CAMILLE’S COLUMN GUANTANAMO BAY The other day, I read a story on Huff Post about a little kid whose dad recently returned home. This kid hadn’t seen his dad since 2001. He was probably too young to remember the day his dad left their native Yemen, and now that he was finally coming back, it was in a body bag. The father’s name was Adnan Latif, and he was an inmate in Guantanamo Bay. Guantanamo is a United States naval base that, following the September 11 bombing of the twin towers, was designated a detention camp for inmates in the War on Terror by President Bush. Detainees in Guantanamo can be held for years without trial, access to a lawyer, or even being officially charged with a crime—a practice that, within the United States, is unconstitutional. Torture is also a fixture at Guantanamo Bay. Latif was beaten by soldiers to the point of dislocating his shoulder, subjected to stress positions, sleep deprivation, and extreme psychological torture, and at one point weighed less than 100 pounds. Although the US government claimed Latif was a member of Al Quaeda, he was never officially charged with any crime. In 2010, a District Court judge pointed out that there was no evidence tying him to the organization. The judge ordered Latif’s release, but Latif remained as he had been for ten years and as he would eventually die—in solitary confinement. To me, it’s completely despicable that the US government would allow an innocent man to die such a torturous and preventable death. However, humanitarian arguments aren’t the only reasons I’m against Guantanamo Bay. Everyone from CIA interrogators to Senator John McCain has said that torture is an ineffective way to extract information, and there’s a very slim chance that the victims of these torture even have any information to give. Up to 80 percent of Guantanamo’s inmates were captured not by the US military, but by Afghan or Pakistani police forces that pay a bounty to citizens who call in tips. Recently, President Obama has signaled that he no longer intends to close Guantanamo Bay. When I heard that, I thought about the 167 men still interred there. The already-low odds of them regaining their freedom just shrunk even more. Unless things change, we will certainly see the deaths of even more potentially innocent men.
THE FEA TURES
ADVISER Sally Beran
SEARCHING FOR THE MISSING PIECE
THEY WALK AMONG US
Contrary to popular belief, teachers don’t spend all their free time in school. Check out these teachers, spotted in their natural habitat.
Not all adopted students wish to find their real parents, but adopted student,Catherine Benitez found her biological father after seventeen years of searching.
Park Hill’s Speech and Debate team has had massive success but few know what the team actually does. Turn to page 5 to find out.
Scholarbowl is a sport? It sure is. Page ten explains the odd sport that anyone can be a part of.
TROJANS’ BIG BREAK
FOUR STORIES, ONE DESK
There are hundreds of desks in Park Hill but each one has an interesting story that connects different people. Find out the story behind a desk in room 111.
Park Hill can claim that a few stars have passed through its doors. See some of our famous former students.
Park Hill High School’s Online News Resource
MYPARKHILL.COM FOLLOW MYPARKHILL.COM ON TWITTER Want up-to-the-minute Park Hill news updates? Follow myparkhill.com on Twitter at @my_parkhill.
ART TEACHER PROFILES To find out more about Park Hill’s art teachers, read their profiles online.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Camille Smith DESIGN EDITOR Nick Buchberg FEATURE EDITOR Zach Hahn DEPARTMENT EDITOR Mackenzie Thomas PHOTO EDITOR Kaylin Lake BUSINESS MANAGER Brett Stone REPORTERS Jake Bjornlie Beth Cooper Chloe Lane Jesus Reyes Rylee Stoulil Claire Yost WEBMASTER Molly Weis WEB EDITOR Shannon Barry MYPARKHILL.COM Zoë Butler Sadie Derry JT Fopeano
They W Among
By: Mackenzie Thomas
There is an alien species living in our school. They hold power over us; direct us; and teach us alien things. They are called… ‘teachers.’ And what we find out as we get older is that the school is indeed not their mother ship. Some would even say these teachers have lives. Look as we catch them at their attempts to be normal human beings and fit in.
THEY DRIVE USED CARS!
Psychology teacher Mark Harmon has had his car for more than five years. The car is so old that he has to change the oil around once a week.
Walk g US THEY GO TO CHURCH! THEY TAILGATE
Coach Aaron Neeser was spotted attending Restore in February.
AT MIZZOU GAMES Communication Arts teacher Charlotte Land spends her fall as the reining “washers’ champ at her alma mater, MIZZOU.
THEY TAKE SELFIES Communication Arts teacher Margaret Cummings strikes a pose with her husband at a Chiefs game.
THEY LIKE Psychology teacher Kevin Rask attended Lady Gaga’s Kansas City concert on Feb. 4.
By: Shannon Barry
PHHS’S ALL-STAR SPEECH AND DEBATE TEAM
One thing most teenagers can agree on is their ability to dispute and win an argument. The big question is how to harness and train that combative nature each teenager posses into something useful and productive, and the answer could simply be joining the PHHS speech and debate team. Debate coach Kyle Howe and Debate and Forensics teacher Tyler Unsell agrees that all it takes is a little courage, and a knack for public speaking. “First, you have to be brave enough to take the class, after that, we really teach you how to be successful,” said Unsell. Success is not something that the Speech and Debate team is short on. After bringing home 22 individual first place trophies from tournaments so far, the team has done very well in their 2012-2013 season. “I’ve been helping out with this team for almost 21 years now,” said Howe, whose debate experience goes back being taught by former debate coach and current PHHS substitute teacher Don Crabtree. “I would say self-confidence is key. If you can think on your feet and are comfortable public speaking, you’ll be successful.” Seasoned debate veteran, senior Spencer Culver believes it’s hard work and dedication that will bring out high achievement. “You’ve got to do the research and have practice debate rounds a lot,” said Culver. “We’re a laid back community that jives well together. We’re a competitive group and we work hard to win everything at all costs.” Last year, Culver and his partner, senior Grant Ferland, finished in the top sixty at the national tournament. The duo also placed fifth at the state tournament their sophomore year. Culver and Ferland debate together in Policy debate, where the debaters work as individuals in a congressional situation. Policy debates lasts around an hour and a half and is made up of two sections of arguments: affirmative and negative. The round is broken up into eight minute constructive debates, three minute cross examinations done by the other competitor, and five minute rebuttal debates. The teams are first given a political resolution to create a plan and debate for. “Most plans we make with our resolutions deal with indigenous populations and peoples,” said Ferland. Each Policy team is able to write their affirmative and negative arguments using whatever information they want, and Culver and Ferland have chosen to include information on Native American issues in their arguments every year. “My proudest accomplishment, and probably Grant’s too, has been educating the countless community members and judges about the plight of Native Americans for the past four years,” said Culver. Along with the debate events such as Policy, Lincoln Douglas, and Public Forum, there are forensics events that are competed in at every tournament: Dramatic, Humorous, and Duo Interpretation, Prose, Poetry, and Original Oratory. Isabella Wussow, a freshman on the team this year, is a regular to the forensics events including Dramatic Interpretation. Dramatic interpretation consists of an eight to ten minute memorized script of a serious topic. The competitor has no props to work with during their speech. “The people that are the best at [Dramatic Interpretation] are usually the most outgoing. You have to be funny sometimes and serious sometimes; you have to learn to connect with the character you’re playing,” said Wussow.
Debaters board the bus for the Conference debate tournament on Feb. 15. The tournament took place at Winnetonka, and PHHS took home three second place trophies in debate.
Sophomore Maddie Smith gets on the computer to help with tournament prep for the Newburger Novice debate tournament.
Senior Ben Shinogle tabulates points. Debaters receive points from the National Forensics League (NFL) for every round they compete in.
Junior Varsity Scholarbowl team members Caitlen Warren, Sarah Hogan, Wisdom Nwike, and Molly Martin prepare for a match at the North Kansas City tournament. By: Rylee Stoulil
Few students at PHHS know how Scholar Bowl works, or even that the sport exists. The name of the activity may bring to mind images of students sitting around, talking about how smart they are, but the PHHS Scholar Bowl team does not represent the stereotype that most people think. “I think of someone who is really smart, someone who gets good grades, and someone who really applies themselves in school,” junior non-Scholar Bowl team member Harrison Hostick said. Although a flattering stereotype, not all Scholar Bowl team members fit perfectly into that mold. Over time, the demographic of the team has changed since it originated and has made it a great part of extracurricular activities here at PHHS. Kansas City is a special place to participate in Scholar Bowl because this is where it all started. “Scholar Bowl, our academic squad, is a competition that developed out of the TV show, Whiz Kids. They did it here in Kansas City after the news. Once they stopped doing it on TV, we kept doing it between schools. Scholar Bowl actually began here, so we are in the homeland of Scholar Bowl here. It’s a competition where students are tested on their ability to recall information in a variety of subjects,” Scholar Bowl coach Troy Snelling said. Scholar Bowl is a question-and-answer game that is played between two teams. During each of the four quarters, the moderator will ask questions and the first player to signal must answer the question without consulting their team. Each question is worth ten points, and the round also includes one collaborative, twenty-question worksheet that can be about any subject. At the end of the round, each team’s points are totaled and the team with the most wins the round. According to junior Jordan Haley, not all the questions have to do with school subjects, contrary to
the common belief. “It’s not entirely based off of facts or the typical stuff that you’d think it would be. It’s not just history and math. There are pop culture questions. They ask you about songs that have been recently introduced or sports and other stuff like that,” said Haley. Different types of questions open doors to all different types of students. To join the team, students don’t even have to think that they are book smart. “Here, all kinds of people join Scholar Bowl. We are very good about getting a broad cross-section of kids who are academic and also into different kinds of activities. We don’t just get the super nerdy kid for Scholar Bowl. If you have knowledge about any subject in depth, then we’d love to have you come out,” said Snelling. A diverse collection of people on the team helps in the long run because all of the subjects will be covered in competition. Members of the team are open to new teammates because it’s a great learning opportunity. “Anybody can join. Even if you think you don’t know a lot of stuff, you can still join scholar bowl. It’s a good opportunity to learn more things and once you’re there longer, you will eventually answer more and more questions,” said Haley. Scholar Bowl is a way for students to have a friendly competition with other schools and learn at the same time. However, joining the team does have other advantages. “It’s a good way to meet new people and it’s good for college applications. If they see that you’re on the academic squad, then they will think you’re really dedicated to your education,” said Haley.
Senior Catherine Benitez poses with a picture of her birth father.
HER MISSING PIECE By: Chloe Lane
Nearly 6 million Americans are adopted. That ads up to about 2 percent of the population. One in eight people are directly touched by adoption, whether it is through biological parents, siblings, or adoptive parents. Senior Claire Yost was adopted when she was twenty-two days old and her adopted brother, Nolan, was adopted three years prior when he was only twelve days old. “I just turned eighteen, so before now, I wouldn’t have been able to legally look for them. They consider eighteen a mature enough age to handle that kind of information. But I just feel
that it is not necessary to look for my birth parents because I am happy with the life I have. The only thing I would want to see is what they look like, but finding them is not on the top of my to-do list,” said Yost. However, not every adoptee shares Yost’s view. Some adopted children seek out their birth family out of curiosity, for knowledge concerning medical reasons, or sometimes information about an individual’s death. In contrast to Yost’s opinion of searching for her birth parents, senior Catherine Benitez wanted nothing more than to find where she came from. This is her story about the journey of finding the puzzle piece she always felt was missing.
In Her Own Words... Being adopted naturally placed a void in my life. My adopted families of course made me feel accepted as one of their own, but it was something I could never shake throughout my childhood. Although I was raised in a half Hispanic family, I knew I would never completely fit in. I had always been an observer looking in and had a wander’s soul. I knew I wouldn’t have peace until I found the answer to this emptiness--my birth parents. When I was five, I would constantly search for answers in my adoption papers, but all I could see were names, and being very young all I could remember was my birth father’s last name beginning with a ‘G’. My sister would give me bits and pieces of information about my birth parents. [For example] That my father is Honduran and my mother is Mexican. My birth father did not want me to be up for adoption, but my birth mother knew it was a choice to enable me to have a better opportunity than my brothers. Whenever my family and I would travel I would consciously search for someone who resembled me; my nose, my smile, or my eyes. I was constantly searching for that lost piece in my life. My adopted parents had a private adoption, which means I would not have contact with my birth family until I was 18. My whole life has been one long waiting list until I turned 18 [June 23]. However, being a senior has its perks. As a graduation present I had asked my mom to find my adoption papers, so I would be able to find my birth father. A few months later, my mom called me at school Thursday, Jan. 31. I called her back, worried it was a family emergency. She said that the attorney anxiously called back saying that my birth father has called every year on my birthday looking for some information about where to find me. He had put his information in every adoption clinic in the Miami-Dade County, in hopes that I would be searching for him too. I immediately started crying on the phone in the hallway. My friends were swarming around me, scared that someone had died. I could not find any words to say, other than complete sobs of joy and peace. Overwhelmed with worry for the non-crier of the group, they all ushered me into the restroom to see what was going on. I was finally able to blurt out that I had found my missing piece, my papa. I got hugs all around. After a few seconds of collect myself, I ran downstairs so that I would not be tardy for homeroom. I tried my best not to endure any more embarrassment, but some friends asked me about my red eyes and puffy face. After giving a few details and answering some questions, I got an email on my phone from my mom. “Jose Galo. This is your father. He has a Facebook, you look just like him.” Without hesitation I searched his name on Facebook, and finally found him. We had matching noses and smiles. I burst into tears, yet again. Luckily, Mrs. Bell allowed me to gather myself, for a second time, in the restroom. Waves upon waves of emotions crashed into me. I could not explain the joy that was overflowing my heart, and the peaceful calm that washed over me. I was finally found. Found and found in love. I walked back to class, knowing I’d have to give a greater explanation for my insane crying. I couldn’t stop looking at his pictures of him and our family. I was curious about any siblings I might have on my papa’s side, and if I would be gaining a large family. My sister text me, asking if a “Nancy Galo” was my sister or not, because of our resemblance, and told me that
both my mom and attorney had already spoke to my papa. She said that he was crying so much, that he couldn’t speak either. Eventually, Nancy messaged me asking if I was her Tio’s daughter. I said yes, and she messaged back saying how they have finally found me. She said that my papa has been searching for me his whole life, never married, and never had any kids. I was his one and only. She also informed me of the slight language barrier that I would, and still am, be struggling with. I asked many questions about him, and the family I’d be gaining. Luckily for me, my papa had moved to Georgia near Nancy and her family, which happens to be a mere 2 hours away from my sister’s new home in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I asked Nancy if I would be able to call him, and she gave me his number, but told me I’d have to wait until tomorrow to call, because of his work schedule. Friday was the day I would finally speak to my papa. Emotionally drained, puffy eyed, stuffy nosed, I tried to muster up any last form of strength to find words to say to him. Being a planner, I had hoped to have a little more time to figure out what to say, but I called him cold turkey. Each ring of the phone made my anxiety skyrocket, and I was nervous I would be speechless or simply cry the entire conversation. He answered; “hola mi hija” (Hello my daughter) and I could not hold back any tears. We both cried. Through his sobs he attempted to apologize for not being there, and asked me to forgive him. I couldn’t find the words to explain that there was never a moment in my life that I blamed him or resented him for anything. All I managed to say was that I loved him, and was so happy to have my family completed. Our conversation lasted for a few hours. He would repeatedly ask me not to cry, or else I would make him cry. It was a mix of broken English, poor Spanglish, tears, and matching goofy laughs. The emotions were conveyed though; I loved him, and he loved me, and we would never separate ever again. In perfect timing with his birthday, (February 2nd) he said he could not receive a better birthday gift. Later, on Friday, I asked my cousin Nancy if I could give my papa one huge surprise on his birthday. Saturday morning, Nancy and her brothers helped surprise my papa. Nothing beats Skype! I was finally able to see him for the first time. We were all matching smiles and laughs. I brought out embarrassing child photos, and asked many questions. My papa’s main question was about who gave me permission to have any boyfriends. Seeing him brought me out of shock slightly. I am still trying to accept and understand this newfound feeling of unconditional fatherly love. My mom has already purchased my tickets to fly to Chattanooga on March 8, and my sister will drive me down to Georgia to see my papa for the first time. I continuously text and call him every day. Every day is a new relative, and new happy tears to be shed for the longlost daughter. Between the text messages and phone calls early in the morning, I continuously find new information about my very large family still in Honduras. I have never felt more loved in my life.
By: Claire Yost
The girls’ varsity basketball team prepares to begin a match
There are many things in life that can bring joy to people, and for Davon Thomas, that one thing is athletics. Thomas has been involved in many different kinds of sports all her life, whether it is a competitive league, school team, or even just for fun. “Sports are extremely important to me. They have really molded me into the person I am today. I am now a better leader, a responsible student, and have found some of my best friends on the teams. Being a good role model to my younger teammates is my ultimate goal,” said Thomas. Thomas plays volleyball, track, and basketball on the PH teams, and she also plays rugby through a community team called the KC Dragons. Thomas has played sports for almost 12 years, and is a big team player in all of her sports. But despite all her hard work and effort, an accident happened that forced Thomas to take two steps back in her athletic life. Thomas was severely injured but it didn’t take her long to get on that road to recovery. “My injury happened at the end of basketball season my junior year. I tore my ACL during the last drill, and the last rep we were doing at the end, right before districts. It took me 8 months to get back to just springing and jumping. It was really tough to bounce back from,” said Thomas. With that, Thomas was ready for the challenge of rehab if it meant getting to play sports again. “Rehab was awful. In the beginning, my ego was in the way. I thought that I could do it all and beat the odds but in the end I had to take it slow and was out for so long, it was frustrating. I had to slowly start walking, then jogging, then sprinting, and eventually I could jump. It was a slow process but my volleyball team was there for me during the whole recovery process,” said Thomas. Thomas was supported by the many people around her, and she knew she wasn’t alone. “I feel like my teammates not only supported me, but some respected me more for how I handled the situation was put in. My teammates and one of my best friends Katie Riechert came up to me one day after one of my workouts and told me she looked up to me. That meant the world to me because it showed that I was a leader whether I was on the court or off,” said Thomas. Not only was she supported by people her own age, but adults also. “Our trainer Lisa helped me a lot because she took care of me, gave me workouts to strengthen myself, and was very blunt and honest when I needed it during my recovery,” said Thomas. Sports have always been a part of her life and even after her injury, she wasn’t going to give them up. “Being injured my junior year really makes me appreciate the abilities and playing time that I get for my senior year. It really opened my eyes to how important playing sports are to me,” said Thomas. Being involved in school, Thomas’ obstacles were overcome with support in time for her to be Courtwarming Queen 2013.
As winter sports come to a close, several individuals can add state champs to their sports resume. Park Hill fans cheered for state participants all weekend and are still talking about being number one.
Park Hill Wrestling Team won the Class 4 State Championships Feb. 17-18. freshman Sean Hosford State Champion freshman Ke-Shawn Hayes State Champion sophomore Colston DiBlasi State Champion junior John Erneste 3rd - freshman Canten Marriott 3rd senior Malik Colding 3rd - sophomore Hunter Roberts 6th - senior Russ Coleman 6th Congratulations to senior Lauren Shaw, who won the state championship in the 100-yard freestyle. She will swim for Bringham Young University in the Fall.
ALUMNI IN THE
SPOTLIGHT Trojans Live In The Limelight After Graduation
By: Kaylin Lake
Park Hill High School is known for many things besides sports and academics, were also known for having famous people come through our school. Park Hill is known for having Alicia Solombrino, lead singer of Beautiful Bodies, Wes Scantlin, lead singer and guitarist of Puddle Of Mudd, and country artist Patrick Woolam. Wes Scantlin- Wes Scantlin is the lead singer and guitarist for Puddle of Mud, and graduated from PHHS in 1990. His son, freshman Jordan Scantlin lives with his mom, because his dad is away touring most of the time. Through his dad, he’s met Nickelback, Kid Rock, and Shinedown. “I get picked on by some teachers, because they think I’m a trouble maker, like my dad was.”
Alicia Solombrino- Lead singer of the band Beautiful Bodies, Alicia Solombrino, opened up for Real Big Fish on their last tour. She recently won Battle of the Bands in Las Angeles. She’s met a lot of famous people through music and became friends with, including Christian Siriano (winner of fourth season of Project Runway), and Brad Walsh (singer and music producer). “It has been great, because music has allowed me to travel all over doing my passion. I’ve been able to play with artist who were my idols growing up. To do this though, it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make myself a better musician and performer.” PHHS helped her follow her dreams. “I met a lot of cool people there, particularly teachers who inspired me to take risk, and think outside the box.” Patrick Woolam- Graduated from Park Hill High School in 2007. He had a lot going for him when he was just a junior here at Park Hill. He was able to go to the Grammies and watch all the famous performers and awards being handed out. Recently he played with Country music star, Keith Urban all through posting a video of him playing Keith’s number one song “Long Hot Summer,” in 2011.
1. Wes Scantlin and son-- freshman Jordan Scantlin-- perform together at a concert. 2. Alicia Solombrino and her band Beautiful Bodies. 3. Patrick Woolam meets singer Keith Urban before performing for him.
ARE WE REALLY SAFE? January 30, 2013 marked a scary first for Park Hill. Due to information given by a student, school administrators discovered a 22-calibar handgun in the pocket of another student. Scrolling through any social media after the news was released to students the same few questions kept repeatedly coming up: why would someone bring a gun, who did it, and was there a lack of security?
By: Beth Cooper January 30, 2012 marked a scary first for PHHS. Due to information given by a student, school administrators discovered a 22-calibar handgun in the pocket of another student. Scrolling through any social media after the news was released to students the same few questions kept repeatedly coming up: why would someone bring a gun, who did it, and was there a lack of security? “We got a report from a student, right at the end of the school day, that he had seen another student was carrying a gun. He reported it, as we hope each of you would do in a similar situation. We brought the student about whom the report had been made to the oﬃce, interviewed him, and yes indeed he had a gun. We talked to our SRO, the deputy sheriﬀ ’s department and the police department secured the weapon, and took the student into custody,” said Dr. Brad Kincheloe over the announcements the next morning. Just a week before, Park Hill South went into a lockdown because of a threat called into police. Armed policemen walked the halls and students were moved into secure locations. The lockdown occurred during lunch and lasted for two hours. The students in the cafeteria moved into the gym. “I feel the school did a good job at getting the students from the halls and lunchroom into class rooms,” Park Hill South Senior Alex Goforth said. The cafeteria and other open areas such as pods pose many questions from a security stand point. “What would happen if we were in the cafeteria when something
happened,” sophomore Emma Gaiser said. Many park hill students think that it’s part of the job of the campus supervisors to provide safety in dangerous situations. However this is not part of their job description. “The job of the campus supervisor is to make sure that most of the time students stay in their classroom. The more time you spend in your classroom, the more you have to learn. Also, we’re here to stop fights. The sooner you can stop them, the better it is for the whole school. Fights carry over and they can get bigger and bigger and bigger, so we want to stop that,” campus supervisor Nancy Gonzalez said. Campus supervisors are here to provide safety in day-to-day situations. However, the school has much more extensive procedures in place for a situation like the one PH faced on Jan. 30. “Mostly you know of everything, [school security] but you don’t think about it,” Kincheloe said. “You know all those things [procedures] and know all those drills, and we have a prescribed number of drills throughout the year that the school district and state require that we do. You don’t think we do those for student safety, you think we have to because we’re in school. Now there are some things that we don’t talk about with the general public, for instance what if we have to evacuate the building. Let’s say, heaven forbid there’s a bomb threat, and yes indeed there were a bomb, where would we go? Where would we go from there, you don’t know, sometimes there’s things you can’t know.”
WHAT DO I DO IN WHEN... INTRUDER OR SHOOTER -Make sure your teacher locks the door. -Move away from the doors -Stay as quiet as possible and stay low to the floor -Do not leave until the administration or police officer clear a safe exit path
HOLD OR LOCKDOWN HOLD: -Make sure your teacher locks the door -Keep learning as you would LOCKDOWN: -See the Intruder or Active Shooter
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS -If outside, move uphill and upwind from the vapor clouds or fumes -If inside, move to a room where there is no evidence of fumes, close the doors and windows -Make sure your teacher informs the administration -Be prepared to evacuate
IT’S NOT JUST YOU:
I’M ADDICTED TO CAFFEINE
“I have had kids who have come to the health room who have had Monster drinks and their heart rates are high. -Nurse Sue Cole
Caffeine is a staple in the diet of our society. Found in many things, such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, and even chocolate, it is the most commonly consumed drug in American culture. It is estimated that 80 to 90 percent of adult Americans consume coffee habitually. Adults are not the only ones who drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks routinely. Many teenagers also experience a caffeine addiction. Junior Hannah Conner drinks coffee three to four times in a school week. Conner gave up caffeine for a week. During first and second block on days she hadn’t had caffeine, Conner became “tired, less willing to participate,” and found it hard to concentrate. “Going without [caffeine] for a week was probably a good thing. I am glad I did it,” said Conner. Junior Rachel Winders also drinks caffeinated beverages regularly. Winders consumes caffeine “every day.” She drinks coffee and soda. Winders reports that she needs the coffee because she has to work a lot. “When I don’t have caffeine it’s hard to get through the day,” said Winders. Caffeine can be helpful to wake people up a little, but it can also be harmful. “[Caffeine] is a stimulant. It speeds up your nervous system, forcefully or unnaturally,” psychology teacher Daniel Motta said. “It can potentially cause an overdose. Any stimulant can cause your heart to beat faster and can cause a heart attack. It is very easy to get addicted because it activates the dopamine reward system.” Caffeine mimics the neurotransmitter known as dopamine, a stimulant that gives feelings of joy. Caffeine causes the dopamine production system to speed up, giving consumers an artificial dopamine “high” and causing the body to slow its natural production of the hormone. This is why caffeine addicts feel a withdrawal when they stop drinking it—because they don’t have the regular dopamine levels in their body. Beyond all these side effects, caffeine has the potential to seriously harm one’s body. It is a drug and like all drugs, it has the potential to be dangerous. PHHS nurse Sue Cole has seen the effects of caffeine firsthand. “I have had kids who have come to the health room who have had Monster drinks and their heart rates are high,” said Cole. “We had a student that had high blood pressure. A doctor determined that [Monster] was the cause,” said Cole. “A lot of natural ingredients are put in [Monster] that haven’t been studied by the FDA.”
By: Jake Bjornlie
Caffeine is a natural insecticide used by plants to prevent damage from bugs. The International Olympic Committee banned caffeine in Olympic competitions. Before processing, caffeine is white, bitter, and powdery.
FOUR STORIES By: Zach Hahn
Every day in the third row of the fifth column in room 111, it sits, waiting for the daily routine of classes to begin again. It’s an ordinary object Senior Vejay Iyechad that can easily be overlooked because there are thousands just like it in Park Hill. But it’s not like all of the others. It has a different story that intertwines four people who aren’t even aware they’re connected. It knows these people better than they know it does. This object is an ordinary, yet extraordinary, desk. The first block bell rings and the class files in for College Algebra. With the crowd comes the desk’s first inhabitant, senior Vejay Iyechad. The desk enjoys Iyechad’s company, Junior Mariah Ruth but mainly enjoys his unique story. “I was born in an island close to Hawaii, but I moved here four years ago. I speak two languages: my native language and English,” said Iyechad. As College Algebra teacher Samantha McCaffery continues her lecture, the desk wonders what moving to a different state would be like. It’s never been out of the school. In fact, the biggest change for the desk is changing classrooms. It can only guess what it’d be like from what it knows from Iyechad. “When I first came here I didn’t know what to expect because things were done differently. We came and left everything and it was uncomfortable. The difference is my culture is very religious. I’m Catholic and we go to church every Sunday. I feel better since and I’m more comfortable,” said Iyechad. At the end of the block, Iyechad departs and junior Mariah Ruth enters for second block College Algebra. As Ruth sits down, the desk feels proud because it knows a secret about Ruth that most don’t. “I’m really good at drawing but I really don’t do anything with it. I can draw anything really,” said Ruth. While McCaffery reteaches the lesson she taught an hour before, the desk traces the lines Ruth sketches, trying to figure out what she could be drawing. It’s fun to try to follow her drawings as she switches between notes and doodles. But before too long, the bell for third block comes
and College Algebra leaves, replaced by Sarah McKenna’s ALA 11 and Junior Bianca Noria. What the desk has learned about Noria comes from her conversations with friends, juniors Junior Bianca Noria Byanka Navarro and Mari Rivas. “We talk about the future: jobs we want, places we want to live and adventures we’d like to have. We made a goal list. We want to go skydiving, travel the world, go crowd surfing and go to a hundred concerts,” said Noria. McKenna teaches about literature, but the desk has heard it before because room 111 used to be a literature class. Instead, the desk focuses on the people around it. Still, after two months, it was finding new Junior Alyssa Purdy things about the people around it. “I like to dance. I’m a dance teacher – that’s what I do to get away from stress and when I’m sad or angry. I love to dance,” said Noria. Finally, the last class of the day arrives and with it comes the desk’s final inhabitant, junior Alyssa Purdy. As she sits down on the desk, Purdy puts her newest book on its table. The desk was located in an English classroom for years; it is proud to see that Purdy brings a new book to class with her almost every three days. “When most people talk, I like to sit and read a lot of nonfiction. James Patterson is my favorite author. In a week, I go through about two books. We have a bit of down time in class so I read about half an hour in fourth block,” said Purdy. The clock strikes 2:38 and the bell rings, dismissing students from school. Purdy closes her book and packs up her things. As the students file out of the classroom, the desk stays behind to reflect about another day at school and the people who call it their desk. The janitors turn off the lights to go home, casting the desk in darkness. But the desk can’t help but wonder if those four people know that they’re connected through it and if anyone else wonders how they’re connected to their fellow students.