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Teen Sex

Sexual activity has led to a rise in Sexually Transmitted Infections, and a greater need for effective health resources and a comprehensive education.

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varsity bowling

Sophomore Eric Kalishek competed on Wednesday, Jan. 31 when his team made Chemic history, winning the Saginaw Valley League Championship against Lapeer. Photo: Fischer Genau

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Live Oak editorial

Meistersingers

Boys Swim

Welding

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IIllustration: Noah Jacobsen & Lexy Lang


Left Hand - Even number page

in this issue arts & entertainment

sports

features

opinion

4 Fly By Night 5 Meistersingers 6 One Billion Rising Concert 7 Welding 10-11 Sex education 14 Sex resources

7 10 news

8 Homework Review 9 The Stigma Around Sex 12-13 Sexually

Transmitted Infections

Mateo Diaz

18 Live Oak Coffee House 19 Reviews 20 Editorial -

Singles for singles

Sex education in high schools

Editor-in-Chief | Gwynne Özkan Managing | Hope O’Dell Features | Bitsy Mammel News | Holly Stauffer Sports | Hannah Smith Arts/Entertainment | Hailey Surbook Opinion | Danielle Julien Web | Hadley Morden Photo & Design | Fischer Genau Ads | Olivia Freidinger Exchange | Josephine Kuchek Copy | Lexy Lang Adviser | Jim Woehrle Printer | The Argus - Press

p ub li ca t i o n p o l i c y

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15 Sportszone 16 Riley Johnstone 17 Boys Swim Team

editors

volume 40 | issue 5

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Focus, established in 1977, previously the Vic Tribune established in 1936, is the official school sponsored newspaper of Midland High School. Focus is published monthly by the journalism classes at Midland High School and is distributed free of charge. It is a member of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA), the Michigan Interscholastic Pres Association (MIPA) and Quill and Scroll. Adviser membership also includes the Journalism Education Association (JEA). Focus is designed as a forum for student expression and as a realistic lab experience. Court cases like Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988) have restricted this right to free expression. As a result of the Hazelwood case, Focus may be subject to prior review by Midland High School administrators, who legally reserve the right to pull or censor articles and/or graphic elements (artwork, graphs, photos) planned for publication. Focus and its adviser(s), editors and staff writers, however, reserve the right to contest the challenge of an administrator who attempts to censor and/or remove an article or graphic element. Administrators who attempt to pull and/or censor must provide reason on the basis of obscenity, if the article infringes upon the right of freedom of speech or rights to privacy, and if it and/or graphic elements are irresponsibly or inappropriately presented. Letters of the editor are welcomed and encouraged. Letters are required to be a maximum of 250 words in length and must be signed to insure that the writer’s intent is serious. Any letter that is unsigned or uses a pseudonym will be refused. Focus reserves the right to edit letters as long as the writer’s opinion is unchanged and the facts presented in the letter are kept intact. Focus also reserves the right to remove from the letter the name of the individual toward whom it is directed or oriented. February 9, 2018

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news in brief

the

bulletin In memory of Ron

Bass Fishing Team

Glanz

An official bass fishing team is being added to the existing pool of extracurricular activities, beginning next year. It was started by an incoming freshman.

Midland High Security Guard ( 1 9 4 0 - 2 01 8 )

@quinnseeburger31 happy birthday Michigan, we love you #puremichigan pc: @fischergenau

At 77 years old, Midland High’s Security Guard of 17 years passed away peacefully in his sleep. Glanz dedicated his retirement to keeping MHS students and faculty safe. A funeral service was held on Saturday, Jan. 27, and he was buried in the Homer Cemetery. The Glanz family thanks Midland High for their support during a difficult time.

Gerstacker Award This is the 63rd annual nomination for the prestigious Teacherof-the-Year Award. They are currently accepting applications. Submissions should be sent via email through the MPS website: www.midlandps.org

196 likes

Hand-crafted Kayak

@madisoncarrolll

it is scientifically proven that it is physically impossible to not jam out when unwritten // natasha bedingfield comes on 3 retweets 17 likes

F O C U S

@mhs_focus

National Honors Society Winter Induction

@mhs_focus

@mhs_focus

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The woodworking classes at MHS have spent 2 years working to complete a kayak. It will be raffled off on Saturday, Mar. 17, with ticket prices of $10 each.

On Sunday, Jan. 21, more than 300 men, women, and children gathered to participate in a Women’s March near MHS. Participants marched to express their support for women’s rights and equality. Photo: Maureen Aloff

February 9, 2018

On Monday, Jan. 29, 5 seniors were inducted into the National Honors Society: Mackenzie Strasser, Preston Millward, Alec Ehrmantraut, Caleb Wolfe, and Liam Grady.

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The cast of Fly By Night has been hard at work, rehearsing tirelessly in order to deliver a solid debut performance on Feb. 3. Countless hours go into rehearsing each individual scene and song, and the process is shaped by Director Megan Applegate’s guidance. Staff Writer Devin Granzo

a group effort

Director Megan Applegate and senior Fletcher Nowak laugh as she advises him on a scene that was just rehearsed. Rehearsals are most days of the week, and they typically last two or more hours at a time. In addition, many hours are spent building the set. Photos: Fischer Genau

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ive actors perform a scene to an attentive audience, delivering lines with a well-practiced ease. Their expressions convey the lighthearted tone of the play, Fly By Night, a comedic love story filled with drama, set to be performed Feb. 8 and 9. Everything is running smoothly until suddenly, one of the actors loses their place, fumbling his words. “Line?” He calls out, hoping to salvage the scene. “Stop! Do it again.” Drama Director Megan Applegate’s words ring out sharply, bringing an abrupt end to the botched scene. Her words aren’t said with disappointment or anger, but with a matter-of-fact tone that comes from someone who’s done this many times before. It seems quite clear that, though mistakes will be made, small missteps are only brief distractions from the end-goal: a well-rehearsed, entertaining production that captivates the audience at the Drama Club’s annual one act show. To say such a scene is common at drama rehearsal isn’t to say that the acting is of poor quality or amateurish. It’s not. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Instead, the frequent do-overs indicate that Applegate’s attention to detail and directorial prowess are ever-present. Nods of understanding and respect can be seen from the cast as she delivers corrections and suggestions, such as a recommendation to speed up the pace of a scene. Her words are heeded, and it’s clear the cast values her corrections. Again, rehearsal seems to be very much based on improvement. Her focus on getting everything just right is illustrated through the comments she makes before the scene begins again. “We just need to be a little bit more precise, a little more in sync,” Applegate notes. When the scene is ready to be taken from the top again, little differs from the

performance that immediately preceded it. Corrections of mistakes made the last time are the only change. Lines are repeated again, still managing to sound completely natural. The cast acts as if they’re on stage performing in front of hundreds of people, rather than rehearsing in a small, well-lit room for a handful of others involved with the production. Even though the scene may be repeated ten more times, not a hint of tedium creeps onto their faces. They refuse to acknowledge the repetition needed to improve the scene. Starting over from the beginning is a regular occurrence, and it clearly takes dedication to a successful performance.

Without missing a beat, they jumped right into the song. Senior Drew Spencer was one of those late to the rehearsal, and he slipped comfortably into the song, as if he hadn’t been gone for the first half of it. Before my eyes, the group of eight had grown to twelve. They snapped, clapped, and danced in unison as they sang. And their enthusiasm didn’t lessen as they repeated the same, small section of a single song ten times in a row, occasionally pressing a key or two of the piano, indicating which notes needed to be hit. “Go back, do it again!” Applegate later utters the same line she’s used dozens of times before as she attentively watches the cast perform a scene, this time up on stage, yellow tape marking the places and positions the set will be located in an actual performance. With every repetition of a scene, it gets a little bit better, a little bit smoother. There’s much to be accomplished, and rehearsal is a huge commitment towards this accomplishment. Everimproving, the cast toils continuously. As Applegate says, “So much to do, so little time.”

Senior Andrew Spencer directs senior Fletcher Nowak as he rehearses a song solo. Rehearsal is very student driven.

We just need to be a little bit more precise, a little more in sync.

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arts/entertainment

-Megan Applegate

To anyone observing drama rehearsals, it’s evident the cast and crew are a tight-knit group of people. So much so, in fact, that it allows them to be self-sufficient at times. At a rehearsal where Applegate was running a bit late, the cast knew what they had to work on and started immediately without her. Senior Alexandria McMath gathered a group of eight cast members around a piano and led them through song rehearsals, with zero guidance from the director. They’d repeat sections over and over again with the same kind of machinelike efficiency I witnessed under Applegate’s direction. However, their chemistry was far from “machine-like;” the singers joked and visibly had fun while practicing. Rehearsal turns this assortment of drama students into an effective team. This became obvious to me when, during a lively song rehearsal, a handful of singers came in late.

With Seniors Nicolas Kerkau and Gloria Heye in the background, senior Madeline Arnold narrates onstage to an almost empty auditorium.

Seniors Madeline Arnold and Andrew Spencer move a piano towards the front of the stage. Performing to music is an important part of the rehearsal process.

February 9, 2018

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financing the future

The Meistersingers raise the majority of their own money with unique fundraisers in order to travel each year and make necessary purchases. This year they are paying for a long-awaited trip to New York City. News Editor Holly Stauffer| Staff Writer Devin Alexander | Staff Writer Jacob Hartwick

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he three part audition process required to be selected for the Meistersingers is rigorous, but the challenges that come with being in the group don’t stop there. This spring the Meistersingers are traveling to New York City to participate in the Broadway singing and dance workshop and perform at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The costs involved with these kind of trips far surpass the budget delegated to them by MPS. The trip will cost $21,000 for the group to go and this has pushed them to take the majority of their fundraising upon themselves. Choir director Daniel Farison delegates the funds and ensures their placement into the proper areas, like music, uniforms, and traveling. He expects raised money to cover two-thirds of the costs involved with the New York City trip, but that fundraising money is used for more than just trips. It is also spent on additional rehearsals with piano accompanists as well as new sheet music and uniforms. The money given to them by the school covers some of the music and the registration fees for Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) events. “All the money we raise goes to the music parents to be held in an account,” Farison said. “The kids earned it, and I place it in the account until we have to withdraw it to cover an expense.” Meistersingers treasurer, Junior Rebecca Henning, helps organize and plan fundraisers like Singing Valentines. Henning said the majority of fundraisers have been done year after year because of their previous successes. “People in the community look for them,” Henning said. “People that used to be Meistersingers in high school purchase them, and the fundraisers are just recognized by the community because they’re very popular.” As Vice President of the Meistersingers, senior Hannah Bartels facilitates a majority of the fundraising along with the other officers. They have organized a different fundraiser for each season in order to make sure that the program is well financed. Bartels said that the fundraisers consist of pop can drives, car washes, leaf raking, caroling, and their most popular, Singing Valentines. The Valentines are sold for $10 and performed on February 13 and 14 each year. Six different songs are offered and the performances are given by a small female or male group. The purchaser can select which song and gender they want to deliver the Valentine. They have previously been a very successful fundraiser, which Bartels attributes to how unique they are. “It’s exciting to be able to send an actual song performance to someone,” Bartels

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February 9, 2018

said. “It’s not just a card or candy. What makes them stand out is that they have that ‘embarrassing factor’ that makes it enjoyable for the person receiving it because it lets them know they’re cared for. That day is special at school too because people are wondering, ‘is there a Singing Valentine coming to class?’ and you can really feel the love.” Henning also agrees that the Singing Valentines are the most popular fundraiser, and said that the performance element of them, especially at Valentine’s Day, is what makes them stand out. “It’s really fun for everyone involved,” Henning said. “People enjoy being entertained, and when we’re having fun the people who are watching are having fun. It’s really special because we get closer as a choir and travel around Midland performing for people.” The motivation for these fundraisers comes from the opportunity to take trips like the upcoming one to New York City. Henning has previously traveled with the choir and said that the experiences are worth the hard work that goes into paying for them. “Choir trips are a lot of fun because we get to perform in different venues, and you get close with the people who you’re already friends with,” Henning said. “New York is really expensive and if we want to have money in our treasury next year for a trip, then we need to keep fundraising so we have enough for New York and next year.”

Farison said that the trip to New York City is a goal the Meistersingers have had for several years. A substantial amount of hard work has gone into the preparation for it. “New York City is the biggest trip you can do,” Farison said. “The Cathedral especially is a beautiful place to perform; it’s actually been described to be as life changing, although I’ve never gotten the chance to see it yet.”

Jack Knapp will play guitar to accompany one of the male Singing Valentine groups.

Sophomore Kennedy Danner and group members will each have featured solos in every song. The Meistersingers have developed choreography for each song to add visual appeal.

Senior Madisyn Danner, sophomore Meredith Brookens, and senior Kady Booth rehearse their performance together. They will sing “Bubbly” by Colbie Caillat. Photos: Holly Stauffer

arts/entertainment

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D Photo: Spencer Isberg

rising ovation

Photo: Fischer Genau

The Student Council has organized a concert in support of the One Billion Rising organization. To raise awareness about domestic violence, the concert will also include informational speeches and statistics. Ads Coordinator Olivia Freidinger | Staff Writer Liam Grady | Staff Writer Spencer Isberg

Tyler Benoit, Sarah Evans, Leland Blue, and Emma Brown will perform at the event. Live Oak Coffeehouse will provide refreshments for attendees . Photo: Spencer Isberg

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arts/entertainment

omestic violence falls alongside the list of commonly avoided topics, such as politics, paying taxes, and the lack of exercise one gets. These are conversations that have a tendency to be pushed under the rug, but are proving their relevance more and more in modern society. Beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, One Billion Rising (OBR) plans to spread awareness about violence against women and get students talking about an issue they feel needs to be brought to light. Last year, the Student Council organized a one mile walk in support of the OBR organization, where students and families were encouraged to hold paper signs showing

Benoit’s style is influenced by the blues and classic hard rock, as he said he most closely emulates a diverse product of jazz. For this event, he said he strives to enhance the overall experience so the audience can connect more with the true subject. “My goal is to just play fantastic music to enrich the event so more people heed the message,” Benoit said. The OBR concert drives home the message that one can rise in solidarity to end the exploitation of women, in various different stances. From sparking conversation to inspiring fervor through the art of music, this event will also introduce guest speaker Sarah Schieber, who plans to share her personal experience with abusive

their support as they marched together. Afterwards, they collected donations, served soup, and had a survivor of domestic violence who shared their experiences. This year, they have reserved space at the new Central Auditorium where musical groups will perform, guest speakers will voice their opinions, and Live Oak Coffeehouse will provide coffee and refreshments. Madison Roberts, class representative for the class of 2018, said she is optimistic that this year’s event will open up students to the reality of domestic violence. It will do this by providing both entertainment and statistics. In efforts to make the concert accessible to all, Roberts confirmed that tickets will be free of charge. “Our goal is to bring a sense of realization, rather than to fundraise,” Roberts said. “By doing this, we feel that we can effectively spread awareness to the public and the student body. In addition, the past two years we have made a One Billion Rising video to promote more insight.” The educational video, played in between acts, will be accompanied with performances from various MHS musical artists including: Leland Blue, Hope O’Dell, Emma Brown, Meistersingers, Madd Damocles, Sarah Evans, and Tyler Benoit. Benoit said that this event not only gives him an outlet to perform a skill he’s been passionate about for five years, but also allows him to be a part of a bigger message. “I have played at Rhapsody, Music-Fest, and with my dad’s band every summer at my cottage; but this is completely different,” Benoit said. “It’s awesome how this is for a cause and involves musical stuff -- the best of both worlds.”

relationships. Schieber has never collaborated with OBR before, but found out about the program when she worked with the Student Council for Project 111. She said she is impressed by how well the movement has brought the topic of domestic violence to the forefront of conversation, and is proud to join her voice together with others. “My story, on it’s own, might not make a difference,” Schieber said. “But, when I join my voice with others, we stand taller together. We fight stronger together. We are louder together.” Schieber and Benoit are two of many performers, as both hope to inspire passion about the movement. With the focus of violence against women sharpening, Roberts said the Student Council hopes this concert will give teens a new topic of discussion, as well as a new goal to reach towards. “We want the audience to leave more knowledgeable, more open-minded, and inspired to take action,” Roberts said. “We want Midland High to rise.”

When I join my voice with others, we stand taller together. We fight stronger together. We are louder together. -Sarah Schieber

If you missed the concert, scan the code above. The video will be available Sunday, Feb. 11.

February 9, 2018

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forging a new path Senior Diana Kiseleva is preparing herself for a career in welding while simultaneously representing women in a field traditionally dominated by men. Arts/Entertainment Editor Hailey Surbrook | Staff Writer Noah Jacobson | Staff Writer Adelyn Dunsmore

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n Senior Diana Kiseleva’s home country of Kyrgyzstan, women are expected to be able to cook, sew, knit, and take care of the children. They are expected to just stay at home and be a housewife, and it’s unusual to see women doing the same jobs as men. After moving to Midland, Kiseleva is breaking those standards, by choosing to pursue a career in welding. “In the country that I am from, women need to be more feminine, and being a welder is a male job,” Kiseleva said. “I really wanted to prove that we women can do the same job as men; that we can be even better than men.” Kiseleva said she chose to take Welding One, the entry-level welding class, because it peaked her interest and she wanted to learn more. When learning the basics, she was first instructed to strike an arc, which means to start melting the metal. Kiseleva said that the sparks and loud noise shocked her at first. “I was like ‘Oh no, I will probably never be a welder,” Kiseleva said. “But I pushed myself, I asked the teacher many questions, and in the end it worked out very well.” Welding teacher Corey Pawlak noticed Kiseleva’s proficiency in Welding One. Pawlak said this course is laid out is to allow students progress at their own pace. He said that Kiseleva progressed very quickly and stood out by displaying consistent quality and effort. “She is really particular about the pattern and that everything looks good,” Pawlak said. “She was definitely progressing ahead and passing welds very quickly.” Welding consists of four positions: flat, vertical, horizontal, and overhead. In Welding One, Kiseleva said she excelled at overhead position, which is where the metal is welded while being held over a person’s head. “When I managed to do it really nice, the angle and the beads were really great,” Kiseleva said. “It took me forever to do it, and when I finally managed to do it well, I got a really good grade on it.” In her experiences, Kiseleva said she hasn’t noticed a barrier between her and her fellow classmates, despite her being a female in welding. “Last year when I first came to welding, I

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February 9, 2018

was the only girl out 20 guys, so at first I was kind of scared,” Kiseleva said. “But really we all understand each other and we don’t really care if you’re a male or a female, we just do our job.” Kiseleva is the first girl from MHS to place at a welding competition Kiseleva said she plans to pursue a career in welding by attending Delta College, followed by a transfer to Ferris State University. She plans to get a bachelor’s degree in welding, and then go into the Navy to find a job as a welding-engineer. “The main point where I realized I really wanted to do welding was last year when I got third place in a competition,” Kiseleva said. “I realized if I could do that, I guess it’s for me. It’s something that I really want to do.” Senior Jared Kaweck, whom Kiseleva worked closely with in Welding One, said that Kiseleva’s work ethic has made her welding stand out. He said that once the process clicked in her head, she took off with it. “She’s definitely a hard worker,” Kaweck said. “She’s just as good as any of the other guys in there.” Kiseleva especially enjoys the artistic side of welding, she said she strives to refine her work and making it look presentable; she does not settle for mediocrity. “For me, welding is an art,” Kiseleva said. “When you make your weld and then you clean it, and see that amazing pattern of beads, it really makes you feel good.”

Kiseleva prepares a torch to strike an arc in her welding class with the proper safety equipment. She has been practicing welding since her junior year. Photo: Noah Jacobson

Kiseleva demonstrates a stick weld. She is using Oxygen-Acetylene welding at an upcoming competition on Feb. 23. This type of welding doesn’t use electricity to cause a fire, it uses a mixture of oxygen and acetylene gases. Photo: Fischer Genau

features

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homework hangover MHS students are getting more involved outside of school and are taking on heavier loads of high-level classes. Administrators and teachers know that this is a major threat to student mental and physical health, and have started to change how they view homework. Staff Writer Ben Woehrle | Staff Writer Mady Sherman | Staff Writer Theo Rammidi Photo Illustration: Ben Woehrle

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s a result of greater extracurricular participation and students receiving heavier loads of homework in high-level classes Principal Jeff Jaster, along with many teachers, has noticed the stress that homework can inflict on many students. “Right now, homework for students is just viewed as punishment” Jaster said. “But the point of giving the homework is for the practice and the concepts so I think the teachers need to engage more with the students and they need to be talking about where they are in the learning process.” As the discussion of homework has increased in the district recently, Jaster has asked teachers to re-evaluate the amount of homework they are assigning on a nightly basis, and really how necessary it is for the student’s comprehension of the curriculum. Jeffrey Yoder teaches accelerated chemistry, IB Organic Chemistry, and AP chemistry; he realizes that homework needs to be moderated to allow students to complete only what is necessary for comprehension of the topic. “I recognize there is a limit to how much good it does to give homework,” Yoder said. “I feel some is still necessary though, because students need some practice away from the teacher to see if they really do know what they're doing. If five problems get the job done, great. Then why assign fifty?” Yoder notices that many factors go into the stress that students feel on a daily basis. “Stress comes from all teachers combined giving homework, and extracurriculars, the amount of time expected of students in extracurriculars has exploded in the last ten years,” Yoder said. “Even when they are out of season, you’re not really out of season, and that I cannot control. The time demands are too much.” The discussion of homework limitations is based on many students are too busy with other activities, many of which are school-related, to finish all of the homework assigned to them and get enough sleep for

the following day. Jaster confirms that he has seen the pattern at MHS as well as other school districts. “Kids who have traditionally done well in school and are maybe more motivated to excel in school are the same kids who do lots of other things,” Jaster said. “They are in school leadership. They are in clubs. They do a sport, if not multiple. That pattern is true in most high schools.” Jaster recognizes the effects stress can have on a busy student, and said that there has to be more conversation between teacher and student about how the teacher can help the student handle this stress. “An environment where students are stressed and pulling their hair out isn’t the best environment to learn in and it is not necessarily healthy either,” Jaster said. The workload put on today’s high schoolers has been seen to affect their stress and mental capability. Beccalynne M Gray, a physician's assistant at Midland Family Physicians, said too much stress can have

themselves to reduce their stress levels and positively impact their school performance.” Senior Joshua Lang takes several advanced classes and spends five to six hours on homework every night apart from his extracurriculars. These include band, tennis, track, National Honors Society. Lang decided that, sometimes, homework is not worth the stress that comes with it. “Most of sophomore year and the beginning of junior year I went through really bad depression, and stress was a big factor,” Lang said. “But this year even though there has probably been more work I’ve started to tell myself that I’m going to go to bed early it doesn't matter if I don't get everything completely finished or not being completely perfect.” Lang values balancing school and extracurriculars while getting a healthy amount of sleep, even if that includes taking some time off to get these accomplished. “People should not worry and stress so much because it is so unneeded, looking back I feel that I have wasted a lot of time stressing about unnecessary homework and it really is not needed,” Lang said. Jaster plans to survey students in the spring on how much time is spent on homework and extracurriculars. “I don’t think teachers will be surprised by the results but I think it will really hammer home the point that this is a concern, this topic of homework is ongoing and we really haven't done much to address it yet,” Jaster said. “We’ve talked about it but there’s really no change yet. I think that with all of that being said, we are at the forefront of what it is going to look like down the road. How are we going to rethink homework? For this school and for the district, maybe we are going to need to have some policy changes.” Jaster believes that there is still a need for homework in order for learning to occur but does think that there could be change coming. “It’s a tough topic, it’s not easy, and it’s not black and white,” Jaster said. “If you work with the kids, and work to have some common sense practices and changes, that is going to move us in the right direction.”

I have wasted a lot of time stressing about unnecessary homework. -Joshua Lang

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negative side effects on the body. “Stress affects your physical, emotional, and mental well-being,” Gray said. “It increases hormones in our body that have effects on many organ systems, ultimately leading to symptoms in almost every organ system such as muscle tension, headaches, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, anxiety, irritability, social withdrawal, and much more.” Gray said that without restorative sleep, one’s body will not react to daily life stressors appropriately, and ultimately lead to more stress. “There is no doubt that a lack of sleep can negatively impact school performance,” Gray said. “However, a balance needs to be found in a teenager’s activities, and time set aside for good, restorative sleep. Extracurricular activities can induce stress in one individual, but relieve stress in another. The individual needs to find a well-balanced schedule for

Febuary 9, 2018

FOCUS


the stigma around

SEX

The Focus conducts an in-depth analysis regarding teenage sexual activity. Common misconceptions about sex, sexually transmitted infections, and local resources are addressed. News Editor Holly Stauffer | Staff Writer Noah Jacobson

percent of students have personally or know someone who has taken part in sex as a high school student

92%

1 in 4

students feel that sex education has informed them adequately

percent of students feel that sex is not addressed often enough in school

71%

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February 9, 2018

statistics from survey of 150 MHS students

news

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SEX

the stigma around

Senior Christine Church became pregnant last winter, and said that she felt a strong stigma throughout the school, and feels like some of it came from a lack of understanding about sex. The sex education curriculum is prescribed by the state and chosen by a board of community members. Managing Editor Hope O’Dell | Staff Writer Josie Kuchek | Staff Writer Olivia Barber

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enior Christine Church was nervous, and a little bit in denial. She had taken three over-the-counter pregnancy tests and they all came back positive. Just to be sure, she went to the Pregnancy Resource Center and took another test. There, they confirmed she was pregnant. On December 16, 2016, even more nervous and in denial, Church went to her doctor to get one last test, just to be sure. There was no more denying it, she was pregnant. Church was terrified for the challenges this would bring. Her sister was a teen mom as well, so she knew that there would be backlash from her peers. “People are going to hate you,” Church said. “They are going to trash talk you, and get

mad at you for reasons you can’t control.” Church said students she didn’t know would approach her in the hallway and make comments about her pregnancy. She said that a lot of the stigma surrounding teen moms and sexually-active teens comes from a lack of understanding. “I don’t think they see the reality that it’s normal,” Church said. “Sex is sex, it’s normal.” Church took health class her freshman year, and said that she feels some of the attitude surrounding sex has been created by the sex education curriculum. That although safe sex was covered rather comprehensively, a lot of the curriculum surrounded using condoms as the only

method of contraception, and preferably not having sex at all. “They didn’t talk about birth control as much as they should,” Church said. “There’s so many forms of birth control besides a condom. Because condoms break. There’s holes. There’s always different things that can happen to them.” Church also said that they didn’t focus on both sides of sex enough. “I think they don’t focus on the girls’ perspective of it,” Church said. “I think they look at it as something the guy should take care of, that they are the ones who need to worry about being safe. But it’s girls’ responsibilities too. It’s two people.”

the end, when we play games they’re yelling out these vocab words and terms that before they were whispering.” Cathy Rayburn, the Regional School Health Coordinator for Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, and Midland, provides professional development for health teachers like Downing throughout the region. She said sex education varies from district to district. “The decision on how comprehensive the sex education is in Michigan is solely dependent on each district’s school board,” Rayburn said. “Sex education in Michigan is not a required content area to be taught. It’s up to your local school board whether you even have it or not. It is Michigan law that they have to teach about

I don’t think they see the reality that it’s normal, sex is sex. -Christine Church Health and Wellness teacher Emily Downing has been at MHS for two years, and is trying to help teens and parents alike face the reality of sexually-active high schoolers through education and conversation. “I think having sex is seen as this negative thing,” Downing said. “Which really isn’t anyone’s place to judge.” Downing said that students are clueless when it comes to the realities of being sexually active; that at first students feel uncomfortable talking about sex in class. “I think they’re interested in learning,” Downing said. “But it’s awkward. It’s an adult talking about stuff that their parents don’t usually want to talk to them about. So I like to make it really awkward for them, and that breaks the ice.” Downing said that by the end of the unit, students feel a lot more comfortable with the material and feel less shameful when it comes to sex. “I have a bunch of games that just completely take it out of the realm of talking about something sexual,” Downing said. “By

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HIV at each school building level.” Auxiliary Education Curriculum Specialist James Cochran is a member of the Sex Education Advisory Board, which chooses which sex education curriculum out of the state-prescribed curriculums MPS will teach and decides what materials the Health and Wellness class will use to teach. The board is made up of community members, including those who don’t work at MPS. Parents, clergy members, and teachers are all a part of the committee. “The whole point is that the state is making sure that when it comes to decisions about sex education that the community has a chance to get involved too,” Cochran said. Cochran said that the State of Michigan outlines potential curriculums that MPS could choose to teach. “There’s really only two areas that we have any sort of choice as a school district when it comes to sex education,” Cochran said. “The state law is very prescriptive. The State of Michigan prescribes that you’re required to take a health class, and sex education is required to be part of that. We are allowed basically two

February 9, 2018

FOCUS

Church holds her daughter, Addisyn Kay Lynn Sian, who is five-months-old. Church said due to her pregnancy, she took online classes this past semester, but plans to come back to school this semester. Photo: Fischer Genau

choices, we’re allowed to choose whether we want to teach abstinence-only or abstinenceplus.” MHS teaches abstinence-plus, which is also known as abstinence-based. “Students are super lucky,” Downing said. “They get abstinence-based, not abstinence only. With abstinence-based, we get to talk to them about how not to have sex is the best way, but then also, we get to talk about how, ‘hey, we also live in reality,’ so we talk about condoms, and conception and how to identify STIs.” Downing said that she thinks that most schools are conservative in their sex education because they think using the fear-factor of the consequences of unsafe sex will make teens abstain from sex. “But that doesn’t work,” Downing said. “We have the statistics to show that it doesn’t work.” Cochran also agrees that abstinence-based is more effective, especially when compared to the alternative of abstinence-only. “Every research study ever done is really clear on the results of a program like

FOCUS

February 9, 2018

abstinence plus, that it contributes to two basic things: fewer teenage pregnancies, and fewer instances of sexually transmitted diseases,” Cochran said. “That’s one of the driving forces on why we’ve always been like that.” Downing feels confident that the sex education curriculum at MHS is comprehensive enough to teach students about safe sex. Cochran also agrees that the curriculum taught throughout MPS is sound, and predicts that when the Sex Education Advisory Board meets later this year that no curricular changes will be made. However, Downing said she wishes there was an entire class devoted to sex education, because the class lacks the proper information on resources for teens who think they have an STI. “I think resources is probably something that lacks the most in the curriculum,” Rayburn said. “Because it’s scary. If you don’t know where to go to get that help, then it’s just going to end up spreading.” Church agrees that her health class taught her the basics of safe sex, but if she hadn’t

educated herself further past the curriculum, she would have been left with unanswered questions. “I feel like I’d still have a lot of questions and be confused about safe sex,” Church said. “I’d think a condom is the only basic contraceptive, and if you get pregnant you have two choices and that is abortion or keep your baby.” Cochran and Downing both believe that for the most part, MPS sees the reality of sexually-active teens, and the curriculum is helping to educate those students rather than to scare them away from sex. Downing said that what’s most important in sex education is that students are educated and comfortable talking about it before they choose to become sexually active. “If you are going to become sexually active don’t be ashamed of it,” Downing said. “And if you are ashamed of it, then you shouldn’t do it; because if you’re ashamed of it, then you’re not going to talk about it, and if you can’t talk about it then we can’t help you if you contract an STI or are in a poor relationship.”

Photo: Fischer Genau

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the stigma around

Senior Christine Church became pregnant last winter, and said that she felt a strong stigma throughout the school, and feels like some of it came from a lack of understanding about sex. The sex education curriculum is prescribed by the state and chosen by a board of community members. Managing Editor Hope O’Dell | Staff Writer Josie Kuchek | Staff Writer Olivia Barber

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enior Christine Church was nervous, and a little bit in denial. She had taken three over-the-counter pregnancy tests and they all came back positive. Just to be sure, she went to the Pregnancy Resource Center and took another test. There, they confirmed she was pregnant. On December 16, 2016, even more nervous and in denial, Church went to her doctor to get one last test, just to be sure. There was no more denying it, she was pregnant. Church was terrified for the challenges this would bring. Her sister was a teen mom as well, so she knew that there would be backlash from her peers. “People are going to hate you,” Church said. “They are going to trash talk you, and get

mad at you for reasons you can’t control.” Church said students she didn’t know would approach her in the hallway and make comments about her pregnancy. She said that a lot of the stigma surrounding teen moms and sexually-active teens comes from a lack of understanding. “I don’t think they see the reality that it’s normal,” Church said. “Sex is sex, it’s normal.” Church took health class her freshman year, and said that she feels some of the attitude surrounding sex has been created by the sex education curriculum. That although safe sex was covered rather comprehensively, a lot of the curriculum surrounded using condoms as the only

method of contraception, and preferably not having sex at all. “They didn’t talk about birth control as much as they should,” Church said. “There’s so many forms of birth control besides a condom. Because condoms break. There’s holes. There’s always different things that can happen to them.” Church also said that they didn’t focus on both sides of sex enough. “I think they don’t focus on the girls’ perspective of it,” Church said. “I think they look at it as something the guy should take care of, that they are the ones who need to worry about being safe. But it’s girls’ responsibilities too. It’s two people.”

the end, when we play games they’re yelling out these vocab words and terms that before they were whispering.” Cathy Rayburn, the Regional School Health Coordinator for Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, and Midland, provides professional development for health teachers like Downing throughout the region. She said sex education varies from district to district. “The decision on how comprehensive the sex education is in Michigan is solely dependent on each district’s school board,” Rayburn said. “Sex education in Michigan is not a required content area to be taught. It’s up to your local school board whether you even have it or not. It is Michigan law that they have to teach about

I don’t think they see the reality that it’s normal, sex is sex. -Christine Church Health and Wellness teacher Emily Downing has been at MHS for two years, and is trying to help teens and parents alike face the reality of sexually-active high schoolers through education and conversation. “I think having sex is seen as this negative thing,” Downing said. “Which really isn’t anyone’s place to judge.” Downing said that students are clueless when it comes to the realities of being sexually active; that at first students feel uncomfortable talking about sex in class. “I think they’re interested in learning,” Downing said. “But it’s awkward. It’s an adult talking about stuff that their parents don’t usually want to talk to them about. So I like to make it really awkward for them, and that breaks the ice.” Downing said that by the end of the unit, students feel a lot more comfortable with the material and feel less shameful when it comes to sex. “I have a bunch of games that just completely take it out of the realm of talking about something sexual,” Downing said. “By

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HIV at each school building level.” Auxiliary Education Curriculum Specialist James Cochran is a member of the Sex Education Advisory Board, which chooses which sex education curriculum out of the state-prescribed curriculums MPS will teach and decides what materials the Health and Wellness class will use to teach. The board is made up of community members, including those who don’t work at MPS. Parents, clergy members, and teachers are all a part of the committee. “The whole point is that the state is making sure that when it comes to decisions about sex education that the community has a chance to get involved too,” Cochran said. Cochran said that the State of Michigan outlines potential curriculums that MPS could choose to teach. “There’s really only two areas that we have any sort of choice as a school district when it comes to sex education,” Cochran said. “The state law is very prescriptive. The State of Michigan prescribes that you’re required to take a health class, and sex education is required to be part of that. We are allowed basically two

February 9, 2018

FOCUS

Church holds her daughter, Addisyn Kay Lynn Sian, who is five-months-old. Church said due to her pregnancy, she took online classes this past semester, but plans to come back to school this semester. Photo: Fischer Genau

choices, we’re allowed to choose whether we want to teach abstinence-only or abstinenceplus.” MHS teaches abstinence-plus, which is also known as abstinence-based. “Students are super lucky,” Downing said. “They get abstinence-based, not abstinence only. With abstinence-based, we get to talk to them about how not to have sex is the best way, but then also, we get to talk about how, ‘hey, we also live in reality,’ so we talk about condoms, and conception and how to identify STIs.” Downing said that she thinks that most schools are conservative in their sex education because they think using the fear-factor of the consequences of unsafe sex will make teens abstain from sex. “But that doesn’t work,” Downing said. “We have the statistics to show that it doesn’t work.” Cochran also agrees that abstinence-based is more effective, especially when compared to the alternative of abstinence-only. “Every research study ever done is really clear on the results of a program like

FOCUS

February 9, 2018

abstinence plus, that it contributes to two basic things: fewer teenage pregnancies, and fewer instances of sexually transmitted diseases,” Cochran said. “That’s one of the driving forces on why we’ve always been like that.” Downing feels confident that the sex education curriculum at MHS is comprehensive enough to teach students about safe sex. Cochran also agrees that the curriculum taught throughout MPS is sound, and predicts that when the Sex Education Advisory Board meets later this year that no curricular changes will be made. However, Downing said she wishes there was an entire class devoted to sex education, because the class lacks the proper information on resources for teens who think they have an STI. “I think resources is probably something that lacks the most in the curriculum,” Rayburn said. “Because it’s scary. If you don’t know where to go to get that help, then it’s just going to end up spreading.” Church agrees that her health class taught her the basics of safe sex, but if she hadn’t

educated herself further past the curriculum, she would have been left with unanswered questions. “I feel like I’d still have a lot of questions and be confused about safe sex,” Church said. “I’d think a condom is the only basic contraceptive, and if you get pregnant you have two choices and that is abortion or keep your baby.” Cochran and Downing both believe that for the most part, MPS sees the reality of sexually-active teens, and the curriculum is helping to educate those students rather than to scare them away from sex. Downing said that what’s most important in sex education is that students are educated and comfortable talking about it before they choose to become sexually active. “If you are going to become sexually active don’t be ashamed of it,” Downing said. “And if you are ashamed of it, then you shouldn’t do it; because if you’re ashamed of it, then you’re not going to talk about it, and if you can’t talk about it then we can’t help you if you contract an STI or are in a poor relationship.”

Photo: Fischer Genau

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Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) are a significant problem and are on the rise in high schools. Their detrimental health consequences, combined with the overwhelming number of uneducated students, lead to improper treatments and diagnoses. The negative connotation toward STIs intensifies this problem. Editor-in-Chief Gwynne Özkan | Features Editor Bitsy Mammel | Staff Writer Lillian Mohr

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S EX

the stigma around

s an OBGYN physician at the Great Lakes Bay Health Center, Dr. Audrey Stryker sees and treats about 50 teenagers per year, and visits schools to help raise awareness and provide knowledge about treatment and protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Though she said that raising awareness can only go so far in fighting against the spread of infection. The rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea have more than doubled over the past 15 years. “Knowledge is power,” Stryker said. “We can’t protect young adults from something they don’t understand.” Stryker is very familiar with the adverse health effects that come with sexually active teenagers and adults. In one instance, she informed a patient of their abnormal pap and precancer of the cervix from the sexually transmitted infection (STI) called Human Papillomavirus (HPV). In turn, Stryker watched the husband immediately break down into tears, thinking he had contracted HPV while the pair were broken up in college and was the reason his wife was at risk for fatal cervical cancer. Stryker discusses cases like this with an emphasis on precautionary measures to prevent such tragedies. Health and wellness teacher Emily Downing is concerned with how little students know about STIs which are much more common than students think, and that especially HPV is on the rise. “It has really taken a skyrocket and that’s the scary thing; it’s constantly growing and it’s constantly coming back on the vaccines we have for it,” Downing said, “That’s what students really don’t understand: that it could be one thing but there could be 150 strands of it.” The term STI refers to more than 20 different infections transmitted through the exchange of semen, blood, body fluids, or direct skin contact; they are contracted through engaging in sexual activity (including oral, penetrative, and non-penetrative). If diagnosed quickly, STIs can be short-lived. However in some cases, STIs don’t show symptoms which makes them difficult to diagnose. In other cases, STIs that are diagnosed, like herpes, are viruses that have lifelong consequences and are unable to be cured. “A significant number of sexual encounters in teens are undesired, non-monogamous, and over 50 percent

are associated with drinking alcohol,” Stryker said. “These sexually active teens are at a much greater risk for delayed diagnosis and complication of STIs - even more so than adults.” She sees this as very concerning, and urges teens to receive proper education. Stryker said teaching not only protects students, but benefits society as a whole because students can share their truths with others who haven’t been provided this knowledge. She ensures students that they can trust their parents and teachers because they have more knowledge on the subject than students think, and advises students to trust them enough to talk with them about serious matters. “If we teach them all we know and engage in open and honest discussions about the normal instincts we have to ‘perpetuate our species’, they begin to make better choices,” Stryker said. OBGYN Dr. Jennifer Schmidt works with multiple hospitals, including Covenant Healthcare-Saginaw and St. Mary’s of Michigan, and she also has concerns about STIs. “Sexually transmitted infections are a problem in all areas,” Schmidt said. “No geographic area or socioeconomic status is less likely to get an STI.” From her experience, many pregnant teens are diagnosed when they seek care, because then is when they feel comfortable getting screened and talking to their doctor. However, Schmidt emphasized how important it is to have a knowledgeable health care provider that you can trust to ask intimate questions without shame or embarrassment under any circumstance. From Schmidt’s perspective, teenagers should proceed with an adult relationship, involving sexual activity, only if they are willing to accept the possible risks of parenthood and STI consequences as well. Schmidt said everyone should care about their health, and that both parenthood and STIs can link people together forever. “Teenagers don’t understand the gravity of one decision,” Schmidt said. “Kids don’t think it can happen to them, but I’ve delivered a baby from a 12-year-old. It happens.” Common symptoms include vaginal discharge, abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, intercourse pain, and in extreme cases, infertility, miscarriage, and premature birth. However, STIs require an actual test to

be diagnosed. Downing said that most of the questions she receives from students have to do with how to identify STIs, and she said her answer is scary. “Half of them can’t even be identified because many don’t have symptoms, and if they do have symptoms then it’s later on when they’ve already contracted it with whoever they were with,” Downing said. Once diagnosed, some diseases are treated with antibiotics or antiviral agents, while others require surgeries including, in severe cases, a hysterectomy, the removal of a woman’s uterus. The Midland County Health Department and Planned Parenthood are available facilities to get tested at, as well as family doctors. Stryker recommends these options for testing, but she emphasizes the fact that there is no such thing as “safe sex” and the only 100 percent safe and effective way of preventing STIs is abstinence. Senior Spencer James agrees with Stryker, and said that abstinence is the best way to ensure sexual health. James and his family are Mormon, and abstinence is a significant part of their religion, therefore James strictly upholds this value. He believes that the risk of STIs and unwanted pregnancy can be reduced by waiting to engage in sexual activity until marriage, and that only good can come from this refrainment. This belief causes him to advise his peers to take to abstinence. “I like to use the example of a funnel,” James said. “If I were to open myself up to premarital sex, at first it would seem as if I had far more choices and more freedom. But as I descend the funnel, my choices become limited. STIs and teen pregnancies inhibit choice. Flip the funnel upside down. By me waiting to have sex it may seem as if I have less choices, but 10 years down the road I have more freedom. Some things are worth waiting for, and the gift of being able to create a family is one of them.” James also agrees that the negative stigma surrounding STIs is inhibiting sexually active teens from getting tested at clinics or talking about it with their parents. He said that students who have parents that denounce sexual activity will not feel comfortable approaching their parents if they have an STI and want to seek treatment or want to get tested for STIs. James said that the idea of breaking a rule will cause hesitation for teens to speak to their parents or seek help through other organizations by themselves.

“For someone to get tested for an STI, they’d have to be admitting, potentially to parents, that they brought harm upon themselves,” James said. “It’s not an innocent type of injury.” However, senior Mitchell Reid believes that people should engage in sexual activity before marriage if they choose to do so. He is openly sexually active. Reid said that for him, sex is a connection like no other. “If you don’t want to participate in having sex, then that’s your own decision, but if you don’t want to be abstinent, then that’s totally okay too,” Reid said. Instead, Reid thinks that the true issue lies in the stigma around STIs rather than the STIs themselves. He said that since there is a negative connotation surrounding the term “STI,” and teens use that connotation to hurt other people emotionally and use it to embarrass other people. He believes that the stigma is used as a source to spread rumors to put down other people. Reid also emphasized that the stigma surrounding STIs causes teens to neglect talking about them, especially if they have one. He said that he would not think that people would disclose the fact that they had an STI to someone they were having sex with, for fear of the shame that is associated with having one. Downing, like Reid, believes that the negative connotation around STIs stop teenagers from getting tested or talking about it, for fear that if they do have an STI they will be isolated or judged. She believes that this connotation has a severe health interference, physically and mentally, for teenagers. “I think it has a big thing of ‘You have this STI so you’re a shameful person’ or you did something that you shouldn’t have done,” Downing said. “It’s not something for anyone to judge, that can be something between their parents or their guardian, but getting them help is more important than ‘How did you get this?’” James believes that the STIs themselves pose a serious threat to students, but he doesn’t see them qualifying as an epidemic at MHS. “I think that’s like asking if smoking is a problem at MHS,” James said. “Yes, any of it is a problem. Ideally no one would have STIs, and no one would smoke. But that’s not the case, people have and do both. As far as I see not many people have them and that’s great, but it could undoubtedly be better.”

Photo: Hadley Morden

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February 9, 2018

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Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) are a significant problem and are on the rise in high schools. Their detrimental health consequences, combined with the overwhelming number of uneducated students, lead to improper treatments and diagnoses. The negative connotation toward STIs intensifies this problem. Editor-in-Chief Gwynne Özkan | Features Editor Bitsy Mammel | Staff Writer Lillian Mohr

A

S EX

the stigma around

s an OBGYN physician at the Great Lakes Bay Health Center, Dr. Audrey Stryker sees and treats about 50 teenagers per year, and visits schools to help raise awareness and provide knowledge about treatment and protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Though she said that raising awareness can only go so far in fighting against the spread of infection. The rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea have more than doubled over the past 15 years. “Knowledge is power,” Stryker said. “We can’t protect young adults from something they don’t understand.” Stryker is very familiar with the adverse health effects that come with sexually active teenagers and adults. In one instance, she informed a patient of their abnormal pap and precancer of the cervix from the sexually transmitted infection (STI) called Human Papillomavirus (HPV). In turn, Stryker watched the husband immediately break down into tears, thinking he had contracted HPV while the pair were broken up in college and was the reason his wife was at risk for fatal cervical cancer. Stryker discusses cases like this with an emphasis on precautionary measures to prevent such tragedies. Health and wellness teacher Emily Downing is concerned with how little students know about STIs which are much more common than students think, and that especially HPV is on the rise. “It has really taken a skyrocket and that’s the scary thing; it’s constantly growing and it’s constantly coming back on the vaccines we have for it,” Downing said, “That’s what students really don’t understand: that it could be one thing but there could be 150 strands of it.” The term STI refers to more than 20 different infections transmitted through the exchange of semen, blood, body fluids, or direct skin contact; they are contracted through engaging in sexual activity (including oral, penetrative, and non-penetrative). If diagnosed quickly, STIs can be short-lived. However in some cases, STIs don’t show symptoms which makes them difficult to diagnose. In other cases, STIs that are diagnosed, like herpes, are viruses that have lifelong consequences and are unable to be cured. “A significant number of sexual encounters in teens are undesired, non-monogamous, and over 50 percent

are associated with drinking alcohol,” Stryker said. “These sexually active teens are at a much greater risk for delayed diagnosis and complication of STIs - even more so than adults.” She sees this as very concerning, and urges teens to receive proper education. Stryker said teaching not only protects students, but benefits society as a whole because students can share their truths with others who haven’t been provided this knowledge. She ensures students that they can trust their parents and teachers because they have more knowledge on the subject than students think, and advises students to trust them enough to talk with them about serious matters. “If we teach them all we know and engage in open and honest discussions about the normal instincts we have to ‘perpetuate our species’, they begin to make better choices,” Stryker said. OBGYN Dr. Jennifer Schmidt works with multiple hospitals, including Covenant Healthcare-Saginaw and St. Mary’s of Michigan, and she also has concerns about STIs. “Sexually transmitted infections are a problem in all areas,” Schmidt said. “No geographic area or socioeconomic status is less likely to get an STI.” From her experience, many pregnant teens are diagnosed when they seek care, because then is when they feel comfortable getting screened and talking to their doctor. However, Schmidt emphasized how important it is to have a knowledgeable health care provider that you can trust to ask intimate questions without shame or embarrassment under any circumstance. From Schmidt’s perspective, teenagers should proceed with an adult relationship, involving sexual activity, only if they are willing to accept the possible risks of parenthood and STI consequences as well. Schmidt said everyone should care about their health, and that both parenthood and STIs can link people together forever. “Teenagers don’t understand the gravity of one decision,” Schmidt said. “Kids don’t think it can happen to them, but I’ve delivered a baby from a 12-year-old. It happens.” Common symptoms include vaginal discharge, abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, intercourse pain, and in extreme cases, infertility, miscarriage, and premature birth. However, STIs require an actual test to

be diagnosed. Downing said that most of the questions she receives from students have to do with how to identify STIs, and she said her answer is scary. “Half of them can’t even be identified because many don’t have symptoms, and if they do have symptoms then it’s later on when they’ve already contracted it with whoever they were with,” Downing said. Once diagnosed, some diseases are treated with antibiotics or antiviral agents, while others require surgeries including, in severe cases, a hysterectomy, the removal of a woman’s uterus. The Midland County Health Department and Planned Parenthood are available facilities to get tested at, as well as family doctors. Stryker recommends these options for testing, but she emphasizes the fact that there is no such thing as “safe sex” and the only 100 percent safe and effective way of preventing STIs is abstinence. Senior Spencer James agrees with Stryker, and said that abstinence is the best way to ensure sexual health. James and his family are Mormon, and abstinence is a significant part of their religion, therefore James strictly upholds this value. He believes that the risk of STIs and unwanted pregnancy can be reduced by waiting to engage in sexual activity until marriage, and that only good can come from this refrainment. This belief causes him to advise his peers to take to abstinence. “I like to use the example of a funnel,” James said. “If I were to open myself up to premarital sex, at first it would seem as if I had far more choices and more freedom. But as I descend the funnel, my choices become limited. STIs and teen pregnancies inhibit choice. Flip the funnel upside down. By me waiting to have sex it may seem as if I have less choices, but 10 years down the road I have more freedom. Some things are worth waiting for, and the gift of being able to create a family is one of them.” James also agrees that the negative stigma surrounding STIs is inhibiting sexually active teens from getting tested at clinics or talking about it with their parents. He said that students who have parents that denounce sexual activity will not feel comfortable approaching their parents if they have an STI and want to seek treatment or want to get tested for STIs. James said that the idea of breaking a rule will cause hesitation for teens to speak to their parents or seek help through other organizations by themselves.

“For someone to get tested for an STI, they’d have to be admitting, potentially to parents, that they brought harm upon themselves,” James said. “It’s not an innocent type of injury.” However, senior Mitchell Reid believes that people should engage in sexual activity before marriage if they choose to do so. He is openly sexually active. Reid said that for him, sex is a connection like no other. “If you don’t want to participate in having sex, then that’s your own decision, but if you don’t want to be abstinent, then that’s totally okay too,” Reid said. Instead, Reid thinks that the true issue lies in the stigma around STIs rather than the STIs themselves. He said that since there is a negative connotation surrounding the term “STI,” and teens use that connotation to hurt other people emotionally and use it to embarrass other people. He believes that the stigma is used as a source to spread rumors to put down other people. Reid also emphasized that the stigma surrounding STIs causes teens to neglect talking about them, especially if they have one. He said that he would not think that people would disclose the fact that they had an STI to someone they were having sex with, for fear of the shame that is associated with having one. Downing, like Reid, believes that the negative connotation around STIs stop teenagers from getting tested or talking about it, for fear that if they do have an STI they will be isolated or judged. She believes that this connotation has a severe health interference, physically and mentally, for teenagers. “I think it has a big thing of ‘You have this STI so you’re a shameful person’ or you did something that you shouldn’t have done,” Downing said. “It’s not something for anyone to judge, that can be something between their parents or their guardian, but getting them help is more important than ‘How did you get this?’” James believes that the STIs themselves pose a serious threat to students, but he doesn’t see them qualifying as an epidemic at MHS. “I think that’s like asking if smoking is a problem at MHS,” James said. “Yes, any of it is a problem. Ideally no one would have STIs, and no one would smoke. But that’s not the case, people have and do both. As far as I see not many people have them and that’s great, but it could undoubtedly be better.”

Photo: Hadley Morden

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Midland possesses a variety of resources for sexual health related services. The Pregnancy Resource Center, the Shelterhouse, and the Health Department are able to aid teenagers and meet their individual needs confidentially. Web Editor Hadley Morden | Staff Writer Kelly Craig

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eenagers who visit the Pregnancy Resource Center, often overcome with nerves, seek assistance for various sexual health needs. Their nerves are caused by their uncertainties regarding their sexual health and what the repercussions will be like if their families find out. According to Jillian Ferguson, the Marketing and Development Director for the Pregnancy Resource Center, the center offers a variety of services to assist teenagers that are free and confidential. The main objective for the Center is for everyone who sees them to feel secure. “Our only goal is to help you become the best, happiest, and healthiest version of yourself, whatever that looks like,” Ferguson said. “We’re friendly, compassionate people here to provide you with a judgment-free place you can come to think through important decisions with help.” The Pregnancy Resource Center, the Shelterhouse, and the Health Department are all resources that work to make sure that high schoolers, if they are engaging in sexual intercourse, are doing it in a way that is safe and healthy. If teenagers have any incidents, such as an unplanned pregnancy, these resources are able to help. Ferguson said the services they offer fall into two general categories: medical and educational. Their medical services that deal with sexual health or sex related situations include pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, STI treatment, options counseling, sexual health counseling, physician referrals, STI education, and pregnancy education. The Pregnancy Resource Center serves about 50 teenagers annually. When teens come in, the center is able to educate them on multiple options, inform them of resources that may be helpful to them, and give them information on STIs and sexual health. Teenagers mostly come in for unplanned pregnancies or worries of STIs. Every situation is unique but there are often concerns about their relationships,

parents, school, job, or money. To expand their services, they are in the process of developing male STI treatment and testing. If someone is pregnant, the Pregnancy Resource Center not only gives educational and medical services, they also contribute tangible products through their Hope Closet, which has diapers, bottles, formula, cribs, dressers, clothes, car seats, strollers, and more. The Center can aid individuals in emergency situations in which they are in immediate need of some items. The Shelterhouse is an additional location for high schoolers to go for guidance and support. Susan Williams, Residential and Supportive Housing Advocate for the Shelterhouse, described how the Shelterhouse supplies similar assistance to the Pregnancy Resource Center and Health Department, although they mostly focus on domestic violence. The agency

Williams said the Shelterhouse provides a service where community members feel safe and know that the agency can offer help at any time when they are involved in domestic violence or sexual assault situation. Like the Pregnancy Resource Center, the Shelterhouse keeps the information told to them private. However, there are instances when the Shelterhouse must break the confidentiality. “I would tell teenagers that what he or she shares is confidential unless they are going to harm themselves or others,” Williams said. “ I also would have to explain that because I am a mandated reporter, if he or she is underage and being harmed by their caregiver, I would have to report the incident. I would offer resources and advocacy if they are needing them. I would also offer to meet off site if the high schooler did not feel comfortable coming to the agency.” An additional location that issues aid for sexual related matters is the Midland County Health Department. The department served 150 teenagers last year. Registered Nurses Nicole Swanton and Emily Nelson said how The Health Department doesn’t require parental involvement in sexual health treatment or diagnosis, although it is encouraged. Swanton said that the Health Department also provides free birth control, free pregnancy tests and free condoms through their Take Cover Program, which distributes free condoms throughout Midland to promote safe sex. “We benefit the community by offering low or no cost services to all members of the community and connect them to other resources they may benefit them from,” Nelson said. Ferguson wants students to feel secure and comfortable receiving assistance from places like the center. Through more community involvement, she hopes that the stigma around seeking help for sexually needs will diminish. “As we increase outreach and serve more people in the community, we hope to continue to spread light, positivity, and health through the area,” Ferguson said.

Our only goal is to help you become the best, happiest, and healthiest version of yourself.

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-Jillian Ferguson offers shelter, counseling, advocacy and a sexual assault nurse exam. “When it comes to sexual assault, the agency provide services to anyone,” Williams said. “Meaning, if the person was molested or raped by their dad, mom, uncle, boy/girlfriend, stranger, etc. we would serve them.” Williams said the Shelterhouse encourages people to make their own choices. The Shelterhouse doesn’t want to influence those who are in need of help to feel a certain way or to do things a certain way. “Our agency believes in the empowerment theory,” Williams said. “This means the client is allowed to make their own choices or decisions. Whoever the clients are working with, the advocates or the therapist will support them as long as they are not going to harm themselves or others.”

Photo: Hadley Morden

features

February 9, 2018

FOCUS


11-0

The Boys’ Varsity Bowling team finished 1st in the Saginaw Valley League at 11-0. The SVL Singles tournament will be played on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m. in Essexville.

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Sophomore Matt Babinski has scored 29 goals thus far in the hockey season. The team’s next game is Wednesday, Feb. 14 against Heritage High School.

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AT H L E T E O F T H E M O N T H : M AT E O D I A Z

Staff Writer Katie Gibbs

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quaring up on the sweaty mat, eyes locked, hands stiff Season record: 24-3 and ready, Senior Mateo Diaz prepared for what was High School record: 142-29 going to be his hardest match so far in his final season as a Chemic wrestler. Roaring cheers filled the gymnasium as teammates gathered in a huddle on the sidelines to watch the match. Diaz was set to fight someone who was a familiar face. “I’ve seen that kid before. He knew what I was doing and I knew what he was doing,” Diaz said. Since the start of the season Diaz has proved himself to be a very promising wrestler. His wrestling career started when he was just nine years old. Over the past four years he has practiced with head coach Michael Donovan as a Chemic, and Donovan has guided and coached Diaz over his high school career. “His skill and arsenal of attacks has gotten profoundly better. When he was a freshman, he kind of bullied his way around the mat and that won him a lot of matches. Over the years however, he’s greatly developed a more calculated approach. He still dominates guys with heavy hands and a solid positioning, but he’s gotten better at not going out of control.” Donovan said. Diaz is still working hard on improving his skills. This year he has been pushing himself at practices and striving to be the best he can be. “I’m more technical, faster, more conditioned,” Diaz said. Wrestling has had a bigger impact on Diaz beyond the mat. He says it has also affected his college decisions. “Colleges I would not of thought of to go to started to talk to me because of wrestling.” Diaz said. With the season coming to an end, the last big challenge facing Diaz is the State Competition. This will give Diaz some of his hardest matches and will be his biggest test. Diaz has high hopes that he’ll do well at States. “My biggest goal is to place at states,” Diaz said. Diaz also has his teammates and coaches standing behind him. “I think the sky’s the limit for Mateo. Everyone here believe he can be a state champion, but that same belief is present in everyone of the 16 kids in each weight at the state tournament. Our focus now is to make sure he’s healthy and prepared to make a deep run,” Donovan said.

Player Name Nate Miller

10

xxx

Nate Miller rolled three straight strikes in the final frame to lead the team to a come back win against Davison to clinch the SVL.

BOYS BOWLING

Photo: Katie Gibbs

tweet of the month

@midlandchemics

These guys made Chemic History tonight. Boys bowling in only its 4th year of existence clinches its first SVL Championship with a 16-4 win over lapeer. #raiseabanner 9 retweets 53 likes

UPCOMING EVENTS On Saturday, Feb. 3, the Wrestling team traveled to Davison for the SVL tournament where 11 wrestlers finished in the top 6. The team finished 2nd overall in the SVL.

FOCUS

February 9, 2018

BOYS BASKETBALL

Feb. 9

away

vs. Dow

7:00 p.m.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Feb. 9

away

vs. Dow

5:30 p.m.

BOYS SWIM

Feb. 13

Bay City Central Dual

GIRLS BOWLING

Feb. 14

SVL Singles Tournament sports

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setting

the bar

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printing down the runway, Senior Rylie Johnstone eyes the steadily approaching vault platform. Reaching it, she launches into a roundoff back handspring onto the board and executes one and a half twists while soaring through the air, landing her Yurchenko. Johnstone has been a competitive gymnast for 15 years, and recently committed to the University of Illinois at Chicago to further her career at the collegiate level. The university awarded her an 80% scholarship, and she plans to compete in floor and vault. Johnstone has achieved her lifelong goal of earning a gymnastic scholarship, allowing her to pursue gymnastics after high school. Johnstone has accomplished this through hard work, commitment, and sacrificing the life of a normal high schooler. Since she was eight-yearsold, Johnstone has spent an upwards of 20 hours in the g y m

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Senior Rylie Johnstone set an ambitious goal for herself at a very young age. After a long career as a competitive gymnast, she has finally accomplished it, earning a gymnastics scholarship to the University of Illinois at Chicago. Photo & Design Editor Fischer Genau | Copy Editor Lexy Lang

stress, gymnastics demands a great deal of cognitive During her bar routine, Johnstone executes a bail, power. When moving from the high to the low bar. After this it comes to maneuver, Johnstone finishes her routine with two learning a giants, fully circling the bar before dismounting. new aerial Photos: Fischer Genau or executing a routine at a meet, concentration is essential. homework “A lot of it is mental,” Johnstone said. to keep her grades up. “Some of it’s obviously physical, because She’s been able to do a lot more than I you have to be strong enough to do the skill, thought she would be able to do.” but a lot of it is just believing yourself and Despite all the sacrifices Johnstone has focusing throughout that skill to be able to had to make, the rewards she has seen make make it.” it worthwhile. She set a goal for herself In competition, Johnstone has been very at a very young age to obtain a college successful. In eighth grade, she was crowned scholarship, and has met that goal. the state champion and advanced onto “Ever since she’s been little, she set a goal national competition within her skill class. to get a college scholarship and she has never However, so much time spent at practice wavered from it,” Shannon said. “There have and competition, Johnstone has met some been times when she’s been tired or she had challenges involving schoolwork. Along with an injury and gotten discouraged, but she her responsibility to gymnastics, she is also never gave up and she always goes after what responsible for education. she wants. I’m just proud of her for that.” “I have to manage all my homework, practice times, and having a social life with all my friends,” Johnstone said. When Johnstone arrives home after a long day of school and training, she has to make time for dinner, showering, and homework. Not only does Johnstone struggle with making time for homework, she also misses out on many memorable high school events. Fifth Place “You want to go to all the football and at Regionals basketball games in high school and you have to pick practice over that if you want to LVL 9 be successful,” Johnstone said. have When Johnstone is having a stressful day, t o she can always count on her parents, Rob Fifth Place r e a l l y and Shannon Johnstone, for support. at States t a k e “They’re always there for me so when I care of have a bad day, they tell me it’s okay and LVL 9 their body, you’ll get it next time, you always have second know their chance with the next day,” Johnstone said. body, and be Her parents have always supported her able to tell us pursuit of gymnastics, but do acknowledge State Champion as coaches what the challenges that come with it. Due to LVL 9 hurts so we can cut her commitment to the sport, Johnstone back on things, if has never been able to have a spring break, needed.” leaving one parent to accompany her to a As well as physical meet while the other takes her two siblings Fourth Place on vacation. Shannon does appreciate how at States Johnstone has been able to grow due to the Johnstone completes her squat on, jumping from the low to responsibility she shoulders. LVL 10 the high bar, preparing to finish her bar routine. Johnstone’s “I think it’s made her a well-rounded kid,” favorite event to compete in is vault. Shannon said. “She has the responsibility and she knows she has to come in and do her

sports

every week. This demanding schedule forces her to sacrifice time with friends. A typical practice for Johnstone consists of cardio, stretching, event training, and conditioning, with her coaches Lori and Jim Comiskey. With them, Johnstone has ascended to level ten as a Junior Olympic competitor, the highest level possible within the class. “Ever since I was little they’ve been my coaches and believed in me to get to level ten,” Johnstone said. “They pushed me to get a college scholarship and become the person I am today.” Lori Comiskey, too, received a scholarship to pursue gymnastics in college, and understands the challenges that come with the sport. “It means a lot to us that she’s stayed in it for this long because that’s hard to do,” Comiskey said. “It takes a lot of time to be at the level she’s at.” According to Comiskey, Johnstone’s determination and ability to set and achieve goals has set her apart as a gymnast. Several years ago, Johnstone experienced a foot injury that required surgery, and this season has dealt with a back injury, but she continues to work through whatever obstacles the sport presents. “It’s very physically demanding,” Comiskey said. “They

HARDWARE

February 9, 2018

FOCUS


a wave of change The boys’ swim team’s coach, Nick Pellegrino III, has incorporated a new coaching style, which includes a more serious atmosphere and tougher practices. These changes have been the basis for the team’s success. Sports Editor Hannah Smith | Staff Writer Alyssa McMillan| Staff Writer Hannah Woehrle

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very day at 5:00 PM, the boys swim team starts with a warm-up of a 400 yard choice swim. Then, 400 yards of kick down/swim back sets and 400 yards of kick-board sets. This consistent warm-up signifies the beginning of practice, and helps prepare the team for that day’s workout. The swim team has undergone several changes this year: fewer members, harder practices, and a new coaching style under Nick Pellegrino III. “My program is way more technique oriented than the previous coach’s program,” Pellegrino said. “It focuses on all of the details.” Pellegrino’s swim career began in high school and continued at the University of Miami. He began his coaching career in 1994

Tr i - C i t y M e e t Personal Bests

28.51

D av i d M a c h 50 yard Fr e e s t y l e

55.18

Marc Dean 10 0 y a r d Fr e e s t y l e

1:02

Zach O’Dell 10 0 y a r d B a c k s t r o ke

1:26

Ke v i n H o e fe r 10 0 y a r d B r e a s t s t r o ke

2:54 FOCUS

Therese Joffre

200 yard Individual Medley

February 9, 2018

and was the head coach for the girls’ swim team at Midland High in the early 2000’s. However, Pellegrino said he has wanted to coach the boys for a while, but needed to wait for the right opportunity. He plans on using the practices to strengthen the team. Senior Captain Brady Wing, along with Pellegrino, said that numbers were down from last year’s team of 28 to this year’s team of 22, but they still had enough swimmers who are able to compete in all of the events. Wing said he knew some students decided to no longer swim due to other commitments, as well as the knowledge of the practices becoming harder. Senior Luke Pajk, a former swimmer, decided not to participate this year for multiple reasons. Pajk said that inconvenient practice times, the resignation of the previous coach, and prior commitments were all deciding factors. Pajk said he has heard of the more serious atmosphere, and is glad he didn’t continue with swim since he enjoyed the previous season’s less intense approach. “Coach Pat [last years coach] just wanted us to do our best, not beat a certain time, which really spoke to me,” Pajk said. Pellegrino is aware that many boys chose not to continue swim this year because they knew the intensity would be heightened. However, he also understood that many of them, like Pajk, wanted to focus on other things. He said that those who did continue wanted the team to adapt a more serious approach to swimming and in return, win more meets because of the new direction the team was taking. Pellegrino’s coaching style and direction for the team aligned with the commited boys’ ambitions and the team culture has changed drastically. “The demands on doing different strokes, the amount of yardage per practice, and the different energy systems we work are all higher now,” Pellegrino said. Pellegrino always includes an element of technique into their daily practices and also focuses on specific areas of the body by including kick sets to build leg strength. “It just depends on the day, whether it’s going to be endurance or speed,” Pellegrino said. “There’s just different areas that we focus on.” Wing said Pellegrino mentors each

individual on the team based on their strengths and weaknesses, and that the team accomplishes a lot at practice, which makes the meets easier. This was proven at the team’s first meet, when 75 percent of the swimmers had personal bests. Wing said that over the next few years, the team will see vast improvement. In past years, they have placed anywhere from fourth to sixth place at the annual Valley meet, but Wing believes that despite the competition, it is possible for them to rank third this year or in the near future. Pellegrino agrees that the team has the potential to become a strong competitor. He hopes to see the boys pushing each other in a positive way both at practice and at meets. “Our team is on the come-up,” Wing said. “Two or three years down the road, Coach Pellegrino is going to start to build something special.” The team will travel to Bay City on Tuesday, Feb. 13 where they will compete against Bay City Central at 6:00 p.m. The Bay City Central dual meet leads up to the Saginaw Valley League conference meets on Thursday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 24 at Saginaw Valley State University. Coach Nick Pellegrino observes his team as they compete in a home meet against Heritage on Friday, Jan. 19. Pellegrino stands directly beside the pool during meets to cheer on and encourage his team. Although the team lost to the visiting Hawks, they showed much improvement. Photo: Fischer Genau

sports

17


TOP: Deckrow says he works roughly 25 hours a week, which wouldn’t usually be legal, but because his parents own the shop he can work extra hours. Despite Deckrow’s relation to the owners, he had to go through the application process just like every other employee. Here, Deckrow is seen steaming milk for a hot chocolate. Photo: Will Shaffer

CENTER RIGHT: Saturday, Jan. 20, sophomores (from left to right) Talon Cole, Jenna Spencer, and Abby Perry put together a puzzle from the dollar store, avoiding the ever increasing stress that exam week brings. They’ve come to Live Oak for, what they consider, a warm atmosphere. CENTER LEFT: A trip to Live Oak cannot go without a hot cup of joe. Freshly ground coffee beans and boiling water combine to make a gravity brewed pour over. Photos: Maureen Aloff

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BOTTOM: Deckrow said his personal favorite drink is a mocha latte and is the shops most popularly sold drink. Here, Deckrow is seen preparing coffee grounds for the espresso machine. Photo: Fischer Genau

iand ve ocal

After its opening a year ago, Live Oak has become a popular place for studying, drinking coffee, and holding good conversation for people of all ages, including MHS students. Senior Ethan Deckrow works there as barista. Staff Writer Will Shaffer| Staff Writer Maureen Aloff

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opinion

February 9, 2018

FOCUS


FOR THE

lonely hearts club Single people of MHS fret not, for Valentine’s Day may be a day for couples to enjoy their relationships; but, in reality, it’s more of a precursor to a day where you can buy enormous amounts of chocolate for cheap. But, if you need something to do on your night before the Great Day of Chocolate, try listening to these tunes or watching these cheesy movies. Opinion Editor Danielle Julien

singles for singles

A playlist built for a variety of people, my “Singles for Singles” contains music from artists ranging from Daniel Caesar and Kevin Abstract to The Lumineers and Bon Iver. Many of these songs are about love, but not entirely about being in a relationship, and some are soft and sweet while others are more upbeat. 1. Ever Since New York - Harry Styles 2. I Need My Girl - The National 3. Slow It Down - The Lumineers 4. Cool With You - Hers 5. Love on the Weekend - John Mayer 6. The Less I Know The Better - Tame Impala 7. Green Light - Lorde 8. I’m Just Snacking - Gus Dapperton 9. Empty - Kevin Abstract 10. Why Do You Feel So Down - Declan McKenna 11. Desire - Years & Years 12. No Lie - Wet 13. Won’t Live Here - Daniel Caesar 14. Affection - Cigarettes After Sex 15. Alright - Keaton Henson 16. Such Great Heights - Iron & Wine 17. American Boyfriend - Kevin Abstract 18. From the Dining Table - Harry Styles 19. Re: Stacks - Bon Iver 20. Mystery of Love - Sufjan Stevens

scenes for singles Hand picked from my favorite love stories, these three scenes are not only from great movies, they’re what help to make each movie so good. Pick your poison: the teen romance, the romcom, or the musical.

10 Things I Hate About You

Where do I even start with this terribly beautiful movie? We’ll start with the best part of it: Heath Ledger. Not only is he a beautiful human being, his character, Patrick Verona, turns out pretty great too. He’s that stereotypical hot and mysterious bad boy, but he’s like, a good hot and mysterious bad boy. Without him, we would never have gotten the iconic scene of Heath Ledger dancing around the football field bleachers lip syncing to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” And that is why 10 Things I Hate About You is the number one film on the list. Just imagine Heath is singing to you up in those bleachers and for a solid 3 minutes you’ll forget you’re single.

FOCUS

February 9, 2018

500 Days of Summer

Built upon the idea that we only get so many days with each person we meet, 500 Days of Summer is a slightly more depressing movie. Because of that, there are so many beautiful scenes hidden within it that it’s really hard to choose the best. But, the scene that gets me the most is when Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is taking his “friend” Summer (Zooey Deschanel) through the streets of LA to show her his favorite buildings. They end up at a park overlooking the city, and what ensues is one of the most overlooked displays of affection I’ve ever seen. The scene is so simple, but the cinematography makes it beautiful. And, because the meaning is so depressing, you won’t get jealous of the affection you’re not receiving.

Photo Illustration: Danielle Julien

La La Land

Dubbed one of the most beautiful films cinematically, La La Land is a must see for anyone and everyone. The tale of love through the scene of LA revolves around music, acting, regrets, and good ol’ Ryan Gosling. Although every moment of this movie is brilliant, the one that beats all the rest is the very end. The best part of the scene is the music. You’re sucked in by a spotlit Ryan Gosling hunched over a piano, and then you’re sent spinning by the beauty of a song rightly titled “Epilogue,” which is a mix of almost every other song within the movie. It takes you through the thrill of love and the heartbreak of what if? The scene, and the entire film, ends with two of the most painful smiles in the world. Love sucks, y’all.

opinion

19


Illustration: Will Shaffer and Noah Jacobson

The Focus addresses:

sex-ed

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The current policy on teaching sex education is uncomprehensive, leaving students uninformed and therefore susceptible to health consequences. A more extensive, thorough unit of study should be dedicated to sex-ed.

ith Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) among teens on the rise in the Midland area, we must question the comprehensiveness of sex education throughout Midland Public Schools (MPS). Out of the two sex education curricula allowed in Michigan, MPS teaches an abstinence-based program. This program teaches abstinence as the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STIs, but covers alternate methods of birth control and protection from STIs as well. Some regions in Michigan choose to teach abstinence-only, meaning they don’t cover any forms of birth control or STI prevention besides abstinence. The Focus Editorial Board recognizes the rise of STIs among teens as a serious concern, and believe it’s important to address the school’s involvement in educating teens about safe sex. We believe the current sex education in Midland isn’t comprehensive enough. One of our concerns

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editorial

surrounding sex education is potential bias teachers inflict onto their lessons. If teachers emphasize abstinence because of a personal belief, and only give brief overviews of alternate methods of pregnancy and STI prevention, this prohibits students from learning about each aspect equally. The biggest issue we have with the current curriculum is the time frame the information is presented to students. Sex education is taught within health class, which covers a variety of topics unrelated to sex education, within one semester. Teachers use their discretion on how long to spend on each unit and, as a result, students lack an in-depth analysis of everything within the sex education unit. We feel that the few weeks allocated to sex education isn’t enough time for students to form a strong understanding of everything within the unit. We recognize the current

curriculum does provide basic information about abstinence, STIs, and birth control methods to students. Despite the class not going in-depth about every sex-ed topic, students are free to pursue research further if they want to learn more about what they were presented with in class. Some students believe the curriculum is comprehensive enough as is, and teaching the “basics” of sex education is a beneficial way for students to be taught the information. To them, sex is a sensitive subject and is best taught by parents rather than in school. The school stays fairly conservative in how far they take sex education, and acknowledges sex is something parents can teach their children on their own time and set of standards. There’s the belief that if students feel responsible enough to have sex, they should be responsible enough to educate themselves on potential risks, and how to practice safe sex. Another positive aspect of the current curriculum is the fact

students are encouraged to take it freshman year, with the hope that students are aware of safe sex practices before becoming sexually active. However, we believe an entire marking period should be dedicated to sex education within the health class. This allows teachers to spend more time on each topic within the sex education unit, such as going in depth on the different types of STIs, local resources on where to get tests or treatment done, or covering the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of birth control. A marking period focused on sex education would allow for more guest speakers such as doctors or employees from the health department, to give presentations to students. The Focus Editorial Board suggests students continue to take the course during freshman year, with the mindset that they would be informed on how to have safe sex before becoming sexually active is the smartest option.

February 9, 2018

FOCUS


abortion

Since abortion is barred from discussion in the classroom, two students express their perspectives in response to President Trump’s attempt at banning abortions for all fetuses exceeding 20 weeks.

Kelly Craig

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erri Santoro of Connecticut realized she had become pregnant after being involved with Clyde Dixon, a man who gave her renewed hope for the future for her and her two daughters after she had left her abusive ex-husband. When he returned from California to see her and her daughters, Gerri feared that he would kill her if he found out. After attempting to perform an abortion in a motel room using only a medical textbook and borrowed surgical tools, her body was found the next morning, having bled to death from a hemorrhage. She was 28, dead nine years before the deciding of Roe v. Wade, a

that they’re pro-life and also in support of abortion becoming illegal, because a lack of access to safe abortions is going to result in the deaths of thousands of women. This is also why I get confused when people who are pro-life argue for the sake of the “right to life.” Where is the right to life for women whose lives are at risk because they have no other option left? Where is the respect for their privacy? Where is the concern for their lives? Where is the support in the form of maternity care and child care? The support for the large number of children from unplanned pregnancies who will be born under the

Where is the right to life for women whose lives are at risk because they have no other option left? landmark decision which would have made it legal for her to get a safe abortion. Gerri’s story was not uncommon for women in the time before Roe v. Wade. After her death, her experiences were made public and became a rallying force for the pro-choice movement. While her story is a tragedy, the bigger tragedy, in my eyes, is the fact that people are pushing to make abortion illegal, essentially making Gerri and countless other women’s experiences invalid. It’s exhausting to listen to people talk about how much they care about life when they do nothing to support people that are living right now. I am baffled when people who are in favor of abortion becoming illegal say they are doing it in the “name of life,” with the idea that making abortion illegal is somehow going to save lives. Currently 20 million women worldwide will have an unsafe abortion, with around 68,000 dying as a result of complications. This is why I can’t take anyone seriously when they say

FOCUS

February 9, 2018

poverty line, into abusive households, or with negative health affects, the very people that pro-lifers were so adamant into bringing into the world? “What if that baby cured cancer?” you say. I say that the cure for cancer is in the unarmed black person who is unlawfully killed by police. The cure for cancer is in the Syrian refugees who die trying to come to the U.S. The cure for cancer is in the young girls who are sex trafficked and the 3.1 million kids around the world who starve to death each year. The cure for cancer is in the woman who had to drop out of graduate school for a pregnancy she didn’t want. People don’t have to like the idea of abortion to be pro-choice. If someone has an unplanned pregnancy, nobody is going to force them to have an abortion, because what people decide to do with their own bodies is their own business. It’s their choice, and a bunch of men in Congress shouldn’t be making that choice for them.

Katie Gibbs

I

n the U.S. alone, 652,639 legal abortions occur annually. That’s 652,639 people who didn’t get to live. 652,639 people who could have made a difference. 652,639 people who could have had a chance. The legality of abortions is appalling to me and Roe v. Wade is responsible for this. The reality is, abortions should not be a legal act. Our founding fathers promised us the right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness.” However when it comes to abortions, we find that these no longer apply. In Roe v. Wade it was declared that abortion is included under the right to privacy in the fourteenth amendment, but there is nothing private about an abortion. The fate of a child’s life is at hand, and a child is another human being. A whole other person’s future is involved, and that person doesn’t even have a voice. Abortion is a complete violation of basic human rights. My TV screen is flooded by stories of the hows and whys of someone who was murdered. Society has never condoned that act of taking someone’s life away.

doesn’t have feelings yet. Well “it” is still a person who could have been someone and had an impact. “It” could have had an impact on you. Roe v. Wade is what wrongly legalized abortions in America and should undoubtedly be overturned. I have heard the argument many times over that it is a woman’s right to decide what should be done. They say “I’m just not ready,” “I’m not prepared,” “I didn’t want this,” and worst of all, “It’s for the best.” People have grown to accept this impending list of excuses for why ending their child’s life is acceptable. They find it okay to simply throw away their child’s life like it has no value or purpose. I do agree that not everyone is suitable for parenting, but if the child wasn’t wanted then the two people responsible for the child should have had sex.. Having abortions become illegalized will solve this problem. The argument is that if abortions remain illegal, then people will not go after unsafe ways of having an abortion. Statistics show that nearly seventy thousand women die from having an unsafe abortion annually, despite is being a legal act. If having an abortion was illegal then society could

The barrier of the womb should not be a deciding factor in what rights a person holds. Abortion is comparably the same thing. Since life begins at conception, abortion is comparable to murder and should not be treated any differently. If we forbid the act of murdering someone once they are born but disregard it when they are still a fetus we allow the existence of an unacceptable double standard. If our society continues to allow this, we are promoting the idea that human life is disposable. People say that abortions are okay because “it” hasn’t been born yet, “it” doesn’t have a mind of it’s own yet, “it”

promote alternative options. There are pregnancy centers to help women in nearly every town and city, and counseling is always available. And let’s not forgetadoption is always an option. Unplanned pregnancies are an unfortunate daily occurrence. Everyone is promised the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but for some reason it is okay to deny these to someone who

hasn’t entered the world yet. The barrier of the womb should not be a deciding factor in what rights a person holds.

opinion

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don’t buy into it Gwynne Özkan

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JEFF JASTER Principal I will miss seeing Ron every morning when I pull into the parking lot. I could always count on a smile and a wave to start my day. Students were probably most impacted by Ron’s kindness and patience during his career at MHS. Everyone knew that Ron was always fair and he was going to treat them with respect.

LORI KENNEMER Office Professional I will miss Ron’s presence at MHS. It was steady, day after day. A kind voice or gesture day after day. He was well-liked by the students, and he liked them also. He protected them like they were his own children.

Remembering Ron Glanz (1940Midland High Security Guard

22

opinion

2018)

hen I was little, my brother told me I was stupid on repeat. I ran crying to my dad, who asked, “Well, are you?” to which I immediately replied, “No.” I knew I wasn’t stupid, but after hearing it so often, I questioned it anyways. Well, it seems as if my 8-year-old self and the U.S. have this mentality in common. However, the issue at hand is far greater: the infamous pay gap. Constantly, we are told that women get paid less than men do simply because they’re women. Even though it seems wrong, we find ourselves believing it anyways. We shouldn’t. The misconception stems from the phrase, “Women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.” The U.S. Census Bureau confirms the 23 cent difference per dollar in wages earned by men and women. The fundamental mistake is misinterpreting why this statistic exists. The concept has been tainted with the assumption that a man and a woman with equal qualifications, doing the same work, get paid differently. This would make the pay gap a staple of sexism, and it’s not. The inclination to devalue oneself by clinging to issues that the Equal Pay Act of 1963 makes irrelevant is inane. This historical milestone banned any wage disparity based on sex and although this idea is illegal and has been for decades, the misconception lives on. Whether you’ve heard these claims from teenagers spouting out complaints in the hallways, or even a teacher on their soapbox in a classroom, you’ve heard it. As have I, except now I feel the urge to dispel this fallacy. Those who arrogantly wield this statistic under false pretenses do so in a way that misinforms society - because the gap is between each gender’s average yearly earnings, not individual pay. And there are many logical, factual pieces of information that explain this gap’s existence. Career choice. Women typically go into lower paying jobs than men. In 8 of 10 of the world’s highest paying careers, such as engineering, men make up 80% of the graduating classes. An exception in that top 10 is nursing, whereas females dominate 10:1. However, studies show that even still, men enter more advanced specialties, like critical care, therefore earning higher pay despite their minority. Risk. America’s most dangerous professions are also male dominated; it is no surprise that higher risk jobs have higher pay. Pilots and

flight engineers: 95% male. Mining, Quarrying, gas/oil extraction: 87%. Power line installers: 99%. To emphasize this even further, 97% of all workplace deaths are men. Children. 211 million pregnancies a year mean maternity leave, amounting to unpaid time off from work. Studies show that women even suffer an approximate 5% wage penalty per child. Choices. I can emphasize gender equality in terms of the law and American rights, however I simply cannot, and will not, say that men and women are the same. It is absurd to claim that separate genders share identical interests, strengths, and weaknesses. Women have the right to choose their education, careers, and family life, just the same as men. However, it is evident these choices differ greatly. I repeatedly feel confused as to why we are having this dispute in the first place. Our differences are something we should celebrate, not contest. I am wholeheartedly in support of equality, as I know I have the capacity to achieve as much as a man. However, as a formidable adult woman, I don’t feel the itch to willingly victimize myself under such falsehoods. I don’t think that’s what makes a strong woman. Succumbing to these ideologies is debilitating, not empowering. I accept that 100 men who work higher paying jobs for more hours will accumulate a larger yearly earning than 100 women who work lower paying jobs for less hours. This statistic gains merit based on math, not a “superior” gender. The pay gap is simply evidence that men don’t make more money than women because they’re men, but they earn more. And with that said, many attempt heroism and feel inclined to reverse this. However, when such attempts are simplified, they reveal what is truly being induced. And that heroism suddenly becomes coercion: forcing women to act in involuntary manners by force - in terms of their career choice, safety, family life. And that is illogical. The attempt to redress the pay gap is the antithesis of what our country is based on: individual freedoms. As an 8-year-old and an 18-year-old, I find strength in our country’s emphasis on the pursuit of happiness: our fundamental right to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that brings pleasure. Women can clearly accomplish this without those 23 extra cents, so to men I say, keep the change. February 9, 2018

FOCUS


a new kind of success Holly Stauffer

I

waited 17 years for one email. “Congratulations, Holly! You’re a Wolverine!” But after weeks spent working on an application, and months waiting, it didn’t come. Instead, I received a rather underwhelming one. “Thank you for your application to the University of Michigan. We are pleased that you have applied, and are impressed with your achievements. However, we are writing to inform you that your application is currently being deferred for further review.” The words were a harsh slap across the face. It may not have been a rejection, but it felt like one. The one college I was interested in didn’t seem to have any interest in me. I burst into silent tears as I shoved my phone into the hands of my aunt, a Michigan alumni, who was sitting next to me. I felt worthless and terrified as my picture-perfect future fell out of its frame. Failure has always been my biggest fear. I’ve always been terrified of letting down my family, my friends, and myself. Until this, my biggest failure had been walking into the men’s bathroom on accident while on spring break one year. Now, I didn’t know what to do. Skipping right past denial, anger, and bargaining, I moved right to the fourth stage of grief- depression. I mourned the death of my future. Holding back the tears wasn’t a physical possibility, so I jumped in my car and just drove. I drove down US-10 with no direction, hoping to find some. I drove away to salvage whatever dignity I had left. I fled, because that’s all my body knew to do. The only comfort I found was in my friends who were attending their respective future’s funerals. Their encouragement and hopefulness gave me more direction than US-10 ever could. I can’t say that I’ve accepted it yet, because I won’t accept failure. I wasn’t denied, but I had to face the reality that what I’d worked for for years might not actually play out the

FOCUS

February 9, 2018

way I’d always planned. As someone who has always had every step of her life planned out, from when I’ll finish my homework that night to the names of my future dogs, the unknown isn’t very appealing to me. But sometimes, I’ve learned, it’s necessary. Through not knowing what my future holds, I have been able to reflect on past experiences in order to better develop future goals. All my life, I have been told I was a smart girl. That was who I was. I started kindergarten early. I got all As. I was in honors math classes. I didn’t study. By definition, I was “smart.” Naturally, I placed my self-worth where my strength was. As I got older, I wanted to be seen as more than just smart, so I attempted to hide it, but I still saw my purpose as being the smart girl. Receiving that email shattered the definition I had created for myself. However, it also caused me to see that I am the same person I was before I received it. I have all the same strengths and weaknesses, and it didn’t change who I am. No matter how hard it was to doubt my abilities or to hear my classmates whisper about my deferral, I know that my horizon stretches far beyond a college. For some people, a deferral from one college might simply spark their realization that another is a better fit, but for me, it sparked the realization that for 17 years, I have been waiting on an admissions officer to tell me something I already knew. I don’t know where I’ll end up next year. It could be the University of Michigan, or it could be somewhere completely different. But what I do know is that because of all of this, I now know myself so much better than I did before. The dangerous unknown I feared for so long has instead allowed me to know more and appreciate more than I ever have, since I’ve discovered that my worth is not measured by the value others place in me. So congratulations, University of Michigan. You made me realize who I am, and I think that’s a pretty big success.

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opinion

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varsity bowling

Sophomore Eric Kalishek competed on Wednesday, Jan. 31 when his team made Chemic history, winning the Saginaw Valley League Championship against Lapeer. Photo: Fischer Genau

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Live Oak editorial

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IIllustration: Noah Jacobsen & Lexy Lang

February 9th Issue  

This is our February 9th Issue. The package this month was on teen sex. Enjoy the issue!

February 9th Issue  

This is our February 9th Issue. The package this month was on teen sex. Enjoy the issue!

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