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SPRING 2013 www.NewsOK.com/HotInk

a publication of newsroom 101 and the Oklahoman

ESCAPING

Syria PAGE

Saving American Indian languages PAG E

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Leadership after loss PA GE

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Is history better than fiction? PAGE

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A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

I N S I D E

N E W S R O O M ON THE

1 0 1

Carrie Coppernoll

COVER

Program Coordinator

Jaclyn Cosgrove Assistant Coordinator

A woman named Aida cries as she recovers from severe injuries after the Syrian army shelled her house in Idlib, northern Syria. Aida's husband and two children were killed in the attack. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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Brianna Bailey Bryan Dean Jordan Gamble Nasreen Iqbal Adam Kemp LeighAnne Manwarren Mentors

Suzanne Green DAVID DOWNHAM Publication Designers

The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com Kelly Dyer Fry Editor and Vice President of the News and Information Center

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Mike Shannon Managing Editor

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Alan Herzberger Managing Editor of Digital Content

Robby Trammell News Director

Clytie Bunyan

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Director of Business and Lifestyles

ABOUT NEWSROOM 101 Newsroom 101 is presented by the News & Information Center staff at Thvvvve Oklahoman in conjunction with the Oklahoma Publishing Company’s Newspapers in Education service.

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The 11-week program is for high school students interested in different areas of journalism and is designed to cultivate the skills needed to be a good journalist. This publication contains content produced by the 2013 program participants and will be distributed to Oklahoma high schools and other locations. Newsroom 101 publications have won the National Association of Educational Publishers awards twice, most recently in 2006. The program also works in cooperation with NewsOK.com, which carries the contents of this publication at www.NewsOK. com/HotInk.

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A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

Proportion of Jobs Open to U.S. Military Women

by Service in 1989

On The Front Lines: The evolution of women’s rights has taken one step further, crossing battle lines drawn long ago.

how this could affect the military and its female soldiers.

The U.S. military saw a major shift earlier this year when it was announced that women would be allowed to serve in an estimated 240,000 combat positions previously restricted from them.

Retired Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon, the Oklahoma secretary of veterans affairs, said women are at an advantage in crucial situations, such as exposing concealed weapons hidden under Muslim women’s burqas, or even finding men disguised as women trying to gain access to American military areas.

In January, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the military ban on women serving in combat roles would be lifted. Panetta directed military departments to submit detailed plans by May 15 for the implementation of the change and to move forward efficiently to integrate women into previously closed positions, according to the Department of Defense. The secretary’s direction was for the process to be complete by Jan. 1, 2016.  

Meanwhile, Oklahoma officials are welcoming this change.

“Our nation needs to have the best and brightest to fight this war and to deter other wars,” Aragon said. “That should not be inhibited by race, gender, creed or color.” As a retiree from the U.S. Air National Guard, Aragon believes women should “be held to the same standards of physical requirements in order to play on a level field.”

About 1 in 7 active-duty soldiers are women, according to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation.

If the requirements for women are lessened, “they will be doomed to failure,” and the belief that women aren’t strong enough for the job will be reinforced, Aragon said.

The decision has caused debate and raised several concerns of

Aragon considers it a step in the right direction for the military,

which should celebrate the diversity of its members. The patriotism for our country “resides in all our hearts to one degree or another,” she said. Navy Operation Specialist Briona Smith, 21, supports the movement for female soldier equality. “That’s the way it should and always will be,” she said. Smith joined the Navy to get away from drugs and poverty and to have a better life. With the bad economy, Smith didn’t want to have to worry about unpredictable job layoffs, and the military provided her with the certainty of income and benefits. As a radar controller, she protects ships from enemy boats and aircrafts, and she shoots down hostile contacts when they threaten their perimeters. Her position has taken her all over the world, including Dubai, Bahrain, Italy, India and Australia. “I think that it’s pretty cool that women have come so far,” Smith said. Women aren’t the only ones

giving voice to the change. Moore resident and Navy veteran Paul Andrus said he believes that women are capable of fighting in combat, but there are still a few positions that are not physically reasonable for women. “We’re just not built the same,” Andrus said. He said that gender could be used against women if they were captured and placed in a prisoner-of-war situation. But in present day, women have proved themselves capable in assuming the duties that were long considered a man’s job. “The role of women in the military has really changed (because) ... the growth of our country has pushed the envelope of women in combat,” he said. From personal experience, Andrus does not believe fighting side-by-side with a woman would be a distraction. In combat situations, your focus is so intense toward defeating the enemy, it wouldn’t matter if the soldier next to you was male or female, he said.

Marine Corps

52% Army

Nav y

H a nn a h R o b ins o n | S outhmoore H i g h S chool

59% Air Force

Women’s Rights Sees Victory in Combat Debate

Coast Guard

100%100%

20%

SOURCE: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

By the Numbers:

Women in the Military

15%

percent of all U.S. service members who are female.

119,000 women who have served in and around Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001.

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number of women who earned the Silver Star, the military’s third-highest medal for valor in combat, even though women have been excluded from combat. SOURCE: SERVICE WOMEN’S ACTION NETWORK

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A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

What stopS girls in developing countries from attending school Z a in a b I . S a n d h u | M erc y S chool I nstitute The Taliban shot her down with intent of silencing her, but instead, shooting Malala Yousafzai only made her voice louder. Since then, the girl who stood up to the Taliban has become a symbol of women’s right to an education all over the world, especially in developing countries, where the issue is most prevalent. Yousafzai, a girl who lived in the Talibanoccupied area of Swat Valley in Pakistan, persistently attended school and didn’t give up her education, despite the rules of her occupiers. However, the lack of educational opportunities for women in developing countries isn’t a new problem. Fewer than half of women in developing countries, such as Pakistan and Chad, are literate, according to the United Nations. School enrollments for girls in Mali are comparable to those in the U.S. in 1810, according to the World Bank. In India and Pakistan, there is a gender gap of almost five years between males and females of children who participate in school in the bottom 20 percent income bracket. One of the biggest things pushing girls away from school is simply culture and the norms of society that they live in. “Girls are the repository of their family’s honor, which is best served by getting married,” said Mariam Mufti, a professor of South Asian studies at the University of Oklahoma. “Too much education will spoil the girl’s chances when finding a suitable spouse because educated girls are seen as ‘being fast and as having lost their innocence.’” Sajida Shahjahan, a teacher at Mercy School Institute, who also attended school in Pakistan, said boys are meant to be the bread winners of their family. “They are the ones who are privileged with the opportunity of an education because they are responsible for the family income,” Shajahan said. 4

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Financial standing is also a large factor in a family’s decision of whether to send their daughters to school. Many developing countries, such as Pakistan, lack free schooling, especially for girls. Erum Raza, who also attended school in Pakistan, said there are some families who truly cannot afford the price of an education “It’s not gender-driven,” said Raza, who works in the United States with an economics degree. “People just can’t afford the education. ... If families do send their children to school, they usually send their sons because they feel it is a better investment.” If getting an education were free, more families would send their daughters to school because tuition wouldn’t be such a burden. In Bangladesh, girls in sixth grade to 10th grade in rural districts receive a stipend that covered as much as 50 percent of the cost of textbooks, uniforms and transportation as long as they fulfilled certain academic requirements. The result was an 8 percent increase in girls’ enrollment for each additional year of program participation, according to the World Bank. The benefits of a woman’s education are numerous, especially in Third World and developing countries. One additional year of schooling for girls and women increases their wages by at least 10 percent; reduces infant immortality rate by at least 5 percent; and translates into children remaining in school for another one-third to one-half year, according to the World Bank. A study at the University College of Dublin found that better educated parents were shown to be more likely to delay the start of childbearing until their late 20s, while the least educated mothers were more likely to have a first child before age 25. “Being educated means having the power to investigate, research and finalize one‘s action on the basis of that research,” Raza said. The benefits are countless, Raza said.

Malala Yousufzai, the girl who was shot at close range in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan, reads a book as she continues her recovery at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England. Photo by the Associated Press

“The economic benefit liberates a woman from being in a position where she has the peace of mind that she is able to provide for herself and her dependent if there’s ever such a point in her life,” she said. Even though there are many factors that discourage women in some countries from getting an education, new initiatives are being taken. For example, organizations such as Girl Up by the United Nations are doing whatever they can to help. Girl Up helps to raise money for adolescent girls to help create a brighter future for them.

The Central Asia Institute has built many schools — some all girls’ schools — in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But, at times, it’s hard to change the status quo of a society’s cultural norms and change a family’s personal beliefs. Yousafzai has recovered from her wounds and has started a new life at a new school in the United Kingdom. Yet, behind her are all the other girls still in Pakistan and other countries lacking the simple thing that many women and girls in developed countries simply take for granted.

female Education in Developing Countries •

Almost 2 in 3 girls who aren’t in school around the world belong to ethnic minority groups within their own countries.

School enrollment for girls in modern-day Mali is comparable to the United States in 1810.

In Pakistan, a ½-kilometer increase in the distance to school decreases female enrollment by 20 percent.

 

SOURCE: THE WORLD BANK


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A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

Does social media make us less social?

Addiction to social media mirrors other addictionS Jasmin E n c hassi | M erc y S chool

BY U Z M A S A N D H U | M erc y S chool I nstitute Layan Salous is pretty sure she interacts with other people more on social networks than she does in actual life.

of social media among teens, according to work by Robert Putnam, a government professor at Harvard University.

“It’s just easier,” she said, “I can reach all my friends and family through a simple tweet or status straight from my phone.”

“I think social media is definitely making us less prone to social capital,” said Hadia Karim, a junior at Norman North High School.

Salous, a junior at Mercy School Institute, spends about 10 hours a week on social networks. She’s not alone, either. The average teen spends about 15 hours a week on various social networks, a number that is only expected to rise, according to a study by the University of Wisconsin.

Teenagers who usually use social media tend to gravitate and interact with people inside their own interest groups, Karim said.

Researchers have attributed social networks as the driving force for many drastic changes in social attitudes in today’s society. One of those phenomena is teenage participation in social capital. Adolescents are less likely to trust other people, donate to charities, vote (and feel guilty about avoiding the polls), attend public meetings and keep up with public affairs. Research shows that this occurrence has a direct link to the use

“We interact online with people who only have the same interests, ethnicity, race, religion,” Karim said. “And that translates to who we interact with in real life, at school or work or any public place, really.” This gravitation is not without its effects. Markus Smith, chair of the department of political science at Oklahoma City Community College, said this dependence on social media is causing young people interact less with people outside their immediate circles and therefore be less exposed to diversity. “Social media is a doubleedged sword,” he said. “On

one hand you have an outlet in social media that is a catalyst for social interaction, and on the other you have an outlet for menial interaction without any effort.” Smith said the overwhelming majority of teenagers pick the lazy way out, a trend that he says is spreading throughout workplaces, school clubs and even elections. So, what can teenagers do to alleviate the effects of social media on their social capital? To Smith, the answer is simple: interact more in person. “I see students interacting with each other on Facebook and other similar places and saying like, ‘Hey, let’s all get together today at so-and-so and just hang out,’ which is good, but we need to see more of that,” Smith said. Karim agreed. “In the end,” she said, “it’s really all about putting down your phone and just turning to the person next you and introducing yourself. And it’s amazing what the effect of that can be.”

Social media is a world where people People’s personalities change once they can go online and share pictures and have become addicted, she said. thoughts with everyone else. Networks “Human beings are products of their ensuch as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, vironment,” Maududi said. “A person Tumblr and Pinterest have become inwill unconsciously adopt the culture grained in people’s daily lives. shown in social media.” However, social media is something that people can become addicted to through Maududi said she has dealt with many overuse, said Tazeen Maududia, a psy- addicts, including drug addicts. Most of them are failing in their personal and sochiatrist who practices in Norman. cial lives because most of their time and “People spend so much time on social efforts are spent toward their addiction. media that they cannot fulfill their real Once they were addicted, it becomes social and occupational responsibilities,” hard for them to quit. Maududi said in an email. “They cannot play their role in actual society because “It is like having a balanced diet,” Maududi said. “Use a little bit of everything.” they live in a fantasy world.”

S o c i al •

M e d ia

Facts

Barack Obama’s victory Facebook post was the most liked photo on Facebook with more than 4 million likes.

1 in 4 Facebook users check their account five or more times daily.

More than 1 million websites have integrated with Facebook in various ways.

85 percent of women are annoyed by their friends on Facebook.

250 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day.

210,000 years of music have been played on Facebook, as of last year.

Since the dawn of Twitter, there have been a total of 163 billion tweets and counting.

56 percent of customer tweets to companies are ignored.

11 accounts are created every second on Twitter.

More than 5 million photos are uploaded to Instagram every day. www.newsok.com/hotink

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A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

Concurrent enrollment can challenge, benefit students BY U Z M A S A N D H U | M erc y S chool I nstitute Sidra Mesiya leads a double life.

Among college freshmen who continue to the secShe’s a concurrently enrolled student, which is ond year of college, dual credit participants earn a a complicated title for a pretty simple concept. higher first year GPA, according to a study by the Mesiya is a high school student and college stu- Oregon University System. The study also shows that students enrolled in dual-credit programs dent at the same time. are more likely to go to college and to remain enMesiya, 17, of Edmond, has been taking college rolled. courses since the summer after her sophomore But concurrent enrollment isn’t easy. year. The hardest thing about it is the pressure to perNow she’s a junior at Mercy School Institute form well, Mesiya said. and has earned enough credit to be the equiva“You’re paying for these classes and choosing to do lent of a second-semester college freshman. them yourself as opposed to classes in high school,” “It’s crazy,” she said, “looking at my transcript she said. “It creates a certain amount of stress that and seeing all these classes that I’ve already I normally wouldn’t have with my classes at my knocked off for college. It makes me feel pretty high school.” accomplished.” Areebah Anwar, a senior at Mercy School Institute, Mesiya isn’t an anomaly, either. Nearly 1 mil- agreed. lion high school students nationwide are taking college classes, according to the U.S. Depart- “Taking college classes isn’t a measure of how smart you are,” Anwar said. “It’s a measure of how ment of Education. committed, dedicated and hardworking you are.” The benefits are endless, said Marcelene James, Anwar, who has been taking concurrent classes an academic adviser at Oklahoma City Comsince her junior year of high school, said it was munity College. tough at first but she eventually adjusted. “By doing concurrent enrollment,” she said, “stu“I made some lasting friendships through it and dents are getting way ahead of their classmates.” formed close relationships with my professors,” James said not only are students ahead aca- she said. “... Overall, concurrent enrollment is one demically, but they learn good study habits and of the best decisions I have ever made. ... I have independence as well — the trifecta when it definitely grown as a stronger and more mature comes to succeeding in college. person through my experiences in college.”

Feelings toward minorities have changed in recent years because of things like politics, immigration and the economy. Surprising statistics support this theory and lead to the thoughts and reasoning behind certain discriminations. Scan the QR code or go to NewsOK.com /HotInk.

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Study shows trends in high school work habits From Staff Reports

Undeclared? Yo u ’ r e

n ot

a lo n e

C a l l i e R . St r u by | H ardin g C harter P rep H i g h S chool If you ask the average high “Undeclared means that a student Even those who declare a major dents in similar situations to school student what they want to hasn’t made a decision on their often end up switching. About research different majors. study in college, there’s a good major and is undecided,” Hulsey- 65 percent of students changed “Talk to people. Meet people. Anychance they will tell you they Greene said. their major at least one time, one should be able to tell you what have no idea. Many students are according to an OSU report. their major does,” Sikich said. For fall 2012, OSU reported struggling to decide what area of Forbes Magazine describes 140 new freshmen that were study suits them best. Sikich attended OSU and switched classified as undecided out of being undeclared as “the worst her major four or five times. For Picking a college is hard enough. 4,289. These freshmen will go to advice possible,” citing the the first three years of her college Picking a major — especially various classes without declaring money required to take enough career, she bounced around, trying when there are so many different a major in an attempt to discover courses to recognize an interest majors covering a wide range of to decide on a major. and the extra years of college what suits them best. interests — can be daunting. courses some students may have Her friends made suggestions Oklahoma State University of- OSU Career Services offers to take. which ultimately led to her mafers 99 undergraduate degree career assessment instruments Instead, the magazine recom- joring in recreation management. programs and more than 200 on their website for students who mends taking college courses Sikich now works for the YMCA various options within the degree are unsure of where they fit best. in high school to find areas of Greater Tulsa as a Youth and programs, said Carrie HulseyUndeclared students should of interest. However, Forbes Family Director. Greene, the associate director of “connect with an academic also concedes that for some Sikich said she has mixed feelcommunications at OSU. or career counselor as soon a students, it is the best choice Last fall, the most popular ma- possible so that they can help available if they haven’t de- ings about being undeclared. jor at OSU was mechanical and them assess their abilities and cided yet. “It gives you the freedom to try aerospace engineering. identify their interests to see Emma Sikich is an example whatever you need to try,” she Because the decision can often be what field of study and or major of a student who struggled to said. “But ultimately, it was a so hard, some students will choose is best suited to both,” Husley- find a major and was unde- struggle because I wasn’t able to to go off to college as “undeclared.” Greene said. clared. Sikich advises stu- officially declare a major.”

Black and Hispanic students are less likely to work during the school year compared to white ,non-Hispanic students, according to a new research study by the American Psychological Association. Yet, when Hispanic and black students do work, they tend to work somewhat longer hours and are less likely to see their grades suffer than white, non-Hispanic students. The study followed about 300,000 sophomores and 275,000 seniors between 1991 and 2010. About 43 percent of white sophomores worked during the school year, compared to 29 percent of blacks, 31 percent of Hispanics and 29 percent of Asians. For seniors, 72 percent of white students worked, compared with 57 percent of blacks, 59 percent of Hispanics and 52 percent of Asians. Blacks and Hispanics reported to work more than 25 more hours per week. The researchers also found that GPAs among white and Asians dropped the more hours they worked, while the GPAs of Hispanics and blacks showed less connection with the hours worked. The study’s lead author, Jerald Bachman, of the University of Michigan, suggested students should avoid working long hours during school year. Bachman also suggested students try to build a reputation as a bright, courteous and motivated worker.

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Preserving Native American Languages in Oklahoma R u t h S e rv e n | V eritas C lassical A cadem y Jesse Robbins did not grow up speaking Choctaw. At ceremonies and events, Robbins listened to elders speak the language as they told stories about the tribe’s history. He thought, “I’m not speaking my language. I wonder why?” Robbins began learning Choctaw and started writing rap and poetry in that language. He said he writes to speak to his ancestors, but he also writes for the next generation of Choctaws, hoping to spark interest in the language. “Lots of kids see our traditions and language as old — no use for it,” Robbins said. “I thought, what would get their attention?” Robbins tries to regain kids’ interest by playing Choctaw hip-hop and rap for youth groups and at events. “I take the elders’ message and put it into the youth’s form,” he said. Robbins writes and sings “to let people know we’re not dead; we’re still breathing.” 8

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Today, about 10,000 Choctaw speakers live in Oklahoma. Choctaw and every other American Indian language in Oklahoma are threatened, and some are on the verge of extinction. Even Cherokee, the most commonly spoken Native language, faces declining numbers. In 2002, the Cherokee Nation conducted a survey among residents of the tribe’s jurisdictional service area. The survey found that no one younger than 40 is even conversational in Cherokee.

schools, said Desa Dawson, director of world language education in the state Education Department. “It is an opportunity for natives who aren’t immersed in the language at home to learn more about their heritage, and (for) non-Natives (who) are surrounded by so many tribes here in Oklahoma, there is a natural curiosity about them,” she said. The change is exciting for tribes, too, said Candessa Tehee, spokeswoman for the Cherokee Nation.

While most tribes have various language programs and initiatives, few have standardized certifications and guidelines for their language instructors.

Tehee said allowing language instructors to be state-certified would fulfill the need for world languages in Oklahoma, introduce more students to the languages and give insight into native cultures.

The state Education Department has worked closely with representatives from Oklahoma’s American Indian nations to develop program to certify instructors to teach native languages in public schools.

Though the Cherokee language is endangered, Tehee foresees a day when she can choose between English, Spanish and Cherokee on the ATM and hear Cherokee spoken on the street.

High school students will be allowed to take native languages as foreign language credits.

“Making the language a real part of everyday life for all people in Cherokee Nation again is my vision and my goal,” she said.

The change presents an exciting opportunity for Oklahoma


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What are tribes doing? R u t h S e rv e n | V eritas C lassical A cadem y Faced with the threat of language extinction, many Native American nations in Oklahoma have begun their own systematic initiatives to save their languages and encourage individual efforts. For example, the Cherokee Nation has a comprehensive language program that includes language classes, a language technology program, an office of translation, an immersion school for preschool through sixth grade and a partnership with Northeastern State University on a degree program for Cherokee language. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation has instructors in daycares, Headstart programs and public schools. The Seminole tribe offers an immersion program for toddlers. The Sauk language has fewer than five speakers left. The Sac and Fox nation offers an intensive master-apprentice program where students spend up to 20 hours a week speaking Sauk.

H ow

to

s ay

hi

H e re ’s h ow t o s ay h e l l o i n a f ew A m e r i c a n I n d i a n l a n g u a g e s : C h e ro k e e : M u s c og e e (Cr e e k ) : C h i c ka s aw : S ac a n d F ox : C h o c taw : Caddo: All photos are provided by Jesse Robbins

O si yo Eston ko or H e r e s c i H a l i to or C h o k m a (a)ho H a l i to KĂş h a? a h at ? www.newsok.com/hotink

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Photo by Sydney Henderson

Top Five Adoption States Adoption numbers are rising, and about 135,000 children were adopted in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That year, nearly 2,800 children were adopted in Oklahoma, giving it one of the highest adoption rates in the country.

Adoption Rates per 100,000 Adults 127 114

K ansas

Oklahoma

Montana

Alask a

National aver age

Arkansas

102 100 99

SOURCE: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICE

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Deaconess program reunions mothers, children Sy d n e y H e n d e rs o n | H ardin g C harter P rep In November 1997, Oklahoma “It is really rough, especially the started a Confidential Intermedi- first couple of years,” said another ary Search program, said Debbie birthmother, explaining the diffiCampbell, a search and reunion culties of reuniting with her child. specialist with Deaconess. “We are now legally (able) to search But the relationships can be for and make contact with birth powerful. mother or adoptee and ask if they would like to be reunited,” Camp- “Their birth mother can tell them throughout their lives that they are bell said. loved,” she said. Deaconess Pregnancy & Adop- However, names of the adoptees and tion Services has helped more birthmothers are kept confidential. Open adoptions are more common than 10,000 women since its The women discussed all the ups than in the past, Campbell said. founding in 1900, according and downs of search and reunion. to the agency website. Shared “Openness has just evolved through Hearts is one of the agency’s “It is like you are 17 again,” said one the years, and more adoptive famiorganizations that invites birth- of the birthmothers, as a rush of lies and birth mothers see the value parents and adoptees to come memories brings her to tears. together, share and help one an- She talked of all the memories of in it,” Campbell said. “Children are other through the challenges of pregnancy that are brought back growing up with less secrecy regarding their lives.” when reuniting with a child. search and reunion.

A small group of women gathered in a calm, cream-colored room on a large black leather couch to discuss the good and hard times of uniting with their adopted children or birthmothers. Tissues and cookies were set up on a coffee table and tears were shed as these women began to reminisce and tell their stories.


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Health care rarely available to teens considering suicide

sex ed

Debate on

F r o m S ta ff R e p o r t s

rages on

AA R O N Va n STE I N BE R G | E dmond M emorial H i g h S chool Although teenage pregnancy rates have dropped steadily since the 1990s, teenage pregnancy is a top social issue in the United States today. Oklahoma has a teen birthrate of 50.4 per 1,000, the fifth highest in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Only Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas have higher rates. The national average is 34.2. The life of a pregnant teenager or teen mother is difficult and differs in many ways from the life of an older parent. Sherry Kishore is the principal of Emerson High School, an alternative school in Oklahoma City that has a program designed for pregnant girls and young mothers. “Even though a teenager is pregnant, they still have to go to school,” Kishore said. “We have day cares and other resources for teen mothers, but students are absent more than usual because they never know what’s going to happen day-to-day.” Experts from both ends of the social, religious and political spectra have different ideas as to how end the problem of widespread teen pregnancy. Some argue that teenagers should be taught abstinence is the only way to absolutely prevent pregnancy, while others wish to teach about contraception and birth control. “Comprehensive sexual education has already been proven as a failure,” said Paul Abner, founder of Worth the Wait Ministries, an Oklahoma City

organization that promotes faith-based abstinence for teenagers. “The trend started finally looking better when the government began funding for abstinence- only education. However, others think providing students with every resource available is the best option. “You can’t fix a complex problem with one solution,” Kishore said. “What is going to work for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for the other. Education is widely seen as a solution to high teenpregnancy rates. Although Oklahoma schools are not required to teach sexual education, many districts teach about sexually transmitted diseases — a subject that often looks at the same issues. In 2008, Rep. George Faught, R-Muskogee, proposed a bill that would require parental consent on behalf of students for sexual education of any kind. “Our goal was to get the parents involved,” Faught said. “They’re the best ones to instill morals and knowledge into their kids.” Faught hoped that by passing the bill, students would either have the opportunity learn from the school or from their parents. But the initiative failed. “It was meant to get parents and students talking.” Faught said. “You can’t legislate morality, but you can put in the opportunity.”

Most adolescents who are considering suicide or who have attempted suicide do not receive specialized mental health services, according to an analysis published by the American Psychiatric Association. National survey data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention notes that about 14 percent of high school students seriously consider suicide each year, 11 percent have a suicide plan and 6 percent actually attempt suicide. Other research suggests that fewer than half of teens who attempt suicide received mental health services in the year prior to their attempt. The study conducted by Kathleen Merikangas showed that suicidal

behavior was not only associated with major depression but also with a range of other mental health problems, such as eating disorders, anxiety problems, substance abuse and behavioral disorders. Physical health problems are also a leading issue. The results of this study suggest that depression and other mood disorders are not the only pathways to suicide. They also highlight the importance of integrating risk assessment for suicide into physical and mental health care for teens. Even if adolescents are in treatment, they should continue to be monitored for suicidal ideation and behaviors, the researchers concluded.

Warning signs of suicide  

Ideation.

Substance abuse.

Purposelessness.

Anxiety.

Feelings of being trapped.

Hopelessness.

Withdrawal.

Anger.

Recklessness.

•  

Mood changes.

Need help? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. SOURCE: AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SUICIDOLOGY

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G o v. Fa l l i n O u t l i n e s

Healthy Living Tips for Oklahomans B u s h r a S a lo u s | M erc y S chool I nstitute

Oklahoma’s leaders are pushing for a healthier state, despite obstacles the state has faced for several years. Gov. Mary Fallin, for one, has advocated for a healthier state, outlining her goals to improve the state’s health in her State of the State Address in February. “I have outlined my vision for getting us there, and my hope is it will be a vision that you will share and work together to make a reality,” Fallin said. “Working together, for the betterment of all of our citizens, I know we can create an even more prosperous and successful Oklahoma … and the state of this state will be even stronger for years to come.”

A bill failed to pass the Oklahoma Legislature this past session that would have allowed cities to pass their own ordinances regarding smoking. After the bill failed, Fallin announced that she would lead a ballot initiative to bring the issue to a vote of the people. “Improving health and wellness in Oklahoma is a priority for me,” Fallin said during her announcement. “Any plan that seeks to improve health outcomes will have to address tobacco. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in Oklahoma, killing 6,000 men and women each year. Hundreds of these people aren’t even smokers, and have instead fallen ill as a result of second hand smoke.” Oklahoma currently ranks No. 43 in the nation for overall health, according to America’s Health Rankings from the United Health Foundation. The challenges Oklahomans face are a high rate of smoking, sedentary lifestyles, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular deaths, according to the foundation’s report. Allen Knehans, a nutrition professor at the University of Oklahoma, said the state Health Department has developed a “Strong and Healthy Oklahoma” guide to improving Oklahoman’s health.

The top three priorities listed in the guide are to eat better, move more and to quit smoking. “It is sad to think how unhealthy our families, our neighbors, our coworkers, people we care about, are,” he said. “We should want to do something about that. In order to meet these priorities, we need to provide healthier foods in our schools, provide better nutrition information at point of purchase, improve the safety and planning of neighborhoods, and provide smoking cessation programs for our citizens.” Knehans said criticism aside, healthy living is not easy. “There is nothing easy about living a healthy lifestyle in the U.S.,” Knehans said. “We are consistently pushed through advertising to eat unhealthy foods, and to consume too much food, in our society. Our neighborhoods are often not designed for physical activity, making it difficult for us to stay active. It takes real commitment to live a healthy lifestyle.”

Governor Mary Fallin points out her "Don't Smoke on Me" sticker during an announcement for plans to put tobacco regulations aimed at reducing second-hand smoke to a vote of the people. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman 12

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Smoking rates drop Tobacco usage rates among teenagers continued to decline from 2000 to 2011, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. But the rate of decline is slower than previous year, indicating a renewed need for prevention. Nearly 4,000 teens smoke their first cigarette every day, and about 30 percent of male high school students and 18 percent of female students use some form of tobacco. “An overall decline in tobacco use is good news, but although 4 out of 5 teens don’t smoke, far too many kids start smoking every day,” said Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a statement. Cigarette smoking has been estimated to cost nearly $193 billion annually in lost productivity and direct health care expenses, according to the Centesr for Disease Control and Prevention.


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A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

Mental health

Changes coming

problems can start during youth, persist into adulthood F r o m Sta ff R e p o r t s About 20 percent of youth are affected by some kind of mental disorder at some point in their lives, according to a recent study by the National Institute of Mental Health.

fo r m e n ta l d i s o r d e r m a n u a l

PRNewsFoto/Screening for Mental Health

T y l e r e ’ T h o m a s | M ustan g H i g h S chool The diagnosis for many mental disorders is changing as we know it. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, used to treat and recognize mental disorders in the United States, will be updated this May. The upcoming changes have many worried that treatment plans will be altered. Pediatrician David O’Banion says families fear that they will lose their services. But the manual, called the DSM-5, will not make such drastic changes, said O’Banion, who works at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center.

While the manual will make changes to the way disorders are categorized, no disorders will be “dropped” from the manual altogether. Instead, disorders that fall under the same category will be grouped together to make diagnosis easier. To ensure success, the American Psychiatric Association sponsored test trials with the updated manual, called DSM-5, at Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts and at Stanford University in California.

“Just three diagnoses had ‘unacceptable’ rates of reliability, and these have been substantially revised or are no longer proposed for inclusion in the manual,” according to published findings by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM-5 was not changed to narrow disorder diagnosis, O’Banion said. It was designed to help broaden them. To learn more about the future of psychiatric diagnosis or DSM-5, visit www.dsm5.org

Anxiety disorders were the most common disorders among teenagers. Females are more likely to have anxiety or mood disorders, as well as eating disorders, while males were more prone to have a behavior disorder, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or a substance abuse disorder. The findings prove that disorders experienced during childhood tend to persist or recur throughout a person’s life. Researchers from National Institute of Mental Health and Harvard University analyzed the prevalence and severity of “serious emotional disturbances” in youth during a 12-month period. A serious emotional disturbance is something “that resulted in functional impairment which substantially interferes with or limits the child’s role or functioning in family, school or community activities,” according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The researchers concluded that more research needs to be done in order to change the trajectory in mental disorders in youth. www.newsok.com/hotink

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A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

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Living the horrors of Syria:

an eyewitness accouNT

Syrian refugees cross from Syria to Turkey via the Orontes River, near the village of Hacipasa. AP Photo, Manu Brabo, File

S a n a M e si ya | M erc y S chool I nstitute You are jerked out of your peaceful slumber at 2 a.m. and awake to the sounds of bombs exploding and the intense vibrations from their impact. You and your family hurriedly pack your necessities; your neighborhood is being bombed, and you must leave the city to a nearby town where it’s safer. As you rush to your car, there is yet another explosion, but this time, it’s much closer — too close, actually. It was the apartment right next to your own, and it leaves your neighbor dead. 14

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You can’t call your family to see if they’re unharmed because electricity is out, and you don’t have time for that anyway. Your one and only priority is to keep yourself and your family safe. Civilians — men, women and children alike — are being kidnapped right off the streets and tortured, and homes and hospitals are being bombed. Staying safe is no easy feat. For 16-year-old Asma and the seven other members of her family, this was the harsh reality they woke up to every morning for nearly a year.

Her father had to accompany her on all walks, and spending entire days inside her apartment was normal. “After 6 p.m., you would find the streets would be empty. You wouldn’t see any men — no one,” said Asma, whose last name was withheld for the safety of her family still in Syria. She would still walk to her nearby school herself. Sometimes, however, even school wasn’t safe from government soldiers and agents. “One time they took our teachers one day, so my friends and I and all the school girls didn’t want to

attend school, and we just stood outside the school, and they started bombing us,” Asma said in a phone interview. “It wasn’t explosives. It was just bombs that caused dizziness, and your eyes would turn red. They would come in their cars and shoot them at us. We wanted our teachers back, and we weren’t going to attend school until they gave them back. They just took them for no reason.”

“There are no jobs there,” Asma said. “There’s nothing there, and life conditions are horrible.”

Asma is the oldest sibling of five with her parents. Living on a tight budget, they stayed in an apartment in Damascus, the capital of Syria.

Asma told stories of children murdered in front of their mothers.

Asma narrated stories of men being kidnapped off the streets for protesting and being tortured to death. She recalled stories of women and girls, taken and raped in front of their own fathers and husbands, some as young as 13 years old. Many were also killed and thrown away on the streets.

“They are like young kids, and they see these horrible things around


A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

COVER STORY

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them,” she said. “And it puts in their minds that they might not wake up in the morning and that there’s no food. The stuff that small kids are going through, it makes them more mature about what’s happening and adds more responsibilities. You can’t see no kids over there like that like laughing. Kids over there, their moms and dads have died or brothers or sisters. ... We can’t be happy or enjoy anything until everything is fine again.” Her own siblings, who had to leave a comfortable life in America to an unknown and scary place, did not take the experience well. “My sister would cry every day for her doll,” she said. “My brothers and sisters had it hard in the beginning. They wanted to know why they had to leave our house and have to come to a place and they don’t know where it is. The sounds of the bombings — it would just make them cry, and it wasn’t any of these kids fault.” Asma said she rembered a few young children in elementary school who simply expressed their desire for peace in their country by writing it on their school wall: “We want freedom.” Those young children, no older than 12 years old, were then kidnapped and tortured. Nails torn off and beaten until they were battered and blue, ten of them made it home alive, if barely. The other two didn’t survive the torment. Their bruised and dead bodies were sent home to their parents. “They’re animals,” Asma said. “The things they do are beyond what you can imagine.” She hears many things and sees many of these things daily, but she is not short of personal experiences either. Her own family was subject to some of these unimaginable atrocities.

Night falls on a Syrian rebel-controlled area of Aleppo, Nov. 29, 2012, as destroyed buildings, including Dar Al-Shifa hospital, are seen on Sa'ar street after airstrikes targeted the area a week before. AP Photo/Narciso Contreras, File

“I have a lot of cousins there,” she said. “We lived in the same neighborhood as them, and we visited them almost every day.”

move back here. Asma is now going to a public high school and trying to catch up on the work she missed.

“A lot of people from my relatives were taken. One of my cousins, he was kidnapped for six months,” Asma said. “When he got out, he told us what’s going on in the jails. It’s beyond belief, the way they’re torturing men, children and women. It’s really bad. They found out from pictures that my cousin was in a protest so they took him. He was just 19 years old. When he came back, he had to stay for one month in bed, even though he said he had the least torture. They would just hit him.”

Asma hung out with her friends, went shopping, walked in the neighborhood by herself and visited her family. That all changed when the government army came to Damascus in 2012.

“I’m trying to make friends,” she said.

“The first thing they do when they enter a city is they bomb the masjids and the hospitals,” Asma said. “They would bomb them so that if there were any sick people, they wouldn’t be able to go and get help. They would just die.”

But her friends and family in Syria are always on her mind.

The husband of another cousin was kidnapped in his car, Asma said.

Civilians came together to rebuild these mosques, and families would still go to pray despite the dangers of leaving their houses.

“Until now, we don’t know where he is,” she said. “We don’t know if he’s alive or dead, and he’s been gone since August.” The girls she met at school and the friends she made that she still tries to keep in contact with in America weren’t completely safe either. She would see them one day, and the next day they weren’t there. Her friends’ families were in constant danger as well. “I actually had one of my friends in school, and they took her father and brother because she used to go to protests,” she said. Damascus wasn’t always like this, however. When Asma and her family moved from the United States to Syria in 2007 to be with family, life was peaceful and fun.

The Syrian people are in constant danger, Asma said, and doing or saying anything against the government is equivalent to signing their own death warrants. “If they know you said something against the government, they would just come and take you,” Asma said. “The news, the channel for the government, it always said that everything’s fine. Syria’s fine. There are no bombings or anything. They would just say that there were some terrorists that we need to take care of. They would just always lie about everything.” But now Asma and her family are back in America. After stopping in Jordan for a few months, her family decided to

Her siblings are not having it quite as easy. Their English is limited, so they are struggling at school.

“We still watch news over here about them,” Asma said. “We’re still worried about them. It doesn’t mean that we’re here and we’re going to forget about our family over there.” For Asma, the experiences of Syria have forever changed her. “Because of the stuff I saw there, I can feel what’s going on around me, and I have to take more responsibilities,” she said. “I’m still scared of what happened. I can’t go have fun and my family is still stuck there.” With the horrors Asma and her family faced, she brings a message to American residents who have free speech and who can make a difference. “We just need to do protests here or enough people need to just say that what’s going on in Syria has to stop,” she said. www.newsok.com/hotink

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“Marijuana probably shouldn’t be legal.” — Abigail Corff freshmen at Christian Heritage Academy

“Don’t care but don’t like

weed

anyway.

Should marijuana be legal? “It shouldn’t because ... it’s just go-

“There is more bad than good in the

ing to mess everyone’s future up.”

legalization of marijuana, so I don’t

— Cristina Mongold junior at Mustang High School

Nasty habit.” — Austin Clark senior at Veritas Classical Academy

Billion $18 $1.7 Billion

“They should really make it legal because everyone does it and talks

show us the harmful effects

about it. Adults do it. Kids do it. So

of drug overdose and drug

I feel like it’s kind of silly to make it

abuse. It cost our nation mil-

illegal. Obviously it’s not smart to do

lions of dollars. It destroys

drugs, but I feel like cigarettes are

families

Now

way worse. Basically we’re filling

keeping all this in mind, I

up prisons with just unlucky people

“Yes. From what I understand, being high

personally do not believe

who got caught.”

is about as dangerous as being drunk.

drugs should be legalized.

You are only putting others in danger if

Legalizing

you are operating heavy machinery or

only cause all of the above

driving. I believe the prohibition on mari-

scenarios to worsen. I un-

juana is about as effective as Prohibition

derstand that there are ben-

was on curbing alcoholism. It only fuels

efits to drugs that may aid

drug-related crimes. Also, the legaliza-

cancer and sick patients,

tion of marihuana could be economically

but that can be prescribed

beneficial to the state if they were to en-

by a doctor. It does not need

act taxes on recreational use.”

to be legalized.”

“No, I don’t think marijuana should be legal because of the effect of

don’t think is a good thing.”

www.newsok.com/hotink

— Amar Arain sophomore at Norman North High School

“Statistics again and again

cessible to teenagers, which I

The short-term effects of marijuana include immediate, temporary changes in thoughts, perceptions, and information processing.

— Zoha Qureshi senior at Mercy School Institute

should never be legalized.”

a n F DA - a p p r ov e d p i l l t h at c o n ta i n s 1 0 0 p e r c e n t THC .

— Troy Schoeppel senior at Heritage Hall

ing it would make it more ac-

— Minahil Bilal sophomore at Edmond Santa Fe High School

— Lauren Stanford sophomore at Harding Fine Arts Academy

gitimate drug and all drugs

a way no matter what.”

for medical purposes. Legaliz-

THC on the brain.”

shouldn’t rely on drugs to be happy.”

“No, it should not. It’s a le-

teens. Their most common drug think it should be legalized.”

it is smoked to relieve stress, but people

However, I do think that people who really want to do marijuana will find

choice is marijuana, but I don’t

“Honestly, I think it should be illegal. I know

agree that it should be legalized. “Drug use is common among

“I think it should be legal only

16

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A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

Estimated black market

Current value of the market for

— Hadia Karim junior Norman North High School

medical marijuana

— Katie Hurst junior from Edmond Memorial

ANNUAL

MARKET VALUE

and

lives.

drugs

would

— Areebah Anwar senior at Mercy School Institute

— Samantha Manning sophomore at Westmoore High School

t h e va s t m a j o r i t y of them for simple possession.

www.newsok.com/hotink

17


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“Marijuana probably shouldn’t be legal.” — Abigail Corff freshmen at Christian Heritage Academy

“Don’t care but don’t like

weed

anyway.

Should marijuana be legal? “It shouldn’t because ... it’s just go-

“There is more bad than good in the

ing to mess everyone’s future up.”

legalization of marijuana, so I don’t

— Cristina Mongold junior at Mustang High School

Nasty habit.” — Austin Clark senior at Veritas Classical Academy

Billion $18 $1.7 Billion

“They should really make it legal because everyone does it and talks

show us the harmful effects

about it. Adults do it. Kids do it. So

of drug overdose and drug

I feel like it’s kind of silly to make it

abuse. It cost our nation mil-

illegal. Obviously it’s not smart to do

lions of dollars. It destroys

drugs, but I feel like cigarettes are

families

Now

way worse. Basically we’re filling

keeping all this in mind, I

up prisons with just unlucky people

“Yes. From what I understand, being high

personally do not believe

who got caught.”

is about as dangerous as being drunk.

drugs should be legalized.

You are only putting others in danger if

Legalizing

you are operating heavy machinery or

only cause all of the above

driving. I believe the prohibition on mari-

scenarios to worsen. I un-

juana is about as effective as Prohibition

derstand that there are ben-

was on curbing alcoholism. It only fuels

efits to drugs that may aid

drug-related crimes. Also, the legaliza-

cancer and sick patients,

tion of marihuana could be economically

but that can be prescribed

beneficial to the state if they were to en-

by a doctor. It does not need

act taxes on recreational use.”

to be legalized.”

“No, I don’t think marijuana should be legal because of the effect of

don’t think is a good thing.”

www.newsok.com/hotink

— Amar Arain sophomore at Norman North High School

“Statistics again and again

cessible to teenagers, which I

The short-term effects of marijuana include immediate, temporary changes in thoughts, perceptions, and information processing.

— Zoha Qureshi senior at Mercy School Institute

should never be legalized.”

a n F DA - a p p r ov e d p i l l t h at c o n ta i n s 1 0 0 p e r c e n t THC .

— Troy Schoeppel senior at Heritage Hall

ing it would make it more ac-

— Minahil Bilal sophomore at Edmond Santa Fe High School

— Lauren Stanford sophomore at Harding Fine Arts Academy

gitimate drug and all drugs

a way no matter what.”

for medical purposes. Legaliz-

THC on the brain.”

shouldn’t rely on drugs to be happy.”

“No, it should not. It’s a le-

teens. Their most common drug think it should be legalized.”

it is smoked to relieve stress, but people

However, I do think that people who really want to do marijuana will find

choice is marijuana, but I don’t

“Honestly, I think it should be illegal. I know

agree that it should be legalized. “Drug use is common among

“I think it should be legal only

16

HOTINK

A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

Estimated black market

Current value of the market for

— Hadia Karim junior Norman North High School

medical marijuana

— Katie Hurst junior from Edmond Memorial

ANNUAL

MARKET VALUE

and

lives.

drugs

would

— Areebah Anwar senior at Mercy School Institute

— Samantha Manning sophomore at Westmoore High School

t h e va s t m a j o r i t y of them for simple possession.

www.newsok.com/hotink

17


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A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

CTE: behind the scenes of football

head injuries and concussions S a n a M e si ya | M erc y S chool I nstitute

It’s no secret that football is a major part of modern American culture.

their brains, similar to what is found in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s.

The National Football League boasts 32 professional teams and nearly 1,700 players. The 2013 Super Bowl attracted 108 million viewers, making it No. 3 on the list of most-watched programs, behind only the Super Bowls in 2012 and 2011.

In many instances, no one will know how bad their injuries are until severe symptoms start showing that can result in death. This degenerative brain disease resulting from repetitive head trauma is known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

But behind the scenes of this sport and many others are dangers to the athletes. During the 2010 season, 155 head injuries were reported by Frontline and ESPN, and the number increased to 160 the following year. Fans were disappointed when marquee players like quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Michael Vick were unable to play following head injuries. But for the players, the concerns are more long-term. Players suffer countless hits in their careers both in practices and games. It is possible those hits lead to the clumping of a protein in

The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bedord, Mass., began a program called the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy Brain Bank in 2008. Doctors at the center have researched the brains of many athletes, including 65 football players. As CTE cannot be diagnosed while a person is living, research is being done on deceased football players’ brains, said Dr. Clifford Robbins, the study coordinator at the brain bank. “There are two ways we typically get a brain,” Robbins said. “Either they pledge to donate it to our center while they are still alive and participate in our brain

donation registry, or family members or loved ones reach out to us after the individual’s death and we coordinate the donation procedure with them.” The brains are sliced and stained to allow Robbins and his colleagues to view various proteins of the brain and their shapes. “In CTE, a protein that we all

Football is an inherently violent sport and that requires that the athletes understand the risk involved in participation and that they are forthright regarding their own brain health.” Dr. Patrick Bellgowan,

associate professor at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa

18

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have in our brains — Tau — goes haywire,” Robbins said. “It changes its shape a little bit and starts to clump up where it shouldn’t. By staining the tissue for this different version of Tau, we can see if someone had or did not have the disease.” Forty of the 65 brains donated by football players have shown CTE. Even though the number of concussions being reported has increased, the number is not accurate, Robbins said. Many players keep quiet about their injuries. When symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, headaches,

fatigue or confusion are experienced after a head injury, a concussion has occurred. Athletes’ emotional and mental states are also affected, said Dr. Patrick Bellgowan, an associate professor in the research team at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa. “Players report a spectrum of emotional symptoms,” Bellgowan said. “The most common are depression, irritability and anxiety. Some players report anhedonia (the lack of being able to experience pleasure), dissociative disorder and panic. These symptoms


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A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

commonly have lasted up to a month, though they rarely report these symptoms to their medical staff.”

OPINION

Class realignment will be tough move

While programs like the brain bank and the Laureate Institute for Brain Research are researching CTE, the process is a long and expensive one. “Currently, CTE cannot be diagnosed in a typical autopsy,” Robbins said. “It requires an extremely in-depth analysis.”

E va n O ’ B rien | P utnam C it y N orth

H i g h S chool

Researchers at the brain bank have started a study to identify the disease. “One way we are working to identify it in living people is looking at people who are at higher risk for developing CTE and currently exhibiting symptoms that may stem from it, and comparing them to people who are at very low risk for the disease,” Robbins said. “We will then compare the two groups to see if the high CTE risk group differs from the low CTE group.” A major unanswered question is why some players who get the same amount of head trauma as those later shown to have CTE never get the disease. “CTE is likely a mixture of genetic disposition and environment, and because this sample size is so small it is still not possible to determine which athlete will suffer from CTE,” Bellgowan said. “Also, CTE is a progressive disorder that usually takes decades to progress and is often confused with other types of dementia.” Changes are being made within the NFL to provide a safer playing environment for all athletes. Lawsuits have been filed and research has been done because of the growing number of athletes suffering long-term damage from the game. Players’ safety is becoming the No. 1 priority. The NFL has increased fines and changed rules protecting defenseless players to prevent some of the types of hits more likely to cause concussions. The latest rule change, which will go into effect next season, penalizes players for intentionally initiating contact with the crown of their helmets in some circumstances. “I think the NFL is doing a good job in trying to

With results coming back on the recent decision to shake up Class 6A, not all schools are happy about it. Dr. Patrick Bellgowan and his team at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa examine the effects of concussions on athlete brains over time. (Picture provided by Dr. Patrick Bellgowan)

reduce concussion by limiting the number of fullcontact practices, changing penalties for headto-head hits and requiring independent medical doctors to assess athletes’ status,” Bellgowan said. “Football is an inherently violent sport and that requires that the athletes understand the risk involved in participation and that they are forthright regarding their own brain health.” As more research is done, athletes will become increasingly aware of the dangers they are facing. Some, such as New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott, have said they are reluctant to let their kids play the game because of their own experiences. “Though it is a choice to play in the NFL, players need to be provided with information about the risks that they are taking both before, during and after injuries,” Bellgowan said. Programs within the NFL and other sports associations are being set up to inform players of possible health risks and what steps can be taken to prevent them. “I hope that our research educates people of the risks of repetitive head trauma,” Robbins said. “Understanding what these injuries are, how to properly manage them and the long-term consequences of mismanaging them are key to making an informed decision.”

The 32-team classification has been split into two divisions, one of two options proposed by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association. The other was to create a Class 7A. As a student at Putnam City North, this is a hard thing to be positive about. This change would bump us up into Division I with the largest, most dominant schools, such as Jenks and Tulsa Union. Putnam City North head coach Bob Wilson is one of the coaches against the new proposal. “I think it waters down 6A,” Wilson said. “Almost all of the classes have 32 teams, and ours would be one of the few that doesn’t. It only helps about 20 percent of the schools. “  North has been known as a solid contender in the past and has produced some NFL talent, including St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and Indianapolis Colts running back Deji Karim. But in recent years, the Panthers have struggled. This new change will hurt more teams than it will help. While schools like Midwest City will be on top of their divisions, some will now be in the lower fourth of theirs. There really is no way to make it fair for all 32 schools, but neither of these options will help a majority of schools. Now schools like Putnam City North and Moore will be greatly hurt by this because of potential matchups against the states biggest schools in Broken Arrow, Jenks and Tulsa Union. Since the change is going to happen, teams will have to start preparing now for the future. Schools like Putnam City North must play at their highest level against all schools and start to prepare for the tough road ahead.

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A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

High school student displays leadership

despite loss of sister

Flowers rest on the ground at the Carl Albert High School parking lot after a student was killed in a car accident on May 27, 2009. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman.

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A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

K e v in G r e e n | C arl A lbert H i g h S chool Coming out of his eighth grade year at Carl Albert Middle School, Melton Parham Jr. thought he didn’t have much to lose.

be like her.”

He was not one of the popular kids. He wasn’t the most athletic. Some of the things that worried him the most make him laugh now, such as beating his sisters home so he could devour the last cupcake for an afterschool snack.

When it comes to running, Parham said he considers himself tenacious.

He was a normal 14-year-old boy, ready to take on the adventure that was high school. But on the morning of May 27, 2009, Parham’s 18-year-old sister, Ashley, was killed in a car accident in the parking lot of the school field house when she was picking him up from football practice. She had graduated from Carl Albert High School four days earlier. Her death was later linked to a recall of more than 800,000 Hondas with faulty airbags. Parham, now a senior, said he has had to overcome many obstacles in the past four years, but they have molded him into a leader at his church and in sports. Parham has been a part of the Youth Ministry at Country Estates Baptist Church in Midwest City since his sophomore year. Youth Pastor Brent Hazelrigg said it’s easy to see Melton’s leadership abilities in how he treats others. “He is friendly with everyone and goes out of his way to speak to everyone,” Hazelrigg said. “It is also evident in how others respond to him — they trust him, respect him and look to him in the leadership role.” After his sister’s death, it would have been easy for Parham to lose his faith. He could have given up on life. But he says he was able to get through the tough times because of his prayer. Parham also uses his sister’s Bible to keep him strong. “In addition to being a great athlete, great student and a great person, my sister was a Christian,” Parham said. “Watching her, she knew God’s words and lived them. I wanted to have the same thing my sister did, and I want to learn from the same book in hopes I would

Parham is also a leader on his cross country and track teams.

Sister’s foundation continues legacy Ashley Parham was a community

Before school, Parham goes for a run every day. After school, he goes to practice, pounding out mile after mile or gutting through speed workouts. Then he heads to the gym for some weight training.

volunteer

“When I have a challenge confronting me, I stride to complete it to the best of my abilities,” Parham said.

become a school

With his hard work and determination, it didn’t take long for Parham to make an impact. Parham was voted the Carl Albert Mr. Cross Country by his teammates and was represented at homecoming and the Titan Pageant. He also qualified for state and was a key part of Carl Albert cross country’s third consecutive state appearance. “Melton is not a vocal leader,” said Bill Case, the head cross country coach at Carl Albert. “He leads by example. He always gives 110 percent and never complains.” Before Parham began focusing solely on running, he was a member of the Titan football team. He said he remembers how the team rallied around him and his family to help them through Ashley’s death. The tragedy became motivation for the Titans, and they used that inspiration to capture the 2009 5A State Championship. “They were like a second family to me,” Parham said. “They helped me overcome the tragedy by letting me know that they were there for me. They insisted that they were my brothers and they would help me.” Despite all of the awards and accomplishments Parham has attained, he does not want to be remembered just for that. “I hope to be remembered as an overall good person,” Parham said. “I hope people remember me as someone whom would be friendly towards them.”

and activist. Her mission in life was to teacher. The Ashley Parham Foundation was created to continue her vision and to give every child the opportunity to learn and grow. To donate to the Ashley Parham Foundation, go to theashleyparhamfoundation.org.

Melton Parham GPA: 4.16 Rank: 13 out of 251 » Carl Albert High School Hall of Famer » Academic Letter Jacket recipient » Youth Excel of Midwest City member » National Honor Society » Fellowship of Christian Athletes » AAU Track Club member » Completed more than 100 hours of community service Plans: Attending the Missouri University of Science & Technology

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H I G H

S C H O O L

B A S K E T B A L L

CUTTING DOWN THE NETS CARSON WILLIAMS | PUTNAM CITY NORTH HIGH SCHOOL

The common theme in this year’s boys high school basketball playoffs was exciting finishes. All across the state, players, coaches and fans were left hanging on the edge of their seat in the final seconds of games.

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In 6A, Edmond Memorial took home their second gold ball in three years with a 49-47 win over Midwest City. The win was capped off with a steal and putback at the buzzer from University of Oklahoma signee Jordan Woodard. Bishop McGuinness was dominant all year in 5A and that earned them a spot in the finals against Tulsa Memorial. However, the Irish couldn’t ever contain the power Memorial brought and fell 39-59. In 4A, it was Stevie Clark’s final go-round. The Oklahoma State signee poured in 51 points in a nail-biter over Roland in the title game. The Rangers were led by Seth Youngblood, who went toe to toe with Clark, dropping 41 points. However, Clark and the Trojans were too much to handle as they escaped with an 82-80 win, claiming their fourth straight 4A title.

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Milwood capped off an unlikely run in the 3A State Tournament. In the opening round, the Falcons escaped with a 38-37 win after Hugo player Trey Johnson scored a basket in Millwood’s goal as time expired, giving the Falcons the win. Millwood went on to reach the finals and knocked off Okemah 59-53. In Class 2A, Latta strung together four impressive games to take home the gold ball. In the state title game, the Panthers cruised to a 58-41 victory over Haworth at the State Fairgrounds. Glencoe was playing sound ball and clicking at the right time. In the Class A State Tournament, the Panthers dropped more than 70 points in their first two games. In the state title game, Weleetka kept in close, hanging in with Glencoe. But in the end, the Panthers were too much as they claimed the State Title. Arnett’s gold ball quest included three double-digit wins. In their first game over Burlington, the Wildcats won by 16. In the semifinals, Arnett defeated Big Pasture by 20. For the State Title game, Coyle tested the Wildcats the most, but Arnett was still able to win by 11, claiming the title. 22 www.newsok.com/hotink

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“Overtime” covers all things basketball. We talk about the NCAA Final Four and the NBA Playoffs. Scan the QR code or go to NewsOK.com/ HotInk.

|1| Millwood’s Jaylen Edwards celebrates after the win over Okemah during Class 3A championship. |2| The Edmond Memorial Bulldogs raise the gold ball after winning the Class 6A boys championship against Midwest City. |3| Perkins-Tryon’s Jordan Gorham fights Sulphur’s Bailee Eldred for a rebound during the Class 3A championship. |4| Millwood’s Cameron Batson takes the ball up court against Okemah’s John Wingfield during the Class 3A championship. |5| Mount Saint Mary’s Adrienne Berry drives to the basket during the state tournament Class 4A girls championship game against Fort Gibson High School. |6| Deer Creek’s Ashley Gibson, left, and Shawnee’s Bailey Taylor chase the ball during the Class 5A girls championship.


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OU MEN’S TEAM MAKES

PROGRESS WITH KRUGER CARSON WILLIAMS | PUTNAM CITY NORTH HIGH SCHOOL

Joe Castiglione wasn’t taking no for an answer. After two rejections, he still had one more try left in him.

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It took a little bit of persistence and patience, but Castiglione finally reeled in his new men’s head basketball coach: Lon Kruger, the former head coach at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. “It was a combination of things that convinced me,” Kruger said in a phone interview. “It’s always about the people you’re working with. David [Boren] and Joe [Castiglione] had great leadership qualities … it was a chance to get back to the Midwest. My wife and I are from Kansas and being from Kansas State, it’s kind of a home turn.”

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|7| Roland fans cheer on their team during the state tournament Class 4A semifinals against McLain High School. |8| Bishop McGuinness’ Brian Canfield looks to pass away from Chickasha’s Deshawn Young and E.J. Golightly during a Class 5A semifinals. |9| Fort Gibson Coach Jerry Walker celebrates the win over Mount Saint Mary after the Class 4A championship game. |10| The Tulsa Memorial Chargers wait for the start of the Class 5A championship game against Bishop McGuinness High School. |11| Booker T. Washington’s Kaylan Mayberry points to the Hornet fans after receiving the gold ball for the Class 6A girls championship game against Bixby. PHOTOS BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, NATE BILLINGS, AND SARAH PHIPPS, THE OKLAHOMAN

In his first year at the helm for the Sooners, Kruger guided the team to a 15-16 record, 5-16 in conference. In the Big 12 Tournament, the Sooners were eliminated in the first round with a 62-53 loss to Baylor. As soon as the Sooners’ season ended, Kruger went to work on the 2012-2013 season, one that was filled with much higher expectations. “Guys were motivated this season,” Kruger said. “None had played in the tournament while at OU and we worked in the spring, summer and fall with the goal in mind. Our guys made consistent progress and played well in February to earn that tournament berth.” A trio of freshmen and the evolution of returning players gave the Sooners hope for the season. Making the NCAA tournament was the goal, one that wasn’t out of reach by any means. The team finished their first 20-win season since 2009, including impressive wins over Kansas and Oklahoma State. With the help of the freshmen trio — Buddy Hield, Je’lon Hornbeak and Isaiah Cousins — as well as seniors Steven Pledger and Romero Osby, the Sooners wove their way back to the NCAA tournament. That tournament berth was much more than just one more promised game. The tournament invite made history for Lon Kruger as he became the first coach in

Season Wins 2003- 04 2004- 05 OU OSU

2005- 06 2006- 07 2007- 08 2008- 09 2009 -10 2010 -11 2011-12 2012-13 0 WINS 5

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history to take five different teams to the Big Dance. “Really, I don’t think about it at all,” Kruger said. “It takes good players and I’ve had good players at every stop, on and off the court, especially in the classroom. I’ve made good friendships and I’m fortunate to have those.” It’s what he’s known for — taking struggling teams and revitalizing them back to prominence. As Kruger keeps the wheels rolling, next year’s team expects to be just as good, if not better. One area Kruger strives for is attracting in-state recruits. The future looks bright for the Sooners, bringing in two talented in-state prospects. On the same day, Kruger received two in-state commitments. Jordan Woodard, a 2013 guard from Edmond Memorial and 2014 Jacob Hammond, a forward from homeschool Oklahoma City Sky in Duncan, OK, both will be headed to Norman. Due to NCAA rules, Kruger couldn’t comment on Hammond. “[Woodard] is an outstanding young man,” Kruger said. “He’s very competitive, carries himself well in the classroom and a team-first kind of guy. I’m excited to have him on board next year.” www.newsok.com/hotink 23


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What’s the No. 1 thing on your bucket list? “ Top of m y b u c k et list is b as e ju mping .” a senior a

“ Sk ydiv in

— Sara t Veritas C h Baskerville lassical Aca demy

Quote Project:

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— Jennife r Salvo t Yukon H igh School

“ My N o . 1 thing on m y b u c k et el a rou nd list is to tr the world a v.” a junior a

— Afsana Jahangir t Dove Sci ence Acad emy

“G oing to Australia.”

— Mackenzie Valentin al Academy a senior at Veritas Classic

e.” “R ide a gondola in Venic

— Abigail Corff ritage Academy a freshmen at Christian He

the Islamic pilgrimage “I would like to perform fore I die.” to Me cca, calle d Ha jj, be

— Imra Maududi rth High School No an freshman at Norm

uld be Norway.” “My dre am vaca tion wo

— Ian Shofner morial a junior from Edmond Me

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A PUBLICATION OF NEWSROOM 101 AND THE OKLAHOMAN | SPRING 2013

Bucket List

What’s your biggest dream? ient a nd ha pp live w ith cont to is m a re d “My biggest hing I do.” a ness in ever yt — Hiba Cheem a sophomore at

Mercy School

Institute

a t ever yone n talk show th ow y m st ho to “I would like a t me as a ld would lo ok or w e th nd a would wa tch, em.” a t inspires th juddin role model th — Nadia Sira a freshman at

dwa y.” “To b e on Broa a sophomore at

Bishop

Casady School

tens — Natalie Kas ol Sc tholic High ho McGuinness Ca

a zing e either a n a m om ec b to is m re a “My biggest d ist.” or a psychia tr an Ishaq prog ra mmer uhummad Usm an eighth

— M hool in Norman llow Middle Sc fe ng -grader at Lo

ident.” t female pres “To b e the firs a fres

meone.” “To inspire so

ey — Abby Brick ol ho Sc h ig H ng hman at Musta

der — Sireene Kha Fe a nt Edmond Sa a freshmen at

world ! I l a nd se e the ve a tr to is m re a “My biggest d ltu res.” ience other cu er p ex to illiss ve lo — Madison G a senior at Ow

asso High Scho

ol

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fun or dangerous? V i d e o

Beginning with preterritorial music and moving up to contemporary rock’n’roll, this podcast examines the history of musical composition in Oklahoma. Rich and individual, Oklahoma’s music began with the blend of Indian tribal rhythms and was shaped by such events as the Land Run, Prohibition and the 1960s. Within this context, many current Oklahoma bands from all over the state have risen to prominence in the genres of pop, country, rock and alternative. Scan the QR code or go to NewsOK.com/HotInk.

Video Game ratings The Entertainment Software Rating Board assigns all video games one of four ratings, depending on factors like violence and adult themes. Here’s a breakdown of the 1,218 ratings the ESRB handed out in 2012. M: 9% T: 24%

E: 45%

E10+: 22%

E for Everyone: 45% E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older: 22% T for Teen: 24% M for Mature: 9% SOURCE : ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE RATING BOARD

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g a m e s :

O s a m a h Ta h ir | M erc y S chool With new video game consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and rapidly improving computer technology on the rise, video games are only going to become more and more popular. That leaves many people asking whether a possible link exists between real gun violence and gun violence portrayed in video games. “I do believe that violence in video games can promote violence in children and teenagers,” said Dr. Sameer Muhammad, a psychiatrist at Griffith Memorial Hospital. Although violent games, such as first-person shooters, seem passive to many, some argue that these games can turn young, naïve gamers into aggressive criminals. Advocates want new, tougher laws to prevent minors from getting their hands on violent video games. Centering their protest in California, these video game control advocates successfully passed a law that prohibited the sale or rental of violent video

games to minors. The law initially gave the state of California the power to regulate the sale of such video games, but the decision was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2011. With a vote of 7-2, the judges ruled that video games were a form of expression and that California didn’t show enough scientific proof that these games were harmful to minors. Therefore, these games were protected under the First Amendment, the court ruled. Though video game producers won the legal battle in California, the fight continues to rage. About 60 percent of Americans believe that children under the age of 18 who play violent games will be more inclined to act aggressively, according to an opinion poll taken by The Hartford Courant, a Connecticut newspaper. There are other negative effects that video games inflicts on teens, said Asma Mudassir, a resident physician at Griffith Memorial Hospital.

“There is some preliminary research being done on the effects of video games on developing human brain, like those of children,” Mudassir said. She said video games lower the ability of children to focus.

Violent video games are protected under the First Amendment, said Joey Senat, a media law professor at Oklahoma State University. He also said that there is insufficient evidence to connect violent behavior to video games.

“Kids who play video games regularly — for example 1 to 2 hours on a daily basis — are more impulsive and cannot sustain attention for longer periods of time, as real life is not that interesting and overly stimulating like in the gaming world,” Mudassir said.

“The statutes and ordinances were struck down not necessarily because of their wording but because they lack sufficient evidence to support a compelling interest justifying the restriction on speech,” Senat said.

But some say that violent video games help relieve stress and anger virtually.

“Well, it’s hard to say,” says Charlie, a well-known YouTuber paid to play first-person shooters. “If you’re gonna let your kid play violent video games then they have to show a good understanding of, you know, the difference between video games and reality and that video games aren’t real. They have to understand that hurting people aren’t the solution to all problems and it shouldn’t be integrated in your everyday lifestyle.”

Ali Sandhu, who plays video games often, said game developers are improving what they offer all the time. “I don’t find violent video games to be fun because of its violence,” said Sandhu, 14, a freshman at Mercy School. “I like their realworld environment, where I can interact with different things and people playing around the world.”

Others are in the gray area.


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BOOK REVIEWS Bitterblue by

K r i s t i n

C a s h o r e

R u t h S e rv e n | V eritas C lassical A cadem y

B

itterblue becomes queen after her sadistic father, King Leck, is murdered. She is determined to rebuild her kingdom and forget Leck. But as she takes the throne, strange and terrible things keep happening to her friends and her people. Her advisors lie to her, her city is threatened and horrors from Leck’s reign resurface. Unable to trust her advisors or discover the truth, Bitterblue sets out to destroy her father’s ghost and save her kingdom. Kristin Cashore has created a beautiful, tragic fantasyland in Bitterblue and its companions Fire and Graceling. I was transfixed; I stayed up all night to read the last page. Cashore creates an exquisite sense of paranoia and confusion as Bitterblue struggles to uncover long-hidden secrets. Cashore drives those emotions home in a story about moving on and healing from terror and tragedy.

InsurgenT by

V e r o n i c a

R ot h

R u t h S e rv e n |

V eritas C lassical A cadem y

W

hen Insurgent opens, war still looms between society’s five factions. Tris Prior and her friends are hunted by the Erudite faction, which attempts another coup. A new threat emerges from the “factionless,” who have seized their chance to create a new social order. As a Divergent — someone who does not fit into any one of the factions — Tris is trusted by no one. She only truly trusts Four. But as they try to stop Erudite and save their friends, Four’s secrets come to light, and Tris begins to question that trust. As Tris tries to reunite the factions and battle the Erudite, she catches hints of a devastating secret — a secret that the Erudite have been hiding that would threaten their whole society. Haunted by grief, Tris must choose between loyalties and loves. Roth capitalizes on popular interest in the dystopian genre and manages to create a wholly new world, full of complex characters who have honest guilts and fears and loves. Multiple reversals and a muddled climax made the book hard to follow. I became annoyed with Tris’s constant lying and reckless behavior but was interested by the Katniss-like twist that her character took.

“Meow Mix: The Dish on Kittens” is about how cute, fluffy and adorable cats and kittens are. All jokes aside, this podcast is about everything that makes felines amazing and how you can adopt a great cat or kitten. Scan the QR code or go to NewsOK.com/HotInk.

Despite the dragging, Roth eventually delivered a heartpounding conclusion. I was satisfied with the second installment of the Divergent trilogy and am excited for the concluding book in October. www.newsok.com/hotink 27


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Historical Films L o o k t o R e e d u c at e V i e w e r s Antonio “Tony” Mendez, former CIA technical operations officer, poses for photographers at the premiere of the film Argo in Washington in 2012. Argo is based on covert operation to rescue six Americans during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979. AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th President of the United States Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln. Photo provided.

Lu k e Swa ns o n | Y ukon H i g h S chool Countless films claim to paint an image of historical events, but they often fall short of accuracy, and such movies have begun to reeducate their viewers.

period piece Ratings Five of the nine Oscar nominees for Best Picture this year are period pieces based on true stories or past eras. Here are the percentages of critical reviews that were positive for each, according to rottentomates.com. Argo Zero Dark Thirty Django Unchained Lincoln Les Miserables 70%

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96% 96% 89% 89%

“Any time a director leaves us with a film that has been rewritten to tell a ‘better’ story without telling us he/she has done so, it leaves us culturally with a film depicted as fact,” Bob Waliszewski, director of PluggedIn.com, said in an email. “That means audiences who don’t do their research will believe the film’s view over what really happened. Culturally we’re not great history buffs, and rewriting history through films doesn’t help.”

“It should not be forgotten that the primary job of a film is to be entertainment,” Rudnick said. “These are not documentaries. Due to this, the filmmakers are entitled to embellish for dramatic effect. An accurate portrayal of history is secondary unless the offense is egregious on a factual and possibly moral level. “That being said, some historical liberties are more acceptable than others. We understand that Oliver Stone’s ‘JFK’ is largely theory, whereas ‘Argo’ is purported to be truth.”

Others, however, believe that the film industry is one purely of entertainment.

Certain factual errors can make sway viewers’ perspectives while not changing the overall narrative. Waliszewski weighed in with an example.

But historical inaccuracies should be considered individually, said Hal Rudnick, host of the Internet pop culture series, “The Screen Junkies Show.”

“Spielberg took great pains to make his ‘Lincoln’ fairly historically accurate, but he has our 16th president cussing and those around him doing the same,” he said. “The truth is


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Jessica Chastain (right) stars as Maya, a CIA officer who worked her whole career tracking down Osama Bin Laden, in Zero Dark Thirty. Jamie Foxx (top) plays a freed slave in the 1850’s trying to reunnite with his wife in Django Unchained. Hugh Jackman (bottom) plays a released convict in 1820 France during policital unrest and turmoil. Photos provided.

Lincoln enacted a law that penalized Union soldiers who used swear words. Why enact the law if you talk like a sailor? The truth is Lincoln didn’t talk the way he was portrayed, and the image of the man himself was skewed.”

Erlich said. “But when ‘Braveheart’ has hundreds of Scotsmen running around in kilts even though kilts weren’t used until 400 years after the movie’s set, you can’t help but grow skeptical of the film’s other depictions of the era.”

Brett Erlich of Current TV said that historical inaccuracies damage the reputations of some films while leaving others intact.

Four recipients of the Best Picture Academy Award in the 21st century were based on true stories: “Gladiator,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “The King’s Speech” and “Argo.” Each has been attacked for errors in historical depiction while being showered with commendations.

“When ‘Kate and Leopold,’ a romantic comedy starring Hugh Jackman and Meg Ryan, shows a few extra stars on its early-1800s flag, it doesn’t take you too far out of the viewing experience because you don’t hold it to that high a standard,”

“Except for a love of the games, there is not much that is historical about the Commodus from ‘Gladiator,’” Allen

Ward, a professor of Roman history at the University of Connecticut, told Able Media in 2001. In reality, Emperor Commodus, played in the filmed by Joaquin Phoenix, ruled for 12 years after his father died of chickenpox, but director Ridley Scott depicted Commodus as a cowardly, incestuous villain who murdered his old man. These errors didn’t go unnoticed, but Scott and Phoenix both received Oscar nominations for their work. “A Beautiful Mind” tells the story of schizophrenic mathematician and Nobel Peace Prize winner John Nash. The film depicts Nash concocting an imaginary

From The Great Gatsby to Perks of Being a Wallflower, Victor Hugo to Suzanne Collins, and Oscar-winning masterpieces to massive duds, the silver screen is full of stories that were originally between the covers of a book. In “Bookshelf to Big Screen,” you can hear about current and upcoming film adaptations of novels. Scan the QR code or go to NewsOK.com/ HotInk.

roommate at Princeton and a Communist conspiracy during the 1950s, but the real Nash’s psychosis didn’t develop until the ’60s. Nash’s marriage was also highly romanticized; in reality, his wife divorced him after she grew weary of his illness. “We watched the movie in my game theory class,” Bethany High School senior Austin Sheehy said. “I heard about all the inaccuracies afterward, but it didn’t affect how much I enjoyed the movie. I think as long as it’s all right with the subject of the film, the plot can be stretched as far as the director wants.”

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STAFF

Alice Cameron Mission Academy

Kevin Green Carl Albert High School

Jasmin Enchassi Mercy School Institute

Sarah Helsley Edmond Santa Fa High School

Sydney Henderson Harding Charter Prep

Sana Mesiya Mercy School Institute

Evan O’Brien Putnam City North High School

Hannah Robinson Southmoore High School

Bushra Salous Mercy School Institute

Uzma Sandhu Mercy School Institute

Zainab Sandhu Mercy School Institute

Ruth Serven Veritas Classical Academy

Callie Struby Harding Charter Prep

Luke Swanson Yukon High School

Osamah Tahir Mercy School Institute

Tylere Thomas Mustang High School

Aaron VanSteinberg Edmond Memorial High School

Carson Williams Putnam City North High School

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Debate continues about

loss of Harden

BY C A R S O N W I L L I A M S | P u t n a m C i t y N o r t h H i g h S c h o o l ers to make decisions about combining In addition, the Thunder’s steals, assists success on the court as well as profes- and turnovers have improved, which are sionally what’s best financially,” Thunder some of the areas that have haunted the guard Derek Fisher said. “James is doing team in the past. great. He deserved an opportunity to kind None of that will mean much if the Thunder of spread his wings, so to speak, but I doesn’t make the Finals. think the team is still in a good position They’ll be back next year, everyone said. Despite improvement in some statistical aras well.” eas, some question whether the Thunder can That assumption became more complicated last fall when Thunder General Many fans were concerned the team would duplicate the postseason success they had Manager Sam Presti sent Harden, the be worse without Harden, but statistics last year. reigning Sixth Man of the Year, to the suggest that isn’t the case. The Thunder Bench scoring has been an issue all seahas tied up the Western Division’s No. 1 son without Harden. While Kevin Martin’s Houston Rockets. seed, while Harden’s Rockets landed the numbers are eerily similar, his consistency “In a sense, I guess it was disappointing No. 8 spot. has not been what Harden’s was. because of my understanding of the business of basketball and how difficult it is The team’s scoring is better and the de- The Thunder have also struggled to close out games in the final minutes, especially for teams to make decisions and for play- fense is better per 100 possessions. When LeBron James and the Miami Heat jumped around in jubilance last June after taking down the Thunder 4-1 in the NBA Finals, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden stood together, arms around each other.

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Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

against the league’s best. In the playoffs, that could hurt Head Coach Scott Brooks and the Thunder. “I think you learn from the good and bad of what happens in games during the season,” Fisher said. “I think over the course of an 82-game season, you realize there’s going to be ups and downs. There are going to be stretches where you’re playing great and stretches when you’re not playing so great but you have to take all of that in stride.” Only time will tell whether this year’s Thunder team is better than last year’s team. “To be continued,” Fisher said with a chuckle.


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