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Spark Lakota East High School December 16, 2016 $5 Newsstand


Tackling the issue of materialism during the Christmas season

CANDY CANES AND CONSUMERISM Why holiday spending is skyrocketing

COACHING PACKAGE How East’s coaches are influencing the game

POP SHOP Discover the shop that has satisfied Cincinnati’s sweet tooth


Many teenagers take the risk of owning a fake ID without ever looking into the potential consequences.

SOCIAL MEDIA The presence of social media has increased for teenagers in the modern age, creating both positive and negative effects.

CONTENTS December 2016 | Issue #172

NEWS 10 Transgender Students Why several families are pushing the district for a policy.

15 Student Fee Cuts District savings lead to lower activity participation fees.

FEATURE 19 Coffee Cruisin’ East student delivers coffee and smiles to teachers.

24 Featured Artist


PACKAGE 28 Social Media Online social networks have become increasingly popular for teenagers.

32 Mainstream Memes The viral phenomena of memes.

37 Craving Social Media The positive and negative effects of online communication.

CULTURE 40 Localmotive What to see in Glendale, Ohio.

45 Holiday Consumerism Christmas spending has skyrocketed.

50 The Allure of Africa

SPORTS 53 Coaching Psychology How coaches impact the athletes they lead.

64 Maintaining Balance



Some faculty must balance between teaching and coaching.

OPINION 70 Head to Head Has the commercialization of Christmas gone too far?

74 Meme Mania

Spark 2016-2017 STAFF

Editor-in-Chiefs Erinn Aulfinger Michelle Chu Emma Stiefel Lauren Wilson Design Coordinator Julia Sanders Photography Manager Maya Wells Photography Editor Richard Giang News Managing Editors Sophia Spivey Emma Stiefel News Editors Julianne Ford Lina Kaval Culture Managing Editor Lauren Wilson Culture Editors Noor Ghuniem Richard Giang Feature Managing Editor Alyssa Hetterich Feature Editors Dani Dudash Lexy Harrison Karmi White Package Managing Editors Erinn Aulfinger Cristina Francisco Package Editors Michelle Chu Sidney Li Sports Managing Editor Allie Church Sports Editor Dustin Horter Opinion Managing Editors Victoria Negron Cara Satullo Opinion Editors Vivian Kolks Charis Williams Art Managing Editor Sarah Aftab Art Editor Tyler Bonawitz Graphics Managing Editors Sophia Chryssovergis Cassia Chryssovergis Graphics Editor Michael Croy Business Director Sarah Mullins Business Collaborator Josie Cappel Public Relations Director Cara Satullo Public Relations Assistant Victoria Negron Webmaster Michelle Chu Broadcast Manager Emma Stiefel

Advisor Dean Hume 2 December 2016


Dear Spark, In high school I was an overachiever. Every A on my report card, new club I joined, award I won or activity I picked up meant another line I could add to my college application, and at the time that spelled success to me. I got a sense of joy from being able to story-top anyone about how busy I was, how little sleep I was getting, how overwhelmed I was and how they couldn’t possibly understand what it was like to be in my shoes. The ultimate validation for my actions came when my acceptance letter to THE Ohio State University was finally in my hands, I didn’t think I could be any happier than I was in that moment. Come August my life was packed into the back of a Honda Accord and I was Buckeye bound. Suddenly I was no longer surrounded by kids who I had known since elementary school, I was free to be anything I wanted. In my head I had naively created a situation where I would show up on campus and magically be heavily involved, scoring A’s on all my assignments and be the big man on campus right from the get-go. These dreams were quickly crushed when I embarrassingly had to have a cashier explain my dining plan to me and my first chemistry quiz grade was a number I had never even come close to touching in high school. However, despite these bumps in the road I still found myself feeling better than ever before. Since leaving the halls of East I’ve been happier than ever thought possible. I am surrounded by some of the most amazing people I have ever met, my classes are hard but more rewarding than any other course work I’ve ever done, I am finally an active participant in my own life. No longer am I under the control of a system that only cares about my success in terms of standardized state test averages, I am finally surrounded by educators who care about enriching the lives of their students. I’ve never been to Disney World but you’d be hard pressed to convince me there’s a happier place on earth than where I am right now. – Kelly Krajewski

The Spark encourages letters to the editor. Letters can be sent to the publication at or delivered to room 118 at the Lakota East High School main campus. Letters must be signed, and the staff reserves the right to edit the letters for length, grammar, invasion of privacy, obscenity or potential libel. The opinion editors will contact writers for confirmation.


Patrons Lori Aulfinger, Amy Stiefel, Robert Zelina Sponsors Carolyn Landers, Wendy Mayo, Sara Humphrey

ON THE COVER photography maya wells In this issue, Spark takes an in-depth look into social media and how it has impacted the lives of billions of users. Online social media platforms have become ubiquitous, especially among teenagers. These networks can affect their lives in several ways.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA @lakotaeastspark @lakotaeastspark lehsspark


Go to to keep up with the latest school, district and community news, learn more about indepth topics covered by the Spark staff, and read reviews and fashion stories.



story noor ghuniem | photography fair use

story michelle chu | photography fair use

After watching this movie, I can truly say the child in me has not left. With a wholehearted recommendation of this movie, I hope that everyone who makes their way down to the local theater with a ticket to this film... continued on

The anticipated movie of yet another return to the Wizarding World is here. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” opens in Europe with an incident concerning Gellert Grindelwald... continued on lakotaeastsparkonline. com



story melanie cain | art julia sanders

story and photography gabbie behrmann

The morning I woke up on June 12, 2016, I was met with headlines I never wanted to see. In the largest modern mass shooting in the United States, 49 were dead and 52 injured for their sexuality ... continued on

Since 2012, Honey Sweetie Acres has been producing the finest Artisan Goat Milk Soap and skin care products. Located in Goshen, Ohio, the company sells all-natural lotions, lotion bars, lip... continued on



story emma stiefel | photgraphy courtesy of the newseum institute For one week this summer I attended the 2016 Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference along with 50 other students, one from each state and Washington, D.C.. We listened to accomplished journalists (the editorin-chief... continued on

story and photography gabbie behrmann For over 40 years, Gabbie Behrmann’s grandma has been making this delicious coffee cake for the whole family to enjoy, now it’s time for the “secret” to be shared. Makes a 13×9 ... continued on

Spark is a publication that is produced at Lakota East High School. The magazine is completely non-profit and student-generated through the efforts of the Journalism I, Journalism II and Journalism III-Honors classes. The publication material may not always reflect the views of the Lakota Local School District or the publication as a whole. Content is controlled and edited by the staff editors. The staff will publish only legally protected speech adhering to the legal definitions of libel, obscenity and invasions of privacy. The publication is produced every five weeks on recycled paper. Production costs are recovered through advertising, subscription sales and fundraisers. The purpose of Spark is to inform the students, faculty, and community members of news, information and issues that may influence or affect them.

opinion | chief column



photography cara satullo

check Buzzfeed obsessively. While taking questionable quizzes about my Zodiac sign, what my taste in socks says about my personality, and how old I am based on my favorite Kardashian might call my journalistic integrity into question, I don’t think I could stop. I go straight to Snapchat to get my daily dose of Cosmopolitan in the morning, by lunch time I’ve refreshed my Pinterest app at least ten times, and checking my YouTube subscriptions is my nightcap. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey, 62 percent of U.S. adults get exposure to their news from social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. The accessibility of news through social media has made it painless for people to get their news in a personalized way by tailoring it to their specific demands. People no longer have to sift through the news they don’t want to hear and can go straight to sources that give them what they want. Unfortunately, what we want isn’t always what we need. Real journalists go through years of schooling to hone their ability to report the news. The skill to confirm facts with qualified sources reporting on an issue, instead of infusing it with hearsay, innuendo or unconfirmed facts, is one that cannot be learned without study and correction by professionals in the field. A journalist’s job is to report a balanced version of events without the distraction of opinions that often taint the reports of those on social media networks. If our friends and families become our news sources, our world views become skewed by unqualified social media junkies that spout off their partial opinions without restraint. The responsibility for checking the information that is being put online is serious business. The dedicated, trained journalist of the past has been replaced by a wannabe blogger here, a conspiracy theorist there, and a random teenager from who knows where filling our timelines with “news.” Many people have no clue where their news is coming from and don’t seem to care about the qualifications and agendas of those providing it. In late October, a right wing Twitter account stated that “democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was involved in a child pedophilia ring,” which another account backed up with a claim that a federal agent confirmed the information. This false claim was rewritten by other right wing and fringe sites and has gained up to 107,000 shares. According to a 2016 survey of 3,015 US adults by Ipsos Public Affairs for Buzzfeed News, those surveyed made 1,515 judgments about false news headlines. Of these, 75 percent considered the falsified headlines as “somewhat” or “very” accurate. A platform such as Twitter with no restrictions for who is spreading “news” enables random people to post fake, biased information without the barrier of going through editors and experienced peers and being held to the same standards as a professional journalist. This spread of misinformation is not only unfair to the readers who assume the information they are being presented with is true, but it gives real journalists a bad reputation for shoddy reporting. While the easy access to the news I want to read keeps me coming back to the sites like Twitter, we need to separate real news and the biased views of those “reporting” on social media. This access to news helps connect us in our fast paced, technology-obsessed world, and I agree that it is sometimes necessary. But anyone who relies only on social media for news needs to be careful, questioning the news they see and determining if it really is credible information after all. Let social media “experts” report about what the Kardashians are wearing and leave the real heavy lifting to qualified journalists.

IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM Many underage students acquire alcohol and other illegal substances with fake IDs, but the consequences for using them can seriously harm a teenager’s future. story sophia spivey | photo illustration maya wells art tyler bonawitz | infographic cassia chryssovergis *denotes name change

news | fake ids


e walks into the bar his heart pounding in his chest. He clutches his fake ID tight in his clammy hand. Paranoid, he begins to wonder if anyone can tell he’s under 21. As his hands start to shake, he hesitantly gives his fake ID over to the bartender and asks for a whiskey on the rocks, attempting to convey he is old enough to order an alcoholic drink. It is the first time that he has gotten alcohol without stealing it from his parents’ refrigerator. When the bartender casually hands back his fake ID with the alcohol in hand he knows that his mission was a success. Lakota East alumni and University of Cincinnati (UC) junior Eric Jones* got his first fake ID when he was 19. His friends decided that they were going to order one, so he decided “why not.” The company his friends bought from charged $20 for each fake ID, so he decided to get two: that way if he lost one, he would have a backup. During the month that Jones waited for his falsified license, he imagined what it would be like to buy alcohol from drug stores and bars with an ID that said he was 21. Usually when Lower went out drinking, he was not asked for his identification and was ecstatic to have a backup option on the way just in case the occasion arose. “I haven’t even had to use [the ID] that much and, when I did, they either didn’t really care or couldn’t tell it was fake,” Jones said. “I’ve checked it with a real one from the same state and the only major difference is the font on the front.” Of 78 East students surveyed, 45 percent said they know someone who has a fake ID, and 7.6 percent of 79 students surveyed said that they themselves have a fake ID According to The Ohio State University (OSU) Assistant Law Professor Micah Berman, having a fake ID is a criminal act in Ohio. It can lead to serious consequences for the owner of the ID such as jail time and a hefty fine with collateral damage including potential school

sanctions and negative effects on a student’s academic career. “Having or using a fake ID is against the law, and you shouldn’t do it,” Berman told Spark. “Most of my research focuses on tobacco policy and of course fake IDs are a problem in that area.” Lakota West alumni and OSU freshman Jared Reynolds* was originally uncertain about buying a fake ID at 18, but eventually decided to buy one after he had time to think about it and a group of friends that already decided to purchase one. “Getting alcohol in college isn’t exactly hard, so I got [the fake ID] more for the bar scene,” Reynolds said. “I figured there would be nights where friends would be going to bars instead of parties or whatever else was happening. I wanted to be able to join them and not miss out.” According to a study conducted by the United States National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health in 2007, 15 percent of high school students, 14 percent of college freshmen, and 24 percent of teenage drug abusers have purchased beer with a borrowed, altered or fake ID. According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, nine out of 10 parents believe that teens would likely be able obtain alcohol using a fake ID, while only one-third of teens believe it would be that easy. Oxford Police Department Detective Matthew Hatfield, who has been an officer for the past five years, knows exactly what to look for when it comes to teenagers concealing a fake ID since officers are trained to read body language when interacting with individuals. Majority of Hatfield’s exposures to fictitious IDs are related to underage drinking, since Oxford is a college town that includes Miami University. “Officers are also trained on how to authenticate any form of ID, specifically driver’s licenses,” Hatfield said. “Once the

Once the officer determines the ID is fictitious, there is probable cause for an arrest. I do not believe that an alcoholic beverage is worth risking one’s future.

– Matthew Hatfield, Oxford Police Department Detective

6 December 2016

officer determines the ID is fictitious, there is probable cause for an arrest. I do not believe that an alcoholic beverage is worth risking one’s future.” Teenagers are able to purchase alcohol in approximately 30-50 percent of purchase attempts, either from commercial sources or social sources, according to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. According to East Principal Suzanna Davis, the school has high expectations for East students outside of school and said it is very disappointing when the community hears stories or has the belief that illegal activities, such as fake ID use, are a common occurrence. Davis told Spark that East does not have significant problems when it comes to fake IDs, but she is “not naive” to the fact that teenagers use fake IDs. “It’s really not a school issue,” Davis said. “I don’t mean to minimize it, that it is not important, but it is not anything that we deal with at East in terms of the actual fake ID. Obviously we deal with students if they are inappropriately using substances in school, but in terms of fake IDs I don’t know if that is a dialogue that we have been involved in. It is very much focused in law enforcement and they deal with that.” When fake ID users are caught, the prosecutor has two options to choose from when prosecuting. One option is the criminal code, which is a list of rule and regulations that defines conduct prohibited by the government because it threatens public safety and establishes punishment to be inflicted. The other option is the alcoholic beverage code, which is beverages that are illegally manufactured, distributed, bought, sold, processed, stored, possessed, imported or transported when prosecuting, according to the Purdue University website.


Penalties in General Jail


When convicted of a fake ID crime, one may have to spend time in jail. 90 days of jail time is more common for a misdemeanor, while up to a year or more is common for a felony crime.



Getting caught with a fake ID leads to the expected consequences of expulsion or loss of scholarships, but it can also lead to more serious penalties like spending time in jail, or even being charged with fraud.

This is a common sentence for a fake ID crime. A judge gives orders of certain conditions to follow for usually 12 months or more. This includes regularly reporting to a probation officer.

Fines Fines are a very common penalty for fake ID crimes. The specific amounts of fines vary. A fake ID offender may have a fine of up to $1000 or more, but for misdemeanor crime, $500 or less is common.

Fraud Charges Jail


Penalties Specific to Ohio

For a fake ID crime, one can spend up to six months in jail. If identity fraud occurs, one can face up to a year in jail.







A suspension of one’s driver’s license is a common penalty.




DRIVER LICENSE Sex: M Ht: 5-11 Wt: 167 Eyes: BLU Hair: BRO

07-12-1999 DOE JOHN MARK 5896 TREE LANE LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, OH 45011 31646513







07/11/93 Sex: M Ht: 5-11 Eyes: GRN

Wt: 172 Hair: BRO

If one is using an actual ID of another person, usually a friend or family member that looks like them, they are considered to be committing identity fraud. Under Ohio law, using someone’s “personal identifying information” to pretend to be them is illegal. This is a felony in Ohio.

Fines A fine up to $1000 is a common penalty. A fine up to $2,500 is common when it comes to identity fraud.


news | fake ids Federal law states that the possession or use of an altered driver’s license or state, federal or fake ID has the possibility of leading to a punishable fine of up to $25,000 and/or a fiveyear jail term. According to Arenstein and Gallagher partner and Criminal Defense Attorney Bill Gallagher, not only does being caught with a fake ID have the potential to get the accused charged with up to 180 days in jail, probation time and a $1,000 fine, it can also result in the trouble when it comes to acceptance into college and consideration for jobs. “Falsification is considered a crime of dishonesty,” Gallagher told Spark. “A college might reject an applicant as a result. Some colleges do inquire and search for issues of criminal behavior with applicants. A prospective employer might consider it a disqualifier for employment.” Even with all of the legal regulations on alcohol sales to minors, 51% of underage college students reported that they considered alcohol “very easy” to obtain and 18% reported that they used false identification to obtain the liquor, according to the same study conducted by the United States National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health already mentioned. After some thought, Reynolds decided to get an out-of-state ID instead of an instate ID; that way bouncers, bartenders and officers would have a harder time telling that it is fake even though it is recognizably fictitious.

“People can tell it’s fake,” Reynolds said. “I have a Connecticut ID and [one time] someone laughed and said they love fakes from Connecticut since he was from Connecticut and he can easily tell. And I’m sure bouncers at the bar can tell, but most don’t really care. I’ve only seen a few [IDs] taken.” If a UC student is found with a falsified license, the campus has a system in place that includes meeting with a hearing officer and discussing the student’s case, according to UC Program Coordinator in the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards Rebecca Wallace. If the student is found responsible for having a fake ID, they would be found in violation of UC’s Student Code of Conduct’s policy on “Dishonesty and Misrepresentation.” Wallace stands by the idea that if students have the right morals and role models in their lives, then they will consider standing by their values and making smart choices that will positively impact their future even in situations where external forces may be encouraging them not to. “I believe in empowering our students to make decisions that are reflective of their values, abide by the standards of our community, including the law and help them reach the goals that they have set for the future,” Wallace said. “Given the legality and consequences of being found with a fake ID, I strongly question students’ decisions to have and use a fake ID ” Hatfield is also concerned about the additional consequences a student can face on

top of the criminal court case, such as a more difficult time receiving a job and disciplinary measures from their respective college. “It is my understanding that if the individual arrested is a Miami University student, then Miami University would receive a copy of the arrest report from the city of Oxford,” Hatfield said. “This report is forwarded to Office of Student Conflict and Resolution for discipline consideration. Discipline through the school could potentially result in expulsion.” According to Berman, using and possessing a fake ID is not the only illegal activity involving IDs. The spectrum of falsified IDs that a person can be charged for ranges far beyond that. “It is also illegal to lend your ID to someone else for them to use,” Berman said. “If you use someone else’s ID, that can count as identity fraud, which is a separate, additional crime. And of course it is illegal to use a fake ID to purchase alcohol or tobacco.” After looking at all of the legalities and scholarly consequences involved, Gallagher hopes that students, especially teenagers looking to go off to college, will think twice before putting their future in jeopardy over getting some alcohol. “I personally view fake IDs as something many young people have,” Gallagher said. “They can lead to problems. People use them normally to be in places or do things the law has determined they are not mature enough to handle yet.”

NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENED? In order to research for this story, Sophia Spivey attempted to buy a fake ID online with the cooperation of local police.


fter months of research it was time for me to buy a fake ID from an online business. When I dug deep into the websites I found that majority of the online fake ID sellers prefer their payment in the form of bitcoins, a digital currency with encryption techniques that manage money and transfer the funds. Because one bitcoin is $724.19 and bitcoins are rarely being used for payment in the United States, I decided to look elsewhere for my purchase. Finally finding a site that took payment other than bitcoins, greatfakeid. com, I called a photographer to get a headshot that would work for the fake ID and headed to the store to purchase a gift card to make my purchase. As we sat down to download the photograph we realized that we needed to come up with a name and signature for the id; after little to no thought we thought of Gwen Jane Montgomery. On the greatfakeid website, they charge $125 for one undetectably perfect fake ID and $90 for two to four IDs a piece with the promise of free 10-15 business day shipping. In order to stay clear of breaking any laws I had the ID sent to a police officer’s house and created a fake email and persona. After I received the confirmation email I checked the gift card to see how much was taken off the card. Even though the website said they charged $125 they actually charged $140. When the 20 day mark of waiting for the ID rolled around, I started to worry. I went on the

website and emailed them over 11 times asking what the holdup was. Even though the website promised a response within the next 24 hours, they never responded except to say that they had received my email. After waiting a total of three and a half months for it to be shipped I decided to dispute the claim so that I would not be out $140 for a product I did not even receive.

zimmerman | news

MARCHING TO OPPORTUNITY East senior Allison Zimmerman is the first Lakota student chosen for the Bands of America Honor Band. story samadhi marapane | art mckenna lewis


akota East senior Allison Zimmerman is a second-year drum major in the Lakota East Marching Thunderhawks and clarinet player in the Symphonic Winds band. During school, she takes three Advanced Placement (AP) courses: AP Statistics, AP Environmental Science and AP Psychology. After school, Zimmerman goes home to practice her clarinet and do homework. Then, she comes back to school for marching band practice. She arrives early to set up, stays late to tear down, and her rehearsals are from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Zimmerman and her busy schedule showed how hard work pays off when she became the first Lakota student to be selected for the Bands of America (BOA) Honor Band. The BOA Honor Band, made up of 300 students from all 50 states, received the invitation to perform in the 128th Rose Parade, a New Year’s celebration, in Pasadena, California on Jan. 2, 2017. “It’s not a marching band from a regional or state level, but nationally,” Lakota East Marching Thunderhawks Drum Major Martha Yost said. “It’s very impressive, because she’s already involved in so many other things. It’s a lot to take on, but I know she can handle it.” Zimmerman auditioned for the Honor Band in late June 2016 after hearing about it from friends she met at the Music for All Summer Symposium Drum Major Institute. “I was super excited,” Zimmerman said. “I didn’t expect to make it, so it was really cool that I did.” The audition started with an online application and recording. After Zimmerman was accepted, the process continued. “There was a four hour in-person audition that I did,” Zimmerman said. “There [was] an interview, we had to write an essay, we had to [play scales] and prepared pieces, and then we went home and they sent us some of the music we would be playing at the parade and we had

to submit a recording of that.” The in-person audition revolved around conducting, because students audition as drum majors and then are placed into a role in the band accordingly. Zimmerman was selected to play the clarinet. Lakota East Marching Thunderhawks Director Rob Tanis described her as “awesome, she’s always prepared, ready to work, and can take constructive criticism and apply it to things.” Her work ethic is one of the things that enabled her to work hard enough to get into the BOA Honor Band. “We tell the kids about [opportunities to audition for bands like these] and not all of them take advantage of this stuff,” Tanis said. “I didn’t think any of our kids would be interested, and how wrong was I!” Tanis also went on to say how proud the whole marching band team is to support the first student from Lakota to be accepted. “It’s amazing all the hard work she’s put in and how far she’s grown as a musician, [and] as a young adult,” Tanis said. “So we are all behind her; we’ll all be watching the TV.” Zimmerman and the BOA Honor Band will be in Southern California from Dec. 28,

2016 to Jan. 4, 2017 and the schedule is even more packed than her typical weekdays. The first two days will be rehearsals that will run for approximately 15 hours. After those two days, the performing and traveling begins. Zimmerman is “most excited to meet all the people there.” She and the other 299 students selected will perform at Bandfest, a two day event where each band invited will present a field show to display their success. The students will also visit Disneyland, participate in a Los Angeles City tour and visit the Santa Monica Pier for fun. Finally, they will end with the famous Tournament of Roses Parade. The five and a half mile parade has gained popularity over the years. It is attended by hundreds of thousands of people and viewed by millions on TV. The popularity of the event doesn’t bother Zimmerman. She’s not nervous at all and excited to be on TV. “Overall, I feel super honored to actually be a part of the band,” Zimmerman said. “And I’m just really excited and curious as to how it’s going to be having a band of people I’ve never met before put something together in two days. It’s gonna be crazy.”

It’s amazing all the hard work she’s put in and how far she’s grown as a musician, [and] as a young adult. We are all behind her; we’ll all be watching the TV. – Rob Tanis, Lakota East Marching Thunderhawks Director

December 2016 9

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Hi my name is alex nix, i’m a senior at lakota west and a student at an exotic veterinarian, because you know like birds and turtles and stuff thats cool. but i also happ here to support me, i would like to thank the board for listening to me today, and i would also like to years have been a very difficult journey for me and my family and without support from my family fr to you several times about education and policy and i felt it was time that you hear from me. we’v restroom i identify with and everyone at school respects my name and gender and pronouns. i got my a that we hadforaPolicy bomb threat. i texted disappear my mom so she wouldn’t worrytwoifdrafts sheoutlining heardtheabout the news re too easily. rights ofit. transgender The Push “Everyone should know that Lakota is students in the district. He began by introducing himself. Alex Nix, was tosenior text my mom to ask if i was ok and to ask if it had anythingA to do with me. mom was worki policy, according to Murray, would “be at Lakota West, passionate actor and doing the right thing, and everyone should know what is or isn’t Lakota,” simply an affirmation that theof board musician, and aspiring veterinarian old grandmothers sat exotic at home worrying about me acceptable and myat safety because theunderstands dangers ass (his two pet birds sat on his shoulders for his Alex told Spark. “It will give me some peace of transgender [students].” It would include anything i dont already have, i’m justmindasking it’swhite in that a Ipolicy that ofeveryone what to have it that in black and can use so definitions terms such asknows “transgender” and to ex interview). the bathroom without worrying that someone about “gender identity” list what schools must do peopl he told the Board it of may or isn’t “But,” acceptable at Lakota laktoa. not prevent all concerns safetyandfor transgender for transgender students if they ask, including Education at its Sept. 26 meeting, “I also might say I don’t belong.” without worrying that someone might say dont Hi my is alex nix, i’mname a senior at lakota Linda ihas spokenbelong. to the board aboutname the using their preferred and pronouns happen to be transgender.” subject herself several times and wants to and allowing them to use the restroom that At West, Alex said, he’s able to use the i want to end up being an exotic veterinarian, because you know like birds and turtles and stuff that bathroom that matches his gender identity and ensure “that a kid who starts in kindergarten corresponds with their gender identity. wearing white who came hereHe to support me, i would like to thank the forsaylistening to me toda is going to be treated the same way throughout “[Theboard policy would that] we understand his name and pronouns are respected. wasn’t theirbeen coursea[atvery Lakota].” She decidedjourney to push that right to and a quality there to ask the board any accommodations successful. the pastforthree years have difficult forevery mechild andhasmythe family without for a policy after discussing school issues with education no matter what their status is,” he doesn’t already have. here. myInstead, momhe has spoken to ayou times education policy andthati we felt it was time tha other parents at about the Cincinnati Children’s and Murray said. “And support the parents wants Lakota to create policyseveral Transgender Health Clinic support group. of [transgender] kids and realize the special specifically protecting transgender students’ when i’m able to use the restroom i identify with and everyone at school respects my name and gend Lakota School Board Member Ray Murray things that we must consider to support them, rights. Without such a policy in place, Alex and normalhis day until wefear heard we had a bomb threat. i texted sospell she has openly supported creating such a policy. Hemyandmom it would out wouldn’t what they wouldworry be able if sh mother, Linda Nix, that thethat welcoming environment he’s experienced so far could serves on Lakota’s policy committee and wrote to get.” west. her immediate response was to text my mom to ask if i was ok and to ask if it had anything t in the bathroom, so my 80 year old grandmothers sat at home worrying about meTheand my safety The revision of “The Diagnostic and first Transgender Daysim of Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” Remembrance was organized Christine Jorgensen A 21-year-old transgender policy now. Becomes im notFirstasking fortheanything i dont already have, i’m just asking that it’s in a policy so th American Psychiatric Association to honor the memory those man, Brandon Teena, adds disorder” as a who were lost to bigotry and American to Havewhat a was beaten, raped and prevent everyone should know is or“gender isn’tidentity acceptable at laktoa. it may not all concerns about classification for transgender people. anti-transgender violence. Sex Change. murdered in Nebraska. that i can use the bathroom i without worrying that someone might say i dont belong. Hi my name is a music and when want to end up being an exotic 1999 you know like bi 1952 i go to college i1987 1993 veterinarian, because


are theater and music and when i go to college i want to end up being an exotic veterinarian, because ke to start off by thanking all these people wearing white who came here to support me, i would like st for giving thefamiliar support tosubject, be safe While and successful. the past three years been a adhering very difficult Murrayme wasn’t with the they won’t be creating a policy district and to have make sure we are to however, until a Lakota parent spoke to him for transgender students, the district may, the law.”several times about education a very about realtheir possibility that i may not be here. my mom has spoken to you young transgender student and he according to Vogelmann’s and O’Connor’s Neola, according to Burkhardt, gets input s is the timequickly for that methetochild push able to use administrative the restroom identify with and at “realized needspolicy support when response,i’mconsider creating for its ipolicy recommendations fromeveryone “federal in every way. guidelines addressing them instead. agencies, state agencies, the state legislature, bomb threat at school. it was a normal day until we heard that we had a bomb threat. i texted my “Especially because most kids that age, “That work is not complete,” Vogelmann and requests from school districts about issues was a[who threat the from] bathroom attowest. her immediate my momThetocompany ask has if i was are in theindistrict kindergarten and O’Connor wrote. “Weresponse will continuewas that to needtext to be addressed.” twelfth grade, spend 70 percent of their time in our current practice of examining policies not created a policy for transgender students thoughtschool,” something had happened in the bathroom, so my 80 year old grandmothers sat at home worrying Murray told Spark. “We need to make and guidelines to ensure that all students are because there’s no clear protocol for what it a safe environmentwe for them.” a safe and learning i districts at is why i believe need policy now.alwaysim provided not asking forsecure anything dont should already have, i’m just asking legally do for them. One such transgender student is Lakota environment.” “If and when there’s a specific direction doing second the grader rightRyan thing and everyone isn’t that acceptable at laktoa. it may not Smith*. His mother Sarah should A policy,know accordingwhat to Murray,is is “aor statement is clear, we would consider providing that,” asked not and to be white named because coming Board of Education voted Burkhardt said. that “But right now it’s not black say i o have Smith* it in black thatshei can usefrom thethebathroom i without worrying someone might “doesn’t get to choose that he becomes the on in public session,” while administrative and white. It’s not very clear what in every case passions theater and music and guidelines when i are go created to college i want to isend up beingaccommodation.” an exotic veterinarian, poster are child for [transgender students’ rights].” and changed by the an appropriate advocating for thanking a policy superintendent any public process. told here that thetodistrict may me, i i would Sarah like has to been start off by all thesewithout people wearing whiteAfter whobeing came support “through a lot of conversations.” While she’s According to Lakota Media & Community consider making administrative guidelines f lakota giving me the support toExecutive be safe andLauren successful. the ofpast three not west attended for any board meetings, she gave Relations Director Boettcher, instead a policy, Lindayears said that have she stillbeen a a presentation to the staff at Ryan’s school “the biggest difference is that guidelines do not wants the district to protect transgender lakotaabout theres a very real possibility that i may not be here. my mom has spoken to you several times transgender students and has spoken to require board approval.” All administrative students with a policy because she believes that s on whether this is the for meguidelines, to push policy when and i’mMurray, able to use the identify individual board members abouttime the subject. according to Boettcher “a guideline can berestroom changed at theiwhim of the with “Policy needs to be done to protect the connect to existing policies. superintendent.” She’sthat especially ago when we had a bomb threat at school. it was a normal day until we heard weconcerned had a bomb children,” Sarah said. “They have the right to “When an administrative guideline because the district will be selecting a new saw was that a segregated, threat inaddresses the bathroom at ofwest. was to text my learn, they havethere the right was to not be a specific group students,her it’s immediate superintendentresponse in March. and they have the right to use the restroom.” because the policy itself is dictating that we lize my grandmother thought something had happened in the bathroom, so my 80 year old grandmothers According to Sarah, Ryan is just like any do that,” Boettcher said. “So guidelines are othertrue kid. He plays on a boys’ really we the interpretation the policy, g as my self. that isbaseball why team. i believe need policyof now. im and not asking for anything i dont already He gets invited to sleepovers, trampoline it’s what directs the day-to-day operation and know parties thatandlakota isbirthdays. doing the rightimplementation thing andofeveryone Pump It Up that policy.” should know what is or isn’t acceptable at Ryan’s elementary school has helped; he’s Administrative guidelines for transgender ome peace of mind to have it in black and white that i can use the bathroom i without worrying that “treated like any other student” and uses the students could be connected to Lakota’s Gender: Social roles connected t miamiboys’ university. mylikepassions are theater and music when i gowith towomen collegeandi want to end up being restroom. Sarah, the Nixes, wants nondiscrimination and and anti-harassment men, including a policy to ensure that he doesn’t lose the topolicies, Vogelmann’s pen to be transgender. i would like startaccording off by tothanking alland these people wearing white who came appearance and behavior. school’s support. O’Connor’s response. Both policies include Gender One’s internal o thank the staff of lakota west fortransgender giving me theamong support to they be safe andIdentity: successful. the past three students the classes sense of their own gender. Lakota’ s Current Practices protect but don’t list specific accommodations riends At and staff at lakota theres a very real possibility that i may not be here. my mom has spoken the Oct. 25 school board meeting, however, that must be made for them. Sex: Assigned at birth, based ve had Lakota family discussions on whether this timewereformodified me to topush policy when i’m able like to use the Board of Education President Lynda The is two the policies on biological characteristics O’Connor told Linda Nix that no policy would include transgender students in August 2015, chromosomes and anatomy. answer a few weeks ago when we had a bomb threat at school. it was a normal day until we heard be created. Lakota Acting Superintendent Robb according to Boettcher, when Neola, the Dysphoria: Distress eport my grandma saw there a threat in the bathroom at west. her immediate response Vogelmann told Spark in awas writtenthat response legalwas organization that recommends policies Gender that “we certainly appreciate the strong to Lakota’s school board and other districts, resulting from one’s gender ing andadvocacy didn’twe realize my grandmother thought something had happened in the bathroom, so my identity being different from their80 year heard from some of our parents, suggested that they be added. assigned sex. now. im not asking for hope they understand gravity with self.“There were is numerous where federal sociatedandwith mecanliving asthemy true that why cases i believe we need policy which our board approaches these decisions.” enforcement agencies were treating transgender Transgender: Describes someone xpect. Everyone should thata lakota is doing thing everyone should know what is The school board decidedknow to not adopt as a protected class,” the Neolaright Associate for and whose gender identity doesn’t policy give specificme to transgender studentsof Lakota Burkhardt Spark. “We felt white that i can use the bathroom i le, but new it will some peace mind Norm to have it told in black and match their assigned sex. “after extensive consideration, training, and it was best for our clients to be in a position to west research and ain student at miami university. my passions are theater and musicDescribes and when i go to college Cisgender: someone coordination with legal counsel,” add that to their protected class language.” whose assigned sex doesn’t matchpeople O’Connor and Vogelmann told Spark in According to Boettcher, Lakota “relies on ats cool. but i also happen to be transgender. i would like to start off by thanking all these another written response. Neola totally, in addition to our legal counsel, their gender identity. ay, and i “For would also that likehastothethank staff lakotawithwest me the support to be safe and any decision potentialthe to tell us whatof is compliant the law.”for giving Transition: Medical and/or social to expose the my schoolfamily district to liabilities, we “The last that a school district t support from friends and staff atthing lakota theres a will veryprocess real possibility that i may not be where a transgender always involve our legal counsel,” Vogelmann do is go off the beaten path and create their person goes from expressing at you wrote. hear“When fromit comes me. towe’ve had our family whether this is the time for me to push policy policymaking, own discussions policy or modify on a policy that’s been board’s number one priority is always to do handed down to us from our legal counsel themselves as their assigned sex der andwhat pronouns. i got my answer a few weeks ago when we had a bomb threat at school. it was a is in the best interest of all students and and our policy provider [Neola],” Boettcher to expressing themselves as their he heard about it. thethenews saw that theregender was identity. a threat in the bathroom at without compromising district’sreport financial my said.grandma “Because at that pointwas we’re unprotected, well-being, especially with regard to the law.” and our responsibility is to protect the school sources, to do with me. mom was working and didn’t realize my grandmother thought something had happened mply because of the dangersEquality associated with bymea group living asdedicated my true self. that is why i believe we need Ohio was founded of 65 Chaz Bono Formerly known LGBT activists and allies from all corners of Ohio after voters San Francisco’s hat everyonefirstknows what passes to expect. everyone should know that lakota is doing theofright thing and as Chastity, the child Cher a constitutional amendment prohibiting same sex Trans and Sonny Bono came out marriage and civil unions. Now, Equality Ohio’s work is broad took t safety forMarch transgender people, but it will give me some peace of mindastoa transgender have it man, in black and white Chaz. and focuses on multiple aspects of LGBTQ equality in Ohio. place. alex nix, i’m a senior at lakota west and a student at miami university. my passions are theater and irds and turtles thats cool. but i also happen to be transgender. 2004 and stuff 2005 2009 i would like to start off


Hi my name is alex nix, i’m a senior at lakota west and a student at miami university. my passions a you know like birds and turtles and stuff thats cool. but i also happen to be transgender. i would lik will board continue for to advocate,” a transition plan,and “depending on where they are least 20 other in the wes to thank“I the listeningLinda to me today, i would also like aretoat thank thetransgender staff students of lakota told Spark. “I’m not sure how just yet. I will in the transition and what accommodations district. Murray believes that “in every instance, journey for see mewhat andthemy family and without support and at lakota theres a probably superintendent sets up they might be seeking.”from my family friends the child has beenstaff accommodated.” and go from “If somebody just wants to come and talk “I’m so proud of our teachers the way and policy andthere.” i felt it was time that you hear from me. we’ve had family discussions onandwhether thi According to Ohio School Boards to me about what they’re experiencing, then a they take care of our kids, all of our transgender schoolAssociation respects myDirector nameof and genderplan andmaypronouns. i got mysaid.answer a few when things we had a (OSBA) Legal Services not be necessary,” Rabold “But kids.” Murrayweeks said. “Theyago do wonderful Sara Clark, “a handful of districts have passed if it’s something that’s going to require use of for them, they’re nurturing them, and they’re mom sopolicies she that wouldn’t worry if she heard about it. the news report my grandma saw was that there directly address transgender a restroom or a locker room or if it impacts caring for them.” ok andstudents.” to ask it have hadworked anything to doothers with me. tomom grandmother t Butif most with students we need have a was plan to working discuss how andHedidn’t thinks realize that othermy Lakota officials “on a case-by-case basis.” that’s going to be achieved.” are trying to keep their efforts to support about meLakota andhasmy safety simply becauseEastofPrincipal the Suzanna dangers associated with me living as my true self. tha utilized this approach; O’Connor Davis said that some transgender students “kind of on the down that it’s in a policy so“should thatanyeveryone knowsstudents whatthetoschool expect. everyone should lakota is and Vogelmann wrote that student transgender has worked low,” and are thereforeknow unwillingthat to go through feel they need an accommodation due to with “don’t want anything to change, they just the public process of creating a policy. prevent all concerns about safety for transgender people, but it will give me some peace of mind to privacy concerns, including restroom use, we want a counselor or an administrator to know” “Lakota’s been doing the right thing for a will continueHitomy follow our practice of working whileaothers have “had very open and honest Murray at “But theyuniversity. aren’t willing dont belong. name is alex nix, i’m senior at alakota west andlong a time,” student my closely and in collaboration with the student dialogue and they’ve made decisions about to tell people or the parents of transgender because knowor like birds and thats cool. i also beother transgender. and you their parents guardians to doand what turtles is pronouns that stuff we’ve supported by lettingbutkids. Parents happen have to learnto from folks and in the best interest of all students, in regard to teachers know.” through the grapevine.” would like to thank the board for listening to me today, and i would also like to thank the staff of both safety and privacy.” Davis doesn’t think that supporting very difficult journey for were me added and tomy transgender family and without support my family friends and staff at l When transgender students students is “drastically differentfrom Controversy over Bathrooms protected classes Lakota’s and policiesi last [helping] other groups.” Murray that other officials are about the education andinpolicy felt from it was time that youInstead, hearshefrom me.believes we’ve haddistrict family discussions August, the district’s legal counsel provided said, accommodating them is “one piece of an reluctant to publicly discuss accommodating and everyone school respects name andfocus.” gender and pronouns. i got my answer a few weeks a advice aboutathow to accommodate them.myoverall student transgender students in part because they fear The guidance was shared with all principals “As society evolves, schools evolve,” Davis “backlash to the board.” Many oppose allowing threat.and icounselors textedandmyhasmom so she wouldn’t worry if she heard about it. the news report my grandma since been updated to said. “We’ve dealt with students as they’ve transgender people to use the bathroom that mom toreflect ask i was toMurray ask ifbrought it hadit toanything toWe’ve do with momtheir was working and didn’t howifthe situationok hasand changed. our attention. had veryme.matches gender identity as opposed to the real said that he tried to codify this guidance with meaningful and personal dialogue with them sex they were assigned at birth. sat atthehome worrying about me and my safety simply because of the Of dangers associated with me living policies he drafted. to make sure that we’re all on the same page. 116 East students surveyed, 28 percent have, i’mAccording just asking that Matt it’sRabold, in a policy that everyone what expect. everyone should to East counselor We’re all so working toward what’s best knows for that said they to would not support such a policy counselors and administrators follow this student and what that student wants.” for Lakota. According to a 2016 Quinnipiac laktoa. it may not prevent all concerns about safety for transgender people, but it will give me so advice when helping transgender students. The Sarah and Murray estimate based off their University Swing State Poll, 48 percent of Ohio counselor may say work with the student to develop personal families there voters transgender people should not be someone might i dont belong. Hi my nameinteractions is alexwithnix, i’mthat a senior at said lakota west and a student at allowed to use the bathroom that matches their an exotic veterinarian, because you know like birds and turtles andgender stuff thats cool. but i also happ identity. Those opposedand to allowing transgender here to support me, i would like to thank the board for listening to me today, i would also like to people to use the bathroom that matches their years have been a very difficult journey for me and my family and gender without from family fr identitysupport often argue that doingmy so would put cisgender women at risk. Republican Ohio to you several times about education and policy and i felt it was time that you hear from me. we’v Representative John Becker, for example, wrote restroom i identify with and everyone at school respects my name and andTarget’s pronouns. i got my a on his gender website that policy allowing people toabout use the it. facilities that we had a bomb threat. i texted my mom so she wouldn’t worrytransgender if she heard thethatnews re correspond with their gender identity “serves was to text my mom to ask if i was ok and to ask if it had anything do with momto pose wasas worki as an to invitation to sexualme. predators transgender persons in order to gain easy access old grandmothers sat at home worrying about me and my safety simply because of the dangers ass to a smorgasbord of women and young girls.” anything i dont already have, i’m just asking that it’s in a policy so “It that everyone knows started when Target became verywhat public to ex with their policy of open door bathrooms and or isn’t acceptable at laktoa. it may not prevent all concerns about safety for transgender peopl dressing rooms,” Becker told Spark. “That as a public issue because without worrying that someone might say i dont belong. Hi my nameconcerned is alexmenix, i’m asafety senior at lakota that would make it an easy place for sexual i want to end up being an exotic veterinarian, because you know like birdsto find andvictims.” turtles and stuff that predators LGBT legal advocacy organization Equality wearing white who came here to support me, i would like to thank the board for listening to me toda Ohio Communications Director Grant successful. the past three years have been a very difficult journeyStancliff, for mehowever, and my without said family that “the and kind of West senior Alex Nix and his mother behavior people are afraid of, like somebody here.Linda myNix, mom to you whohas havespoken both spoken to several times about education and policy and i felt it was time tha getting assaulted in a bathroom, is already the Lakota school board about making when i’m able to use the restroom i identify with and everyone at illegal,” school name and gend and respects that transgendermy people themselves a policy for transgender students. are often the victims of harassment. normal day until we heard that we had a bomb threat. i texted my mom so she wouldn’t worry if sh “A lot of times transgender people are the west. her immediate response was to text my mom to ask if i was ok and to ask if it had anything t in the First bathroom, so my 80 year oldcomes grandmothers sat at home worrying about me and my safety sim Openly Transgender Kye Allums out as a Judge Phyllis R. Frye was Girl Scouts of The Transgender Health Clinic at transgender man. He is believed policy sworn asima judge not inasking anything i dont alreadyThe have, i’m just asking that it’s in a policy so th Houston, for Colorado welcomed Cincinnati Children’s is created and to be the first transgender becoming the nation’s first all children who provides an accepting and about person to compete publicly as everyone should know whata Division is or l isn’t acceptable atidentify laktoa. it may not prevent allatmosphere concerns openly transgender judge. as girls. services for patients 5-24 years old basketball player. that i can use the bathroom i without worrying that someone might say i dont belong. Hi my name is a music2010 and when i go to college i want to end up being 2012 an exotic veterinarian, because you know like bi 2013

are theater and music and when i go to college i want to end up being an exotic veterinarian, because ke to start off by thanking all these people wearing white who came here to support me, i would like ones whome experience violence, especially st for giving the support to be insafe and successful. the past three years have been a very difficult places like bathrooms,” Stancliff said. “A lot a very ofreal possibility that i may not be here. my mom has spoken to you several times about education transgender people have to plan out their whole day around what to bathrooms know when i’m able to use the restroom i identify with and everyone at s is the time for me pushthey policy are safe, like a family bathroom or a single bomb seater threat at school. it was a normal day until we heard that we had a bomb threat. i texted my that locks.” Before Alex came bathroom out, Linda would was ahavethreat in the at west. her immediate response was to text my mom to ask if i was wanted transgender people to use the thoughtbathroom something hadtheir happened the bathroom, so my 80 year old grandmothers sat at home worrying that matches assigned sex,inbut she said that “when your son comes and tells at is why i believe we need policy now. im not asking for anything i dont already have, i’m just asking you he’s transgender, you’ve got to change how doing you thethink.” right thing and everyone should know what is or isn’t acceptable at laktoa. it may not “Three years ago I thought that I wouldn’t o have want it ina black and white that i can use the bathroom i without worrying that someone might say i boy [who identifies as a girl] in the bathroom my daughter, and it’s and all when i go to college i want to end up being an exotic veterinarian, passions arewith theater and music changed,” Linda said. “I understand now that i would like start by thanking all these people wearing white who came here to support me, i it’s not a boyto going into theoff bathroom, it’s a girl going into the bathroom.” f lakota west for giving me the support to be safe and successful. the past three years have been a She hopes that more people will also lakotabecome theres a very possibility that i may not be here. my mom has spoken to you several times educated about real transgender children “so that theythis can understand that it’sfor not ame to push policy when i’m able to use the restroom i identify with s on whether is the time freak, it’s not a kid who is confused, it’s a kid ago when bomb threat who we is justhad in the a wrong flipping body andat it school. it was a normal day until we heard that we had a bomb sucks to be that way.” saw wasShe,that there was a threat in the bathroom at west. her immediate response was to text my Sarah and Murray all said that they lize mywould grandmother thought something had happened in the bathroom, so my 80 year old grandmothers want to accommodate those who may feel uncomfortable using the same bathroom g as my true self. that is why i believe we need policy now. im not asking for anything i dont already as a transgender person. Linda invited other know community that lakota doing the right thing and everyone should know what is or isn’t acceptable at members is to join the conversation so that “we can figure out how to do things ome peace of mind to have it in black and white that i can use the bathroom i without worrying that better, because I don’t want to shove things in faces.” t miamipeople’s university. my passions are theater and music and when i go to college i want to end up being “There’s a judge in Ohio who said that all “The community reaction was mixed,” Troy according to Sarah, “before any of this made pen to be i would like start offEricbyHerman thanking allin an these people who came overtransgender. the country schools have been making this toSuperintendent told Spark national news. Itwearing was easier thenwhite because people without losingof control of any situation,” “Manyme werethe confused about the made decisions based on this sweet child, three o thankworkthe staff lakota west foremail. giving support toissue. be safe and successful. thelittlepast Murray said. “If a child is not comfortable going It is not an everyday topic for most people. It not based on what political retribution will riends into andthestaff atforlakota very very real possibility not has spoken bathroom fear of a theres transgendera became personal for many.” that i may there be ifbe I dohere. the rightmy thingmom by this child.” child coming in, we’ll make sure that they have Over 20 people, many of whom were “The polarization started,” according to ve had family discussions on whether this is the time for me to push policy when i’m able to use the the bathroom ready for them.” angry about the issue, came to the first Troy Murray, with a letter the Departments of answer Though a fewherweeks agoevery when weto had aboard bomb threat atannouncement school. itEducation was aandnormal until goal is for student school meeting after the Justice sentday to schools thiswe May. heard be comfortable the was bathroom, Sarah was was made. a Alliance Defending Freedom, an It asserted that Titleher IX protections “encompass eport my grandmausing saw that there threat in the bathroom at west. immediate response believes that “policy has to be what is in the “alliance-building, non-profit legal organization discrimination based on a student’s gender ing andbestdidn’t myingrandmother hadto happened inincluding the bathroom, myon80a year interest realize of all students a manner that thatthought advocates forsomething the right of people freely identity, discrimination so based is fair and transparent to all” and shouldn’t live out their faith,” sent Troy officials a letter student’s transgender status.” sociatedbe with me living as my true self. that is why i believe we need policy now. im not asking for stalled because of potential backlash from urging them to reverse their decision. Title IX prohibits discrimination based on xpect. angry everyone is doing right thing and should know that what is communityshould members. know that lakota The district didn’t the change its position, sex in everyone educational programs and activities “When you’re talking about a civil rights however, and Herman, who gave a receive federal funding. According to The Ohio le, but issue, it will give me some peace of mind to have it in black and white that i can use the bathroom i in the past that has always happened,” presentation on the subject at the Ohio School State University law professor Ruth Colker, it doesn’t mean it [would have Boards my Association Capital are Conference this and “has always required to offer west Sarah andsaid. a “It student atthat miami university. passions theater music anddistricts when i godifferent to college been] right in the 1960’s to continue to segregate November, said that there are now no issues bathrooms to people of different sexes, but ats cool. i also happen to be transgender. i would to startuntiloff by had thanking these black but and white students. Social change comes with transgender students in thelike district. recently not definedall how you decidepeople and withalso pain, but eventually people getthe staff of lakota west for giving what gender someone has.” ay, andslowly i would like to thank me the support to be safe and on the right side of history.” National and State Laws “As we started to have disagreements t supportTroyfrom family friends staff at lakota theres a veryabout real that who i may City my Schools, a district about and 30 Attention has been focused on transgender howpossibility to respond to students werenot be minutes north of Dayton, experienced such students only recently. Clark began receiving requesting to use particular bathrooms, the policy at you hear from me. we’ve had family discussions on whether this is the time for me to push a backlash after it told families in 2015 that questions from districts about accommodating Department of Education [and the Department der andit had pronouns. i gotallowing my answer fewtwoweeks ago when wewasn’t hada aof bomb school. it was a created guidelines transgender a them years ago; before then “it Justice] threat issued whatat is called ‘guidance,’” students to use the bathroom that matches topic that was on many people’s radar.” Colker said. “And in that guidance it said that he heard about it. the news report my Ryan grandma saw was that there was a threat in the bathroom at their gender identity. transitioned in the spring of 2015, school districts should allow students to use the to do with me. mom was working and didn’t realize my grandmother thought something had happened mply because of the dangers associated with livingin “Orange as myIs the true thatJenner, is why i believe we need formerly Bruce, Laverne Cox,me an actress Newself. Caitlyn The Department of Health and Human an Olympic gold medalist, author, Black,” became the first transgender person hat everyone knows whatpolicy to appear everyone should know that lakota is doing the right thing and Services reversed a Medicare actor and reality television star, on the cover of Time magazine. In in place since 1981. Medicare must discussed her transition to a July, she became the first transgender person t safety for transgender people, buttoitbewill give me some peace of mindwoman to have it in black and white now cover sex reassignment surgery. in an article in Vanity Fair. nominated for an Emmy. alex nix, i’m a senior at lakota west and a student at miami university. my passions are theater and irds and i also happen to be transgender. i would like to start off 2014turtles and stuff thats cool. but sources equalityohio, cincinnatichildrens, nytimes 2015

“Right now it is not black and white. It’s not very clear what in every case is an appropriate accommodation.”

– Norm Burkhardt, Neola Associate for Lakota

Hi my name is alex nix, i’m a senior at lakota west and a student at miami university. my passions are theater and music and when i go to college i want to end up being an exotic veterinarian, because you know like birds and turtles and stuff thats cool. but i also happen to beChildren’s transgender. like Cincinnati Transgenderi would Health Clinic Social Worker Sarah Painer said. “A lot to start off by thanking all these people wearing white who came here to support me, i would like to of my patients might be misgendered by other thank the board for listening to me today, and i would also like topeople, thank of lakota west be it inthe publicstaff or in school.” The external transgender for giving me the support to be safe and successful. the past three years havechallenges been a very difficult students face often contribute to the internal journey for me and my family and without support from my family friends and at lakota theres a discomfort withstaff their body and biological sex many of them feel. According to Painer, very real possibility that i may not be here. my mom has spoken to “[gender you several times about education dysphoria] can result in depression and and policy and i felt it was time that you hear from me. we’ve had anxiety, familywhich discussions onnormal whether would be a really thing this for a lot of our patients to be experiencing.” is the time for me to push policy when i’m able to use the restroomGender i identify with and everyone at dysphoria’s significant effects on a mentalweeks health can,ago according to Sarah, school respects my name and gender and pronouns. i got my answerchild’s a few when we had a “rob a child of their childhood.” bomb threat at school. it was a normal day until we heard that we“Everything had a bomb threat. my that regular kids idotexted and dysphoriasaw robs children that there mom so she wouldn’t worry if she heard about it. the news reportenjoy, mygender grandma was ofthat experience,” Sarah said. “Imagine waking up was a threat in the bathroom at west. her immediate response was text my mom to with askwhat if i was and to having a complete disconnect you see in the mirror and having people look ok and to ask if it had anything to do with me. mom was working and didn’t realize my grandmother at you and have a confused look on their face thought something had happened in the bathroom, so my 80 year old grandmothers sat atwho home worrying because they don’t understand you are.” When he was in kindergarten and hadn’t about me and my safety simply because of the dangers associated with me living as my true self. that socially transitioned but “expressed more is why i believe we need policy now. im not asking for anything i dontmasculine,” alreadyRyanhave, i’m just asking was forced out of the girls’ that bathroom. He had anxiety, didn’t want to go to it’s in a policy so that everyone knows what to expect. everyone school should know that lakota is doing or raise his hand in class, and ultimately the right thing and everyone should know what is or isn’t acceptable laktoa. it may wasn’t at learning or progressing like hisnot peers. prevent Ryan then began using the gender neutral all concerns about safety for transgender people, but it will give me some peace of mind to have it in family restroom on the other side of school, but “that became might a problem as well” whenbelong. black and white that i can use the bathroom i without worrying that someone say i dont bathroom that corresponds to the gender with Currently, however, “it looks like only the other children started to question why he was Hi my name isself-identify.” alex nix, i’m a senior atDemocrats lakota[thewest and miami passions are which they minority partyain student Ohio’s state atgoing to theuniversity. bathroom no one my else used. So the October, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed legislature] support it,” so been an kindergartener started not using the because bathroom theater Inand music and when i go to college i want toadvocates end uphavebeing exotic veterinarian, you to rule on the issue in the case Gloucester working to pass similar nondiscrimination at school at all. know County like birds and v.turtles andThestuff cool. but i also happen“That to be i would like School Board Gavin Grimm. laws thats at the local level. According to Stancliff, was transgender. a very sad time for us,” Sarah justices’ according to “will people 15 Ohio wearing cities have laws that protect heartbreaking a mom to see yourlike to to start offdecision, by thanking allClark, these white whopeople came said. here“It’sto supportforme, i would have national implications and will more from discrimination based on gender identity, kid, a child who’s been potty trained since they thank clearly the define board totheme including today,Cincinnati, and i Cleveland would and also like towerethank staff of get lakota the for rights listening of students and Columbus. two and the never had accidents, off the west responsibilities of school districts in this area.” Most people have focused on the way school bus and start running home as as for giving me the support to be safe and successful. the past three years have been a veryfastdifficult Until the Supreme Court rules on the case, these nondiscrimination laws would affect they can with urine streaming down their leg.” journey for mepeople’s andrights my are family without support from people my family and staff a transgender still “an and evolving what restrooms transgender can use friends Though Ryan’s doing at welllakota now that theres he’s area of the law,” according to Colker. She because, according to Colker, “when anyone transitioned and is supported by his family very real possibility that i may not be here. my mom has spoken to you several times about education expects that “within ten years we’ll see federal goes outside the home, they typically will find and school, the psychological symptoms of and policy andthati protects felt itpeople wasfrom timegender thatthemselves you hear from me. we’ve had gender familydysphoria discussions whether legislation at some point having to use the can have a on profound effect this identity discrimination.” Until then, however, restroom.” But many transgender people face on a person’s mental health. According to a is the people timeonfor me to push policy when i’m able to use the restroom i identify with and everyone at both sides of the issue are focusing “enormous discrimination in pretty much 2014 report by the Williams Institute and the state and local my governments. of their lives.” Suicide Prevention, schoolonrespects name and genderevery andaspect pronouns. i got my answerAmerican a fewFoundation weeksforago when we had a Becker had worked on drafting a bill 41 percent of transgender people have bomb threat was“private a normal dayare until had suicide, a bomb i texted my that, as he at told school. Spark, wouldit require “The Stakes Too High”we heard that we attempted almostthreat. 10 times higher than businesses that have an open door bathroom Many transgender students experience the rate for all U.S. citizens. mom so she wouldn’t worry if she heard about it. the news report my grandma saw was that there to simply state that with a placard of discrimination in the form of bullying or Linda knows how difficult school can be for was apolicy threat thedidbathroom heratimmediate response to text myandmom tosheask if i was some sort.” in Becker not introduceatthiswest. harassment school. According to the Gay,was transgender students said that doesn’t support from both the Lesbian Straight Education Network’s want parent to have to have added burdens ok andbilltobecause askitiflacked it had anything to do withandme. mom was working and“any didn’t realize my grandmother transgender and conservative communities. He (GLSEN) 2013 National School Climate if I can make a difference.” She wants Lakota thought hadother happened bathroom, so 38 mypercent 80 year old grandmothers at“the home also something said, however, that Republicansin arethe Survey, approximately of LGBT to ensure their rights sat because stakesworrying are planning to create another bill addressing the students reported feeling unsafe at school too high, much too high” for the district to take about issue me next andyear,mythough safety simply because of the dangers associated with me living as my true self. that he declined to say what because of their gender expression, and about any risks with supporting them. is whyit would i believe we need policy now. 33impercent notsaid asking fornegative anything already i’mTransgender just asking provide for. they heard remarks i dont “There’s over 500 have, kids in the Pro-LGBT groups in Ohio have been about transgender people at school. Clinic in Children’s,” Linda said. “I see these that it’s in a policy so that everyone Inknows what to expect. everyone should know that lakota is supporting House Bill 389, which would addition to struggling with bullying, many little four and six year old kids and I think ‘oh doing the right thing and is or isn’t atgrow laktoa. it may not prohibit discrimination based everyone on gender should transgenderknow children what may be misgendered and acceptable my gosh, if they can up being accepted identity and sexual orientation. Without such a find it difficult to get others to call them by they’re not going to have the anxiety, they’re prevent all concerns about safety for transgender people, but it will give me some peace of mind to law in place, according to Stancliff, “in most their preferred name and pronouns. not going to have the depression, they’re not Ohio, LGBTQ people can be legally “One the of thebathroom main challenges would be worrying going to have the suicidesomeone attempts. Anymight parent say i have itpartsin ofblack and white that i can use i without that discriminated against.” passing and feeling affirmed in their gender,” wants that.’” dont belong. Hi my name is alex nix, i’m a senior at lakota west and a student at miami university. my passions are theater and music andNovember when i go2016 to college i want to end up being an exotic veterinarian, 14

“Imagine waking up and having a complete disconnect with what you see in the mirror.” – Sarah Smith*, Lakota parent

student fees | news

LAKOTA SAVINGS LEAD TO STUDENT FEE REDUCTIONS Lakota has greatly reduced participation fees for high school and junior high students participating in sports, marching band and color guard. story lina kaval | infographic cassia chryssovergis | art mckenna lewis

Sports Fees By School Compared to six other GMC schools, the sports fees that Lakota requires athletes to pay is the highest.

7. 5


ta pays o k La at h % w s 37.5 y f a o P % s 50% y a P .5% s 62 y Pa % 62.5 s ay 90 % s y

Princeton-$75 Sycamore-$75 Colerain-$100 Fairfield-$125 Oak Hills-$150 Mason-$180 Lakota-$200



ue to Lakota’s new cost-saving measures, several fees have been reduced this year, including activity fees, which have been cut in half. This benefits students like Lakota East Marching Thunderhawks junior Ryan Ladle, who is “really excited [about the reduction in fees] because it means that more people will be able to join marching band.” The reduction in fees from $400 to $200 was applied to all high school sports, including marching band and color guard, starting with the 2016-17 winter season. Participation fees at the junior high level were also reduced, from $300 to $150. The reduction also includes reducing the family cap, which sets a maximum amount that families must pay in a school year, from $800 to $400 per student. The family cap ensures that students do not pay above the specified amount when participating in multiple activities. According to Lakota treasurer Jenni Logan, the district “always favors operational savings that can translate to sustaining and sometimes expanding services that directly benefit students.” Through financial decisions made by Logan, the district has been saving money through operational savings, such as staff wages, staff benefit costs, debt refinancing and being energy efficient. Her efforts in saving money have resulted in a balanced budget, meaning that the district’s annual revenue is at or above its annual expenditures. These all came into consideration during the decision to cut participation fees. According to a news release by the district, part of this decision was based on a comparative review of athletic fees for all other schools in the Greater Miami Conference (GMC). Most schools in the GMC require students to pay about $100 per athlete per sport, with Sycamore and Princeton students paying the lowest amount of $75 and Oak Hills students paying $150 per athlete per sport, according to the schools’ athletic handbooks. East Principal Suzanna Davis is thrilled about the reduction in athletic fees, which she

Pa ys 3

e u e o t t a n s t a y e s r g t t g t n . e u e o t t a n s t a y e s r g t g s t o i y ,

sources,, newathletics.,,,

December 2016 15

news | student fees

We are very excited—the hope is that there will be increased participation for students and families and [that we will] remove some of that financial burden. – Suzanna Davis, East Principal

had presented concerns about when the fees were higher. “We are very mindful that our athletic participation fees are the highest in the GMC and we definitely realize the impact it has on students and families,” Davis said. “We talk all the time about the research and what the research says on students being involved and active. We are very excited—the hope is that there will be increased participation for students and families and [that we will] remove some of that financial burden.” East Boy’s Basketball coach Clint Adkins said that while the basketball program has not seen a significant rise in members, because they have always tried to help students play, the reduction has many positive effects on athletics. “Obviously the reduction from $400 to $200 is great for families and it’s great for

Lakota athletics,” Adkins said. “I definitely think we’ll see a ripple effect in the junior high levels, kids may be more likely to play another sport as opposed to playing only one sport, in the next couple of years.” The reduction in participation fees is “the best thing we have had happen in the athletic department in a long time,” according to East Boy’s Wrestling Coach Jim Lehman. Lehman said that there is a need to be competitive with other GMC schools and to open up opportunities for all students. “Wrestling is a very unique sport and we will always tend to draw the majority of our kids from our youth and junior high programs,” Lehman said. “But the drop in fees will certainly increase the number of kids that may be willing to come out for the sport for the first time in high school. Many of the greatest wrestlers in history started in high school.” According to a survey conducted by the Spark, 44 percent of 111 students said that they pay the participation fee. Out of 103 students who do not participate in a sport, 38 percent said that the reduction in fees would affect their participation in a sport. However, because this reduction affects sports starting in this year’s winter season, it does not affect sports from this fall season. This means that fall sport athletes have paid the original $400 participation fee. But because

16 December 2016

fall athletes have met the new family cap, Logan hopes this will “encourage students who participated in a fall activity to take the opportunity to try something new later this year, free of charge.” “We have been trying to get more members but fees are usually a big thing stopping people [from joining marching band],” Ladle said. “[The reduction] is nicer for a lot of people because every few years we go on a really big trip, like my freshman year they went to California, so that is an extra amount of money so more people will be able to go on those trips as well.” While Lakota East Marching Thunderhawks Director Rob Tanis cannot project new member turnout for the next fall season, he said “it’s fantastic anytime families have reduced out of pocket expenses.” This year is Ladle’s second year in the school’s marching band, and she also played soccer for the school her freshman year. The reduction will be in effect when she participates in marching band next year, but she will not have the benefit of the reduction this year. “I wish it would have happened sooner, because it will only affect me for one more year,” Ladle said. “It’s added to the family cap for what you pay, [but] I don’t play any other sport for the rest of the seasons.” According to Logan, until the district sees the complete financial impact of all fee reductions, they cannot commit to any potential refunds to fall athletes and marching band students. “As we begin to analyze potential reductions for other student opportunity fees, we still don’t know how this will impact fall 2016 athletes or marching band students,” Logan said. “With variables like scholarships and family cap, there’s no such thing as a clean-cut refund for every student.” Ryan’s mother Lisa Ladle, who has to pay for Ryan’s participation fees, was concerned with how the fee reduction would affect them. While Lisa is glad that Lakota is bringing down the participation fees, she feels that it is unfair that students will be paying different amounts in the same school year. “I think [the district] should think really hard [about the possibility of giving partial refunds for fall sports],” Lisa said. “It’s not just the participation fee [marching band students] pay, there are other fees like ‘buy this band t-shirt’ or having to pay for trips.” Although the reduction may not affect them this past fall season, Lisa says that “marching band is a very worthwhile program.” Ryan agreed, saying she was looking forward to next year’s season of marching band. “I am just really excited because this a great new direction we are heading,” Ryan said. “[Before], you would get really excited for the season and then you see the price total and you’re like ‘oh goodness.’”


Come relax while browsing for a great read or bring in used books to sell! 7045 Yankee Road Liberty Township, OH 45044 ​(513) 644 - 2146





SAT. JAN. 14 12 PM TO 4 PM LAKOTA EAST HIGH SCHOOL CALLING ALL DODGEBALL FANATICS OR ROOKIES — DON’T MISS OUT! REGISTER TODAY!! MAXIMUM OF 24 TEAMS!! TEAM RULES: max 10 players, must be co-ed, can be mixed ages, $250t minimum funds raised PRIZES: Tournament Winner, Best Uniforms, Most Money Raised; everyone receives a T-shirt Facebook: The Faith Alliance of West Chester Liberty Township Instagram: thefaithalliancewestchester Twitter: @Alliance_Faith Register and download rules at More info: Jenny Burns ( or Jay Shephard (



dart | feature

Grace’s Cupcake These are the ingredients Grace uses to make her walnut carrot cupcake with cream cheese icing.


4 oz. cream cheese 1/2t pure vanilla extract

2 1/3c powder sugar 1/4c butter

Ambition and creativity are two words that spring to mind when thinking of Grace Silverberg and her amazing cupcake and cake creations.

2/3c vegtable oil

1t baking soda 2 large eggs

story melanie cain | infographic taylor anderson


s she sits in the first of many meetings for Hamilton’s Historic Farmer’s Market, she has never felt so young. As the youngest of anyone there, many people could hardly believe she was the person behind the colorful and delicious cupcakes — or the stand where they were sold. Many believed her grandmother was the baker behind the stand, yet scattered across her kitchen table are the decorations and supplies needed to create an $800 profit. Lakota East sophomore Grace Silverberg’s decision to start a booth to sell her cakes and cupcakes primarily stemmed from her love of farmer’s markets, but she’s been making the treats for friends and family for about a year. Silverberg typically decorates the cakes while her best friend and Butler Tech sophomore, Leah Gutzwiller, does most of the baking. In fact, Silverberg says she really only likes decorating and will occasionally use boxed mixes for cakes if she’s on her own and isn’t selling the cakes just so she can get to the decorating part faster. “I originally only asked her to help through the farmer’s market season, because I knew it would be very busy through the summer,” says Silverberg. “She likes to do it with me, but I was the one that really likes to [do it].” The stand is run almost entirely by the two sophomores, with only a small amount of help from their parents. Silverberg’s parents fully supported her running a farmer’s market stand and stepped aside to let her have her own thing because they knew she would succeed. “We used a lot of stuff we already had in our houses for the stand,” says Gutzwiller. “They helped make sure we had supplies and helped with transport but most of the rest was left to us.”

1/2c walnuts

The biggest piece of advice Silverberg offers to others hoping to do something similar is to realize what it is they want to do and to go after it. During the seasons that the farmer’s market isn’t running, Silverberg makes cakes for her friends and family. One of the first people she’d ever made cakes for was her friend Becca Ekberg, who held a party for her little sister after she made the lead in a ballet. She knew just who to call for the cakes. “Grace actually made her own birthday cake, so I got to see how beautiful and delicious they were. I knew she could make a perfect cake for the occasion,” says Ekberg. “Also, Grace is a super awesome person, so I was happy to ask her to help me get the perfect cake for my sister.” Ekberg was incredibly happy with the result of Silverberg’s hard work and creativity, and the cakes became an instant crowd pleaser. “Everybody loved the cakes,” says Ekberg. “Knowing they were hand-made by a high school student made them even more of a hit at the party.” When Silverberg isn’t decorating cakes or running a farmer’s market stand, she excels in academics, with her favorite class being engineering. Although engineering and cake

1 1/3c grounded carrot 1/2t pure vanilla extract 1/2c sugar

2/3c unsweet applesauce 1t ground cinnamon 1 1/3c flour

source grace silverberg

decorating are very different, Silverberg likes having a wide spectrum of things to do and try. “I like experiencing new things, but it’s not that I’m good at everything I do,” says Silverberg. “I love meeting new people; all the experiences you get make new memories.” Silverberg is glad to be taking engineering and plans to take the next level class as a junior. She likes going to East because many classes offer field experience in new areas without jumping into the real world right away. She also plans to join the art club and enjoys ceramics, something she sees as the bridge between engineering and cake decorating. “All the things I like kind of fall together,” says Silverberg. “I like engineering and I like cake decorating. I might take ceramics for my next art credit so it’s cool how the things I like fall into one thing.”

December 2016 19


CRUISIN’ Despite her numerous medical challenges, Kelly Horne is dedicated to giving out smiles and happiness to everyone she encounters, especially when they are served in a coffee cup. story josie cappel | photography emma stiefel infographic charis williams


he walks down the hallway every morning with a smile on her face. She offers a fist bump and a hello to each person she passes, then a warm cup of coffee to teachers that sign up to receive it each day. Lakota East senior Kelly Horne is one of the helpers for the coffee cart that rolls through East’s hallways every day. Horne is in the special education classes Lakota offers, which are how she got involved in helping with the coffee cart. She has four main disorders: Apraxia, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Hypotonia and Epilepsy. Apraxia is Horne’s biggest challenge, according to her mother Judy Horne. “Apraxia is a neurological disorder that inhibits expressive communication,” says Judy. “The messages from the brain to the mouth are disrupted, and a person’s brain has varying levels of inability to plan and coordinate an expressive response. Kelly can make sounds that to her are the words she’d like to say but to us, unfortunately, are just sounds.”

coffee cart | feature Her special education teacher, Jeremy Hilen, has set up a program on an iPad that allows her to talk to teachers when she passes out coffee to them. “There are buttons that she can push to communicate with teachers,” says Hilen. “She can say ‘good morning!’ or ‘would you like coffee?’ The coffee cart is good for Kelly because she knows what she wants to say, she just can’t find the words to say it.” The second biggest challenge for Kelly is Sensory Processing Disorder, which causes all senses to be confused completely. Kelly tends to cover her ears a lot, but not because things are too loud. “It is more of a self-regulating effort to filter sensory input, since she cannot always determine what sense is overloaded,” says Judy. Judy explains that as people learn how to filter and “accept or respond” to stimuli in their lives through mostly subconscious efforts, Kelly has had to learn how to control some of her sensory processing through a lifetime of “training” or therapy. Still, it can get overwhelming. It affects her ability to process sound types and levels, visual stimuli, pain, taste and even whether or not she has too food much in her mouth. But this disorder doesn’t prevent Kelly from going to school events. She attends as many football and basketball games as she can. “Kelly loves sports,” says Judy. “She is usually one of the very last to leave a game!” Walking down the steps to the game, however, can be difficult because of Hypotonia, a disease that makes Kelly’s ligaments like a rubber band that keeps stretching. This has made a big physical impact on her ability to walk and move. A lifetime of physical therapy has helped build muscle to compensate. Overall, Kelly’s diagnoses fall under Cerebral Palsy, a congenital disorder of movement, muscle tone

or posture, on the autism spectrum. The signs of Kelly’s challenges were very apparent to her mother from a young age. “At five months old, when most babies are beginning to master eating, Kelly could not,” says Judy. “It was not that she didn’t know what to do; it was that her body could not do it.” Over the course of the year, the Hornes’ saw doctors and specialists. Kelly was then diagnosed and began therapy immediately. In working on the coffee cart, Kelly is in the process of learning the appropriate responses and how to communicate with the proper following actions. Kelly always likes to hold someone’s hand, or even fist bump them, because it gives her a sense of security. She picked up this habit from a camp called Camp Campbell Gard she went to when she was six that was designed to teach kids with autism how to interact with people. The coffee cart gives her the chance to work on and enhance these skills. “The coffee cart allows Kelly to meet and greet people,” says Judy. “[She gets to] be the social butterfly she loves to be.” Her social skills are utilized every day in helping with the coffee cart. Along with teachers and faculty, the students of Lakota East enjoy it too, according to East English teacher Lisa Schmaltz. “I love the coffee cart, because it gives me a chance to meet kids, like Kelly, that I normally would not get to meet,” says Schmaltz. “It also gives my students a chance to meet the students [who help run the] the coffee cart and learn their names.” Hilen is impressed by how much Kelly enjoys school. She loves coming to class, participating in the coffee cart, being a part of the recycling crew and working at Frisch’s. Each day spent working the coffee cart and interacting with other students and teachers has

Coffee Cart Route The coffee cart travels throughout East, starting in room 145, and ending in room 239. First Floor


Study Hall East Learning Center

Start 145



Second Floor






source beth mitchiner made her high school experience a memorable one. Judy says that if she didn’t have to leave, she wouldn’t. However, both Judy and Hilen are excited to see where life after high school will take her. Currently, Kelly plans on participating in a post-graduate program to further improve her job skills. “Who knows,” says Judy. “You may just see her at a fine coffee establishment someday!”

The coffee cart allows Kelly to meet and greet people. [She gets to] be the social butterfly she loves to be. – Lisa Schmaltz, East english teacher

December 2016 21

Cincinnati’s The Pop Shop features many unique paletas.


Located in Montgomery, The Pop Shop has quickly become a hit destination for East students and popsicle enthusiasts alike for its wonderful frozen treats. story victoria negron | photography cara satullo | infographic erinn aulfinger


crolling through Instagram, between filtered selfies and aesthetically pleasing lattes, a refreshing collection of icy pops bring color and fun to every viewer while imparting a desire for the sweet treat. Since opening a year and a half ago, The Pop Shop has managed to pull customers all the way from Lakota East to Montgomery. The unique atmosphere of The Pop Shop draws hundreds of customers weekly. “This place is very popular for high school students,” says The Pop Shop manager Shannon

Pickna. “In the summer, on the weekends, and after school there’s always students here taking photos by our colorful walls inside with their friends and posting them on Instagram or Twitter. That helps spread the word about us and bring in more customers.” Along with the colorful atmosphere, the clever placement of the shop helps to bring in even more customers. The shop shares an entrance with Delicio Coal Fired Pizza, making it nearly impossible for customers to pass through without getting a sudden craving for

22 December 2016

the ice cold treats served there. “Parents will often times come in to eat dinner at Delicio with their children, and we can almost guarantee that they will be leaving with a popsicle or two,” says Pickna. “[The shop] is the first and last thing every customer sees when they walk in, making it hard for them to resist ordering one before they leave.” These aren’t just any run-of-the-mill popsicles that one could get at the local supermarket. Priding themselves on unique and delicious flavors, the founders of the shop

reinvented the classic paleta, which is an ice pop with a twist. Instead of artificial colors and flavors, paletas use real fruit juice and often contain pieces of actual fruit. The founders of The Pop Shop took this idea one step further, creating popsicles from scratch and using all-natural and organic ingredients in each one. Part of the shop’s great appeal is the wide variety of flavors and options for all ages. With 22 permanent flavors and additional seasonal flavors that change throughout the year, it’s easy to find something for everyone. For customers of all ages, The Pop Shop offers two types of Gelato Pops, six types of Icy Pops and ten types of Creamy Pops. The store also sells treats catered to adults, providing four types of what they call Boozy Pops. “I really liked that there were so many options when I went [to the shop],” says East senior, and frequent customer of The Pop Shop, Alyssa Conyers. “Every time I come back there’s a flavor I haven’t tried before or a new flavor to go with the season. It’s fun to mix and try weird combinations of flavors and toppings. The options are endless.” Conyers initially visited the trendy new store after seeing it on social media, but it was the everchanging menu and popsicle options that kept her going back for more. Along with the large number of flavor options is an assortment of toppings ranging from coalfired bacon to Fruity Pebbles cereal and three different chocolate glazes. Every flavor of popsicle starts at three dollars and customers can add on any combination of glazes and up to three toppings for 75 cents more. These affordable prices add to the attractiveness of the shop and help to draw in even more customers while encouraging people to keep coming back to try new flavors. The Pop Shop and its refreshing treats also bring in more customers to Delicio Coal Fired Pizza. As more customers find out about the shop and make their journey to its doors, they are often surprised to find out that it shares its front doors with an East Coast-style pizzeria. “Some people will come in with their families to buy popsicles not even knowing that there is a pizza place connected to [the shop],” says Delicio hostess Cara Mitchell. “Some will postpone buying popsicles and will eat lunch or dinner [at Delicio] first. Ever since The Pop Shop opened, we’ve gotten so many more customers, especially in the summer months.” With its growing popularity among East students, The Pop Shop has become a go-to destination for anyone trying to escape summer heat or try a new twist on a classic favorite. The shop’s draw of being a perfect Instagram backdrop while providing a noteworthy treat has successfully reached customers from East and beyond. “[Popsicles] are something everyone likes, and the shop is so out of the ordinary,” says East senior and The Pop Shop customer Lexie Adams. “You don’t typically see popsicle shops so it’s something different. I’ve even convinced some of my friends to go there with me because who doesn’t love a good popsicle?”

Paletas Production The Pop Shop in Montgomery, Ohio has 24 flavors of paletas, a traditional frozen treat that originated in Mexico in the 1940’s.

Three most popular flavors:

Mint Chocolate Chip

Cookies n’ Cream

Electric Lemonade

3 Steps to Production 1. Fruit is cut and mixed with water, juice, and occasionally ice cream. The mixture is blended with ice and then poured into metal molds that hold nine popsicles each.

2. The molds are placed in a fridge at -39 degrees Fahrenheit and are left to freeze for 45 minutes.

3. After the 1 hour and 45 minute process, the paletas are ready for sale.


Paleta means “little shovel” in Spanish.

Bristow showcases her drawings and characters.

COMIC GENIUS She takes what she sees and turns it into cartoon characters. Goldena Bristow reflects herself and her surroundings into everything that she draws. story tyler bonawitz photography maya wells art used with permission from goldena bristow


er hand moves vigorously across the page as emotions hit her head on. She is unaware of her surroundings and all that matters is what’s on the paper. Shapes and lines pour out in ink and paint as every stroke comes together to form the vibrant world of a comic artist. The art industry is composed of many different jobs and careers for young people entering the field, such as illustration, graphic art, concept art and digital design. Lakota East junior Goldena Bristow aims to make herself known through comics and graphic novels. Bristow’s goal is to speak to her viewers by using character development. “I mostly draw characters,” says Bristow as she sketches. “I want to create something that speaks to an adolescent audience.” Boasting a cast of unique and memorable teenage characters, spread across multiple story lines, Bristow is well on her way to finding what makes her art captivating while maintaining a her signature simple style. Instead of starting a drawing or panel with a full sketch, Bristow tends to start off with just a few simple lines. Her sense of space and proportions are impressive, which allows her to create high-quality panels very quickly. “I really like seeing Goldy’s art,” says East junior Jillian Becker. “Compared to other cartoons and art styles, her’s is really interesting and different.” Becker is a regular spectator of Bristow’s artistic process, something she says often occurs but is rarely noted for how special it really is. “It’s the characters that really stand out. They seem familiar but new and unique all at the same time,” says Becker. “Watching someone create another person is so weird, but for Goldy, it seems so natural.” Since graphic art isn’t typically taught in a classroom as a traditional form of expression, finding mentors and guidance can be a challenge. However, Bristow’s biggest supporter and encourager is her older sister, Veen Bristow. As a fellow graphic and digital artist, Veen is very insightful on the finer aspects of the artistic

Self portrait of Goldena Bristow. process and more specifically, Goldena’s. “[Goldena’s] work is very influenced by internet subculture, video games, and the interactions these areas of her life have with art and content creation,” says Veen. “I find [that] Goldy’s methods of drawing, composing a page and use of color are very indicative of her influences.” Some of Goldena’s common influences, noted by Veen, include anime, graphic novels, modern cartoons and various internet artists. Looking through a plethora of novels and comics, Goldena notes a lack of realism in a lot of the characters. Abundant stereotypes and common storylines in popular works have bored her countless times, she says. “Nobody I see in fictional literature have the key features that people have, especially when they’re our age,” says Goldena. “I want to bring light to people’s individual flaws because real people have them.” Goldena often has her characters struggle with internal conflicts seen in a lot of teenagers and specifically herself. She uses this to reach out to her audience. “Many illustrators, comic creators, and writers have a fascination with what is known to those of us in the fold as OC’s, or original characters. This is essentially the birth of characters, trying to invent their personality, their likes, dislikes, [behavior], and how these

characters would interact with different situations,” explains Veen. “The subjects I’ve seen [Goldena] playing with, such as fluctuating gender and sexuality, can be taken as the way she views the world and herself.” In addition to captivating her target audience, Goldena also wishes to inspire artists who view her works to draw more often because she believes the best way for an artist to improve is to draw nonstop. Goldena says that her ability to draw female characters isn’t very strong, but she noticed improvement in a short amount of time by drawing them more. She pointed out that young artists tend to veer away from something that they are not initially good at drawing. “If you don’t draw something more, you’ll never be good at it,” says Goldena. “You should be able to tell if something you draw isn’t the best, but you also need to be able to see it improving.” In anticipation of her career as a comic artist, Goldena has already shadowed art classes at schools such as the Art Institute of Cincinnati and participates in extracurricular art programs after school which have further inspired and motivated her to pursue a career in art. “It’s hard work,” says Goldena. “But I honestly wouldn’t do anything else for all the money in the world.”

December 2016 25

The Schmaltzes use wit and humor to bring literature to life.

TEACHING TOGETHER Teachers Lisa and Richard Schmaltz are known for their humor and love for English. Yet, it is their shared passion for teaching that makes their relationship stronger and more memorable. story megan finke | photography maya wells


very so often he’ll pop his head into her room, just to see what’s going on or to share the quick-witted remark his student made last period. This fun-loving couple can do nothing but encourage one another in the classroom while making each day for themselves, and their students, a fun and educational one. While studying education, Lisa and Richard Schmaltz met at the University of Cincinnati in the Teacher Training Program. They both ended up working in Cincinnati Public Schools but quickly moved to Lakota East. Richard started teaching at East in 1998 and Lisa started in 1999, the same year they got married. Both Schmaltzes work in the English department and teach the same class, College

Prep English 11. Richard also teaches Advanced Composition, while Lisa also teaches Honors English 10. Since they teach the same class, they are able to ask each other questions without worrying about annoying their colleagues with their concerns. “We’re building a collaboration without having to bug somebody,” says Richard. While it may not be standard for a couple to work in the same place, according to the Ohio Department of Education Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators, there are no rules against it. The Schmaltzes are one of several married couples at East. “The couple brings a lot to the English Department,” says fellow English teacher

26 December 2016

Kathleen Foldy. Though the Schmaltzes are so often thought of together, Foldy says that each brings their own individuality to the department. “They’re hysterical together but are still individuals. [Richard is] funny; he’s like a big brother,” says Foldy. “[Lisa is] funny, snarky [and] super compassionate, she cares about her students. She’s a saint because she puts up with Mr. Schmaltz.” Every teacher has unique tricks up their sleeve for teaching styles and drawing students’ focus which they pass on to other teachers. However, these tips and tricks have become sparse in the Schmaltz household. “I stopped sharing with him,” says Lisa jokingly. “He would steal all of my good stuff.” Despite their competitive nature, working with a spouse has many benefits that affect large and small aspects of their everyday life. Besides saving gas money and having someone to grade papers with, the Schmaltzes are able to better understand an aspect of each other’s lives that may be misunderstood. Unlike spouses with different professions who may struggle with explaining their day, the Schmaltzes naturally have a silent understanding of what goes into their work and how to be sympathetic with each other. “There’s this understanding of the good and the bad and the dynamics,” says Lisa. Having a professional relationship, and even working at the same place, tends to follow them home but is not something they try to dwell on. When going out to dinner they try to not talk about work, but when married to a person who has the same interests, it is difficult to avoid the subject. “We don’t try to take it out,” says Lisa “But there will be a point where I’ll be like, ‘hey we need to move on.’” All teachers are known for their unique personalities and teaching styles, but in particular, this couple is known for their jokes, positive energy and ability to emphasize student interaction in the classroom. “Both are great with students and getting participation,” says East senior David Elendu, who has seen their dynamics in both Honors English 10 and Advanced Composition. “They seem to always come in with energy and keep the class’s attention up.” Whether it’s teaching “The Tempest” or new vocabulary, the pair make each and every day as valuable as it can be. A lesson is never complete without a joke or two, and with the Schmaltzes leading the class, everyone can be assured that they will not only know the content but will leave the room with a smile on their face. Lisa and Richard have managed to create an environment that transcends grade levels and classes in enabling students to laugh and learn. “I don’t know any different,” says Richard “I have nothing to compare it with.”


CONNECTION While social media continues its initial purpose of communication, it has evolved from face-to-face interaction to a variety of social networking sites. story cristina francisco | photography richard giang infographic bryn mangold | art sarah aftab

Katrina Wilson’s most used social media platform is Instagram.


plashes of color appear on the small screen before her eyes as she critiques her own pictures. She scrolls through multiple photographs of selfies trying to decide which one to display on her Instagram account. Finally, she decides on one that she deems worthy of best quality and presses send. For East senior Katrina Wilson, social media has been an outlet for expression and freedom to display her artistic makeup skills. “[I post] whatever one I feel shows the emotion I want,” Wilson says. “It’s different than what I’ve normally seen on art accounts and I think it lets people look at something that they aren’t used to. [It] challenges the way they look and perceive things.” Currently, there are more than 1.6 billion social network users worldwide with more than 64 percent of internet users accessing social media services online according to Statista, a leading statistics company. On October of 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report of specific guidelines for kids screen time rather than blanket statements. However, while there are guidelines advising parents on screen time for kids, screen time in the US remains prominent in 2016 as 78 percent of Americans have a social media

profile according to Statista. Before social media, Joseph Bayer, an assistant professor in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University says that people think of communication as either being mass media or interpersonal communication. Examples of mass media are radio, television and film. Interpersonal communication is when someone mails a letter, participates in face-to-face interactions or calls someone’s home phone. With social media, Bayer says messages can be sent to more than just one person through “a Facebook update or a tweet to all of your friends,” unlike interpersonal communication. “It used to be clear cut, like that was mass media and this is interpersonal communication between friends,” Bayer says. “Now things are blurring a lot.” Marketing Professor and Director for the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Nora Barnes says that during the 1990’s, “things were happening on the internet” that could have been called social media and that blogs were “really the beginning of a kind of social working system.” She says that the purpose of social media was about connecting.

“The World Wide Web made it possible to connect with anyone anywhere in the world,” Barnes says. “Social media became possible because people wanted to make connections and they had the means to do it.” Wilson began using social media platforms as they became more popular. She says she got a Tumblr when it became common among users and became apart of the Instagram community in the seventh grade. She correlates a positive experience to social media since her junior year, when she created an account for her special effects posts. “I like social media in moderation,” Wilson says. “To me it is all about connections. I can talk to people who use to know me when I was little or talk to them if they go to a different school. Sometimes I meet new people and interact with new friend groups.” This desire of connectivity was the motivation behind some of the older platforms. In 1997, was created, which allowed users to create personal profiles and be in contact with friends. Although the site didn’t catch on, the idea still remained as another social network in 2002 called Friendster was created. In 2003, Myspace launched but became less prominent with the introduction

December 2016 29

package | digital communication of Facebook in 2004. Donald Wright, the Harold Burson professor of public relations at Boston University says that Facebook was not a public platform at first. “Mark Zuckerberg, a student at Harvard, started it as a way for students at Harvard University to communicate with each other,” Wright says. “You had to be a Harvard student to have a Facebook account, then it branched out to other universities, and then finally to anybody who wanted to have an account.” Even with newer platforms being created, the only difference between now and the 1990’s according to Barnes, is that the motivation of connecting to people can be enhanced through technology and advancements. She says these platforms can be more embellished, decorated and visual. “What has evolved is the embellishment,” Barnes says. “We have more platforms, emojis, colors and patterns to choose from. [There is]

more ability to handle video and bluetooth. All the advances that we’ve made in technology has made social media so much richer. [However], the driving force is the same.” Barnes also refers to millennials as the driving force of social media. She says that there is a huge population moving through the system much like the baby boomers in the 1950’s, who are technologically sophisticated and who have “moved social media rapidly.” However, Barnes also notes that the baby boomers are no longer “major consumers.” The people who learn to use technology first according to Bayer, are referred to as innovators. Research done on this area is called diffusion of innovation, and Bayers says that “it seems like teens are more likely to be innovators.” There are also older innovators who eventually “work their way through.” “The idea that seniors would be on Facebook would have sounded kind of weird

but now it slowly becomes normal,” Bayer says. “You’re seeing the same thing kind of with Snapchat happening now where [users have] slowly gotten older and now I think that [they] are more in the 30’s.” Bayer says that being social is “one of the core things that we do as humans” and the reason why social media has remained dominant is because it is essential to one’s underlying human motivation to belong to social groups. Bayer relates this to the Katz Rule and explains this in relation to the mobile evolution, when cellphones became widely used. “[The Katz Rule] says that you become a problem for me if you don’t have a phone,” says Bayer. “So [now] we are all entrusted in one another to be a bit more available to one another and if you don’t, you are becoming a bad friend essentially.” The Katz Rule also works with social media. For example, people who have Facebook or

Social Media Breakdown The top six social media platforms have been successful at generating use from many demographics since they have started. Facebook






1.71 1 500 313 176 57 Billion Users


Billion Users

Million Users

Million Users

Million Users

Million Users











first video uploaded:

most followers:

7,380 tweets




Facebook’s like button used to be the awesome button

23 April 24 April

April 23, 2005

102 M


source maeve duggan: pew research center

30 December 2016

most searched: tweeted every second

Harry Potter Tattoos and Vegan Recipes


send money via ‘snapcash’

digital communication | package

You can think of social media evolving on its own but in reality humans make the technology. Then the people who start using the technology use it in ways that we didn’t plan on and that reworks and reshapes the process and it’s a cycle. – Joseph Bayer, Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University social media in general, expect others to have it. Aside from the Katz Rule influencing user’s, the 2016 election has influenced the media. For both presidential campaigns, candidates used social media. Bayer adds that the Clinton Campaign was focused more on old mass media whereas Trump’s campaign was focused on Facebook targeting ads. “[Because] Trump [won,] people will [now] write about how their social media first focus campaign helped them win,” Bayer says. “But if [Trump had lost,] then it [would have been] back to being like well social media mattered but it is not like it changed the election.” Wright adds on that the curiosity and interest in what one’s friends are doing has helped social media evolved, in particular for people who have moved. He says it can be used to stay in touch with friends. Wilson’s friend and senior Kaylie Slack is familiar with this reason. Slack transferred from East to Bishop Fenwick High School during her freshman year and stays in contact with her East friends via social media. However, for Slack, social media is more than just a connection tool. She uses it as an artistic outlet to display her content, beliefs and to create change. Slack has a well-known social media presence that is recognized through her conceptual photography. She utilizes friends in her portraits and posts them on Instagram hoping to display a message. At the beginning when she was starting out, during her sophomore year she photographed Wilson in a bathtub in a white dress with white flowers around her. The response to the photograph on social media was new to her. “I honestly did not expect the picture to turn out that good because I was just starting out and I think I got lucky but it turned out really well,” Slack says. “That was my most liked picture at that point for conceptual photography.” Social media is also now being more used by business companies and marketing. According to Barnes, one-third of Fortune 500 companies are using social media, some of them being Johnson and Johnson who use Instagram as well as Wal-Mart. Slack acknowledges the importance of social media in regard to her

photography business. She says that 25 percent of her clients come from social media and is vital enough for her to have a separate Instagram account for her professional photography. “For my business, [social media] certainly helps because I have a location to give people,” Slack says. “ For personal [usage], it is entertaining. I like posting thing but because I’m open about my opinions on a big platform it is been a very easy way for me to get a lot of backlash. At the end of the day you have to realize that it is just social media and these people are sitting behind a computer screen and you can’t take anything to heart.” These actions of people getting backlash from online users can often times have negative effects on people where according to Bayer, things such as anxiety and stress potentially go up because some of the more challenging parts of social interaction include ‘do I look good’ or ‘is this person going to text me back’. Some platforms are used for different reasons that differ from their original purpose says Bayer. He explains how Facebook isn’t made to make people feel better and says that when people make new technologies, they “don’t usually have a great idea of how they are going to be used.” “You can think of social media evolving on its own but in reality humans make the technology,” Bayer says. “Then the people who start using the technology use it in ways that we didn’t plan on and that reworks and reshapes the process and it’s a cycle. It keeps on happening.” For feedback from her photos, Wilson says that during her junior year, she deleted her special effects account that featured her artistic photos because she received comments about her posts being “weird” and how she shouldn’t be posting them. Despite this, Wilson disputes other negative feedbacks and notions such posting selfies can be narcissistic. “There is a misconception that everyone on social media is narcissistic,” Wilson says. “[People say] you are on twitter and Instagram for the likes or you do stuff for reblogging. We should be able to confident in ourselves

without people saying we are narcissistic. Especially on Instagram you can post photos of yourself without being narcissistic.” While there are negative aspects of social media, Barnes says it can also be attributed to positive trends such as the 2014 Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Ice Bucket Challenge, people being reunited with families and helping raise money for causes. While aspects of social media continue to be debated between its positive and negative effects, its influence and growth in the future continue to be unpredictable. “Anybody who thinks that they know [social media], can describe it or can predict is wrong,” Barnes says. “All we can really do is take a snapshot, we know what is behind us and we know what we have now but I don’t think anyone really knows what’s coming.” As a form of freedom, Wilson continues to see social media as a positive aspect in her life and is optimistic of its future. She encourages others to use social media because of its positive influence. “I think people who don’t enjoy social media have their right to do that,” Wilson says. “I feel like if you try it and don’t like it, that’s fine but sometimes people who don’t try it [think] it’s horrible. You can have a positive force on social media and you can spread a good message.”


of 128 East students surveyed use Instagram more than any other platform

package | memes




e slowly walked through the halls to get to the band room where photographers were waiting. His shirt was like a flashing sign, signaling both his forgetfulness and that it was a Wednesday. When he arrived, the photographers ignored his shirt while snapping his photo. A few weeks later, he gets the pictures back. Rather than focusing on his face, East sophomore Idris Malik’s school photo gains attention because his shirt features that word “hump day” on the bottom. “My zero period teacher, [Mr. Thompson, had] been having his students put pictures of themselves on his classroom wall, so I gave one to him,” Malik says. “Then I [randomly] put another one up in biology [because I thought it would be funny,] and there the meme begins.” The original coinage of the term ‘meme’ appeared in Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene and referred to any idea or behavior used to spread a culture. With the introduction of the Internet, according to Director of Learning Tech & Marketing faculty at Indiana University Sarah Smith-Robbins, “meme” is now the common term used to describe pictures or Graphics Interchange Formats (GIFs) that are edited and spread on social media.

Before it was given a name, memes were essentially folk lore or common jokes in cultures, says Smith-Robbins. Many may know the original joke of the chicken crossing the road and the common response: to get to the other side, but variations of this joke evolved to suit others with different punch lines. This idea of jokes evolving to suit others may also be seen with memes. However, the term “memes” is not interchangeable with viral content. While there are many similar traits between the two, such as they may both be found on the same social media platforms and can grow very quickly, memes include images, GIFs or sayings that are changed to fit groups. “A meme is more like a virus than viral content is,” Smith-Robbins says. “The reason a flu virus spreads so far and wide is that it alters itself to suit the population, so if we were all immune to it, [the virus, or in this case, memes,] would adjust itself to be more successful.” Malik’s friend, East sophomore Dominic Satullo, added to the Hump Day meme by placing a cutout of Malik’s face digitally on a Pokémon card. They later created a game called Idrisimon with more Pokémon cards edited to have Malik’s face in place of the Pokémon.

Makers of Memes Many have contributed to making the internet meme popular to social media users. These three men were especially influential.

Along with the rise of social media and the Internet, memes have evolved from folk lore to GIFs and images. story and infographic michelle chu photography cara satullo art tyler bonawitz

“[Creating Idrisimon] was further on in the year,” Satullo says. “The Hump Day picture was going on throughout the year.” Average internet users can easily access images and edit and add text to them through programs such as meme generators or Microsoft. These images are essentially suited for different audiences. According to SmithRobbins, “the ability to edit and then spread content is really the key.” The increased popularity and accessibility of the internet complemented the rise of memetic content. The website Reddit was and still is the birthplace of many memes, says SmithRobbins. Composed of subreddits, which are topics users may be a part of depending on their interests, it is easy to have inside jokes within the group and to spread those jokes to others with small alterations. “I really think that the image-based memes, what we think of as a meme, really took off around 2002 or 2003 when most people began to get broadband access to the internet,” Smith-Robbins says. “They began to download images so they could see the joke or they could see the meme.” East physics teacher Brandon Bright remembers the spread of memes with his


Richard Dawkins

Steve Huffman

Alexis Ohanian

In his 1976 book “The Selfish Gene,” Dawkins ascribed the term “meme” for an idea, behavior or style that spreads within a culture.

One of the founders of social media platform Reddit, Huffman returned as CEO in July 2015

Ohanian is the cofounder of Reddit Initialized Capital, a capital firm helping software startups.

32 December 2016

Like many others, Malik is entertained by memes, even becoming the subject of one.

classmates in high school. He says that back then it was a smaller subset of the culture, mostly “nerd culture,” but has spread into youth, or mainstream, culture for students now. “It’s interesting because at the core it’s not very different from when I was in high school,” Bright says. “Memes still form as a check for whether you get the joke or whether you’re part of that culture.” Smith-Robbins explains that those who create memes have to have a “basic understanding of what [your viewers] find funny” and aspects of their lives or else they won’t understand the joke. She cites this as a psychological benefit for people who are in on the same joke because it is another way to bond people together, whether it be a social friend group or a subreddit. Malik and Satullo agree that many people view Idrisimon as eccentric, especially with the makeshift table they create out of cardboard to play on. Although it is not always understood in a wide demographic of students, the two of them communicate well with their inside jokes. With constant exposure to the internet, Bright says his thoughts have popped up in the form of memetic content, varying from sayings to images, such as the bad joke eel. “There have definitely been times when something happens and my brain flashes to [a meme].” Bright tells Spark. “That’s what memes

do. [When] you see some so frequently [used] as responses to things, they sort of become your default response. [It’s] like thinking [of] a cliche response to anything. If you see it enough, you start to pick it up.” Still, according to Smith-Robbins, there are downfalls to the humorous GIFs and images. She worries the snapshots of moments such as a political speeches simplifies the complexity of the issue. This not only pertains to political memes but may also be seen in other instances including the “hide your kids, hide your wives” meme which began as a news report of a brother being interviewed after a man broke into the family’s house and attempted to rape his sister. It became “distanced from that original context and got so abbreviated, so consolidated that the original context was lost.” Smith-Robbins hopes that when social media users see memes, it will lead to curiosity and encourage them to look up information. With the internet and more sources of information, she believes that seeing GIFs will lead to following up and discovering the context of particular memes. For memes that may not have an educational background, Bright worries that his students use the memes, even in a joking fashion, to lower their motivation. He understands that youth have struggles themselves but worries that they are primarily using memetic content to identify

the struggles rather than overcoming it. “There is a worry that the bad ideas spread faster than the good ones,” Bright tells Spark. “It’s easier to laugh at something than to think of something.” In the case of Malik’s meme, his image was not used in a negative way. Rather, he and Satullo incorporated memes into learning biology. After completing their work in class, the jokes they made of different terms and concepts allowed them to still remember parts of the subject now, says Satullo. One meme they made was of Alfred Russel Wallace, who played an important role in the theory of natural selection, but is now often overlooked in comparison to Charles Darwin. “[Satullo and I] just saw it as an escape from whatever we’re stressed about,” Malik says. “Making memes aren’t about being distracting, it’s about making life interesting.” Whether memes are used for entertainment in negative or positive ways or understanding a concept in class, they will continue to be viewed and shared for years to come, according to Smith-Robbins. “[Memes] always going to serve as shorthand for ideas that we all find funny,” Smith-Robbins says. “I think you’re going to see more of them as GIFs or short videos, but they’ll always be super brief, condensed ideas that people can relate to.”

acebook and Felonies

Four out of five federal, state and local law enforcement officials said they used social media to gather intelligence during investigations

Friends to Follow

#Only 14 percent of departments have not used social media

#2,952,258 users follow police departments on Twitter

#Now, there are 772 police departments with active Twitter accounts

#In 2007, the first police department Twitter account created by Wellesley Police

Trending Topics

A crime linked to Facebook is reported to police every 40 minutes.

The increased use of social media platforms allows criminals intimate access to people’s lives through their public posts and timelines. Fortunately, police are now using these sites as investigative tools. infographic erinn aulfinger

Search Social media-related crime reports up 780 percent in four years

Police figures show there were 4,908 reports in which Facebook and Twitter were a factor, compared with 556 in 2008. Crimes include murder, rape, child sex offence, kidnap, and fraud. Like Comment Share Over one million people are victims of cyber crime every day.

78 percent of burglars admit that they use social media to seek out their victims.

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One in five adult online users report that they were the target of cyber crime The financial cost of cyber crime ranges from $100 billion to $1 trillion a year in the United States. #30 percent of participants said cyber crime poses the largest risk for their company. Sources:,,,

East senior DJ Cleavinger used Twitter to warn Lakota East about a threat made against the school.

SAFE SOCIAL NETWORKING The recent rise in the popularity of using social media sites has allowed schools to become more aware of threats.

story ruth elendu | photography maya wells | infographic sophia chryssovergis


e attends school, goes home, works on homework, eats and then sleeps. A new day begins and he wakes up, and like most teenagers, checks social media and the cycle starts all over again. For East senior DJ Cleavinger, this routine has been performed a thousand times. Expecting things to not be different than any other day, Cleavinger logs onto Twitter only to see that the Clown Clan has tweeted, “Lakota East we will be visiting you this morning.” Cleavinger shows his mom the post concerned about going to school. He saves the image and retweets it to Lakota East’s official Twitter page, @EAST_Hawks because he is concerned for his safety.

“You don’t really want to come to school because that’s a threat,” Cleavinger says. “It’s going to be on your mind all day.” Recently, clowns have been inciting fear and panic across the country, from South Carolina to Ohio. The situation started when clowns were seen luring children into the woods in South Carolina and escalated to clowns being spotted in nearly two dozen states. The clowns have their own Twitter account calling themselves the Clown Clan, where they have threatened to visit a multitude of schools, often prompting the schools into a lockdown situation or to be closed. According to a study by the National School Safety and Security Services, violent school

threats for the first five months of the 2014-15 school year, have increased 158 percent from the previous year. More specifically, according to Amy Klinger, an associate professor of Educational Administration at Ashland University and the Director of Programs for the Educator’s School Safety Program, there has been a 106 percent increase in bomb threats made to US schools in 2015-16 compared to the 2012-13 school year. Cleavinger is one out of many students who reported the threat towards East to the administration. Upon being informed about the tweet, the administration went right to work. Richard Bryant, the Athletic Director and East Assistant Principal, was involved in

December 2016 35

package | social networking

Social Media Through the Ages THE FACEBOOK

12y ago

Opened only for Harvard students REDDIT

11y ago

Reddit was launched An entertainment and social networking platform FACEBOOK

10y ago

With 1.44 billion active users, Facebook is the best performing social media platform to date 10y ago TWITTER Twitter was launched A blogging platform with a question and answer format 4y ago SNAPCHAT Snapchat was launched A new chat platform by pictures

assessing the threat and situation.

“We assessed the threat and noticed that nothing was of volition anywhere,” Bryant says. “We ensure student safety but we just made sure we were prepared for anything.” While social media can be used to ensure safety and warn officials, Klinger says social media allows for people to make threats, specifically students to their own school. “Because of social media, there’s this feeling that you’re anonymous when you’re doing the bomb threat, which you aren’t,” Klinger says. “People like that idea of causing some disruption, they think it’s funny or they think it’s cool to see

the disruption in the day.” In 2014, Sherry Towers, a research professor at Arizona State University, did a study with other professionals about the contagiousness of mass and school shootings. It was found that once a shooting happens, there is a likelihood of a similar shooting taking place over the next thirteen days. Towers explains how social media may induce others to recreate similar situations. “Somehow, when [the] media posts stories about these things, it may be infecting people to do the same,” Towers says. “But these are not like you’d find a normal person in there infected with the idea to do this, these are people who are already mentally ill or also have the motive to be able to do it.” Postdoctoral fellow at the Center for International Development at Harvard University Andres Gomez, who was also a part of the 2014 study with Sherry Towers, talks about how humans learn how to behave from others. “Violent actions can spread like a diseases and become contagious if they become frequent enough,” Gomez tells Spark. “When the consequences of antisocial behavior from specific individuals is broadcast through social networks a channel of transmission is being opened.” Humans, according to Gomez, imitate each other through interaction with one another and through what is considered normal. While humans copy the good, such culture and traditions, they can also copy the bad, including violence. With a following of 31,000 people on Twitter, there are copycats of the clowns spreading across the U.S. However, other accounts are providing information to warn others and to counteract the ‘Clown Clan.’ Though the clown tweets are being monitored by officials and law enforcement they are just a small part of the threats being made. At a higher level, Digital Fly Social Media Awareness is a company that monitors the social media posts of school districts. The company looks at only public information based on a map, such as Google Earth, designed around a community. Then terms, acronyms and sentences are plugged in, and anything that matches the filter for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook will show on the map and alert appropriate administrators. Michel Richez, the president of Optimal Solutions Corporation

World, which owns Digital Fly Social Media Awareness, believes that social media has its dark and light sides which encouraged him and his partner to create this company to monitor threats. “The safety of students and staff is paramount so that they can feel comfortable with going to school and not be concerned about either bullying or the threats of someone who is upset or angry,” Richez says. “This would give the school district a little bit of time to assist and prevent.” In addition to using software for school safety, some schools turn to the National School Safety and Security Services. The president of this organization, Kenneth Trump, says that in the study, more than one-third of the threats studied were sent electronically, many of these using social media. He adds on that social media can bring “new challenges to school and public safety officials in managing and responding to threats.” “Our young people need to realize that all threats are treated seriously and are not jokes,” Trump says. “It is important to recognize that once you press send, you can’t push the threat back into the smartphone. One bad decision can have serious lifetime consequences.” To help further ensure school safety, Trump looks at preventative measure taken by the schools. Recently, the National School Safety Security Services have seen a “great focus” by school officials on physical security measures such as fortifying front entranceways, adding more cameras, and investing more in hardware. “School officials need to balance out the hardware side of school safety with an equal, if not stronger, emphasis on the ‘people’ aspects of school safety,” Trump says. “[This can include] staff training, emergency preparedness planning, prevention and intervention support for students, and similar efforts.” In terms of preparedness planning, Cleavinger sees the need for everyone to do their part in keeping the school safe. He says that securing the school is not something that one person can do but something that is possible to achieve when everyone’s goal is to keep themselves safe as well as the people around them. “It’s something that’s beyond myself, my friend group, and other people that I know,” Cleavinger says. “You have to think outside of that bubble, how you can be a benefit rather than ‘oh ha ha retweet.’”

Our young people need to realize that all threats are treated seriously and are not jokes. It is important to recognize that once you press send, you can’t push the threat back into the smartphone. One bad decision can have serious lifetime consequences. – Kenneth Trump, president of the National School Safety and Security Services

36 December 2016



MEDIA Besides eating up time, social media has varying psychological effects on teenagers. story sidney li photography used with permission from taylor tuazon infographic melanie cain art tyler bonawitz


ike. Post. Tweet. Retweet. Favorite. Quote. Reblog. Comment. Thumbs up. Subscribe. Snap. This routine is a continual cycle of sifting through social media sporadically during the day. As the sun sets, she continues to maintain her presence online. For East junior Taylor Tuazon, she has grown up hand in hand with the internet. Being able to choose and notice what she desires, Tuazon has grown an attachment to social media. Not only that, she is able to have the instant gratification of posting and discovering new content right at her fingertips. With these benefits of social media, they allow Tuazon to connect with her phone and friends at all times. According to a 2015 study at Pew Research Center, 92 percent of teenagers ages 13 to 17 report being online daily. 56 percent of those teenagers go on several times a day and 12 percent go on once a day. Six percent go online weekly and two percent are on infrequently. “A lot of [the social media outlets] are pretty popular,” Tuazon says. “What intrigues me the most about Instagram and Twitter is [that] I am able to share parts of my life or see what people are doing, such as famous people. With Twitter, it’s one big comedy pool. There’s a lot of good and bad that intrigue me.” University of Washington’s Associate Professor Megan Moreno promotes adolescent health in both offline and online worlds. Along with behavior, growth and development, she is

Taylor Tuazon is one of the 56 percent of American teenagers who go on social media several times a day.

driven to aid teenagers with today’s Internetdriven society. “It really depends on what the time spent on media is displacing [and] how it affects teens,” Moreno says. “If it is displacing important health behaviors like sleep or physical activity, it can have profound health effects such as fatigue and obesity.” Moreno says as with any other behavior, the more times adolescents repeat being on their phones, the more it becomes a pattern and influences someone. She also notes that social media can affect teens by acting as a role model or teacher; hence, when someone sees something modeled on media, they are more likely to try it. According to the American Academy of

Pediatrics, children ages six and older, should have consistent limits set in stone on the time spent using media. Similarly, the varying types of media and ensuring media is not in higher priority than adequate sleep, physical activity and other essential physical or mental health. According to Tuazon, “online baddies” are attractive young women that can be found on different social media platforms. She says these “online baddies” all have a certain look– clear skin, cute outfits, perfect facial structure, flawless makeup, the list goes on. Alongside to Tuazon, East junior Liz Hodge has also noticed the polarity in the posts on the internet. “If you look at it long enough, [the self hate] builds up. I can see why somebody would develop depression or have low self esteem

package | social media especially since these social media sites are becoming increasingly available at younger ages,” Hodge says. “[Even] Photoshop can set some extremely unrealistic expectations for people. From a young age, it set some unrealistic expectations in me.” According to a 2013 survey from Knowthenet, 59 percent of kids initially start using social media at 10 years old. With the demographic of the internet spreading into the younger audience, parents begin getting involved. Weaved in with other intentions, parents have a similar reason of wanting to stay informed on posts their children decide to share with the cyberworld. Tuazon’s mom, Jane Tuazon has similar social media platforms as her daughter. “I like her Instagram posts and comment on her Facebook posts,” Jane says. “I do look

at it, because I want to find out the things that are going on with [Taylor] and the friends that she hangs out with.” Since phones have the ability to contain a variety of social media apps, anyone can simply juggle multiple activities at once. Moreno says if people try to “multitask” online, such as doing homework while also instant messaging, there is decreased retention of information and inferior learning outcomes. According to researchers from Ottawa Public Health, they conducted a survey of 750 students from seventh to 12th grade on social media. One out of four teens spend at least two hours a day on social media platforms. Those users also rate their state of mental health as “fair” or “poor.” East junior Bennett Barnes believes the internet and social media platforms have an effect on his academic grades. As he spends around two to three hours online per day, it occasionally evades into his student schedule. “Say I need to look up a question on my phone, it’s nearly impossible for me to not find myself 15 minutes later scrolling through my feeds,” Barnes says. “If I try to turn it off, it’s back in my hand within 20 36.7% of East students minutes. That’s a problem; I use Instagram the most don’t like how much I’m on of any social media. my phone when I’m trying to do homework [because] it 40.4% of East students use social has made my grades a little media 1-2 hours a day lower.” Besides posting and 30.5% of East students updating peers on current use Snapchat the most events in each other’s of any social media. lives, there is an aspect of 33.3% of East “stalking” other profiles on students use social social media platforms. For media 3-4 hours a day example, this could range 22.8% of East students from traveling back to the use Twitter the most of early 2010’s on Facebook any social media. statuses to lurking through pictures on Instagrams. 13.1% of East students In 2010, Carnegie Mellon use social media 5 or more hours a day studied two groups of people on Facebook. The first 6.3% of East students group thoroughly interacts use Facebook the most with Facebook, by liking, of any social media. commenting and messaging. 13.1% of East students As a result, their universal use social media less social circle of friends and than 1 hour a day. experiences expanded. The second group simply lurks on 3.9% of East students use Tumblr the most others; thus, their perception of any social media. of desolation and depression develops. “Sometimes I’ll find source lakota east spark student survey someone really successful,” Taylor says. “And I’ll go through their photos, but I don’t actively stalk someone.” With over 16 years of experience in helping

Social Media Use by East Students

38 December 2016

patients, psychiatrist DeeAnn Wong deals with adolescents and adults with varying conditions. She explains how social media can relate to the idea of an online public journal. “Prior to the internet, teenagers and adults would journal in private to sort things out,” Wong tells Spark. “Social media allows them to journal publicly and interact with others. Like everything in life, there are pros and cons to this. Making your life public opens it up to both support and criticism. Keeping it private keeps it private unless you choose to share it with someone.” In the mixture of lurking, the concept of cyberbullying coordinates a major role for online users on a daily basis. The hate amongst others spreads rapidly as “social media gets used in the wrong ways very often,” Barnes says. He adds on that hate messages and putting people down not only affects people around him but also affects widespread strangers. “Without the responsibility of showing your face it’s easier for kids to bully one another,” Wong says. “The attacker can generate multiple usernames and make multiple posts under the pseudonyms, thus make the recipient feel angry, hopeless and helpless.” In an effort to diminish the monstrous loathing, there are an abundance of positive messages spread on the varying social media platforms. With popular hashtags, such as, “BlackLivesMatter,” they shed light on issues and spread them to a supportive net for many others. According to a 2016 study at Pew Research Center, this hashtag was tweeted almost 11.8 million times from July 2013 to March 2016. Thirty-eight percent of those report signs of positive or supportive reference to the movement. “I think [social media] is positive until it isn’t,” Taylor says. “It’s just one of those things, in this day of age, that you can’t really ignore or can’t completely not be aware of. It’s definitely something that has a major impact on anyone whether it’s beneficial or detrimental.”


While teens may often spend leisure time on social media, Rachel Casto utilizes her time for school without the distraction of social media. story and photography charis williams

Rachel Casto solves homework problems without the help of technology.


itting at home, she shifted in her chair to relieve some of the stiffness gained from remaining in the same position for several hours of doing homework. She skipped to the next problem and decided to wait until she was back at school where she could once again communicate with friends and ask for help. Without the convenience of a cellphone or the widespread reach of social media, East senior Rachel Casto feels it is hard to communicate with others when making plans or when she needs help. “You can email me or you can call me on the phone if I’m home,” Casto says. ”[My mom’s] decision of ‘no’ [to social media was] because I am not good at time management.” During marching band season, Casto doesn’t worry about time management because so much of her time is occupied with practicing her trombone. She says after the season ends she will spend more of her free time working through her homework rather than scrolling through a feed like many of her peers. In 2011, The Consumer Electronics Association predicted that in a typical house of 2.6 people, there was an average of 24 gadgets, including at least one smartphone. This number is double what it was 15 years

ago. Despite electronic usage increasing,Casto has not been impacted as she continues to complete schoolwork without a phone. Devoid of instant communication, Casto doesn’t have the ability to shoot off a quick text asking for help. She has to spend time figuring it out herself or leave it blank. Especially because Casto is taking a course of Calculus III at the Voice of America Miami campus, she struggles to get to all her homework done. “For my math class, all of the homework is online so it can take me several hours to get through [it],” Casto says. “It’s a lot of computer time and I have to share it with my brother who is not always happy about that.” Rachel’s mom Lawanna Casto, believes that while Rachel does not have a phone and has to share the computer with her family, technology is not limited or in any way inhibiting her ability to succeed socially. “While we understand the technology that’s available today, we don’t feel the need to be connected all the time,” Lawanna tells Spark. “There’s value in a ‘real’ phone conversation as well as face to face contact. Social media, a phone and texting don’t replace that necessary human interaction.” However, Rachel’s friend and East

rachel casto | package senior Bailey Spaulding says that the lack of communication between them has caused problems for her. When completing school projects, it is hard to keep track of what is happening without texting. “We were actually working on a project and we had it on a flashdrive [which] we had to take to St. Louis with us to finish it, and I had lost the flash drive,” Spaulding says. “I was trying to contact her at eleven at night and I couldn’t get ahold of her.” While she has trouble with keeping in touch with friends during the school year, it is even harder for Rachel to communicate throughout the summer. Without social media, she has no means to regularly check in with what her friends are doing. Adding in her yearly trips to summer camp for church, Rachel may often times miss out on frequent social interactions with her friends. “During the summer I don’t [stay in contact with anyone],” Rachel says. “[This results in] this huge block that I am missing in my life and my friends’ lives, which is annoying at times.” While Rachel has difficulty staying in touch with her friends, not having any form of communication poses further problems for her when depending on others. Without a way to check if her ride has a last minute change of plans or if they are just late, she is often worried that she has been left behind. Rachel’s transportation plans become more problematic especially during marching season when her mom has to pick her up after a band trip. Without a way to contact her mother, Rachel often has to borrow a phone from one of her bandmates. In general, Rachel believes that people get “annoyed” with her for always having to borrow a phone. Despite her struggles without a phone or social media, she stands by her mother’s decision to not get a phone until she starts driving. Even then, she says, it will probably be a flip phone and she will wait even longer to engage in social media. Still, while she doesn’t participate in the social media community, she believes social networking can be beneficial. “I think social media can be a really good thing to help communicate with each other,” Rachel says. “The band uses Facebook a lot to help and get information through.” In addition, Casto believes that when she goes to college or turns eighteen, she will most likely get some form of social media in order to help her keep track of what is going on, not only in her friends’ lives, but also important things in her life as well. “[Social media] helps you keep in touch with people, but if you’re spending too much time doing that, you’re taking yourself away from the real social interactions, such as with your family, or actually hanging out with your friends like going to the movies or going out and having dinner somewhere,” Rachel says. “So once it starts impeding on social interactions, I feel like [it] can be too much.”

Right: The building that used to be Pollard’s Delicatessen in 1949 is now home to the Cock and Bull, a local Glendale pub that opened in 2008. There are two other locations in Ohio and a fourth one will be opened in Clifton next year. “We are really known for our fish and chips,” says assistant Manager Daniel Young. “We make our own breading in house, and it’s what people come in for.”




Above: After years of being a busy mom, pottery artist Darcie Davis finally found the time to create her own business called Earth Sisters Pottery. Her favorite, and most popular, pieces are ceramic chickens. She creates many other unique pieces that are showcased in shops and restaurants around Glendale. When asked her favorite part about the process, she says, “I think I like the alone time, the voices in my head aren’t interrupted that way.”


Left: In 1854 it was the Bracker Tavern, but two months ago the building became home to Meritage. The restaurant uses fresh and local ingredients, and their house specials include Thai glazed salmon and prime ribs, offered only on the weekends. “The community has an awesome history,” says owner and Executive Chef Kristie Fowee. “We blend contemporary food with the history, so Meritage comes from the words merit and heritage.”


Below: The family-owned company Elite Signature DJs has been in business for six years at its first location in Glendale. Since then the company has expanded to 25 other cities, and they now have over 100 DJs that work for them. Co-owner David Kruger says, “The love of music and entertainment as well as being able to help people out,” is why he opened the business.


The quaint town of Glendale is rich in history and character with old buildings and dozens of hand-painted black squirrel sculptures. story and art lauren wilson, sidney li, leah boehner, hailey combs, caroline bumgarner photography cara satullo, hailey combs

Black squirre

Glendale, OH

l sculptuRes

DOG DEPOT Above: For nine years, Dog Depot has been known for their grooming, daycare and boarding services for dogs and cats in a variety of sizes and breeds. Owner Natalie Lotspeich’s life and work has been dedicated to animals. Her and her husband even take dogs home to stay in their house overnight for boarding. “I enjoy seeing the dogs getting loved and cared for by not just my staff and I, but other people who bring them here [to Dog Depot],” says Lotspeich.

Right: What was previously Glendale’s first grocery store is now a boutique hotel and culinary studio named The Glendalia. After working there for three years, Rachel Kramer decided to buy the bed and breakfast in July 2016. With six hotel rooms and a large kitchen used for hosting cooking classes, running The Glendalia is Kramer’s dream job. “I love that every day I just get to make people happy, it’s a really rewarding experience,” says Kramer.

Above: Glendale is one of the few lucky towns that has a large population of rare black squirrels. In the 1940s, four gray squirrels with a genetic variation called melanism (the opposite of albinism) were brought into the small village by Thomas Carruthers III. Today, only one out of 10,000 squirrels exhibit this recessive trait. Even though one of the original squirrels was shot and posted on the wall of what is now the Meritage Restaurant, the other three managed to populate the whole town. In 2005, 25 four-foot-tall fiberglass squirrel statues were created by Eric Kilb, who is known for his Frisch’s Big Boy and Cincinnati’s pig statues, and were hand painted as a community art project for the village’s 150th birthday. They’re currently Glendale’s most prized attraction.


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Four years after the 1967 release of their mind-boggling debut album, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” Pink Floyd compiled their most psychedelic hits onto an album by the name of “Relics: A Bizarre Collection of Antiques & Curios.” Made up of eleven songs, this album takes the most prominent tunes of the Syd Barrett-era and creates a mystical mood that sums up the best of early Pink Floyd. “Arnold Layne,” a cheery A-side single, lays down a cumbersome drum beat that flows eagerly with Barrett’s raw vocals. Throughout the song, convulsions of energy build up to a carnival-like organ solo by keyboardist Richard Wright. Even though this album is a mix of tracks from various sources, there is a consistent free-spirited feel throughout each song. Creating a phantasmal mood, “Julia Dream” is a lush B-side single written by Roger Waters. Utilizing a tape replay keyboard called a mellotron, a variety of effects are created that mock a sound that one could imagine echoing through space while on an interstellar voyage. Employing unearthly background sounds,

STARBOY ARTIST: THE WEEKND R&B artist The Weeknd’s third full-length album, “Starboy” strays from his roots of sultry basement jams, degenerating instead, into overproduced, repetitive pop. The lyricism for which he is often praised in his earlier works is replaced with sickeningly monotonous segments of chorus. For example, in the track “False Alarm,” a dark commentary on a materialistic woman, The Weeknd sings “False alarm (hey, hey, hey, hey),” 18 times throughout the three minute and 40 second song. One can only reminisce back to his previous albums, “Beauty Behind the Madness” and “Trilogy,” which resound with well-conceived lyrics and layered musical tones. In contrast, “Starboy,” released less than a year after his previous album, comes across as a quickly-produced effort to capitalize on his previous album’s success. The album’s title track sets the tone for the disappointing remainder of the album, evoking a strange combination of 80’s electro pop and generic R&B. Fans of The Weeknd’s originality and talent as an artist will be disheartened by this album. Catchy background beats cannot save empty lyrics, leaving “Starboy” feeling as if it were produced only to optimize on The Weeknd’s newfound radio popularity. According to Spotify, after the release of “Starboy,” The Weeknd replaced Justin Bieber as the most streamed artist per day, so that widespread “mass music” audience might just be who he’s targeting. However, this star doesn’t shine quite so brightly for the rest of us. – Erinn Aulfinger

42 December 2016

photography fair use

“Careful, With That Axe Eugene” is a simple yet intriguing track. Waters’ vocals are subtle in a creative way that allows the spine-tingling instrumentals and wicked background chatter to become more pronounced. “Cirrus Minor”, pulled from their 1969 album “More,” brings the listener to the middle of a forest with the sound of bird chirps reverberating before David Gilmore’s eerie vocals set in. On the other hand, “The Nile Song” is completely divergent from the other songs on “Relics.” Gilmore’s striking shouts ooze through rigid drum beats, making this one of heaviest tracks recorded by the band. Contrasting with the hefty power chords, Waters’ lyrics tell a magical story of a woman that could be portrayed as a golden goddess. By the time Relics was released in 1971, founding member Barrett became transparent from the band. Their psychedelic niche can be credited to Barrett’s ingenious talent, and his demise gave way to a new era of Pink Floyd that made them an ultimate rock powerhouse of the 1970s. – Maya Wells

HERE ARTIST: ALICIA KEYS In her first full-length album in four years, Alicia Keys did not disappoint. I grew up listening to Keys and some of her earlier albums like “As I Am,” “Unplugged,” and “Girl on Fire.” But this album was different - less pop and more soul. Keys has always been a moving artist, but now she puts her experience and personality into her lyrics. This makes the listeners dig deep within themselves and think about how their life compares to others, in order to show them how lucky they really are. With this album, she expresses her love for the recently passed musical icon, Prince. She said that she wanted to be able to cross genres as easily as he had. Her songs in this album expose the struggles and hardships that our country is experiencing through her soulful lyrics. Every track in this album captures her unique talent in its own way. She uses different genres and styles to create a timeless collection of pieces. She sings from her heart and expresses her feelings towards real life situations like blended families, and sexism making her songs more relatable. A stand-out hit on the album is “girl can’t be herself ” because she uses her acoustics to make her voice even more powerful. She conveys the message that women are strong and that they don’t need to cover their imperfections. A favorite of mine is “work on it,” it is a slower song reflecting the struggles of relationships and how other people see each other. As much as I loved her old music, this album was even more inspiring and impactful. – Lucy Hartmann

REVIEWS: MOVIES Mr. and Mrs. Smith do an incredible job portraying how every married couple certainly have issues. Boring life style, not agreeing on curtain colors, dislikes of the same food – all the basics. But it would be a killer joke to say the “who’s washing the dishes tonight” problems come anywhere near to matching the fights coming the Smiths’ way. With a considerably large amount of fight scenes, each one was carried out in the most realistic sense, and it didn’t feel like I was watching an over exaggerated fake battle. The film continued to hold my interest the entire time, of course, it didn’t hurt that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt played the starring roles. John Smith (Brad Pitt) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie) are a substantially unhappy married couple that live a mundane lifestyle. Little do the Smiths know they both lead the secretive life of assassins – for different competitive agencies. When they are both assigned to murder the same target, this little secret comes to light – and their next

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assignments are to kill each other. A rollercoaster of events follows with a boatload of additional secrets, betrayal, and even a little romance. This married couple comes to learn more about each other than they ever did in their years of marriage. Nevertheless, the intertwining romance and hatred throughout the film allowed a perfect median that created a very enjoyable movie to watch. It definitely gives me hope that married couples can always find a way to spice up their relationship and solve their problems – even if they probably don’t include spousal rivalries of assassinating agencies. – Noor Ghuinem

TROLLS DIRECTORS: MIKE MITCHELL ARNAD TUCKER “Trolls” is an instant classic, just like any Disney movie, but with a whimsical twist. The movie is centered around the Trolls and their mortal enemies, the Bergens. These large unhappy creatures are only feel satisfied after eating a troll. The plot centers around two trolls—the optimistic Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and the pessimistic Branch (Justin Timberlake). They must venture to save their troll friends from the Bergens before they become dinner. The trolls’ favorite pastimes include hugging, dancing and singing, inspired a fun soundtrack that brought the emotions in the film to life. Both covers of new and old songs like “The Sound of Silence” by Paul Simon and “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake were included for every member of the family in various places throughout the movie. These songs made the movie very dynamic and delightful to watch. The film established a theme focusing on loving everyone and positivity, but unfortunately the movie was a little bit cheesy. That being said, the cuteness did make up for it, and the movie delivered the message that everyone deserves to be happy, with the help of the little trolls and their big smiles. “Trolls” is a movie that puts everyone a good mood. Because of this, it is a perfect movie to go see to make you feel like a kid again and experience “true happiness.” – Morgan Green

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN DIRECTOR: KELLY FREMON CRAIG The Edge of Seventeen strikes a perfect balance between comedic and touching, capturing the hearts of the entire audience. This refreshing coming of age film explores the ups and downs of Nadine’s life as she navigates the emotional turmoil of high school, but it delves deeper than the typical movie representation of teenage angst. A sharp script brought to life through talented acting makes it a must see for people of all ages. The very first scene sets the tone for the movie as Nadine announces her decision to commit suicide. Her teacher’s sarcastic response introduces the film’s tendency to tackle serious topics with well executed humor. This allows for a lighthearted perspective towards darker themes, but doesn’t cloud the serious undertones of these scenarios. Some of the movie’s most memorable moments were when these serious undertones came to the forefront, and the actors displayed a touching and relatable range of emotions, breaking the mold of teenage movies that simply fill high school stereotypes with exaggerated characters. One of these moments was when Nadine opened up to her brother, bringing the two closer together despite their differences, and illustrating a situation that can relate to any siblings. It’s the scenes like these that give the Edge of Seventeen an authenticity that is often lost in the modern film industry, and it’s refreshing to see a movie with both humor and depth. – Cara Satullo

culture | reviews

REVIEWS: TECH It was awfully suspicious when “Five Nights at Freddy’s 4” lost the subtitle of “The Final Chapter” right before the game was released. While the fourth game in the extremely popular horror game franchise was scheduled to be the final game, developer Scott Cawthon changed his mind and released “Sister Location” about 14 months after. “Sister Location” centers around the player Mike, a new employee at Circus Baby’s Rentals and Entertainment. Similar to the previous entries in the series, the player faces killer animatronics and must survive five nights without being caught or killed. The game is also jam packed with hidden references to previous games in the franchise and even to the book “Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes.” Unlike the previous games where you are stationed in one room, the player gets to move about and is tasked with different objectives every night, providing a fresh gameplay experience. The first three games in the franchise had the player sit in a room and watch cameras to make sure the animatronics weren’t getting too close, but this grew stale. Then the fourth game threw out the cameras, but kept the one room aspect of the gameplay. “Sister Location” allows the player to travel around the setting and is

tasked with more than one objective each night, creating extreme forms of tension and scares. The game also provides a great amount of humor. This strays from the previous entries’ more serious and dark tones. “Sister Location” includes memorable lines such as “causal bongos” and “exotic butters” which have taken the internet by storm. Once you successfully survive a night, you return to your home to watch an episode of a soap opera and munch on popcorn. This allows the player to take a breather in between suspenseful nights and adds comic relief. The game provides satisfying new experiences in the gameplay, humor, and scares department, but only if there was more of it. “Sister Location” lacks the extra nights and game modes that the previous games provided. In the fifth night, the player can access a secret room to produce a different ending to the game, but then that’s it. “Sister Location” has such rich new game elements, but ends so quick compared to his past games. “Sister Location” has shown a new light to the huge “Five Nights at Freddy’s” franchise. The franchise was growing slightly stale, but “Sister Location” came to freshen it up, even if it was just a short lived refresher. But Cawthon’s

CLEAN MASTER BOOST PLAY STORE Clean Master Boost and App Lock is a fantastic tool that shows all of the forgotten Android owners some love. The app is designed to help improve the performance of your cell phone and save space by deleting junk files, getting rid of duplicate and unwanted pictures, and also allowing the user to “hibernate” apps that are not often used to save power. The app is especially useful for older Androids that can’t handle more recent updates that require much of the cell phones space and power. This app gave my Samsung Galaxy S4 an extra three hours and 15 minutes of battery life which is unheard of for older phones. Clean Master also has an easy to use menu where you can select pictures to be deleted easily as they can take up a fair amount of space if left unchecked. It also deletes random junk files that are downloaded to your phone. Clean Master was able to free up over 1.5 gigabytes of space on my phone which is huge considering the phone only had 16 gigabytes of space available. Clean Master is all-around a great app that every Android owner should have considering it is free. The only real downside of the app is that it’s exclusive to Android, but besides that it’s really an incredible tool. – Michael Croy

44 December 2016

photography fair use

VIDEO GAME: SISTER LOCATION DEVELOPER: SCOTT CAWTHON RELEASE DATE: OCT. 7, 2016 new light of freshness doesn’t last too long and leaves the player still hungry for more. More games are being developed and a movie is in the work, so fans still have more content in the coming future to satisfy their needs. But as for “Sister Location,” it’s a satisfying short burst of fresh air that should’ve been more of an explosion. – Austin Black

RADIO PUBLIC APP STORE In a visual-centric society, Radio Public is an oddity of an alternative media platform. It is an app that outputs podcasts and was surprisingly featured on the app store as a popular new media outlet app. The user interface of Radio Public is simple yet effective. There are three tabs at the bottom of “Home”, “Explore” and “Profile”. The “Home” bar outputs to the user podcasts that the playlists and shows the user has followed have produced. The “Explore” bar outputs what’s popular and suggests podcasts based on the user’s interests and followings. The “Profile” tab is where the user can keep track of the shows and playlists they’ve followed as well as their recently played podcasts. This allows the user to have the benefits of having a profile without having to input their personal information. The actual quality of listening strong and clear with reliance on internet speed. In addition, the variety of podcasts covers a wide demographic which is most likely why this app has gained popularity. Overall, the free app that takes up little space is a good way to find podcasts that are both entertaining and educationally enriching as well as a good break from the visual craze that has taken over society. Radio Public is the next big name in alternative media. – Richard Giang

Demand for more expensive gifts has create an increase in holiday spending.

CANDY CANES AND CONSUMERISM Over the past few years Christmas spending has skyrocketed, due to the desire for bigger and better gifts. story noor ghuniem | photo illustration cara satullo


s the holidays are right around the corner, presents are a necessity. Trends show that the amount of money people find themselves spending on presents has risen every year. “I definitely spend more on presents now than I used to. Homemade gifts are out of the picture, I buy my family more pricey things from their wish lists now,” says junior at Lakota East, Sydney Bode. “I guess I do spend a little more every year so I can outdo the last year.” In a survey conducted by Gallup’s November update of the Americans’ 2015 holiday spending for the United states, the average adult was predicted to spend about $830 on Christmas gifts that year, a sharp increase from the $720 predicted in the previous year. That puts America at a 5.1% to 5.8% increase in U.S. holiday retail sales in just one year. “I think that prices have gone up. You can not purchase the same item this year as you could have last year for the same price. Manufacturing costs have increased, which could be the reason,” says Shelley Goodson, a representative of the West Chester Meijers. According to the US Inflation Calculator, by September of last year, the inflation rate was 0% whereas September of this year it rose to 1.5 percent, a substantial increase. The inflation allows the excess money spent this year to be consistent with the same amount of money that may have been spent last year, since the

value of the money just decreases. “From what I know about inflation from school that makes sense,” says junior Maddie Frangiosa. “I know I’ll be spending more this year than last year and that could be why.” Manufacturing expenses are a considerable factor in the spending increase. A study by Fortune magazine found that China’s preferable low labor costs have quadrupled since 2006. As the cost of labor rose, businesses increased their prices as well. “Well when my oldest daughter was younger, I could get away with buying her a few Barbies and some clothes, and she would be satisfied,” says Nada Awad, a parent of four children all in Lakota. “My youngest child now won’t settle for anything other than an iPhone or an iPad, so yeah I could see myself spending more this year than any other year before.” The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) disclosed a record number of consumers plan to buy technology this upcoming holiday season. The report released displayed that 68% of Americans plan to do so, which is a 6% increase from the past year. CTA Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac said in a press release that the 2016 holiday season will be the “biggest on record for the tech sector, thanks to fresh and innovative products on the market.” A Dillard’s representative found herself identifying trends along the same lines.

“I would say it has something to do with technology,” says Bethany Davis.”It’s pricey, everyone wants it these days, and it makes a decent gift.” The amount of holiday spending also varies throughout different households. According to the Gallup survey, Americans living in households earning $75,000 or more per year planned to spend an average of $1,227 on Christmas gifts in 2015. Middle class families planned to spend about $786 and households earning less than $30,000 planned to spend around $460. Furthermore, Christmas spending in households with children under the age of 18 spent an estimated $1092 compared to the $706 spent by households without children. “I spend way more now on holiday gifts than I used to when it was just me and my husband,” says Awad. “I try to get each of my children what they want, so I spend more now with four children than I ever have before I’m sure.” With the stable economy now, the NRF predicts the retail sales of November and December 2016 to increase 3.6 percent. Additionally, online retail is predicted to increase from 7 to 10 percent. Statistics show this steady annual increase in retail sales after the 2007 to 2009 economic decline. “I like spending as much as I can for my family,” Bode says.” I know that it’s the thought that counts not the price, but I like getting them what they want in the end.”

Least Favorite part of Christmas

Christmas Through the Ages Christmas is a widely celebrated holiday throughout the United States that has evolved over the years. New traditions have developed, while some old traditions remain popular.




infographic michael croy, cassia chryssovergis, sophia chryssovergis commercialism/ materialism


91% 86%

Buy gifts for family or friends

89% 86%



Of 2,001 people surveyed

92% 79%


7 percent do not celebrate Christmas Send Christmas or holiday cards

shopping crowds


Attend gatherings with extended family or friends Christmas eve or day

Put up a Christmas tree

money/too expensive

1 percent does not celebrate Christmas

81% 65%

92 percent celebrate

Give homemade gifts, such as baked goods or crafts

66% 58%

Attend religious services on Christmas eve or day

69% 54%

Christmas Spending Through the Years 900 850

Pretend that Santa Claus will visit home on Christmas eve or day





72% 31%









700 Go caroling

36% 16%

*The analysis for this report found on Pew Research Center is based on a national sample of 2,001 adults, 18 years of age or older, from all 50 U.S. states.



Amount spent


$714 $720 $704

$690 $638 $616

99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15

46 November 2016


Favorite Part of Christmas

Students of Lakota East were surveyed about approximately how much their family spends on presents for the holidays. Out of 83 responses:


time with religious family/friends reflection/church



193 21 spend more than $1000

5 spend less than $500



people are happy

are anes and c y d Can ackaged p 19 w no 30 K s d l ids so ou s t for t mil art t Sa k an o le av nta d Cla coo e us kie s

ed eR r h t h ee olp ind Rud ed Re s No eated r is c

31 spend more than $500


Fir art st no are ificia n-g cre l tre reen ate es d


198 999



s 19


NO tra RAD flig ckin be ht g S gin pa an s tte ta’ rns s

26 spend less than $500

vie “A The mo s Story” a Christm t u o s e com

e Averag ends sp person 57 on 8 $ about as m Christ

20 Th e for dem C toy hris and at tren tmas d an ew s is hig h


200 2015 Average person spends around $830 on Christmas


s 200


Th e com mov No es o ie “El f” vem ut be on r7

The first year that more homes put up artificial trees than real trees

sources gallup poll, pew research center,

FAV TREATS TO EAT 1. Chocolate Peppermint Bark 2. Chocolate Pretzel Reindeer Bites 3. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate 4. Classic Gingerbread Men 5. Amish Friendship Bread 6. Strawberry Santas 7. Reindeer Chow 8. Sugar Creme Pie 9. Shortbread Snow Cookies 10. Peppermint Mocha


Recipes on:

1. All I Want for Christmas is You/ Mariah Carey 2. Blue Christmas/ Elvis Presley 3. I’ll be Home for Christmas/ Frank Sinatra 4. Baby it’s Cold Outside/ Idina Menzel Ft. Michael Buble 5. Jingle Bell Rock/ Bobby Helms 6. Feliz Navidad/ Jose Feliciano 7. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree/ Brenda Lee 8. White Christmas/ Michael Buble Ft. Shania Twain 9. Santa Baby/ Eartha Kitt 10. Let it Snow/ Dean Martin

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING 1. Elf on Amazon video 2.Home Alone


1. The Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo    Open: Nov. 19 – Jan. 1 2. Skiing at Perfect North Slopes     Open: Sunday – Thursday 9:30am – 9:30p.m., Friday – Saturday, 9:30a.m.-1:00p.m. 3. Niederman Family Farm Christmas Display     Open: Nov. 25 – Dec. 30 admission is free 4. The Nutcracker by the St. Romain Dance Academy     Show times: Dec. 16 7:30 p.m., Dec. 17 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Dec. 18 3:00 p.m. 5. Ice Skating in Fountain Square     Open: Now through Feb. 2,  Total cost: $10.00

on Amazon Prime 3.The Nightmare Before Christmas on Amazon Prime 4.A Christmas story on TBS on Dec 24th for 24 hours 5.How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Netflix DVD

DIY | culture

DIY UGLY HOLIDAY SWEATERS FOR UNDER $10 story lauren wilson photo cara satullo models (from left to right) hayden hoogerhyde, lexie adams, paige bentley, michael kaltman

SPARK ONLINE: To find out how to make them, check out for a step by step video.

With holiday parties and ugly Christmas sweater day at school just around the corner, Spark’s got you covered with four different holiday sweatshirt ideas for under $10. All supplies were purchased at Walmart.

COST (one shirt):

1. 23 cents per sheet 2. $5.96 3. 99 cents

Total: $8.33


1. aprox. 6 pieces of felt 2. Hanes Sweatshirt 3. pom poms 4. new sew fabric glue 5. hot glue 6. hot glue gun 7. iron 8. marker

December 2016 49

culture | international influence


From African Fashion Week to local cultural influence, this continent has taken the fashion world by storm with its rich history and diversity. story and art lauren wilson photography maya wells model bemni amsalu


ver the past few millenniums fashion in Africa has evolved from “walk like an Egyptian” to “walk the runway.” The earliest traces of African fashion date back to 2000 B.C. in Ancient Egypt where white linen tunics were all the rage. Since then fashion in Africa has come a long way with embroidery, wildly colorful patterns and even high fashion.

50 December 2016

Africa contains 11.73 million square miles of land and composed of 54 countries. This creates diversity in fashion between each region of the continent. Having traveled to Ethiopia to visit family, East senior Bemni Amsalu has been able to immerse herself in her country’s unique fashion. “West African fashion is different from East African fashion,” says Amsalu. “It’s hard to describe a general African fashion because it’s such a big continent with so many different cultures.” In Ethiopia, clothing styles are more traditional; women wear loose white cotton dresses with intricate embroidery. On the other side of the continent, Ghanaians wear bright patterned kente clothing. After living in Ghana until she was three, East senior Faezah Salihu still has strong ties to Ghanaian clothing and culture. “I have several dresses for different occasions,” says Salihu. “Usually the clothes are made a bright patterned cloth. The kente cloth is significant to the Ashanti tribe, but now it is common throughout Ghana. Usually the cloth is different depending on the person or occasion, and the clothes are hand sewn for each individual person so it fits exactly to their body.”

international influence | culture Traditional African clothing is usually reserved for special occasions like church, weddings, holidays and parties. On a day to day basis Africans wear basics like T-shirts, pants and skirts. Their everyday clothing is similar to American and European styles. “We like to mix traditional with the new,” says Salihu. “But we still wear the fashion of our ancestors and hold our pride in what makes us different.” Ethiopian immigrant Shewit Mitke is also mixing the old with the new in the clothes she designs that incorporate her African culture. She started making her own clothes because her petite size made it difficult to find clothes in the store. Mitke combines African and American fabrics in her designs, and even paints on the fabric to make wearable art. “I just do it for fun now and it’s becoming a part of me,” says Mitke. “Whenever I’m wearing the clothes that I’ve created people say they’re beautiful and asked where I got them. I feel special and unique wearing the clothes I’ve made because I’m the only one that has them and they are custom made for me.” Mitke is not the only one sharing African culture and fashion with the world. Globally, Africa Fashion Week in Nigeria has created a platform to showcase new trends for the world to see. Locally, Kent State Associate Professor and Curator of the Kent State University Museum Sara Hume has created an exhibit “Fashions of Southern Africa” to share the variety of styles with fashion students and museum visitors. “There is a misconception that fashion is homogenizing, that the world has been conquered by Western fashion and everyone across Asia, Africa and Europe all wear the same T-shirts and jeans or suits and ties,” says Hume. “Taking a closer look at cities in Africa or South America or Asia reveals how local fashion actually is.” Although African fashion is becoming more global, in recent years there have been problems with cultural appropriation. In 2013, Urban Outfitters was selling a “Vintage Linen ‘90 Dress’” for $209 that looked just like traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean dresses. People were upset that Urban Outfitters passed off the design as their own and didn’t acknowledge the African culture in the dress. “I don’t like when people take our style and don’t give us credit for it,” says Salihu. “When people just use [African styles] for fashion and don’t fully appreciate them or look at their background, it puts a sour taste in my mouth, but when they understand what they symbolize and what they mean I couldn’t care less if they wear them.” Even though fashion is changing and continuing to evolve in Africa, there will always be a sense of gratification held by those who are able to wear their traditional culture’s clothing. Amsalu believes it’s important to acknowledge the history of African culture and it’s value in the global world we live in. It’s pride when you get to wear these clothes and represent your culture. It’s the clothes of your people that they have been wearing for so long and now that part of your culture has been passed down to you,” says Amsalu. “ Even if I’m thousands of miles away from my home, it connects my church and other people in my community because we all have ties through our clothing.”

Amsalu models a traditional cotton Ethiopian dress with bright embroidery.

Several examples of intricate Ethiopian embroidery.

Contact Nicole Grice for information, events and times.


With a shift in coaching dynamics across the nation, how coaches affect their players is becoming more and more important to the foundation of sports. This year, there have been new additions and changes to East coaching staff, and each coach must play his or her part in influencing the game. story allie church | photography sophia spivey | infographic sophia chryssovergis


orn-out, hole-ridden shoes slump on a shelf in her two-car garage. Dirt from hundreds of softball games fill every possible indentation and clump around the six metal spikes. The laces are already tied in loose knots. They’re ready to be worn by her, even though she hasn’t put them on in over a year. Five feet away sits a large black bag. Inside is everything that once meant the world to her: a DeMarini fastpitch bat, her catching gear, a helmet, batting gloves and a Wilson glove that she’s had for years. Crumpled gum wrappers and empty water bottles scatter along the bottom. The zipper, previously yanked open and pulled closed at least twice a day, lays untouched. East senior Lauren Wisner started playing softball when she was three years old. Her career lasted 13 years, until she decided to stop playing in 2015 during her junior year of high school. To Wisner, deciding not to continue her athletic career was one of the hardest decisions she has ever had to make. “Deciding to not play [softball] was really hard, but it was the right decision for me,” Wisner says. “Softball meant everything [to me]. It was my thing to go to. When I wasn’t doing school work, I was playing softball. I helped my little sister with softball and my older sister played. My grandpa played baseball in the minor leagues. It was everything to me, and then it wasn’t anymore.”

Wisner isn’t the only student at East who has decided to end his or her athletic career before the conclusion of high school. According to a survey of 84 East students, 71 percent stopped playing a sport in which they had previously participated. In a poll by the National Alliance for Youth Sports, 70 percent of American kids stop playing organized sports by the time they’re 13 years old. This decrease in youth athletic participation is attributed to various reasons, including the rise of high-level competition and subsequent expectations, coach and parent influences, an increase in the cost to play, injury and a genuine loss of interest. For Wisner, her decision to discontinue her softball career was a combination of two: influence of authority and a shift of personal interest. “I knew my junior year was going to be my hardest year as everyone says, so academics played a part, but coaching was the biggest reason [I stopped playing],” Wisner says. “When I was younger, I had a lot more confidence in myself going up to the plate and being in the field, but as I got older my confidence level went down. I’ve had many coaches over the years and each coach was different. My last few coaches had coaching styles that just didn’t work well with what I felt I needed, and it drained the confidence out of me.” According to Association for Applied Sport Psychology certified consultant Karsten

Treu, the impact coaching styles have on athletes vary depending on the individual’s needs. But what is the same for all athletes, he says, is the importance of having a positive, encouraging coach. “Coaches, and the way that coaches interact with their athletes, has a profound impact on players,” Treu says. “A positive coaching philosophy will boost a young athlete’s confidence, motivate them to succeed and help them to cope with loss or adversity, even beyond the realm of sport and competition.” In a 2014 study for George Washington University, children ranked respect from coaches as the second most influential aspect of sports in terms of enjoyment. In the same study, showing respect and encouragement, being a positive role model, using clear and consistent communication, having knowledge on the specific sport and listening to players’ concerns were the top t characteristics that kids desired from their coaches. Being coached by a person who embodies these positive aspects of coaching; however, isn’t always the case. Of 79 surveyed East students that chose to end their athletic careers, 11 percent stopped playing due to their personal experiences with one or more coaches. According to Treu, ineffective coaches can impact the mental states of their athletes.

December 2016 53

East senior and former softball player Lauren Wisner with her softball gear.

“If coaches do not engage their team or athletes with a positive approach, often the athletes will struggle to find the fun and enjoyment of playing their sport, which in turn creates pressure, anxiety, and poor performance,” Treu says. “Altogether, a negative or unsupportive coaching philosophy can deeply hamper an athlete’s performance as well as their actual desire to continue playing.” With the issues introduced by a coach leaning towards either extreme—overly assertive or too lenient—comes the necessity of balancing the two sides, says Treu. “Most often, the best coaches embrace positivity, encouragement and constructive criticism,” Treu says. “If coaches know how to effectively light a fire under the players that need that extra push, while ensuring that they do not cross any lines, that can also be an effective tool, especially if the coach reinforces [his or her] rationale for taking that approach.” For East head boys basketball coach Clint Adkins, creating this sense of balance between aggressiveness and support among his coaching staff has fostered an effective coaching style that encourages, yet pushes, the athletes. “I have a good coaching staff whose role is to be nothing but positive, and there’s going to be times where I’m a little negative and a little critical of our guys, but we do a good job of balancing between being rough

and supportive,” Adkins says. “I’m a pretty assertive, aggressive [coach] when I’m on the floor. I’m a very competitive person, but I think you can be assertive, you can be tough, and you can be demanding, but at the same time, I feel like I’m a very supportive coach as well, not just in term of on the basketball floor, but also in terms of players lives.” According to senior boys basketball player Evan Kuhlman, this supportive, yet aggressive style has kept him playing for East’s basketball team throughout his entire high school career. “[Adkins] picks where he’ll be more aggressive and where he’ll be more passive,” Kuhlman says. “[Through this balance,] he builds chemistry between the guys and gains support from us. He makes us feel like we’re apart of a team. He’s really effective.” Having to maintain this balance in coaching styles isn’t something coaches have always been concerned with in the past. According to the United States Sports Academy, there has been a nationwide shift to new school styles of coaching from previous old school methods, which included utilizing an aggressive approach with punishment, manhandling and intimidation. According to Lakota’s former athletic director Stu Eversole, the old school way of coaching is no longer efficient due to the complexity of today’s sports. “I think it’s much more effective if your

54 December 2016

players understand why you’re doing some things, and I think the buy-in is better if they understand the rationale,” Eversole says. “There are so many things that are built into the games now as far as changes that have to be made on the fly, so the players have to understand the general concepts and put themselves in better positions to be successful, and they can only do that if the coaches actually include them in the partnership of understanding how the game is built. Back in the old days, you didn’t do that. We’re not producing robots anymore, [when coaches said] just do what your told and don’t ask any questions.” The United States Sports Academy states that the transition to new school coaching has been accompanied by positive relationships between coaches and athletes, open communication, increased encouragement and furthered knowledge of the sport. According to Eversole, a particular focus on the idea of an educational setting in relation to athletics has played a part in fostering this shift. “[The changing of coaching styles] is a reflection of the general education system that we have that is evolving,” Eversole says. “There are things back in the old days that coaches did as far as player treatment that you just can’t do nowadays. We’ve always thought that coaching was teaching, and so you take that teaching environment and you put coaching

psychology of coaching | sports in it, and you ask yourself the question ‘is this justifiable in a teaching environment?’ In certain circumstances you have to get your point across, and maybe sometimes if you raise your voice that gives you the inflection that you need, but the days of putting your hands on players are long, long gone. I think players play better for coaches that prepare them well, teach them the whole scheme of what’s going on, and I think players play well for coaches they connect with better, not that they fear.” Part of this transition of coaching styles includes the decrease of high school coaches who also teach in their respective schools. With more coaches coming in from outside careers, Eversole says providing training of what is acceptable in an educational environment is even more important than in the past. “More and more of our coaches are coming outside of education,” Eversole says. “As athletic administrators and building administrators, you have to really work with those coaches to unearth the educational aspects of the sports that their coaching, because they may not be trained educators. Our coaching staff, once upon a time, were probably 85 to 90 percent teachers in the building or in the school system, and [now] that number is probably 50 percent or less, so you have a lot of non-teacher, noneducator coaches dealing with players. Then it falls back to the athletic administration and the building administration to make sure they understand education and how they’re handling young people and parents.” Although coaching techniques impact athletes both mentally and physically, they aren’t the only factors influencing whether or not East’s athletes decide to continue or stop playing sports. Of the 79 students surveyed, 19 percent ended their athletic careers due to injury. During senior Ilias Boujili’s junior soccer season, he tore his anterior talofibular ligament in his ankle after colliding with an opposing goalkeeper. Due to his injury, he was unable to play for the majority of the season, and because of other recurring injuries, halfway through the 2016 season, Boujili considered not playing. “Even months after [my ankle] injury going into club season, if I took a sharp turn or stepped wrong it would hurt pretty bad,” Boujili says. “By the time the summer [ended] I got over the injury. It was definitely a struggle though, because my playing wasn’t how it used to be, and it affected playing time for a little while, which made me mad because I couldn’t do much. That’s when the thoughts of quitting started coming to mind.” After contemplating for days, Boujili chose to continue, despite the pain he was experiencing. He ended the 2016 season with five goals and three assists, according to the Greater Miami Conference (GMC). The expectations he held for himself, he says, were worth more than the side effects of his injuries. “Soccer has been huge in my family ever since I was a little kid,” Boujili says. “My dad

played [professionally] in Morocco, so he obviously had high expectations for me, and I had high expectations for myself as well, so I didn’t want to quit after one big injury.” In order to combat the decrease of participation in sports and therefore further promote youth health, programs are being established that focus on increased encouragement, children’s needs and interests and on the training of coaches. The Aspen Institute’s Project Play is one such program. According to Aspen Institute program associate Risa Isard, Project Play’s overall goal is to advocate youth health through the accessibility and increased interest in sports. “People who were active when they were younger are increasingly active today, and that’s absolutely huge,” Isard says. “Sport has the power to be that tool in a kids life to teach them what it’s like to have a body that does incredible things. Every kid in America [should have] the opportunity to be active through sports. At its most fundamental level, sports gets people active and that’s really critical when talking about health. I could have learned goal setting and teamwork and determination from a lot of other settings. But [in those settings] I am definitely not being active, so sport is a unique blend of those character development traits and positive healthy behavior.” Project Play aims to achieve this goal by using an eight step plan, called The 8 Plays. The first two steps, or plays, include focusing on what each individual child desires and hopes to gain from a sport and adopting a concept of free play in which a child is able to play sports on their own terms. Plays three and four encourage experimentation of multiple sports and shifting the stigma of inferiority involved with local leagues. The last four plays involve creating small, simple and not overlyintricate sports areas, establishing appropriate developmental programs, training all coaches and promoting safety from injury risks. According to Isard, Project Play and its eight step plan are important in that they provide a framework for connecting all people involved in youth sports in order to effectively advocate the purpose of such sports. “We are one of the only countries that does not have a Ministry of Sports, [so] anybody

who wants to start a team can start a team,” Isard says. “America’s the land of opportunity, and that’s really great, but what it means is that you have a lot of different philosophies out there, most of which are not backed in research or understanding of kids. It’s really important for there to be a purpose of youth sports and that we have a way to all work together for that. Project Play aims to get everyone moving in the same direction to make the most difference. It’s the first framework [in America] around what good looks like in youth sport.” In regards to coaching, Project Play promotes the training of all coaches. This training, according to Project Play, is crucial for early experiences of athletes. In a study by the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education, five to ten percent of youth sports coaches were found to have received relevant training. Furthermore, a study by the Sport and Coaching Education Initiative at the University of Maine concluded that athletes who play for untrained coaches drop out at a rate of 26 percent. According to Isard, training coaches is essential to reducing this particular rate. “If we’re talking about not just getting kids into sports, but keeping them there, it can’t be a one time wonder; it has to be an opportunity that is consistently present and can build,” Isard says. “Just training coaches is a huge buffer that we have at our disposal to keep kids active. I think the importance of training coaches is helping them to understand what kids want from coaches and what kids don’t want from coaches. Project Play says there are at the minimum three things coaches should be trained in: how to work with youth, basic sport and physical literacy skills and safety.” The same study by the Sport and Coaching Education Initiative at the University of Maine found that athletes playing for trained coaches dropout at a rate of five percent. Because of the benefits that trained coaches provide, East’s current Athletic Director Richard Bryant considers experience as one essential characteristic, among others, in prospective East coaches. “I feel that [experience] is important,” Bryant says. “Generally we’re hiring individuals with a lot of experience because of the level

I think players play better for coaches that prepare them well, teach them the whole scheme of what’s going on, and I think players play well for coaches they connect with better, not that they fear. – Stu Eversole, former Lakota athletic director

sports | psychology of coaching at which we compete. Is it the end-all? Not necessarily. Sometimes, there are coaches that have what I call ‘it.’ They’re either a kid magnet, or they are just able to motivate, [or] they have a strong understanding of the sport, and usually those individuals start as a part of the program, not as a head coach.” Bryant was able to find these characteristics in both the new girls volleyball head coach, Grady Rogers, and in the new girls basketball head coach, Gideon Dudgeon. Rogers led the 2016 girls volleyball team to an overall 18-7 record, placing them second in the GMC. Likewise, Dudgeon, who previously coached at Hamilton High School, improved their 2015 overall 4-19 record to an overall 17-7 record in 2016, an increase of a .534 winning percentage. As the 2016 season was the first experience in which both were coaching East athletes, Dudgeon says that in order to build upon the girl’s basketball team’s previous success, forming a sense of trust and connection with his athletes from the very beginning was crucial. “I was hired in May, and you have to start building those relationships as soon as you come in, so when I was hired I had a team meeting, and were allotted a certain number of days over the summer, so we just started getting to know each other over those days,” Dudgeon says. “It was just building those relationships as soon as we could. We talked about it pretty early on that trust is the most important aspect. [For them to] know that my whole goal for them is their success, it doesn’t mean a certain number of wins, it’s just for them to be successful, and [for them to] know I have their backs, that’s the most important thing.” According to senior girls basketball player Hannah Kilps, the relationships and trust that Dudgeon created with each of his players was effective in pulling the girls together to further promote their improvement in the program this season. “[Dudgeon] was very personable, so it was easy to talk to him, [and] from the beginning he was welcoming,” Kilps says. “In basketball, talking is really important, so talking with the coach and being able to communicate with him on and off the court helps. I’ve seen a lot of improvement in the girls already so he’s obviously making a good change to the program.” Despite successes that coaches have found through balancing aggression and support, the nationwide transition to new school coaching styles and programs established to combat the decrease in athletic participation, for some, including Wisner, playing sports simply isn’t a reality. Although Wisner says playing softball isn’t going to be a part of her future, it will always remain an important part of her life. “Softball will always mean something to me,” Wisner says. “I played for 13 years, and I still continue to play with my little sister; I will continue to play with her and my future kids. Softball will never not be a part of my life.”

Keeping Kids Kickin’ According to Project Play, there are eight strategies being used to help kids stay physically active through sports.


Ask Kids What They Want


Reintroduce Free Play Let kids play on their own terms


Encourage Sport Sampling More options means kids will find the sport they love easily


Revitalize In-town Leagues Provide the foundation for sports participation in the U.S.

West Chester


Think Small Smaller-scale efforts yield better results than bigger scale efforts


West Chester

West Chester

Design for Development Kids should first become active, then learn the fundamentals of sports

Learn Fundamentals Active Start

Such as building a soccer field versus a soccer stadium


Train All Coaches Coaches are the core for quality sports training



Emphasize Prevention Risk of sport injuries is concerning to parents



hiring coaches | sports

East’s and others’ athletic directors discuss Ohio coaching requirements and characteristics they look for when hiring a coach. story sarah mullins


he coach stands on the sidelines encouraging the girls basketball team, running drills to make them the best they can possibly be. Every girl on the court is giving 100 percent, dedicating hours of their time to learn how to not only play sports, but to do it as a team. According to East athletic director Richard Bryant, currently about 35 percent of students at Lakota East participate in sports. Maintaining this statistic is not easily done, and would be even more difficult to maintain without coaches who dedicate time to develop students athletes, says Bryant. At East there are about 90 coaches, assistant coaches and volunteers. To obtain these positions, they each had to be interviewed and thoroughly vetted before they could be hired. “It’s like buying a house; I have to do my homework,” Bryant says. “I will try to find people that they don’t want me to call. I will confirm that they are not lying on this application to make sure they have not put anything in here that would endanger us or cause us to be in a difficult situation.” Gideon Dudgeon is the most recent addition to the East athletic department, hired last May as the varsity head coach for girls basketball. He previously worked at Hamilton High School. “[The] interview process is always tough,” Dudgeon says. “Mr. Bryant does a very good job of trying to find the right person for the job, but I felt really comfortable, and last year at Hamilton, we had a great year. That made the interview process a little easier for me because he saw what I did at Hamilton. It was a very thorough [process].” This is not just a process specific to Lakota

East; it is used in public and private high schools all over the state. Local private schools, like St. Xavier Academy, have a similar philosophy about how to hire a coach. “We put applicants through the interview process with a three panel committee that typically consists of another head coach from a different sport, another administrator, and then a third person. Sometimes it’s our athletic trainer, sometimes it’s our director of communications,” St. Xavier athletic director John Sullivan says. “We want someone who understands how athletics fits in the educational process at the high school level.“ High school coaching can be a competitive job market depending on the sport, Bryant says. In past years, Lakota East hired a new football coach, and there were over 100 applicants. With that many applicants, Bryant says, it is just not possible to interview everybody. “We try to get down to a workable number,” Bryant says. “It’s different by position; it’s different by sport. It’s not that one is more important than the other, but when you’ve got 100 to work through, you’ve got to be able to go through the paper and figure out your best eight or your best six.” When the athletic departments are interviewing the applicants, they are all looking for different things. For both East and St. Xavier, experience is important in a prospective coach, but it is not the only thing they look for. Maybe the best coach, Sullivan says, isn’t the most experienced. “Wins are obviously nice but they’re not the most important factor for us,” Sullivan says. “It‘s more about fit within the school, [and] fit for our programs. Experience is not something we ask for. We’ll hire somebody who is a first year head coach if they are the right fit.”

Experience is not something we ask for. We’ll hire somebody who is a first year head coach if they are the right fit. – John Sullivan, St. Xavier athletic director

In regard to hiring a girls basketball coach this year, Dudgeon believes Bryant was searching for someone with previous experiences and success, consistency, and a sense of relatability to the athletes. “I think for this particular position, they were looking for obviously someone that knows the game and can relate to the girls,” Dudgeon says. “[I think they also looked for] someone that is going to stick around for awhile, [and] someone who’s had some experience. I had some successes [at Hamilton] that were very much attributed to the kids. They worked hard so they made me look good. I think maybe that, and knowing I had coached in the Greater Miami Conference (GMC) was helpful as well.” Once the chosen applicants have been thoroughly vetted through background checks, there are requirements set by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) including an I9 form, a W9 form, a fraud form, a new employee information card and they must have an understanding of the Ohio Ethics Law and Statutes. To be hired, coaches require a completed supplemental application, BCI/FBI Background Check/ Fingerprint results and a valid pupil activity permit which requires coaches to complete an approved Sports First Aid Class, a National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Education Fundamentals of Coaching Course and a Concussion in sports course. The OHSAA sets the official requirements for Ohio schools but could not be reached to comment to explain hiring stipulations. They released an official statement on their website stating, “As of November 15, 2005, the Ohio High School Athletic Association administrative staff will no longer take telephone calls from parents and students about eligibility and other OHSAA regulations.” Along with the importance of completing the requirements set by the OHSAA, Bryant says that finding people to build upon and continue East’s athletic programs are arguably the most crucial components of the hiring process at East. “Coaching or leadership is critical to the success of our student athletes,” Bryant says. “I have to find the best person available to fill any opening that we have. This might be the most important aspect of my job.”

December 2016 57


When East’s former girls basketball coach left after coaching for two years, the athletic department found a new coach to rebuild and strengthen the program. story and photography sophia spivey


hen East Lakota senior and girls basketball player Ekene Azuka found out that she would be coached by her third varsity coach in the past four years, she was shocked. Switching from coach to coach isn’t easy, but the team has bonded together to accomplish the team’s top potential, according to Azuka.

“It’s been tough,” Azuka says. “Having three coaches and four years isn’t great, and it’s even worse when you have to have a new coach your senior year. But coach [Gideon] is amazing, and we all love him.” When Gideon Dudgeon decided to coach Hamilton High School’s girls basketball team,

58 December 2016

they went from their 2015 record of 2-14 to 11-5 in 2016, moving up from ninth in the Greater Miami Conference [GMC] in 2015 to fourth in 2016. “At Hamilton, I was the fifth coach in seven years, and here I’m like the fifth coach in seven or eight years,” Dudgeon says. “[For] some

girls basketball coach | sports

Girls basketball coach Gideon Dudgeon coaches during practice.

of these girls, this is their third coach, [and the] same thing at Hamilton, so I kind of try to realize that. They have to go through this process again, [and] I just try to recognize that.” According to Hamilton Assistant Athletic Director Tyler Belew, Dudgeon’s passion and desire to win pushed the girls to their full potential, leading the team to victory. Belew says that even though Dudgeon no longer coaches for Hamilton, the team is extremely appreciative of his efforts and the things they were able to accomplish under his leadership. “He was a great manager of individuals and [he] directed their talent toward a common goal: winning,” Belew says. “While the team had many talented players, Coach Dudgeon surrounded himself with other quality coaches

that aided in the success of the team.” Princeton High School girls basketball coach and former East girls basketball coach Jill Phillips did not respond to attempted contact, but did tell Journal-news that once she began coaching at East, she did not intend to go back to Princeton, where she spent her first 12 seasons coaching. After Princeton athletic director Gary Croley reached out to her about returning, however, she started to consider the offer. For Phillips, the drive would be shorter than to East, and she had more history with the Princeton Vikings, a team that she led to a 2104 Division I state championship and a 24347 overall record. “He reached out to me when they had a vacancy,” Phillips said to Journal-News. “I told him that I was doubtful, but that I would listen, so we talked. I had a great two years at East. There was nothing about East that made me leave. It had to do more with Princeton. I live in the district, a half mile from the high school. I had a lot of great memories at Princeton; that’s where my heart was and I wanted to be back there.” East Varsity Assistant coach and Junior Varsity coach Kathy Lee has worked with four different coaches over the past five seasons and enjoyed getting the opportunity to work with a coach who has won a state championship, because it provided her with the chance to learn and expand her own skills as a coach. With Phillips leaving and Dudgeon taking her place, Lee feels that every aspect of the program will be enhanced with his completely different system of coaching. “From the start, Coach Dudgeon has brought a breath of fresh air to the program,” Lee says. “His communication skills are top notch and his attention to details is second to none. He is involved in all aspects of the program from the top on down. Our players have responded very well to Coach Dudgeon. His off season conditioning regimen has our kids stronger and faster at this point in the preseason than in past years.” In order to create the easiest transition possible for the girls, Dudgeon put together team bonding days. According to East senior and girls basketball player Jasmine Floyd, Dudgeon lets the players dictate a lot by telling each player something he thought they needed to work on and by asking for their opinions to keep the team chemistry close. “We’ve done some team building,” Dudgeon says. “We went on the Halloween Hollow out in Wilmington. We’ve done that; we’ve done a couple other team building activities, and it kind of gets us away from the court and lets us get to know each other off the court.” When East Athletic Director Richard Bryant saw how Dudgeon led the Hamilton girls to success, he was impressed. After Bryant conducted an interview with him in which

Dudgeon presented a schedule for the team planned from the minute that he would be hired, he had the job. “His energy is unmatched,” Bryant says. “Just talk to him for a second. He’s excited about anything and everything. That is important to me because it is contagious to the kids. Organizationally, he’s absolutely at the top as far as his plan for success. He was able to sit across from Mrs. Davis, Mr. Ulland and myself and outlined what he would be doing down to the minute [all the way] up to tryouts. Even now, every Sunday night I get a summary of what his week looks like down to the minute. He is on it, ask the girls. What else caught my eye? He had extraordinary level of success at Hamilton High School.” East sophomore and girls basketball player Jordan Stanley’s only concern for having a new coach was the possibility that he might not know each player’s strengths and weaknesses yet. Even with her concern, Stanley appreciates Dudgeon’s effort to get to know the girls through his jokes, efforts to communicate and structured practices. “I really like it [playing for Dudgeon],” Stanely says. “We all have a strong connection with him, even though he has only been in the program since May. We get along very well, but during practice it is more serious [than it has been in the past], and he has it structured so we get a lot of work done.” Dudgeon doesn’t just work on continuously improving the girl’s varsity basketball team, but he also looks to younger players that can potentially join the East varsity program in the future by working with the junior high coaches and more. Creating a cohesive, connected basketball program through all levels and grades, Dudgeon says, is important to promote the strength of the program’s future. “The youth program is very important,” Dudgeon says. “It’s not even just [grades] seven through 12, but even the younger kids. I went to the Cincinnati Lakota Shop Meeting to introduce myself to the coaches there, and really you have to develop a youth program for it to stay consistent.” According to Lee, even though switching around from coach to coach over the years can be hard for the girls, Dungeon’s incorporation of younger athletes, his ability to connect with each player and his organization has helped the team remain resilient and adapt. “In the past our basketball program has been good, but we as a staff want to take it to the next level,” Lee says. “East is no longer satisfied with finishing 3rd in the GMC behind rivals, Mason and West. Coach Dudgeon is changing that mindset. He believes in a program that starts in the elementary and junior high levels. Teaching life lessons and getting girls excited about East basketball are his main goals.”

sports | girls volleyball coach


After East’s former volleyball coach of one year resigned, the athletic department shifted the arrangement of the coaching staff. story sophia spivey | photography used with permission


akota East senior and girls volleyball player Alexis Adleta walked into practice thinking it was going to be a normal day, but she unexpectedly found out that the team’s coach of only one year, Rob Long, would be leaving the team. This would mean that the program would have its third head coach in three years. “As a player it's definitely been hard to adjust to the new coaching staff every year,” Adleta says. “Each year the new coach has a different and new way of doing things, and it's for sure been hard to learn each coach's style.” Current East varsity girls volleyball head coach Grady Rogers was hired as the East freshman coach under previous varsity head coach Casie Garland two years ago, and moved his way up to junior varsity last year. With the resignation of Long, who did not respond to attempted contact, Rogers was named varsity head coach this year. While searching for prospective coaches, East athletic director Richard Bryant says moving Rogers to the varsity head coach position was a natural transition for the program. “In coach Rogers, we knew,” Bryant says. “He is [extremely] positive. He worked his way through our program, and when we had the opening it was a natural progression to move him into that position as a head coach. [He’s] a very young coach, but really [he] was what we were looking for as far as positivity, organization, [and having] a vision for what he wanted to do, and how he wanted to organize himself and the girls.” Even though East is the first school that he has coached at, Rogers and his wife were both coaches for Junior Olympic volleyball for ten years, prior to coaching at East. Junior Olympic Volleyball is a select group of teams composed of talented young athletes that compete against each other. “Junior Olympic volleyball is like select soccer or Ametuer Athletic Union (AAU) basketball,” Rogers says. “It's an opportunity for the best players in the area to play together on the same team regardless of school or division. This year I am making a transition from Cincinnati Volleyball Academy (CVA) to Elevation, where I'll be coaching the top 13 National team. The last three years our team has earned bids to Nationals.” According to Rogers, he plans to extend his coaching experience

Girls volleyball head coach Gary Rogers.

in order to build upon East’s girls volleyball program. Rogers says he formed connections with each athlete to lower the difficulty of playing under multiple coaches within a short period of time. “With the seniors, they have had two prior coaches in the past which is pretty difficult as a player to come in with a completely different program, but essentially we said down with the seniors and talked about what we wanted to do and about the changes we wanted to make, and basically got them with being on board with all the things we wanted to bring in,” Rogers says. “I think that for the most part we were able to earn their respect [and] commitment. It really paved the way for the underclassmen by seeing how the future Lakota East volleyball program is going to be.” Rogers implemented intense two-hour practices six days a week with warm-up activities beforehand, and after games they reviewed film to pinpoint possible improvement areas. He led the team to 18-7 overall record (8-1 Greater Miami Conference (GMC)), placing second in the GMC under Mason. According to East senior and girls volleyball player Julia Kuhr, having several coaches through her volleyball career has been difficult, but being exposed to different coaching styles, and specifically to Rogers’ dedication, has been positive. “It’s kind of hard, but at the same time it’s exciting because then you have these different coaches,” Kuhr says. ”If you didn’t like the way one coach did it, this new coach maybe has a different way of going about that. [Rogers] is a very dedicated coach. [The coaching staff] did a good job with staying true to their word in saying that we are going to keep up with specific workouts and specific things.” Rogers’ consistency isn’t always an easy feat to maintain. According to Sycamore Junior High girls volleyball coach and former five-year East varsity girls volleyball coach Casie Garland, it can become challenging to coach at any school for various reasons. “I believe it is challenging to coach at a high level anywhere in this day and age of the sport,” Garland says. “There is a lot more than just running practices and coaching in games. Volleyball has become a dominant sport among high school females and has become very competitive. These kids are playing all year round with club volleyball, sand volleyball, camp and private lessons. All of those things are very expensive and time consuming.” For East’s girls volleyball team, Rogers identifies the biggest issue that the team has to overcome as the level of toughness and confidence that each player has during games. “I think that one thing that we struggled with a little bit this year was just being confident in our abilities,” Rogers says. “Even up until the tournament, there would be times where we were just kind of shaky. Really, it comes down to instilling that confidence level of in practices, and I think we can do a better job starting freshman through the whole program on helping the girls feel more confident on their athletic and volleyball abilities. If we can work on that, my goal would be that we could be more competitive in the tournament.” Despite the difficulties Rogers may meet, he says that he will work with the team to power through it. According to Adleta, as long as the athletes are able to adjust to new coaching styles, they will be successful in the future. “Since everyone was so unfamiliar with the way the coaches did things this year, it held us back from reaching our highest potential,” Adleta says. “I think once the players are able to adjust to the style, it will be more successful.”

football coaches | sports


Jared and Rick Haynes discuss thier father-son relationship in regard to coaching East’s football team. story alyssa hetterich | photography sophia spivey


Son of Rick Haynes, assistant and offensive line coach Jared Haynes.

I looked at it as an opportunity to work with him, and I’m lucky in that regard. I was coming back home. – Jared Haynes, assistant and offensive line football coach

e spent his childhood watching from the sidelines, looking up at his father who commanded the field and called the shots. Getting the opportunity to coach alongside his father was a childhood dream come true. Jared Haynes was approached to coach the offensive line and teach College Prep and Advanced Placement Psychology at Lakota East this year, an opportunity that has brought him closer to his father, East assistant principal and head football coach Rick Haynes and has brought him back to his roots. “I looked at it as an opportunity to work with him, and I’m lucky in that regard,” Jared says. “I was coming back home.” In coming back to the community that he says helped shape him, Jared wanted to inspire kids in and outside of the classroom. Coaching football further enabled those relationships to strengthen and the ideals of character to be further implemented in the team. “Building those relationships and helping them find out who they are and what it means to be responsible, dependable and accountable for what you do,” Jared says. “I think that’s a huge thing.” This translated into the players who appreciated Jared’s goals of inspiring the team morally and emotionally. Jared helped coach the current senior class in their 2014 freshman season while student teaching at Mason City Schools, a situation that allowed him to later renew the relationships he had developed during that season. Because East senior Nick Finley was the only returning offensive linemen this year, he was able to see the impact Jared had on current and previous players. “I was a part of the freshman team and what he did the most for me out of anything was help me develop my confidence as a football player,” Finley says. “I think that speaks to all the players he coached.” Contrary to his sons personalized style of coaching and more laid-back attitude, Rick’s commanding role as head coach balanced out the offensive line. Working as a “yin and yang,” the duo helped coach their team to a 4-3 record. “[Rick and Jared] were bad cop, good cop respectively,” Finley says. “[Rick] was a commanding presence that made the team, especially the offensive line, perform at high levels all the time. [Jared] assisted in that process as a more personal and supportive coach. I think his style complemented his

Head football coach Rick Haynes. father's extremely well.” Rick attributes his son’s ability to coach the team to his youth and enthusiasm for coaching. As the head coach, Rick’s relationship with the players is different than that of a position coach in terms of attitude and discipline. Yet, the effect that Jared’s homecoming had on his father and the team is greater than helping to rebuild the offensive line. The Haynes’ have been able to come together in a way that most families haven’t to rebuild and lead to victory a team and program that has meant so much to them. “As a parent, your kids get older and kind of drift away,” Rick says. “You miss not being with them. With this experience, I get to see him everyday.” The accomplishments of the program are not forgotten as the team looks forward to the future to continue their successes. The coaching duo looks to make East football perform at the highest level it can while keeping core values of community and dedication within the program. “In the future, it’s important to make this a football program that is consistently competing for championships [and] doing well in the playoffs,” Rick says. “[It’s important] to be a team to be proud of based on how we conduct ourselves in the classroom and in the community.”

December 2016 61

sports | softball coach

IN FOR THE LONG RUN East softball coach Steve Castner discusses his experience as East’s longest tenured coach. story landon meador | photography emma stiefel


e sits in the dugout, hands on the fence, sunglasses on, focused on the game, as he has been now for 20 years. Lakota East softball head coach Steve Castner is the longest tenured coach at East. According to Steve’s brother and Lakota West’s head softball coach Keith Castner, Steve’s passion for the game comes from the athletes he coaches. “Steve absolutely loves the game of softball,” Keith says. “All the outstanding girls on and off the field that have played for him has made coaching softball one incredible journey for him.” Last year, Steve led his team to a 27-2 record with a run in the postseason. East softball has maintained a spot within the top five school in the Greater Miami Conference since 2007, and won the state title in 2010, under Steve’s leadership. The Lakota area has always been home to Steve and his family and now is to his children as well. Growing up, Keith recalls sharing a

great childhood with Steve. “He was a great brother to me, I love him very much,” Keith says. “[When we were kids], we got our favorite box of cereal for Christmas, and [Steve] would lock his up and eventually sell it to the rest of us. He was a great brother to me.” After going through all 12 grades in the district, Steve knew that Lakota was where he wanted to continue his career as a coach and teacher. In 1988, the Castner brothers coached together before Lakota split into East and West. Once divided, Steve chose East, while his brother Keith chose West. For 3 years Steve coached the reserve level until a coaching position opened for varsity. He jumped at the opportunity, and began implementing his own style into the system, which included connecting with athletes before they entered high school. “I think if you don’t take the time to get to know what’s coming, they are going to be

East softball coach Steve Castner.

here and gone before you know it.” Steve says. “You are going to play harder for someone you know and trust. I try to leave my games and go to other fields and see the girls. I try to be there after the game to say ‘good job’ or ‘nice pitching’ or whatever it is, so they are aware of the varsity coach seeing them.” Part of Steve’s style includes pushing for team chemistry. He promotes this by hosting a yearly team bonding event on his farm. “We foster team chemistry,” Steve says. “We have a team get together out at the farm [where] we take the kids out and spend a night. We sit by the campfire, fish and swim. We have a good time. We try to make it a no-phone zone, so everyone will talk to each other, but that doesn’t always work.” The relationships Steve forms with his players last beyond their athletic careers at East. Steve says he still stays in touch with multiple former players, especially those on the team when they won state. “Anytime there is a tournament run, [some former players] will send me texts.” Steve says. “They go and say ‘hey good luck,’ and it’s nice to have that from players of those years.” The relationships Steve forms with his players mirrors his dedication to the sport. Steve’s love for softball, Keith says, is more than slight, and more than a job: it is a lifestyle. “Besides his family and the farm, coaching softball is his next love,” Keith says. “I don’t see him stopping anytime soon. He loves [coaching] too much.” According to East senior softball player Rachel Lewis, Steve’s competitive nature has fostered a sense of dedication within each athlete that he coaches. “It makes me want to succeed even more, and he pushes me to be better than I was the day before,” Lewis says. “The softball season is shorter than most seasons. Therefore, more of your time has to be dedicated to it every day which is even more so relevant with coach Steve’s program.” For up and coming students, Steve plans to continue on with the program he constructed. For Steve and his family, softball has become a part of all of their lives. “If I can continue coaching after I am done teaching, I want to,” Steve says. “There are good groups up and coming, and I want to see them through.”

brother coaching | sports

Liberty junior athletic director Randy Hamilton.

East baseball coach Ray Hamilton.


Growing up, Randy and Ray Hamilton always knew they wanted to coach athletes, so when they got the chance to coach together at East, they took the opportunity and ran with it. story stephen mckay | photography sophia spivey


t was the middle of football season for the Lakota East freshman football team. Ray Hamilton looked over to his left, and his younger brother by four years, Randy Hamilton, looked to his right. They made eye contact, and both could not help but think of how happy they were to be coaching with each other. To Randy, coaching with his brother was an opportunity his entire family had been looking forward to. “[Coaching together is] a little deeper because we lost our dad before he could actually watch us coach together,” Randy says. “When we got the opportunity we both jumped at it. It was a lot of fun everyday, and coaching is fun, but coaching with [Ray] made it even better.” Currently, Randy is the athletic director and eighth grade head football coach at Liberty Junior School. Just about a minute drive away, Ray is the head baseball coach and an assistant football coach for East. Randy and Ray attended high school in Lakota before the school was split, and both eventually returned into Lakota athletics, Randy after volunteering for a year under his brother-in-law, and Ray after coaching for Ross for 11 years, when the former coach became the athletic director.

The brothers have both experienced success in the past few years. Ten of Liberty Junior’s cross country athletes ran at the State level this year. The seventh grade football team went 7-1 this year, and there were deep tournament runs in both basketball and golf, teams that have won the Greater Miami Conference (GMC) conference twice recently. At East, Ray has influenced successes as well. Ray has brought many amazing feats to the baseball team recently as well. When World Series-winning Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber played at Middletown with five other division one high school players in 2011 the Lakota East baseball team won twice. In the same year, Ray was also on the coaching staff when the baseball team won the state championship. With Randy coaching at Liberty and Ray at East, the brothers are able to communicate with each other as often as necessary regarding prospective East athletes. “We talk a lot and it really helps to get to know a little bit more about the kid once they’ve gone through [Liberty] and come to East,” Ray says. “You don’t miss anybody having a reference like him. [With a person] that I trust like him, you’re not going to miss a

kid [coming in] just because [East is] so big, you can miss somebody.” According to former Liberty football player and East baseball player Jake Owens, the Hamilton brothers coach in very similar ways that show kids not only how to play the game, but also morals such as responsibility, dedication, and respect. “[Ray and Randy] get everybody to laugh and everybody loves them,” Owens says. “Everybody loves playing for them [and] they’re just out there to teach kids to play ball.” According to both Ray and Randy, neither could see themselves working in any other career besides coaching. They say that they love being a part of sports and seeing kids grow and that the competitive nature they had as kids is still inside them, shown everyday whether it’s at a preseason workout, practice, or the state tournament game. “I think going back to when you played, it’s still that competitive type of setting that you grew up with,” Ray says. “Some of the positive impacts you have on the kids you [coach], like when you hear ‘having played for you, it enabled me to turn out to be a better person, [is the best part of being a coach].”

December 2016 63


East speech, English teacher and Eaton girls basketball coach David Honhart.

Multiple East teachers and teachers from other schools must balance working at one school and coaching at another. story dustin horter | photography emma stiefel


alancing two full time jobs every day proves to be difficult for most, and working at two different buildings can add on to the pressure. The stress and anxiety the modern society has on a person with one job alone is a load to deal with. For many Lakota East teachers, this is a daily reality. Adam Thomas started off his teaching and coaching career at Lakota East, where he taught geometry and algebra while also coaching the cross country and track teams. When the district failed to pass a levy in 2012, Thomas was cut from the teaching program. Despite this tough time, Thomas was able to find a job at Great Oaks High School and look at the bright side: he still got to coach at East. “I was lucky enough to still be able to coach at Lakota East,” Thomas, who has coached three teams to state appearances, says. “Great Oaks does not have sports programs, but even if they did, I would not leave my Thunderhawk cross country and track teams.” While Thomas says he liked having the flexibility of being able to take on coaching responsibilities during the school day at East, he enjoys the faculty and students Great Oaks has to offer. “It takes me a few weeks to get to know all of my new students’ and athletes’ names,” Thomas says. “But I really appreciate teaching and coaching every one of them. I love where I teach and love where I coach. I couldn’t ask for anything more.” Thomas has a background of running for Fairfield High School and being recruited to run for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. Not only was he a successful athlete himself, but his athletic background landed him a position at East as the head coach of the cross country team and an assistant coach of the track team. Since Thomas has been the head coach of the cross-country team, he has coached two boys teams and one girls team to the OHSAA State Championships. Thomas also accounts for coaching 55 percent of the top 20 all-time girls

cross country runners by time and 80 percent of the top 20 on the boys side. However, Adam isn’t the only East coach that teaches at another school. English teacher Sarah Dennis teaches at East, but holds the head volleyball coaching position at Miami University Hamilton Campus. Dennis says that the reason she’s been teaching at East for 16 years is because early on in her education, she fell in love with high school English curriculum and never looked back. “I coached basketball at East for several years because coaching is an excellent way to insinuate yourself in the school, and I love grades ten through twelve,” Dennis says. “However, I saw the opening at Miami Hamilton Campus and thought I was up for a new challenge, so I jumped on it.” Dennis says that it is always fun to see former students at the Miami Hamilton Campus and see how much they’ve grown physically and mentally, but can also help in passing her knowledge of the college lifestyle to her high school students. In 2014, she led her team of girls at Miami Hamilton to a State title. Dennis says that this is her fondest memory as a coach because looking back on it, it was the point where everything clicked for her team. “To watch [my athletes] come together on one day like they did that day was special,” Dennis says. “They are a group of friends, a team and a family, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.” Along with Dennis in the English department, East Speech and English teacher David Honhart is the head girls basketball coach at Eaton High School. Honhart says the reason he coaches at Eaton is because he needed a change of scenery after 5 years of coaching at East from 2003-2008 and another 5 years of coaching at Sycamore. Seeing instance success at Eaton, Honhart realized this was the job for him. “I was blessed with the opportunity to take

64 December 2016

over an amazing team,” says Honhart, “We went 21-4, won a league championship and reached sectional finals. The future is bright.” Honhart put forth two state champion basketball teams as head coach of the Dayton Lady Hoopsters and finished 4th in the nation with them as well. Along with his state titles, Honhart has also helped 11 athletes achieve their dreams of playing college basketball. The only inconvenience all three coaches and teachers have with their current situations is the commute they have to get to their coaching jobs. However, all of the coaches are very grateful for their positions at both schools and get along with students and faculty well. Along with their comfortability with their positions, all three expressed their love for coaching, teaching, and interacting with kids. “Coaching is teaching, just in a different form,” Honhart says. “I love teaching and I love trying to help young adults grow as people and develop themselves.”

East English teacher and Miami University Hamilton campus volleyball coach Sarah Dennis.

q&a | sports

A Look into the Thoughts of East Coaches infographic sophia chryssovergis

How long have you been coaching?

James Lehman Wrestling Coach

Jeff Combs Boys Golf Coach

Jeremy Hilen Boys Soccer Coach

18 years at East 23 years total

20 years at East 25 years total

4 years as a head varsity coach 13 years total

What is your favorite part about coaching?

Seeing kids become successful in the future, be committed to their success, and try to be the absolute best they can.

What constitutes a successful coach?

A coach that cares about the success of each individual athlete in all aspects of life.

Trust. Players have to buy into what the coach is selling.

What is the number one thing you want to instill in your athletes?

A spark and drive to become the absolute best versions of themselves.

Positive passion and hard work can overcome anything.


Ryan Hamning

Girls tennis head coach interview karmi white art sarah aftab

Watching a player accomplish beyond what they thought they were capable of doing.

Getting to interact with great athletes and watch them improve and achieve their goals.

Positive passion.

Live life without regrets. Knowing that, regardless of the final result, you gave everything you had and accept the consequences.

Karmi White: How long have you been coaching? Ryan Hamning: 10 years. KW: What is your favorite part about coaching? RH: I like working with the players and being a part

of their tennis and their lives as they move on to bigger and better things. I also like the opportunity to help those in need and have a love for athletics. KW: If you had to pick one characteristic of a successful coach, what would it be? RH: A successful high school coach needs “strong players.” You only have two months out of the year to work with these players, so it’s important [that] they come prepared and ready to go. For a coach to be successful in high school tennis, it’s important that they connect with their players on the year-round basis to know that they are getting the training they need to succeed. KW: What is the number one thing you want to instill into your athletes? RH: I like my athletes to know that the way they treat their tennis is the way they will treat the rest of their life, and it’s very important to understand how tennis can translate into everyday life. KW: What is your favorite aspect of the sport itself ? RH: My favorite aspect of the sport is the cardio. When I was younger, I used to enjoy competing plane and all that stuff, but as I’ve gotten older because I play tennis I don’t ever need to step on a treadmill!

Clint Adkins Boys Basketball Coach 14 years at East 15 years total

Watching the kids grow as humans over the course of their high school career.

Influential, teaching them all to persevere and teaching them to give up the individual part of themselves for the greater good of the team.

Understand the importance of setting goals in life.

opinion | columns



ate after school one day, I was sitting in on a board meeting of a club I was a part of. We were trying to figure out why our club had a lower attendance and participation rate with this year’s senior class. The adviser speculated they may have all dropped because they didn’t see how it could help their class rank. They believed they should spend the time that would normally be allocated to the club towards something that would be academically enriching and benefit their class rank. Despite the fact that this was just speculation and one of the many possible conclusions that we were brainstorming, it resonated with me.

consequential increased competition of rank can create unwarranted stress. I have seen fellow peers slave away in weighted classes just to get the bump to get into the Top 25 which is comprised of the 25 students with the highest GPA within their class. This is because in their eyes, being in the Top 25 validates their academic achievement, when in reality, it is an arbitrary attainment that is virtually meaningless in the eyes of colleges. The percentage of colleges attributing “considerable importance” to rank in admission decision dropped from 42 to 23 according to the National Association for

I myself have made this decision in the past. Whenever the fateful time that we decide on next school year’s schedule rolls around, I immediately think of whether it will be an “Easy A,” if it’s weighted and how could this help boost my GPA so I can pass the person above me. These considerations rise out of pure impulse that stems from rank. This criteria, I realize, is preposterous in deciding the next 1,185 hours of my school life. In spite of this, I still hear fellow peers following through with curriculum decisions based on this criteria. Not only are students making scheduling decisions based on GPA boost, but the

College Admission Counseling (NACAC), between 1993 and 2006. In this day and age, high schools are so different in terms of their range of AP, IB, Honors and College-Prep classes that it becomes difficult for colleges to judge a student based on rank. Students are being judged against their peers when they should be judged on their own growth as a learner. High schools across the country are coming to the realization that class rank isn’t the appropriate system to judge students. According to the NACAC, in 2006, 25.8 percent of high schools in the U.S. did not provide a

The consequential increased competition of rank can create unwarranted stress. I have seen fellow peers slave away in weighted classes just to get the bump to get into the Top 25.

68 December 2016

numerical rank for students’ applications and 13 percent only provided it if asked. This was a start in the current continuing trend; however, this movement needs to be institutionalized. One problem with this is not knowing who deserves the titles of valedictorian and salutatorian. First off, the recognition of those who work hard is great and needed, but after asking my sister who was the salutatorian of the East Class of 2015, she said her end rank had no impact on her after graduation. She stated that being called up at graduation for a brief five minutes did not make up for the extended hours she put into her studies. My sister and many other great East alumni all got into great colleges not because of their rank but because of the determined and hardworking people they were. Yes, they were highly ranked but that’s just where they were placed by a computer system in subsequence of their hard work. Their end goal was not the five minutes of recognition or speech at graduation: their end goal was a better education. An immediate transformation is not necessary. High schools are gradually making a change by simply keeping the ranks confidential and only releasing them to college admissions. This relieves the pain of the stress it causes the students while still attending to the needs of college admissions. A rank revolution isn’t going to happen immediately, but the recognition of a need for change is crucial. To put it simply, there is no reason to argue for rank. With the difference in curriculum, added stress and irrelevance to college admissions it becomes not a matter of if high schools should get rid of it, it’s just a matter of when.

columns | opinion



t was towards the end of a typical eight-hour shift, and I was told I would be presenting food to customers at the drive-thru window for the next hour. Up until then, I had always spent my shifts at McDonald’s preparing food in the sweltering kitchen, so I was eager to escape the heat for my first chance to interact with customers directly. Little did I know, that mere hour would be more stressful than the past seven hours of building meal after meal. I was met with impatience, name-calling and a few flying ketchup packets. One customer in particular had an extended string of profanity prepared for when I accidentally spilled his large iced tea and had to spend an extra 15 seconds refilling his cup. As a fast food employee, I often receive less respect than the food I prepare. Customers expect instantaneous and mistake-free service, and when this is not delivered this causes anger, frustration and impatience that is often taken out on employees, sometimes in the form of physical violence. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 109 worker homicides at limited-service, or fast food restaurants were reported from 2003 through 2006 and 2,750 workers at food service and drinking places suffered non-fatal assaults in the same time frame. I’ve seen videos spread across the internet time and time again showing customers screaming threats and even physically assaulting fast food workers for not getting an order correct or completed fast enough for their liking. In June 2016, a Wendy’s fast food worker’s shift took a turn for the worse when two customers pulled the pregnant 19-year-old through the drive-thru window because they believed she had forgotten their straws. “I’ve been assaulted,” said fast food employee Terrence Wise. “I’ve had drinks thrown at me, but I’ve seen coworkers in situations where they’ve been robbed and harmed by customers that aren’t acting right.” This unpleasant treatment of employees

could be result of a poorly-founded stigma surrounding those who work in the fast food industry. The idea that every employee of the fast food industry is incapable or has already failed in furthering their education is unfounded. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), over 70 percent of all fast food workers have at least a high school degree and 30 percent have had some form of college education. The picture of these employees that has been painted by our society is inaccurate. The fast food industry is more than just teenagers and young adults trying to put some extra money in their pockets. According to the CEPR, only 30 percent of fast food employees

your job wrapping hamburgers in foil and putting them in paper bags — that has a price tag, and the price tag ain’t anywhere close to the one our economy and society puts on teachers and mechanics.” According to, 89 percent of people do not think fast food employees deserve to earn $15 an hour for their work. In reality, these jobs consist of much more than simply wrapping hamburgers in foil and sending them off to be eaten. A 2015 study from the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health states that 87 percent of employees surveyed reported suffering an injury at work in the past year. Despite this, only 13 percent of fast food workers have health care benefits through their

are teens aged 16-19. Many teenagers do work in fast food, but the majority of employees do not fall within this demographic. These days, according to the National Employment Law Project, the average age of a fast food worker is 29. On top of this, 40 percent are 25 or older, and more than 26 percent are parents raising children. Working in the fast food industry is often seen as an easy job and referred to as just flipping burgers on a grill all day. This point tends to be brought up when debating the topic of minimum wage. “Your job isn’t worth 15 bucks an hour,” says columnist for The Blaze Matt Walsh. “Sure, as a human being, you’re priceless. But

employer, according to a 2013 study through the University of California. Although the work may not be the most difficult, the dangers of the job are real. Standing under the golden arches for hours at time may not be the most prestigious or glamorous job a person can have, but just because someone is standing on the other side of the cash register, it does not mean they are any less deserving of respect.

Customers expect instantaneous and mistake-free service, and when this is not delivered this causes anger, frustration and impatience that is often taken out on employees, sometimes in the form of physical violence.



walked into the mall, and heard the chugging of a little toy train rushing around an elaborate snowy display. A reindeer statue to my left suddenly swayed its head back and forth while singing “Feliz Navidad,” and shimmering snowflakes hung down from the ceiling. I reached for my phone in a panic, wondering if I somehow missed homecoming by a few months, but sure enough, my calendar read “Sept. 21.” After pushing my way through layers

of red stockings and fake snow, I was finally able to find a dress. Luckily the dance was still 10 days away, and despite what my surroundings suggested, Christmas was 95 days away. The twelve days of Christmas have slowly turned into twelve weeks, and seem to be expanding still. Rather than waiting for after Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday season, stores are itching to load their shelves with Santa hats and tree ornaments as soon as possible, causing the “most wonderful time of the year” to become the “most dragged out, wallet-emptying time of the year.” The imposing presence of consumerism during the holiday season has transformed its meaning, with less charitable acts and more pepper spray victims on Black Friday. Between 2000 and 2015, holiday purchases have increased by 63 percent according to Statistica. The same report revealed that Christmas accounts for 30 percent of annual retail sales, and each household spends approximately $704 on presents each year. These high expenses are often unaffordable for families, but can feel necessary due to the bombardment of ads during the months leading up to December 25. This leaves 46 percent of people feeling financially stretched thin, 36 percent feeling stressed out and 23 percent feeling wasteful according to the Pew Research Center. While the idea of giving is important, a brand new iPhone or gaming console isn’t always the best route to take. Simple, thoughtful presents are equally, if not more, effective than these and don’t come with the cost of money and stress. Presents aren’t the only item that people spend money on during this time of the year. Items such as peppermintflavored desserts and ugly sweaters are unnecessary, but it wouldn’t feel right to celebrate the season without them. This is a clever tactic of marketers, because by creating a Christmas “brand,” people feel obligated to spend money to satisfy this cleverly concocted tradition. Spending money has become so

COMMERCIALIZING CHRISTMAS ingrained into Christmas that it has actually created two spin-off holidays focused entirely on shopping. The first is the well-known Black Friday, notorious for competitive shoppers trampling, fighting and injuring others in order to receive the best deals. The other is Cyber Monday, where these consumers feverishly hit “add to cart” in a rush to order items before they go out of stock. While financial stress is a large issue with the commercialization of Christmas, there are also other drawbacks. By starting the holiday season earlier each year, part of the joy and celebration is lost. After hearing carols on the radio for months in advance they become annoying and repetitive when they used to be joyous and fun. Christmas decorations become tacky rather than magical, and overall the Christmas spirit drowns in the commercial agenda. The underlying principles of the holiday are slowly being extinguished, with 43 percent of millennials viewing it as a cultural occasion rather than religious, according to the Pew Research Center. While 49 percent of these people don’t plan to attend any religious gathering, 91 percent plan to buy gifts for others. The same report found that millennials were also less likely to visit with family, put up a tree, or go caroling. It seems like the idea of spending money during holiday season is no longer a minor characteristic, but has actually become the defining one. I would be lying if I said I don’t participate in Christmas traditions. Once Dec. 1 rolls around, I go all out with my cheesy sweaters, obnoxious holiday music and Elf references. I even spend a day shopping at the mall. There’s nothing wrong with buying presents or participating in the holiday’s commercialization, the issue is when these materialistic aspects overpower the enriching ones that truly make Christmas meaningful. Dr. Seuss summed this up in his movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” saying “Maybe Christmas, [the Grinch] thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!”

Consumerism during the holiday season has transformed its meaning, with less charitable acts and more pepper spray victims on Black Friday.

The Christmas season has become increasingly commercialized over the years with more of an emphasis on spending money. Some argue that this commercialization benefits the holiday, while others find it harmful. columns cara satullo, vivian kolks art julia sanders


fter a long day at school, I shed my frantically typing, stressed out student persona and become someone much more glamorous. When I walk into my job, I become someone that is equally, if not more, devoted than Santa’s elves to spreading holiday cheer. I become an employee of one of the most prolific spreaders of Christmas cheer, Hallmark. The moment anyone walks into Hallmark, they are assaulted with a wondrous cacophony of sounds, lights and Christmas carols. There are cards in German, Spanish and Braille for your doctor, hairstylist and Secret Santa and ornaments in the shapes of cupcakes, animals and the Starship Enterprise. Customers who come in expecting party supplies or to “just look around,” often comment on how extraordinarily early our Christmas decorations are up. “After all,” they say with a puzzled look, “it’s not even Thanksgiving yet!” Despite what many people think, this evolution of the mid-winter celebration is hardly the most drastic change the holiday has endured, considering the fact that it originated as Saturnalia, a Pagan festival. The most influential era which created the Christmas we know and love was the Victorian era. In the olden days when people watched their fireplaces for fun, Christmas was a much, much more subdued affair. In fact, before the Industrial Revolution, the lower classes often worked straight through the holiday season. It was only until the introduction of machines into factories that their human counterparts were allowed to take Christmas and Boxing Day off, and people were able to use their rare leisure time to celebrate light and birth in the darkest part of winter. During the Victorian times, Christmas was just a wee hipster holiday for the fabulously wealthy, and it too was seen as fangled and materialistic. However, many people seek to recreate that perfect Victorian Christmas today. We crave the idea of a dinner table laden with

Despite what many people think, this evolution of the mid-winter celebration is hardly the most drastic change the holiday has endured.

dishes, a tree festooned with candles, and stockings filled with toys. Our desires haven’t changed; over the centuries we’ve just refined and adjusted them to our modern culture. In a time where over 68 percent of adults have smartphones according to the Pew Research Center, and communication is done in unprecedented amounts over impersonal platforms, a physical gift adds a sense of reality that a Facebook message or Instagram post cannot. When a loved one takes the time to stand in line or search for hours to find the perfect gift, the struggle makes it heartfelt just like in the Victorian times where hand carved toys were popular and clothing required extensive sewing. There is also a misconception that the longer the holiday season is, the more major corporations benefit. However, the holiday season provides yet another badly needed source of employment. According to Fortune, retailer chains like Target are hiring 83,000 workers nationwide. This influx of hiring confirms two things. First, that there is a great need for seasonal workers and a great many seeking seasonal work, meaning that these workers are seeking extra money around the holidays. Second, if every single extra holiday worker is absolutely necessary, then stores are predicting accurately that people will in fact flood the stores seeking the resources to create their own wonderful Christmas. Complaining about how the world is overripe with gifts and advertisements is unwarranted when the alternative is losing the Christmas attitude that the world has come to expect and in recent cases, even need. Take the beloved Christmas song “We Need A Little Christmas” from the Broadway musical “Mame.” Patrick, a young boy and one of the main characters, protests his aunt’s insistence that they begin celebrating Christmas with the line “But Auntie Mame, it’s one week from Thanksgiving Day now.” His aunt and the titular character Mame herself, replies with one of the most well known yet comparatively dark lyrics of the song with, “For I’ve grown a little leaner,

grown a little colder, grown a little sadder, and I need a little angel sitting on my shoulder, need a little Christmas now.” With the year 2016 in the world’s rearview mirror, we’ve all grown a little leaner, colder and sadder. Maybe what we really need after such a trying year is not to focus on the technicalities, but to focus on the small things. Maybe we really do all need a little Christmas now.

opinion | columns

DEATH BY APPLE MORGAN KILE art julia sanders


organ, take one!” My volleyball teammate said as she shoved the box full of snacks she had bought for the team, being that it was her turn to bring in the food that week. Her snack was a caramel apple topped with peanuts. For me, that’s a throat-swelling-Pepininjecting-trip-to-the-ER concoction on a stick, and while typically an apple a day keeps the doctor away, for me an apple a day could send me in an ambulance straight to the emergency room. A month before this event, my family and I did a presentation at the volleyball team meeting prepared with a practice EpiPen and flyers with all of my allergens including peanuts, tree nuts and apples. We had told them to be mindful and try to avoid using those ingredients because my allergic reactions can be triggered by not only ingesting, but being around my allergens. There is no cure for food allergies. A person diagnosed with the disease only has one option: they must avoid the food as much as they can. Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish account for 90 percent of all food-allergy related reactions, and every three minutes someone is being treated for this in the emergency department, according to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). That’s 200,000 allergen patients having a reaction to unavoidable products. Just imagine living in a world surrounded by poison. Some of the poisons are marked with skulls and crossbones while others are disguised, looking harmless and delicious. Sometimes, people can identify their allergen and know to avoid it, while other times their allergen is hidden away in small print on food labels. Walking down a grocery store aisle, one with food allergies is surrounded by silent killers and subtle death threats. Food allergies have increased by 18 percent from 1997-2007 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children who are born into families with pre-existing allergies

have a higher chance of also developing allergies, and these developing allergies can be affected by the environment through continued exposure that increases sensitivity. Many adults are not accustomed to this new widespread disease because they did not grow up with it. Some people grow into allergens, grow out of allergens, or are born and raised to fear food as if it were a loaded gun aimed at their head. FARE has shown that around 15 million Americans have food allergies, and one in every 13 children have deadly food allergies; this is about two students in every classroom. When I was in elementary school, I became embarrassed of my “food disease” because my fellow classmates would complain about how they could not eat the snacks they wanted and how I “ruined their favorite part of the day.”

Having these deathly allergens comes with this kind of social ostracization, as well as the responsibility of carrying around an EpiPen and reading every label of every piece of food. Only 16 percent of patients know how to use an EpiPen the correct way, according to researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, which shows how much progress still needs to be made in allergen education. “We were pretty surprised,” said Dr. Rana Bonds, an allergist who led the research for the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “We send patients out with these devices that can save their lives and they don’t know how to use them.” In a situation when I am red in the face gasping for air, people would not know to take

There is no cure for food allergies. A person diagnosed with the disease only has one option: they must avoid the food as much as they can. Every year a field day was held to treat the students to fun outdoor activities, consisting of relay races, volleyball, tennis touches, sack races and the coveted ending ceremony, the balloon toss. This event was what every kid looked forward to most, until one year the beloved activity was torn from their tiny fingers. One girl was allergic to latex, so they had to take her safety into account and call it off. To those kids, it was the end of the world. “This is extremely unfair! We have to suffer for one girl?” her peers bashed her. As they launched these comments at her like darts, she held on a little tighter to her own dart, her EpiPen, in her pocket.

72 December 2016

out the EpiPen in my pocket and stab it into my thigh. I just hope the next classmate who shoves peanuts in my face knows how to inject an epinephrine-filled needle into my thigh to stop my throat from swelling up and cutting off my air supply. That person will surely take my breath away.

columns | opinion



or countless millennia, the indigenous tribes native to the Americas have used entheogens, plants that can produce an altered state of consciousness after ingestion, in religious ceremonies. These substances include: ayahuasca, cannabis, psilocybin, peyote and salvia. They were treated with immense respect, as they allowed the user to connect with the divine, and filled them with intense feelings unity, inspiration, peace and compassion. The author, botanist and mystic Terence McKenna said that entheogens could allow people to connect with a “Transcendent Other—reflecting a deeper understanding of our connectedness with nature.” In the modern age, being able to understand oneself and the surrounding world is a critical skill that only a few seem to have. Entheogens are tools that can allow people to develop this skill. Unfortunately, the American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers a lot of these substances to be Schedule 1 drugs. This means that they have a high potential for abuse and have no medical use. According to the DEA, drugs such as LSD and cannabis are just as bad as heroin and bath salts, which are also Schedule 1 drugs. Putting this label on psychedelics ignores ways they could potentially benefit society. After the psychedelic properties of LSD were discovered by the chemist Albert Hofmann in 1943, the substance was subject to several different legal forms of examination and experimentation. In fact, between 1940 and 1970, over one thousand research papers were published with LSD being the main topic of study. Artists, writers, psychologists, mathematicians, scientists and more took the drug to study how it would affect the work they created. Many noticed that abstract thinking became easier, and it simply made them more effective and innovative workers. “Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life,”

said Apple founder Steve Jobs. “It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.” Stanford graduate student James Fadiman conducted an experiment to find practical and scientific uses for psychedelics. During the experiment, scientists, engineers, artists, mathematicians and a psychologist were given 50 micrograms of LSD and told to work on a career-related problem that they had been struggling with. After four hours, they created machine and building designs, formulated a space probe experiment, discovered a

To this day, nobody is known to have died or overdosed from cannabis or any other entheogen use alone. mathematical theorem, developed a conceptual model of a photon and made advances in medical diagnoses. However, ground-breaking experiments such as this one were put to a halt after LSD and most other psychedelics were outlawed in 1966. The DEA claimed that LSD “does not increase creativity,” despite the innovations in art, music, film, science, psychology, therapy and spirituality that psychedelics helped bring forth. Studies have also shown that other mental ailments such as anxiety, depression,

and even drug or alcohol addiction can be eased with the use of entheogens such as LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA. “The benefits of these illegal drugs may outweigh the risk in certain scenarios,” said the American Psychological Association. “The drugs may help improve functioning and lift the spirits of those with cancer and other terminal diseases, as well as help treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder.” The DEA says that drugs such as cocaine and Xanax are less dangerous than psychedelics despite the fact that both of these drugs are highly addictive. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, over 77,000 Americans have died from cocaine use and over 268,000 people have died from prescription drug use, such as Xanax, since 2001. To this day, nobody is known to have died or overdosed from cannabis or any other entheogen use alone. “The cultural integration of psychedelics won’t happen overnight, and the question of young people is perhaps the most difficult involved,” said founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Rick Doblin. “The first step is for people who have knowledge of these substances to share it, ‘coming out’ about their own experiences. Drug education should be honest and present a balanced picture of risks and benefits.” Completely outlawing these substances prevents people from having a potentially life changing experience. Individuals should not be branded as criminals just for using a mindexpanding substance. It seems like the only criminal thing about these substances is the fact that they’re illegal.

opinion | columns

MEME MANIA BEA AMSALU art julia sanders


fter taking the PSAT my freshman year, I turned to Twitter, eager to finally understand all the discussion that takes place about the test. Thinking it would be funny, I made a joke referencing a passage that test takers read during the PSAT. Little did I know, within a few hours I would rack up hundreds of retweets and likes on the post. The day after I made the tweet, I saw a kid in my art class who I had never talked to before showing the student next to him, not realizing I was sitting behind him. It was a funny experience, but the numbers didn’t phase me- I just thought the joke was funny. These viral jokes, called memes, are any cultural symbol or social idea that spread especially through things such as the internet, according to the Huffington Post. They can come in the form of basically anything—most of them being pictures with funny captions,

GUEST COLUMN have survival-of-the-fittest tendencies. The more attention a meme is given, the most likely it is to remain and spread the. With the Internet meme, ideas will stay in cyberspace forever, allowing for them to resurface at any time. A meme like this could be “the dress”- an image that sparked intense debate over whether it was black and blue or white and gold. One can still google this said dress and have the same debate with someone today, even if that viral post was the most popular almost two years ago. Internet memes get so big, so quickly these days that even if they seem to have died out, they probably haven’t, because the

Because social media and the internet forces people to listen to other people’s ideas, it’s no surprise that there are memes that just won’t die. much like the one I made, as well as ones like Kermit the frog drinking tea, which is exactly what it sounds like. This meme usually is accompanied by the phrase “but that’s none of my business” and has the goal of insulting or criticizing something. They can also be a catchphrase, such as the term “lit”, which is used to describe a situation that is exciting or fun. However, this new subset of memes that originate from the internet are ruining the original idea of the meme. The phrase “meme” was coined in 1976 by an evolutionary biologist named Richard Dawkins, who was essentially Charles Darwin 2.0. He argued that ideas, like societies, can

internet doesn’t let them fade away. That’s why even if a meme was popular with millennials, the generation that these trends are the most prevalent within, an older generation might start seeing it when the meme is no longer relevant to the younger people. Because social media and the internet forces people to listen to other people’s ideas, it’s no surprise that there are memes that just won’t die. Months after a trend initially surfaces, if people keep giving it the attention it needs, the meme will stay relevant and on timelines. Take Harambe for instance, the Cincinnati Zoo’s near and dear deceased gorilla. In addition to the hundreds of memes dedicated

74 December 2016

to the deceased gorilla already, there was speculation that anywhere from 11,000 to up to 20,000 voters decided to write in his name on their election day ballots. These claims were false and based on nothing, but the fact that people believed the rumors and weren’t all that surprised shows how the gorilla died, but the memes won’t. People milk the living daylights out of memes because they think that’s what will get them the most retweets and the most Internet fame. Like Dawkins said, it’s all about the attention a post is given. If there is more people seeing a specific meme, the meme is getting more attention, making the post, and the person who posted, more popular. Twitter accounts dedicated to posting memes like @Dory, @SoDamnTrue and @girlposts, who have 1.6, 5.3, and 6.6 million followers respectively, all do this. They and accounts like them all post the same meme, and when they’ve all posted on twitter, similar accounts post on Instagram as well, making it impossible to be on a social media platform and not see the meme. Initially the post is entertaining, but after seeing it six times in one day, they become easily tired. The same thing happened to my Twitter post. Just as quickly as I was racking up all these retweets and favorites on this post, they stopped. My post was lost in the timeline of the hashtag, replaced by the other memes being made about the PSAT. Richard Dawkins would probably think that my meme isn’t “fit” enough to survive—which is totally okay, since internet fame doesn’t “meme” much to me anyway.

editorial cartoon | opinion


“Capitalismas” - Sarah Aftab



remember I used to wake at 3:00 a.m. on Christmas morning. I would creep down the stairs to be the first one to see what Santa left under the tree. After shaking all the presents and attempting to guess their contents, I’d investigate the milk and cookies, or rather what was left of them. Underneath the tray of cookie crumbs there was always a handwritten letter from the man in the red suit, Santa Claus. I would return to my bed too excited to sleep, mystified by the magic of Christmas. Then I had to grow up. I first heard rumors that Santa wasn’t real when I was in fourth grade. I confronted my mother, demanding she tell me the truth about the jolly old man, so she did. I was devastated and angry that she had lied to me all those years. I felt foolish for believing that a single man could deliver presents to children all around the world in just one night. But above all else, I was upset that the magic was gone. The following Christmas wasn’t the same. I saw the joy on my younger brother’s face when he read the handwritten letter from “Santa.” Being an occasionally nice sister, I played along with the charade but I was hurt knowing it was my parents who wrote the letter, ate the cookies, and put the presents under the tree. I missed having something to believe in, and I wished that my classmates wouldn’t have made me question the authenticity of Santa. It is not the job of older siblings or peers to share the secret of Christmas. Each individual child should be able to figure it out on his or her own and come to terms with reality at their own pace. At some point everyone acknowledges the truth about Santa, but kids should be allowed to believe as long as they want to. Having something to believe in is an important aspect of childhood development. The real world is scary, and believing in Santa allows children to hold on to innocence in a world filled with terrorism, taxes, and standardized tests. “I don’t think it’s a bad thing for kids to believe in the myth of someone trying to make people happy if they’re behaving,” said Lenox Hill Hospital child psychiatrist Dr. Matthew Lorber. “Imagination is a normal part of development, and helps develop creative minds.” This innocence should not be taken away from kids too early. That being said, 63 percent out of 128 East students surveyed stopped believing in Santa before fourth grade. The other 37 percent are they lucky ones who were able to experience Christmas magic for just a few more years. I know during this holiday season instead of focusing on securing my spot on the nice list, I’m more worried about being on the accepted list for colleges I’ve applied to. I understand that a child can’t believe in Santa forever, but they should never have to grow up too fast. Someday, that child will be sitting writing Common Application essays wishing they could be writing letters to the North Pole instead.

Lakota East Spark 2016-17 Issue 2  
Lakota East Spark 2016-17 Issue 2