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Francis Howell North St. Charles, MO 11.05.14 Vol. 29, Issue 4



That M atter


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Have an opinion on something in this month’s paper? Send us a letter about it to room 026 or an email to

ON THE COVER Twenty topics were chosen for this issue as a result of a survey given to FHN students. These topics are considered the most relevant topics to high school students. (cover by ashleigh jenkins)

HOW WE MADE THIS PAPER YOURS questions. It’s been a popular game throughout generations. One player thinks of one person, place or thing while the other player is allowed to ask 20 questions to be able to guess what the other is thinking. That’s kind of how this issue of the North Star is. You may be wondering, how does a high school newspaper relate to a guessing game? Instead of 20 questions, we have 20 things all centered around one question: Why does it matter? We wanted this paper to be about the things students care about, and the issues they encounter daily. We figured, this paper is for the students so why not let the students choose? So, in mid September, the North Star staff created a list of 40 topics, all of which we felt were important to high school students. We then had students take a survey with each of the 40 topics listed, asking them to choose which ideas they would want to know more about. From there, we chose the top 20 topics that were selected as their interests. After narrowing down the ideas we wanted to put into the paper, we decided to take it another step further and include the students opinions yet again. We created another survey compiled of 30 questions. These questions went more in-depth, asking students about some of their personal life, including their influence to drink alcohol, what stresses them out, and their opinion on ecuation at FHN. 370 students took this survey, including 117 freshmen, 72 sophomores, 74 juniors, and 107 seniors. We used their responses throughout the paper, allowing students to compare what they would respond with to the student body’s response as a whole. While you will find many heavy topics, we wanted to make it more fun. Instead of writing 20 700-word stories about controversial topics, we shortened the


stories and expanded the graphics. You’ll find several different types of alternative storytelling, all of which are used to keep you interested and reading. Each topic has one focus relating to the idea of why it matters. Every story, every graphic goes back to why it matters to students and how the people of FHN can relate to it and apply it to their everyday lives. We wanted to figure out why students care about these topics, why they’re so important, and what statistics and stories we could find to support that. So thank you. Thanks for reading. Thanks for taking our survey. Thanks for helping write this special edition. We wanted a paper for the students and what matters to them. We hope these 20 topics help capture that and help answer the question “Why does it matter?”

Alexis Tainter Team Editor


FAST FOOD The drive thru is becoming a more popular destination as some families become too busy for homemade meals.

FAST FOOD for fast-paced families Seniors Brendan Black and Ryan Hyde’s families find themselves eating fast food regularly, due to busy schedules BY BREANNA RELLEKE

Senior Brendan Black’s family eats fast food three to four times a week, their restaurant of choice being McDonalds. A regular order for the family of four consists of three Quarter Pounders, four McDoubles, two McChickens, a chicken wrap, and three large fries. This is something Black expressed to have some trouble with. “We do try and stay healthy at my house, but it’s very difficult considering healthy food either A, takes forever or B, is very expensive,” Black said. With a busy household, it becomes even more difficult to stay healthy. Black works at Tucanos, his brother, Tony works at Schnucks and his father, Tom is a concrete finisher. Black’s mother is disabled. Additionally, both Black and his brother are full-time students. These are not the only obstacles Black’s family faces in their attempts to maintain a healthy lifestyle, though. Due to the amount of work they do, the family often feels lethargic when they aren’t working, which can make it difficult to muster up the energy to prepare a more nutritious meal. In the face of full time employment, lethargy and academics, the family still finds ways to stay healthy. “I do a lot of running, and I usually go to the Rec Plex, or

Gold’s Gym,” Black said. Black’s father, Tom, maintains fitness through his job as a concrete finisher, which requires a lot of physical labor. Brendan’s desire for a different diet is not purely for health reasons, however. There are several activities Brendan participates in, that would benefit from a more nutritious diet, namely Black’s post-deployment army training. Another family who eats fast food regularly is the Hydes. Senior Ryan Hyde and his family eat fast food about twice a week. The Hydes’ average day is hectic due to school, extra-curricular activities, and work. Ryan’s mother Stefanie works two jobs which results in an even more fast-paced life. Ryan is well aware of the nutrition, or lack of nutrition, that fast food offers. “The nutritional choices you make now end up further health problems,” Hyde said. “I’ll just make my health choices later down the road.” The two boys are similar in that their families both eat a considerable amount or fast food, they exercise to try and stave off negative effects of fast food, and participate in activities that would benefit from a healthier diet. Black often feels the effects of fast food on his energy levels. “It makes me a lot more lethargic,” Black said. “We get rather lazy whenever we eat a lot of fast food and that makes it difficult to want to even get up to go to work.”

“If it’s J Box tacos then it’s great. If it’s McDonald’s I want to puke.” Maya Kelch, 12 “Fast food is absolutely disgusting, but oh so delicious.” Dillon Beelek, 10

“[Fast food] is good for when you want something quick, but you shouldn’t eat it all the time” Angie Barlos, 12

“I love fast food, even though it’s bad for me.” Matt Dempski, 12 “Fast food is easy, and I get it when it’s too late to make dinner, because of activities.” Svetlanna Feddersen, 9 “I like fast food but too much of anything is bad. If kids are with their friends, fast food is always the first thing they go to because it’s easy.” Rebekah Maye, 10




2 SOCIAL MEDIa Students give their insight on why they believe that social media can make a positive impact on the education system. “I think a lot of people use social media and if we make it positive, it can be a good learning tool in schools.” Alexis Tillman, 12 “I think social media would be a good factor to classrooms if they’re careful. It really depends. Twitter, for example, gives students instant updates, and it’s benificial in that way.” Nathan Dennigmann, 9 “It would be a good thing if schools supported the use of social media. It would get more people to interact in school events and people would know about more clubs and teams. The Wi-Fi prevents students from seeing what’s going on after school.” Avery Bond, 10 “Social media can give out valuable information or talk about sports scores. It’s a good way to keep people connected within the school community.” Sierra Teuscher, 12





NOT A WASTE OF STORAGE The uprise of the use of social media by teens calls for attention by school districts BY MAGGIE TORBECK • @ExtendedMaggs

Wake up, walk downstairs, prepare breakfast, check Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Vine, then get dressed. Much like many teenagers, senior Valerie Udovenko has found a way to work social media into her everyday schedule. “Every ten minutes or so I check my social media,” Udovenko said. “I always feel like I need to stay updated, and make sure I don’t miss anything.” Today, teenagers are referred to as “Millennials,” or “Generation Y,” and are highly referred to as the “Technical Generation” because of the prevalence of technology in their lifespan. According to a 2010 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, today’s teens spend approximately seven and a half hours a day consuming media, which is longer than the sleep an average high school student gets on a school night. “I feel like the school is eliminating an important resource by blocking social media on the schools Wi-Fi,” senior

Anna Ford said. “On Twitter, you can see what’s going on around the school and around the area.” A 2012 national study by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center discovered that the biggest classroom problem faced by teachers is the distraction of social media in their classes. Teachers also said that social media has hurt students face to face communication skills by 59 percent. “I feel like social media distracts students, like myself, in class,” junior Taylor Kreutz said. “It’s addicting, you can look across the classroom and you’ll see that half the kids are on their phones.” According to the same study by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, the results revealed that only 17 percent of teachers believed that social media had positive influences on children and teenagers. “It seems like adults are always trying to say that social media can destroy the classroom,” Udovenko said. “It can be a great learning tool if we could implement it into our curriculum the proper way.”

59% of students said they spend more time on social media than with their family on weekdays

370 FHN students surveyed

32% of students said they spend more time with their family than on social media on weekends

370 FHN students surveyed


Friendships Most teens cling to their friend groups; however, BFFs may split ways sooner rather than later.

“It allows people to open themselves up and connect with others.”

Zohaib Abro, 11

“I don’t have friends, I have best friends.” Pratyush Sontha, 11

A Bond made on the field

Friends Charlie Brauch and Devin Grellner became friends from their love of baseball BY BENNETT SMALLWOOD

Juniors Charlie Brauch and Devin Grellner’s friendship formed 11 years ago in Debby Ridenhower’s kindergarten class at Harvest Ridge Elementary School. Brauch and Grellner’s friendship emerged because of similar interests between the two students. “Well he likes baseball like me,” said Grellner. “It’s the similar activities.” Because of the mutual passion for baseball that Grellner and Brauch share, their friendship grew from there. After discovering they both shared a love for the Cardinals, their friendship really sparked. They talked about baseball,

and then in 2nd grade they both played on a team called the Eagles. They stayed on this team until they were in 5th grade. Now they both play on the JV Boys’ Baseball team. “We started to play baseball and we’ve played ever since,” Brauch said. Friendships with others can become strained because of challenging classes in school, work, other relationships with family members, or other friends, but for Grellner and Brauch that is not the case. Grellner wants to go to Rolla for an engineering course and Brauch wants to go to Truman for business, as well as continue his baseball career. Even though they plan to go to different colleges, they will keep in touch.. “He’s like a brother to me and I will talk to him till the day I die,” Brauch said.

Technology evolving Over the years technology has evolved to become more integrated in the everyday lives of people in the United States

“Friendships get me through the day.” Drew Lanig, 10

“I can go to them for anything.” Carolynn Gonazalez, 9

An American has, on average, two close friends. down from three 25 years ago. NBC News:



Technology has become an inseparable part of teenage lives as upgrades and updates continue to roll out. According to a 2012 study, 55 percent of phone users own a smartphone.

“[People] are constantly on their phones all the time and I don’t think they can survive without them.”

Matt Borrelli, 11


FHNTODAY.COM Page by Bennett Smallwood



Ascending Anorexia

A senior shares her experience battling a potentially fatal disorder and how she fought to get to a healthier mindset BY LEXI WILKINSON • @loupy0925

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, approximately 24 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. Of those, only one out of ten people seek treatment for it. Senior Abby Miller was that one. “I was on tube feedings for ten weeks,” Abby said. “It got to where I was able to go days without eating. It was just normal for me. It just got to a point where I was used to it, and I wasn’t hungry. I was just used to it.” It sounds like a TV show or a John Green novel, but for Abby, this was her reality. Abby suffered from Anorexia Nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by the refusal to ized that her recovery was up to her. maintain a healthy weight, a fear of gaining weight, and a “One day it just hit me: do I wanna spend my whole life skewed image of oneself. For a year and a half, she was in and out of treatment facilities trying to get a handle on the like this?” Abby said. “Do I wanna see what people are talking about, you know, being at a healthier weight? deadly disorder. Do I wanna see a different side of this, because I don’t “The hardest part about dealing with an eating disorder remember anything else now. I just had to realize that I’m is that you are faced with your addiction multiple times a doing this for myself, and the Direct Care Staff [at Mccalday, whereas someone with alcohol addiction, they don’t lum] were so proud of me for that, and ever have to drink again to live,” Cara it motivated me to keep going with my Faries, Clinical Director for the Intensive recovery.” Outpatient Program at Castlewood Physical signs and symptoms Though it took eight months for Abby Treatment Center, said. “Someone with to accept her treatment, the actual a food addiction has to eat, has to of anorexia nervosa process of recovery varies for each perfigure out how much is too much, how Severe weight loss son that has an eating disorder. It can much is too little, and how to tolerate it Listlessness, exhaustion, depend on the level the addiction has in their body.” fatigue gotten to and the person’s willingness At first, Abby’s parents and friends Hypotension to work towards remission. didn’t notice that something was off, Hypothermia “They have to do it for themselves,” and that Abby was struggling with Upset stomach Sherry said. “You can’t make people eat, something that they didn’t understand. Dry skin you can’t make people change their Abby was very active, and between her Alopecia- hair loss head. It is always up to them. It’s a part after school job, playing Varsity softball, Insomnia of their treatment, it’s when they finally and just generally growing up, Abby’s Irregular menstration get the knowledge that ‘I can either do mom, Sherry Miller, figured that everyCold hands and feet this and stay sick or I can do that and thing was okay, despite the weight Brittle nails feel better’.” loss. It wasn’t until the school called Many of the dark thoughts associated home, alarmed by changes in Abby, that with mental disorders leave people feelshe realized Abby needed help. ing isolated and lonely, like they are alone in their struggle. “She didn’t show it in the beginning, so of course I was Though Abby still struggles with her thoughts and the like, ‘Oh, she’s fine, just make her eat and she’s fine,” urges to restrict her eating some days, she knows how Sherry said. “But then things started to get bad, and I realimportant it is to not give in to them. ized that we needed to take care of it, needed to figure it “I just lost so much time that I could have spent with my out and do whatever it takes to get her healthy again.” friends and my family because I was dealing with this,” Abby went to multiple treatment facilities, including Abby said. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but I really kind of McCallum Place, an eating disorder center in St. Louis. She lost everything for awhile. And when you get it back, it’s spent several months there, attending group therapy sesawesome. You just really can’t give up, you have to focus sions and counseling in residential care. In the beginning, on recovery and get to wherever that means for you, and she wasn’t focused so much on recovery as the feeling of always remember that you are never alone.” being trapped; however, that all changed when she real-


Body Image

The way that a person sees him or herself can have a huge impact on their life. “Adolescence is a really confusing time and your self-esteem can be like a rollercoaster in high school, so it’s important to talk to kids so that they can have a good idea of themselves.” Maya Kelch, 12 “It’s important to talk about body image because like 90 percent of everyone in high school is insecure about themselves, even though no one will admit it. It’s good to address an issue that everybody has.” Kaleb Bell, 11 “It’s important because so many people suffer from not being happy about themselves, abd the expectations that people have about themselves are unrealistic. And it’s important for them to know that they are perfect just the way they are.” Amy Wedewer, 10 “If we act like everyone has insecurities about their bodies then everyone can feel more at peace with them.” Sofia Orlando, 11





Drugs Although Missouri is no longer the meth capital of the United States, drugs are still prevalent in the lives of teens. “It’s easy for teens to get drugs nowadays because a lot of people end up having it but you just got to stay away from them.” Sarah Latham, 9 “I think teens do drugs way too much. If you want to do them, okay, that’s fine just don’t be stupid with them.” Jen Mills, 12 “I think people do drugs because if all their friends are doing them, they want to fit in.” Meghan Mitchell, 11 “I think drugs aren’t a good thing because you can get addicted to them but if somebody’s doing them you know it’s their choice.” Gabrielle Daniel, 12 “Some teens, not myself, look at drugs as a getaway from a troubled life, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay.” Alex Brice, 12

National Institute on Drug Abuse:





GAY MARRIAGE The freedom to marry whomever one chooses to has been discussed and debated around the world. “Learning about the issue gives a safe place for people to grow and learn about themselves and others. High school is about discovering yourself, so it gives an opportunity for someone to do that. And why does one matter legally and one doesn’t? That’s the real question.” Marissa Hume, 12 “It’s important to talk about the issue of gay marriage so more people are more aware and are willing to at least coexist. They don’t have to accept it if they can’t come around to that, but they have to recognize if they think differently that it’s their life, and they shouldn’t intervene with someone else’s life.” Alyssa Gill, 10

“It’s important to talk about to get other people’s points of view because it’s not necessarily a topic that everyone wants to talk about.” Ryan Ehlers, 12




STATE OF THE UNION: WAGE GAP Women currently make 78 percent of what men make in the U.S. Louisiana is the worst offender, while New York is the state with the smallest gap.


Gender Equality In 2014, gender equality remains a relevant topic of discussion as the wage gap continues to close. AAUW:

OPINION: Women win no matter what

Women have come a long way, and are now working in many job fields, proving that they can be just as successful or even more successful than a man BY MIA ELLIOTT

Women have proven that success is their middle name. For so long, women have been a shadow to men’s shine. Women have stood up, spoken and have carried the flag of success in their hands. There is no doubt in my mind that women will ever be considered below or not equal to a man. Now, we have created a path for men to follow behind us and watch us shine on stage, in an operating room and at home. Beyonce, as of June 30, 2014, topped Forbes Top 100 Celebrity list with $115 million that she earned over the past year, beating her husband Jay Z who placed sixth with $60 million. Now if you don’t call that taking the lead, then I don’t know what to call it. Being on the Forbes list is like the Grammys for money in the celebrity world. Beyonce is creating a partition separating women from men, waking up flawless, and showing Jay Z along with all of the other men, that girls run

the world. Who else runs the world? Doctors. According to Wall Street Journal, women are one third of the nation’s lawyers and doctors, which is a major shift from a generation ago. One third of the nation’s lawyers and doctors. Sounds like with all of these educated women, a lot of men must be very well taken care of. Stereotypes often make women sound “soft” considering that they stay at home, raise the kids and take care of their husbands when they’re sick. Being a stay-at-home mom and taking care of her family is a job alone. The greatest success of a stay-at-home mom is knowing that her family is well taken care of and has everything they need. Women have grown over the years in many different fields of life. Some don’t even make money, but the feeling of success, or accomplishment of being a great wife or mother is more than enough to be just as and even more successful than men.

ethnicity: how we compare to others Although FHSD’s racial demographics are similar to the Missouri average, they vastly differ from districts around the state, including Normandy and Kansas City schools

“I think that women should be looked at differently because they are changing the world now, like if you look at anybody in the music industry, it’s all women being put up there.” Megan Horner, 11

“I do think a woman can be just as or more successful as a man because gender doesn’t matter.” Alana Simmons, 9

Women typically earn about 90 percent of what men are paid until they hit 35. After that median earnings for women are typically 75–80 percent of what men are paid. AAUW:


Ethnicity Racial demographics vary from school to school. “In terms of the question of racism, in St. Louis I think other cities are ahead of us in terms of race relations.” Mary Kerr-Grant, staff This year, Hispanics overtook whites as the majority race in California with 39 percent of the population. Pew Research:





HOMELESSNESS An often overlooked population, youth who are homeless don’t always fit the perceived definition people have of homelessness. 39 percent of homeless individuals are youth age 18 and under. 380,000 youth under the age of 18 remain away from home for over one week and 131,000 remain gone for over one month. Each year, approvixmately 110,000 LGBTQ youth experience homelessness in America. About 50,000 youth in the U.S. sleep on the street for six months or more. 75 percent of homeless individuals are youth age 18 and under. 5,000 young people die every year because of assault, illness, or suicide while on the street. NAEH: Do Something:




fighting youth homelessness North provides a program to help provide homeless and needy students with necessities and supplies needed to succeed in school BY DANIEL BODDEN

Norm’s Nook is a place at FHN specifically designated to provide items for students in the FHN community such as school supplies, clothes, and hygiene items. Any student needing assistance with items like these can get access to Norm’s Nook by talking to one of their teachers. The program was started by FACS teacher Sara White about seven years ago. “Norm’s Nook is sort of like a Plato’s Closet just for the community of FHN, except everything is free,” White said. “There are clothes for every size and season for males and females, backpacks, shoes, even Homecoming and Prom dresses.” White got the idea while at a faculty meeting a few years ago. The poverty level was being discussed, and according to White, during that year there were 15 percent of students at or below poverty level based on participation in the free and reduced lunch program. “I kept thinking about how the economy was in the tank and the job market was suffering,” White said. “I couldn’t give them jobs, I couldn’t pay their mortgage, I couldn’t buy them groceries. Everyone needs warm clothes and school supplies to be successful. I thought if we could help meet the basic needs, maybe they could meet their needs on a bigger level.” Some of the students who access Norm’s Nook are homeless students. According to Guidance Counselor Jennifer Schwarz, there are currently 14 homeless students out of the 1,720 total students at FHN. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers any individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime

residence as being homeless. “I bet people don’t really think about it,” Schwarz said. “[Homeless youth] are kind of invisible because it’s not something people talk about. When someone’s friends or family aren’t in that situation, they may not realize. I can see people making comments that they wouldn’t think are hurtful.” Homeless youth may live with other family members, move from home to home, live with friends, or be part of a program like Youth in Need (YIN). YIN offers services ranging from Safe Place, located at businesses such as Walgreen’s and QuikTrip where youth can go in a crisis situation, an emergency shelter, transitional living support, and a street outreach team. “A lot of youth don’t realize that their friend who ‘couch surfs’ is classified as homeless and are entitled to certain rights and supports,” Regional Safe Place Manager Karen Sieve said. “We work with these young people to show them that even though it’s tough, it’s temporary. We focus on what they are doing right and help them to become self sufficient.” For White, her Norm’s Nook project is about more than just helping homeless and needy students with just tangible support and meeting physical needs. “I had the privilege of taking a student down last year and with tears in her eyes she said, ‘I’ve never been at a school that cares about people the way you care about people,’” White said. “More than anything, we want kids to know we care about them and that we’ll do things beyond classroom instruction to impact their lives. We want to show them that the world isn’t actually as ugly as it seems.”



Studies show that as teens get older, the amount of alcohol they consume increases


Alcohol is one of the most common substances that is abused. With many teens participating in underage drinking, problems may arise.


Drivers are less likely to use restraints when they have been drinking. In 2009, 60% of the young drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes who had been drinking were unrestrained. In 2009, an estimated 623 lives were saved by minimum-drinking-age laws.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the 21-year-old minimum drinking age laws have reduced traffic fatalities involving 18 to 21 years old by 13% and have saved an estimated 27,677 lives since 1975. SADD : National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility:

The number of 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes who had a BAC of .01 g/ dL or higher dropped by 37%, from 1,932 in 2000 to 1,210 in 2009. National Organization for Youth Safety:






of FHN students said they plan on voting in both local/state elections and Presidential elections once they’re 18.


Students discuss how involved in government they plan to be. “I believe that when we vote and participate at a young age, it helps prepare us for adulthood.” Maria Michalski, 11 “Any vote is important since we are a large chunk of the population and at this point we are educated enough to have viewpoints.” Claire Boenitz, 11 “I prefer not to get involved in politics but I guess if you like to get involved and know what’s going on go for it, but I like to think that I’m just one guy and my opinion’s not going to matter much.” Dillon Beelek, 10

“It’s important because you should have a say in our government.” Caitlind Walker, 9

“I would think we know enough about the world and society that we can have our on opinion.” Jacob Griffith, 12




370 FHN students surveyed

Lifetime Involvements start now Student participation in government has become easier to achieve through new opportunities presented to students all across the United States BY ALEX SHANNON @therealtwin96

Yesterday, an election was held on Nov. 4 for US Senate, State Senate, State House and more. Seniors who are eligible to vote were able to participate in this election if they so chose. However a large portion of people don’t want to get involved. Some students find voting in elections like these to be an effective first step into involvement with politics. “Start self-educating yourself on candidates and parties and certain big issues,” senior Sydney Vanourney said. Classes like American Government are set up to introduce students to how government works and is an entry level course just to touch ground on the basics of politics. Students who do well in these classes are also known to get involved in government in the future. The class itself can even offer ways for students to get involved in other clubs such as, Young Democrats, Young Republicans and Young Libertarians club. “It’s real life, it’s what affects them everyday, just like the stuff going on in Ferguson,” American Government teacher William Crow said. “The biggest issue there is people aren’t getting involved and when other people start making decisions for them and they don’t like that, now they’re reacting with people protesting and getting upset.” Some students around the school are taking steps to prevent this lack of involvement by taking part in FHN’s political organizations. The aforementioned clubs are raising awareness and getting involved in their own ways. Students can use these clubs as stepping stones to start

on the path of government involvement. “Last year we went to a benefit at Tucanos and I know a couple of students helped with elections and stuff,” senior Lauren Hogan, a member of the Young Democrats, said. “Like going to people’s doors and putting up signs.” The clubs use simple events like this to inform and draw in students. The American Government class used to require students to actively participate in events around the community. “We used to have an active participation part of our class where they had to go be a part of a city council meeting or see a school board meeting or see some type of government in action,” Crow said. “I wish we could go back to doing that again.” Even though the active participation in class has been dropped in the classroom, it continues on in the respective clubs. Students are still getting involved, but in smaller numbers. This is something that the clubs are looking to change. However the clubs are facing problems of their own. All three clubs are looking for new members to help get off their feet. Leaving an opportunity for students looking to get involved to lend a hand and join. “Kids who are involved in the clubs are kids who are already interested in the politics and would take the interest that far anyway, and actually this year there hasn’t been much development of those new clubs,” Crow said. “The only new one has come out is libertarian that’s under the direction of Danny Dilber. The Republican and Democrat clubs I don’t think are doing that much, mainly because most of the kids who were involved last year are all graduated.”

Teen spending habits


Junior Achievement:

People can spend money in various ways, using credit cards, debit cards or cash. With each form of payment, there is another way to save for the future.

National Consumers League:

MANAGING THE CASH FLOW Students lack of experience with money can lead to future financial problems BY ALEXIS TAINTER • lexis_taint

Each student is required to take Personal Finance their junior or senior year in order to graduate from FHN. Throughout the semester, upperclassman are taught the concept of borrowing, the cost of credit and how to manage money. “It’s the most important class to help you be successful in adult life,” Personal Finance teacher Mim Eaton said. “I was really grateful when it became a required class to graduate because I knew it would be helpful for students to learn how to work through tough financial situations. Eaton has been through her own downfalls with money. She got her first credit card and her first apartment at the age of 18. After finishing her degree, she took out a loan for her first car. With these factors and a divorce included, this led to her filing for bankruptcy twice.

“Through it, I learned debt doesn’t bring hopelessness,” Eaton said. “If you want to increase your income and put yourself in a better place, you’ll take the steps to get there.” One of the many things Eaton focuses on in her class is the aspect of having a credit card and the dangers that come with one, including interest rates and fraudulent charges. This is one of the main factors that leads to students getting into debt. So many students don’t understand what their credit score is and how much that number can affect their life,” Eaton said. “Students need to track their credit and pay attention to their credit score. Credit doesn’t always have to be a scary thing.” Eaton helps show how easy credit cards are to manage by teaching students the pros and cons of using one. She uses her personal experiences and knowledge to prepare students for their future. “Her experiences helped me connect real life to what we were learning,” senior Emma Cleaveland said. “It made me think of her as someone who knows what they’re talking about and a good person to learn from.” Eaton believes starting students out early on learning tips and background information about finance will only help them down the road. “Money doesn’t buy your happiness,” Eaton said. “There’s always a way out of debt and always a way that things can get better. The sooner you start managing and budgeting, the better off you’ll be in the long run.”

“I only use a debit card and it’s really easy because I can transfer money from my savings account. I wouldn’t spend as much money if I used cash.” MaryKate Feldhaus, 12 Tips to save: -Open a savings account -Plan a budget -Track spendings

“I use cash and I spend it fast so I’m really bad at managing it.” Kelly Mahaffey, 10 37 states have personal finance standards, yet only 21 states require those standards be implemented. “I try not to spend all of my money at once. I try to save some of it.” Ian Broeder, 12 “I like to save my money to buy bigger things.” Laraya Griffith, 10





Seniors begin playing the numbers game as the application deadline for college approaches. Only 30 percent of the U.S. population has at least an undergraduate degree. The average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities increased by 27 percent beyond the rate of inflation over the past five years . “I think it’s pretty expensive for something most people need in order to succeed. It’s worth going to college, but I think it should be cheaper.” Dillon Lung, 12 “I had to get scholarships. It depends what you want to do. I don’t think more expensive schools are necessarily better schools.” Kevin Rudberg, 12 “I think the cost of college is worth it because schools offer financial aid and scholarships. I think it’s affordable because colleges offer subsidized loans for students.” Zack Sweeney, 12

Forbes: College Board:




Learning to Pass the test


of students believe that FHN places more importance on passing a test rather than learning the information. 370 FHN students surveyed

Think before you act The ACT helps define a students future, which college they get into, what classes they take, and which job field they go into BY ALY DOTY • @alydoty2

The ACT is one of the many standardized tests that students will take in their lifetime. Students are typically required to take this test in order to get into college. The ACT tests students on subjects such as English, mathematics, reading, and science. Each section of the test is timed, lasting usually around 35 minutes per subject. “I think the test is a good guide, but I don’t think it should be the final decision of whether a student gets into a college or not,” AP American Government teacher William Crow said. The ACT is one of the most widely used tests for college placement because of the variety of subjects it covers. “I don’t believe standardized tests show how smart a student is because one of those tests is an aptitude test,” Crow said. “It’s supposed to show you how well you might do in college. The ACT, now that its changed, does a better job of testing knowledge, but I don’t think it should be the main reason why kids get in college.” Generally, a standardized test has multiple subjects that a student gets tested on, ranging from 40-75 questions per subject. Most subjects test information from classes taken in middle school up to classes taken a student’s senior year of high school. “Because they’re trying to gain so much information in a short amount of time, a student is not really able to express their knowledge or their depth of knowledge of a specific subject, and these tests are broad,” Crow said.

The ACT has an optional writing portion that is required by some colleges. The test contains of one writing prompt that states an issue, and students describe two points of view involving that issue. The essay tests a student’s skills that were emphasized in high school English classes. “Along with a test, colleges should maybe have an interview of a specific subject that the students interested in by a member of that department,” Crow said. There are many classes offered to prepare students for standardized tests such as the ACT and the SAT, and many students take practice tests before taking the actual test. Many students take the test their junior year of high school, however, some students take these tests as early as middle school. “Tests stress me out,” sophomore Audrey Baker said. “I study for hours the night before every test. I’m already stressed because I’m under a lot of pressure to get an A, but when you add the fact that I don’t get any relaxation time the night before tests, I’m just a stressed out mess.” Many colleges use standardized test scores to make admission decisions. Typically, if a student’s ACT score is high, then their GPA can be lower without it having a negative impact. Colleges also use the test results to help place students into the correct courses. Some scholarship and loan agencies use scores from these tests to identify qualified candidates. “I think America’s put too much emphasis on testing, and testing is a snapshot in time of a student’s abilities,” Crow said.


STANDARDIZED TESTING Standardized testing challenges students’ knowledge and creates pathways into colleges. “I didn’t like the writing portion. I think it gave too many opinions.” Meg Hays, 10 “I think the ACT measures a students’ abilities to an extent, but I also think in order to do well on the ACT, you don’t necessarily have to have a high GPA, you just need to know how to approach the test.” Allison Weyhrich, 12 “I believe the ACT is an excellent way to memorize certain school subjects, but is absolutely no way to judge intelligence. Everyone excels in different subjects.” Jeffrey Struckhoff, 12 “The ACT is difficult when they keep the room at -10 degrees, but overall I think we can do great as a school on it.” Jeri Treas, 10 “The ACT was really long, but I got a really good score so I’m excited.” Bryce Fletcher, 10





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Teacher pay

Quality teachers are an important part of students’ education. FHN teachers express their views on the impact of merit pay on students. “I disagree with it [Amendment 3] because maybe you’re a strict, very structured teacher and your students did not appreciate that, or maybe the students just don’t like you for various reasons. Students could do poorly on their tests to get back at that teacher.” Joe Brocksmith, teacher “There’s so many different things that go into how a student performs on a test, and teacher performance is just one of them. Tests are written for one purpose and to use them for measuring teacher performance doesn’t make sense. They’re not made for measuring that.” Steve Willott, teacher “There are too many variables that a student’s performance depends on, and I don’t think it’s fair for a teacher’s salary to be based on that. Something could be happening at home, there could be just a lack of desire to perform, et cetera.” Tracy Wuertenberg, teacher




A competitive teaching system Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3, and other teacher merit pay laws, could prove detrimental in the education of students according to teachers BY LAUREN PIKE

students feel in your classroom, the way you create a climate where kids are willing to share and be wrong or the way you allow students to fail sometimes, just so they While employees in countless fields have been paid can realize a mistake to learn from. All these things are not based on merit, or job performance, the idea of merit pay figured out through tests.” for teachers had been a source of controversy. According to State Representative Bryan Spencer, the Up for vote on Nov. 4, Missouri Constitutional Amendment passing of Amendment 3 would have also meant the loss 3, a merit pay bill for teachers, required Missouri teachof parent rights in their child’s education, as well as the reers to be evaluated based on their moval of power from school districts students’ performance data, gathered to the Department of Elementary and from standardized testing. From this Secondary Education (DESE). information, teachers would have “The other parts [of the amendbeen paid, dismissed and demoted. ment] that deal with turning over all The bill would have also eliminated control to DESE, the state agency, tenure and required teachers to I do not like,” Spencer said. “I’m a enter into three-year contracts with strong believer that parents are the of FHN students in a survey public school districts, while prohibitultimate decision maker in a child’s ing teachers to collectively bargain education.” believed that teachers regarding the evaluation system. Several states have tried to shouldn’t be paid based on “I think teachers will be fearful implement similar policies. In 2011, how well students do in about their future in education, and Texas’ District Awards for Teacher school for students it would be a detriment Excellence program was cut from because well-established teachers $392 million to $24 million in funding, making a decent living might choose and has been renamed the Educato go out of state,” French teacher tor Excellence Innovation Program. Dave Fritz said. “I think it would also Eligible teachers must submit plans be hard for Missouri to attract quality teachers to come to enhance educator performance in order to receive grant here and teach.” funding. In Florida, Senate Bill 736 was dedicated to perforThe State recently modified teacher evaluation stanmance pay based on teacher evaluations, providing a pay dards, requiring teachers to be evaluated on nine stanraise for educators rated “highly effective” and “effective.” dards which include cognitive engagement of students, “I think when you create a competitive climate for teachimplementation of curriculum standards and effect of ers, it is so wrong when it comes to what you’re supposed instruction on individual class learning. to do as an educator,” Wilkens said. “As an educator, I am “In the end, a lot of what you do as a teacher is not supposed to care about the futures of not only my own quantifiable,” AP Language and Composition and creative students, but all students, all kids, all people who are writing teacher Jani Wilkens said. “The way you make interested in learning.” • @pike_n_ike



17 TEACHER GUNS The Senate creates new gun policies that may change the way schools protect their students.

Armed educators allowed

New bill passed by the Senate changes Missouri gun laws providing schools with the option to arm their staff BY SAMI SCHMID • @Sami_nicole101

Beginning on Oct. 10, a law allowing teachers with the proper training and a conceal and carry permit to bring guns on campus as school protection officers was passed after the override of Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of Senate Bill 656. Schools will be allowed to have teachers become school protection officers if it is approved by the local school district at a public meeting where parents and other community members can comment and discuss the issue. There has to be a vote by the school board deciding whether or not it will be done in that district. If it passes the board, then teachers that wish to become school protection officers will send in applications that the school board will look through and approve. Any teacher approved will have to go through 112 hours of Police Officer Standards Training (POST) and if they wish to maintain their status as a school protection officer they’re will have to complete 12 hours of additional training each year. “We didn’t just open up the classrooms to anyone carrying a weapon,” Senator Will Kraus’ Chief of Staff, Mark Siettmann said. “Only very well trained people will be able to do this. They’re going to get basically the same training as a police officer.” This bill gives school districts the option to have school protection officers but doesn’t not require them. Some

schools in Kansas City and the St. Louis area such as the St. Louis School District have already decided against this policy, while other districts have yet to choose where they stand on the matter. “I know that the procedures that we have in place, the procedures that have been designed by our district are procedures that when implemented correctly are effective, so those are the procedures that I’m going to follow, that I’m going to put stock in because I know that they have worked,” The Head Principal of FHN, Andrew Downs said. “We will follow whatever directives we are given from our school district.” FHSD’s government committee had a no tolerance policy on firearms previous to Bill 656. Their policy is now going to be put under revision due to the bill. FHSD will have a school board meeting on Nov. 20 for a first reading of the policy, and a second reading in December. “We are not recommending that we have school protection officers,” FHSD Superintendent Pam Sloan said. “It’s not something that I support. I think the responsibility having a weapon in the classroom is a distraction from what they [teachers] were hired to do.” While Sloan does not believe the policies of Bill 656 are for FHSD, she understands that it is up to the school board to make the final decision. “The board in the end is the one who approves policies that govern our district,” Sloan said. “In the end the ultimate decision is up to the board.”

In addition to the option of having guns on campus Senate bill 656 will lower the age citizens can get a conceal and carry permits to 19. Previously people wishing to get a conceal and carry permit would have to be at least 21 unless they were a part of the armed forces. “The theory behind the 21 to 19 move is pretty much this simple. If you’re old enough to join the military, if you’re old enough to be considered an adult in almost every other way that you should be old enough to be responsible with a gun.” Mark Siettman, Will Kraus’ Chief of Staff “Personally I don’t like the idea of teachers being equipped with guns, trained or not.” Diane Fingers, teacher “I believe that it’s a nice bill but it depends if teachers are able to handle it.” Som Sing, 10





There are a variety of ways students maintain stress after school to blow off steam. “Time management is important to relieve stress I just try to balance my work load.” Ryan Hyde 12 “Hanging out with friends and having a good time helps relax me.” Bailey Marek 11 “Usually taking a nap or just sitting down at home after school.” Zohaib Abro 11

“What helps me to relax is to listen to my music.” Jonathon Miller 11

“What helps me to relax is running with my friends.” Drew Brissette 9

“I mostly sleep and when I’m not at school I usually sleep for the whole day to handle stress.” Jessica Jones 10




FLIPPING OVER STRESS A junior clears her mind and avoids over-stressing herself by participating in parkour BY GARRET GRIFFIN

When junior Claire Wiley isn’t at school or working at Wendy’s,she copes with most of her stress by doing parkour for Giant Free Running. Parkour is a holistic training discipline using movements that the military developed from obstacle courses to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible. Wiley has met many new friends while doing parkour and these friendships have helped her relax. “We’re all carefree together when we’re hanging together,” Wiley said. For Wiley, meeting everyone’s expectations is the reason she is stressed, but when she is doing parkour, it helps her stay less stressed and more relaxed and calm. When she started doing parkour five months ago, she became addicted to the positive energy everyone had while doing the movements. “I see her stressed when she is doing parkour and can’t get a certain movement and she’ll try and try, then

quit for a bit and come back to it later and successfully accomplish it,” friend Jeremy Carr said. Wiley is currently in three AP classes and four Honors classes. AP Government, Honors Math Analysis, and Honors Physics are just some of the classes Wiley is currently taking. Managing all this can be difficult, and so she will sometimes talk to her friend Ryan Gregory about some of the obstacles she is going through with parkour movements, school, or her job. “She tells me everything,” Gregory said. “She talks about her life changing, eliminating bad people out of her life, managing work, swim, school, and me.” Wiley also enjoys drawing, painting, and designing things during her free time. She feels that doing parkour and designing pictures helps her keep as much stress out of her life as possible. “Physical activities get rid of stress really well,” Wiley said. “It gives you something else to focus on, so even though swimming and parkour seem like they add stress they actually take away from everything else.”

Basic Parkour Movements Wall Running Climbing Landing Balancing Jumping Vaulting Flipping Spinning Falling Brachiating Quadruple movements Parkour is the activity or sport of moving rapidly through an area, negotiating obstacles by running, climbing, and jumping.


Private VS. PUBLIC SCHOOL The difference between attending different types of schools is contested.

making the switch to fhn

Juniors Rachel Leimkuehler and Kasey Wagner share their experience making the switch from private school to public school BY ERIKA PAAR • @curliegirlie101

Walking through the doors of FHN on the first day of freshman year, juniors Rachel Leimkuehler and Kasey Wagner had a few more nerves than perhaps the average freshman might because they were making the switch from private school. “If I would have gone to private high school it would have been the same kids I went to private elementary school with,” Rachel said. “So being exposed to different people was cool, but it would have been nice to know some more people.” They came from Immanuel Lutheran School, a private kindergarten through eighth grade school, so FHN was a change from the small school that they were used to. Their fear of getting lost was different due to the fact that they had never been in a school so big. “I was nervous because I came from a small school of 470 to North, where my class is about 400,” Kasey said. “It’s a huge difference for someone new coming to the school.” Not only was the size of the school a big change for Rachel and Kasey, but the lack of prayer before and after lunches, the addition of busses, and even what was taught in their classes was all different as well. Religion was a major part of their curriculum at Immanuel, and they started each day with a class dedicated to it. Their science classes were then also influenced by the school’s religious values. “Science class was different because in private school

they taught against evolution,” Kasey said. Associate Principal Kathryn Greer went to private school and has experienced what both Leimkuehler and Wagner went through. Her junior and senior year of high school, she switched from Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School to Parkway Central. “I wanted to switch because all of my friends in my swim team went there,” Kathryn said. “But it was definitely a change being a much larger school, but I don’t think it was any different than any other new student.” Although it was an adjustment, Rachel feels that it was a good idea to switch schools, and is happy for the experience they had in private school. “I wouldn’t change it [going to private school] because even though it would have been nice to know more people [here], I’ve made some really good friends, and had a really good experience,” Rachel said. Even through the changes, both Rachel and Kasey were glad they switched. There may have been some major changes, but they figured it out, like all freshman have to do. “No matter where a student comes from, freshman year is an adjustment, some harder than others,” Kasey said. “People are going to get lost, and friends are going to change. So whether you are from private, public or another state, you are all freshman.”

“I don’t think private school is really worth the money, because you can get the same education at public school for free,” Madison Clifton, 10 “I don’t like them[private school] because they have to wear uniforms and those are ugly,” Lucas Tabaka, 9 “I think the opportunity to get a private education based on religious values is a good idea, but the cost is ridiculous when you compare it to a general education that is the same quality,” Zac Cary, 10 “It’s too overbearing and controlling and doesn’t allow people to become their own person and form their own opinions,” Kat Cadigan, 11 “In private school you can’t express yourself so it’s cool in public school how you can show who you are,” Lauren Wood,11






“As much as I love playing games, I feel like they allow too much freedom away from reality. I think that people who play games need to live in the now or you’ll miss out. Games isolate people and make them unable to communicate. My brother, for example, isn’t allowed to play anymore because of their effects on him.” Genesis Hudson, 9

“Personally, I spend a lot of time playing video games and I don’t think it affects me negatively or positively. They have no effect on me or my actions.” Meredyth Wood, 10

video games Many teenagers find themselves engulfed in the virtual world of the games they’re playing.


GAMING In the Numbers

There are

8 $20

generations of gaming consoles.

Top Six Games Coming Soon: The Master Chief Collection 1 Halo: November 11 Age: Inquisition 2 Dragon November 18 V (Xbox One and PS4) 3 GTA November 18


4 5 6

Assassin’s Creed Unity November 11 Far Cry 4 November 18 Super Smash Bros. (Wii U) November 21



2004 2005 2006





2008 2009 2010 2011




VGX Awards:




Who plays video games?

billion were spent on the games industry in 2012 by consumers.

Parents pay attention to the content of the games their children play percent of the time.

93 143

million copies of Tetris have been sold, making it the best selling game of all time.

Entertainment Software Association:


North Star Nov. 2014 Special Edition  

This issue features a look at the top 20 issues that matter to students.

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