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North High School. 501 Holcomb Ave. Des Moines, IA 50313 January 31, 2013. Issue 4. A public forum for student expression.


oracle WHAT YOU


A series of tunnels runs underneath north high PGS 10-11



A Day of Giving

Nor th Students Give Back To Their Roots By: Brennan Whisler Oracle reporter December 19, 2012 became an early Christmas for 120+ kindergartners at Findley and Oak Park Elementary. Each student received a shoebox full of gifts, each containing seven to ten gender-specific items. Most of these students are on the free and reduced lunch. The shoeboxes and the gifts inside were mostly provided by the North High chapter of the National Honor Society with outside donations coming in from North High teachers and some area “The most memorable moment churches. was watching the members give However, the majority of the gifts to students who might be work was done by the members of North students one day”, said coNational Honor Society which in- adviser Denine Taylor. cluded providing three shoeboxes National Honor Society is a each, paying for the gifts to go into national organization devoted to each box (with their own money), volunteer work both inside and wrapping the boxes, and the deoutside of the school. Members livery of the “The most memorable moment was particiboxes. pate in 16 watching the members give gifts to stuWhen hours asked what dents who might be North students one of com-Adviser Denine Tayor day.” she felt munity about doservice nating her time and money, NHS in one school year, they go to member Rose Hebron replied, bimonthly meetings, and each “Since it was with the little kids member creates an individual it brought me back to my childservice project for themselves to hood.” participate in. Such volunteer op-

Celebrate ! These students just bought their 2013 yearbook. You should, too. On sale: Tuesdays and Fridays at lunch or any day in the office $42.

Findley Elementry kindergartners with their gifts. - photos by Junior Calvin Lovan

portunities could include church work or just helping out at the main office. N H S Me m b e r s To become a member, a Deysi Arce* Brymontia Austin* North High student has to Mericia Boutchee* have a 3.5+ GPA and fill out Ingri Cabezas Sara Cathi an application letter detailing Anthony Che* Mariama Corneh* their academic and extra-curricular activities in high school Bobby Dalton* Natasha Gomez Anna Hayes Emily Hernandez and their previous volunteer Jessica Jensen* Chyna Kavan work. Mikolina Lowe Say Paw The letters for this year were Karina Reyes Brian Schulze* then reviewed for acceptance Megan Sims* Kaitlyn Strawn* by Mr. Chai, Mrs. Wignall, and Cindy Tello* Julius Tembe* Mrs. Pundzak. The advisers Phuong Thai AJ Walker* for National Honor Society are Brennan Whisler Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Wignall. Glenna Whiteman Taylor Wisecup * Seniors


3 Staff Editorials: Thumbs up/Thumbs down We, The Oracle, give a thumbs down to NHS administration for the rules over the IDs. Why does it have to be around our necks, when it could be put anywhere, as long as quickly accessible? Also, an ID does not prevent a shooting. Won’t this policy die down like the last time we tried to enforce ID badges at NHS?

Thumbs up to NHS administration for the Standards Based Grading system being an option to teachers. This allows for a chance to help keep grades up if absent, and to catch up if a student was to fall behind.

Thumbs down to the NHS Administration for making us wear these ID badges. Also, making us pay five dollars for a new one is ridiculous. Do you know how much food we can buy for five dollars? Also, many of us do not have the best picture, and we would appreciate keeping the photo private. If the point is to protect us from nonNorth students that will endanger us, an ID badge will not stop them from doing what they are going to do.

Thumbs up to NHS staff/ administration for Standards Based Grading because it helps students be able to show they truly know the content and gives them room to recover if they don’t turn something in on time.

International News

North Korean missile crisis

By Dakota Lupkes Oracle reporter

Before you read this article you need to take the following into consideration. This has threatened our very way of life and if North Korea does this again we will probably be in a very large war, possibly even another world war. Dec. 12, 2012 North Korea launched a missile with a satellite into orbit. They can launch a 1,300 lb. missile over 6,200 miles putting the entire west coast of the United States in jeopardy. The South Korean government went on a high alert and is trying to find out if Iran is helping North Korea build missiles. Some of the evidence such as the oxidizer tank shows that Iran is helping North Korea with there missiles. The oxidizer tank is more important than you think in finding out whether or not North Korea is getting help from Iran. Just by looking at the welding job and how the oxidizer looked. Here in the U.S. We are not anticipating any nuclear missiles to head our way any time soon, however North Korea has shown a large jump in technological advance.

Analysts in the U.S. have doubt the fact that they have made an advance in making a nuclear bomb small enough to fit atop a missile. They also doubt they have made a missile capable of re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere and making to the Earth without either burning it’s self up or just simply shaking apart while crashing through the earths atmosphere. United Nations have banned North Korea from any rocket launching that uses ballistic technology. This shows a Great push for North Korea’s leader Kim Jong – Un but in the wrong direction. This was written to show you that you need to be concerned about things that go on around the world too. Things like this can greatly affect our lives. If they launch a nuclear weapon on the U.S. Then we will probably be in a nuclear war. If you still aren’t concerned after everything that was just told to you then this might change your opinion. If we had a nuclear war there would be no life on earth because of the nuclear fallout.

U.S. troops deployed, conflict not over By. Jake Sanderman Oracle reporter Within the mass overhaul of stories that force their way into the media, there are always important issues that never make the cut. Often times, world events are being substituted for more socially “appealing” stories, usually relating to well-known individuals. So it’s easy to see how a potentially major situation managed to slip under the radar. In recent times, the US has made, what may possibly be, a crucial decision that could influence whether or not we can become war free. The preparation began in October of 2012, to deploy troops and SAM batteries to the Turkish border, following recent events within the threat nation of Syria. Just in the last year, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has gathered together an attacking force, which is assumed to be the result of

the tight tension between Syria and Turkey. To prevent Syria from commencing their supposed attack on Turkey, the border between the two nations will be tightly reinforced with around 400 US troops. On top of that, surveillance photos have shown hostile military transportvehicles being loaded with chemical weapons within Syria, which could be evidence of an incoming chemical attack against Turkey. It is rumored that the chemical weapons could have been provided by the country of Iran; another nation that resents the US. The troops started arriving in Turkey early January of 2013, and will start manning patriot missile systems. These defense systems are the extra support that are supposed to avert an attack, which is all but certain if we don’t interfere. However, if our deployment is successful in its mission, the attack will

be canceled altogether. On the lighter side, Germany and the Netherlands also began sending their support to the SyrianTurkish border on January 8th, supplying their own SAM batteries, along with upwards of 350 troops. The US holds two of the batteries, while Germany and the Netherlands each hold on to two themselves. All six missile units are expected to be fully operational by the end of January, according to international news sources. As of now, the reinforced militarized border will only stand in preparation, closely monitoring further actions by the Syrian military. If they carry out the anticipated attack, the US will be forced to retaliate as necessary. This single decision by the US Armed Forces could very well prevent a massive war between Syria and Turkey, creating justification for our actions.

features Austin Alan Cort : Looking for closure over one year later


The who, what, where, when and why in this tragic event by Sammi Linebach Oracle reporter He “came to Des Moines for a fresh start, Oklahoma was kind of rough,” said Jeremy Schwennen, a former literacy leader. He wasn’t the best student, nor was he the worst. He wasn’t mean-spirited, but he did things that aggravated some people, especially those in charge. “Austin had a lot of charm and charisma. He was well liked by his friends and many of his teachers. He was easy going, and laid back and had a really great smile,” said Amanda Dvorak, a NHS math teacher. His parents knew of his addiction, and that’s why they came here, to Iowa. He had a family that loved him very much, even though they didn’t always get along. His mother and dad are divorced, she lives in Oklahoma, while he lives here in Iowa. Austin Alan Cort. This name means a lot to some people, and very little to others. Why was his name all over social This photo was taken in Austin Cort’s goverment class just a few weeks bemedia in the middle of December? What ever happened? Austin was a senior for fore he died. Cort died on Dec. 11, 2011 of an overdose of methodone pills. the 2011-2012 school year. He got in Picture courtesy of Sherry Poole. trouble a lot, but he was overall a good guy. He was sent to the office quite a bit, car, but felt better once he got to Corbin said “yes.” “My heart wants someone to and became an office helper. He aggraMitchell’s house. Valadez had said Cort learn something from this, but my head vated those in the office, and so was often ate a bowl of chicken noodle soup and last is saying it was really Austin’s actions, sent to Schwennen’s office to help. talked around 2 a.m. and you’re only accountable for your own He and Schwennen developed a strong Austin was texting some friends that actions.” relationship as they hung out day after night. One of these people, was SchwenAnother teacher whom Cort was close day. They talked about many things, nen. Schwennen says that Cort’s spelling with was Dvorak. She had Austin in her although did not have very many open wasn’t always the best, but as that night Technical Math class. She says they “had a conversations. They came about, it got good relationship. Austin came to class on talked more about G. I. worse; he says texting a regular basis and we had good converJoe than personal things “My heart wants someone to is an “ugly little form sations both about school and not about like marijuana use. Cort school.” learn something from this, but of communication,” saw Schwennen as more but they still talked “Anytime that something like this hapmy head is saying it was really through text because pens, you are sad. He had a bright future of a friend than as a teacher. Schwennen was Austin’s actions, and you’re they were on a good ahead of him and tons of potential. I was somebody he could talk only accountable for your own teacher to student also a bit angry because of how it hapto about life. He was one actions.” relationship that had pened and how much potential he had,” of those “heavy-stuff ” developed over the she said. -Mr.Schwennen talkers and listeners. time they had spent Well, as the fateful night went on, Although when they did together. Austin, along with friends Mitchell, Alex talk about Cort’s habits, After asked who Ritchie and Valadez stayed up playing Schwennen always said he did not apwas most responsible for what had hapvideo games, watching TV, and lastly talkprove of it. pened, Schwennen says Austin, because ing until 2 in the morning. Three of the So what exactly happened on December “he did it, he took it....I feel like if blame is guys then fell asleep on a sectional couch. 11, 2011? Cort and three of his friends going to be shared, it goes with the people The morning of Dec 11, Mitchell woke up had methadone (a strong narcotic pain who helped him get that stuff; but at the his mother, Stacey Pettorini, screaming medication) from the medicine cabinet at end of the day, it was him.” that something was wrong with Cort. one teen’s home, the night of Dec 10. Later on in the interview, Schwennen Valadez was the first to discover someAccording to a report by Des Moines said, “We have to think about consething was wrong with Cort, according to Police Officer Tracy Rhoads, Cort was quences all the time whether we are 50, the police report. Pettorini told Officer picked up from work by friends, and then 15, or 5. You’re never too old for conseTracy Rhoads that she knew Cort was he broke eight methadone pills in half and quences.” When asked if he felt if somedead but did chest compressions anyway took them all at once. The police report one should have been held responsible for because the other boys were so upset. As states that Skylar Valadez said Cort told what happened, he pointed to his head, everything had settled down a little, him he thought he had overdosed in the shaking no; but pointed to his heart, and

Jeremy Schwennen, (Literacy Leader) “I remember the first day I met Austin.

He helped me move this giant pile of books out of the main office and to a room upstairs, and we were both totally wiped out by the end of that block from hauling books up and down the stairs. The bell rang, and before he took off he turned to me and shook my hand and said thank you. I had just worked his tail off, and he thanked me for it. I knew at that exact moment we were going to get along just fine.”

Corbin Mitchell, (Senior)

“He was the kind of person who always strived for greatness, not just for himself, but for those around him. He was always one to brighten the mood; he was always the one to smile no matter what could or would happen”

Levi Cline, (Sophmore)

“I remember him always telling me ‘No matter how bad things seem, the sun will always rise tomorrow’ and I keep that quote in the back of my head at all times, along with the memories of a friend that left too soon”


On January 24, 2013 Skylar David McDuffey-Valadez was put in custody on charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to deliver narcotics. He is being held on a $55,000 bond in the Polk County Jail.

features Austin Alan Cort (Continued) everyone attempted to return to their lives, as it was the only thing to do. Dec. 11 was a crazy morning, and afterwards, it was a crazy week at school. The grief counselors were at school to help those in need of talking out their feelings and emotions. Sure, actions cause mistakes, and this time, Cort’s action caused his own life. Nowadays, kids are trying to either feel more, or feel less. One of these reasons was why Cort did what he had did. Dvorak said she feels Austin is most responsible for what happened to him. “People make choices, and he made the choice to take the drugs that he did, and unfortunately it ended worse than he or anyone else expected,” she said. She said she feels that the police were right to not charge anyone with any legal ramifications for what happened. “There is no one to blame, and nothing

that can change what happened, so to place blame in the wrong spot would be another tragedy resulting from this.” So what’s new about the case? Sgt. Jason Halifax of the DMPD, said that two attorneys were contacted about possible legal action toward Cort’s friends, however both were declined the case because it had appeared to be Cort’s own actions that led to his death. In the article that came out on December 3, from the Des Moines Register, Halifax said that police get about 10 calls a week involving overdoses, although most calls have to deal with more alcohol, rather than drugs. He says that in such cases similar to Cort’s, the best thing to do to keep this from happening is to keep substances secure. Halifax said Cort’s case is now closed. There are many new developments in the Cort case. Just this week, according to the DM Register, Halifax has lately stated, “The case took more than a year to resolve because the first detective to receive the case was transferred to another unit, forcing a second investigator to start almost from the beginning.”

5 “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.” - Robert Frost

Austin Cort. June 10th, 1994 - December 11th, 2011

Others teenagers we’ve lost far too soon 1) Judy VanLo, 18 July 9,1993- June 17, 2012 She was two months pregnant when she was killed by her boyfriend.

Amy Theuambounmy (senior) “My favorite memory of Judy is when a guy asked me out during lunch, Judy made a big deal out of it. She thought something would blossom out of it.”

2) Kevin Kong, 17 June 13, 1995 - June 18, 2012 He was at the WDM beach with friends and went under while swimming beyond the designated swimming area.

Emily Yin (freshman) “He’d always have my back...” He’d tell me “don’t focus on boys, go and focus on school. He wanted to make sure I’d graduate.”

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3) Corey Hamilton, 16 June 6, 1996 - October 13, 2012 Accidentally shot in the head by his friend.

Grace Jones (freshman) “I mostly miss his hugs. I miss that no matter what, whenever he came over, he always made sure I was doing what I needed to be doing and staying out of trouble. He cared about everyone and always put other people before him. He was a great person. And I was blessed to have him around my whole life.”



2012 NHS



was a record year. Bringing some of the most memorable moments many of us have ever had to live through, including some things we would all like to forget.

From Hostess being shut down to Honey Boo Boo,we can all agree 2012 was, eventful. The music world was no different in 2012. Full of hits like “Somebody that I Used to Know” and “We are Young”, but with a few misses as well such as Nicki Minaj’s “Starships.” Here at The Oracle, we have decided to make a list of our hits and misses in the music world of 2012. -CF

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together



Locked Out of Heaven

Bruno Mars




Call Me Maybe


Carli Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen’s one hit wonder was the hit song of the summer. The captivating beat and catchy lyrics sprang this song into popularity. Although the song is very entertaining, the tune gets annoying quite fast and manages to stay with you the rest of the week. Many covers were made from the song, the most popular being the USA Olympic Swimming Team. -JJ

2. What Makes You Beautiful

songs of 2012


Rihanna is no stranger With a catchy bridge and to hit songs and 2012’s Diaa just as catchy chorus, it monds was no exception. Feais no surprise that Locked turing a chorus that posses Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars the capability to stick all is on this list. You really day, this song is to say the get the feel of being locked least, catchy. While many out of a musical heaven with criticize Rihanna and her the progressive music build- personal life, we can all ing up to a climax that you agree that when it comes to don’t reach until the end. songwriting, Rihanna knows what she’s doing.



5 Taylor Swift

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together may have a long title, but the song’s message is quite clear. Swift, often known for making fairytaleesque love songs, ventures out with Never Ever Getting Back Together and boldly states quite an opposite scenario to her other songs. This song paints an image of a girl telling an ex well, that they are never, ever, ever, ever, getting back together. -CF



top5 The Oracle's 5

5. Beauty and a Beat 4. Gangnam Style * 3. Call Me Maybe *




Gangnam Style


Topping charts all across the world, Gangnam Style quickly rose to become

the Oracle’s #1 best song of 2012. With over a billion hits on YouTube, the song drew a lot of attention, resulting in handfuls of television appearances, and even more remakes. When translated, Gangnam Style’s catchy Korean words tell of a girl who quickly attracts a guy with her stunning looks and presence. Between the quirky dance moves and dubstep basslines, Gangnam Style possessed the power to appeal all age groups in 2012. PSY ruled the charts in 2012 but hints at a fresh start in 2013. We can all agree he is someone to watch to see if he becomes a legend, or just another one hit wonder. -CF


The Oracle's No. 1

worst song of 2012




DUCK AND COVER This Wouldn’t Save Anybody

The Tunnels beneath us all you climb back out of the tunnel back through the way you came. The bomb shelter under the building was built in 1957 during the Cold War at the same time the new building for North You’re sitting in class, it’s a High was built. normal day, the teacher is writDuring the 50’s and 60’s stuing an assignment on the board, dents at North High would have while students secretly pass love letters to each other. You think the class is boring, so you rest your head on your arms and you close your eyes. Then suddenly a loud alarm fills the room. The teacher stops and directs the students out of the room and down the hall towards the boiler room. Students walk calmly in the halls chatting and asking if it’s a real drill or not. You get to the boiler room and there is a steel door in the floor. You enter because you are told to do so. to go through “Duck and CovWe recently visited the elaboer” drills for threat of a nuclear rate series of tunnels below attack. North -- the tunnels are dark, The floor is covered in nothing quiet, and musty. but rocks and junk that washed You need to have a flashlight in during the floods of 1993 and with you just to make sure you 2008. When you first enter, by don’t hit your head on one of the wrestling room, you enter the many low pipes. You sit to a dark room with no light. there untill the drill is over, so When you point your light to Story by: Tyler Lowe Photos by: Tyler Lowe & Christian Rundle

the corner of the room you find nothing but a single chair. The chair is covered with layers of dust, as if it has been sitting there since the 1950s. “The tunnels were made to alleviate people’s fear,” said American History teacher Archie Cook.

"The tunnels were made to alleviate people's fear" Cook used to take students on tours of the tunnels for his class. That tradition is no longer allowed. “The walls were lined with Army green civil defense canisters,” he said. The canisters included water, crackers, medical supplies and other rations. There would be a duck and

cover drill once a year said Dartanyan Brown, a North High graduate and Hall of Fame inductee. “The students took the drills very seriously,” he said. Brown was a student at North High when President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. The tunnels are still accessed on a regular basis by NHS custodians when they need to do repairs to pipes or electrial wiring.

Just the

facts *The swiming pool sits on massive, steel stilts. *During the flood of 2008, animals (a racoon and a skunk) were found in the tunnels, as were dead fish. There is no evidence of live (or dead) animals in the tunnels today. *There are three total entrances to the underground tunnels.


The Places You


Dont Get To See The Catwalk Above the gym is probably the best seat in the house. Unfortunitally it is probably the hardest to get to. The picture to the right is a view right above the weight room. If you keep walking to the right you will be able to get above the gym. Don’t trip.

The shooting range The only people allowed in this room are ROTC instructors and members of the Rifle team. This is where senior Sara Crampton honed her sklls for the National Elgion award for air rifle. The rifle team practices every day of every school year.

Going even higher than that is the roof. It is the one area of the school that teachers don't want students. The roof of the building is not an area for horse play. It is very high up and there is not much to stop you from falling but yourself. From the roof you can see the entire landscape of the area. You can see the 801 Grand building downtown. It is a phenomenal view. Walking around the courtyard you can see into all the classrooms. The tops of the trees rise high above the roof, you can see birds in their nests, and squirrels eating some food. The roof is probably the quietest part of the building.

The Roof


Lisa Klein: A proud Polar Bear By Jerson Valenzuela Art/graphics Editor


and senior year. “Lisa is warm, funny, kind, giving, sweet, thoughtful, Klein has fond memories of the generous, available, discerning, caring, truthful, loyal, She has been a Polar Bear teachers she had affectionate, tactful, winning, cheerful, brave, heartfelt, since 1982. She was Homeat North, includbelievable, and wonderful! If you want just one word, let’s coming queen in 1985. She ing our very own was inducted into the North Linda Castagnoli, just say that she is AWESOME!” High Hall of Fame in 1988. who was Klein’s - Jana Edwards She began teaching Physical sophomore math Former North High math teacher Education in 1993. teacher. She says She is Lisa Klein and she Castagnoli hasn’t has a long, happy history changed and is with North High School. still the positive and caring teacher clothing can be found in the girls’ locker room, on top of a row lockers, waiting to go to a good home. As a young girl, Klein she remembers. Klein remembers times where she had to go to garage went through some tough It is because of the care the teachtimes at home. Klein would ers gave the kids of at North, that sales and the salvation army to shop for clothes as a kid. She truly understands where some kids come from. look forward to going to she became a teacher. She sees herself having a type of leadership role in the school to get away from it “When I think about the positive all. things here at North, its the giving future, possibly an administrator. Klein has a personal motto. She believes, “Nothing can At North she was focused the teachers give,” she said while on athletics, she did well remembering of her time here at stop you.” Dave Jordal coached boys and girls cross country with in academics and she was North. caring and kind to others. And Klein is an example of these Klein for eight years. “I’ll always remember our trips to the Mexican restauKlein was a real people Lisa Klein speaks with junior Terrance Bush (right) in giving teachers. pleaser. The younger kids the gym. She has been teaching since 1993. Klein is During her time teaching and rant after the Saydel meet each year,” said Jordal. “She always made sure everyone on the team had an knew her name because of famous for her generosity with the students at North coaching cross country, she has High School that. been bringing in bags upon bags of awesome meal, whether they had a dollar in their pocket This resulted in her beclothing and shoes, that her fam- or not,” he said. According to Jordal, that made her as coming Homecoming princess and queen in her junior ily no longer uses, for the students here. These articles of good of a coach as the advice she gave to her athletes.

2012 issue 4  
2012 issue 4