The Mount- Vol 24 issue 3

Page 1

December 2020

Mount Michael Benedictine School • 22520 Mount Michael Rd, Elkhorn, NE 68022 •

Living with COVID-19: A family goes into quarantine BY LUKE GUTSCHEWSKI

During a household quarantine, Luke Gutschewski ‘21 celebrates with his siblings Isabelle, Isaiah, and Trevor atfer signing a letter of intent. He will be playing golf at Iowa State Univeristy next year.

Everybody’s lives have been altered by COVID. Literally, every single person on the planet has had their life shaped by the virus in some form or another. Now, for me, COVID didn’t drastically change anything. I could still play golf and remain safe. In that regard, COVID wasn’t bad at all. However, on Nov. 8, COVID hit my family in a completely new way. My dad had not been feeling great for most of the morning that Saturday. We had already watched the Husker game, and my brother and I had gone to the golf course. When we returned back from the golf course, we were told that my dad had left to get a COVID test just for peace of mind that it wasn’t this virus. When the results came back about an hour later, we were shocked. All of the sudden, we had no idea what to do or how to handle the situation; all we knew is that we wouldn’t be returning to the outside world for quite some time. The next morning, the rest of my family got tested, all with negative results. We got tested again the next Wednesday, resulting in my mom and I testing positive. Then, the rest of my siblings got tested that Friday, showing that 5 out of the 6 of us were positive, with the only negative test being the four year old. When I was told that I tested positive, I must admit, I was a little intrigued to see what this virus was all about. This virus changed the lives of so many, and I was curious to see how it would affect my family and I. In short, it hit my parents way harder than it hit the rest of us. From the looks of it, they certainly had the worst of the symptoms that really didn’t affect the kids. The worst of the symptoms being painful body aches and not being able to take a deep breath. After three of us had tested positive, we made the decision, assuming that the other kids already had it as well, to not quarantine from each other, so we moved around the house freely, which certainly helped the stress and health of everybody involved. The Gutschewski house was going through a rigorous stretch of home improvement projects in the basement, so all of that progress had to be put on pause for the time being. After a few days, we decided that our WiFi wasn’t fast enough, so we had to get a new router in order to accom-

Operation Others gives back BY COLIN EICH

modate all of us and our needs during quarantine. The troubles with that led to a missed biology class (sorry Dr. C) and a lot of stress, but in the end it worked. We moved a second TV into the entryway of our house in order to provide more entertainment in what a very boring couple of weeks. Even though it was tough, we made it through the virus and our quarantine. About halfway through the second week, everyone seemed to be back to normal; now we were just waiting out the rest of our ten day quarantine that starts on the day you test positive. So, now I’m out and back into the world, and although I don’t have a great understanding of the science, I’m pretty sure I now have the antibodies for at least the next three months. I would say that it is certainly a nice consolation for fighting off the virus and being stuck in the house for roughly two weeks.

Gutschewski naps with his dog Ace during quarantine. His whole family was confined to their house from November 8 - November 22.

Elf is king of Christmas films BY RYAN MCMAHON

Volume 24 | Issue 3

Gathje contracts, conquers coronavirus BY JACK SORENSEN Students are dropping like flies into quarantine. The Zoom calls that were once reserved for international students or the voluntary homebound are now being populated by an ever-increasing number of students as the coronavirus’s impact is finally being felt on campus. After nearly three months of in-person schooling, the first student tested positive on October 31. Since then 14 students and three staff members have also tested positive. English teacher John Gathje was the first staff member to contract the virus, testing positive on Nov. 2. He maintained a steadfast quarantine while he combatted the symptoms. He and his family returned to campus healthy on Nov. 17. “It is unnerving. I had a high fever for about four days, which really knocked me out,” Gathje said. “Some people lose their sense of taste and smell, but I was the opposite: my sense of taste and smell got more intense. There are some foods I can barely eat because I am so sensitive to the salt and/or spices in the food.” For many without underlying health conditions, symptoms are mild, but the threat of persisting health issues can be stressful. “You don’t really know how sick you are or how sick you are going to get, and since there are no ‘cures,’ you are not really certain if you will get better,” Gathje said. “But I am pretty confident I won’t have any lasting problems.” Gathje, who quarantined along with his wife Melissa, director of advancement operations, and son Ben Gathje ‘22, struggled with making isolation work. Each family member still had to maintain a “presence” on campus through remote video calls. Beyond the logistics, there was an emotional strain for Ben. “Living with a positive family member is sad, and I was worried for my dad,” he said. “I spend pretty much the whole day in my room and only leave to eat, shower, or go to the bathroom.” John’s positive test came as a complete shock to the family -- especially as someone who stays healthy, runs consistently, and strictly adheres to CDC guidelines. “At first, I was really mad,” he said. “I have followed all the protocols, and I still got sick. My hands were even dry and cracked from all of the soap and water I had been using.” On top of the discomfort and malaise, Gathje had to recover from a knee surgery that took place the same week he tested positive. Knee pains had been a nuisance for him and prevented him from running consistently over the summer and fall. “I felt great after my surgery, it was not until Thursday night and Friday morning that things got bad,” Gathje said. “Having COVID has slowed down my recovery from my knee surgery, but I can speed up my recovery by doing PT (physical therapy) at home.” Although he is unsure where he picked up the virus, Gathje believes that other factors might have played a role in his illness. “I have only been at school and at home, but I think stress and a lack of sleep contributed to me getting the virus,” he said. Overall, Gathje describes the experience as “uncomfortable,” and provides some advice to those students and staff that are trying to stay healthy and corona-free. “I would advise you to keep doing what you are doing,” he said. “Try to relieve stress and try to get your sleep. And, at all costs, avoid crowds and crowded places.”

Seniors share ACT tips BY JURGEN BELLER

News | 2

The Mount

New homerooms offer fresh environments for students BY DANIEL THOMAS

Photo courtesy of Tom Maliszewski

day where all grade levels interacted with each other in small groups. The hope is that these groups will be a place where all students build brotherhood and strengthen the community as a whole. During the short period, students and teachers started with an “icebreaker” to get to know each member group. They played games such as two truths and one lie to understand that there is more to each other than just a name and a face.The groups also discussed what each were thankful for and ended it with free discussion. “I thought spending time in these small groups was a refreshing change,” Drew VanHaute ‘23 said. Parker Hottovy ‘21 writes what he is thankful for on a pumpkin. The new homerooms consist of students from all classes and will meet regularly for “As a sophomore, I am excited for this various activities, including live streamed mass. because I want to be involved and Students gathered in small homerooms for the first of learn more about the upperclassmen.” many gratitude activities created by the Inclusion Student What started as the Diversity Group developed into a Group on Nov. 6. more community-based organization. The group, formed Twenty-three minutes were set aside during the school by counselor Christy Crnkovich, history teacher Holly

Toft and counselor Noelle Hinrickson, blossomed into a group that has 20 students that range from freshman to seniors. “Where Diversity/Brotherhood day is a great day, it is a stand-alone day,” Crnkovich said. “If we can be together as a community more often and grow together as a community throughout the entire year, rather than just one day, that sense of belonging might become even stronger.” The Inclusion Student Group hopes that this first community-based activity will help students become more comfortable with other grade levels. In order for students to feel relaxed, the groups will stay the same all year. “We want it to be fun, something non-academic periodically in the day; you guys are immersed in academics all of the time so this might be a nice time to step away for a moment,” member Lincoln Badley ‘21 said. This is a way for all students to bond outside of residential life, which the day students do not get to experience. “We are hoping that these groups will be a place where all grades levels can interact, upperclassmen can mentor or get to know some of the younger guys, and teachers can get to know some students that they don't know yet or have not had in class,” Crnkovich said.

Hoppe’s hiring brings hope for future of development office



One of the five Benedictine values that students live by is service. Service is described as helping others as Jesus would have. “The purpose of Operation Others is to help families in need and also educate students about food insecurity in their area,” proctor Eric Westra said. “This year they have virtual meetings coordinated by the Creighton Prep faculty where they talk about upcoming events, food insecurity in Omaha, and new ways to help out.” The club partners with other Catholic schools in the Omaha area to help those in need through a variety of events such as canned food drives, the largest of which provides food assistance for 1200 families around Christmas according to their facebook page. While currently no in-person events have occurred because of COVID-19, the group has alternate ways to help out. “They’ve created a venmo for donations since we can’t really do in-person activities,” Westra said. Currently there are three members who belong to the group: Griff Wyse ‘21, Henry Hohman ‘21 and Huy Tuan Le ‘21. “I joined Operation Others because I was looking to get involved more extracurricularly,” Wyse said. “I'd been involved with sports, of course, but I felt I needed to do more, and Operation

Others seemed like a great way to do so.” Helping and working with others is why Le joined, as well as encouragement from others. “I originally joined Operation Others thanks to the encouragement of upperclassmen who were part of it,” he said. “They told me I would fit in well there, and they think it is for a good cause.” Together, the trio, along with other students, worked with Westra in 2019 to have an impact on families in the Omaha area. They accomplished this by meeting with the other schools involved and planning events. “My favorite part about Operation Others was getting to meet other students from other schools and sharing in the same goal,” Le said. “It is motivating to see so many students in Omaha putting their efforts together to better the lives of less fortunate people, and I think it well represents the Catholic spirit of the schools. Although COVID has changed the Operation Others experience, one of the best parts about being a member, according to Wyse, is seeing and knowing the difference a person can make in the community. While at times the work may be difficult, the end result never fails to bring a smile to its members faces. On November 9, Creighton Prep moved to remote learning, which changed the Christmas food drive. “Since we went remote, our canned chicken and tuna drive is canceled. We are asking folks to donate money via check sent to Prep or via our Venmo @ operationothers. We will use the funds to buy food from the Food Bank for the Heartland,” said Jeff Kinney, Operation Others proctor from Creighton Prep. “We will still be able to deliver food to 1200 Omaha-area families. We know the need is still great and we hope this food at Christmas helps families in our community.”

Photo courtesy of Gina Fosco

Operation Others works to help greater Omaha community

Director of advancement Matt Hoppe, head of school Dave Peters and director of admissions Tom Maliszewski talk during the open house. Hoppe started the position as director on Oct 12.

After a long time without a director of advancement, the Mount Michael administration has hired an experienced candidate named Matt Hoppe who is surely thrilled to join the community in order to help improve the school and abbey. “I was excited to start, it seems like everyone I meet is excited to bring me into the family of Mount Michael,” Hoppe said. Hoppe has plenty of experience in advancement, as he worked for more than ten years at the Nebraska Humane Society as the VP of advancement, and about three and a half years as the director of the Women’s Center for Advancement. “Development work is not a super quick process,” he said. It starts with building relationships. As those connections start to grow, the goal is to convert those relationships into contributions to fulfill the funding requirements of the organization.” Although advancement is an important part of Hoppe’s life now, it was not always the case for him. Hoppe majored in journalism and mass media communication at Creighton University in 2002. According to him, this major was a good fit because he likes building relationships with people. His training in journalism turned

out to be helpful for development work. “Journalism really teaches you to initiate a conversation, I was kind of an introvert, but those classes forced me to go up to people and talk to them.” Hoppe said. “You want the other person talking; in journalism you are trying to tell a story, in advancement you are trying to find out what they are interested in.”

So far, Hoppe has described the school as peaceful, welcoming and friendly. He expects to have a positive impact at the school and abbey by diversifying the funding sources and streams. “Ultimately, I hope to grow the donor base of Mount Michael, to increase those who are giving and transition those who aren’t giving to do so,” he said. Those who helped in the process of Hoppe’s recent hiring have high expectations, and are excited about the things that he might accomplish during his tenure. “We thought he was the perfect fit for the Mount Michael community and abbey,” head of school Dave Peters said. Hoppe coming to campus may seem unimportant to students as they rarely interact with the director of advancement, but he is the one that could make some of the school renovations happen, such as the boarding students’ dorms and the gym. In any case, colleagues hope he will help the upward trend for fundraising for the school and abbey. “We are very excited about it,” director for advancement operations Melissa Gathje said. “The whole office is totally new. Hoppe is coming into a completely brand new office which is full of new opportunities.”

December 2020

Opinion | 3

Ruminating about remote: The team weighs in on which version of school is better BY KYLE PELAN Let me start here: online school is not a top tier education. Recently I had to quarantine for 14 days, so I have experienced remote learning twice. The same themes have been present throughout. Online school is painstakingly difficult to navigate. There is naturally a loss of communication between all parties involved. I can’t remember how many times after an online class where I would have to send an email to figure out what the homework was. Now, let’s get to the lesson, while canvas has made things easier, you still have to go to two different sites for live class and if a teacher is writing on the board it can be hard to see. Personally, I do not enjoy the remote tests and quizzes either. I am a person who likes to study and be prepared as best I can. I also like to ask questions during a test to clarify questions. With remote learning, these habits do not work. Keeping track of all these online classes can be annoying, and taxing on my brain and eyes. After a long day of staring at my iPad from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., I find myself with blurry eyes that no longer focus. With each day ending with exhausted eyes, my dedication and enthusiasm dwindles. Beyond the mental factor is the physical detachment from my friends that I have grown so close to over the last three years. “FOMO” is real for me. That, and not being physically present in class can be frustrating sometimes too. While attending a class with a teacher cutting in and out of the feed and constant distractions of barking dogs in the background, I felt apprehension about missed opportunities. These missed opportunities of playing soccer in the spring and finishing up my junior year with my friends felt depressing. It was like my anticipated memories were being sucked right from me. Those are times that I can never get back. As a senior, this fear of missing out has become heightened. Although I can say that attending each class in person can be strenuous at times, it is so worth it for the memories. Winning in sports, laughing about funny moments in class, and being in the presence of your friends makes high school the valuable time that it is. I understand that inordinate safety measures must be in place during a global pandemic, which may include going remote again. But, it detracts from the Mount Michael experience that we have all come to admire and love.

BY JURGEN BELLER As a counter to Kyle’s opinion, I believe that online school is not that bad, in fact, there are a few advantages to it. Which sounds better: Being tired all day from waking up early, physically switching classes, and wearing uncomfortable clothes or getting an hour more of sleep and doing school ten feet from your bed energized and comfortable? In terms of comfort being online is the obvious victor; you can stay in sweatpants all day, and do not have to time driving and walking to school, this allows you to focus your energy on learning. Truly, online school can be more efficient than regular school if done correctly. When the lesson is given online, students can focus on more important points of the lesson without wasting time and energy on side topics. For instance we spend 36 minutes a day during passing periods, which is time that can be spent better when online. This creates a better balance of studies, work, family, and free time causing students to be more involved with school, since it takes less energy away. Online learning is also more efficient because all the resources are easier to get to, which creates a more flexible learning environment, such as having all my assignments and lessons organized for me on canvas. At Mount Michael, we go through most subjects traditionally or without a huge presence of technology. Being online helps students get more involved and used to doing work online, which is useful because technology’s presence in the modern workplace is growing in significance. I also believe that online school helps with preparing students for college, which for some is right around the corner. College is more similar to online school in that both rely heavily on organization and time management to get a lot of work done in a lot of free time, so I feel that online school better prepares for the workload aspect of college. Let’s be honest, food is a huge part of a high school boy’s’ life and online school has the obvious edge. I am not saying that our school lunch is bad, but I can get whatever food I am craving at the time if I am at my house. If I want to get Chick-Fil-A for lunch I can get Chick-Fil-A. And let’s not forget, online school does do a better job at defending against the spread of Covid-19.

Professional sports without fans is just not the same BY LUKE GUTSCHEWSKI On a Saturday night in the fall, all I want to do is turn on a hotly contested college football game. The high-level play, the chill in the air, the noise of the home crowd on the critical third down play, and the adrenaline rush going through the players as the crowd roars, all impact the game and enhance the my viewing experience. But one key thing has been missing from nearly all sports in this COVID-era: the fans. The fans, who often create the atmosphere that I remember from the game, are not allowed in the stadium, or if there are minimal fans, there aren’t enough to be noticeable. Since that dark day during spring break when the entire world came to a halt; the NBA, spring training, the PGA Tour, and the NHL all came to an abrupt end in mid-March. And when the conversation around sports stopped, I have been starved of the sports that I grew up watching and enjoying. At least in mid-summer, sports were back. After a long three months of watching replays of old, classic matchups, I was ready for something new. I was ready for the rush of watching my favorite team play in a big game; I was ready to experience the adrenaline rush when my favorite player makes a big shot or when my team gets a dub. But, I never felt it. All I saw was players half-heartedly playing in a season and play-offs that were in a makeshift format.

And I believe it all has to do with the lack of fans in stands. Without fans in the stands, I feel nothing; I can’t tell the difference between a pick up game at practice and the NBA Finals. In fact, I think the absence of fans may help newer or less experienced players grow more accustomed to the moment. In my opinion, the dominant Tyler Herro we saw in the NBA finals doesn’t happen if he has 20,000 screaming Lakers fans in his ear for the whole game, rather than the Lakers bench and fake crowd noise. Although Herro played one year on the big stage at Kentucky, previous to that, he was playing in high school gyms. Even if the high school gyms were packed, they were holding at max a couple thousand people. This, however, is not to harp on the sports leagues for my lack of passion. I truly believe the leagues have done a great job of playing sports at a high level, while still keeping everyone safe and healthy. In fact, the leagues made the main story of the season the sports, not the coronavirus, which I believe is a huge win. That being said, I think the next step for leagues should be to start integrating fans safely and responsibly. Leagues such as the NFL, SEC, Big 12, and ACC have let limited fans into the stands for some sense of normal. For us to return to normalcy in our society, we need to do what we can to get back to the basics.

Hen House: Cheap finds make every day feel like Christmas BY HENRY HOHMAN On almost every teenager’s Christmas list you will find articles of clothing or shoes. High schoolers love clothing; particularly trendy items. However brand names like Adidas, Patagonia and Polo can be difficult to afford. If your parents are anything like mine, I get one or two pairs of shoes a year, maybe a winter coat, and I only get pants and shirts when I grow out of them. This is not enough for me. I am not materialistic, but I love looking good and having an outfit that projects me as an individual. My love of clothes and lack of money has forced me to think outside of the box. Around freshman year I started to get into consignment and used clothing. It sounds weird, and to be completely honest, it is. Afterall, you are wearing something someone else did, and all that entails. However, it is nearly impossible to turn down the price. Once you get past the fact that it was once owned, it is no problem. A simple wash or two and I feel perfectly comfortable wearing anything from a t-shirt to a pair of tennis shoes. With patience to sift through the endless racks, you can find some gems. I will never forget when I found an unworn pair of Sperry’s for five dollars at Goodwill. Believe it or not, there are clothes that any modern teenager would love to wear at thrift and consignment shops around town. A few of my favorite stores are Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, and on the more expensive side, Scout. Each one of these has a large selection of clothing. I usually find the most at Plato’s, as they appeal to a more modern crowd. My favorite part about shopping consignment is finding vintage clothes. I love discovering old graphic t-shirts or weird branded items.They fit my unique style and the aesthetic I am going for. Some may think buying used clothing is gross, but this stigma needs to change. For growing kids in high school, it is perfect. Instead of buying two shirts for 90 dollars that you will grow out of in a month, you can go to any thrift store and buy 10 shirts for the same price. With a little persistence and a good eye, you can find anything you need. No one will know whether you bought it at the mall or Goodwill. Just let your style speak for itself. Christmas is great but I am more excited for the ensuing season: The infamous ‘spring cleaning’. Following too much family time, real doses of nostalgia, and the cluttered, dirty house that is the holiday season, families look to clean out their houses and declutter their lives, taking their old things to the goodwill and thrift stores alike. I’ll be there to capitalize. For thrifters like me, this truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

The Mount is a monthly publication of the students at Mount Michael Benedictine School. Opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the entire school. Jack Sorensen Chief of design

Ryan McMahon Chief of yearbook

Aiden Frazier Photo manager

Kyle Pelan Chief of story

Luke Gutschewski Social media director

Nick Davis Reporter

Henry Hohman Distrubtion manager

Daniel Thomas Layout design

Jason Nyamatore Reporter

Sawyer Thompson Associate editor

Landen Fogle Layout designer

Henry Gnann Reporter

Logan Whitcomb Video editor

Liam West Layout designer

Gina Fosco Adviser

Griff Wyse Video assistant

Matt Allen Layout designer

Colin Eich Copy editor

Jurgen Beller Yearbook assistant

@mountonline •

In-depth | 4

The Mount

Elf remains a family tradition and Christmas classic BY RYAN MCMAHON

Eating breakfast at his father’s house in New York City, Buddy adds the sugary four main food groups to his early meal. Buddy’s antics and oblivious actions throughout the movie make it so beloved among Christmas movie watchers.

Every year, my family sits down around the fireplace around Christmas time and follows through on our annual tradition of a Christmas movie marathon. Since I can remember, every year we have watched classic staples like “Christmas Vacation” and “Home Alone”, which are among my favorites to watch, but I think one movie reigns supreme every single year. That is “Elf,” which centers on the story of a human raised by elves. Buddy, played by Will Ferrell, travels to New York City in search of his real father, encountering

countless obstacles along the way. After discovering his real father, Walter Hobbs, who is played by James Caan, is on the naughty list, Buddy sets out to create a relationship with his father and new family. The movie is one of a kind, a humorous comedy with a heartfelt storyline and elements of a classic Christmas tale. My favorite scene includes Buddy fighting the department store Santa Claus, telling him, “You sit on a throne of lies!” along with small scenes where he congratulates a small coffee shop for their designation of “World’s Best Coffee,” his mall perfume taste test, and one where he shows how singing is only being loud and moving your voice up and down. “Elf ” is a well-written Christmas classic with a delightful cast, filled with Christmas cheer for all to hear. Ferrell’s charming performance as Buddy is one hard to forget, as he perfected the role in a way only Ferrell could, walking around New York City while dressed up in skinny green tights, bringing an overwhelming amount of joy. Giving his father’s failing publishing company an incredible story, while also finding family and an awkward but sweet relationship with the local department store elf, Jovie [Zooey Deschanel] makes the plot heartfelt. Buddy caps off the movie’s perfection by saving Christmas through his mass producing of Christmas spirit and the belief in Santa all across the country. A movie like “Elf ” is perfect for a year like 2020 because it focuses on joy and laughter which is a great antidote for these trying times. “Elf ” can teach us many life lessons, and we could all use some of Buddy’s positivity and enthusiasm to heart right now. Created the year I was born, I grew up watching this movie every Christmas, and it will always be my favorite Christmas classic. It is one I encourage you to watch if you have not already. As Buddy would say as the December days count down, “Treat every day like Christmas.”

Scrooged: The best Christmas movie you’ve never seen BY JACK SORENSEN

Christmas break is almost here, and when you and your family settle down for a nice Christmas movie, you’ll inevitably turn to the classics: “Christmas vacation”, “Home Alone”, “Elf ”, maybe even “The Polar Express” if you’re looking to reminisce on childhood fantasies of Santa and presents. While these are all fantastic choices, one of the best Christmas movies of all time shares nowhere near the popularity it deserves. Although this dark horse may not be known in households across the country, in my opinion “Scrooged” stands above the rest. This cinema masterpiece starring Bill Murray takes the endlessly told story of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and gives it a modern twist -- throwing the scene into 1990s New York. Here we find Frank Cross, a tyrannical television executive who will stop at nothing to save a penny or get a leg up on the competition. The character of Cross is masterfully played by Murray, who was at his cinematic peak following the release of Ghostbusters a few years earlier. Murray’s character is irreverent and disengaged from any meaningful relationships in his personal life. He displays brief moments of insanity as Cross’ overwhelming cynicism shines through -- calling an old woman’s heart attack from watching one of his horrifying commercials “free publicity,” and even telling an assistant to staple antlers to a mouse because they won’t stay on. While Murray’s performance is nothing short of spectacular, the true beauty of the film comes from the plot’s skillful adaptation to what was then “modern-day America.” Gone are the traditional attire and dreary

atmosphere of 1800s London, instead replaced by the business suits and hustle and bustle of New York City. If you were expecting the wispy, feminine figure that usually portrays the Ghost of Christmas Past, you’re

in for a big surprise. Instead, Cross meets a rude and grimy taxi driver who loves to smoke. The shift away from the conventional ghosts was surprising yet welcome, helping to modernize the story on another level. The ghost shows Cross scenes from his childhood and explains how he turned to television to escape his parent’s divorce, ultimately rising to power in the industry at the expense of his love life. He is next met by the Ghost of Christmas Present in the form of a mischievous and overly aggressive fairy. Some of the most humorous scenes in the movie come from this sequence where Cross is bullied and repeatedly hit over the head with a toaster by the impish ghost. The rest of the film continues as you’d expect, with Cross foreseeing his cremation in a cold and desolate mortuary with no one to grieve or mourn his loss. He then returns to his network to deliver a rousing, yet manic, speech about the spirit of Christmas during a live broadcast. Murray once again nails the job, making Cross’s epiphany almost seem like more of a mental breakdown and leaving us wondering what is really going on inside his head. Ultimately, a unique spin on a timeless classic, on top of stellar performances from the actors, makes “Scrooged” one of the best Christmas movies ever released. This year, try something new. Instead of watching the “classics” for the hundredth time with your family, try “Scrooged” for a change and embrace the Christmas spirit. After all, in Frank Cross’s infinite wisdom, the magic of Christmas is that “for a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be.” I hope you enjoy the show.

December 2020

In-depth | 5

Illustration by Aiden Frazier

Having a blue Christmas? Cozy up with some hot chocolate and watch one of these classics.

What’s at the top of your list? BY COLIN EICH

The smell of pine is in the air; as snow falls lightly to the ground, the sound of a bustling mall overtakes the silence. The Christmas season has started, and the time for holiday shopping has begun. Students will soon be writing up their Christmas lists in hopes of scoring big on December 25. With a wide variety of items to pick from, it may seem near impossible to select a perfect gift. However, Dominic Cyr ‘22, Zach Rapoza ‘21 and Leon Zhu ‘23 have everyone covered as they share what is at the top of their list. Cyr is an avid gamer who participates on the esports team at Mount Michael. This requires him to have top-notch gaming equipment to always be in peak performance. “I want a Corsair K95 Platinum keyboard for Christmas,” Cyr said. “I think it can really improve my gaming experience and ability.” He recommends having it at the top of any Christmas list if the person is a true gamer who wants to play well and have fun while doing it. “The keyboard not only looks cool but also functions way better than most regular ones. This one was designed with gaming in mind,” he said. “It’s a must have for anyone who even remotely plays games.” While equipment is an important piece of gaming, others like Rapoza agree that the game itself is more important. He believes a person can get little to no entertainment from a keyboard or mouse.

“What’s the point of having a new gaming setup if there’s no interesting and amusing games to be played?” he said. Rapoza eagerly awaits to get “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War,” the newest arrival in the Call of Duty franchise that came out November thirteenth. This alluring, upcoming first person shooter is what tops Rapoza’s list as his number one choice of the holiday season. “The trailer for the game looks sick, and I can imagine myself spending hours of time playing this game,” he said. “The new graphics and maps look really fun too which definitely makes it worth getting.” Games, equipment, and other material needs are usually what most kids have in mind as what they want for Christmas; however, Zhu wants something different for Christmas: to see his family back home. “Being a seven day can be lonely at times, and I can get homesick,” he said. “I don’t really care about gifts that much I just really want to be with my family.” While gifts can be a nice thing to get, they do not last forever according to Zhu. He says that the Christmas season is all about being with family and friends, and that is what he wants the most. “Family is one of the most important things in my life. It is what Christmas is really all about,” he said.

Graphics by Jack Sorensen

“I don’t want a lot for Christmas. I just really want to be able to hug my grandma again.”


“As I get older my Christmas wishes get bigger (more expensive). My number one wish would be to get a “Flotation Sensory Deprivation Tank.” Which I am guessing almost everyone would have no idea what that is. Basically, it is a fully enclosed tank or pod that blocks out all light/sound and is filled with a magnesium salt (Epsom salt) and water solution. The concentration of magnesium salt is so high that you literally float on the water.”


“I want a bunch of running stuff for Christmas, like BOA shorts and a new jacket because I love cross country so much.”


Features | 6

The Mount

After 22 years, Raabe’s days still never dull

Administrative assistant Gail Raabe chats while giving blood in the gym. Raabe has been facilitating this event since she began at Mount Michael almost twenty-two years ago.

As the school completes another fall blood drive during this unprecedented year, the event and its coordinator have been a constant presence long before the construction of the DJ Sokol Learning for Life Building and even the arrival of head of school, David Peters. Working in her twenty-second year at the school, administrative assistant Gail Raabe has been in charge of the blood drive “for a long time.” “The blood drive is so important because it’s a gift you can give someone; it’s a gift of life,” Raabe said. “My hope for

the students at Mount Michael is that they would seriously consider donating. All I ask is that they try and experience it once. What a wonderful gift you can give someone and it doesn’t cost you a dime.” Raabe grew up in West Point, Nebraska and attended Wayne State College. She landed a job in Omaha at Norwest Bank [Wells Fargo] working in corporate and investment banking divisions for twelve years. “I loved my jobs at the bank, but it was getting to the point where I was bringing more work home at night,” Raabe said. “My kids were little and starting school, so I just wanted to have a schedule similar to theirs.” This led her to apply and interview for a job at a place that was relatively unknown to her beyond the name: Mount Michael. “Yes, I have been here forever,” Raabe said. “I remember interviewing with Brian Osborne who was the past principal at the time. He asked me personal questions to see if I would fit in with all the personalities, and he talked about what a typical day would look like for me.” Raabe took the job in May of 1998 and has been making connections ever since. “Mrs. Raabe is extremely valuable; we could not run the school without her,” Peters said. “She knows so many students and staff who have worked here over the years. She is very caring, thoughtful, professional and has a great sense of humor and smile for everyone she meets.” Since 1998, her job has evolved and expanded with the

needs and direction of the school. What started out as a receptionist role involving report cards and nurse affairs, has turned into a position entailing a plethora of tasks that keep the school running. “I’m telling you, my day is never dull,” Raabe said. “I work on class schedules, report cards, dean’s lists, the school calendar, bulletins, reports, conferences, diplomas, and rosters for athletic events.” During her time as an administrative assistant, Raabe watched her son, Garrett, make memories and graduate from Mount Michael in 2015. “One of my favorite times at Mount Michael was my son’s senior year,” Raabe said. “Just being a part of his journey, going to all his games, watching him compete in the state basketball tournament, seeing him graduate and watch him grow and develop relationships was special.” Raabe describes Mount Michael as a “lifetime of friendship.” Her favorite part of her job is interacting with the community in hopes to impact their lives in one way or another. “In my experience, Mrs. Raabe is very laid back and fun when she is talking with students in classrooms and in the halls,” Matthew Collins ‘21 said “It is apparent to me that she is a very calming presence that never seems to lose her temper.” Collins recognizes the role she plays on campus. “I think most people do not know how important she is to the school because most of the work she does is behind the scenes,” he said.

Seniors give underclassmen ACT tips and tricks for success

Nihsen brings unique style, perspective to freshmen class


BY SAWYER THOMPSON To be most effective, many suggest several tactics to study for the ACT, such as taking a course and taking practice tests by yourself like Storch did. “I took the Three Moms and a Test course, which taught me the type of questions on the ACT, but then took a lot of practice tests by myself so I could work on the types of questions I struggled with,” Storch said. Some Omaha courses other than “Three Moms and a Test”, include: Varsity Tutors, Aim High, and Huntington Center. A tip the seniors mentioned across the board was that the tests from each year are similar in format and question, meaning they can be predictable. “Once you know what type of questions are going to be asked, it becomes a lot easier,” Stringer said. “If I was an underclassman, I would spend time understanding the basics of the test, so I am not surprised when taking it.” There are also tricks to help on test day. “The things I need are a huge breakfast in the morning, a lot of sleep the night before, and water and snacks to help me during the test,” Stringer said. Due to Covid19 many more colleges waived standardized test scores temporarily and are considering not using them in the future; however, the test is still a reality for students here. The ACT is used for more than just college acceptance. The higher the ACT, the higher the chance of being awarded more money in scholarship. “If I was an underclassman I would definitely prepare for it and study, but I wouldn’t sweat about it too much,” Storch said. “It’s not the end of the world.” Illustration by Aiden Frazier

Even though colleges have begun to “de-emphasize” the ACT according to Elissa Nadworny for NPR, seniors still have advice for mastering the test. As seniors come to a close in their college acceptance experience, memories of preparing for the test are still present. “It’s difficult if you look at it in the big picture, and I remember it causing me a lot of stress at first,” Dane Storch ‘21 said. “It is very overwhelming at first, but if you stay calm and collected you’ll be fine.” Storch and other seniors believe that the test becomes less intimidating the more prepared you get. There are various ways of preparing for the test. Seniors stressed figuring out what works best for each individual. “I took a class on it which really helped. It was really beneficial that I got individual training to take these tests,” Will Stringer ‘21 said. While Stringer took a class, Kaleb Brink ‘21 prepared by himself through watching videos online about grammar rules and math. “Well, I learn best by myself, so watching youtube videos gave me a lot of tricks,” Brink said. “Both options can work, but I think this way just suited me better.” He also suggested that anyone preparing to take the real test should take a practice one as well. “Figure out which section has your worst score and then focus primarily on that section because improving it will help your overall score naturally go up, since the ACT is graded by the average of all subjects,” Brink said.

Going through the hallways, it is common to see students wearing Sperrys, tennis shoes, and other varieties of dress shoes. However, for Will Nihsen ‘24, this is not the case. Nihsen reflects his love for country and rodeo by wearing boots and a large belt buckle instead. “From when I was a kid, my dad always put me in boots and jeans and other stuff like that,” Nihsen said. “He got it from my great grandpa, who used to own a farm.” Growing up, Nihsen was surrounded by a farming and country environment. Although he does not live on a farm himself, Nihsen has family members who farm. “My grandpa lived on a farm; Along the trail that looks out over the bluffs, Will we used to always visit them as Nihsen ‘24 feels at home in a cowboy hat, boots and well, “ Nihsen said. “One of my western style jeans. Coldiron said. “Our plans for the future favorite rodeo memories is the are very different, but it has not changed Annual Sarpy County Fair.” our friendship.” Nihsen has high hopes to pursue a Nihsen grew up in Gretna, eventually country life. moving to the Millard area. He attended “I just like the country aspect more, Palisades and Wheeler Elementary, later and after high school, there are some attending Beadle Middle School. Howevoptions,” he said. “One of which may be er, Nihsen felt the small, Catholic school participating in rodeo, or I might have style of teaching would be best for his my own farm.” future. Transitioning to high school can be “The small classes brought me to hard. However, Nihsen has had no probMount Michael,” he said, “In fact, my lem developing relationships even with favorite part of Mount Michael is the his unique style. small classes.” “I think his style is awesome,” Nick Throughout the year, Nihsen has Coldiron ‘24 said. “I do want to go attracted positive attention from other hunting or do other activities with him students and teachers. sometime. I just think it’s really cool “Will has a unique perspective on to have a more diverse community at life,” computer applications teacher Gina Mount Michael.” Fosco said. “I am a curious, visual perNihsen believes that the school son, so when I noticed Will’s belt buckles will help him in his future career even it just seemed natural to ask him why though his plans are different than most he chose to wear them. His answer, that of his classmates. he hopes to compete in rodeo when he “He told me he wants to take over graduates, surprised me and I appreciated his grandpa’s farm with his cousin, also learning about his unique passion.” doing the business side of the farm,”

Photo by Sawyer Thompson

Photo by Kyle Pelan


December 2020

Sports | 7

Collins chases collegiate baseball career BY GRIFF WYSE

Photo by Jack Sorensen

“I’ve been playing baseball on a team for 11 years now, but my first memories of it were way before that, playing catch in the backyard with my brother Patrick,” Collins said. “I always played up in Patrick’s leagues growing up, and that definitely pushed me to be a better player. His experience and knowledge of the game has always been helpful as well.” Patrick Collins ‘19 is the fourth child in a long line of Collins family members to attend Mount Michael and is now playing baseball at Creighton University. Matthew hopes to follow in his brother’s footsteps and pursue a baseball career in college. “College baseball in general would just be a really good experience to be a part of a Matt Collins ‘21 squats in the weight room with the help of Quinn McMahon ‘21. The baseball team meets after school to lift and run for winter training. Please note team and compete at a really this photo was taken in January of 2020, before COVID mask mandates. high level,” he said. “My ideal situation in college would be to A lot of people’s passions come to an end in highschool. not get injured and really develop and improve in my first Whether it be sports, choir, or theatre, not many people are fortunate enough to pursue these interests in college or two years and hopefully transfer out to a better, possibly D1 school.” in their careers. Matthew Collins ‘21, hopes to turn years After suffering a groin strain this summer as a result of playing baseball into college play time.

of a lifting injury, Collins has been working in the weight room to prepare himself for his final season at the Mount. “The only school I have really been in contact with so far is Benedictine College. Having been hurt the past few months has stopped me from contacting other colleges as I don’t really have anything to show for yet,” he said. Collins has played under the coaching of head baseball coach Tom Swanson since freshman year. “He came in with a good knowledge of the game, but has increased that so much. I think he is definitely one of our most intelligent players,” Swanson said. “It’s his situational intelligence in which he can act quickly and doesn’t need to process it.” Swanson worked with Collins to develop his game throughout his high school career, but as his senior year approaches, things will be coming to an end for both Collins and Swanson. “My biggest hope is that he finds a place where he is comfortable and given an opportunity to play the game he loves. He certainly hasn’t reached his full potential, and if he is given the opportunity, his best baseball is still in front of him,” Swanson said. Eli Crnkovich ‘21, who also hopes to play college ball, and Collins have been playing together since freshman year. “We both just want to play to be honest; we love the game and really just want to play as long as we can,” Crnkovich said. “I really want both of us to stay healthy but really for us to develop and become the best players we can be.”

Soccer uses off-season leagues to improve It’s not uncommon to walk through a neighborhood and see young people practicing their ball handling skills, be it baseball, basketball or soccer. For players on the soccer team, club soccer season fills that role. “The club season really gives me a chance to work on my craft and improve my fundamentals,” Jurgen Beller ‘22 said. “It’s a time where I can focus on what I need to work on the most.” Beller plays for Omaha Sporting Football Club, which is just one of the many club teams in the Omaha area. Ryan Brown ‘21 plays for Omaha United and Drew VanHaute ‘23 plays for Azzurri. All three claim the relationships they form are one of their favorite parts of the experience. “I really love how I get to be around lots of different people while playing for Azzurri,” VanHaute said. “I get to see my friends from past teams and some of the people I know from high school.” For many who play club soccer, they find that they are playing with some of the best around the state. This proves to be one of the most enticing parts for Brown. “Competing nonstop against the best of the best challenged me to work harder and never give up,” he said. “Keeping up with kids better than me pushed me to go 110 percent compared to just being lazy and not taking it seriously.” Playing on these select teams not only gives the players the chance to play the best in Omaha but around the country as well. “I’ve been lucky enough to play teams all over the Midwest,” Beller said. “I’ve met kids from places like Colorado, Missouri and even California.” For these athletes, they are hoping that this training will lead to success when the spring season begins.. “I feel that all of this work is going to make us a very strong team come springtime,” VanHaute said. “This combined with the winter conditioning we’ve been doing is really going to make us a contender.”

Photo courtesy of Ryan Brown


Ryan Brown ‘21 dribbles past a defender in an Omaha United club soccer game. Brown’s team is a three-time tournament champion.

These are team members that have been training hard for over a year with the cancellation of spring sports. They are hoping that all of these efforts lead to something the soccer team has not done since 2014. “I fully expect us to make it to state this year,” Brown said. “We have more passionate players and we have something to prove. I expect great things from us seniors and from our underclassmen. I hope some will step up and show leadership qualities.”

Wrestlers overcome safety restrictions to prepare for season BY NICK DAVIS Of all the winter sports, wrestling may have the closest contact although most matches end within a few minutes, but in the age of COVID19 this can be stressful. “During the offseason, we have been going about a fine middle line of getting the necessary work in while also following Covid guidelines such as wearing masks as much as possible on the mat and properly spacing people out when stretching and working,” team captain Cameron Detwiler ‘21 said. The NSAA [Nebraska School Activities Association] released a list of guidelines that the players, coaches, and spectators must comply with during winter sports. These are the latest guidelines: “Participants are permitted but not required to wear face coverings during competition. Coaches and non-active participants are required to wear face coverings at all

times. Spectators are required to wear face coverings at all times while attending indoor events.” The website also stated that they must clean frequently touched objects,that the bench should be limited to only essential people, and that players, officials, and coaches must maintain physical distance when possible. However, with wrestling being a close contact sport, the team is planning on extra precautions to ensure the safety of everyone participating. “During the season, I see more of the same precautions taken during the off-season but also the use of disinfectant lotion in order to combat anything getting people sick through scratches and skin,” Detwiler said. They also found other ways to socially distance the wrestlers. “We had the groups split out by weight so that we can

keep the mats spread out,” Taggart Crouse ‘23 said. Despite these times of confusion and uncertainty for the winter sports season, the players and team are still hopeful and have set goals for motivation. “Our team made a few goals during our mindset training: We want five guys to go to state, an average gpa of 3.0, and to win a tournament,” Crouse ‘23 said. “My goals are to have a win record above .250 and place at one or more tournaments.” The team understands the challenges ahead and hopes their mentality will provide an edge. “I think we are going to face changes and challenges throughout the season,” head coach Bob Sullivan said. “These will be out of our control. We must handle them and be able to wrestle our best no matter what situation comes up. It will really be a mental challenge.”

Entertainment | 8

The Mount

Brothers share MM experiences

Students drip out BY LUKE GUTSCHEWSKI

Photos by Liam West


Leonel Chacon ‘23 “I would describe my style as something simple but captive, I never put too much thought on it I just wear whatever I feel comfortable with.”

David Drews ‘22 “The biggest things I think about are the shoes and then the overall color palette of the outfit, because shoes can make or break an outfit and consistent color pairings always look nice.”

Heard Around the Hallway Matt Collins ‘21: “Everyone loved my beard at baseball this summer.” Lincoln Badley ‘21: “The other teams literally called you Moses!”

Liam West ‘21: “All the freshmen sent me Nelson Mandela quotes for Heard Around the Hallway!” John Roshone: “How large of a population increase are we talking about in Europe at this time?” Airan Lopez ‘21: “Like a lot of millions.”

Henry Hohman ‘21 “When it comes to style, I just try to be different. I try to not be worried about what others will think. I try to wear stuff that fits my body type and makes me look drippy.”