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Special Edition:

Coverage on Larry Nassar

–pages 3, 4, 5 and 6 PHOTO: Anni Levonen




Shootings shakes HHS

Victims of Nassar empower –page 3

Mitchell is a basketball star –page 7

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Parkland High School shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Back STORY Student profiles –page 8



How safe are we? Ben Bird| Staff Writer A lone gunman opened fire and killed 15 students and two teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14. Fourteen other students were reported as injured. This was just one of many school shootings this year alone. Notable celebrities such as Ellen Degeneres and Kim Kardashian took to social media to share their condolences to those affected. Both made calls for action to prevent these shootings in the future. Shootings have occured all over the country and caused local students to become increasingly anxious. A few of these students have questioned if Haslett is doing enough to prevent shootings, and if the high school is a safe learning environment. Senior Mackenzie Jacobs is one of them. “The more this stuff happens, the more likely it’s to happen everywhere else,” Jacobs said. “I think that we should have more security here…. There are some parts of the building that I don’t feel safe going to alone.” Other students, such as sophomore Darin Jordan, don’t think there’s any reason to be scared. “I feel safe I don’t feel in any danger at all,” Jordan said. “I think our security here is fine. I was kind of surprised at first. It was a big thing and there have been so many shootings lately. I was just kind of disgusted.” School principal Bart Wegenke said the school shootings are nothing short of devastating. “I think each and every one of them and not knowing the details are tragic. They scare the living heck out of me because they’re so random in nature,” Wegenke said. Over his past 13 years of administrative work at the high school, Wegenke doesn’t believe it’s any easier to identify troubled students now, than compared to when he first started. “No I think it’s more difficult,” Wegenke said. “When kids struggle with mental health, or even adults struggle with mental health, there’s a trauma involved. And we always think of trauma such as a major event, but really it’s a minor event. What about those students that are basically are raising

Safety Response & Recovery Guidelines (from quick reference guide) • A lockdown is announced by ‘Lockdown, Lockdown, Lockdown! ‘Immediately follow emergency procedures and await further instructions’ ‘Lockdown, Lockdown, Lockdown!’ •When high level threat occurs, school staff and administrators are advised to call 911 • Move to least visible area of the room, remain silent, students should turn cell phones off – staff should turn cell phones to vibrate • Do not leave a secure location during a lockdown even if the fire alarm activates • Do not open the door for anyone but law enforcement themselves? How does that impact them?” According to Everytown for Gun Safety, since 2013 there have been 290 incidents of guns being discharged on school property. That number is up from a total of 157 shootings from 1994 to 2009. The average school shooting, according to the department of Homeland Security, lasts anywhere between 10-15 minutes, meaning by the time law enforcement arrives to the scene, the shooting is normally over. In the event of a threat of a school shooting being called in, Wegenke is prepared with corresponding protocol to identify, and find the people who are involved. “Anytime we get anything that would be an act of violence, either during the school day or after the school day, we’re going to work in partnership with Meridian Township Police. If they need to bring the county police or state police to identify where it’s coming from they will,” Wegenke said. “But collectively together we’re going to work in a real timely manner to determine where the threat is coming from. Is it a viable threat or not? If it is we’re going to work and find out the person or people involved in it.” Wegenke thinks the school is probably as safe as it can be right now. “I think on a day to day basis, this high school is extremely safe,” Wegenke said. “There’s really not any high-risk students in this building. This community is a predominately safe community and the data would support that. We have an outstanding police department in Meridian Township and our faculty, staff and students are all really diligent in making sure that this place is safe. It’s probably as safe as we can make it right now.”

Students plan March 14 walkout Ayden Morton| Staff Writer The room falls quiet as Global Issues teacher Charles Otlewski initiates a discussion on mass school shootings. The room is mostly silent at first, but slowly voices speak up with opinions on the matter. Even principal Bart Wegenke makes a stop into the classroom, bringing his ideas to the table and mentioning various school safety strategies and reassurances. Classmates consider steps that ought to be taken, if any at all, after 17 students and staff were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Feb 14. This shooting is now among the deadliest in modern U.S. history, which includes tragedies such as Columbine and Sandy Hook. Teachers like Otlewski do not shy away from talking about these events or topics. Although sensitive, he believes it is important to inform and ask questions, just as any high school in America should be doing. “Ignoring what is going on just because it is controversial is wrong to do as teachers,” Otlewski said. “I expect these to be some of the best discussions we have had in a long time because it hits home and affects us.” It seems as though past atrocities like the Florida shooting were slowly debated out, with little change, until they phased into a memory for many Americans and eventually were lost to an annual moment of silence and an in-depth wikipedia page. The attention is different this time around, however. There has been a noticeably significant number of protests regarding gun laws from people not just in Parkland, but all over the country. Survivors of the Florida incident are leading a fight for change, and are influencing students

everywhere to take part in sharing their voices. Senior class president Ridge Weston, along with other members of student council, went to the administration with ideas on how to get involved. On March 14. a nationwide school walkout is being encouraged and organized by the Women’s March Youth Empower group. At 10 a.m., students and staff can participate by walking out of the school for 17 minutes, honoring each of the individuals who lost their lives in the Florida school shooting. “We thought it would be a great idea, and so did the administration,” Weston said. Not every school district is supportive of these events. Curtis Rhodes, superintendent of Needville ISD, Texas, vowed that any students involved in a walkout or protest during school hours will have consequences. The divide is evident among students, staff and administration in every state. Political voices are stubborn about the changes that should, or should not, be made. While many of the young adults protesting are taking the more liberal side of the issue and seeking tighter gun control, conservatives are making a point that change has a possibility to come from the other side. Sophomore Hazen Nelson sees some options that have been proposed as promising. Having teachers armed could allow for trained adults to take action against a shooter, and could decrease incentive to attack school grounds. “I think these shootings could be stopped if teachers could carry in school,” Nelson said. “If we get rid of these gun-free zones then the shooters wouldn’t target them.” The solution is not clear cut, and won’t come easily either. Decisions like these take time and, because they are so controversial, Weston is making it very clear the walkout is solely to honor the students. “We are not going to politicize it,” Weston

said. “There is more gun control and there is less gun control, but school safety is something everyone can get behind.” And even though some districts like the one in Texas aren’t allowing attendants to participate, Wegenke is supportive of the March 14 demonstration. He encourages students to take part and acknowledge their place in political choices that affect their learning environments. “I believe students have to have a voice in this dilemma,” Wegenke said. “Students are the people that outnumber everyone in a school setting. If you don’t listen to the majority, how do you facilitate change?” That way of thinking is what is bringing those around the country to speak out. Students are the ones being affected, therefore they believe they should be the ones having influence on the decisions being made. Wegenke wants everyone to know they are not just allowed, but encouraged to take part if they would like to. “This is a teachable moment. We are going to participate,” Wegenke said. March For Our Lives will follow taking place on March 24. Another is debatably planned for April 20, the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, and some students who act will not return to school until the following Monday. It important to note Haslett is in support of these protests within reason, and that it is the choice of the individual to take action in any particular way. As unfortunate as these events are, Wegenke touched on the true importance of community in a time where such tragedies are occuring. “The students are my kids, and all of the staff here are my family. It makes me sad, but unfortunately it is a time we live in right now,” Wegenke said. “Let’s do it right. Let’s be heard. Lets understand why we are doing it.”


Students question school security Megan Fulton | Staff Writer Senior Taryn Pearce knows first hand how scary it can be for someone who is not a student, parent or faculty to show up at school. “I had given a guy my number over Twitter and we started talking. We had been talking for awhile when he started saying some strange things that made me a little uncomfortable,” Pearce said. “One day he just showed up at school without my knowledge. It made me really nervous.” School safety is one of the biggest issues in the United States today. With gun sales climbing to an all time high and the death of 17 in a school shooting in Florida, the concern about keeping kids safe in schools is on the minds of many. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the production of guns has nearly tripled since 2007. Millions of students attend school every day and many believe keeping them safe should be the number one priority. The Washington Post reported there have been 170 schools that have experienced an on-campus shooting since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Students are calling for support from schools to provide better protection. It can be difficult to keep predators or unwanted guests out of schools. Pearce felt weird about telling administrators in the main office, She instead confided in the school counselors by telling them she felt uneasy with him being at the school. The man left on his own terms instead of the school asking him to leave. “I told the counseling office that the guy I was talking to used to be a student here and he said he was coming to visit teachers. But he kept texting me before that, saying that he wanted to see me. I basically just hid from him because I didn’t really know what he was going to do,” Pearce said. “Mrs. (Samantha) Brunnschweiler said if I needed them to kick him off of school grounds they would.” With school attacks on a lot of people’s minds, many are worried about the type of systems and procedures being used to keep kids safe. They’re questioning whether it is effective enough, or if it can be improved. According to principal Bart Wegenke anyone who does not check-in at the office is not supposed to be in the school. “If a person doesn’t come through the main office we engage that person quickly and engage in a conversation with them,” Wegenke said. “I make sure to let them know they cannot be on our campus again during our school hours without our permission, or they’re subject to a trespassing complaint. We have filed complaints before on students from other schools, that’s really the biggest threat.” If situations do not improve, some students and parents are calling for much stronger actions. Some people believe that instead of increasing gun controls, teachers should be trained to use and carry firearms to protect students. Due to recent debate, people are questioning whether or not arming teachers and staff with firearms would be the best solution. “I think these school shootings could be stopped if teachers were to carry guns in school,” sophomore Hazen Nelson said. “If we got rid of all these gun free zones then these shooters wouldn’t target those zones.”

A change of mind, a change of being Megan Fulton| Staff Writer It took an unimaginable amount of strength for sophomore Emma Ann Miller to speak out about years of sexual abuse by doctor Larry Nassar. The abuse began when she was just 10 years old in the summer of 2013. After three years of seeing Nassar, her appointments were suddenly discontinued. The next time she saw him she was facing him in Ingham County Circuit Court making her survivor’s impact statement. “There are no words to describe it, just a lot of emotions,” she said. Nassar, a former sports medicine doctor and caregiver was given access to many unsuspecting young women, using his medical and professional situation to take advantage of his patients. A countless number of Nassar’s victims had been receiving treatment from him since they were children. He began building confidence with his clients at a young age and when he felt they were old enough and trusted him, he took advantage of them. “I’ve seen him all my life. Before I was even born, my mom saw him as a doctor and I went with her to appointments with him,” Miller said. Nassar was relieved from MSU of any further clinical or patient duties soon after the first federal complaint was filed against him, on Aug. 30, 2016, patients were informed there would no longer be any appointments held with him.


“The first time “ I saw him since I had stopped treatments was in the courtroom.” Emma Ann Miller

“I stopped treatments treat you differwith him sometime in ently, look at you August, the day after differently,” Miller MSU called my mom to said. “But I can’t inform us that all future let him have that appointments with him power.” would be canceled,” Many Miller said. “We had no survivors don’t clue why, we just thought realize until years it was weird.” later that their The first hearing of experience of Nassar’s sexual assault sexual assault case was held Nov. 30, was committed more than a year after by someone they treatments with the docknew very well tor were discontinued. It and were close continued to trial Dec. 4 with. It’s even and was carried out by more devastatIngham County Circuit ing and shocking Court Judge Rosemarie when the crime Aquilina. is committed by a “The first time I saw doctor, a person him since I had stopped everyone should treatments was in the feel they can trust. courtroom,” Miller said. “It was hard Nassar was sentenced to find out that Sophomore Emma Ann Miller chose to make a statement to former doctor Larry Nas- someone I was 99 to 40 to 175 years in sar in Judge Rosemarie Aquilina’s courtroom. PHOTO: Anni Levonen percent positive prison just on the counts should have a year for every girl he of sexual abuse. He will would never hurt ever assaulted. If that was the case, I’m spend the rest of his life in prison with me did hurt me,” Miller said. “I didn’t sure he’d be there for a thousand years.” realize until everything came out that no chance of parole. The sentence was It can be difficult for survivors carried out and signed by Aquilina. what he was doing was wrong. I don’t to find their voice over an abuser, “She was a very good judge for the think many of the girls did except for especially when that person is typically case,” Miller said. “Although I respect the ones that came forward.I know someone she or he is very close with her decision, her minimum sentence many of them thought it was ‘treator trusts.“I wasn’t going to speak out at should have been way higher than 40 ment,’ just like I did.” first because I know the stigma behind years. I said 60 in my testimony, but According to the Children’s sexual abuse. People around you might even that is cutting it close. I think he Advocacy Center, being a survivor of



sexual assault may not seem difficult for some. However, those who go through it are affected for the rest of their lives. The aftermath of abuse is typically the hardest part for those who have survived it. It can cause survivors to become depressed, introverted, have difficulty trusting people or being in large groups, unable to feel comfortable around the opposite sex and behaving extremely passive or aggressive“It’s really hard to figure out who I can trust. I have to remind myself that although there are a lot of bad people in the world, there are just as many good people,” Miller said. “You can’t give him the power to take away trust for the rest of your life.” Sexual abuse can be extremely difficult to work through, but it can be made easier with help. The sister survivors of Nassar have created a network to reach out to one another and talk about how they’re feeling. Miller said it makes it much easier to know that someone out there is going through the exact same thing as her. “We are all different people, but we all share the same tragic situation,” she said. “It helps to know that we aren’t alone. I think that helps for any survivors of sexual abuse, just knowing that you’re not alone and having support with someone who has gone through the same thing as you can make a huge difference. I would encourage people to speak out about it because it’s not something to be ashamed of.”

Nassar is ‘Manipulative Mastermind’ Maggi Regan| Staff Writer Like over 250 other women, Katie Ebert, a sophomore at Michigan State University and 2016 Haslett graduate, sought treatment at the hands of former doctor Larry Nassar and walked out of his office split in two. “My gut was telling me this is wrong,” Ebert said. “But my brain was saying this is fine… he’s a doctor.” At age 15, Ebert injured her knee after a bar accident at gymnastics practice and was referred to Nassar for his respectable merit in sports medicine. During her first appointment, it wasn’t until she felt his hand move far up her thigh while applying ultrasound fluid to her knee that she began to second guess his methods. Having her mother, as well as a resident nurse, in the room during the appointment kept her from voicing her confusion and discomfort. Upon returning for her second consultation, Nassar violated the trust Ebert had by stretching her in a way that was unrelated to treatment for her injury. “I felt his fingers slip beneath the fabric of my leotard,” Ebert said. “I stopped breathing. I thought, ‘Is this a mistake? Did his hand slip? Does he realize?’ I didn’t know what to think.” The answers to her questions started to emerge along with the erection she noticed in Nassar’s pants. Numb and disgusted, her brain immediately began to erase the memory of what happened in his office. “I could rememberwalking in. I could remember walking out feeling uncomfortable and not really knowing why,” Ebert said. “There are black holes in my memory.” Shortly after her experience with Nassar, dominos began to fall for Ebert. Throughout her high school years, the repercussions of Nassar’s abuse stuck to her like a shadow, flooding into many areas of her daily life.“I was depressed and I didn’t know why. I started seeing a

therapist. It was almost immediate,” Ebert said. “I spent years going to counseling and eight days in a mental institution. This whole thing was an emotional, physical and financial burden to my family and me.” On account of other survivors sharing their horror stories with the public, Ebert was finally able to connect the dots. The mental demons she fought for years began to make sense. “Until I started watching the statements, I didn’t think I was one of those girls, but they were word for word of my experience,” Ebert said. Spartan pride oozed green and white in Ebert’s blood until she had to recently reopen the wound Nassar created. In the wake of emotion following the allegations, continuing with study and school work was Haslett grad Katie Ebert stands by The Rock on MSU campus Jan.29, painted to represent and difficult. Too devastated to leave her bed, Ebert missed thank all of the surviors of Nassar for speaking out against him. PHOTO: Courtesy Photo an exam and found no redress from the university. She was given only 50 percent of her final exam grade. “I said. skipped class for a week. I lost my motivation to live while all of this Anger fueled Ebert to take part in EmpowHer, an outreach was hitting me,” Ebert said. program influenced by Susie Merchant and Kristin St. Marie, aimed Her frustration stems from the lack of action and accountability at young girls to inspire confidence and resilience through workshops by the university she adores. “Actions speak louder than words, and at a retreat held in the Breslin Center. Her participation in this leaderthe fact that MSU administration is trying to move on from it, it is the ship retreat puts into action her belief that sexual assault needs to be worst possible thing they can do,” Ebert said. recognized and taught to young people so it can be prevented. Like many other survivors, Katie has turned to the university for Ebert plans to use her compensation money she expects MSU to atonement, making it clear that there are more important issues at provide her a 24/7 mental health clinic and assault trauma center on hand than the stature of Michigan State athletics.“I don’t care about campus in the hopes it will give care and attention to those who need the money, I don’t care about football or basketball. I care about the it. Ebert is looking ahead at the future of not only her own life, but years of my life that were taken away from me because someone also that of Michigan State and her sister survivors. didn’t do their job and report sexual assault. Where is my mental “It is very important that we touch on this subject,” Ebert said. health help? Where is MSU when I have been falling apart?” Ebert “We can’t just wait for this to resolve itself, because it never will.”



“I did“not want to accept the truth of betrayal.” Larrisa Boyce





“I just“signed your death warrent.” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina during the Nassar trial


Larrisa Boyce performs on a balace beam as a young girl during her time as a gymnast. PHOTO: Courtesy of Adam Boyce

Larrisa Boyce hopes her story empowers others Bayelee Hodge | Staff Writer “It felt like a roller coaster of emotions.” That is how Larissa Boyce, wife of choir director Adam Boyce, describes her journey as a survivor of sexual abuse by former doctor Larry Nassar. And now Larissa Boyce hopes her story and coming forward to testify at Nassar’s sentencing will show other girls, women, boys and men how to be strong and get help. “Do not be afraid of the strength within you,” Larissa Boyce said. Nassar was affiliated with Michigan State University and USA gymnastics sports medicine. He was performing his world renowned “treatments” on young girls, but in actuality he was sexually assaulting these girls and women. In December 2017, Nassar pleaded guilty to child pornography charges and received 60 years in federal prison. Nassar was sentenced to 40-175 years in prison for assaults committed in Ingham County. “I just signed your death warrant,” Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar at his sentencing Jan. 24. Judge Janice Cunningham then sentenced him Feb. 5 to 40-125 years for crimes committed in Eaton County. Nassar will serve those sentences after his 60 years in federal prison for child pornography. He was transferred to federal prison in Tucson, Arizona. Nearly 200 individuals made impact statements to Nassar during the sentencing. They told their stories and the trauma he caused for them, their family members and friends. Larissa Boyce was number 90 to make a statement. She spoke after statements by her father William Michell and her husband, Adam Boyce. Larissa Boyce compared him to having a “godlike status” and young gymnast, she was being treated for back pains. But she started feeling uncomfortable with the way he was carrying out the treatments. But she continued to brush off what had happened to her and believed it was the way to survive through the discomfort. “I had tried to tell a trusted coach and she did not believe me,” Larissa Boyce said. Her and another teammate were “humiliated” when the coach put them in small groups with teammates and asked if they ever felt uncomfortable with the treatments Nassar would perform on them? “All but the one other girl said no,” Larissa Boyce said, so she continued to shove down her discomfort after telling someone and being looked at like a fool. Now 20 years later, as a wife and mother of four children, she could no longer keep quiet. And, according to Adam Boyce, the situation as been “surreal,” not just for his wife, but for the entire family. This has been a stressful time for Adam Boyce as he balances his full-time job as a choir director. “As a teacher, I don’t have the luxury of hiding in my work. I have to be on all the time. And the days I haven’t, make a difference in my students’ lives,” Adam Boyce said emotionally during his testimony.

Adam Boyce has been open with his students and specifically addressed Haslett High School’s Chorale and answered any questions“What did you tell your kids…about what was going on?” senior Linsey Nichols, who is also editor-in-chief of the Longboat asked.“We just told them ‘Mommy was hurt by a bad man and we are trying to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else,’” Adam Boyce said. The journey for their family really started affecting Larissa, Adam and their family in late August of 2016. She started having serious health issues.“She was not living well; as a husband I was helpless,” Adam Boyce said during his statement to Nassar. When Larissa Boyce first heard the allegations against Nassar, she did not believe they were true. “Larissa was quick to defend this monster,” Adam Boyce said in his statement. Not too long after this, Larissa Boyce at the age of 35 began suffering from shingles, went into deep depression, having kidney stones, panic attacks, thoughts of suicide, migraines, nerve pains, sleep insomnia, nightmares and eating problems. “I wrestled with my emotions and memories of what truly happened,” she said. “I did not want to accept the truth of betrayal.” “All these physical ailments impacted our family life,” Adam Boyce said at the testimony. Adam Boyce admitted his wife’s reactions had a huge effect on their marriage, parenting and relationships with others. “The lack of sleep and constant physical struggles have an impact on our marriage, our parenting and our relationships.” Adam Boyce testified. This crucial part in their kids’ childhood had been ripped from them as parents. Instead of being able to enjoy their kids’ hockey games, their minds were caught up in either “the monster” or each other’s well being. Although it was challenging for Larissa Boyce to come forward, share her voice, story and to stand up for what’s right, she described it as rewarding. She has been interviewed by media outlets throughout the world, including ESPN, The Washington Post, BBC, The New York Times, NBC and CNN. “Standing up for what is right can be extremely difficult, but is also incredibly rewarding to know that by sharing my story, my pain and my struggles, it can and will help someone else who may be experiencing something similar,” she said. Advice Larissa Boyce gives to other men and women going through a similar situation is to, “Listen to your instincts and have at least five safe adults that you feel comfortable telling.” She stressed to never stop talking about your situation until someone listens to you. “Be a broken record,” she said. “You have a voice… a voice that is strong no matter how old you are,” she said.

Judge Aquilina speaks during during Nassar’s trial. PHOTO: Courtesy of Judge Rosemarie Aquilina

Lady Justice: Judge Aquilina uses power in healing way Maggi Regan| Staff Writer Her face plastered on t-shirts, her quotes printed on coffee mugs, her name worn by Natalie Portman on Saturday Night Live. Millions have silently nominated Judge Rosemarie Aquilina as the new face of a movement. But for her, the trial of former doctor Larry Nassar was no different from any other case in her book. “For me it’s another day at work,” Aquilina said. For 14 years, Aquilina has given everyone standing in front of her courtroom bench a voice with the goal of preventing the crime of happening again. Although she claims she is no therapist, Aquilina aims to send her defendants to counseling or rehabilitation to keep them from coming back into the justice system. “I always try to talk to them (criminals) and tell them to not let whatever bad act they did define them,” Aquilina said. “A lot of people commit acts because they have other issues and they take it out on the rest of the world.” To Aquilina, who lives in East Lansing and whose daughter Johanna Aquilina attends Haslett High, her robe represents the power of change that she can hold in the lives of those who walk into court room No. 5. “That robe means a lot. It has many other powers that you don’t think about. I try to use those powers in a healing way,” Aquilina said. “Many defendants come back and say, ‘You were the first person to believe in me.’ They bring me their art, their healthy babies, their diplomas.” The name Larry Nassar in the Ingham County community held high stature to those who knew him, but rang no bell to Judge Aquilina when a computer generator assigned her this case. “To me it was just another case in the books,” Aquilina said. Despite objections from the defendant’s counsel, Aquilina had every intention to allow survivors to speak regardless of how many came forward. “Every one of them is going to get the chance to talk, because I see this as a global resolution,” Aquilina said. “Knowing what I know over so many years, the power of somebody

being able to stand in a courtroom and talk, that’s so healing and so needed.” Although she never expected to receive the expanse of attention that has come her way, Aquilina’s protocol for the trial never altered. Nevertheless, the spotlight of the media did magnify that protocol. “All cases are important, it doesn’t have to be high profile,” Aquilina said. “Although what everybody witnessed me doing, they say it’s special, I treat every case special. I let everybody talk and I’ve done that for 14 years.” Keeping her intention of keeping the spotlight on survivors, Judge Aquilina placed Nassar in the witness box beside her so survivors could face the defendant while they poured their hearts out through their statements. Aquilina explained how Nassar’s lack of sympathy while sisters shared their stories covered the courtroom in a blanket of anxiety. “There were times when I said things (to Nassar) to calm the room down, and it worked,” Aquilina said. “Some people can disagree with the things I’ve said, or that I’m too harsh on him. The majority, a very high majority, agree with me.” Though her remarks made waves in the media, Aquilina showed no hesitation when insisting this trial is about the sisters. “I was never the focus. I’m still not the focus, it’s the survivors. It was always about them,” Aquilina said. “Learning to use your voice can be difficult because there have been so many people that have not listened.” Demanding that Nassar listen to each statement over the span of five days, Judge Aquilina became the judge the victims needed, as well as the force that the #MeToo movement desires. It gave survivors the chance they yearned for to be heard after years of being silenced. “We’re not going to know for a year or longer the positives or negatives that come out of this,” Aquilina said. “I’m hoping from now on everyone will recognize, we have to take people who say there’s a problem seriously and do something about, and help those voices be heard.”



Sex scandals don’t scare students away from MSU

Joe Sparkia| Staff Writer

Senior Emma Pischea knew, prior to the Larry Nassar case, that sexual assault happens at Michigan State University. She had been told stories about crimes like date rape and other incidents fueled by the college-party environment. But those stories have not stopped her from wanting to attend the school. “I was never too nervous or concerned specifically about MSU because I figured most colleges would be the same in that regard,” Pischea said. “I know that horrible man is going to jail forever. I know now, if something like that ever happened to me, who to trust and who not to trust.” Nassar was a world-renowned osteopathic sports physician at the East Lansing Big 10 school and the USA Gymnastics team doctor. He worked in the field for about 38 years with Olympic champions like Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and hundreds of other athletes and girls. After close to 250 women made statements describing how they were sexually assaulted by Nassar, future students and athletes naturally asked the question, “Is this the best college for me?” Senior Nate Westerlund has been accepted to the school and, like Pischea, is still committed to being a Spartan. But he knows the school’s reputation is tainted because of a select few of the higher ups. “Since I’m going to be a doctor in the future, I feel like everyone’s going to be like ‘I’m from MSU, oh Larry Nassar, MSU’,” Westerlund said. “People are probably going to put those words hand in hand.” The school has close to 50,000 student enrolled. Ninety nine percent of those students have no reason to be blamed for the crimes that one man did and a few people had hid. Incoming freshmen like senior Nick Sloan thinks the poor publicity the university has acquired will die out. “I think (the bad rep) can change, but I think a lot of the people are just trying to say stuff to hate on MSU,” Sloan said.


As a nationally renowned university, State is not a bad place to go to school. It has the largest study abroad program in the United States, it is ranked 72nd in the world and it also has the 26th largest library in North America. And out of the 6,800 staff who work there, only 14 known knew about what Nassar had been doing. “Michigan State right now is facing a lot of trouble, for good reason,” Pischea said. “But I believe that they are making an effort to fix and change the system so no one needs to be silenced anymore.” About 11 percent of all students will experience sexual assault in someway or another, according to Low counts of sexual assault cases don’t necessarily mean less assault, it may just mean these assaults are not being reported as they should. “I really think every college is going to have their downfalls and maybe MSU is having their downfall right now. Purdue had Joe ‘Pa’ Paterno with the sexual assault on the boys,” Westerlund said. For some, the safety of MSU is a big concern. Senior Lauren Slavish actually thinks State may be the safest place to go to school at the moment. “My dad and I had a talk the other day about how he believes that it may be the safest place for a girl to go right now because of all these topics going around that they’re going to pay way more attention,” Slavish said. Slavish said the crimes Nassar committed needed to surface for there to be closure for the survivors. Along with other schools making changes of their own, President Donald Trump recently signed a bill to protect athletes from sexual assault, one of many steps to create a better and safer environment for future students. “It needed to come to the surface so that he could be punished for the harm and pain that he brought upon all those victims,” she said.



Viking Longboat stands with Larry Nassar victims #MeToo. #TimesUp. These are the movements that started to bring awareness to sexual abuse, assault and harrasment. These movements gave women and men alike the opportunity to fight their inner demons from events that happened in the past. Events that have scarred surviors for life. While this seemed like a social media trend that people thought was going to die out, the fire has kept burning. Hundreds of political figures, movie directors or producers, TV personalities and employees who Americans have watched for years started to step down from high-level positions because of allegations of sexual misconduct against them. Sadly, these disgusting crimes have happened in our own backyard. Exactly six miles away, Michigan State University was a the home of a sexual misconduct case that had been boiling for decades. Larry Nassar is a name that is not unfamiliar in the Greater Lansing community or the world. But what is unfamiliar to people who don’t live near Lansing or in Michigan, is how great of a place MSU truly is. The Viking Longboat stands with the sister survivors of Nassar, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina and the people who helped put him behind bars for, essentially, the rest of his life. Some of the people affected by this dangerous man are members of the Haslett community. We stand with Larissa Boyce, wife of choir director Adam Boyce, who has bravely stepped up and made her voice heard. We stand with Emma Ann Miller. Despite being one of the youngest girls involved in the case, she made her statement with confidence. We stand with Katie Ebert, a 2016 graduate of Haslett. She took to the Eaton County courtroom to stand up to a demon who has haunted her for years. We stand with Judge Aquilina who humbly said she was just doing her job. But by doing that job, she changed the lives of not only the sister surviors but of their families, our community and made an impact on the world. The Viking Longboat would like to directly thank the surviors of our community and Judge Aquilina for meeting with us and sharing their stories in a way that’s different from how they shared it to global news outlets. We stand for our community. We stand for our beloved university right down the road and we stand for justice.

Victim statements heart breaking but empowering

Bayelee Hodge| Staff Writer The past month and a half has been a crazy experience as a beginning writer. I am a stronger person emotionally and physically and have learned much from the experience of writing about a survivor and her family’s journey through the Larry Nassar case. If you don’t know what the Nassar case is, you’ve been living in a cave. Here it is broken down into simple terms: Nassar is a former Michigan State University sports medicine doctor who performed “treatments” on many young girls, including top gymnasts and other athletes. The disgusting monster was sexually assaulting these girls for his own pleasure. So many things are wrong with those last two sentences. This man broke these girls down and took away their innocence, their enjoyment of their sport and a crucial part in their childhoods. While doing research for my story on Larissa Boyce and her family, watching the impact statements and watching the interviews was sad and heart breaking. I watched my beloved choir conductor Adam Boyce stand up in court and talk to this disgusting man and to all those listening and explain how much pain this monster had caused in his and his family’s life. I then listened to Larissa Boyce explain what Bayelee Nassar did to her young innocent self. And, while the awfulness was indescribeable, the statements were also empowering and inspirational. With every word of detail, a new tear would form and roll down my face, whether it was a happy tear, sad tear or a proud tear. I don’t want to sound like the experience of watching statement after statement was easy. I was filled with lots of sadness. But I was also very inspired and motivated to help. Even though I’ve never gone through what these women went through, I feel like after talking to Larissa

Boyce, I can help and motivate others. The Boyce family is one of the strongest families I have ever met. Raising four beautiful, wonderful children while going through this crap is unimagineable. Finding out more than what you see on the news and tabloids and finding out the deeper part of these women’s story has been surreal, as has hearing how to prevent this from happening to yourself. In my interview with Larissa, I asked her what advice to give to other men or women going through something similar. She said, “Don’t stop talking about it until someone listens. Be a broken record.” I think that is powerful and gives many young girls, boys, women and men hope that there is a way to get help. The experience has taught me to have a voice, no matter my age. “You have a voice… a voice that is strong no matter how old you are,” Larissa said in our interview. Hodge I was filled with many emotions writing and so many thoughts would race through Larrisa Boyce became an inspriation to my mind. There was anger built up just Bayelee Hodge. hearing how much pain this devil put these PHOTO: Courtesy of Adam Boyce girls through. Eventually, these women did get their voices heard, even though it is much later then when it should have happened. I feel blessed to be able to say I know the survivor Larissa Boyce and her family.

“There was anger built up just hearing how much pain this devil put these girls in.”




Profile: Mitchell Mowid

Sarah Donley| Staff Writer

Junior Mitchell Mowid has put endless hours into the sport of basketball. “I’ve been playing for as long as I can remember,” Mowid said. “I think I’ve been playing basketball since elementary school.” When Mowid was younger, he would watch his older siblings play basketball. “I always watched my siblings play so I picked it up and followed in their footsteps,” he said. Mowid also plays football, but is considering going further on the court and persuing basketball at the university level. “I know I don’t want to play football in college,” Mowid said. “I don’t really know yet if I want to go to college for basketball. I’m definitely leaning towards it, but there is still time left to decide.” When it comes to Mowid on the court, he averages around 12 points a game. “I play point guard,” Mowid said. “So I’ll take the ball up the court, start the offense and pass the ball around and make sure we get a good look and try to score.” On and off the court, Mowid enjoys the time spent with his team. “I like our team a lot this year because I’ve been playing with them my whole life,” Mowid said. “I have really good friends on the team so it’s always fun.” Mowid’s favorite memory from his basketball career is when his team beat Dewitt. “It always feels good to beat your rival,” he said. Junior Mitchell Mowid has been a standout on the varsity basketball team this season. PHOTO: Peter Phan

Spring sports preview Tate Virkus| Staff Writer

Boys Golf:

Boys golf season tees off April 1. The team will be led by top players such as seniors Ben VanGorder and Sam Zayco, and junior Michael Corder. The young team has been working hard in the offseason to prepare for tough matches such as Dewitt and St. Johns. According to Corder, the boys have been hitting balls indoors, putting time in at the weight room and getting on the course when they can.

Spring sports start up with tryouts on March 12 see main office for more details.


Baseball season is approaching with tryouts starting March 12. Key players Nick Donovan and Jaden Thelen are returning, The boys have high hopes for the regular season. “I’m upset that Hayden Garrett won’t be able to play a lot of the season,” junior Logan Cross said. “But i’m sure that we will win districts this year.” The team has been utilizing the off season, working on hitting and throwing since the summer, looking towards big matchups such as DeWitt, Grand Ledge and St. Johns. The team has practice every day after school from 3-4:30 p.m., along with lots of sessions in the batting cages during the season.

Girls Lacrosse:

Girls lacrosse practice commences March 12.. It is expected to be a big year for top players such as seniors Jackie Duckett, Chloe Alverson and Reagan Russell, as well as juniors Johanna Davis and Emily Kurdziel. “We are a pretty old team, stocked with mostly seniors,” Russell said. In preparation players have put in hours of work. “We are working with 3d athletes, conditioning and playing lots of wall ball,” Russell said. “Also a lot of us are playing in a Sunday league at the summit.” The team is getting ready for rivalry matchups such as Okemos and DeWitt.

Boys Lacrosse:

Boys lacrosse starts up on March 14. Key returners include sophomore midfielders Griffin Fenech of Williamston and junior Sam Faber, junior defensemen Owen Dingledine and JC Daigneault, and junior attackmen Nolan Kelley, Tate Virkus and Kaleb Guarnaccia. The team has a tough schedule this season, with some of the biggest tilts coming early in the lineup. “Our first game against Rockford is especially important because of the suspension of our goalie, and down the road we’re looking towards district and regional playoffs,” Kelley said. Similar to the 2017 season, the team is still predominantly young, “We only have three seniors, and a significant amount of underclassmen starting as of now,” Kelley said To prepare for the heavy season, the team has been lifting, conditioning, and shooting, but plan to implement more team bonding into the mix as the season approaches.

Track and Field:

As track and field season approaches this March, top returners are getting anxious to start working on their events. Athletes

Ally Melvin says, The team has an old roster this year, making the girls more experienced as they look forward to tougher rivalry games such as DeWitt.

Senior Hayden Garrett hopes to return to the mound for the Vikings after suffering a football injury in the fall. PHOTO: Dixit file photo

such as senior Sophie Hall, juniors Quentin Hernandez and Max Alley, and sophomore Leah Root are all expected to qualify for this year’s state meet. “The toughest meets are usually late in the season when there’s more pressure on us to improve,” Hernandez said. “We can qualify in regionals or districts for more important meets like the honor roll or state meet,” The boys team is pretty young unlike the girls who have more upperclassmen outnumbering underclassmen. With the season right around the corner, Hernandez has been working hard, “I’ve been lifting and doing some work with my coach for mobility to keep me in shape,” he said. “Pretty soon there are going to be some indoor meets that a few people are going to go to so we can be better prepared for the start of the season.”

Girls Soccer:

Tryouts for girls soccer take place March 12. Key returners include seniors Catherine Surian, Cameron Harp, Tavleen Gilson and Teagan Woodworth. To prepare, players have been working hard on their own in hopes of being better equipped once tryouts come around, “We’ve been conditioning, working out and running,” junior


With tryouts starting March 12. the softball team will be fighting the season without their 2017 graduates. The team has a lot of young talent this year with sophomore Brenna Bailey at left field along with Kaitlyn Sims at shortstop. “I like our off season hitting and throwing, but it’s different,” junior Sarah Bresnahan said, “It’s not the same as being out on the field.” The girls are concentrating on beating Owosso and Eaton Rapids this year. Softball practices are 3-4 p.m. every day after school.


Foreign exchange student, junior Marla Kuesel has been practicing with the boys tennis team since the fall and visiting the Michigan Athletic Club to prepare for the spring. “I’ve have been practicing with the boys a lot,” Kuesel said “I also go to the M.A.C. every Saturday.” With tryouts starting mid-March, Kuesel has been stepping up her game to help send the girls back to the state tournament. With key players junior Delaney Andridge and senior Sienna Goodrich, the girls have high hopes for success this season.



BackSTORY Hannah Withey| Staff Writer


Inspired by Brandon Stanton’s ‘Humans of New York,’ Backstory profiles randomly chosen people who make up the Haslett Community and the story behind them.

Alexander Lynch – Freshman

Damera Gebissa – Sophomore

Hayden Garrett Senior

“My biggest strength is I can learn things really fast. Whenever somebody tells me something or says I have to do something, it takes me a short amount of time for me to do that thing and to learn it. In second grade, we learned something really hard and I remember that I got it mostly before everybody else and I kept trying to do that. I thought I would be able to do work really fast. I didn’t really think it was that cool, like I can learn things before everybody else. I didn’t really think a lot about it. I just did work before everybody, I thought that was it. My favorite subject is English. I can learn parts of speech and writing techniques. I don’t think they (my parents) really care. I get work done really fast, usually they think I don’t really do anything but I can just do things. I can do it, so I just do it.” “I play football. I’ve been playing for about two years. I like how active it is. You’re not doing the same thing everyday, it’s usually more varied of what you have to do. My coach gave us a bunch of plays to study and I memorized and learned those plays really fast. I got them down before most people got them down. Actually, I looked at them a little late and I got them down really fast. So, I knew the plays before a lot of people and I was very on track with the quarterback and the receivers. I play wide receiver. I get to learn what people do to try to defend so I know what people will try to defend things with.”

“I grew up in Ethiopia. I was between three and five, around the time I lived there. Just my immediate family went but a lot of my family already lives there. My parents are from there and lived there for most of their lives, so they wanted me and my family to experience it. I was born in the United States, but then I moved there for a couple years so I could be with my family and see what it was like. Then I moved back to Michigan. We visite once about every four years. But the first time I went was when I was four years old but I’ve been there twice since then. This experience helped me get closer to my family and helped me know where my parents came from and how they grew up in not as good of environment as I did and so I should be thankful for what I have. I remember a lot of it, like playing soccer together outside basically every day and going places with my family like water parks even though they weren’t that nice. It was still nice just being with my family.” “There is a mark on my forehead because one day I was standing on a chair that was rocking and I heard a noise, looked over and lost my control of the chair. I tipped over and hit my head on a bunch of glass. I went to the hospital and remember crying a lot but I was ok after that. I remember it being a lot harder because the food there is not as good. So it was hard for me to find stuff that I wanted to eat because I was kind of a picky eater at the time.”

“During football season we were going into the last week and it was super important for us because we had to win that game, which was against Petosky, to get a possible home field advantage for the playoffs. I remember all the coaches giving us our senior talk about how great of a class we were and it just really hit me. That game ended up getting moved for the last defensive drive, from middle linebacker to defensive end. I just remember coming out with a couple big plays but then it came down to fourth down at the goal line. It was the longest play ever, where the quarterback was just scrambling a lot, then eventually it came back to my side and I ended up chasing him down and punching the ball out, which secured the win. I remember getting up after that moment and I was cramping so bad but I just had so much adrenaline going through me that it didn’t really matter. Then all the students came down and were going crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever had a better feeling go through my body than that moment. The coaches knew we could get it done because we talked about their quarterback who was pretty good and I kind of knew that going in, from watching film. So we knew the whole game was just going to be about stopping him. And I remember Coach O telling us, during the last play during a time out, that it’s going to be him that makes the play. I have never played defensive end in my whole life, until this last drive. I didn’t know how tiring it was and it was actually really really hard. We were short guys, that’s why they moved me there. And it just so happened that it ended up being the quarterback and I, which was a pretty heavy match up.”

Spring 2018 Countdown

9 day until Daylight Saving Time Begins – March11

18 days until Spring begins -

15 days until Saint Patrick’s

28 days until Spring Break –

Viking Longboat


– March17

The Viking Longboat is the student newspaper of Haslett High School, 5450 Marsh Road, Haslett, MI 48840 and publishes about every four weeks of the school year. It is published by the fifth hour Journalism class. The Longboat is established as a student run public forum circulated within the school, the community and outside the school district. The Longboat is a member of the National Scholastic Press Association, Journalism Education Association, National Scholastic Press Association

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and Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. The publication is an 11time Spartan award winner and CSPA gold medalist. Letters to the editor are accepted at the discretion of the editorial board. Forms of speech not protected by the First Amendment will not be published. Letters must be signed by the author and may be edited for grammar, spelling and style. Direct all questions to the Publications Room, Room 411.

The Staff

Editor-in-Chief Linsey Nichols Design Editor Felicity Frobom Editorial Staff Benjamin Bird Cian Scott Joseph Sparkia

For more coverage of news in haslett, go to

Staff Writers Photograhers Anni Levonen Editor Ayden Morton Adviser Julie Price

Julian Bigelow Abbigail Claflin Jack Copen-Hernandez Alexander Dale Autumn Darling Sarah Donelly Alex Duerksen Reece Foster

Megan Fulton Mohamed Gharib Bayelee Hodge AubreeAnna Laurion Noah Lynch Gabriel McGuire Dennis Morgan Maggi Regan

Luke Standstedt Preston Simzak Logan Vince Tate Virkus Kevin Walters Hannah Withey

Viking Longboat - March 2, 2018  

Mar 2, 2018

Viking Longboat - March 2, 2018  

Mar 2, 2018