Issue 7

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wow Portage High School • PORTAGE, IN Vol. 76 • Issue 7 • December 18, 2015

HOLIDAY HIJINX PHS students debate the “best of” everything related to the holidays amid beginning winter activities PAGE 3 Photo by Alex Stack


International Migrant Day recognizes plight of immigrants and refugees


McDonald’s debuts mozerella sticks at $1.39 for three sticks


Students balance Cheerleading and Gymanstics


Drew offers updates on Wi-Fi speeds, new telephone system, 3D printers

By now, technological Nick Blue updates have Editor-In-Chief • @clarinotist become a normal part of a PTS student’s life; even though the 1:1 initiative is getting into full swing and wireless access points have been added to every PHS classroom, the whirlwind of new technology has not passed yet. In the coming months, students can expect to experience faster Internet speeds and even see an increase in school phone call quality, according to Director of IT Jay Drew. The changes come with the continuing effort to improve the school system’s general technological system and to make it the most beneficial to students. Drew said that, first and foremost, by the end of the month the amount of wireless Internet bandwidth available to the school system will be increased from one half a gigabyte to a full two gigabytes, which should drastically increase

Internet speeds for students and teachers. Drew said that some apps, such as Snapchat and Instagram, have been blocked in order to save the bandwidth for educational functions, such as Schoology use. “We had to save bandwidth for our key instructional uses,” Drew said. “Another part of the blocking is that a lot of students were totally abusing Snapchat and some other social media. [It is not] an instructional need and it was beyond recreational.” However, once the new influx of bandwidth comes at the end of the month, the social media apps that have not been blocked should experience increased performance. “Once we get opened up, what we can do with the network is we can say that social media [can occupy] ten percent of the bandwidth, so if we have a gigabyte and we’re only using half of that, nobody will see an issue,” Drew said. “[Right now] we have a half of a gigabyte and we are using that half, so we aren’t worried about providing good quality service to Snapchat as opposed to things like

Schoology.” In terms of bandwidth usage, Drew says that the priority absolutely goes to educational functions over social media and other apps and websites. In addition to upping the bandwidth for the school district, the number of access points, which offer localized faster Internet speeds, at various schools will be increased as well. “Last summer we upgraded the high school’s and middle schools’ to the latest wireless access points to be ready for 1:1. This year we’ll upgrade all of our elementary buildings with the same level of access points, and then we’ll be filling in some holes at the high school and middles schools, like places at the commons at East where there is one access point that can effectively handle 90 clients and we end up with 300 plus clients on that one access point. That causes us a little bit of a problem when people are trying to do stuff online.” In addition to improving the amount of

bandwidth available to the school district, the phone system will also see some upgrades and changes. Drew said that three years ago when the current telephone technology was adopted the system was cloud based, which caused call quality to suffer greatly. “Our contract is up with that, so we had to bid for something regardless, and we’re looking at bringing [the hardware] in to resolve some call quality issues we’ve had,” Drew said. New district-wide tech features aside, unique additions to the high school include two 3D printers, which are on display in a display area near the commons. Drew said that the printers are part of a new initiative to develop Project-Based Learning among engineering students. “It was something the school board and the superintendent were really keen on moving forward with, developing what’s called a makerspace,” Drew said. “This is the first stage of it.




STUDENTS LEADING THE WAY PLTW students create engineering projects

BRAINS AND BRAWN Elish makes Academic All-Star football team

Matt Rasnic

Photography Editor • @Matt_Rasnic

Haley Mergl

Writer • @haley_mergl

Principles of Engineering students (from left to right) sophomore Aiden Ridgeway, senior Kameron Liggins and senior D’Angelo Smith use gumdrops and uncooked spaghetti to manufacture towers. The class, part of Project Lead the Way, teaches students spatial reasoning and problem solving.

Project Lead The Way has created and is continuing Darius Owens to create new projects for this Writer • @Darius_0609 school year. According to PLTW teacher Amy Bertalan, the classes use project-based learning to get students ready for engineering school when they go to college. “Also, it is a way for them to learn how to critically think in math and science technology all together, and it is a great class for kids that don’t want to even get into engineering because they learn how to problem solve,” Bertalan said. The students built cars and powered them with sunlight and also the solar panels were used in the hydrogen fuel cells to separate the cells by electrolysis Bertalan said. “We have done multiple projects, but some that we have done this year is the Rube Goldberg project which is a compound machine using all the simple machines,” Bertalan said. Project Lead the way has influenced children to become engineers and pursue their career in Math and Science fields

later in life. “The technology education class in eighth grade was very interesting to me and i’ve always wanted to have a career in the engineering field,” sophomore Connor Edwards said. “My favorite project was modeling the automoblox cars because it helped me learn how to fully use the CAD program inventor, and I really enjoy using a dial caliper to measure all of the pieces,” Edwards said. There is more to this class than just projects and building, however, students learn how to do presentations, write, and learn more about science and math. Students has just got done with their hydrogen cars and is now working on another project. “Right now, IED (Intro to Engineering Design) is working on a puzzle cube that deals with different math problems and statistics,” Bertalan said. All grade levels are allowed to take this class which is a dual credit class, but the only exceptions is that the students has to take IED first in order to take PLTW Bertaland said.


Jewish - Sep. 13, 2015

In accordance with the Chinese Lunar Calendar, celebrations include the lighting of lanterns and paper cutting to signify good fortune

Rosh Hashanah, literally “head of the year” in Hebrew, is the start of the Jewish High Holy Days and is considered the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve

Islamic - Oct. 13, 2015

Thai - April 13, 2015

Marks the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammed’s journey from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD, which the Islamic Calendar is based on

The beginning of the new year according to the Buddhist/Hindu calendar, celebrated by the pouring of water over people to signify the cleansing of sin and bad luck

Ethiopian - Sept. 11, 2015

Gregorian - Jan. 1, 2016

The start of the Ethiopian year, celebrated with a family meal of flatbread and stew, marks the return of the Queen of Sheba to Ehtiopia in 980 BC

The start of the Gregorian Calendar year, celebrated all over the world with the lighting of fireworks and making resolutions to be a better person in the new year

Pow Wow • Issue 7

Over winter break, senior Matt Elish will travel to Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, where he and the other members of the 2015 Indiana High School Academic AllStar football team will be recognized on the field prior to the start of the Colts vs. Texans game. Elish is one of 24 high school seniors to achieve this honor. Though winning was exciting, Elish was confident he would make it. “I try to stay modest and say ‘I wasn’t sure’ but Coach [Wally McCormack] told me I met all the requirements so I was pretty confident I would [be accepted],” Elish said. Being on the football team comes with the negative stereotype that football players are not always the smartest kids according to

Elish. “People are usually surprised when they know I’m smart, but I play football,” Elish said. Elish was eating dinner with his girlfriend, senior Ela Pascua, at her house when he got the news. “Matt was ecstatic when he got the call,” Pascua said. “He could not stop smiling the rest of the night.” To celebrate the occasion, Elish did something out of character and a bit ironic. “I celebrated by not doing my homework that night and taking a nap for once,” Elish said. With this honor comes a plaque, which will be awarded at the pre-game ceremony, and four tickets to the game. “I got four tickets, so definitely my mom and dad, and we’re trying to get one extra ticket so I can bring both my girlfriend and my brother,” Elish said.

MIGRANT DAY Students explain perks, challenges of life in the USA As mid December is approaching and preparations for the biggest holidays of the year are beginning, another national holiday is taking place: International Migrant Day. This nationally recognized day takes place Dec. 18 and was created by the United Nations to recognize the efforts and rights of migrants around the world. Senior Ela Pascua is one student who migrated to the United States. Pascua, who is from the Philippines, moved to Indiana at the age of 12 with her Filipino mother and American stepfather. Although Pascua’s English is just as good as the next American, it is not her first language. She said residents of the Philippines speak both Tagalog and English, but the English is often spoken with a heavy accent. Pascua had to make the transition from a country like the Philippines with a high poverty rate to an industrialized country like the United States. “Here when you walk outside and you see businesses and buildings,” Pascua said. “In the Philippines all you see is small, dingy houses.” Pascua considers Indiana to be her home, but there are parts of her previous home that she misses. “The hardest part about moving here is not being to able to see my family,” Pascua said. “Because of our visa, we are not allowed to leave the country for six years, so we can’t go back to the Philippines to see them.” Junior Rudy Moravec is another student who left his home country two years ago to move to the United States. “It’s different here because people are more friendly,” he said, “and everything is bigger, like schools and cities.” Moravec considers his time in America to be interesting. “It’s weird, but good weird, because everyone asks me where I’m from and tells me that they like my accent,” Moravec said. According to Moravec, his journey across the Atlantic was nerve-wracking, but he has adjusted well to the new place he calls home. “At first I was mad because since my dad wanted me here I had to leave my mom and my family and friends, but it got better,” Moravec said. “I was nervous about speaking English and that people wouldn’t be able to understand me, but I’m more comfortable now.


Pow Wow • Issue 7





Welcome to

The North Poll

McDonald's mozzarella sticks are worth trying

Students answer holiday polls released by @PHSpress on twitter What is your favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story




Home Alone

27% 6%

It’s a Wonderful Life 146 votes Final Results

Which color represents Christmas the best? Red








118 votes Final Results

What is the most important Elf food group? Syrup




Candy Canes

26% 5%

Candy Corn

Graphic by: Matt Rasnic @Matt_Rasnic Sam Smith @SamSmithSpeaks

115 votes Final Results

What kind of tree do you have? Real Tree


Fake Tree


106 votes Final Results

When do you open your presents? Christmas Day


Christmas Eve


134 votes Final Results

The McDonald’s Lydia Gerike on Highway Editor-In-Chief • @lydi_yeah 6 quietly debuted the company’s next new item to their menu on Dec. 9: mozzarella sticks. These McStix, as I have decided to call them, came to my attention last month when I ran across a “People” article about them on the Internet. Already available in the New York market, the item is set to be available across the nation by 2016. What you get: Three mozzarella sticks nestled in a container the size of a four-piece nugget meal and a side of marinara sauce for $1.49. First reaction: They’re small, about the length of my pinky finger, which caused immediate doubt. Even though they are cheap, I was still expecting full-sized mozzarella sticks like one might find at Applebee’s. There are fewer per order, so I figured they would still be normal.

Apparently $1.49 is not what it used to be. They are covered in a herbed, lightly-colored breading, which is fancier than I had anticipated. I’m eager to try them. The Taste: In one word, I can best describe the flavor of McStix as unexpected. The aforementioned herbs add a unique taste that I would never have imagined from McDonald’s. This mildly Italian flare sets them apart from other mozzarella sticks that one might find at nicer establishments. Oddly enough, I find that I like them. Without the marinara, they are a little dry, but the marinara tastes fine, too, so this is no problem. My biggest complaint is that the cheese is not as gooey as it should be. Overall: 3.5/5 Golden Arches. I went into this taste test expecting very little out of the McStix, but I am happy I was more than satisfied; I actually enjoyed eating them. Although their taste was different, it was not an unpleasant mozzarella experience. For the price and their restaurant of origin, McStix are definitely worth buying.

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Take a look back at the popular hashtags and online trends from this year

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#lovewins Club Penguin Bans #PrayforParis PHS Food Critic Caitlyn Jenner Glow Up Challenge On Fleek #Zaynleft #alldaybreakfast Now I’m Mad Upgrade What are thooooose Charlie Charlie Challenge Upgrade #Stoptribetime What are thooooose #Roastme #AcapellaChallenge #Quizyourfriends Glow Up Challenge #meninist #blacklivesmatter #Southernpride #Feelthebern Why you always lyin’ Poot Lovato #Thanksgivingwith_____families #Hitthequan #TheDress John Cena #Doitfor32 Body Positive Kylie Jenner Lip Challen ge Kim K broke the internet #Leftshark DJ Khaled’s snapchat #Hitthequan Peanut Butter Baby #CondonChallenge #Stoptribetime What are thooooose #Roastme #AcapellaChallenge #Quizyourfriends Glow Up Challenge #meninist #blacklivesmatter #Southernpride Charliee #BlueLivesMatter #AcapellaChallenge #Quizyourfriends Glow Up Challenge #meninist Fleek #Zaynleft #alldaybreakfast Now




Pow Wow • Issue 7


New coaching staff overhauls dance team The IndiaWriter • @jaden_pucka nettes have changed their entire program this season with the help of two new coaches. These big changes shifted the goals of the entire dance program. Senior Shelby Sutphin believes these changes will alter the way people perceive the team as a whole. “We are learning more varieties of dance, instead of sticking to the basic Pom and hip hop routines, we’ve done jazz, lyrical and kick routines,” Sutphin said. The new dance coaches Kristin Camery and Heather Henrys have created a new push for competing, and the team has responded positively. “The new coaches have changed the program by adding a new variety of dances and letting us compete in competitions. We bought two new uniforms this year for our jazz routines and kick routines, so we aren't always wearing the same uniform and aren't always performing pom or hip hop routines,” Sutphin said In past years, the dance team has competed in local competitions, but

Jaden Amos

this year the team plans on competing at larger competitions. Having the chance to compete at a higher level not only excites the girls, but gives them a new amount of confidence. Freshman Rebecca Rosado believes the coaches are helping them get closer to achieving their goal to represent Portage well. “They taught me how to be myself while I'm dancing,” Rosado said. “Being a dancer, you have to be confident in yourself, and before my coaches I wasn't really confident in my dancing, but honestly they taught me that I have to just be myself while I'm dancing and not let a crowd scare me.” Although there are many new changes for the dance team, there is something that is not new: the dancers. On the small team of twelve, only two of the dancers are not upperclassmen. Sutphin believes the experienced team gives them an edge over other dance teams. “Having the upperclassman is an advantage because we are all more experienced and have all bonded for many years, so dancing at games comes natural to us and we all love

being there,” Sutphin said. “All of our technique grows better over the years, so having a majority of juniors and seniors has made our technique look better and improve more.” While the team is made up of mostly older students, it does not make the younger dancers feel any different. “Well it's definitely hard, I have a little bit of a standard to live up to since everyone else is so much older and we do a lot of mature dances so that's hard but honestly it doesn't really feel like I'm the youngest,” Rosado said. “Everyone was so accepting of me that I even forget I'm youngest sometimes.” The mix of old and new elements have reinvented Portage dance and have allowed the dancers to learn things new things about not only dance, but also what it takes to be a team. “We are practice all the time and I think most importantly staying humble with everything we do,” Rosado said. “We do a lot of things as a team, like team dinners and sleepovers which keep us close which is good because we have a bond that will help us on the floor.”

ONE PRACTICE TO THE NEXT Varsity athletes work to balance multiple sports Throughout high school, the average student Alex Stack often has a difficult time Photographer • @princesssalex_ balancing school work, friends and maybe a few after school activities. Athletes involved in cheerleading and gymnastics, though, must find time to balance the two while they are both in season at the same time. Sophomore Johnna Vaughan is a varsity cheerleader and gymnast. Vaughan also cheers for All Star team Northwest Cheer Elite, practices gymnastics through the summer and is also on the track team. “Having two practices a day is hard,” Vaughan said. “I have to manage my time a lot more than before, it is hard to give 100% to both sports when we practice for both every day and some of us have extra sports on the side.” Vaughan only has free time on certain days and has two or more practices a day besides Sundays. Most of her free time goes to sleep and homework. “I love doing all of this, but I don’t really like that I don’t have any free time, but I like staying active and always having something to do,” Vaughan said. Doing so many competitions and being involved in multiple sports has benefited Vaughan because she has made a lot of close friends through the years. Sophomore Kristin Gaffney also participates in both varsity cheer and gymnastics. Gaffney says it can be very stressful to juggle both at times. “If I have a bad practice at gymnastics I can’t let that affect my cheer practice,” Gaffney said, “or if I have gymnastics practice and then a game right after I can’t show how tired I am and if you put homework in with


wow Portage High School • 6450 U.S. HWY 6 PORTAGE, IN • Volume 76• Issue 7

all that it gets pretty crazy.” Gaffney finds time to keep up with homework as soon as she gets home from practice or tries to do as much of it as she can throughout the school day. Though it may be stressful, Gaffney recognizes the benefits she gets from being involved in both sports. Cheer starts before gymnastics, so she starts to get into shape before the season starts. She said she also gets stronger between the course of two seasons. Varsity cheer coach Laura Gaffney recognizes the challenges and benefits of students being on both teams. Laura Gaffney says they have made their practices go a little later so those who participate in gymnastics can come practice from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. “The most difficult part is trying to make practice time work for everyone] - five out of the 18 members of the cheer team are also on the gymnastics team,” Laura Gaffney said. One of the major benefits, according to Laura Gaffney, that participants get out of being on both teams is improving their tumbling skills during gymnastics. Laura Gaffney says the participants also learn a lot about time management. “They have to be able to manage school work, and the ability to give 100% to each team ,” Laura Gaffney said. Laura Gaffney is Kristin Gaffneys mother whom is on both teams. “As a parent, it has not become too stressful as of yet,” Laura Gaffney said. “There is definitely that potential once January comes and the girls will have three games a week, along with gymnastic meets.”

The First Amendment Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Editors-in-Chief Nick Blue Lydia Gerike Managing Editor Sam Smith Photography Editor Matt Rasnic

Dancer to be in London New Year's Parade When it comes to dancing, some might say that junior Sierra Judy Arianna Scott is “kicking” Social Media • @Sierrait. Scott made the national judy389 dance team which includes the opportunity to perform in the New Year’s Parade in London. While Scott was attending a Universal Dance Association dance camp this summer, there was a tryout for Universal Dance Association’s All-American Dancer. In order to try out, dancers had to stay after camp ended to learn another routine that was a mix of pom, hip hop and jazz. Once the dancers learned the routine, they had to create an eight count of their own choreography to showcase special skills they have. Scott says that she did not expect to make the team. On the last day of camp they announced who had qualified. Scott said that when her name was called she was in shock. “I thought it wouldn't hurt to at least try out, so I did,” Scott said. “When I found out I was going I started to cry, because I couldn't believe that I would be able to go to London and do what I love most, dancing.” Scott has been dancing since she was three years old, and the skill has taught her a lot throughout the years. “Dance has taught me that hard work and practice is everything,” Scott said. “Dance has also helped me to become more confident in myself.” Scott believes that dance has shaped her into the person she is today. “I am honestly the happiest when I'm dancing,” Scott said. “I hope that everyone finds their own passion, because I don't know where I'd be without dance.”

Junior Ari Scott dances a hip hop routine at the Dec. 8 basketball game against the Hobart Brickies. Photo by Matt Rasnic

Design Editor Taylor Clemens

Social Media Coordinator Sierra Judy

News/Opinion Editor Lexy Young

Photographers Alex Stack Corrine Burton

Features/Sports Editor Shelby Ford

Staff Writers Jaden Amos Haley Mergl Kieran Newton Darius Owens Shuntay Rivera

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