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ECHO volume 104 . issue 2 . Nov. 9, 2011 Kearney High School

Table of Contents The Giving Tree


An Omaha boutique works to make size more than just a number.

Reality Check The story of Hannah Higgins; a teenage girl who struggled to overcome anorexia.

Backstage Pass A look into what goes on behind the scenes of the school play productions.

Class of ‘61 Reunion The first graduating class of KHS came back for their 50 year reunion.

Local Idol Dreams Kearney High alumni Brody Runge advanced into the final levels of American Idol.

Editor: Alyssa Cody Asst. Editors: Maddy Christensen

Justine Runge Kellie Warren Advisor: Chris Johnson Technology: Jake Bunger Leslie Wilson Advertisement: Cierra Graf Tyler Loebig Shelby Miller Railen Ripp

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New children’s book serves up an unhealthy dose of controversy.


iPhone vs. Droid


History of the Rowdies

12 18 Senior Reporters:


Maggie Goes on a Diet

A close comparison of the two top smartphones.

How the Rowdies began and transformed into who they are today.

Pottermore Harry Potter fans live vicariously through the new website that explores deeper into the Hogwarts world. The ECHO Kearney High School 3610 6th Avenue Kearney, NE 68845 308-698-8060

4 6 9 16

On the Cover: Take in the American Idol experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. (Jim Buchta/ Minneapolis Star Tribune/ MCT)

Hanna Allen Junior Reporters: Taylor Garrison Virginia Gormley Cait Graf Ann Holen Dillon Graf Rachel Kermmoade Victoria Heineman Bri Mazankowski Katie Higgins Anna Nelson Cassie Kernick Melissa Troyer Jacob Larsen Lauren Mimick Tiffany Valleau McKenna Urbanek


Giving Tree


Shopping is a unique experience for everyone. It can be frustrating, fulfilling or rather uneventful. For many, the experience depends on the type of environment that they are shopping in. Working in retail has given me a unique perspective in regards to shopping environment. Many sales associates are concerned with keeping their areas clean, completing their own projects and promoting the latest sale that corporate has sent them. The stores are set up in organized, unoriginal and uninspiring ways. Unfortunately, this may lead to an impersonal visit that does not always sit well with someone who may have just wanted some assistance. We have come to expect a certain feeling when we are shopping that may not be apparent in the beginning, but that we realize in the end. This may have been why I was so pleasantly surprised when I first walked into The Giving Tree. The second that I walked in I knew that there was something different about this store. The homey atmosphere instantly impressed me. Jewelry at the front of the store was displayed on antique furniture in laidback way. The only thing I was a little hesitant about were the prices. Sometimes boutiques can be very proud of their merchandise and it may be a little overpriced. When I picked up the first dress that caught my eye I prepared myself for the price. It was fair and certainly in my “after school job” budget. I found that it was like this across the board. The Giving Tree is a mix of new and “lightly loved” merchandise. There was almost no difference between the new and used merchandise. They are very selective about what they take and only have the clothes that are in season. The clothing display was also unique. The various items were arranged by their color, which is not entirely different than other stores but is just very convenient. Many of their items were one of a kind, which is typical in a boutique setting. The thing that really sets The Giving Tree apart from any other store that I have been in was their sizing system. When I first walked in, the sales associate asked me if I had ever visited their store before. It was my first time, so she handed me a little card with several colored dots on

it. She went on to explain that the main goal of the store was to promote positive body image and self-esteem. The color dots represented the approximate size of everything in the store. It was nice to be looking for a color instead of a number or size. It can get a little old being told that you are a large, extra large, medium or even an extra small no matter who you are. Number systems are even worse. The way that they assign the color to the item is by using actual fit models of various sizes. That way every single item in a certain color fits the same way. This makes perfect sense to me. Every person has been in the dressing room with different types of shirts in the exact same size that either fit way too big or too small. Their system makes it easy for someone to go about shopping for themselves or other people. Just take a look at this testimony from their website, “As a man who never knows what to buy for my wife – and hating the generic gift certificate option – the color system works great. I know my wives’ color dot so with the help of the friendly sales staff I know I will pick out something that she loves and that will fit her. Having a real present equals major brownie points. Come on. Every man loves brownie points!” It was an awesome feeling, when I figured out my color dot, to be able to try on the cute clothes that I found and for them to all fit perfectly. That is certainly not something that happens every day. If I had to compare The Giving Tree to another store, clothing wise, it would probably be a mixture of Urban Outfitters, The Black Market, and Forever 21. However, it is truly one of a kind. The Giving Tree also lives up to its name in the sense of community service. Every month, customers are able to vote for a local nonprofit organization of their choice to donate 25% of that month’s profits to. Again, The Giving Tree sets itself apart from other boutiques by truly focusing on the customer, how she feels and what they can do to help. The Giving Tree has a sister store, “beyourself”, that is located in both Lincoln and Omaha. For more information or for an idea of “What’s on the Racks” visit or The Giving Tree Facebook page.

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It's a Small World BY CASSIE KERNICK

Paul Kramer is the author of this controversial story and the owner of Aloha Publishers. Walking through the halls of Kearney High School, it is not uncommon to hear a cluster of girls discussing their latest attempt at losing weight or the newest diet fad. Although not unusual, the issue of students who are unhappy with their current weight is continuing to skyrocket. Even more startling is the growing number of negative body images now held by elementary-age students. The idea of fourth graders discussing their latest weight issues rather than the games they want to play at recess, or the newest Pillow Pets, is absolutely outlandish. In a world already set on children growing up way before their time, they are faced with rigorous school and activity schedules. Weight gain and dieting is not an idea they should be busying their minds with. This is quite possibly the reason why the recently released children’s book, Maggie Goes on a Diet, is stirring up an unhealthy amount of controversy. Even before the book’s release,


concerned parents had many negative pre-formed opinions. Facebook pages and other websites were overflowing with criticisms about this story just because of its title, when in all actuality, the posters of these comments had not yet read the book themselves. During an interview, Paul Kramer, the book author, asked that people not judge his book by the cover. He asked Americans to first read it for themselves before forming any positive or negative ideas about the story. I decided to yield to the author’s recommendation and wait until I had actually read the story to express my opinion. The story begins with 14-year old Maggie. She is very overweight and incredibly unhappy. Due to her size, she has very few friends and is often teased and tormented. Then one day the criticism becomes too much. She decides to go on a diet to lose weight so that she will be able to fit in. Through a combination of eating healthy and exercising, she is able to shed the pounds. After the extreme body make-

According to the National Eating Disorder Information Centre, young girls who diet are 324% more at risk to become obese later on in life.

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over, Maggie now not only has a positive body image, but also has become the star of the school soccer team. Even with the happy ending, many readers were still not satisfied. Although the author may have had good intentions with the publication of this book, he definitely missed the mark. In a world already idolizing those with perfect figures and loathing themselves for never reaching these unattainable standards, this book only once again reiterates that thinner is better. Why could Maggie not have been chubby and well-liked? Why did it take Maggie’s extreme weight loss to not only get her to love herself, but also to have success in sports and with her classmates? Maybe the book should have been more empathetically named, Maggie Learns to Accept Herself, setting an example that it does not take perfection to make something positive of your life. Yes, children do need to learn positive eating and exercise habits, but those can be taught throughout one’s life. However, learning to love who you are and accept your strengths and weaknesses is a battle some fail to ever win. Perhaps instead of putting negative ideas into the heads of children growing up in an already cruel society, we should first be preaching the virtues of acceptance.

Reality Check BY KATIE HIGGINS trients. After spending one month in the Adolescent Psych Ward at Bryan LGH, she was transferred to an eating disorder unit at the Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado, the closest inpatient eating disorder unit to Nebraska. Hannah spent two and a half months in Denver. She had come so far from the beginning of the disorder, but there was much more work that still needed to be done. She was able to come home before Christmas, but the disease was not yet defeated. Within weeks, she was admitted again to Bryan LGH for attempted suicide. A few weeks after that, she attempted suicide again. This time she was much closer to succeeding. She was found unconscious on the side of a road in Lincoln after an overdose. This attempt hurt many of her organs, and she was very close to dying. After this, she was moved to a hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she lived for another two and a half months. She roomed with girls, boys and even adults who also had eating disorders at a residential facility. After this, she was transferred to Naperville, Chicago, and Valparaiso, I n d i a n a within two months. It is in Indiana where she was the most miserable. The treatment center had few windows, rock beds Miss America, Teresa Scanlan, poses with Hannah Higgins hard and patients in Naperville, Illinois after she spoke about her pageant were only alplatform, eating disorders. photo courtesy Hannah Higgins lowed to talk You would never know by looking at her what she has been through in the past year. She looks like a normal high school student, but what people do not know is that she fought a monstrous disease known as anorexia and succeeded. Hannah Higgins, a junior at Lincoln High, was in and out of hospitals, eating disorder units and group homes for one year trying to overcome an eating disorder. She defines an eating disorder as "an unhealthy coping mechanism to deal with stress, trauma or pressure." Most people would think one would have an eating disorder to fit in with others, get attention and to be accepted, but that is not the case for Hannah. Stress from school and athletics weighed her down so much mentally, that she could not take it any longer. She was first diagnosed and admitted to Bryan LGH in Lincoln for depression, but while there, weight began to tumble off of her. This weight loss took down her health as well, and she was placed on a feeding tube for seven weeks to supply her with nu-

Hannah helps spread the message of accepetance by distributing bracelets from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD). photo by Katie Higgins to their parents for just ten minutes each day. It was at this time when she knew she needed to change. Hannah said, “I realized I didn’t want to live a life like that. The one thing that motivates me is knowing if I continue to do well, I will not have to endure terrible places like Valparaiso again.” Hannah had been away from home for five months straight until she finally returned to Lincoln for good this August. Since returning home, Hannah has now switched her focus to helping others because she does not want them to go through what she endured. There are days where she would like to slip back into her same patterns, but she knows to help others, she must keep herself healthy. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. It may not be noticeable that someone has an eating disorder because it comes in all shapes and sizes. Her advice to anyone who may be starting to struggle or knows someone that might be, is to tell someone, whether it be a parent, teacher, friend or counselor. She also set up an email account for anyone that needs someone to talk at

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iPhone 4S •



• • • • • •

Device Type: Smart Phone Network Tech: CDMA (2G Speed), UMTS (3G) Data: UMTS, HSPA, CDMA Operating System: iOS (5) Processor: Dual core (2x faster, 7x faster graphics), A5, 1000 MHz Callers’ groups, multiple numbers per contact, search by both first and last name, picture ID, ring ID


Technology: LCD Resolution: 640 x 960 pixels Physical Size: 3.50 inches Colors: 16 777 216 multi-tough touch screen Proximity and Light Sensors



Talk Time: 14.00 hours (average 8h) (490 min) Stand-by time: 200 hours (average is 396 hours) (17 days) Talk time (3G): 8.00 hours


Resolution: 8 megapixels LED Flash Features: Auto focus, touch to focus, image stabilizer, face detection, geo tagging Video Resolution: 1920x1080 (1080p HD)(30 fps)


Music and video player Supports: MP3, AAC, eAAC, WAV, M4A


Other Features:


Supports: HTML, HTML5 Built-in online services supports: YouTube Bluetooth


SMS Threaded messaging Email: IMAP, POP3, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange

Apple iPhone 4S 16GB: Built in Memory: 16384 MB Apple iPhone 4S 32GB: Built in Memory: 32768 MB Notification Center iMessage iCloud (pushes all content to devices) Siri (voice command assistant)

Full retail price:


I love my iPhone! I’m finding new apps everyday. I can barely put it down. In fact, the battery does not last long enough. -Mrs. Brooks, Kearney High School Science teacher 6

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It’s basically the Rolls Royce of phones. Free music downloads, tons of apps, long battery life and a user friendly set up. What more can you ask for? - Junior Kaden Bruggeman

• •


Device Type: Smartphone Network Technology: CDMA 800, 1900 Data: CDMA Data 1xEV-DOrev.A Operating System: Android (2.3, 2.2) Processor: Dual Core, NVIDIA Tegra 2, 1000 MHz




Callers groups, Multiple numbers per contact, Search by both first and last name, Picture ID, Ring ID


• • • • • •

Resolution: 540 x 960 pixels Physical Size: 4.30 inches Colors: 16 777 216 Multi-touch Touch Screen Proximity and Light Sensors Scratch-resistant glass Capacity: 1540 mAh Talk time: 8 hours (av. 11 hours) Stand-by time: 220 (av. 396 hours)


Resolution: 8 megapixels Flash: Yes (Dual LED) Features: Auto focus, Digital zoom, White balance, Effects, Scenes Video Resolution: 1280x720 (720p HD) (30 fps)


Music and video player Supports: MP3, AAC, AAC+


Browser name: Android Webkit Supports: HTML, HTML5, XHTML, Flash Built-in online services support: Facebook, Photobucket, Flickr, Picasa, Twitter Bluetooth


SMS Threaded Messaging Email: IMAP, POP3, SMTP


Built- in: 8192 MB Expansion: Maximum card size 32 GB

Full Retail Price: $199.99

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Backstage Pass

Backstage Pass the switches and glitches behind a production



hen people go to see a performance, whether it be an instrumental recital or a theater production, the first thing that someone is going to notice is obviously what is happening on the stage. Sure, the actors might be talented and good looking, but most people never stop to think about all of the work that goes on behind the scenes. Kearney High School recently finished its fall musical, All Shook Up, and after a couple of short interviews with crew members, it was easy to see why the musicals at Kearney High are so well-organized. There are seven possible crews that each member of the musical is required to work on throughout the course of the show. These crews include costumes, make-up, publicity, props, set, lights and sound. Each crew has a designated task to complete in order to make sure that the show ends up on stage with everyone clothed, holding whatever their character needs and standing on a stable surface.


The crew that fits right along with costumes is makeup. Once everyone is clothed, it is important to make sure that their faces fit their outfits. Sometimes this requires a lot of imagination, and other times it is just the basic makeup, but the crew is responsible for making sure that everyone in the cast has their faces on by the time the show begins, men and women alike. Make-up head, junior Sullivan Moore, began his work in this crew because of his passion to work with makeup. The different make-up designs can be challenging, but they make the show even more exciting to watch. Who could ever forget the bright green face and arms as the Wicked Witch of the West?


The costume crew takes care of exactly what the title implies. They measure and clothe all of the actors. However, the job is a lot more stressful than that. The costumes do not usually arrive at Kearney High until the day of cast pictures, and that is with a lot of persuasion and pressuring from the costume lady. Despite how late they show up, people are usually not running around without clothes, which is a gold star at the end of the day for the costume crew.


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The Kearney High School costume shop is where all outfits for the show are stored. photo by Anna Nelson

Lights and Sound

The lights and sound crews are a major aspect of the show. People would not believe how many times microphones do not work, or go out, and the people in the sound booth are responsible for fixing it on the spot. As far as the lights go, they deal with the same kind of problems. During Les Miserables, two years ago, the stage lights started to flicker and extinguish periodicall throughout the show. Kearney High graduate, Drew Syring, went backstage to fan the machine that runs the lights in order to keep them cool so they would continue to work properly. All of the actors had to evacuate the backstage area and go outside to help keep the temperature down back stage. These crews do not come to rehearsal until the final week before the show, but the work they put into the show comes up pretty even with everyone else.


Senior Mikayla Uden, the props head, and her crew have to gather all of the props that the script mentions, and make sure that they are in the right places at the right time. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! There are so many possible locations that a prop could be backstage that they can often be misplaced. If a prop does not go onstage, the entire show could be thrown off. For example, at the end of the Sat. showing of the Wizard of Oz, someone grabbed a jacket for Dorothy to use as a pillow, instead of the pillow, because he could not find the real one. Despite what is supposed to be used and what is actually used, however, the show must go on! And it always does.

The Kearney High School soundboard used during the productions to control all sound produced in the show. photo by Anna Nelson


Set crew head, junior Aaron Peterson, described his work as having to put together a design for the set, and also having to create it. The set of a show is all of the backgrounds and woodwork on the stage, such as additional bridges, blocks and platforms that are necessary to give levels to the actor’s positions on stage. The set crew met after school Mon. through Thurs., every week until the week of the show, and worked to finish up the set all the way until opening night.

Pit Orchestra

Mr. Clayton Moyer is in charge of the pit orchestra, another of the many behind the scenes groups. Even though the pit is right below the stage, many people forget that it is there. In a musical the show could not go on without the music. The nine members of the pit orchestra met weekly on Mon. from 5:30 to 7. Moyer said, “I think that the exciting thing about this show was that while all of the music was Elvis Presley music, it was all very diverse.” He enjoyed getting all of the music together with the pit, as well as the actors. Freshman Griffin Mims working with power tools to create the set for All Shook Up. photo by Anna Nelson


Publicity is another crew. They are in charge of making sure the schools and community know about the show through advertising, tickets, and the creation of the show shirts. Many of the things the public sees in relation to a show are designed by the publicity crew.

Why do we need tech crews?

Without the backstage crews, a production would not be possible. The dedicated people that put the time into the backstage work have gained the fond nickname of “techies” over the years. From technical work with lights and sound, to getting all of the costumes and props together, a show could not go on if people were not working backstage to make it happen.

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How We...




BY HANNA ALLEN “Hi, my name is ______, and I’m a senior on the Rowdie Squad.” (Insert applause, cheers and general adoration here.) By the time a Kearney High student has been here for a single semester, they already have this introduction memorized. The Kearney High Rowdie Squad is one of the bestknown organizations in the school, and certainly one of the best loved. Rowdies announce at pep rallies, dress in silly costumes, fundraise and are the biggest section of fans at Kearney sporting events. They promote school spirit and are generally considered awesome by the vast majority of the school’s population. For most students at Kearney High, the Rowdie Squad seems like it has always been here—the tradition is so ingrained that we do not even wonder about its origin. But just how did the rebellious, spirited group arise? Just how did we get Rowdie? In the winter of 1969, the KHS basketball team was truly a disaster of epic proportions. The coach began to focus on building a group of strong sophomores to prevent another seventeen-straight-loss season, much to the annoyance of the team’s juniors and seniors. Several older members quit or were benched, and Bob Elliot, then a senior sports reporter for The ECHO, noticed this phenomenon, and he hatched a plan. One basketball game, Elliot and several of his friends sat together near the Pep Club with the singular goal of getting their token bench-rider, senior Dave Jones, on the court. Every time Kearney players made a mistake, they stood up, shouted his name and generally made a ruckus. After a few


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R-O-W-D-I-E, that’’s the way we spell

Rowdie, Rowdie, let’’s get ROWDIE

repetitions, the rest of the crowd began to join in, and the chaos escalated to the point that the game was stopped, and administrators persuaded the boys to stop. In the Kearney Hub’s report of the game, it was briefly mentioned that the game was interrupted by a ‘rowdy bunch of boys’, which angered Elliot and his group. They saw their display as an exercise of free speech, not something to be reprimanded over. And so, for the second time, they hatched a plan. At the next basketball game, a group of twenty young men unfurled a butcher-paper banner emblazoned with the phrase ‘The Rowdy Section Cares’. After a moment of dumbstruck confusion, every other Kearney fan in the stands stood and cheered, and the Rowdy Squad was born. However, even then the Rowdy Squad was not what we think it is now. A select group of young men simply sat together at sporting events and cheered KHS teams on with inventive cheers and banners, and, as many contemporary readers may have noticed, spelled their name with a ‘y’. There were no themes, there were no announcements over the intercom, there were no planned events and there were no officers or leaders. It was not even an official group or club. The senior creators passed it down to underclassmen, who kept it up simply to spite the administration. But the simple spirit of rebelling against the people who originally told them ‘no’ was enough to cement the group as a Kear-

ney High tradition. As the years passed, the Rowdies formed into a proper group with leadership and organization. Administrative support eventually resulted in weekly theme announcements, t-shirt and sweatshirt designs and, in 2000, an official page in the LOG. Debates over whether or not the group should be made co-ed were sparked in the early eighties, carrying over to the formation of the Lil’ Rowdies, a girlsonly Rowdie Squad, in 2002. In 2006, the Lil’ Rowdies disbanded and the Rowdie Squad officially became a co-ed group, and the spelling of a singular ‘Rowdie’ was changed from the traditional R-O-W-D-Y to its current form. These days, the Rowdie Squad is a tradition that sparks unity within the school. Rowdie athletes cheer on those in other sports, and a few days later, those who they were supporting, support them. Seniors lead the Rowdies, teaching underclassmen how to preserve the tradition, and after graduation, the new seniors get their turn. And of course, KHS students and their beloved Rowdie section are known across the state for their fierce support of their teams. This unique display of school spirit is one of the most recognizable and respected groups in the school, from noble beginnings of mischief. So next time you are thinking about getting Rowdie, go ahead. You have forty-two years of tradition standing behind you.

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50 years later

The first class to graduate from this building returned to their former school for their 50 year reunion to reminisce on the glory days. BY LAUREN MIMICK The early 60’s were marked by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, conflict with Cuba and the Cold War. In 1961, a gallon of gas cost 27 cents, and the average price of a house was $12,500. The classic movie West Side Story was released, and the President of the United States advised American families to build their own bomb shelters in response to international strains. As the world was drastically shifting, Kearney was also going through a monumental change. The city’s senior high school was upgrading into a new, improved and expanded building. Grades 10-12 previously attended Longfellow High School, which was opened in 1890. In the fall of 1960, Kearney Senior High School was opened. To all, it was known as the school on the hill. The student population was only 611, compared to the almost 1500 attending now. The first class to ever graduate from the building, the class of 1961, recently attended their 50-year reunion.


The most notable aspect of the reunion was a tour of the KHS building led by Mrs. Chris Johnson. To begin, around thirty past students arrived to the South doors of the school by trolley. They all eagerly crowded into the building and quickly passed into the trophy room to admire some of their own, as well as friends’, past achievements. Most noteworthy was Sam Cowan, who was able to see his picture hanging on the Hall of Fame. From there, the group headed through the South Gym. Most proclaimed it looked the same, with the exception of the weight room above the gym. Memories were shared of pep rallies, basketball games and PE class. Back in 1961, the cheerleaders used to sing the school song, which is now only displayed on the wall. Sports and PE have drastically changed since then. Girls only had PE in the middle gym and almost always played half-court basketball. After class, all girls took showers and had to have their

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body odor checked by the teacher. There were also no girls in K Club, mostly due to the fact that there simply were not female athletes. The current weight room was of particular interest to the group. “Where do I get a membership?” Roger Wisch asked to the amusement of his former classmates. During their years at the school, there was no air conditioning. There were seven periods to a day, with 55 minutes each class. To most, the current classrooms closely resembled theirs, with only a few differences. Their classrooms held only chalkboards, while they now contain marker boards, computers and televisions. In fact, their punishment consisted of banging chalk erasers outside, which to most was just a cliché. Although every Kearney High student has wondered, most have never been able to figure out why the media center walls are not walls at all, but glass. It would shock most to learn that the media center used to be the school’s

The informal dinner took place on Fri., Sept. 23, at the Elks Country Golf facility. This time allowed them to reminisce, catch up and even hear from a former teacher. photo by Chris Johnson

greenhouse, known as the life sciences center. In it there were birds, plants and even ponds. The class of 1961 had vibrant social activities. The concourse was a popular hangout spot before and after school. School bonfires were held with students and cheerleaders cheering, a la the classic film Grease. A large topic of reminiscence was the more mischievous moments. Many minor pranks were played throughout the year,

such as shutting off the school bells and setting off cherry bombs in lockers. The tunnels under the school, which remain mostly unentered today, were a place of punishment for some. Ben Harvey specifically requested to visit the underground passageways. While serving his time cleaning the tunnels, Harvey wrote his name on a wall deep under the school. Even though he refused to admit the cause of his punishment, Harvey

Everything past the 200 hallway was new to the returning class. photo by Lauren Mimick

chuckled to himself at the thought. Unfortunately, the tunnels were locked so he never got the chance to see if his name stood the test of time under his former school. All in all, the class of 1961 greatly enjoyed their time at Kearney High. Their camaraderie carried through their fifty years apart and was evident during their reunion. “We were a good class,� said June Nelson-Denkinger.

They were intrigued to hear about new rules, such as the shortened lunches and use of cell phones. photo by Lauren Mimick

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1961 LOG 1961

LOG 1961

LOG 1961


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2011 Fifty years later, the media center has drastically transformed from an indoor garden to a library. photo by Rachel Kermmoade

The view from the South doors demonstrates just how much Kearney has adjusted. photo by Lauren Mimick

The South Gym remains unchanged with time, with the exception of a few minor upgrades. photo by Rachel Kermmoade


This floor plan demonstrates the sections that have been added onto Kearney High School since it was first built in 1958, to the completion of the final addition in 1995. Although the student population continues to grow, no advancements have been made in sixteen years. page designer alyssa cody


I’m just going to put it out there: I grew up a die-hard Harry Potter fan. When a new book was scheduled to come out, I was the kid loyally standing in line for the midnight release. When all the other girls went trickor-treating dressed as a Powerpuff Girl or Britney Spears, I was the awkward one in a homemade Hermione costume with a royally geeked-out expression on her face. And I confess that I bawled on my twelfth birthday because I had not received my acceptance letter to Hogwarts. So to say I got excited when I saw my name on a list of “magical people” alongside Harry, Ron and

Hermione would be an understatement. I basically peed my pants. Sure, the owl that delivered my acceptance letter showed up in my e-mail inbox, but I’ll take what I can get. When it was announced on June 15, 2011 that J.K. Rowling was developing an interactive website for Harry Potter fans of all ages to further continue the magic of the series, millions of readers around the world felt Christmas had come early. After the last movie had been released and many felt their childhood was forever over, J.K. Rowling assured Harry’s neverending fan-base that we could, in fact, delay growing up even longer.

“I wanted to give s to the fans that Harry so devotedly and to bring the s digital gene -J.K. Row

Hence, the overwhelming demand for Pottermore. It is a Harry Potter reader’s dream. Seamlessly putting together beautiful illustrations and excerpts from the series, while creating a network of devoted readers through social networking elements, Pottermore is the most magical place on the internet. Especially for an HP fanatic, Pottermore can only be described as completely immersive. The website truly lets you experience the world of Harry Potter. Each chapter of each book has been Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling watches young fans at the rendered into Flash-based launch of her Pottermore website in London. paintings that can be exPhoto by Stefan Rousseau/PA plored, zoomed into, and 16

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e something back at have followed dly over the years, e stories to a new eneration.” Rowling clicked on. Navigation bars above, below, and to the side let you know what you can read about and explore and move through, taking you to pages and pages of backstory, behind the scenes information, and expanded encyclopedia-like entries of just about anything you could think of. Overall, the site contains over 18,000 words of additional content. Visitors to the site are even advised to re-read the series while journeying through the online interaction, so as “to make the experience more rewarding.” Needless to say, when I found out I had been chosen for Pottermore’s first batch of beta-testers, I logged in and killed time

faster than you can say, “avada kedavra.” I had a little too much fun shopping for school supplies in Diagon Alley. There, I spent galleons and sickles—the currency of magical folk—on cauldrons, spell books and my very own owl. After answering a few questions concerning my height and personality written by Rowling herself, the wand that “chose me” was 11 inches, made of Hawthorn wood and with a phoenix feather in its core. After taking the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts, the real fun began. Here, I awaited the results of the sorting hat after over-analyzing each and every question that would determine which house I was placed in. Of course, I got into Hufflepuff, because I am a pretty boring person who spends her time writing articles about Harry Potter. On the bright side, after being sorted I found all the other Hufflepuffs doing about the same thing, and we get along great! No matter which house you are sorted in—whether it is Slytherin, Ravenclaw,

Griffindor or Hufflepuff— you will find an odd sense of internet comradery. After getting sorted, you can earn points for the site-wide House Cup, fueling the desire to earn points for the useless but addicting rewards system. So go ahead, brew potions to your heart’s content. Take part in a wizard’s duel against your friends. It might not quite live up to a year at Hogwarts, but it’s about as close as us Muggles will ever get. Since Pottermore was launched, one million beta-testers have gained early access to the site and have nothing but positive reveiws. Except, perhaps, that the website brought work productivity to an all-time low. Due to overwhelming response, the beta period has been extended. Pottermore was scheduled for public release at the end of Oct. 2011, but the website recently announced that the date has been postponed. The new date has yet to be announced.

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Behind the Scenes:

One person’s journey on BY JUSTINE RUNGE

Merriam Webster defines reality television as a television program that features videos of actual occurrence but it is common knowledge that there is a lot going on behind the scenes that many people do not see. I was lucky enough to experience some of what happens behind the cameras of the reality show American Idol. 
On American Idol average people audition in front of a panel of judges for the chance to be signed to a major record label. The show was first aired on Fox in 2002. The tenth season in 2011 had 29.9 million viewers and has been ranked first and second in television ratings for many consecutive years. This years judges are Randy Jackson, a producer, Jennifer Lopez, a singer and actress and Steven Tyler, lead singer of the band Aerosmith.

From the Eyes of a Contestant

Day 1 Audition

My brother, Brody Runge, had the opportunity to audition in front of the celebrity judges for the upcoming season. 
I interviewed Brody to get the experience from his point of view. He started by saying that he wanted to audition because many of his family and friends wanted him to. He felt that it was the right year to audition because the judges were good, as well as the location and his confidence. Brody initially auditioned in Denver, Colorado, and waited outside the Invesco Field Stadium at 5 a.m. The wait was over four hours long, which he shared with about 3,000 other people. When he received his ticket and waited another day before he actually auditioned. People lined up again outside two days later, and cameramen on golf carts drove up and down the length of the line shooting people with the cameras as they acted excited. He said one of the most memorable parts of waiting was getting his picture with the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders


that were at the entrance of the stadium. When he finally entered the building, there were people taking pictures of them and a camera on a long pole that swooped over the people as they told them to yell things like, “I’m going to be the next American Idol!” Combined, all of the possible contestants filled up half of the Invesco Field stadium. The temperature was high, and they made everyone sing River Deep Mountain High by Tina Turner over and over as the camera on the pole flew over and between them. Everyone was assigned seats according to which group they were in, and Brody realized after two hours of waiting that his group had been called already, and he was in the completely wrong section. He hastily handed his breakfast burrito off to another person and ran up the stadium stairs to find where his group had gone. There were eleven, 4x5 foot white tents lined up on the field, and he was in the first 40 to 50 groups of people

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to audition. Four people lined up in a row in front of a tent. The tents weren’t more than two feet apart and he could hear many other people singing. When he looked inside his tent, he realized that he had the only tent with one judge instead of two. He felt like the odds were already against him. Brody and four other girls lined up inside the tent before the judge. Brody said that he was not paying attention at all to any of the girls that sang before him. Brody felt angry at this point, and when it was his turn he belted out Life After You by Chris Daughtry. The judge had a slight smile and asked the three other girls to step forward and informed them that they did not have the star quality they were looking for. Brody received his golden ticket and held it up in front of the rest of the people outside. They all cheered, and he realized he was the first one to make it through that round. He got his information and had to wait another day for his next audition.

Day 2 Audition

Brody (right) and three other contestants at Invesco Field for auditions. photo courtesy Fox News Denver

He arrived again at five in the morning and waited in a line outside for three more hours. The second audition was in front of producers for the show and they asked him many questions about himself and his experience on a TLC show. They told him the Chris Daughtry song he performed earlier was not allowed because he is currently trying to break his contract with American Idol, as he was a former winner on the show. He finally auditioned for the head producers, including Nigel Lythgoe who is the executive producer of So You Think You Can Dance, and they gave him a yes. Afterwards, they filmed his reaction and informed him that some cameramen would be coming to his house for a home story.

At Home With American Idol A month later, Brody received a phone call from a cameraman who said he would be in Kearney in one week. 

Two cameramen arrived at our home over Labor Day weekend, and we cleaned like crazy in an attempt to look our best. They wanted to portray our family life style, so they had us barbeque, and filmed us cooking and having a meal together. The camera crew did many interviews with Brody

and one as a family where we looked through old photographs and talked about Brody as a kid. At the end, they even had us act out a scene where we carried empty suitcases to our cars and drove away. We were pretending to leave for Aspen for Brody’s next audition in front of the celebrity judges, although this audition was still not for a few months. When October came, my family, Brody’s girlfriend and her son, traveled to Aspen, Colorado.

Brody in the backyard of our house in Kearney being filmed by American Idol crew. Photo by Gary Runge

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The Celebrity Audition

American Idol judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson and host Ryan Seacrest. photo courtesy We waited outside in the rain for about half an hour at the resort where the auditions were held. They would not let us stand under an awning at the front entrance. Cameramen went down the line of people, interviewing the contestants and taking candid shots of families and friends. During our long wait inside, Brody did interviews in other rooms, and we did an interview as a family as well. We went to another room to wait while the staff took a lunch break and had a press conference, so we waited another hour and a half before Brody’s audition. When they came back we saw a crazy looking man with long hair and a fake British accent who had just auditioned and was being interviewed by the cameras. His name was Magic Cyclops and his audition was an obvious joke. A few minutes later, Ryan Seacrest walked through the door followed by his makeup artist. Brody did an interview with him and told me Seacrest asked him how it was growing up in Kearney. Brody entered the double doors marked with blue American Idol signs after his interview. He told me that as he as-

cended the staircase, his nerves started to build. He was signaled to walk onto the set and stand on the tape-marked T in front of the judges. There are three cameras behind the contestant and three in front of him. If the contestant stands off of the T mark, he could block one of the cameras. Brody said that it was all very overwhelming. The lights, the cameras, the beautiful celebrities; it all added to the stress and nervousness of his audition. Steven Tyler asked him about his story and transition from female to male. When Brody explained that he was transgendered, Tyler nodded his head, Jennifer smiled sympathetically and Randy had, “the most delayed reaction ever.” Brody said he had to keep a straight face when Jackson acted incredulous; there may have been some poor role-play on Randy’s part. He said he was going to sing Life After You by Keith Urban. They asked Brody for a second song, and he performed I’ll Be by Edwin McCain. Tyler inquired about how often he performs and Jackson told him he seems like country is his style. They each gave

“I learned what they are looking for performance-wise and how much television, preparation and time goes into shooting something like this.” -Brody Runge


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(continued from page 20) him an explanation that he did not have the star quality yet and to give it one more year. Brody was crushed, and with the confusion, he started to walk off the wrong way. He looked up and J-Lo pointed him the right way. He walked down the stairs and through the doors and gave us the bad news that he did not make it.

He did a confessional and we left the resort. Brody said that his experience was not wasted. He learned a lot about television and performance. He is undecided about whether or not he is going to repeat this process and audition for American Idol again, but he hopes to find his “star quality” and make it big, with or without the show.

Brody is pictured playing his guitar. photo courtesy TLC

Brody’s Music Career Today Brody continues to work on his music. “American Idol” does not allow contestants to use instruments, and for Brody, that takes away a majority of his musical ability, as he is a talented guitarist. By not making “American Idol” Brody was encouraged to work harder and pursue his career path in a different direction. He plans on moving to Nashville, Tennessee, in the near feature and has a trip to Orlando, Florida planned to attend a talent search. This talent search discovered Megan Fox, and Brody has high hopes to be signed while he is there. His music can be found on iTunes and where he has songs “Light Your Fire”, “Your Only One” and a few more. He continues to write so expect to see more from Brody. “American Idol” will premiere their season around January, so be sure to watch for Brody’s episode in 2012. page designer justine runge


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