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The Wildcat Roar November 2011
Inside the issue
Westminster Christian Academy
I I I
State Champs! State Champions The Lady Wildcat golf team concluded their undefeated season finishing first place in state.
A Plea for Game Day Uniforms p. 3 Brooke Cusumano, junior
As the brisk wind cheeks, the five golfers stepped up gripped their clubs
Adan Larraga Manzano p. 13
Romeo and Juliet preview p. 14
Margaret Moore, senior
chilled their Westminster to the tee, and swung
away. The team that qualified for the state tournament consisted of Maggie Mauze, senior, Margaret Moore, senior, Brooke Cusumano, junior, Ciara Younger, junior, Jordan Wolf, sophomore, and runner up, Rachael Gantner, senior. These five girls were favored in the tournament and were told many times that they were going to win. “I just kept telling them to take it one day at a time, one match at a time, and one stroke at a time,” said Steve Bradley, coach. The adventure began when the team, along with their parents, showed up for the practice round on Sunday at Silo Ridge Golf
Maggie Mauze, senior
Course, in Bolivar, Missouri. The girls were tired and worn out which led to an interesting round. “Before the practice round, we all ordered these disgusting burgers, and then Coach Janssen was driving fast on all these tight roads. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty,” said Cusumano. “It was dreadful,” said Wolf. The rough practice round did not stick with the girls. The team quickly erased that from their heads and played the game they knew how to play. The alarm sounded at 6:20 A.M. the following day, and the girls dragged themselves out of bed and headed to breakfast. The tired five consumed chocolate covered donuts, toasted bagels with cream cheese, blueberry muffins and orange juice. Coach Bradley said a few words, prayed, and the team was off. A couple drives, pitches, and putts later, the team came back together with smiles on their faces. The girls were forty-one shots ahead of the next team and were in
All photos by: Rachael Gantner Ciara Younger, junior
Jordan Wolf, sophomore
control. “After the first day I felt like were going to pull it off without question,” said Mauze. As the second day came around, the girls rolled out of bed and met again in the breakfast lounge. The girls were informed that this day was going to be different from the previous. Mothers came downstairs with extra jackets and filled the girls pockets with hand warmers and gloves. The second round was to be played on a wet course, in a biting air and in 30mile per hour wind. “The air was heavy and colder, making it difficult for those who had high ball flight, and the greens were a little more challenging because of the rain, but everyone out there had to deal with the same thing,” said Younger. A crowd of about 150 cold and bundled moms, dads, siblings, friends and grandparents gathered around the eighteenth green to watch the last groups finish their round. Hearts were pounding, feet were pacing, and the dream of
becoming the new District 1, Class 1, state champions was getting closer and closer. The crowd applauded Cusumano and the girls in her group as they tapped in their final putts of the season. The pin was placed in the cup and the tournament was completed. “I was relieved and felt like I could finally breathe again,” said Cusumano. The Westminster team finished in first place with 91 strokes separating them from the second place team. Cusumano led the Wildcats and placed first, with her teammates close behind her. One by one, the girls on the Westminster team were called up to receive their medals. The girls hugged their parents, expressed gratitude towards fellow friends on opposing teams, packed their clubs up and drove home. “Overall I am proud of the humility my team had when they could have let success make them arrogant. I am thrilled that we accomplished what we know we could,” said Bradley.
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Fall Sports Recap p. 18
Brooke Cusumano, junior, and Margaret, senior, moore kiss the state trophy.
2 OPINIONS Rewriting A Better Westminster, Just The Past Add Leaders
Westminster Christian Academy
Nicholas Sparks, A New York Times #1 bestseller, recently released his eighteenth novel,The Best of Me, and it is a sure to be hit. Nicholas Sparks, a #1 New York Times bestseller, has published another sure to be hit. The Best of Me was released in stores on October 11, 2011. Most of the book takes place in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. It is a heart rending story about former high school sweethearts who get the chance to pick up where they left off, but there’s a catch. Neither have led the life that they had imagined living. Fate throws them back together unexpectedly. They both want a chance to start over where they left off, but some things are easier said then done. A good portion of the book leaves the reader wondering if they both have changed too much to rekindle their former high school flame or if they really always
have been each others’ perfect matches. Once you open the book, it is almost impossible to put down. There are new surprises on each page that leave you wanting more. From the moment you meet the characters, you will immediately fall in love. All of the characters have very realistic traits that are relatable to readers, teenagers and adults alike. The book deals with first loves, family struggles and staying faithful. It also deals with the pains of growing up . Each of the characters deal with trying to be an individual and follow the path that they want to take instead of the path their parents or family want them on. The characters are very lovable. Since they go through the struggles of every day life, they are easy to relate to. The characters follow their heart at some times and go with their gut feelings at others. They make unpredictable decisions that many readers may question, but in the end, the decisions they make work out for the better. The story takes you through many realistic struggles that every
Photo by: Jessica Johnson
day Americans go through. It deals with family struggles, alcoholic problems, cheating, trying to raise a family, and many other struggles along the path of going from being a teenager to an adult. The book moves at a steady pace and answers all of the reader’s questions as it goes along. Every couple chapters there is a flashback to help fill in the blank spots of the story that help you get to know the characters better with each look at the past. Like some of Sparks’s older novels, there is an element of danger that follows the characters throughout the entire story. The story is very suspenseful and unpredictable. The book tugs at every emotion and makes the reader sympathize with each of the characters. The book takes readers through a series of want and wonder and leaves them desperate to know more. The love that they felt for each other has not gone away and it leaves them digging a deeper and deeper hole. They want to be together, but a lot has changed and the circumstances now are different then they were back then. They do not know how to go about handling the situation that they are in now. The story comes down to whether you should follow your heart and your emotions or if you should think with your head. The book shows a test of true love and looks to answer the question if a true love can be rekindled. The book gives you an insight into your own life and makes you answer the questions for yourself. Would you choose your one true love or the life you have already made for yourself? The book is not left open ended. At the beginning of the book, many questions begin to form, but by the end, every question is answered. Nicholas Sparks is the master of endings. No matter how the story turns out, it is always for the better. You may question the ending at times, but by the last sentence of the book it always sheds a new light on the story that plays out the ending in a different way. The Best of Me is no different and will not leave you disappointed.
Westminster could be taken to the next level with an increase in student leadership Leadership is a funny idea. Everyone knows people that are in leadership positions with no business being there. Everyone knows people with no official title, whose authority everyone listens to. Leadership is less about a position and more about an aura. Students, teachers, politicians, businessmen, anyone with an attitude and demeanor that exudes confidence and ability is tapped to make tough decisions and make the impossible happen. That’s the reality of the world. So, where do we go from there? Knowing that leadership has been reduced to a firm handshake and some witty one-liners, what is our responsibility as people who want to become Christian leaders in the world? The world is having a leadership crisis. There is a shortage of good Christian men and women standing up to face the problems of the world. That’s not to say that there is no one who is doing anything. There are an encouraging amount of leaders out there. The more concerning number is the amount of people doing nothing. Today a teenager’s life is filled with their school schedule, various athletics or extracurricular activities, and maybe an episode or two of the latest NBC sitcom before crashing in bed. Imagine the time that we waste. Imagine what great influence we could have, even in one or two friend’s life. If instead of pursuing that next level of Modern Warfare we pursued the next level of closeness with people we claim are our friends, imagine what Westminster would look like. Imagine a Westminster where people had fun on Friday night, sure. But the next day they got up and volunteered for something other that NHS duty. That’s what leadership is all about, doing something. People who fail to lead the way they could often fall back on the tired excuse for inaction: “I’m leading by example.” There is no problem with the philosophy of living out what you claim to believe but “leading by example” isn’t about not doing drugs or not cheating on tests. If you’re going to lead, do something. Go out of your way to encourage someone who looks like they’re having a bad day. Open the door or carry the books of someone who is obviously stressed. No one remembers great leaders for what they didn’t do; men and women of action like Winston Churchill or Mother Teresa are revered. Now it’s obvious you’re not fighting any wars or saving any lives here at Westminster. However, there are people here in need of a smile or encouraging word. A friendly greeting or quick compliment could make someone’s day. In his iconic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie advised “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain—and most do.” He advised that the best way to maintain healthy relationships and lead people was to focus less on negativity and more on earnest encouragement. A Westminster where compliments fly through the hallways instead of the gossip and judgment that accompany the average high school would do incredible good for the community and the lives of every student who comes through there.
Let’s be honest, Westminster is a pretty good place. We’ve been blessed with a beautiful campus, gifted teachers, and incredible staff. In other ways, Westminster is incredibly typical. That isn’t necessarily a judgment. Most of the criticism you hear about WCA, the deep seeded flaws that people complain about are problems in any average high school. But do we want to be average? God doesn’t call us to be average, he doesn’t call for us to be worldly. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 3:3 he challenges us asking, “For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?” Is Westminster a collection of mere men and women? Or can we be an example of what a Christian school looks like? Defeating hypocrisy, truly loving and showing an invested interest in others, and eliminating the bitter and quarreling language from our daily routine could make this school more than just a beautiful campus with Godly faculty. With solid student leaders Westminster Christian Academy could become a beautiful campus, with Godly faculty, and a uniquely Christian environment.
Knowing that leadership has been reduced to a firm handshake and some witty one-liners, what is our responsibility as people who want to become Christian leaders in the world?
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Beige. Beige. Blue Beige.
OPINIONS 3 and White. Mind Your Own Business
Westminster Christian Academy
Varsity athletes at WCA should have the privilege of wearing game uniforms once a week. Goal, basket, touchdown… All have similar effects: the crowd goes wild, the players rejoice, and the proud coach gives his athlete a pat on the back. It is one thing to hear about a major feat in the
announcements, but a whole other thing to witness it. Let me propose a tweak to the dress code in the hopes of encouraging just that. Let’s let varsity athletes wear their game uniforms to school on game day to promote game attendance. Excitement will spark among the team and this magical thing called “school spirit” will unite Westminster. “People don’t always notice posters, but they notice sixteen girls in cheer uniforms,” said Laura Hamman, senior, captain of the varsity cheer squad. When I was younger, I would fantasize about becoming a cheerleader. When that opportunity came my freshman year of high school, I was more than eager to partake in all of the activities that came with being a cheerleader. I especially loved wearing my uniform to school on game days. Westminster was once part of the many high schools who honored this as a tradition. But day in, day out, we are met by the new standardized dress code which restricts us from continuing to do so. The regulations for wearing game uniforms needs to be discussed and heavily considered
because though it is not allowed in the first place, but athletes would be willing to compromise. “Even if we could just wear team jackets or t-shirts with dress code bottoms it would serve the same purpose,” said Hamman. It seems as if Westminster students have lost some of their past privileges with the transition to the new campus, including being able to wear their game day uniforms. In general, students agree that the new dress code should not restrict them from advantages they had in earlier years. Personally, I miss wearing my cheer uniform on game day. It was refreshing to be identified as more than just another student sitting in a classroom. I felt connected with the squad which generated a strong sense of school spirit. “[In the past] any sport was allowed to wear their uniform. Obviously swimmers were not allowed, so they would wear their jackets,” said Susan Brown, assistant to the deans. Though it seems the option of wearing athletic uniforms to school was taken for granted in the past, if this were to be allowed, athletes would see it as a benefit for their hard work in making the varsity team. Freshman and JV should not be upset about this because their time will come, just as present varsity players had to wait and work toward such a revered distinction. “We as a school try to celebrate success. We try to support all of our athletes, organizations, clubs… as many of our student activities as we possibly can. So to set ourselves apart by wearing gear
on game day seems to open up, ‘Why not JV? Why not band? Why not the JETS club?’ and it goes on and on,” said Jim Sefrit, head of upper school. The viewpoint that once the door is opened to varsity athletes then the problem rises of everyone wanting to get through that door is valid, yet solvable. I understand that standardized dress promotes a better learning environment and gives WCA a clean and polished look, but the benefits of what I am proposing outweigh the costs. It has always been a tradition for sports to wear their uniforms on game days. Though other organizations and clubs should be rightfully recognized, there needs to be a limit on what is allowed. Some sports have three to four games per week so there would be someone out of dress code every day, which would completely contradict the school’s decision to enforce a standardized dress code. Therefore, simply wearing a team jacket or uniform shirt only once a week should prove to be a reasonable compromise, “I’ve worked to be on the football team and it’s great to be able to show it to other people,” said Jonathan Roth, senior. Because it is such a high honor to make the varsity team, those athletes should experience benefits that reward their talent and hard work. Varsity athletes should be the blue and white color that decorates the beige walls at Westminster. They should not only encourage school spirit, but also be the trendsetters of new ways to show it.
Brink Thompson, junior, models ideal football varsity attire for game days.
Thompson wears WCA standard dress.
Kari Ford, junior, models ideal varsity cheer attire for game days.
Ford wears WCA standard dress. Photos by: Jill Coyne
The do’s and don’ts of how to keep your friends accountable To say I’m not perfect would be an understatement. I can be the most horrific little brat when I want to be. I mess up on a daily and sometimes hourly basis (just ask my mother), and when confronted with the fact that I’m pretty flawed, I cringe. It is not because I have this
false idea that I’m great or because I refuse to accept reality. The reason I get so uncomfortable when confronted by someone outside of myself is because no one likes to know that others see their flaws. As previously stated, I’m perfectly aware that I’m pretty messed up, and when someone notifies me that they agree I immediately turn to defense mode. I’m quite suddenly very aware of everything wrong with them. My mind begins to tear them apart, drowning out their observations on me and turning my attention to their problems, wondering who died and made them God? Who do they think they are to judge me? And since these are my immediate thoughts and reactions, some might say I don’t take criticism well, but I truly believe that most people don’t give criticism well, and I react accordingly. I’ve had some of the worst encounters possible with friends, teachers and family members while they were ‘just trying to help’. I’ve been given awful ultimatums and made to feel beyond salvation. Very rarely has someone come up alongside me and asked if there something they could do to help me. So after years of harsh critic and guilty feelings, I promised myself I’d never be ‘that’ type of friend. I fled totally from the idea of telling anyone they were in the wrong. I adopted a ‘live and let live’ philosophy. I never called anyone out on any problem, little or small, and became notorious for a shrug when it came to issues with my peers.
My friends told me any and everything, knowing full well there wasn’t any judgment, but soon I was listening to horror stories of reckless behavior and sitting idly by as people I claimed to love selfdestructed. My idea of keeping the peace had gone completely down the toilet. I realized very quickly that if I wasn’t a part of the solution, I was most definitely a part of the problem. How could I let something terrible happen to my friends and not speak up? I might as well be a stranger pacing by. I came to the realization that silence most definitely was not golden, but neither was interjecting my opinion into every aspect of my friend’s lives. I don’t want to only be a ‘fair weather’ friend, however, the kind of person who is only there when things are going well and the skies are clear but takes off at the first sight of rain. There’s a thin line between holding your friends accountable and being a nag. Finding an equal median is the struggle. When do you speak up and how do you go about doing that? I think it differs in every scenario and with every friend. Everybody has off days, so I don’t base whether or not I will say something off one bad scenario. If an attitude or behavior persists, then I decide to take action. When I do so, I don’t make rash statements or go right for their jugular with my words. I remind myself that I’m not speaking out of anger or hatred. This is my friend who I love and care about. I’m not trying to make them feel bad. I’m trying to open their eyes to an issue I’ve noticed—not condemn them to hell. I offer good, realistic and helpful tips afterwards, because proposing a problem without offering any sort of solution is pointless. I realized everyone needs a friend to do this for them because it’s nearly impossible to give yourself an unbiased opinion or piece of advice. I’ve found the more I open myself up to giving constructive criticism, the better I handle it when I receive it.
“There’s a thin line between holding your friends accountable and being a nag.”
Westminster Christian Academy
Happy Endings are Not Always What They Seem In the book A Northern Light, the ending is not exactly what the readers would expect. Does everybody’s life always end with a happy ending? Every person dreams of living a “happily ever after,” but in reality do “happily ever afters” really exist? In the book A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, the fictional characters deal with the issues of living in reality or not. Happy endings do exist, but so do the dire things in life, that people must confront. It is a breathtaking novel full of adventure, drama,
truth, and healing. Mattie, a young girl living on a farm with three other sisters and her Pa, debates throughout the book whether to chase her dreams or marry an ignorant man but getting to live near home. Royal Loomis, a tough, strong, and attractive man, starts to pursue Mattie. Mattie, a plain girl who never thought a guy like Royal would like her, is intrigued. She never thought a guy like him would like a girl like her. Royal is insensitive and rude, but throughout the book, Mattie puts up with Royal’s nonsense and degrading comments and trys to fall in love with him… because it makes sense. With Royal, she could start a family, live near home, and he would provide for her. But all the while she would not be truly happy and would never get to pursue her real dreams and go to
Students enjoy all different varieties of books. Photo by: Sadie Stipanovich
college. In the book, when Mattie talks about Royal she says, “For the first time, I saw what was in his heart, and I wondered if he might ever want to look deep enough to see mine.” Later in the book when Mattie gets a scholarship to Bernard, she has to choose if she will do what makes sense and marry a guy she does not love, or do what her heart is telling her to do. This book is one of my favorite books I have ever read. It was inspirational and exciting. The ending left you feeling good and happy, even though Mattie did not end of having the happy ending she dreamed of her whole life. When it comes to reading books, there is a debate about whether
people should write about happy endings, prince charmings, and magical things, or if people should write about the realistic side of life. So is it possible for happy endings to exist? Donnelly thinks that happy endings do happen but not always in the way readers think it will. Mattie’s prince charming never is who she hopes him to be, but she packs her bags and heads to New York City in hope of succeeding in college. When people factor in the sensible side of life books becomes sad and not comforting. Some people’s prince charmings never come. Or some people don’t even get to live a full life due to a car accident, or cancer. All these problems are real and happening to people everywhere, so how come
some books never mention these things? It’s because readers like to escape the scary and real world and like to have some hope. Hope is a good thing and reading is a great way to establish that. “When I read a book, it has to be realistic. No sappy love stories that never really come true. Every love story is the same, they end up together. There is no surprise, no point to read the book…because it’s the same every single time,” said Sarah Levenhagen, junior. Books should be a combination of both. In The Northern Light, the ending is a perfect example. She ends up chasing her dreams and leaving the realistic and practical life, and does what her heart tells her to do. It is an inspiration for people, and it shows that there is
a good in this life even if it means being unrealistic and illogical. Mattie ends the book with thinking back to her life and who she could have been, she says, “Right now I want a word that describes the feeling you get—a cold sick feeling, deep down inside—when you know something is happening that will change you, and you don’t want it to, but you can’t stop it. And you know, for the first time, for the very first time, that there will now be a before and an after, a was and a will be. And that you will never again quite be the same person you were.” A Northern Light is a great example of a perfectly balanced book. Mattie gets a taste of the “good” side. Royal proposes to her and she starts to plan a life with him. After a shocking, eye-opening event, Mattie realizes what she really needs and wants. The book ends with Mattie packing up her books and pencils and heading off to chase her real dreams. Mattie discovered what a happy ending really was. For her, it wasn’t ending up with the right guy. It was leaving home, leaving what she thought was good for her, and taking a risk and going to New York City, all on her own, but pursuing her dream of becoming a writer and one day writing her own book.
Jesus, Prostitutes, and Plastic Surgery Christians
Christians transforming themselves into something hyper-spiritual miss the impact and richness relationships foster. The recent attempt at a boycott made by a group of Christian mothers of Ben & Jerry’s new “inappropriately named” ice cream flavor resulted more in making Christians look silly than making them look moral. Many such attempts to ban PG-13 humor and dialogue have only served to make protesting Christians look foolish and petty. Sadly, the same has become true for the pastors who tediously recite the law every other sentence, whether in the pulpit or not, and ministers who are serious with their peers no matter what the circumstances. These Christians transform themselves with what amounts to
spiritual plastic surgery in their lives in order to make themselves better, just as people use plastic
surgery to enhance their physical appearance. Whether its done because they suffer from a fear that they are not good enough for Jesus’ mercy, want to make others feel inferior to them, or want to merely appear as Christians the end result too often appears trite. They hide behind a persistent
referral to scripture as a decoy and sometimes travel the disingenuos path of trying to always be excited about life. Both are degenerative, because they are fake and scare non-believers away from Jesus. People using their own rubric to transform themselves may feel that they are doing the right thing as Christians, but if anything they are being destructive to current and future relationships with fellow believers. When Christians take life too seriously they scare nonbelievers away from Jesus because they predispose others to assume that Christianity is a works-based religion and when they give undue attention to little issues it runs the
risk of making them look trivial to non-believers. Jesus did not take his reputation or the way people perceived him so seriously that he could not laugh at things that were legitimately funny. If he did care about what others thought of him then he would not have hung out with the tax collectors and prostitutes. Jesus came to forgive us of our sins, but he did not come to tell us that we must live holier-than-thou lives. The message that God is a real God gets lost when Christians make it goal number one to portray a manicured and almost fake life that hears no evil, sees no evil and speaks no evil.
This means that we as believers do not need to fluff up our attitudes and appearances or try to look like something more perfect than we are. God’s opinion on our actions and appearance is what should only matter in our lives. So let’s bring an end to spiritual botox and plastic surgery. Jesus wants us to spread the word and make fellow disciples, and nonbelievers want anything other than a works-based religion. Let’s stop faking Christianity, and just be real with each other. There really is some truth to the old saying of being too heavenly good to be of any earthly use.
Globetrotting For God
Westminster Christian Academy
Westminster students travel the world to spread the Gospel, help people, and experience other cultures Thud! The plane lands abruptly on the runway giving the passengers aboard miniature heart attacks. “This is one of the most dangerous landings in the world. The runway is so short, and if the plane doesn’t touch down soon enough, it could run into that mountain,” explained Randy Mayfield, the leader of a group aboard the plane from Central Presbyterian Church. The group has just arrived in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. In one day, they will be handing out food in the filthy, drug-ridden streets.
to participate in an Englishspeaking, Christian camp. Their main goal was to spread the gospel and tell campers about Christ’s love. “The trip was extremely fun and exhausting, but very rewarding. I came into it expecting no success in what is considered one of the most spiritually dead countries in the world, but I was amazed at the openness of the French kids to hearing our message,” said Pollmann. In October, Mackenzie
Yeager, sophomore, went to Belize with her mother, Carol Yeager. Mrs. Yeager was a speaker and counselor at a women’s retreat, and Mackenzie came along to see the work her mother was doing and to help her spread the gospel to nonChristians. “My favorite part was visiting a school in downtown Belize City because the kids are adorable and they have so much passion for life. It is just so amazing to be around them,” said Mackenzie.
HONDURAS Photo courtesy of Nick Ebel
“The trip changed my life. I have come home with new friends, and I can’t wait to go back.”
Mary Wynn, sophomore
BELIZE They will be stretched as they see things they have never seen before and experience extreme poverty. They will also get to know boys, known fondly by their friends as the Micah guys, who have left life on the streets or in broken homes. Many have struggled with addictions to drugs or sniffing industrial-strength glue to get high and forget about their difficult lives. The boys have left these lifestyles for the Micah Project which offers them a safe place to live, an education, and the opportunity to be successful and independent while teaching them the message of the Bible. In September, Westminster Christian Academy students Nick Ebel, eighth grader, Mary Wynn, sophomore, and Lucy Wynn, senior, traveled to Tegucigalpa on a “vision trip” with Central Presbyterian Church. The goal of the trip was to see the Micah Project, a non-profit organization that supports young men who have spent childhoods on the streets or in impoverished homes. The group, consisting mostly of adults, was sent to Honduras to see what the project does and how it is helping the community of Tegucigalpa in the hopes that they would return to the United States and aid the project financially and through word. “I loved the trip. It was good as a first mission trip because I did not have to do too much work. I went mainly just to hang out with and encourage the kids, and they’ve become my friends,” said Ebel. “I love those boys. The Micah Project is my second home now,” said Mary Wynn. Other Westminster students had opportunities to travel the world in order to spread the gospel of the Bible, help others, and experience different cultures. In August, Laura Brands and Melissa Knappenberger, seniors, Anna Dieckgraefe and Daniel Pollmann, juniors, went to France with St. Paul’s Evangelical Church
Nick Ebel, eighth grader, Lucy Wynn, senior, and Mary Wynn, sophomore, pose for a picture with two Micah guys before they leave Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The three visited Tegucigalpa in order to learn about and aid the Micah Project, a non-proﬁt organization that helps boys from impoverished homes. Photo courtesy of Lucy Wynn
Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Yeager
“I had so much fun. They are all so lively and friendly.” Mackenzie Yeager, sophomore
High school students from St. Paul’s Evangelical Church gather as a group before leaving France. The group went to France on a mission trip to help out at an English-speaking camp. Photo courtesy of Daniel Pollman
FRANCE Photo courtesy of Sarah Dieckgraefe
“Most of the kids were pretty open to us and tried to understand us as best as possible, and things like games forced us to interact, which helped a lot in building relationships that could overcome the language barrier.” Mackenzie Yeager, sophomore, hugs a girl at an elementary school she visited in Belize City. “It was just amazing to be around them. Kids I never met would just hug me. It was so cute,” said Yeager. Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Yeager
-Daniel Pollmann, junior
Westminster Christian Academy
TWITTMINSTER WORLD SERIES EDITION “THE CARDINALS ARE WORLD SERIES CHAMPS FOR THE 11th TIME AND SECOND MOST IN THE MLB AND MOST IN NL GO CARDS” Nick Ramos
“I touched Motte’s beard wet with champagne #incredible #world champs” Bryce Bell
“Coldest day this fall. Darn Freese Out. #Cardinal Nation”
“After the Cardinals winning the world series I feel like its blasphemy wearing another team’s hat” Ben Mitchell
CHECK OUT THE WILDCAT ROAR ON TWITTER
WCA creates a new professional development program for faculty “I was mostly interested in developing in-house professional development programs for our faculty and finding ways to encourage faculty to work together to share best practices [so] that we might improve student learning,” Cindy Zavaglia.
The CTL, next to Cindy Zavaglia, English chair’s classroom is a room set aside for teacher connection and development
Everyone knows that school is a place students go to either learn or pretend to learn, whichever they choose. Most people do not view school as learning place for teachers. Typically teachers teach, and students learn.
However, Westminster has recently gone against the norm and developed a new program that allows teachers to be teachers as well as students. The creation of Westminster’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) began four years ago when Cindy Zavaglia, upper school English teacher, presented an innovative idea to Jim Marsh, head of school. Zavaglia desired to design a program that would help the teachers become more effective, therefore improving the learning experience for students. Because Zavaglia recognized the importance of effective teaching, she wanted to create a program to help teachers find the best ways to reach students. “I was mostly interested in developing in-house professional development programs for our faculty and finding ways to encourage faculty to work together to share best practices [so] that we might improve student learning,” said Zavaglia. The CTL gives all teachers a chance to grow by learning from each others mistakes and successes. However, its primary purpose this year is to help new teachers learn to be effective by pairing them up with veteran teachers. This helps them become easily acclimated to Westminster while receiving beneficial advice about teaching. According to Scott Holley, Academic Dean, who oversees all the work of the CTL, the program is effective because “teaching isn’t a solo thing. [Teachers] learn from each other. Iron sharpens iron.” The concept of teachers mentoring other teachers is not new, but the idea of a structured learning program for teachers is. The more intentional preparation
for the CTL took place in 2010 as the school prepared to move to a new campus. That year, Marsh gave Zavaglia one less teaching period, giving her time to take her idea and run with it. At the old campus, Zavaglia still taught one section of Honors American Literature and three sections of regular American Literature but used her remaining time to develop the CTL. Thanks to hard work and thoughtful planning, the four year project is now in progress, and Westminster’s CTL is in full swing for the 2011/2012 school year. The four teachers currently in charge of the CTL are Holley, Zavaglia, Chris Knerr, upper school history teacher, and Scott Vonder Bruegge, upper school journalism teacher. Zavaglia, Director of Professional Growth, plans faculty in-service days and connects the faculty to both in-house and external professional development opportunities. “Our primary focus is on PLCs [professional learning communities],” said Zavaglia For the past three summers, Westminster has sent groups of teachers to Solution Tree’s Professional Learning Communities to train them to work as PLCs, and this year, PLC’s are an active part of department and neighborhood structures. According to Holley, the PLC’s were developed because every teacher needs to be able to communicate with and learn from other teachers. “We wanted teachers to be the best they can possibly be, and none of us can figure that out in isolation,” said Holley. Holley and others believed giving teachers a place to talk about teaching would be beneficial. The CTL demonstrates that Westminster is serious about creating a unified community, not only in the student body, but among the teachers as well.
Soctt Holley, Academic Dean and director of the CTL
“We wanted teachers to be the best they can possibly be, and none of us can figure that out in isolation,” Scott Holley
Chris Knerr, Upper school history teacher and Director of Experiential Education
Scott Vonder bruegge, Upper school journalism teacher and Dierector of Technology Integration
All Photos By: Jocelyn Shefﬁeld
Westminster Christian Academy
Mr. Barrs Starts A New Bicycling Club
At MICDS, Peter Barrs, upper school foreign language teacher, led his bicycling team to success and had a lot of fun in the process. Photo courtesy of Peter Barrs
Peter Barrs, upper school foreign language teacher, has recently started up a brand new cycling club and has wanted to ever since he was a teacher. “In 1996, when I was still a teacher at MICDS, I tried to start a bicycling sport there. It ended up taking a few years to get it past the board and get it approved. Finally, after all those years, I got to start up the first and new season of our cycling team in 2008, and our team did well,” said Barrs.
Why YOU should cycle!
“Nordstrom Rack!” -Courtney Beat, Laura Yeast, Adrienne Horn, and Rachel Urban, freshmen
Cyclists who ride sober, with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, are 99.999% likely to survive their rides, according to John Hopkins, Cascade Bicycling Club Education Foundation.
500,000 bike boardings on King County Metro busses annually in King Co. Metro, according to the CBCEF.
Stay in Shape!
New bicycle commuters can expect to lose 13 pounds their first year of bicycle commuting, according to Bicycling Magazine.
The team at MICDS did exceedingly well according to Barrs, but to him ‘well’ is defined by: “Why do I do this? I do this to see the amount of growth in the students participating- the growth of responsibility, understanding, and commitment. I thought that our team did very well in that area with our 9 kids and only one girl in the mix as well,” said Barrs. Barrs has proven his worth as a cycling coach, because of how long he has been riding a bike. He has been riding a bike since 1992 when he was a sophomore at Princeton University. Unexpectedly, he found himself looking for a sport to play with a hurt knee; then he found his sport-bicycling. “I first began riding in high school, and liked it. Then I had a hurt knee when I was in college, and I found cycling to be a great sport where it didn’t affect my knee badly.” said Barrs. Barrs wasn’t only known for being a great cycling coach at MICDS. Easton Noble, junior, knew of him even before he came to Westminster. “When I was at my old school, I asked Barrs to help me to get a cycling club started over there. I like the sport, and I wanted it to be a sport at the school,” said Noble. Anticipation has swept away some students who are ready for the season to start. “I am really excited abou the season to start. I am looking forward to the competition and riding my bike,” said Noble.
Many have signed up!
“We like to talk about the O.C. and which people at our school look like the characters in the show.” -Hannah Stipanovich and Morgan Siebenmen, sophomores
15 kids have already told Barrs that they are interested about cycling! Sign up in Mr. Barrs’ room! There is room for anyone interested in grades 8-12, there will be a varsity and a junior varsity.
Do your share to help the environment!
According to League of American Bicyclists, America’s cars and trucks consume 10% of world’s oil supply
“The Office- it’s the funniest show in the world!” -Carson Burke, Johnny Hardin, Luke Shields, Jack Southwell, and Christian Linhoff, freshmen
“Cole and all his protein.” -Nathan Arnold, John Eric Steiner, juniors, Cole Norman, senior, Sam Sherman and Jonah Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Illustrations by: Scott Rupprecht
8 N e w s / F E AT U R E S
Moms In Touch
Westminster Christian Academy
Westminster’s Moms In Touch prayer group covers the whole student body with prayer. Every Thursday morning while students are in class, moms around the world sacrifice their time to pray for the needs of their school and its students. “The vision of this international prayer group is that every school in America and beyond would have a group of moms behind the scenes praying”, said Moms In Touch member and WCA
mother, Colleen Bognar. Twelve moms from Westminster participate in this influential prayer group every Thursday morning. The co-leaders, Candy Caple and Sandy Blackwell, call approximately 30 households per week to request prayer needs from students. Throughout the whole year, they reach out and call every household of Westminster families to pray for their requests. The
Photo by: Elise Hearne
prayer meeting must be very detailed and specific in order for the moms to reach the goal
of eventually covering the whole student body with prayer. Every week they establish a specific verse in scripture and a different aspect of God’s character in order to set the tone of the meeting. Most students at Westminster do not know that moms are behind the scenes praying for them. “The power of prayer is truly remarkable and it is of utmost importance that the students at Westminster are immersed with prayer,” said Bognar. The international prayer groups also follow the same prayer format every week. “The official prayer format for the group includes praise, confession, thanksgiving, intercession, and specific requests”, said Bognar. Moms In Touch is just one of the many prayer groups that meet at Westminster every week to pray for different things going on around the school.
Keeping The Beat
Amanda Scott, junior, writes her own lyrics to songs and performs them at different school events.
Amanda Scott, junior, writes her own songs and performs them at different school functions. She has written thirty songs of her own and continues to write based on different situations in her life. Photo by: Amanda Scott
“I drink down love like lemonade, but grace can’t come from Minute Maid.” Thought provoking words that thirst for a deeper meaning are crafted together in a song to take a person on a ride through their feelings and emotions. Amanda Scott, junior, has been
writing her own lyrics and music since the end of her eighth grade year. Her Bible teacher that year, Jeremy Scott, assigned a project to the class about each student writing their own psalm and that stirred her interest. “I ended up going home and just
sitting down and writing a song in about fifteen minutes. I took it to school the next day and played it for Mr. Scott, and I just remember him saying, ‘Not going to lie, I was prepared to have to pretend to like it, but that was pretty good,’ which was really awesome. He ended up
Photo by: Erin Bognar
letting me play it for both of his Bible classes,” said Scott. Scott wrote the song on an old guitar that her parents had given her in elementary school. She never had formal lessons or professional training. Her parents bought her a new one at the end of ninth grade as she became more serious about writing her own music. It is the only instrument she plays except for the song Fur Elise on the piano. Since then, she has written about thirty total songs.
a broken heart’ and couldn’t write a song on it for a couple months,” said Scott. Writing songs is Scott’s main hobby, and if she could spend the rest of her life doing one thing, this would be it because she enjoys it so much.
I drink down love like lemonade, but grace can’t come from Minute Maid.
“I never really try to write about a particular topic. A line will come into my head and sometimes I can write a song on it in ten minutes and sometimes it’ll be ten days. Other times I’ll sit on a line for a few months and eventually find a way to use it. For example, I came up with the strange line ‘flowers, drowning out the sunshine, melting away the daylight’ and wrote a song in an hour or so even though it didn’t really seem to mean anything. I also came up with the line, ‘I wish I had seams to fall apart, but I’m stuck here solid with
“If I don’t write I go crazy, I am drawn in by what can only be described as ‘literary gravity.’ Having lines stuck in my head and not writing them down is nearly impossible for me and if I don’t do anything with any of them, they haunt me in a sense. I used to be the math and science kid, but my brain has done a total 180,” said Scott. When it comes to performing, Scott performed at the poetry slam this past year, in the 2011 Wildcat Weekend variety show, and in Literary Rogues. She does not do many live performances, but posts videos of her songs online for people to listen to. “I started putting songs up after I wrote a song called ‘My Little Star’ and didn’t want to annoy Facebook friends with videos on my regular page. It has actually been almost exactly a year since I wrote that song and put that video up, and since then I have written and posted around 20 more songs,” said Scott.
F E AT U R E S 9
Westminster Christian Academy
w e i g h i n g i n If you could dress up any teacher for Halloween, who would you choose and what would you dress them up as? “Mr. Gall as a vampire.” -Lucy Sell, freshman
“Dr. Winchester (D-Win) as Spongebob.” -Nathan Jackson, sophomore
“Mr. Burke as Spiderman.” -Nathan Wade, junior
Westminster students and staff reach out to the St. Louis community through Engage St. Louis. As the church door swings to a close, a room full of quiet suddenly erupts with echoes of laughter and delighted squeals. Not yet three steps through the door, students are met with eager requests from children to play tag and pick them up. These are the kinds of experiences that Westminster students will discover at Engage St. Louis.
Engage St. Louis – also called ESTL, but known to the WCA community as ESL – became a reality for the St. Louis community in early 2010, when the wellknown organization Refuge of Nations joined forces with other like-minded programs. Together, they provide immigrant families with opportunities for education, discipleship, and counseling. “The purpose of our ministry is to walk alongside immigrant and refugee families, providing them with personal support through long-term relationships as they navigate life in a new culture and country. This takes a multitude of different forms, including home visits, special events, and the provision of counseling and food,” said Tim Baldwin, ESTL staff member. Yet, ESTL does not only provide for families’ physical needs. “In addition to helping individuals settle in and providing for basic needs, ESTL is able to minister to families through the gospel,” said Joan Dudley, upper school Spanish teacher. Dudley helps to organize WCA’s time at ESTL on Wednesday nights once per month. During this time, Westminster students watch the children of Hispanic families while parents have the opportunity to participate in a Bible study. Holly Sumner, junior, never misses the chance to attend the program. “I’ve missed only one ESTL night in the last three years. I don’t quite remember why, but it must have been a pretty compelling reason because I really love to do it,” said Sumner. These Wednesday nights are not just a blessing to parents, who are
“Mr. Smith as Snooki.” -Laura Hamman, senior
Holly Sumner, junior, enjoys her time with the kids at ESTL. Photo by: Meg Smith
Nina Thampy, junior, tickles a young boy at ESTL on October 12th. Photo by: Meg Smith
able to take some time to study the Word of God, but they are also a blessing for the children. “From the happy squeals I hear while we act like monsters and chase the kids around, it’s clear that they enjoy playing with high school students and getting individual attention,” said Sumner. In addition to the program’s participants, there is one more group who is touched by the program: the students. “After a few times, I realized that the wee ones were blessing me in so many ways. I love having the fellowship and spending the time with the kids even if some don’t speak English. It’s possible to be their friend even if their lives and ethnicities are completely different from your own,” said Nina Thampy, junior. Though students may assume that they must speak Spanish in order to attend ESTL, this is not the case. “I would encourage anyone who enjoys hanging out with kids to get involved with ESTL. This year, we’ve been privileged to have members of the French club come along with us, and we even sang some songs in French last month. Most of the kids speak some English anyway, so communication is no problem,” said Sumner. But for those who do speak Spanish, ESTL offers a very unique opportunity. “If you’re tired of all those tedious workbook pages and irregular verbs, here’s your official invitation to come see Spanish in a new, more meaningful light,” said Sumner. Overall, what Westminster sees of ESTL once per month is just a small fraction of the entire program. Yet, it is still a huge blessing to families in the St. Louis community. If students are looking to bless others and be blessed, to both reach out to the community and be touched by the community, ESTL offers the perfect opportunity.
10 F E A T U R E S
Juniors Express Their Opinions On Man Westminster Christian Academy
After watching the documentary Larry v. Lockney, the students discussed this issue, took a si English teachers. WCA junior English classes were given the opportunity to wrestle with the con wrong answer caused students to look at their own beliefs. Questions the students considered while writing: Is drug testing a deterrent to dr
“I would say that it’s okay for athletes to be drug tested because they’re representing the school on a day-to-day sort of thing.” -Zak Kessel
“Comprehensive drug testing in public schools is against the 4th amendment right to protect yourself against legal search and seizure, because if the government doesn’t have proper reasoning or proper grounds to seize any of your private information like that, then they cant just demand that type of thing. It’s within the legal grounds of a club or organization to ask for a drug test because that’s by choice and it’s a person’s choice to join it and that’s just a stipulation of the club.” -Levi Marshall
“I think I’m for drug testing if it’s like testing everybody and not just one person or one group singled out, because that would be stereotypical – you cant really pinpoint who does drugs and who doesn’t.” -Megan Tilley
“Mandatory drug testing in schools makes the students feel like the faculty and the school doesn’t trust them. They’d lose a lot of trust from their students.” -Ciara Younger
“I’m fine with drug testing as long as it’s in line with the Constitution and its legal- if they cross the boundaries of the 4th amendment and search and seizure clause, then im against that. You can’t just do random, mandatory drug tests for like normal public school kids, because that would be crossing the boundaries.” -Michael Becker
th came stuck. agains the m side
F E A T U R E S 11
ndatory Drug Testing In Public Schools November 2011
Westminster Christian Academy
ide and started developing their arguments using articles and other research provided by the
ontroversial topic of drug testing. Reactions were mixed as the topic with no clear cut right or
Is drug use a widespread, proven problem?
Is mandatory drug testing even legal?
“Originally, I was going to be on he side that was for drug testing, but when it e to writing the actual paper, I just kept getting There was way more evidence and reasons to be st it than for it. But all along I’ve really just been in middle – I see the positives and negatives to both es.” -Della Woodward
“I’m fine with it as long as someone does not have to watch me urinate in a cup.” -Sam Sherman
“If drug testing wasn’t mandatory in schools, students would just be able to like go around and do whatever “Personally, I’m not really in favor they want without of [drug testing]. There are occasions and there any consequences. have been occasions in the past where we’ve asked students or families to have their kids drug tested, but there’s They’ll be going some kind of evidence of it. Just to do a random drug test of around like ‘Oh, anybody at any time I think can create a culture of suspicion and I don’t like that kind of environment or culture. I don’t I’m not gonna get caught because no want to foster that.” -Tim Hall, dean of students one’s ever gonna test me, I’ll be fine!’” “One of the -Will Campbell reasons why I’m in favor
of drug testing in schools is because it gives people a reason to say no when they’re offered it or put in a situation like that.” -Christian Thompson
12 F E A T U R E S
New School with a New Look November 2011
Westminster Christian Academy
Moving into a new building is a long and difficult process, and Westminster is still trying to catch up with the decorating of the new campus.
Photos by: Margaret Moore
Westminster’s new building is like a blank canvas, just waiting to be painted. It is a work in progress. Decorating the school is no easy task, as Westminster is still in the transition process of moving from one location to another, and many
things are still left unclear. Students are wondering why there are no clocks, why there are no bulletin boards, and why all of
the classrooms look the same. “We moved in so fast. We are just trying to catch up with the basics,” said Jim Marsh, head of school. The administration is trying to determine the best way to choose and install new clocks. The decision does not sound like a big deal, however, there is more to it than most people would assume. Everyone would like to have clocks to tell the time, but big, fancy electronic clocks are too expensive, while the old-fashioned round clocks at the old campus were not very attractive. “I don’t like that there are not any clocks up, but all the new
technology really makes up for it. I love the new Macs we get to use,” said Carl Simakoff, freshman. Everyone agrees the technology at this campus is quite amazing. In addition to all the great new computers, there is also a complicated system throughout the school connecting all of the projectors in all of the rooms. In the future, when it is all figured out, a live video of Marsh will be able to be projected from his office and produce a live image into every classroom. As far as classrooms go, teachers were given a set of guidelines when decorating their rooms. The school wants them to be “creative”
and “selective,” according to the decorating handbook they received. The teachers are allowed to put what they want on their walls, but it should be helpful or inspirational. Though some teachers have not seized the opportunity, the campus will be seeing bulletin boards soon. “We are still trying to catch up. We want to be intentional in everything we put on our walls and in our hallways,” said Marsh. One way Westminster is being intentional in how they decorate the school is by putting Westminster’s mission statement on the wall in the Grand Entry. It serves as a daily reminder to students what the
school’s goal is and how the school plans to glorify God in all that it does. There are other plans for the new campus as well. Westminster is making it a priority to recognize team state champions, as well as individual athletic accomplishments. Those awards will be placed on the far wall of the Arena. Also, student artwork will be featured in the hallways for guests and parents to see. Some artwork is already being featured right outside of the Academic Hub. Westminster’s amazing campus has been a source of beauty and opportunities for so many people,
Beyond the Sandstone Walls
What used to be a question of who to carpool with to a local campsite has now become a question of who to sit next to on a two thousand mile plane ride into America’s wildest landscape. Consider America. The freest, most diverse, vast and gloriously beautiful country in the world. She hosts landscapes from lush tropical island paradises to barren tundra’s of the arctic. Mountains surround the plains and make
up the backbone of beaches that parenthesize the land. Where else are deserts looming just two
hundred miles from rainforests? Few places offer better inspiration, adventure and wonder than the wilderness of America. These places spark a curiosity and sense of adventure that every person has inside – tugging and pulling us into the wild. The Westminster Outdoor Adventure Club, headed by Chris Knerr and the author, recognized this yearning and began forming the infant ideas of a new outdoor trip. Arches, Canyonlands, and Zion National Parks in Utah, all
The view from the summit of Angel’s Landing and the long “balance beam” to the left.
lie within a three hours drive and offer some of the most stunning landscapes in the United States. While traveling through the west during this past summer, the opportunity presented itself to spend a number of days hiking and exploring the Utah National Parks. The most memorable of the four I visited cannot be described in words outside of an anecdote. Frost clings to the windows and sharpens each blade of grass. Despite the summer heat of the red western desert, the sun remains trapped behind the towering walls of the Zion Valley, making the shaded morning hours frigidly cold. The shuttle picks up the group and takes them deep into the ravine unveiling sheer sandstone cliffs, scarred and cracked by timeless erosion. Deep blue skies, beautiful deserts, and scenes copied straight from the maps of heaven surround the bus.Every person’s mind lingered on Angel’s Landing. Angel’s Landing is the diceyest, most thrilling hike that is open to all people. The next step up requires ropes and a climbing permit. The six mile trail began easily and continued so as the sun finally wrapped its fingers around the precipice walls of the valley. The save-step switchbacks that followed, making their way towards the final push, ended any thoughts of a nice hike to a beautiful vista.
The Zion Valley on the trail towards Angel’s Landing. Photos by: Peter Duell
The first thing any hiker deals with after the switchbacks is a long, steeply inclined balance beam jutting up to a platform over a thousand feet above and in front him. With fourteen hundred feet of nothing but air on either side, adrenaline sets in and the mind begins to focus harder than any standardized test or sports event. The grind was long, steep and amazing; adrenaline makes things seem easier. The 360 view of the entire park from a pinnacle standing over two thousand feet above the ground helps too. Early morning sun illuminated deep canyons dotted with seemingly tiny trees and endless rusted fields of rock and cliff. This was it; souls could smile again.The Outdoor Adventure Club’s Spring Break trip to Utah provides the opportunity to experience something greater
than this. While participants will take in the same views and feel the same adrenaline rush, the element of community with friends and the bond built through adversity and adventure provides a feeling much greater than if experienced alone. That is what this trip has to offer: an opportunity to build a community while indulging the call to the wild that every person has. “Thousands of tired, nerveshaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity...” The words of John Muir resonate in the minds of many who find themselves described by this quote. The Adventure Club strives to provide students with the opportunity to “go home” and provide them with the community that shares a passion for “necessity.”
F E A T U R E S 13
The Birds The Jump of Death and the Bees November 2011
Westminster Christian Academy
Students came into the sophomore seminar to find out it’s more than scriptures and a sex talk. “The Talk Extended” seminar is a class where sophomores can relate with teachers and gain an understanding of biblical teachings and principles of relationships and sex.
Many parents do not know how to have “the talk” with their teenaged children, so most teens do not know what to do when they face a problem involving sex or relationships. This seminar gets students informed about how to deal with their behind the scenes sexual struggles. “I know that there are a lot of students at Westminster that have a lot of questions and have experienced a lot of brokenness and hurt as a result of these topics,” said Tim Holley, spiritual life director. When first arriving to the class, some students just expected for scripture to be preached at them by counselors and bible teachers, but this seminar proved to be something else. Mallory Scholten, upper school science teacher, is involved, along with Craig Walseth, middle school counselor. “I can tell you on a personal level that I wanted to be involved in this because I feel like dating and sex are both real issues that are discussed a lot in our culture and amongst peers, but rarely get talked about by adults with students once they enter into high school,” said Holley Annie Westhoff, P.E. teacher, is also involved with the seminar also. She introduces a new topic called “source idols” that help sophomores understand their motives behind or roles in
relationships. The “source idols” are control, power, approval, and comfort. “The source idols came from a pastor we communicated with and his book we read. Darren Patrick is the pastor at the Journey (a thriving church here in St. Louis) and while talking to him he brought up the subject of Source Idols and everything clicked in our heads probably the same way they would in sstudents’ heads,” said Westhoff Westhoff teaches that every person has a source idol that they show in a relationship through their actions. “Source idols” help students to think about what they do in a relationship and why. They also help to relieve a little tension of feeling regret for what you do. “I think that a lot of students will come into the seminar with a lot of apprehension, and that there is a negative stigma about a class that discusses sex and I’m sure that there are assumptions that students are bringing into this class based on how they have heard this talked about in the past. I also think that there are a number of students that will probably feel like this is a seminar where they will be judged and yelled at, and I’m sure that will cause students to have some fear as well,” said Holley. In the seminar, students are taught that God will forgive them no matter how many times they have fallen, or how much wrong they have done. “My biggest hope is that students will be able to walk out of this seminar able to breathe a little easier. I also believe that one of our biggest goals is to know that the Lord loves them and forgives them. A lot of times in our culture we treat sex as the unforgivable sin, and although there are some very real and serious consequences to sex outside of marriage, the Lord does forgive and restore in this area,” said Holley This is a seminar where everyone is expected to be open and not feel regret.
“I think the sex/relationship seminar will be the best one at school. Every aspect we talked about was real and true. The discussions were not based on the cliché life that most Christian high schoolers are expected to follow. The teachers wanted to see where we were coming from and what expectations had been laid upon us.” -Emma Pohlman, sophomore
Adan Larraga Manzano, eighth grade, has competed in Charreria tournaments and has perfected a trick called the jump of death. Not many people are truly willing to risk their lives for what they love. Adan Larraga Manzano, eighth grade, who came all the way from San Luis Potosi in Mexico, has been willing to do this ever
since he was a young child. Manzano was put on a horse at a very young age, but riding a horse wasn’t enough for him. He eventually picked up a sport which he calls Charreria. “Charreria consists of a lot of different activities. You need to be able to ride a bull, horse and
“You need to be able to ride a bull, horse, and bronco extremely well.” bronco extremely well. When you ride the horse you are only allowed to use the reigns on the horse, so there is no saddle or anything else to keep you up. In this sport you also have to be able to use a rope well. I often have to lasso small animals,” said Manzano. For Manzano, riding a horse or a bronco is not extreme enough.
He has perfected one of the most dangerous acts someone might see in a Charreria tournament, which is called the paso de la muerte. “In English this can be loosely translated as the jump of death. It is probably considered one of the hardest tricks to perfect. In this trick, I have to be able to jump from a moving horse onto a moving bronco,” said Manzano. Manzano could be considered one of the best Charreria competitors in Mexico for his age. “I have played in many tournaments in my life. I have contended in three national tournaments, and I placed second in one of them,” said Manzano, Manzano is very good at what he does, and there are very few people that can compete with what he considers his strength in this sport. “My strength in this sport would have to be paso de la muerte. I placed first in this category in the national tournament, and I placed second overall,” said Manzano. There are many reasons why Manzano has been willing to compete in this terribly dangerous sport. “I play Charreria because I love how extreme the sport can get. I also love the competitiveness that comes in every tournament that I attend, but more than anything I love riding the animals,” said Manzano. Obviously, with a dangerous sport like this one, Manzano has had to face many tough and excruciating injuries. “I once tore a ligament in my leg when I fell off a bronco which kept me out of the sport for three months. I also was riding a horse
Adan Larraga Manzano rides his horse. Photo courtesy of Adam Larraga Manzano
Photo courtesy of Adan Larraga Manzano
when it fell and I broke my arm,” said Manzano. Manzano moved in with his aunt so he could live in America and get a better understanding of the language. Unfortunately, he has not been able to compete in any tournaments here. “I miss the sport, but I also enjoy living and going to school in America,” said Manzano. Charreria is not the only sport that Manzano enjoys playing. He is an all-around very good athlete, participating in many sports. “I love to play soccer and golf. I have been playing for the eighth grade soccer team and it has been good fun,” said Manzano. Manzano is a great Charreria competitor. He is considered one of the best at what he does, and for good reason.
“I play Charreria because I love how extreme the sport can get.”
F E AT U R E S
Romeo&Juliet Westminster Christian Academy
Romeo: Andrew Gordon
There will be kissing. There will be dancing. There will be...swordfighting. Jim Butz, new drama and speech teacher, is directing this
year’s fall play, “Romeo and Juliet.” Butz played the title role in “Hamlet” a few summers ago at the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis and has a love for the beauty of Shakespeare’s work. “I played Romeo my senior year of high school, and again when I was 22, with a company called
Juliet: Justine Doiron
Shakespeare Santa Fe,” said Butz. The new director also said that this year, there was a great turnout for the auditions, and the cast will boast over 30 students. Andrew Gordon, senior, will star as the title role of Romeo. “I’m excited to just get more experience [with Shakespeare],” said Gordon, who will make his Shakespeare debut this fall. In addition to memorizing lines in old English, Gordon will be involved in a sword-fight scene and, of course, a stage-kiss with the other title role, Juliet, played by Justine Doiron, senior. “Andrew and I have been friends for a long time, so we’re professional about it,” said Doiron about the “stage-kisses” in the
play. Doiron and Gordon have worked together in many plays and musicals throughout their time at Westminster. “Andrew is amazing because he wants to go into theater, so he takes the play very seriously and makes me want to be better,” said Doiron. Austen Crim, senior, will play Romeo’s best friend Mercutio. “He is a very funny character— the eternal jokester and master of puns,” said Crim. One of Crim’s favorite scenes in the play is his sword-fight with Tybalt, played by Dylan Andres, senior. Butz will be bringing in a professional fight director to choreograph the sword-fights in the play, as well as a dance choreographer to work with actors
Ryan Kelly Goes Hollywood
A nervous actor sits in a room in a nondescript building in Los Angeles, waiting his turn for a movie audition. Apprehension
swells in the pit of his stomach. He knows that even if he does well in the audition, he might not hear back from the producers for months, if ever. Most WCA students do not
know what an audition like this feels like, but one student risked rejection for what he hoped would be a very successful career. Ryan Kelly, junior, has been acting since sixth grade and spent a majority of last summer in Los Angeles attempting to begin his career. Kelly began his acting career the same way that many others do, by auditioning for various movies and TV shows. “Acting is fun and I love it. It’s just something I enjoy,” said Kelly.
“I auditioned for several movies and a pilot, and I also acted at Hollywood Second City Improv which had a production at the end of the program. It was really cool to be a part of,” said Kelly. Kelly’s agent, Matt Fletcher, got him into acting classes and workshops. Kelly had an acting coach from the renowned Michael Woolson Studios, whose clientele are working actors in LA. “I attended workshops and did a six week course at Michael Woolson Studios with working
Ryan Kelly, junior, stands in front of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of the Kelly Family
Mercutio: theNurse: Austen Crim Hannah Geisz on a dance scene. Other main characters include TJ Noa, junior, as the Friar, and Drew Straub, freshman, as Romeo’s friend Benvolio. Also a freshman, Hannah Geisz, will play Juliet’s old nurse, who she describes as a “playful and kooky” character who cares dearly for Juliet. “In the play I call Mercutio [Crim] a ‘scurvy knave.’ I often call him this in the halls too,” said Geisz. Geisz has performed in many middle school productions and loves being involved in theater. She agrees that new director, Mr. Butz, is a great addition to the school’s drama program. “Mr. Butz is very work-oriented and thats what is going to make the
play great,” said Doiron. As a senior, Doiron has played a myriad of parts–from a madwoman to a little girl–in her theater career at Westminster. Juliet will be one of her last. “I feel nostalgic a lot, but I’m glad I got to work with Mr. Butz before I leave. He’s a genius,” said Doiron. To anyone who believes that Shakespeare is boring, Doiron still encourages them to come and see the fall play. “This isn’t ordinary Shakespeare,” she said with a smile. The Westminster community will have to wait and find out. The play will be performed at 7:00pm on November 18th and 19th in Westminster’s new theater.
actors including Eldridge, Jake’s friend on Two and a Half Men,” said Kelly. While Kelly was very busy with acting, he still found time to see some popular Los Angeles tourist attractions. “While in LA I did the rounds to Beverly Hills, Malibu and the Santa Monica area but spent most of my time in Hollywood. I got yelled at by the police for climbing up to the Hollywood sign. They frown on that. I also went to the premiers of Captain America, Change-Up, and
Planet of the Apes,” said Kelly. While he was in Los Angeles, Kelly met several well-known actors and actresses. “I met Ryan Reynolds, James Franco, Olivia Wilde, Jason Bateman, and Justin Long,” said Kelly. Kelly certainly had some unusual experiences outside of acting in Los Angeles. He had a memorable run-in with 15 police officers holding criminals at gunpoint. “I saw some criminals splayed out in the road with fifteen cops pointing guns in our direction. That was sort of scary,” said Kelly. Kelly does improv and has acted in various WCA productions at WCA since seventh grade, but he plans to take his interests further. While Kelly would like to make a career out of acting, he also has a backup plan if acting does not work out. “If something were to come out of acting then I will definitely make it my career. I’m going to go to college out in southern California and keep working on acting throughout college. My agent will keep trying to get me auditions. If nothing comes of acting after college, I’ll probably stop trying to act professionally and study law because that’s something I’m interested in,” said Kelly. Kelly said he’s sent in two audition tapes and has had a call back since he got back. “Still, if nothing happens, I had a blast,” said Kelly.
F O C U S O N 15
Westminster Christian Academy
Clockwise, from top left: Drama 1 Carson Burke, freshman, and Joe Isaacs, junior, playing bass. Concert Choir men reviewing a song with Allen Schwamb, Concert choir director. Ceramic by Eddie Sutphen, junior. Jenny Baldwin, sophomore, playing her song to learn. Amber Tershak, junior, practicing a song in Orchestra. All Photos by: Sadie Stipanovich
F E AT U R E S
Westminster Christian Academy
Living on the Sidelines November 2011
David Thomas, senior, was not the first fall athlete to sustain a concussion and sit out from his seasn. However, he was one of the first student athletes whose recovery process was tracked via computerized testing. Pounding headaches, loss of consciousness, nausea, delusion, confusion and living on the sidelines are all attached to traumatic brain injuries and concussions. But these symptoms come in all shapes and sizes.
Photo by: Elise Hearne
“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to suffer through, emotionally and physically,” said David Thomas, senior football captain. Concussions not only affect schoolwork and emotional stability but also can completely ruin an athlete’s entire season. In past years, players with concussions were forced to wait until their side effects have been gone for two to three weeks without any lingering symptoms. But with the new technology out there today, there is now a way to ensure the athlete’s complete recovery. “Every year w e lose a guy to a concussion,
and it’s great to have something to track the player’s recovery with actual tests rather than just assuming it’s okay 2-3 weeks after the symptoms have receded,” said Thomas. Relying on this computerized test rather than on the word of an athlete eager to return to the field allows trainers and coaches to ensure the player’s safety. “The time the athlete sits out is still about the same, but it gives us another assessment tool instead of relying completely on the athlete to report his or her concussion signs and symptoms,” said Kim Bruhn, athletic trainer. Westminster has now instilled Axon’s Computerized Cognitive Assessment Tool, an online testing system to track any concussed athlete’s cognitive function. The online test is used to ensure a player’s health before they are allowed to return to their sport. “When I first heard about the test, I was a little confused as to what the test would do, and how football teams would benefit from it, but after learning more about it, I’m glad it was implemented to our team,” said Thomas. The test is divided into three parts to test the three sections of the brain that concussions most commonly affect. Though the device is not considered a fun, time
passing game, it is not a boring test that the players dread taking. “I liked its simplicity. I had assumed there would be problems to solve but was pleasantly surprised to see that it had to do with cards, which makes the test a little less stressful,” said Thomas. Because this computer system checks multiple parts of the brain, such as memory, cognitive ability, and reasoning, it portrays an accurate tracking of the athlete’s recovery. “Once the athlete is symptomfree, we have them retake the test to see if their cognitive function has returned to the previous level. If their cognitive function is still decreased, it means their brain has not fully recovered and they are not ready to return to activity,” said Bruhn. “My heart, body and brain, for the most part, are begging to get back on the field. But I can’t until my headaches recede,” said Thomas. Though Thomas did not return to play the rest of his season, this testing program proves extremely helpful in tracking athlete’s recovery from concussions and by providing a baseline test for players. “If it continues to go well, we may look into testing more sports in the future,” said Bruhn.
Two leaders of WCA, class president and the head of school, have two important positions, though they are far from equal
Harrison Farmer, recently elected freshman class president, sits in the commons. Photo by: Eli Parham
Jim Marsh, head of school since 1985, sits at his desk in his ofﬁce. Photo by: Eli Parham
The responsibilities, privileges, and influence class president and the head of school possess obviously differ, but their positions are similar because they can be
defined as leaders of two different communities. Both powerful figures may be equivalent in title, though these forms of power can not be classified as equal. “I decide carnival booths, games
for freshmen retreat, we plan out how Spirit Week is going to go for our class. As a president I do have a lot of responsibilities.” said Harrison Farmer, freshman class president. Farmer’s first and main priority is to organize, lead, and plan activities and community-building events. The point of theses events is to create a time for students to walk through stress, doldrums, thrills, and successes together. Though it is important Farmer formulates joyful occasions that are beneficial to fellow students, he must also value all ties with neighboring students-citizens of his community. “I get to know what they want and what they need and how to
serve them. It is very important,” said Farmer. Marsh has a bigger task. “A big part of my work has to do with strategic planning and thinking. Preserving the past: our heritage, managing the present: making sure things are going well today, and providing for the future,” said Jim Marsh, head of school. Marsh is also responsible for keeping WCA a solvent school while preserving a school true to its mission. Marsh must pay great attention to the future of WCA from a financial standpoint, but also focus on a $2.2 million capital goal for right now. Add to this the need to be the influential and a trusted leader defining the
culture, success, and image of this community. Scott Holley, academic dean, works closely with Marsh but also understands the other role. “The class president is pretty powerless in many ways. It’s only through wisdom, humility, careful planning, and good will that the class president can get anything done. Marsh has a lot of advantages that a student at high school does not. He’s also got access to many resources,” said Holley. “I think the thing that makes a class president a good leader is that first of all he or she seeks this office because he or she wants to serve, not because he wants to pat a resume, not because it will look good on a college application, but
because he or she wants to serve.” added Holley. The influence of the head of school is judged on overall performance of a school and students impacted by the school. “If we were starting to get reports back from our alumni that they were struggling at a college and dropping out our something extreme like that, that would be a sign that my leadership and the school’s influence is not what it should be,” said Marsh. The duty and honor of each position clearly demands much time, effort, and wisdom. Both add responsibility, trust, and obligation. Despite not being equal in scope, the expectations of each, by those they lead, are high.
F E A T U R E S / S P O R T S 17 November 2011
Middle School Performs Ramona Quimby As Beezus says when she begins the play, ”this is a play about people like you see in the street every day – or even like your own family. It might be pretty neat if we took a good look close to home. So my idea for this play, Ramona Quimby, is to take us all to my house. Come on, I’ll show you around.” Ramona – Alyson McKie Beezus – Mrogan Brasier Dorothy (Mon) Quimby – Avery Drury Bob (Dad) Quimby – Trevor Weststeyn Aunt Bea – Alysse Tarantino Howie Kemp – Ryan Davis Uncle Hobart – Zach Hughes Mrs. Kemp – Erin Hunt Mrs. Griggs – Margo Koby Susan – Sarah Broyles Tammy – Madi Koetting Selma – Maggie Dare Mr. Frost – Nick Frogge Old Man – Cortez Davis As well as a host of bit parts and extras. This is a very large play that utilizes the Black Box as a Black Box – a totally conformable space. The players will be using 7 different stages around the room with the audience sitting in the middle.
Westminster Christian Academy
Middle School Takes Tennis to a New Level Brugner. Westminster was able to host one of the The teaching was two tournaments the same for the most the middle school part, but the players girls’ tennis team were able to compete participated in. The against students from girls were able to other schools. Most of experience what high the team members are school tennis is like beginners, but learned while still being able to throughout the season. play at their level. Julie Griesideck, 7th “The tournaments were grade, benefited by a great experience. I got to learning “how to be a part play with people from other of a team and how that is schools and have some fun important.” The girls admittedly The middle school tennis competition,” said BrookeEllen Brugner, had fun while preparing team participated in a couple eighth grade. for the tournaments and tournaments with these other I n learning how to play. teams, and it proved to be addition to “I have really enjoyed successful. competing in tennis this year. It’s “This has been the first tournaments, been alot of fun. I time we’ve had a n preparing think I have benefited official girls tennis for the from this year because tournament - we tournaments Photo by: Steven Davis I’ve never played hosted one, and was beneficial before and now I can the other was to them as well. play a tennis match and everything at MICDS. “I have learned a lot I really enjoy playing it’s alot of Both were well more about tennis. I became fun,” said Faith Adamson, seventh attended,” said a lot better at all of my grade. Nathan Talley, strokes. I also Although the season is middle school girls’ learned more tennis coach. over, the girls will still about scoring tie This has never continue to play in breakers and how before been the PE and the program tournaments work,” said case where the will take the same Brugner. Middle School course in the Last year focused has participated future. more on the basics and in tournaments or “My hope is technique, competitions, but that many will while this the move to the continue to year they new campus prepare in the had true made these off-season to experience. opportunities be ready to “ I possible play at a p l a y e d because of JV level tennis last year, and it all the court soon,” Photo by: Steven Davis was very different. This year was space. s a i d much more advanced, instead “There are lots of Talley. girls playing, and this year we have of just the basics. Last year was There the court space to accommodate all more about technique, where Photo by: Steven Davis are 62 girls this year was more about getting of them,” said Talley. that played Middle With the new court space, comfortable in the game,” said School Tennis this year. The middle school girls’ tennis program underwent a few changes this year. They now have an official team and compete with other tennis teams from other schools, just as the high school girls’ tennis team does.
World Series 2011 Champions Cardinals’ 11th World Title
Abbey Andres, David Freese, and Kaitlin Reuther at the St. Louis Cardinals World Series Victory Parade. Photo credit: Abbey Andres
John Moore, Margaret Moore, Cooper Moore, and Brookie Moore at game 7 of the World Series. Photo credit: Margaret Moore
Ellie Huffman, Fredbird, and Brynn Benes at World Series game 6. Photo credit: Brynn Benes Photo credit: Creative Commons
Westminster Christian Academy
Westminster Christian Academy
A F r o e s c h ta k e
a t h l e t e o f t h e m o n t h
w e s f r o e s c h n e r s p o r t s
e d i t o r
Hunger Pains Ravage School Yes its dramatic but the “No Eating Except in the Café” policy needs a look. Remember the good old days? The days when you could eat somewhere in the school without fear of being reprimanded? Good times, good times. Now, food has been outlawed from everywhere in the new campus except the café. Food is the source of energy for every living person on earth. We need food to be able to function well in society as well as school. To make it against the rules to eat in most places in the school is a problem. It is tough to maintain a good learning environment when being hungry or having a lack of energy confront students. Kids wind up being only focused on lunch or what they are going to have to sneak and eat in order to get rid of that empty feeling in their stomach, rather than that algebra equation they should be focused on. This problem affects athletes as well, perhaps even more than other students. Athletes need to be eating throughout most of the day to build muscle and to stay in tip-top shape. It’s not my own personal experience that is telling me this though. Westminster has been steadily improving its approach to health. Being allowed to eat outside of lunchtime in the cafe would allow students and athletes to live a healthier life style and be better prepared for the various sports and activities they are involved with. Dave Schall, strength and conditioning coach, recently sent out a note to parents on how their children can live a healthier life style. The main point of his not was that students should try to eat five to six smaller meals a day to “keep a constant flow of calories, vitamins, and minerals the body needs to excel during the day”. Eating more small meals a day instead of three larger ones also helps, according to Schall, burn more fat, prevent being “run down”, and sustaining muscle development. This seems like a great plan. If this would help athletes and students to be healthier and feel better throughout the day, then a lot of students should be doing it. The only problem is, under the current rules of the school, this eating plan is
outside the bounds. To me, the student athlete, the two approaches to food seem to be at odds. Obviously, the way the school wants you to do this health plan is by grabbing small amounts of food by your lockers and shoving them down before class. But under the current rules, this is an unrealistic expectation of students. Let us imagine a scenario. Say I have Dr. Gibson’s class third hour, which is located all the way in the freshman hallway. This poses a bit of a predicament for me, as this is about three hours past when I ate my first small meal of the day. The next class I have is Mr. Graham’s Worldviews class, which is located in the senior hallway. I have to walk all the way to my locker to get the appropriate materials for my next class, then walk to Mr. Graham’s class. No time to eat in the hall. Only time to sit down in my seat and think about how hungry I am and how much of a headache I have because of my lack of nourishment. I should be focusing on learning the difference between Nihilism and Existentialism, but instead I’m thinking about food. Don’t get me wrong. That whole story was not to explain how Coach Schall’s health plan won’t work and how it shouldn’t be taken seriously. I think Schall’s plan is perfect for promoting wellness among athletes as well as non-athletes. More kids should eat like that. I also know that high school kids are prone to trashing the place. The problem is, the administration is telling us we should do one thing to be healthy, but has rules that make it hard for us to do the very thing they are encouraging us to do. I understand that not every scenario is always understood or even known when policies are put in place. Open up the library to food and it sets a whole new set of dominoes tumbling. It’s a tough call. If we can’t have food in classrooms may I suggest keeping the cafe open all day or letting us eat where there is no carpet? I really would like to do the right thing, by both policies. Maybe we could even sell granola bars in the bookstore. The non-crumbly kind of course.
Westminster has taken a new approach this year to health. Being allowed to eat outside of lunchtime in the cafe would allow students and athletes to live a healthier life style and be better prepared for the various sports and activities they are involved with.
Kristen O’Leary, senior, serves the ball in the volleyball team’s game against Incarnate Word. Photo by: Kevin O’Leary
“Kristen came in this year as a mature senior and set an example through her attitude and work ethic to the varsity, junior varsity, and freshmen teams. She always respected the officials and her teammates and she was highly respected by her teammates and I. Her positive attitude really shone through all season while she consistently improved in her skills and was the anchor of our defense. I was really proud to see her improve in her skills and lead by example this season.” -Heather Kea, varsity volleyball coach
20 B A C K P A G E
Westminster Christian Academy
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