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Gretna High School • 11335 South 204th Street • Gretna, NE 68028 • Volume X • Issue I• September 2011


teen dad speaks highly of hardship ASHLEY ZAJAC

hanging on the couch Jason Vierra ‘12 and his two-year-old son play a game on the sofa in their home.

smiling for the camera Vierra’s son Tyce smiles for the camera in his game day jersey. Vierra described his son as ornery and perfect.

reversed roles Tyce feeds his dad at Pizza Hut, something Vierra had to do for Tyce when he was younger.

One night, first time, only weeks later, suspicion. A quick run to the store, a threeminute wait and a deep breathe. It’s positive…what now? Ornery, perfect and very smart are only three words Jason Vierra ’12 uses to describe his two-year-old son. Vierra was only sixteen years old when he and his girlfriend of four months, Samantha, were caught in a position they could not walk away from. Samantha was one month pregnant. “We bought the test, she took it and sure enough there it was, two pink lines,” said Vierra. “My first thought was ‘what the heck am I going to do’. It seemed so unrealistic but it was a happy-medium.” After finding out the news over Christmas break, Vierra and his girlfriend alerted both sets of parents over the phone. As shocking as the issue was, Vierra’s family took the news well. Abortion was not an option for Vierra and his girlfriend; the thought came up in conversation but was never really considered. As a personal preference, they chose against abortion and adoption. Vierra soon left for Hawaii to work at his father’s construction business for the first six months of the pregnancy. “It was a guaranteed job and it [the pregnancy] took a lot of money to start off,” said Vierra. “The phone was our best friend. It was our only communication besides letters, which are too time consuming.” In June of 2009, Vierra moved to Kingman, Kansas with his girlfriend. They lived with her mother and waited out the last few months of the pregnancy, saving up money along the way. As a sacrifice, Vierra dropped

out of high school at North Platte, for two years and began working at a local grocery store, Sonic and McDonald’s all at the same time. “You handle it one day at a time, one step at a time,” said Vierra. “Without family you can’t do it, not at this age especially as a single parent.” This year, Vierra has enrolled here at GHS for his senior year. Upon his return to a new school, Vierra made waves in his Psychology class after announcing he would not be needing a flour child for he has his own real one. “I was shocked to find out he [Vierra] has a child,” said Mrs. Kate Craig, Psychology teacher. “He’s very mature even though he’s a new student and people are already curious about him. It gives a unique opportunity to have him talk about a teen’s perspective than me, an old lady, saying how bad it is. He can tell the real story and the joys of it.” As the pregnancy progressed, reality began to set in. Bonds between friends started to fade due to lack of time as other obstacles became more important. Judgement soon began to pass through the minds of surrounding neighbors. Vierra received comments such as congratulations, some suggested they should have waited and others just stopped talking to him. “People didn’t know us,” said Vierra. “It’s overrated. The unique thing is the love you gain for your own child. You have to grow up, but it’s just what you have to do.” Samantha was due Sept. 29, 2009 but at 3:30 am on the 28th, her water broke and she went into labor. Vierra had just clocked out from work at 11:30pm the evening before and was expected to be back at 5:30 the following morning, but plans changed. Vierra drove an hour to the delivery destination and Saman-

tha’s labor started later that afternoon around 3:45pm. Vierra and Samantha’s mother were the only two present during the birth, aside from three other nurses. At 12:05am on Sept. 29, 2009, after 13 hours of labor, Vierra’s pride and joy was born. The couple named their 7 lbs. 9 oz. son Tyce Kalani-Scott Rathbun-Vierra. They chose Kalani because it is Vierra’s Hawaiian name, Scott in honor of Samantha’s father who passed away, and Rathbun-Vierra to honor each of parent’s last names because the couple is not married. “It made me grow up quick,” said Vierra. “I realized you take care of not only yourself but someone else too. For example, when you hang your clothes there is a separate basket of infant clothes that you’re expected to fold too. There are even more worries to think about, like safety.” After Tyce was born, things changed. The game was on and new adventures were on their way. During the first month after Tyce was born, Vierra was working at McDonald’s and Sonic 60 hours a week and was only home between 11:45pm and 4:45am everyday. On certain occasions when Samantha was still up, the two would spend time holding Tyce before he fell asleep. Vierra admits that waking up every night, especially after going to work, ran his energy level down. “Sometimes, especially during the first month, a baby has no sleep pattern,” said Vierra. “The situation destroyed Samantha and I’s relationship.” While Vierra and his girlfriend were trying to make ends meet, there was an issue of who would take care of their child while they were busy at work. Before Tyce was born, their parents did not have much to help with except warn the parents to be that they were entering a 24/7 job.

FLOODING JENNA POTE How would you feel if your basement was filled with a foot of water every night? This happens to Connor Shedeed ‘14 and it leaves him disappointed. “I can’t do fun activities in my basement anymore,” said Shedeed. The flood is changing numerous lives. Allie Feighner ‘14 may have her grandparents move in because their house could soon be flooded.   “I really wouldn’t like it if my grandparents moved in because I would lose a ton of space,” said Feighner. Another GHS student has also been affected by the flood.  Garrett Frazier ‘12 was on a walk with his dog, Iggy, when the dog slipped out of his leash and ran for the water.

Unfortunately, Iggy could not swim out of the current because her back legs were weak, so Frazier had to watch his dog drown, unable to do anything. “I saw the look in his eyes as he was washed away, it was awful,” said Frazier. Council Bluffs hired an engineering consulting firm to help with the damages from the summer of flooding. Some people are doing everything they can to help, such as Lexie Schwartz ’14, who helped fill sand bags in June at the Mid-America Center.   “It was hard work, but it was worth it,” said Schwartz. Schwartz had to bring shovels and filled each bag by hand, stacking them in piles around the river.  Schwartz worked for two to three hours, putting all of her heart into the task because she felt terrible for the victims of the flood.

Not only has GHS been affected but surrounding towns have also. Countless businesses and restaurants have been forced to close because they were underwater or had no road access.  It has been catastrophic for many communities up and down the Missouri River.   Fortunately, the flood waters are starting to recede. People are realizing how big the damages are and how much they are actually going to cost.   Now the process of cleaning-up and rebuilding begins. As the water flows down on Interstate 29, which has been closed for most of the summer, construction workers are going to rebuild the whole section.  Furthermore, people believe that we could lose the majority of trees lining the banks of the “Mighty Mo.” Hopefully this is the only instance the Midwest will ever see such monumental destruction due to flooding.

continued on page 5



new elementary school expected to open fall 2012 ASHLEY ZAJAC It is the beginning of a new year and construction is in the air. Ground has been broken for new construction sites throughout the local area and the end has grown near. The Gretna Public School district begun releasing the details of a new elementary school located at 192nd Street and Giles Road. As another escape from an increased population, Overland Construction is building Gretna’s fourth elementary school. “We’re to the point that the other three elementary schools are well above their capacity,” said Dr. Kevin Riley, superintendent of Gretna Public Schools. “We really need it to be finished so it will be open this next fall.” Construction began during May 2011 and is expected to be complete August of 2012 for the 2012-13 school year. At first, construction was delayed due to rain but has come a long way since the previous condition. The school will be close to the same size as Palisades Elementary and Thomas Elementary, 78,000 square foot, and will hold classes kindergarten through fifth grade. “The district will split the surrounding

neighborhoods to determine the students who will attend the new school,” said Mr. Roger Miller, principal of GHS. “This will alleviate the population from Palisades.” The name of the new elementary school has yet to be determined by the school board. Usually, the school is named after the subdivision or neighborhood it is located by. As of now, only speculations have been made about the new name. “There is a policy to follow,” said Riley. “I think they [school board] will announce it [the name] this fall.” Mrs. Ellen Ridolfi has been named the principal of the new school. Mrs. Ridolfi was once the counselors at Thomas, but is currently the vice principle of all three elementary schools. “She spends a certain amount of days at each school,” said Riley. “She’s getting the feel of moving up in the administration.” With 17 years working as a counselor under her belt, Ridolfi hopes to serve as a consultant to the students and staff. Mrs. Ridolfi will be responsible for managing the building by making sure the supplies needed are always there for the staff to use. “Our main focus will be curriculum, in-

new faces of gretna Mr. Joey Timmerman Alex Dennerlein Mr. Paul Duin

Todd Swalberg

Tiffany Rocz

Every year Gretna grows bigger because GHS continuously acquires new students, teachers and foreign exchange students. This year GHS welcomes 15 freshmen, two sophomores, four juniors and five seniors. Among them are Tiffany Rocz ‘12 and Alex Dennerlein ‘15. Rocz went to a private school her freshman and sophomore year, but last year she took an online course offered by UNL from her own home. “I wanted a real high school experience my last year and it’s a lot more interesting then sitting at my desk reading lessons all day,” said Rocz. However, Dennerlein moved here from small-town Bayfield, Colorado. His class size was only about 60 people. “I miss the mountains, but I like GHS better because there are more people to get to know,” said Dennerlein. In addition, we have two sophomore

Christine Valish

Philine Doran

struction and assessment,” said Mrs. Ridolfi. “It is the heart of a school.” Mrs. Ridolfi will also be involved with the hiring process and making sure staff can fit the needs of every student and model strong character and ethics. Throughout the first year, Mrs. Ridolfi plans to visit every class to read or visit with students, allowing

submitted photo

herself to learn more about each of them as time passes. “It’s exciting to be involved in a new job, but it’s even more exciting to start a new job in a new building,” said Mrs. Ridolfi. “I hope to bring a positive, calm, but enthusiastic personality to the school building. I’m ready for this.”

construction around town

Lea Carsten

Mrs. Amy Peterson


proposed new elementary school the above diagram is a blue print for the elementary school expected to open next fall. Overland Construction is building the new school.

foreign exchange students from Germany: Lea Carsten and Philine Doran. Carsten arrived in Gretna on August 13th and is only staying here for the first semester. “Gretna is really cool, but different from Germany,” said Carsten. Doran is staying with our own Mrs. Schulte. Both Doran and Carsten participate in cross country for the Dragons. With all these students coming in, we require more staff. This year, GHS has added a new teacher to the team, Mr. Paul Duin, who teaches Special Education. We are joined by three new para’s as well. Para’s assist the teacher they are paired with in anything that they need. Ms. Brittany Harnack is the instrumental para this year. Ms. Amy Peterson works with the recent teacher addition, Mr. Duin. Mr. Joey Timmerman is helping Ms. Diana Goldenstein, and Ms. Christine Valish is the accompanist for Mr. Pat Ribar. All of these unique students and teachers are great additions to our GHS family.

HAILEY PIERCE Lately it seems that construction has taken over in Gretna as well as surrounding communities, but one major business in particular has been affected by the construction. Vala’s Pumpkin Patch has been a place where people have made family memories for years. It is where one can go in the fall to eat caramel apples, walk through the haunted houses, and of course, pick pumpkins to take home and carve for Halloween. Due to all the construction that has taken place recently, there is a new route to Vala’s. This construction does not only affect the driving route one has to take, but also the people who live in Pebble Brook. The state of Nebraska is making four lanes

instead of two on hwy 370 to help with the flow of traffic. For the residents in Pebble Brook, this means they no longer have a main entrance and must take the back entrance. Yearly trips to Vala’s are part of some families Fall traditions. With all of the construction taking place this fall, it is very difficult to make this happen. Neighborhoods are also being affected, but when finished, this construction will be a help for many. Along with the construction on 370, there is further construction a little closer to home by Dollar General. “It is a major inconvenience for me because I live in Lincoln Place so when I’m on my way to school I have to drive through the dollar general parking lot,” said Jay Gilman ‘14.

how to get to valas To get to valas this year use Exit 439 off I-80. Then go west on HWY 370, and finally drive one mile south off HWY 370 on 180th Street.

buy an ad in the newspaper!

cartoon by: brandy workman


hit n’ run KELSEY CHARRLIN The bell rings. Commotion arises as students are in a rush to leave the school grounds and get home. Cars zip in and out of the parking lots, not necessarily looking out for others or being courteous. A ding here, a ding there, it doesn’t matter as long as the driver hurries up, its not like anyone’s watching. Throughout my years at GHS my car has sat in the parking lot. It is a wonder that the school administration requires all students to come to school with the promise of our safety, I wish the same thing could be said for my car. I admit to checking the exterior of my car just to ensure it is in the same condition as I had left it. Among my classmates, many work at least one or two jobs during their high school career for paying for our own car. My hard earned money pays for a car that rarely leaves the school parking lot with out a single dent. I am thankful that I am not paying for a flashy new sports car each time I find a new dent. Since the end of my sophomore year, my car has received approximately four scratches and two dings. Hopefully student drivers at GHS realize that leaving the scene of an accident is illegal. Any driver who fails to fulfill their duties after being involved in an accident can receive a traffic ticket, at a minimum. In some cases, especially when an accident causes injury or death, a driver who leaves the scene of an accident can be subject to serious criminal charges such as “felony hit and run” according to FindLaw. So next time you accidentally ram into that car in the lot, know that the owner has worked many hours to make payments on their car. As the bell rings, students file out of the school in a civil manner, taking their time backing up and leaving the school grounds. People are courteous to watch out for surrounding drivers while pulling out and leaving the premises. When I get home and inspect my car, there is not a single ding or scratch.



thumbs up

-Drew DeBolt ‘13

“Season eight of NCIS came out on DVD.”

-Emma Blank ‘12

“I tore my MCL over the summer and was out for six weeks.”

-Thom Machal ‘12

“We have five classes together.”

-Joe McCandless ‘13 and Dalton Frecks ‘13


The Voice is a monthly publication sponsored by Gretna High School. The office of The Voice is located in room 400. This year is the 10th anniversary of the publications existance. Reader response is welcome. Any student or staff member wishing to contribute materials will need to submit a letter to the editor within the deadline; however, final publication is at the discretion of the staff. Letters should be less than 400 words and signed. Editorials are solely the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of The Voice staff or Gretna High School. Advertising will not be accepted for all products or for any that are illegal for minors to possess. Potential advertisers GHS’ office at (402) 332-3936 or e-mail

weighted classes

thumbs down “Everyone is quitting cross country and now it’s just me and Bradley [Hurtz]”

THE STAFFS OPINION Gretna alumna, Abby Allgood received almost $10,000 in scholarship money from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln because she was one of the top three students in her graduating class of 2011. Until she applied at UNL she had no idea what her actual class rank was.  Allgood, along with 19 others, was ranked 1st in her class of 186.  The university went through and weighted all her classes to determine if she would receive the scholarship.  She said she was completely unaware schools would do that and got lucky because she happened to be in the top three. Although GHS has many valid reasons for not weighting classes, it can leave students unaware of what colleges are actually seeking.  GHS wants students to take classes they enjoy or that apply to their field to get an education, not a grade.  The sad truth is, when it comes down to it, colleges look at the grade.   Because GHS students’ grades are not weighted, kids are oblivious to what colleges want: the best grades in the hardest courses. Another problem is that students who take easier courses can get a better class rank and GPA than those who take tougher classes and receive average grades in them.   If classes were weighted based on whether they are a normal, college preparatory, advanced placement or college course then students taking the toughest courses would receive the most credit. Like UNL, many universities weight students’ classes when considering them for scholarship opportunities.   It is important for students to realize what colleges are looking for and how they rank in their class on a weighted scale.  Schedule choices will eventually become a crucial factor in students’ futures.  GHS students would benefit from our school acquiring a weighted class system.  Because unlike Allgood, we all might not happen to be one of the top three of our class.
















too many activities?


freshman class of 2015 survival guide LEXI SNELL The summer of 2011 has officially come to an end and GHS is back in full swing. Seniors are returning to finally finish high school, while juniors and sophomores are just hoping to get through another year. But as for the freshmen, this is a whole new world. New teachers, crammed halls and many new unfamiliar faces surround them as they fight their way to their classes on the first unforgettable day of high school. After freshmen year, high school may seem like a breeze, but for these youngsters every day can be a struggle. From opening lockers to finding classes, freshmen year can be filled with anxiety for some students. Of course, one of the most frequently asked questions coming from freshmen would be, “Is high school harder than middle school?” Of course it is; in high school you must balance and spend much more time preparing for tests and quizzes. Also, focusing and participating in class is incredibly important. In high school there is no more 20-question, multiple choice tests. Students cannot just memorize the material on the test, but instead must be able to comprehend it and retain that information. Elle Karloff ‘15 said that one of her major concerns about coming to high school was that she would have more homework than in middle school. She was right; in high school you get countless assignments and, unlike

middle school, they usually require more than ten minutes to complete. Fortunately, that is what study hall is for. Here at GHS, study halls are offered. Study hall is equivalent to team study, but in high school it is just called something different. For students who struggle with getting assignments done, considering dropping an elective to take a study hall would be a wise decision. Also, making special time after school to study and complete assignments will allow for more opportunities to ask questions and finish the homework. Another difficult aspect to adjust to at GHS is the crammed hallways. Brad Hurtz ‘15 said that he was really worried about getting to his classes because he heard that the hallways were extremely crowded. One method to help students get to class on time would be keeping more books and notebooks with you, which as a result, reduces additional trips to lockers. This will create less back and forth traffic in the GHS hallways. Freshmen year is a time full of new and exciting encounters. Students learn, meet countless new people and discover who their real friends are. These first few months may be difficult, but after a while adjusting to high school will get easier. GHS has many clubs and activities to offer to its variety of students, so make sure to get involved in all high school has to offer. High school is all about making memories, so make the most of it. Because for the freshmen, this is just the beginning.

counter point MATTIE PHELPS

All throughout our lives, teenagers have been taught to be well-rounded and involved, but is that really what colleges want? The answer is yes. Colleges and universities are looking for people who are involved in sports, fine arts, volunteer work and still have admirable academics. According to our counseling department, students need to set themselves apart from the thousands of other applicants. Just exceptional grades are not going to cut it. They are looking for unique abilities someone can bring to their school. This may include involvement in a variety of extracurricular activities and acquiring a leadership role in those activities. Colleges can only see the titles seniors include on their application, they do not know how much time a student had to invest in them. So students should choose clubs that they are passionate about and look impressive on applications. Although being in more than one or two activities is hard at times, it can make you stronger. Having to organize your schedule and juggle your time is a lesson that will help later in life. When you have to try to do your best in many different areas it teaches you to have endurance, which comes in handy in college and careers. Going to events after school or on the weekends doesn’t give teenagers the chance in getting caught up in crime, drugs or alcohol. It will also take time away from just laying at home feeling lazy and unmotivated. When students are involved, they feel good about themselves and as if they are making a difference in their lives and future, which they are. Being involved does not just effect one’s application, but it also improves one as a person. Becoming a part of various groups allows students to meet all sorts of new people while giving them exciting experiences they might not have encountered elsewhere. So as long as students maintain a high GPA, then they have the freedom to be as wellrounded and involved as they want.

People often believe that being in many sports or extracurricular activities during your freshman through senior years of high school will help boost your chances of getting into your future college of choice. However, what colleges are currently scouting for are people who are involved in just a few activities and, over time, become increasingly more skilled in that area. Yet, some people choose to be involved in more than two, maybe even three activities at a time. The emotional and physical stress some of these individuals must go through seems as though it would be unpleasant and at times utterly unbearable to handle. School should be a main priority when it comes to deciding whether or not you should try out for that team you have always wanted to play on, or that play you desperately want to partake in. Academics are the key to your future success. Juggling more activities than you can handle may lead to not having time to study for your upcoming history exam or finish your homework assignment that is due first hour, therefore leading to lower grades and a drop in your GPA. Most people at a young age are told to be involved in as many extracurricular activities as they can in order to stay out of trouble and keep themselves occupied with something they enjoy. However, when young children and teenagers are involved in various activities they do not have enough time to engage with their families and just relax. In return, they often get the idea that family does not come first. Sports and activities then start to consume their lives and become the focal point of their happiness. In today’s society, it is common for the average teenager to be involved in a school sponsored activity. If they are not currently active, they are normally looked upon as lazy or unmotivated. People feel a need to be involved, causing them to partake in certain activities that do not benefit them as far as personal pleasure, but rather for the satisfaction of being around friends. When will we finally say enough is enough? I personally think that academics should take top priority over sports or the arts. Yes, I believe you should be engaged in extracurricular activities, but you should limit the amount of activities you are involved in for pastime or entertainment, and instead become an outstanding athlete or participant in one category.

freshmen survival guide: tips from the experienced Survival Tip #1:

“Don’t be that annoying kid that thinks they are funny pushing themselves through the traffic in the halls and screaming.” -Peyton DeBord ‘14.

Survival Tip #2:

“Walk on the correct side of the hallways.” -Jake Ridpath ‘14

Survival Tip #3:

“Don’t act like you’re better than me.” -Abbey Felici ‘14

Survival Tip #4:

Survival Tip #6:

Survival Tip #5:

-Cole Samuelson ‘13

“Don’t walk slow in the “Don’t park in the truckers parking spot halls.” or we will window paint -Allie Roxburgh ‘13 your car.” “Don’t leave your locker unlocked.” -Tyler Ballard ‘14


teen dad continued from page 1 “Our parents did a lot of babysitting,” said Vierra. “Having your parents helping you by babysitting eventually becomes priceless.” During the pregnancy, Samantha started taking on-line classes and continued after Tyce’s birth. At the time, she did not have a job, but now she is working two different jobs. Samantha eventually worked her way to receiving her diploma and is currently enrolled in CNA classes. “She was a great mother,” said Vierra. “She still is.” Vierra and his girlfriend considered marriage but the couple decided against it. After a while, the two split up following a mutual agreement and went their separate ways. The split occurred shortly after Tyce was born. “Having a kid changed who we were such as our likes and dislikes, ” said Vierra. “We didn’t get along and eventually grew apart.” At the interview with The Voice, Vierra shared everything and was surprisingly open. He was asked if he had ever expected to be a single parent and his response was rather sincere and full of insight. “It sits in the back of your mind,” said Vierra. “You also think ‘how would WE be if we were all together,’ all the time. It’s a heavy thought.” While Vierra and Samantha were still living together, Vierra decided to file for custody of his son. As a normal reaction, Samantha was upset and Vierra continued by hiring himself a lawyer. I just wanted to establish rights that would be there forever because we’re not married,” said Vierra. On their first court date, the judge ordered them to get DNA tests before they

would continue with the custody hearing. Two months later, Vierra and Samantha returned to court. The two attended six different court cases to establish child support, custody throughout the year, parenting classes and other key factors before a final decision was made. “Custody is overrated and expensive but in the end it’s worth the time and some of the money,” said Vierra. “The court disects your life and puts it on paper to read over and decides how it will work. You get the court documents, dates and bills just like regular mail. The only difference is, it sinks a pain in your chest just as you realize, you have to go to court for your own child… nonsense.” After nearly eight months of attending court and waiting for an answer, the court finally made a decision. During the summer, Vierra has custody of Tyce for six weeks. They spend their time together playing outside, running around and eating Oreo cookies. At other times of the year, he has Tyce every other weekend from 6pm on Friday to 6pm on Sunday and on holidays, the two parents exchange Tyce for celebration. Vierra



Brandi Workman/The Voice

faces only show the multiple thoughts of twoyear-old Tyce. (top right) Tyce gazes into the camera. (bottom right) Goofing around Tyce is caught in another snapshot. (left) Father and son relate during a snack. Oreo cookies are his favorite treat.

submitted photos

submitted photos adventures leave two-year-old Tyce with multiple kodiak moments. (top) Tyce enjoys a snack of Lays potato chips on the kitchen counter. (bottom left) Mother, Samantha, and Tyce are caught in an unexpected photograph. (bottom right) A long day leaves Tyce sacked in his car seat on the way home.

also pays Samantha approximately 50 dollars a week for child support and as of now he is currently four months ahead on his payments and continues to add more. Along with having a child comes special moments that make everything worthwhile. One of Vierra’s favorite memories that he looks back upon with Tyce happened just after his birth. It was late night, early morning and he woke up to go change Tyce. Samantha awoke soon after he did. “While I was changing him [Tyce], Sami walked in and he just urinates everywhere,” said Vierra. “All I did was laugh, us three covered in pee at 2:45am with dull lighting in the room, felt like it was off a movie set.” Vierra states that he has no regrets about becoming a father. He even went on to admit that the best part about being a father is that it brings motivation to himself and the thrive to provide his son with everything that he had and things he didn’t. One of the main reasons Vierra is back in high school is to set an example for his son. “You can’t get anywhere without an education,” said Vierra. “I have a different outlook on life, school and people who think having a child is bad, it’s not. Having my son was probably my biggest joy. Before Tyce, I got in a lot of trouble because I was fighting and couldn’t hold a job. Having a child made me grow up. He’ll bring more joy than frustration by far.” Since the birth of Tyce, Vierra has been focused on his well being and is no longer sexually active for certain reasons. Vierra was asked how his dating life has changed after having a child and he replied with a typical cliche: “you just have to find the right one.” For the past seven months, Vierra has been in a relationship with his current girlfriend Braidyn. Vierra and Braidyn both grew up in North Platte. She knew of his situation before they met.

“She accepted me for what I already had as a person,” said Vierra. “She and Tyce have a good relationship, we visit her in North Platte some weekends. He [Tyce] can say her name, so it’s a work in progress.” As a father himself, Vierra has a numerous things to say to other teenagers who happen to be sexually active. Coming from the position that he happens to be in himself, the advice seems rather appropriate. “Be safe and don’t have kids, but if you do it’s for the positive,” said Vierra. “No one wants to curse you with a child, I mean it always takes two.” Vierra has advice to pass on to other teenage fathers who are just starting out in the position. He knows what it is like to want to make everything better for the child they are about to have and to be able to allow them to live a better life. “I strongly advise getting custody from the start,” said Vierra. “Stay involved, even if you have to go through court.” When asked how he would handle his son if he were in the same position when he was a teen, Vierra stuck to his morals. He would strongly suggest Tyce and the mother of his child finish up the time they have left in school and get a job to support the child. “I’ll tell him about my own story and as far as educating him, I’m going to be pretty blunt about it,” said Vierra. As Vierra finishes out the school year at GHS, homework and activities will not be the only things he is stressing about. Holding the love that he has for his own son has made him grow up for the better and has helped him to learn how to plan for months in advance. Although Vierra was tossed into a stressful situation, he admits that he would never rewind and change his life if he had the opportunity to. “I cannot imagine my life without my son,” said Vierra.



mission trips to haiti MATTIE PHELPS “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” -Hebrews 13:16 From May 28th to Jun. 3rd and Jun. 26th to Jul. 1st, two GHS students traveled to Haiti with Journey church. It was an opportunity to spread the word of their God and to give the Haitians a better understanding as to who their God really is. Lauren Frink ‘12 was one member who visited Haiti in May. “If anything [the experience] changed my life,” said Frink. “It taught me to think twice before everything. You appreciate things so much more.” Frink participated in cleaning the general area they stayed at as well as painting a house. The most important part of the trip for her was playing with the kids and talking to the Haitians about the Lord. By the end of the trip, Frink was attached to the Haitians. “By the time I could grasp everything, it was time to go,” said Frink. Just before she left, a girl told Frink she ‘loved her’ in English. This was one moment that will stick with Frink forever. “We cried with each other when I knew I had to go,” said Frink. Frink felt she left the most impact on their lives just by giving each Haitian individual attention because that is not something they get everyday. Jentry Merriman ‘12 participated in the later trip to Haiti. For Merriman, her most memorable experience happened on the very first day. “[I was] holding a beautiful girl who fell asleep in my arms and I knew that one day she could be sold as a slave or prostitute. But so many people are down there helping out. Jesus is strong in those kids’ lives,” said Merriman. Merriman was very involved with the children in Haiti. She spent most of her time there sharing who God is to the Haitians along with some street evangelism, which is sharing the gospel to people on the streets of

Haiti, and also working at a feeding station. For Merriman, the trip was not only about loving the children there, but   it was also about the youth and how God was using the people in Haiti to change their lives, as well as simply loving all of the children there. Haiti was definitely a trip to remember for Merriman. “God was everywhere! He was active and alive!” said Merriman. “The trust and love from all the Haitians was very humbling.”

fleck flies overseas to england ASHLEY ZAJAC

haitian children spent time with multiple students from the volunteer program. (belowtop) Victoria Branton ‘13 smiles for a photo with a young boy. (belowbottom) Angie Kauffman plays Hanky-panky with two Haitian children submitted photos


WORLD At the end of July 2011, Katherine Bonn ‘14 took a 10 day vacation to Peru. Bonn traveled with her mom, dad, brother, aunt, uncle and two cousins on a 12 hour flight to get there. Plus more planes, trains and automobiles to maneuver around the country. “For some reason on the train there were clowns and a fashion show,” said Bonn. “It was weird, especially when one clowns tried to have me dance with him.” The Bonn’s were among a group of 24 travelers on a tour of Peru’s ancient ruins.

“Hampton Court was really, really beautiful,” said Sarah Fleck ‘12, referring to her 2011 summer trip to London, England. On Jun. 14, Fleck flew to England with her immediate family, grandmother and step grandmother to visit relatives and old friends from an earlier trip. Fleck and family spent two weeks on vacation, eventually flying back to Gretna on June 28. “My favorite moment from the trip was seeing all my aunts and family members,” said Fleck ‘12. “I have only been there once before when I was four years old.” Fleck traveled throughout the city, viewing historical buildings such as Big Ben, The Tower of London and The Eye, the tallest

Ferris wheel in Europe standing at 443 feet (135 meters). “There are so many things to see,” said Fleck ‘12. “I’d definitely recommend the Tower of London because it’s just a classic and Windsor Castle because it was the most beautiful.” While on her trip, Fleck came in contact with a variety of differences. Not only in a change of time zones but in culture and cuisine as well. “I noticed the boys wore more preppy clothes and did their hair either parted or spiked,” said Fleck ‘12. “The kids our age used different phrases than us too, like ‘cotching with my mates,’ it means hanging out with friends.” In London, Fleck ran into multiple restaurants selling fish and chips, one of England’s most famous dishes. She also learned

that in the city, people are asked to pay to use the public rest rooms. “I was shocked after learning that,” said Fleck ‘12. “It was pretty weird.” After returning home, Fleck says that she will visit England again some day. She has hopes that one day she may be able to study there for college. “As far as schools and majors, I haven’t thought that far into the future,” said Fleck ‘12. “If I go, it probably wouldn’t be for a couple of years so I’m hoping that will be enough time to figure things out.”

sight seeing (below left) Fleck and her grandparents grab a family snapshot. Her grandparents were with Fleck the whole vacation. (below right) Fleck and her two grandmothers stand in front of the gates of Buckingham Palace, home of the Queen of England. (right) The Chinese Pagoda is another site Fleck visited on her trip to England. Pagodas are tiered towers with multiple eaves, or roofs. submitted photos

magpies travel to norway This summer, the Gretna U-18 soccer team packed their bags and traveled to Oslo, Norway to compete in the Norway Cup soccer tournament. The team won one game, lost one game and tied two games. Even though the team did not place first, it was still a trip that the girls will remember for a lifetime. “It wasn’t all soccer,” said Paige Paskevic ‘13. “We saw a lot of cool things. We got to see where the bombing was at.” The bombing on Jul. 22, 2011 in Olso was a very tragic event for the Norwegians, and the team was there to witness the aftermath. The Magpies left for Norway on Aug. 27, 2011, and said that both them and their parents were nervous and took extra safety pre-

cautions to make sure they were safe. “My parents assigned each person a buddy,” said Paskevic. “We couldn’t leave the hotel without an adult.” The team even got to see where the attack took place. They said it was quite a sight to behold. “It was blocked off with a fence, and the fence was filled with millions of roses,” said Paskevic. “There were holes so we could see through [the fence]. There was lots of glass and bricks everywhere and the windows were all boarded.” Other activities the soccer team took part in included shopping, and an ice cream social at the U.S. Ambassador’s House. “My favorite part was meeting all of the boys and girls from the other countries,” said Hannah DeRouchey ‘14. “We also got to go

having a blast Zoey Otteman ‘13, Paige Paskevic ‘13 and Hannah DeRouchey ‘14 pose on a statue in Oslo, Norway.

after a game The U-18 Soccer Team poses for a group photo with their tour guide Anja. She showed them many aspects of Norway and was with them the entire trip.


katherine bonn’s peruvian vacation LINDSEY LAMOUNTAIN



They toured places like Machu Piccu, a 15th century famous ruin which sits 7,970 feet above sea level on the side of a mountain ridge, and other major cities like Lima and Cusco. Bonn went horseback riding through the mountains and observed Peru’s culture through their ceremonies and the clothes they wore. Bonn was fascinated by all the history around her, however the cultural food was not as appealing. “My family all tried guinea pig, al paca and llama, but I just stuck with chicken the whole entire trip,” said Bonn. Besides the ruins, the group also went

to different museums and shopping centers. Peru sells countless clothes and accessories, some even made from animal fur, including al paca and llama. Bonn’s favorite souvenir was her al pacan hat. Although she went during July, it was cold there because it was Peru’s winter. Regardless, she still really enjoyed her trip. “It was amazing hiking through all the ruins and being able to brush up on some of my Spanish,” said Bonn. Bonn hopes to return to the beautiful and ancient country sometime later in her life, but for now she will always have all her memories, pictures and hat.

a new experience Bonn feeds an alpaca at a local farm. This was one of many new things Bonn did ancient beauty Bonn stands in front of Machu Piccu for a quick shot. Machu Piccu is a famous ancient ruin of Peru. during her summer vacation to Peru. submitted photos

sporting our colors the Magpies soccer team poses for a photo in front of a ferris wheel. Their green jerseys show they are from Gretna while they hold American flags to represent our country.

to the U.S. Ambassador’s House! Meeting the kids from Norway and Afghanistan and listening to all of their stories was really fun.” The team made it clear that one of their favorite parts of the trip was meeting all of the new people and making life long friends. “It was fun to talk to them,” said Paskevic. “We learned a lot about Norway. We also met up with June [Bringslid], and she showed us around.” The team hopes to travel to the United Kingdom next year for another tournament, but if not, they will go to Minnesota. DeRouchey and Paskevic agree that if they had the opportunity, they would go back to Norway in a second. “I would love to go back,” said Paskevic. “The guys are very good looking. Everyone says I’m obsessed with Norway now.”

submitted photos


new trend sparks controversy


planking and owling Ben




g ‘1


ASHLEY JOSOFF Teens taking pictures in their free time is nothing unusual. However, they have been getting more creative, particularly using a trend called Planking. Some believe the past time has been around as early as 2000, originating in Southwest England, but this trend has just started to take off in Gretna last summer. Planking is when someone lays on their stomach, face down, body straight, on top of an unusual object. The term planking is used because when one is in the position, they mimic a wooden plank. “I like to plank at Peterson Park on the teeter totter,” said Jay Gilman ‘14. “I plank because it gives my six pack a burning, loving sensation.”

Parks are a common place for plankers to take pictures. However, some students like to find their own unique places, and feel that the more unusual location, the better. “I plank anywhere someone hasn’t,” said Shelbi Gross ‘13. “You have to be original.” Gross said she started planking when her foreign exchange student, June, saw pictures of her Norweigen friends planking on Facebook, and it has caught on ever since. “I do it because there is nothing else to do in Nebraska,” said Gross. “If you see someone planking, you know nothing else is going on.”

Another popular trend that Gross takes part in is an activity called Owling. Owling is when one squats, with arms down in front of them, much how an owl sits. Like planking, owling is also done on unusual objects. “I owl wherever owling is appropriate,” said Gross. “You can’t owl somewhere an owl wouldn’t be.” Unfortunately, along with planking comes controversy. Some believe that planking comes from the position that slaves were in while being transported by boat. GHS students disagree and believe planking has nothing to do with racism at all.

“It is not racist,” said Gross. “It started because people were being like the wooden board on ‘Ed, Ed and Eddy’.” According to NEWS Magazine, two English friends claimed to start the craze when they decided to lie down in public places and take photos, while another friend took the phenomenon online. At that time, it was known as “The Lying Down Game.” The world may never know the real story behind planking, and while everyone has their own opinions on it, it has Facebook and Twitter users wondering what objects will be planked next.

owling at GHS

Ben Stoltenberg ‘12

(left to right) GHS Administrators: Mr. Roger Miller, Mr. Todd Mueller and Mr. John Heckenlively

Shelbi Gross ‘13






The Scarlet Letter versus chatting with friends, The Harry Potter series versus wallto-walls, The Hunger Games versus viewing tagged photos: All are acceptable in today’s society and common methods used to pass time, and no one can be positive if it is reading or Facebook that is beginning to shape the world we live in. “The thing is, Facebook is entertainment,” said Mrs. Martha Omar, English teacher. “Entertainment is not something that should be relied on to help you grow intellectually.” Mrs. Omar explained that Facebook does not require us to use our imagination, but reading stimulates our imagination and creativity. Showing her genuine concern, Mrs. Omar expressed her worries that we may be becoming a society that lacks imagination and creativity. “Facebook is just people’s word-vomit,” said Mrs. Omar. “There’s no process behind it becoming something.” Mrs. Omar does not see the significance in this “word-vomit” we call Facebook. She fears the days we will spend missing out on all the beautiful stories being told elsewhere. “We’re just worried about Timmy, and

that his tummy hurts,” said Mrs. Omar, referring to the “stupid feeds” that fill our Facebook walls. “Who cares?!” Jenna Glassburner ‘15 shares a similar outlook on the social networking site. She, like numerous others, utilizes Facebook, but Glassburner finds reading more enjoyable than commenting on others’ statuses. “In my free time, after homework, I just read,” said Glassburner. Glassburner explained that for her, reading is simply fun. She believes that we do not really learn from Facebook. “Facebook is basically just not a story,” said Glassburner. Some may have a similar, yet very different outlook on Facebook. Facebook is believed to be both a blessing and a curse for many. “I cancelled my Facebook,” said Mr. Patrick Ribar, Vocal Music Director. “It wasn’t healthy.” Although Mr. Ribar believes his Facebook was a problem, he also thinks there are numerous positives to the popular social networking site. Mr. Ribar shared a personal positive he gained from utilizing Facebook.  He did not know his niece, but one day, she contacted him over Facebook and asked if Mr. Ribar knew her father.   They began talking and met for the first time two

years ago. Mr. Ribar believes it is incredible that Facebook has given him the opportunity to meet and spend time with his estranged niece. Mr. Ribar does see the negative aspects of Facebook as well.  He believes the site can be dangerous, people can be misinterpreted, and hackers are an immense issue.  For Mr.

Ribar and various others, it is simply not worth the risk. Although each of us has our own opinion about Facebook and reading, they are both an excessively prominent part of our daily lives. It is up to us to decipher the pros and cons of reading versus Facebook. It is up to us to choose to spend our time wisely.           

Sharing Your Stories Since 2001

the voice




trey talks

huddling up Gretna Dragon Varsity Football Team groups together after win against Gross Catholic School. The theme was ‘Black Out’ that night.

how students can make better use of their time TREY RUSSELL

If you struggle with time management, Trey recommends you give this a try: Organize Make a list of everything you need to do every day (don’t plan out every minute of your day).

Prioritize Take your list and organize it into importance. Make sure to keep in mind due dates and past commitments.

Schedule Do your best to take your list and make in into a schedule. Keep in mind that there is no point making a schedule you cant keep. Leave time for relaxing and socializing.

Chelsea Pote/The Voice

preparing the next play Andy Janovich ‘12 along with other players walk off after a tackle against Gross Catholic High School. Gretna won 35-22.

a season to remember Chelsea Pote/The Voice

gretna players reminisce in defeating past seasons teams TREY RUSSELL It is said that hype is something that isn’t true. Well, this year there has been lots of hype surrounding the Dragons football team. The team wants to prove that it is not just hype. The expectations haven’t been this good for years. “My expectations for this year are to win the district title again,” said Derek Hill ‘12. “Win our playoff games, and if we are fortunate enough, make it to Memorial Stadium and hopefully take home the state championship.” This year’s expectations are much higher than in years past since the Dragons have been ranked 4th in Class B by the Lincoln Journal Star and are returning 12 starters from the 2010 page team. “Those rankings don’t mean anything to me,” said Zach Stover ‘13. “In order to be the best you have to beat the best, and we’re not gonna get beat.” Last year’s team went 6-4 and lost in the first round of the playoffs to Lincoln Pius X,

(8-3) by the matter of a couple of lengths of a football. On fourth down, the Dragons were forced to go for the 1st rather than kicking a long field goal. Quarterback, Matt Jones ‘12 took the snap, turned around and handed to fullback Same Felici, GHS Alumni who fell just inches short of the first down. Pius ran out the clock and the season came to a screeching halt. “The loss to Pius only motivated me to get better in the off season,” said Stover. “They didn’t deserve to win that game and got lucky. Hopefully we will see them down the road.” Once the clock hit zero everyone finally realized it was over, seniors cried as the rest of the team sat dazed in a circle. One by one, kids started to get up and head towards the bus walking off the field with “Boys of Fall” playing over the loudspeaker. “After the game, I felt like we got cheated by the refs and the better team didn’t move to the next round of playoffs,” said Andrew Jensen ‘12. Since the ending of last year’s football season the hype surrounding the 2011 season

started building in large part due to the senior class who had higher expectations for this team than in the past. The season is full of games that will bring lots of excitement with them. “The games I am most looking forward to are the Bennington game and the Elkhorn game,” said Hill. “I would like to get some revenge on Bennington from last year because I believe we were the better team and it was just a fluke. And the Elkhorn game because they’re our biggest rival and we’ve been going up against them since as long as I can remember and it would be great to beat them one last time.” After the interview with Hill, the Dragons won a victory against Bennington, the score was 37-0. Gretna’s schedule also consists of Norris, Elkhorn South, Mount Michael, Waverly, and Blair. “They (Blair) beat us pretty bad last year and think they’re hot stuff,” said Stover. “It would be nice to beat them this time around.”


It has been proven by modern science that there is no such thing as multi-tasking. Our brain can only focus on one thing at a time. It seems like there are never enough hours in the day, but the feeling is twice as bad to a student athlete. Trying to balance academics with sports is an extremely hard thing to do. The pressure some student athletes feel is unreal. According to Disney Family, Scott Lancaster, who is the director of youth football develement and is an expert on time management said, “Time management is perhaps the most important skill set – not only for student athletes, but throughout one’s entire personal and professional life.” Personally, I sometimes get to the point where I am so tired from practice and doing homework that I won’t finish. On a normal day I would arrive to school around 8 a.m. and go through classes until 3:30. After school I go right to practice, which usually lasts until about 6 p.m. each night. Practices can be exhausting and the last thing anyone wants to do after a long practice is homework. There is no feeling worse than realizing that when you get home you cannot just relax the rest of the night; instead you have to write a paper, do your math homework and study for two tests. Teachers always say academics come first, which is understandable, but it seems as if they don’t realize that there is more to our lives than school. Although some teachers understand your commitment to a sport or extracurricular activity, other teachers could care less. They tend to dump loads of homework on you when you know there is no way to get it done. “It’s the athlete’s responsibility to make academics a priority,” said Lancaster. “While a coach can provide guidance, it’s ultimately the athlete who must learn to balance school and sports.” Finding that balance is one of the hardest things to do for most students who are in sports or other activities. Even though the last thing you probably want to do after school and practice is homework, it is a necessity.

pressure mounts; softball players get cut this year JENA BURNS For the first time, the Gretna High School softball team made cuts to their roster. This is a result of so many girls going out last year, making it difficult to get everyone playing time. “Kids were only playing 4 to 5 innings a year,” said head coach Mr. Michael Moore. “Also, it’s hard to manage about 30 kids with just 2 coaches.” Although they made cuts, there is roughly the same amount of girls playing as last year, since a larger number tried out. Knowing that there would be cuts made to the team had influenced the overall perfor-

mance of the girls during tryouts. “I tried a little harder,” said Kristen Kuhn ’14. “Because I knew there was a chance I could get cut.” The pressure was increased for the girls, since last year they knew that just by showing up they were on the team. “The nerves definitely effected some’s performance,” said Jessica Weishahn ’14. However the tension did not get to everyone, some were confident from the start that they would be given a position on the team. “Not to be cocky, but no I wasn’t real worried,” said Kendall Hendrix ’12. “I’m a senior and I’ve played on varsity all four years. Coach will typically cut the underclassmen

first.” The season started off great for the new varsity team of 2011-2012 with a win against Norris, 6 to 4. “Winning our first game of the season was crazy! I was beyond excited. We all knew it was gonna be a tough game and the fact that we came all the way from behind in the end to win, it was unbelievable.” said Hendrix.

I tried a little harder because I knew there was a chance I could get cut. -Kristen Kuhn ‘14

SEPTEMBER 2011 10SPORTS underdogs are ready to fight


dragons lost five starters but stand strong LINDSEY LAMOUNTAIN

Losing eight graduates left the Lady Dragons with only three seniors on the volleyball team: Payton Samuelson, Elaine Kramer and Hannah Applegate. “There is some pressure because there are less of us to carry out all the responsibilities of being a leader,” said Samuelson ‘12. However, the seniors are not the only experienced girls on the varsity court; there are multiple sophomores and juniors who saw good playing time last season. The loss still leaves many open positions, and in order to fill them

submitted photos

players are going to have to step up. “Everyone will need to go all out and be all in,” said Kramer ‘12. “We just have to work together and have fun.” “It’s always easier to beat teams that aren’t expecting much from you,” said Coach Mike Brandon. “However, we have a good amount of returning experience and I am very optimistic about our chances to make some noise. I think we will surprise some people.” Choosing to have no cuts this year also poses a challenge for the coaches and seniors. Maintaining control, intensity and pride as a team throughout their season will be a big goal for the Lady Dragons.

taking a hit Seniors Hannah Applegate, Elaine Kramer and Payton Samuelson lead the Lady Dragons Varsity Volleyball team on a win against Plattsmouth on Sept 6. The seniors have been practicing together since their freshman year.

freshman team takes the championship gretna days volleyball AMANDA THAMM This summer, Gretna celebrated its 125th birthday over one long, hot weekend. Along with the parade and firework show, the annual sand volleyball tournament, hosted by Spikers Sports & Spirits and Post Prom, was also one of the many events that took place. “Even though it’s hot and humid every summer, everybody still has a lot of fun,” said Dieter Thamm ‘15. “It’s fun because everybody gets really competitive.” Every year there are more people who want to get out in the hot sun and play in the tournament. This year there were so many teams that director Cindy Stover had to schedule adult teams and student teams on two different days. The adult teams played on Saturday and the student teams played on Sunday. There were 20 high school teams that competed; however, there was only one winning team. Sophomores Natalie Mickelson, Mary Janovich, Sydney Bratka, Nick Kwasniewski, Michael Johnson and Trent Boyer won the High School division. “Our team name was Safe Sets,” said Sydney Bratka ‘14 “It was cool winning against older teams because nobody was really expecting it.” “We won t-shirts and bragging

rights until next summer,” said Natalie Mickelson ‘14 “It was really hot, but we stuck it out until the end.” Although one team was ecstatic, there were many teams who walked away upset about losing that day. “It is not easy losing when you’re very competitive,” said Gretna alumni, Robert Schram-Martin. “It was a heart breaker knowing that our talent level was so superior to that of the younger teams and that we were just off our game by the end of the day.” However, some teams walked away with their heads held high, glad with what they had accomplished. Some were already strategizing a new game plan for next summer. “Losing against a lower-classmen team didn’t phase me or my team, Caucasian Invasion, at all,” said Andrew Debolt ‘13. “The thing is, they didn’t know we were playing with our eyes closed. Next year we’re coming back full force, three new recruits coming out of Germany. The guys will be training year round, and we have Stover, the intimidation factor.” In the end, it does not really matter to GHS students whether they win the whole tournament or if they only win a few sets; everybody who competes in the sand volleyball tournament has fun one way or another.

Amanda Thamm/The Voice

dig spike win Above are photos of team ‘Caucasian Invasion’ who took third in the Gretna Days Volleyball. The tournament took place at Spikers Sports & Spirits in July.

small fall sports may have a negative effect xc and golf athletes make decision to quit teams

While Roll’s decision had to do with her future, Anna Elbracht ‘13 had her own reasons to give up the sport that she was a part of for the past two years. She said it was Juggling school, a social life and sports a very tough decision, but in the end felt like can be a challenge for many students. This the sport just was not for her. year, both the girls golf team and the cross “I quit because it made me too nervous country team have doing the meets, and lost a significant We messed around and those I didn’t like running amount of players. for competition,” Every player were the fun memories that I said Elbracht. “I has their own made. Plus Mr. Marik and Mr. like running for reasons behind myself. Cross their decision, a O’Neill were great coaches. country is more of decision that, for individual sport, -Emily Roll an some, was not and I’m more of a easy. team sport person.” “I quit Cross country because it conflicted with soccer too much,” is not the only fall sport that has lost said Emily Roll ‘13. “I plan to play soccer in members. Last year, approximately 25 girls college, not cross country.” went out for golf; however, this year, that


number has dropped to only 11. One of the girls that quit felt that other activities may be more beneficial to her, but feels her absence won’t make a big difference to the team. “I decided to work instead,” said Shelby Berube ‘13. “I don’t think it’ll effect the team because there are a lot of good players, so they should have a good season.” Even though these athletes quit, they agree that there were definite positives about doing the sports they did. “The people who go out made it fun,” said Roll. “We messed around and those were the fun memories that I made. Plus Mr. Marik and Mr. O’Neill were great coaches.” Berube also agreed with Roll, saying that the social aspect made her sport worth the while. However, many people may be concerned whether the loss of players will effect the teams’ overall performances. “I was a member of the varsity team so it

might be a little different,” said Roll. “But I think they’ll be able to manage without me.” Danielle Brucker ‘13, a current member of the girls’ golf team has her worries, but knows in the end this could have a positive result for future years. “I think one aspect is we might not be as good as maybe we could be,” said Brucker. “But for upcoming years we will be more experienced and the younger girls will have more opportunity to be more experienced for future years.” Berube may not currently be on the team, but she still has positive advice to this year’s team and has confidence that they will still be successful. “I’d tell current players to keep practicing hard, just like they always have,” said Berube.  “I hope they have a great season.”


will the real j.j. whitney please stand up? JENA BURNS

“I want to change the name of rap,” said J.J. Whitney ’15. “Cause when you think rap, you think of baggy pants, and I’m not that.” Whitney started rapping when he was four after his brother, Gretna alumni, Tommy Whitney told him to rap, and he has been doing it ever since.

But, Whitney does not just rap songs he knows, he creates his own raps. The most common things he enjoys writing about are his talent, friends, family, and people who disagree with what he does. “I think of people who hate on me, stuff I see or words I hear,” said Whitney. “It’s not about the word, it’s about the sound it makes, I’m always thinking about words.” But, Whitney does not only rap in the halls at GHS. Whitney sang one of his favorite, original works, “Hot Like Hot Sauce” live on the popular radio station Channel 94.1. The day following his performance he was compared to the popular artist Eminem on the radio station’s, “Big Party Morning Show”. He was described as being better than Eminem when he was a child. “I think it’s awesome I was compared to him,” said Whitney. “Because some day I aspire to be the next Eminem.”

no right to bear arms JENA BURNS



wear a shirt.” On the other hand, sports are a different story. As explained by Vice Principal Mr. Todd Mueller, the reason this rule started to be enforced for males is because they have the tendency to cut them more and more down the mid section until there is barely anything holding the shirt together. However, when you are attending an extra-curricular activity the dress code rules do not apply. “The reason we have a dress code is to maintain a learning enviroment,” said Mueller. “I could care less if you were wearing a cut off at a football game.” Many students enjoy wearing them on the weekend or to sporting events. It is not uncommon to see a boy wearing one from time to time. “I wear them when I work out,” said Nolan Kessler ’14 “When I feel like getting ripped I put on a Bro Tank and go to the gym.” Whether it is worn for style or exercise, “Bro Tanks” are a popular choice for the boys at GHS.

A “Bro Tank” is a male tank top, however it is not a wife-beater. For over 25 years Gretna High School has not allowed boys to wear sleeveless shirts, tank tops or any shirt showing the bust line or back. Though the “Bro Tank” and the “Cut Off” t-shirt are not allowed, some think that it should not be a problem to wear them to school. “I think they should be allowed as long as there’s no rib cage showing,” said Todd Swalberg ’13. “I like to wear them because they give you a chance to show off your muscles you’ve been working for all summer long.” Nevertheless, other students do not see the point of wearing this type of clothing to school. “I think guys who wear cut offs to school look dumb,” said Jordon Batenhorst ’14. Connor Shedeed ‘14 “You might as well not even

what’s your subway?


a statement LEXI SNELL

drawing a crowd freshman J.J. Whitney raps for some fellow students while Mike Reed ‘12 spits a beat.

An abundance of new products have debut designed to make girl’s nails look personalized. Painting nails with just a plain color is so yesterday; now Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Strips are available. These are strips of real nail polish that are easy to apply with no dry time, which means no risk of smudging. With these Nail Strips, girls can get the salon look anywhere, anytime with no mess. Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects Nail Strips come in 24 fashion-forward designs including animal prints, glitter and nails that look like denim. Manufacturers say that the Nail Strips stay on without chipping for up to 10 days. To remove, just soak them in nail polish remover for 2-3 minutes and simply peel them off in one piece. “They were easy to apply and there was no big mess. And the best part is you don’t have to wait for them to dry. Just put them on, and you’re ready to go,” said Hailey Anson ‘14. “Then when you’re ready for a new style, soak them in nail polish remover for a short time and peel them off. It is extremely easy.” People interested in this product can find these new nail sensations at most drugstores priced at $8-10. Another nail trend that is growing in popularity is Sally Hansen’s Crackle Overcoat. This nail polish appears like an ordinary color, but when applied to the nail and let to dry, it cracks and shows the base coat underneath. For all kinds of mixing and matching, Crackle Overcoat comes in eight different colors that can be paired with any base color creating a unique mosaic design that is modern and sophisticated. “I absolutely love Crackle nail polish. It

starting a trend (above) a picture of Sally Hansen Salon effects nail strips (below) a minx pedicure from Legacy Nails and Spa

just makes my eyes shine,” said Jacy Hawk ‘14 “There’s so many different colors to choose from to go with any outfit.” Crackle Overcoat is sold at most drugstores for a reasonable cost of $6.99. Another growing trend is Minx, a product similar to Sally Hansen’s Salon Effect Nail Strips, but offers a greater variety of colors and prints. Minx designs are abstract unlike the simple designs Sally Hansen has to offer. The founders of Minx also created stickers that are chrome. Minx are not as popular in the Midwest compared to the coasts, but are being found in select salons in Omaha, such as in Legacy Nails & Spa. One down side to Minx is they can only be applied professionally. However, on the positive side, they are rumored to last up to a month. Additionally, if a customer loves a certain print, there is a website available that allows people to customize their own design. “I first saw Rihanna wearing Minx nails in a magazine and had to have them,” said Anne Studnicka ’13. “For two months, I searched around for a salon that carried them and finally found one. There is such a wide variety of colors and prints to choose from and overall. I love them. They are definitely my favorite nail product.” Nail polish can be tracked all the way back to 3000 B.C. Since then, a plethora of amazing products have come out. People all over the world are now demanding more and more products to make their nails fashionable. Finally, these products are out and are affordable so gorgeous nails are not only seen in Hollywood. One decade after another, nail polish has evolved to make nails not only part of your finger but an accessory.

“Ham foot long on Italian bread with American cheese, lettuce, mayo, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.” -Johnnah Wollenberg ‘14

“Ham foot long on Italian herbs and cheese with provolone cheese, lettuce and pickles.”

“Pepperoni foot long on Italian bread with Pepper Jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, lots of banana peppers, oil and vinegar.”

-Blake Chick ‘14

-Riley Smith ‘12

“B.M.T. foot long on Italian bread with pickles.” -Ellie Karloff ‘15

“Ham, salami and turkey foot long on Italian bread with lettuce.” -Collin Strilka ‘13



a day in the life

car of the month

tom the trainer

games.  For game days he usually shows up at the high school around 1:30 p.m. On these occasions, Tom wraps around 30 ankles and Tom Pancoe arrives at school around has perfected this art; his fastest time so far is 3 p.m.   to get ready to wrap, tape, and ice a minute and 30 seconds.  For many athletes, athletes.  Pancoe has to aid everybody, some- like Travis Agagah 14’, it can take longer than times tag teaming with the nurse when a se- just wrapping an ankle.  It takes Agagah a torious injury occurs.   He sees between 22 to tal of 30 to 45 minutes to get ready before a 24 people a day and performs countless ankle football game. First he needs to stretch out wraps.  The most common reason people get his ankles and legs, then he applies heat on their ankles wrapped is because they have flat his groin.  Last, Agagah stretches again then, feet, which can lead to shin splints. Current- is taped up and gets ready for the game.  For ly, Pancoe is treating students participating all of the athletes to be completely prepared, in football, softball and cross country.  Foot- it can take up to two hours.  Another necesball sustains the most amount injuries that sities Pancoe prepares is getting the water Pancoe deals with, last year totaling five cold and ready to go. He must always have concussion.  For concussions, the athlete has his medical kit with him, which holds everyto pass a side line evaluation, a Scat2- Sport thing from bandages to tape. Concussion Test.  Athletes take this test by The worst injury Pancoe has cared for how you feel, such as how bad your headache is a pole vaulter who was running and his is. If you pass it proves you no longer have a pole broke, which left him stabbing himself concussion.  Pancoe has to give the athletes in his right peck, as soon as it happened Panthe test and watch them as they take it. They coe called 911 and carried him out.  Luckily, then have to retake the exam on the comput- this did not happen in Gretna. The worst er within 42 to 72 hours. injury that has appeared at Gretna was that Also, Pancoe helps train new recruits of a boy who dislocated his knee by playing to assist him.   Jessica Deshong ‘12, lettered football.  It popped back in and he ended up in student athletic training for the past three needing surgery. years.  It took Jessica about 6 months to a year Tom puts his best effort into anything to learn how to improve and speed up her skill.   he does, whether it is wrapping an ankle to Pancoe attends every home sporting dealing with a dislocated knee. Pancoe does event and goes to all of the away football his best to make sure all injuries are taken of.


movie of the month JENNA POTE “The Help” is a period piece movie about the ability to create change. This movie involves three women, Skeeter, Minny and  Aibileen, who are complete opposites, as they come together to write a life-changing novel. They cross many lines as they go through this journey.  Even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times.  The movie takes place in Mississippi during the 1960’s,   which was an important era of our history regarding segregation.  Skeeter, who is a caucasian, red haired woman, with too many freckles on her face to count, was the very first to begin writing the book.  Aibileen, a 53 year old, African American woman, who raised 17 children over the

years, discovers her voice as well as courage to stand up for her beliefs.  Minny, also African American, is a sassy, defined woman. She does not take attitude from anyone but, she is a very sensitive woman, and cares a lot about other people.   In “The Help,” a group of women risk everything to tell their stories.  Through this journey, they become empowered, and help inspire others.  I recommend seeing this heart warming movie because it is so inspiring.

Nate Olsen/The Voice

Tim Grundmayer

Buick Riviera A: I replaced the radiator and got a new stereo and speakers. Q: How fast does it go? A: 90 mph, but I have never tried to max it out. Q: What type of gas does it take? A: Premium with no ethanol. Q: Why did you buy this car over others? A: It was love at first sight. Q: What is your favorite part of the car? A: The exhaust system and motor.

Q: Is it fun to drive? A: Definitely, I love it. Q: How big is the engine? A: A big V8, it’s a hoss!

Q: Do people look at you funny when driving down the road? A: Oh ya, I get looks all the time, no matter where I’m going. Q: What have you done to the car since you bought it?

student showcase This is one of the art pieces displayed on the pole in the commons area. The Advanced Art class decorated the pole with bright colored designs so Alex Lynch can see where he is going without difficulty.

“I think it’s a really good thing. If I can use my artistic abilities to help somebody else, that’s really something special. [Art] is just a different way to show other people what you’re thinking about or how you’re feeling.” -Ethan Lottman ‘12

“My poem expresses the stress most high schoolers are under at this difficult time in our lives. Writing it down helped me think more about the struggles ahead of me and what I can do to take one step at a time.” -Abby Fogle ‘13

I am sixteen years old but I still feel like a child. I used to look at teenagers like they were so mature. I don’t feel mature, I don’t feel prepared and I don’t feel good enough.


My heart constantly pulls me in different directions. I want so badly to leave this small town I am not ready. but the reality is, I am scared. I am not ready for the real Sometimes I feel like my dreams world. and goals are too big, I hate change more than anythat if I don’t reach the stars thing else. I will come crashing down on Change my worst nightmares. even as minuscule as new I am afraid of being alone, furniture, and of not being in the right place, can send my mind into a tizzy. at the right time. Entering the last few years of What if I never get my chance? high school is rough. I feel the weight of my future cavI can feel the changes coming ing in on me every day. more rapidly everyday. I am sixteen years old.   And the worst part is,   there is nothing I can do to stop Abby Fogle  it.

2011 GHS Voice September  
2011 GHS Voice September  

The Voice September 2011 - Gretna High School