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MHS Mirror

Mattoon High School

F E B R UA R Y 2 0 1 3 VOLUME 3 | No. 4


“Striving to reflect the MHS community”

Iron chef heats up MHS

Discovery tests part of student grades


By Emma Diltz, Business Manager

By Kaylie Homann, Editor-In-Chief While watching shows like “Chopped” or “Iron Chef,” it is common to witness frantic cooks running around a kitchen, throwing together ingredients that seem to come from another planet in order to make them all into a piece of food art. This is what the students of Commercial Foods class at Mattoon High School are experiencing. After the students are put into groups, Michelle Hartbank, the foods teacher at MHS, provides the class with three key ingredients. Then, the groups can pick two more ingredients each that they will use in order to make their dish. Once the competition date is set, the students start to plan what they’ll be making for the judges. The judges, three to four staff members not occupied that hour at MHS, use a rating scale based on use of key ingredients, taste, presentation, difficulty and time man-


Top: MHS staff memebers Terrie Hudson, Meri Willaredt, and Maj. Todd Baughman judge students’ creations during the Iron Chef competition in commercial foods. Above: One of the pieces of food created by students. agement. Walking into the foods room, one will see the judges ooing and ahing at the food presented to them. The key ingredients for this competition: “puffed wheat, or-

ange Gatorade and canned chicken,” said Hartbank. According to the judges, the students who were put up to this challenge conquered it with ease. Alexander Jones, junior at MHS,

created canned chicken short cake. “I enjoyed it,” said Jones. “I thought what we needed was less of a time constraint. It’s a great experience.” The students benefit from this competition because it provides, “creativity in addition to culinary skills and presentation,” said Hartbank. “We’ll [students] learn a new skill and put it to work.” One of the judges, MHS special educator Terrie Hudson, was in awe of the students’ performance. “I think it’s amazing,” said Hudson. “First of all, I don’t think I could look in my kitchen and cabinet and do what these kids have done.” Although the ingredients may seem like an odd combination, Hudson was pleasantly surprised by the taste. “Knowing what’s in it is unexpected,” said Hudson. “It’s all good.”

At all Illinois schools, a variety of assessments are given every year to evaluate each student on his or her math and reading skills. One test that is administered at Mattoon High School, the Discovery Education Assessment, has been receiving more attention recently. Principal Michele Sinclair explained what the assessments are and what they do for the administrators, teachers and students. “The assessments are a test given to K[indergarten] through eleventh-grade students in the district that’s designed to see if students are meeting benchmark [scores],” said Sinclair. “We use it to track students’ progress.” Likewise, the Discovery Education website said the assessments the company provides assist teachers and administrators in helping their students acquire proper learning skills among other aids. “Discovery Education Assessment’s RTI solution screens for students at risk, monitors progress, measures growth and identifies students’ response to instruction,” according to the Discovery Education website. Though the Discovery test hasn’t been around for more than a couple of years, benchmarks tests themselves have rapidly spread through schools to assist teachers in their instruction. “There’s a lot of data that comes from these tests,” said freshman and sophomore English teacher Lynn Darimont. “We can see the types of questions our students got wrong and practice those skills. It’s a very helpful resource to help kids.” DISCOVERY/2

Staff, students respond to discovery of other ‘Earths’ By Jacob Harris, Sports Editor

When thinking of other Earthlike planets, one may think of Mars; however, NASA believes there are more planets similar to Earth-- many more. “If other Earth-like planets exist, it suggests the possibility of life beyond our own planet, at least, life as we know it here on Earth,” said Renee Weber, public affairs specialist at NASA. Mike Carter, Mattoon High School physical science teacher, believes this discovery is “fantastic.” “Prior to this, there were only about 137 other planets discovered,” said Carter. Jim Sparks, MHS chemistry

and physics teachbenefit the fuer is also a believer. ture to know “Because how more about big our solar syssuch a distem is, there are covery belots of other earthcause “if they like planets out (people on there,” said Sparks. other earthFor a planet to be like planets) considered Earthwere more like, it must readvanced side in the “habitthey could able zone.” In ormaybe help der to be able to us,” said Garsupport life, it must Renee Weber, cia. also have water beCarter said cause it is “considPublic Affairs Specialist at NASA he thinks this ered essential for could also life,” said Weber. MHS who would like to be an help us in the long run because Loudin Garcia, sophomore at astronomer believes it would the more we understand about

“If other Earth-like planets exist, it suggests the possibility of life beyond our own planet, at least, life as we know it here on Earth.”

space, the more we understand about ourselves. Weber is to believe that “it is not possible to reach even the next closest start to our own on human timescales, much less the stars they have been found to have Earth–like planets, which I believe are much farther away,” said Anderson. Reaching these stars would require us putting in lots of money to our space program and being higher tech than we are in our world today. Weber said this would almost be humanly impossible, “our current method of space travel requires too much fuel and is too slow to [take] humans that far.”



Page Designer Riley Trotter


The information received back from these assessments also aids the math department. “We can see what students are falling behind and which ones need additional assistance,” said math teacher Ryan Ghere. The Discovery assessments also help to bridge curriculum gaps, said Sinclair.

“What we’re seeing is that the test isn’t aligned with what we’re teaching. We see a lot of struggling at the sophomore level, so we think it’s the curriculum and not the kids,” said Sinclair. “It also helps us to identify the strengths and weaknesses of students.” An even newer addition to the Discovery assessments at MHS is the grading policy that goes along with a student’s score. As of this semester, the scores on the Discovery test will be taken as a grade for the majority of students.

The MHS Mirror

is produced by the students enrolled in the Journalism II and I courses at Mattoon High School.

Kaylie Homann Justin Gordon Emma Diltz Riley Trotter Molly Dotson Sarah Foster Destinee Anderson Paige Jordan Jacob Harris Sydney Edwards Lane Plummer Wyatt Jones Albert Henderson Jarett Martin Fancie Lewis Jenna Butler Amanda Bright

Editor-In-Chief Managing Editor Business Manager/Photo Editor Design Editor News Editor Features Editor Opinion Editor Entertainment Editor Sports Editor Advertising Manager Online Editor Multimedia Editor Multimedia Editor Distribution/Promotion Manager Photographer Reporter Adviser

Mission Statement: We, the staff of the MHS Mirror, strive to be a public forum that evokes individual high-level thinking and sparks conversation in a way that defines high school journalism, while maintaining a high ethical journalistic standard.

The MHS Journalism Program 2521 Walnut Ave. Mattoon, IL 61938 (217) 238-7877 Visit us online!

“Special ed[ucation] students won’t receive a grade, students in regular classes will receive a homework grade and honors students will receive a test grade for the scores they earn,” said school psychologist Kendra Rogers. “The students will receive the lowest number of points available if they meet expectations and no extra credit will be administered if they score higher.” The grading scale was decided at a Response to Intervention committee meeting by teachers from every MHS department. One of the group’s purposes is to motivate students and help them understand the importance of the Discovery assessment. “We realized the honors students expectations are higher and the Discovery test scores impacted the special ed[ucation] students negatively, and we didn’t want to hurt their grades,” said Rogers. Even though the school has found this means of scoring effective, the RTI Committee isn’t sure if these benchmark assessments

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will continue being graded into further years. “Before we test again, it will be talked about because we aren’t sure if the grading will stay the same,” said Rogers. For now though, the grading will continue, and some students, like sophomore Haleigh Price, are opposed to the tests being scored in the grade book. “I didn’t like that we were being graded on these tests because it was different than usual,” said Price. “But kids didn’t take it seriously, and now they do.” Still, many teachers and staff members are open to the idea of the new policy. “Teachers felt something was needed because they will eventually be evaluated based on student growth, and students need to hold accountability for it,” said Sinclair. Ghere agreed with Sinclair on why the tests needed to be scored and incorporated into grade books. “Something needed to be done so

students would start taking it seriously,” Ghere said. “I think because of this the results will start being a little more accurate because now everyone started to take it seriously.” A different test will be taken starting in the 2014-2015 school year: the PARCC test. “The state is moving to the PARCC assessment, which will be less multiple choice and more writing essays and more complicated math problems. It will be more in-depth testing,” said Director of Assessments on the Illinois State Board of Education Mary O’Brian. Regardless of which tests are taken, benchmark assessments will continue to be around, said O’Brian. “The benchmark tests are really to help teachers to learn to use information better to help students,” said O’Brian. “If a student gets a D or F on a test, the teacher is supposed to come up with a way to help the student learn better, same way with the benchmark tests.”

Petals of Imagination

Paint Your Own Ceramics & Gift Shop

Now Open 11am to 8pm Tue-Sat Noon-6pm Sunday

1516A & 1518 Lake Land Blvd Mattoon, IL 61938 (217) 235-5150

There are several different items to choose from to paint.

Don’t want to paint? Visit our Gift Shop for prepainted items, embroidered and hand-painted shirts, quilts, place mats/table runners, bingo bags, and misc. home decor, and photo quilts. We can also personalize a wall hanging by transferring your favorite photo to fabric, or add a name to personalize a stocking. We can even host birthday, bridal, and graduation parties, too! *Bring this ad into the shop and it will count as a 10% off coupon!



Page Designer Molly Dotson


Gun control: 23 proposals and counting MAT TOON HIGH SCHOOL REFLEC TS ON POLICIES CONCERNING WEAPONRY By Wyatt Jones, Multimedia Editor Gun control laws have recently become an extremely controversial topic all over the United States, in homes, at work and even here at the Mattoon High School. Due to the amount of mass shootings that have taken place over the last year, the laws regarding firearms for civilians are now in debate. The massacre that took place at a theater in Aurora, Colo., on July 20, 2012, put many people on edge about how guns are being handled by the public. Other shootings have scattered the calendar of 2012 since then, slowly building pressure on the difficult choice of how to prevent more. What pushed this issue into the spotlight was the day Adam Lanza came to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle and two handguns. Twenty young children and six adult staff members were shot and killed. This action has become known almost everywhere, and the violence that came to these children caused the government to kick start

a slew of gun control policies. The first major laws to take effect were passed in New York on Jan. 14. Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed laws that include limiting the clip size of guns to seven rounds and banning all assaulttype weapons in the state. On Jan. 16, President Barack Obama issued 23 executive orders to try and curb the recent gun violence. His policies will affect U.S. citizens on a federal level. Some of the listed proposals include: mandatory background checks on all gun purchases, a new focus on mental health in Americans, and

Source: and INFOGR APHIC BY WYAT T JONES better preparation for places of education and worship for an emergency situation. Obama also wishes to ban high-capacity clips and assault weapons, much like New York has. People everywhere have their own opinion of what’s going on, and here at MHS, JROTC instructor Maj. Todd Baughman has his. “Restricting a means to cause harm won’t stop people from doing harm,” said Baughman. “Gun control laws don’t protect anyone.” Baughman has come up with his own theory. “[Gun laws] are just a stepping stone to worse things.” Baughman explained. “U.S. citizens are slowly losing their freedom.” Baughman said he thinks that if

the right to own guns dissipates in America, innocent people would be left defenseless. He argues that if there were armed predators in the midst of unarmed civilians, the predators would be “wolves amongst sheep,” meaning that they would have no means to protect themselves, possibly leading to even more violence in the future. MHS senior Zack Helton agrees with many of the points Baughman makes. “Guns give people the chance to defend themselves,” said Helton. Helton said that if more people had the freedom to bear arms in the U.S., the crime rate would be lower due to the raised defense of American citizens. Not everyone is against the idea of gun control laws though. MHS Lunch Supervisor Pam Heaton has hope that the new proposals could help prevent more shootings from occurring. Heaton said laws such as the reduced clip and the banning of assault weapons are logical. “What’s the purpose of an assault rifle in America?” said Heaton. “We aren’t fighting a war over here.” Heaton is also keen on the idea

of increased background and mental health checks, and hopes that it will prevent firearms from falling into the hands of criminals and/or mentally unstable people. “You don’t want a crazy person running around with a gun,” said Heaton. MHS senior Audrey Whitman believes gun control laws could drastically reduce violence in the U.S. Whitman believes guns are unneeded by American citizens. Referring to the Sandy Hook shooting, Whitman says “It’s sad that it took the death of innocent for the government to take action. Whitman hopes that if the laws pass, they will be incorporated as soon as possible. With people for, against or somewhere in between on the implementation of the new gun proposals, it is impossible to tell what the future could hold for the rights of U.S. citizens. The choice will be riding on the vote of Congress, and due to the complicity of the matter, it will take some tough decision making. In due time, Americans will experience the decision first hand, for better or worse.

MHS students attend 2013 Presidential Inauguration By Molly Dotson, News Editor

The charter bus arrives to take students on a historical trip; shortly after, the anxious students from Mattoon, Okaw Valley and Morton high schools climb aboard. They then begin to prepare themselves for the participation of a truly American event: the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. The World Strides program presented this opportunity, via email, to educators willing to chaperone, and history teacher McLain Schaefer, seized this rare chance to demonstrate history in the making to the students who chose to embark on this adventure. “The thought of the historical importance of that day caught me off guard; the past inaugurations, standing in the place where so many others stood before, thoughts of past presidents giving a speech to inspire a nation were really moving,” said Schaefer. Schaefer is not alone when it comes to this realization. Jacob Miller, senior at MHS, also felt inspired because of the ambience, and he explained how different being on location is from watching the inauguration at home. “The atmosphere and people gave off a presence of pride and coming-togetherness to watch history be made,” said Miller. Although Miller was not as close to the stage as he had hoped, he still cherished his placement in the crowd. According to Schaefer, it seemed as if they were closer to the stage because they

“It was memorable, and a oncein-a-lifetime experience I will never forget.” Gabby Smith, MHS junior stayed in an ideal location. “We stopped by a Jumbo Tron within a half mile. [We] could see it and hear it almost as if we were right there,” said Schaefer. Being at the inauguration was not the only unforgettable experience these students enjoyed while in Washington D.C., according to MHS junior Gabby Smith. “While there, our tour guide, Karen, took us to a lot of places: The National Archives, The Jefferson Memorial, the JFK Memorial, the Pentagon, the 9/11 Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and other places. I took over 500 pictures,” said Smith. After experiencing this historical event, many students and educators agreed it was an extraordinary moment in history, including Smith. “It was memorable, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience I will never forget,” said Smith.


Above: Spectators gather in front of the capitol building to watch the 2013 presidential inauguration. Left: Mattoon High School students pose for a group picture in front of the White House.

4 News ‘Class E’ equals careers for MHS Page Designer Sydney Edwards


By Molly Dotson, News Editor

Possessing a business is one of several American dreams, but making this fantasy a reality can be challenging. Many family-owned businesses in the area are successful today because of the time spent and effort put forth. The Coles County Entrepreneurship Class, also known as Class E, is a dual-credit course with Eastern Illinois University that teaches juniors and seniors how to successfully maintain a business through personal experience with the support of entrepreneurs in the area. “This is a class where it is all hands-on; students make discoveries through their own experiences,” said class facilitator Jeanne Dau. During this course, students are instructed to cooperate together for an entire semester in order to acquire the skill of collaboration, according to Charleston High School senior Cheyenne Neal. “First semester was really good at helping teach us how to work with others. First semester was our group business. It was a great experience working with a group of people that were as hard headed and stubborn as me. It really taught us all how to compromise and work together as a team,” said Neal.

“I recommend this class to students everywhere because it provides a person with the experience and materials to create their own business plan.” Dustin Ebie, MHS senior Because these 13 students were the first entrepreneurship class in the county, they were tasked with the designing the logo and naming the class itself, according to Dau, who was shocked at the prolonged period of time it took to simply give the class a title. “It’s surprising it took so long to come up with a name for this class. The type of people who are entrepreneurial stick to their convictions,” said Dau. The opening semester not only involved deciding on a name and logo, but organizing a community breakfast, according to Dustin


Ebie, Mattoon High School senior. “We raised $4,000 through the community breakfast during first semester,” said Ebie. Students will use this money for the businesses they will maintain during the second semester. “Second semester we are actually starting our own business. We are going through the entire business plan, so we can actually give a business pitch to a bank to ask for a loan,” said Neal. This opportunity is possible because the support of local entrepreneurs and the community in general, according to Dau. “The community really supports this class. We have visited 30 businesses so far, but by the end of this class, students will have visited about

50 businesses total. I have called several businesses, and nobody has turned me down about speaking to the class because they understand the importance of growing our own entrepreneurs,” said Dau. Not only do these business owners support the class through speaking about their prior involvements, but they also fund the program. “Local business owners are the people supporting this class, not the education system,” said Dau. Although it may seem this course is solely for young people interested in running their own businesses, Neal believes it instills well-rounded morals and acquaints students with a higher level of education. “It’s a great opportunity for [a person] even if they are not going into a

business related field. It teaches leadership, responsibility, and it does a great job of giving a real college-like experience,” said Neal. According to Neal, whether a person would like to be a grade-school teacher, a pediatrician, or an attorney, this course will benefit him as long as he puts forth time and effort. “It’s a great class and a great experience. I will say, however, that you only get as much out of the class as you put into it,” said Neal. Information about applying for this class is available to juniors and seniors in the office. “I recommend this class to students everywhere because it provides a person with the experience and materials to create their own business plan,” said Ebie.

Seasonal rise in influenza affects students, staff Differences in Symptoms Between Cold and Flu



Fever is rare

High fever (100-102), lasting three to four days

Headache is rare

Prominent headache

Slight aches and pains

Usual, often severe body aches

Mild fatigue

Fatigue may last two to three weeks

Never extreme exhaustion

Early and prominent exhaustion

Stuffy nose is common

May have a stuffy nose

Sneezing is usual

May sneeze

Sore throat is common

May have a sore throat

Mild to moderate chest pain

Chest pain and cough is common and

and cough

can become severe


By Jenna Butler, Reporter

Influenza’s recent outbreak has traveled all the way from Australia, hitting the United States and making this a tough season for the elderly, children and students at Mattoon High School. “The flu comes every year, just different strains of it hit. It’s important to go get the flu shot it’s available almost anywhere,” said Vicky Wright, MHS nurse. “It affects the elders and kids more because they have a weaker immune system. I’ve seen that over 100 people have died nationwide from the flu leading to pneumonia,” said Wright. Samantha Eads, MHS freshman, was one of the flu statistics. “I got the flu thinking it was the cold. Then, it set in three days later with coughing more, then, I had a fever with chills. I was on bed rest for a week, constantly drinking fluids trying to get it out,” Eads said. It’s not too long until teach-

Arts addition comes to Mattoon Building for performers, artists being added to downtown by this summer By Paige Jordan, Entertainment Editor Sometime this summer or earlier at the street level of the train depot, there will be a new addition for the arts community of Mattoon. This room will be a place for performance, music, art and more. “We are hoping it will be done by summer. The next few months would be great, too,” said Mattoon High School art teacher and vice president of the Art Council Janahn Kolden. While describing this new addition, Kolden compared the new

space to the Tarble Arts Center in Charleston. No matter what the occasion is, Kolden hopes there will be activities going on all the time. “We will have art displays, a Christmas sale with local artist and performances,” said Kolden. Since the room will be in town and more familiar, there will be many benefits of this new area for Mattoon. “It will be a recognizable space for people to enjoy all of the arts, and it’s also downtown,” said Kolden.

“We will have art displays, a Christmas sale with local artists and performances.” Janahn Kolden, Vice President of the Art Council and MHS art teacher

Dangers of Flu “For healthy children and adults, influenza is typically a moderately severe illness. For unhealthy or elderly people, influenza can be very dangerous.” American Lung Asscociation ers start to notice absences in their classes as well. “A lot of students have been gone, not just for a day, for multiple days, like a week at a time,” said Bill Behrends, MHS social science teacher. Aside from the absences, it’s a little hard to tell the difference between the flu and the cold at first. “If you have a stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat and a hacking cough, you probably have a cold. If

you have a high fever, severe headache, muscle and body aches, extreme tiredness and dry cough, you probably have the flu,” Wright said. The symptoms Eads had were not cold symptoms. “I had the chills, being hot then cold quickly, coughing, headache, dizziness, congestion, sore muscles, just being weak,” Eads said. Even though the flu comes easy, treating it doesn’t. “I took Tylenol for every four hours till my fever broke then Tamiflu was twice a day,” Eads said. Wright said the best way to prevent getting the flu is to “not share food or drinks. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer and try your best not to touch the T-zone of your face [mouth, nose, eyes]. Also, get the flu shot.” The flu doesn’t just affect students, but also their education. “It makes it tough for them to get caught up in all their classes for missing multiple days,” Behrends said.



Page Designer Sarah Foster


Fearless and proud JROTC members discuss many programs unique to Mattoon By Sydney Edwards, Advertising Manager Mattoon High School JROTC has a variety of teams such as Rifle Team, Raiders Team and the Gladiators Drill Team, and each team has a variety of ways geared toward challenging its members physically and mentally including shooting rifles, running or participating in physical activities and spinning rifles. Most important, each team has a special motto to show its individuality. “As a Raider, I feel like I belong to something I’m good at,” said Connor Cornwell, senior and captain of the Raiders team. “I exceed in physical activities more than anything else, and that is what the team is about. Raiders emphasizes teamwork and without it, we would not be able to compete.” Raiders are a team that participates through physical activities such as running or lifting weights. They practice four times a week, have at least 15 members and compete in the spring and summer. Drill Team is the most popular team that JROTC has to offer. The Gladiators received a first place rating at the Ozark Competition earlier this year. The team has at least 25 members and practices every day. Tristian Delgadillo, sophomore drill team member, believes he knows what it means to be a Gladiator.

“It means to be the best [you can be] and to be all you can be. Spin it to win it,” said Delgadillo, reciting his team motto proudly. Rifle team is another section to the JROTC teams. Rifle team meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays with its 28 team members. Team Captain Ali Vang, MHS senior, has been on rifle team for years and explains that he knows what it means to be on the team. “For rifle team, we shoot pellet guns at targets about the size of quarters from 10 meters,” said Vang. He also explains what it means for him to be on the team. “For me, to be on rifle team is to improve as a team and individually, not just shooting and learning, but to interact with others and learning to work toward a total common goal,” said Vang. JROTC has many teams, yet it has one quality that makes it unique. “Their dedication. We have more students with a higher ACT, GPA and graduation rate in our seniors than the rest of their class,” said Sgt. Todd Stokes. “We compete all the time and do things like the Fourth of July,” said Stokes Stokes said he warns the kids what they are getting in to, yet almost all stay. “I tell all the students, ‘If you got the guts, pick up a weapon and follow me,’” said Stokes.



Top: MHS JROTC Drill Team members sophomores Cody Miller, Zach Laidley, Brandon Fryman and junior Dakota Couch perform their Drill Team choreography during the Veterans’ Day Assembly. Bottom Left: Sophomore Dylan Clapham proudly salutes his country during a drill team practice on the balcony. Bottom Right: Clapham, Miller and senior Dalton Shaffer confidently await the permission from their officer in order to continue on in the performance of their routine.

Music: A powerful and uniting entity “It’s what keeps our world going.” Todd Black, MHS band director


Freshmen Sam Uphoff and Reece Newlin listen to music at lunch during their free time. To them, music serves as a conversation starter, and by listening to songs each enjoys, it deepens their friendship.

Students comprehend music as life By Albert Henderson, Multimedia Editor

The power of music is difficult to define. It is an overwhelming medium that affects the lives of an untold amount of people and influences us every day, whether it’s realized or not. “It’s what keeps our world going; it’s the universal language,” said Todd Black, the Mattoon High School band director. Whether it’s a foreign artist like The Rootless or PSY, or an American artist like Katy Perry, one common goal guides them: entertainment. This special power is in an artist’s hand. Freshman and member of local band BreakAway, Jacob Murphy believes that music has the power to inspire. Whenever he arrives on stage, he tries to deliver this power to his fans. “I enjoy seeing other people interested in my favorite things,” said Murphy. Even though music has been one of society’s favorite parts of culture

throughout history, the way it’s expressed has changed. “[Music] is ever-changing. As you can see with the changing of movies, music is changing. It has brought new art forms, but although it’s changing in many avenues, the foundation hasn’t,” said Black. Music doesn’t just change; music changes people. “When they [freshmen] first come in [band], it’s neat because they already have 100 friends, and they already have peers,” said Black. “There’s always someone in the room who has done what they are doing right now; then, after four years, it changes; they become the mentors.” Music affects freshman Derby Roan’s life in a similar way to Black. “It’s opened my mind a lot to things I’ve never considered, and it’s also helped me meet new people,” said Roan. Music isn’t always on a large scale. Sometimes it’s on a much

smaller scale, like how each student has a different way of using music throughout his life. “I’m usually always listening to music. I concentrate with music; I go to sleep with music,” said MHS sophomore Kate Gholson. “It inspires me to write or draw, sometimes, even to run.” Whatever genre, music can open doors. Music has a medicinal effect on people; they experience entire situations that normally wouldn’t be experienced. That is why some people truly believe music truly is the universal language.



Page Designer Jarett Martin


MMS’ Minger one of state’s best By Sarah Foster, Features Editor

When students at Mattoon High School find their scholastic career coming to an end, they are expected to give their future career a title and hope that it lasts a lifetime. Yet, these same students sometimes have difficulty picking out trivial, everyday tasks. If picking out what to eat for lunch is difficult, how will it be picking out a college or career? Although choosing a career with a comfortable income seems a factor of higher significance, another factor is equally as important: passion for the job. For Ingrid Minger (formerly McCallister), seventh-grade reading teacher at Mattoon Middle School, this difficult decision was easily solved. Minger’s career has met its happy medium; she is now spending her lifelong career with a combination of her two passions, reading and teaching. Minger was recently pronounced the “Illinois Reading Educator of the Year.” Her accomplished award should be a relief to students who are conflicted with choices of careers and colleges. The experience of Minger shows that even if a career itself has not met its perfection, a passionate worker has no limits. MHS junior Adi Newcomb has witnessed the work and integrity of Minger as a prior student in her classroom. However, Newcomb has a unique relationship with Minger; she has known and established a friendship with Minger long before her teaching career was pursued. “She’s very enthusiastic and ready to teach about anything. She actually cares about teaching; she’s not in it for [the] money. She’s found her niche,” said Newcomb. Close friend and coworker Monica Genta, seventh-grade science teacher at MMS, is pleasured to share the teaching experiences with her friend. Minger served as Genta’s mentor the first year of her teaching chapter at MMS. At this opportunity, Minger’s teaching efficiency touched Genta. The pair has been friends for four years and counting. “It is awesome having a teacher

escapism to whole new worlds and characters, Minger feels that the opportunities provided while reading a book are endless. “I would like my students to be able to develop this interest and appreciation for reading as it can be such an integral aspect of a wellrounded life,” said Minger. Above all, Minger’s passion and work ethic are what present her with her unique opportunities and achievements as an educator. Finally, her work as a reading educator is not the only way Minger has touched the lives of others. For Newcomb, the quality she appreciates the most is her cheerful personality. Whether Minger’s students cheerful or gloomy, Newcomb believes that Minger has the power to brighten her students’ moods. “She’s like Mary Poppins. She loves everybody. She encourages you to be a better person. She’s so hap-

py, and it makes you want to be happy,” said Newcomb. “Her personality is fitting for a teacher.” Genta has enjoyed her experience with Minger at MMS, and after several years of partnering with her coworker, Newcomb and Genta share similar appreciation for her charming and charismatic personality. “My favorite thing about Minger is her huge heart. She has passion for everything she does and it shows. It is so wonderful working with a teacher like her. Her attitude towards everything is positive and it brings a good energy to the team,” said Genta. Minger’s expectations are set high, yet never let down as a teacher. As said by Newcomb, this is her niche; Minger has found the career she loves that most spend their lifetimes searching for. “One of the most fulfilling aspects of teaching reading is when I overhear students telling each other about books they have read and enjoyed and that I get to help instill a lifelong passion for reading in students,” said Minger. Minger’s work as an educator was not stopped as education constantly undergoes several reforms. While in the profession that changes the most, Minger has succeeded in installing a love for reading program inside the brains of her students, completing the entire purpose for teaching. As students begin their career selection, if they follow the path of passion as Minger did, perhaps they can fill the aspiration in the heart of doing what they love to do. At the end of the day, to Minger, it’s not about money, but the love and passion. With one final thought, Minger relates her decisions to stories she has read in literature. “In my class this past week, we read a short story about Sarah Winchester and the Winchester Mansion, with the moral of the story being money doesn’t buy happiness,” said Genta. “This stands true in real life – in my opinion, you must be happy with what you do in order to achieve true happiness.”

Tony award. After the night ended, MHS students headed back to their hotel, awaiting the day that would soon lay before them. This was MHS freshman Jake Dotson’s first time attending the event, and he’s already hooked. Dotson said Theatre Fest creates “new experiences for people.” Dotson enjoyed the activities available and believes that the festival is a great way to socialize as well. “[Theatre Fest] is good for enthusiastic people to be enthusiastic together,” said Dotson. The following two days were filled with a constant buzz of activities. Everyone was on a fixed schedule, thinking hard on which workshop to visit or which play to watch. The workshops teach a range of theatrical skills, such as different types of dialect to use in plays, how to make and apply special effects make-up and even flying techniques when attached to a harness. Some of the plays presented over the length of the festival included productions like “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” a musical comprised of the “Peanuts” characters, “The Crucible,” Arthur Miller’s classic take on the Salem Witch Trials, and the award-winning all-state production, “Memphis, The Musical.” “Memphis” is the story of breaking color

barriers in segregated, early 1950’s Memphis, Tenn. On the final day of Theatre Fest, MHS students took part in as many of the remaining activities as they could. With the day growing shorter and the festival ready to end, the tired and inspired Drama Club students were ready to make their journey home. Climbing aboard the bus, looking back fondly at the experience they had taken a part of, the students begin to relish the memories that will stay with them for life. Now, back at the high school, the usual routine kicks back in for drama students, but with everything fresh in their mind, they can’t help but discuss the time that they had. MHS sophomore Cristin Watkins is also a new-comer to Theatre Fest. She says it is “really cool” and recommends the trip to everyone. Watkins advises, “If you enjoy drama and theater, it is a really great experience; you learn a lot.” Watkins and other members eagerly wait to go back and experience it again. The curtains close. The lights dim. The crowd gradually shuffles into the rows and make their way out of the theater. Now dark and desolate, the stage solemnly sits, waiting for its next breath of life.


Ingrid Minger questions her students about the book they are reading in English class at Mattoon Middle School. and friend like her across the hall,” said Genta. “[She] is great with kids. Her blend of different styles appeals to students and makes sure every child has an opportunity to learn.” The basis of the award Minger has won recognizes outstanding teachers who affectively promote literature and reading among students, and according to Genta, this award is not shy of what Minger deserves. “Minger has earned this award. She is the epitome of a great reading teacher. Minger is an upbeat, happy educator. She loves reading, and it really shows in her classroom,” she said. However, Minger is humbled to receive this award and plans to implement her experiences from the achievement in order to become a better teacher. “[This award] may allow me to meet many other educators. When meeting other teachers, I always enjoy hearing about what they do in

their own classrooms to instill the love of reading in students and to engage students on a deeper level with text,” said Minger. The influences that teachers have on their students have a larger effect than claimed. A simple, seventhgrade prerequisite class can be life changing, and for Minger, that’s entirely what it was. Minger knew teaching was what she wanted to do in seventh grade, and as many parallelisms start to appear between her aspiration and current life, she was touched by her favorite teacher, Al Krietemeier. “[Krietemeier] has played such an integral role in my life in teaching me how to love reading and that teaching extends far beyond the four walls of a classroom as you help encourage students to become lifelong learners,” said Minger. There are many aspects Minger loves about reading. From its natural

MHS students soak in talent at annual Illinois Theatre Fest outing By Wyatt Jones, Multimedia Editor

The stage is dark; the audience members begin to murmur and shuffle in their seats due to anticipation. The air is still and quiet. A spotlight turns on, and the velvet curtains slowly part to reveal a colorful ensemble of characters, an entrancing story, and raw talent. This is just one of the many plays being performed at the Illinois Theatre Fest. Theatre Fest is a three-day long gathering that takes place early January each year, with the location alternating from the University of Illinois and Illinois State University. According to the Illinois Theatre Association’s official website, “the Illinois High School Theatre Festival is the largest and oldest non-competitive high school theatre festival in the world.” Scattered all over the campus for a multitude of students to enjoy are plays and workshops. There are over 25 plays, all performed by students coming from high schools and colleges located throughout surrounding counties. Workshops are the over 150 creative classes available for those interested in learning the details of drama, theater, and much more. Every year, students in the Mattoon High School Drama Club enjoy the popular festival. The trip is headed


by MHS’ own driver’s education and drama teacher, Rebecca Nevius. The students need to acquire parent permission and pay a fee of $110 for hotel and personal costs. This year, drama students departed on Jan. 10 to the U of I campus in Champaign-Urbana. Packed and ready, the group journeyed onward. When the students arrived, they were immediately greeted with a large and vibrant community. The members of

this community contained much more than just students; many different people find an interest in Theatre Fest. Vicki Nevius, Rebecca Nevius’ mother, has been going for 15 years. Vicki said she “loves Theatre Fest” and exclaimed that she will keep going “as long as I can.” The first night opened with The San Francisco Mime Troupe, a politically geared musical comedy that has won three OBIE awards and a



Page Designer Wyatt Jones


MHS Chess Team checkmates to State By Justin Gordon, Managing Editor

In any sport or competition, heading to state is the pinnacle of all hard work and victory. However, for the Mattoon High School Chess Team, state competition is a bit different. As long as one plays enough matches, he gets to attend state and compete against more than a hundred different schools. The MHS Chess Club attended state on Feb. 8, in this year of transition and change for the club. MHS social science teacher Jeremy Gibson, who had previously relinquished the position of coach for a couple years, has regained his post as coach this year. “Part of it was difficult. It took me awhile to get back into the swing of things. I’d have to say though, it was a lot like riding a bike,” said Gibson. “It also helps that not much has changed. The students may have, but the structure of how the club is hasn’t changed drastically since the last time I coached.” Returning sophomore chess club member Tucker Kaczmarek also had a few positive words on the return of Gibson. “It was a little weird [transitioning between coaches]. However, Gibson encourages us and motivates really well. He also has great competitive edge,” said Kaczmarek. The game of chess is naturally competitive. However, Kaczmarek makes it clear that being a part of


Juniors Zach Beachy and Tempest Davis concentrate on the board as they consider their next moves. Both of them, along with the MHS chess team, competed at State this past weekend. a chess team of any sort brings a sense of camaraderie. “The interacting between teams can be really fun at times. Some just love to play and goof around a little bit and make it a whole lot of fun. But some, of course, have to be really uptight about it,” said Kaczmarek. “It’s really interesting to see all the different kinds of people.”

A senior member of the Charleston Chess Team, Jelani Hurtault, agrees with Kaczmarek about the students who play chess competitively at the high school level. “It’s possible to run into chess players from all sorts of backgrounds, not just the ‘nerds’ as so many people would assume. Yes, there is a nerdy side to chess, of

course, but there is much more,” said Hurtault. “You can run into players who also play football or basketball or tennis or some other sport. Often, many of them would also be scholastic bowl players, but that is almost expected because people would expect those two activities to be related.” Scaling back from the entire state

Coupons aid in economic recession MHS community receives benefits of using coupons

By Jarett Martin, Distribution Editor

They are inside the weekend’s newspaper -- the ad inserts of a product say a dollar will be taken off this when you buy two. There are even TV shows promoting them. They are called coupons, and many people have used them at least once in their lifetime. People use them to save hundreds or just a couple of dollars. Due to the recent recession, an increase of people are using coupons in order to save money. At Mattoon High School, Commercial Foods and Nutrition teacher Michelle Hartbank explained how she tells “the students how much each meal costs” and encourages them to “use coupons to get their meals cheaper.” Mattoon Middle School family and consumer sciences teacher Sarah Powers also tries to make her students use coupons when they go to the store. “I want students to realize if they just take a little time, plan ahead, think about their food choices, compare different brands, then they can save money. I demonstrate to students how a little money at a time can add up to large amounts over a small period of time. They can use that money saved to purchase other more exciting items,” said Powers. “I also show students that you want to try and not buy items just because they are on sale as well as trying to plan ahead to bring after school snacks and drinks from home rather than using vending machines or going to convenience stores on the way home. I think students realize it doesn’t take much


time or effort, you just have to think about your purchases and not always make compulsive purchase decisions.” Not only do teachers use coupons and try to encourage students to save money, but MHS junior Brock Taylor uses coupons for places he goes during his lunch hour and on weekends. “I use coupons for restaurants and stores around town,” said Taylor. Sophomore Riley Cox and her family also use coupons for necessities that are high in cost. “We use coupons for household goods and get the coupons out of catalogs,” said Cox. Hartbank said she tries to make her family use coupons for products her family uses when she cuts them out of the newspaper.

“I cut them out and save them and encourage them to use them,” said Hartbank. Cox said that coupons save her family money when they go to the store. “[When we are using coupons at the store] we save about $80 dollars each month,” said Cox. Agreeing with Cox, Powers said she also saves money by using coupons for her family and when getting products for her class at the middle school. “I use coupons, ad matches and purchase food items that are on sale at Wal-Mart both at home and in purchasing food supplies for my foods classes at MMS. For school, I save approximately $5-10 each time I purchase food at Wal-Mart by comparing brands, unit prices, ad matching and using coupons. For home, my husband and I save approximately $25 per month,” said Powers. Taylor also encourages his friends and family to use coupons, so they don’t have to spend more money than needed. “I tell them to save money and that it is more resourceful to use them,” said Taylor. Going along with Taylor, Cox also tries to inspire her friends to use coupons “to help them save money.” Hartbank said she uses coupons whenever she has the time to use them. “I use them to save money and to get good deals [at the stores],”said Hartbank. Powers also likes the purpose of coupons and used them to get great

deals at the store. “I am not at all like extreme couponer on TV. It only takes me about 15 to 20 minutes to go through the Sunday newspaper to clip coupons and look through the ads to see if there are items I’d like to ad match at Wal-Mart or stores I’d like to shop at for their food deals of the week. I think that 15 minutes is worth the savings,” said Powers. Along with Powers, Taylor likes couponing but agrees that he is not an extreme couponer. “We are not extreme couponers, but I just use them to save money,” said Taylor. Hartbank remembers the first time she used coupons at the store and appreciates it because of the tough times in the recession. “[The first time I used a coupon] was for milk. The prices were rising for milk,” said Hartbank. Just like Hartbank, Powers also remember her first time she ever used a coupon. “The first time I used a coupon is when I was in grade school. I used one of those tickets to go to Lytle Pool on their discount day,” said Powers. Even though Powers uses coupons, she will still go to the store to buy products even if she has coupons for it or not. “Sometimes I need things for home or for school that I don’t have a coupon for, isn’t on sale and cannot ad match. I guess that shows I’m really not an extreme couponer, just a family and consumer sciences teacher and mom trying to save some money when I can,” said Powers.

of Illinois chess players, Hurtault weighs in on Mattoon as a team. “They are awesome people. Being from Charleston, I always go into a match with the intent to win. However, it’s always a joy to watch and go against them. They are a solid team,” said Hurtault. Gibson shares his perspective on the team’s progression. “The club has pretty much stayed at the same level it was last year. This was very much a trial-and-error season,” said Gibson. “If I had to describe my feelings towards this season in one word, it would be pleased. For, we may not have done the greatest competition-wise this season, but the club’s heart was in every match we played. Which is all I want, for them to do their best and have a good time doing so.” So, the team has adapted to the new coach and played competitively on their journey to state this year. However, they haven’t lost the love for the game or the meaning of being a team. “Well, I’d say this season was more of a development stage for our chess team. I mean, Dylan Eveland and I were JV last year, and now we’re the top two players on our varsity,” said Kaczmarek. “However, I always love camaraderie between my teammates and outside of chess, that doesn’t change one bit. We all try to be supportive of each other, and we all goof around at times. It’s all really nice.”

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Relationships blossom in

MHS students reflect on their long-lasting friendship By Sarah Foster, Features Editor Life is full of surprises and hardships, and because of life’s fluctuating quality, life can change within the blink of an eye --- good or bad. People will come and go, just as the possessions in life will. Pervasive friends are hard to find, but these make life more meaningful. Life is full of changes, and in order to withstand life’s rotation, a friend is a necessity. Having a friend to always be there makes the several activities in life that are naturally dreadful take a whole new medium. Just as Carole King once said in her song, “You’ve Got a Friend,” a good friend is there through it all. Mattoon High School Juniors Kara Brand and Luke Young have been acquainted with each other since elementary school. Both agree that in order to withstand the test of time, a healthy friendship must possess several qualities. “Love. All you need is love,” said Brand, cheerfully. Her laughter fills the room. Young rolls his eyes, “Gosh, let’s not get sappy.” Even though the intention of quoting the Beatle’s famous song, “All You Need is Love,” was meant for a funny remark, it is seen through the experiences of the pair that she is right. However, Young provides a more serious goal for maintaining a friendship. “I think whenever you’re friends with someone, there are things they’re going to do that are going to annoy you,” said Young, suddenly stopped mid-sentence. He gives a puzzled look Brand, who would rather search through a 1980s yearbook for her parents than pay attention to Young’s advice. “Okay, let’s put the yearbook away,” he said, grabbing the yearbook from Brand’s grasp. Brand laughs at herself for being a nuisance to Young. However, as though he was never interrupted, Young continues in the same tone. “You have to be willing to look past that, or at least cope with it and not hold it against them,” said


Juniors Kara Brand and Luke Young share a “sister moment” while Brand laughs, and Young gives her an evil stare. Young, in a sarcastic tone as a response to Brand’s interest in the yearbook over his counsel. “One of the keys to having a good friendship is to stick out; don’t ever give up, even when times are tough.” In response to Young’s quote, Brand’s silly personality shines through Young’s serious perspective. Brand bursts into Jason Mraz’s recent hit, “I won’t give up,” singing through a laugh, “I won’t give up on us!” She smiles at her friend whom she has known for almost all of her lifetime. “Even if the sky gets rough!” Young joins in Brand’s laughter and song. The silliness is abnormal for Young, who just a minute ago, took the yearbook out of Brand’s hands in hopes to remain serious. “You see, this is what we call a sister moment,” said Young. Brand and Young describe a sister moment as a time in their friendship when they are thinking equally at the same time. “That sounds weird because I’m a guy, but every time we would say the same thing, we would call them sister moments,” said Young. Brand never has a problem coming up with a joke to Young’s remarks; she interjects a quote from Spongebob Squarepants: “We’re

like brothers, but closer!” When spending time with the pair, this is the expected behavior. The two have a fitting personality like a puzzle piece. Each is teasing, yet affectionate, but Young’s serious personality is balanced out when in the accompaniment of Brand, whose laugh can be heard from the other side of the school after hearing one of Young’s sarcastic jokes. Opposites attract, and with the Brand and Young duo, it is true. This is the power of acquaintances; when with the right people, friendships bring out the side in a person that some never thought would exist. From an outside perspective, junior Nathan Williams became acquainted with Young and Brand. Williams enjoys being in the accompaniment of the pair, as he attributes that they are fun to spend time with. After seeing both learn and grow, he believes that Young and Brand have a healthy companionship. “[To maintain a healthy friendship you must have] respect and support for each other while still hoping that the other person succeeds in whatever they do,” said Williams. “[I think] Kara and Luke do that.”

What day is Valentine’s day? Freshman Hunter McRoberts

At St. Johns Elementary, a small and some of the friends I made were town, Lutheran school in Mattoon, because of her, and I think the othIllinois, Brand and Young saw each er way around as well,” said Young. other for the first time in first grade. While spending time with these “First and first,” Brand laughs, friends, despite how long they’ve finding a joke between the two existed, Young and Brand gather matches. all their friends to participate in the However, it wasn’t a friendship- same activities. at-first-sight kind of connection. “We do a lot of things. SomeThe friendship took a few years to times we swim, we have a ball and blossom. Brand and Young explain we fight over the ball. We play basthat the friendship did not officially ketball,” listed Young. “We don’t take off until third grade. really run, though, because Kara “We had a connection, and we hates running.” clicked,” explained Young. “We had “Once, I tried to run, and I almost so many things in common and our died,” said Brand, laughing. families were so much alike. It was Every once and a while, however, almost like we were related.” the pair spends time together. The Brand felt the same connec- fact that this activity happens raretion as Young and was attracted to ly strengthens their relationship as Young’s kindness. “He was one of well, explains Brand. the nicest dudes “ We a r e n ’ t in the class,” said c l i n g y, ” s a i d Brand. Brand. Young believes According to his kindness was Brand, separawhat attracted potion is keen to a tential friends. “I friendship. was really nice, so Every so often, I think sometimes a strong, everlastI made friends being friendship is cause I would talk produced during about anything,” the educational he said. Q&A with Luke years. They withYoung’s willstand the powingness to talk Young er of the clock, about subjects Q: What was your favorwhich is perfrom big to small ite moment as friends? haps the toughencouraged Brand est test of all. a n d Yo u n g ’ s Breakups, mood A: “There was this time friendship’s introswings or comthat we were in Philadelduction. petitions do not phia [while on a school “We could lithave the strength field trip,] and we just erally sit and talk to smash friendgot done eating. We for hours,” said ships like Young were all running to get Young. “I think and Brand, and on the bus, when Kara one of the things the duo will make ran on the senior citizen [that makes our sure of it. bus. It was her and all relationship dif“ We h a v e the older people.” ferent than others] known each othis that we are so er for a long open about everything.” time and will “We are the closest people ever,” continue to know each other,” exagreed Brand. plained Brand. “I think my heart The establishment of one friend- would be torn out of me if Luke ship opens up new doors, leading never wanted to be my friend to other friendships. Both enjoy the again.” opportunity they’ve had through D e l i g h t e d , Yo u n g a g r e e s . one another to meet and create new “There would be a very large void relationships. in my heart if Kara and I ever lost “We have a lot of mutual friends, our friendship with each other.”

What are you doing this Valentine’s Day?

Probably going to hang out with my friends and eat a ton of food, so we feel happy. Sophomore Debbie Focht Sitting at home, watching “16 Candles,” eating chocolate and crying… a lot of crying. Junior Chase Harvey Hanging out with my “man,” if we both get off work. Senior Kari Wattles Whatever my wife tells me we’re doing. Custodian Carl Weber


many ways at MHS



New and old relationships offer advice

By Sydney Edwards, Advertising Manager

Howard and Jean Butler of Mattoon have been married for 60 years. Hayley Boehm and Andy Bell, MHS juniors, have been together for almost two years. Both couples although seemingly different, believe they know what makes a relationship truly work. Those 60 years of marriage for the Butlers started when Jean was only 18, and when Jean’s romance with Howard began, she was young, so young that Jean turned Howard down. However, a few years later, Jean and Howard came back together. “He wanted to go out with me, and I was only 12, but we started dating five years later when I was 16,” said Jean. The Butlers met through Jean’s brother in-law while Howard was on the job. Despite the age differences Howard and Jean had when they met on that day, it never kept them apart.

“I love her more now than I did the day I married her,” said Howard. “The best thing that ever happened to me was marrying Jean.” Howard said all that love and happiness in his relationship started with their first date. “We sat on Broadway [Avenue] and watched people go in and out of stores,” said Howard. When it came time for him to ask for Jean’s hand in marriage, it was only six months after they started “going together,” according to Howard. “He asked me to marry him after six months, and I said no; but we still stayed friends, and he asked again six months after that,” said Jean. In Howard and Jean’s perspective, they have had a flawless marriage. “We’ve been together 60 years, and I have never raised my voice at her,” said Howard. Mattoon High School juniors and Andy Bell and Hayley Boehm have been together since their freshman year.

“I know her the best I could know her, and I know I can trust her,” said Bell. Boehm and Bell are young, not as quite as young as Howard and Jean were, but they said they are just as sturdy. “I feel strong about him, like I need him,” said Boehm. Boehm and Bell have plans for the future and will hopefully be just like the Butlers. Boehm and Bell plan to go to college, get married, and then get jobs in their future. They also have some goals for their relationship. “To stay together,” said Bell. “To stay loyal to each other,” said Boehm. “What’s that supposed to mean?” said Bell, as the couple shared a laugh. Boehm and Bell have been together since April 27, 2011, and they have some advice to other couples. “Don’t give up so easy,” said Boehm. “Don’t date someone unless you are looking for a longterm relationship,” said Bell.


“I love her more now than the day I married her.”

New and old couples share a smile while reminiscing about their relationships whether dating for 2 years or married for 60, this month is about honoring love.

Howard Butler

Valentine’s offers a goofy yet warm day for many Everyone has his holiday preference. Some people dig the thrills of Halloween; some enjoy the chills of Christmas. However, I have to say Valentine’s Day is by far my favorite holiday. This is highly ironic, considering I have never had a valentine. Now, how on earth does that make sense? One might ask and my answer is very cliché: magic. I may not have had a valentine in my lifetime, but the emotion is not lost for me. I fancy the idea of a couple celebrating their relationship with cheesy teddy bears and the iconic heart-shaped box of chocolates. I admit that the holiday is full of a corporate monster; however, I feel that is part of the charm. When I walk into any store around Valentine’s Day, I see the many creative products corporations have produced, and it never fails to bring a smile upon my face. Something about a dancing stuffed gorilla in boxers with hearts on them really makes me smile. That dancing gorilla also gives me a feel that Valentine’s Day is very aware of what it is. I receive the feeling that it has a sense of humor about itself that other holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, lack. A ton more jokes are made toward this holiday than any other, in my experience. I have also heard complaints against this holiday because of the skepticism toward the existence of love. My argument is whether or not a person believes in

Justin Gordon Managing Editor

love, there is no denying that our culture is based around love. From music, to statuses on Facebook, you can’t escape the term. I don’t know if love is real or not; however, I feel there are far worse beliefs to have a holiday based around. So, beggars can’t be choosers. Also, some criticism is thrown around the fact the focus of the holiday is on high school couples. I say that, even if a relationship is merely in high school, that doesn’t make the day any less significant. Teenage years are the years with the most passion in the heart, so a person’s girlfriend or boyfriend could always surprise his or her significant other. It may not be the most mature of couples spending their day together, but it can be just as sweet. Valentine’s Day is probably the cheesiest, most commercial and most shallow of holidays. I am not blind to its flaws, but I can celebrate them. It gives the world a warm, goofy glow for a day, which, in time warmly glows my goofy heart.

MMER L A N E P LU ell-k nown P H OTO BY plays the w

on dis ers. Justin Gord h heart box it w a ll ri o G Valentines’s

10 Features ‘Sonny and Cher’ of MHS library Page Designer Paige Jordan


Karla Sylvester and Jim Sledge share great friendship while working with what they love By Fancie Lewis, Photographer

Everyone has a hobby he or she loves, but most don’t take that love and turn it into a career. However, Mattoon High School librarians Karla Sylvester and Jim Sledge turned their love of reading into a full-time job. “I love reading; I had my own little library when I was younger,” said Sylvester. “All we had was a bookmobile from Decatur.” Sledge had been an English teacher at MHS for six years when he was offered an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. “I had to go back to school to become qualified to become the librarian,” said Sledge. Being involved in a career that works with high school students requires an amount of patience and love of young people, which both Sledge and Sylvester possess. However, Sledge went from the classroom atmosphere to the secluded scene of the library, which was a huge change in the environment, as he was able to see the multiple ways the students interact in each setting. “It’s different here in the library than it is in the classroom. There, I knew and interacted with many students; here, I only know a handful of them,” said Sledge. Just like Sledge, Sylvester also had a love of working with and helping children that led her to pursue a librarian career. “Before I worked at MHS, I worked at Project Help with atrisk Kindergarteners,” said Sylvester. Sledge and Sylvester both spend

a lot of time at MHS; however, they have many hobbies that they engage in outside of school. “I mostly try to keep up with my kids; they’re involved in a lot of activities. I am also in a band. We play rock and roll, blues and country,” said Sledge. Sylvester has a love of music as well; she and Sledge have a past of dressing up like musicians together. Sylvester not only enjoys music, but she also indulges herself in crafts. “I love doing crafty things, especially crocheting. I also love music and going to concerts,” said Sylvester. Employees that work together and communicate well are often the key to a successful workplace, and Sledge and Sylvester believe they have a great bond that keeps the library running smoothly. “We work well together; we have a good work relationship,” said Sylvester. “We don’t necessarily need to communicate with each other all the time; we just know.” Sledge and Sylvester have created such a unique bond that other staff members and students recognize it. “I think they work well together; they have a lot in common. They’re kind of like Sonny and Cher,” said Pam Heaton, lunch supervisor. The work relationship makes his job more enjoyable, according to Sledge. “I’ve learned to let her pretend she’s the head of the library, and then everything runs smoothly,” said Sledge with a grin.


Librarians Karla Sylvester and Jim Sledge enjoy each other’s company while doing some duties of the job they both love in the Mattoon High School media center.

Cat makes himself at home in MHS greenhouse By Paige Jordan, Entertainment Editor

From being cared for by several staff members and students at Mattoon High School, to being reunited with his original owner, the greenhouse cat made a mysterious welcome at MHS.

MHS biology and zoology teacher Deanna MacDonald, MHS junior Reaghan Elliott, MHS biology teacher Julie Lipperd and MHS senior Jazmin Katz were some that all played a part in helping find a home for a lost cat in a tale of good deeds.

Various teachers thought that the cat could have been staying in the greenhouse for around a month when they found it. “We think it was there for several of weeks. Ms. Lipperd looked for him but could never find him,” said MacDonald.


The greenhouse, where the runaway cat was found, is located at the south end of MHS.

MacDonald and other staff members located him after his constant meowing. “The cat was meowing for an entire day; Mr. Lockart said that there was a cat out there because it was meowing,” said MacDonald. Katz found the cat while she was in class. “I was in Ms. Lipperd’s room, and I looked out the window, and there was a cat,” said Katz. Katz and her boyfriend, senior Dalton Shaffer, took the cat until the owner was found. While watching the cat, the name they came up with was Lucius Maxwell Zanzibar Ezekyle Konrad Felix Von Kesselhoff II. “We took it to my boyfriend’s house, and it went through a couple of name changes,” said Katz. Elliott also gave him a name while he was at MHS. “I named him Mark because it is

“I named him Mark because it is the most unexpected name ever for a cat.” Reaghan Elliott, junior

the most unexpected name ever for a cat,” said Elliott. Katz and Shaffer watched the cat for about a day and a half until he was returned to his original owner. The owner was also closer than they thought. “They had talked to people at the shelter, and it was Dalton’s cousin’s neighbor’s cat,” said Katz.


Page Designer Lane Plummer



‘Walking Dead’ defies storytelling By Justin Gordon, Managing Editor

The year of 2012 had a cavalcade of game-of-the-year contenders. “Halo” received its eagerly anticipated third sequel, a new assassin named Conner took center stage in “Assassins Creed III” and the “Call of Duty” franchise dominated gaming sales with “Black Ops II.” However, who would have thought that a low-budget, quick-time game based on a graphic novel would sneak in and become what many consider game of the year? Tell-Tale’s “The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series” is a stroke of genius from the characters to the story. Every aspect in this game works spectacularly. A convicted murderer named Lee Everett is being transported to a prison when a zombie outbreak occurs. Lee escapes the initial attack and stumbles upon a young girl named Clementine, whose parents were on a vacation when the outbreak began. Lee, Clementine and a small group characters then set out to find Clementine’s parents and a

place to survive. I was hooked from the opening scene where Lee is on the road to prison. All the player knows is that he is going to prison for murder, not if he was set up or is a killer. The plot is given in bread crumbs, which is a very small example of the master craft of this story. That crafting is split up into five episodes. Each episode brings its own set of surprises. I love the fact that it kept me guessing, making me not want to stop playing. The outcomes of the game are based entirely on your decisions. For example, the scene where Lee has to decide who will receive food within the starving group. Lee is going to make the people he feeds happy and the people he doesn’t feed angry. It is merely a point and click game based around the play-

ers choices, which is incredibly refreshing. Also, there are the characters. The main character, Lee Everett, is immensely likeable; he is selfless and determined. Clementine is a character that is easy to instantly fall in love with by simply being the sweetest little girl on the planet. The rest of the cast is an enjoyable grey; the player has no idea if they are good or just as barbaric as the “Walkers.” The relationship between Lee and Clementine is the factor that would have made or broken this game. Thankfully, it is one of the most genuine relationships in any video game. Had Clementine been unlikable, I wouldn’t care about making the right choices. The player would have made stupid decisions, and the game wouldn’t have been effective. Clementine is the player’s moral compass. the wrong choices endanger her, and she is the kind of character players will do everything in their power to protect. “The Walking Dead” is a rare example of a story-driven game. It

By Kaylie Homann, Editor-in-Chief

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amazed me how much emotion that the game sparked within me. When characters died, I felt emotionally overwhelmed every single time. Whether it was joy when a despicable character received his comeuppance or deep sadness when someone didn’t make it out alive, I was emotionally attached.

Depicting the reality of human nature when it is trapped in a corner from the horror of how savage we can become to the love gained for someone and the desire to protect someone is why “The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series” is my personal pick for one of the best videogames of 2012 and all time.

and what are her own. “The Host” is an extremely unique story. It is a breath of fresh air compared to the books that may only fit into one genre, while this can suit many. It also has a perfect balance between romance, suspense and comic relief. Meyer develops her characters in a way that the reader cares for the ones she wants us to care for, and the reader despises the ones she wants us to despise. Not only does she develop her characters, but she also develops the setting in a way that paints the picture in perfect detail in your head. For example, Meyer explains the cavern walls as “muted, pale and sil-

very.” However, she does not dwell too much on the color of the caves to the point when you find yourself bored out of your mind. Although “The Host” has many admirable aspects, it does have minute flaws. The ending was almost too convenient for the characters. Also, while Wanda is in the caves with the humans, she whines just a tad too much. Meyer plays sympathy up a little much while developing Wanda by describing her wounds and starvation in great detail. So, if you’re into science fiction, suspense, apocalypse or even romance, I recommend this book because it can be a unique book that entertains for hours.

ever kiss and attempts to become slightly more risqué, which results in Charlie uncovering the memories of his sexually abused past. This beautifully casted and shot film puts the journey through high school into perspective of what students in high school have to go through on a daily basis, some good and some not so good. The transition from a book published in 1999 to a contemporary day film reveals

the wonders and horrors of adolescent coming-of-age. The perfect song selections, brutally real dialogue and the beating heart of the emotional characters remind every viewer of the honest high school experience. From sitting alone in the cafeteria to sharing a memorable moment with never forgotten friends, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is the paragon of a fantastic, fresh film.

‘Host’ keeps Meyer’s fictional legacy When someone thinks of how the world might end, the possibilities could vary from a monster virus to a zombie apocalypse. However, in the book “The Host” by Stephenie Meyer, the author of the Twilight saga, creates a world in the far future where beings called Souls from a far-away planet come to Earth and take possession of human bodies. Although these Souls are incapable of violence, humans are not fond of them taking over their bodies, so some with strong wills resist. This is the case for the main character, Melanie, when a Wanderer

soul takes over her body. Wanderer, later named as Wanda, has control of Melanie’s body, but Melanie’s thoughts affect Wanda’s decisions because of Melanie’s strong will, such as instigating Wanda to travel to a human camp-out under the desert in humid caves. While in the camp-out, with the few humans who remain, Wanda endures hateful looks, death threats and troubles figuring out the difference between what are Melanie’s feelings

‘Wallflower’ a fantastic chronicle of teenage living By Emma Diltz, Business Manager

Reviewer’s Rating

To people, especially teenagers, it can be difficult to find acceptance. In Stephen Chboksy’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” he addresses every teen’s fear of entering high school, from drugs to friends to being misunderstood in his colorfully written screenplay. This movie excelled all expectations and was pure enjoyment. In this brilliant adaptation of the book, the audience is introduced to three main characters, Charlie (Lerman), Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson) who live in 1990s Pittsburgh. In this city, they experience the affects of friendship, love, cruelty and loss. C h a r l i e , a s h y, i n t e l l i g e n t 15-year-old begins his freshman year of high school largely intimidated and lacking friends. Though he appears timid, Charlie is shadowing a past of depression and child abuse that he struggles to overcome throughout the story. Noticing how left out he is, a sympathetic English teacher (Paul Rudd) very quickly notices Charlie’s intelligence from his knowledge of Charles Dickens. His teacher becomes his first ally, quickly followed by an intriguing pair of seniors: Patrick and his stepsister, Sam. The three friends fall into a routine of hanging out; meanwhile,

Charlie manages to fall a little too hard for Sam. The relationship between Sam and Charlie becomes a complicated one. While Charlie is grasping every word that slips out of Sam’s mouth, she is infatuated with her boyfriend and the quickly approaching end to her senior year. Charlie continues to pursue an intimate relationship with Sam, but the beauty of his crush isn’t whether he will get the girl or not; instead, it is seeing Charlie blossom out of his wallflower cocoon and watching him overcome how timid he is. Yet, another character who makes this story come alive is Sam. An outgoing realist, Sam is the character who brings Charlie to life. She talks to him and understands him; she’s a shoulder to cry on when he is confused about everything going on in his life. Sam envelopes Charlie in the love of a friendship that he hasn’t had the opportunity to experience in a long time. Watson, who takes on the role as Sam, portrays her in the way she is shown in the book, which is a young girl who is full of life and intrigue. She has all the charisma, personality and beauty expected out of Chbosky’s character.

The tag team of Sam and Patrick wouldn’t be complete without the latter. Patrick brings an exciting character to the big screen by being himself, which is an openly gay character, and not being afraid to show who he really is. While he appears to be happygo-lucky, he also lets out how angry he is at dating a closeted character. Even though Charlie tends to be down on himself and his ill-fated situation, Patrick realizes Charlie has it better than he believes; he has friends that love him unconditionally and a family that cares for him. As the partial narrator, Charlie pulls the audience through his whirlwind of a life. At the start of the movie, he is a gloomy, misunderstood teenager who is just trying to make it through his first year of high school. Once he meets his friends, he begins to have confidence in himself and starts trying to engage in new activities. He attends parties and hangs out with friends just as most people his age do, but what he had yet to experience. After breaking his relationship off with Mary Elizabeth, there is graduation for Sam and Patrick. In order to help Sam become ready to leave for college in the fall, Charlie assists her in packing her supplies. During this moment in the film, Sam grants Charlie with his first



Page Designer Justin Gordon



Reservoir Dogs: A true 90’s classic Justin Gordon, Managing Editor Editors note: This is part one of a four part series on the filmaking of Quentin Tarantino. There are many beloved directors in Hollywood-- from Christopher Nolan to Steven Spielberg. However, there is no director quite like Quentin Tarantino. With “Django Unchained” receiving a best picture nomination, it marks the third time Tarantino has received this nomination. In this four-part retrospective of his career, Tarantino’s greatest movies will analyzed: “Reservoir Dogs,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Kill Bill” and “Django Unchained.” His movies have been deemed by countless critics as “timeless classics.” However, do these movies hold up to this day, and are they as good as people say? “Reservoir Dogs” In Quentin Tarantino’s filmmaking debut, he presented a heist movie without the heist. So, from the very beginning, Tarantino was taking interesting chances as a filmmaker, and “Reservoir Dogs” is by definition an interesting choice.

Reviewer’s Rating

The plot is six criminals who know nothing about one another, except for their codenames: Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr. Blond (Michael Madison), Mr. Blue (Edward Bunker) and Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino). The heist, which we never see, goes wrong. Mr. Blue and Mr. Brown are killed in the crossfire, and Mr. Orange was shot in the stomach. They start pointing fingers at each other, trying to find out which one of them “ratted” to the cops. The plot is amazingly paced. From the opening diner scene, where we get to know the “dogs” and their personalities, the failed heist, the accusations and paranoia fill up. There is never a dull moment, and it adds to the suspense masterfully. The performances are all solid. However, the stand-out performances include Michael Mad-


Men of the MHS Mirror recreate the Reservoir Dog formation ison as Mr. Blond, a sociopathic ex-con who loves to torture cops. His performance is so subtle, it’s chilling. He never takes the role over-the-top. Also, Steve Buscemi can play a weasel with the best of them. The role is comedic, but it remains in the realm of realism. When it comes to characters, Tarantino is the master of giving them depth. All of the protagonists are horrible, murderous thieves, but they all have redeeming qualities. For example,

Mr. Blond is a sadist who gleefully tortures and kills people on a whim. However, it is subtly shown throughout the movie that he is loyal. He won’t turn his back on his bosses for his own personal gain. He isn’t selfish and is a team player. Tarantino is also known for his dialogue, because every one of his movies has realistic banter within a far-fetched premise. This is more prominent in “Pulp Fiction,” however, this

movie is no exception. The opening scene is a shining example of this. The dogs are at the diner discussing topics such as the true meaning of the Madonna song, “Like a Virgin” and if people should really be tipping waitresses. These are conversations I’d have with my friends and gives the movie a sense of realism not in other movies. The Tarantino-esque violence in “Reservoir Dogs” is actually dialed back. There is a ton of blood, and a character has his ear cut off with a straight razor. However, for Tarantino, it’s very tame. Also, the violence serves a purpose to the plot. “Reservoir Dogs” is not only my favorite Quentin Tarantino movie, it’s also my favorite movie of all time. I love the concept, the characters and the social commentary of the paranoia most people have within and how willing they are to start pointing fingers at the first sign of trouble. The direction and writing is flawless. Join me next month when I review Tarantino’s most successful film, “Pulp Fiction.”

‘Mama’: Made with care, but lacking scares By Wyatt Jones, Mulitimedia Editor

The recently released horror film “Mama” fails to nurture audience members with the fear for which they cry. The movie opens with a man on the run after committing an atrocious act. Taken with him are his two young daughters, Victoria and Lilly, who have no understanding of the events taking place. When the father’s carelessness leaves the trio in dire circumstances, they are forced to find shelter, leading them to discover an abandoned cabin. This is where the character Mama is introduced. After Victoria and Lilly are separated from their father and forced to survive on their own,

Reviewer’s Rating

Mama is the hideous being that takes them under her wing. Five years pass before the two girls are finally found. Now feral and animalistic in nature, Lilly and Victoria are adopted by their uncle, Lucas, and his girlfriend, Annabel, but Mama doesn’t take to this kindly. Setting the basis for the rest of the movie, Mama begins to antagonize the family with scares, but her attempts fail to do the same to the viewers. “Mama” suffers from a mixture of bad writing, a cliché plot and

overall, failing to include the most important requirement of a horror movie: horror. As I sat in the theater, all the usual cues were easily detected: a rising crescendo, a slow approach to a closed door, a looming shadow in the background, all followed by a loud noise and the sudden burst of something meant to be scary. The problem with the way the jump scare method is used throughout the movie isn’t the method itself, but the way it is implemented. The viewer can always see it coming. Over the duration of “Mama”, there was never a time when I can say I jumped or felt even a slight shred of fear. This can be attributed to the film’s predictability and fail-

ure to make the “scary” parts anything but cheap and boring. But this isn’t to say that the movie was completely bad. The acting in “Mama” was done fairly well, and it was disappointing to see it go to waste. Leading the cast is Oscar-nominee Jessica Chastain, while the rest consist of many unknown or up-andcoming members such as Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier and other fresh faces. Their performances gave the movie a muchneeded touch of realism, but sadly, they could not save it. The directing is of the picture is the best part, capturing great shots and creating a unique and distinct visual style throughout. “Mama”

is the directorial debut of Andres Muschietti, who seems talented but has a poor choice in scripts. An added bonus to the movie is that it is presented by Guillermo Del Toro, the acclaimed writer and director of movies such as “Pan’s Labyrinth” and the “Hellboy” series. Although his name on the film doesn’t increase the quality, it does interest a larger audience and increase sales. Selling isn’t what makes the movie though. “Mama” is a well-presented, but not-so-well thought out attempt in the horror genre. Never scary and always predictable, it’s safe to say that the night I got home from watching “Mama,” I slept like a baby.

‘Zero Dark Thirty’ is 2012’s Zero Dark winner By Lane Plummer, Online Editor

In the opening sequence, blaring sirens and cries for mercy and safety fill the atmosphere with dread. These 911 calls came from those trapped in the World Trade Centers and the response efforts that tried to save these lost souls. Thousands were left buried with the remains of one of America’s largest achievements, and millions were left devastated. From this tear-jerking introduction all the way to the nervewracking denouement we all know, “Zero Dark Thirty” keeps a firm chokehold on your emotions and refuses to let go. In Kathryn Bigelow’s second film about the war on terror, the proclaimed greatest manhunt in history is in the spotlight. Returning with Bigelow is writer Mark Boal. Both worked together on the award-winning and brilliant “Hurt

Reviewer’s Rating

Locker,” so with such a masterpiece to follow up, my expectations were sky-high. With the aid of lead actress Jessica Chastain and all supporting roles, “Zero Dark” somehow finds a way to meet and absolutely blow up the expectations I had. One of those high watermarks I set for “Zero Dark” was the pinpoint suspense and perfect screenwriting that its predecessor set. Whereas “Hurt Locker’s” suspenseful moments were embedded within the several high-stake moments scattered around the film, “Zero Dark” slowly builds a thick layer of inescapable anticipation from the

first five minutes to the 30-minute finale. This new approach works brilliantly and is refreshing to always be on the edge of your seat. The biggest surprise of the film lies within its inclusion of key moments in the final 10 years of the hunt. Moments like the explosion inside the Marriott and the London bus bombing are filled with unimaginable skin-tearing suspension. You know the ending and you know the moments that file before it, yet there is a feeling of uncertainty that surrounds the film and its audience. Bigelow wows in the directing department in ways very few have ever accomplished with such success. Part of the success in “Zero Dark” comes not from anything behind the camera, but the acting in front of it. Jessica Chastain executes her performance flawlessly and with utmost emotion and

appropriate attention. A key moment in her role was in a sit-down between a white house aide Maya needs to pursue bin Laden (a brief role played by James Gandolfini) and Maya in a public restaurant in Washington. Here, the dialogue could’ve slipped into an Oscarmade script segment where Maya could’ve explained to the aide about her loss of a loved one during the war or her relentless pursuit for America’s safety. Instead, Maya stays tight-lipped in response to the aide, and the movie continues. Her spooked and haunting performance is the most resonant performance in a movie filled with mostly no-names and unknowns, and it’s a performance words wouldn’t justify. “Zero Dark” is as unjudgemental as an objective documentary, and its lack of any forthcoming patriotism or moral line demonstrates Bigelow’s restless pursuit of

the perfect war image. In the final 1- minutes of the film, as the hair-tearing suspenseful hunt for Osama comes to a close, we witness the breakdown of a career that, for twelve years, has been solely devoted to the hunt for the world’s largest terrorist. In a role that is otherwise held-together and restrained, Maya slumps over on a plane, letting out the emotion that has been bottled up for twelve years in an unexposed fashion. We obtain a sense of the wear and tear a decade-spanning hunt takes on the lives of those involved, directly or indirectly. “Zero Dark” is more than an uncompromising depiction of the savage and tragedy-filled hunt for Osama bin Laden: it is a testament to modern filmmaking to a degree no other film in 2012 has overcome. It is the key American film of 2012, displaying astonishing achievement on every level.



Page Designer Destinee Anderson



Discovery testing should not be a grade

Since Mattoon High School began administering the Discovery Assessment, they’ve been tracking students’ progress throughout the semester or year. But, starting this semester, MHS is using these benchmark tests as a grade for some students as well. We, the staff of the MHS Mirror, believe that the Discovery tests should not be counted as a grade. Although there are negative aspects of taking the Discovery test as a grade, there are also positive ones. Putting these scores in the grade book could cause students to take the tests more seriously, rather than just rushing through it. This could better help teachers know what concepts students understand and which they struggle

The MHS Mirror Editorial Policies

Opinions in editorials reflect the consensus decision of the newspaper staff and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Mattoon High School. Opinions expressed in columns are solely those of the author. To submit a letter to the editor, email

with. Also, for the students that do well on these assessments, it could help their grades, instead of making them worse. Yet there are many ways that a

graded Discovery test can affect students’ grades in a negative way. Students don’t have time to study; it’s supposed to be based on what students have already learned, but much of the assessment includes

concepts that haven’t been taught yet, particularly in math. For some students the application of the grade is different; for special education students, the discovery test isn’t counted as a grade at all, for students in regular classes, it is considered a homework grade, and for students in honors classes, it is a test grade (note: all honors students met the benchmark). What the test is worth shouldn’t be dependent on what type of class a student is in, but should be counted the same for each class, for overall fairness. If it’s important for students to try across the board, the grade should be the same. Also, some students have test anxieties. By taking the Discovery tests as a grade, it causes stu-

dents’ anxiety to be worse. It’s adding another test for students to have to worry about throughout the year, and there are already so many ways students at MHS are tested. There could be solutions to the problem of students not taking these tests seriously. If they are going to be counted as a grade, then teachers could help students study for them. Or, instead of the assessments being a grade, the scores could go toward the positive incentives. If a student meets the benchmark score, then they could earn a certain amount of points to go toward the movie day or the Six Flags trip. Regardless of the revision idea, a new concept for grading the Discovery assessments could lead to a system that is more fair.

Gun control laws are questionable

The United States of America is gun crazy: now that’s an understatement. For years, we have grown up with toy guns, moved up the ladder with BB guns, then played around with airsoft guns and constructed fake wars with our fake rifles. Our culture is structured around the weapons and rights we fought with to gain the freedom to use guns, and after 300 years, we find ourselves fighting each other for those same rights. In a cracked fashion, I relate gun control to training wheels and the country to the kid’s bike. To some, these “training wheels” are necessary to smoothly continue riding on into the future. On the opposing side, there are those who would argue the bike won’t fall over and break without them. I continue to pursue the idea of trying both, which works for the better of the people. So, in that effort, let’s pull some statistics I found suitable to the cause. One of the media spearheads for gun control is CNN’s Piers Morgan. One of his most common arguments is with the use of gun vio-

Lane Plummer Online Editor

lence statistics comparing England and The United States. According to, around 9,146 recorded homicides in The United States were paired with gun violence in 2007, in stark contrast to England’s 41. Morgan backs up England’s meager firearm violence with the strict gun control under two legislated amendments in 1997, after the Dunblane school shooting in early 1996. I find it reasonable for someone to advocate gun control when presented with such statistics. However, there is a statistic that Morgan fails to televise. England is the violent crime capital of Europe. Based on an article published by, England played host to 5.4 million crimes in 2007, second to Sweden in highest crime rate.


That’s 10 crimes a minute. Also, according to a statistic pulled from the European Commission’s database of statistics, there are over 2,000 crimes per 100,000, which is higher than America’s 466 per 100,000 people. I find these statistics compelling in backing up the battle against gun control legislature. My intentions

of including England are because England is the closest to American culture in the world, but has an opposing style of gun legislation. England now could be a reflection of The United States’ future if gun control is passed. It may not be as strict as the 1997 Firearms Amendments, but our ban on what we consider assault weapons could

potentially raise the crime rate overall in America. After countless dinner-table battles and classroom debates, I find the best solution is to not blame guns. I believe that if we disarm citizens, criminals will still continue to receive their weapons. The analogy “bringing a knife to a gun fight” would become overplayed. The issue at hand is the people. The cliché “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is restlessly truthful, and if the government is to act upon the recent tragedy, it should be upon the psychologically distorted and potentially harmful subjects in society. Either help them or put them away. Putting away the training wheels will get this bike running freely and back to how it has always been. It was our right we fought for nearly two-and-a-half centuries ago, and the purpose is to protect ourselves not from only ourselves, but our government. Gun control is really unnecessary, and until statistics that prove that disarming citizens will decrease violence all around, we should stick to our guns.

Trains cause a bother, yet rule needed at MHS “I think it should be excused because we can’t control when a train comes in and out of town. ” Jennifer Burrell, senior

“They should recieve a tardy ticket because leaving at lunch is a privilege. ” Tammy Munyon, discipline secretary

Destinee Anderson Opinion Editor Imagine being a straight A and honor roll student. You’re never late for class, and you have never seen the inside of the detention room. But picture all of that being ruined by the inconvenience of getting stuck by a train going back to school on your lunch hour. If a Mattoon High School junior or senior chooses to go off campus for lunch time, the student is well aware there is always a chance of a train in Mattoon. Trains can be a hassle in the morning and during lunch time. Unfortunately, there is still a chance of punishment because of the train.

Not just students, but teachers also receive punishment for being late due to trains. If a student is late coming back from lunch, they receive a detention. Teachers can possibly receive a write-up. There is always that chance when many students are late because of a train at lunch time, the office may let it slide. Yet, I personally hardly ever go out to lunch because I’m aware

there is always a chance of being late coming back because of an illtimed train. I believe all students are aware of what could happen, so the punishment stands. You choose to go and end up being late, and then you will have to face the consequences.

“I don’t think you should get punished for being late by a train because you can’t control the train schedule.”

Vannessa Worstell, senior



Page Designer Emma Diltz


Behind the Scenes: Cody Emberton By Albert Henderson, Multimedia Editor

Most people don’t know him, but he plays a big part in Mattoon High School’s sports programs by going to all the games, diagnosing injuries, and curing them. Cody Emberton is an athletic trainer that works for Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital and is MHS’s designated trainer. Before Emberton became an official athletic trainer, he had to earn a degree. He obtained his undergraduate degree at Eastern Illinois University in athletic training, and eventually got his master’s at Northern Illinois University. He also worked with the Indianapolis Colts in their 2005 and 2006 seasons. “He really knows what he’s doing, and he does what’s best for my knee. He doesn’t push me too far, but he assures me I’m making


MHS athletic trainer Cody Emberton wraps an athlete’s injured ankle in his office. This is a typical job he performs on a day-to-day basis. progress,” said, Samantha Landers, sophomore softball player at MHS. Other students who have worked with Emberton have experienced

the same impression. “[It’s] interesting. He finds a way to make it funny, so you’re not focusing on your injury,” said Johna-

thon Shaw, junior football player at MHS. Shaw recalls an instance when Emberton calmed his nerves while he was having a heatstroke. “My vision was blurring, and he told me a story about how he injured his eye, and he went to a restaurant [before he went to the hospital] and his friends were teasing him about his eye,” said Shaw “He made me laugh while I was feeling like a sissy.” This is part of Emberton’s method. “[I like] seeing them do well, and hopefully, I tell them something that makes their day better and helps them become a better athlete,” He said. “I like helping people. I like making them feel better.” Emberton’s best moments also arise from this. He believes anytime he does his job right, it’s a good moment for him.

While he has his good moments, he also has bad ones. These bad moments include “when you see someone just coming out of an injury, and they get hurt again,” said Emberton. Emberton also mentioned a year when he saw a very rare injury. The injury is called the Lisfranc, an injury of the foot in which one or more metatarsal bones are displaced from the tarsus. “I was told if I ever saw one it would be rare, and then I ended up seeing two in one year,” said Emberton. In his free time, he likes to work out, play video games and read, particularly books by Stephen King and Dean Koontz and traditional sports titles such as Madden and NBA2K. When considering his future career, Emberton’s decided that he is going to stay right where he’s at. “This is pretty much it for me,” Emberton said, satisfied.

MHS cheer team wins 2013’s IHSA competition Cheerleaders prepare and defeat with their routine By Jenna Butler, Reporter

Above: The cheerleading team poses with their firstplace trophy after the competition. Left: The team stunts senior Lacey Solomon, junior Maddy Akers, and sophomore Shelby Thomason into the air during their routine. Bottom: The cheerleading team performs their routine in the MHS gym on Jan. 12.


The Mattoon High School cheer team took first place in the first-ever Illinois High School Association cheer competition held at MHS on Jan. 12. To prepare for the competition, Ariel Enlow, MHS varsity cheerleader and sophomore, said “they planned the competition for a year.” “We have to call different teams and get all their information. Also, we have a lot of help from our parents. Practices go from November all the way to February at least three times a week for two hours. To perfect our routine, we practice it over and over again. This year, we had a six-hour practice,” Enlow said. Shelby Thomason, varsity cheerleader and freshman at MHS agreed with the heavy amount of preparation MHS cheerleaders have to go through. “If one thing doesn’t hit, we practice it until we’ve hit it multiple times,” she said. After continuously practicing, the hard work certainly paid off as they prepared to perform. “I’m confident, but at the same time, everything is running through my head, and it makes me anxious

to perform,” said Thomason. By the end of the day, the MHS cheerleaders were satisfied by successfully coming in first place. “We felt very excited because, well, who wouldn’t be excited getting first place? … Overall, we have many practices with blood, sweat and tears striving to be the best we can,” Enlow said. Lacey Solomon, MHS varsity cheerleader and senior, agrees with the excitement the other cheerleaders felt. “It’s absolutely amazing. We never won first place the four years I’ve cheered here. It’s just unbelievable, and I’m grateful,” said Solomon. Solomon’s senior year was the end point that she’ll remember the most and greatly miss. “I can’t really pick out a certain aspect I’ll miss. I really like competition season and being with my cheer family. Oh, and camp was really fun,” said Solomon. Even though they came in first place, there is still room to improve with a little bit of motivation. “I think we are improving as we go. We are not only a team but a family, and that makes us work together and help each other through everything we can,” said Thomason.



Page Designer Albert Henderson


New opportunities for dance as a sport MHS dancers elated that they will be recognized at higher level By Jenna Butler, Reporter In the competitive world of sports, dance also takes some sense of skill and a lot of physical training to prepare. Dance is now a sport according to the IHSA due to its competitive, enjoyable and challenging nature. “We stretch, warm-up and run through routines. We make changes to routines throughout the season in order to perfect them and achieve higher scores,” said Sarah Bradbury, a Mattoon High School senior. Dance may look easy to some, but it takes hard work and considerable time, which is why the MHS dancers are glad it has finally been recognized as a sport. “I feel like anything could become a sport, and knowing now that dance is considered one, people will see how hard we work. We get as much physical activity as other sports,” said Kimberli Jones a MHS sophomore. Along with a solid work schedule and a substantial amount of time spent practicing, there are now more opportunities for dancers since dance is a sport. “We can actually be recognized by our school for our accomplishments. Hopefully, we can compete

in a new organization. We have IHSA state semi-finals on Friday,” said Bradbury. Dancers can also now experience real competition by what other teams bring to the table. “We compete with different teams; we haven’t always before,” said Jones. From the perspective of a longtime dancer, the designation as a sport is just another in a long line of changes. “It is a lot different from when I was on the team. The techniques needed are much more difficult,” said dance coach Malia Smith.

Girls 4x8 team strives for even more success By Jacob Harris, Sports Editor

Breaking records, going to state, and even placing in state are a few achievements of which high school track athletes dream. For the Mattoon High school girls track and field 4x8 team, those dreams became memories in the spring of 2012 by placing eighth in state and being placed on the Mattoon Wall Of Fame. “Megan Shaffer, Cassy Shaffer, Victoria Drake worked all during cross country season, and Taylor Smith didn’t run until the middle of track season,” said Eric Haslett girl’s track distance coach. This year, Haslett is expecting consistency and for his 4x8 team to be healthy. “I have been doing more cross country training; the Shaffers have been consistently putting in hours and Smith is in basketball, so she is staying in shape,” said Victoria Drake, MHS junior. Relationships have been a big part of this team just as the training is. The two Shaffer girls are sisters and have been bonding with one another and with their teammates. The sisters talk very highly of one another. “It was pretty awesome knowing my older sister [Cassy Shaffer] was at the high school,” said the younger sister Megan.


The MHS girls 4x8 track team stands after placing eighth at State in their 2012 season. Cassy agreed. “It was great running with her. She had to mature a lot. Though running on a top team like ours and at this level we got last year, she had a lot of experiences most freshmen don’t get and learned a lot. Running with her made state a lot better,” said Cassy.


Left: The MHS dance team performs at a competition at Charleston High School. Above: MHS dancers perform their dance routine in a competition in the MHS gymnasium.

“I feel like anything could become a sport, and knowing now that dance is considered one, people will see how hard we work.” Kimberli Jones, sophomore

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Page Designer Jacob Harris



Girls basketball gives reasons to play By Riley Trotter, Design Editor For many people, basketball is just a sport to watch on TV, but for the girls on the Mattoon High School basketball team, it’s more than that. It’s not cheering for your favorite team, but being the team that people cheer for. “I love the fast-paced speed of basketball. There is always something going on,” said freshman and member of the basketball team, Blake Raboin. “Also, I just love to compete.” One similar item has influenced many of the members of the girls’ team to play basketball: family. “I always watched my older sister and brother play, and I wanted to be just like them,” said Raboin. Each member of a team has a different reason for loving the sport. For some, it’s the rush of being on the court or hearing the cheers of the fan. But, for junior Riley Phipps, basketball has been a part of her life since a young age. “I have played ever since pee wee basketball and enjoyed it so much I decided to do traveling and that just moved into school ball,” said Phipps. “I also like the aggressive game.” While it may be the teammates she’s become close with for junior Kaitlyn Bath, it’s the aggression of the game for Phipps. “My favorite thing is knocking people around and hitting them hard,” said Phipps. Throughout the season, goals are set for the whole team, and for individual athletes. “A team goal would be to win conference and sectionals, as well,” said Bath. Rather than only having a goal for the entire team, Raboin has personal goals set, also. “I want for every game to be the fastest, strongest player on the court and to not feel inferior to anyone,” said Raboin.


Above: Coach Jason Morgan motivates the MHS girls basketball team for the next play. Right: MHS sophomore Samantha Thompson shoots a basket.


MHS sophomore Kasey Considine tries to find an open teammate while playing against Charleston High School’s girls basketball team.

Project4_Layout 1 9/28/2011 4:27 PM Page 1

MHS responds to Ravens win By Jacob Harris, Sports Editor

In the Super Bowl XLVII, the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers. The Ravens are the 10 th best scoring offense in the National Football League. If someone would have said the 49ers will win a super bowl three years ago, most listeners would have just laughed. Three years ago, the 49ers finished with a record of six win and 10 losses, and now, in the 2012-2013 NFL season, they finish with 11 wins, five losses and one tie. Blaise Hiltebetel, sophomore

at Mattoon High School, said he wanted the “49ers” to win. Hiltebetel has no Super Bowl traditions, but he wanted to see another knockout blow, just like the one in the Ravens and Patriots game. Due to the hard hit that the Ravens give out, Eric Sinclair, English teacher said he wanted to see either team get the Super Bowl ring. “Most of my childhood, I was a 49ers fan, but I would like to see Ray Lewise leave the NFL with a ring,” said Sinclair. Most of all, Sinclair wanted to see 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has only played in nine

games in the NFL before the big game. But not everyone is a believer in Kaepernick. Jim Sledge, a librarian at MHS, chose the Ravens to win the Lombardi Trophy. “I have family in Maryland, and I like Coach John Harbaugh over Jim Harbaugh,” said Sledge. Due to this game, the coaches of each team are brothers and are 15 months apart, and people have thought of many names for this game like the Har Bowl, Super Bro, and the original the Super Bowl.

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