test. “I feel like I have a good memory, but that doesn’t necessarily show my ability to learn, because sometimes I cram, like many others, in order to pass a test. However, those good grades

don’t always mean I really learned everything that was taught,” Zehnle said. Senior Stephen Eastman believes “teaching to the test” isn’t the most effective way to help students learn. “I feel like it prevents students who enjoy the subject they are learning to learn anything other than what is on the test. In contrast, for subjects they don’t enjoy, students learn what they need to for a test and then quickly forget the information,” Eastman said. Whether or not students retain the information they learn in class depends on the class itself, according to Eastman. “I feel that I do actually learn the information in a class, but I also feel that most of the information I learn is to help me on a test. With regard to retaining the information, it really depends on how interesting or important it is,” Eastman said. Eastman believes the level of difficulty of finals depends on whether or not students retain the information they learned during the class. “I don’t think finals are stressful because we have been learning exactly what will be on the test all semester. In addition, it isn’t difficult to remember information from previously taught units because most classes tend to build off what you learn throughout the year, so you tend to learn information as time goes on,” Eastman said. Tests are intended to measure intelligence, but Eastman feels they actually measure students’ test-taking ability and their ability to focus. “I don’t believe that tests accurately measure intelligence. I believe they are a good measure of one’s ability to learn what is needed for the test, their test-taking ability, and their ability to wake up early and actually focus on the test,” Eastman said. Tests are also intended to measure students ability to learn, but its not really an effective way, according to Eastman.

“Tests are one of the most accessible ways of determining what students have learned, but it does not measure what students actually understand. One of the most effective methods for measuring what students have learned and understand is the practicum, where students actually need to apply what they have learned to the real world, instead of having the skills remain ‘in theory’” Eastman said. Senior Stephanie Mossinghoff doesn’t believe tests accurately measure intelligence, because she feels that everyone is intelligent in different aspects. “If you give all students the same test, then the ones who receive low scores feel down about themselves and think they’re stupid, when that’s not true at all; they’re just better at different things. It’s not their fault for not being skilled in those areas; their brain just doesn’t function like that,” Mossinghoff said. Whether or not students remember information past the test date depends on if they cared about what they were learning, according to Mossinghoff. “I’m not going to say I always remember things past a test, because that’s not true. If I don’t really like the class, or I’ve already given up on getting a decent grade, then I don’t remember. If it’s a subject that I’m really excited about or find really interesting, then I tend to remember more of what I learned,” Mossinghoff said. In regards to if students actually learn information in class, Mossinghoff thinks it depends on the class and the unit. “In some classes, like choir, I do really feel like I’m learning, and I know what I should know at the level I am at. In other classes, like Calculus, I’m struggling to hang onto the information that is being thrown at me, causing me to either memorize steps on how to do something or failing the test,” Mossinghoff said.

From Myers’ Psychology for AP

Replace cramming with effective study habits

* *

Study repeatedly. To better retain material, use distributed and more spaced out practice. Make the material meaningful. To build retrieval clues, take notes in your own words. To aplly concepts to your own life, relate the material to what you already know.

* *

Activate retrieval clues. Mentally re-create the situation and mood in which the original learning occured. Jog your memory by allowing one thought to cue the next. Minimize interference. Study before sleeping and do not schedule back-to-back study times that are likely to interfere with one another. | in focus


When it comes to standardized testing,

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH? Standardized tests wear on students as more are added. By Jessica Mugler

“The state continues to add assessments, because they want to ensure that schools are delivering a quality education so that kids in Missouri can compete globally.” { Dr. Sonny Arnel } principal

copy editor

In the world of standardized testing are two forces: those who work to continually pummel students with endless exams and unrealistic goals battling against the ones who aim to reduce the amount of testing placed upon pupils. These forces include organizations going head-to-head supporting or opposing legislation and the programs in place that are fighting for them. Each power thinks that their policies are right, with testing advocates such as Race to the Top aiming to improve teaching and learning by raising standards. Race to the Top, implemented in 2009, runs on points awarded to states that are willing to reform parts of their education system, “particularly in raising standards and aligning policies and structures to the goal of college and career readiness,” according


Standardized testing denotes any test in which the same test is given to all test takers in the same format.

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in focus | december 13, 2013

to For schools, this means even more emphasis is placed on the alreadyimportant standardized tests their students take, such as the EOC and MAP tests, in order to receive federal funding. Principal Sonny Arnel deals with the repercussions and benefits of these tests at FHC. “I am a big proponent of schools being accountable for student learning. I think it’s very important that we do what we’re supposed to do so you guys can be successful,” Dr. Arnel said. Race to the Top receives information from two tests currently given at FHC, the English II and Algebra End-of-Course exams (EOCs), which are part of the Common Core Initiative. These assessments come with standards that each subject must meet. “We have to follow Common Core standards, which is basic reading and math

EOC End-of-Course Assessments, or EOCs, are tests administered by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that evaluate expectations for specific high school courses. Tests: Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, English I, English II, Biology, American History and Government Length: Not timed, suggested to take 60110 minutes depending on the assessment course Who: Missouri high school and middle school students that are enrolled in the specified courses.

that we already do,” Mrs. Lisa Niswonger, the Social Studies department chair, said. “It just makes us more aware of making sure that we are integrating reading and writing into the classroom in significant amounts.” However, more high stakes tests will be coming next year with the addition of an End of High School Test, according to Dr. Arnel. This assessment will include two tests taken during English and Math of junior year. “It’s going to be a very different test,” Dr. Arnel said. “It’s going to be a much harder, much more difficult assessment in how you apply the answers.” Each test will require three to four hours but will not be the conventional multiple choice format, says Dr. Arnel. It will include breaks for lessons taught by the teacher and group cooperation. It is also planned to be intuitive, meaning that as the students take the test, it will raise or lower the difficulty of


The MAP test, or Missouri Assessment Program, is a series of assessments given to third through eighth graders by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Tests: English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science Length: about three hours testing time per assessment Who: Grades 3-8

In the MAP and EOC tests, students aim to reach the educational standards in Missouri, the Show-Me Standards. If certain standards are not met within a school, its state funding can be affected.

the questions based performing. “Schools traditionall I think this test is goin Dr. Arnel said. The state governm standardized tests to data from Missouri hig subject EOCs. These seven standardized as the English II and A given at FHC this sch more than was given “Every year for the they’re going to ad Arnel said. He expects this num EOC assessments ad next five years. These curriculum and what course.


AP, or Advanced Placement, exams test students’ culmination of college-level courses and give college credit to students based on the score received and what colleges choose to accept. If an AP score is not accepted, then the student does not receive college credit and loses the money spent on the test plus the time spent in the advanced level class. Tests: Tests are offered for 34 courses, including Language, Literature, Chemistry, Physics, US Government, Psychology, Calculus, Statistics and Art History. Length: 2-3 hours Cost: $89 per test

? on how well they are

ly teach differently than ng to try to measure,”

ment also administers o receive educational gh schools: the course e exams account for ssessments, including Algebra EOCs, being hool year, which is one last year. e next couple years, dd assessments,” Dr.

mber to increase to 15 dministered within the e exams are based on is expected from the

“The benefit of EOCs is the focus for knowing skills to cover throughout the year. We know what’s going to be on the test and what we need to cover,” English teacher Mrs. Katie Mastorakos said. However, this specificity is not always granted. The U.S. History educators have a more difficult time determining what they are needed to cover. “The U.S. History standards are very vague. The test is very content driven with a lot of content to cover,” Mrs. Niswonger said. “There needs to be changes at the state level to guide teachers if the test is going to be so content-driven.” The importance of the tests also brings downfalls to the classes. According to Mrs. Mastorakos, students’ education can suffer due to preparation for these course exams. “The drawback is that so much emphasis is placed on these tests that we spend so

much time practicing,” Mrs. Mastorakos said. “Teachers lose sight of other things that need to happen in the classroom.” As for the competence that these tests possess to measure the learning of students, there is mixed results. Mrs. Mastorakos notes that the tests are not ideal in measuring all of the students’ capabilities, yet believes they indicate learning. Mrs. Niswonger has a more split judgment of the exams. “The U.S. History EOC is not a good representation [of learning], because it’s so content-specific. It gives 40 questions for 140 years of history,” Mrs. Niswonger said. “For Government, we have the luxury of having a good base of standards. It’s a good representation of that subject.” Any way you slice it, the month of April and the beginning of May is a test-heavy time for FHC students. With seven EOCs


The SAT, or Scholastic Assessment Test, is the nation’s most widely used college admission test developed by the College Board. Tests: reading, writing and math Length: 3 hours, 45 minutes; 140 questions plus required essay Cost: $51

The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test provides practice for students planning to take the SAT while also entering students in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s programs. The scores received on the test are used to determine if the student is a Semifinalist, Finalist or winner of the National Merit Scholarship. Tests: reading, math and writing Who: sophomores and juniors Length: 2 hours, 10 minutes

and an additional ACT test being given to juniors starting this year, May’s Advanced Placement (AP) tests may be daunting to the students who choose to take them. “There is a tipping point that I’m concerned about. What I’m worried about is what the month of April does to our students,” Dr. Arnel said. “If you get to the point where you’re taking two or three high stakes test in a week, that’s demanding on your focus, on your preparation.” Standardized tests bring standards and liability to schools while also bringing possible weariness to students. With the increase in these types of tests coming soon, the opportunity for exhaustion and fatigue on students is higher than ever. “I love the accountability it causes our schools to have,” Dr. Arnel said. “The other side of it is when does it become too much?”

ACT American College Testing, shortened to just ACT, is a college readiness assessment used for college admissions. Tests: English, math, reading and science Length: 3 hours, 25 minutes; 215 questions plus optional essay Cost: Basic: $36.50, plus writing: $52.50

“[The EOC] is not a test that shows all the capabilities a student has. It’s not an ideal test, but it is an indicator of the students’ learning.” { Mrs. Katie Mastorakos } English teacher

Plan The Plan test is an exam developed by ACT to give 10th graders a look into what the ACT is like and what career options they are interested in. It is designed to measure achievement in the four areas that the ACT tests. Tests: English, math, reading and science Who: sophomores Length: tests total 1 hour, 45 minutes

Students applying to a college generally need to take the ACT or SAT test. Most colleges accept either, although the SAT is traditionally taken on the East and West Coast and the ACT in the Midwest. Not scoring well on these standardized tests can cause the rejection to a college or the absence of a scholarship. | in focus




ACT scores have come to define the academic success of students. By Claire Richardson the scene editor

Like 56,351 other high schoolers across the nation, junior Clayton Newburry is a 28. While people older and wiser may think this is Newburry’s age, or maybe his jersey number from a sports team, high schoolers would understand the number as something much more than that: his ACT score. In Missouri’s graduating class of 2013 alone, there were 1,667 other 28s out there, according to an ACT Score Distributions report. Like many of these others, Newburry feels it is important to try to be part of a slightly smaller group of 1,048 students, the 31s. “It’s fairly important [to do well on the ACT]; striving for a better scholarship opportunity, there are certain marks you have to reach on the ACT. There’s a couple [scholarships] at [Missouri University of Science and Technology] that you have to have a 31,” Newburry said. “Even if you hit that 31 for S&T, there will always be all the other people who also get a 31 who are striving for that scholarship also.” According to Newburry, the ACT is a way to qualify for better scholarships, but it is also a way to determine what a student has taken out of high school. This does not include advanced course work, like Calculus, which makes the ACT difficult for students like Newburry. “The questions don’t always go to the level I’m at in school, so it’s kind of like I have to recall stuff from a long time ago,” Newburry said. “It’s hard to recall everything from three years of high school; it’s hard. I don’t know if it’s quite fair, but it’s just what they do.” Although the ACT does ultimately test knowledge of curriculum that should be known by the time a student

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in focus | december 13, 2013

finishes high school, according to the ACT website, the test is also used by colleges for admission, course placement and advising. States, districts, schools, teachers and students use the ACT for diagnostic, monitoring and intervention purposes. To help mark levels of achievement on the exam, the ACT sets Benchmark scores, which are based on a sample of various colleges and universities. These Benchmarks represent the median scores on the ACT that were used in course placement. Each subject test of the ACT corresponds to a typical class of a college freshman; the English section relates to English Composition, the Mathematics section corresponds to College Algebra, the Reading section relates to Social Sciences and the Science section relates to Biology. “The Benchmarks are scores on the ACT subjectarea tests that represent the level of achievement required for students to have a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher, or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher, in corresponding creditbearing, first-year college courses,” according to ACT. org. In other words, the ACT measures the likelihood of passing what are usually required college classes. For each section, the Benchmark score varies. For English, an 18 is considered Benchmark, while on the Science portion of the ACT, a 23 is considered Benchmark. The Math and Reading sections both have a Benchmark of 22. According to the ACT website, though, just 25 percent of the more than 1.66 million 2012 graduates

who took the ACT met the set Benchmark scores in all four subject tests. For senior Bryan Tracy, reaching and exceeding far beyond these Benchmark scores has been a long time coming. When Tracy first took the ACT in seventh grade, he was a 19. Eleven tests later, Tracy is a 32. “I went through the ACT prep classes with Mr. Arnold, and he has some tricks that he taught, and my old English teacher taught me a lot of tricks last year,” Tracy said. After five or six prep classes, each an hour long, Tracy is now one of the 670 other Missouri students who are 32s. But unlike other students, Tracy does not feel as if he is defined by this score. “You can always learn more; you can always do better; there’s still stuff to learn. It just shows me where I stand with everybody else,” Tracy said. “I think so. Waking up at eight in the morning isn’t ideal for a teenager, but I’m glad I did it. It pays off,” Tracy said. Regardless of score, a common complaint between Newburry, Tracy and senior Kayla Burke, a 22, is the pressure the ACT puts on students. For Newburry and Tracy, the pressure comes from themselves or their parents, but for Burke, the pressure comes from the time constraints of the ACT. “It’s either you have to have a really good GPA or a really good ACT score, so it’s kind of hard,” Burke said. “I don’t think [the ACT is] really fair, because a lot of people are smart in different ways, not just on timed tests. I just don’t think it’s fair to some kids who don’t really handle the pressure very well of being timed.”

112 students at FHC were surveyed to find out what the school thinks about standardized testing

Which of the following tests is most important to you?

Which of the following tests do you spend the most time preparing/ studying for?

Do you think too much time is dedicated to standardized testing?

Do you believe test scores are an accurate measure of your intelligence?

Do you retain most of the information you have learned even after testing over the material? | in focus


WHIRLWIND of savings

Today is your FINAL DAY to order your copy of Odyssey, the school yearbook, for the introductory price of $50! Order it in Room 139 before the price increases to $65 for the rest of the school year.


advertisements | december 13, 2013

BUY YOUR SENIOR AD SPACE TOO! Ask mom and dad to show how proud of you they are with a senior ad. Deadline to reserve space is today. Get your space in the back of the book NOW!

{the scene}

The gift of giving By Olivia Biondo staff reporter

Christmas time is drawing near, with gift ideas in high demand. Make this season of giving your best one yet

The thought of snow, food and gifts give many people the opportunity to express themselves. Whether you are getting gifts for your friends or family, the most popular gifts come in wide varieties. With high demand being in electronics, some of the best ideas include gaming systems, tablets or iPods. The Kindle Fire, for example, provides entertainment such as games, music and reading. The Kindle Fire offers many apps to choose from: games, social media, even sports apps. Prices range from $139 to $229. The Kindle Fire makes a great gift and gives hours of entertainment. The new gaming system, Xbox One, is all the new hype with teens. With a voice compatible system, apps and camera, the Xbox One’s price is worth it. It starts at $499, but the price fits with what the system has to offer. Skype, apps and games allow players to spend time exploring and finding new things. Movies also make great gifts for Christmas;

there are many different varieties to choose from. Movies such as “We’re the Millers,” “Monsters University,” or “The Mortal Instruments” are great to choose from while picking out gifts. They are newly out on DVD and are the gifts that many people want. All movies range differently in prices, although older releases tend to cost less than new releases. The gift of music is always well liked; Christmas records, new albums or classics, make great presents. New Christmas albums such as Duck Dynasty’s “Duck the Halls,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red,” or the legendary Michael Buble album, “Christmas” are classic albums that are appropriate for the season. Christmas classics are great, but new albums are enjoyable too. One Direction’s new album “Midnight Memories,” Lady Gaga’s “Applause,” and Katy Perry’s “Prism” make wonderful gifts for anyone. Buying Christmas gifts allows any person to express themselves. Receiving and giving gifts make the holidays worthwhile, no matter the type of gift. | the scene



“Christmas through the decades”

Although almost every artist today feels compelled to record Christmas tunes, let’s not forget the iconic songs that came before. by Erin Schroeder

“Santa Claus Blues” by Louis Armstrong and Eva Taylor

If nothing else, Armstrong’s name is still easily recognized almost 100 years after the release of this song. Not to minimize his other accomplishments, but that’s pretty impressive.

Feliz Navi-not

'30s “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby

Crosby’s holiday album with the Andrews Sisters is one of the greats. Although they aren’t present on this song, the feeling that you’re listening through a gramophone instead of your car stereo isn’t lost.

“Christmas Dreaming” by Frank Sinatra

Who says Christmas has to wait until the 25th rolls around? Christmas ads have been circulating for months, and ABC’s “25 Days of Christmas” justifies the fact that I started listening to Christmas music right after Halloween.

'50s “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley

Elvis is the king, period. Although the chorus is absent in this song, its prevalence in the rest of the album makes it a Christmas classic. Bow down, J. Biebs.

“Christmas Time Is Here” by Vince Guaraldi Trio

This memorable song from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a perfect representation of the soundtrack, the movie, and everything that makes Christmas time the most wonderful time of the year.

“Christmas Must Be Tonight” by The Band

This unique Christmas tune by a band with an individual sound is perfect for anyone who is sick and tired of listening to Mariah Carey all through December.

'80s '90s “Christmas” by U2

Possibly my favorite Christmas song of all time, this jam long ago crossed over into some of my yearround playlists. Bono is one of the best, whether it’s Christmas time or not.

“Angels We Have Heard On High” by Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond is nothing if not a moodsetter. There’s simply no better way to top off your Christmas tree, crackling fire, and hot cocoa than with Diamond’s heavy vibrato.

“Tell Me a Story (About the Night Before)” by Hilary Duff

Although this album probably has no actual musical merit, Hilary Duff’s “Santa Clause Lane” is one of my personal favorites.

'10s “Ava Maria” by Michael Bublé

The popularity of Bublé’s music, particularly his Christmas album, is completely justified. Twenty years from now, this will be one of the albums from our generation that is remembered and cherished.


the scene | december 13, 2013

Tradition of early Christmas music may be too jolly By Morgan Brader staff reporter

Stores and radio stations have made it obvious that they’ve flipped on the Christmas switch and have been playing Christmas music since before Halloween. Stores can’t be entered without hearing a pop remix of Jingle Bells or Deck the Halls drowning out all background noise. To some people, like junior Belle Muich, this signals that exciting time of the year and gets them in the Christmas mood. For others with similar tastes to freshman CJ Brown, the music leaves them thinking to themselves, “So it begins.” Muich is very much in love with Christmas time because it’s the time of spreading joy, singing, and gift-giving. To her, the music only adds to the cheerfulness of the holiday season. “Christmas music brings that sense of joy

during the holidays like ‘oh! Christmas is here!’” said Muich. “It should get people into the Christmas mood, but with some people, it just doesn’t.” On the other hand, Brown would rather the music wait until only a couple days before Christmas. In his opinion, Thanksgiving is its own holiday, and only Thanksgiving should be celebrated on that day. “Christmas time will come; we just have to wait for it,” said Brown. Like Brown, sophomores Hunter Zeig and Mariah Skelly both think Christmas music should be delayed to after Thanksgiving. Not completely against it, Zeig and Skelly tolerate the music but would rather it not be played so early. “Christmas music is annoying,” said Zeig. So when is the appropriate time to turn on the Christmas music and get in the holiday

spirit? Students were asked whether it was acceptable to start playing Christmas music in late October. “I like Christmas music, but I don’t want to listen to it that early,” Muich said. “It should start playing on Black Friday.” Sometimes, the music can be overwhelming when it’s played three holidays before Christmas time. Brown, even though he doesn’t completely dislike Christmas music itself, dislikes when it starts playing so soon. “I think it should start maybe a couple days after Thanksgiving,” said Brown. “Any earlier is too early.” Although some shoppers might think it’s annoying, most stores force this music upon them for marketing purposes. Shoppers hear the music and immediately switch to ‘buy mode’ for Christmas gifts.

Day 16: Jan. 4

Day 17: Jan 5

Go support the Blues at Scottrade as they take on the Blue Jackets at 7 p.m.

Day 15: Jan.3

Last Relax last to

day of break! and enjoy your day, and try not think too much about the next day.

Day 1: Dec. 20 Start the break right by supporting your boys and girls basketball teams versus our rival, Howell, right here at our house.

Get a group of friends together and go ice skating at Forest Park. “I like it because it’s outside, and all the lights are up, and I love it-- the skating and all.” Dohen Gallagher

Day 2: Dec. 21

Day 3: Dec. 22

Blast to the past with the 1863 This is the last day to experience Holiday Ball at “Main Street Christmas Old Court House. Traditions.” “Christmas Traditions There will be is meant to take people to a place just dancing and slightly different than their own. It is meant celebrations to give people joy and revitalize that happy, from 150 sweet, and innocent feeling that used to years ago. accompany Christmas.” Jessica Reid

Day 14: Jan. 2

Day 4: Dec.23

See the last of beautiful lights for the season with the Lady of the Snow Shrines Way of Lights in Belleville, IL. The event is free, but donations will benefit the Shriner’s Hospital.

“Elf the Musical” will be featured at the Fox.

Day 5: Dec. 24 Get in the Christmas groove with ABC’s 25 Days of Christmas marathon and watch some holiday classics like “The Polar Express.”

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Day 12: Dec.31 Day 11: Dec. 30

Have some fun at the movie theater for a reasonable price. Visit any Wehrenberg theatre on New Year’s Eve and get popcorn, soda, your ticket, Go check out the and a special gift slopes in Hidden for only $14.50 Valley with a group of after 9 p.m. friends. A day of skiing, snowboarding, or polar plunging promises to be full of fun.

Day 10: Dec.29 Enjoy the Rams final regular season game as they take on Seattle.

Day 9: Dec. 28 Time to see some lights in Tilles Park’s “Winter Wonderland” with the option of horsedrawn carriages.

Day 7: Dec. 26 Feel like getting in your kid mode? Visit the St. Louis Science Center and watch “Santa vs. The Snowman” at the Celebrate Raja’s 21st OMNIMAX theatre. birthday at the St. Louis Zoo from 11 to 1. This Asian elephant is one of the zoo’s most popular attractions.

Day 8: Dec. 27 | the scene


Are you a Grinch or a Who?

By Madison Viola staff reporter

Does Christmas bring out the best or the worst in you? Take this quiz and find out if you are truly a Grinch during the Christmas season. 1. Do you think it’s acceptable to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving?

5. How many Christmas sweaters do you own?

9. Do you get irritated every time you see a Salvation Army Bell Ringer?

A) All the time. I rush past them to get away from the noise.

A) Absolutely not B) Of course!

B) A few… or a dozen or two… C) Zero to two. But I would like more.

C) I don’t care

2. Do you cringe when you hear Christmas music out of season? A) It’s worse than nails on a chalkboard.

6. Do you participate in family activities/ traditions during the Christmas season?

B) No, I donate money every time I see them and wish them a good day. C) They’re doing it for a good cause so it doesn’t bother me much.

10. When do you wake up on Christmas morning? A) I sleep in until I’m dragged out of my bed.

A) Only because my mom makes me. B) The only thing better than Christmas in December is Christmas year round!

B) At the crack of dawn B) I wouldn’t miss it for the world! C) 8:00-11:00

C) I don’t prefer it, but it doesn’t bother me that much.

C) Yeah, they’re fun and it brings the family together.

7. How do you feel about Santa 3. When is the best time to start putting up Christmas decorations? Claus? A) At the last minute B) After Halloween

4. What does your house look like at the moment?

8. What do you think of Christmas carolers? A) They’re annoying B) I’m one of them!

B) Winter Wonderland replica C) They’re just having fun. I like them. C) It has a few Christmas decorations

C) I only eat them when I see no one else has and my little sisters/brothers have gone to bed.

12. Have you ever told a kid that Santa’s not real? A) I’ve told multiple kids. Kids deserve the truth and nothing but the truth. B) I would never say that. The magic must not be taken away! C) I might have told my younger sister or brother.

Mostly A = You’re a Grinch!


B) No, I help them set the cookies out and even set some carrots out for the reindeer.

C) He doesn’t affect me

A) Bare/ No decorations


my siblings.

A) He’s a creepy weirdo B) He brings the best holiday cheer!

C) Late November/Early December

11. Do you eat the cookies your little brothers/sisters leave out for Santa? A) I not only eat the cookies, but I eat them in front of

You have poor Christmas spirit. Christmas might be your least favorite holiday and the season makes you as cynical as ever.

the scene | december 13, 2013

Mostly B = You’re a Who! You’re the happiest and cheeriest when it’s Christmas season. It’s as if you came right out of Whoville! This is the holiday you’ve been looking forward to all year.


Mostly C = You’re stuck in the middle! You like Christmas, but it might not be the most exciting thing to you. You go with the flow when it comes to Christmas.

illustrations by Erin Schroeder

The Best of... Coffee

Believe it or not, winter is here, and you deserve the best of coffee shops, ice rinks, and movies to make it the best By Kennedy Meyer season of the year.

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The Crooked Tree- The Crooked Tree is a small coffee shop on Main Street that is well worth the trip. This little coffee shop offers a good cup of joe to accompany you on all of your winter days. Also after you’ve treated yourself to some coffee you can go shopping on Main Street. The St. Charles Coffee House- The St. Charles Coffee House is the definition of a classic coffee shop with coffee in the palms of your hands and smooth jazz whispering in your ear. The chill energy has potential to pull you in and stay for a coffee break all day. It is not only the atmosphere that makes you want to stay all day, but the coffee is enough to make you want to lounge all day. It’s an extraordinary place to go if you’ve got nothing on your plate and you need coffee in your mug.

staff reporter

Ice rinks Forest Park

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When I think of winter, I think of making snowmen, sledding down Art Hill and skating at Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park. It is a beautiful outdoor rink and makes for a great day to spend with friends or family. There’s something about an outdoor rink that really makes it special. Forest Park’s skating rink will always be my favorite. Mills Mall ice rink- The only thing that puts The Ice Zone in second place is the fact that it’s an indoor rink. This rink is a good one to skate at, so if you’re feeling bored and have nothing to do, I would suggest visiting The Ice Zone. Hardee’s Iceplex- The Hardee’s Iceplex, located in Chesterfield, is a bit of a drive but it is a superior place to spend your day with friends. You can skate around, enjoy a Coke or pretzel and then get back to skating. The Iceplex is a fun rink that has yummy food, they offer cheese sticks, toasted ravioli, sugar cookies and they even have healthy choice items. It is definitely a great place to enjoy your day with people eating delicious food and having an excellent time skating.

Movies Christmas Vacation



The coffee shop that is less than a mile away from FHC is not one of the lesser known coffee shops. With Christmas right around the corner, Starbucks has released their holiday drinks which include the Caramel Brulee Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte, and the Eggnog Latte. The best of the four drinks would have to be the Caramel Brulee Latte; with its warm and inviting taste, this drink is irresistible. Starbucks did well when they released this sensational, belly-warming drink.

We’re lovin’ it Each month, members of the Spartan community will share what they are loving this month. From happenings at school to cool new tech to the best concerts, we’ll find the best things going on now.


“Christmas Vacation” is my all-time favorite Christmas movie. Every year I watch it after Thanksgiving dinner; it’s tradition in my house. “Christmas Vacation” contains all of the qualities that make for a good Christmas movie. It’s funny, extremely funny, but I also think it warms the heart. The Griswold Family reminds me of my own family, so it’s a great movie to watch with them. I think everyone can pick out one character from the movie and relate them to a family member of their own. “Christmas Vacation” is the greatest Christmas movie.

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“Home Alone” is a wonderful movie to watch during the holidays. I first watched this movie when I was in the fifth grade, and I developed this infatuation for it. It’s a great Christmas movie; it’s a classic. “Elf” is a wonderful movie that puts me in a great Christmas mood. Will Ferrell was the perfect person to cast as Buddy The Elf. Watching the goofy character run around answering the phone asking the caller what their favorite color is and eating candy covered spaghetti drenched in syrup always puts a huge smile on my face. What is Christmas without Buddy The Elf?

Tyler Tran

Madison Viola

Erica Swanson

THING 1: Move over Polo, there’s a new kid in town, and he comes in the form of a crocodile. I’m talking about Lacoste, Polo’s classier European brother. With products whose fabric is made from only the finest Peruvian pima cotton and buttons are made from mother of pearl, Lacoste has a very premium and high end feel to it. THING 2: Check out House of Cards on Netflix. It’s the first of Netflix’s original shows. Produced by Netflix and streamed exclusively on Netflix, the series tells the story of congressman Frank Underwood and his devious plan to take over Washington through morally questionable actions.

THING 1: 25 Days of Christmas comes on ABC Family starting Dec. 1. This means Christmas movies and TV specials are running every day until Christmas. The animated specials like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” are my favorites. Though “Elf” and “The Polar Express” are “can’t miss” movies of the season as well. THING 2: It looks like puffer coats are coming back in style. While I’m also a fan of the pea coat, it looks better when you’re dressed up rather than casual dressing or scrubbing. Puffer coats pair up with a casual outfit better than a dressy one.

THING 1: The brisk, cold air of winter brings the first thoughts and hopes for snow days. I love seeing snowflakes on the forecast and the anticipation of no school. The day of no school promises to be full of fun, with getting to sleep in, go sledding, make snowmen and drink some steamy hot chocolate afterwards. THING 2: With the holidays coming, I love the specialty drinks that come with it. Personally, my taste buds savor the taste of all the different egg nog flavors that come up such as McDonald’s holiday pie, which has filling similar to egg nog and is decorated with tiny sprinkles. | the scene


An international celebration Annual night hosted by World Language Department brings various cultures to students By Hannah Beckmann staff reporter

In the world, there are close to 200 different countries, with 200 different cultures. It is the goal of AP French and Spanish students to bring that culture to FHC on Dec. 11 for International Night. “International Night is basically to inform others about countries and habits outside of America,” senior Breanna O’Neal said. “It’s an effort to become more aware of our surroundings.” International Night is meant to educate the community and the AP students who are running the event. AP French teacher Mrs. Lauren Breite and AP Spanish teacher Dr. Jennifer Miller hope that the event

will be beneficial to their studies in their chosen foreign language. “Students will be focusing on the countries and regions that they study in their AP French and Spanish classes so that everything ties together, from that evening to things they do in class to their travels to French & Spanish speaking countries to even how they do on AP exams,” Dr. Miller said. A lot goes into the preparation of such an event with students preparing this as a project for their respective classes. They are asked to focus on one December holiday, like Christmas or New Year’s Day, in a particular country that is part of the French or Spanish speaking world.

“I am working with a partner to research New Years and Christmas in Haiti,” senior Ashley Myers said. “We are all taking a francophone culture and setting up a booth to describe that culture in relation to Christmas and New Years.” Preparation started about a month before the actual night of the event and is counted as a project for AP French and Spanish students. There are two parts to this project: writing an essay about the culture of their chosen country in French or Spanish and then presenting the culture to the International Night attendees. The essay is a comparison between the country they have chosen and the United States over the differences in their

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the scene | december 13, 2013

respective holidays. “Our students began about three weeks ago to investigate various holidays around the world,” Mrs. Breite said. “Then, we asked them to pick one French or Spanishspeaking country whose celebration of Christmas or New Years interested them, and they were asked to write an essay about that country’s celebration.” International Night features a wide array of booths showcasing the different countries that students have chosen. These booths will be student run throughout the event. “During the event, I will be at my booth with my partner, and we will be representing Haiti with an activity of some sort that has to do with

Haitian Christmas and New Years,” Myers said. “It will probably be very colorful and show the mix of culture that drew me to pick Haiti in the first place. I really like that the indigenous peoples have combined Christianity and voodoo in their traditions.” Lower level students are also invited to participate in the event by attending and learning about all the different cultures that the other students have researched. Students like O’Neal and Myers have worked to create an event that is both informative and entertaining for all the participants. The hope is to have attendees leaving the event with a wider knowledge of the various different cultures in the world around them.

{be heard}

Finals have major implications for students, who only have something to lose

F By Erin Rowland delve editor

inals are the bane of every student’s existence in second and fourth quarter. But I don’t think anyone stresses out about finals more than students who are barely clinging on to the grade that they want. When your entire grade hinges on a single, brutal test, the anxiety associated with it is enough to kill someone. The worst is when you’ve spent an entire semester fighting tooth and nail for that good grade, but it’s only good enough that you need to ace the final or risk losing everything you worked towards. While the point of finals is obviously to check that students actually learned the material covered in the semester, for many people, finals can only hurt them. A solid grade on the final means the difference between letter grades. And for some people, that means the difference between a high-level scholarship and less money for college. A small slip in a class due to flubbing on a final can lead to huge slips in financial aid. In many schools, a one point drop of GPA can mean a drop into a lower

scholarship bracket, potentially costing students thousands of dollars. This situation is even more frustrating when you consider that many students who are receiving upper level scholarships are taking at least one AP class. These classes put more pressure on their students and give them harder work, and yet most colleges only consider unweighted GPA for scholarships. This makes the incentive to get that A grade even stronger, because it’s the only way to reduce the amount of postcollege debt. The purpose of finals is to gauge if students really learned the material covered in the class, but in reality, it measures how much a student studied in the weeks before finals. I think that coursework grades are a much better representation of how much students learned. I’ve seen people get Cs for an entire semester, but ace the final and pull their grade up to a high B, all because they crammed last minute to make it happen. Like a lot of standardized testing in schools, finals aren’t an accurate measurement of student learning.

photo by ashleigh harding

What doesn’t kill you makes your grade worse

But unlike standardized testing, finals have real implications for students. Sure, schools suffer when standardized testing scores aren’t up to par, but that isn’t an immediate, irreversible change that could cost the students their scholarships or even their way to their dream school. Why do we have a preoccupation with using tests to measure learning and intelligence when they have repeatedly shown to not prove intelligence at all? A brilliant student can easily fail a test because of test anxiety or any other number of factors. A slacker student can pass a test with flying colors by cramming the night before or cheating. We need to move away from our dependence on tests as ways to establish a benchmark and find other ways to track student progress, development, and growth. There may not be a solid method to properly measure this yet, but with continuing developments in technology and new discoveries every day, now is the time to make a change. | be heard


Natural disaster densensitization Lack of attention, aid for Typhoon Haiyan victims shows American’s apathy

By Brayden Densmore staff reporter

In early November of this year, Typhoon Haiyan ripped through Southeast Asia, most significantly in the Philippines, killing roughly 5,700 people on impact and causing mass destruction of homes and buildings. In the wake of this tragedy, Filipino victims looked to America to lead them through the wreckage and help them begin anew. Unfortunately for the Philippines, most Americans reacted with apathy. The Philippines continue to face a humanitarian crisis with 4.4 million homeless and more than 6 million displaced. The possibility of the spread of disease is extremely high due to the lack of food, water, shelter, and medication. Casualties have been reported as a result of the lack of aid in affected areas, and the number of deaths is very likely to increase. US aid added up to a mere $20 million, with Canada, Japan, and Norway all individually donating $30 million or greater and the UK donating approximately $130 million. The relationship between the Philippines and the US has, historically, been very intimate. The Philippines are consistently the most proAmerican nation in the world, with 90 percent of Filipinos viewing the U.S. and 91 percent viewing Americans favorably in 2002 and 90


be heard | december 13, 2013

percent of Filipinos viewing U.S. influence positively in 2011. The lack of US involvement and financial aid during Typhoon Haiyan is a stab to the Philippines in the back and is proof of American lethargy. This apathy displayed by the American public is an obvious sign of desensitization. However, most Americans are quite aware of this callousness. People have been pointing their fingers for years in an attempt to ascertain why Americans, especially those of younger, verdant generations, have become so anesthetized to tragedies. The list of causes varies from TV violence to video games and everything in between. “With everything that’s on TV and everything you can find online, it’s no wonder Americans are so desensitized. This exposure has made Americans acceptant of a lot of things that aren’t okay like violence, drugs and rape. I stopped watching the news; it’s simply too depressing to watch,” freshman Rachel Fortney said. In a society where the average child has witnessed 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders by the time he or she is 18, it is no surprise that Americans are anesthetized. Despite its prominence, it would seem American apathy is limited to foreign catastrophe. When it comes to domestic issues,

Americans jump into action, especially when disaster strikes in their own neighborhood. On the afternoon of May 22, 2011, a tornado spanning one mile in diameter blew through Joplin, Missouri killing 158 people and, as of 2013, causing $2.19 billion worth of damage. Americans, especially residents of Missouri, responded to the anguish and despondency in Joplin with a swift recovery effort. From fundraisers to foot soldiers, every American in the region lent a hand to aid their fallen countrymen. “The destruction caused by the tornado in Joplin really hit me hard, especially because it hit so close to home. I just really felt for them when I saw what they had to go through. I guess Americans, myself included, care much more about domestic aid than foreign aid,” junior Damon Kastner said. The truth is, we are a globally connected world now. Americans can not isolate themselves because they are too scared or indolent to act. Regardless of origin, every tragedy and every person should be aided. Americans need to wake up and get involved. One out of every eight people on this planet of 7.1 billion suffers from chronic undernourishment. People die daily from diseases Americans brush off as a cold. Poverty and tragedy are real. We can not sit around expecting someone else to fix it.

Eating disorders: a silent scourge “Did anyone reach out to you?” What comes to mind upon being asked that question? That time during your life when nothing was making sense in school and you couldn’t seem to cope? Or maybe a problem at work By Eden Gundersen you were having during that staff reporter first week on the job? Now, I might be talking about the wrong situation for your liking, but all I need right now is for someone to hear the quiet cries of the girls and boys. The ones sitting in their rooms for days on end, or perhaps they’re slumped in the corners of bathroom stalls. The sad souls waiting for a release. No, I’m not talking about suicidal teens or depressed adolescents. Although, I could be with this context. Anorexia and bulimia. Do those words ring any bells for you? They do for two girls, both living in completely different parts of the country, both leading completely different lives yet both sharing a few traits. One, they are both freshmen in high school. Two, they both have an army of friends all calling them an inspiration. Three, they’ll never meet their “twin.” And the fourth and final similarity is that at one time in their lives, they were both at such a low point that they both developed eating disorders. Meet Amanda*, a quiet, average student attending school in the quaint little town of Yuma, Arizona. I hardly think you’d ever guess that less than a year ago, she had a serious case of depression, suicidal thoughts and

actions, and lastly: anorexia. In the beginning of the summer before high school started, Amanda was confronted by her younger sister about eating. Or rather, her lack thereof. Amanda broke down in tears and eventually got the help she needed from the only person able to really understand what she was going through: her sister. Now meet Rachel*, an outspoken girl living in St. Charles, Missouri. Starting in the seventh grade, she developed anorexia nervosa and not until the end of eighth grade was she finally issued a self-induced cure: friendship. Rachel’s friend, who’s name won’t be mentioned, was also going through an eating disorder at nearly the exact same time Rachel was. They both helped each other out of the dark pit that is anorexia, each one saving the other. Now, it’s all happy and sunshine-filled rainbows that they were both helped, but the point is they weren’t ever helped by their parents or a counselor. Neither girl was ever approached by a friend or peer, and I can only assume that’s because they honestly had no idea about the girls’ condition. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for. I don’t mean to sound judgemental or critical, but aren’t there humans on this earth to help other humans? Aren’t we supposed to be there for our friends? Aren’t we supposed to be there for the ones who can’t help themselves and don’t know any better? I was brought up in a broken home, yes. And no, I’m not a model citizen all the time, and I certainly won’t plead not guilty to lying about taking the last cupcake every once in a while. But for everyone’s sake, I always try to be there for my friends.

the box


The waiting game

The stress of applying for college is slightly relieved right now. Most deadlines are over and now seniors are just waiting for those fat packets in the mail.

People are becoming more and more defensive as the years wear on, and I hate it. I know you can’t always be aware of the fact that your best friend is going through something awful like these girls were. And I know you can’t always be able to help them if you do happen to know. But please, please just try. I recently stumbled upon a Halloween costume online while on the hunt for the perfect disguise on Oct. 31. It was a woman’s costume and, as usual, she was in a short, extremely revealing dress. his time it was black and it had a white print of a normal human being’s skeleton. She held a yellow measuring tape around her waist and although I thought it was a strange thing to have in a costume, I didn’t consider it. This is the part where I get offended. Do you want to know what her “name” was? Anna Rexia. At this point, I’m looking back to the costume and wondering how someone could make this and be morally okay with it. I know that I’m oversensitive about most things and that I really ought not to care. But I can’t bring myself to just ignore it. I shut my Kindle off and set it down on my bed. I picked up my phone and, in a snap decision, decided to text Amanda. Once our conversation hit a low point, I asked about how she’s doing health-wise. Surprisingly, I’m granted a long message from her, telling me all about how much recovery she’s accomplished. I ask her if anyone had ever tried to help her. No answer. Ten minutes later, no answer. Twenty, thirty, forty. Still nothing. After I assumed she wasn’t going to answer again, I picked up my Kindle again and

unlocked it. I’m greeted with the impossibly skinny girl in the little black dress. Disgusted all over again, I exit the browser and open my tumblr app. After a long, ranting, blog post on there, I’m ready to sit with my cats and just fume about it some more. I check my phone and Amanda has texted me once again. She says, and I quote: “Nobody reached out to me.” That is the sad thing. At this point, I can’t say much else on the subject without jumping on a table and screaming at the world for being so oblivious, so blind to these people. And it leaves me to wonder, if these girls were brave enough to ask for any help, would anyone be there to offer it? I know there isn’t anything I can force you to do or say. But if your friend, sister, brother, anyone you’ve ever cared about came up to you in tears and told you that because of how misunderstanding society is, they were starving themselves? What would your reaction to that be? Think about it for a minute and see what you come up with. Maybe, like me, you’re completely unprepared for this, and you don’t know what to do with yourself or the person in tears, standing directly in front of you, begging to be saved. Well I can only offer a piece of advice to you here. Listen. That’s all you really have to do. Just sit and listen to their problems. You could be helping more than you know. And if you’re afraid to help them, ask yourself this: wouldn’t you rather have a broken friendship than a broken friend? You can change that. But you have to be willing to make that first step towards fixing them before anything will differ. You cause that. *Names have been changed

Battle of the Tigers ‘Sno snow days The Mizzou Tigers took on Auburn and battled hard for the SEC championship. Although obviously sided against by the press, the Tigers will always have a place in our hearts.

Despite the fact that our wish coming true would mean having a shorter spring break, students were counting on at least one day off this past weekend.


Final countdown

LOVE LIKE LEAVE Holiday cheer

FHC is giving back this season, in record numbers. The World Languages department raised a record high this year for Adopt-A-Family, and the Toys for Tots is another great opportunity to give back to the community.

International Night provides a chance to experience the holiday traditions of different cultures with food and fun, while bringing the school together.

Finals shoot down the holiday spirit, stressing students out during a time that is supposed to full of fun and laughter.

{ | be heard


Illustration by Erin Schroeder


Squeezing our future


Teaching to the test is a shortcut, one that comes at great costs for students

OCs, midterms, finals, AP tests, district formatives ... the list goes and on and on. We as students have to sit through them. We get frustrated because of them. Teachers get frustrated because of them. The district gets frustrated because of them. But, nonetheless, tests have become a commonality in the education world today. The underlying purpose of most tests is to measure achievement in schools so that the state and country can give accreditation. Poor scores mean no money. Good scores mean the money continues to flow in, and the district and school can stay afloat for yet another year. Pressured by the importance of good test scores, schools have frantically searched for an easy answer. How can we get students to pass the tests? How can we keep our schools afloat? However, through this, many teachers and schools have gone towards an easy, quick fix to the answer — teaching directly to the test. Simply giving students the answers is failing the future. We are sending these students into the world with merely words and numbers. Words and numbers that mean absolutely nothing. These students will be


be heard | december 13, 2013

expected to serve as the engineers, doctors, teachers, leaders, lawyers of tomorrow. However, with the lack of preparation, how do we expect them to find a cure for cancer, to come up with cutting-edge technology, to fight for justice? The answer will not just be given to them. They will have to find it. They will have to solve for it, search for it, try for it. Something that teaching to the test will definitely not cover. In this “Here, I will just give you the answer and you better know it for the test,” system, a whole thought process is lost. The process of learning. The process of failure at first. The process of work. They need to know how to critically think. How to persistently try. How the first time you might be wrong. The 100th time you still might be wrong. But you have to keep on going at it. Is this not the purpose of schools? To prepare us for the future? To mold us to the work force? Do we come each and every day just to learn trivia so we can take a test and hopefully earn the schools and district some money? Or do we choose to walk through those doors every day so we can be the future, the thinkers, the leaders? What truly is the purpose?

The purpose of education has been lost in some schools due to the drive for money. It is not to solely achieve fine test scores. It is not to rank as the top school. Schools are here to train us, to prepare us for the world out there. They are here to make us be ready to tackle the problems of our ancestors. They are here to make us ready to be the next lawyers, presidents, teachers, firefighters, doctors, engineers, artists, translators, writers. They are here to mold us into young adults ready to take on the future. Teaching to the test does not accomplish any of this. We at Howell Central have a stated purpose — our mission statement. It is to “prepare students to be productive and responsible members of a democratic society by promoting excellence through academic achievement.” How do we teach “responsibility” when the education system has lost touch of its own? How do we teach “productivity”? The example set by the education system is that cutting corners is okay even if it does not help students in the long run. What does academic achievement mean? Is it solely how well a student can regurgitate meaningless answers? Because that is all

teaching to a test does. It creates a parrot for society, not a person. There are some teachers and schools who have heard the pleas. They have heard the cry for money and for good test scores. However, they have chosen to continue teaching students the material, the meaning, the process of learning. They have chosen to serve the purpose of education, even if it means risking their jobs or funding. And the results will come. The students who leave these schools and teachers will have been prepared. They will likely perform just as well as the students who were taught to the test. The edge they have is they understand. They understand the meaning behind the answers, the process that got them their answers, the learning that took place. And this is something invaluable. Something that can not be measured through performance in test scores. Something that cannot be measured in rankings. It is something which might not be measurable now, but will definitely shine tomorrow in the quality of the workforce and the quality of the thinkers schools and teachers have cultivated.


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Then drop by Room 139 for an application to join FHC Publications for the 2013-14 school year. Or apply online at in the second semester!

PATRONS OF FHC PUBLICATIONS Those listed below help support the publishing endeavors of FHC Publications through their time, money and past service. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF LEVEL Ted Noelker Lindsay Schallon Lisa Cunningham EDITOR LEVEL Jeff & Sonja Mugler STAFF REPORTER LEVEL Billy & April Rowland Paul & Bonnie Buhse The staff members of each publication would like to thank those listed above for their continued support of scholastic journalism. To become a patron of FHC Publications, please contact Mr. Matthew Schott at matthew.

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Erin Schroeder - Print Executive Editor Madelyn Newton - Multimedia Executive Editor Claire Richardson- The Scene Editor Ben Morrison - Be Heard Editor Jessica Mugler - Copy Editor Kortney Sheahan - Photo Editor Ashley Marlo - Photo Editor Hannah Beckmann - Reporter Olivia Biondo - Reporter Morgan Brader - Reporter Alexander Buhse - Reporter Devin Chen - Reporter Tori Cooper - Reporter Brayden Densmore - Reporter

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Nora Frank - Photographer Dohen Gallagher - Photographer Ozzy Goodrich - Photographer Zach Grau - Photographer Eden Gundersen - Photographer Ashleigh Harding - Photographer Abbie Kaplan - Photographer Frank Lunatto - Photographer Courtney Riportella - Photographer Caitlyn Sanders - Photographer Kayla Schoenig - Photographer Chloe Siebels - Photographer Taylor Stone - Photographer Alexis Waters - Photographer Emileigh Wiegert - Photographer Mr. Matthew Schott - Adviser

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


See how they ran During the weekend of Nov. 21-23, troupe 5743 performed its annual fall play, the British comedy “See How They Run,� set in the time after World War II, involving several cases of mistaken identity, escaped convicts and drunken old maids. Photos by Kortney Sheahan

In the midts of the excitement, Mackenzie Morris portrays a very frantic character of Mrs. Penelope Toop."The highlight of the play [was] the scenes that they were running around, or act three because there was so much action and physical comedy," freshman Mackenzie Morris

After an amazing performace by the FHC spotlight players, seniors Josh Mundschenk, John Emery, Hannah Beckmann, Evan Richard and Charlie Grant, junior Austin Stephen, sophomore Tristan Ratterman and freshmen Rachel Fortney and Mackenzie Morris all take center stage for a final bow. Troupe 5743 spent three months preparing the set, costumes and props for the produc-

ABOVE: Hannah Beckmann as Miss Skillon and Evan Richard as Mr. Toop sit in the living room of the Toop residence. The old drunken maid, Miss Skillon, had just woken up after passing out from drinking too much alcohol. She had a crush on the married Mr. Toop. ABOVE RIGHT: Mrs. Toop catches up with her old friend, Clive, played by Tristan Ratterman. Many years earlier, they were part of a traveling theater company where they both played lead parts. RIGHT: The Officer, played by Charlie Grant, is harassed when he asks everyone for identification cards. The Man, played by Josh Mundschenk, was the only one with his card, though it wasn't really his, because he stole clothes from Mr. Toop.


aperture | december 13, 2013

Freshman Mackenzie Morris, who was the lead role in the play, plays Mrs. Penelope Toop, who is married to Lionel Toop, played by senior Evan Richards. Her costume was designed by seniors Stephanie Mossinghoff

The grey- haired Bishop of Lax, played by senior John Emery,tries to avoid stepping on Mrs. Toop, because she was passed out. The Bishop of Lax was Toop's uncle.

December Issue  

This issue is focused on the stress students receive from standardized testing and the focus placed on these tests.