Page 1

Inside This Issue

November 2009 Volume 7 2

Band gets a one p.6 - Issu e

4

The marching band received a one in early October at the Michigan State Band and Orchestra Association District XVI Marching band Festival.

Pumpkin Carving p.7

1 80 S.

Livernois

- Rochester High School - Rochester Hills M

When junior Sam Hwang developed a bad headache on the way home from school, he thought nothing of it. He didn’t think that he would end up in the hospital. He didn’t think that he was going to miss three days of school. He didn’t think that he wasn’t going to be able to hang out with his friends for a week. “The very first symptoms that I had were common flu symptoms like a sore throat, stuffy nose and a headache,” Hwang said. “To be honest, I didn’t take my symptoms seriously. I thought it was a common flu and expected it to go away after a day or so.” But the symptoms did not disappear. After two days, Hwang grew suspicious, leading him to visit the emergency room. There, he was caught off guard and told that he had the swine flu. “When I found out that I had the swine flu, I was shocked,” Hwang said. “I never thought that I would be the one that would be diagnosed [with] it.” While Hwang may not have

thought he would be the one to catch the illness, he had most certainly heard about it, as many people have. The CDC estimates that more than one million people in the United States were diagnosed with the swine flu between April and June of this year. “There’s been something on the news about the swine flu almost every day,” sophomore Ally Kane said. “It’s been made such a huge deal.” This constant media coverage has lead to a widespread panic that exists everywhere, even at RHS. “In general, I think that a lot of students are very much afraid of this flu,” sophomore Farha Hanif said. “This subject frequently sneaks into conversations and is mostly thought of as dangerous.” Some attribute this fear to a lack of reliable knowledge. “All I really know is that it’s actually called H1N1 or something, and that’s about it,” Kane said. “But the news and everything about it has just made it seem so scary, even though I’ve heard people say that you can die from any regular flu.” In fact, Terri Taylor, a nurse at the St. Joe Medical Building, has come

7 I, 4830

to understand that the swine flu and the common flu are actually very similar. “Viruses are droplets that come from secretions like saliva and nasal congestion, and the swine flu is a virus, so it acts like any other virus,” Mrs. Taylor said. “You get the same symptoms that you get with the regular flu.” However, there is one major difference between the flus. “What makes the swine flu different from the regular flu is that it is much easier to spread,” Mrs. Taylor said. “It is spread by contact. If you sneeze in your hand and then touch something, those viruses are spread to that surface, where they can live for three to five days. When the next person comes along and touches what you had touched, the virus is now on them.” But it takes more than just a touch to spread a virus. “If you touch a virus, you are not instantly infected,” Mrs. Taylor said. “The virus has to find a way into your body, like a cut, touching food and then putting the food in your mouth or kissing.”

Are you concerned about the swine flu pandemic? Yes, I'm freaking out No, I just want 9% to miss school 23% Yes, a little bit 19%

Mrs. Meisch’s World Religions class took learning to a new level when they carved various religious symbols into pumpkins the day before Halloween.

Because of this, Taylor believes that it is important to be aware of the symptoms and to pay close attention to sanitation. “The number one thing to prevent from spreading the swine flu is for students to not come to school when they feel sick,” Mrs. Taylor said. “The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is advising everyone to stay home if they have any symptoms and not to return until they are fever-free for 24 hours since the time that people are most susceptible of transmitting the flu is when they have a fever.” Still, there are some who are not afraid of the flu at all. “The swine flu really just doesn’t scare me,” Hanif said. “I

know that it has many of the same effects as the seasonal flu, so I really don’t see it as a huge threat.” Whether students are afraid of catching the flu or not, it seems that it is most important to simply be cautious. “If people take the precautions and treat their symptoms with fluids and plenty of rest, it will not be spread as much and people will be able to recover quicker,” Mrs. Taylor said. “Therefore, students should not really be that afraid of it, but they should hope that everyone is taking the same precautions that they are to keep it contained.”

Swine flu is not my fault. Stop blaming me - it’s ruining my street cred.

No, the media has blown it all out of proportion 49% Poll based on responses from 300 RHS students

Swine Flu Stats Learn the truth about the H1N1 virus

What about the vaccine?

There has been talk about a vaccine coming out for H1N1. But does it really work? Should students get it? “This vaccine, like any vaccine, will help many prevent the flu. It can also help decrease the severity of the flu if you do happen to get it. The normal flu shots that you get each season may or may not work well. The CDC guesses the top three flues for the season and incorporates that into one shot, so it depends on whether or not they guess correctly. But with H1N1 it is made just for this type of flu, so it will help prevent it more or lessen the symptoms of the flu if someone does still get it.” BUT … “The CDC is really not recommending [the vaccine] to high school kids. They and I personally believe that the vaccine should be saved for those who need it, like those with preexisting medical conditions or certain circumstances, since they are the most at risk. There will not be enough of the vaccine to go around for all.” The people included in the ‘at risk’ group are those who: • Are under the age of 5 or over the age of 65 • Are health care workers • Are pregnant • Have cancer, COPD, diabetes, heart or lung diseases, or other chronic diseases • Have weakened immune systems INSTEAD … “There are antiviral drugs on the market, like Tamaflu, for example, that can be given to those who have become very sick. When taken, they will help with the symptoms of the flu. The antiviral drugs don’t cure you of the flu, but they will help lessen the symptoms.” source: Mrs. Terry Taylor, nurse at St. Joe Medical Center

What is the swine flu actually like? “The swine flu acts a lot like a regular flu and presents with many of the same symptoms.” • Fever • Cough • Sore throat • Runny or stuffy nose • Body ache • Headache that may worsen when bending the neck • Chills • Fatigue • Diarrhea • Vomiting • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

The emergency warning signs

“They are advising that if you have flu symptoms, you should not to go the doctors or the hospital until you have these emergency warning signs,” St. Joe Medical Building nurse Mrs. Terri Taylor said. Warning signs include: • Fast or troubled breathing • Bluish skin color • Dehydration • Loss of the ability to wake up • Change in mental status


2

Inside the Nest

Talon the

November 2009

Going beyond recycling Back then, senior Leanne Mayes only knew this group of students as the ones who did the recycling every Friday and worked in the greenhouse. Now that she has become a peer mentor, she knows that these kids learn important living skills everyday. Beyond that, Mayes, along with others, has learned that this group also volunteers in the community to use the skills that they have learned.

The students of Mrs. Lamar’s class pose for a picture at homecoming this year. Photo courtesy of Arthur Lee

Part of the activities that the students participate in is volunteering. This semester. the class helped out at a local pet shop. Photo courtesy of Arthur Lee

Chelsea Howard, senior

Ian Sibert, junior

Ellie Gassen, sophomore

Eva Chen, sophomore

Leanne Mayes, peer mentor

Favorite Unit: I love everything, but planning a trip was the most fun. Dream Vacation: I would love to go to Japan. I like to learn about Japanese stuff, and I love anime. Favorite Class Activity: Working in the greenhouse sixth hour. Talents/ Hobbies: I’ve collected stickers since I bought some at a store. I also like to make people smile. Future Goals: I want to get a job at the movie theatre at Great Lakes Crossing.

Favorite Unit: The budgeting unit because we have to know how to save our money. Favorite Class Activity: Circles; it’s about helping us know the strangers and the “not-strangers” in life. Talents/ Hobbies: I’m a good bowler. I’ve bowled since I was six and I’m on a bowling league. I play golf in my front yard. I go horseback riding. Hardest Class: Math Future Goals: I want to be nice all of the time, keep my grades up and get my homework done on time.

Favorite Unit: The boyfriend/ girlfriend relationship unit part. Favorite Class Activity: Circles; you have colored circles representing different things. Hardest Class: Business technology management. There are a lot of different skills involved with it. Talents/ Hobbies: I play wheelchair basketball. I also enjoy singing in the choir. I cheer people up. Future Goals: I want to go to college to be a vet and go into science, but being a car mechanic would be cool.

Favorite Unit: My favorite unit has probably been the budgeting project. Favorite Class Activity: I like typing in computer class. Hardest Class: Biology; there are so many pages of stuff to learn. Favorite Past-times : I watch PBS kids and Cailliou. Unique point: I have to wear a hearing aid because I can’t hear. Future goals: I want to become a cashier in the future.

Position: I help out with the kids’ projects and act as an assistant teacher. Job Requirements: I have to be very patient. I have to be very responsible and be very knowledgeable to help all of them out with everything. Starting Point: My counselor told me about peer mentoring and I always wanted to work with kids. My family also told me that it would be perfect for me. In conclusion: I love helping out and interacting with the students.

Academic integrity On November 15, students were required to sign an agreement in an attempt to eliminate cheating. Although the code sends a good message, it has also created controversy.

Senior Zach Davis never thought he would get caught. He was in the perfect spot—a dark corner in the back of the room and behind the tallest student in the class. Nonchalantly, he took his cheat sheet out—a 2x2 sheet of five point font print. Ten minutes later, he finished his quiz. He was the first one done. As he coolly walked towards the teacher’s desk and handed his quiz off, he turned around with a smile, thinking he got away with it. “Zach, would you please take this home to get signed?” the teacher asked. Zach’s smile faded and he began sweating. Slowly, he saw the sheet with a blank for a parent or guardian to sign. “This student has been caught cheating, and the parent or guardian must sign to confirm that they have been notified of the student’s behavior.” He never thought he would get caught. But he did. That was in middle school. Now a senior, Davis has learned his lesson and has not cheated again. “That incident opened my eyes to the kind of gamble I was making,” Davis said. “There was just too much risk involved, and I can’t take any chances with my grades in high school.” Unlike Davis, there are many students in the school who do cheat. Because of this, the school district implemented an integrity code, which basically states what cheating is and the possible consequences for cheating. “I think it will map out the inappropriate behaviors and the punishments for those behaviors,” social studies teacher Larry Adams said. “The pledge will allow both students and teachers to understand the rules of the game and get back to the job of educating our youth.” Some students feel that the code seems superfluous because they believe it is unnecessary for high school students.

Students model what cheating may look like, which is exactly the kind of behavior that the integrity code hopes to prevent. Photo by Andy Zhou

“It seems to me like all the listed rights and wrongs are pretty straightforward,” senior Fedor Balayev said. “To think that we have to go over this again, especially for high schoolers, seems a bit ridiculous.” Other students expressed anguish at the content of the code. Part of it says that teachers who disapprove of sites such as Sparknotes and Cliffnotes, usually because they can replace reading assignments, may deem their usage as academic dishonesty. “I don’t think teachers should ban the usage of Sparknotes,” junior Michael Giedzinski said. “If you do the reading and can’t understand it, you would need a supplement to help you understand, and those sites work like magic.” On the other hand, there are also students who wish the code could have been implemented sooner because they think that any kind of disadvantage is unfair, including Sparknotes. “I understand that people need Sparknotes to understand the text sometimes,” junior David Keller said. “But I think reading without Sparknotes actually stimulates people’s comprehension skills and will be for the better. In reality, most people just use Sparknotes as a replacement for actual reading, which to me is pretty much cheating.” Similarly, these students feel strongly against cheating because of the grades that other students receive without earning them through hard work. “Many students copy homework from other students in order to get credit for it,” Keller said. “I think it’s unfair that they still get credit for the work that they didn’t do.” Although Keller may oppose cheating, other students try to stretch

its definition in order to get good grades without feeling guilty. “I personally don’t do it, but I believe that copying homework shouldn’t be counted as cheating consequencewise,” Giedzinski said. “If students just needed to copy once in awhile in order to get credit but still understand the material, I think they can still do well on tests and more importantly, become educated.” However, the administration and staff disagree. Principal Ms. Wendy Zdeb believes that the integrity code is being put on paper in order to eliminate anyone from stretching the truth too far in hopes of benefiting unjustly. “It has become clear that some students do not recognize certain behaviors as cheating,” Ms. Zdeb said. “The policy [is being implemented to] clearly spell out what behaviors are considered cheating and provides students with an expectation as well as the possible consequences for not following the policy in this area.” Regardless of whether students and teachers will despise the code or embrace it, the purpose of the code is to hopefully prevent students from cheating by appealing to their common sense and conscience. “This code will provide the information and framework,” Ms. Zdeb said. “However, what we really need to change is the belief that ‘everyone does it’ so it is acceptable to cheat. Students need to realize that not everyone cheats and that it is not behavior that a person of character and honor displays. At least now that we have an across the board policy, the teaching staff and administration will better be able to hold students accountable.”

New grading proposition Devoting 16 hours a week to swim is no easy task. Now add on a four Advanced Placement class course load and a job to that and it is easy to see where senior Alycen Wiacek’s life can get a little crazy. And although she maintains a high grade point average (GPA) and is successful in all of her activities, Wiacek will not be valedictorian. In fact, there is a possibility that someone with an easier class load – and a consequently higher GPA – could bump her off the top scholar list, taking away certain scholarship opportunities that colleges and universities award to the tops of each class. “It’s not fair,” Wiacek said. “Especially when we’re compared to other schools who weigh their grades and decide their valedictorians differently than we do; it takes away opportunities for us.” Inconsistency among the valedictorians, salutatorians and top scholars, as well as concerns over a weighted grading scale, have led a group of teachers within the Rochester district to reconsider and reconfigure the current system. The system, which would eliminate student ranking as well as the valedictorian and salutatorian positions, would also include a new grading scale for Advanced Placement (AP) classes and, if approved, would start with next year’s freshman class. “This change will hopefully encourage students to take as rigorous a schedule as appropriate,” math teacher Sue Zaleski said. “It will encourage students to take harder classes without fear of their GPA dropping. By not ranking students, it will force every single college application to be looked at at its own merit. I absolutely do not think that one student will not benefit [from this system]. It is so ridiculous to assign a number to people.” The K-12 Reform Committee’s grading sub-group was responsible for coming up with the idea. The group, consisting of the chairman, principal Wendy Zdeb, Mrs. Zaleski, Elizabeth Arcangeli, Adams’ Lisa Prindle and Stoney’s Jen Antonelli-Wilson worked throughout the summer to finalize their plan. “A lot of research was done over the summer,” Mrs. Zaleski said. “Over 30 other school districts were contacted and data

I absolutely do not think that one student will not benefit [from this system]. It is so ridiculous to assign a number to people. Mrs. Sue Zaleski, math teacher

was collected.” Right now, the hard work seems to be paying off. “So far, the responses we’ve received have been very positive,” Mrs. Zaleski said. “Everybody agrees that yes, we do need to change the way we do things. Right now it’s just about trying to compromise. We’re hoping to implement this with the incoming ninth grade class, but ultimately it’s up to the school board to decide.” Junior Erin Leppek, who plays volleyball, basketball and track, is in both National Honor Society and Conservation Club, while also taking honors courses as well as AP’s, sees the new system as a positive thing that should have been implemented sooner. “I really hope this new grading system gets passed because it allows people with precariously balanced schedules, like me, to have our grades truly reflect our hard work,” Leppek said. “My friends wish that this change would happen to our class, because they take advanced classes too and obviously want to do as well as possible.” With the current system in place, some students are being overlooked for their accomplishments by others who are only at the top of the class due to a less challenging schedule. “The new system seems more fair overall,” Wiacek said. “I think a lot of people didn’t take hard classes because they were afraid that their GPA would go down and by having a system like this, it doesn’t give them an excuse. Also, the top scholars are determined by standards greater than just GPA, giving kids who do challenge themselves a greater chance at being recognized.”


Inside the Nest 3 Students encounter stress

Talon the

January 2010

Stress levels rise as students juggle busy schedules and homework, and begin preparing for exams

Even though junior Collin Bartlett is exhausted, he knows that he cannot sleep; he has too much work to do. But when he finally loses focus in the hours of homework he has been trying to complete, he turns on his favorite song and allows himself to relax. “Whenever I get really stressed, I usually play my guitar or listen to music,” Bartlett said. “It always calms me down.” While not all students choose to listen to music, almost everyone has his or her own way of dealing with stress since it seems to be something that all teens face, especially when it comes to academics and schoolwork. “Not only is it possible for students to get stressed out about school, but it’s also a common occurrence,” Bartlett said. “Whether you were sick and need to catch up or you’re getting loads of homework each night, it sometimes seems like school just isn’t school without stress.” Many students seem to be pushed to the limit when teachers assign a large amount of work. “I usually tend to get stressed out around exams and large tests,” Bartlett said. “When I get piles of homework or things to study, that really stresses me out, too; I just get

Some students may choose a quieter environment to work in, such as the hallway or a library, so that they can focus better. Photo by Aly Rosenau

overwhelmed.” Others, however, seem to be more stressed out by their own expectations. “I am one of those people who tends to be a perfectionist,” sophomore Genna Peltier said. “I always try to do my best, and I beat on myself when I don’t reach my high expectations.” Whether the stress is from a student’s view of an assignment or the actual work itself, some believe that it may be entirely possible for students to become too stressed out about school. “I tend to get too stressed out about school, especially when I think about college and my future,” Peltier said. “I want to do the best I can in school, like I know that many others do, and I think that can sometimes cause a lot of us to panic a little too much.” Some choose to avoid this problem entirely by simply relaxing and approaching a situation with ease, knowing that everything will be ultimately be okay.

Sophomore Steven Carpenter places his books and notes in front of him at his desk and tries to study. Photo by Aly Rosenau

“Almost everyone stresses out around exam week,” senior Zack Franklin said. “People feel like their future depends on those exams, when really, it doesn’t. They just need to remember that life will go on.” While steering clear of stress might be the easiest or calmest solution, many think some anxiety is necessary and can be beneficial. “Being stressed out in the right situations can, in certain situations,

Exam how-to’s:

help better outcomes occur,” Peltier said. “It pushes us to either get a lot of work finished or make certain positive decisions.” While stress might be difficult to deal with, many, like Peltier, feel that it will ultimately pay off. “To an extent, stress can definitely be a good thing,” science teacher Mrs. Sara Rosell said. “It can help students get things done. For me personally, stress is a motivator; I

work better under pressure.” In the end, many students, like Bartlett, have learned that the most important thing may be to find a balance between relaxation and worrying about school. “Always stay calm; don’t let things get inside your head to the point where you’re about to snap,” Bartlett said. “It’s important to stay focused on your work, but you should try to relax, too.”

students prepare for mid-terms

During winter break, most students are out having fun with friends. However, sophomore Vishal Modi is not. Instead, he is studying for exams. “I try to study throughout the semester to avoid cram sessions,” Modi said. “But that rarely works, so I actually just cram the weekend before, or winter break.”

Sophomore Samantha McVeigh begins to prepare for exams around the same time as Modi. “I start to study about two weeks [before exams],” McVeigh said. Although she does not begin to study extremely far in advance, McVeigh has a set study schedule. “To prepare for exams I review my notes from the year [and] quiz myself and friends,” McVeigh said. “[I also] try to relax the night before.” Sophomore Maria Skoczylas has

her own way of preparing for exams. “I make sure that my schedule is clear and take time for lots of studying,” Skoczylas said. “And then I cram the night before.” Cramming at the last minute seems to be a popular way of getting ready. However, Mr. Compton puts a lot of effort into preparing his students for exams and encouraging them to begin studying earlier than the night before. “I review the study guide at least one week in advance, and make sure

RHS wins Red Quill award Due to its productive use of the EXPLORE, PLAN and ACT tests and data analysis, Rochester High School has been given the Red Quill Award

Rochester High School has been awarded ACT’s Red Quill Award for 2009. The Red Quill award, according to RHS’ ACT consultant John Carroll, recognizes schools that make “exemplary” use of the EXPLORE, PLAN and ACT assessments in their efforts toward “student and school improvement.” Out of the 14 schools that applied, RHS was the only winner. “A well-conceived and detailed plan that illustrated an intelligent use of out assessments, the timing of those assessments, individual student counseling based on their test data (all set RHS’s program apart from other Red Quill applicants),” Mr. Carroll said. “The use of building-wide reports that help pinpoint relative curricular weaknesses and communication with faculty, staff, parents and students (also help to distinguish RHS from others).”

North Central Association chairs Ms. Erin Harris, Mrs. Aubrey Trimble and Mrs. Kelly Mozdzierz help lead RHS teachers through ACT data analysis, an important part of the school improvement process. Photo courtesy of Rochester Community Schools

Winning this award not only distinguishes Rochester High as one of the best in regards to ACT and other assessment preparation, but also allows the program to grow to be even more successful, according to Carroll. “It signifies that your school is interested in the depth of educational performance,” he said. “Many schools look for shortterm fixes to poor performance on standardized tests such as taking practice tests. Rochester focuses on curricular strength and depth -- the major determinant in performance on the ACT.   I also see that your school is interested in capitalizing on strength -- even though you’re already a very strong school -- you

are interested in fine-tuning to make it even better.” In addition to winning the Red Quill Award, Rochester High was also invited to present at the 2011 State Organization Conference – allowing the staff an opportunity to teach other schools how to be and create a successful program. “RHS (now) becomes part of a group of schools who can be used as a resource for professional development opportunities, conference sessions, and possibly professional articles,” Mr. Carroll said. “Our schools need role models (like RHS) to generate ‘best practices’ around the state so that we can move more students toward college and career readiness.”

it pertains to what’s on the exam,” Mr. Compton said. “I also do a jeopardy review game to not only study, but relieve stress.” Modi may not study the way Mr. Compton’s students do, but he has a set way of preparing himself for exam week. “I mostly go over tests that I’ve taken, especially the questions that I got wrong,” Modi said. “Also [I review] the study guides and important worksheets.”

Regardless of their study method, tudents generally spend more time on one subject than the others. “I mostly study for math,” Modi said. “Although this year I’ve been working really hard at A.P. History.” Despite the difficulty of making time for studying, Mr. Compton feels it is a worthwhile choice. “There’s an obvious correlation between studying and grades,” Mr. Compton said. “I’ve seen a record of success.”

New student e-mail system Senior Chris Tomko had an assignment due the next day, a big PowerPoint. The instructions were to e-mail it to the teacher, and he would have it open for the class the following day. As class began, the teacher was shocked to see that Tomko had failed to turn in his project. Tomko got home and saw the PowerPoint was in the sent folder. The culprit? Unreliable e-mail services. The answer? Get an e-mail through Rochester Community Schools. “The main reason we started this is that student e-mails were both being marked as spam, and being blocked,” technology facilitator Mrs. Karen Carl said. “We will never block anything from a Rochester student e-mail.” The student e-mail accounts were activated last month in response to the multiple cases like the aforementioned situation. The e-mails are run through a branch of Microsoft and seem to be very reliable. “Every student already has

one,” Mrs. Carl said. “It’s a matter of kids using them.” Beginning the use of your student e-mail is very easy.

To use your student e-mail:

1.

Go to www. outloook.com

Log in using your school computer ID and password.

3.

2.

Fill in your name and other information.

Follow these easy steps to acquire your reliable student e-mails and avoid unneeded missing work.


Inside the Nest 3 Students encounter stress

Talon the

January 2010

Stress levels rise as students juggle busy schedules and homework, and begin preparing for exams

Even though junior Collin Bartlett is exhausted, he knows that he cannot sleep; he has too much work to do. But when he finally loses focus in the hours of homework he has been trying to complete, he turns on his favorite song and allows himself to relax. “Whenever I get really stressed, I usually play my guitar or listen to music,” Bartlett said. “It always calms me down.” While not all students choose to listen to music, almost everyone has his or her own way of dealing with stress since it seems to be something that all teens face, especially when it comes to academics and schoolwork. “Not only is it possible for students to get stressed out about school, but it’s also a common occurrence,” Bartlett said. “Whether you were sick and need to catch up or you’re getting loads of homework each night, it sometimes seems like school just isn’t school without stress.” Many students seem to be pushed to the limit when teachers assign a large amount of work. “I usually tend to get stressed out around exams and large tests,” Bartlett said. “When I get piles of homework or things to study, that really stresses me out, too; I just get

Some students may choose a quieter environment to work in, such as the hallway or a library, so that they can focus better. Photo by Aly Rosenau

overwhelmed.” Others, however, seem to be more stressed out by their own expectations. “I am one of those people who tends to be a perfectionist,” sophomore Genna Peltier said. “I always try to do my best, and I beat on myself when I don’t reach my high expectations.” Whether the stress is from a student’s view of an assignment or the actual work itself, some believe that it may be entirely possible for students to become too stressed out about school. “I tend to get too stressed out about school, especially when I think about college and my future,” Peltier said. “I want to do the best I can in school, like I know that many others do, and I think that can sometimes cause a lot of us to panic a little too much.” Some choose to avoid this problem entirely by simply relaxing and approaching a situation with ease, knowing that everything will be ultimately be okay.

Sophomore Steven Carpenter places his books and notes in front of him at his desk and tries to study. Photo by Aly Rosenau

“Almost everyone stresses out around exam week,” senior Zack Franklin said. “People feel like their future depends on those exams, when really, it doesn’t. They just need to remember that life will go on.” While steering clear of stress might be the easiest or calmest solution, many think some anxiety is necessary and can be beneficial. “Being stressed out in the right situations can, in certain situations,

Exam how-to’s:

help better outcomes occur,” Peltier said. “It pushes us to either get a lot of work finished or make certain positive decisions.” While stress might be difficult to deal with, many, like Peltier, feel that it will ultimately pay off. “To an extent, stress can definitely be a good thing,” science teacher Mrs. Sara Rosell said. “It can help students get things done. For me personally, stress is a motivator; I

work better under pressure.” In the end, many students, like Bartlett, have learned that the most important thing may be to find a balance between relaxation and worrying about school. “Always stay calm; don’t let things get inside your head to the point where you’re about to snap,” Bartlett said. “It’s important to stay focused on your work, but you should try to relax, too.”

students prepare for mid-terms

During winter break, most students are out having fun with friends. However, sophomore Vishal Modi is not. Instead, he is studying for exams. “I try to study throughout the semester to avoid cram sessions,” Modi said. “But that rarely works, so I actually just cram the weekend before, or winter break.”

Sophomore Samantha McVeigh begins to prepare for exams around the same time as Modi. “I start to study about two weeks [before exams],” McVeigh said. Although she does not begin to study extremely far in advance, McVeigh has a set study schedule. “To prepare for exams I review my notes from the year [and] quiz myself and friends,” McVeigh said. “[I also] try to relax the night before.” Sophomore Maria Skoczylas has

her own way of preparing for exams. “I make sure that my schedule is clear and take time for lots of studying,” Skoczylas said. “And then I cram the night before.” Cramming at the last minute seems to be a popular way of getting ready. However, Mr. Compton puts a lot of effort into preparing his students for exams and encouraging them to begin studying earlier than the night before. “I review the study guide at least one week in advance, and make sure

RHS wins Red Quill award Due to its productive use of the EXPLORE, PLAN and ACT tests and data analysis, Rochester High School has been given the Red Quill Award

Rochester High School has been awarded ACT’s Red Quill Award for 2009. The Red Quill award, according to RHS’ ACT consultant John Carroll, recognizes schools that make “exemplary” use of the EXPLORE, PLAN and ACT assessments in their efforts toward “student and school improvement.” Out of the 14 schools that applied, RHS was the only winner. “A well-conceived and detailed plan that illustrated an intelligent use of out assessments, the timing of those assessments, individual student counseling based on their test data (all set RHS’s program apart from other Red Quill applicants),” Mr. Carroll said. “The use of building-wide reports that help pinpoint relative curricular weaknesses and communication with faculty, staff, parents and students (also help to distinguish RHS from others).”

North Central Association chairs Ms. Erin Harris, Mrs. Aubrey Trimble and Mrs. Kelly Mozdzierz help lead RHS teachers through ACT data analysis, an important part of the school improvement process. Photo courtesy of Rochester Community Schools

Winning this award not only distinguishes Rochester High as one of the best in regards to ACT and other assessment preparation, but also allows the program to grow to be even more successful, according to Carroll. “It signifies that your school is interested in the depth of educational performance,” he said. “Many schools look for shortterm fixes to poor performance on standardized tests such as taking practice tests. Rochester focuses on curricular strength and depth -- the major determinant in performance on the ACT.   I also see that your school is interested in capitalizing on strength -- even though you’re already a very strong school -- you

are interested in fine-tuning to make it even better.” In addition to winning the Red Quill Award, Rochester High was also invited to present at the 2011 State Organization Conference – allowing the staff an opportunity to teach other schools how to be and create a successful program. “RHS (now) becomes part of a group of schools who can be used as a resource for professional development opportunities, conference sessions, and possibly professional articles,” Mr. Carroll said. “Our schools need role models (like RHS) to generate ‘best practices’ around the state so that we can move more students toward college and career readiness.”

it pertains to what’s on the exam,” Mr. Compton said. “I also do a jeopardy review game to not only study, but relieve stress.” Modi may not study the way Mr. Compton’s students do, but he has a set way of preparing himself for exam week. “I mostly go over tests that I’ve taken, especially the questions that I got wrong,” Modi said. “Also [I review] the study guides and important worksheets.”

Regardless of their study method, tudents generally spend more time on one subject than the others. “I mostly study for math,” Modi said. “Although this year I’ve been working really hard at A.P. History.” Despite the difficulty of making time for studying, Mr. Compton feels it is a worthwhile choice. “There’s an obvious correlation between studying and grades,” Mr. Compton said. “I’ve seen a record of success.”

New student e-mail system Senior Chris Tomko had an assignment due the next day, a big PowerPoint. The instructions were to e-mail it to the teacher, and he would have it open for the class the following day. As class began, the teacher was shocked to see that Tomko had failed to turn in his project. Tomko got home and saw the PowerPoint was in the sent folder. The culprit? Unreliable e-mail services. The answer? Get an e-mail through Rochester Community Schools. “The main reason we started this is that student e-mails were both being marked as spam, and being blocked,” technology facilitator Mrs. Karen Carl said. “We will never block anything from a Rochester student e-mail.” The student e-mail accounts were activated last month in response to the multiple cases like the aforementioned situation. The e-mails are run through a branch of Microsoft and seem to be very reliable. “Every student already has

one,” Mrs. Carl said. “It’s a matter of kids using them.” Beginning the use of your student e-mail is very easy.

To use your student e-mail:

1.

Go to www. outloook.com

Log in using your school computer ID and password.

3.

2.

Fill in your name and other information.

Follow these easy steps to acquire your reliable student e-mails and avoid unneeded missing work.


4

Inside the Nest

Talon the

November 2009

Before becoming teachers,

many educators went in different directions Rather than being able to eagerly anticipate the upcoming weekend, math teacher Mrs. Sue Zaleski is faced with a stack of 200 tests to grade. She will not be able to hang out with her friends or family. She will not be able to attend the Michigan State game and root for her favorite football team. Still, she will be able to leave the school with a smile, knowing that she is exactly where she wants to be. “I love math, and I feel like I really have the personality to be a teacher,” Mrs. Zaleski said. “On top of that, I enjoy it. I love working with people, and I feel like I’m good at getting across to them.” But not every day is perfect. “My first year of teaching was so stressful that I just thought I was making a huge mistake,” English teacher Mrs. Jill Jessen said. “There are still some days where I walk out of the school just wondering what I’m doing with my life.” Sometimes, no matter how hard a teacher may try, they sadly realize that they may not always succeed. “The worst part of being a teacher can be dealing with kids who just aren’t willing to learn,” Mrs. Zaleski said. “And it’s hard knowing that sometimes, I’ll never get to know those students well enough to understand the negativity in his or her life and the reasons for it, and that no matter how hard I try, I might fall short of helping them.” However, the responsibility in this kind

of situation may not always fall upon the teacher. “Not everything that occurs in classroom setting is the teacher’s fault,” sophomore Maryssa Mercer said. “In fact, most of the responsibility is in the hands of each individual student. When teachers explain a new topic in class that you don’t quite understand, it’s your responsibility to raise your hand ask a question. When they assign homework, it’s ultimately your job to complete it. If you do poorly on a quiz, it’s your responsibility to meet with the teacher or tutor after school to understand your mistakes and learn from them.” But there are things that teachers can do to help their students. “I find that it is really effective when teachers keep their students actively engaged in a lecture or presentation,” Mercer said. “It keeps you on your toes and allows you to make connections between all the gibberish you’re writing down and what it actually means for the upcoming test.” Teachers seem to take student’s perspectives into account when considering how to approach their classes in order to find the style that most effectively helps people learn. “I’m a very structured teacher,” Mrs. Zaleski said. “I hold students to very high expectations, but make my target well known and I work hard to help them hit that target. But a big part of my style is also humor. I try to use it a lot since math can be a really stressful subject for many students.” Many teachers feel reinforced when

I know I get to make the world a better place. There is no other job that is as rewarding as being a teacher Mr. Marc Compton, history teacher

students hit these targets or work hard to succeed. “I can honestly say that I know I get to make the world a better place,” Mr. Compton said. “I see it every day, like when students improve in my class, and that’s my ultimate goal. For me, there is no other job that is as rewarding as being a teacher; it just has a priceless value.” Not only do teachers have to be wise in the way that they run their classes, but many feel that they have to have certain qualities as well. “Teachers really have to have a passion for their subject area,” Mrs. Zaleski said. “They also need really good people skills. They need emotional intelligence, or the ability to read people. It’s also important for teachers to have high energy, think on their feet, and be able to command respect.

History teacher Mr. Neil DeLuca explains to his class how to complete a project on social welfare in the early 1900’s. Photo by Simonne Lakamper

It’s not an easy job; you’d be surprised.” Still, many feel that this hard work is worth it. “I love teaching,” Mrs. Zaleski said. “I feel like I’m one of those lucky people who gets to do what they were meant to do; it’s an incredibly good feeling.”

Initial occupation matching quiz Match each teacher with what they originally wanted to be before becoming a teacher. The answers are on the bottom of the page. 1. I did an internship for a Congressman. 2. I was a registered nurse. 3. When I was a junior in high school, I taught swim lessons at YMCA. 4. I went to school to be a lawyer. 5. I worked for General Motors.

Mr. Marc Compton, history teacher

A

Mr. Neil DeLuca, history teacher

Mr. Andre Harding, English teacher

B

C

Mrs. Jill Jessen, English teacher

D

6. I was sitting in an advertising class at Michigan State with 400 people in it. 7. I went to school for broadcasting. Mrs. Ashley Painter, English teacher

E

Mrs. Michelle Reckling, science and math teacher

F

Mrs. Sue Zaleski, math teacher

Ms. Jean Wood, English teacher

G

H

Answers: 1. D 2. G 3. A 4. B 5. F 6. H 7. C 8. E

8. All of my aunts and grandmothers were educators.


Talon the

November 2009

Outside the Nest

5

ACE: The helpful place

Despite rumors, ACE is full of success stories G

rades plummeting, hope decreasing and chance of success diminishing. Sophomore Sam Marie Shelton never thought one could use those phrases to describe her. But now, with the help of the Alternative Center for Education (ACE) high school, all of those are moving in the opposite direction. “At ACE, we are very small, so everyone knows everyone,” Principal Mrs. Sandra Srabian said. “The atmosphere and the environment is more like a family, like you’re in a big house. At RHS you feel like you’re in a big stadium.” ACE has a student body of 85 students; RHS has 1,655, 19.5 times more than ACE, which leads to a very close group of people. “We’re more democratic at ACE,” Mrs. Srabian said. “I’m the principal, but I don’t make all the decisions. All my teachers are assistant principals, counselors, and teachers, so therefore wearing many hats, and they help decide what would be best.” About 95 percent of choices are made as a whole staff with Mrs. Srabian making only 5 percent on her own. And those choices have helped make ACE the way it is today. “Students have a lot of group work, PowerPoint presentations, discussions, film clips, speakers, and field trips,” Mrs. Srabian said. Using these techniques to learn has really helped many students, like Shelton, succeed. “It helps me because all your stuff stays in the classroom,” Shelton said. “And you’re more organized.” For Shelton, a student who got mostly Cs at RHS her freshman year, that organization really helps her stay on track. “Last year I focused more on making friends than on school work,” Shelton said. “I’d be good for about a month. Then everything would get disorganized and go down hill from there.” Thinking of ACE as a big family also helps students because everyone knows everything, thus taking off pressures of appealing to everyone and wearing a mask. “Everybody knows everyone,” Shelton said. “So we’re all nice and go down the hall saying,‘Hi everyone.’” This is not only true for students but for the staff as well. “I know what’s going on, and who your boyfriend or girlfriend is,” Mrs. Srabian said. “I know if you had a fight with your mom, and we begin to know everything and how it impacts your learning so we don’t jump immediately all over you because were very sensitive to what’s going on in your life.” With students knowing that everyone basically knows everything, the process of learning is easier. “The comfort level is higher so they tell us they need help now,” math teacher Mrs. Andrea Shick said. “The students are willing to get the help they were afraid to ask for at RHS.” Due to students asking more questions and getting help they need, many teachers say they can do more at ACE than at a typical high school like RHS.

Left: Sophomores Felica Heacock and Sam Marie Shelton talk with Mrs. Shick about a story in the newspaper. Right: Students at ACE during their first hour class, crowd around one of the students’ favorite teachers, Mrs. Andrea Shick, before class. Photos by Aaron Kuhn

“It’s a place where I can make more of an impact,” English and science teacher Mr. Don Wilson said. “If I was at RHS, I’d see many more kids, but I’d have fewer opportunities to make an impact on student’s lives.” Mrs. Shick came to ACE for relatively the same reason. “I felt our students here are the biggest need, and I could make the biggest difference here,” She said. From the students to the building itself, a word that seems to be a big part of ACE is change. “The room we are standing in right now used to the boxing ring, where boys would come after school, box then go home,” Mr. Wilson said. ACE was first for kindergarten and first graders but was then changed to a school for ninth graders due to gang problems in Rochester. After that it became a place for kids who weren’t succeeding in a typical high school, according to Mrs. Srabian. “Here, students define their personal needs we need to fill,” Mrs. Srabian said. “That’s our strongest point.” Students have first hour, an hour-long class to go to what ever teacher they wish, to get extra help. Something that has made ACE rise to the top of the class. “We have evolved into probably one of the best, if not the best alternative center for education school in the state of Michigan,” Mrs. Srabian said. “I’m saying that … because I truly believe it in my heart.” Mrs. Srabian might be correct in her feelings about ACE, because there is currently a waiting list to go there, something hard to image happening for a school that is widely labeled as a place for bad kids. A rumor that simply isn’t true. “I know it’s not true because the students I work with … have learned to make adjustments in their life and make good choices,” Mrs. Shick said. Shelton has a similar definition of ACE. “A lot of kids that go here, they have done bad things, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad kids,” Shelton said. “Were not all screw-ups.” Others have a slight different response to the widespread rumor. “Were for a wider group of kids,” Mr. Wilson said. “Either for those who can’t

We have evolved into the best, if not the best, alternative center for education high school in the state of Michigan. I’m saying that because I truly believe it in my heart. Mrs. Sandra Srabian, principal of ACE

function in a big class, don’t ask for help or have family or drug problems. For Mrs. Srabian, one mustn’t say ACE is bad just because it has kids with drug problems, because each school has that. “We have kids that do get in trouble with the law, get suspended, use drugs, just like RHS, “Mrs. Srabian said. “ What I have here is just a mirror of what RHS has.” On the other hand, ACE has some negatives of its own. “We miss out on school spirit, games like football and basketball, everything students can participate in because we don’t have it here,” Mrs. Shick said. “It’s hard for our students and some teachers because we all like those parts.” If students want to, they can go back to their home school for dances, clubs, etc., but, the goal of ACE isn’t to provide pep rallys, athletic contests and other typical high school activities. It’s to help kids who need it most, Srabian said. “We help people get back together, regroup and we provide so much support,” Mrs. Srabian said. “I see ACE as a salvation for those kids, and were only helping them.” Today, Shelton’s grades are As and Bs. She has a great chance of graduation, thanks to ACE. And even though she still has a tough road ahead; she knows she’ll make it because of ACE. “They give you a second chance,” Shelton said, “And they give you an open door.

F“ACE” the facts Key Numbers

RHS vs. ACE

Student body

1655

85

Students per class

34-36

19-20

Credits per semester

6

7

Student to staff Ratio

20:1

11:1

Number of teachers

85

8

ACE schedule Full Day- 7:55 a.m. - 2:05 p.m. 1st Hour- A one-hour class where students can go where they want to get help 2nd and 3rd Hours- 90 minute blocks Lunch 4th and 5th Hour- 45 minute classes End of the day

“Knitty Gritty” club • Lead by math para-pro Virginia Burger • They do one community service project a year. In 2008 they made scarves for soldiers. • Students start out by making a swatch, then a scarf • The club meets on Thursdays at lunch • “ It’s a good way to relieve stress, “ senior Miranda Winstead said. “ It makes you feel good when you finish something.”

Student success rubric • A report card that has a letter, behavior and attendence grade • Students receive these in first hour on Monday • Students use them to determine where they need help


6

Inside the Nest

Talon the

November 2009

Marching band earns one at festival FMB Festival History The FMB has a legacy of greatness. For the past 17 years, except in 2008 where they received a two, they have received a one at festival; the grade is based on music, marching technique and overall appearance. The legacy was started by Mr. August Toma and is being continued by Mr. Timothy Nadeau.

As early as 6 a.m. on dark, fall mornings, they march in the cold. All day in the humid August heat they drill over and over. No matter the temperature or the weather forecast, without fail the Falcon marching band will be on the football field practicing meticulously. As a result of all the hard work, the FMB has received a “superior” rating at festival, where the band was evaluated by esteemed judges based on their performances. “I am so proud, because it’s been a goal we have had since the beginning of the year,” band director Mr. Timothy Nadeau said. The marching band has upheld a high reputation within the community, and along with performing at football games, the band has played in the Rochester Hometown Parade since 1953. Also, the band has had the opportunity to play in America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit eight times, the most recent being in 2007. The FMB also plays for West and Reuther in the middle school tours each year. Mr. Nadeau, who has been directing the band for three years, applauds the students for their hard work. “One of the most rewarding things about being the band director is facilitating student growth as musicians and as people, as well as creating opportunities as where they can grow,” Mr. Nadeau said. FMB has a good amount of competition within the district, but what many believe sets the band apart from the rest is the spirit and dedication. “Our band has a lot of spirit and high energy,” Mr. Nadeau said. “We enjoy performing and we love connecting with the school and the community, and the work outside that students bring into practice along with attention to detail really makes a difference.”

Freshman Ian Fleming and seniors Natalie Debusschere and Mallory Smith are key components of the drum line. Photo by Amy Mackens

Band members look to the direction of their drum majors to keep on tempo at all times. Photo by Amy Mackens

Senior drum major Kelsey Galang conducts the band with precision. Photo by Amy Mackens

Senior Nick Samokyszyn concentrates on his drumming style. Photo by Amy Mackens

Junior and color guard member Alyssa Franklin spins her flag at morning practice. Photo by Amy Mackens


Talon the

November 2009

Inside the Nest

7

To most religion classes, learning about the different faiths means opening a textbook or listening to a lecture. To Mrs. Sarah Meisch’s first hour, however, it meant wielding their carving knives. On Friday, Oct. 30, World Religions students carved crosses, eight-point stars and various other symbols into bright orange pumpkins for Halloween.

The freshman and their mentors spent their second hour on Friday, Oct. 30 painting pumpkins to get into the Halloween spirit.

Junior Rachel Schlagel paints her pumpkin along with the 157 other mentors and the entire freshman class. “It was a fun time to bond with my mentees and get to know them more,” senior Jen Kuznia said. “Usually they are not as open to talking when it’s just sitting down and talking.” However, some freshman thought it was less than thrilling. “It really didn’t have a purpose to me,” freshman Jessalyn Nelson said. “It was really awkward and felt forced.”

“The Ichthus came about during the time of religious persecution from the Romans and was used as a code to recognize other Christians,” senior Michael Abramson said. “People would carve the first half of the fish, and if another person was a Christian, they would be able to complete the symbol, and the other person would know it was safe to talk about their faith.”

Senior Angelique Ware and junior Rosalie Shyu carve an Islamic symbol.

Photos by Ms. Julia Ridgway, Mr. Christopher Green and Amy Mackens

The freshman and their mentors spent their second hour on Friday, Oct. 30, painting pumpkins to get into the Halloween spirit. Some students painted less traditional pumpkins with stripes, webs, and animals.

Another symbol was the yin yang sign, which has backgrounds representing all natural dualities. “It is meant to represent the dark and light side of the world, which composes everything,” senior Sriya Vishunbohtla said. “The dark is typically things such as night and feminism, and the light is day and masculinity. The circles in the opposite area just show that there will always be one component within the other in life.”

Mrs. Meisch’s first hour carved pumpkins in preparation for Halloween and decorated them with various religious symbols from different cultures. One example was the Ichthus, (translated from Greek as “fish”) commonly associated with Christianity. Seniors Christine Meier, Mike Hansen and Lauren Hetrick show off the cross that they carved into their pumpkin. Although many religious symbols were carved, the common cross was favored by a couple groups, along with the Christian symbol Ichthus. Students had all hour to gut and carve their spiritual pumpkins.

Seniors Jessica Finch, Laura Kobylczyk and Haley Burtraw created a yin yang carving in their pumpkin. The class assignment was to research a religious symbol from any religion and carve it into a pumpkin. The pumpkins were displayed in the hallway all day for passing students to learn about various religions.

Mr. Adams’ suggestions for junior convention

Every year, the holiday season also brings a flurry of statement posters in the mall, signaling that it’s time for junior convention. AP government teacher, Mr. Larry Adams, offers some of his top 3’s to help the juniors along in convention. Most Used Arguments 1. Pointing out mistakes in others’ pamphlets 2.“What are your sources?”“The Internet” 3. Making it personal

Most Controversial Topics 1. Abortion 2. Gay Marriage 3. Stem Cells Easy Wins 1. Con School Uniform 2. Pro Choice 3. Pro Capital Punishment

Mr. Larry Adams, AP government teacher

Toughest Topics 1. The War in Iraq 2. Darfur 3. Stem Cells

Common Mistakes 1. Not knowing facts 2. Getting off point 3. Not knowing the other side’s argument


8

Opinion

Talon the

November 2009

War on bulging bellies Inch by inch and pound by pound, America is ripping at the seams. A country that used to be known for freedom is now more famous for being the fattest country in the world. According to the American Obesity Association, 30.3 percent of children in America are overweight. This problem must be eliminated and a culprit found. But the prime suspect here is not Ronald McDonald, The King, or even that innocent little Wendy. Instead, the suspect has found its way into the hearts of children across the globe. These people were always trusted above anyone else. Suspect number one: the parents. Each and every day, parents make hundreds of decisions for their children. One of these decisions is what they will eat, which is a decision that shouldn’t be difficult. The classic PB&J, apple and milk got countless numbers of kids through their childhood. Instead of parents actually making these healthy lunches, however, some take the easy way out. They drive a mile down to their closest calorie hell and order off that ever-so-clever “Dollar Menu.” Is taking the easy way out really worth it in the end? Is it worth it to hear your daughter call you five years after she graduates from college to say she has congestive heart failure? I think not! Children learn by example. They

Illustration by Max Kleiner

are constantly looking and listening to everything that happens around them and sucking in the information like a sponge. So if they see that their parents are obese, they will think that is the norm. If they see their parents

don’t exercise regularly, the kids won’t think twice about that four-hour Sponge Bob marathon. According to a study conducted by Stanford University, 48 percent of children with overweight parents became

overweight themselves. Where are they going to learn good eating habits if the people they trust most don’t have them? There is something that people need to remember about the fast food

industry. At the end of the day, they are a business. They don’t care at all about anything besides the amount of money they make. McDonalds isn’t going to care how many children die of diabetes from their 620 calorie McFlurry, but they will care if people decided to buy the 410 calorie Frosties instead. They want to make money, not friends. Some people argue that the media is to blame for filling kids’ heads with images of high calorie meals. McDonalds, Burger King and other fast food joints have so many commercials out there for kids to soak up each day. Those “Kid’s Meals” each come with a toy, and, at McDonalds, the kids can play on the play structure. Sounds like kid heaven. All that can be concluded from this situation is the fact that the fast food industry is just really good at advertising; they rock as a business, and they are doing their job correctly. Just because Burger King has commercials on television doesn’t mean every person that sees it is going to immediately go there. If they do, it’s because the parents said they could after hearing their child cry about it. So instead of pointing your fat, greasy finger at McDonalds and other brilliant companies of that nature, how about pointing it at the weak parents that live in this society? Because this nation is now called “the fattest in the world,” it is the job of the everyday citizen to infom his or herself on what not to eat. But most importantly, it is the parents’ job to say “no” once in a while. If the children get mad because that can’t go and eat a burger, then so be it. At least they will develop healthy eating habits. At least they will be proud of the way they look. And, most importnatly, at least they won’t experience life-threatening diseases. Parents, just say no!

Media blows H1N1 out of proportion

Rumors fly through the hallways as the threat of swine flu crawls across the world. Unfortunately, the media frenzy has left many people misinformed and unnecessarily paranoid. The H1N1 virus is not nearly as dangerous to society as the fearful ignorance created by the media. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), hospitalized H1N1 swine flu victims suffered only a five percent mortality rate. It does sound scary when the media claims that five out of every 100 swine flu patients will die. However, this is a

Comic by Max Kleiner

manipulated truth used to captivate the public’s attention. The media will not tell people that this statistic is only among hospitalized H1N1 victims. The CDC states that the majority of swine flu victims recover without any medical attention. The media will not tell people that the five percent is only 292 people out of the 4,000 hospitalized

cases, according to the CDC. The recent estimate of 4,000 deaths in the 300 people million across America amounts to a less than one percent mortality. Evidently, swine flu is not nearly as deadly as some believe. People feel threatened by the swine flu because it possesses the ability to spread from human to human, resembling the

catastrophic Spanish influenza of 1918. However, nobody thinks that the common cold or mononucleosis will become a pandemic, even though they also possess the ability to spread between humans. There are many new diseases that could easily shadow the media’s current darling, H1N1 swine flu. Remember its cousin, H5N1 bird

flu? In 2006, the World Health Organization was still probing cases of it, which had an over 50 percent mortality rate. However, ask anyone in the hallways which is a bigger threat, and the answer will most likely be swine flu. The media has brainwashed the people and they no longer know which is the truly greater threat.

Movie brings back childhood memories

Clocking in at nine run-on sentences, Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things” are is nothing short of a children’s classic. Fully equipped with creative illustrations to match the wildly imaginative text, the book is

almost completely represented in the new movie, with some slight variations ... some that all may not agree with. Director Spike Jonze’s passion for Sendak’s “Wild Things” is incredibly present throughout the movie. Jonze daringly ditched the growing trend that is Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) and swapped it for men in suits. Big suits. Only the faces of the monsters are animated by computers, and the actor’s voices were added in after animation. Because of this risky change, the new Wild Things become almost real, like they could really exist, rather than looking like a furry, computer generated mess. Despite Jonze’s desire to retain the

book’s imagery through costumes and setting, he over-exaggerates a harsh outside world that has numerous ways of eking its way into every aspect of one’s imagination. Max, the movie’s protagonist, finds himself misunderstood at home and at school, and escapes to the land of the Wild Things who crown Max as their king. Max promises that he will make a place where everyone will be happy, but soon finds out that that is easier said than done. The message the movie gives, is that the real world will always affect people, even in the depths of imaginations, which is a message that seems a little too heavy for a children’s

movie. “Where the Wild Things Are” is wonderfully nostalgic, however bleak the message is. It is one of those movies where, upon sitting through the credits, the viewer needs a big bowl of spaghetti-o’s and a hug from his or her mother. Depressing message aside, Jonze’s “Wild Things,” while clearly marketed towards children, the full grown adult was the one that the movie meant the most to. This film is reminiscent of one’s childhood, and proves that a little piece of imagination can survive the cruelty of the real world.

Graphic by Max Kleiner


9 Opinion

Talon the

November 2009

Staff Editorial:

The Talon

Academic integrity code is unnecessary

The student integrity code, which was given to students in an attempt to prevent cheating, seems like it will not change students’ actions Last week, every student was required to sign the Student Integrity Code, a contract emphasizing the importance of academic honesty and the consequences of cheating. Some believe that by having everyone sign the Integrity Code, more students will refrain from cheating. However, this is a very optimistic outlook on something that is nothing more than a sheet of paper outlining rules the student body already knows. Cheating is wrong. There is nothing new about this statement. Every teacher has said it. Every student has heard it. Yet it is still an ever-present concern in classrooms. So why would a contract work when it is no more than the written version of those same sentiments? Everybody had to sign it anyway, whether they liked it or not, and most probably did not read past the header. There is no point in making everyone sign an integrity code. Doing so only defeats the purpose of having an “integrity” code. If students have any integrity, they will have no problem monitoring their

own behavior appropriately. An open contract is more meaningful than one where everyone is forced to agree and sign his or her name. There is no integrity involved in a contract that is insincerely signed. Yes, cheating needs to be stopped. So put an end to it. Instead of having every student sign underneath a bunch of rules they already know, come up with more severe consequences for those found cheating and do not be afraid of monitoring classrooms more closely. Getting a zero on a test may stop the student who got caught from cheating again; however, for the other students who got away with it, they are just going to cheat more. Find ways to catch those undetected cheaters. Check calculators, notebooks and even water bottles for hidden cheat sheets and tell students to report any suspicious behavior they may notice while taking the test. In order to fully prevent cheating, students need to be involved in stopping it. Plus, students who do not cheat are cheated when others abuse the system. If the main goal of this code is to fully prevent cheating, then it alone will not succeed in doing so. The contract can only do so much and if true changes are to be made they will not happen as a direct result of this. Harsher penalties and better surveillance during tests and quizzes will be the cause, not the mandatory Student Integrity Code.

It’s comical to think that the issue of cheating will simply disappear if we sign some magical form.

I think it’s stupid and pointless. It makes me feel like the teachers and administrators don’t trust me.

I think it’s pointless and not going to change anything.

Max Kleiner, junior

If you don’t agree with basic ethics in life, then you’re an idiot.

Melanie Sweet, Caitlyn Kuskowski, sophomore sophomore

” ” Censorship is an injustice To some, censorship is “the Man tryin’ to keep you down.” But in reality, censorship is just insurance. As many know, the First Amendment of our very own Constitution states that no law shall be made that prohibits free speech, among other things. And despite the fact that every person in the country knows this, censorship is still a big proponent in media today. Turn on a radio and switch to a rap station. Count the number of awkward gaps of silence or count the number of jarring bleeps. All of these tools are completely unnecessary and only add to the argument that censorship is a poison to today’s culture. Mark Twain once said, “Nature knows no indecencies. Man invents them.” This means that without the skewed thought process of man, there would be no need to have censorship. According to wiseto.com, some writers submit

controversial and thought-provoking topics in anonymity, in fear that they will cause unrest. This is called selfcensorship and should be punishable by law. By hampering their own creative expression, these writers are also hampering the creative expression of others. To these writers, it seems that to stifle thought is better than to cause even a ripple of discomfort among the people. By definition, censorship is

supposed to rid media of harsh profanities and sour language, but exactly what makes language “harmful” is still a mystery. Throughout the years, the definitions of words will change, taking on different tones, some of which may be deemed “insensitive.” For example, the word “a--,” which is a donkey. But somewhere along the line, its definition changed, and it became a word of low class. There

is no set of rules that will designate a word as “good” or “bad”. Humans do not come equipped with “CAUTION: PARENTAL ADVISORY” signs and rightfully so. Those who need protection from language are only looking from protection of communication. Despite the insurmountable facts that suggest censorship is immoral and should no longer exist, some say that censorship keeps people content and that “ignorance is bliss.” However, when people start to formulate conspiracies and begin plotting against the government and big corporations, the bliss slowly mutates to fear. Censorship is like a friend who cannot keep a secret well. As soon as one secret slips, rumors start spreading, and from then on, people will have their own account of what is the truth and what is a lie. Whether it is a bleep on the television or an omitted section of a classic novel, censorship is still causing mass ignorance. And while to some it may seem like bliss, what it should be is actually a sign of injustice.

Letters to the editor: what students think Good page layout An article that caught my attention was “Dirty little secrets: Everyone has them...” Other than the article being on the front page, the “secrets” that were scattered all over the page were fun to read. The layout of the page was attention-grabbing because of all the different secrets. Some of them made me laugh, like the one about killing her sister’s cat because I can imagine how crappy that situation was. The secret where the person is afraid of Barbie reminds me of the life size dolls my neighbor has that she always creeps me out with.

Good hallway article The October Issue of the Talon was great. My favorite article was “Crowded hallways cause trouble.” I really liked this one because it’s about a topic that many are interested in. Many students get upset by the overly crowded hallways as they try to make their way through. I think lots of students can relate to this article; it was very well written and I liked how the pictures were hightraffic areas around Rochester.

More spirit weeks I liked the “Dirty little secret” article because I’ve had to keep many secrets in my lifetime. I also liked “The Hatchling.” Spirit week was awesome! I dressed up for every spirit day. We should definitely have more spirit weeks in a school year. People love them!

Nicole Weber, freshman Good childhood article I thought the October issue of The Talon was great, and one article really stuck out to me. That article was “Childhood can Last Forever.” As I was reading the article, it reminded me about my childhood and all of the fun things in it; like watching the “Lion King” and “Toy Story” countless times and playing with Barbies with my sister and neighbor. Thanks so much for reminding me of my childhood.

Paige Long, sophomore

Nicole Repetto, sophomore

Thea Dimithu, junior

Feature more teachers A topic that stood out to me in last month’s issue was the Q&A section. I think you guys should feature more teachers. It is a nice way to get to know teachers on a different level, not just about their love for kids or passion for teaching. I don’t have Mrs. Cusmano as a teacher, but after reading the Q&A section I found some things we have in common. It was a nice way to start “a conversation” with an unfamiliar teacher. I think these teacher-featured Q&A’s are great and I’d love to see more in the future! Jennifer Kuznia, senior

Good sports coverage I really like the story about wheelchair basketball in the paper. It gives kids a view on different things that are out there other than just the basics, like football and soccer. It also made me think about how much something as small as a sport could make a difference in someone’s life. And if it means this much to Ellie, then I know it means either the same or a lot more to someone else. Which

makes me feel that maybe I can find something that will make me that happy, devoted, or proud of myself. This article really opened my eyes to new things I never thought I could see before and I am glad you included it in last issue’s paper. Jessalyn Nelson, freshman Homecoming memories I liked reading the homecoming and spirit week articles because they brought back memories of homecoming, which a lot of people are interested in reading about. Some kids don’t think homecoming is for them, but maybe reading about it and how people enjoyed it would get them interested in the activities. My experience with homecoming was way better than my freshman year! I think the DJ was outstanding, but it’s always hot in there. For girls or guys who don’t have dates, don’t be afraid to go; it’s still a lot of fun! Ashley Starr, sophomore

Copy Editor Emily Hayward Features Editor Laura Herbert Madison Reitzel

Simmone Lakamper, sophomore

Editor in Chief Jordan Hubbard

Opinion Editor Arthur Lee Sports Editors Aaron Kuhn Steven McConnell Graphics Editor Max Kleiner Photo Story Editor Amy Mackens Business Manager Dan Offenbacher Circulation Manager Caitlyn Kuskowski Staff Writers Sara Corneliussen James Giardina Drew Hoffman Simonne Lakamper Kristen Pop Aly Rosenau Chris Saber Melanie Sweet Kate Ziraldo Andy Zhou Adviser Ms. Julia Ridgway

Mission Statement The Talon presents an open forum for student expression to be used by the Rochester High School community to promote and express thought and action. The stories, opinions, and bylined content in The Talon do not necessarily represent and should not be interpreted as the views of the Rochester Community School Board of Education or any of its staff, faculty, or employees. Unless otherwise noted, all stories and opinions expressed here are the views of The Talon staff which is comprised of students in the Journalism II class of Rochester High School. The Talon believes it is its duty and right to inform, educate, influence and entertain its readers and will do this by exercising the First Amendment Rights as defined in the Constitution of the United States of America. The Talon is devoted to professional journalism and fairness in all reporting. The Talon will adhere to a standard of responsible journalism and will refrain from publishing material which is legally libelous, obscene or could disrupt the operation of the school.

Letters The Talon accepts letters to the editor from all concerned parties. The Talon reserves the right to screen and/ or edit any and all letters for inappropriate content and length. All letters must be signed. Requests to remain anonymous will be considered by the editorial board. Mailing address: The Talon 180 S. Livernois Rd. Rochester Hills, MI 48307 E-mail: jridgway@rochester.k12. mi.us


Sports

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Talon The

November 2009

Girls Cross Country

Girls Swim and Dive

Team: Cross Country Team Record: N/A Name: Megan Goethals Grade: senior Game Preparations: There is always a pasta party the night before a race. Season Highlights: I think the team improved a lot from the beginning of the season and we have learned to trust each other more as the year progressed. Thoughts About the Season: Next year, the team would like to qualify for states again. I hope to be a successful college runner.

Team: Swim and Dive Team Record: 8-2 Name: Alycen Wiacek Grade: senior Game Preparations: Before every meet, we go in the locker room and Anna does the “Dear Lord Baby Jesus” prayer, then we line up and leave the locker room with the “R-O-C” cheer and finish with a bunch of other cheers. Photo Courtesy of Aly Rosenau Season Highlights: Some season highlights for this year are winning Romeo Relays, getting relay state cuts at counties and being 6-0 in the league. Thoughts About the Season: This season we really came together as a team. We got new coaches and they have set us up for success: finishing undefeated in the league.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Goethals

Girls Volleyball Team: Volleyball Team Record: 26-10-3 Name: Molly Irvine Grade: senior Game Preparations: Day before pasta parties, tattoos on our left wrists, crazy hair, sing/listen to “Don’t Stop Believin,’” fire up on court, big circle roll, being completely loud and ridiculous Photo Courtesy of Brittany Baxter Season Highlights: Beating Troy and Clarkston were huge games. We hadn’t beaten Troy in five years and Clarkston is always an intense match, considering we beat them for the district win in 2006. All the pasta parties were crazy fun and got us fired up to win every time. It has paid off with our super successful season. Our team has come together as one which really helped our successful 26-10-3 season. Thoughts About the Season: All good feelings. Our team bonded more than ever, which highly contributes to the success of our team and every little bit of volleyball is contributed by every person on the team. There is not one person that we don’t need. Everyone is a part of it and we all take pride in our game.

Sideline Cheerleading Team: Cheer Team (Sideline for Football season) Team Record: There is not currently a record for this season. During competitive season we have a record. Name: Katelynn Niester Grade: senior Game Preparations: Before football games we have many ways of adding spirit to the football stadium. Some of these include: decorating the sidewalk with chalk, cupping the fences, decorating the stairs with crepe paper, hanging up signs on the football benches and placing balloons on the fences. Season Highlights: One of the highlights this season was cheering in the pouring rain. This is a situation that you can only make the best of. Regardless of how much you wanted the rain to stop, we had some pretty bad weather throughout the season. Laughing in the cold while every layer on our body was soaked truly bonded our team together. Thoughts About the Season: I felt that this season could not have been any better. Our coach was always happy with how high our energy level lasted throughout the entire game. We improved our skills as a team incredibly this season. Football season acts as training for competitive season. If football season is successful, we can assume that we will be a step ahead of the game at the beginning of competitive season.

Boys Football Team: Football Team Record: 1-8 Name: Nick Bradley Grade: junior Game Preparations: I visualize positive outcomes of certain situations the day before the game. Our team also has a huge dinner in the school cafeteria the night before our game. Season Highlights: Our season highlight was beating Groves; it was our only win, which was very important, but some another highlight is how we improved as a team. We look to make the playoffs next year, and improve during the off-season. Thoughts About the Season: It was fun, but we could have been more successful. I think that will improve a lot next year, after coach Vernon gets settled in as head coach. Photo by Amy Mackens

Boys Tennis Team: Tennis Team Team Record: We finished fifth in our league. We fought hard for it and every match counted. Name: Arthur Lee Grade: senior Game Preparations: I don’t know if our team had any superstitions, but everybody does something Photo Courtesy of Ingrid Manns different. I like to have three water bottles lined up for changeovers. Season Highlights: The best was definitely winning the Romeo Invite. We also clinched Coach Murphy’s 200th career victory at Avondale. Beating Clarkston meant a lot to me because I played three hours to win 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 and win the meet for our team 5-3. Thoughts About the Season: We definitely did not start as confidently as we should’ve, but we built our momentum. The singles and upper doubles definitely stepped it up.

Girls Golf

Team: Girls Golf Team Record: seven wins, one third place, one second place, league, state and regional champs Name: Christine Meier Grade: senior Game Preparations: Before every tournament we huddle together and Photo Courtesy of Jyl Monahan say “1,2,3 huh!” Then we kick our left foot into the center. We do it before every single tournament. It shows that we’re in this together. Season Highlights: We all knew we would be a good team again. Our team works harder than anyone else, both in season and in the off-season. I am so proud of everything we accomplished and I’m going to miss it so much. We won states again this year, and our team deserved it. Thoughts About the Season: Next year’s team goal is to be another state contender. They can do it if they work hard! As for me, I’m headed to MSU to play golf. My goal is to be the Big Ten freshman of the year.

Photo by Amy Mackens

Boys Soccer Team: Soccer Team Record: We went 9,11, and 3. Name: Tyler Leppek Grade: senior Game Preparations: You have to get there an hour before the game, watch the end of the J.V. game and warm up. Season Highlights: Making it to the district finals was definitely our greatest accomplishment. I think everyone on the team was proud of that. Thoughts About the Season: I feel we could have done better, but all-in-all it was a decent season. Photo by Simonne Lakamper

Boys Cross Country Team: Rochester Cross Country Boys Varsity Team Team Record: No such thing in XC as a “record” Name: Nick Hunsanger Grade: senior Team Leaders: Blake Pozolo, Brook Handler, Ryan Freeland, Jackson Gilbert, Jim Geddes Game Preparations: Pasta Parties the night before to load up on carbs, when we go up to the line we do the “R-O-C” chant to get everyone fired up and ready to race. My hero: Megan Goethals; she’s the best motivation we have. She’s a dedicated athlete who never fails to show up and run her absolute best each and every race. Season Highlights: We improved as a team and really bonded this year. Also, one main highlight is girls team qualifying for states at regionals. I think that as this being my senior year, I finished it off pretty well; however, I would have liked to make states. Thoughts About the Season: I feel like this season was a learning experience for all of the returning members on the team. We were in the process of rebuilding this season, and we certainly succeeded in transforming some of the younger rookies into runners that have a LOT of potential next season and many thereafter. It was a great season and an absolute blast. I wouldn’t have had it any other way or with any other team. People who used to just be our teammates turned into best friends for most of us, and that’s what being a part of a team is about. Goals for Next Year: You’ll have to ask [the returning runners], as I’ll be graduated. But I’m sure the boys are hungry for another shot at qualifying for states. Photo by Kevin Goethals


Talon the

December 2009

Sports

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Ski team slides their way to success Snow falls at Pine Knob, which signals the beginning of a new season for the RHS Ski team

After getting off of the ski lift, sophomore Scott Martin adjusts his skis and moves to the starting gate. The cold wind at the top of the hill bites at his face as he prepares himself for the race. As the signal is given, he pushes off as hard as he can and speeds down the slope. “I wanted to join ski team because I have been skiing most of my life

and I love racing,” Martin said. The Rochester Ski Team, which is united with Stoney Creek High School, starts its season Wednesday, December 30, with a competition at Pine Knob. But the training starts months ahead of the races. “We usually start training in midNovember where we run, do cardio and play fun games,” Martin said. “Then we just practice our technique once we start skiing.” The team placed first in the district in the 2008 season and is planning on upholding the winning streak. “I’m hoping to get pretty far in the post-season as a team,” Martin said. “And in my own skiing future, I hope to continue to get faster and do my best to improve the team in years to come.”

Senior Alex Blaty passes a difficult turn. Photo Courtesy of Scott Martin

Sophomore Martin and senior Laterewitz relax on the chairlift after a difficult run. Photo Courtesy of Scott Martin

Sophomore Scott Martin skis down a giant slalom run. Photo Courtesy of Scott Martin

Laterewitz prepares for a jump. Photo Courtesy of Scott Martin

Laterewitz enjoys the rush from a downhill ski. Photo Courtesy of Scott Martin

Figure skating team unites at games Ice skaters from Rochester, Adams and Stoney Creek combine to compete

She lies delicately in her bed as peaceful sleep overtakes her body. At 4:30 a.m. senior Gina Desico is jolted awake by sound of her alarm clock. She sleepily grabs her bag and gets in the car to drive to the Detroit Skate Club. Once she arrives, she only has time to have a quick session and then hurry back to Rochester for school. “It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be an ice skater,” Desico said. “I have been skating for 11 years, and it is truly a part of me.”   One of the figure skating teams’ main appeals about the sport is the feeling that comes from skating. Senior Brooke Woodnicki feels relieved and relaxed after practicing. “I have been skating for ten years, and I love the stress relief of being able to skate around and let off steam,” Woodnicki said. Desico loves figure skating for other reasons.

The figure skating team celebrates after a job well done during the Rochester United hockey game’s half time. Photo by Simonne Lakamper

“My favorite thing is the first step on the ice when your lungs have to take in the cold frosty air,” Desico said. Almost the entire team realizes that in all three Rochester high schools, the team is not at all well known. Sophomore Tori Dawson believes she knows why. “The team is not well known

because if you do not skate you would not know about the team,” Dawson said. “Ice skating is not really something you normally just pick up in high school.” Senior captain Alyssa Skinner has another theory. “People do not know about us because it is not a varsity sport,” Skinner said. “It is also united

between the three schools.” Whether or not the team can come to an understanding of why they seem to be unpopular, they can all agree that it is very unfair. “We put so much effort and passion into what we do, and it is so wrong that we do not get credit for our work,” Woodnicki said. Even though the practice sessions

are very intense because they must prepare for competitions, the team still tries to make it fun. “Our practices occur on all of our professional development days,” Skinner said. “We stroke as a team first, work on hockey game routines, and then practice for states. This team is truly a family, and we are all very close on and off the ice.” Coach Deanna Wohlfeil believes that the Rochester United figure skating team is a great and unique opportunity for skaters. “This team is special, because ice skating is an individual sport so skaters do not normally get to experience the team aspect,” Mrs. Wohlfeil said. “We bring together people of all different ages and skills.” The team’s goal is to place in the state competition, and Coach Deanna feels that is possible. “So far this season, we have already placed second in our competition at the Glacier Point arena,” Wohlfeil said. “That was a very big accomplishment.” At the end of the day self satisfaction and achievement is what seems to inspire the sport of figure skating. “When I am skating I feel so free,” Desico said. “I know all of my hard work is worth it.”

Swim team races past low expectations It’s 4:30 AM. Assistant coach Ms. Leah Howdyshell hears her alarm go off. Reluctantly, she turns over to silence the noise that awoke her and then proceeds to slowly get out of bed so she can go coach the Men’s swim and dive team. While it is hard work, Ms. Howdyshell has high expectations and hopes for the team. “I hope we can win the division,” Ms. Leah Howdyshell said. “And have an undefeated dual meet record.” Many team members have a

similar goal. “As a team we want to win leagues,” freshman Brien Moffitt said. “Personally, I want to be in the top eight.” For this team, winning might be as easy as swimming a lap in the pool or taking a walk in a park. “We are going to win some dual meets,” senior co-captain Jai Singh said, “Because we were bumped down to division three this year.” While it is easy for one to just focus on the swimmers, one must not forget the other half of the team, the divers, who also have high expectations for themselves. “We’ll do pretty well,” sophomore

Ray Renaud said. “Our two new divers, freshman Sebastian Klesing and sophomore Lucas Simmons are learning really fast. And, if we keep at a good pace we’ll finish one, two, and three in the league.” The practice ends, swimmers climb out of the pool and Ms. Howdyshell is happy with the way the team has worked to make up the loss of stars like Nick Evans and Kyle Johnson. “I can’t wait to see how much these boys can accomplish stepping up filling those roles,” Ms. Howdyshell said. “Many of our strong swimmers and new swimmers are trying to do better and work hard.”

Freshmen Ananth Ramaseshan and Jacob Carl warm up before their meet against Andover High School. Photo by Madison Reitzel


12

Photo Story

Talon the

November 2009

The past, the present, and the future Band Members:

As vibrations of music travel through the walls of Valdis drummer Alex Meier’s basement, a light bulb slowly unscrews itself from the ceiling and falls to the ground. Music pulses as the sounds of mixed-tuning and warm-ups blend into the chords of the first song they plan to rehearse. Valdis is starting yet another band practice, preparing for their November show. The music Valdis has played has proven to not only impact them, but their listeners and fans as well. “At (Rochesta)Palooza last year we weren’t going to finish our set in time and a member of student council unplugged us,” senior and lead guitarist Jordan Carlson said. “An encore chant broke out from a few friends and sooner or later everybody was chanting it. They plugged us back in and allowed us to finish playing our song ‘Shell Shock.’ So we play that last at our shows now.” The local band—described as “like Metal, with an ‘80s touch”—got their start in 2007. However, they didn’t get serious about it until a few years later. After inner-band drama, as well as the struggle to finalize band members, the band settled on the name “Valdis” and came out with their first song ‘Shell Shock.’

Chris Owen: Lead singer/bass Influences: Corey Taylor, James Hetfield FMB Instrument: Trumpet Jordan Carlson: Lead guitar Influences: Dimebag Darrell, Kerry King, James Hetfield, Mick Thompson, Kirk Hammett, Buckethead. FMB Instrument: Piccolo and flute Fans mosh as Valdis plays at The Factory on Nov.6. Photo by Katie Ziraldo

“I’m grateful for every fan we get,” senior and lead singer/bassist Chris Owen said. “Without our fans, we wouldn’t be a band.” The band shares a special bond many other bands may lack—and it shows when they perform. “I would describe us as a family that’s there for each other, but we’re not afraid to be brutally honest,” senior and rhythm guitarist Haleigh Dever said. “All in all, we have fun and are all in it for the music for sure.” The rewards of music can be overwhelming, both for those creating it and those listening to it. “My favorite part would have to be the feeling I get while playing a song we all worked

extremely hard on,” Dever said. “Having the crowd go crazy when I’m playing my parts or when Jordan and I go into solos. It lets me know they’re cheering for me, and it makes me feel like I’m doing something right in my life.” Even though Valdis is becoming increasingly popular, the band members remain the same, and, if anything, they say they’ve grown closer. However, there’s no guessing what’s in the future. “Of course, I’d love to make music with Valdis, or anybody on a professional level,” Carlson said. “We played the IRock in Detroit and got professional attention from a former drummer

of Unearth and Sworn Enemy. We are working with him, and we’ll see where that goes in the near future.” No matter what may happen, one thing is certain. Valdis is known in the halls of Rochester High, and they have created something unique. “Most bands give everything they have to tour the country in dirty old vans just because they’re doing something they love with people they love,” Dever said. “As weird as it sounds, I’d give everything for Valdis to have a dirty van of our own if it means we’ll go somewhere in life.”

Haleigh Dever: Rhythm guitar Influences: Kerry King, James Hetfield, Matt Heafy FMB Instrument: Snare on drumline Alex Meier: Drums Influences: Lars Ulrich, Andy Weber, Phil Collins FMB Instrument: (Before graduating early) Snare on drumline

Clockwise from top left: Drummer Alex Meier; lead guitarist Jordan Carlson; Valdis plays at The Factory on November 6; lead singer Chris Owen; rhythm guitarist Haleigh Dever. Photos by Katie Ziraldo

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The Hatchling November 2009

NOVEMBER 23, 2009 VOLUME I ISSUE 3 ROCHESTER HIGH SCHOOL


TheDecember Hatchling 2009

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3

TheDecember Hatchling 2009

Holiday lights make winter more bearable As she walked down Main Street, junior Nicole Armold was immersed in holiday cheer and festivities. The buildings adorned with light and the music echoing throughout downtown were signs of the celebration for the coming of winter. “Being my first time going, I didn’t quite know what to expect,” Armold said. “I don’t think I will forget how much fun I had. Everyone should go at least once.” While for some it was the first time going to Rochester’s premier winter event, for others it is just as much a tradition as celebrating a

birthday. “My girlfriend took me this year,” senior Chris Tomko said. “But I haven’t missed one yet, so even if she hadn’t dragged me here, I would have come anyway.” It is clear that many of the citizens of Rochester enjoy this winter custom, but it seems to be just as rewarding for the employees of the businesses that line Main Street. “Seeing the children and how excited they are is my favorite part for sure,” Mixx Salon and Spa receptionist Rachel Stefanski said. “Seeing their faces light up when the Christmas lights are turned on is just as gratifying as getting paid.” Lagniappe has been a Rochester routine for 37 years, and naturally, it has gone

through some major transformations, the most prevalent of these changes may be the addition of the lights. “I can’t imagine Lagniappe without those lights,” sophomore Sarah McEneaney said. “It started snowing right after they turned [the lights] on. It was like winter wouldn’t start until the lights were turned on.” Although this winter celebration is subject to change throughout the years, the most important thing about Lagniappe is that has given people something to look forward to in the winter months. “Michigan winters are the worst,” Armold said. “But knowing that Lagniappe comes along with every winter makes winters here that much more bearable.”

“This is a wonderful event that has brought friends and families together, which is something that has become increasingly important in these hard times,” junior Mitch McFee said. I love the camaraderie of being with all of my friends.” Photo by Max Kleiner

“One of the best things I’ve gotten has been the hot cider for sure,” senior Chris Tomko said. During the event, vendors passed out everything from candy canes to discounts on their retail. But due to the temperatures dropping to around freezing, the most common free treats seemed to be ones that could keep attendees warm. Photo by Amy Mackens

The Big Bright Light Show, which has been a holiday event in Downtown Rochester since 2006, kicked off on Monday, November 30, during Lagniappe, a traditional holiday event where local vendors pass out treats to the public. “For me, Lagniappe and seeing the lights is a tradition,” junior Alaina Lucio said. “I haven’t missed one yet.” Photo by Amy Mackens

The display was lit on 7:00 p.m. during Lagniappe and will continue to be lit after dark until January 3. The lights stretch up Main Street from the south bridge to Romeo Road. Each building is lit up with over a million points of light. “I go every year to be with my friends,” senior Ryan Byrd said. “I also want to be a part of one of the community’s biggest events of the year.” Photo by Amy Mackens

“My favorite part has always been the atmosphere,” Lucio said. “There’s so many people here, and they’re all very cheerful and happy.” The night had plenty of entertainment for everyone, with everything from meeting Santa Claus & Mrs. Claus to the Meadowbrook Carolers singing classic holiday tunes. Photo by Amy Mackens


4

The Hatchling November 2009

A Detroit Lions win: unthinkable until now On Thanksgiving this Thursday, after the perfect dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, I’ll be letting my food settle and trying to stay out of a food coma watching the Lions annual Thanksgiving Day game. My prediction: a Lions blowout. I know I’m going out on a limb, out of left field, walking the plank of insanity and any other analogy one can use to call me crazy predicting a victory for a team who lost 21 straight, was the first team to go 0-16 and an organization that took seven years to fire Matt Millen, but that’s what I think. And the reasoning for my insane prediction is completely justified in my own mind. Here’s how it works. Reason 1: The Packers won’t hit a kid The Lions number one pick of this year’s draft Matthew Stafford will start

the game as QB. If you haven’t noticed Stafford could pass as a kid in high school with the peach fuzz on his face that he calls facial hair. Green Bay surly won’t destroy and sack a kid in high school. They aren’t that mean. So, since Stafford will surely be hit free and never touched by the opposition. He’ll throw for 400 yards, five TD’s and even run 12 yards for a first down after three failed attempts. Reason 2: Calvin Johnson will always be open. Johnson is so intimidating that the Packers will be too afraid to even go near the 6 foot 5 inch, 236 pound wide receiver. Though other teams haven’t been scared of Johnson, he is going to drink a Monster energy drink before the game, thus it will give him Monster powers and intimidate any opponent. With this he’ll catch 12 passes, two of those for a touchdown, even catching one in triple coverage for 49 yards. Reason 3: Jim Swartz is too smart to lose. You knew he had brains when he

decided to come to Detroit, the place that’s losing jobs quicker than Usian Bolt running the 100 meter dash, and the place hit hardest by the current recession. Add on to the fact that it’s the Lions, the team “rebuilding since ’57.” The team that hasn’t been in the playoffs in over 10 years and that has had six head coaches since. But on Thursday, Schwartz will throw all that aside, show that he was just pretending to be bad the 10 games he has and that the team’s one win just wasn’t a gift from God or due to the fact that hell froze over. He’ll lead his team to a 38-14 victory. So on Thanksgiving, I’ll enjoy my dinner of turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, not forgetting a slice of pumpkin pie and then watch the Lions game, hoping my predictions will come true. And if the inevitable happens, and Detroit loses hopefully I will have had so much food that I’ll be fast asleep before the end of the first quarter, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

5 x 5:

Jillian Sweet, senior

What“Spongebob” character would you be?

Thanksgiving break Sandy Cheeks

Who’s your favorite I don’t have substitute teacher? one Who was your first The Backstreet crush? Boys

If you were a crayon color, what would you be?

1. What colleges did you apply to? 2. Which schools do you think you’ll get into/already got into? What schools are reach schools? 3. What field are you hoping to major in? 4. What is your best credential?

Tim Choi, senior 1. I applied to University of Michigan, University of Illinois, Northwestern and MSU. 2. I already got into MSU and University of Michigan, but Northwestern is a reach school. 3. I’m hoping to major in engineering. 4. My best credential is probably my GPA. I also think my essays were pretty well written.

Colleen McBain, senior

Five lovely students answer five questions for your enjoyment. I’m thankful for ...

Q&A

Sarcastic Scarlett

J.T. Chun, senior

Jenna Rocco, junior

George Holt, senior

Jen Kuznia, senior

Chicks

Munster and smoked turkey sandwiches

Family and friends

Taylor Swift

Patrick’s fake dad

Bubble Buddy

Gary the Snail

Pearl

Mr. Commerson

Mrs. Czerney

Ms. Johnson

Mr. Huebner

Helen Hunt

Justin Timberlake

Mrs. Rocco :)

Mr. Magiera

Dark White

Baby Blue

Tickle Me Cerulean

Tickle Me Pink

1. I applied to MSU, U of M, GVSU, Boston College, NYU and Northwestern. 2. I got into MSU and GVSU. I think NYU, U of M, Northwestern and Boston College will be my reach schools. 3. I want to major in a field related to English. 4. I think my best credential is my ACT score.

Riannon Bailey, senior 1.I applied to Ferris State, Central Michigan and Oakland University. 2.I got into all of those schools, but I’m not sure where I want to go. 3.I want to major in the field of Psychology. 4.My best credential is probably my personal essay. I think it was well thought-out.

November Issue 2009  

The November Issue of the Talon, 2009

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