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OPINIONS CARTOON BY MICHAEL ROBINSON
editorialBOARD Boil order helps put life in perspective
N SEPT. 6, MUCH OF ST. LOUIS COUNTY was faced with a precautionary boil order due to a power outage at a Missouri American Water treatment facility. MHS and the surrounding areas were affected. Throughout the school, orange signs told students not to consume the water. Although the boil order was only temporary, many students still worried about the lack of quick, clean water available in their faucets, having to boil water for a whole three minutes before consuming it. Meanwhile, entire families in poor nations have to walk a whole three miles to get water. Water filled with parasites and bacteria. Water that, even if boiled, will never truly be clean enough to drink. It really puts our lives into perspective, huh. We lead pretty privileged lives. We have readily available clean water that runs straight to our homes and schools. Think about it: how often have anyone of us ever had to choose between using our water for either drinking, cooking or bathing?
The answer: never. But this fact shouldn’t make us feel bad at all. Rather, we should take this opportunity to appreciate the resources we have and the lives that we live. Despite any problems we have, we still lead lives full of privilege and opportunity. Beyond water, we live in a country where we have readily available food, electricity at the flip of a switch, and peace. Those three are all pretty amazing, and they’re just a simple part of our lives. But in some places, all three can be extraordinary luxuries. Take, for example, the statistic displaying children under the age of five who are underweight. According to the CIA World Factbook, as of 2012, 37.9 percent of children under the age of five in Niger were underweight. That is the fourth highest total in the world. Comparatively, according to the same source, in the U.S. as of 2012, the total number of children under the age of five who were underweight was roughly half of a percent of the total age group. Currently, that’s the third lowest in the world.
Obviously, the ideal situation would be to have zero percent of those children underweight, but the statistic does show that the U.S. is comparatively much better off than other nations across the globe. These statistics and this editorial shouldn’t make you feel awful as a human being; that’s not at all the point. Rather, use these statistics as a way to realize that life here isn’t so bad. Take the time to look up at the sky and realize the beauty of the world. Pause for just a moment each day and reflect on the advantages of a relatively privileged life. Take small steps to help others. Donate to a charity that focuses on these issues. In the lead up to Homecoming, if you donated an old pair of shoes to the Shoeman Water Project, you could receive $5 off your Homecoming ticket and help a person in serious need of water. Hopefully, reflecting and taking some form of action will allow all of us to better appreciate the lives we live and help someone less fortunate.
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Life after death How to move on after experiencing loss BY RYAN BERGER |
University of Chicago chooses freedom of expression over trigger warnings Don't suppress free speech
OPINIONS EDITOR BY MARK GOLDENBERG | STAFF REPORTER SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENtion Awareness Month. It’s not an easy topic to discuss, and it’s certainly no topic to celebrate. Last year, The Messenger published a special edition dedicated to this topic. It focused greatly on the mental health aspect and ways to find help. This year, there is no special edition, but there still are lessons to be learned. Suicide affects more than simply the victim. It affects each friend and family member. Every single person who was a part of their life. Unfortunately, many people at this school, understand the pain of loss by suicide. Recently, I lost a friend, and it’s not easy to cope with. Questions repeat in my mind: What could I have done? How could things have been different? What should I do now? Truly, how can someone move on? Many of those questions can’t be answered, and my friend is still gone. But the question of how to move on can at least have some semblance of an answer. It’s important to remember that “moving on” does not mean forgetting. Rather, it means continuing your life without that person and remembering them positively. Hopefully, it means using their memory to help others stuck in similar situations. For example, on Oct. 2, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will hold a walk for those affected by suicide. Attending events like these is a great way to remember someone you lost to suicide. I understand it’s hard to “move on” right away. Grief is tough, and that’s an understatement. Everyone copes differently, especially after facing such a terrible situation. Personally, I coped with this loss by being there for others. Helping my friend’s family and consoling my sister, who lost her best friend that day. Others cope differently, and there are plenty of ways to get any help you need in a situation like this, whether it be finding someone to talk to or meeting with a group of others affected by suicide. And for those with friends who are in a similar situation, be there for them when they need you. They need help after experiencing loss. They need help now that their life won’t ever be the same.
If you need help, call the Youth in Need 24-Hour Helpline to talk with a trained professional:
RECENTLY, THE DEAN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF Chicago announced in a letter addressed to new students that there would be no trigger warnings and safe spaces, a recent feature at many universities, and that “we do not condone the creation of intellectual safe spaces where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.” Many have criticized the Dean’s letter as a gimmick for plaudits and publicity, and I agree. But the debate the Dean has revitalized is crucial for our college campuses. “Microaggressions,” “Safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” have become more prevalent on college campuses in recent years, with universities and professors warning students before introducing potentially “triggering” content that may be uncomfortable for students or may be construed as offensive. A 2015 article in The Atlantic reported on University of California faculty who were presented with examples of microaggressions that included the statement, “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” I will concede that arguments against such policies on college campuses are often coupled with those against political correctness, which often have racial undertones and are often articulated by conservative pundits pandering to audiences angry with America’s changing demographics. I am not one of those pundits. I consider myself part of the Left, and consequently I approach this issue with the purpose of protecting the important discussions to which students
in all educational institutions are entitled. The student union at the University of Manchester banned alt-right blogger Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus, calling Yiannopoulos a “rape apologist” who has “repeatedly used derogatory and debasing ableist language when describing members of the trans community.” Students have the right to protest against Yiannopoulos’ rhetoric, and in turn Yiannopoulos and other speakers have the right to share their views, which although they may be radical, must be protected under the law. By taking away a platform for Yiannopoulos’ ideas, the University of Manchester gives up its independence as an institution in favor of partisan ideology? Where will the limitation on controversial ideas stop? Are we as students to believe those who claim we cannot handle sensitive content? Are we to believe that intellectual safe spaces will allow us a chance to talk about important issues, racism, homophobia, religion, and politics among them? Rockwood publications have a unique advantage over many other districts in that our publications are not subject to prior review, allowing us the opportunity to address issues that while they may be uncomfortable for some students, are very important to others. The First Amendment to our Constitution was created to encourage intellectual freedom, and that is what for so long, college campuses have done. Throughout American history, colleges and universities have been the centerpiece of conflict and debate, and any attempt by administration to limit such discussion is a violation of our rights as students to learn and discuss important topics. Being challenged by new ideas is an essential part of the educational process that allows for vital, uninhibited conversation. Free expression and exchange of ideas are more important than any safe space.
MUSTANGS SPEAK How do you feel about trigger warnings in the classroom?
“If a kid has anxiety or PTSD, and you start talking about something that could trigger them, it could cause them to have a panic attack.”
Katie Kenney, freshman
“Trigger warnings are absolutely abhorrent. If you are going to get triggered by something, just don’t listen to it.”
Evan Del Carmen, junior
“If we’re all going to be overly sensitive to everything that happens, then you’re not going to progress in any way.”
Ariel Ashie, senior
“If you have a well supported thought and idea, you should be able to say and support that idea without worrying about who that offends.”
Brendan Taylor, teacher
STEM Lab to start on schedule BY MAHIKA MUSHUNI | PHOTO EDITOR
Sophomores Hunter Behrens, Josephie Anders, Hailee Bolden and Lillian Constantinides complete their tests using Chromebooks in Katherine Bauman's World History course. Students have used Chromebooks in their social studies classes since September of 2015. Photograph Greg Svirnovskiy
Chromebooks for Kids RSD to provide Chromebooks to each freshman in 2017 BY GREG SVIRNOVSKIY | NEWS EDITOR
back and meet as teachers again, we can tell them the problems that we had and the things we noticed that F YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT COMPUTERS were really great about the Chromebooks. eventually taking over the world, 2017 is not for Will Blaylock, chief information officer, said the you. At the start of the 2017-18 school year, RSD uniformity of the district-provided laptops will allow will provide Chromebooks for each freshman, which for students who use them. Students who have their they will be able to take home and keep throughout own technology at home will be given the option to the year. forgo use of the Chromebooks. Principal Dr. Greg Mathison said the eventual “We don't encourage the use of personal laptops goal with the Chromebook program is to help bridge as it will create a slightly different environment for the gap between the high school curriculum and the students who opt out; however, we can’t force stuchanging mindsets of students. dents to take a Chromebook,” Blaylock said. “Because “Students are digital natives,” Dr. Mathison said. of the way that Chromebooks so simply work within “No longer do we go to encyclopedias the Google environment, I would or dictionaries to look things up. We encourage students to accept the use technology. Schools need to get Chromebook for ease of use.” "We have not even caught up to teach students at the Blaylock said each laptop will level that they are used to.” come with a three-year warranty, begun to explore the The Chromebooks will be diswith the capacity to handle one options that these tributed over four years, with sixth major break per year to the screen Chromebooks will graders getting laptops in January or the keyboard. He added that bring " of 2017. Students at MHS who are the laptop program will cost RSD SHELLY JUSTIN currently enrolled in any one of the $1,300,000 over the course of the two ALAR/P classes or the Readschool year. language arts teacher ing Strategies classes also will gain Lexi Casazza, junior, has been Chromebooks in September. a student in both ALAR/P classes “All the kids in those classes do Casazza said having Chromebooks tons of research so it makes sense that they should be for each student would make research easier. getting Chromebooks,” Dr. Mathison said. “We also “Research would definitely be more efficient if wanted it with the Reading Strategies Course. It is a each student had their own Chromebook because course where we can use different software to allow they could dedicate that entire computer to their kids to learn different reading strategies at a higher research files,” Casazza said. “Since Chromebooks are level.” portable, it would be much easier for students to do Shelly Justin, language arts teacher, said there are research in libraries and areas outside of school.” even more applications these Chromebooks can be Casazza said the Chromebooks would motivate used for, such as Quizlet. students by eliminating excuses for procrastination. Justin said the three language arts classes will “Students won’t be able to have an excuse for serve as tests for the expanded version of the pushing off work if they have their own ChromeChromebook program. books,” Casazza said. “They would be able to spread it “We are going to be the pilot to see what works out over the course of each week rather than rushing and what doesn’t,” Justin said. “Whenever we come it in a small window of time.”
THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE STEM LABS, an additional two stories that will be added on top of stilts over the loading dock, is on schedule to be approved at the Thursday, Oct. 20, Board of Education meeting. Plans for the addition are currently being finalized by RSD staff and the architect. The project is estimated to cost $5 million. The original designs were sent back to be reworked due to feedback from the Fire Marshall about potential fire hazards. Superintendent Dr. Eric Knost said the redesign will not push back the start of construction “It could actually start during the school year,” Dr. Knost said. Dr. Knost said the addition will be beneficial for the convenience of faculty and students along with furthering education. “I’m tired of seeing our science teachers pushing carts around with chemicals on them. This is just really nice for our students and our teachers and a chance for us to support our curriculum,” Dr. Knost said. Ed Bolton, chemistry teacher, has a similar attitude towards the addition. “I am excited that we are going to have more space for science,” Bolton said. “I think it’ll really help physics and bio because they really don’t have good places to do their experiments. Chemistry we do have good places but so I think those other classes, it’ll really help a lot.” Ryan Bixby, chemistry teacher, agreed the bio rooms are “insufficiently sinked” making it “impossible to do a good cleanup type of situation.” Bixby said there are a multitude of potential problems that could arise as a result of the expansion. “There is only one dock at the school, there is only one place where the dumpster will be located, and there is only one place where people can make deliveries,” Bixby said. “It looks like it’s going to be a big crunch, it’s going to be a tight squeeze for the trash trucks and tractor trailers that make deliveries, especially, there’s a bit of slope to that driveway.” Chris Freund, director of facilities, said the original reasoning for the addition was that “MHS required additional square footage to be constructed in order to adequately satisfy current enrollment and curriculum needs.”
New AP class reaches all grade levels BY JENICA BUNDERSON | AD MANAGER
AP BY THE NUMBERS
IF SOMEONE WALKS INTO ROOM 217 at 1:21 p.m., they will see freshmen, seniors and everyone in between. AP Human Geography, the newest AP class taught at MHS, is offered to all four grades. It is the only AP social studies course that freshmen are allowed to enroll in. Justin Spurgeon, social studies teacher, is teaching the new course. He said it focuses on the relationship humans have with each other and with the Earth. The class emphasizes humans’ treatment and interactions with the Earth over time. Spurgeon said he is enthusiastic about the new class, as he has been interested in geography since high school. Spurgeon has taught freshmen during his time at MHS, so he said he is especially excited that the class is offered to them. “I’ve always liked [geography],” Spurgeon said. “Then I found out that we’re gearing it toward freshman, and I thought, what a great opportunity to now teach freshmen an AP course.” Claire Zhang, freshman, said the class is much more challenging than she anticipated.
2015-16: 1295 exams, 618 tested
26% scored a 5
56% scored a 4 or higher
“It’s actually pretty hard,” Zhang said. “There are a lot of vocab words that have similar definitions and I tend to get them mixed up.” Spurgeon said if freshmen are going to take an AP class, then this is the one to take. “It is said nationwide that the collegiate level of the text and the pace of the course is more in line with a 14-15 -year-old mindset,” Spurgeon said. Nivi Biju, senior, is no stranger to AP classes. She is also enrolled in AP Human Geography but has a much different viewpoint on the class than freshmen like Zhang.
“It’s a freshman class, so it’s very simple,” Biju said. “It’s easier than honors U.S. history.” Although Biju enjoys the class, she sometimes finds the assignments are tedious. “There’s a lot of busy work, which as a senior I don’t like,” Biju said. Spurgeon said the class is a good choice for anyone and everyone, regardless of their age or experience with AP courses. “It’s a great course,” he said. “Everyone should take it.”
85% scored a 3 or higher
106 scholars with distinction
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Administration institutes new parking lot policy BY NEELANSH BUTE | AD MANAGER THIS YEAR, MHS HAS ADJUSTED its parking lot policies in response to frustrations last year, namely with students parking in spots that weren't theirs. "Quite frankly, the last few years it's gotten worse and worse, we have lots of people parking illegally and parking in spots that aren't theirs," Sophomore Principal Dr. Dan Ramsey said. The first offense results in a $10 fine and a letter to parents, the second a $20 fine and weekend detention, the third implicating a $30 fine and one day in-school-suspension, and the fourth implicating a 30 dollar fine and up to 10 days out-of-school-suspension. MHS has remained the only school in the Rockwood School District without parking tickets for quite a while now. Though after careful consideration, administrators have decided to start issuing tickets for those that abuse the system, Dr. Ramsey said. "We looked at what other schools were doing and we decided to follow through, Dr. Ramsey said. "Nobody wants to get a parking ticket and I think as long as people follow the rules, we
should all be fine. Quincy Broadus, senior, was one of the first to feel the strict transition in policy, as he a parking ticket on the first day of school. "Last year I didn't really experience any problems with the parking lot procedure," Broadus said. "But this year, I got a ticket on the first day and I think that was unnecessary. Due to the large number of students affected by the matter, school officials decided to give these students a warning. Although Broadus said he was frustrated by the violation, the justification behind it seemed to be evident. "I can understand why they are taking these precautions, but I don't think the rules needs to be this heavily enforced," Broadus said. Parking tickets are issued by Mel Caruso, parking lot attendant, someone who has admittedly seen some really bad parking jobs. "In general, teenagers typically tend to be poor drivers due to lack of experience," Caruso said. "I do see a lot of that out there, but I've seen many people demonstrating incredible defensive driving skills.â€? Though Caruso said parking tickets are necessary to keep the lot orderly,
For the first time in MHS history, administration has decided to put in place a parking policy that includes ticketing violators. Fines range from $10 to $30. Photograph by Neelansh Bute she also expresses concern over minor transgressions. "Since this is the first year weâ€™re doing this, I would like to add a line for a warning," Caruso said. "Hopefully,
the students know that I'm there to make sure things are fair. To me, if you guys are willing to pay $180 for a parking spot, you deserve that parking spot as your own."
You could be on the cover of the yearbook! ONE lucky student will get to be on the cover of the 2017 yearbook and get a free book. Tell us a story about you. Tell us something interesting that you have done or have participated in. What would you have done differently? How has it made you a better person? Pick up an application from Rm 226 and fill it out. You must submit a one-paragraph answer to the prompt.
The winner will be announced October 3. 7
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ELLIE TOLER
SLACKTIVISM With the rise of technology, many people resort to token forms of activism that lack more meaningful support BY ELLIE TOLER AND ATHENA ZENG
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E TRIED TO SAVE THE WORLD FROM Kony in 2012. We dumped ice water on ourselves for the ALS Association in 2014. 2015 we collectively prayed for Paris. se simple, catchy phrases are designed to unite around the world under a singular goal to betworld. With the onset of social media, people w retweet, share and like their favorite causes se. you poured ice water on yourself, but did you ber to donate to the ALS Association? Kirk Kristofferson, assistant professor of ss at Arizona State University, said slacktivism nes the willingness of a person to engage in a ly easy form of activism with an accompanywillingness to take further action. conducted a study of slacktivism for his PhD ation at the University of British Columbia. epancy between two psychological phenomthe foot-in-the-door effect and moral licensotivated his research. On one hand, the footdoor effect motivates a person to agree to a ct after agreeing to a smaller one first. On the and, moral licensing describes the allotting of h act following a positive one. he study, Dr. Kristofferson said he found who partook in more public forms of activch as wearing a pin, were actually less likely to contribute with more concrete action. People gaged in activism more privately, such as signetition, were more likely to donate later. e of the motivations that we all have is looking o other people,” he said. “And that’s not a bad We always want to be viewed positively, and very powerful motivation.” biggest takeaway for organizations, Dr. Kristn said, is that money and resources being put mpaign is not always going to be more effective mply going on the phone and phoning people er time for donations really powerful,” Dr. Kristofferson said. “It s to really be careful about how you’re allocatr resources.”
re meaningful support, Dr. Kristofferson said, ependent variable his research was looking ough token forms of support, such as liking a on Facebook, do not equate to this, awareness es and the ability to get people talking remains ortant benefit from any kind of support.
A good social activist should have set goals and a strong opinion, and they should be willing to take action to achieve their goals. BROOKE DAVIS, SOPHOMORE
“We’re certainly not saying that awareness isn’t important, and one of the benefits of these sorts of campaigns is awareness,” Dr. Kristofferson said. “They’re certainly successful, there’s no question about that.” “Slacktivist” methods on some level also take advantage of relatively low-cost medium of support. For many, the internet is a time friendly and finance friendly way to help a cause by spreading awareness. Dr. Kristofferson speculates that on some level it’s efficiency and some level it’s wanting to be present when people utilize token support. “Every organization is competing for your discretionary income,” Dr. Kristofferson said.
TAKING ACTION Sam Sherwood, senior, interned for Chris Koster’s campaign for governor over the summer. He spent his time knocking on people’s doors, discussing their concerns with them and discovering their preferred candidate. Sherwood said many people seemed disinterested, especially considering it was a campaign for governor. Some didn’t know who the candidates were and didn’t plan on voting. “Going out and doing something is where differences are actually made,” Sherwood said. “People can share all they want on Facebook and other social media, but unless they actually go out and try to make a concrete difference, then it’s not actually going to get any farther in solving any problems.” However, there is also merit in spreading awareness, he said. Social media can be a great platform for sharing information on the issues with which people should be concerned, but it should be followed by real action. Sherwood said he suggests students explore the websites of organizations dedicated to causes they care about. There, they can see how these organizations want them to help and what they can do to support them. “The actual hard work has to be done by people who are committed,” he said.
SOCIAL MEDIA Bridget Pooley, program manager of the Center for Social Impact Communication, said surveys show Americans who become involved with different causes through social media continue to participate in
similar activities outside of the web. “Social media’s biggest impact is in the everyday person’s ability to build an online identity,” Pooley said. This online identity allows people to publicly display their beliefs and actions, and many organizations appeal to that identity in a way that has led to increased engagements. Users continue to support causes through more traditional activism, but most Americans see the value in social media. Pooley said 57 percent of Americans believe social networking sites allow people to support various causes with ease. However, she believes organizations shouldn’t solely rely on the power of social media for fundraising. Rather, they can use them as tools to build relationships that eventually lead to more concrete forms of activism, such as donating or volunteering. “The first time you interact with an organization you don’t necessarily want to be asked to donate or to volunteer, because these are your two most valuable types of support,” Poole said. “On the other hand, being asked to like something or to share something feels like a much more reasonable ask. Overtime, an organization can build that user up to a bigger ask.”
MOTIVATIONS Brooke Davis, sophomore, considers herself an activist. She’s involved in the Gay-Straight Alliance and the Feminist Association of Marquette, and she’s the vice president of the United Savior of Animals (USA) She said there are members in USA who joined because they’re passionate about helping animals, and then there are members who hope to add another club to their college resume. “All these reasons are valid, and we’re always happy to have new members,” Davis said. “However, only those who really dedicate themselves can make a difference.” Davis said she partakes in activism because she believes her voice, especially as a young person, is meaningful and deserves to be heard. When she sees injustice in the world, she feels compelled to do something about it. “A good social activist should have set goals and a strong opinion, and they should be willing to take action to achieve their goals,” Davis said. “However, they should also be willing to compromise and listen to other opinions in order to make progress.”
MHS community reacts to Ballwin tragedy
The Community Service class thanks first responders through a t-shirt fundraiser and BBQ on Saturday, Sept. 10. The United States Coast Guard and ROTC provided free food to all attendees. Photograph by Brittany Freeman The efforts of the class are being supported by the Flamion family, the Army National Guard, ROTC and the BackStoppers organization. BackStoppers’ goal is to contribute emotionally and financially to any officer and their family who was injured or killed ITH BLUE RIBBONS FASTENED TO TREES IN LOCAL in the line of duty. neighborhoods around the Ballwin area, family and “I wanted not to just make it about one family, but I wanted to friends react to the tragedy that struck Ballwin on July 8. give back to all of the first responders,” Nelle said. “So, the goal was Local police officer, Mike Flamion was shot and paralyzed from with the barbecue, for the 15 year anniversary of 9/11 was to do the waist down after a routine traffic stop on New Ballwin Road, something.” authorities said. By aiding the BackStoppers organization, the Community SerAlex Nelle, social studies teacher, said it became his goal to convice class will in turn be assisting 79 families in 13 Missouri countribute to the community that is supporting Officer Flamion. ties and 5 Illinois counties, Chief Ron Battelle, executive director of So, after returning to school, Nelle said he took his idea to the BackStoppers, said. Community Service class. Upon brainstorming ideas, the class de“We are very appreciative and grateful for the support being cided to react appropriately. provided to BackStoppers and Officer Flamion,” Chief Battelle said. “I wanted to do something to raise money here He said the majority of the revenue sources in order to at MHS to benefit him,” Nelle said. “I had this idea aid the victims originates from fundraisers and other donaof selling shirts before the incident so I thought we tions. For all of the efforts of the surrounding community The class would just combine it and give the money from the and MHS, Chief Battelle said he is truly grateful. raised shirt sale to him.” “The support of the community is vital to our mission Nelle took the idea to his class, and they began and we could not do what we do without the support of the more than brainstorming ideas. The students decided to proceed community,” he said. $4500 with the Mustang Superhero t-shirts. So, in order to best contribute to the BackStoppers orThe community service class sold 317 Mustang ganization and their desire to support Officer Flamion, the superhero shirts allowing for a profit of over $3,000. Community Service class began selling. At least $1,000 will be contributed to Officer Flamion and $1,000 “We went around to lunch shifts and to classes and asked people will be donated to the BackStoppers organization. to buy shirts,” Will Pakula, senior, said. “We just figured out ways to In order to start the fundraiser, the Community Service class sell them as best as we could and make as much money as we could needed permission from the Flamion family, but this wasn’t hard for them.” because they were very receptive to the idea, Nelle said. Volunteering to help the Flamion family is of great importance “They were really appreciative,” Nelle said. “They sent an email to the community surrounding MHS, Pakula said. It is something saying they really liked the shirts. They think they look really cool that happened so close to where a large portion of the school’s popand they were behind it 100 percent.” ulation live, so it provides an excellent opportunity to give back. Along with the sale of t-shirts, the Community Service class “So you can kind of see first hand what it has done to the and ROTC hosted a barbecue at MHS to provide a free meal for first community whereas other things you might not,” he said. “If it was responders and attendees and solicit more donations for the cause. something that happened across the country you aren’t going to feel At this event, they raised more than $1500. it as much as something that happened in your hometown.”
ALIA ARIF ONLINE EDITOR BRITTANY FREEMAN COPY EDITOR
Called to serve A story of a boy and his dog BY ELLIE TOLER | EDITOR IN CHIEF
here’s a new student roaming the halls of MHS this year. He has big button eyes, short golden hair and a tail. His name is Rokr, and he’s a labrador retriever. “He’s a service dog,” Jack Killeen, freshman, said.
Six years ago, Jack received Rokr from 4 Paws for Ability, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing service dogs for children with disabilities. Rokr was specially trained using treat-based methods for the first year of his life to meet Jack’s specific needs. “With Rokr by his side, Jack is able to attend school and feel comfortable, and more able to focus on his academics and social skills,” Jo Ann Killeen, Jack’s mother, said. The Killeens first discovered 4 Paws for Ability during the St. Louis Autism Walk in Forest Park. There, they met a family with their own service dog, who assisted their son with his anxiety. She and her husband Jim believed a service dog could help Jack cope with his anxiety, especially in places like
school and the doctor’s office. Then came the application process. They participated in an interview over the phone and answered a lengthy questionnaire before submitting a video detailing a day in the life of the Killeen family. After 4 Paws for Ability accepted their application, the Killeens partook in a three-week training program in Dayton, Ohio. Karen Shirk, founder of 4 Paws for Ability, said the program is meant to teach parents how to properly care and handle their service dog. After bringing Rokr home, they notified Special School District (SSD) of their hope to let Rokr in the classroom when Jack started third grade. “His principal at Wild Horse Elementary, Karen Kieffer, was instrumen-
tal in guiding us through the lengthy process of getting approval for Rokr to attend school with Jack,” Jo Ann said. SSD requested a trial run for Rokr, who attended half a day at Wild Horse for three months after the Killeens educated staff and students about him. “His teachers were amazed at the difference in Jack’s behavior with Rokr by his side,” Jo Ann said. “As a result, Rokr began attending full day and has continued to attend school with Jack daily ever since.” Jo Ann said Rokr proved to be a very positive presence in school as he makes an impact on staff and student. He helps others feel more comfortable with Jack’s disability, and he creates an environment of respect and tolerance. “Our family believes children of
all abilities deserve an education,” she said. “Rokr enables Jack to gain the most from his educational experience” Amy Blumenfeld, SSD area coordinator for MHS, said the Killeens provided a document of Rokr’s commands before the school year started. Blumenfeld encourages students to treat Rokr as they would treat any other service dog they see. When he’s wearing his vest, he’s working. People can ask to pet him, but they’re usually going to be declined while he’s on duty. Everyone so far has been very respectful with Rokr, Blumenfeld said. “We’re more used to having service dogs out in the community, and I would encourage folks, if they have questions, to come ask us,” she said. “We’re happy to talk about it.”
Sheth launches nonprofit for students with disabilities BY CARI SHEARER | FEATURES EDITOR FOR POORVA SHETH, JUNIOR, TENNIS IS A relief. A psychological escape goes beyond the physical benefits of the sport, which is why she chose to incorporate her passion of the game with a desire to pass that on to others. With the support of the administration, extensive research and an undying passion for tennis, Sheth launched a nonprofit organization, Kare For Kids, that provides tennis lessons to students with special needs. “I love the game, I love the intensity, I love the independence,” Sheth said. “I wanted to pass along that kind of sport to these kids so they can learn about sports-related skills as well as sportsmanship, character and leadership.” Sheth, along with other varsity tennis players, volunteers her time to lead the kids in varying activities. “I saw there was a huge divide with kids with disabilities and the general population,” Sheth said. “I started sitting with these kids at lunch and getting to know them. I thought, ‘why not do something to make them feel included?’” Maggie Yang, sophomore, volunteers for the organization along with other MHS tennis players.
“It really has taught me a lot about how anyone can do something if they put their mind to it,” she said. The nonprofit, was launched in December of last year, while the lessons officially began in June. The lessons take place every other Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on the MHS tennis courts. Janet Strate has watched her son, Nicholas, become increasingly aware of the students around him after becoming involved with the organization. “Before this, the kids all ate together and had the same classes together: they have absolutely nothing to do with the general population. And it’s disappointing for us,” Strate said. “He tends not to talk very much, so the fact that he’ll use his words and say, ‘hi, Poorva’, is a huge deal.” Playing sports reaps many physical benefits. Though, Strate said the biggest benefit of involvement with the organization is the social standpoint and the inclusion of kids with special needs. “Here’s a young lady he goes to school with who wants to be with him. Somebody actually wants to be with my kid, teach him to play tennis and have fun with him,” Strate said. “It’s just overwhelming that a student would want to do that. Beyond our dreams.”
Poorva Sheth, junior, assists Austin Combs at the end of the clinic with an activity designed to increase hand and eye coordination.
CECE’S STYLE Fashion-forward senior sh ares "indie emo" looks
THE LOOK Vinta ge Denim J acket- Urban Outfitters Dis tressed Longline T-Shirt- PacSun Flora l Print Shorts- H&M
PHOTOGRAPHS BY TAYLOR STYER
Q&A with Cecilia Kayser, senior
How important is style to you?
BY TAYLOR STYER | LEAD PHOTOGRAPHER
“I would say it’s pretty important, I wouldn’t say I put it on the top of my list. I do love dressing up, but some days I just love wearing oversized t-shirts and shorts.”
What inspires your style?
How do your hobbies help define your style?
“Usually the internet or anything that matches black jeans or ripped up jeans. I just really enjoy grungy looks that I see and try to copy the styles of Arden Rose or Connor Franta.”
“I would say running helps define my style because while running I can wear tight clothing and feel confident in it. I can wear tank tops and it definitely defines my style because of my lifestyle.”
What styles would you say you're more drawn to?
What advice do you have about personal style?
“I usually go for graphic tees, crop tops and basically anything that’s dark in color or very bright and vibrant in pattern.”
“Wear what you like. Even though you think you can’t pull it off, you can.”
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PHOTOGRAPH BY TAYLOR STYER
Music Venue The Messenger reviews Jazz at the Bistro Jessie Park, circulation assistant at the Sachs branch of St. Louis County Library, explains the poetry contest guidelines to Sarah Salinas, senior. Photograph by Athena Zeng.
SLCL starts young adult poetry contest BY ATHENA ZENG | ASSOCIATE EDITOR
HIS FALL, THE ST. LOUIS COUNTY LIBRARY (SLCL) is offering a branch-wide poetry contest specifically for young adults. In previous years, the library chain has held a short story writing contest in the Spring, but after a staff member proposed the poetry contest, the idea took off. The contest began accepting entries Sept. 1 and will continue until Oct. 14. Sarah Wood, SLCL youth services assistant manager, said the contest has already gotten a few submissions. “The poetry contest is just one way we try to fulfill the library’s mission of providing opportunities for learning and skill development,” Wood said. “If chosen as a finalist, this may be a young poet’s first chance at getting his or her poetry noticed and publicized.” Wood said judges from the SLCL staff will narrow down the submissions to several finalists by looking at the originality and composition of the submitted poems. From there, a local poet will weigh in with her expertise until a winner and a runner up are chosen. The winner of the competition will get a $50 Visa gift card and the runner up will get a $25 gift card. It’s important that the entry follows the official competition guidelines, which can be found on the SLCL website. Holding these types of contests and other special
events give the community’s youth opportunities to express themselves and show that the public library has a variety of opportunities, Wood said. Zack Lesmeister, junior, decided to submit his poetry for consideration in the competition after hearing about it from poetry club at MHS. “I decided to enter because I want to spread my poetry, and I want to eventually become a poet when I get older,” Lesmeister said. “I think this is a good starting point.” The selectivity of the competition is what makes contests like these important, Lesmeister said. Shelly Justin, poetry club sponsor, encourages students to do competitions like this because she said she thinks young adult poets are good enough and it would help expand poetry club. “We want to really make it grow, and I think this is one way we could,” Justin said. “These contests, I really believe students can win or use to gain some recognition for their poetry.” Besides the competition, Justin said poetry itself can help students discover things about themselves that they’ve never even realized. “I’ve had kids who really struggle with anxiety and depression change their lives too because it’s a way to get all of that out in a healthy way,” Justin said. “It’s very cathartic, therapeutic and just fun.”
BY TAYLOR STYER | LEAD PHOTOGRAPHER ACROSS FROM THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF the Fox theatre lies a quaint music venue which happens to be the city’s premier jazz lounge: Jazz at the Bistro. Upon arrival, you are greeted at the door by a friendly hostess who leads you to either your main floor seating or the second floor balcony. The main floor offers an intimate experience whereas the upstairs balcony is a different world. Peering over the balcony ledge, seeing the entranced spectators and hearing the rich sounds of the band creates an environment that is nothing short of magical. Jazz at the Bistro offers some of the best food and entertainment in the St Louis nightlife scene. The venue attracts some of the biggest names in jazz including The Al Jarreau Duo. While dancing quietly in your chair, you are bound to work up an appetite and the bistro offers many flavorful food options. While tickets can be priced anywhere between $20 to $60, the jazz venue offers special student tickets for only $10 each. Jazz at the Bistro in downtown St. Louis creates a welcoming community of jazz lovers and can make anyone, regardless of musical background, fall in love with the world of jazz music.
Bare it all
Policy changes allows athletes to remove their shirts on weather appropriate days
BY JENICA BUNDERSON | AD MANAGER
T’S GETTING HOT IN HERE, AND NOW, MHS students can take off all their clothes (their shirts at least). Administration has changed the t-shirt policy for the 2016-2017 school year. Last year’s policy was that no athlete, male or female, was allowed to take their shirts off during an athletic practice. This year, on weather appropriate days, boys and girls can take their shirts off. MHS is the last Rockwood high school to adopt this policy. Activities Director Shane Matzen was in charge of making the change. “Our only requirements are that it should be a weather appropriate day,” he said. “We want our coaches to monitor it, and when the athletes are out of their performance areas, put shirts back on.” Matzen said the primary reason for the policy change was fairness. “We just wanted to have fairness,” Matzen said.
“We wanted to take another look at the policy, see if we could come up with something that helped our athletes perform better but was still in good taste.” While students will only be allowed to take their shirts off on weather appropriate days, Matzen purposely avoided deciding a specific temperature or heat index for the new policy to take effect. “I want our coaches to have the leeway when they’re outside to make the decisions,” he said. Girls lacrosse coach Chris Elledge, health teacher and lacrosse coach, is enthusiastic about the change. “I think it’s great,” Elledge said. “I’m definitely for it because I always thought [the old policy] was weird. [The new policy] will make athletes more comfortable. It’ll be fine.” Hannah Trotta, junior, agrees with Elledge. She and other female athletes are excited about the change. “I think it’s fair now,” Trotta who runs cross said,“Performance wise, it makes it easier.” Illustration by Delaney Neely
Girls golf seeks to defend State title BY BRITTANY FREEMAN | COPY EDITOR IN KEEPING WITH THEIR WINning tradition last year, girls golf won their first match against Parkway South and Mehlville. Sarah Lewis, junior, said varsity girls golf strives to defend their 2015 titles: Co-Conference Champions, District Runner Ups, Sectional Champions and State Champions. “Last year we did really well. We started off our season really well and then we just kept getting better and better until the point where we won state,” Lewis said. With their eyes set on the State Championship in Columbia, Mo., this year, Lewis said she is helping the team navigate their high expectations from last year. Lewis said varsity girls golf is continuing to improve in any aspect of their game they can. In order to succeed again in their tournaments, it is imperative for the girls to respect and help one another, she said. “We are all a team, and we are all going to lose together, so we are just trying to keep a positive attitude and play as best as we can,” Lewis said. Throughout the entire season last year, Eric Schweain, girls golf coach, said the girls stayed grounded. With their positive attitude, they were able to maintain a consistency that landed then the state title. “They are consistent, so if we continue to work on weaknesses and maintain that consistency, then I
Abby Tichenor, sophomore; Mckenna O'hearne, junior; Sarah Lewis, junior; Lucy Youngblood, senior and Alison Licavoli, senior, pose after their tournament Photograph printed with permission by Eric Schweain
feel really good in the coming weeks heading into districts,” Schweain said. The golf season is a short one, Schweain said, but after several initial competitions, the girls are already showing promising results for the future. He said at this stage in the season, he is very pleased with how everybody on the team has been playing. “I believe we have quality leaders like Allison Licavoli and Sarah Lewis and that will make a huge difference when post-season golf arrives,” Schweain. Allison Licavoli, senior, said she
is hopeful this will be another great season. As she moves up to fill the “team leader role,” Licavoli said she looks to help the younger members of the team continue to improve and not let the enthusiasm die. “We are keeping the momentum going from last year by focusing on the road ahead,” she said. “We know that a repeat requires a lot of work.” With considerable focus put on the team’s short game, Licavoli said the girls don’t want to continue losing strokes on the putting surface. “Enjoying the season and improving our golf game is what matters most to us,” she said.
Coach Amy Doyle talks to junior Sydney Dana, infielder, after she reaches third base. Varsity softball won 6-1 against Sekman High School on Monday, Sept. 12. Photograph by Bauti Bruniard
Doyle coaches softball BY BAUTI BRUNIARD | SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR LAST SEASON’S SOFTBALL TEAM capped off a season that allowed them to get to the State final, which they eventually lost. “State was so much fun, we had never made it that far so it was amazing to go to Springfield and be with everyone,” senior Hannah Freeman, infielder, said Now the team aims to win the State title; however, they will no longer have head coach Chris Meador in the dugout. Meader resigned at the end of last season. “I really enjoyed having him as a coach. He worked really hard with us, but also I was really excited to have new coaches to see their perspective on what we can do as a team,” Freeman said. At the end of the year, Meador made the decision to resign. “I resigned to spend more time watching my three daughters play sports,” Meador said. “The decision was all mine, and the program is in good hands with coach Amy Doyle.” The team started the season with a new coach. “Coach Meador was a mainstay for Marquette softball for 15 seasons, and he created a tradition of excellence for the Mustangs,” Doyle said. “It can be difficult for players to transition to a new coaching staff, but the team has done an excellent job so far.” To continue the winning tradition, Doyle aims to focus on the process and only worry about what they can control, she said. “In doing so, we believe that we have the physical talent and the mental strength to be very successful this season,” Doyle said. They currently sit at (insert updated record here), with nine games left before districts. They’ll travel to St. Joseph’s Academy for a 4:15 p.m. game on Sept. 16.
i believe that...
Varsity football prepares for upcoming season BY MADDIE EVELAND | SPORTS EDITOR
HIS SEASON IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER FOR the football team. For the first time in years they have been given the opportunity to play every Rockwood high school in the district so they can claim themselves “top dog.” They started their first game of the season off with a win against Rockwood Summit 496, which leaves them still in the running for “top dog” with only two more Rockwood high schools left to beat this season. Defeating these three schools is a goal Kyler Bayless, senior, is really striving for as quarterback and captain of the team. “Our main focus this season is to take one game at a time and not look ahead to opponents that are down the road,” Bayless said. “We came out strong but unfortunately had a disappointing performance against Parkway North at home offensively.” Bayless said the team grows every day and he is excited for tonight Homecoming game and the long season ahead. Matt Klein, head coach, has high hopes for this season and has every intention of making it to playoffs. “Our defense is a strong unit and has been our savior for a lot of games,” Klein said. They have been practicing every single day and watching game films every week of their opponents in preparation for their Homecoming game against Oakville tonight at 7 p.m. “We have to bounce back and learn from our mistakes and not let the same mishaps hurt us later in the season in order to make a run for the playoffs,” Klein said.
Another leader of the team, outside linebacker, Tyler Pauley, senior, has been on varsity since his sophomore year and has high hopes to make a big run for the playoffs this season. “Last season I was a little bit over my head coming in so I needed to learn to just focus on myself as an individual player instead of trying to be an outstanding athlete,” Pauley said. “This allowed me to finally come into my own, do my job, and help the team out.” “Normally I prepare myself for game, especially big ones like the homecoming game we have coming up by listening to music, zoning out, and just focusing on what I need to do to get ready for my team and execute,” he said. This season in particular, the upperclassmen have made it their job to include the younger players by frequently going out together as a team. “We don’t want it to just be a football team. Our goal is to make it more of a family,” Pauley said. “If we work for each other instead of ourselves I have no doubt that we will be in the playoffs at the end of this season.” Unlike most of the his teammates this is not Pauley’s first Homecoming game as a varsity player, which gives him a unique perspective going into their game against Oakville. “In seasons past, we have not received the results we were hoping for going into our homecoming games,” Pauley said. “This has only increased my desire to come out with a ‘W’ because not getting something you want just makes you want it more. And there is nothing I want more than to defeat Oakville tonight.”
Joesph Sadowsky, senior, is welcomed by the team at the first home game on Friday, Sept. 2. The varsity team lost 7-0 to Parkway North. Photograph by Taylor Styer
Homecoming committee to host carnival BY DELANEY NEELY | ILLUSTRATOR EVERY YEAR, MHS HAS HOMECOMing Spirit Week. Traditionally, there is a bonfire, spirit day and a Homecoming football game. This year, there is a new addition to this mix: the Homecoming carnival. Ashley Hobbs, social studies teacher, is the head of the Homecoming Committee and in charge of this event. “We hope to make it a school tradition,” Hobbs said. At 6 pm tonight, the carnival will be set up and ready for attendees. It begins an hour before the football game and will run through the end of the third quarter. Admission to the football game includes the games and carnival. “This is geared towards children
attending the football game with their families; however, we welcome high school students as well,” Hobbs said. “We want to provide a way for more alumni to attend and have a way to entertain their children while watching the football game. Homecoming should be about the whole Marquette community, past, present and future.” The carnival is currently planned to have 15 various games run by different clubs and organizations of MHS, as well as inflatables and face painting. The clubs include Key Club, GSA, Make a Change and NHS, as well as many others. A few sports teams are also involved: girls tennis, soccer and baseball. “[Key Club] will be running the ‘Krazy Kans’ game,” Key Club officer
Jake Venegoni, junior, said, “The objective is to knock a stack of cans off a table with bean bags.” For winning these games, players will get awarded prizes. The prizes are provided but the clubs can bring their own prizes as promotions. Austin Ohley, freshman, said he and his friends had not yet heard of this carnival. “I would go but it seems like it’s a newer thing and I’m curious how others will react,” Ohley said. The carnival doesn’t end with the football game. After the game, there will be a marshmallow roast at the bonfire pit thanks to Sophomore Principal Dr. Dan Ramsey, at no extra charge.
HOMECOMING EVENTS friday Tailgate 4:30-6:30p.m. Gates open 6 p.m. MHS vs Oakville Carnival After game, free roasted marshmallows at bonfire pit
saturday Enchanted Masquerade dance 7:00-10:00 p.m.