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n. I


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Increased environmental consciousness creates discussion over sustainability in the Rockwood community See pg. 8-9


ROLL CALL Editors in Chief Kavya Jain Marta Mieze Associate Editor Sarah Harris Copy Editor Mansi Mamidi Online Editor in Chief Kailin Zhang Executive Producer Jackson Estwanick News Editor Waha Siddiqui Features Editor Jessica Li Arts&Entertainment Editor Caroline Cudney Sports Editors Jeff Swift Connor Del Carmen Opinions Editor Will Roach Managing Editor Jennifer Bosche In-Depth Editor Sabrina Lacy Production Editor Tanner Rojewski Events Editor Austin Richard Data Journalist Zara Tola Illustrators Jilian Bunderson Mason Kellerman Staff Reporters Michael Schmitz Molly Sillitto Arpitha Sistla Lauren Pickett Alayna Higdon Emily Kaysinger Sydney Goldsmith Shrija Maganti Staff Adviser Emily Jorgensen

Foreign correspondent Michael Schmitz, senior, is documenting his experience in Jerusalem, Israel.

Susan Hartley, science teacher, is one of many new teachers at MHS this year.

Jordyn Vermont, senior, shares her experience about travel in Australia with National Geographic.

horseback 16 riding

In contrast to traditional school sports, Mel Desmond, senior, participates in horseback riding.

suicide 4 awareness




14 schedules 12

Despite the change in school start dates next year, the sports schedule is remaining the same.

ONLINE Visit our website to view more stories and MHSNews:

Nick Pinkstaff, junior, puts on his fireman’s uniform before heading to an emergency. A new variation of the fire drill was practiced during Flex Time.

In honor of National Suicide Awareness Day on Sept. 10, students came together to chalk the front of MHS.

In honor of National Potato Month, the Messenger reviewed fries from multiple restaurants around the area.


OUR POLICY The Messenger is published eight times a year by students enrolled in the Newspaper Production class at Marquette High School, Chesterfield, MO, 63017. The publication office is located in Room 226, (636) 891-6000 ext. 26228 Opinions of Messenger columnists or the Editorial Board are not representative of the opinions of the entire Messenger staff, the newspaper or the administration. The Messenger


takes responses for any issue. Send these in at mhsmessenger@rsdmo. org. The Messenger reserves the right to edit submitted material and to refuse to print material because of space limitations, repetitive subject matter, libelous content or any other reason the editor in chief and adviser deems appropriate, including advertisements and letters to the editor.





EDITORS’ NOTE Sixteen plus issues. Four plus semesters. Countless Trader Joe’s snack hauls. Way too many Flex Time stories. Here we are, our last first issue. We consider ourselves fortunate to have been given the opportunity to lead this publication another year, our last year. Over the past three years we have found purpose in Room 226 and each story, pitch meeting, layout and conference has taught us more about ourselves and publishing This year presents itself as a second chance to create our legacy. We can alter our course based on past mistakes while also realizing the importance of enjoying the present with staff and readers both old and new. In these past few weeks we have found ourselves encouraging our

staff to “awaken their sense of urgency” and not wait to see through their commitments, and we implore you to do the same. This year let’s challenge ourselves to squeeze the most value out of every moment of our day, whether that is practicing self-care through a meal with a loved one or reaching out to someone else through community service because the “now” is precious. A part of living in the present is to engage with one another and we hope to foster engagement not only within our classroom but also with our audience, so please write back. Let’s make this a dialogue. Let us know what matters to you and give us the opportunity to tell your story. To us, MHS, like newspaper, is a family. Let’s honor that by allowing ourselves to rely on and extend our hands to one

another, harnessing each other’s strengths to leave a legacy worth remembering. We started planning this year over a shared plate of chocolate chip pancakes, so let’s make this year just that: sweet and communal. Until next time, Marta and Kavya Editors in Chief

issue I



New changes to AP aim for score improvement zara TOLA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ACROSS THE NATION But there is still controversy as to whether this are now expected to score better on Advanced new registration date will do more harm than good. Placement (AP) exams due to changes made by the Del Pizzo said the new change will make students College Board this year. less likely to drop an AP class at semester with the This year, students will have the opportunity fall registration deadline because they to use new digital tools provided by the College would have already registered for exams. Board, which include progress checks and past exam “AP claims it creates a better sense questions that teachers can push out to students to of commitment by students and causes use year long to study for the exam. them to buy into the class earlier and stay Lisa Del Pizzo, science teacher, has already started committed longer,” Del Pizzo said. “I think using the new tools with her AP Biology classes. that in part it’s an effort for AP to make “I think that it’s very helpful for students money because they are forcing to see AP-style questions and get students to buy their test in immediate feedback,” Del Pizzo said. the fall.” “The practice questions provide Ashish Dhanalakota, junior, “For teachers who students with opportunities said the fall registration will have just want a better idea of to see every kind of question a positive impact on students scope and sequence for their because it makes the AP exam that might appear on the AP course, it’s designed to exam, so that when they a year-long task for the class, take the exam, there are no instead of something students eliminate unnecessary surprises.” cram for in the spring. information that will not be Instructors for AP “I think it will make courses, like Del Pizzo, were covered on the AP exam, which I students more proactive,” find very helpful.” also provided with a Course Dhanalakota said. “If it’s in Exam Description (CED) the fall, people will plan earlier binder this year, which outlines and start taking school more LISA DEL PIZZO the information tested on the seriously.” SCIENCE TEACHER exam. Julia Welker, AP testing “For teachers who just want a coordinator, said the main reason better idea of scope and sequence for students choose to take AP courses is for their course, it’s designed to eliminate unnecessary college credit from the exams, but she still doesn’t information that will not be covered on the AP exam, know if the new registration date will affect the which I find very helpful,” Del Pizzo said. amount of students who choose to drop an AP exam In addition, the College Board has implemented in the spring. an earlier AP registration deadline, which would take “Those AP kids that have been taking courses as place in November instead of February. early as freshmen or sophomore year are potentially According to the College Board, the fall exam maxing out the amount of college credit that they can registration was implemented to improve AP scores. earn from the tests,” Welker said. In the 2017-2018 school year, College Board tested Welker said many seniors will opt out of taking this out with 40,000 students and saw a rise in the the exam after discovering that their college of choice amount of scores of three or higher. won’t accept their exam for credit. Financially, she

Q&A: College essay tips

Statistics from Julia Welker, testing coordinator Illustration by Lauren Pickett

sees how many students don’t want to pay close to $100 for a test that has little benefit. In fact, last year, many students made their final decision to opt out after the deadline, which had been in the spring. “The drops would trickle in a little bit after Spring Break, a little bit more in April, and definitely by the end of April, the week before AP exams would start, more drops would come in,” Welker said. As of right now, it is still unclear as to whether the new fall registration will change the amount of students who take the AP exam. Nevertheless, Welker said these new changes are something that the students and administrators will adapt to. “We’re all in this together,” Welker said, “This year is just going to be a year of learning it for myself, and seeing if there will be a bigger drop rate with this new deadline versus previous years.”

sarah HARRIS

The Common Application opened on Aug. 1 for students to begin applying to colleges. Tyler Bradshaw, associate director of recruitment for Miami University, offers tips on how to tackle the college essay. WHAT ARE SOME COMMON MISTAKES YOU FIND?


The big mistake with college essays is that students share information we could find with other parts of their college applications. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen made repeatedly is that students will take their activities list and put it in paragraph form. In reality, the essay should be a piece that is sharing new information about the student that we couldn’t find anywhere else in the application. I think students also try to write their essay like a traditional five-paragraph essay, but oftentimes schools are looking for creativity. They are looking for those students who can go outside the box and outside of their own comfort zone. I don’t see as many students taking those creative risks.

There are two different approaches. One is that you choose a very creative topic and you write a really strong essay. By creative topic, I mean something that is completely off the wall or you had a really unique and compelling story that you can tell. These are the students who have a unique background, have experienced a tragic event or have won a national award and have gone above and beyond in their school setting. The other option is choosing a more regular or everyday topic and writing about that topic in a very creative way. You can play with the stylistic components and maybe write as if you were writing a dialogue or diary entry.

Check out for the full Q&A



sept. 2019



MOORE WAS APPROVED AS assistant principal at the June 6 RSD School Board meeting, where members decided she would oversee the freshman class. Prior to coming to MHS, Moore had 16 years of experience in education. Moore began her career as an English teacher at Hazelwood East High School. Afterward, she worked at Sumner High School for four years as an assistant principal before working for four years at Riverview Gardens High School as an assistant principal. “I’m really looking forward to getting to know the school community,” Moore said. “You guys are already doing so many great things and I just want to get to know what you are doing well and learn how I can help.” Moore said one of her goals this year is to help increase diversity among the staff. She hopes to set a good example through her work in order to show what diversity can do among the staff, as well as bring a new perspective from her experiences. “I hope to bring in some of the things I’ve learned in the different settings where I’ve worked,” Moore said. “Sometimes being good is the enemy to becoming great, so bringing in some of the things I’ve done in other districts that have been struggling to get where you guys already are may help us get to another level.” Check out for the full profile

Seniors Zach Streicher and Grace Clutts cover the school bridge with positive chalk messages on Sept. 9 in honor of National Suicide Prevention Day. As president of Mustangs for Mental Health, Clutts wanted to start conversations on suicide. Photographs by Sarah Harris and Jackson Estwanick

Clubs collaborate to help spread suicide awareness sarah HARRIS • zara TOLA EARLIER THIS WEEK, STUDENTS Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Mustangs for Mental Health (M4MH) worked together to bring awareness to National Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10. Media manager for SADD Hannah Chun, junior, originally came up with the idea and reached out to M4MH. Chun said the three groups worked hard to create posters, chalk messages and two large banners: one with the National Suicide Prevention Day date and the other with the Suicide Hotline phone number. “We decided to center our project around the Suicide Hotline and emphasize the idea that it is okay to ask for help,” Chun said. Chun said the three clubs have goals they hope to achieve. “We want to bring awareness because the last couple of weeks have been really hard,” Chun said. “We also want to put the suicide number out

so if anyone ever needs help they can either call or text it. Finally, we are trying to unite the school during this very important week.” Grace Clutts, senior, is the president of M4MH. Similar to Chun, Clutts wanted to do something in honor of National Suicide Prevention Day.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 “We hope it starts a conversation about suicide,” Clutts said. “I feel like some people can’t even say the word suicide because it is such a hard topic to talk about. But it’s here and it isn’t just going to go away. You need to address it and talk to people about it.” Aarushi Boinepally, junior, is also a member of M4MH and said suicide awareness is important because it can help combat the stigma of mental illness. “It’s affecting our generation,”

Boinepally said. “I think that we not only need to spread awareness to all of us, but also our parents, teachers and community.” The initiative these clubs are taking is only the first step in ending the stigma. Boinepally said much of the action in fighting the problem will have to come from the students themselves. “Everyone doesn’t have to be super passionate about mental illness, but they need to make sure that they are aware of it and accept it,” Boinepally said. “When someone is hurting, don’t make fun of them or make them feel bad, but tell them that it’s okay, and that they’re going to get through this.” In the end, there is one message the collaboration wants to send. “You’re loved and you matter to everyone,” Boinepally said. “Even at your loneliest, there’s always someone there for you.” September 8-15 is National Suicide Prevention Week. Go to for more information.

issue I




This year, RSD added an hour-long period on A days and a two hourlong period on C days for high school students to eat, socialize and work called Flex Time, so we asked:

HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH FLEX TIME BEEN? “Well, I’m in the hallway sitting on the floor eating with my friends, so it’s pretty good. Mostly I work some and then eat lunch. Overall, it’s okay and I like it.” KATELYN SIEGEL,


A storm knocked down power lines on Aug. 22, covering the junior lot. Parents and guardians received a phone call saying students who drive should ride the bus or get a ride from a parent, but by then, most students had already left for school. Photograph by Jackson Estwanick

editorialBOARD STUDENT COMMUNICATION ON AUG. 22, PARENTS AND GUARDIANS not only avoid confusion, but would ensure received a recorded phone call informing them more students receive notice and feel informed that a large section of the student parking lot about what events are going on at their own would be closed due to maintenance on downed school. power lines. Students were urged to When asked why MHS and RSD do not carpool, but by the time students already send text messages or phone received notice from parents, calls to students, Principal Dr. some were already on their Steve Hankins said the idea way to school. simply never occurred to “We want to Junior Principal anyone, but he was more send students from Dr. Dan Ramsey said than open to the idea of students were not “a district-wide system high school not just informed directly to push things out to with academic skills but because most students students.” do not have their Getting students’ with life skills, too. That personal phone phone may be communication piece could a hassle,numbers numbers in Infinite and some may help with that.” Campus. This response argue that putting in the is understandable, but effort to collect student poses a question: How phone numbers is not PRINCIPAL should administration useful to students who don’t DR. STEVE directly inform students of have personal cell phones HANKINS issues that may affect their or those who do not want the education? district to have their number. While issues concerning their However, all students can receive child should always be sent to parents and messages directly through their RSD emails or guardians, many high schoolers are responsible through free apps like Remind. for managing their own education. Because of technological advances in If MHS and RSD truly want to foster communications, it’s easy to access various responsibility and independence in high methods through which the administration can schoolers via initiatives like Flex Time, all directly contact and inform students. In order urgent messages, such as those recently to allow students to become self-sufficient sent about immunizations, should be sent to adults, creating a line of direct communication students as well. Direct communication would about the basic events in their life is paramount.


“It’s been pretty good. I enjoy it and love the time to do my homework. It also gives the extra time after school to do things like chilling and playing video games.”


“I feel like it’s a huge waste of time because I usually get my homework done at home, so for me it’s more like a long lunch.” CADE MAXWELL,





math teacher

“It’s great. It’s useful to the ones that have homework, but also pointless to those who don’t do any work. It’s nice to have a little more time to get things done that would usually be done at home.” “So far it’s been really positive. Last week I had a test, and 20 kids came in for preparation. It’s good to have 30 minutes to myself to calm down and clear my head too.”



sept. 2019

Damage of early weight watching emily KAYSINGER

Grab & Go lunch stations should reopen DESPITE HAVING ONLY JUST been implemented, Flex Time has already made a big impact on student life. Finally, students won’t need to worry about finding a table to sit at for lunch every day or which of their friends has the same lunch as them. Everything that seemed to be missing from the previous lunch experience has been tossed at us all at once, and the freedom of it is uplifting. The excitement dwindles a little when students realize in the midst of all of this socializing and fun that they need to eat, and in a timely manner. The solution to this should have been the new lunch stations placed around the school. Initially, there were stations equipped with the new Grab & Go lunch system on both the second and third floors, in addition to the typical lunch lines in the Commons, plus two new School Store stations placed on the second and third floors. This set-up seemed to work fine, but it was only implemented for the first day of Flex Time. Since then, the second floor lunch station has been closed. Principal Dr. Steve Hankins, who was involved in the addition of Flex Time, participated in the decisions involving the placement of that station. “The second-floor station, which is across from the Library - we’ve had that open once and it really wasn’t used that much,” Dr. Hankins said. “We’re still feeling out the best spot to have it, but we know that the third floor seems to be working well.” Although closing down an underused station makes sense, the decision to close this station was made just after the first day of Flex, when people were deciding where to grab lunch. At the beginning of Flex, many students were being advised to bring their lunch rather than buy to minimize lines, so it would make sense that there would not be much business on the first day the station was open. The second floor lunch station was the only one in plain sight, rather than tucked away in a random hall like the third floor station. The only exception to this would be the second floor School Store station outside the Flex Room, which doesn’t seem to be getting very much attention. Aside from this problem of hidden away lunch stations, Flex Time is about time management. Though it seems like the more favorable option to eat immediately, it saves more time to wait until the second or third block to grab some food.

caroline CUDNEY

parts of a person’s diet like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. OBESITY AND WEIGHT ARE This system can definitely help kids prominent issues in the United States, get a better understanding of what they but there has been a should and shouldn’t be push from society to live eating in their diet so they more healthily. can develop better eating This push is directed habits. The developers at adults with apps to also tried to not villainize watch their food intake red foods by limiting the and ensure physical exsuggested intake to six per ercise, but it has recently day, which isn’t obscene, shifted to kids too. but this can still cause kids To try and help, to develop an unhealthy Weight Watchers (WW) relationship with food. released an app called The app also lets kids Kurbo in August 2019 choose the reason they for kids ages 8-17 after have joined the app: eat acquiring the company healthier, lose weight, Kurbo in 2018. satisfy their parents, get Living a healthy stronger and healthier, lifestyle is important and have more energy or boost should be done to the confidence. There are clear best of one’s ability, but Photograph by Will Roach benefits and detriments to this pressure can potenthis part of the app. This tially hurt a child’s mental health and shows kids that being healthy isn’t possibly physical health as well in the always about weight and there can hope to better their lifestyle. be many different goals in mind, but The app marks kids’ food intake kids’ self-esteem and confidence can as red for foods that should be limited decrease if they aren’t meeting their like sweets and junk food, yellow for goals. foods that should be eaten in moderaWith the different goals, it appears tion such as low-fat dairy products, and WW understands weight loss isn’t green for foods that should be major necessary and a healthy lifestyle is

more important, but there is still a clear factor of weight present in the app. For every goal, the user must track their app weight and BMI. The website for Kurbo also features many success stories, which all have a large focus on the participants’ weight loss by displaying before and after photos in addition to the number of pounds they lost since they started using the app. This promotes a specific body type and appearance, which isn’t obtainable for different body types and strays from their initial goal of encouraging a healthy lifestyle for kids by teaching healthy habits. The creators hoped to create a family-friendly app that could spark growth not only in the user, but the entire family, according to their website. While their intentions are good, I also think they could have executed it better by looking more specifically at the goals each person wants to obtain and create a more personalized plan to achieve it. For those who want to be more confident, people should fill out surveys on their confidence rather than be required to constantly track their weight. This will help users better their mental health, which seems ignored in apps like this despite mental health being just as important as physical health.

Boys can dance jen BOSCHE ON AUG. 26, 300 DANCERS gathered in Times Square to support the #BoysDanceToo movement after Lara Spencer commented about male dancers during the Aug. 22 live Good Morning America broadcast. The conversation began after Prince William announced how much Prince George loves dance classes. Spencer responded, “We’ll see how long that lasts.” Spencer apologized once Americans ridiculed her for “discriminating.” She is making definite strides toward redemption for her mistake, but these comments highlight an issue about how Americans believe one’s interests must line up with their gender. It is absolutely appalling that someone can mock other people for such a reason. Travis Wall, nine-time Emmy Nominated dancer, originally spoke out against Spencer, but also worked with her to educate the nation. He supported the #BoysDanceToo movement at Times Square. He commented on the stigma behind male dancers on GMA, where Spencer had three professional male dancers on

Illustration by Jilian Bunderson

Aug. 26 to give America an impression of what it is like to be a male dancer. “I want more boys to dance,” Wall said on the show. “We make such beautiful art and we create such beautiful moments in this world.” I couldn’t agree with Wall more. As a competitive dancer, I have seen amazing works of art and expression from male dancers in a local setting, and I find it magical when someone can dance because it is genuinely what they love to do. It is such a wonderful masterpiece

that is full of emotion instead of something superficial. It is a shame people have to be afraid to display this art because of their gender. At MHS, we have a diverse and inclusive community. I urge students to praise people for doing what they love and stand up for others who are doing what they believe in. There is no need for ridicule. In a world full of so much negativity and hate, the least we can do is accept each other’s passion with a blind eye to gender.

issue I


Photographer captures Australian wildlife mason KELLERMAN YEARS OF TAKING photographs, traveling to new places and molding her photography career have led up to Jordyn Vermont’s biggest accomplishment yet: National Geographic. Jordyn Vermont, senior, participated in a student animal conservation and photography trip to Sydney, Australia, with National Geographic this past July. She was first introduced to the program on a National Geographic sponsored cruise she attended with family several years ago. The application process for Vermont consisted of an application form, teacher references and an initial payment of $700. According to National Geographic Student Expeditions, applications are carefully reviewed by an admissions committee where students are selected on the basis of their maturity, enthusiasm and motivation. She was notified last school year of her acceptance into the expedition, and from there, started her preparations for the trip. For 21 days, Vermont took pictures of local wildlife, made friends from all over the world and roughed it in the most notable Australian Outback. “Since there was no service, it was nice to take a break from social media,” she said. While in the Outback, she endured camping in the open air with nothing more than a campfire and swags, which are insulated sleeping bags. As for her daily routine, she cooked her “brekkie” on a campfire every morning before traveling to a new campsite. Along the way, Vermont was able to get up close and document Australian animals like the koala, emu and ibis. She didn’t just photograph anything though, she had a main goal in mind. Every student on the trip was assigned a special project to complete by the end. For Vermont that was to capture the four elements of Australia: earth, water, air and fire. Using her creativity, she snapped photos of crashing waves, flaky campfire flames, soaring birds and rocky cliffs. Vermont also noted some differences she had to pick up on including foods, slang terms and the common Australian accent. “It’s weird because in the states you’re like ‘I love their accent,’ but there [in Australia] you’re like, ‘Oh wait, I’m the one with the accent’,” she said. Outside of her work, Vermont

mentioned some of the close friends she gained, with some living in Dubai, England and Canada to name just a few. She said she was also able to grow her passion for photography more than ever and she encourages others to follow their dreams. John Ralston, a leader with National Geographic Student Expeditions, said his role as a mentor with students like Vermont is to help them to enjoy their trip. “My goal for the students is to celebrate the diversity of all of their experiences,” he said. For Vermont, he planned to help strengthen her confidence and skills with her photography. Ralston said he believes in traveling, especially at the high school level, because it develops maturity and passion for new cultures. “The experiences from traveling and exploring often serve as a jumping off point for students to develop lifelong interests,” he said. Vermont reflected on her trip and said that even though she was uncertain at first, she was glad to have travelled by herself and have this once-in-a-lifetime experience. “Go outside your comfort zone because you can really learn a lot,” Vermont said “Make sure to take the time to travel.”

1. 2.

77 Jordyn Vermont, senior, spent three weeks in Australia with National Geographic to photograph local wildlife and scenery.

Photographs by Jordyn Vermont


Abbey Gradle photography teacher

never put the main focal point in the center

include foreground, middleground and background to add depth


objects can break the edges of the photo

For more insight on her trip, check out a blog and photo gallery Jordyn Vermont contributed to by using your phone camera:



sept. 2019

Environmental conce As seen on pg. 1

lauren PICKETT

PAPER USAGE How many trees on average does MHS use in one week through paper copies? A. Three B. Half C. One D. Two

Find out the answer and more on the topic online at

IS THIS AN ETHICAL BRAND? ARE THEY USING sustainable resources? These were senior Abby Grace’s thoughts as she was looking for a Homecoming dress. Her sustainability efforts are incorporated throughout her life, especially in her purchasing habits as she nears college independence. The decision to buy a Homecoming dress became more complicated as Grace considered its environmental implications. However, she recognizes some sustainable brands aren’t necessarily economical, so Grace suggested thrift shopping as an ecologically-friendly alternative with a unique selection. She is also environmentally conscious regarding her food choices and meal preparation. Grace packs her lunch four times a week, and she recently started using only Tupperware and reusable utensils. She said she struggles with the fact that this isn’t realistic for everyone. “Not everyone can bring their lunch or have reusable utensils,” Grace said. “That’s why it’s so important for the school to take those steps because it can’t always come from the students when they don’t have those resources.” Once administration and staff takes steps for food sustainability and informs students about the topic, Grace said, students are likely to continue these practices outside of school. Grace said a reading in her AP Environmental textbook was encouraging and serves as a motivation for her to continue her efforts as an individual. “It said that it only takes 5-10 percent of a group of people in a population to make a change or significant impact,” Grace said. She said individual’s action should be simple and lightly planned, such as turning off lights when reasonable, lessening shower time or walking more often.

FOOD AND WASTE Grace and her family have expanded their environmental contributions to composting and gardening. “By composting, you’re reducing your landfill waste, and you’re able to return what you’re eating back into the earth,” Grace said. “My dad has started growing a lot of our vegetables, and we’re starting to incorporate that into our diets. Kevin Koch, environmental science teacher, said food waste at school is a major concern. “If you look in the cafeteria, the trash cans are full of food waste,” Koch said. “I know other school districts in the area have multiple avenues where you have landfill bins, a place for recycling and another container for compost. I know we have reusable red trays. But with the styrofoam plates, what if we find a compostable type of tray so even if it’s thrown away it can still biodegrade?” Koch educates his students on ways they can make small-scale changes around the house and at school to reduce waste and promote environmental awareness. “You don’t have to do all the possible changes all at once, just small changes here and there,” Koch said. “You’re not going to be able to do everything at

once for the environment, but a small change goes a long way. Think about your diet — if you start eating more locally grown foods, you’re reducing some transportation.”

AT LUNCH Laura Hicks, kitchen manager, said normally the cafeteria staff serves about six or seven different meals. After breakfast, the staff will store the leftovers and offer them at a lower price for lunch. If the food makes it through lunch, it must be thrown away because it’s been heated for more than four hours. “If there’s something we can use and have done the proper cool down, we can use it the next day so we’re not wasting it,” Hicks said. “We may use it in a different way like we may have had toasted ravioli and we can use the leftover sauce for spaghetti the next day.” Hicks said a large amount of students are health conscious, and students eat almost all of the fresh produce everyday. Carmen Fischer, child nutrition and services director, said with the new menu offered by the district, items are sold throughout the week, which should allow staff to make predictions on their food usage and reduce waste. “If you waste a lot of food, you’re also wasting a lot of money,” Fischer said. “We want to be profitable to be able to sustain our own programs.” Kristin Davis, dietitian supervisor, said there haven’t been significant changes to regulations regarding sustainable practices, and although buying local is encouraged among districts, it is not a requirement. “We use a local farm called Three Girls and A Tractor that’s out of Marthasville, Mo.,” Davis said. “We know that plant-based options are more sustainable, and a lot of our meals are customizable. We offer vegetarian options, and we started offering a vegan wrap and a black bean burger, and that contributes to sustainability.” Laura Dolson, head PTO of the School Store, said purchasing higher-end items will cause the School Store to lose revenue in the name of food sustainability. Dolson predicts students won’t buy healthier, local or organic snacks, and these items would go to waste. She also said federal guidelines restrict her from offering homemade or unpackaged items, which could cut down on packaged waste or processed ingredients. Ryan Kelley, senior, said he would be encouraged to buy sustainable products if offered. “It would be a good idea if the School Store tried to sell reusable straws, which are a big thing right now,” Kelley said. “Even if the School Store sold ‘MHS’ lunch boxes that would be so cool. It’s not much but it’s something to know that our school cares about the environment and would put forth that effort.”

RECYCLING Dan Carpenter, head custodian, said the postlunch cleanup in the cafeteria is quite messy. “Kids are not as conscious of what they’re doing,” Carpenter said. “Several of them tend to leave their food and items on the tables, which is an issue. They’re not like adults —when we eat something at

issue I



erns provoke action She also said she hopes to see changes the table we don’t leave a mess on the floor.” among recycling companies because When students dispose of their food, they rarely recycling is not always fiscally use the recycling bins, Carpenter said. The majority responsible. of plastic, wrappers and bottles are thrown in trash cans. He said the custodians don’t empty the recycle bins as often as one might expect. Katherine Bauman, social studies teacher, said it’s important for parents to instill responsible environBauman said the student body’s efforts are mental practices in their children at a young age. definitely important, but they lack enough power “My daughter and I recycle at home. We comto be impactful in society, and she hopes to see post, we grow our own garden, and I don’t use initiative on the national level. fertilizer or pesticides,” Bauman said “My Sophomore Principal Carl daughter helps me with these activiHudson said everyone should be ties, and she helps me sort recyclainvolved, but students should bles as well.” “I think students have a the initiative. He suggests Bauman said the youngunique, fresh perspective on things take the proportion of about 2,400 er generation will carry the and we may have of a perspective students to 200 teachers will environmental work of the previous generation into the with guidelines and regulations, so it make it easier for the adults to support ideas from stufuture. She said the problem is the sense of urgency to act should be a collaboration. It shouldn’t be dents instead of following as current estimates don’t an ‘us versus them,’ it should be more of another rule set by administration. favor longevity for environa melting pot.” Dawna Barnhart, biolmental resources. ogy teacher, said teachers Bauman said recycling are responsible for providing practices aren’t enforced in the LAURA DAVIS evidence from the scientific classroom, and she struggles with DIETICIAN SUPERVISOR background on environmental keeping her assignments entirely issues. digital because her AP tests are on pa“The students who are present today per. Bauman said studies have shown that are the ones that will have to make a change, students retain information better when they and it all starts with our politicians,” Barnhart said. are physically writing or physically reading a book. “We have students who will be able to vote in the “It’s like how do you balance going paperless but next election, and they need to be aware of these then also looking out for your students and making issues.” sure they are getting what they need?,” Bauman said.


Abby Grace, senior, waters a variety of herbs and greens on her deck. Grace’s family started gardening last year and have since incorporated their harvest into their diet. “The whole problem is everyone has that negative mentality sometimes that they can’t make an impact, but the best way to get around that is to make changes in your own life,” Grace said. Photographs by Kavya Jain

ENVIRONMENTAL CLUBS JOIN EFFORTS austin RICHARDS EVER SINCE HER SOPHOMORE YEAR, ELISE Ambler, junior, has wanted to create an environmental club. What she had not expected was a second club, Treehuggers, to be made with similar goals. Both Eco Team and Treehuggers share the goal to encourage environmental protection around the school. Both clubs have plans for projects throughout the school year as well, ranging from increasing access to recycling to cleaning up trash around the school. Ambler, president of Eco Team, said their first project for the year will have to do with increasing accessibility to recycling bins. Ambler said the increase in attention brought by social media has made a need for environmental clubs at MHS. “Humans are draining the planet of its natural resources and we are not doing what’s best for the planet,” Ambler said. “I think it’s important to educate, so I’m happy we have at least one club here that’s doing that.” Ambler said she has started talking with the two club presidents of Treehuggers, juniors Kate Krogen and Katie Quade, about their plans for the year and what they could do for the school together. Krogen and Quade said having the two clubs work together would be beneficial for getting work done around the school. “We think we could work together to tell people about the problems, and with clubs, it would be more fun than in a classroom setting,” Quade said. Another issue Treehuggers wants to address is climate change because of its increasing importance in society. “I think a lot of kids in the school are interested in climate change and would love to learn about it, but I can’t say that about everyone,” Quade said. “I think that it’s a topic that needs to be shared as everyone around the world is affected by this.” Krogen added that it’s up to students and teachers to discuss climate change and how it affects the lives of the students. “I feel like students should support teachers who want to talk about and teach about climate change, and it would be great if the teacher would want to educate students about current issues and topics that are relevant to our life,” Krogen said. With the similarities of the two clubs goals, questions arose among the club presidents and sponsors if they should merge. Jennifer Shipp, sponsor of Treehuggers, said merging could be worthwhile for both clubs. “I think merging opens up even more great resources and opportunities for people to make an impact,” Shipp said. “As long as we’re getting our message out and we have the same general goal, I think it’s fantastic.” Shipp also explained how scheduling would work for the combined club. Because Treehuggers was first created as a Flex Time club and Eco Team as an after-school club, the new combined club would be available at both times. “It’s nice because if someone can’t make it during Flex Time due to a different activity, they can go after school,” Shipp said. “Or if they are in a sport and have an after-school practice, they can come during Flex Time. I think that’s welcoming and positive to show how much the sponsors and leaders care.”



sept. 2019

Senior researches at Oxford University over the summer jessica LI LEARNING TO RIDE A BIKE without training wheels for many is a memorable moment. For Nikhil Boddu, senior, he learned how to ride a bike while staying in Oxford, England, for three months. “Transport is really expensive, so I had to learn how to bike there,” Boddu said. This past summer Boddu did research at Oxford University. His research focuses on MRI scanning and how mathematics and physics can improve the ways MRI scans are acquired and analyzed. Boddu has worked on this for the past three years through the Authentic Science Research class at MHS and Washington University in St. Louis. Boddu’s lab at Washington University works closely with Oxford University, so he set up a research opportunity with them. The lab at Oxford University has the strongest scanner in the world, which allows them to acquire high quality data. Boddu decided to pursue scientific research at a young age to gain more real-world experience. “I get to use experiences from school, such as coding, and propel an actual field forward,” he said. “Even though I’m young, I don’t feel limited.” He said the biggest lesson he took

“It’s interesting how people bring different backgrounds and perspectives to science.” -Nikhil Boddu, senior from this opportunity was working with different perspectives in science. “I was able to integrate meeting so many different people with the science itself,” Boddu said. “It’s interesting how people bring different backgrounds and perspectives to science.” Boddu’s daily routine included biking three miles to Oxford University, researching for nine hours, exploring the city and returning to his apartment with his housemates. He said it was difficult to live without his family for a long time at just 17 years old. “There’s a big time difference, so I talked maybe 30 minutes a day and was isolated,” Boddu said. “Near the end I was just very tired.” Boddu said as an Asian-American, he was often taught that Asians can only become doctors. However, doing research has broken this mindset for him and encouraged him to pursue psychology in the future. Vamshi Boddu, Nikhil’s father, was happy to learn his son had received the opportunity. He wasn’t worried about his son living out of the country for an extended time period. “Last summer, he was in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania

for an internship, so we knew he could handle it,” Vamshi said. Vamshi said his job as a parent is to support whatever his son wants to pursue. Dr. Cathy Farrar, science teacher, has taught Boddu for all four years of high school. She wasn’t surprised to learn that Boddu was able to find such an amazing opportunity for research. “I think it really fits with who he is and his persistent desire to learn new things, try new things and meet new people,” Dr. Farrar said. She said Boddu’s research has helped him in terms of his depth of knowledge of not only his research topic, but the entire field as well as long as important skills needed for the professional world. “Research has helped him develop strong communication skills because he has confidence and knows what he’s

Nikhil Boddu, senior, visits Tower Bridge in London, England. He spent three months there to research. “I’m considering studying in Oxford since they have a really good psychology program,” he said. Photograph by Vamshi Boddu

talking about,” Dr. Farrar said. She said his hardworking personality makes her see why people enjoy having him work in labs and why he is invited to such science-related events. Dr. Farrar said research is useful in the long run for high school students to get a better understanding of what they want to pursue in the future. “A lot of kids in my classes start school thinking they want to be a doctor, but being a doctor is maybe not for everybody,” she said. “Something you can learn from research is how you can put something you’re passionate about, say health and change that into a career you’ll be passionate about.”

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issue I


Illustration by Jilian Bunderson

Music: Friend or Foe? Teachers and students share differing views over whether music is beneficial for students and their studies.


CONSUMERS IN THE UNITED STATES SPEND AN AVERAGE OF by things,” Sirota said. “It keeps me focused.” 24 hours a week listening to music, and according to a Kaiser Family During classes that don’t allow earbuds while working, Sirota said Foundation poll, statistics show that 87 percent of students prefer she is negatively impacted. listening to music while they are working. “I don’t like it to be totally silent and I’m more prone to distracAmy Belfi, assistant professor at the Missouri University of tions when I don’t have the opportunity to listen to music,” she said. Science and Technology, gives three main factors on whether Jason Winter, choir teacher, said he gives students the chance to background music is beneficial listen to music when working inor harmful for students and their dependently. As a choir teacher, he studies: the individual person, the is passionate about music and said “If you’ve ever taken a foreign type of assignment and the type that, “silence is deafening.” Winter of music. personally prefers to listen to some language, maybe you learned some Belfi said some individuals kind of noise while he is working in songs to help you memorize the prefer listening to music, while order to gain focus. others do not. The reasoning beRebecca Blindauer, theater teachconjugations of certain verbs. Or hind an individual’s preference to er, said she allows students to listen even the ABC song , so we all have music could come from musical to music in her classroom because experience, personality or other for some students, listening to music experienced the benefit of music on variables. helps them work better and remain memory, but in terms of how, that is Belfi said that often times diligent. music can be linked to certain “It also works for me,” she said. the trickier question.” memories throughout a lifetime “Listening to music while doing a such as the song played at an immultitude of activities helps to keep portant event or celebration like me focused and energized.” AMY BELFI a wedding or graduation party. Some teachers disagree with ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AT Upon hearing a song, certain the use of music in the classroom. senses of the sounds, feelings and Brendan Taylor, social studies MISSOURI UNIVERSITY OF touch of that moment could flow teacher, said music in the classroom SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY in. Music evokes emotions that is a distraction, and he doesn’t bring memories. allow it except during his lesson There are hundreds of differplans involving historical music from that ent types of music genres in the decade. world: rock, pop, classical, indie and more. Each genre creates a dif“You’re trying to create proper habits for kids to retain informaferent rhythm and atmosphere and can impact the work put forth in tion and knowledge, and music interrupts that process,” Taylor said. a student. Though Belfi intends on creating an experiment with this He said classical music is more acceptable than rock or lyrical ideology soon, she gives her hypothesis on the fact that more lyrical songs. and familiar music may be more distracting due to the undying urge In fact, a well- known study called the Mozart Effect, found that to sing along or listen to the catchy song that you oh so adore. Some listening to Mozart before an important task may actually improve music genres, may be more beneficial than others. the brain’s solving abilities and overall productivity. A group of Morgan Sirota, sophomore, tends to listen to music while doing students listened to 10 minutes of Mozart before a test while anothschoolwork and working on homework. Though, she prefers doing er group listening to 10 minutes of silence. Afterwards, the group chemistry with no music to allow her to think further. listening to Mozart had more significant and successful test scores “I listen to music every time because otherwise I get distracted But, as Taylor said, “Nobody is listening to Bach.”

sept. 2019



Coloring club meets during Flex Time caroline CUDNEY



French teacher


What do you do?



Color me



How many cups of coffee do you drink in a day?

22.7% 1 cup

How does this help students’ stress?

How does it help your stress?

“Coloring is just calming, relaxing and entertaining. It is creative and feeds students’ creativity, so they can get their minds off of school. Life can get stressful, and I think Flex helps relieve some of that stress by giving more work time, but there is still a huge emphasis on school when brain breaks are important so you aren’t overloading yourself.”


“Coloring has always been my go-to stress relieving activity, so I was super excited when I heard about the club. I am glad I get this outlet without having to bring all my supplies to school. The club allows me to forget that I am here and still have work to do for a little bit while I just enjoy coloring with my friends. I definitely recommend it to anyone because it is super relaxing and really helps relieve stress.”

Pick any day in September and you'll find something to celebrate. Here are the Messenger's picks.

Where do you get your coffee? sydney GOLDSMITH

3.0% 3+ cups

56.8% 0 cups

“I found out about coloring club in the pamphlet my teacher passed out at the beginning of the year. It looked like a fun activity my friends and I could do after we complete our homework and talk to teachers during the long Flex Time to get our minds off school for a bit.”

43.7% other

7.5% Dunkin

25.2% Starbucks 12.4% Other

19.6% Home

42.8% don't drink coffee

n 8% ee . 17 ow l al H

12 Sc .4% re am

What is your favorite scary movie? sabrina LACY

Based on 535 student responses to a survey Infographic by Caroline Cudney

3.6% Psycho

10.7% Nightmare on Elm Street

10.8% Exorcist

7.7% 2 cups

Why do you do it?

“Students can come for the fourth block of C Day Flex every other week and just color. I have coloring books and crayons, markers, and colored pencils that students are able to use. It is super laid back and meant to help students, so they can come when they need a break and quiet place to relax.”

Based on 207 student responses to a survey Infographic by Jackson Estwanick




issue I


For National Potato Month, the Messenger tasted and ranked four different types of french fries.


Mulligan’s 11 Clarkson Rd

Mulligan’s had great waffle fries. They were crunchy and salty making them our top choice. They were more expensive than the other fries, but not overpriced. The service was also really good despite it being lunchtime and extremely busy. Their ranch is also a great perk.


caroline CUDNEY • sarah HARRIS


Chick-fil-A 304 Clarkson Rd

Chick-fil-A is well-known for their salty waffle fries. They were warm, soft and super salty making them a close second. They were cheap and, as expected, the service was great. Even though they didn’t ask if we wanted any sauces, they had super kind workers who made our ordering process nice and easy. They also have the perk of a great selection of sauces, our favorite being their own sweet but salty Chick-fil-A sauce, which is honey mustard, barbecue sauce and ranch dressing.


13 7

Cane’s 17360 Chesterfield Airport Rd

Cane’s came in as our least favorite because the fries were extremely greasy, soggy and had almost no taste. The fries were inexpensive and the service was great. Also, they have their signature Texas Toast and tangy Cane’s sauce, which is mayo, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and garlic powder.

Lion’s Choice 3048 Clarkson Rd

Lion’s Choice’s fries were a little disappointing. They were kind of salty but also super greasy and soggy. They were inexpensive, but unfortunately we didn’t receive great service. They messed up our order and took a while despite it not being busy, as it was about 2 p.m. when we went. Their seasoning and sauce bar is a great plus though.


sept. 2019 7






Is football worth the pain? jeff SWIFT IT’S THAT BEAUTIFUL TIME OF YEAR AGAIN: the leaves will change color, temperatures will drop and platoons of young athletes will wage war upon the glorious green plain of turf called a football field. The sport of football is by far America’s most popular, with the NFL drawing $15 billion in revenue last year, blowing out any other league. The sport creates a fervor in sports fanatics that can only be matched by that of the religious fervor of the Puritans of colonial New England. The sport is a powerful establishment in our country. But, it has its flaws. Most glaringly for players, injuries. Concussions, muscle tears and broken bones run rampant in the sport due to its high intensity base and violent nature. High school football resulted in the highest rate of injury, in 13.52 injuries per 1,000 exposures. This is 270 percent higher than the rate of the second highest sport when it comes to injuries, boys soccer, according to a study done by National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research. This is no more apparent in the NFL, where players retire early such as Ex-Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski, or Gronk. Gronk retired this off season and has recently come out to say that the only way he could bear the pain of injury was by using marijuana. Andrew Luck, former star quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, retired abruptly after a preseason game. Luck Chris Kreh, junior, rushes past the had suffered offensive line. In this game against a sprained Parkway Central on Sept. 6, the shoulder, a lacMustangs won 41-0. Photograph by erated kidney, a Jeff Swift frayed labrum, a shoulder injury that required surgery, at least one concussion (likely more) and a mysterious calf injury that finally put his career to a halt. This all occurred over the course of four football seasons. Is it worth it? The answer, no. Nothing is ever worth forcing your body to go through such everlasting duress that you must sideline yourself. Trust me, I’ve been subject to enough doctors visits, therapy sessions and surgeries to make an insurance company have a panic attack. Many of these injuries came from the residuals of playing football. Due to poorly taught form tackling, I was diagnosed with a dual impact concussion. In two points of my head I had achieved bruising that still affects me to this day. But this can all be avoided simply by increasing the safety in the game. Helmets with better padding, padding that isn’t necessarily bulkier, but made with more protective materials, and more of an emphasis on safer tackling techniques all can be used to protect players on the gridiron. Injury in football will always exist, but this can be minimized so players aren’t putting their futures on the line every time they make their way on the field on Friday night.

1. Jake Embleton, junior, drives the ball down field in a match against De Smet Jesuit. MHS lost 2-0. 2. Josh Merz, senior, hypes up the Class of 2020 student section during last year’s Powderpuff game. 3. Lindsey Steltzer, junior, takes a lead in a game against Oakville on Oct. 20. MHS won 12-2 and clinched State with that win. Photographs by Sarah Harris, Jeff Swift and Marta Mieze

Calendar changes interfere with sports marta MIEZE

letes have the opportunity to take finals in a reasonLAST YEAR, A WEEK AFTER THE END OF THE able manner and accommodate the chance and the school year, Stone Burke, junior, headed to the track honor they have to go to State,” Matzen said. and field State Championships. However, next year He said the Missouri State High School Activities due to the House Bill 604, which passed on July 11, Association does not coordinate with any school disBurke might have to miss his final exams in order to tricts to set up their schedule, but rather the schedule attend the State meet again. is set so it can be easily referred to and kept consisThe bill established that all Missouri schools will tent with the number of weeks required to be in play. not be able to start earlier than Aug. 24, 14 days prior He said if the schedule was pushed back, it would to Labor Day. Previously, the law was that schools derail all sports and therefore not allow spring seacouldn’t start earlier than 10 days before Labor Day, sons to end until late June or even July. though schools could still start earlier if they held a “From a coaching standpoint and a lot of times an public hearing pleading their case. However, after the athletic standpoint, it’s nice that you get all that prep new law goes into effect in 2020, this will no longer work done and have total focus and don’t even have be an option. This change was made to benefit the to worry about the school day,” Matzen said. “And tourism industry. However, it might have adverse when school starts you are ready to rock n’ roll with effects to others. games at a normal schedule.” “It might not be as beneficial as people think,” Matzen said RSD is trying to find ways to make Burke said. sure school doesn’t have to go too far into the sumBurke said after the State meet, he only had a mer by cutting down on break days and consolidating couple weeks before cross country began their teacher professional days. So far, Matzen said, preseason practices in early June. While the school year is set to end June 3. Burke said those practices are considered Matzen said next year will be an opporThe Board of tunity voluntary, he felt he had to go. With next to see if the new schedule works Education will and actually is beneficial to the state. It year’s change, the time between school, State meets and preseason practices will announce the will be an opportunity to change what’s be even shorter. not working and make adjustments for new calendar improvement. Although the time left for vacationing and other summer activities like Chris Kenny, varsity boys soccer head on Sept. 26 camp was short, Burke said he still travcoach, said despite the change in time eled with his family. However, having even between school and sporting events, his apless time to do that next year could impact his proach to train his team will remain the same. season. “We’ve been doing this a long time so we’ve gone “I think it’s gonna hinder me a little because I’m through cycles where it’s been similar to that, not going to be gone a lot,” Burke said. “I vacation toquite as late as the start date of school,” Kenny said. wards the end of summer and that will shift so I feel “But once you start practice, most of [the team] is like I’m going to have to miss more practices.” kinda getting in a routine, so once you start school, He said if he makes State again next year, he might it’s kind of secondary because you already have oblihave to miss multiple final exams due to the change gations that you’re dealing with.” in the calendar. That could hold seriously effect his While Kenny said he doubts the change will summer time plans. impact student participation, he does think it allows “That wouldn’t be the best but you kind of have to more flexibility for coaches to make cuts, organize deal with it I guess,” Burke said. “Take what’s given to their team and divide their workload. you.” When it comes to both students and staff, Kenny Activities Director Shane Matzen said when it said having time in the summer for their personal life comes to student athletes taking final exams, the staff will be the topic of worry. would do everything in their power to ensure that “That’s the great concern— how do you balance students can do so while also preparing to do their all that stuff out,” Kenny said. “The idea with the later best at competitions. school start was to give families an opportunity to “We are going to make sure that our student athtravel…but doing activities is a sacrifice.”

issue II




Coaches flip positions at seasons connor DEL CARMEN

Adam Starling, head softball coach; sophomore Jess Willsey, shortstop; and seniors Mackenzie Gareau, second base, and Katie Weiss, firstbase, go over the ground rules with the home plate umpire prior to a game against Seckman Sept. 9. The Mustangs lost this game 6-1. Photograph by Ryan Bundy

Starling, Meyer and the softball team are soon to begin their postseason run. MSHSAA will decide their next game and placement in Class 4 District 3. John Meyer, assistant varsity softball coach, discusses strategy with Lauren Argo, sophomore, between innings. This is Meyer’s first year coaching softball. Photograph by Ryan Bundy

JOHN MEYER, VARSITY BASEBALL coach, and Adam Starling, varsity softball coach, have coached together for 17 years. “We know each other’s strengths and how to work together to get the most of our athletes,” Starling said. While Starling is head coach during the softball season, Meyer is the assistant coach. Then, when baseball starts in the spring, Meyer will be head coach while Starling will be assistant. Even though both softball and baseball share a lot of equipment and have offseason batting cage sessions which overlap with the other’s season, Starling said problems never arise over who gets access to facilities. Starling said Meyer has always respected his role in baseball and most recently in softball, regardless of his start as a j.v. baseball coach. “Our relationship has only improved the longer we have been together,” Starling said. John Meyer has coached baseball since 2003; however, this is his first year coaching softball. “The fundamentals of throwing, catching and hitting are pretty similar,” Meyer said. “Softball is a little faster with shorter base paths, but for the


most part it’s pretty similar.” Meyer also said Starling helped bring him up to speed on the things he didn’t know about softball, but generally they think similarly about strategy. “We’re also very familiar with each other’s ideas,” Meyer said. “We could probably finish each other’s sentences.” Meyer said both programs feed off each other’s success, citing how softball finished fourth at State and baseball finished second at State in the spring. Katie Weiss, senior, said since Starling filled the role of varsity softball coach and Meyer as assistant, the team has become more unified. “We used to keep j.v. and varsity separate, but at the beginning of the season we began to practice more together,” Weiss said. To ensure the tradition of success continues even after the current seniors graduate, Weiss also said it’s important to have unity in the whole program. Weiss said the team was nervous when they heard Amy Doyle was stepping down as head coach, but was put at ease when Starling was named to the position. “The transition was really easy because he had been in the program and he’s a very good coach,” Weiss said.

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issue I



Hyde takes position as co-coach of girls tennis mansi MAMIDI JOSHUA HYDE, HISTORY TEACHER, began co-coaching girls tennis this year with Alex Nelle, history teacher. Nelle coached girls tennis with Matthew Del Pizzo, history teacher, for 12 years before Del Pizzo stepped down. Because Hyde is a fresh face, Nelle said he brings new enthusiasm and excitement to the team. “I think he’s really interested in growing the program and getting it going in the right direction,” Nelle said. “He brings a new energy, and that sort of thing can wane the longer you do it, that energy to build on things and continue the same practices.” Last spring, Nelle said he and Hyde had discussed Hyde’s potential spot as a coach on the tennis team and how they’d need to work together. Now as co-coaches, Nelle said he serves as Hyde’s guidance in terms of scheduling and equipment management and any other aspects of the team that Hyde might not be as experienced with. Hyde is still learning the ropes, but he and Nelle both act as head coach. Nelle said having a new set of eyes on the girls’ team can really help the team reach their potential, as well as bring new ideas to the table that help the team come together. “The girls really like him and his energy,” Nelle said. “They also like that he and I have devised more organized

vs. Girls Varsity Tennis plays tonight at Oakville at 4:30 Joshua Hyde, history teacher, leads the j.v. girls tennis team in a series of drills prior to practice. Photograph by Mansi Mamidi

practices, and that we communicate more through Google Classroom so everyone is aware of what’s going on.” Hyde said he was approached last spring to help coach because he’d played tennis in high school. Now as a co-coach, Hyde said the team and working with Nelle has been useful in learning his coaching duties and how to manage the team. “My goal is to invoke team spirit,” Hyde said. Hyde said his changes have also been off the court: he had a parent meeting and team meeting when it was

announced he was coach to try and foster a sense of team unity between himself and the team. He also implemented more drills, including mandatory stretching before playing. “The girls have been really great,” Hyde said. “With all the transitions, they’ve been really flexible and they’ve been doing really well with all the new updates and communication.” Hannah Lee, senior, said the increased communication has greatly helped the team. “One of my teammates had the idea

to do team-building exercises because the team hasn’t really been as close as it was,” Lee said. Lee said Hyde’s constant energy has been an asset to the team. “Hyde also uploads drills and stuff if you want to look at them before practice or something,” Lee said. “The emphasis on communication and organization through Hyde has been super helpful so far.” Lee also said practices have become more organized. “Now we have two practices a day depending on your skill level, which helps girls be able to focus on themselves because j.v. and varsity aren’t all cramped together on the same 10 courts all the time,” Lee said.



sept. 2019

Female football player breaks new ground connor DEL CARMEN WHEN GRIER BRANDT, FRESHMAN, walked into the first day of official team practice, she knew she would face challenges most freshmen athletes also encountered. However, she faced one challenge that was particularly unique to her: she is a girl on an all-boys football team. “At first everyone was kind of scared to talk to me because the situation was kind of weird, but now more people have opened up,” Brandt said. Brandt said watching her older brother play motivated her to the idea of playing football. When she first approached her parents with the idea of playing football in eighth grade on the Junior Mustangs team, they were supportive but hesitant. “When I first started, they were a little nervous because of the concept of a girl playing on an all-boys team,” Brandt said. Brandt said it would be interesting if other girls joined the team, but she said it’s more important they truly enjoy the sport rather than just joining to be unique. “It doesn’t matter to me if more girls join,” Brandt said. “People should just do what they want if they think it’s fun.” Jack Krebs, freshman, said some of the freshmen football players were

Grier Brandt, freshman, avoids a block in a game against Parkway Central on Sept. 9. The Mustangs edged past the Colts 18-15 after two late touchdowns. Photograph by Tanner Rojewski

surprised to see a girl on the first day of practice. “It was obviously different compared to past freshman teams,” Krebs said. Krebs said many players started to accept the change when they saw how Brandt positively impacted the team. “When everyone saw how hard she worked to prove herself, we all stepped up our effort,” Krebs said. Krebs said because Brandt was new to football her eighth grade year, her

skills were still raw compared to her teammates. However, he said Brandt’s effort accelerated the development of her abilities since eighth grade. “Last year was her first year playing, so her skill set wasn’t quite as developed,” Krebs said. “But she has improved a lot and has proven that she can make an impact.” Jake Dieffenbach, assistant freshman football coach, said it was a completely new experience to have a girl on the team, but was excited to see how the

situation would unfold. “I was all for her because she had gone to M-Factor and had been working just as hard as other boys on the team,” Dieffenbach said. Going into the season, Dieffenbach said Brandt wasn’t sure which position she would play. Because Freshman of this, she Sept. 16 decided to work harder Against Kirkwood to eventually @ Home earn a spot as a wide Junior Varsity receiver. Sept. 16 DieffenAgainst Kirkwood bach also said Brandt’s @ Home attention to detail has Varsity been a posi- Today tive influence Against Kirkwood on the rest of Away the team. “The other day, she had a really clean block that I used as an example when talking to the team about proper blocking,” Dieffenbach said. “No one anymore thinks twice about her being a girl because she has proven her ability and work ethic can help the team in so many ways.”

Senior learns teamwork through horseback riding kavya JAIN MEL DESMOND, SENIOR, IS A SELF proclaimed “horse girl.” Almost everyday of her childhood she watched “Spirit,” a movie featuring an adventurous horse. Eventually her love for horses convinced her parents to sign her up for lessons. She plans to compete in shows more often because her family signed a lease on Friday, Sep. 6, for a 20-year-old

half Holsteiner and half Thoroughbred horse named Oliver. Desmond said the first time she rode Oliver, she was nervous she wouldn’t be able to handle him, but now she looks forward to getting to know him. “I have to give it my all; the horse has to give it his all,” Desmond said. “It’s really special to have that bond and

Mel Desmond, senior, practices riding at Kennedy Farms. She’s been a part of the community at the barn since seventh grade. “A lot of us have taken lessons with each other before, and when you see each other mess up that many times, you kind of get to be friends,” Desmond said. Photograph by Kavya Jain

to be on the same page.” During the summer Desmond, helps and rides at the barn almost every day, but during the school year, she usually rides less. Now that she’s leasing Oliver, Desmond plans to commit to riding more. “I just started riding this new horse so I have to get used to how he moves and make sure I am calm and practicing at the level I’m competing at,” Desmond said. Brittany Jones, Desmond’s instructor, said Desmond always goes above what she is told to do. “She’s a nice, quiet and soft rider, which is helpful because it keeps the horses calm,” Jones said. Jones said to be successful, a rider must be coachable and work outside their comfort zone. While the barn has horses riders can show with, Jones said when a rider leases a horse, they can practice more and not only bond with the horse but figure them out better, making showing easier. Jones said Desmond has stepped up more at the barn and she looks forward to seeing her show more this year as well, especially now that she has Oliver. “I usually only see her once a week, but now she’s out here almost everyday,” Jones said. “It seems like there’s a lot more commitment to wanting to be out here.”

Joan Desmond, Mel’s mother, said neither her nor her husband knew anything about horses, so Mel’s progress can all be attributed to self drive. Joan said unlike common team sports, horseback riding forces equestrians to compete with themselves. “It really is a team sport, but the difference is your horse is your teammate,” Joan said. “Some days you’re both on and everything is working out well, and some days you’re just off and it’s not working.” Joan said before getting the lease, there wasn’t one horse Mel was consistently riding with, making it difficult to bond or know the horse well. Aside from being a good way to stay active and spend time outside, Joan said riding has taught Mel valuable skills like responsibility, especially now that she has Oliver, an animal requiring a lot of work. “You have to be consistent all the time, and when you’re putting the horse away you have to do everything that they tell you to do because otherwise it’s really not fair to the horse,” Joan said. Joan said while leasing Oliver was an expensive decision, Mel’s passion makes it worth it. “This is a sport she really likes so I am willing to invest in it if she’s willing to invest in it,” Joan said.

Profile for Marquette Messenger

19-20 Marquette Messenger: Issue 1  

19-20 Marquette Messenger: Issue 1