December 2023

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LeJOURNAL Notre Dame de Sion High School | Volume 46 | December 2023







what’s inside 11


Stage Fright Opinion

We are the Storm Sports

20-21 Volunteers’ Vocation Opinion

Cold Blooded Warm Hearted News

Audacious Accusations Staff Editorial




14-17 It’s not too late Cover


Encouraging Equestrian Feature





Candy Cane Lanes A&E

Kairos ; Time News

Martial Masters Feature

LeJOURNAL. 2023 | 2024 LE JOURNAL IS THE OFFICIAL STUDENT PUBLICATION OF NOTRE DAME DE SION HIGH SCHOOL 10631 WORNALL ROAD, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI 64114 MEMBER Missouri Scholastic Press Association National Scholastic Press Association International Quill and Scroll Journalism Educators of Metropoliton Kansas City Missouri Journalism Education Association LETTERS TO THE EDITORS Le Journal accepts letters to the editors in response to published articles. Letters must be signed, verified, and no longer than 200 words. Letters may be edited for length, grammar, spelling and content. Letters will not be printed if content is obscene, invasive, encouraging disruption of school and/or is libelous. PRINTER Neal/Settle Printing, Grandview MO

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STAFF EDITORIAL POLICY Le Journal is a student-run publication. Published staff editorials express the views of the Le Journal staff. Signed columns published in Le Journal express the writer’s personal opinion. The content and opinions of Le Journal do not represent the student body, faculty or administration. Content other than editorials, columns, review pieces or personal opinions are written to inform the general public and should remain unbiased. PRINT CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEFS Ella Alexander Arleth Guevara Lily Wilkin

A&E EDITOR Amelia Bedell FEATURES EDITOR Addie Doyle


NEWS & SPORTS EDITOR Ella Satterwhite

WEB EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Genesis Martinez Porras



REPORTERS Lauren Haggerty Mary Kate Lillis Gabriela Swindle

Going Beyond Feature

The Final Stretch A&E

Photo of the issue birthday queen Embracing each other, seniors Noelle Bertrand and freshman Maggie Grilliot are all smiles as nearby students cheer after Bertrand was crowned Ice Queen, Dec 2. The day of winter formal also happened to be Bertrand’s birthday. “My whole friend group was so sweet and told everyone to vote for me for Ice Queen, because they thought it would be a really special way to celebrate my 18th,” Bertrand said. “I definitely will never forget this.” PHOTO | ALEXIUS WOLFF



t’s almost winter break! As the weather starts getting colder, and you’re preparing yourself for upcoming finals, we hope you’ll take some time to enjoy our last Le Journal issue of 2023. If you’re stressed about quickly approaching finals, turn to page 26 and 27 for some fun study tips that are sure to help. Or, if you’re more in the mood for an animal inspired mental break, pages six and seven will surely have you smiling as you learn about the new critters in the science labs. Wanna learn about your Sion Sisters’ hobbies? Turn to 18 and 19 to read about three students who practice martial arts, or page 24 and 25 about another student’s horse riding and training. Excited for the winter holidays? Flip to pages eight

and nine to learn about one family’s unique holiday tradition, and how you can celebrate this winter break. If you are more in the giving mood, read pages 20 and 21 about how service to others can be more than just filling our service hour requirements. We hope this issue’s cover story will open your eyes to our modern day issues being a woman, and ways that our Sion community and ourselves can better prepare for life beyond Sion. Our staff has worked extensively this past month to create this issue that not only is well researched and entertaining, but appealing to the eye l with intricate and creatively thought-out designs. So without further ado, we present to you issue three. Happy Holidays! Lily, Ella and Arleth

student space Dance the mousehouse Adele milligan

During Thanksgiving break, sophomore Adele Milligan traveled with her dance studio to Disneyland, Florida to participate in ‘Dance the MouseHouse, ’ an event planned by Disney’s Imagination Campus. Milligan danced with her studio at Disney Springs, as well as engaged in workshops led by Disney cast members. “There’s a lot of things that go into it, there’s a lot of team bonding, and dances, we get a lot of new costumes which was also fun,” Milligan said. “And we get to bring a new dance to our whole troupe” Milligan’s dance troupe prepared for weeks leading up to the trip, including extra hours of practice every Sunday with just her Disney

dance troupe. “We also had a sneak peak show, so everyone in Kansas City could see our dances, which was really fun,” Milligan said.


on the cover Cover art features senior Maya Hernandez. Photo by Co Editor-in-Chief Lily Wilkin.

keep up with us: @lejournalsion

Use camera to visit! OCTOBER 2023 | 3

news .

bring it on After achieving the title, juniors Maddi Carter, Denali Sanchez, and Annie Njogu pose for a photo together. Carter and Sanchez have been a part of the team for all of their years at Sion. “I didn’t think we were goint to place at all, so the fact that we placed first was amazing. The seniors made it really special with the choreography,” Sanchez said. PHOTO SUBMISSION | DENALI SANCHEZ

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we are the



he Sion Cheer Team won their second National Cheer Association Regional title in the intermediate level Nov. 6 at Oak Park High School. “My mind was in spirals before the performance, I was worried I was going to mess up, forget the whole thing, or drop a stunt,” senior Kate Peters said. “Once I got out there and started smiling and saying my cheers my head was clear and the whole thing went by so fast. Everything came naturally to me and I felt like I was giving my best performance.” The day of the competition started off bright and early for each member of the team. They were one of the first teams on the lineup and they had to be on the mat and ready at 8:30 a.m. This meant they had to wake up at 5:30 in the morning to get their hair and makeup done at home before arriving at the competition. “We warmed up a lot in the morning,” freshman Nora Dameron said. “If we weren’t actively in the warm up room we were running counts, practicing jumps or stretching out.” The team started preparing for the regional competition in Sept. Along with the coaches, the competition captains created the music and the routine to it more personal. However, after facing the challenges of losing two captains and other team members, the routine had to be rechoreographed halfway through the season. “[The routine] took us about two months to learn which was honestly not enough time, we should have learned it a long time before that,” junior Denali Sanchez said. “We didn’t have the routine down until two days before the competition. We were wondering whether we were going to scratch it and even go.” Between long practices, new routines and new faces, the team overcame a lot throughout the first half of the season. As the competition came closer, the team had practices up to four hours long for multiple days of each week. “The warmup was pretty stressful because we started overthinking [the


The Sion Cheer team won the NCA Regional Championships for the second year in a row. BY BRIDGET BENDORF SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR

routine],” Dameron said. “We had got [the stunts] before but it was competition day and we were all nervous and started panicking when the stunts were falling.” Unlike the other teams, Sion incorporated harder skills and stunts such as a “liberty”, a stunt in which the flyer is standing on one leg while being supported by the bases, that transitioned into an arabesque. “We were the only team that did 3 jumps in a row and it really impressed the judges and got a 9.7 out of 10 which is really good for us,” Sanchez said. “We had different stunt groups and we did the same stunt over and over again.” Before each performance, everyone ate Pixy Stix to boost their energy and mood. The team also hypes each other up with different forms of affirmations to get excited to perform and put on their best routine. “We were all telling each other that we were going to be fine and that it was going to be okay,” Sanchez said. “We were building each other up, and telling each other it was just like practice.” With new members from every grade, the competition gave the team a chance to bond with each other and become closer as a team. They were committed to getting a second win, especially after moving up from the novice level to the intermediate level this year. “There’s a lot of team spirit while we’re there and we’re all really excited to be there,” Dameron said. “We were excited to represent Sion and perform so we were extra encouraging and had more enthusiasm because we were all hyped.” Not only do the cheerleaders have the support of their team, they have the immense support of their parents and coaches as well. The parents donate time and money providing food for the team on competition days and

pushing them to be better. The coaches spend their free time assisting the girls who need extra help on skills or stunts, and push the team to get better. “I think the coaches really just motivate us and show us that our time on the mat is fun and it’s not something we need to worry about,” sophomore Addison Warn said. “It’s something we worked so hard on and it’s our time to show it.” While performing, each member of the team has a part and a job for the routine to flow smoothly. When everyone does their part and focuses in, the routine turns out seamlessly. Everyones’ energy reflects off of each other and they perform in sync. “Honestly I don’t think, I kind of just do it,” Warn said. “Your mind goes blank because you’re having so much fun.” Throughout the challenges faced, the team powered through and pulled out a win and the team is hoping to achieve another title in the future. “The feeling of all the hard work paying off and doing your last competition was such a bittersweet moment,” Peters said. “It was honestly the best feeling and I would do all the hard work over and over again just to feel it again.”

anticipating the win Awaiting the results of the competition, seniors Ella Alexander, Ellie Hutchin, and Zoey Mwarey hug for their last regional competition Nov. 6. Alexander and Hutchin are co-captains this year. “I was so happy with how well we did and I couldn’t wait for the results but I was also really sad because it was my last competition and I knew I was going to miss it,” Alexander said. PHOTO SUBMISSION | DENALI SANCHEZ

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cold blooded warm hearted news.


or the first time in known history, Sion science labs are home to an assortment of animals, including Longfin Tetra fish to Hissing Cockroaches. “I think it’s cool and a long time coming,” senior Alex Alley said. “Other schools have been doing this for years and I was surprised that we hadn’t done this sooner.” Current Sion Biology teacher Tracy McNair had an aquarium in the classroom at her previous school. “I always try to have an aquarium set up, because sometimes students just need a break and it’s peaceful in a way,” McNair said. Students agree that having the aquarium enhances the environment. “It’s calming to watch the fish swim, during tests it makes you less stressed,” freshman Sophia Roberts said. As well as creating a comforting atmosphere McNair also hopes having the fish will teach responsibility. “It’s a way to demonstrate to them care,”McNair said. “I think it’s good for them to see that type of responsibility if they don’t have that experience in their life.” McNair has two tanks in her classroom, a big aquarium that houses her three female longfin tetras, named Gretchan, Karen and Regina and second a fishbowl with a male betta - Pablo. “I really have a soft spot for the

Sion’s science labs welcome new critters. BY ARLETH GUEVARA CO EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Betta fish,” McNair said. “It was first given to me by some of the freshman girls, because it had been through some traumatic environments and so now it has flourished. I’m pretty attached to it.” The aquariums will be more intensely viewed later as part of the biology curriculum. “We won’t do much with them until semester two, where we do some water testing and compare that to a nearby creek or stream,” McNair said. Environmental science, and Anatomy teacher Rick Knowles has a wider range of animals in his classroom. “At school I have three or four species of different snakes, a bearded dragon, a colony of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, and a couple Albino Axolotls,” Knowles said. While Knowles doesn’t have official names for the animals, students have taken it upon themselves to name them. “I haven’t named them, some students have named them and made little cards for them.” Knowles said. “Very few of the animals I have I give a name to, I probably have over 50 or 60 animals at home, there’s few of them that are kind of special toward us and get names but most I just enjoy.” Knowles uses various animals as part of his curriculum in both environmental science and anatomy. “I always feel that if you’re going to talk about genetics it’s more fun and

interesting if I can show you something that’s albino, versus looking at a picture, or youtube.” Knowles said. In Knowles experience students are more likely to engage actively in class with the animals “They’re more opt to ask questions and they’ll remember things better by just something that was different for them,” Knowles said. “That’s why I brought them into school” Students also agree having animals makes learning fun. “As an environmental science class, we are able to interact with the animals and learn about them through real experiences,” junior Caroline Weber said. “I think I can understand the concepts more through doing the labs and seeing how the animals react to different things.” The animals are enjoyed by students who do not have any classes with Knowles or Mcnair as well. “I have my study hall with him [Knowles], and since I’m the only junior in his class he lets me feed the animals” Weber said. While only having a semester with the animals, they have already started to leave an impact on students. But the greatest impact may be the students to our new science teachers. “I am so excited to be teaching here,” McNair said. “I really love that I have all freshmen, and we’re all going through all the new stuff together.

Snakin Around

Meet one of enviromental science teacher Rick Knowles endangered snakes. BY ARLETH GUEVARA CO EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


ne of environmental science species helps us figure out how teacher Rick Knowles newest healthy a habitat is,” Knowles said. addition to the classroom is a six Due to Missouri’s loss of prairie month old male Bullsnake. land, Bullsnakes have become “The students haven’t named endangered and are a him yet,” Knowles said, “I just protected species. brought him up here a little bit ago, “They [Bullsnakes] are in October” protected , but we need to protect Knowles brought him into the the land though.” Knowles said, classroom to teach students about “Missouri’s lost one half of 1% of indicator species and plants. our native prairie, because it was “Keeping track of different the first land to disappear.”


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just keep swimming Swim Bladder Disease, a disorder most commonly seen in Goldfish and Betta affects a fish’s ability to control their buoyancy resulting in abnormal duration at the top of the water. Biology teacher Tracy McNair was gifted a Male Betta fish, named Pedro Pascal who has this condition. PHOTO | ARLETH GUEVARA

POGONA VITTICEPS these fins were made for walking Axolotl, also known as the ‘Mexican Walking Fish,’ are a type of amphibian closely related to the Tiger Salamander. They are critically endangered. PHOTO | ARLETH GUEVARA

Ginger, the name given to Environmental Science teacher Rick Knowles Bearded Dragon is _ months old. PHOTO | ARLETH GUEVARA

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candy cane lanes Sion students share their favorite local activities that can help you to have a magical holiday season right here in Kansas City.



unior Vivian Kuntz rolls the ball down the bowling lane as “Last Christmas” by Wham! blasts through the speakers, hitting all ten pins and scoring a strike. She turns around, smiling, to see her entire extended family cheering her on from the sidelines. Kuntz’s family has been going bowling at Ward Parkway Lanes every Christmas Day for as long as she can remember. “We’ve done it ever since I was born, and my mom did it for 10 years before I was born,” she said. “So it’s like a 25 year tradition.” What started as a small gathering meant to bring people out of the house during the afternoons after opening presents on Christmas Day has become a beloved tradition for everyone, even the owners of the local bowling alley. “We also became good family friends with the people [at Ward Parkway Lanes] because they knew we were coming and they were the same people working on Christmas every year,” Kuntz said. “So yeah, it’s just a really tight, close knit type of thing and everyone’s in a good mood on Christmas.” Family members come to Kansas City


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from all over the country for other holiday celebrations, but by far the biggest event of the family’s holiday season is their annual bowling event. “My uncle lives in California, and my cousins live up in Manhattan. And my other cousins live down in Texas.” Kuntz said, “So it really just brings everyone together when everyone’s here.” While the family is bowling, they have a chance to catch up when they sometimes haven’t seen each other in months or even years. “I rarely talk to my cousins and everyone because they’re older. And I can see them and finally kind of talk about the year we’ve had when I haven’t seen them in sometimes years,” Kuntz said. “We can also talk about our upcoming year and what we have planned.” To add to the fun, the family has introduced awards for the best and worst bowlers of each year. Kuntz hasn’t won anything yet, but she thinks her years of practice will pay off soon. “I need to win before I go to college,” Kuntz said. “I’m determined.” Bowling isn’t the only game available at Ward Parkway Lanes.

Younger siblings and cousins might take a break to go play the arcade games in the back of

the bowling alley. “When I was a kid and didn’t want to bowl the whole time, my cousins and I would go play games,” Kuntz said. “The machine would always take our coins so we would just continue to pay the machine not realizing it wasn’t working.” Although the family is extremely competitive when it comes to bowling, that doesn’t stop them from having lots of amusement as well. “We know it only happens one time a year and so we really want to win. Sometimes my cousins will try to make people mess up by messing with them or joking that they will change their scores,” Kuntz said. “It brings everyone together and it’s good competition.” Another unique holiday tradition Sion students have is visiting Candy Cane Lane, a neighborhood street on 79th and Nall that displays over-the-top Christmas lights and decorations throughout the holiday season. “Everyone decks out the front of their house filled with blow-ups and Christmas decorations,” freshman Nicole Nana said. “It doesn’t feel real. Like, it feels like you’re not even in Kansas City.” According to Nana, this tradition has been going on since she was a little kid and has become a beloved part of the family’s holiday festivities. “Every year. It has to happen or Christmas doesn’t happen,” she said. “Like, it’s one of those things where if it doesn’t happen, it’s weird.” Another Sion student, junior Tessa Lind, and her family also have a tradition of visiting this hidden holiday gem. Lind has been driving through Candy Cane Lane to admire all the Christmas lights since she was five years old. “In the middle of the cul-de-sac is the biggest tree I’ve ever seen,” Lind said. “I feel like I’m in New York or Times Square or something.” Lind is a big fan of Christmas, so much so that she even listens to Christmas music year round. “I would say I am the biggest fan of Christmas in my family. Honestly, my parents and my siblings judge me for it,” she said. “I mean, if they want to be around a happy and energetic person, I’m going to need the Christmas decorations.”


Family Fun Smiling from the middle of a family huddle, junior Vivian Kuntz poses for a photo at a bowling event on Christmas Day. The family has been going bowling every Christmas day for decades. “When we started no one went,” Kuntz said. “And now you have to book months in advance to get a spot so it’s actually become kind of a big thing.” PHOTO SUBMITTED | VIVIAN KUNTZ

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Kairos ; time

The Kairos retreat returned to Sion after a year hiatus allowing the senior class to attend and potentially lead a Kairos retreat. BY ELLA ALEXANDER CO EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


n Nov. 7, 20 Sion seniors left in vans to Savior Pastoral Center where they embarked on a journey called Kairos. Kairos is a biannual retreat that upperclassmen elect to attend. This retreat started at Sion in 2001, and completed its 22nd year with the 66 Kairos retreat. Kairos is derived from the Greek word meaning “opportune time” in contrast to Chronos meaning “scheduled time.” Kairos is a space where you have time to just be and to connect with peers, yourself and your faith without the stress of home life. “I loved it, it was a chance to truly connect with the people in my grade that I hadn’t necessarily connected with before,” senior Caroline Hammett said. “As well as improving my own mental health and addressing things I had been ignoring.” Traditionally, the fall retreat is only attended and led by seniors. Then, in the spring enrollment opens up to juniors with seniors leading. However, the spring retreat of 2023 was canceled due to a lack of leaders so the class of 2024 did not have the chance to experience Kairos until their senior year. This meant there were no student leaders for the fall Kairos. “I did not have the help of student leaders when planning Kairos 66,” Campus Minister Stephanie Pino-Dressman

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said. “Not having a young person’s voice helping create Kairos was a big difference that was missed.” In order to have this retreat, PinoDressman reached out to faculty who had either attended or spoken at Kairos and invited them to help lead. The Sion staff and faculty stepped up and reignited the tradition of Kairos at Sion. “We needed speakers because Kairos is about sharing our stories. I needed storytellers, it’s not the Pino show,” Pino-Dressman said. “I could’ve given a presentation on all of the topics but we needed to hear different voices and we have amazing people in our community. The girls needed to hear different voices, different stories and how adults respond to challenges and unexpected joys.” In the spring there will be another retreat open to juniors and any senior who has attended Kairos can be considered to be a leader. Pino-Dressman will send more information to Kairos 66 attendants. “Leading the spring of my senior year was very meaningful,” Alicia Kotarba, Sion president and former attendant and leader at the first Kairos and a speaker at Kairos 66 said. “Kairos had a tremendous impact on my Sion experience and to be able to pass that on to the next class of students felt like an important part of the legacy of my class.”

While Kairos has changed over the years, the core of it has not. “It’s funny, walking in, what felt familiar to me was the immediate sense of connection between all the participants,” Kotarba said. “Seeing girls from different social circles, at the table together, smiling and laughing, it reminded me of my own experience.” While the Kairos retreat seems to be shrouded in secrecy, it truly is all about sharing stories. While it is often advertised as a spiritual retreat, it is as religious as you make it. “Anyone who is open to new experiences is welcome to attend Kairos,” Pino-Dressman said. “You don’t have to be spiritual or religious. If anyone is nervous about attending I can tell them who has attended in the past that they can contact or if they have a specific question then I will answer it, there are no secrets.” Kairos is a retreat that offers time to be a human being and grow closer to your peers, yourself and faith. “I would definitely encourage people to not only try it, but also go in with an open mind and heart,” Kotarba said. “You walk away with a more grounded sense of yourself, but also an appreciation for the stories and backgrounds of your Sion sisters.”


Stage fright

Participating in theater increases your self-confidence and public speaking abilities. BY GABRIELA SWINDLE REPORTER ILLUSTRATION | GABRIELA SWINDLE


ave you ever looked at someone on stage and thought “Wow, how do they do that? They must be so confident!” Public speaking is one of the most common fears. According to a study by the University of Florida, 72-75% of the population is afraid of speaking in front of their peers. Public speaking can affect us in more than one way, it can hold us back academically and professionally or further our careers and social development. But despite the commonality of stage fright, many people choose to overcome this fear by participating in theater. According to the research of Ronson Hawkins of Texas Southern University, “Artistic engagement has cognitive benefits within kids. The concept of roleplaying helps children develop positive cognitive characteristics, specifically a strong sense of confidence.” Sophomore Arle McCallon, who has participated in theater since the third grade, can attest to the benefits of performing on her confidence while speaking in front of others. “I’ve never been afraid to speak in front of a crowd, to give a speech, or raise my hand in class; maybe that’s because of how long I’ve spent on the stage,” McCallon said. “I love performing and

telling stories, but I always remember that I’m playing a character, and that character is not me.” McCallon isn’t the only one with this belief. According to a poll of 71 Sion students, 88.7% of students believe that theater helps improve confidence with public speaking. Senior Noelle Bertrand, who has performed in over 30 productions with and outside of Sion, also believes that theater can help boost your selfconfidence. “Doing theater has definitely made it easier for me to talk in front of people. Because, when you do that on the stage, you’re talking to a lot of people,” Bertrand said. “So it has helped with my confidence and presenting myself. Weirdly, I feel like I’m going to be really good in job interviews since you have to go in front of people and ‘sell’ yourself to them to get the job.” According to the U.S. Department of Labor strong communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving are the top three attributes an employer is looking for. When you are in an interview and you are asked to tell them about your past carers and past experiences, they will judge you based on your performance and how detailed you are.

While theater creates a great environment to build essential public speaking skills, it can also have some drawbacks in terms of self-confidence. “While I do believe that the stage has helped to boost my confidence, it also creates a lot of doubt and comparison,” McCallon said. “Constantly wishing that you could play a character better, or be more like another [performer] are things I often struggle with.” Despite these drawbacks, the pros of participating in theater often outweigh the cons in terms of public speaking, and the training these performers receive is incredibly beneficial in everyday life. For those still struggling with stage fright, it is something you can overcome with the three P’s Purpose, Preparation, and Practice– all of which are gained through live theater. “Theater has really helped me to be better at public speaking,” McCallon said. “And boosted my self-confidence by teaching me how to present myself in front of an audience and take control of the crowd.”

December 2023 | 11

staff editorial

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staff editorial

OUT OF UNIFORM Faculty and administration should not use the presence of male employees as a viable reason for dress coding.


ecause there are men in the building. Seven words with implication. That women dress for men. That you might not be safe. That you’re always being watched. That even an allgirl school isn’t immune. We’ve heard it in our halls. How does it make us feel? Sion’s uniform guidelines generally strive to uphold a higher level of professionalism and modesty. They are there for safety, so that we don’t slip in our fur boots dashing to class, and they are there to act as an equalizer, so that we may go to school uninhibited by certain peer pressures. Guideline enforcement, however, should not make students feel unsafe in a place of education. You might consider rehemming your skirt; there are men in the building. The “blame” on men as a whole comprises an all-girls school’s goal to prevent objectification and misogyny. Sociology professor at University College London Jessica Ringrose wrote a blog piece for the Institute of Education (IOE) on the topic of modesty as it relates to “distraction.” “By ‘distraction,’ the implication is sexual distraction, which means girls are being sexually objectified. This is a form of blaming the victim,” Ringrose wrote. “A blanket policy won’t work. It doesn’t address the root of the problem, that our bodies are being sexualized in school, which is supposed to be safe.” This evokes uncomfortable feelings. Sion students in a poll about the topic commented they felt belittled when dress-coded with the excuse of male presence. Societal criticisms of women’s clothing are often followed by the phrase “men are human and have urges.” This is used as a justification for the inappropriate critique of women’s clothing. It makes the point seem as though it’s based on facts rather than a traditional patriarchal view. Students seem to feel that as an all-girls school,

Sion should be immune to this kind of societal extension. Certain remarks made while being given a dress code violation can make students feel self-conscious about their bodies and fearful of being around trusted faculty. The idea also makes girls feel like they’re under the gross speculation of the leaders within the school. Which is a false assumption propagated by these careless phrases. Additionally, it makes male faculty feel wrongfully accused. “I have heard students say it’s nice to not have to worry about being judged by boys which I think makes them feel more comfortable,” social studies teacher Chris Schreiber said. “So the poll made me wonder if something needed to be addressed because the only males in the building are faculty and staff.” It is unfair to blame uniform guidelines on male faculty when they put in their best effort to teach students and simply do their job. All teachers should be held to the same standard of professionalism in the school and no aspect of students’ appearances or clothing should “distract” faculty. “I think this is deeply insulting to men and boys, it suggests they have no control over their own behaviors at school or work,” Ringrose said. “This is deeply sexist and it’s evidence of a sexual double standard.” Some may make the argument that it’s not an accusatory comment, but rather a biological one. They believe men have urges that they can’t help but feel and women can take action to prevent them. But male faculty feel dress code vernacular that makes them out to be predators makes them feel undeserving of their position or hesitant in their place in the community. “I think from my end it’s just a respect thing and just treating each person with dignity,” Schreiber said. “Administration has to be aware of

potential wrongdoing. So as a teacher I just commit to doing the right thing everyday.” Similarly, students shouldn’t feel responsible for “dodging the male gaze,” especially at school. “If a man were to work here, and think collarbones or thighs are distracting, then that man should not be in the workplace with children,” junior Kate Schneeberger said. “With that being said, if I were a male teacher I would feel uncomfortable because I wouldn’t want the dress code to be pinned on me.” Students feel safe and comfortable with the male faculty and administration working in the school. The phrase “because there are men in the building” or anything with similar connotation is diminutive and should be banned when enforcing dress code violations. “It villanizes these people we’re supposed to trust and it might make girls uncomfortable,” Schneeberger said. “It also may make them less likely to have discussions with male teachers because they are afraid to be alone with someone who may find something uncomfortable on their body.” Comments like these are serious and could create a community of fear. If students hear similar phrases or feel uncomfortable due to a uniform critique they should bring their concern to principal Ellen Carmody. This editorial reflects the views of the Le Journal Staff. 12 out of 12 voted in favor of this editorial.

Members of this publication do not have audio/video evidence of any member of the Sion faculty using phrases that were included in this story unless directly sourced. PHOTO EXTENDED FOR SPACE WITH PHOTOSHOP AI

December 2023 | 13

cover story .

One in four women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. As a high school servicing a young female population, Sion should implement a curriculum catering to differentiating developmental stages in the school in order to prepare and prevent dangerous situations they may face after graduation. BY CO EDITOR-IN-CHIEF LILY WILKIN & OPINION/EDITORIALS EDITOR CAROLINE DEACON


t’s college move-in day. There are at least a few hundred students bustling around, pulling wardrobes out of mini vans and throwing them into provided dresser drawers in the dorms. Families recruit some bystanders to help lug giant boxes up several flights of stairs, because the elevator is overcrowded. Some parents are anxiously going over class schedules or the campus map with their soon-to-be fully fledged adults. They help you hang up posters or re-loft the beds, and then they cry as they pull away to head back home and wave to you in the rearview. Before they left you got the “make good decisions” speech. Which varies from eating well to making sure you go to office hours. Or, the quick and horrifying bit, where you were told to watch your drink at parties, to know your limits, to pause your music or take out your headphones when walking around campus at night, or to know that you can always just say no.

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It was all so much, so fast. Say no to what? You can’t help but wish you were better prepared.

the current situation C

urrently, the only popularly known resources Sion offers its students on sexual assault prevention is a presentation from MOCSA, Kansas City’s rape crisis center, during the freshman seminar class on healthy relationships, and a handful of deep dives generally related to the topic, but currently there is nothing that leaves a significant impact on students. “I haven’t heard about anything Sion is doing to help prevent and give resources about sexual abuse or assault,” junior Kate Schneeburger said. “I think the only thing I’ve seen is a generic flier in the bathroom that

cover story

says ‘If you need help call this number’.” In addition to the MOCSA presentation, the fall deep dive conference typically offers a course taught by representatives from Low Kick Camp, which is a Muay Thai studio located in the West Bottoms. “The self-defense deep dive was very informative,” senior Maddi Adkins said. “I appreciated how they spent time discussing preventative measures before we actually got into the physical aspects of it.” Self defense and presentations about toxic relationships are first steps, and while good first steps, they simply scratch the surface. What about the second, third and fourth steps for sexual assault prevention programming? How can a Sionion graduate with prevention tools she’s gained from each year of education? “It’s like an ombre effect, it goes from lighter to heavier,” sophomore Brooke Stewart said. “And it seems

like Sion takes the first step, but they just continue in the lightest section.” Sion doesn’t shy away from talking about suicide and mental health, so why is sexual assault seemingly avoided? After all, every 68 seconds an American is sexually assaulted, according to a rolling average calculated by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the 2020 National Crime Victimization Survey. “It’s a topic the high school doesn’t talk about very much. At the grade school at least twice a year a MOCSA representative would come in and talk to us,” senior Lilly Sutherlin said. “It’s kind of appalling that even in middle school we got more education about healthy relationships and sexual assault and things like that than we do in high school.” Sophmores, Juniors, and Seniors education on sexual assault prevention is being ignored, and that needs to

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change. Creating a space where women’s voices are encouraged, rather than hushed, is imperative for building well-rounded individuals, and empathetic perspective takers, both of which Sion strives to achieve in its students. Building such strong minded individuals starts with opening up to these kinds of difficult conversations. During the 2022 spring deep dive conference a course called The Ethics of True Crime taught students the ethical dilemma of true crime media. While this curriculum wasn’t catered to sexual assault prevention, there was discussion about self defense and safety measures students can take. A mediafocused curriculum could be beneficial for sophomores as their understanding of the dangers women face has developed, and their consumption of social media is high. This point in their highschool career is the perfect opportunity to discuss the autonomy each person has over the media they consume, and to begin to prepare themselves for the dangers they could face as they progress further into their teen years. “Unfortunately, you’re not really preparing for the future, you’re preparing for right now,” The Ethics of True Crime deep dive teacher Kelsey Pomeroy said. “Women are overwhelmingly on the receiving end of these crimes and I hate it, but it’s just being a woman. So the moment you can handle it, I think a freshman is plenty young enough, you need to be prepared. You’re not preparing for college, you’re not preparing for walking around, clubbing. It can happen anywhere, to anyone.”

change is necessary SWe’ve all seen the statistics and read the horror

tudents deserve better education on sexual assault.

stories, but many times people dismiss this, saying “but that won’t happen to me”. This should not be a chance one is willing to take, and with better preparation for these dangerous situations, these probabilities can be reduced. Avoiding this discussion can only cause future harm. “In general, a lot of people tiptoe around hard subjects, which isn’t good,” Schneeberger said. “There needs to be more comfort when talking about hard subjects because without discussion there won’t be any knowledge for people, and it could lead to something really bad.” Tiptoeing around these subjects only causes people to feel unsafe and uncomfortable when these discussions are needed, creating a tense

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atmosphere. “If people want to teach us about sexual assault tiptoeing around the subject will not help,” freshman Jae High said. “Talking about what to do if you know a victim, or if you are a victim, like where to go and how to handle it is important. It’s important to know what to do in these kinds of situations.” It is necessary that a tiered curriculum based on students’ grade level is implemented, as it allows students to become more connected with their peers, and to truly take in material that is essential towards their safety. Catering to the differing developmental stages that exist within Sion’s grade levels will allow students to gain a foundational knowledge of sexual assault by the end of their four years. “Having a foundational understanding of sexual abuse and assault is vital to prevention,” MOCSA Director of Education Tyler Lumpkin said. “Because one has to know not only how to prevent sexual abuse, but also how to support those that have already experienced it.” It is necessary that students have a foundational understanding of the complexities within sexual assault protection and legislation. Teaching this during freshman year would not only equip students with the knowledge to identify a possibly abusive partner, but teach the basics of what sexual assault is and how to recognize it. Educating and familiarizing young women with such a harsh topic is imperative for their safety. Freshmen should be learning in Seminar about what legislature has been implemented, and the inner workings of the court system. This way of teaching will show them the reality of sexual assault, and why many cases go unreported, which is fundamental to understand in prevention education. “Unfortunately with defense in these cases, it’s getting harder and harder for the prosecution,” Chad Pfaff, the Kansas City Police Department missing persons and homicide detective said. “The courts are requiring so much more. Without video evidence it’s almost impossible to convict.” Realistic preparation is essential for seniors as they make the next steps for college. They’re going to be away from home, and they won’t have the same support system they had before. It is important they can spot abuse without needing to think about it, know who to go to if they experience sexual assault, and have basic self-defense skills. According to RAINN, approximately 90% of rapes on college campus’ go unreported, and if students can master these skills it could be incredibly valuable. Sexual assault is personal, and seniors must have these basic skills in order to know what to do if they ever find themselves in a situation they didn’t consent to. “Sexual assault and harassment continue on for a very long time in peoples lives,” junior Charlotte Zender said. “Especially for the seniors, who are going off to college soon, and the rate at which they could get sexually assaulted/harassed increases significantly.”

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the media F

rom the moment you’re introduced to social media, the oversexualization of women present throughout platforms is difficult to stay away from. Whether the media is produced by a woman or a man, a culture of immense sexualization has been developed in this generation, with the media thriving off of the objectification of women. The media’s portrayal of women pushes a bias that women should be naturally compliant in sexual acts. To young girls scrolling through social media, a constant sexualization of women’s bodies is imposed, and the idea of autonomy over themselves and their bodies becomes distant. Informing students in their sophomore and junior years of the media’s objectification of women’s bodies is crucial, as this is a time in their lives where constant worries of body perfection can lead to decreased self-confidence, and creates vulnerability to manipulation by the media. To quell this narrative, and prevent this perspective of women’s bodies, sophomores and juniors should be taught that their bodies do not exist solely to please men, and they need to learn that their bodies belong to them, and if someone does something they don’t consent to, they have the right to speak out. “So much of society and the media isolates survivors, and scares them into not talking, it’s refreshing when there’s a space that is safe to speak in and unfiltered,” sexual assault advocate and artist Ali Waller said. “I hope that they feel a fraction of that power that I feel [when they come out]. With each person that comes forward, it’s another push for someone else to feel safe.”

have a conversation Ieffective when they are solely lecture-based. For

t is much more difficult for these discussions to be

students to be receptive of this information, and for this dialogue to have the intended impact, there needs to be a change in the delivery. “These conversations should happen on a smaller, more intimate scale,” Sutherlin said. “Instead of someone talking to us with a slideshow at an all school assembly.” This isn’t a conversation that can be avoided anymore. Yes, it is messy. It is tough and harsh. But avoiding the topic of sexual assault leads to the creation of new victims. By implementing new prevention education, students are given a way to be prepared and keep themselves safe. And while Sion’s students are young, and it may seem like they can’t handle this or they need more time, they must be given the chance. “It’s never black and white, there are a lot of shades of gray,” Danielle Sediqzad, assistant special victims prosecutor said. “And the younger generations are more open to talking about this. You guys have understood the concept of consent, and it’s been portrayed in a more educational sense.” Sion creates successful people, it creates good people and it creates kind and empathetic young women, but given the chance it can also create informed, safe and strong young women. Women who know how to take care of themselves, and ultimately, who will never have to say “I wish I was more prepared.”

proposed curriculum Preparation SUMMER SENIOR LEADERSHIP TRAINING Sion partners with MOCSA to train a senior leadership group interested in developing and teaching a new sexual assault prevention curriculum.

Semester One OCTOBER ACTIVITY PERIOD FRESHMEN: Healthy Relationships Presentation from MOCSA SOPHOMORES: Media Education How survivors are disparaged through media Ethical implications JUNIORS: Objectification of Women in the Media Navigating a world where female bodies are sexualized SENIORS: Self Defense Travel to T.A.K.E Defense for beginner training Optional: Continued practice during Aprés Midi bi-monthly CLASS EDUCATION OPTIONS FRESHMEN: Sion Seminar Unit Defining and Differentiating Types of Abuse Responding to situations JUNIORS/SENIORS: Government Court Processes and Sexual Assault Cases

Semester Two SPRING ACTIVITY PERIODS SOPHOMORES: Monthly Media Training Senior Leadership Training team leads underclassmen on staying safe on social media, identifying online predators and how to seek and ask for help JUNIORS: Prevention Literacy with the Kelsey Smith Foundation Presentation followed by small group discussions lead with prompts, tips and questions Optional: Interested juniors can sign up to be the following year’s Senior Sexual Assault and Prevention Leadership Group SENIORS: College Preparation, Title IV, & Reporting T.A.K.E. Defense CLASS EDUCATION OPTIONS SOPHOMORES: Theology Unit Identity While in Crisis, Forgiveness, Being an Empathetic Friend and Responsible Bystander JUNIORS/SENIORS: Government Court Processes and Sexual Assault Cases

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martial masters Students Lilly Sutherlin, Annmarie Wesley and Natasha Wulff practice different types of martial arts such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Kempo Karate and Muay Thai. BY ELLA SATTERWHITE NEWS & SPORTS EDITOR


n Oct. 18, the Sion gym was filled with the sound of fists hitting pads as students were taught basic self-defense techniques by coaches from Low Kick Camp Muay Thai. For many in the room, this was the first time they had been taught ways to protect themselves. However, some students have been participating in martial arts for far longer than the three-hour session. Junior Natasha Wulff began her martial arts journey in third grade when she started training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. “My parents always pushed me to do two sports at once, and then someone at my school did MMA, and so I went to this place called Glory MMA and I joined the MMA class because it was Mondays and Wednesdays,” Wulff said. “Then, I switched to Tuesdays and found out I loved jiu-jitsu so much more because it’s more suited for my personality. I made the switch and I haven’t looked back.” Senior Lilly Sutherlin began her martial arts journey 11 years ago. Sutherlin practices a Chinese form of martial arts, Kempo Karate. “My parents put my brother in karate for disciplinary reasons,” Sutherlin said. “I went to his class one day, and I turned to my parents and was like, ‘I need to do this’. I’ve been doing it ever since.” Martial arts offers practitioners a myriad of benefits ranging from social exercise to mental training. For freshman Annmarie Wesley, who trains at Low Kick Camp, martial arts has been a constant for over four years. Wesley especially loves the freeing nature of martial arts. “You should do it to just get the anger out and get some freedom,” Wesley said. “You get to punch people. And you don’t have to be punched. They give you the option of being hit or not hit. So I don’t like getting hit, but that was my choice. And

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you can just have fun with it. The whole gym is just a fun place to be around.” In addition to emotional support, martial arts is a great exercise and physical activity. For those who don’t love running or traditional sports, martial arts can be an appealing alternative. “In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you are so sweaty by the end,” Wulff said. “And you are burning so many calories, just because it’s rolling on the ground and you’re using a bunch of your body strength when you’re going all out.” Another advantage offered by martial arts is the flexibility of the exercise. Different drills can be easily modified to support people of all ability levels in their entry into the sport. “Most people can do it. Obviously, if you’re not able to walk, that might be a bit more difficult, but you could still do some of the stuff and learn some moves, like how to get out of a choke,” Wulff said. “If you’re not very active, you can definitely start because everyone’s super forgiving when you’re first starting out and don’t know how to do it.” Martial arts does not require any fancy equipment, so it can be practiced outside of regular classes. When away from a dojo, Wesley often practices in her home with her stepfather. “You can practice it anywhere, you don’t even need pads,” Wesley said. “It’s flexible. Team classes are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I usually go on the Wednesday ones, if I’m available.” Martial arts also offer participants a unique community. Wulff reported that the smaller number of participants in martial arts in comparison to more traditional sports leads to closer bonding. “My teachers fostered an accepting environment where everyone’s meant to feel safe, so I can express myself in my

dojo freely without having to worry about what other people think of me,” Sutherlin said. “And I think learning to have control over my own body is what has made me more confident.” For practitioners seeking a more competitive experience, many martial arts studios offer competitions. While some, such as Wesley, choose not to participate, others use these events as an opportunity to further hone their skills. Wulff participated in her first competition this past summer. “I was terrified to do it,” Wulff said. “Because I had just never done it. And I felt like I would embarrass myself. Because in juj-jitsu you’re being beat up by everyone. Like, if you’re on the same level, you’re losing 50% of the time. You can’t have an ego while doing jiu-jitsu. So, competition is terrifying and nervewracking, but it’s fun. You get to meet new people and hang out.” Wulff won the competition and has already signed up for another in January. In Sutherlin’s martial arts, competitions also offer chances for students to show off a longer series of moves, called forms or katas. This more artistic form of martial arts can offer another vein of exploration. “I would not consider myself an artsy person,” Sutherlin said. “But I like martial arts because it allows you to be creative without having to draw or paint anything. Also, it has definitely given me the opportunity to become more confident in myself. When I was a child there’s no way I would just go up to someone and start talking to them or do anything extroverted.”


Alone at the Top

Through sparring in both practice and competition, martial artists practice another essential skill, self-defense. “I think everyone should learn some type of self-defense or martial arts to feel safer, especially in this world right now,” Wesley said. “I feel like it’s nice to know a thing or two.” Wulff also spoke about how helpful martial arts can be in self-defense, but warned people to be cautious of being overconfident. “The first thing you should go for in any self-defense terms is run away,” Wulff said. “But, if you are unable to, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is very helpful if you get taken to the ground and the person is on top of you. If they don’t know Brazilian jiu-jitsu, they won’t have anything. They will not know what to do when you start going for chokes and armbars. It’s really helpful. Nothing’s ever going to fully prepare you, but it helps me to have more self-confidence in myself.” While many may anticipate the self-defense aspects of martial arts, other skills gained by martial arts are less obvious. While the specific skills gained may depend on discipline, martial arts generally aims to teach more than just how to fight. “It really just helps you with being able to just get up after being tired and just pushing through again, because by the end of those practices, you are exhausted,” Wulff said. “And then

sometimes you have to go for 30 more minutes. And it is just so tiring, but so rewarding. And it shows you to go with your instinct because you don’t have a lot of time to think, so you’re just kind of rolling with everything. You don’t think, you just do.” Most martial arts also contain their own core sets of values. For Sutherlin, these values help make what could be considered a violent sport more human. “At the beginning of every class we say ‘honesty, courtesy, respect, discipline, courage’. And those are five things that my teacher aims to instill in us,” Sutherlin said. I think a big thing that a lot of people don’t think about is learning respect. We want to respect because we’re learning all of these techniques on how to hurt people, and if you don’t have respect, you become dangerous by learning these.” Although each person’s experience with martial arts may vary from simply another form of exercise to add to extracurriculars to rigorously training for competitions, the unique lessons learned through martial arts helps to create adaptable individuals. “Life brings you to many different places, but the experiences you have along the way will help you grow into whatever you want to do,” Wulff said. “Whether that be going professional, or using it as a hobby, a workout, or just a way to make friends. So many skills you can learn in Brazilian jiu-jitsu are applicable to many other things in life, and if you take the time to learn it, who knows where it will help you.”


Holding her metal, junior Natasha Wulff claims her place at the top of the podium. Wulff had just won her category in her first ever tournament. The category only had two participants. “I felt just so in the clouds, like, ‘Oh my gosh, I just won,’” Wulff said. PHOTO SUBMISSION | NATASHA WULFF

Karate Queen Kicking high into the air, senior Lilly Sutherlin takes her test for the third degree of black belt. The test was taken during the summer of 2021 and lasted three days. “After the test, I felt exhausted but proud of myself for rising up to the challenge,” Sutherlin said. PHOTO SUBMISSION | LILLY SUTHERLIN

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opinion .


s a child I thought service was simply just volunteering every once and a while. If you had extra time and nothing to do then you could help out at the local food pantry or volunteer at a pet shelter. My idea of service was simply being nice or going out of my way for someone when it was convenient for me. Now that I’m older my perception of service has changed. Service is an act but also a mindset. It’s a virtue you build your life around. Volunteering might not always be convenient and serving others is not always easy but it is important. “Service is not an activity you carry out, that gives you a fragmented approach to life,” theology teacher Polly Holmes said. “But you should have an attitude to build your life around.” Service is something that is often overlooked in life, viewed as a requirement or simply a nice thing. However service is vital to the human experience, it is even categorized as one of the five love languages. Sion does a good job of keeping service as a foundation for education and life itself. “Life is so big,” Holmes said. “I have found it so validating in Sion’s mission of building a world of peace, justice and love and I feel like we do that through service. It is a way to show love to other people.”

Service is meaningful, service benefits not only the area or people but also the volunteer. Through serving you can find a community, create happiness in your life, gain new perspectives and insights, take a moment to look outside yourself, and find a purpose. True service, particularly community service, is a vital aspect of making the world more just, equitable and right. By participating in community service you create a safer and better space for people to live in. Whether you volunteer by picking up trash, handing out meals, or helping at an assisted living home for the elderly, you make a difference in people’s lives. Community service not only uplifts a community but also the person who is volunteering. A study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that people who volunteer are happier and over time develop better mental health than those who do not volunteer. Senior Mary Margret Perkins has been attending the after school service trips to Micah Ministries since the end of her sophomore year. “I feel like a better person after I serve,” Perkins said. “I never leave there feeling bad or sad like I’ve wasted my time, it really boosts your mood. I think work doesn’t feel as rewarding even though

volunteers’ vocation Service is an important part of the human experience, it is more than an act it is also an attitude. Through service you can gain new perspectives, look outside of yourself and find purpose in life. BY ELLA ALEXANDER CO PRINT-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ILLUSTRATION | ELLA ALEXANDER

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you are getting paid, but service feels like something you want to do and knowing you are helping people.” Micah Ministries is an organization that serves warm meals to go on Mondays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for anyone who needs them. According to their mission statement, Micah Ministry is dedicated to improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people by helping individuals and communities both physically and spiritually through humanitarian assistance, free educational programs, compassionate medical services and sharing the love of Jesus Christ. Through volunteering especially at a place like Micah Ministries, you are able to encounter people outside of your normal social circle. While this may seem uncomfortable at first by engaging with people unlike you, you grow as a person in maturity and wisdom. Being open to new perspectives is vital to creating a more peaceful world. “Since serving there I think I’ve been more open to meeting tons of different types of people,” Perkins said. “There are a lot of people there who aren’t quite there. They may be using substances or just really uncomfortable where they are in life so you are able to be open to their perspective and you can learn a lot. I’ve been on this


trip before with people who are like, ‘Is it scary?’ and I’m like its not scary at all. It’s opened my mind up and I’ve gotten to experience new perspectives.” It’s important to serve with the right mindset and go into it with an open heart. “The only wrong intention in going into service is if people go in with a sense of superiority, “ theology teacher Jessica Hull said. “If you are thinking ‘I’ve got all the answers, I know what these people need, I’m gonna tell them how to fix it’ and not realizing the dignity of those that they are serving then you are missing out an encounter that can have a beautiful lesson to teach you about life or how the world works.” Through finding new perspectives you can also find friendship and community. “I have always felt like I’ve found my faith through service, “ Holmes said. “Because if you are working with people or alongside people You find purpose for life in doing and getting outside your head and outside yourself.” Holmes has been helping at Micah Ministries for many years, and while there she found a group of friends, who every Monday try to serve alongside one another.

Service allows us to be intentional about how we think. It forces us to take a moment and look outside of ourselves. Too often we get caught up in what we want that we forget about what other people need. “It’s all about looking outside yourself and getting a new perspective,” Holmes said. “You go and serve and you realize ‘Oh my life is not so bad, I’ve got a warm place, food, a support system so it gives you a good perspective.” By looking outside of yourself you get out of your head and allow yourself to see the world around you. This can give you a sense of purpose, afocal point. “If someone is struggling personally I always think that getting outside your head is a good idea,” Holmes said. “ otherwise you are going to spiral in your head so if you are serving others you need to focus on them so it’s a good way to find purpose.” Service will not always be easy. Having a mindset of serving others goes against many western cultural teachings. There will be many days where volunteering is not something you will want to do however you may find that those days are the most meaningful.

“One time it was pouring rain,” Perkins said. “We were out there [at Micah Ministries] and it was pouring so hard that the tent was falling down and that was crazy. It was freezing but we still gave out 700 or 800 meals or something. It was a record that they broke even though it was pouring.” Service will look different for everyone. Each person has a different schedule and may not be able to commit to consistent acts of service. However even if you can’t participate in the act of serving all the time, make service a part of your daily mindset. Ask yourself, “In what way can I help others today?” Inwardly reflect on your interests and passions, and from there pick a service that mirrors you. “Service is one of the things we are called to do as human beings,” Hull said. “Each of us was born with different gifts and passions and things that we care about in the world and service is figuring out where we can use those gifts and passions to make a difference. And it’s about manifesting our love for humanity or creation by doing what we can to make things better and help people through it.”


going beyond

Throughout the past three years student had the opportunity to escape the classroom and go into the real world to experience different careers, voulenteer opportunities, and even travel. BY LAUREN HAGGERTY REPORTER


n fall of 2021, Sion created a conference called deep dives, which allowed students to take classes about real world skills and take courses based on their interests to discover more career opportunities. These deep dives take place as a conference in the fall and as a two week class in the spring. Both courses have evolved over the years to give students the best experience and opportunities available. “Coming from a public school I never would’ve gotten an opportunity like this,” junior Abby Wendte said. “So it really makes me happy that Sion is helping me prepare for my future,” This year a student leadership team was developed in order to add additional student contributions. The leadership team met every week, and helped pick classes and activities that they thought their peers would enjoy. “It was really nice to get to know more people, and get to listen and learn what students wanted to do,” junior and Deep Dive leadership council member Caroline Weber said. Weber specifically played a big role on the leadership team using her summer job as inspiration for the clothes swap between Sion students. Students could bring in any clothes they wanted to swap, as long as

they were in decent condition, and trade them for other items they thought were cute and stylish. “My job this summer was working at Plato’s Closet and I used what I learned from that to organize the clothes swap,” Weber said. “We wanted to do something all students could be involved in and it wasn’t just based on whether you were crafty or not.” The team also got the important job of designing and creating the logo for the deep dives. They wanted something that represented the idea that everything is connected through nature, and used water, earth, and national park logos as inspiration for the design. “The logo honestly was so good, and I was so proud of how it came out in the end,” Weber said. “I feel like we portrayed the inspiration very well, and created something we all loved.” Between both the fall and the spring conferences, it takes a lot of time and thought to plan every detail. While they are very different, they both give students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the real world. In the fall students take a variety of courses, whereas in the spring they choose one specific topic to study or a travel excursion. “I definitely prefer the spring ones, because in the fall it’s a bunch of short little ones and you don’t get the time to fully immerse yourself in whatever you are learning about,” junior Kaylin Bendon said. “In the spring ones you get more time to dive deep into it, hence the name, and get really interested in what you are learning.” Traveling specifically has opened new doors for students at Sion to help them develop an idea of what they want their life to look like after they graduate. They got the opportunity to tour colleges that they might never have gotten to see due to money, PRETTY IN PINK time availability, or even just Standing together united, Oct. 18 Sion’s Deep Dive Leadership Team poses for a photo. The team spent months preparing for the Life thought that place was not Beyond Sion Connference to make it a memerable expeirence for for them. their peers. “I am so lucky I got to meet and grow closer with all the “I think one of the most real girls,” junior Caroline Weber said. world things you can get in high PHOTO | SALLY MORROW school is understanding what to

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expect in college,” senior Elise Daugherty said. “So I think the best connection I cultivated was being able to tour a college that if Sion hadn’t offered I might not have been able to see before applying.” Students also had the choice to leave the country for the first time last spring, and one of the places students traveled to was Guatemala. They got to serve communities, and see first hand the troubles people around the world face. “My favorite memory is when we were building a stove at someone’s house, and their neighbors’ kids were outside playing,” senior Ellie Henson said . “I had to communicate to the kid with actions since we didn’t speak the same language, and we had a cartwheel competition of how many we could do in a row and this little 6 year old boy did so many in a row and beat me.” Arguably, the best thing about deep dives is that you do not have to leave Kansas City to get these experiences. During this fall’s Life Beyond Sion Conference, students got to travel colleges in Kansas and Missouri, take college prep classes, visit the KC Current Stadium, and also do fitness classes such as yoga and self defense. “I want to go into the medical field and be a pediatrician, so going on that deep dive [Scrub Camp] I was kind of nervous that I wouldn’t be prepared, but it showed me what it would be like. I learned that I would be able to go to Med School, and I would be able to handle it,” Wendte said, who attended the Scrub Camp deep dive at St. Marys College. Overall, through deep dives Sion has created a time designated for its students to grow, and learn more about themselves through hands-on learning and experiences. Deep Dives allow students to grow closer not only as a community, but cultivate connections with others they never thought they would have something in common with. “It allowed me to meet new people I had never talked to before because the sessions I was in had all grades,” Henson said. “And meeting new people from outside our school community and hearing their stories really expanded my point of view of others around me.” Henson said.


LAUGH OUT LOUD Smiling with joy, junior Ella Warden tours the KC Current stadium Oct. 18. The stadium us currently being built, and is set to be finished in the Spring 2024. “It was so cool to be in the same place as Brittiany Mahomes, and see what she has done for KC Current,” Warden said. PHOTO | ALLYSON CHANEY

humanity in the stars During this year’s fall deep dive conference, a Sion student got to take their interests and transform it into a deep dive for her peers to enjoy. sophomore Heidi Nance made her Dmark in Sion Deep Dive history by leading uring the Life Beyond Sion Conference,

her own session. Her class was called “Humanity and the Stars”, and during the class they made bracelets that represented the topics they covered in class, and they represented everyone’s individual place in the universe. “I wanted them to leave with something they were proud of, and excited to learn more,” said Nance. Nance has enjoyed learning about space from a young age. She would love to read about it, and do research constantly to learn more. It was also shown in her style such as the art she enjoyed, clothes, and bedroom decorations. “I have always had a passion for space since I was a kid,” Nance said. “And since it is less into our curriculum now I wanted to give this to people who are interested in it.” During this experience, Nance also realized how hard her teachers work


behind the scenes for their students, and everything they have to do everyday for her and her classmates. “It was really interesting to be in the teaching position,” Nance said. “Since I’m normally a student, and get a different point of view in the classroom.” Nance went out of her comfort zone by teaching this class, and while she was nervous at first she quickly got the hang of it, and loved being a part of something she worked so hard on. “I’m not the best public speaker,” Nance said. “But I was really excited because it had taken me so long to put together and it was something I was interested in and proud of.” Nance loved having the opportunity to grow closer to the classmates, and share something she was passionate about with them. “I really enjoyed this because it taught me so much,” Nance said. “We are already talking about doing it next year.”



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encouraging equestrian

Freshman Lucy Kehoe discovered her passion for riding horses and shares it with others. BY CLAIRE BOMA MANAGING EDITOR

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feature leading the way


ll it took was one trail ride to get freshman Lucy Kehoe hooked on horseback riding. At six years old, she begged her parents to let her start riding. It wouldn’t be until she was ten when she finally started lessons and began her lifelong dream of competing in horse competitions. “Robert [Lucy’s dad] and I were concerned with the time commitment,” Kehoe’s mother Christine Kehoe said. “Along with working with such large animals. But we quickly learned she was up for the challenge.” Originally, Kehoe planned to take jumping lessons, one of the most popular horse riding disciplines. But then she met a woman selling her horse that was trained in Western and English pleasure, and ultimately switched styles. “The riding I do is not a popular discipline,” Kehoe said. “It’s like a rodeo style but very slow. You just go around in the arena.” English and Western pleasure are both styles of riding that judge based on the horse’s stance, gait and overall demeanor. The horse is meant to look like a “pleasure” to ride. Western Pleasure is slower and less flashy than English Pleasure, where the horses are also expected to trot and canter. “I go to quite a few competitions, mostly during the summers. Last summer I went to Pinto World, which is the biggest competition you can go to,” Kehoe said. “You have to qualify by going to little shows and earning points. When you have enough points you can qualify for bigger shows.” Kehoe participates in many competitions both locally and nationally, and her goal is to one day win high point champion at the American Royale. “The last show I went to I got Reserve High Point, which is basically second place, and I’ve also gotten Congress Champion, which is first place in a big show, twice.” Kehoe said. “I didn’t win anything at worlds last year, but I’m hoping to win something next year.” Horse riding requires a lot of training and discipline, according to Kehoe. She goes to the stable every day, and although she doesn’t always ride her horses, there is a lot of work to be done to keep the animals happy and healthy. “It’s a lot of work,” Kehoe said. “You have to feed them early in the morning and late at night. Their stalls have to be cleaned three times a day, and you have

to turn them out into the pastures for six hours minimum every day.” Kehoe owns two horses: Foster, her first ever horse who is now retired, and Katie, her current competition horse. Since beginning this sport, Kehoe’s family have noticed many positive changes in her life. “I could go on and on about Lucy’s growth,” Christine said. “I watched her fail a pattern in front of thousands of people, but she didn’t let it ruin her. She got right back out there, continued practicing and went on to become reserve high point champion at her next large show. Lucy has been showing a very short time, I never imagined her to get to this level, but she has never given up.” Christine also stated that since she began riding horses, Kehoe has become a leader for other, younger riders. She gives them advice and tells them that they too can win major competitions one day. Additionally, Kehoe and her horse Foster now participate in a horse riding program for people with disabilities. “I teach Meg how to ride. She’s 22 and has a learning disability,” Kehoe said. “We’ve been to a couple of shows together and she does really well. She’s also just super sweet too.” According to Kehoe’s family, working with Meg has given Kehoe a new appreciation for the joy that horse-back riding can bring people. Both girls attended many competitions together, and even when challenges arise, they are able to find solutions and overcome them. At a recent competition, Foster began acting up shortly before Meg was meant to enter the arena. Unable to ride with this behavior, Kehoe helped Meg switch horses last minute and still compete. “[Meg] is an incredible girl. She’s taught me to forgive and love big, take the challenge and keep going with your head up high,” Christine said. “Everyone needs to be a little bit more like Meg.” Kehoe stated that participating in this program has been incredibly rewarding, and makes her feel very happy and proud of the work she’s done. “Riding a horse has impacted Lucy in many ways,” Chirstine said. “I would say the biggest being compassion and responsibility. Lucy is also very determined, never giving up and fighting for her passion.”

Leading the horse to through the arena, freshman Lucy Kehoe helps Meg, a girl with disabilities, compete in a horse show. Kehoe began training Meg when she entered her horse, Foster, into the program for disabled riders. “Once Lucy approved that [Meg] could work with foster, she was asked if she would help in the leading of foster in the exceptional challenge cup. Lucy helped Meg in Salina, Kansas and again in Kansas City at the American Royal,” Lucy’s mother Christine Kehoe said. PHOTO SUBMISSION | CHRISTINE KEHOE

riding side-by-side Posing for the camera, freshman Lucy Kehoe stands with her best friend and their horses during a compition. According to Kehoe, making friends is the best part about horse-back riding because they have something in common that many others dont. “I’m most proud of when me and my best friend won both congress champion and congress reserve champion,” Kehoe said. “Because we got to do the winning lap together.” PHOTO SUBMISSION | CHRISTINE KEHOE

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A&E .

THE FINAL STRETCH Tis the season for hours hunched over at a desk and piles of study guides filling your brain. Finals season does not have traditional holiday cheer, but you gave us your top hacks to get through this stressful season. BY MARYKATE LILLIS REPORTER


xercising is a great way to rest your mind, but fueling your brain also helps. Have you ever heard of the term food as fuel? Well, it’s true. Fueling your body with good and nutritious foods majorly improves academic focus. According to Harvard Health, eating high-quality foods like vegetables, fruits, and proteins nourishes and protects the brain from oxidative stress. So remember, you are never too busy to eat. “When I get really stressed out I always forget to eat and it always made my attention span so much shorter,” junior Aubrey Nichols said. “Once I started


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fueling my body with good food, or any food, it helped me to be able to focus for longer periods of time.” Nourishing your body is very important but so is nourishing your brain. According to Cornell Health taking purposeful breaks ranging from five to 60 minutes helps increase energy, productivity, and ability to focus. This is a great way to nourish your brain to keep on studying. Many Sion students use study tools that help increase their productivity, for example Quizlet. “I would say the Quizlet is my number one study tool,” sophomore Nora Conway said. “It really

helps me organize all my definitions and study them well until they are burned into my brain.” Quizlet is used to help students create study groups with friends they are in classes with before finals. “My friends and I like to compile Quizlets all together,” sophomore Adele Milligan said. “We share them and study them together.” Studying tools are very important but there are also many study techniques that have recently gone viral on TikTok. One of them is called the “blurting method.” The blurting method is an active recall technique that involves quickly reading a section of a


textbook or study guide then writing as much as you can from quickly skimming the words. “The blurting method is something I have done to remember big chunks of information for subjects like AP History,” junior Francie Keithline said. “It has been a lot more effective than just reading and taking notes so it’s definitely one of my best hacks.” Active recall techniques are unique ways students can learn by retrieving information from their own brains. Active recall is regarded in scientific literature as the study technique that improves exam performance the most. “I came about active recall techniques when I saw it on Tiktok,” junior Abby Wendte said. “I

thought it wasn’t going to work at first but I found it helped me remember a lot better.” Another viral study technique is called the “PQ4R” method. This method is an active approach that improves memorization and understanding of a topic. “I hadn’t even heard of study methods until sophomore year, but this one I saw on social media and it actually works for me,” Nichols said. “You first preview the information you’re about to study, then you ask yourself questions out loud on the topic. Then you do the four R’s where you read, reflect, recite, and recall.” Organizing your study schedule can be

majorly helpful when you have a heavy workload. Planners and calendars can be useful tools for organizing your study schedule and using time well. According to Herzing University, using a planner helps prioritize tasks, improve time management, and be more successful in a out of the classroom. So writing down your study schedule will be very helpful to keep all your thoughts and tests organized.

Left to Right Ky Potts ‘27 Francie Keithline ‘25 Alisson Zamudio ‘26 Abby Wendte ‘25 Gabi Ceniceros ‘26 Nora Conway ‘26

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