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All State: YES

War hero

Chairs of political parties talk about lunch, college funds

Tasha Becker awarded All State honors in percussion

Sanger talks with her grandfather, who fought in Korea

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Assembly honors those who fought for country Veteran’s Day salute hits close to home for Dean, Townsley



he 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marked the end of World War I. We know it today as Veteran’s Day, a day to remember and thank all of the men and women who put themselves in the way of danger everyday to protect our freedom and our country. Students were released from class at 8:50 to head to the gym to remember and thank a few veterans who took the time out of their lives to come talk to the high school and middle school. Student council president, Cameron O’Neil, and student council vice president, Maggie Gehlsen led the assembly. The mixed choir and band also performed. A few middle school students had their own performance to thank the veterans for all they have done. Mathematics teacher Mr. Keith Townsley is a veteran himself, having served in the Iowa National Guard for 20 years, from 1980-2000. Townsley had a teacher in high school who was also in the Iowa Guard. He talked to his classes about checking into the guard in Muscatine, Iowa. Four students went to check it out, and all four people, including Townsley, ended up joining. Townsley was sent to basic training, and after that he was sent to AIT (advanced

individualized training). “That’s where we spent more time working with weapons and making things blow up,” Townsley said. “We did a lot of push-ups.” To w n s l e y relates his old life to his one now as a math teacher. “I really Mr. Keith Townsley enjoyed the demolition range and making things explode. There were a lot of math formulas related,” Townsley said. “There are a lot of

something that you’ll carry on with you for the rest of your life. “I’ll never forget the friendships I made,” Dean said. “I was stationed in Germany and got to travel Europe at the same time, so that was interesting.” Serving any time in the military will

ROTC program. “My great grandfather and grandfather were both in the Navy,” Allers said. “and that is why I’ve leaned towards the Navy.” The Navy ROTC program allows students to go to school fulltime and train graduating from college, participants must

“I learned that I can do anything for two years,” Dean said. Although Veteran’s Day is usually remembers those who were in the service, it’s also important to recognize those going into the service. Of the soon-to-be graduating seniors, Tiffany Allers will be going in to the Navy

“I would like to stay in the Navy much longer than that, though,” Allers said. and lead a team on a ship,” Allers said. “I’m excited to serve my country. I’m also excited to travel to different countries and ports.”

make a lot of sense mathematically.” “I met a lot of people who I did a lot of intense stuff with. Whenever we see each Townsley said. Townsley is not the only Central teacher who has a past in the service. Mr. Tom Dean, speech teacher, also spent some time in the service. In 1972, Dean was drafted into the Vietnam War in his senior year of college. “My father also served in the military during Mr. Tom Dean World War II. When I was drafted he thought I should go serve my country,” Dean said. “Two years later he encouraged me to go to Canada to get out of the draft.” But Dean didn’t. As every veteran will tell you, the friendships and bonds you make with the people who are also in the service is

Please rise. ans were the highlight of the Nov. 12 assembly. Photo by Aidan Connolly.

Teachers, party officials explain election issues ABIGAIL JOHNSON STAFF WRITER


ost teens at Central supported Obama in the Nov. 6 election, according to a mid-October survey given by Publication students. “I’m a Democrat,” said one student, explaining her support for Barack Obama. Others said they supported Obama because Romney was against abortion and his plans would hurt the middle class. Students who voted for Romney said that Obama has hurt the middle class and unemployment rates are up. “I’m a Republican,” said another student, explaining her support for Romney. Some students said they didn’t care who

won, while others said that they didn’t like either candidate. Students said they get most of their information from commercials and radio ads. Some even said that the house calls were some help. Very few said they had watched the presidential debates to see if the commercials and ads were true. Small talk among adults in town was that the commercials for both of the candidates were not true. They were a twist on the words of each other. “The biggest struggle for voters on both sides of the political spectrum is in trying to get a clear view of the issues at hand,” said Mr. Matt Ohnemus, one of the history teachers. “Between the wide array

LUNCH, COLLEGE FUNDS Continued on Page 2

Step right up. Tiffany Allers hands in her ballot to Jacob Reistroffer and Brittany Allers at the mock election held in the high school library. Contributed photo.



The Purple Onion Central High School DeWitt, Iowa 52742 November 24, 2012

Lunch, college funds concern high schoolers Continued from Page 1 of talking head and pundits in the media, as well as the endless barrage of political ads in a swing state like Iowa, trying to truly grasp the political questions and the answers being given can be extremely challenging.” Family income is another issue voters may have problems with. have trouble with depends on their own particular economic situation,” Mr. Ed Vance, history teacher, said. “Those people who have seen a stable or increasing paycheck over the last four years, or who agree that the attempts of the current administration have the potential to be effective, may be more inclined to vote for Obama. Those who have not, or are concerned with the increasing national debt, may be more inclined to vote for Romney. The candidate’s stances on social issues are not going to be as big an issue in this election as they have been in years past,” Vance said. Americans have the right to vote. That will be one of the issues some people face. If they don’t like either candidate and don’t vote, they won’t choose the candidate who they feel could be the better president. “The problem that many Americans will face in the electorate who are choosing to vote will be how to make an informed decision in an election that has been saturated with a plethora of information and misconceptions,” said Mrs. Molly Giese, social studies teacher. “With that said, everyone who can vote, should exercise their right to do so. Making an informed decision while

follow through on what he or she promises. “One of the problems voters have,” Mr. Stephen Butler, history teacher, said, what he says he will do. Both candidates promise to improve our country in the next four years and deal with problems like the economy, etc. Voters have to choose which candidate’s plans are the best.” “Voters have to decide which candidate to trust,” Butler continued, “and which has the better values. Values and trust are important because presidents get to appoint many people to many important positions, and a candidate’s values will determine what type of people they will select to work with them. “The last thing voters have to determine is where each candidate actually stands on the variety of issues. We are inundated with commercials telling us that one guy is a saint and the other is a bum. As voters, we need to see through all that stuff and Party Chairs offer views Jean Pardee, chairman of the Democratic Party in Clinton County, believed that if the Republican were elected, the economy and majority of the population would suffer greatly. “The debt will increase,” she said, “more jobs will be outsourced leaving more unemployed; education, health ies, parks, etc.) will be cut or eliminated. Workers’ rights will be destroyed and they will have lower pay, no health care or

“Everyone who can vote, should exercise their right to do so.” –Mrs. Molly Giese

each candidate believes regarding key issues and then making a decision based on those beliefs.” Another problem voters are said to have

will increase with a reduction in safety efforts. The rich will get richer and the poor will not only get poorer, their number will increase,” she said. Mr. Dan Smicker, retired agricultural education teacher at Central, said the philosophy of Republican Party is how to create the most effective social programs and the best quality jobs. If businesses have a

Mock Election Results

Romney 17%

Obama 32%

Don’t Know 28%

number of employees with jobs with income for the necessities of life, that’s what people need, Smicker said. Smicker said that’s the economic policy that isn’t happening now. “Nowadays, government takes money from the working middle class to give to the wealthy. We need quality jobs to help raise kids, and have a nice home and family later on in life.” Changes in school lunch have been instituted for all public schools, and teens are not as happy as adults about these changes. “We believe there is a increasing epidemic of overweight students,” Pardee said, “who need to have their diets improved, now. With the health problems that come with overweight people, habits of students can more easily be changed as students than as adults. It is the same principle as smoking early makes it harder to break.” “I do understand,” Pardee continued, “the students’ lack of interest in raw vegetables or overcooked vegetables and throwing them out, but with fruits I have tion. I have some concerns about lowered

Vote today for your future tomorrow. Albinot Saliu, Mitchell Green, Hunter Ilg and Jordan Porth are handed their ballots by Kris Alexander, Jacob Reistroffer and Brittany Allers for the high school’s mock election. A few seniors were old enough to vote in the national and state elections. Obama won the mock election with 32 percent of the vote. Contributed photo.

calories and food amounts for students who have long days and sports afterwards where more calories are burned. Some consideration of that needs to be made.” The Republican Party has a different view about the lunch changes. “I understand the changes,” said Smicker, who ate school lunches for 37 years. “However, if the kids won’t eat them, you have accomplished nothing. Then you have to pick the wasn’t a good idea down the road.” Although school lunches have teens complaining, the education of school still is a strong aspect. “The Democratic Party,” Pardee said, “believes education is a right for all people. We believe public education is the most important aspect for anyone’s sucand removes social-economic barriers for them. “President Thomas Jefferson is considered one of the Democratic Party’s Founding Fathers,” Pardee continued. “He said that a democracy could not survive without educated voters who could reason and evaluate candidates that would maintain rights for the people.” Education is probably the strongest aspect of school, as it should be. “Republicans believe that education is the key to beat poverty,” Smicker said. The high school aspect of education is free, but when students go to college, they have to pay all the tuition and other things that are essential for school. “We are pleased that President Obama removed the ‘middle-men banks’ from the student loan process,” Pardee said, “and makes the loans directly to students withdents and the government. “We support Pell Grants and low interest loans,” Pardee continued, “so all students who want to attend college can. We support grants for needed science and math teachers and training for the specialist jobs now or soon to have shortages.” College loans are hard to pay off but they are necessary for some young adults. “Student loans are a necessity for a lot of middle class and low-income people,” Smicker said. “Loans are punishing kids who borrow money for school, and not many pay the ing jobs after their education. “High schools and colleges need to tell them what jobs are there,” Smicker said.


The Purple Onion Central High School DeWitt, Iowa 52742 November 24, 2012


Third time’s the charm for Becker at All-State LYDIA AHRENS


or three years in a row. Tasha Becker, along with many of her classmates and band mates, has endured the handwringing and sweaty palms that can only be associated with waiting for the postings at All-State auditions. When Becker saw her name posted on the call-back sheet, she could hardly believe her eyes. “After I saw my name on the accepted list, I had to do a double take,” Becker said. “I was speechless, but all I remember thinking was, ‘I actually made it.’” The Iowa High School Music Association puts on All-State each fall. Each school is allowed 28 wind players and percussionists, 28 string instrumentalists, and 28 vocalists to audition for band, orchestra, or choir. This year’s concerts will be in Decorah Nov. 17. Becker competed against more than 25 students from 16 counties in the southeast

was one of only nine students to be accepted in the All-State band for percussion. her abilities this time around because of her previous auditions. Her nerves never got the best of her, even though Becker was competing against a few students that she knows. “We all take lessons from the same private teacher,” Becker said. “It almost makes it more nerve-racking because I know we’ve been taught the same techniques, it’s just a matter of who plays them better.” But Becker was more than prepared for her auditions. The music for auditions was released in mid-August but it was up to the students to practice. As the auditions got closer, Becker increased her practicing. week on top of private lessons and built up to staying after school every day for two hours,” Becker said. “The last week before, I tried to go in for a half hour during one of my classes each day in addition to all of the other practicing.”

Hey, that’s me. Becker points to her name on the list of accepted percussionists, the More than anything, Becker looks forward to the experience to get together with “so many talented musicians to create wonderful music.” “I am a little nervous, though,” Becker said. “I don’t want to get there, not play my best and have everyone wonder, ‘Why’d

she get picked?’” All the practice paid off and won’t stop now because Becker has made it into AllState. “I’m going to keep trying to improve my playing in hopes of making it again next year,” Becker said.

Letter from student thanks veterans for serving our country SHEILA LOWERY Dear Veterans of the U.S. Military, I have been staring at this blank piece of paper for what seems like forever trying I am for you. So I’m just going to repeat the statement you should hear time and time again: thank you. Thank you for serving our country, and protecting my freedom. It means the world to me. When I was little, I didn’t realize how much freedom is worth. Now that I do, I appreciate you and the thousand of others veterans. I appreciate how much you love your country, the time you gave, and all the super heroes. country greater than what many of us will ever experience in our lifetime. Most people say they love this country just as much but sometimes you have to

look deeper than words. How often have you gone to an event where the national anthem was played and people time and time again forget to take off their hat or place their right hand over their heart? These seemingly small gestures mean a lot because they show respect, the same respect you show for your country. I appreciate soldiers like you whose spect; your mind is in the right place. this career, from the initial application to spending upwards of six months in training, to the actual deployment and time in service. At the beginning you already gave so much. Many people might have spent that time visiting with family and friends, going to parties or even starting a family. If writing to someone else in a different circumstance I might have said you wasted almost a year of your life, but you, howdo something so much more, you gave us freedom. Although I have never had a family

member, friend, or loved one leave me to put their life on the line, I imagine it must be one of the hardest things to do. make, but this probably makes the homecoming so much more special. I wish all homecomings could be happy, but I watch the news and know that this is not the case. I know you take the chance at never coming home. “Something good will come from the bad” is a phrase that can apply to your situation right now. That means you are mak-

your life for everyone. I know this letter is long and could have been longer, but I just wanted to make sure you understand how much you mean to our country, and how much you mean to me as a person. I have and will keep a high respect for you. I’m glad you made it home safely and will live “Happily Ever After” because although you might not have superpowers like Ironman or the Hulk, you are truly my hero. Thank you so much! Sheila Lowery

Student council food drive helps those less fortunate LOGAN HALEY

Central Community High School

T Staff Writers: Lydia Ahrens, Allison Anderson, Kyle Bauer Courtney Burmeister, Hailey Franzen Logan Haley, Peter Keegan Alyssa Kent, Shelbey Koester Kayla Lancaster, Joe Pena Adviser: Mrs. Christine Cash Gilroy, JEA/CJE 2011 Iowa Journalism Teacher of the Year The Purple Onion welcomes Letters to the Editor. Letters must be signed.

eenagers have times in their lives when they feel the need to go out into the community and try to make a change. This could be easily achieved by simply bringing in non-perishable canned food to the school. Student council members scheduled the high school food drive to collect cans of food for the DeWitt Referral Center. The food drive lasted from Nov. 7 to Nov. 20, and on these days all cans brought in were delivered to the designated teachers assigned to individual grades. After the food drive ended, a can stacking contest was held on the same day.

Teams worked together to make the canned goods into a structure that could stand up by itself. Teams entered for the building contest constructed their creations in the high school atrium. Teams began at 7:30 a.m. and had to be done by 8 a.m. A team of judges then rated the structures, having taken place at 8 a.m. sharp. At the end of the day, the canned goods were delivered to the Referral Center. Another way students can help support the Referral Center other than donating canned goods is by participating in a volleyball tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 29, the day of a two-hour early dismissal. The tournament will start at 1:30 p.m. Students must be on a team of six to enter the event. The cost to participate in the per individual person on the team.

The teams themselves must contain at least two people of each gender: whether that’s two guys and four girls, or two girls and four guys does not matter. Sign-ups for the event will be accepted up until the game time. “As with each year, the high school student council tries to come up with creative ways to promote the annual food drive,” Mrs. Denise McAleer, student council adviser, said. “For some reason, it is like pulling teeth to have students bring in food. So, to make it more interesting we are building the drive around events where admission ‘costs’ food items.” The amount of food collected won’t be known until all of the events are over but everyone can hope that the referral center will get a good supply of food for the coming holiday season and beyond.

O N CAMPUS Marching band season concludes in a wash 4

The Purple Onion Central High School DeWitt, Iowa 52742 November 24, 2012



fter being rained out three separate times, Director Josh Greubel decided to give up on having one

“The rain didn’t allow us to do our last judged performance,” a disappointed

The Marching Sabers Pride is Central’s show was entitled ‘Afraid of the Dark?’ and included Touched By Fire, Insects Oingo Boingo, Frankenstein Winter, Evil Ways White Rabbit After marching in the 4th With practice during band class, Monthe Marching Sabers Pride performed at four home football games, two marching marching band was also scheduled to compete at the State Marching Band Festival,

Having a jolly good time. Sophomore Kate Tarchinski enjoys the moment as she performs in the marching band’s show during football game halftime. The marching band performed at four football games and two competitions. Photo by Allie Anderson.

there was no second rain date, the contest

the season on a strong note, Greubel is still

two band directors from other communities to come to DeWitt to evaluate the Rain

State Marching Band Contest was people worked hard, freshmen were welrain and lightning prevented the contest -



aking at the crack of dawn, loading into a van like a bunch of canned sardines, driving for what seems like forever to play your instrument all day — and give a concert that night. Eleven members of different classes participated in Saint Ambrose University’s 37th Annual Honor Band Festival Saturday, Oct. 27. At Honor Band, students show up and practice from about 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with a concert following at 7 p.m. “The concert was really cool,” freshman clarinetist Kaitlyn Rolling said. “We finally got to showcase the music we had been working on for hours throughout the day.” Everyone has his or her own least favorite part of the day. Rolling said she didn’t really enjoy the hours of practicing, while junior alto saxophone player Sarah Schoel said, “I didn’t care for the director as much as others.” “I didn’t care for how they added college visits into the day,” junior French horn player Colleen Gannon said. The parts people favor are completely different, too, such as “Hanging out with all the great people,” Rolling said. “The food was definitely my favorite,” Schoel said. “Our director was a goofy guy,” Gannon said, “but he was pretty cool.” One thing students could agree on was the size of the band. “It was smaller, but the students were more focused,” Gannon said.

“That band was a little smaller than ours, but there were some really good musicians attending,” Rolling said. Though students each have their own experiences with honor band, their directors do, too. They wake up just as early to drive their students where they need to be and hang out all day going to meetings, comparing notes, giving sectionals, or doing chair placement evaluations at the start of the day.

“I like that it is a day-long format,” Director Josh Greubel said, “but there were fewer schools that participated this year, as the festival moved dates and time.” Greubel added, “I thought there was a bit too much focus on recruiting with a tour of the campus.” With size of band, length of days, and overall setup, each honor band gives students and directors a different experience. “It wasn’t the biggest honor band I’ve

been in,” Rolling said. “I wish the numbers were a little bigger. But it was still enjoyable.” Gannon said, “It wasn’t as fun because we were more serious, but I learned a lot.” After a full day of practice, campus tours and eating, the students got dressed up and performed for their families and directors. “It went pretty well,” Gannon said. “We had practiced all day so our chops were tired, but we still sounded good.”

Double stack. Amber Haack, Sarah Schoel and Hailey Franzen clown around at honor band. Contributed photo.

Break. Front: Hannah Law, Aidan Connolly, Maggie Grell; Middle: Kaitlyn Rolling, Colleen Gannon, Amber Haack, Ellie Ladehoff; Back: Brooke Chapman, Sarah Schoel, Hailey Franzen and Tasha Becker attended honor band Oct. 27. Contributed Photo.


The Purple Onion Central High School DeWitt, Iowa 52742 November 24, 2012


Inductees anxious to serve school and community NHS adds 14 to help with service projects COURTNEY BURMEISTER STAFF WRITER


activity everyone should be encouraged to get involved with. It is an opportunity to get involved with many things with the town and people in the community. “Every year we have a goal to help out our community as much as we can,” senior Maggie Grell said. It is a good thing to think about. It looks good on many opportunities students may apply for in the future. ter Amy joined and it pushed me to join,” Grell said. “I also like all the opportunities it gives you.” complish many things in scholarship, leadership, service and character before acceptance. “There are a lot of things you have to do,” Grell says. “You have to get letters of recommendation, you have to be referred by a teacher and you have to tell about all

National Honor Society. Front: Drew Dieckmann, Aaron Tarchinski, Cameron Donovan, Hunter Ilg*, Christian Wright*, Aidan Connolly*, Thomas Burken*, Cameron O’Neil. Middle Row: Gretchen Henningsen*, Rebecca Grell*, Colleen Gannon*, Adrian Templeton*, Marci Nielsen*, Beka Lange*, Brooke Chapman*, Katie Burken*. Back Row: Emalee Thul, Elyse Arensdorf, Cori Peterzalek, Jordan Porth, AJ Smith, Lucas Sheppard, Maggie Gehlsen, Noelle Feldpausch*, Krista Duffy*, Maggie Grell. (* denotes newly inducted member). The induction, with Ms. LeAnn DePue adviser, was held October 8. Contributed photo. the activities you are in, whether it be in the community or school.” LeAnn DePue as sponsor, tries to get involved with as many community activities as possible. “I just want to make the community a better place,” junior Carter Cahill said.

helps out with are any fundraisers, such as the blood drives that go on several times a year. “I have helped out with the blood drive

1,000 people for free,” Grell said.

held here in DeWitt at Lincoln Park last spring, and this fall a few of us attended the Iowa Mission of Mercy that was held in Davenport which gave dental care to over

“I’m really looking forward to being able to help out the community and the ciety experience,” Cahill said.

to get involved with, and there are many things to look forward to while participat-

Light-hearted The Boyfriend a crowd-pleaser KAYLA LANCASTER STAFF WRITER

andy Wilson’s The Boyfriend was the musical put on by the

Kiss in the spotlight. Aaron Tarchinski leans in to give Rachael Bertolino a quick theatrical kiss in the musical The Boyfriend. Photo by Kayla Lancaster.

The stage director and choreographer was Mr. Tom Dean; musical director, Mrs. Jeannie Dean; and accompanist, Joyce Fletcher. Overall, the musical The Boyfriend was well choreographed and put together. Their singing and dance moves were synchronized very well, especially in Act I, during the performance of Won’t You Charleston? performed by Bobby

Andrea Weiss. Mikayla Coyle did a wonderful job with her French accent playing the part of the French maid, Hortense. Coyle made her part feel alive. Also, the costumes were appropriate for the time period of the 1920s in France. For an example, the swimsuits were modest. A humorous point that the audience loved and laughed about was the kiss in Act I during I Could Be Happy with You performed by Tony and Polly played by Aaron Tarchinski and Racheal Bertolino. The execution was awkward in the kiss because it looked like they were whispering in each other’s ears, as the perfect young ladies walked in on them “kissing.”

With social media, are face to-face conferences still necessary? BAILEY PEYTON STAFF WRITER


or many parents and teachers, the opportunity of the school year is to sit down face to face and discuss everything from their child’s academics to issues that are made in the classroom. Here is a story from behind the desk on one of the most interesting parent-teacher conferences. “Little ‘Johnny’ used to swear in class,” Mr. Karl Burmester, health teacher, said. “I said, ‘Johnny, that’s not appropriate. That’s

the way I’ve been brought up.’ And most teachers would say people are products of their environment.” Burmester said, “Mom and dad come how’s my ***** ***** son doing? Mom says, ‘You shouldn’t be saying those ***** *** words in the school. Dad goes, ‘Well that little ***** *** is disrupting class.’ that Johnny should not be saying those things.” In this day and age the questions arise about the need for conferences any more, with emails and cell phones becoming our No. 1 way of communication. Will face-to-

face conferences continue to be necessary? Many teachers believe the best way to communicate with students’ parents is to sit down and have a real, face-to-face conversation with them. Technology will continue to advance and texting, emailing, or social networking may be the more convenient way of contacting someone, but it should never take the place of face to face communication. “I’ve been working for 37 years, and the conferences are a good idea, but at the same time you don’t get the ones you need to come,” Burmester said. “Old or not, they should have a parent present just to have that needed face-to-face communication.

Also just as a parent myself, I want to hear what the teacher has to say. “ Interaction between parents, their children, and the teacher is often overlooked. Conferences, plus the concept of in-class and off-campus contact with both parents and teachers, must be upheld for the proper educational career of a student. “Finding out things about a student that you didn’t know before helps me understand the student’s situation,” Burmester said. “Parents need to get more involved with the students. At home, encouragement is helpful; you know a pat on the back never hurts.”



The Purple Onion Central High School DeWitt, Iowa 52742 November 24, 2012

Green finds ‘time of her life’ through her horses and riding KAILEI RIGGS STAFF WRITER

O -


Horse sense. Green stands beside her horse after a day of long day of grooming and riding, which she said she especially enjoys. Contributed Photo.

Newsroom dreaming led to baking and catering success in small town THEODORE PAPUGA STAFF WRITER

Words gives new meaning to namesake

Words Words, they live They have a spirit we just can’t see it They withstand the years seeing some of the most Beautiful and horrific events We just have to wake up and smell the flowers



Changing over the years from groovy to legit Put them with music and they penetrate the soul Speak to the spirit within Love letters that survive the ages Full of love and life after All these years



Words, the Ultimate Communicator


—Emalee Thul

Black Friday: Holiday fun or unnecessary tradition? CIERRA SVETICH











The Purple Onion Central High School DeWitt, Iowa 52742 November 24, 2012


Cancer leaves sisters ‘thankful for every day’ ALYSSA KENT STAFF WRITER


e all have things in life that we’re thankful for every day. The Henningsen sisters, Gretchen and Skylar, are so thankful for being survivors of cancer. Henningsen kids, has had three kids suffer from cancer. “We are all thankful to be alive for sure,” Skylar said. “Some of us have had it worse than others, but it’s scary no matter what.” Gretchen, a junior, was the last of the girls to get diagnosed with severe atypical spitz nevus melanoma on her arm in October 2010, her freshman year, when she was 15 years old. “It’s a long recovery process, but the mental recovery process is the hardest.” Gretchen said. “Knowing you have cancer is the scariest thing you could ever imagine, because you never know what can happen in the shortest amount of time, everything happens so fast. ”

Skylar, a senior, was also diagnosed with severe atypical spitz nevus melanoma in her toe, that had to be removed when she was 9 years old. Throughout the years, Skylar also has had many different surgeries for tumors in her jaw. “I’m so thankful they caught our cancer when they did,” Skylar said. “Otherwise it would have gotten worse.” Their other sister, Ashten, who is now graduated from college, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at the age of 3. Ashten’s cancer was the worst because she had to go trough chemo and radiation and then underwent experimental treatment because the tumors in her stomach kept coming back. Skylar and Gretchen only had to undergo surgery to remove the melanoma. It’s hard to stay strong at times, but it’s the little things that their family does that make them so thankful. “It’s like it never stops,” Skylar said. “You are constantly being tested and checked but it never gets easy. No matter what surgery you have to have, it’s physically painful, and takes a lot of energy to get through it.“ “Our family and friends have been so

helpful to us and we are thankful for that as well,” Gretchen added. “When bad things like this are in common, you have to remember to live for every day and be thankful for what you have, because it could so easily be taken away

from you.“ Skylar and Gretchen both agree it is important to be thankful for health and family, and to live and love every day because nobody ever promised that you would be there tomorrow.

Hanging in there. Henningsen sisters, Skylar, on left, and Gretchen, on right, get their picture taken after their surgeries. Henningsen sisters are thankful for friends and family who continue to support them and their health. Contributed photos.

‘I’m the floater, I fit in wherever’ JOLENE SANGER EDITOR IN CHIEF


friend told me I should swim with her,” swimmer Rylee Kerper said as she recalls making the decision to start swimming her freshman year. “I went to camp with her that year, I wasn’t very good but I really enjoyed it.” Kerper is a senior who competes on the Clinton High School girls’ swim team. Unlike most athletes on sports teams,

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. Rylee Kerper poses for her individual team picture. Contributed photo.

always competes in. They refer to her as “Personally, I’m best at the breaststroke,

they need me,” Kerper said. know anybody. But they put me in one lane and I got to know those girls really well,” Kerper said. “They kept switching me from lane to lane, though, and that’s how I met everybody. We all got really close.” Kerper is dismissed from school everyday at 2:40 p.m. to go to Clinton to be on time for practice. The swimmers practice for about two hours after school. “Practice is hard but it really pays off in the end,” Kerper said. “You’re happy with yourself at the end.” Kerper has been swimming on a school swim team since her freshman year of

high school. She’s thinking about starting the swim team for the River City Aquatics (RCA). “It will give me an easier chance to make state times,” Kerper said. Kerper said that college swimming isn’t really something she’s interested in. “That’s a lot of pressure and I really just swim for the fun of it.” Like any athlete in any sport, Kerper also has goals in mind for the season ahead. “I want to work on my times and improve those,” Kerper said. “I would also like to make relay for state.” “It’s a good sport. It really pushes you. You have to use all your muscles. It’s a lot of cardio all while you can’t breathe,” Kerper said. “It makes me feel tough.”

Franklin: ‘God knew I could handle it better than others’ EMILY SMITH STAFF WRITER


iranda Claire Franklin was born December 18, 1995, to two eager parents, Jessica and Troy

Franklin. Before Franklin was born, however, her umbilical cord had wrapped around her left elbow, causing circulation below her elbow to stop. Her arm had withered and disconnected in the womb. “It was a complete surprise to my parents when I was born with only half of my left arm,” Franklin said. Every teenage girl has her own daily struggles, but some are more obvious for Franklin, such as styling the back of her hair to something as simple as tying her shoes. Most things she accomplishes with no problem, such as getting dressed, which for her is as simple as for anybody else. She can also put her hair up, no problem.

Making friends for Franklin is easy, uncomfortable about what they perceive as a handicap. “Sometimes it’s extremely awkward for some people,” Franklin said, “because they don’t know what to say about it, or if they can joke about it or if I’m self conscious about it or not.” A common response when Franklin’s friends are asked what she’s like is, “She’s bubbly, and she can always make me laugh,” junior Kristen Coomer said. Franklin said, “I love to sing, dance, and hang out with my friends. Scary movies are my favorite.” Some people might wonder why Franklin doesn’t use a prosthetic arm. “It holds me back,” she said, “and it’s heavy and you probably wouldn’t want to carry a big hunk of plastic that won’t do anything.” She learned how to do everything without a prosthesis when she was younger, so she feels no need to use it now.

Franklin is just like every other teenage girl, trying to survive high school, but some people feel as if they need to treat her differently. “People try to do stuff for me a lot,” Franklin said. “Sometimes it irritates me. I like to be independent and do it like everyone else. But other than that, mostly everyone’s pretty cool about it.” When she was little, Franklin never felt different. “I was always told I was special,” she said. “I was given this because God knew I could handle it better than others.” Through all of this, Franklin is still thankful for everything and everyone in her life. “I’m so grateful for my friends’ and family’s unconditional love, for my little sister (Madison Franklin, 8) and for my life,” Franklin said. “I could have had it worse.” “I hate it when people buy me gloves,” Franklin jokingly said. “I wear a glove and a sock to stay warm.”

Just like you. Franklin poses with her homecoming date before the dance. Franklin’s friends describe her as a bubbly personality. Contributed photo.



The Purple Onion Central High School DeWitt, Iowa 52742 November 24, 2012

Nielsen learns value of honest day’s work during family’s harvest season PETER KEEGAN STAFF WRITER


ootball games, brisk weather, bon-

come to mind when you think of fall, but most farm kids face the start of the harSenior Mitch Nielsen lives on a farm just outside of Low Moor and brings a perspective of fall through the eyes of a farmer. He describes his house during the fall as busy and unorganized because his mom is busy with the harvest. Nielsen works with his mom and dad farming roughly 2,000 acres of land that’s near their farm. They farm a mix of soybeans and corn, roughly a half-and- half ratio. Nielsen’s day starts when he wakes up early and checks the combines and does basic maintenance on the machines, such as greasing them. gotten much easier recently because a modern combine has an auto-steer ability where it can guide itself so you can relax and basically just supervise the harvest. “I basically just sit there,” Nielsen said, “and just have to turn around when I reach the end of a row.” Though being a farmer may seem fun at times, it is time-consuming work. Nielsen said the harvest keeps him from partici-

At Work. pating in football because his family really needs the help during that time. It also keeps him from attending some Friday night games. As a farmer, Nielsen said he gains the

The things we are thankful for make for a special holiday BAILEY PEYTON STAFF WRITER


t is true that enjoying close ties to one’s family can engender feelings of inner peace and spiritual well being, even more so in a world that is both unpredictable and materialistic. Even if your family may fall far short of a usual idolized and yet beautiful picture of a family on Thanksgiving there still is a reason to be thankful — far apart or close together, family and friends are what others say are the only ingredients needed to be thankful. Some family and friends, however, go through obstacles just to make it work. “Complications seem to occur with my kids,” Mr. Craig Reuter said. “They have always at each other’s throats it seems.” Even so, Reuter sees the positive side. “I would say that I am thankful for my family, friends, and the Chicago White Sox. “ In other parts of the world, not all people have a celebration equal to Thanksgiving. In fact, some family gatherings have been outlawed by governments across the seas. Here are some statistics about Thanks-

giving Day dinner, done by “Business Insider”: 3,000: the calories the average person consumes; 12 million: Butterball turkeys sold each year; 675 million: pounds of turkey consumed: 50 million: pumpkin pies eaten; 350: Approximate number of pounds the largest pumpkin pie ever made weighed (It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs, measured 5 feet in diameter and took six hours to bake); 40: million green bean casseroles made. It may seem strange for some to know that seafood and venison, not turkey, were most likely served at the Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends; it is human nature to want to be with others of your own kind. After we have consumed 675 million pounds of poultry, passed out from food in a coma on the couch, and then eaten leftovers for three weeks straight, we come back for more every year. As a family and as a country, Americans will always consider Thanksgiving an opportunity to carbout and enjoy some family bonding for at least one day a year. “I am thankful for spending a Thanksgiving with the new people I’ve met moving here to DeWitt,” sophomore Kailei Riggs said. “I have the opportunity to know all of these wonderful people.”

value of an honest day’s work, he learns something new every day, and most important, makes some spending money. Inclement weather, malfunctioning machines, complex transportation and long

nights are just a few examples of the stresses during harvest season. “The season is enjoyable the majority of the time,” Nielsen said, “but sometimes stressful.”


The Purple Onion Central High School DeWitt, Iowa 52742 November 24, 2012


Guess which Central Pubs staffer is in the costume 1








Possible Answers: Kayla Lancaster, Shelbey Koester, Allie Anderson, Jolene Sanger, Logan Haley, Shelby Carrier, Lydia Ahrens, Aidan Connolly

The most wonderful time of the year: haunted housing season SHELBEY KOESTER STAFF WRITER


creams of terror echo off the walls as she walks through the haunted -

Fear rolls down her back when she knows something is about to happen, and then — the fun has just begun for teens who wait Not too many students can admit they once cried during a haunted house, but senior Ivy Nevenhoven will tell you all about

happened. “All of us started crying because the people started saying our names,” Nevenhoven said. Senior Hannah Macumber, on the othhaunted house was at the fair grounds and she distinctly remembers only some parts

were scary. “They had air soft guns that would shoot out at us,” Macumber said. “Sounds like it wouldn’t be scary, but it came by surprise.” There can be good haunted houses and there can be bad; they all are pricey, too. Nevenhoven has a monetary game plan when it comes to the Halloween season. “You need to go into it knowing what is good and what is bad,” Nevenhoven said. “If they are good, it is worth the money, but if they are not scary, and dumb, don’t bother spending the money.” “The cheaper ones are better at times,” Macumber said. Haunted Houses are the main thing to do during the Halloween season. Making sure to get to one is at the top of everyone’s priority list. “I go to as many as I can because they are so much fun,” Nevenhoven said. “It’s funny watching other people get really scared.” Haunted houses are better than corn mazes, Nevenhoven said. “There are more times you get scared and they have a lot

more going on,” she said. Macumber, on the other hand, wouldn’t mind trying out the mazes. “I’ve never been in a corn maze yet,” Macumber said. “I was a chicken last year; I want to go, though.” Every year, it is a tradition to go to the haunted houses everyone believes will be the best and the scariest. “Getting scared,” Nevenhoven said, “is the best part.”

Survey: Favorite Halloween Candy

Survey: Favorite Halloween Movie

Boo. Hannah Macumber, center, extended her arm and took a phone picture of herself, Shelbey Koester and Cori Peterzalek before going into a haunted house. Contributed photo.

Surveys by Jolene Sanger, Alyssa Kent, Kayla Lancaster



The Purple Onion Central High School DeWitt, Iowa 52742 November 24, 2012

Boys’ team prepares for yet another difficult season


did a lot in the summer, playing games every Sunday down in Davenport to get us ready,” junior Jesse Brackey said. “We worked hard as a team, whether it was just playing or lifting. We have gotten better and much stronger as a team,” senior Lucas Sheppard said. The team, like any team for any sport, starts its new season with new goals.Of course, their main goal is to win as many games as they can. “I want to improve our record from last season,” Sheppard said. “I want to stay clear of the drama on the

the boys are ready to bump up their skills to take on all of their competition. “We have one of the toughest conferences in the state, and many teams have a lot of talent returning,” senior A.J. Smith said. Some tough competition won’t intimidate this team, though. These boys are no strangers to hard work and dedication. The boys put in a lot of effort this past summer to get ready for the upcoming season. “Our summer camp went well and we

Scott,” Brackey said. Even though it’s a new season, the sport isn’t new to these guys. “After playing last year, I am comfortable, so no nervous energy,” senior, Mitch Green said “I’m excited to see the competition for playing time,” Frick said. The new season will bring not only new faces, but also some new talent from the boys who previously were not on varsity. “The guys coming up will help us out tremendously and I am looking forward to


any of the boys who left behind the football season are heading straight into their basketball season. They’re hoping to be just as successful in this upcoming season as they were in their last football season. “Excitement is in the air,” Coach Jeff Frick said. The boys’ basketball team is

playing with them,” Green said. The team seems to be well balanced with boys in different grades. They work hard together and only want the best for

their upcoming season. “We have a good mixture with juniors and seniors,” Frick said. “We have the potential on the team.”

Getting a head start. Mitch Kirby, Jesse Brackey and Billy Dolan lead the team in their warm-up laps before practice. Photo by Allison Anderson.

Saber girls prepare for basketball season KYLE BAUER STAFF WRITER


irls’ basketball team is getting ready for an exciting season The season is fast approaching. Coach Mark Kurtz disclosed details of how the girls’ season will evolve. Kurtz said some goals for the girls are to work very hard at every practice and every

game. “The girls will show continued improvement at each game and do the best possible job that they can,” Kurtz explained. “They want to enjoy themselves while growing as a tea,” Kurtz said. The team will be facing some challenges throughout the season. They are moving from the 3A to the 4A division. “They will need to develop their skill set

group,” Kurtz said. “Each player will continue to grow as an individual player and their growth needs to mesh with the team concept,” he said. “It should prove to be a competitive season as the team will be competing in one of the best conferences in the state.” Sophomore Miranda Meland said, “The team’s expectations for the season are to keep working hard every practice and continue to push each other so they can compete, come game time.”

Meland added, “The team will continue to improve with time and experience.” As far as predictions for the season, “Let’s let the fans and the media do the predicting,” Kurtz said. “The team would like to deal with what they know, learn and see.” “The girls are going to concern themselves with what they have control over,” Kurtz said, “and let others worry about predictions.”

School proud of Sabers making it to quarterfinals Once a Saber, always a Saber. Senior football players pose for one last picture with the

Sabers on three. The boys come together to chant as a team and hold the trophy high one last time after their last game of the season at Decorah. Photo by Aidan Connolly.

Go, Sabers, Go.

11 M USICAL Drama department puts on The Boyfriend The Purple Onion Central High School DeWitt, Iowa 52742 November 24, 2012

Singing your heart out. Cast members of The Boyfriend junior Miah Betz

May I have this dance? Junior Lydia Ahrens dances with her partner Broady Bloomer, a junior, along with junior Breanna Rohde and senior Hunter Ilg. Many other cast members also took part in this scene. Photo by Kayla Lancaster.

Sur La Plage. Cast members welcome Act II by a quick musical number that included the entire cast. The cast was spending a nice day at the beach, this is when cast member Rachael Bertolino secretly met with her boyfriend, played by Aaron Tarchinski. Photo by Kayla Lancaster.

Smile to the crowd. Drew Dieckmann shoots a smile to the crowd while at the beach. Photo by Kayla Lancaster.

Stealing hearts. Andrea Weiss’s character tried to steal the attention of another character. Photo by Kayla Lancaster.

Sing it out. Tasha Becker passionately sings her song, Don’t Wanna Play with Me Blues. Photo by Kayla Lancaster.

Struttin’ his stuff. Cameron Donovan Kayla Lancaster.



The Purple Onion Central High School DeWitt, Iowa 52742 November 24, 2012

Forever a hero in my eyes: a Korean War veteran JOLENE SANGER EDITOR IN CHIEF




War strikes. Drafted in 1952, Rex



Free time. -

Friends for life.

Got your yearbook? Don’t miss out.

Yearbooks will cost more second semester. LIKE us on Facebook! Ask for one for Christmas. The Centralian Yearbook ad campaign

Hundreds of Pubs pictures and video clips can be viewed on our Facebook account, saberpublications, recently set up by Aidan Connolly. Buy any picture for $3 by contacting

You can also Tweet us @SaberPubs.

Yearbooks are on sale through the semester for $40, with name stamp an additional $4. Checks can be made out to “Central Yearbook.” Contact Mrs. Gilroy through the school e-mail if you have questions:

starts this month. Order that salute ad for your favorite senior, or advertise your business. Ads run from $60 for a business-card sized ad, up to $250 for a full page ad. Publications Class is doing some fundraising to help meet expenses. Look for upcoming ways you can help out this worthwhile program that has produced so many career journalists and communications graduates .

The Purple Onion 11/24/12  

Central High School Publications Class DeWitt, Iowa 52742

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