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THE

NORTH STAR

Issue 2, Volume 26 Blue Valley North Overland Park, KS October 27, 2011

“I want to communicate the beauty in people, not necessarily physical, but the depth of their personality,” senior Rahul Sharma said.

INSIDE: KC’s best

haunted houses

p. 19

continued on page 15

Coach has confident outlook for team

p.7

Chinese food reviews

p. 16


02 the north star news 10.27.11

The pursuit of funniness

Comedy Troupe makes its comeback

Sarah Evans Business Manager

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fter a one-year hiatus, Comedy Troupe, BVN’s improvisational comedy team, is back with the goal of bringing a smile to students’ faces. Improvisation, a unique form of comedy seen on programs such as “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, involves spontaneously creating humorous situations with little or no preparation. “I like that [improv] gives you the chance to be as creative as you want to be, and it also teaches you about a lot of life skills, like thinking on your feet. An improv team gives kids a chance to express themselves in ways different than other clubs,” senior Comedy Troupe co-president AnneElise Dimas said. Dimas, who participated in Comedy Troupe her sophomore year, and senior Greg Castro, a two-year veteran of the club, decided to revive the group after it was disbanded in the 2009-2010 school year. “Over my sophomore year, [Comedy Troupe] continually went downhill in quality,” Castro said. “It was a combination of lack of membership and lack of commitment. Our shows were just not of any caliber that anyone would want to pay for. When it got cancelled at the end of the year, it was a big controversy but for me it was a relief because it wasn’t worth doing anymore.” Castro’s relief at the troupe’s cancellation, however, was certainly not shared by all its members. Senior John Bricker, a former member of Comedy Troupe, said of its disbanding, “I was super-pissed. [Comedy Troupe] was pretty much the one thing that made high school not completely suck for me. To be honest, I’m still a little bitter.” Comedy Troupe sponsor Max

Brown, however, saw Comedy Troupe’s break as necessary after questionable content had found its way into the troupe’s practices. “Some students made poor choices regarding language,” Brown said. “Since this is not a required club or one that is funded, I felt like we needed to take a break so those who had been in it would see that we need to conform to common decency and language in our presentation. Since I have to be the arbitrator of good taste, I’m not about to associate my name with anything of that nature.” Bricker admits that it was he who had been caught using inappropriate language at a practice. Comedy Troupe members warm up with an improv game during practice. Games such as this helped the team focus and brainstorm before practicing improv scenes or skits. Photo by Ali Fallucca. “I found out that I probably make the new Comedy Troupe better indicated that if something happened had a little bit to do with than ever. and they chose unwisely that they his unhappiness with the troupe, “There will be more structure and would be removed from the troupe,” so I emailed him and told him I organization this year,” Dimas said. said Brown. understand that he was unhappy, but The troupe’s leaders have high I don’t think the consequences should “We’re going to try to have more workshops with professionals. It will expectations for the group’s talent, fall on everyone else on the troupe help improve the quality of our shows and predict that its social dynamic because of some foul words that I and teach kids improv skills, whereas will be positive. said. I felt a lot of people were losing in the old [Comedy Troupe] we would “We tried to include as many kids a lot of things by him just play improv games. ” from different grades as possible, and disbanding it,” he said. “New Comedy Troupe is about there are both kids who are really “The Comedy moving forward,” Castro added. experienced at improv and kids who Troupe members had a “We decided to have just four shows, have a lot of potential. I’m expecting meeting to discuss their because one thing we felt about the us to all get along well and feed off frustration and didn’t last Comedy Troupe was that we had each other’s energy,” Dimas said. tell Mr. Brown about a show every month, and it led to “Hopefully we can start a new it,” Castro said. “He tradition with this and it’ll be happened to come across poor quality,” Whereas Comedy Troupe’s tryouts something we can show to an them and heard some had previously been student-run and audience that’s enjoyable and of the crudeness and bad attitudes its members student-selected, Castro, professional,” said Castro. being displayed and decided that Comedy Troupe’s first performance Comedy Troupe wouldn’t be back the Dimas, and Brown’s urge to select a committed and talented group led to was Oct. 20. Tickets were $3 each, next year. This was met with varying a new tryout process. and all proceeds went to the John degrees of frustration. There were “We had two mandatory tryouts Lentz Scholarship Foundation for some kids who thought Mr. Brown which were structured as a workshop graduating seniors pursuing a future overreacted, and lots of kids got very with a professional improvisational in theater. angry at me because they assumed I actress, and she had us play various “The time and effort we put into it had a part in it.” games that would show off our were reflected in the success of the Despite the controversy improv ability to Mr. Brown,” Dimas show,” Dimas said. “However, there’s surrounding the end of Comedy said. “They were very laid back. ” still stuff we can improve on. I’m Troupe in the 2009-2010 school year, “Everybody who auditioned had to excited for the next show and to see Dimas, Castro, Brown and all of the sign a parent permission form that where this goes.” troupe’s members are determined to

“New Comedy Troupe is about moving forward.”


the north star news 10.27.11

Get your briefcases ready... Evan Watson Staff Writer

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ore than anything else, North excels in academics and academic extracurriculars. Among these are debate, DECA and FBLA. Just by walking through the halls you can

see that the glass debate cubicle is densely packed in comparison to the shrines for other activities and sports. A quick glance at the FBLA or DECA website shows the numerous state and national level accomplishments that

FBLA

MEMBERS

130 so far this year 241 last year

11

FBLA chapter has been active at BVN.

YEARS in a row they’ve taken the state title.

9

“We’re not just good on the state level, we’re good on the national level.” -Vivek Menon, FBLA Co-President

DECA

[Reid This] Something to think about

It’s about to go down

Sarah Campbell Design Editor

VS

= 20 members

20

Average number of students who go to Nationals each year

6

Number who placed last year

they’ve racked up through the years. But just how good are they? Here are some interesting statistics that show where the strengths of our school really are.

DEBATE 204 debaters

“I’ve never heard of any school over the past 30 years of doing my job that has as many debaters as we do here at North.” – Steve Wood, debate coach

“North is ranked 3rd out

of 3,500 in the national rankings of debate and forensics” – Steve Wood, debate coach

10 qualified for international competition last year 16,000 - kids competing at internationals 4th place team in the world – Hospitality 2nd place team in the world – Accouting

03

I

Reid Eggleston News Editor

t was a tall mountain the three boys decided to climb. A panoramic view downward revealed nothing but the tops of trees studded with the beckoning green leaves. They began their journey upward together, but time and a diverging trail split them nearly 20 yards back. Now a palpable sheet of air separated Voss and Casey from Mee Shon. They believed themselves to be only an arm’s reach away, but their eyes deceived them. “I hurt,” Casey said. Voss glanced at his watch. It told him they had been climbing half the day. “You need no help. Look at the terrain Mee Shon must cover over there. He is the one in greater need,” Voss said. Voss called out to his friend on the opposite ledge: “Mee Shon, do you believe I can make it across over to you?” Mee Shon answered, “Why? Your view is just the same over there as it is over here. Besides, Casey looks as if he’s the one who needs assistance.” Voss looked to his friend buckled over from exhaustion quickly and declined Mee Shon’s suggestion. “Come on, Casey,” Voss urged, “We must keep pace with Mee Shon.” But as the hours of the day and the miles of terrain lurched on, Casey and Voss further distanced themselves from Mee Shon. Suddenly, Voss cried out: “Mee Shon? I believe the rock below you is crumbling. Yes, if you do not let me help you, that cliff will collapse and you will surely fall to your death!” Mee Shon calmly assured him that this was not the case. But Voss, adamant, began yelling angrily at Mee Shon. “I must help you—as a friend, as one who is responsible for your welfare!” Voss yelled louder, louder, screaming at Mee Shon with tears running down his face. Then the rock beneath Casey’s feet collapsed and he fell to his death.


04 the north star news 10.27.11

Challenging bigotry on college campuses

New programs help LGBTQ students fit in—or stand out

The Gay-Straight Alliance mural in the 400 hallway demonstrates BVN’s efforts toward equality. Senior Connie Li, GSA president, said inter-school meetings show that North’s level of tolerance is ahead of some other Blue Valley schools. Photo by Ali Falucca.

Jessi Glueck Co-Editor-in-Chief

“W

e’re here, we’re queer, get used to it,” Hunter Capps, a UMKC senior and literature major who focuses on gender studies, said of the expanded role of programs for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students on college campuses nationwide. In the past two months, colleges all over the country have pursued a broader range of programs for LGBTQ students. On Oct. 3, San Diego State University announced its intention to become the second university in the nation to offer a major in LGBTQ studies. The University of Kentucky at Lexington held the first meeting of its Task Force, designed to develop the alliance between gay and straight students Sept. 29. And Harvard College now has a special Dean of LGBTQ student life. Some students, at both the college and high school levels, view such developments as crucial stages in the progress of the LGBTQ movement. “[These programs provide] a group that protects these people because clearly in the LGBTQ community some people just need someone to talk to,” Capps said. “As far as [programs like Harvard’s], I would say hell yeah. Do it.” Senior Jason Smith* said he was concerned that administration-led

initiatives such as the one at Harvard single out LGBTQ students and emphasize differences. “The idea is a noble idea, and I do get that there will be lots of us who love that we get a department for ourselves,” Smith said. “But it brings more attention [from the administration] than is needed. I don’t want special treatment. It can be dividing—us against them.” But Capps said he feels the very purpose of LGBTQ programs is to challenge the status quo. “It’s a take-noprisoners type of thing,” Capps said. “I don’t really want to have to sacrifice or give up what I see as normal, what I see as acceptable, in the name of straight people.” Senior Connie Li, president of North’s Gay-Straight Alliance, took the middle road. She said LGBTQ groups could be a good idea, but that the hope is to ultimately have no need for them. “To have someone there to represent the LGBT community is better than [to have] no one,” Li said. “I think that later on hopefully we won’t need for there to be a separation [between gay and straight students].” Smith raised another concern: he said he felt prominent LGBTQ programs helped shield students from discrimination—which, he said, could be detrimental.

“[After college], we’ll be living in the [real] world where we’re going to be called names,” Smith said “I’m unexposed to that stuff. I want to experience it at college; I want to meet people who think and act differently.” Capps said he feels LGBTQ students experience more than enough of the real world on a daily basis. “It’s only a group. If you want to experience the real world, then don’t go to the club,” Capps said. “By being gay, or transgender, or lesbian, you know that the world is set against you. That erases any sort of innocence. You know that there are people who die because of this.” It is precisely because of such concerns that Harvard created a position for a Dean of LGBTQ student life. The deanship was based on the recommendations of a group which reviewed LGBTQ life at Harvard after several suicides of LGBTQ students and several hate crimes in September 2010, according to Harvard’s student-run newspaper The Crimson. To combat the harassment that often drives the suicides, Capps and Smith both said that zero-tolerance harassment policies were vital. “[University] administrations need to let students know that [bigoted behavior] is not the best. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but

“Your bigotry can’t keep us from existing.”

if those beliefs are going to hurt somebody else, then they need to be punished,” Smith said. “[If I were a university president], I would make sure that if anyone makes any sort of discrimination on LGBTQ-ness, it would be equally punishable as any other discrimination,” Capps said. “It’s all about equality.” That search for equality, Li saidi, is the reason straight students should care about LGBTQ programs on campus. “We’re all people,” Li said. “We’re not that different, and people shouldn’t be treated differently because [they are LGBTQ].” Capps said equality should extend to the promotion of LGBTQ student programs, which could be marketed like sororities and fraternities. “When freshmen come in and they see these people with shirts and drinks and all this activity, they’re at the very least curious,” Capps said. Capps’ vision for LGBTQ life is a defiant challenge of campus norms that would show off the energy of the LGBTQ movement. “If we did have men running around the quad in heels, people would be more [excited about LGBTQ programs],” Capps said. “People are uncomfortable with the idea of LGBTQ people. To that, we’re just saying, too bad. Your bigotry can’t keep us from existing.” *Name has been changed to protect the student’s family from harassment


Athlete of the month: Luke Embry

the north star sports 10.27.11

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Freshman sets sights on school record

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Freshman Luke Embry’s best 5Km time this season is 16:36 which leaves him just one minute and nine seconds shy of the school record. Photo by Christin Smith

Michael Hoffman Online Editor

orth has a huge cross country team. A major reason why is that running is an activity that nearly anyone can do. Among the 120 people in the sport, freshman Luke Embry is one of the few that is whole-heartedly into the sport. To the team, Embry is more than just a team member. He is the team. On Sept. 24 at Rim Rock, the most competitive race of the season, Embry finished 38th out of 246 in the varsity race with a time of 16:38. Not only did his place make him the top freshman at the entire meet, but his time also put him within one minute and 11 seconds of the all-time North record (He improved on the time just one week later). Embry, however, insists he was just there for the ride. “I liked running at Rim Rock – just experiencing the course and how tough it was while still being able to get a good time,” Embry said. Like most runners, Embry had to work hard to get where he is now. He has been running competitively for over four years. “My sister got into running in sixth grade, and I got into it in fifth grade,” he said. “I used to play soccer, baseball, football, basketball and competitively swim, but I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to just running [because] about a year after I started I realized I was good at this sport so I put in a lot of hard work, and it has paid off.” All of his hard work has made Embry the top boy on a team that is loaded with seniors. His coach, Gregg Buehler, associates coach-ability above all others as the trait that has made Embry

“From warm-up to cool- down, he’s focused on getting better...” such a strong runner and a leader on the team. “Probably Luke’s greatest strength is his coach-ability,” Buehler said. “He came to this program already an accomplished runner with very good past coaching, but he immediately bought into what we do in this program, and he shows up every day ready to get better. Obviously as a freshman it’s difficult for him to have that vocal leadership, but his actions on a daily basis are a model of what it takes to to get to the level that he wants to get to. From warm-up to cool-down, he’s focused on getting better and getting his teammates better.” Embry’s older sister, senior captain Gabby Embry, has been a varsity runner for the team since her freshman year and agreed with Buehler that her brother’s biggest strength is how he leads by example. “He is determined, and he does what he needs to do to get to where he needs to be,” she said. “He doesn’t let other people sway him like if they’re slacking off in a workout he knows to do the work out, and he always does his best.” For many at Embry’s level, they start to lose interest in running because it is no longer any fun for them. He, however, finds ways to see the sport as a fun activity. “The most fun thing about running is just going to all the different places for meets, meeting new people and making new friends,” he said. With his sub 17 minute 5 Km time as a freshman, Embry is in rare territory. Many who reach this mark find it increasingly difficult to improve their times. Embry’s coach believes that he can continue to improve as long as he stays positive. “Right now he just needs to keep doing what he’s doing, and it’s very important that he continues to enjoy it,” Buehler said. “He’s going to level off in terms of times and reach a plateau. Once that happens, he has maintain an optimistic view about future training and races and turn it up to the next level on both in order to get even faster. What’s great about [Luke], is that he knows this and is patient about it.” As long as Embry follows his coach’s advice, he should continue to get faster and make his way toward attaining his one ultimate goal-to break the school record of 15:27. Embry’s captain, senior Zach Schwermann, believes that Embry’s goal is within reach. “I think that Luke could very well beat that time but not this year,” Schwermann said. “I believe that if he continues to work as hard as he has this year that either his junior or senior year he will definitely break 15:27.” No matter how far he currently is behind the school record, Embry’s freshman season can be considered a success. He finished eighth at regionals and will be racing again at Rim Rock at state this weekend.


06 the north star sports 10.27.11 Soccer popularity booms in Johnson County

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Evan Watson Staff Writer

any of us were funneled into a Blue Valley Recreation soccer league when we had less coordination than a newborn giraffe. Senior soccer player Grant Smith is a prime example, as his soccer days started with Blue Valley Rec. “Blue Valley Rec definitely got me interested in soccer,” Smith said. “When I was little, I played for rec teams and then moved on up to premier teams. It made me motivated.” Who could have guessed that these programs would lead to a boom in the popularity of soccer in the Johnson County area. “Soccer around here is huge; it’s really growing. The strides that the sport has made really started with the Blue Valley youth soccer programs,” Blue Valley North head coach Tom Holland said. It’s not only the athletes who are witnessing the increase in popularity, however. Fans and supporters of soccer are also increasing in number. “I do think soccer is really growing, even for people who don’t play. I have a lot of friends who play “FIFA 12” [video game] and who enjoy watching soccer and the World Cup,” Smith said. The Blue Valley Rec system doesn’t

Sporting KC and BVN team on the rise

last forever, though, and soon the more dedicated and talented soccer players proceed to the next level. Once reaching the high school level, many soccer players play outside of school with the local professional club, Sporting Kansas City. Holland said that, “Sporting Kansas City has reserve and junior squads that give many kids opportunities. These squads feed into their professional system, which right now has four local kids playing with them.” Local kids that are finding success at the professional level include North graduates Jon Kempin (Class of 2010) and Andy Gruenebaum (Class of 2001), both goalkeepers for major league soccer teams. Sporting KC recently clinched a playoff berth, exciting tens of thousands in the Kansas City area. “I know a lot of people who love to go to the games, they’re really fun and are becoming more popular,” Smith said. As for North, the growth of soccer is evident. There were 120 guys that tried out for the soccer teams this year, making North’s soccer program one of the biggest in Kansas. “Over the past 10 years, we have won three state championships, three state runner-up titles and three league titles. No one else can say that,” Holland said. Although proud of the past,

Girls golf wins state title

O

Curran sisters drive in a victory Chris Shanklin Staff Writer

n Oct. 17, the girls varsity golf team took home the state title. “We won because we persevered,” coach Susan O’Dell said, “The course was brutal,[There were] tough conditions and tough pin placements.” A final score of 349 makes O’Dell proud of her team. “It really was such a team effort, the Currans both played very well. Our

seniors were great leaders all season; they got us there – Amber Norman, Sarah Wylan and Stephanie Curran.” Senior Sarah Wylan discussed the course conditions during her round. “It was a cold, cloudy day at Shadow Glen Country Club; it rained for two or three holes then the wind picked up. But we had mental focus, and we played well given our brutal conditions,” Wylan said. Ultimately, the girls golf team overcame the weather to win its third straight state championship.

Holland is looking forward to the future. This year’s squad is inspired by the history of the soccer program and hopes to continue finding success on the field. “Our BVN soccer fans cheer on varsity soccer players at a home soccer game at the DAC. Photo soccer by Christin Smith. team has players as being key to this year’s enthusiasm. These guys feel like success. The team’s record currently they need to carry on the tradition stands at 9 wins, 5 losses and 2 draws. that we’ve established here. The “We’re a growing team with a lot of competition, having 120 guys out for new guys, and we need to be more soccer, it tends to motivate them,” said consistent with our finishing. We Holland. need to get a lead in games so we can Holland sees the progression of the then lock down and close it out.”


McCall knows no limits

the north star sports 10.27.11

A pledge to bring exponential growth to the North football team

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[Dave’s D.M.C]

David Tauber Sports Editor

fter eight consecutive defeats, head football coach John McCall has not lost his morale. His first few but trying months at North have revealed his quiet, but persistently confident attitude. “I wanted the focus of this transition to be on Blue Valley North more than the coaches,” McCall said. “I’m a very humble person. I take blame, but give credit.” Returning to Kansas from Richland High School in Texas, McCall has coached against the country’s best coaches and coached the best players, including NFL star Darren Sproles. After working in Texas as a defensive coordinator for five years, he returned to Kansas for a number of reasons. “I missed being a head coach. Timing as a coach and my family were also big parts of my decision,” McCall said. “I have great expectations for football, here, at this school. I’ve made a commitment to come here, and I’m going to finish it. That’s one of the things that drives me. I want Blue Valley North football to go the top of the map. I want to get there, and once I get there, staying there is the biggest challenge.” Aside from his ambition and determination, McCall understands the challenges of changing a team’s philosophy and identity. “When you haven’t been winning and there is a coaching change, that coaching change doesn’t change anything the first year. It is very difficult because there is so much re-teaching and re-learning. You have a new coaching staff teaching players things they haven’t been taught before. It’s just like teaching a first year player,” McCall said. After the winless start, some fans wondered if the team could resurface. This isn’t McCall’s first time walking into a losing program, however, he understands his team’s capabilities weighed against fans’ expectations. “I’m not embarrassed about anything at all because of how many sophomores we are playing. There

07

Deep Meaningful Conversation David Tauber Sports Editor

Make noise for the underdog

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Taking Charge. Coach John McCall converses with coach Jeremy Milne while coaching the football game on homecoming night. This is been McCall’s first year coaching at North. Photo by Christin

was an old coach who used to say, ‘In this area, for every sophomore you play, that’s one loss on your schedule,’” McCall said. “That’s baloney, but it’s not baloney at the same time. We are playing a lot of young guys, eight sophomores play.”

“It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about doing the best we can.” Eight losses. As McCall’s colleague predicted, that is where the Mustang’s record stands. That’s only half of the story, though. McCall’s colleague said they would find a way to win one game. The team has a final chance

tomorrow night against Shawnee Mission West. McCall’s attitude toward losing is a positive one. He thinks he can accomplish more by focusing on positives. A man of integrity, he says he’ll never use a mercy rule, like the running clock, to end a game quickly and painlessly. “I can lose a game in a better way, but when I do that, I’m never giving my kids a chance to win. There are programs where that has to happen; we are not one of them. Against Blue Valley, officials asked me if I wanted a running clock, and I said no. I will say no every time; there are lessons to learn. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about doing the best we can. These are lessons we take into our marriages, careers and interactions with others. There is value to that.”

aydreaming during class, I’m brought back to when Arrowhead roared like the angry sea of red it was made out to be. It’s different nowadays: I reckon Matt Cassel hears me from my upper deck seats whispering to my dad that he’s a slouch. It got me wondering about the noise. There’s a lot of noise in sports and life. I can’t get enough, so I attend as many sporting events as possible. Homecoming olympics are loud, the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs are even louder, but a few weeks ago I went to a deafening event, a F.C. Barcelona soccer match. “Messi, Messi, Messi,” they chanted. But who is Messi? Lionel Messi, no. 10, the heart and soul of Barca. Messi is an unassuming player. A little guy, standing just 5’7”, he is a city icon. In the beating rain he played until the last minute to pull off a hat trick for the home crowd. When I came home, I went to a North game. The difference was profound, the stands felt more like a silent library. So where’s the noise? It’s in a can-do, must win attitude. Right now, the Mustangs need a new face. Our teams don’t need players who’ve been told that they’re the best all their lives. They need competitive people with heart. The fall state championships are approaching and it’s anyone’s time. It’s not just about the playing fields either. There’s noise in our lives, and sometimes people need to hear the praise. Right now, a whole lot of adversity confronts both our teams and our lives. The noise comes from trumping it, from succeeding when few believe in us.


08

the north star

10.27.11

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the north star feature 10.27.11

Going the extra Miles

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Member of the Mustang family hopes to inspire others Olga Deckman Staff Writer

“M

y hope and dream for students here at Blue Valley North is that they would continue on with their education as far as they wish to take it and make the most out of what [they] do in life,” substitute teacher Miles Marshall said. It’s not very often that you find adults that have such a passion for not only teaching, but a passion for connecting with students. Marshall frequently substitutes for teachers here at BVN. However, there is a deeper side to Marshall that others have not seen. Take a closer look at Marshall. Q: How long have you been teaching? A: "This is the beginning of my 20th year of teaching.” Q: Describe your childhood, what was it like? A: "My childhood years were fun.

A legend at North. While substituting for a communication arts class, Miles Marshall helps senior Lexie Park with her paper. Marshall was a big help and enjoyed being there as a reference. photo by Christin Smith

I lived during the depression years and the WWII years. I remember having to watch my middle brother be drafted off to war. It was really hard for me to watch my middle brother struggle to find a job after the war because he dropped out of high school when being drafted. I think our generation had a different set of values. My generation didn’t

have access to all the social media. Honestly I don’t think it would have made my life any better if I would have had access to those things.” Q: Who is your biggest role model and why? A: “My middle brother is probably my role model I’ve always respected his goals and his integrity to reach those goals. He’s the guy that has kept me

grounded.” Q: Most embarrassing teacher moment? A: "On my first day of my teaching, I went to go use the restroom before class and I forgot to zip up my fly, and the class was all female.” Q: What’s your guilty pleasure? A: "My guilty pleasure would have to be chocolate malts from Sheridan’s.” Q: If you could have dinner with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and why? A: "I would like to have dinner with Oprah Winfrey because, I just admire her for all that she has been able to accomplish in her lifetime. And she just strikes me as a really down-toearth person. I think both of us would have interesting conversations.” Q: What do you love most about teaching? A: “I love getting to interact with young people. I love getting to watch them grow intellectually. I like seeing them pursue their goals.”


10 the north star feature 10.27.11

F

[Lovelace ties it together]

In the studio w i t h

Lily Lieberman Staff Writer

In the Studio erguson has built a modest recording studio in his basement, lining the walls with posters of Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, MGMT and Vampire Weekend. A plethora of guitars, both electric and acoustic, as well as a disco ball and a plush red couch make this unconventional studio a place where music lovers can record their beats without the hassle and cost of a big time studio. “When people want to record a song, they pay me to use my equipment and have me do all of the audio production for them,” Ferguson said. “I charge $30 an hour plus $10 a song, and that’s for rap and R&B if they have their own beats.” Ferguson’s journey as a recorder began at the beginning of the summer. Recognizing the demand for a convenient way for people to record their beats, Ferguson saw an opportunity to turn his passion into a business. “I started recording other people as a business on accident when Joel Perowsky recommended me to a friend, John Reichmeier, who was in need of a recording studio,” Ferguson said. “He’s now my number one client. He comes one to eight times a month. Sometimes it’ll be like rapid fire in here.” John Reichmeier, Ferguson’s first customer, records rap and hip hop beats “with a little bit of old-school feel” in the studio for his group The Dispensary. Besides the obvious cost benefits, Reichmeier enjoys the stress-free environment that Ferguson’s basement provides. “I was hanging out with Joel Perowsky and he was listening to my songs and told me I should go over [to Cole’s] sometime, and we went from there. I like to go to Cole’s because it’s a more relaxed environment, there’s no time limit so we don’t have to rush to get songs done. Cole and I won’t stop until it’s just the way we want it,” Rockhurst senior Reichmeier said.

c o l e

f e r g u s o n

Facing the Music “Once in a while we break out the fog machine, the acoustic guitar and just jam,” Ferguson said. Ferguson’s band, Funk Shway, is the love child of his jam sessions with friends. With a list of band members that’s so long that sometimes Ferguson can’t remember, Funk Shway is difficult to pigeonhole. “Most of the music I make I can’t put in a genre because I’m inspired by many artists. I’m most inspired by MGMT because of how free-spirited they are,” Ferguson said. Funk Shway’s first live appearance was at the Electric Luau July 22, where North’s own Linden Hails and DJ L-Mo also played for a crowd of eager students. “Electric Luau was originally my idea. I’ve always wanted to play a live show in front of my friends, so I contacted Linden about it,” Ferguson said. “Electric Luau didn’t do much for the studio but definitely sparked some interest in my music.” Former North student Chris Scimecca spun a mix of techno and ska beats using the alias DJ L-Mo at the Electric Luau. Agreeing immediately to Cole’s proposition to DJ at the live summer concert and dance party, Scimecca was pumped to work with such a talented artist. “I think Cole is a great singer, guitarist, keyboardist, producer and songwriter. His versatility as a musician will help him rise to the top, as long as he continues to practice and explore new music,” Scimecca said. Although others saw his inherent talent, Ferguson decided to take up singing lessons after the Luau. He’s still in the process of learning what works for him. “I don’t have the voice of an angel, just the voice of a guy who’s learning how to sing.”

‘Let the lovin’ take ahold’ Although he may not have perfected his tunes yet, Ferguson truly enjoys the process of making music. “It’s all about the expression. I love making my own songs and expressing myself. Sounds corny, but it’s true,” Ferguson said. Ferguson’s passion for self-expression has led him to explore a future career in music. “I want to be a producer when I get out of college, so this is a career I want to follow up with,” Ferguson said. Although he may not have reached producer status quite yet, Ferguson wants to give advice to those who, like him, enjoy the process of selfexpression. “I’m not really that successful yet, but if I could give any advice, it’d be in the words of Sublime: ‘just let the lovin’ take ahold.’ If you truly love to do it, then don’t let anyone stop you,” Ferguson said.

Check out Soundcloud. com/ coleferguson to listen to music.

Just do it

S

Berkeley Lovelace Feature Editor

taying dedicated is underrated. What I’ve seen from others, in activities like sports or clubs, is that they quit when it gets tough or they’re not the best. I am saying stay a little longer, however, this is a statement coming from an individual who, in many cases, had been too scared to quit anything. For some reason I had the belief that quitting was a character flaw, but it’s not. I’ve learned that investing time in activities that are a personal gratification is admirable and smart. Although, for those moments doing a wide range of employments that I loathed, I learned a lot lessons. First impressions aren’t always correct. Meaning, if you go on that first impulse alone you could be depriving yourself from growth. For instance, my tug-of-war with writing – from almost dropping writing to feeling incomplete without it. I’d like to think I’ve become a better writer. Specifically because there was a time, when I began writing, that all I could do was look at a blank screen – no typing, no thinking. There was this thing called grammar, and we didn’t see eye-to-eye. The process was utterly frustrating with many headaches, but I progressed. Now, I can manage to type a few words. And writing is now something, that I have to have in my life. Had I not done any of those things, I would be a totally different person. Many people can get to that step, that step where you see growth. Join activities that you are interested in, but never had the time or effort to. You never know what could happen.


When to intervene

11

Intervention Team keep­­­­s kids from slipping through the cracks

and were banned from cell phones. Watson’s move to Johnson County has changed her academic environment. t freshman Aalliyah Watson’s Teachers said the demographic of midde school, Lee. A. Tolbert students at North who come from Community Academy, in other districts is growing, and some Kansas City, Mo., students went of these students struggle with North’s on strike against the cafeteria food academic rigor. To help them, and any students with serious academic problems is the job of the new intervention team, the Responsible Education Intervention Network (REIN). CA teacher Cynthia Younger said there’s a variety of actions REIN could take to help struggling students. “[It] might be changing a schedule and giving [students] Natalie Johnson-Berry and Cynthia Younger discuss what is happening with the Intervention Team. They felt the need to help out the students a study hall if they who were having a hard time keeping up with North’s routine. Photo by don’t already have one. Christin Smith

A

the north star feature 10.27.11

Jessi Glueck Co-Editor-in-Chief

It might mean talking to the nurse... or helping [students] get involved in a club and meet some new people,” Younger said. Johnson-Berry said that much of the need for REIN stems from the recent influx of students from other districts where the curriculum doesn’t meet rigorous Blue Valley standards. “With everything that’s going on educationally in this state and in the state of Missouri, they have a lot of kids coming to Blue Valley who are not used to the methods here,” Johnson-Berry said, referring to the recent loss of accreditation for Kansas City, Mo., schools. Missouri’s state Board of Education has demanded that the Kansas City, Mo. schools clean up their act. Otherwise, the lowachieving schools will be taken over by the state. Watson said she agreed that the expectations at North can come as a shock.

“When we did tests [at my old school], there wasn’t very good scores,” Watson said. “The learning [at North] is different because I think teachers expect students to do well here.” The workload, too, is at times a challenge for Watson. “I have all these classes. Every one of my classes, I have homework in,” Watson said. “It’s just kind of hard to do that every single day. Some assignments I don’t keep up with, some assignments I do.” REIN would, Watson said, help kids who are falling behind stay competitive. “[The Intervention Team] would be easier....for kids who have struggles. [It’s kind of like] Ms. Younger’s study hall class. Ms. Younger looks up your [assignments],” Watson said. “She helps you with it. She might be direct, but you need that directness, because you need to pass.”


the north star spread 10.27.11

18yrs

16yrs 14yrs 12yrs 8yrs

Chris Shanklin Staff Writer glimpse of the full moon filters through an overcast night sky. Crisp air stings the tips of your fingers and nose as you approach the dimly lit porch. You grip your extra large cotton pillow case in your left and pulling down the foul smelling mask over your face with your right. Your final preparations are complete. Now, with the ring of the bell comes the proposition“Trick or treat!”. An older gentleman and his wife glance at you and your friend, then back at each other and begin to shake their head. “Aren’t you guys a little too old?,” They stress “little”...clearly out of sarcasm. Defeated, you are dismissed by the couple and feeling a little lame as you drop the candy in the sack. Despite what some parents may say, we are still considered kids. Maybe we can be considered otherwise by the job market and DMV, but we are still too young to drink and party like the college kids do. How then are we too old for trick-or-treating? This is nearly our last chance to experience the innocence of our youth before we really are too old. Trick-or-treating may be silly but after all that is the point. Does going out with a group of teens makes you feel uncomfortable or lame? There is an alternative that will still get you to the candy, and rather than frowns and shaking heads, you’ll receive praise from the surrounding adults. Offer yourself as a babysitter and, to sweeten the deal, do it for free! Parents will love you. Sure, mommy and daddy trick-or-treat with their 5-year-olds, but maybe they’ll want a break. And what child wouldn’t want to go with a cool teenager who will dress up too? After all, whether we like to admit it or not, kids do look up to us as role models. If you’re going to be out remember there are kids far younger than us who don’t need teens acting obscene. That means girls be decent, no lingerie and bunny ears. That’s not a costume outside the bedroom. Guys smashing pumpkins, egging, scaring a little girl in a bumble bee costume or a ninja turtle isn’t in the spirit of Halloween. Halloween is the one thing time in the year when we are guaranteed to have a good time while setting a good example.

A

Are you going trick-or-treating this year?

Halloween  costumes:  DIY Get  into  the  Halloween  spirit  without  breaking  the  bank Politicians

iPod  commercial  guy  

Jersey  Shore  

or those of you who enjoy making your costume a little more intellectually based, dressing up as your favorite, or least favorite, politician is always a surefire way to get a few laughs and probably an interesting conversation. Sarah Palin’s just one iconic example of a costume trend that’s fun and smart at the same time. Yes, she’s been poked fun of quite a bit, but Palin continually gives us something to talk about. To dress like this Tea Party leader, all you need is a silk robe, a t-shirt with a bikini-clad torso painted on (like the kind you get on vacations that awkward parents wear), a few iron-on moose decals, some frameless glasses, tan leggings, and a bunch of hair spray. First, carefully iron your moose decals onto your t-shirt, on both triangles of the painted–on bikini top. Then, carefully put on your silk robe, making sure you can still see the moose decals on the front of the “swimsuit”. After that, put on your frameless glasses and continue on to tease the front section of your hair to give the illusion of Palin’s ‘80s-style bangs. Last, but definitely not least, slip into your tan leggings to complete the look. If you’re up for it, finish the off the outfit with a pair of red, patent leather high heels. Oh, and for any guy who attempts this costume, please throw on a pair of shorts over your leggings so you don’t scare the little kids trick-or-treating.

veryone remembers the mysterious dancing silhouette on the old iPod commercials, but at least from what I’ve seen, nobody’s really tried to bust this look out on Halloween. It’s been a while since this funkadelic commercial has been on TV, but if you’re looking for something more original, this costume isn’t something you see every year. To turn yourself into this mysterious dancing fiend*, you’ll need an iPod (preferably a colored one, or at least one with a colored case), a black shirt, black pants/leggings, a black hat (optional), black shoes, sunglasses, and some white or neon accessories–like a belt, necklace, bracelets, buttons, etc. First, put on all your apparel. If you can still see bits and pieces of skin after you’re completely dressed, try to cover it with another piece of clothing (i.e. black soccer socks for bare ankles, you get the drift) or, if worst comes to worst, just paint it with face paint. To go all out, you can also buy a pack of wash-out black hair dye and put that in your tresses for the night. But, if you’re not feeling that drastic, a black beanie does the trick. Last, but certainly not least, throw on some bright accessories. For guys, a white or bright colored belt works perfectly. And for girls, you can wear any sort of neon or white jewelry. *Note: this costume will not make you a better dancer. For the most part, the actors look like they’re being electrocuted anyways, so please do not try to replicate the commercials.

ur generation has virtually grown up with these tan, beefed up party animals. Every Thursday, we dutifully watch them fight with their roommates and dance to all sorts of house music at the club, making complete fools of themselves. And, of course, we savor every scandalous moment. To “juice-ify” yourself, you’ll need the following items: Girls - a tight dress, a Bumpit, hairspray, a big container of bronzer, black eyeliner, and some platforms or high heeled shoes. Guys - a tight graphic tee or a tight tank top, a pair of crisp looking jeans, bronzer, a container of hair gel, and some white sneakers/Nike-ish shoes. To start off the costume, slip into your mock-juicehead attire. Girls, that means your dress, and guys, that means your crisply pressed jeans and graphic tee/tank. Once you’re dressed to the nines, it’s bronzer time. For both girls and guys, layer at least two coats of this “fake bake in a box” onto your face and neck to get the Snooki-orange glow. Now it’s hair time. Guys, try to get your ‘do to stand straight up, a la Pauly D. This may require a few layers of gel and a decent amount of drying time, but it will be well worth the effort. Girls, pull up the front section of hair at the crown of your head, tease it, place your Bumpit right behind the section, and pull the hair over the Bumpit and secure with hairspray. For a few finishing touches, throw on your white kicks or strap on your heels, and girls, layer on a few coats of thick, black mascara, and you’re ready to rage.

F

E

O

47 said

Alex Goldman Co-Editor-in-Chief

13

Sarah Evans Business Manager wo years ago, I officially resigned from my golden age of trick-or-treating. Manning my post of distributing candy to little superheroes and Hannah Montanas, I stayed at home and browsed the horror movies playing on every channel. Hearing a knock on the door, I answered it to find two teenage boys - both at least three years older than me - in sloppy ghost costumes comprised of sheets and eyes drawn with a Sharpie. It was an odd and awkward feeling to lift the bowl up so they could reach it. They mumbled “thanks” in voices deeper than I can imitate and walked off to the next house. After the phantoms had departed, I was a little off-put. Although they were just participating in a holiday loved by millions, I couldn’t help but feel slightly taken advantage of. At its core, trick-or-treating is a practice designed to cater to children. The candy, the costumes, and even the silly fake zombies that people place in their yards for a “spook factor” are all designed to make sure kids enjoy the holiday. While I’ll be the first to admit that having fun and embracing your inner child are great things to do, the time and place for teenagers to do this is not trick-or-treating. The reason trick-or-treating has survived as a timehonored tradition for so long is that it is a give-and-take system. As teenagers, our time as “takers” has come and gone. Without teens and adults to give out candy, trick-ortreating wouldn’t be possible. Taking sweets from strangers and then consuming mass amounts of sugar - which, at this age, only makes me feel sick - was fun when we were little, but it’s not the magical experience it used to be. Now, we should work towards providing that experience to younger kids. As a generation constantly begging adults to respect us and value our opinions, it’s time to step up to stay  home the plate and prove that we’re worthy of that respect. If your idea of a fun Halloween this year is shivering from the cold under an itchy costume, getting questioning and judgmental looks from adults passing out candy, and sugar-loading to the point of nausea, go ahead. Mean- pushing  it while, I’ll be watching the adorable smiles of costumed kids excited to receive their candy and enjoying the holiday with my friends later on, knowing that a grown-up Halloween is even more exciting. reasonable

T

% 53 said

%

YES

the north star spread 10.27.11

OR  TO  TREAT

TO  TRICK

12

NO

*Based on a poll of 100 North students.

get  candy

Sarah Campbell Design Editor


the north star spread 10.27.11

18yrs

16yrs 14yrs 12yrs 8yrs

Chris Shanklin Staff Writer glimpse of the full moon filters through an overcast night sky. Crisp air stings the tips of your fingers and nose as you approach the dimly lit porch. You grip your extra large cotton pillow case in your left and pulling down the foul smelling mask over your face with your right. Your final preparations are complete. Now, with the ring of the bell comes the proposition“Trick or treat!”. An older gentleman and his wife glance at you and your friend, then back at each other and begin to shake their head. “Aren’t you guys a little too old?,” They stress “little”...clearly out of sarcasm. Defeated, you are dismissed by the couple and feeling a little lame as you drop the candy in the sack. Despite what some parents may say, we are still considered kids. Maybe we can be considered otherwise by the job market and DMV, but we are still too young to drink and party like the college kids do. How then are we too old for trick-or-treating? This is nearly our last chance to experience the innocence of our youth before we really are too old. Trick-or-treating may be silly but after all that is the point. Does going out with a group of teens makes you feel uncomfortable or lame? There is an alternative that will still get you to the candy, and rather than frowns and shaking heads, you’ll receive praise from the surrounding adults. Offer yourself as a babysitter and, to sweeten the deal, do it for free! Parents will love you. Sure, mommy and daddy trick-or-treat with their 5-year-olds, but maybe they’ll want a break. And what child wouldn’t want to go with a cool teenager who will dress up too? After all, whether we like to admit it or not, kids do look up to us as role models. If you’re going to be out remember there are kids far younger than us who don’t need teens acting obscene. That means girls be decent, no lingerie and bunny ears. That’s not a costume outside the bedroom. Guys smashing pumpkins, egging, scaring a little girl in a bumble bee costume or a ninja turtle isn’t in the spirit of Halloween. Halloween is the one thing time in the year when we are guaranteed to have a good time while setting a good example.

A

Are you going trick-or-treating this year?

Halloween  costumes:  DIY Get  into  the  Halloween  spirit  without  breaking  the  bank Politicians

iPod  commercial  guy  

Jersey  Shore  

or those of you who enjoy making your costume a little more intellectually based, dressing up as your favorite, or least favorite, politician is always a surefire way to get a few laughs and probably an interesting conversation. Sarah Palin’s just one iconic example of a costume trend that’s fun and smart at the same time. Yes, she’s been poked fun of quite a bit, but Palin continually gives us something to talk about. To dress like this Tea Party leader, all you need is a silk robe, a t-shirt with a bikini-clad torso painted on (like the kind you get on vacations that awkward parents wear), a few iron-on moose decals, some frameless glasses, tan leggings, and a bunch of hair spray. First, carefully iron your moose decals onto your t-shirt, on both triangles of the painted–on bikini top. Then, carefully put on your silk robe, making sure you can still see the moose decals on the front of the “swimsuit”. After that, put on your frameless glasses and continue on to tease the front section of your hair to give the illusion of Palin’s ‘80s-style bangs. Last, but definitely not least, slip into your tan leggings to complete the look. If you’re up for it, finish the off the outfit with a pair of red, patent leather high heels. Oh, and for any guy who attempts this costume, please throw on a pair of shorts over your leggings so you don’t scare the little kids trick-or-treating.

veryone remembers the mysterious dancing silhouette on the old iPod commercials, but at least from what I’ve seen, nobody’s really tried to bust this look out on Halloween. It’s been a while since this funkadelic commercial has been on TV, but if you’re looking for something more original, this costume isn’t something you see every year. To turn yourself into this mysterious dancing fiend*, you’ll need an iPod (preferably a colored one, or at least one with a colored case), a black shirt, black pants/leggings, a black hat (optional), black shoes, sunglasses, and some white or neon accessories–like a belt, necklace, bracelets, buttons, etc. First, put on all your apparel. If you can still see bits and pieces of skin after you’re completely dressed, try to cover it with another piece of clothing (i.e. black soccer socks for bare ankles, you get the drift) or, if worst comes to worst, just paint it with face paint. To go all out, you can also buy a pack of wash-out black hair dye and put that in your tresses for the night. But, if you’re not feeling that drastic, a black beanie does the trick. Last, but certainly not least, throw on some bright accessories. For guys, a white or bright colored belt works perfectly. And for girls, you can wear any sort of neon or white jewelry. *Note: this costume will not make you a better dancer. For the most part, the actors look like they’re being electrocuted anyways, so please do not try to replicate the commercials.

ur generation has virtually grown up with these tan, beefed up party animals. Every Thursday, we dutifully watch them fight with their roommates and dance to all sorts of house music at the club, making complete fools of themselves. And, of course, we savor every scandalous moment. To “juice-ify” yourself, you’ll need the following items: Girls - a tight dress, a Bumpit, hairspray, a big container of bronzer, black eyeliner, and some platforms or high heeled shoes. Guys - a tight graphic tee or a tight tank top, a pair of crisp looking jeans, bronzer, a container of hair gel, and some white sneakers/Nike-ish shoes. To start off the costume, slip into your mock-juicehead attire. Girls, that means your dress, and guys, that means your crisply pressed jeans and graphic tee/tank. Once you’re dressed to the nines, it’s bronzer time. For both girls and guys, layer at least two coats of this “fake bake in a box” onto your face and neck to get the Snooki-orange glow. Now it’s hair time. Guys, try to get your ‘do to stand straight up, a la Pauly D. This may require a few layers of gel and a decent amount of drying time, but it will be well worth the effort. Girls, pull up the front section of hair at the crown of your head, tease it, place your Bumpit right behind the section, and pull the hair over the Bumpit and secure with hairspray. For a few finishing touches, throw on your white kicks or strap on your heels, and girls, layer on a few coats of thick, black mascara, and you’re ready to rage.

F

E

O

47 said

Alex Goldman Co-Editor-in-Chief

13

Sarah Evans Business Manager wo years ago, I officially resigned from my golden age of trick-or-treating. Manning my post of distributing candy to little superheroes and Hannah Montanas, I stayed at home and browsed the horror movies playing on every channel. Hearing a knock on the door, I answered it to find two teenage boys - both at least three years older than me - in sloppy ghost costumes comprised of sheets and eyes drawn with a Sharpie. It was an odd and awkward feeling to lift the bowl up so they could reach it. They mumbled “thanks” in voices deeper than I can imitate and walked off to the next house. After the phantoms had departed, I was a little off-put. Although they were just participating in a holiday loved by millions, I couldn’t help but feel slightly taken advantage of. At its core, trick-or-treating is a practice designed to cater to children. The candy, the costumes, and even the silly fake zombies that people place in their yards for a “spook factor” are all designed to make sure kids enjoy the holiday. While I’ll be the first to admit that having fun and embracing your inner child are great things to do, the time and place for teenagers to do this is not trick-or-treating. The reason trick-or-treating has survived as a timehonored tradition for so long is that it is a give-and-take system. As teenagers, our time as “takers” has come and gone. Without teens and adults to give out candy, trick-ortreating wouldn’t be possible. Taking sweets from strangers and then consuming mass amounts of sugar - which, at this age, only makes me feel sick - was fun when we were little, but it’s not the magical experience it used to be. Now, we should work towards providing that experience to younger kids. As a generation constantly begging adults to respect us and value our opinions, it’s time to step up to stay  home the plate and prove that we’re worthy of that respect. If your idea of a fun Halloween this year is shivering from the cold under an itchy costume, getting questioning and judgmental looks from adults passing out candy, and sugar-loading to the point of nausea, go ahead. Mean- pushing  it while, I’ll be watching the adorable smiles of costumed kids excited to receive their candy and enjoying the holiday with my friends later on, knowing that a grown-up Halloween is even more exciting. reasonable

T

% 53 said

%

YES

the north star spread 10.27.11

OR  TO  TREAT

TO  TRICK

12

NO

*Based on a poll of 100 North students.

get  candy

Sarah Campbell Design Editor


14 the north star feature 10.27.11

These are a few of my incomplete things Reid Eggleston News Editor

W

hen did we become such broken people? Was it when we lost that favorite pet turtle in third grade, or was it when we lost our parents to divorce? Brokenness is the sign of an incomplete people, a missing people. We can choose to mope, anger, revolt, despair or deny. Or we can hope, realizing that our incompleteness is the beauty of humanity. These are the stories of three North students who had hope. They are all missing something, but it is the missing that accentuates the richness of what is there.

I miss my lung “I had open heart surgery when I was born,” senior Alex Proffitt said. “It went well, but I had to have another one when I was 4. The doctors couldn’t tell what was wrong.” You might miss a friend. You might miss an old letter from your favorite grandpa. Proffitt misses his lung. “I had a condition called transposition of the great vessels,” Proffitt said. “My diaphragm was flipped around and my blood was flowing the wrong way. I started losing tissue in my right lung and then I completely lost its function.” Fortunate is not a word most would use to describe Proffitt’s condition, but here’s what makes him different: he is able to find wholeness in what he has lost. “I’m pretty lucky. They said I had an 85 percent chance of dying when I was born,” Proffitt said. “And I don’t have brain damage or anything else like that.” Still, it’s impossible to see what is missed and think life wouldn’t be

different. “If I didn’t have heart surgery, my parents say I would be 6'1".” At 5'8", Proffitt quietly thinks about the possibilities. “I wouldn’t be as tired as I usually am,” he said “And it’s kind of funny. I love sports, but I can’t play football or hockey or anything like that. I wonder about that.” But what is life besides wondering what could have been? “I lived in Colorado and I loved Colorado, but I had to move because my lungs couldn’t handle it,” he said. “Looking back, it isn’t a huge deal, but it’s the little things, you know?” In the end, Proffitt realizes he could dwell on things missing. Instead, he has chosen to hope for the promises life holds. “The doctors have brought up that I might have surgery soon to try to get the breathing back, but I’m not sure if they can do that anymore,” he said. So like all missing things, he must wait for its return.

evaluate yourself and foster your own independence.” Could it be that analysis so inward, so individual, could lead to new friendships so strong? Of course, Cullom said, that’s why “you always have your best friends that will stick with you through everything.” And for those other friends that come and go like Sunday breezes: “Shifting friends has always been a choice thing,” he said. “Not a redemption or sacrificial thing.” So, it turns out, missing those middle school friends has led to a deeper understanding of his friends in high school. “People act differently around kids, adults, and teachers. I’ve learned it’s not just about how you act in front of your friends,” he said. “It’s how you act in front of other friends’ friends [and] other adults.” Of course, Cullom still urges all to get out there. “I still like to pursue new friends, and in some ways I still do it out of a desire for social mobility.” I miss my old friends But he advises his peers to go beyond simply making friends. But loss isn’t only material. “Yeah, make friends. But understand Sometimes we just miss old company. yourself,” he said “Then you’ll This is the quandary of junior Abe understand the friends you make.” Cullom. Cullom misses friends past. “In middle school, I tried to sit at I miss my home a table with cooler people, not my geeky friends. At that point, I kind of wanted to be a social climber,” Cullom She doesn’t look like a journeyman, said. “It was pretty superficial of me, but for senior Yomna Hassaballa, nomadic travels across four states in but I just wanted to talk to girls. I Egypt and America beg to differ. ended up abandoning my friends.” “I was born in Egypt, but in the year But, as he learned, abandonment is 2000 my parents got jobs in Omaha, a catalyst for self-discovery. Neb., to get their Ph.D.s,” Hassaballa “This was a pretty unique said. “We lived there for six years, but opportunity to find out what I was like on my own,” he said. “You’re not after [that] we were told to move back constantly socializing with someone to Egypt by the government.” Very soon in her life an important after school. This was time to really

question arose: which is more important, family or education? “I took middle school [in Egypt], but I liked the American system better,” she said. “So I told my parents I needed to move back. We ended up here in Kansas.” But Kansas, while brimming with Midwestern spirit, lacked a necessary ingredient in Hassaballa’s life. “I live with my mom and my dad and my sister. My uncle on my mom’s side lives here, too. But that’s it,” she said. “I miss the closeness of our family in Egypt. Sometimes my sister and I would go over to our relatives’ houses and eat dinner and talk,” she said. “Here, with just my immediate family, I’m not able to do that.” For Hassaballa, the sadness comes less from knowing her family is so far away but from the guilt, knowing she receives advantages her family never will. “Most of my family, they live in Egypt,” she said. “And it’s hard to think that I’m getting a better education here than they are there.” But the distance separates and suffocates. And it endures. “We’ve tried to travel back during summer vacations, but so often it hasn’t worked out with visas and everything,” she said. “We’re trying to go before college, but I’m just not sure.” So the only remnants of Egypt she can hang onto are the memories. “In my seventh grade summer, my cousins and I went on a vacation together,” Hassaballa said. “My cousin was swimming in a pool, and she did this weird flip and my friend had to jump in the water to save her. I was just laughing. It’s times like that, they make me miss Egypt.” Of course, this is an Egypt that may not ever return.


S

the north star feature 10.27.11

15

Leave a mark

Teen aspires to communicate through art

Berkeley Lovelace Feature Editor

enior Rahul Sharma never knew he had it. But after gazing at traditional Renaissance portraits in his history class sophomore year, he found a passion for the technical depth and detail that went into premodern-art. Now, with a click of a pen and a stroke on a page, he’s off creating sketches, massive portraits or tiny doodles, and he doesn’t look back. “One thing I really find fascinating about art is that gives me the ability to capture nature and objects, in real life, all with a pencil,” Sharma said. “The idea that you can communicate with the power of art, dramatically influence others and capture people who are important in my life has changed me.” Sharma’s fondness for Renaissance style has exerted a unique influence on the art he takes great care-particularly work from Botticelle, Perugino, Ghirlandaio and Rosselli, painters of the Sistine Chapel. “One monument that has inspired my work is from the Sistine Chapel,” Sharma said. Although Sharma has never seen the Sistine Chapel in real life, he does, however, make it his goal to see it in his lifetime. “Because of the Chapel, I would later recreate the portrait of Adam

with a sketch it in my notebook. I try to keep all work such as that technically impressive, rather than idealistically,” Sharma said. It didn’t take long before friends, peers and teachers noticed Sharma’s new found fascination. “I have been a friend of Rahul for quite a few years,” senior Ashley Ko said. “What I’ve noticed about his artwork is that it’s super detailed and realistic. I always enjoy looking at his pieces.” “Rahul takes a lot of pride in his work and uses it to express himself,” social studies teacher, Steven Skiles said. “I first met Rahul in my history class sophomore year and ever since then we’ve talked together about his art. I still remember his first drawing, it was a charcoal drawing, that imitated Renaissance style. Now, he is doing his own original pieces and broadening his artistic skills.” Despite being quite content with his artistic skills now, Sharma admits that it took awhile before he understood the basic techniques used to shape his craft. “I first started in the second grade. When I was younger, I didn’t consider things like shading or outlining, my art was fairly stagnant,” Sharma said. “In high school, my skills skyrocketed.” Sharma stressed the key to furthering artistic ability is to continuously practice. He noted that

“Drawing is a way to consume my mind and it keeps me awake. I find it fun.”

it is important to pay attention to technical ability and find subjects that mean something to you. He does, however, mention that much of his growth is due to the teachings of art teacher Tom Holland. “Holland is the one that drove me to take drawing class,” Sharma said. “He improved my technique and taught me everything I know. I would not be able to draw without his instruction.” “Rahul’s art is very unique,” Holland said. “What’s different about Rahul is that he really studies his subject thoroughly on any artwork.” While Sharma has not yet officially won an art contest, he was, against all odds, nominated to participate in an art exhibition. “I took a class two years ago at K.C.A.I [Kansas City Art Institute] All the instructors would nominate a certain person to participate and I was chosen out off all the others,” Sharma said. In the future, Sharma plans to go into the cardiovascular medical field career because it combines the humanitarian and technical aspects that he loves. He hopes to keep art in his life wherever he may go--even as just a hobby. “If I were to take art as a career, I don’t think I would have as much fun with it. For example, deadlines wouldn’t be so great. So I’ve decided not to pursue it as a career,” Sharma said. “In the future, I want to add more emotion, more expression, into my artwork. Drawing is a way to consume my mind and it keeps me awake. I find it fun.”

“This is a drawing of a girl named Amanda from another school,” Sharma said. “I tried to make this expressive through hatching.”

“This is a painting of Margaret Bang. I put this in an exhibition,” Sharma said.

*Some of Sharma’s artwork can be seen inside the Whole Foods store at 119th street and Glenwood. Photos by Ali Fallucca.


16 the north star entertainment 10.27.11

Chinese sizzles KC Food scene David Tauber Sports Editor

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t’s Monday night and after scouring my pantry, I only find a dusty Easy Mac package. Monday Night Football will come on television in 30 minutes and I need some real food: Chinese food. I find my local restaurant, and minutes later the owner, who after so many visits is practically my best bud, hands me my custom brown sack. I rush back home to indulge in my favorite pastime - football and some crazy deliciousness. That’s just my restaurant, though. Everyone at North has his or her own, so the boys of The North Star scavenged around town to find the best. We found savory dishes, creamy goodness and love all in one afternoon. Care to see for yourself?

Chinese Palace 10136 West 119th Street Overland Park

Princess Garden

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8906 Wornall Rd Kansas City, Mo.

hinese Palace houses all the American favorites of Mandarin cooking. Their speciality is undoubtedly the Mark’s chicken, the ideal balance between an orange and sweetsauced chicken medallion. Generous portions and complimentary desserts compliment the out-of-this world food. Many of their chicken dishes have a light fry, making for an extra savory bite. The crab rangoon is heavy on the cream cheese for anyone with sweet tooth. The lush flavor present in so many dishes delivers such a piquant bite that one is forever addicted to the, yes, MSG-free restaurant.

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hen we walked into the downscaled imperial palace Princess Garden calls home, the authenticity engulfed us. The oriental arches setting the atmosphere reminded me of my own trip to China some years ago. Like the design, the food matches the setting in authenticity. Their triple delight (chicken, beef and shrimp) specialities are packed with lean white chicken, succulent beef and, well, just alright crustaceans. Princess Garden is a Kansas City staple for Chinese food, it has served it’s tangy dishes to the same customers for 30 years for one reason: it’s real good.

China King

3634 West 135th Street Leawood

Golden Leaf 11839 Roe Avenue Leawood

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’ve frequented Golden Leaf for the past six years. Just last month they switched ownership, but the food is the same. With a lunch special to die for, this place is a steal. A quiet little enclave next to Cactus Grill, Golden Leaf feels like a detox from Johnson County. The pan-fried noodles and snow peas are to divine, no other place in the city can claim a better noodle. The restaurant is quick and after enough visits you start to feel like a fixture there.

Art by Ali Falluca

he quintessential Friday night Chinese takeout restaurant is located just behind Price Chopper on Mission. They fry their meats to a clean crisp, so don’t worry about soggy food. That said, they cook up a mean orange chicken dish – cut into bite-sized chunks (no, not the popcorn-chicken sized garbage served at Panda Express), and that’s something you don’t find at the mediocre places around town. Their noodles are light and live up to par. The key take from China King is a lot of food for little money.


Web of Wizardry D

rew Scowcrft, freshman, grew up loving the adventure of Harry Potter. He felt particularly drawn to Gryffindor house, just like the boy wizard. He admires the values Gryffindor represents and tries to live up to them. “We’re supposed to be courageous,” Scowcroft said. “We’re nice to others, faithful and trusted.” One of his favorite features of Pottermore is the interaction with his house. “There’s a common room for each house that you can post in, like a wall,” he said. Like many others who have early access to the site, Drew enjoys reading the background information provided by J.K. Rowling. “I got a Pottermore to learn about the [magical] world and what stuff in the series means,” he said. He especially likes getting more information about characters. “I like Professor McGonagall’s backstory,” he said. “You learn about her childhood and why she became a professor. It’s interesting.” Scowcroft admits to going onto Pottermore more than might be good for him. “I go on Pottermore everyday, twice a day sometimes. It’s kind of creepy.”

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ike some Hogwarts students, not everyone on Pottermore is happy with their house. Melissa Berger, junior, is counting down the days until Pottermore opens to the public so she can get out of Hufflepuff. “I’m going to get a new one and get resorted,” Berger said. “Hufflepuffs are particularly good finders, and I lose everything, so I don’t know why I’m even [sorted] there.” Her aversion to Hufflepuff goes beyond “A Very Potter Musical” references. “It’s kind of the house for people who don’t have a personality or any particular talents,” Berger said. “I would have picked anything over Hufflepuff.” Hatred of Hufflepuff aside, Berger’s love for Harry Potter keeps her coming back to Pottermore. “Rowling suggested rereading the

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the north star entertainment 10.27.11

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Harry Potter website opens to fans in October Liz Gaa Entertainment Editor

ttention: all still waiting and wishing for their Hogwarts’ acceptance letters, your time has come. Pottermore, a new website from J.K. Rowling aimed at giving fans of the Boy Who Lived a deeper understanding of the world of magic, has been creating buzz online since the project was announced last June. The site opens to the general public in October, although some people were granted early access through a series of trivia questions in early August. Upon entering the site, members are sorted into their houses, just like students at Hogwarts. Here’s a sneak peak through their eyes.

series as you read the background on Pottermore,” she said. “[On the site] it goes by chapter, and the effect is interesting. The background shows you the extent of the world she [J.K Rowling] has created.” Berger’s love for acting also fuels her interest in the characters that populate the world of Harry Potter. “I’m into theatre, so I’m really into reading the characterizations and seeing how the new details about characters effect their desicions throughout the series,” she said. The information on the site also reveals a bit about its creator. “Everything fits perfectly together, even the bios [biographies] of obscure characters,” Berger said. “She [J.K Rowling] really did map everything out. She’s a genius.”

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or Natalia Mushegian, freshman, getting a Pottermore wasn’t optional. It had to be done. “As big of a Potter fan as I am, I had to experience Pottermore,” she said. “It’s the newest project by Jo (J.K. Rowling), plus I got a sneak peak at LeakyCon, which made it even more exciting.” LeakyCon is a yearly Harry Potter convention featuring wizard rock acts, Harry Potter news and charity activities. Adding to the excitement is the fact that all Pottermore members are sorted into their Hogwarts houses and select a wand. “Everyone wants to know for sure what house they belong in. I knew I would be in Ravenclaw, but it was great to see that confirmed,” she said. “My wand is a redwood 10-inch

“I

’ve been obsessed with Harry Potter since I knew how to read.” Sophomore Graham Schmidt said his love for the series and nerdiness were motivating factors in joining Pottermore. “Pottermore is a very nerdy way to know more about the story,” Schmidt said. “It’s interesting to see where random details in the books come from.” With all the talk of nerdiness, it would be easy to fancy Schmidt a Ravenclaw, though he identifies more with his own house, Slytherin. “My house is known for innovation, cunning and determination,” he said. “I feel like that describes me because if there’s something I set my mind to, nothing is going to get in my way.” All this house pride will be helpful in the House Cup, a Pottermore-wide competition for points based on a similar inter-house tournament seen in the books. “Throughout the story, there are activities like potion brewing and things to collect that get points toward a house cup,” he said. Despite already being on the inside, Schmidt is excited for Pottermore to open to the wider public this month. “It’s kind of small right now, but it will be interesting when more people get one,” he said. phoenix feather one...I’m planning on actually making it.” Ravenclaws are traditionally known for their sharp wit and intelligence, a trait Mushegian shares with the rest of her house. “I skipped third grade, and I enjoy riddles. I’m pretty much a nerd, so I fit right in Ravenclaw,” she said. Mushegian also spent some time exploring the background information from the books, which many Pottermore enthusiasts call their favorite feature. “[The site] goes by book. Every chapter has a couple of moments that are illustrated on the site in a layered animation, so you can click through them to get more information,” she said. The final verdict? “Pottermore is like a society of fun!” Mushegian declared.


18 the north star entertainment 10.27.11

Fresh Faces

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YouTube personalities explode in popularity

Evan Watson Staff Writer

n this age of technology it seems like anyone can make a video and be noticed worldwide, but these three Youtube stars are going more than viral. With more people subscribing to their videos each and every day, these Youtube personalities are gaining enormous popularity.

Kingsley

Total Upload Views: 102,461,446 Joined: July 3, 2009 Subscribers: 844,156

Toby Turner

Total Upload Views: 219,049,855 Joined: June 14, 2006 Subscribers: 1,314,735

Philip DeFranco

Total Upload Views: 707,062,184 Joined: Sep 15, 2006 Subscribers: 1,880,635

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Kingsley

asily offended? Then don’t check out Kingsley! This former Mizzou student isn’t shy about sharing his strong opinions. His videos have exploded from locally-known rants into nationallyrecognized comical phenomenons. Kingsley’s appeal is his harsh bluntness and willingness to say things that others shy away from. Not surprisingly, his most popular videos are about things and people that he dislikes. He tears into them with characteristic energy and humor.

Toby Turner

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his Youtube superstar and his main channel Tobuscus keep exploding in popularity. Toby puts lyrics to the background music in trailers from movies or video games. These lyrics reflect what’s actually going on in the scenes in a hilariously literal manner. Toby’s lyrics to Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and Assassin’s Creed trailers, among others, will keep you entertained even after multiple views. Subscribe to Tobuscus and you won’t get enough of Toby.

Phillip Defranco

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he news has never been this entertaining. Millions of people watch Defranco’s breakdown of current events, politics and celebrity news each week day. His opinions and strange news stories, as well as his frequent use of jump cuts, create fast-paced, funny and entertaining videos. PhillyD highlights both the serious and random news that “matters to him,” as he puts it in his introduction. Ready to be “phil’d” in? Check out Philip Defranco.

BOLD BLOCKBUSTERS Top October movies hit the big screen

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Danny Rosenberg Staff Writer

love movies. All genres. From the stupid comedies to the smart thrillers, there’s always been something about them that has interested me. Since my first, “Barney’s Great Adventure”, to now, when my parents have finally given me the privilege to see R-rated films, I’ve always shown an interest in movies. Mix that with a passion for writing, and a movie critic is born. Over the course of the year, I will be choosing movies to review that are influential to the teenage crowd. More of these reviews will appear in either the newspaper or the North Star’s website, www.bvnnews.com.

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arely can a movie make me laugh so genuinely with a plot as harrowing as “50/50”, a movie about coping with cancer. The movie stars actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen. From previews and on paper, the movie looks like a typical buddy comedy. Although it’s just as vulgar as Seth Rogen’s other R-rated comedies, “50/50” is unique in that it evokes raw emotion. It sounds either impossible or artificial that a movie can make a theater erupt in fits of laughter one moment and leave its audience teary-eyed the next, but this is something that “50/50” accomplishes, and in a way that doesn’t feel forced. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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hen the credits rolled after “Real Steel”, I had a difficult time deciding whether I liked it or not. For me to enjoy a movie, it usually has to go beyond the highly edited action scenes. Sure, they were awesome, but the 127 minute run-time felt too long and the ending was predictable. My recommendation: see it with your family on a Sunday afternoon. Wait until Redbox when it doesn’t cost a whole month’s allowance to buy a ticket and snacks. The family angle mixed well with the action, but this movie wasn’t anything special. 3 out of 5 stars

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ootloose” is a remake of the teen coming-of-age musical of the same name. The original, which debuted in 1984, was a cult classic that launched a young Kevin Bacon to stardom. His new cast includes Kenny Wormald in Kevin Bacon’s role, Dennis Quaid (“Soul Surfer” and “The Rookie”) and newcomer Julianne Hough. “Footloose” succeeds because of the upbeat atmosphere that it creates. The plot of a father that doesn’t want dancing in his town is outdated, and this remake stays a little too close to the original, but I found myself liking “Footloose” more than I thought I would. 3 out of 5 stars.


the north star entertainment 10.27.11

PREPARE FOR FEAR City’s best haunted houses reviewed Liz Gaa Entertainment Editor

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alloween: the holiday of mischief and fright, staying out late and eating candy until you burst. But for many high school students, having outgrown trick-or-treating and costumes, it’s time to kick it up a notch. That’s right, it’s haunted house time. Ranked by Haunt World as the fifth best city in the country for chills and thrills, Kansas City boasts a haunted house culture that runs the gamut, from the campy to the genuinely scary. The houses were ranked on a scarescale of one to five bats, with five being the scariest. Do you agree with the rankings? Let us know on bvnnewspaper.com...if you make it out alive.

The Beast, called “the Granddaddy

of Kansas City haunted houses,” is the largest and one of the oldest in the city. That being said, I was underwhelmed. Being lost in the huge expanse of “Werewolf Forest” that the house is famous for was fun for a few minutes, but when I couldn’t find my way out, it went from fun to frustrating. Most of the monsters in the Beast were animatronic and very realistic, providing some satisfying screams--for about a second and a half. Once I realized the monsters weren’t real, it was easy to move on. The sheer number of awesome robotic demons largely made up for that fact though, making the Beast one of the most immersive haunted house experiences I’ve ever had, though not as frightening it was made out to be. The Beast is at 1401 West 13th Street. Tickets are $27. Bottom Line: An intense journey and a great time, but if you are looking for actual fright, try one of the smaller (and cheaper) houses.

The Chambers of Edgar Allen Poe, though much smaller

than the primary houses operated by Full Moon Productions, proves that bigger isn’t always better. This haunt was full of things that actually scare me, like serial killers, medieval torture and cats, all of which were portrayed by actors in some of the most wicked monster makeup I have ever seen. Even better, the actors were persistent, I was chased for almost five minutes through a haunted graveyard, pursued by the character Roderick Usher, who claimed I had died and needed to be buried. The hall of mirrors I found myself in, one of the many mindboggling optical illusions, added to my panic. It was interesting to see some of my favorite short stories come to life, but one doesn’t have to be a fan of Poe to enjoy the Chambers of Poe haunted house. Located at 1100 Santa Fe Street. Tickets are $20. Bottom Line: Strikes the balance between fright and fun in a way none of the other houses could.

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The Halloween Haunt at Worlds of Fun is a quantity

over quality deal. While it was nice to check out a variety of haunted houses, most of them were mediocre, and a couple laughable. That being said, each was enjoyable or would have been if not for the hordes of unregulated middle-schoolers and drunken 20-somethings. Asylum Island was the most scream-inducing, but unlike the houses by Full Moon Productions, some of the hanging body parts were fake to the point of detracting from the experience. I also recommend checking out Master McCarthy’s Doll Factory for an eerie throwback to horror classic Chucky. Bloodshed was interesting, with a lot of shock value and gore that became tiresome by the end. Avoid cheesy Outlaw’s Revenge and CarnEvil. Located at 4545 Worlds of Fun Avenue. Tickets range from $26.86$42.98. Bottom Line: Halloween Haunt is a gimmick best for a night with friends.

When grounding just doesn’t cut it Rachel Anderson Staff Writer

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hen we were younger, there was always one “go to” disciplinary tactic that we all had the pleasure of experiencing: the good ‘ole Time Out. As we got older, the tactic slowly started losing its effectiveness. In its place came the punishment of losing our “can’t live without” gadgets; ipods, cell phones, car keys and game controllers. Another common punishment is grounding. This tactic is often used by parents to cure reckless driving, misbehavior, backtalking or bad grades. There are several reasons that cause parents to correct their children. Sometimes, foreign culture impacts how parents choose to discipline. “If I get bad grades or don’t tell my parents that I’m going out with guys, they make me do Kumon for two hours. It’s a math and reading program with daily worksheets,”

Parents get creative with their consequences

sophomore Rachi Igwe said. “My dad likes to correct us by raising his voice and making sure we don’t do it again.” Igwe’s father, professor Orisa Igwe, believes that it is all a matter of upbringing. “I went to a private boys school 90 miles away from my home. I would never see my parents except for on holidays. You didn’t break the rules of the harsh masters; they really kept you in line,” Mr. Igwe said. “We didn’t grow up with all this freedom [kids now have]. My kids think I’m too proper, too organized, too orderly, but I can’t imagine kids without disciplined parents being disciplined [themselves],” Mr. Igwe said. Some people pass on punishments from generation to generation. “I made my son move a pile of rocks after getting suspended. The first day he moved them to one spot, and then the next day he moved them back. I wasn’t going to let him sleep

in or watch television. It took him a good three hours. I learned that [punishment] because I had to do it when I was young. It symbolizes the fact that when you are in trouble you should work,” campus patrol officer Jeff Demerath said. Not a lot of students are rewarded for good behavior, but a lucky few are. Cash rewards seem to be a motivation for many students. “I get $50 for every goal I score in my club soccer games,” freshman Madison Merritt said. “My dad has been doing this for about a year. The most I’ve gotten was $100 for two goals.” Money is not the only way to encourage teenagers. “If I get a higher grade, I get 30 minutes added to my curfew,” senior Courtney Oddo said. Her parents think that this will inspire her to try harder in math class. Adding time to a teen’s

curfew can also be used as a treat for responsibility. “My parents found out I was at a party and everyone else was drinking but me. So they extended my curfew for another hour,” sophomore Ryan Lea Thomas said.

Photo Illustration by Francine Gollub


20 the north star

10.27.11

SAT Algebra Tutor

   



   



  

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photo by d3 Dan



Arturo Sanchez 913-648-5483


Lack of advocacy brings lack of change

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Olga Deckman Staff Writer

ttending school is a routine most students have followed for a long time. But what many don’t realize is that there are handicapped students, like me, who struggle with simple tasks and face new obstacles every day. Anyone who’s had a sports injury knows how annoying it is to rely on someone else to carry out the most basic daily activities. Imagine doing that for the rest of your life. The only wheelchair accessible bathroom that stays consistently propped open is in the 300 hallway. I do have the option of using other bathrooms. However, the doors are heavy and almost always closed. Every day I have to wait for someone to walk by so she can open the unreasonably heavy doors. In a “perfect” world, everyone would be able to open the door herself. But people are careless and forget. That’s perfectly understandable: handicapped is not the norm at North. Meanwhile, I sit

the north star opinion 10.27.11

and wait for some kid Though I get to take pity on me and frustrated with the lack open the door. of progress, that’s really Maybe it would only half the issue. A make sense to get good point was made lighter doors. But when Schmitt said, here we run into the “The Blue Valley Board tangles of educational of Education is a very bureaucracy. In a complicated system.” recent interview, Mark Having a system helps Schmitt, Blue Valley maintain balance and Board of Education order. That being said, member, explained systems should not how complicated it is make things more to meet the needs of complicated. In fact, every student. “The the Blue Valley Board A handicapped sign in the senior locker of Education and the Blue Valley Board area shows the lack of respect some of Education is like. . students feel they are given due to lack of BVN administration .a really complicated advocacy. Photo illustration by Francine are not the only ones Gollub system. In order to responsible for meeting resolve a conflict or students’ needs. To complaint. . . it has to be done in reach our full potential, students must stages,” Schmitt said. be part of the solution. Self advocacy Stages of development may be will withstand all bureaucracy. important for other school functions, Students must be willing to stand but they don’t benefit students when it up for what they believe in. We can’t comes to issues like this. The process just blame the Board of Education for solving these problems shouldn’t for problems, we have to be agents of be so complicated. change.

Smells like school spirit

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Ellie Holcomb Opinon Editor

nother Friday night, and a mob of students dressed in the same colors shout the same cheers for our football team. I wonder why they bother. It seems that to these masses, school spirit and an utter lack of individuality are one in the same. Our administration is constantly preaching their “expectations” that we be at each and every game, supporting our Mustangs, decked out in themed game wear to show spirit. The result is that we’re all dressed alike, screaming the same cheers and clapping along to the same fight song. But if high school is a time for us to realize who we are as individuals, then why is our school trying to lump us together for the sake of a school that is “spirited”? It’s no secret that our school strives to be more spirited. We hear it at every assembly when we’re asked to show up at the next game and cheer on our school teams. But what does

preaching this group mentality do for us? In high school we have the opportunity to find ourselves, not as a Mustang shouting the same cheer with 400 of our “closest friends”, but as someone who can do something extraordinary.

“We’re individuals who need to be taught to act on our individuality” Between homework, extra-curriculars and trying to have a social life, high school is packed for most of us. There are better things to focus on than trying to make us into similar beings cheering for a school in the exact same way. There’s nothing wrong with loving North, it’s an incredible place to be. We have stellar programs across the board. Supporting North, however, does not mean losing our individuality, and this seems like what

everyone wants us to do. When we’re asked to dress together, sit together, shout together, we become one, and there’s something wrong with that because we aren’t the same. We’re individuals who need to be taught to act on our individuality, not on the fact that we all happen to live within parameters that send us to the same high school. Support North by finding the niche that best cradles your individuality. School spirit isn’t the same for everyone. For some of us this may mean discussing politics with our teachers after school or learning where they grew up. Maybe it means starting a club that never reaches beyond four members but epitomizes what those four members love to do. Not everyone is meant to shout themselves hoarse with the hoards on Friday nights. Some are writers, musicians or future innovators. They aren’t defined by this conventional definition of spirit. It’s not that they lack spirit, it’s that they celebrate individuality.

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[Ellie’s Insights]

Ellie Holcomb Opinon Editor

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“Stay hungry, stay foolish”

was at a Robotics meeting on a Wednesday night when I heard the news. Steve Jobs was dead. It seemed shocking to me that someone I had seen as a modern day role model was gone. I knew he was sick, but that night when I got home and was curled up in front of my Mac, it seemed unreal that the man who started it all was gone. I started noticing the sheer number of iPods in the hallways at school, the sleek design of my desktop computer, the buyer’s remorse I get when months after buying the “next best product”, Apple tops itself yet again. Steve Jobs wasn’t just an entrepreneur, he was an incredibly creative man who always found a way to best his only true competition-himself. I can only feel a certain amount of grief for a man I never met, but the focus put on the life of Jobs has everyone thinking about the impact one man can have. There’s no denying his genius. There’s no missing his products. There’s no doubting that with more years, he could have and would have done more. Want to feel inspired? Google Steve Jobs’ quotes or commencement speeches and read his words. The man had the right idea, and the idea will live past the man. The whole idea is that intelligence, creativity and innovation are among the most potent and powerful things to posses. If you can get your hands on these, you’re set for life. Steve Jobs had a head full of great ideas and his death was mourned by the world. What if any of us with some creativity and drive could do the same?


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the north star opinion 10.27.11

BVN,

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Lily Lieberman Staff Writer

y 11:49 a.m. I had 15 tallies on my arm. With a pen in my hand and a mind that was less than open, I embarked on my journey Wednesday morning a bit earlier than usual. Groggy from a rough morning, I had my first opportunity to judge the entire North population when I trudged into the senior locker area at 7:35. I was convinced I had just witnessed a drug deal. All I had actually seen was a $20 bill being slipped between two eagerly outstretched hands of some admittedly sketch looking kids. Five minutes later I learned that that money was actually going to buy a Spanish Club t-shirt, I began to wonder how often my judgments turn out to be incorrect. This led me to ingeniously concoct the idea to measure my constant judgment of

’ve been watching you

others. 8:17 a.m. My second tally. My boredom was creeping in, and I was determined to keep myself entertained. I looked to my right and found my next victim, a boy wearing flared jeans that were clearly from that hardcore emo store that’s in the back of the mall. 9:10 a.m. Relieved after finishing my test, I found myself with a couple minutes of free time to hardcore judge my teacher? Two tallies later, the bell rang. 9:12 a.m. Passing period, the time when judgment is at its ripest. Sipping my chai tea, I surveyed the locker area with discerning eyes. Silver Sperrys caught my attention–there goes another tally. 10:46 a.m. I was up to 10 tallies. This was almost second nature now.

11:02 a.m. Lunch time. Walking out of the school, I spotted a burnt orange sports car. Can you say overcompensating? Embarrassed that I had just dissed a fellow classmate’s form of selfexpression, I quickly walked to my own awkward ice blue Mazda. 11:25 a.m. Driving back from Dean and Deluca, I hit the jackpot. I spotted a woman wearing a massive diamond ring and driving a beat up mini van. I pondered this walking contradiction. Maybe she just likes mini vans, I concluded. 11:57 a.m. I had a sudden revelation. With all of this judging going on, I realized I was probably being judged by my peers just as much as I was judging them. I started to question why I was being so critical of others without even knowing them.

12:45 p.m. Exhausted from my constant criticisms, I decided to cut short my experiment. With 20 tallies reaching from my elbow to my wrist, I was beginning to wonder where I would tally if I ran out of room on my arm. There is no procedure for judging so much you run out of space. At the end of this ordeal, I counted up my tallies and divided by the number of hours I spent acting like a snob. My “judgment“ rate was a disturbing seven and a half people an hour. The pen marks on my arm are a goofy reminder of how often I judge my fellow peers, and how often I’m actually wrong. I challenge you, fellow North students: count up your tallies, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll come to the same realization that I did: judging others is as silly as marking your arm with permanent marker.

Sometimes it doesn’t get better

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Hayley Berger Staff Writer

amey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old boy from New York, was bullied because he was bisexual. He was tormented every day in the hallways of school, only to go home and face more abuse over the Internet. In May, Jamey made a recovery from depression and posted a video on his YouTube account inspired by the It Gets Better Project, a project whose goal is to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth by having gay adults convey the message that these teens’ lives will improve. In his video, Jamey told others that the bullying would subside as long as you love yourself. Four months later, Jamey committed suicide. Jamey’s video, which is on the brink of one million views, has gained some attention from some big LGBT supporters, including Lady Gaga, of whom Jamey was a huge fan. She clearly displayed her anguish through her Twitter, where she tweeted: “The past days I’ve spent reflecting, crying, and yelling. I have so much anger. It

Teen’s despair should teach us acceptance

is hard to feel love when cruelty takes someone’s life.” and “Bullying must become illegal. It is a hate crime.” “I am meeting with our President. I will not stop fighting. This must end. Our generation has the power to end it. Trend it #MakeALawForJamey,” Gaga posted to her Twitter. Outraged by Jamey’s suicide, Gaga

These suicides are at their tipping point now, with gay youth being four times more likely to commit suicide than any oth er kid, and it’s getting to be too much. What Lady Gaga did should become an example for others everywhere. Even though we, as high school students, don’t have the same influence that Gaga does, our efforts can still make a difference. There are things we can do to fix it. The Paws Up Forever Project, which comes from Lady Gaga’s “little monsters”, does just this. The project was started by Gaga fans in response to Jamey’s death, begging those who are bullied to stay strong and keep fighting. Jamey has become a martyr for the cause. The memory of him is now used to prevent this from happening again. All it takes is something like this, where normal people speak up, to help patch up the struggle.

“Just love yourself and you’re set. And I promise you, it’ll get better.” took his story to Obama fundraiser, where she begged those in attendance to put an end to it. How is it that things like this are still happening, when people with as much power as Lady Gaga are speaking out? Young kids are embracing who they are and being tortured because of it. This isn’t how it should be. Jamey was only a few months into his freshman year of high school when he died.

It’s a real problem when people at school are afraid to join the Gay Straight Alliance because of what peers might say about them. It does nothing but add to this growing problem of gay teen suicides and encourages more slander against those who are “different”. I’m not asking everyone to join Gay Straight Alliance, but to just think about how what they’re saying may be affecting other’s lives. People need to realize that making snide remarks about a person’s sexuality won’t make them any straighter. I know people are probably tired of hearing about bullying being bad, but like Lady Gaga said, “Our generation has the power to end it.” We can do something to change this; we can make a law for Jamey. For those like Jamey, even if the bullies don’t change, the suicide rate can. People need to remember to stay strong and “keep their paws up”. “That’s all you have to do. Just love yourself and you’re set. And I promise you, it’ll get better,” Jamey said in his video. Photo illustration by Francine Gollub


the north star opinion 10.27.11

[Gold from Goldman]

[The Gluecktionary]

Taking a stand

The outsiders

Alex Goldman Co-Editor-in-Chief

Jessi Glueck Co-Editor-in-Chief

I

walked into school this morning, half asleep and trying to mentally prepare myself for first hour AP Calculus with Mr. Koehler, when I saw someone that caught my eye. At first glance, she looked like any other high school student that I would see in the halls–she was just a girl in a red shirt–but if you looked a little closer, you noticed something else. A piece of red duct tape across her mouth with “pro-life” written on it in bold, black marker. To be honest, I was completely caught off guard. Kansas is a conservative state, no doubt about it, but an anti-abortion protest is rarely something you see in public, especially not in a high school. Speaking frankly, the image of that girl dressed in red was seared into my mind for the day, bothering me so much that my friend and I spent the end of our lunch period on the computer, googling why someone

[

would possibly be dressed like that. As it turned out, that day was a nationwide Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity. Though it definitely isn’t my cup of tea as far as beliefs go, I was slightly impressed that a singular underclassman would bring this protest to BVN. At a school so dominated by conformity and an abnormally strong group mentality, you’ve got to have some major guts to take a stand like that, especially on such a controversial issue. So, despite our major ideological differences, I decided that this girl deserved my respect. For the rest of the afternoon, I fought my urge to pass the girl in the hall and yell, “pro-choice,” which, I must say, is pretty difficult for a self-proclaimed liberal. Instead, I spent my afternoon admiring the raw courage of this girl who has done something that most of us are too scared to do–take a stand on something we believe in.

I

spent a lot of this issue talking to people who often feel like outsiders. LGBTQ students, their supporters and new kids all face the challenge of being different. One of the LGBTQ students I spoke with said that accepting such differences is what the LGBTQ movement is all about: welcoming those whose sexuality, ethnicity or social status separate them from the norm. But what is the norm, really? Can any of us say that we haven’t ever felt lonely or excluded? Can we think of anyone who always fits in? There are times when even the most popular kids feel isolated or ostracized. Many spend their entire lives trying to smother and ignore those moments. All they want is to be like everybody else. And yet no one is like everybody else. We each have a unique set

The North Star Staff

Editors Alex Goldman, Jessi Glueck News editor Reid Eggleston Feature editor Berkeley Lovelace Sports editor David Tauber Entertainment editor Liz Gaa Opinion editor Ellie Holcomb Online Editor Michael Hoffman

Photo editor Christin Smith Design editor Sarah Campbell Multimedia Editor Ali Fallucca Business manager Sarah Evans Illustrator Berkeley Lovelace Photographers Ali Fallucca Francine Gollub

Staff writers Sarah Evans Lily Lieberman Chris Shanklin Rachel Anderson Hayley Berger Evan Watson Danny Rosenberg Olga Deckman Adviser Melinda Gilman

23

of desires and ambitions. We have quirks. Sometimes we feel alone in crowded rooms. This is not to say that we all experience the kinds of prejudice and hardship to which LGBTQ students or kids from other districts are at times subjected. But we should sympathize with that hardship because we know what it’s like to be embarrassed about our individuality. We have tried to be “normal”– and we have felt the frustration when we fail. We have enjoyed something for which society exhibits indifference or distaste, and we have hated something society loves. We, like those students I interviewed, have been outsiders. We are all outsiders. It’s time to embrace the differences that separate us, to celebrate our identities and to let each other in.

“We are all outsiders.”

The North Star is the official publication of Blue Valley North High School, an open forum distributed to all students nine times a year. This publication may contain controversial material. Kansas law prohibits the suppression of a student publication solely because it may contain controversial matter. Blue Valley Unified School District No. 229 and its board members, officers and employees may disclaim any responsibility for the content of this publication; it is not an expression of school policy. Student authors and editors are solely responsible for the content of this publication. Letters to the editors are encouraged from students and non-students alike and should be less than 500 words in length. All letters must be signed and turned into room 411 at least one week prior to publication. All letters require a signature. Names will be published. The North Star reserves the right to edit with regard to libel, without changing the substance of the letter. The North Star will not publish obscene or libelous material. The North Star Blue Valley North High School 12200 Lamar Ave. Overland Park, KS 66209 (913) 239-3116


24 the north star as we see it 10.27.11

At the Homecoming olympics, the classes came together for an energetic celebration of class pride and school spirit. The gym was a blur of noise and color, a feverish cacophony that ended in a shower of glitter and baby powder. Charged with the usual excitement and student defiance, this year’s Homecoming olympics was — as always — one to remember.

Photos by Alex Scimecca


October Issue 2011