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Lakewood High School - March 16, 2011

Spartan News Network

A day in the life of Lakewood High

6:53 a.m. – Plant operator Drake Washington raises the American flag in front of Lakewood as the day begins.


3,103 images 42 photojournalists 1 day in the life

More classes and longer days make for controversy

... see special pull-out section inside

Motherly love times two

... page 3 ... page 5

the hub

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A word from


The strongest Spartans


There are students who would never suspect that one of their teachers is grieving. Teachers are humans, too. They have lives outside of their classrooms. They have husbands, wives and kids. Within the past 10 years, four Lakewood teachers and principal Bob Vicari have lost their spouses in some way, and at an age that no one could have ever predicted. Under their tough exterior, they’re still healing from the loss of a spouse. Listen to what helped these Spartans stay strong at

It’s time to...

Join the


news team! Write stories, take pictures, make videos! See Ms.Tobin or Mr. Fredman in Room C-100 to sign up for next year!



Sometimes journalism is harder than it sounds. Journalists must stick to a code of ethics, which includes accuracy and objectivity, and it’s not always the easiest thing to do. Ethics in journalism is defined as the difficult practical task of applying norms and standards to ever-new and changing circumstances. Ethical questions frequently come up as we work on deadline, adding to the urgency of deciding what we need to do as journalists. It all gets confusing, though, when you have to apply the same rules to different situations. Being a group of young journalists, we have to be especially careful; we’re tackling each situation one at a time. In the pursuit of the news, ethical questions and legal questions often intertwine. Sometimes we run into rumors that involve illegal activity. While a story like that might be very newsworthy, we have to jump many ethical hurdles to assure we cover it correctly. In order to completely cover the story we need to dig up the facts, and sometimes that means digging really deep, especially when people are trying to hide their identities. This brings us to the point where we have to sit down as a newsroom and decide how to handle these situations ethically. Our code of ethics frowns upon the use of anonymous sources, because we don’t want anything we publish to be conveyed as potentially untrue. Even if we were able to publish our sources anonymously, we could be interrogated by the police. Some journalists have even gone to jail for withholding information, so how do we do our job without getting ourselves or the people who are breaking the law in trouble? Recently Dr. G. Michael Killenberg, an emeritus media law professor at University of South Florida - St. Petersburg, came in to give us a lesson on media law, and also some advice. “You never want to go to print with serious allegations unless you have proven evidence,” he said. “You have to confirm (the information) they’re telling you … prove their facts so they don’t give you wrong information and be wrongly accused.” Although we are reluctant to use anonymous sources, there is a lot of information that we have a clear right to publish. For example, any information that is part of the public record, such as a police report, can be published by us. Although dealing with some ethically-pressing situations can be tough, there is one thing we’re certain about: We’re journalists and it’s our duty to inform our readers, and as a newsroom, we will continue to carefully consider legal and ethical questions and provide the soundest news possible. This is what we do, bring it on. Stay tuned to SNN for updates and breaking news.

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Longer day, later start By SNN STAFF

School would start an hour and 10 minutes later, and classes might be as long as 96 minutes. These are part of the proposed changes that would go into effect at Lakewood, Boca Ciega, Dixie Hollins and Gibbs high schools. The first major change will be a new start time for high school students. School would begin at 8:15 a.m. instead of 7:05 a.m. and would end at 3:20 p.m. instead of 1:31 p.m. The plan is to have the same four periods on Monday and Thursday and the remaining four periods on Tuesday and Friday, and all eight classes on a shortened Wednesday. Because Lakewood is under state supervision, the school is required to expand the number of courses and extend the school day, principal Bob Vicari said. “This was the only option presented that was feasible given all the conditions provided,” he said. Because students will only be taking four classes a day, classes will last for as long as 96 minutes instead of the current 48-52 minutes. This change in the schedule is said to allow more planning and teaching time for teachers, as well as to help students who need credit recovery. Teachers learned about the proposed changes in a faculty meeting in early March, and many were surprised. English teacher Dorothy Morris believes the teachers should have had more of a say in

the matter. “It went right over our heads,” she said. English teacher Kristie Dowling said she is on the fence about the new schedule. She said she likes the late start time: “Teenagers don’t have the internal clock to wake up at 5 or 6 a.m.” But she worries about the attention span of her students in the extended period. Spanish teacher Alexander Seoane agrees. “If I can barely keep their attention during 50 minutes, how will teachers be able to during 90 minutes?” asked Seoane, who had this type of schedule when he taught in Jacksonville and didn’t like it. American history teacher Stuart Wilmarth is against the new scheduling proposal. “There hasn’t been enough information on whether it will help the kids,” he said. “They would have to change everything.” Many students say they disagree with the proposed scheduling. “It’s stupid! It’s just flat-out stupid!” said sophomore Erika Allen. Several say they are concerned about after-school plans. “I have to work, watch my sister’s kids, and I have sports to play,” said junior Zora Wells. Some students, however, like the extended class time. “It would give us more time to actu-

ally learn the material,” said sophomore Manuela Tascon. “We only have four classes a day, which gives us more time to get stuff done, and less homework,” said junior Leyana Devroe who thinks the students will need some time to Chart by SPENCER BLEVINS adjust to the schedule but A block schedule such as this one has been prowill get used to it. posed for Lakewood next year. Classes could be as One person who is long as 96 minutes, and school could start as late “ecstatic” about the posas 8:15 a.m. sible change is cafeteria manager Carol Workley, because it may mean that Chemistry and statistics teacher Andrea students get a full half-hour lunch period. Carvill, had planned to speak against the “Kids haven’t had enough time to get eight-period schedule at a school board their food,” she said. “There’s nothing meeting on March 15. Instead, she planned good (that comes) from a student eating on suggesting an “academic support pewhile running to class.” riod,” similar to advisory, be added to the However, Vicari says lunch could be school day. difficult. “I don’t have a big enough caf“Everyone in our school from our loweteria to feed all of the students at once,” est 35 percent to our National Merit Scholhe said. “There will be a lot of time spent ars can benefit from this,” she said. to work out the kinks.” Morris thinks the school needs more Kala Funderburk, Taylor LaPuma, Kayla time before any major changes are made. Garcia, Christopher Deister, KC Shelton, “I feel like we’ve made progress this Daisha Lamont and AJ Valdes contributed year. We’ve improved our grade and test to this story. scores and we need more time with the new principal.”

Arrests drop by more than 50 percent at Lakewood By BRYNESHA TEHARTE and ASHLEY TURRI SNN Staff Writers

The halls of Lakewood are quiet, calm and still. Last year this was not the case. The halls were loud, chaotic and full of excitement. Students were waiting for a fight to happen or talking about who was arrested for what. This school year things have changed. The number of arrests has dropped by 57 percent, according to statistics from School Resource Officer Lerric Boyd. “We’re doing way better than last year,” Boyd said. “There are fewer fights this year and no gang activity. Teachers feel more safe and happy that kids are coming to class to learn.” With the decrease in arrests, the school is turning around, administrators say. Last year there were 37 arrests from August 2009 to February 2010. During that same time period this year, the school has had 16 arrests, Boyd said: two for drugs, four for battery, one for grand theft, two for robbery , one for disorderly conduct, one for

vehicle burglary one for aggravated assault and four for trespassing. Students say they have noticed the change as well. Senior Alphonso Evans said he feels safer this year. There is a difference in the atmosphere, he said, “because of all the hall monitors.” “Everyone knows about Boyd,” said senior Dorian Dandy. Senior Quasheria Griffin said it feels calmer this year at Lakewood. “You come to school and don’t expect fights,” Griffin said. Assistant principal Harriett Davis said she has never felt unsafe on campus, but she has noticed an improved atmosphere this year. “It’s positive, and students are in class,” she said. She said she has seen no gang activity this year on campus. “If I did, they would have been gone,” she said. Art teacher Larry West said he has also

noticed a better atmosphere this year at Lakewood. “Students seem more respectful and concerned about their education, unlike the past years at Lakewood,” he said.

Hall monitor Derrick Pollock said there are fewer safety concerns at Lakewood this year. “Because of the changes in administration, students who caused problems are no longer here,” he said. On-campus arrests at Lakewood have gone down considerably since 2008, as shown in this graph. Chart by SPENCER BLEVINS




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A cafeteria revolution Same place, new food


The cafeteria has reinvented itself. It has taken its old menu, analyzed it and added some new flavors. Flavors like burger sliders, fresh fruit and wholesome chicken fingers. The change comes because of necessity. Lakewood is bored with the current menu, and food sales are decreasing. So out of that need a food revolution began and SNN staffers Aaron Parry, Darian Sylvester, Tiffany Browning, Keyata Seymour and Sam DeLonay tasted the new menu. “Lakewood’s always ahead of the curve when it comes to health, we try to match all of the USDA’s standards,” said head cafeteria worker Carol Workley.


Burger sliders, one of the new cafeteria menu items, was rated a 4.4 out of 5 by the SNN taste-testers.

First up were the new Tyson brand chicken fingers. Lakewood High cafeteria has never had any form of chicken finger so this food was actually new instead of reinvented. The tasters began their meal and their reactions were admittedly mixed. Some thought the chicken tasted fake, others thought the chicken was moist and a higher quality than expected (this would be a recurring theme). “This makes me actually want to eat cafeteria food. It won’t crawl away anymore,” said senior Browning. Chicken Fingers score sheet average: 3.6/5


Next were the burger sliders. These mini burgers are served with cheese. We can say without guilt that the burgers were actually very good. For one, the meat is actually meat. These sentiments were shared through the group unanimously. “I’m no longer scared for my health after eating school meat,” said junior Sylvester. Burger Sliders score sheet average: 4.4/5


Then the group tried the new vending machine fresh fruit packages - apples and pineapples. The response was huge. The group loved them and asked for seconds. The fruit was declared fresh, juicy and delicious. The pineapple actually scored perfectly among the test group. “I don’t get free lunch, but now I have no problem buying the food,” said senior Seymour. Apples score sheet average: 4.6/Pineapples score sheet average: 5.0


Tyson brand chicken nuggets are another new menu item. The SNN taste-testers rated them a 3.6 out of 5.

Finally they ate white wheat garlic bread sticks. They all enjoyed it very much and compared it to the bread sticks at Olive Garden. It was said that the garlic bread melted in their mouths. “It tasted fresh, not as dry as the dinner rolls they used to serve,” said senior Browning. White Wheat Garlic Bread score sheet average: 4.5/5

School resource officer remembers slain colleague By DAIJHA WIMBERLY and WHITNEY THOMAS SNN Staff Writers

Lakewood School Resource Officer Lerric Boyd knew Officer David Crawford for about 23 years. When he heard the news about the St. Petersburg police officer being killed he was very upset and disturbed, especially since the department had lost two officers a month before. “It’s like losing a natural brother,” Boyd said of Crawford. “I knew him personally. I came two years behind him. He was just doing his job.” Crawford, 46, was killed on Feb. 21 while responding to a prowler call near Tropicana Field in downtown St.



Petersburg. A day later, police arrested 16 year-old Nicholas Lindsey of St. Petersburg and charged him with first-degree murder in Crawford’s death. A lot of Lakewood students were upset about this news. Unlike Boyd who knew Crawford, the kids know Lindsey who attended Gibbs High School and previously attended John Hopkins Middle School. Sophomore Sierra Richardson said she was shocked when she heard the news. She didn’t know what to think about it. “It affected me because it feels like I lost a best friend,” Richardson said. Lindsey used to be her boyfriend in seventh and eighth grade, and he is now

her best friend. She said that he was a person who cared about a lot of people. “He is a very good person,” said Richardson. “I think that he just hung around the wrong kind of people knowing that he wasn’t like them. I’m going to miss my best friend.” Stacey McKnight, a substitute teacher at Lakewood, was a teacher at Gibbs High School where she had Lindsey as a student. She described Lindsey as being soft spoken. “If he was in class you wouldn’t even know he was there,” she said. He helped her out a lot, defended her and told students they shouldn’t disrespect her.

Knowing the news about a police officer being killed did affect her. “I was shocked, my heart dropped,” said McKnight. “He was a good student … His behavior in the classroom did not match what took place.” She said she and Lindsey had a special bond. “I was in disbelief when I saw this on the news. It was like he was one of my own.” Boyd said he wasn’t sure if Crawford was wearing a bullet proof vest when he was killed. Boyd didn’t usually wear his vest, but after Crawford’s death, he wears it every day. “When things like this happen it’s like a wake-up call,” said Boyd. “It changed my life.”

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No shortage of motherly love here Senior Dylan Pepper said her two moms taught her that “we are all humans on this planet . We shouldn’t have labels.” By TAYLOR LAPUMA SNN Editor in Chief

Every year Warren County, Tenn., held a father-daughter dance. Lakewood senior Dylan Pepper always danced, she always had her picture taken, she always went with her grandpa and she always cried. “I cried every year,” she said. “Everyone called him my dad, and I would always say, ‘No, he’s my grandpa!’ I felt out of place.” She was in first grade when she realized her family was different. Dylan told her class she came from a bank and had two moms and no dad. A little boy told Dylan that it was impossible and that he knew where babies came from. Dylan replied: “I know where they come from too - they come from a bank in California.” “My teacher called my mom and asked what I was talking about, and that’s when I found out,” she said. The “bank” that Dylan referred to was the California Cryobank – a sperm bank. Dylan Pepper’s parents, Diana and Dianne Pepper, were partners at the time. Diana was able to get pregnant through a sperm donor. “My donor was 18-yearsold,” Dylan said. “He was a model.” Dylan’s moms decided that Diana would carry the baby because she had always wanted to. “Diana always wanted to be a mother biologically … me, not so much,” said Dianne. “In hindsight it was the right choice.” When Dylan was 6 her parents split, and her non-biological mother moved out. “When she left I cried, because I thought she was leaving forever, but she bought the house across the street and I saw her all the time.” “(Diana and I) may not have seen eyeto-eye all the time, but our commitment to our child has never wavered,” Dianne said. “She will always be my only child and I love her more than life itself. … We all make decisions, and having Dylan was the best decision of my life.” School was always hard for Dylan, especially in Tennessee. Dylan’s nonbiological mother was a teacher at the school she attended, and she couldn’t call her “mom” because the staff knew her biological mom, and didn’t want the kids to ask questions.

In her hometown of McMinnville, Tenn., being a teacher and being openly gay was frowned upon by many of her co-workers. “They couldn’t know I had two moms or she would be fired,” Dylan said. “Eventually, she did call me mom. I (told the school) that I lived with her since birth and was her second ‘mom,’” Dianne said. “It wasn’t right, but it saved us from lengthy explanations to children that would never have been able to understand.” Dylan and Diana moved to St. Petersburg when Dylan was 13 because Diana’s new partner, Dylan’s stepmom, is a professor at Eckerd College. Dylan attended Bay Point Middle School. She was nervous because of the discrimination that she faced in Tennessee. “I was bullied a lot for being different, by teachers and students. People called me ‘fag baby’ and told me that my family and I were going to hell.” “She only wanted everyone to understand that she was normal and not so different,” Diana said. “I explained that I would not hide who I was (if I were her) but, it was her choice to tell (others) or not ... Dylan has always been a kid that bounced back.” And the waters began to calm when she entered high school. “I was starting to get older and finally decided in the 10th grade to tell people. People were more accepting because it’s a lot more diverse (in Florida).” “I got to know her before I even knew about her moms, and it didn’t affect how I felt about her when I found out,” senior Nick Hadley said. “I don’t think (her background) should have an impact on how anyone feels about her.” Besides gaining acceptance, getting older opens a new door for the lives of donor babies. When Dylan turns 18 she is able to reach out to her donor if he is willing to speak to her, and her moms have no problem with it. “I don’t mind, I just hope she doesn’t get hurt,” Diana said. “When Dylan was younger she often thought of her donor as a sort of Prince Charming.”

Courtesy Photo

Dianne (left) and Diana Pepper hold newborn Dylan. Diana, her biological mother, was able to get pregnant through a sperm donor. Dylan has already started to make connections with other kids who have the same donor through social networking. “There’s a website where you enter your donor’s number and it connects you with your half-siblings who have the same donor as you. I have 11 half-brothers and sisters. I’m the oldest one out of all of them that I’ve found.” Dylan also keeps in contact with one of her half-sisters, who lives in Virginia, through Facebook. All of her life, Dylan was surrounded by women. “I’ve never had a dad-figure,” she said. “My whole life has been very mothernurturing … I have no idea what it would be like if I had a father.” Although surrounded by women her whole life, Dylan said it hasn’t influenced her sexuality. “I always knew I liked boys. (My parents) taught me to love whoever you fell in love with – man or woman.” She said growing up that way influenced the way she views the world today. “I saw so much discrimination; it has definitely influenced how I see things. We are all humans on this planet, we shouldn’t have labels.”

Courtesy Photo

Dylan Pepper poses with her biological mother, Diana Pepper, before Lakewood’s 2010 prom.




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Freshies learn the ropes By KATIE DICKINSON and LAUREN HASTINGS SNN Staff Writers

The “Freshman Experience” class is new to Lakewood this school year and has created some moans and groans among the freshman class. Although some students are upset with having the class, which is formally called Personal Career and Social Development, others seem to be happy to not have a hard academic class in its place. You hear mumbles about the class ranging from “that class is pointless” to “I like it, I can get an easy A.” There are even some who say the class is helping them. The class is supposed to “give ninth-grade students the necessary skills and strategies in order to be successful in high school and more importantly life after high school,” said teacher Garret Ziegler. Although that is the goal of the class, some students think differently on what they are learning. “I don’t know what it’s supposed to do for me,” said freshman Sebastian Digeronimo. Zeigler said he believes this class was made mandatory because when you look at the statistics and graduation rates over the past five years, Lakewood is “not where we would like it to be.” “I firmly believe that by setting the right expectations and helping struggling students in the ninth grade, our school grade and graduation rates will rise,” said Zeigler. Curriculum specialist Rita Tomaselli said she believes that the class has contributed to the decrease in referrals among ninth-graders. In fact, in the first semester, freshmen had fewer referrals than sophomores. Typically, freshmen have the most referrals out of all of the grades, and the number of referrals per grade goes down as students get older. Though some students still complain, freshman Oscar Seals said he has gotten some good things from the class: He is learning a lot of vocabulary, better math skills and how to calculate his GPA. “It helps you, but it’s boring,” he said.

Q & A with the freshman expert By SYMONE BROWN SNN Staff Writer

“PER, CAR, SC DEV?” This alphabet soup of a new class for freshman appeared on traditional schedules this year. The course, Personal, Career, Social Development – sometimes called the “Freshman Experience” - has created a buzz among the students. So SNN sat down with one of the Freshman Experience teachers, Garrett Ziegler, to find out what this class is really about: Q: What are students learning? A: The students are currently learning how to finance a home and how to Ziegler properly set and post secondary education goals. Q: How is this class beneficial? A: The class benefits ninth-grade students because it provides them with the detailed expectation of Lakewood High School and it provides specific strategies in order to be successful all four years and beyond. Q: What’s the most important part of this class? A: Students will fully understand graduation and FCAT requirements. Over my past five years, I’m sad and shocked to see students get to their senior year and have no that clue that they can’t graduate. Q: Why do you think this class was made mandatory? A. : I believe that this class was made mandatory because when you look at the statistics and graduation rates over the past five years (at Lakewood), it’s not where we would like it to be. I firmly believe that by setting the right expectations and helping struggling students in the ninth grade, our school grade and graduation rates will rise.



Q: Do you think students like this class? Why or why not? A: The majority of my students love the class. My students seem to feel excited about learning high school requirements and real-world management skills for in and outside of the classroom.

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More flesh for warmer weather By SHANTE’ SHEDRICK SNN Staff Writer

As 2011 continues to roll on, I’ll continue to update you fashionistas with new information and inspiration. I promise the new buzz will have you wishing the brutal winter days will just get on with it already as spring 2011 is sure to bring forward simplicity. A brighter day means less clothing and rising hems. But for school purposes, here are ways to achieve the spring 2011 look without being forced to wear scrubs over your outfit.



Senior Celine DeFreitas is an aspiring fashion designer. She started sketching designs, like the one below, in 2009.

Lakewood senior designs her future By SHANTE’ SHEDRICK


SNN Staff Writer

Hidden away are the surprising talents of an aspiring designer. Senior Celine DeFreitas, who believes in defining your style by the clothing you wear, has kept her talent hidden, until now. “Fashion to me is a creative expression. It’s like an outlet to individuality,” explained DeFreitas. “I would say I’ve been interested in designing for about a year now,” said DeFreitas. She turned to designing formal wear such as dresses one day out of pure boredom. “I’ve always been interested in fashion so thinking of in-style clothing to design was easy,” she said.

Whether it’s a do-it-yourself design or a store-bought look, we teenage girls are looking for our own cut and cool number. Yes, cropped tops your mom used to wear are back in a big way. Crop correctly by pairing the tops with shorts or let it hang over a fitted high-wasted skirt or pair of skinnies. Really, it all comes down to keeping the bottoms fitted when the top is loose and wearing your hot ’80s inspired outfit with an extra dose of 2011 confidence. If you’re not there yet on the confidence scale and for school purposes, turn to cropped yet covered.

DeFreitas’ inspiration stems from street wear, online clothing and television. “I pretty much mix and match styles in my head then go home and sketch them.” DeFreitas plans to go to college and major in nursing but she hopes that one day she will live out her dream with the opportunity and a career in fashion where she can bring back old fads and fashions from the 1980s. “I still haven’t mastered sketching the figured body,” says DeFreitas. She recalls one of her first sketches in 2009 where she drew a prom dress “big and ugly.” Her drawings have still come a long way since then. Perhaps one day her designs will be sold in stores around the world.

This is a great option for those who would really rather not or cannot show off their stomach but still want a similar look. It’s loose throughout slightly cropped in the front and a bit longer in back. It gives you the cropped feel without the complete crop.


Warning: This trend may be too short and too tight for the self-conscious. From skin-tight pencil skirts and minis to figure revealing dresses, bodycon pieces have girls showing off every aspect of their shape. Both bodycon skirts and dresses are functional and versatile must haves. The stretching cotton ensembles are one of the most flattering pieces ever and like skinny jeans I can’t imagine it going out of style. It turns the girl with the least hour-glass shape into a curvaceous beauty. If you choose to partake in the trend, make it daytime/school appropriate. Remember we come to school to get an education, not to show off our latest club wear. Stay clear of the heels and consider dressing your bodycon skirt or dress down with flats and a cardigan.

Fabulous fashion facts Did you know that skirts are the second oldest woman’s garment? Did you know that during the 1500s, designers showed off their clothes by creating dollsized copies? Did you know that clothes that are dry cleaned last longer? Did you know the first false eyelashes were made out of human hair in 1916? Did you know that an item is only considered vintage if it was from the 1920s-1960s? Did you know that New York’s fashion industry employs 165,000 people? Did you know that hoodies were invented in the early 1900s? Did you know that today’s average woman uses six pounds of lipstick in a year? Compiled by Katie Blevins Sources:,,



opinion W e d n e s d a y, M a r c h 1 6 , 2 0 11 In your words The budget cuts for next year have had a lot of students speaking their minds. SNN wanted to know how you feel, and here’s what some students, and teachers said:

Spartan News Network

“I think it sucks. One of the things that they’re going to cut is education? That’s bad. How are you going to expect us to have a brighter future with no education?” – Vinavone Phivilay, senior

Staff Editor-in-Chief: Taylor LaPuma Design/Copy Chief: Spencer Blevins Multimedia Editors: Katie Atkisson, Madeline Glassman Opinions Editor: Sofia Damos Sports Editor: Julia Pohlmann Online Editors: Molinseai Elcius, Jessica Thornton Chief Photographer: Tyler Holcombe Video Editor: Morgan McCabe Ad Managers: Keyata Seymour, Kamdon Martin

“It’s kind of dumb. We won’t be able to do anything.” – O’Shario Mitchell, freshman “I feel disgusted that he (Gov. Rick Scott) would cut so much from education. It seems that he doesn’t care that much about educating kids.” – Marshall Lester, senior

Code of Ethics As journalists for the Spartan News Network, we work together as a community with respect, professionalism, accuracy and curiosity. We collect information and dig deep to get to the bottom of the most current events to produce and distribute hard-hitting and honest news to the Lakewood community in a timely manner. SNN is an open forum that strives to accurately report a balanced and truthful depiction of the news while remaining objective. Our main goal at SNN is to build and maintain trust with the people, to give a voice to the voiceless and to succeed at not just painting the picture, but telling the story behind the art. SNN is produced by the students of Lakewood High School. 1400 54th Ave. S St. Petersburg, FL (727) 893-2916, ext. 2163 SNN is printed by Lakewood’s business partner, the St. Petersburg Times.

For more news, go to the SNN web site:



Cartoon by AARON PARRY

Budget cut proposal will harm public schools As you walk into Lakewood, you are constantly bombarded with the typical complaints: Our books are older, our school is dingy, and some teachers do not have enough materials for the number of students being shoved into the classroom. The thought of even less money being given to our county - our school in particular - is a hard concept to grasp. With most students feeling as if we have so little already, cutting the budget even further will not lead us to a good place. From a student’s perspective, this major cut in the state’s school budget, is a ridiculous idea. The goal is to decrease property taxes and increase property values within our state. This is a good idea; everyone wants lower property taxes. There is a flaw in the plan, though: The point of lowering property taxes is to interest more people in moving to our state, by the foreign concept of having to pay less, but what family would move to a state where the education system is cutting back even more? In a place that is already ranked low on the national charts for education, how much more can we give up before common sense starts to seep in? Let’s break down the budget. According to Scott’s plan, about $703 could be

taken away, on average, for every pupil in the state of Florida. That’s roughly 10-percent of the amount spent each year. Pinellas County with about 102,000 students, has been asked to cut $60 million. In addition to students, the number of counselors, assistant principals, administrative clerks, student service workers and possibly even teaching assistants might be affected. The number of teachers cannot be cut due to Florida’s 2002 class-size amendment, which limits the number of students per teacher. However, transportation, technology and facilities may be on the chopping block. It seems that everything boils down to the state budget. Many people believe that high school students may not have an opinion, a belief in what they are speaking against – this is the time where we need to rally together, to stand up for ourselves and future students. As students, we want our lawmakers to know that we, too, have a voice. Call your local officials, write your legislators. Tell them what you think of this proposed budget cut. Do not let your words go to waste. This editorial reflects the opinion of the SNN staff and was written by Sofia Damos, editor of editorials.

“I think it’s a shame that education is being cut. We’re trying hard to help the schools’ grade and they’re working against it. We’re trying to better the school.” – Leslie Roles, computer support assistant “A lot of people are going to be unhappy for lack of money. There are going to be riots, strikes, more prostitutes on the streets and Ramen noodle sales will go up.” – Caleb Garner, senior “(Gov. Scott) is the opposite of Robin Hood. He’s giving money to corporations and he’s helping the rich. It should be against the law, but it isn’t.” – Larry West, art teacher “I think it’s messed up. The terrorists have better funding.” – Sarwar Hossain, senior Quotes gathered by Dre Walker, Jalon Edwards, Kimberly Koagel, Daijha Wimberly and Joe Cruz.

Share Your Opinions Letters to the editor should be sent to tobink@ They should concern an opinion on a featured editorial or news story. They must be signed, accurate and at most 150 words. Letters may be edited for taste, length and grammar.

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MADE: Will it live up to the hype? By KALA FUNDERBURK SNN Staff Writer

Everyone in the school is questioning who will be the lucky student chosen to be MADE … if anyone is chosen at all. MADE is a TV show created by MTV that seeks out teenagers who wish to be transformed into something that will help build their confidence or make them popular among their peers. Representatives from the show were interviewing Lakewood students in February. I have sat at home many weekends and watched the episode of a jock girl get made into a feminine salsa dancer and a socially quiet guy who chose to be made into a “Ladies Man,” and it was entertaining to me. However, now that the opportunity has come for a Lakewood student to be MADE, I’m not so sure. Who at Lakewood has a hidden talent or a secret desire to change that would be willing to have complete strangers follow them around for five weeks? I wouldn’t want some cameras in my house at all times, watching my every move as I’m pushed to become something that I

could have become on my own. As a teenager it’s already hard enough with parents on your case about everything. Why would you want a producer, camera guy, sound guy and a MADE coach demanding things of you just so they can produce an entertaining show? If you look closely at the TV show, half those kids are constantly threatening to quit, and the MADE coaches get fed up a lot. These kids have the stress of being suddenly thrust into the limelight and under the watchful eye of their school, community and peers. With everyone feeling the stress from this show, I wonder whether the producers are truly seeking to help these kids or are they only in it to make money off of them? Some of the kids chosen for past episodes only helped produce a humorous and entertaining show. I believe this opportunity is only helpful if they find a LEON TOMLINSON | SNN student who truly lacks confidence or needs help reaching Jay Lyons, who came to Lakewood to interview stua long-term goal. This could turn out to be a good opportunity. I just dents for MTV’s Made, packs up after a long day of don’t believe it will truly live up to the hype that has been interviewing students on Feb. 11. created by the Lakewood students and staff.

Looking to enlist? This program can help you along the way


After everyone has signed in, we all gather outside and practice drill and ceremonies. We warm-up and stretch before our workout. Once we are ready to head off, we form two lines and run to Northwest Park. I’m sweating and out of breath. I don’t think I’m going to make it, but I tell myself “Never quit!” From there we struggle through a series of exercises such as jump-

ing jacks, push-ups and sit-ups. Even as I’m thinking we are done, we are told to do 25 more push-ups. Ugh! To end our work out – finally -- we again form two lines and make our way back to the recruiting office. After stretching our bodies and letting out a sigh of relief, we fall out. That ends a typical day in the Future Soldiers’ Training Program, a course that prepares recruits for the U.S Army. Future soldiers meet from 4 to 6 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday at the recruiting office on Ninth Avenue N in St. Petersburg. “The program is designed to prepare future soldiers mentally and physically for the rigors of basic training,’’ Army Staff

Sgt. Darren Jefferson said. Having just enlisted in the U.S. Army, I started attending the program in December. On my first day, I felt really intimidated. At 5-feet-4 inches tall and 107 pounds, seeing how much bigger the guys were and how tiny I am, I was a tad nervous that I wouldn’t be able to move along at the same speed as the others. Also, it was my first day, so I had no clue of what to expect. I was afraid of being the only girl in the program. In the program we work on things such as cardiovascular, muscular strength and endurance. We take courses on sexual harassment, equal opportunity and anti-

School hallways are no place to congregate and chit-chat

terrorism. We conduct physical training to prepare us for basic training. I quickly realized that I wasn’t the only girl, but one of many in the program. On the first day I came across one female, and as I kept coming, more and more girls came, making me feel a lot more comfortable. One thing that I love about this program is that everyone is very supportive. When I joined the Army, I became a part of a team. I am going to take advantage of the Future Soldiers’ Training Program so that I am as physically and mentally prepared as I can be when I ship out for the real thing on Aug. 1.


To the kids in A wing who decide grouping up with your friends right in the middle of the hallway is a good idea, to the boy who’s just too cool to pull up his pants and walk a little bit faster and to the people who blatantly ignore the fact that there are other people in the hallway: This one’s for you. Picture three girls walking down the middle of the hallway, chit-chatting on

their way to class. There’s nothing wrong with that, right? Well, now picture those same three girls, walking (very slowly) side by side down the middle of the hallway so that no one can pass, having a way too loud conversation about things that the eight or 10 people behind them really don’t want to hear about. This is what goes down in the halls of Lakewood High School on a daily basis. The excuse “the kids in front of me were walking too slowly” doesn’t exactly fly with most teachers when you show up after the bell. Five minutes is not a long time to get

from one side of the school to the other. So stopping in the middle of an extremely crowded hallway to tell your BFF about how your boyfriend made you mad last period just isn’t necessary. Long story made somewhat short: If there’s someone behind you who looks like they might actually want to get to class on time, either speed it up or move. If you see your friend and you just absolutely cannot wait to tell him or her your life-altering news of the moment, at least step to the side of the hall. If you’re standing in a circle with all of your friends in the middle of the hall, and you see that

you are in the way of people trying to get by, ignoring them is not only rude, but it won’t make them go away. And when you’re having a conversation, you don’t need to scream. I commend your extreme enthusiasm, but you’re in a hallway, not at a sports stadium. Lastly, and I can’t stress this enough, if someone is walking behind you, just pick up the pace, or step aside. It’s common courtesy.




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They say all good things have to come to an end, or in this case, every good coach has to retire. At least that’s what Lakewood High’s basketball Coach Dan Wright said. “I just believe that if you continue without interest then you wouldn’t do a good job. I wouldn’t want to shortchange students,” he said. Wright, 58, has been teaching physical education and coaching basketball at Lakewood for 35 years. In December, Wright was named Pinellas County’s winningest coach in history with 682 total wins. Wright and his former coach Freddie Dyles, of Gibbs High, were tied for the title with 674 wins each. With his 73-58 win against Dixie Hollins High on Dec. 14, Wright broke the record. After that, the Lakewood gymnasium was also dedicated and named “The Wright House,” in honor of Wright’s achievements at Lakewood. Assistant basketball coach Anthony Lawrence, now a reading and language arts teacher at Lakewood, was one of Wright’s students from 1984-1988. “He was the best coach I ever had. He was a role model and taught me things that I still use today,” Lawrence said. “It will be sad to see another coach on the sideline.” Wright and Lawrence had a very close relationship. “When I was messing up in school, Coach Wright took time out and came to my house at night and sat down and talked

to my dad,” he said. “When Coach Wright left, I just remember getting a whooping.” For 20 years, Lawrence has been talking to Wright about life, basketball and family and “that will still continue,” he said. Assistant football coach Antez Brinson said Wright’s retirement is bittersweet. “Of course I hate to see him go, but at the same time I’m happy for him,” he SYLVIA CZYSZCZON| SNN said. Coach Dan Wright will retire after this school year from teaching and coaching basketball at Like Lawrence, Lakewood High School. Wright has worked at the school for 35 years. Brinson also had a close relationship with Junior Ernest Clayton, a varsity basteer work for leisure services at Lake Vista Wright during his high school career that ketball player, said he feels badly about Park and will continue to after his retirecarried on to his adult years. Wright’s last season is a losing one. ment. “During the summers of my high school “I feel awful,” he said. “I think he The Lakewood staff has planned a reyears, I took tennis with Coach Wright,” should stay. He deserves to go out better tirement celebration for Wright on April 30 Brinson said. “He was the best, no one than he did this year…. He inspired me to at the St. Petersburg Country Club. could beat him … I have no bad memories play with heart.” “I’ve prepared myself mentally and of him … he was a role model.” Dianne Roth, the secretary for student financially and think that I’ll be happy in Senior basketball player Mike Singleton services, called Coach Wright a “Lakewood retirement,” Wright said. “I feel kind of said he wishes he could keep playing for icon.” sad, but all good things come to an end. Wright. “I’m sad (he’s leaving),” she said. “But (Coaching was) just was very rewarding.” “He was a great coach and an even betat least I’ll get to see him at Lake Vista.” ter mentor,” he said. “He really taught me Aside from teaching and coaching at some things in life.” Lakewood, Wright has been doing volun-

PLayers to watch By MATTHEW SMILEY and DANE LEAVY SNN Staff Writers

Spring sports are now in session, so SNN asked coaches to pick out a few of their standout players for this year’s spring lineup. Here are their picks: Taye’Lor Trotter for flag football, Andrea Vargas for softball, Cameron Hoylman for tennis, Morgan Harris for baseball, and Dennis Pugh for track.



Senior Taye’Lor Trotter, 18, is the quarterback for the flag-football team. Her coach, Necole Tunsil, said that she is a player to watch for because she’s been a starter since her freshman year and has won the Pinellas County Athletic Conference (PCAC) Tournament as well as districts all three years. Q: Why did your coach pick you as a player to watch? A: Because I’m a quarterback and I have experience. Q: Why do you play this sport? A: I like sports. It’s not as stressful as basketball and it’s still competitive. Q: How do you feel about the upcoming season? A: I think we’re going to win states because last year we went to states and we lost in the first round. But this year we’re better, so I think we’re going to win it all.

Freshman Andrea Vargas, 15, plays on the Lakewood softball team and starts at third base. Softball coach Haley Forsyth picked Vargas as a player to watch because “she’s a solid infielder.” Q: Why did your coach pick you as a player to watch? A: I’m experienced, and I work hard at getting better. Q: Why do you play this sport? A: I love it, it’s just fun no matter if we win or lose. Q: How do you feel about the upcoming season? A: I think we’ll do good. We have a lot of new girls that are willing to learn. We’re going to surprise a lot of teams that beat us before because they’re expecting an easy win.

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Black, yellow and

green? By KIMBERLY KOAGEL SNN Staff Writer

It’s “the fastest sport on two feet.” That’s what junior Justin Lincoln says about lacrosse. Lincoln got involved with lacrosse after his older brother researched the sport in St. Petersburg on the internet. They found a club called the St. Petersburg Dragons and his brother started playing. A year later Justin got on the team, and he has played for four years now. This year the club was sanctioned by St. Petersburg High School. This is St. Pete’s first year playing lacrosse, and in their first game the team won 13-0. The kids on this club team go to different schools because not every high school has a lacrosse team. The schools who have students on St. Pete’s team are Lakewood, St. Petersburg Catholic, Osceola, Pinellas Park, Northeast, Gibbs and St. Petersburg. To play on this team while not attending St. Petersburg High, one had to have played for the St. Petersburg Lacrosse PARKER FOX| Special to SNN Club last year. “(It’s) good to hang out with friends I wouldn’t St. Pete Green Devils come together for a break before their game against Jesuit High School in Tampa on normally get to see,” said Lincoln. Feb. 24. The Green Devils lost 15-3. The other Lakewood student on this team is senior through Thursday at Azalea Sports Complex in North St. Lacrosse team, 14 of whom attend other schools. They Caleb Garner, who got involved after his friend Parker Petersburg. The team hopes to end the season with a winare a part of a new league called the Gulf Coast Lacrosse Fox took him to a practice where he “just fell in love.” ning record, Coach James Wiggers said. League, which started this year. Garner used to play soccer but stopped after being out Wiggers played lacrosse during high school and college “Hopefully in the next three to four years there will be a for a year due to a broken collar bone. in Colorado. He became a lacrosse coach 10 years ago in lacrosse team at each high school in Pinellas County,” said “Lacrosse is a more contact sport,” said Garner. Newton, Conn. Wiggers. Lincoln agrees the game is physical. Seven years ago he helped coach the middle school There is also a girls’ lacrosse team at St. Petersburg “It’s active and involves lots of running and hitting,” team for the St. Petersburg Lacrosse Club. Three years ago High School coached by Leslie Trevathan. Lincoln said. he became coach for the high school team. The boys’ next home game is at 7 p.m. on March 18. Lacrosse is a combination of three sports: basketball, “Coaching is all about the kids and the satisfaction They play Alonso High School at the Azalea Sports Comsoccer and hockey. A similar game was played by the of seeing them grow up in the fastest game on two feet,” plex. American Indians. It was America’s first sport; it started Wiggers said. over a century ago. There are 34 boys registered on the St. Petersburg The team practices from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday

Senior Cameron Hoylman, 17, plays Senior Morgan Harris, 18, is on the baseball team playing shortstop, on the Lakewood High School tennis pitcher and third base. Coach Cory team. Tennis coach Brian Taylor chose Scott chose Harris as a player to Hoylman as a player to watch for the watch because he is an infield starter. upcoming season. “Everyone played Q: Why did your coach pick you as each other and (Hoylman) went undefeated,” the coach said. a player to watch? Q: Why did your coach pick you as a player to watch? A: I’ve been with the team for three years. I have experience and I’m an all-around good player. A: I have a really fast serve and a strong forehand. Q: Why do you play this sport? Q: Why do you play this sport? A: It’s something different, and it’s an international sport. A: I’ve been playing this sport for 14 years. I know everything there is to know about it. I just love it. Q: How do you feel about the upcoming season? Q: How do you feel about the upcoming season? A: Pretty good. We play some hard teams, but we’ll get a couple wins. We can win districts. We’re going to work A: The entire team is good. We just need to focus and work through some tough matches, and when we get to districts, hard. When we do this and the whole team contributes, we can be the best in the state. we’ll pull through because we have a strong team.

Senior Dennis Pugh, 18, is on the track team and runs the 110 hurdles. Coach Anthony Snead chose Pugh because he is expecting him to dominate in his event. Q: Why did your coach pick you as a player to watch? A: Because I’m one of the captains on the team, and he is looking for me to get a lot of points for the team this year. Q: Why do you play this sport? A: I am a very competitive person, and in track you are on your own against eight other runners. Q: How do you feel about the upcoming season? A: I am really confident this season. Coming short in regionals three years in a row has really pushed me to get to states my last year.



The Lady Spartans hoist the Class 4A championship trophy. Lakewood beat Pensacola 53-44 at the Lakeland Center on Feb. 26 to win the state championship. Sophomore Tianah Alvarado was named game MVP as she led her team with 23 points.


ABOVE: The Lakewood High School girls basketball team celebrate their state title victory over Pensacola. Coach Necole Tunsil cheers during the Spartans victory. Tunsil was a member of Lakewood’s basketball team which won a state title in 1989.

LEFT: Lakewood senior Kayla Roberts (4) drives past a Pensacola defender during the title game in Lakeland. “No words can explain this; it’s better than great,” she said of the championship win.

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