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Midland High School | October 3, 2013 | Volume 36, Issue 1 Anonymously

The latest form of social networking takes cyber bullying to another level. Allowing anonymous questions, makes it easier for teens to harass their peers.

Get some class. If you can’t find any, go back to the dumpster you came from. You’re probably the most disgusting person I’ve ever looked at. I’m sure everyone hates you, because I know I do.

Has anyone ever heard of bullying? Because that’s what’s going on here. All comments above were written to and from MHS Students on the website

SPECIAL REPORT: Depression, an issue that is normally kept silent. Sarah Wontorcik | Illustration

Volume 36 Issue 1




03 Editorial 04-07 Opinion 08 Sports team bonding 09 Varsity Diving 10 Sports Corner 11 Alex Lorenz 12-13 14 Handa Association FOCUS EDITORS

14 11



Scout Parsch Editor in Chief Jack Duly Managing Editor Katie McIntyre News Editor Maddy Wheelock Features Editor Michael Adams A&E Editor Emily Resmer Sports Editor Kyle Blackwood Opinion Editor Sarah Wontorcik Photo Editor Mercedes Hussein Design Editor Emily Fisher Ad Coordinator Hannah Lasky Exchange Editor Michelle Demo Website Editor Jim Woehrle Adviser Midland Daily News Printer

15 Chip-n-wich 16 Sadness vs Depression 17 Living with Depression 18-19 Depression Recovery 20 Coffee for College 21 Ads 22-23 Drama Preview 24 Fashion Page WRITE A LETTER If something annoys you about us, school, or life in general, write a letter to the editor. If something amuses you about us, school, or life in general, write a letter to the editor. If we got something wrong, write a letter to the editor. If it’s coherent and under 300 words, we’ll run it. Drop them off at room 345 with your name.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT 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 Press

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. Focus, however, reserves the right to contest the challenge of an administrator who attempts to censor and/ or remove an article or graphic element.

What do you think? for it? EDITORIAL

As increases in size, more teens are being affected by bullying. The controversy grows as to what action should be taken to end the malicious behavior.

If you were being bullied or saw bullying on, would you delete your account?

“Keep it because it is someone else’s opinion and it doesn’t really matter to me.” Freshman Alli Grumbley

“Keep it because I don’t see a reason to delete it because someone else is being bullied.” Sophomore Connor Babin


he halls of every school in America are spackled with anti-bullying posters. Legislation is in full swing, trying to stomp out the plague that has grabbed ahold of today’s teens. Our school has bullying awareness weeks and assemblies in an attempt to rid the school of this danger. Nobody openly advocates bullying. Nobody likes a bully; but with websites like, no one has to know who is behind the ruthless words. It is all too easy to hide behind the faceless anonymous setting. Suddenly it is trendy to be a bully because, from what everyone can see, cyber-bullies are just another kid that is up to date on the latest social media website and nobody can know the vulgar things that they send. The Focus thinks that bullying is not trendy, even on this popular website. It is time to delete the profiles and end the bullying. is the newest and most powerful weapon in the arsenal of cyber-bullying. First off, anyone can ask questions without an account. Unlike other social media websites, it is not necessary to accept someone in order to interact with them on the site. Anyone is

Christiana Haight | Illustration able to ask whatever they want without being screened first. However, the feature that really sets apart from the other social media websites is the setting that allows people to ask questions anonymously. On other sites, bullies have to own up to what they are saying and it is public for everyone to see who is doing the bullying. encourages people to hide behind the keys of their computers and take no responsibility for the words that they send. Not having to take ownership for what is going out to the public makes it possible not only to easily bully without consequence, but also to ask questions that are far too personal. Granted it is not the website calling people horrible names or sending death threats, it is the people on the website. However, Ask. fm seems to be set up in a way that almost encourages bullying. In a perfect world the website would be a fun way to find out more about people, but no one is under the impression that we live in a perfect world. The creators of the website must have known what was going to come of the features that they

included in the site. The truly baffling part about is its popularity. Everyone knows what goes on, but we all still have profiles. People scroll through their feed, littered with filthy names and gossip, just to see the drama. There are no innocent bystanders. Even those that don’t participate in the bullying are still fueling the bullies simply by reading their posts. The more people that see the questions or comments, the more power the bully is given. The more profiles has, the more powerful the site becomes. Midland High School is not going to get shut down. But if it is not popular at Midland High, then maybe the girl that sits behind you in math class won’t be bullied. Maybe the boy that you pass in the hallway between fifth and sixth hour every day won’t be bullied. Maybe you won’t be bullied. We cannot control, but we can control what we are contributing to it. By taking power away from the faceless users that poison the website, we are contributing to the downfall of cyber-bullying.

“I would delete the account and then say something in person to the bully . Junior Mason Money

“Delete it because promoting a social media network that allows derogatory statements aimed to kill one’s self-esteem is unsatisfying. Senior Spencer Grennon | FOCUS | 03



Accelerated Gym: An option that should be considered



50 WORD RANTS If you were to ask me one thing that I don’t like, I would tell you I hate fish. Yes, fish. They’re boring and forget information in a matter of seconds, stupidly swimming around their little tank. Sure, they’re pretty. But I personally believe knowledge is more important than looks. By: Jaymie Dawson

Midland, Michigan. Quite possibly the most boring town in America. The mall is unfortunately one of the only places to go, and they have about five quality stores there. If you aren’t really into shopping, then your only option would be the limited selection of movies at the NCG Cinema. By: Ella Colbert

The “heating” and “cooling” in Midland High is terrible. Cold air blows out of the vents when it’s freezing already, and warm air when it’s hot out. Not to mention, one room will be sweltering while the other is like the arctic. We can’t win when it comes to temperature. By: Amanda Walko

I get scared really easily so it doesn’t surprise me that I’m scared of mascots. I can’t decide what’s scarier, the fact that there’s an actual real human being in the costume or that the costume makes it look like they’re creepily smiling all the time for no apparent reason. By: Claire Booth

GPA. AP. IB. Honors. Accelerated. College. These are the main things going through the minds of most students as they choose their classes for the following fall. College acceptance is so competitive these days that the typical “Honors” student feels pressured to fill their schedule with rigorous, upperlevel classes. This is done in order to give themselves the best chance at being accepted into the college of their choice. The notion that a gym class would be “too detrimental to their GPA” or “would not look good on a college application” is driving many people away from even considering taking gym. I myself am in this crowd of people that are too worried about getting accepted into colleges and too worried about our golden GPA’s, that we tend to avoid taking a gym class. Why take gym when we could take another accelerated or honors course that could boost our almighty GPA’s or possibly earn us college credit? Honestly, I really wish I was taking a gym class. I was placed in Team Sports as a sophomore when I couldn’t get into Marketing, and it was a blast. I met a lot of new friends, and enjoyed the break from the rest of my rigorous day that included Honors Government or Economics, Honors Advanced Algebra, Advanced American Literature, Spanish 2, and Advanced Chemistry. I think that a lot of the students that are taking a challenging course load could use an hour of day to close the books, set down the pencil, and exercise. Exercise is proven to reduce stress, maintain good health, and boost endorphins, which are linked to happiness. Many honors students do not have much time outside of school to exercise, so having an hour dedicated during the day to fitness would be fantastic. However, some feel that the extra stress and lack of exercise is

worth taking the upper-level elective. Myself included. To help solve this problem of students feeling like they cannot afford to take a gym class, I propose the implementation of an accelerated gym class. Being an accelerated course, some honors students would feel more comfortable taking it as it could potentially help out their GPA, and add a class where they do not have to worry about huge essays or terrifying unit tests. This class would have to be a step-up from the average gym class, of course. It would be more of a conditioning class, rather than a Team Sports style class where you just play games. Being a .3 class, the students in it would have to be challenged physically everyday. Results should actually count, unlike the ordinary gym class where you can get your participation points by showing up to class and going through the motions. I understand that not everyone will be on the same level of fitness, so improving/maintaining should be the main measure of how you are doing in the class and how you are graded. This class would not only appeal to the GPA protectors, but to those who are looking to get more out of their current gym class. This could be a class where athletes can push themselves with better competition surrounding them, and where people who are striving to become better athletes could make larger strides in doing so. I find myself in both categories. I am very serious about sports and fitness, yet I am also serious about my schedule strength and GPA. Being a good athlete or a hard worker is as much of a talent as being good at math or science, so why not reward them with .3 or potentially .4 credit? In my opinion, it is only fair. I know this is not the best option for all of the honors students, but it would definitely make a difference for me. I think a wide variety of people with different talents would really enjoy an accelerated gym class.


This year the Focus is trying something new. Similar to Where’s Waldo?, Vic will be hidden anywhere throughout the paper each month. The first person to find Vic, take a picture, and tweet it at @ MHSFocus1 wins a free 44 oz. Speedway slurpee. Happy hunting, and may the odds be ever in your favor. 04 | FOCUS | OCT 3, 2013

*the Vic on this page does not count



Pokémon Red/Blue Produced by Nintendo

There is something undeniably magical about capturing cute little monsters, turning them into powerful beasts, and using them to annihilate your enemies. This, of course, is what Pokémon is all about. Pokémon red and blue, role-playing games released in 1996 for the Game Boy, are the first games in the Pokémon series. You adventure through a fantasy world, striving to become the greatest Pokémon trainer the world has ever known, destroy the forces of evil, and catch every single Pokémon. At the start of the game your character leaves home with only one “starter Pokémon”


Fast paced, addicting, and full of action, Contra, released for the NES in 1988, is a definite classic. You control a military commando endeavoring to save the world from the evil Red Falcon, armed with nothing but a terrible gun that shoots an infinite amount of tiny white dots. As you progress, you can upgrade your weapon to get more powerful projectiles. One hit from any of the numerous enemies in your path, however, and you lose your upgrades as well as one of your lives. Given you only have three lives until you have to start over, it kind of makes you want to snap your controller in half. Contra was revolutionary, being one of the first really fast-paced shooters. You start the game with a gun ready to shoot things, and you end the game with a gun ready to shoot things, with no interruptions between. It is eight stages of non-stop dodging enemy projectiles, shooting enemies, plat forming, and blowing up bosses. The game play is thrilling; it is where Contra truly excels. While the game play was advanced for its time, the game is pretty difficult. Due to its non-stop action, great sound track, and visual appeal, Contra is one of the most addictive and fun side-scrolling shooters of all time. (WH)


Full of action, Battletoads in Battlemaniacs is the hard core, fun and raw kind of game kids loved in the 90s. In the story, Professor T. Bird, has invented a virtual reality game system that comes to life, capturing one of the Battletoads named Pimple and a character named Michiko Tashoku. The other toads, Rash and Zit, must rescue them from two villains known as the Dark Queen and Silas Volkmire. Along the way, they must avoid all kinds of creative and unusual enemies, ranging from mutated rats in hovercrafts to killer bulls to plants that act like snakes coming out from a cave wall. The levels are just as creative, from going down the center of a hollow tree on a hovercraft to collecting bowling pins for extra lives during a bonus stage. The music is something you’d want to grab an electric guitar and jam out to while playing. The only problem is what it takes from the NES version, the difficulty, which is far beyond extreme. Sharp wits and quick reflexes are a necessity when it comes to this game. If you’re into extreme game play, harsh difficulty, fantastic music, and a story simple enough to follow, try out this overlooked gem of the Nintendo universe. (KS)

With this years Homecoming theme being oldschool video games, FOCUS staff writers are reviewing their favorite video games from the ‘90s, talking about the good and the bad. Will Hackbarth & Kevin Sharpe| Staff Writer

given to you by the professor who lives in your hometown. To prove that you are the best, you must travel across dangerous terrain to defeat all eight gym leaders, as well as the best four trainers in the region, called the elite four. After that you must face the champion. If this wasn’t enough, the evil Team Rocket frequently harasses you. But by your side you have your loyal Pokémon, strange monsters that are completely willing to fight for you in Pokémon battles. These Pokémon battles are one of the most unique things about Pokémon. You can send each of the six Pokémon you carry with you, one at a time, into battle against your adversaries six Pokémon. This is where all the strategy comes in. There is nothing more satisfying than crushing your opponent’s dreams and their favorite Pokémon into oblivion simultaneously (never mind if your opponent appears to be a


Everyone who enjoys a little gore in their life loves killing zombies, especially in a game that also makes you think. Many people who owned an original PlayStation from 1998 remember being scared by the survival horror game Resident Evil and being more scared with its even better sequel. It takes place in the virally infected town of Raccoon City where you play as either a rookie cop named Leon Kennedy or the sister of the hero from the original R.E, Claire Redfield. They are trying to escape the outbreak while dodging zombies, horrific lizard-like creatures known as Lickers, killer birds, deadly plants and bosses. Along the road, they come across some more survivors, some being dangerous and others friendly. With Leon, a mysterious woman in red named Ada Wong is your only ally. With Claire, your sidekick is Sherry Birkin, daughter of the creator of the T-Virus that infected the city. Each character also gets their own weapons and upgrades. Leon gets a knife, a pistol that you can upgrade to a machine pistol, a shotgun that you can turn semi-automatic, and a magnum that you can make even more powerful. Claire gets to have a knife of her own, a sidearm, a crossbow that fires three arrows at the same

little kid). However, you can’t forget about the quest to catch them all. The best thing about Pokémon is the Pokémon themselves. This game has a great roster of 151 Pokémon. Each Pokémon has a specific type that is weak or strong against different types. As you advance through the game, your Pokémon grow stronger and stronger as they level up. Eventually, they evolve into a more powerful Pokémon with a different appearance and name. Certain Pokémon have three of these evolutions, some have two, and some have none at all. Currently, there are 649 Pokémon, but these original 151 remain some of best-looking and powerful ones. Pokémon Red and Blue succeeded in starting a craze that throughout the years has captured children and adults alike, as well as creating a foundation upon which all future Pokémon greatness was constructed. (WH)

1. Contra 2. Battletoads in Battlemaniacs 3. Resident Evil 2 time, and a grenade launcher with many types of grenades. The characters lure you in throughout the story with the chemistry between them. That’s a rare thing for survival horror games because that kind of game is mainly about getting out alive which leaves little time for character development. The only problems are that the moving and aiming controls take some getting used to and the voice acting can be a little cheesy. Also, the very beginning of the game can be difficult to deal with, but the rest of the game is pretty easy. On two disks, there are two versions of the story with slightly different endings. To sum it up, this game is fantastic in its story, characters and scenes. The music will send chills down your spine during some moments and tears down your face during others. The scares still work for such an old game with terrifying surprises, outstanding scenery, shocking plot twists and horrific images galore. If you want a great horror story with plenty of scares, zombies to blast, puzzles to solve and a ton of surprises, play this game or the Resident Evil franchise in general. (KS) | FOCUS | 05

Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home

When I first bought my Gryffindor robe, the hem dragged on the ground and the sleeves drooped over my hands. I stored my kidsized wand in my knee socks, just because I thought I remembered Hermione doing it once. I can’t think of my childhood without thinking of Harry Potter. My mom read The Sorcerer’s Stone to me in first grade. Since then, I’ve been obsessed. Hermione Granger was everything I wanted to be, and for years, Ron Weasley was only boy I was interested in. The third floor corridor was my biggest fear. I shed more tears for Snape than I did about anything else, fictional or otherwise. The kids at school began to know me as the girl who knew everything about the series- from the dynamic between the Marauders to Narcissa Malfoy’s true motives. They quizzed me about it every day at lunch, and I refused to get an answer wrong. That was my reputation, and I was proud of it. I’ve been wearing that Gryffindor robe for a long time. Every book release and movie premiere was taken as an opportunity to dress up like Hermione. My hair was frizzy enough, and I had finally grown tall enough to fit properly into the robe. When my eleventh birthday passed and I hadn’t been shipped off to Hogwarts, I was definitely disappointed. But I decided then, whether Hogwarts was a fictional school or not, it would always be my home. It was the place I could run to whenever I was sad. Whenever I wanted to escape, it was there, and I would never tire of rereading the stories. When the premiere of the eighth movie

The write way 06 | FOCUS | OCT 3, 2013



Random pieces of information told in less than 50 words


rolled around, I was anxious. After this, there would be no more new stories about my favorite characters. No more release dates to mark on my calendar. It’s been said that the release of the last movie was the end of an era. For me, it was the end of my childhood. There was no more Harry Potter. I was too old to be read to. Harry, Ron, and Hermione had grown up, and so had I. It’s been more than two years since the series ended. Daniel Radcliffe is on Broadway, Emma Watson is in a movie with James Franco, and JK Rowling is writing mystery novels. It seems out of place, but I’ve gotten used to it. The characters aren’t the only ones who have grown up and moved on. But recently, JK Rowling announced that she is creating a new movie, and it’s like all of my birthday-candle wishes have come true. The anticipation of learning more about the wizarding world has returned. The feeling of standing in line for hours, anxiously waiting for the new movie to premiere, is not lost. We are the Harry Potter Generation, I truly believe that. As long as JK Rowling is still writing, I will be there to eagerly read. When the new movie is finally released, I’ll be too big for my Gryffindor robe. The sleeves will barely reach my elbows, and the hem won’t even cover the bottom of my shirt. I’ll be way past the point of being read to. But I’ll still be in that line, wand in my sock, sticking with Harry until the very end. Create a fist, making sure that your thumb rests beside your pointer finger. Next, grab a pencil and slide it into your hand so that you grip it kind of like how you would imagine a serial killer holds their weapon. Now try to write. My entire life, I have held a pencil like this. One of the first impressions I make on the people I meet at school is that I can hold my pencil like a little kid and still write as legibly as an adult. Now when people notice, it’s a really cool thing that sets me apart. No one tries to tell me that I’m doing it wrong and heaven forbid I try doing cursive that way. In elementary school, it was a constant battle against well-intended parents and teachers. By third grade, I’d endured years of pressure and was pretty adept at switching to the “right” way whenever a teacher walked past my desk. It didn’t work forever, and once again I was sat down to discuss this little flaw.

Students are in the cast and crew of the fall production of Almost, Maine.

3 THINGS you don’t have to worry about this month

1 2 3


Tweet OF THE Month If any ladies spelled out “homecoming” in peanut butter chocolate chip chewy granola bars for me, I would die. #Justsaying @sthjns

Missing out on a Walmart back to school sale.

Running out of passes when you have to go get that homework you ‘forgot.’ Getting your ferrari stuck in neutral.

and one thing you still do...

Follow THIS User

Getting your act together for Homecoming and finally asking out that person in your English class.


My teacher looked at me, all serious, and in that scary, authoritative adult voice, told me that I had to change. Right now. And when I tried to argue, she told me that some day, when I was applying for a job and signing my name on some form for my employer, he would see how I held my pencil and refuse me the job. I’m serious; she told me that. Looking back, I’m surprised and a little appalled that an elementary school teacher would tell me such a ridiculous thing. Despite that “crippling” factor, I’m employed as a co-op at Dow Chemical and, although I’ve had many coworkers notice, they’ve given me much of the same tolerant reaction that everyone else has since I left for middle school. It was such a stupid little trait, but somehow it had the power to cause a lot of encounters that actually were kind of difficult. It all seems pretty ridiculous now, but it

makes me wonder; how often do we do a similar thing? I have absolutely no clue who you are— why are you talking to me? Slap slap. Back into your group. You’re wearing what to school? Slap slap. Oh my gosh, please take it off. As a friend who cares for you, I’m begging you to change. What are you doing on this sports team? Slap slap. You don’t deserve to be here. You make us all look bad. I know these are kind of extreme examples, but in how many instances have we judged people for doing things differently when it’s all serving the same purpose? I mean, shouldn’t we all interact with others and wear clothing and try to stay active and healthy? I think when people do things in a strange way, it’s really easy to focus on how they hold their pencil rather than what they’re actually writing.


Cell phones: the downsides

Hand, foot, and mouth disease

Everywhere we go, everything we see, there is some sort of electronic device absorbing the attention of at least one person, if not more. Huge scoreboards entertain sports fans with replays and graphics as the batter slides into home. Glowing signs lead drivers to their destination, and electronic menus at McDonald’s illustrate the sodium - filled foods that sustain the unhealthy palettes of so many. But the most common form of technology is the rectangular piece of metal that sits in the pockets and purses of almost every human being that walks this earth: the cell phone. Sitting in the waiting room of the dentist’s office, I watched the flashing screen of the TV; a morning talk show that was not holding my attention. My eyes and ears drifted over to the little boy in the corner playing with the plastic toys that had been chewed and sneezed on by a million other little kids. I observed as the boy desperately tried to grasp his mother’s attention by tapping on her forearm. She barely moved. Again, more anxiously this time, the boy taped his mom’s shoulder kindly asking her to play with him. “Not right now,” she said. He goes back to playing by himself. I looked over the mom’s shoulder, out of curiosity, only to find her chatting with someone on Facebook. What parent ignores their kid because they are too absorbed in their phone? The sad thing is it was not the first time I’d seen the same situation. Later that day I was hanging out with friends. We were not doing anything particularly special, just sitting there talking. Every time there was a small moment of silence, a second where no one was speaking, we would all turn our attention to our phones.

It was almost as if the phone itself contained a certain security that shielded us from that awkward silence. It was in that moment I realized I was doing the same thing as the lady at the dentist’s office. I was being just as rude as she had been and I didn’t even realize it. When I got home that night, I walked into my living room only to find the TV flickering in the background and my family sitting there on their phones, completely oblivious to their surroundings. Not once did they unlock their eyes from the device that I was now beginning to hate. Cell phone usage is getting out of hand. People are becoming “addicted” to their phones to the point where they can’t even carry on a conversation without glancing down at it every time there is a pause. It has become a distraction in the car as well during class, meetings, and even during movies. Because of cell phones, lives have been lost, friendships broken and reputations ruined. As of December 2012, 2.19 trillion text messages were sent over the course of a year in the United States alone. That’s about 168.3 billion text messages sent per month. Besides texting, people are becoming infatuated with social media sites such as Twitter, Vine, and of course, Snapchat. In a time of advancement the technology we use for recreation isn’t getting us anywhere, it’s only causing problems by distracting us from the more important things in life.

There are two weeks left of summer. The skies are a cloudless 78 degree utopia, perfect for soaking up what is left of the vacation and supplementing a quickly fading tan before returning school. I, however, am sitting alone in my basement watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for the ninth time, not once breaking the barrier of my doorway. Why? Because I am a very unfortunate individual. I am a magnet for rare, outrageously frustrating, and frequently humiliating predicaments. When you see someone on the news that died while attempting to climb a mountain, then falling off of the mountain but miraculously surviving the tumble only to stand up and be sniped by a rouge big game hunter trying to peg a moose, that will be me. So really, it shouldn’t have come as a shock to me when I was diagnosed with hand, foot, and mouth disease two weeks before school started. For those that are unfamiliar with this particular disease (everyone), it is common for toddlers, but when teenagers and adults get it, it is much more severe. Not only does one get flu symptoms such as high fever, chills, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, lack of appetite and headaches; it also comes with big patches of zit-looking rashes– on you guessed it- either the hands, the feet, or around the mouth. Of the three there is a clear loser. So naturally, I got it around my mouth. I’m not going to lie to you, the rash around my mouth looked a lot like herpes. Which incidentally, is what the doctor at urgent care first diagnosed me with. So that made for an awkward couple of seconds considering my mom was in the office with me. However, as

Road rage

Huddled in a circle, the girls continued to pass around the little card with wonder. Each time it was handed off, I immediately heard the new person’s surprised and jealous reaction, yelling in Japanese to their friends about the sight. At the age of fifteen, it was impossible to have such an achievement in Japan. Not only was it my young age, but the fact that I could afford such a thing. After everyone had seen the card, it once again was handed back to me and I returned my driver’s license to the sleeve of my wallet. Most teens in America believe that as soon as they hit the age of sixteen, they are entitled to their license. Some even think that they deserve a car, too. In order to have this privilege in Japan, you must be at least eighteen years old. Although some kids in Japan may receive their license at

this age, many others may not be able to afford the steep prices involved in driver’s training. In America, the cost of driver’s training and passing the test to receive a license totals to about $500, depending on your area. While in Japan, the cost totals to at least $1,500, along with the cost of a car and insurance for a young teen driver. To be honest, I don’t think I would be allowed to take the test at that price. Not only does the price affect the number of young, inexperienced drivers on the road, but the rigorous schooling required also scares some students away. In Michigan, we usually have students attend a two-week program after school, in which they are tested to receive their permits, enabling them to drive with a parent for six months. Later, we are then allowed to take the behind the wheel test to receive our actual drivers license.

he was telling us about the second opinion, I was almost equally as unhappy with my hand, foot, and mouth disease. Because, you see, hand, foot, and mouth disease is a virus. That means that I could do absolutely nothing about it. I just had to sit and wait. For two weeks. So, I went home to begin the longest two weeks of my life, in which I accomplished nothing, unless watching four seasons of Friends and painting my nails twice counts as an accomplishment. I did not go to work. I did not allow visitors, not only because I looked like I belonged in a heroin rehab facility, but also because I was extremely contagious. Spectacular. Most of my friends texted me to check on me but, really, what can you say? I’m sorry that your face looks like boiling tomato soup? No. There really is no appropriate condolence for the situation. So while you were all out getting one last boat trip in or preparing for your first fall sporting event, I was sitting on the couch… and sitting… and sitting, then laying, then sitting again. And now as I sit here writing this, my mom is telling me that she has been doing some research and as an unexpected and delayed side-effect to my disease, I may be losing my fingernails and toenails in the near future. Fantastic.

This process may seem long and grueling to a student in America, but in Japan, this would be a dream come true. For their schooling, they typically have a class outside of school that can be taken for a full year, or there is a summer camp available at which you would stay the night for two weeks to learn only about safety while driving (keep in mind, in Japan their summer vacation is only a month long). In Japan, these precautions are used to ensure that each driver has fully dedicated themselves to learning about safe driving. I couldn’t imagine how much the numbers of teen drivers would drop in America if we also took these extra precautions as well. Then again, maybe that’s what we need. | FOCUS | 07


Together we triumph

There’s a lot more to a team’s success than physical and mental preparation. A winning season requires a close-knit bond between team members that fosters trust, friendship and cohesiveness. This can be developed in a variety of ways. Hannah Lasky | Exchange Editor & Nick Wright | Staff Writer

Cross Country The Cross Country team has 72 runners this year. Despite the wide variety of people, everyone tends to get along and there is an air of friendliness whenever they are together, which is often during the season. Besides every day at practice, the cross country team gathers the night before a meet for spaghetti dinners, where the members of the team get to know each other better while playing frisbee, sitting around a campfire, jumping on a trampoline and eating a variety of foods. “Don’t be afraid to branch out and talk to new people,” senior Leif Joffre said.

Apart from bonding during the school year, the team takes a trip to Traverse City in August where they camp out for a week of running, playing cards, going to the beach and, chiefly, getting to know one another. In fact, one of the most memorable moments of the year happened in Traverse City when they climbed to the top of a 300-foot dune after running to the bottom. “Cross camp is awesome because the whole team is there and everyone gets involved in the games,” senior Emma Krueger said.

Volleyball Anyone who has seen a volleyball game knows that the athletes performing need, not only intense concentration and quick agility, but also a team that they can work with efficiently. The volleyball team builds that chemistry in a variety of ways. The team members go out to dinner together, have sleepovers, and go to team members’ cabins to bond. At the latest sleepover, the team rode four wheelers at senior Sam Rapanos’ cabin. “The best part of team bonding at my cabin was

08 | FOCUS | OCT 3, 2013

Jack Duly | Photo

Emily Resmer | Photo

just being with my team and not having to worry about anything related to volleyball,” Rapanos said. “ It was great to just act like ourselves around each other.” The team feels that all of the time that they spend together not only makes them better friends, but also boosts their team chemistry and strengthens their performance. “Being more comfortable with your team off of the court helps during the game,” junior Taylor Jensen said.

Football The varsity football team is well known for having a unique brotherhood, and in order to develop this, they take many measures to create a closer bond. They have spaghetti dinners every Thursday, and watch the “Guru speech” every Friday before game time. This speech is a motivational video based on sports success that gets them motivated before they play. A memorable bonding moment for the team was choreographing the Chemic Idol dance to “Treasure” by Bruno Mars. They spent four days after practice to perfect the dance. It all paid

off when they came in first place during the contest. Although it was only senior athletes who participated, they bonded together to form a better team leadership. The team feels that there is a very positive effect from team bonding. They have better chemistry on and off the field, and have become a united group. “The teams that are more of a ‘family’ tend to get along and play together better than teams that are more about individual goals,” senior Austen Irrer said.

Cheerleading Whether it be doing stunts at the beach or having team sleepovers, the cheerleading team loves each other’s company. The girls put a lot of time into preparing for football games by making paper signs for the players to run through and trying to find ways to pump up the crowd. The team also does activities that tighten the bond within their team, including a moment at the end of practice where they have certain people demonstrate a skill that they are improving

Nick Wright | Photo

Hannah Lasky | Photo

in. Positive Circles are saved for the end of practice where each girl shares words of encouragement with the team, including things they are proud of as well as something uplifting. “After a long, stressful practice it is nice to end it with a Positive Circle, even if it was a rough practice,” senior Kelci Anderson said. “It’s always nice to end on a good note.” These activities bring the team closer together, motivating each other to improve.


Diving head first

Sophmore Kayla Patnode, a beginning diver, practicing an inward pike dive at the Dow High swimming pool in her first season on the dive team. Emily Fisher | Photo

In her last season of dive, senior Anglea Kuehne is faced with the challenge of leading two girls, new to the sport of diving, on a team without a coach. Emily Fisher | Ad Coordinator & Dylan Rocha | Staff Writer


nside the brightly lit walls of the Dow High swimming pool, the humidity takes control. The overwhelming aroma of chlorine fills the room. The first thing heard is the rhythm of the water flowing through the pool and the repetitive sound of the girls diving into the water. All that can be seen are three girls flipping, twirling and tucking their bodies in seemingly effortless ways. Sophomore Kayla Patnode said, “I picture myself doing my dive as best as I can. Before I step onto the board, I pray.” “I just think about going as high as I can, best as I can, and I think about all the corrections everyone has told me.” Since the beginning of the season, three girls have worked four days a week to perfect their dives. Senior Angela Kuehne, junior Sydney Gross, and Patnode are this years girls dive team. However, this group is different than any other team in the school. They are missing


perform a reverse one somersault dive correctly

a very important part to their team: a coach. During the summer, Kuehne was told there wasn’t going to be a dive coach for her senior season of dive. Upon hearing the news, Kuehne’s first reaction was: “Am I going to be able to go to states like I was planning on?” Before the season started, Kuehne didn’t know that two other girls were going to join the dive team, she didn’t like idea of not having any teammates to dive with. “When I found out they both did or are still in gymnastics, it got me excited because I knew they would understand the basics of diving and catch on quickly,” Kuehne said. Kuehne has had to fill the void left by not having a coach. She leads the team at practice and teaches Gross and Patnode most of the dives. “She has been teaching us very well and has helped a lot,” Patnode said. “It’s really nice because she can actually tell and show us how

to do dives, instead of someone only telling us how to do it.” Kuehne isn’t totally alone. Every Wednesday, former dive parent, Becky Ortiz comes into practice and watches the girls from the stands. Ortiz’s daughter, Emily Ortiz, graduated last year but dove with Angela last season. Mrs. Ortiz used to come in and coach Emily and Angela, but now working full time, she’s only able to come in on Wednesdays. Ortiz has a background in diving. In college she dove for Eastern Michigan University, so she knows what to look for when watching the girls. All three girls agree that they benefit from Ortiz being there, she gives the girls a different opinion on what they’re doing and is able to give them more drills to work on certain body movements. “You have to be fearless to dive, a lot of it is mental,” Ortiz said. Even when Ortiz isn’t there to help them


2. Next, you need to wrap your arms around 3. Finally, when you spot the water, untuck

First thing to do after you jump is look back, and throw your legs forward while tucking them together while your body is rotating backwards.

your legs and squeeze tight and hold on. Then continue rotating until you spot the water.

along, the girls’ background in gymnastics taught them a lot of valuable tactics they now use for dive. All three girls have participated in gymnastics since a young age and Gross still competes in gymnastics. “They already know the basic twists, tucks, and flips they use in dive, they also know body control from gymnastics,” Ortiz said. Because of their gymnastics experience, the girls have acquired speed and strength, which is not necessarily a good thing when diving. The girls say they need to remember to attack the board, get height, and to slow down, which is the opposite of what athletes need to do for gymnastics. Despite the obstacles the team has worked together to reach their goals. Gross said, “I think as a unit we feel strong, confident, and relaxed about heading into regionals.”

and straighten your legs and keep your arms down and at your sides while you enter the water. | FOCUS | 09

S P O R T S Photo by Matt Beale



From volleyball to football to soccer to cross country, athletes and teams alike have been performing their best this fall. Here are some of the top teams that you will remember at season’s end. Noah Surbrook | Staff Writer & Colton Dexter | Staff Writer




Coach: Eric Methner Eric Record: 4 wins. 1 loss. Methner Returning Starters: Will Williams, Michael Alexander, Jacob Dostal Key Returners: Tanner Gross, Zack Stirn Coach’s Quote: “We have a large group of seniors who will be starting for us. They have a year of experience under their belts but they don’t have a lot of game experience. I’m very confident that we are going to get better each week.” Eric Methner

Coach: Marty Hollenbeck Marty Record: 5th in the Valley Hollenbeck Top Performers: Megan Arlt, Mackenna Rouse, Amy Smith Top Newcomers: Megan Arlt, Emily Kessler Coach’s Quote: “It’s a composite of watching them race and putting in the effort. I don’t know if it’s one moment, but you can see it in their faces that they’re giving it 100%” Marty Hollenbeck

Faces of Fall

6’0’’ & 215lb

Michael Alexander’s height and weight Megan Arlt’s personal record for the 2 mile run


Amanda Walsh’s lowest scoring golf game

75 2.

Ericka Reder

Adam Talbott


Michael Alexander

Grade: Junior

Grade: Junior

Grade: Senior

Sport: Varsity Girls Volleyball

Sport: Varsity Boys Soccer

Sport: Varsity Boys Football

1. Junior Ericka Reder tips the ball against her teammate in practice. 2. Junior Adam Talbott defends against a fellow soccer player in a demanding drill. 3. Senior Michael Alexander runs along side fellow teammates in an effort to stop the opposing team from scoring.

Record: 4 wins, 0 Losses.

Record: 10 wins, 2 ties, 2 losses

Record: 4 wins, 1 Loss.

Favorite Memory: “On 9/24/13, we beat Mt. Pleasant, and they were a really hard team to beat because they played very defensively. ”

Favorite Memory: “My favorite soccer memory is going to the Traverse City Mall after districts and having lots of fun there.”

Favorite Memory: “Winning against Traverse City Central, because it was work to show that we beat a great team to go 11-0.”

Key to Success: “Volleyball is a team sport that not one person can do alone. Having great team chemistry will lead to great team success.”

Key to Success: “The key to success is playing your best every time you step out onto the field.”

Key to Success: “The key to success is to be coach-able and able to adapt to every team.”

Noah Surbrook | Photos

Coach’s Take: “Ericka had to be more excessive due to Mallory Rajewski’s injury. She was set into single setter offense. Ever since, she has done really well on offense. She is slowly but surely obtaining leadership on the floor.” Tim Zerull

Coach’s Take: “He is solid, very reliable, a good leader, and most of all, he’s humble. Of all those things being humble is the most important. He’s an all-around great player.” Rodrigo Barassi

Coach’s Take: “He does a great job as a leader, his job speaks for itself as one of the greatest linebackers on the team.” Eric Methner

This season’s top athletes

10 | FOCUS | OCT 3, 2013


Tackling a new role


s seconds ticked off of the clock, the opening between two white jerseys grew smaller and smaller for senior defensive tackle Alex Lorenz. The view of the opposing team’s running back diminished and Alex knew he had only one chance to stop the play. He plunged himself through the small gap left by the players double teaming him. The running back, ball in hand, ran smack into Alex and fell to the ground. He had gotten the tackle and successfully stopped the other team from scoring. “Alex loves football and it showed in the way he played,” said Elizabeth Lorenz, Alex’s mother. “He is a team player.” Alex was not aware that the tackle he just made would be one of his last. In fact, the scrimmage against Fenton High School was the last time he was able to put his pads on to play football. Everything started to change for Alex when he began having severe headaches a week before the first football game of the season. His constant head pains lasted for two weeks, along with symptoms of fatigue and occasional vomiting. “The only reason I went into the emergency room was because I thought I had a concussion,”Alex said. “Usually, once I got to playing, the headaches kind of went away. I was just able to ignore it.” As Alex sat in the emergency room, doctors performed a Computer Axial Tomography

(CAT) scan and a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan on his head. After sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for results, it was finally determined that he had a blood clot that had formed in between two lobes of his brain, also known as a Cerebral Deep Venus Thrombosis. They had no answers about how the blood clot actually formed, but dehydration may have played a factor. Along with the blood clot, Alex had infarctions on the left side of his head, which are blood vessels that have exploded.

clotting in attempts to decrease the size of the clot. After three days of being on constant blood thinners, Alex was released from the hospital and sent home where he would have to give himself two shots a day to ensure that his blood does not clot and remains thin. Alex is currently on a blood thinner medication that he will be on until the clot is gone. “Alex’s condition is serious but he is on the mend,” Elizabeth said. “It will take at least six months to a year for the blood clot to

“WHEN YOU’RE USED TO BEING OUT THERE UNDER THE FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, IT’S JUST HARD. SITTING THERE, WATCHING YOUR TEAM DO THE JOB.” ALEX LORENZ Immediately after sharing this information with Alex and Elizabeth, Midland doctors secured the two of them in an ambulance to be rushed to Ann Arbor for further testing. “I wasn’t really nervous, but a lot of things change when you’re sitting in the back of an ambulance,” Alex said. “You just kind of realize that nobody knows what is going on with you and I had no idea what was going on. All of these questions were running around in my head like ‘What’s wrong with me?’ ‘What could be wrong with me?’” Arriving in Ann Arbor, Alex was put on a blood thinner IV to prevent his blood from

completely absorb into his body. What Alex has is rare, but it is seen two to three times a year according to the hematologist.” Alex and his family had to come to the realization that although he would still be a part of the team, he would not be able to play football in his last season of high school. “When you’re used to being out there and you’re used to being in that position under the Friday night lights, it’s just hard. Sitting there, watching your team do the job,” Alex said. “It gets a little easier with time but the first home game, knowing I wasn’t going to be out there, that was emotional.”

Senior Alex Lorenz has been contributing to the varsity football team in different ways than he has in years past. While the rest of his teammates gear up for battle on Friday nights, Lorenz will be cheering them on from the sidelines. Emily Resmer | Sports Editor Alex stands on the sideline during the home football game against Saginaw Herritage High School on Friday, September 13th. The team won with a score of 33-20. Emily Resmer | Photo Not only was this difficult for Alex to swallow, but it has affected his team in many ways. Adjustments have had to be made to replace the anchor of the defensive line. This has been especially difficult because this is a spot where the team does not have a lot of depth. “He was penciled in as a starter this year. He contributed to the team last year as a junior, that is a challenge to overcome when you lose a starter like that,” defensive coach Matt Starling said. “He was expected to not only start on defense but also on offense. As a person, he was one of senior leaders who worked his butt off last year to get ready for senior year. It’s just tough to watch.” This process has been a difficult transition for everyone, but Alex continues to remain positive. Though he is injured, his role on the team has not diminished. It instead has been altered; Alex plans to attend every practice and game to help with coaching the team members that will be backing up his position and continues to look for ways to help his team succeed. “Alex is a serious kid. Of course he was scared when all of this was going on, as were we all,” Elizabeth said. “Friday nights are very exciting, but tough for him. He just loves being on the field.” | FOCUS | 11





N for

The unique features of both intrigue students and give them a platform to be relentlessly tormented. Misuse of the website has caused despair throughout MHS. Scout Parsch | Editor in Chief & Ben Luzar | Staff Writer the Users

12 | FOCUS | OCT 3, 2013


S the Authorities


“All it took was five seconds for you to send that, which in turn would take the rest of my life away from me” freshman Shelby Skym responded to the anonymous comment. After only one day of using the site, Skym had already received multiple comments to “kill yourself” or “just die already.” She did not know what she could have done to make people say such things to her, but she was not going to let them have the satisfaction of taking her life. “I’m still kind of wondering why you’re still alive right now, since I told you to kill yourself last night,” the anonymous commenter wrote. “Just hang yourself, slit your wrists, take some pills, anything; just die already.” Skym logged onto her account every day, only to see more harassing comments towards her. At first, she gave into the comments, giving the anonymous writer the pleasure of seeing it had hurt her. As she continued to use the site, she began to realize she could not let these comments affect her. She didn’t know who was typing those words, or what motive they had, but she knew that she did not deserve them. “The first comment told me to kill myself,” Skym said. “I was surprised, but the more they came, the more it hurt me.” Skym has struggled over the past couple months with deciding whether to keep her account or delete it for a final time. Although Skym has deactivated Freshman Lydia Ferreira does not let the negative comments affect her attitude her account and continues to smile with support from her friends. Jack Duly | Illustration multiple times,


she finds herself coming back to it, wanting to be a part of the new trend. Not only did her friends encourage her to be a part of the site, but she likes to keep up with the other users’ questions as well. “I know you’re trying to act strong because all of your stupid ass friends are defending you, but I know I’m breaking you down inside. Soon your only answer will be to take any weapon of your choice and use in on yourself,” read an anonymous comment to another freshman, Lydia Ferreira. Lydia created an account nearly two months ago. For Lydia, it took as little as two weeks for the questions to become threats, not only on her site, but on her friends’ and boyfriend’s sites as well. Despite support from other friends, the attackers’ comments only seemed to worsen as she stayed on the site. She has since made the decision to deactivate her account, hoping to keep the negative attention away from not only herself, but also her friends. While she still had the account, instead of agreeing with these comments, Lydia only began to stand up for herself more, causing her other followers to do the same. Not only did her friends stand up for her, but also people that she barely knows. After seeing these comments made on Lydia’s page, one of her close friends, freshman Elizabeth Parsons, took a stand for Lydia on her own account. “She doesn’t do anything wrong, and if she did, it wouldn’t affect me. I’ll be friends with who I want, and Lydia is DEFINITELY one of the people I will ALWAYS be friends with,” Parsons commented on a question directed towards Ferreira. Parsons said Lydia has handled the comments well. She believes it has made her a stronger person. Yet, even with friends and family to support, the comments still hurt.

This year five teenagers have committed suicide, all directly related to being bullied on These kids range from age fourteen to seventeen. The young age of these deaths, all being caused from, has caused an uprising in the controversial topic of banning all anonymous posting. was originally created to communicate, similar to other social media sites. The feature that makes this site different is that it allows people to ask personal questions under an account,or, completely anonymous. All too easily, the questions can become threats. “This site is definitely a red flag,” School Resource Officer Jai Mahabir said. “There’s no filter. Students have no way of knowing who is seeing it and who is sending it.” It may be unnerving that anyone can ask a user a question without having their own account. The user may have no idea who these people even are. The site does not require a user to accept another user to enable posting. For that reason Mahabir refers to the site as a “worldwide forum for bullying.” Similar to, the site Formspring was launched in 2009 and was used as an anonymous question and answer platform. This site gained over one million users within just 45 days of activation. Later, in 2010, replicated the website by providing the same the Parents

The multiple suicides caused by may have been stopped if parents had been monitoring their children more often. As social media websites continue to grow rapidly, it becomes harder for parents to keep up with the changing trends. There are an endless number of social media sites circling throughout the internet. As soon as they understand how one site works, their children have already moved on to the latest social media website. “Now a day’s, parents don’t just need the sex talk or stranger danger talk or drugs and alcohol talk,” Lisa Ferreira, mother of Lydia,, said. “We have to have a serious internet safety talk as well.” Lisa did not know of her daughter using the site until her daughter came to her. If her daughter had not come to her, she would have no idea of the comments her daughter was receiving. Her mother believes she has a relationship built on trust and openness within their family. As much as she works to monitor her children’s usage of social networking, she cannot stop the bullying before it happens. “You don’t even see them coming,” Lisa said. “You find out about it when your child is already on it and they’re already hurt.” Learning what other people say and think of her daughter has not changed Lisa’s view of her. This experience has taught Lisa to not only monitor her children but to not judge her children when they come to her for help. She

features to users and quickly gained popularity. These websites acted as rivals for nearly three years until Formspring was forced to shut down after multiple protests and suicides caused by the site were brought to attention. The website was disabled on March 31, 2013, diverting all previous users to “There are no names attached to the comments,” Officer Mahabir said. “Bullying has to be proven to have consequences. Because the site is so new, most of the officers don’t know how to go about locating the bullies.” Most recently, has gained negative attention in the way that the site handles bullies. After multiple complaints, the administrators had promised the public to create a safer website for young people to use. The promised features include a high-profile button for reporting bullying and a pledge to respond within 24 hours along with extra moderators to be hired. Also, there is said to be a separate site for parents to learn more about the site itself on the way. Some of these features are yet to be seen among the website, although these promises were made over a month ago. Most recently, has given users the ability to make an account private. This disables others ability to post anonymously on their account and forces other users to have an account of their own to ask questions.

also believes that teaching them to never say or do something that may embarrass them in the future can prevent them from making similar mistakes. “You don’t back down as a parent. You can’t be intimidated when they don’t want to talk,” Lisa said. “You have to listen and accept them no matter what and affirm them that everything’s okay.” Lisa tries to monitor her kids without overstepping her boundaries too much as a mother. Because her kids are older, they do need their privacy. She works to encourage her children to always tell someone when there is something wrong, even if it is only each other. “They have to make sure that somebody helps them out,” Lisa said. “I always tell them not to keep secrets that are dangerous or hurtful.” Although Lisa monitors her children as much as she can, she still cannot prevent them from being bullied. Some parents may not take the same steps to watch their children, causing a child to fight alone. Many people struggle with bullying every day, and believe that what others tell them of themselves is true. No matter how strong a person may seem, these comments could be hurtful to them. Without the help of a parent or friend, it may be hard to ignore. “Even if you are more confident, it’s still going to be hurtful when you read something,” Lisa said. “Whether it’s from someone you know or not, whether it’s true or not, it’s still going to be hurtful.”

Infographics and Fun Facts.

88 %

Currently has MILLION


of MHS students have seen bullying on but never stopped it

from a survey of 190 students

Available in


L A N G U G S A E was founded in

June 16



“Your girlfriend needs to get some class. If you can’t find any, go back to the dumpster you came from,”anonymously said to Lydia Ferreira’s boyfriend, Chase Robison.

“Get a hold of me when you find someone better, she’s perfect,”Chase Robison replied.

N o t o n l y w a s Fe r r e i r a bullied on her account, but also friends and even her boyfriend’s account. facts provided by

Scout Parsch | Infographic | FOCUS | 13


Uniting two cities


Midland’s Sister City program allows students to confront unique challenges and turn them into meaningful experiences in Handa, Japan. Michael Adams | A&E Editor & Kelsey Pennock | Staff Writer


unior Cara Mitrano stared out the window as she traveled home down Waldo Road, seeing the streets she grew up around but feeling out of place. Despite being away for three weeks, Mitrano would have given almost anything to turn the car around and head back to the place that had taught her so much: Handa, Japan. “The relationship [between Handa and Midland] has been one of the most successful Sister City programs in Michigan,” Tina Van Dam, chairman of the Midland-Handa Sister City program said. “More than eighty students have crossed the Pacific to spend three weeks with families in the Sister City. These are life changing experiences.” For 32 years, the Midland-Handa Sister City program has been selecting high school students from Midland every other year to travel on an exchange trip to Handa. In the opposite years, students from Handa visit Midland for three weeks, as well. “The Sister City relationship began when The Dow Chemical Company wanted to build a plant in Handa,” Van Dam said. “To help alleviate concerns and demonstrate that Dow was a good neighbor, the City of Midland invited Handa officials to Midland to see for themselves. The relationship based upon both civic and personal friendships has continued for all these years.” The Committee of volunteers that runs the

Sister City program raises all funds through private sources so that the exchange students do not have to pay for their trip. All students in Midland may apply for the program or sign up to host an exchange student from Japan for a week. This summer, three students from Midland— junior Cara Mitrano and seniors Scout Parsch and Nick Smith—traveled to Japan through the Sister City program. They spent three weeks with their host families



1. Mitrano said. “Sometimes though, for certain discussions, we had to use Google translate and we’d just have it on the computer and communicate through that.” However, this wasn’t the only challenge of going to a foreign country, as Mitrano pointed out. Among some of the dishes that she tried were slices of raw octopus, seaweed vinaigrette, and a red bean paste called anko. “All the food there is quite different so that took about a week to get used to,” she said.

“MORE THAN EIGHTY STUDENTS HAVE CROSSED THE PACIFIC TO SPEND THREE WEEKS WITH FAMILIES IN THE SISTER CITY. THESE ARE LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCES.” CHAIRMAN TINA VAN DAM as they learned about Japanese culture. The students visited cultural sites in Japan such as Kyoto, Nagoya Castle, the Golden Temple, and Handa City. Along with the more touristy spots, they were also able to experience the day to day life of Japanese families. Mitrano stayed with three host families over the course of the trip and, while enjoying the experience, remarked that the language barrier was one of the biggest challenges. “In the first family I stayed with, the elevenyear-old boy was learning English in school. Out of the family, he had the best English,”

“I ate so many things that I never thought I would even think about trying.” However, Mitrano was able to make the best of the situation by sharing American culture with her host families as well. Mitrano amazed many by preparing Mac and Cheese, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, and grilled cheese sandwiches. She even made an Italian dish called gnocchi, in order to share a portion of her heritage. “Most of the people in Japan, they’re Japanese, their parents are Japanese, and their ancestry is completely Japanese,” Mitrano said. “I’m half Italian, half Polish, so that was

really interesting for them.” Nick Smith, a senior at Dow High, and his host families were also able to share aspects of their culture with each other. Smith was quick to notice the large differences between American and Japanese education. “They are almost always in school or being tutored in cram school,” Smith said. “Also, you don’t apply to college, they ask you to attend.” The students were chosen through an interview process where leadership skills, interest in Japanese culture, and academic performance was considered. Mitrano said that she was prompted to apply for the program because of her interest in Japanese culture through anime and a type of Japanese comics that she reads called manga. “I wasn’t really nervous,” Mitrano said. “I like to go to new places and try different things. It was a new experience, so I was just kind of excited from the moment I heard about it.” Whether hosting or traveling, the Sister City program helps individuals to gain a deeper world perspective and an appreciation of other cultures, as all three students experienced this summer. The exchange trip taught Smith to form his own views of other cultures. “Don’t let others’ opinions bias what you’re going to see,” Smith said. “Go in with an open mind.”

1. Seniors Nick Smith and Scout Parsch, and junior Cara Mitrano view Kiyomizudera, a famous Buddhist temple, with three members of the Handa Association. 2. Smith, Parsch, and Mitrano stand in front of the Golden Pavillion. 3. Mitrano exhibits a Japanese umbrella. 4. Smith, Parsch and Mitrano stand with Mayor Sakakibara and other association members. Cara Mitrano & Michael Adams | Photo

14 | FOCUS | OCT 3, 2013








What do you t hink?

Crunch time

What did you like about your meal at Chip’N’Wich?

After their win on the television show Food Court Wars, the owners of Chip ‘N’ Wich open up about the art of sandwich making and their added twist that separates them from their competitors. Aelish Shay | Staff Writer & Natalie Schwartz | Staff Writer The “awesome” bun: Developed by the owners, the name of this bakedfrom-scratch bun speaks for itself

Melted cheese: Contrasts not only the BBQ but the crunchy texture of the chips, without making them soggy

Home- made Jalapeño chips: The hardy crunch and spice that make this sandwich stand out from the competition

Smokey BBQ chicken: The key ingredient in their most popular sandwich, which helped them to win the contest

“The chips really complemented the sandwiches they had.” Junior Calvin Sigelko

Caramelized onions: The carmelization of the onions brings out their sugars, which adds sweetness and balances the spice Crunchy bacon: The smoky flavor accents the spiciness of the barbeque Natalie Schwartz | Photo


hen the producers of the hit Food Network show Food Court Wars called co-owners of Chip’N’Wich Craig Jones and David Neely, it was a dream come true. The two always knew they would be on a Food Network show one day. According to Jones, Chip’N’Wich was never supposed to be in a food court, but the show provided an opportunity that they couldn’t pass up. Upon winning, the two victors received ten thousand dollars and free rent for a year and they chose to stay in the Midland food court. “Words cannot describe that feeling,” Jones added. “You have one chance to show people what you can do, and to succeed is amazing.”

“I really liked the service. The manager came out and asked us how the food was, which was really nice.” Freshman Katelyn Wolfe

Jones grew up with cooking in his house and in his heart. He has loved cooking and experimenting with new flavors all his life. He watched “Food Network” as a young man and immediately was mesmerized by stars like Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri. “If you know what you love, and who you can be, you can do anything. Just keep trying.” Jones said. Neely originally had other plans. As a teenager, he had a love for football. He had no intent on becoming an entrepreneur in the food court business. But when he teamed up with Jones seven years ago, his motives drastically changed. “I just kind of fell into it,” Neely said.

Neely has been toying with unique food concepts since he was young. He said that he loves to experiment, and has been putting chips on his sandwiches for a long time. So when Neely and Jones got together to create Chip’N’Which, they were not void of ideas. Now, the sandwiches are a huge hit in the Midland Mall, all because the two had a plan years ago. “The chips contrast the sandwich in flavor and texture. And each sandwich has a different chip specialized for it,” Jones said. Neely and Jones plan to expand Chip’N’Wich to other parts of Midland as well as to both of their hometowns of Detroit, MI and Pittsburgh, PA.

“It was cool trying something different like chips on a sandwich. I would definitely eat there again.” Junior Derek Groulx

“On a scale from Pringles to Lays, I would rank them a quality chip. Yum.” Senior Regan Danner | FOCUS | 15


Through the pain

Teenagers attending Midland High struggle living with and overcoming their depression.

Facts about depression

It’s a normal human emotion to experience sadness; but to be diagnosed with depression is an entirely different experience. Michelle Demo| Web Editor & Caroline Swiercz | Staff Writer

Percentage of Adolescents Diagnosed

Depression in Adolescents

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2011, 11.7% of adolescents aged 16-17 were diagnosed with depression. This rate rose from 2010, when the number was 10.6%. 2011 showed the highest percentage in the past 8 years.


the population of the United States will experience depression once in their lifetime.

million Americans diagnosed with major depressive disorder in 2013

Ages: Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7

1-800 273 TALK

SIGNS OF DEPRESSION: symptoms to look out for if a person feels depressed. No interest in favorite activities Lower than normal self esteem Constant negative thoughts Ideas of self harm

16 | FOCUS | OCT 3, 2013

Source:Anxiety and Depression Society of America

“There are things that make sense when you’re depressed. There’s a sense of hopelessness, a lack of motivation, [and] sometimes there’s poor self care. They don’t sleep well, they have aches and pains that are unexplainable, headaches, difficulty concentrating, those things, you would see, they’re a pattern. They can’t be just one day of it, they have to be a pattern of a couple weeks that you see this going on. And it’s not changing. Often that’s when the suicidal thoughts come in.” PROFESSIONAL LICENSED COUNSELOR, JENNIFER WERRIES

Loss of focus

slide to answer


Reduced energy levels




Long term feelings of unworthiness Changes in appetite Irregular sleep patterns




No care about effort put into work Feelings of isolation Speech is short and non-conversational


Through the pain Living with depression

Since he was young, junior Adam Emmendorfer has felt like he was depressed. It makes everything harder, from getting up in the morning to making it through the day. Maddy Wheelock| Features Editor & Casey LaValley| Staff Writer


t wasn’t an elaborate plan. The thought arose, and within 20 minutes, Adam Emmendorfer had pointed a gun to his face. “ I a l wa y s h a d t h o u g h t s [ o f suicide],” Emmendorfer said. “It was always in my head. I never really thought anything of it, though. One night, I was ready for it to be done.” The gunshot sounded. Emmendorfer was found and rushed to the hospital. He was flown from Midland to Flint and then to Detroit. He remained unconscious for the first week, staying for a total of 23 days in the hospital. “It was way longer than it should have been, it seemed,” Emmendorfer said. “It was just staring at the same four walls every day.” It was winter of his freshman year, and everything was supposed to be better. He was in football and wrestling, and was on the honor roll. Soon, though, he began dropping out of the activities that he used to love. As for his grades, he simply didn’t care anymore. “I was just in a hole,” said Emmendorfer, now a junior. “I began not caring about anything.” Emmendorfer has felt depressed for as long as he can remember. He says he’s always felt a little worse than everyone else, like every day is a bad one. This feeling was always in the back of his mind- especially in the fall of freshman year, when he began self-harming. “When I was having a really bad day, I would go home and [self-harm] was the thing that I needed to help me get through,” Emmendorfer said. “I felt like it was going to explode if it didn’t happen.” Soon, these impulses turned into an obsession. Before long, Emmendorfer’s skin was pockmarked with self-inflicted scars. “The urge was always there to do it,” Emmendorfer said. “If something went wrong, it was just like a little voice that got louder and louder.” Although he has been struggling with depression and self-harm for a while, he wasn’t diagnosed until recently. Emmendorfer has chronic depressive disorder and generalized anxiety. According to Jennifer Werries, a

licensed professional counselor, depression and anxiety are often coupled together. “When stress levels get too high, it’s harder to cope,” Werries said. “It’s taxing on our ability to manage life.” Werries said that Emmendorfer’s loss of interest in activities that he used to love is a very normal part of depression. Depression makes fun things less enjoyable, and day-to-day tasks much harder, she added. “Having depression is like seeing everything through a clouded lens, because you aren’t able to see the positives,” Werries said. When everything in life seems so awful, it is hard to find a source of comfort. Werries says that often, people with depression push their


attempts are made for every succeeded suicide


l o v e d o n e s away, preferring to be alone. Emmendorfer says pushing people away is something he does quite frequently. “Everyone that I seem to have gotten close to has been taken away from me,” Emmendorfer said. “I feel like if I don’t get close to anyone, then it’s not going to be bad when they go away.” Although being alone is the instinct, Werries and Emmendorfer agree that having someone to talk to helps when the depression is at its worst. “Sometimes, we just need someone to listen,” Werries said. “For someone to care.” Emmendorfer has always been able to confide in his friend, Nick Dillahunty, when he needs

Junior Adam Emmendorfer attempted suicide in the spring of his freshman year. Since then, he’s been recieving professional help for his depression. Maddy Wheelock | Photo someone to help him. The two met when Dillahunty moved to Midland in second grade, and the teacher paired them up for a project. Since then, they have been best friends. “We always had a really fun time whenever we hung out,” Dillahunty said. “We’ve never had any troubles fighting or arguing like most friends do.” It was eighth grade when Emmendorfer first started discussing the topic of depression with his friend. Every so often, he would message him about how he was feeling alone. By freshman year, he told Dillahunty everything. Instead of the depression harming the relationship, Dillahunty thought it brought them closer. “We really felt each other’s pain. We related with each other like no one else ever could,” Dillahunty said. “We could spill out everything to each other without having to worry about getting judged, no matter what it was. He was still the same Adam, he just couldn’t help but feel down all the time.” Dillahunty said that occasionally, the topic of suicide would come up between the two of them. Like Emmendorfer, he never thought much of it. There was no specific plan, and he never imagined anything serious actually occurring. “I figured as long as I stayed there for Adam… everything would be fine,” Dillahunty said. “But clearly that isn’t what happened. I’m just glad I still have my best friend.” Emmendorfer knows that he has Dillahunty to turn to when he needs to vent his feelings. When he is feeling particularly upset, he also finds that writing and listening to songs helps him cope. He specifically likes listening to artists

like Nirvana, and often writes poems and lyrics that he turns into songs himself. Although he rarely shares them with people, if his friends ask, he lets them read what he has written. Even with Dillahunty to confide in and music to turn to, sometimes it all feels like too much. “I have to fight with myself to get out of bed sometimes,” Emmendorfer said. “I’ll be mad at everything. The littlest things will go wrong, and I won’t want to talk to anybody.” A year ago, at school, Emmendorfer mostly kept to himself. He tried not to get called on, preferring to stay away from social interaction. After he attempted suicide and started receiving help for his depression, things could only get better from there. Although things are much better now, he still has times where getting through the day is hard. But Emmendorfer says attitude has a lot to do with the recovery process of depression. He says having a better approach to difficult situations makes coping easier. “Almost every day [the depression] is there,” Emmendorfer said. “But everything depends on how I deal with it.” Emmendorfer hopes that everyone who has depression can receive help, but he realizes that unless someone admits they have a problem, things aren’t going to get better. “If you’re feeling like you’re starting to become depressed, come out with it and try to get professional help as soon as possible,” Emmendorfer said. “Even if you don’t think you have any issues, it always helps to talk to someone. It just helps to vent. The longer you wait, the worse it’s going to get.” | FOCUS | 17


Through the pain Relapse to recovery

Junior Christiana Haight has struggled with depression for years. For a long time, she felt hopeless. Recovery seemed impossible. But now, with the help of a psychologist, psychiatrist, and dietitian, she is working on finding ways to overcome her depression. Jack Duly | Managing Editor & Sarah Wontorcik | Photo Editor While in Forest View Psychiatric Hospital, junior Christiana Haight kept journals full of inspiring quotes, song lyrics, and drawings. Haight says that art, to this day, is her greatest coping mechanism. Sarah Wontorcik | Photo


t was the longest process of her life. Sitting with her parents in a creamcolored waiting room, millions of thoughts passed through junior Christiana Haight’s mind. She did not have time to pack her hairbrush, shampoo, and toothbrush. In a couple of hours they would take away her shoes. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Christiana and her parents were led down a hallway into a small area, which felt a little too much like an interrogation room. The process had begun. By walking in, Christiana was beginning her six week stay at Forest View Psychiatric Hospital, and taking her biggest step in fighting her depression. “I was thinking about everything,” Christiana said. “I was so terrified. I was in a foreign place with all kinds of people I didn’t know.” Christiana has spent most of her life battling depression. Her stay in Forest View was a result of her depression and bulimia that started as early as the sixth grade. Even though she did not enjoy her time at Forest View, she realizes that it has helped her to cope with her depression. Christiana began self-harming when she was in sixth grade because of depression that stemmed from bullying, and continued through the eighth grade when an anonymous person reported her to her counselor, Carl Hoffman. Hoffman called Christiana down and

18 | FOCUS | OCT 3, 2013

confronted her. “He called me down and asked me about my arms,” Christiana said. “He had me roll up my sleeves, and that was really scary.” After that he contacted her parents, Brien and Deanne Haight, and asked to meet with them. They originally thought that Christiana was receiving an award. Deanne and Brien were unaware that their daughter was harming herself or about her depression and were very unsettled after finding out. They had noticed that she would wear long sleeve shirts, even when it was hot out, and would often pull her sleeves over her hands. They thought something might have been wrong, but they wanted to give her the privacy all teenagers seem to want. “I was very sad that my daughter was going through this and we had no idea,” Deanne said. “For me it was more of a feeling of somehow failing as a parent, that our daughter had these problems,” Brien said. According to Doctor Jilian Moneypenny, an adolescent psychiatrist with Community Mental Health [a mental health service provider ], depression is a sadness that comes and stays nearly all of the time. After that meeting, Christiana went to see her first therapist. There, she was diagnosed with mild depression. Brien and Deanne tried to keep a close eye on their daughter, but after six weeks, Christiana

began to self-harm again. This time she would only cut herself on her legs and thighs, places that could easily be concealed. This continued through her ninth and tenth grade years. The longer she cut herself, the worse it got. She began cutting herself on her arms again in the ninth grade and went back to wearing long sleeves. “It all started back in November [of last year], when she had called me up into her room,” Deanne said. “I didn’t know that she was still cutting. She told me she had cut way too deep and showed me her arms.” Christiana was rushed to the emergency room, were she received 39 stitches. She remembers the emergency room seeming bright, loud, and terrifying. During the experience, Christiana had to sit in the waiting room, bleeding, for two hours while waiting to be treated, having a panic attack. The only thing going through her head was that she was going to die. “The next morning I called Community Mental Health and tried to find a therapist for her because she was in crisis,” Deanne said. “At that point Christiana had begun telling us through a community mental health emergency contact that she was suicidal and didn’t want to live anymore,” Brien added. Community Mental Health recommended that they should look into Partners in Change, a mental health clinic, to help Christiana with her

depression and self-harming. Christiana began seeing a therapist there, but was hesitant about opening up to her. “I wouldn’t even talk to her really. I would sit there and silently nod my head,” Christiana said. “Finally I started getting comfortable around her. There wasn’t a moment where I just automatically opened up, though, it was in really small bits.” From there, Brien and Deanne began watching Christiana at home and slowly began to realize that she may need more help than what they could offer themselves and with her therapist. During this time, Christiana was having trouble dealing with her depression, causing her grades to slowly start slipping. This pushed her parents to seriously consider the option of inpatient care, where they discovered Forest View. Originally, Forest View had no beds available and began to make plans to continue the outpatient care they were giving her. Then, one afternoon, Deanne received a call from the hospital informing her that they had a bed open. “Right after school they came and picked me up. I had half an hour to pack basic things,” Christiana said. “The car ride [to the hospital] was the shortest and scariest thing of my life.” Sitting in the ‘interrogation room,’ panicking, Christiana was bombarded with multiple questions about her medical history. After an hour and a half of constant questioning of

Christiana, another employee came in and began to question her parents. “At this point I wasn’t even listening, I was zoning out. I was focusing on the wall because it was horrifying to be there,” Christiana said. Around 1:30 in the morning, the questioning ended, and her parents hesitantly left. “It’s the institutionalization, by signing the papers you are giving up some of your parental rights, it’s extremely tough,” Brien added. “I was doubting if I had made the right decision. I was leaving my baby somewhere,” Deanne said. From there, Christiana was escorted to another room, in what seemed like a maze of a building. She was told to strip down for a full body search. The employees doing the search were looking for hidden weapons, pills, or anything she could use to harm herself with. “I wasn’t even allowed to have my bracelets I got with my friend. I had to slide them over my hands because I didn’t want them to cut them off,” Christiana said. “They went through my clothes and they cut the strings out of my pajama bottoms, so we couldn’t hang ourselves with them. I brought some music books with me and they had to go take the staples out of the them. They even took the spirals out of my sketchbook.” Finally Christiana was taken to her room, where her roommate was sound asleep. She was told to go to bed, and that they would wake her up at 5:30. Alone for the first time in hours, everything about her situation was sinking in, and this made her feel incredibly frightened. Throughout the night, nurses would check on her every ten minutes to make sure she hadn’t


found a way to harm herself. After that night, the days began to blend together. She was kept on a rigorous schedule. Every day she was woken up at 5:30, was weighed, and had her blood drawn. For the rest of the day she participated in therapy, and was never given time alone. “It was a terrible thing while I was there,” Christiana said. “It sucked and I hated it, but it helped me a lot.” During her stay, Christiana began to learn

11% of adolescents suffer from depression before the age of 18. **

a lot about herself and her depression. She admitted that she really didn’t know who she was; she was always trying to change herself to fit in with other people. “I was asked what I liked to do, and I didn’t know. I was like, ‘Well I like to, no actually I don’t really like that,’” Christiana said. “There were definitely some gaps in my personality where I didn’t even know who I really was.” While at Forest View, Christiana was taught

COMMON ANTIDEPRESSANTS Medication is commonly used when fighting depression and is one of the first treatment option that psychiatrists use. Antidepressants work to release more serotonin, a hormone that increases mood.

various coping mechanisms to help fight her depression. According to Ann Date, Co-owner of Partners in Change and licensed psychiatrist, depression affects thinking, feelings, behaviors, the body, and one’s environment. Coping mechanisms are one of the main ways to fight depression, along with medication. After her four weeks at Forest View, Christiana was placed back into her everyday life, where she is currently working with a psychologist, psychiatrist, and dietitian to help her continue to fight her depression. “It’s still a struggle every single day,” Christiana said. “I have to live with it, but I’m on multiple medications that help me and I also have a very good therapist and support system at home, which took a while to build up.” Date and Moneypenny both agree that the role of a support system is to listen to the person who is having difficulty with depression and encourage them to get treatment and take care of themselves. They also noted that people with depression tend to isolate themselves. It is the role of the family to encourage them, spend time with them, or get active. “We have to maintain an atmosphere that is accepting and non-judgmental,” Brien said. “Probably the biggest inhibitor for her recovery is the thought that she is somehow ashamed or guilty of some problem and that she has to feel bad about that.” Since Christiana has been diagnosed with depression, one treatment method that has been used is medication. Moneypenny noted that the use of antidepressants is not always needed with patients, but can be very helpful. The downside to the use of medication is the adverse effects

it can have on the body. Some patients have reported a range of side effects, from headaches to weight gain. In some rare occasions, patients report feeling worse on the medication. When Christiana was in the psychiatric hospital, she was given many different kind of medication, and reported having similar side effects. “I was given pills, and felt like a completely different person depending on the day,” Christiana said. Either with medication or by itself, coping mechanisms can be used to help treat depression. According to Midland Public School psychologist, Kristi Hainstock, there is not a preset definition for what a coping mechanism is. A coping mechanism is something that helps someone suffering from depression feel better. Some of Christiana’s coping mechanisms for when she is having a bad day are listening to music, painting, and writing. Though Christiana is recovering from her depression, she is not cured. She has bad days and sometimes still feels the urge to cut. Christiana said that cutting, like every other addiction, it has triggers. She says that there is always a nagging feeling in the back of her head, but she is more able to push these feelings away now, and she is happy for the first time in her life. “I am proud of myself for getting this far,” Christiana said. “I am discovering what I want to do with my life, and for once am excited about having a future.”



Generic Name: Elavil Dosage: 75mg a day Side Effects: Nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, nightmares, constipation, dry mouth, and confusion. Other Uses: Used to treat eating disorder and migraines.

FLUOXETINE Generic Name: Prozac Dosage: 20-80mg a day Side Effects: Rash, indigestion, throat irritation, sinus irritation, and anxiousness. Other Uses: Used to treat panic disorder, bulimia, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

** Information provided by Doctor Jilian Moneypenny

Generic Name: Norpramin Dosage: 100-200mg a day Side Effects: Headache, weight gain, increased appetite, blurred vision, and constipation. Other Uses: Used to treat panic disorder and alleviate certain types of pain.

SETRALINE Generic Name: Zoloft Dosage: 20-80mg a day Side Effects: Anorexia, suicidal ideation, fatigue, diarrhea, agitation, and tremors. Other Uses: Used to treat panic obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jack Duly | Infographic

Information compiled from and | FOCUS | 19

Coffee for College F E AT U R E S

As college tuition skyrockets, senior Alex Biedenbach came up with a creative way to earn some money to help with costs. She developed her own coffee bean business, and she sells them at the Midland Farmer’s Market. Nate Fisher| Staff Writer & Katie McIntyre| News Editor


Alex Beidenbach fills the 8 oz. bags of coffee beans. Each bag has a number on it so that customers know how close she is to paying for a year of college. Katie McIntyre | Photo

20 | FOCUS | OCT 3, 2013

he alarm goes off at 5 am every Saturday. Senior Alex Bieden bach begins to meticulously load the car full of 8 oz. bags of coffee beans, each labeled and numbered. By the time the sun rises, Biedenbach has set up her booth at the Farmers Market and has begun to sell her home-roasted, free trade, organic coffee beans. With each bag sold, Biedenbach is that much closer to paying for college tuition. As the cost of college increases, many teens are getting creative in raising money to take off some of the burden. Biedenbach’s entrepreneurship of her coffee bean business, Coffee for College, is helping her become prepared for the pricey years ahead of her. Biedenbach hopes to sell 3,333 bags of coffee beans. This is the number of bags that she would need to sell in order pay for one year of college tuition. “All of the money, other than what I spend on supplies, goes directly into the bank,” Biedenbach said. “I sometimes feel like I don’t really have a job because even though I do all of the work, I never get to see the money.” Biedenbach aspires to attend Wayne State University in Detroit, where she hopes to receive an undergraduate degree in history and go on to get her graduates degree in archeology. A four-year degree alone would cost more than $90,000. Tack on the graduate degree and that is potentially another $45,000. Considering these costs, Biedenbach knew that she would need to start saving money, so she and her mom devised the idea to form Coffee for College. “It all started when my brother had to sell popcorn for Boy Scouts. Nobody wants to buy popcorn, so my mom suggested that they sell coffee beans,” Biedenbach said. “We decided to run with the idea. My mom and I created this business around the idea that I needed money for college. Everyone likes coffee so it’s a winwin situation.” Biedenbach and her mother began to research coffee beans and how to get them. They settled on organic, fair-trade beans imported from Indonesia. Currently, Biedenbach is the only one of the many venders to sell organic coffee beans. “We didn’t want to pay for my college off of slave labor, so even though the fair trade beans cost a little bit more, they are worth it,” Biedenbach said. The next challenge was finding a roaster for the beans. Originally, Biedenbach used air-poppers that she and her mother would purchase from resale stores to roast them. The air-poppers did not hold up well because they are not meant for roasting coffee beans. However, one of Biedenbach’s repeat customers was gracious enough to donate a roaster to the business. That eventually broke as well, so Biedenbach and her mother purchased a larger roaster online.

“The start-up cost was under $200,” said Shannyn Caldwell, Alex Biedenbach’s mother. “Considering we used air poppers to begin with, the roasters were only about $4 apiece and the booth at the farmers market cost $25. The beans and bags and labels made up the rest of the expenses.” Once the beans were all roasted, bagged, numbered, and labeled, Biedenbach was ready to begin selling. During the summer, she would sell the coffee beans at the Farmers Market every Saturday morning. As school began, her mother took over the responsibility of selling at the market. However, with the Farmers Market drawing to a close, Biedenbach will have to find new ways to sell her beans during the wintertime. “Once the Farmers Market ends we are going to sell the beans through craft fairs,” Biedenbach said. She went on to say that these sales would be made in the Detroit area, where she stays with her dad on the weekends. Coffee for College also has Facebook and twitter pages through which anyone can contact Biedenbach to place orders. For Biedenbach, the business has not only consisted of selling coffee beans, but it has also helped to teach her lessons in communication. “For me it’s really been a lesson in being nice to everyone,” Biedenbach said.

Quick College Cash Stats

Students in Michigan borrow


billion per year


of MHS students will pay for some or all of their college


of those students have a job

Statistics compiled from a survey of 123 students




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Back in the spotlight

Director Megan Applegate oversees the rehearsal for the drama club’s fall show, Almost, Maine. This is Applegate’s first year teaching drama at Midland High, although she spent four years here as a student. Prior to receiving the job at Midland High, she was the artistic director at a youth theater and taught at Mount Clements High. Michelle Demo | Photo

A new legacy starts for the Midland High drama club as Megan Applegate, new drama director and teacher, returns to her high school and takes over as she begins production for the fall show, Almost, Maine. Maddy Wheelock | Features Editor & Michelle Demo | Web Editor


t’s been years since she’s walked these halls. Everything looks strangely similar: the trophies collecting dust in their cases, the unimportant papers hastily kicked into corners, and the finicky, breakable chairs in the little theater. Megan Applegate is not a stranger here, but being a member of the staff is completely new to her. Last time Applegate stood on the stage, she faced direction from Sue Lombardo, a teacher that drama club students have grown close to. Lombardo retired last year, and since then, the drama club has been in a frenzy, nervous and excited to meet their new director. So far, they haven’t been disappointed. “I am surprised by the amount of confidence [Mrs. Applegate] already has in all of us,”

22 | FOCUS | OCT 3, 2013

drama club president Regan Danner said. “I like how she is keeping control over everything as well.” Although Applegate stresses that she is not the same director as Lombardo, she does admit that her style is similar. Like Lombardo, Applegate is planning on doing three shows this year: a fall play, a winter competition show, and a spring musical. This fall, drama club is performing Almost, Maine. The show follows the story of nine relationships, all taking place on a Friday night in a town so small that it’s name is Almost, Maine. Throughout the show, the characters show snapshots of different stages in their relationships. Among these are: new love, meeting for the first time, getting engaged, deciding on divorce, and watching as someone

they once loved falls for another person. “I chose Almost, Maine for the fall show for a number of different reasons,” Applegate said. “I think the characters are very meaningful and can relate to the audience. It’s funny, but it’s also very touching and real in a lot of ways.” Auditions for the show were held on the third day of school, and the cast and crew only had four weeks to get ready for performance. This rushed preparation is not out of the norm for drama students. They learn lines quickly and spend hours a night at rehearsals. This method, like many others, is one adopted from Lombardo. However, Applegate is not afraid of trying new things in an attempt to make the drama club the best it can be. “I have tried to be myself and stick to who I

am as a director,” Applegate said. “There won’t ever be huge changes, but small ones, yes.” These changes, so far, have mostly been about bringing the drama club even closer together. During the competition show, Applegate plans to take the cast and crew to a traveling production of the hit musical Peter and the Starcatcher. She hopes that the students will be entertained by the show, and also learn more about acting, lighting, and set construction. In addition to directing the shows and coordinating activities, Applegate is also stepping up as the new forensics advisor. Forensics is a dramatic and business speech competition. Students participating in the competition practice monologues, skits, and sales pitches. This was also one of Lombardo’s old jobs that Applegate is excited to take on.

A Applegate has decided to renew a tradition from her days at Midland High, starting up the Forensics Night again. This is a presentation open to the public where students from previous years perform their pieces that they performed in forensics. The students then explain in detail what their section of forensics is about. Although excited for her new job, Applegate does have moments of nervousness. Figuring out what works best for her is the biggest struggle she is currently facing, as she has to work it out with new students. The drama club members often joke that the cast and crew of each show have become like



“I was heartbroken [when Mrs. Lombardo retired] because she was the mom of our drama family,” Silverstein said. Silverstein has been a member of drama club since her sophomore year. Although she was upset when Lombardo left, she respected her decision, and really likes Applegate as a director. Danner, drama club president, might be more protective of the “family” than any other cast or crew member. She has worked with Applegate a lot in these past few weeks, and will also be in the cast of Almost, Maine. Although directing at Midland High is new



MEGAN APPLEGATE a family because of all the time they spend together during rehearsals. “Perhaps the most exciting thing about coming back is seeing the friendships and bonds that the actors and crew members form,” Applegate said. For a long time, Lombardo was the center of this family, keeping everything organized and acting like a mentor for the drama club students. Senior Liz Silverstein, stage manager for Almost, Maine, can attest to this.

to Applegate, she is practically a professional when it comes to acting. She was a member of drama club all four years when she was a student here, and is happy for the opportunity to return. “I feel old, but [coming back as director] is like coming home,” Applegate said. “Being able to be a part of this again is an irreplaceable experience.”

Additional reporting by Kyle Blackwood and Christiana Haight

1. Junior Rachel Grunder, junior Shelby Burhans, sophomore Grace Goddard, and sophomore Autumn Alexander are building the set for Almost, Maine. Michelle Demo | Photo


2. Juniors Jared Lane and Jenna Dickerson rehearse the scene “Her Heart” for their fall show of Almost, Maine. Michelle Demo | Photo


Show dates: October 3, 4, & 5

Dominic Altmeier | Pete

Josiah Greiner | Lendall

Shelby Burhans | Ginette

Melinda Kothbauer | Randi

Jared Lane | East

Stephen Conklin | Chad

Kostandi Stephenson |Glory

Aaron Mealey | Phil

Morgan Lillie | Jimmy

Allie Williams | Marci

Jenna Dickerson | Sandrine

Natalie Schwartz | Hop

Sara Knapp | Waitress

Gavin Ritchey | Man

Richelle Arguello | Marvalyn

Regan Danner | Rhonda

Jake Strait | Steve

Michael Adams | Dave

Sophia Bagnall | Gayle

Megan Applegate | Director

Central Audotorium at 7 pm



Stage Managers | Ella Konst & Liz Silverstein Assistant Stage Manager | Michelle Demo Lights | Gina Ennis Sound | Autumn Alexander Sound/Hang Crew | Kyle Walsh Props Master | Giang Le Stage Crew/ Props Assistant | Jo Kelingos Stage Crew/Costumes | Courtney Froelicher Stage Crew | Hunter Marsh & Rachel Grunder

Almost, Maine

Hair/Make-up | Audrey Wilkie, Grade Goddard, & Jackie Hendrickson Hang Crew | Emily Etner, Caitlyn Keidel, & Jake Strait Christiana Haight | Illustration | FOCUS | 23




Passion for fashion

A showcase of various styles throughout the school. Mercedes Hussein | Design Editor


Junior John Noack


What’s unique about your style?

Well for one, I don’t have eyebrows. I wear my hair down, put on lipstick, and rock the eyeliner and eye shadow. After that, I lather my face up with foundation. I prefer wearing the color black because it goes with pretty much everything and it’s always my dominant, go-to color. I like wearing scarves, they show confidence. I also like to offend people with what I wear. If they laugh at me for something I believe in then I’ll laugh at them for what they believe in. I think of this as a way to show everybody that I am not afraid to say and do what I want. Other people don’t express themselves because they’re scared of what other people think, while I am happy with showing off how I am.

Sophomore Mariah Rubenacker was pulled aside to dump her purse. Everything inside are things that she always has with her, no matter where she is. The first letter that she received from her older brother in the Navy.

Her comb to fix her hair in between classes.

What influenced you to reflect this style?

The way I was raised influenced me throughout my years. I was always taught to be who I am and express myself. I also learned from all of the music videos I’ve watched and the music I’ve heard that it’s okay to be different. When did you decide this is the style that expressed you?

Last summer, actually. I had gone through a lot the previous year and ended up taking my own personal time in the summer and went through a lot of self-discovery phases. I focused on art and writing. I basically turned into a hermit. I wrote all over the walls at my mom’s house. There’s a couple walls now covered in my words. During one of my phases, I had this really vivid dream about me being worshipped by groups of people. It made my confidence boost.

A pink pig flash drive because its her sister’s favorite animal.

The stash of Orbit gum and mints that everyone needs just in case. The iPhone that she could never leave the house without.

What were the responses you received from friends, family, and peers when you started dressing this way?

A first aid book in case of emergencies. (Her mother is very pleased that she has this.)

No one really liked it. Actually, I know for a fact that a lot of students here don’t like it. Usually I get called names when I’m just walking down the hallway or sitting in class. It doesn’t offend me. It just keeps me going. Even my dad is not a fan of it. But it doesn’t stop me.

Mercedes Hussein | Photos

How are you going to pursue this style?


I’m going to find more objects I can equip myself with. I’ll also get more make -up in different shades, along with different types of outfits. I’m also saving up to get some pump shoes. I see myself changing my eye color by wearing new contacts. Oh, and to dye my hair more often like black, red, and maybe the occasional dark blue. I may even experiment with a morph suit.


Palazzo Pants $29.90



Maxi Dress $15.99 Jean Jacket $27.99

24 | FOCUS | OCT 3, 2013

Journey’s Natural Crochet $59





Adam Hicks

October 3, 2013 Issue  
October 3, 2013 Issue