5450 marsh road haslett mi 48840 volume 15 issue 1
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Senior Ian Culver watches the Haslett-Corunna football game from the student section.
photo by taylor PARKER
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9.18.2009 haslett high school
o c l We
September 18, 2009
Meridian High shuts down for good by emma CLAUCHERTY
For the past 13 years, Meridian High School provided a second chance for Lansing area students who needed an alternative form of education. “(MHS) was something the Board of Education was very proud of in Haslett. It gave us the ability to offer a second chance for students,” Superintendent Mike Duda said. “We did have a number of success stories there. However, it became ﬁnancially difﬁcult to offer that opportunity.”
Last September, state budget cuts caused all 12 schools except Haslett to pull their funding from MHS. “The Haslett Board of Education was more than willing to continue with the program if the other school districts helped pay their costs,” Duda said. “Haslett was going to take care of their students and the expectation was the other districts would fund their own students. Districts were receiving less money from the state though and they just didn’t have the money to support the program.” The board of education planned to keep the school open but could only fund Haslett students. The teen parent program was cut as well. Plans for MHS changed drastically again last winter when the Board of Education decided to shut down the school completely. “It was a result of lack
of funding,” Duda said. “The Haslett Foundation receives about $7,400 from the state every year for each student. To educate an alternative student, it cost us $4000 more due to smaller teacher-to-student ratios. The teen parent child care program cost us another $2,500 extra. With only $7,400 a student you can see we were starting to lose money there.” In addition to lack of funding, the state high school reform was a major factor in the shutting down of MHS. “The high school reform increased the number of credits it took to graduate high school. A lot of the classes offered at Meridian would not be suitable to receive a diploma and we couldn’t offer the classes they needed to graduate.” Duda said. “In essence, they would’ve been forced at some point to cross back into a general high school.”
After the decision to close MHS was reached, the Haslett School District made sure students who wanted to ﬁnish or continue their education were assisted. “We were able to ﬁnish up most students with either a diploma or G.E.D.,” Duda said. “There were less than ﬁve students at the end of the year who needed additional classes to ﬁnish their education. Some of them are enrolled at HHS while other students explored other opportunities such as Lansing Community College.” Sophomore Nathan Lopez transferred this year from MHS to HHS full time. “It’s more of a challenge. We didn’t have homework at Meridian,” Lopez said. “I’d rather be at HHS though because it’s a better education and I’m with my friends.” MHS teachers understand the reasons for closing the
school, but still see it as a very unfortunate event. “I understand (MHS) was closing due to budget problems, but there is a need for a program of that type,” science teacher Laura Vickery said. Both Vickery and social studies teacher Russel Olson teach at HHS this year after more than a decade of being at Meridian. “The school board was trying to make the best decision for the Haslett community at large,” Olson said. “It’s really sad for the young people who don’t get to take advantage of the school, though.” Despite no longer having an alternative school, the school district is still searching for tools to help educate alternative students. “East Lansing, Haslett, Okemos and Williamston are currently exploring programs that will beneﬁt our students in the future,” Duda said. “One such alternative high school
program we are looking very closely at is called Ombudsman. Waverly Public schools is currently using this program and experiencing a lot of success with 88 percent of the students enrolled graduating last spring.” Staff members do not believe the increased graduation requirements increase the need for an alternative high school. “Last year at Haslett High School, we didn’t send any students to Meridian High School,” Duda said. “That really is a tribute to the staff in terms of trying to ﬁnd different ways to meet the needs of students who have struggled in the past.” “As more people are challenged, more people will want to drop out,” Olson said. “But people in education are innovative. They are going to ﬁnd ways within the system to help struggling students.”
Superintendent learns to be careful of what he says by elizabeth YOUNG
Superintendent Mike Duda was supposed to meet with Viking Longboat editor-in-chief Emma Claucherty for an interview when he strode into the ﬁfth hour journalism class Sept. 9. But a call to his cell phone changed his plans. “Emma was in the back of the room and the phone call that came was from somebody who had noticed…a story that John Schneider was working on,” Duda said. Senior Liz Baker remembered what happened next. “He was ﬁred up and he came to the front of the class and he said, ‘This is a learning moment,’” Baker said. The superintendent decided that this was the perfect opportunity to teach the journalism students an important lesson. “My intention…was to say to this journalism class, ‘This was
what my intention was, but this is why you gotta be careful with something that you print, something that you write,’” Duda said. “And this is the landmine that I’ve kind of fallen into.” The “landmine” Duda referred to was his decision to incorporate an audio clip called Australian School Answering Machine into a recent staff presentation. The clip – a satirical take on the types of calls made to a school ofﬁce – was intended to balance the serious presentation with some lightheartedness. “We had just gone through a period where we had laid off eight teachers, actually nine teachers,” Duda said. “And the economic outlook for the future is very, very dim right now in the state of Michigan, not very positive. So the entire…audiovideo slide presentation was an attempt to provide some humor into what could be described
otherwise as a pretty down subject for people.” However, not all of the staff members found it humorous. The clip begins by saying: “To lie about why your child is absent, press 1.” “To make excuses for why your child did not do his homework, press 2.” It then continues on that thread. But the ﬁnal line – which tells people who need another language to “move to a country that speaks it” – is what made some people angry. Soon enough, the blog on Schneider’s Lansing State Journal article was choked with comments as people rushed to either criticize or defend Duda. After Baker read the last line of the audio clip, she could see why it was controversial. “It was not worded well,” Baker said. “If it was taken as a joke…but he was in a professional setting, so it’s just ques-
tionable.” Senior Casey VanDenBerg understood Duda’s intentions, but agreed that the clip could have used some editing. “I can see him wanting to add humor,” VanDenBerg said. “I certainly can’t argue with that because I’d imagine that staff meetings can be a little dry. But that is something that, perhaps the last line could have been left out.” However, both VanDenBerg and Baker agreed that the comments posted on the blogs were severe and ill-founded. “I think that it’s pretty clear that those people tend to judge very quickly and that before people comment on things, they should probably have a little better understanding of the situation because anybody can see that Mr. Duda didn’t mean it in a derogatory manner,” VanDenBerg said. “Some of the stuff was just
harsh,” Baker said. “They don’t know that person on that sort of level, they don’t know what type of man he is. So how can they go say he’s an idiot or something? It’s not right.” While Duda doesn’t read the blogs, he sees this incident as an important “learning experience.” “It’s an opportunity for myself and for others to take a look at perhaps some of the ways that they approach everyday life,” Duda said. “I have had more than many, many conversations over the last 10 days with folks – when I say different people, I’ve been contacted by different press people and outside organizations that are not afﬁliated with Haslett Public Schools – how they perceive this [incident].” For example, Duda believed that comedic sitcoms may have inﬂuenced the way certain words and phrases are viewed
today. “I think if you were to watch ‘Seinfeld’ or ‘South Park’ or some of those things that are very, very offensive, you might become desensitized to what others are feeling,” Duda said. Since the incident, Duda has taken action to reach out to other staff members and to uphold the school district’s values. “First of all, I take full responsibility for this,” Duda said. “Secondarily, I have apologized to the entire staff and they have received an email from me, an email with an invitation to come and see me if they want to talk about it further. “And I’m very heartfelt in my sincerity about this. This is a school district that has embraced diversity, is proud of the things we have in place here. It was hurtful that someone would think that was my intention.”
Back to School Answers in Black and White Why was the master schedule delayed so much?
“With all of the budget cuts, the master schedule ended up coming out late and delayed the [scheduling] process.” -associate principal Darren Ferguson
Why did the yearbook costs go up?
“The cost for producing the book increases
every year. We haven’t raised the price in at least ﬁve years so we raised it this year in order to cover those rising costs. We still have one of the least expensive yearbooks in the area.” -yearbook adviser Julie Price
Why did the athletic fee and athletic pass costs go up? “To avoid cutting $35,000 from the budget we raised the athletic fee $50 in order to make up for it. Athletic pass costs went up to raise more funds for the sports teams.” -athletic director Jamie Gent
September 18, 2009
New coach and new tactics motivate soccer team this season by jerry EASTWOOD
What does four seasons in a year have to do with soccer? We’re not talking weather here, we’re talking soccer. This is the new head soccer coach Bill Boyle’s approach to coaching the varsity boys team this season. “We are breaking down our soccer season into four different seasons,” Boyle said. “Each season is divided into four games per season.” Boyle has broken it down so the players can see how they improve and progress through the season. Along with helping the Vikings recognize their improvement, Boyle has stressed the importance of chemistry and communication on the ﬁeld. “Communication is a weakness for us,” Boyle said. “When we don’t talk, we give up a lot of goals and lose.” During practice, Boyle makes sure the team constantly chats with each other on the ﬁeld. When the boys don’t talk, it means doing pushups. Senior captain Cody Little has seen the success through interacting with his teammates. “Communication has been vital to our team development,” Little said. “We aren’t yet to where we need to be but we are continually growing. We talk to each other on the ﬁeld more and more which allows us to operate more effectively in matches.” Boyle is the former soccer coach at Olivet College. This summer, he got a student teaching job at Sexton High School and was looking for an actual high school position. Boyle found that job over the summer by becoming the new Haslett varsity soccer coach. Boyle also had an advantage with these players because he knew many of them from the soccer clubs and knew the talent they have. Players on the team have given positive feedback on his coaching.
“[Coach Boyle] is a good guy,” senior captain Hawken Hanna said. “He pushes us to get better and has a lot of knowledge on the game. He is a soccer-minded person.” Another senior captain, Kyle Levine, also has seen the contribution Boyle brings to the program. “[Coach Boyle] is a good coach,” Levine said, “He has brought different techniques and he has a better sense of the game.” Boyle has helped his players grow conﬁdent in their skills and as a team in general. “He has made a great atmosphere and has what we need to win states this year,” senior Mikey Manuel said. Boyle has been a vital role to the team’s success with the new tactics he has brought. This has gotten the players’ attention throughout the season. “We have learned new ways of defending and attacking the ball that will increase our efﬁciency,” Little said, “It has deﬁnitely made us better than our competition.” “Coach has taught us a different way to play the game,” Manuel said. “He has new formations to help the offense and defense.” Coach Boyle also emphasizes the importance of chemistry to a team. He knows that it is critical to the Vikings’ success on and off the ﬁeld. The team has been focusing on interacting with each other since the start of two-a-days this summer. Players would run together and practice for over four hours a day, six days a week for two weeks. During the season, they have team dinners and captain practices where the captains, not the coaches, call and run the practices. Many of these players have also been playing together for a long time. “The amount of time spent together by the players on this team and the experience we bring to this team is unparalleled,” Little said, “The seniors have been playing together since elementary school and have experience playing together, which helps us greatly on the ﬁeld.” The Vikings so far are 9-1, which includes winning the Haslett Invitational over the summer and huge wins against Grand Ledge and Williamston. With four games remaining in the regular season, the team is excited for the playoffs. “We will go to districts and we have the best shot at states we have had in years,” Little said. “We are conﬁdent under our new coach and new game plan.”
Football team puts 2008 season behind it by jerry EASTWOOD
Coach Charlie Otlewski is enforcing a new mantra to the varsity football team this fall. “Our theme for the year is to not be like 2008,” senior captain Jamie Burns said. “Coach [Otlewski] wants us to be a family and a united team.” Many of the players and coaches felt as if the team from 2008 only played for themselves to put up their statistics, rather than being a team and winning as a team. This was the reason for the theme this season. Players were able to get the idea of being a team this summer after they attended Camp Tapico for a week. Players felt that it helped them get to know their teammates better. “We spent ﬁve days with each other,” junior Steve Lott said, “People we didn’t know we got to meet them.” Junior Jake Schaibly also felt like the camp was good to get to know his teammates better. “Other than practice at camp, we pretty much hung out and got to know each other,” he said. One of the big differences on this team is that there are only 12 seniors. This is one of the smallest senior classes Otlewski has had since he became the coach in 1994. It may seem that Otlewski would take a different approach in handling things this season. In reality, he hasn’t changed tactics at all. “You don’t handle things differently,” Otlewski said, “We are just younger at more positions.” Even though there is a small number of seniors on the team, many of the underclassmen have seen the seniors step up become team leaders. They see it on and off the ﬁeld. “[The seniors] get on our case when we don’t do well,” junior Andrew Heinz said. “They also pump us up before games.” “They work hard and they are vocal leaders.” sophomore Billy Hastings said. Hastings is one of only three sophomores on the football team this season and is impressed by how driven they are. One of the critical pieces for success to this team is being a
The Haslett football team walks to the locker room before their game against Corunna.
Some quick hits on how the fall sports are measuring up so far this season by jerry EASTWOOD and lexis GUARNACCIA
Record: 10-1 Key Returning Starters: Seniors Paul Lucas, Ryan Cyzman, Connor Davis and Brennen O’Berski Player on the Rise: Sophomore Zach Bepler and freshman Aaron Latch Thoughts on the Rest of the Season: “We expect to go undefeated for the rest of the season. We also think we are going to win regionals.” Senior Connor Davis
Record: 3-0 Key Returning Starters: Senior Kristin Choi, junior Maddy Brown, sophomores Erin Lawrence and Chelsea Root Players on the Rise: Junior Paige Grettenberger and sophomore Daisy Yonkus What are your goals for this year: “We hope to go undefeated and place higher in leagues this year.” Junior Maddy Brown
Record: 0-0 but Boys placed 3rd in the Bath Invitational and 5th in the Corunna Invitational and the Girls placed 5th in the Bath Invitational and 7th in the Corunna Invitational Key Returning Starters: Seniors Ian Hancke and John Roehr, sophomores Alex Vancamp, Jordan Strickler and Tara Mahon Players on the Rise: Sophomores Ellen Corder and Travis Stirewalt Freshman Sierra Bane What are your goals for this year: “We want to make it to states and establish ourselves as one of the best teams in the area.” Sophomore Ryan Beyea
Volleyball photo by taylor PARKER
family. Each Thursday night, the team has a dinner at a player’s house and every Friday morning, the team has a team breakfast at Blondie’s Barn. They also do some bonding after practice. “On Wednesday, we watch game ﬁlm after practice,” Burns said. “Afterwards, we usually go hang out, get some pizza and play ping pong.” So far, the Vikings are 2-1, including a big win at East Lansing. Coach Otlewski gives the credit to the team’s conﬁdence, but it also goes to the player’s individual work ethic. “Everyone is working hard,” Schaibly said. “Everyone is worrying about what they have to do and they are making sure everyone is stepping up.” “Our hard work is better than other teams and we hit harder,” Hastings said. The team still has a tough road ahead. Four of the next ﬁve games are away including at Fowlerville and at Williamston, in which the team will face two former teammates, Reggie Duncan and Ryan Oberg. But all the players are conﬁdent that they will do great in the season and even go far in the playoffs. They also expect to improve each and every game. “Our ultimate goal is to be state champs,” Burns said, “Haslett has never won a state championship in football and we want to do that.”
Record: 13-1-2 Key Returning Starters: Seniors Kimmy Schmid, Emily Bird, Molly Stephens and Dana Alexander, junior Molly Duda Players on the Rise: Juniors Morgan Patterson and Allie Horstman Thoughts on the Rest of the Season: “We have many returning players and we’ve already improved a lot since the beginning of the season. We’re really looking forward to what we can accomplish as a team.” Junior Miranda Rogers
Girls Swimming and Diving
Record: 2-0 Key Returning Starters: Seniors Tiﬀany Oricchio, Louise Harder and Bailey McMillan, sophomore Victoria Bishop Players on the Rise: Freshman Jenny Jess and Christine Harder Thoughts on the Team: “We have great captains this year who rack up points for our meets.” Junior Erin Gorman
September 18, 2009
photo story by Taylor PARKER • graphic by Andrew BEAUMAN
Members of “The Cone Squad”, seniors Jerry Eastwood, Brennen O’ Berski, Dylan Oxender, Ryan Cyzman, Wes Silkworth, Josh Headley and Scott Thrun, show their spirit at the DeWitt football game Sept. 11.
Top left: The varsity oﬀense lines up behind junior center Cory Smith. Bottom left: Junior Liz Ringlien and the rest of the Haslett Band plays music for the crowd before the DeWitt game.
11 Games to go until Ford Field
Top right: Junior Shelby Wilson and the varsity cheer team work to get the student section revved up for the DeWitt game. Bottom right: Juniors Allie Horstman, Courtney Black and Michelle Schimpke root on the football team .