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We st side Hig h Sch ool

Volume Two Issue One 10-13-10

Volume Two | Issue One | Westside High School | 10/13/10

Table of Contents Letter from the Editor:

pg. 04

Jane Rock: Behind the Lens

This is the first issue of the second volume of Craze. This year brings new ideas to the previous entertainment and fashion magazine. We have shifted gears and primarily focus on personal profiles. So we want to place a spotlight on exceptional individuals who have a story that many people are unaware of. This issue, we have centered upon three individuals, two students and one staff member, to get a sense of the intriguing diversity Westside High School is thriving with. If you have any questions, ideas of others that should be featured, or concerns, feel free to stop by room 251, or email Samantha Berger via First Class. Thanks and enjoy Craze!

pg. 08

Katie Washburn: An Unexpected Struggle

pg. 12 Mr. Weers:


The Family Man


Sammy Berger Editor-in-Chief

Craze is a school sponsored publication of Westside High School. Westside Community Schools, 8701 Pacific St., Omaha, NE 68114. Craze is located in room 251. Phone (402) 393-2659. Craze is an in-house production. The magazine is distributed quarterly. Advertising rates are available upon request. Craze staff reserves the right not to publish any ads that are libelous or that contain non-factual information. Craze staff also reserves the right to nullify contracts at any time wihtout prior notification. Craze also refuses activities that promote activities illegal to a majority of the student readership. Reader response is welcomed in the form of letters to the editor. Letters should be sent to room 251. Craze editors will decide to honor such requests. Craze is a member of the Nebraska High School Press Association, and the Quill & Scroll Society. Craze staff recognizes that the administration of Westside Community Schools controls the curriculum and, thus, sets the parameters of the production process of school publications. Craze staff also recognizes its own responsiblities to inform, enlighten and entertain its readers in a way that reflects high standards of journalism, morals and ethics.

Jane Rock Behind the Lens


fter much preparation, the model’s hair had been teased up to great heights, makeup transformed her facial features, and she was zipped into a black and white polka dot dress. She was led over to a black backdrop with a plain cardboard box positioned in front. The photographer instructed the model to place her hands behind her head and arrange her legs in an edgy pose. The model pouted her lips and half closed her eyes. Once everything was perfect, the photographer, senior Jane Rock, raised the Rebel XS digital camera, adjusted the


lens and pressed on the shutter release button. “Photography is my passion,” Rock said. “When people ask what I’ve been placed on the earth to do, I tell them it is to take pictures.” Rock had been exposed to photography at a young age. Her family, especially her mom, supports and encourages Rock. “We have huge boxes of pictures,” Rock said. “My mom always had her camera with her and she would take pictures of everything. She was the one that taught me about photography.”

Rock had been exposed to photography at a young age. Her family, especially her mom, supports and encourages Rock. “We have huge boxes of pictures,” Rock said. “My mom always had her camera with her and she would take pictures of everything. She was the one that taught me about photography.” When Rock was in third grade, she received a photography book for kids. Her mom explained everything in the book to Rock, which is when she started to get interested in photography. “Not only did she inspire me, but she taught me the basics,” Rock said. Rock’s mom helps to buy equipment for her and helps her in any way she can. Rock’s sister, sophomore Cat Rock, also supports Rock by acting as a model. “I really like working with Jane because sometimes it doesn’t even really seem like a photo shoot since it’s so casual,” Cat Rock said. “She’s such a great photographer. In her final selection, she won’t choose any pictures that don’t flatter you, and she’ll touch up anything that doesn’t look perfect. She only chooses the best, and even if that means that I only get a couple pictures out of a photo shoot, they’re all great quality.” Although photography was only a hobby several years ago, Rock was recently able to begin expanding her passion into a business. “Jane Rock Photography is slowly becoming bigger and bigger,” Rock said. “People do pay me, so I consider it my job and business.” If someone requests a photo shoot, they would be charged, but if Rock asks for them to model, they would be given a free photo shoot. “It’s a smart way to do it,” said Cat Rock.


“There is a such a variety! I like the smooth, yet worn looking floor, and the texture of the bricks against the wooden doors with the iron hinges. It’s so random and different,” says Rock.

A photo from Jane Rock’s portfolio. For more, visit her website,

“When people ask what I’ve been placed on the earth to do, I tell them it is to take pictures.”

Rock is captured taking a photo of a flower. She enjoys taking pictures of a wide variety of objects.

Cat Rock, Jane's little sister is posing for her. "My favorite part of this picture is that it's different and it definitely stands out from other photographers' picture. “I love my sister's hair. We spent over an hour teasing it and even longer trying to get it out!" says Jane.

“But, it means that I don’t get many free photo shoots.” Currently, Rock typically gets younger kids and teens for clients. “My style is directed towards a younger hip and edgy crowd,” Rock said. “I like the creativity allowed with that age group, I like to be as creative as possible. I don’t want to do things that people have already done. I love photographing people with a lot of charisma and who aren’t afraid to model. The people who really go for it are the most fun to work with.” In the future, Rock wants to study photography as a major in college, and would someday like to become successful by having her own studio to expand her business. “I don’t want to be stuck doing weddings and senior portraits my whole life,” Rock said. “I want to work with models and high fashion, do commercial things. I want people to look at my photos and have them look up to me and get inspired by my work.” Cat Rock exhibits pride and admiration to her sister, and is able to see the devotion to Rock’s photography. “I’m really proud that she’s doing so great already,” Cat Rock said. “Photography is something that she’s always loved doing, so the fact that she’s still sticking with it and that she’s already starting her career so early in life is pretty amazing.” Even though Rock has made photography her way to make money, it doesn’t seem like work. It is her passion. “I am completely in love with it,” Rock said. “The thing that I’ve always loved about taking pictures is that you keep the moment that you’re capturing and you can look back at it for generations.”

Story by Kate Liang; Design by Lilly Phillips; Photography by Jocelyn Mormann and Jane Rock

An unexpected struggle


n November of 2008, Kaitlin Washburn, then in 8th grade, was informed she had become infected with Hotchkins Lymphoma. While ordinary middle school girls played with friends or participated in sports, Washburn would be found at Children’s Hospital, receiving regular scans, x-rays and chemotherapy treatments. Although her friends and family were supportive, the news was tough to bear,


“I thought I was going to die,” Washburn said. Hotchkins Lymphoma responds to chemotherapy well, with a success rate above 90 percent. As a result, the treatments were able to cure Washburn in just over one year. Washburn’s chemotherapy cycle consisted of 3 days in the hospital with an IV, then a shot the following week, every 3 weeks. Washburn considers her dad her strongest supporter.

Overcoming the battle “My dad was always there for my chemo and would take me to Subway afterwards, where I get a 6-inch with turkey, lettuce, pickles and mayo; my favorite.” During her long days in the hospital Washburn could be found doing her homework or talking to her friends over email. Washburn’s upbeat attitude impressed everyone. Doctors, nurses, friends and family admired the smile on her face day after day. “The cleaning lady remembers me because I would talk to her and make her laugh because I would talk to her and try to act gangster,” Washburn said with a smile, “She was my hospital buddy.” Washburn shared a special relationship with her because she was there daily. Their enjoyment of the same music brought them together. Teachers were flexible with Washburn’s situation. They would send Washburn assignments via email and when she wasn’t in the hospital, Washburn would go in after school to take tests or to receive extra help. Washburn takes part in cancer awareness today by participating in runs and walks. Spreading awareness is something that Washburn takes very seriously. She also volunteers on Saturdays at Immanuel Hospital doing things such as: helping out with day care, baking snacks and making blankets for patients. Her illness has opened her heart to want to help people who are going through a difficult time, just as she did. “I just want people to be more aware because people don’t know about many


I just want people to be more aware because people don’t know about many different kinds of cancers.

Washburn follows along during Earth Space class. When going through chemotheraphy, teachers sent her assignments to help her maintain her grades.

different kinds of cancers,” Washburn said. Washburn also receives exams for breast cancer often because the risk of her developing it is 5 percent higher than that of an average girl. Cancer is also something that runs in her family, creating an even higher risk. Her grandpa, aunt and uncle have each had some form of cancer. Looking beyond the bump Washburn had in her life, she returned to school, participating in clubs such as Student Advisory Board, Gay Straight Alliance, Spanish Club and Yellow ribbon club. Looking even further into the future Washburn hopes to pursue a career in graphic engineering. “I just enjoy doing artsy things,” Washburn said. An i-Movie that Washburn created in 9th grade English is what led her into design. “I got lots of compliments on my movie, and that’s what motivates me to be a graphic designer, Washburn said.

Sophomore, Katie Washburn leans up against a bus outside of Westside High School. Outside of school she can be found volunteering at Immanuel Hospital helping patients. Story by Katherine Lincoln; Design by Megan Ulrich; Photographs by Jocelyn Mormann


The Family Man


e returns home from work, only to see his newly adopted son crawl towards him, with a smile on his face. The boy is still learning what it means to have a mother and a father and siblings that love him. This was a child who hadn’t known such things

in the first year of his life. In that moment, Tony Weers, assistant principal of Westside High School, wasn’t concerned if his adopted son knew him as father. Weers felt excitement that his son recognized him, that he liked him, that he felt comfortable with him.

Weers and his family went through four years of preparation in order to adopt a new child into their family, Haven Tadios, a young boy from Ethiopia. His middle name, Tadios, was his Ethiopian name. The Weers family went through extensive preparation in becoming a transracial family. “Long before he came home, we started talking about it with the children […], attending adoption seminars, watching adoption related movies,” Weers said. Adoption isn’t the only thing of heavy importance in Weers’ life.


“I’ve got four kids that mean the world to me,” Weers said. Weers dedicates his life to his four children: Trinity—an 8-year-old girl, Justice—a 6-year-old boy, Simeon—a 4-year-old boy and Haven—a 1-year-old boy. “My family absolutely comes before work,” Weers said. Weers is well aware that his children pay attention to how he lives his life both at work and the community. Because of this, he pays close attention to how his actions portray himself. “[They] affect pretty much everything I do, from trying to live a healthy lifestyle, to being a role model at home for my kids,” Weers said.



“I’ve got four kids that mean the world to me.” -Tony Weers

Weers’ background has certainly played a leading role in his commitment to family. His parents had a heavy influence on his life, especially due to his biological mother’s death. Weers’ biological mother passed away when he was in 5th grade as a result of leukemia. His father remarried to his step mom when he was in middle school. “Losing my mom at a pretty young age and my step mom coming into our family and the support that she was able to provide for me along with my dad as our family grew together really helped shape me,” Weers said. As a parent, his mother’s death has made him grateful for every day he has with his

children. Weers can’t help but think he’s older now than his mother was when she passed away. “It’s not that I’m afraid that I’m dying but the fact that she died when she was pretty young and missed out on a lot experiences in my life and never had the privilege to meet any of my children really does make me grateful for the all the experiences my kids are able to have and the experiences I’m able to have with them,” Weers said. Not only did Weers’ childhood influence his view towards family, but his chosen career path. “I wanted to be a football player, like a lot of young boys do,” Weers said. “I wanted to be a professional athlete just like everybody, but I didn’t quite grow as tall or as big as that profession required me to.” Despite his physical disadvantages, football helped lead Weers into education.


Weers attended Dana College, where he played football. While at Dana, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education and Health, with a Kindergarten through 12th grade teaching endorsement. He went on to earn a Master’s Degree at Doane College in Education Leadership. He is currently in the process of earning a Doctorate Degree at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Education became Weers’ focus primarily because of a certain high school teacher. “I had a high school teacher, like a lot of people who choose education do, [..] that had a catch phrase, ‘take pride in all you do’,” Weers said. Remembering his catch phrase entering college caused Weers to think about what he could take pride in. He decided that he wanted to take pride in teaching and education. After earning his Bachelor’s Degree, Weers taught a year overseas in a Kindergarten through 8th grade school on the tropical island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana islands. While there, he taught several subjects. “I taught K-8 physical education and 6th, th 7 and 8th grade math and health,” Weers said. “In addition, because of the nature of the school, I was the activities coordinator for the school.”

After teaching in Saipan, Weers moved to a school district in Pierre City, MO. “I taught a variety of courses and coached a variety sports […] because of the nature and size of the school,” Weers said. Weers coached middle school girls volleyball, basketball and track, along with middle school boys basketball and varsity football. Weers also had the opportunity to direct two plays with his wife, who taught in the same school district at the time. Weers’ work as a coach and teacher in these school districts sparked interest in leadership roles, eventually bringing him to Westside Community Schools. Weers originally was part of the administration at Westside Middle School, but transferred to Westside High School. He is now in his fourth year at Westside High School. Weers misses being both a coach and teacher but has reached a point where he would not choose to go back to them. “The jobs are enough alike that they both provide a great satisfaction,” Weers said. “I get a lot of satisfaction out of what I do at the high school now and getting to be a part of things on a bigger scale, rather than just the department I taught in before or the teams that I coached.” Another strong point of Weers’ position is he can simply enjoy the athletics he loves, as opposed to worrying about exchanging films or developing practice plans.



Weers and his family adopted son, Haven, from Ethiopia in late August of this year. He and his wife had thought about adoption even while they were dating. “After our 4-year-old son was born, we started researching adoption options,” Weers said. “Initially, we were interested in domestic adoption.” However, Weers and his wife were counseled by staff at the Nebraska Children’s Home to consider international adoption. This was because they had placed very few children in homes like the Weers family, where 3 children were already living there. “We started reading about our international adoption options and the more we read about the country Ethiopia, the more we were drawn to it,” Weers said. Part of this was because of several statistics Weers found through research. “One source stated that there were 5 million orphans in Ethiopia,” Weers said. “The fastest rate of completing adoptions in Ehtiopia I could find was that they were placing children in homes at a rate of 20,000 orphans per year.” Weers calculated this, and found that at this rate, if no more children were orphaned, it would take over 200 years for all those children to be placed in homes. Weers felt that his family prepared as much as they could, especially in the situation of an

international adoption. His family relied on many of their family friends who are adoptive parents, several of which are transracial families. Weers felt it is very helpful to have a network of friends to experience adoption with. Weers didn’t do much of the actual paperwork, as he noted his wife did 98% of the paperwork. However, this process started two and a half years ago. In August of 2009, they had completed the first portion of the paperwork and were waiting for a child to be referred to their family. Weers and his family were finally referred to Haven in May of 2010. Four to six weeks after Weers received the referral, in July of 2010, he and his wife traveled to Ethiopia for a required court date. They were in Ethiopia for only 48 hours, spending the majority of the time with their son. On the morning of the second day, they appeared before an Ethiopian magistrate. This was the point where both Weers and his wife were required to declare, in person, that they still wanted to adopt the boy. In Ethiopia, this measure is taken to ensure a complete adoption. The magistrate then declares that he is legally their son, and they sign several documents. After another month passed, they returned to Ethiopia to bring their son home in August of 2010. This trip, Weers and his wife stayed for a week, spending the majority of their time finalizing everything. They were required to go to the United

“[My 4-year-old son] was very excited that when Haven gets older, he would be able to teach him Amaric,” Weers said. “He was upset and cried real tears when he found out that his brother would lose his language and culture.” States Embassy and interview for their son’s visa and passport. Upon approval, they were allowed to return to the United States. Weers and his wife had considered bringing their oldest child with them on this trip, but decided against it for various reasons. Both Weers and his wife intend to one day bring the entire family to visit Ethiopia.


Weers and his wife are undecided about adoption in the future, but adoption will definitely be something they are passionate about. For their first adoption, they didn’t care the gender. However, if they were to adopt again, they would adopt a girl, as they had promised their daughter they would do so. Foster care is another option that Weers and his wife have considered, though it will become an option they consider more seriously when their own children have grown up. “I think the main thing my wife and I want is our children to be productive and have a positive contribution on the community,” Weers said. Weers wants to have the same impact on his new son as he does his other kids, wanting the best for them in life. Of course, every situation has its downsides.

Weers’s children enjoy spending time with each other outside. From top to bottom: Trinity, 8, Justice, 6, Simeon, 4, and Haven, 1.

Story by Emily Klimisch; Design by Kate Kutilek; Photographs by Jocelyn Mormann

Craze, Issue 1  

Issue #1 of Westside High School Magazine's Craze

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