Page 1

hield S

Volume 26, Issue 4


November 21, 2013

Saint Thom as Aquinas High School




Photo by ANNIE SCHUGART | The Shield

Executive Student Council member Chris Ernst diligently paints “Canned Food Drive” on one side of several boxes of food, with “One Team One Family” and “Dare Greatly” painted on the other sides. This year’s canned food drive brought in a national-record-breaking amount of 117,705 cans to benefit Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas.

Inside Theology Teacher To Be Sent to Afghanistan Page A2 Then and Now: Former Students Return as Teachers Page A2

Sophomore Beats the Odds Page A3 SAINTS BRING IN THE STORM Pages A4-5

50 Reasons to Be a Saint Page A6 Opinions Page A7 “The Bottom Line” Poll REsults Page A8 Sports Pages B1-3 Last Look: Senior Assassins Page B4

IN JUST ONE WEEK... ...Saints broke a national record while serving others, took home two state titles, and broke a cross country state record.

by ANNIE SCHUGART Editor-in-Chief When students claim Aquinas is the best school community, it’s no longer just an opinion. It’s nearly fact. What other school can claim they won two state titles and significantly broke a national record while serving others, all in one week? SAINTS BRING IN THE STORM The Aquinas community stepped it up once again to bring in a record-breaking amount of 117,705 cans as Catholic Charities’s number one provider. “This school is jam packed with some incredible leaders, upperclassmen and underclassmen alike, and

a faculty and staff and parent community that never fails to make this week so special year after year,” Student Council President Annie Lind said. Read more on A4 and A5. GIRLS’ CROSS COUNTRY BREAKS STATE RECORD The girls’ cross country team earned a perfect 15 points at the state championship meet, not only bringing home a 5A state title but also a state record. “It was so cool standing in the finish shoot surrounded by blue and gold, and I hear could hear the speaker over the intercom screaming that we were making state history,” senior Grace Geiger said. Senior Bailee Cofer won overall, leading the team with a time of 15:28.34. Junior Emily Downey placed second, and Geiger placed third. Read more on B1. SOCCER IS BACK ON TRACK After going 4-3 in the league and playing the number one team in Kansas

Weekend Weather

Tweets of the Month






22 Sunday



during the state finals game, the boys’ soccer team got back on track and brought home another victory for Aquinas. Although St. James was up by two points, senior Nick Hagenkord was able to score two goals, tying the game. Minutes before the game was over, Hagenkord scored again, bringing home the 15th state championship for boys’ soccer at Aquinas. “You couldn’t write a movie script better than the way we finished the season,” coach Craig Ewing said. Read more on B1.


29 16 34

days until Christmas break

school days until Christmas break days until Christmas

Campus News A2 The Shield

November 21, 2013

BROWN TO BE SENT TO WAR ZONE The theology teacher will be sent to Afghanistan this spring with the Air Force Reserve.

there is a chance I get deployed,” Brown said. Aquinas will have to find a Every day, American milinew substitute for Brown until tary members are stationed over- he comes back sometime around seas in critical areas to protect November 2014. our freedom. In March, theology “The administration has teacher Leo Brown will be one been great with working with of those members. me,” Brown said. “A lot of my Brown is a first sergeant in fellow airmen are not as lucky as the Air Force Reserve’s 442nd I am to have such great people to Fighter Wing at Whiteman Air work with like Dr. [Bill] Ford.” Force Base, Mo. When war comes to mind, “A few people think months ago, of the worst. “When I tell people that I my boss “When called me I tell people I am in the Air Force, people and said am in the Air they we had ask me what kind of plane Force, people been activatask me what I fly. They don’t really ed,” Brown kind of plane said. “I was do I fly. They realize what I do.” surprised, but don’t really being in the realize what LEO BROWN reserve you I do,” Brown theology teacher always have said. “If I am the mindset flying planes, you might be called at anytime.” you need to move to Canada beThe Aquinas community cause we are losing the war.” will miss Brown. Brown’s job is to make sure Theology teacher Phyllis his troops’ heads are “screwed Distler said, “I think he will be on straight.” He does not work missed very much. I know his on any equipment, but he makes students love him and he is a sure that the people who are very valuable part of Aquinas.” deployed have the right mindset. Students will also miss him, “I am like a big brother to but should not be completely the airmen,” he said. surprised. Brown is the link between “At the beginning of the a commander and that comyear, I always tell my students mander’ troops. Brown has been

by BRYAN ZACK Campus News Editor

Photo by BRYAN ZACK | The Shield

Thelology teacher Leo Brown will be deployed to Afganistan in late March. It will be his first tiime being deployed in a war zone in his military career. His classroom has a dozen posters of fighter jets.

doing this job for four years and said it is by far the hardest job he has ever had. It requires a lot of long hours and hard work. He has had to deal with a lot of sad and tough situations. “My second day on the job, someone in my unit died and I thought, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’” Brown had to identify the body and had to tell the family that their loved one was not

coming home. During Brown’s first few months on the job, his reserve unit had an unusually-high three deaths. This will be the first time Brown has deployed to a war zone in his 16-year military career, but not the first time he has been sent overseas. He spent part of four summers at U.S. air bases in Germany writing stories for military publications. Brown is going to be going to be doing

a lot of training about what to expect in Afghanistan and in a war zone. “There are certain things you might do in our country that are perfectly acceptable but over in Afghanistan could be very offensive,” he said. Brown hopes to return to Aquinas in late November and perhaps start teaching by the begginning of second semester. g

STUDENTS RETURN HOME Majerle and Thelen return as teachers after being students at Aquinas.

by JORDAN BARTZ Opinions Editor Aquinas alums Bryan Thelen and Emily Majerle returned to their old high school and became foreign language teachers less than five years after graduating. As students, both Herr Thelen and Mademoiselle Majerle took Latin their freshman year and then took the language that they now teach for the last three years of high school. “One of my favorite memories from my Aquinas days was freshman year when we did Mr. (Greg) Wilson’s Latin project,” Thelen said. “It was kind of

crazy but it was a lot of fun in the end.” Thelen even finished four years of German in just three years because the German program used to be self-paced under Frau Nickum. He started his sophomore year and finished German IV by his senior year. Thelen was also involved in cross country, track, German Club, co-captain of ICAN (now Touching Tiny Lives) and was the editor-in-chief of the newspaper. Majerle was involved in French Club, STAPLES, National Honor Society and Teens for Life before graduating from Aquinas in 2008. Majerle enjoyed these clubs because

on The Shield. they brought her closer to her “All of the long nights friends. Majerle and Thelen won the spent preparing the newspaper French and German department were always fun and are one of my awards favorite at Senior memoMass. “The big difference between ries from Both then and now that I see is the Aquinas,” enjoyed Thelen hanging increase in faith [at Aquinas]. ” said. out with Mafriends in EMILY MAJERLE jerle has the comFrench/English teacher noticed mons afa major ter school change at Aquinas in a short time. when they were students. “The big difference beThelen also remembers fun tween then and now that I see is times during trying moments, the increase in faith,” she said. like when he was running with “When I was here there was friends during cross country Mass offered maybe once or and track seasons or working

twice a week. Now it’s offered every day. We even have adoration with the Archbishop now.” After high school, both teachers went to the University of Kansas and earned their teaching degree before returning to Aquinas. They got to know each other better at KU. Majerle is still adjusting to her new role at Aquinas. “Coming back and teaching with your former teachers has been kind of crazy,” she said. “It’s pretty weird to be calling all of them by their first names. Especially because some of them were the ones that first got me thinking about teaching in the first place.” g

Then and Now

Photo by JORDAN BARTZ | The Shield

Herr Thelen goes over homework with his first hour German I class. Thelen, who graduated from Aquinas in 2008, has returned as a German teacher.


The Shield A3

November 21, 2013




Sophomore Nick Battaglia beat the unpromising survival odds for his grade four brain tumor, a near-miracle he credits to God. by ANNIE SCHUGART Editor-in-Chief The doctors said there was a high chance he wouldn’t wake up from surgery. But sophomore Nick Battaglia fought the odds and lived through it, thankful that God had saved his life. Battaglia was attending Barstow his freshman year when he started passing out in the hallways, throwing up, and getting dizzy, all causing him to ultimately miss about half of his freshman year. He knew something was wrong, but his doctors declared it only a virus. Eventually, in April of 2012, an MRI determined he had a brain tumor. “When [the doctors] told me that I had a brain tumor, I knew everything was going to be okay,” Battaglia said. “I was really calm about it.” In May, treatment started. For the first six weeks, he received treatment once a week, and later began radiation on his head and spine. After a brief break from treatment, he started nine months of chemotherapy and staying in the hospital.

Now my

mean it was going to be an easy road to recovery. He had to rest for fourteen days after the surgery and “literally did not move one muscle for all those days.” He had to relearn how to walk, regain strength, and rebuild motor skills he had lost during the surgery. Even after some recovery, it was difficult to walk across the room. He had to regain his sense of balance and perception. Even now, he has to be monitered very close for the next several years and possibly the rest of his life. Yet he remains positive. “I was like, why did—of all people—this have to happen to me?” he said. “And I still ask that question. But I think that God has a plan for everybody, and this wouldn’t have happened if He didn’t want it to happen for a special reason.” And it certainly must’ve been for a special reason. It is evident in the eyes of Aquinas staff and students that Battaglia is truly a Saint. Treatment ended for him in February of this year, but he missed his entire sophomore year at Barstow. He transferred to Aquinas this year as a sophomore, although he knew some juniors at Aquinas. Theology teacher Leo Brown, who has Battaglia in his sophomore theology class, said there is a huge amount of admiration and respect

every day


and giving me

“There were a few times when I started having doubts, like right when I started chemotherapy,” he said. “That really took my energy level down, and that’s when I started having doubts about being able to be a normal kid again.” He ultimately underwent surgery to remove the brain tumor. This was when the doctors told him there was a slim chance of survival. Yet, against nearly all odds, he survived. “I was so relieved,” he said, “because I didn’t know if I was going to wake up after surgery or not.” But just because he beat the odds didn’t

for Nick as well. He said his experiences have strengthened his faith. “Now every night I thank God for saving my life and giving me another chance,” he said. “Every day is a blessing, and we don’t know how long we have on this Earth. It could just be gone in a minute.” Battaglia believes God gave his doctors the knowledge to treat his disease and truly believes God saved his life. He also remembers how supportive his family and friends were and how they all prayed for him to beat the odds as well. “Nicolas is a remarkable young man who never complained and never questioned why and always believed that God would see him through,” said his father, Marion Battaglia.”He has always had tremendous faith and knew that it was in Gods hands.” His father said the generous care at Children’s Mercy Hospital and the support and prayers from family and friends made all the difference. When asked if he believes those prayers helped him, Battaglia answered immediately and said they absolutely did. “When I got sick, some people like family friends didn’t really have much of a relation-

I thank God for


another chance. - Nicolas Battaglia, sophomore

for Battaglia. Brown even asked if Battaglia would like to speak in front of the class about his experience. Battaglia did, and during this time, Brown said anyone could’ve heard a pin drop for those ten to fifteen minutes. “The thing I admire most about Nick is he is a great example of ‘I’m in class for the good of other people,’” Brown said. “He’s always willing to participate and pitch in his two cents worth for the good of the class. The kids have loved having him in class.” The experience has been an eye-opening one

Photo courtesy Nicolas Battaglia

Nicolas Battaglia, far left, celebrates Christmas with his dad’s family the year before he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

ship with God, and from what I’ve heard, those people started praying for me and started going to church,” he said. “Like my great-uncle was an atheist, and now he is totally involved with God because of my experience.” He continued, “Maybe it was a good thing this happened to me. I really wish this wouldn’t have happened to me,” Battaglia said, “but then I think now I can just tell everybody about how God saved my life.” If that isn’t evidence of a true Saint, then who knows what is. g

Photo courtesy Nicolas Battaglia

Battaglia, second from left, poses for a photo last year when he was sick during Christmas.


A6 The Shield

November 21, 2013

50 REASONS TO BE A SAINT g Saints for a Day: Here’s why you should come to Saint Thomas Aquinas.

by ANNIE SCHUGART Editor-in-Chief

1 2 3

We are truly a Communion of Saints. We are a Blue Ribbon School and succeed academically. The actions of your fellow classmates will inspire you each and every day to be like the Saints in heaven.


You’ll bleed gold and blue forever.


We enjoy breaking records: what other school collects 117,000 cans for the less fortunate?

6 7

You’ll find that the Alma Mater gets stuck in your head often. What other school has an all-school huddle with their chaplain?

We are faith-focused, even in sports and extracurriculars. There is nothing more amazing than seeing a sports team gather in the chapel for Mass before a big game.


9 10 11 12 13

Aquinas will become your home. We succeed in all aspects: academics, arts, sports, etc.

You’ll love Aquinas so much that you’ll never want to graduate. Teachers teach not only academics but also faith.

You’ll see God in the people surrounding you.


From the moment you walk in the door, you’ll be a member of a new family.


Friday night football games are amazing, and there’s no better team to cheer for.


There are opportunities with honors courses, college credit, and AP tests.


You’ll have the opportunity to attend Kairos your senior year and it will change your life.


You’ll have the opportunity to go on mission trips.


You’ll be a part of class competition which brings students together.

20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

You’ll gather an unnatural collection of Saints spirit wear and absolutely love it.

Daily Mass in the chapel is incredible. The cafeteria has the best cookies ever. We are always winning state titles. The courtyard is beautiful. You’ll love it when people ask you where you go to school. You’ll establish a lifelong desire to serve others.

No matter how tired you are, you’ll probably find yourself looking forward to school as you walk in the doors in the morning.


You’ll never experience a dull day in your time here.

29 30 31 32 33 34

It’s awesome to see students gathered for the decade of the rosary after school. Our student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1.

We have the chapel as the cornerstone of our school. Class service projects are an incredible opportunity to bond with your classmates.

You’ll be a part of 26 years of tradition and of excellence.

35 36 37 38 39

There are several sports and activities for everyone to get involved in. Aquinas provides a world full of opportunities; you’ll have opportunities you could never imagine. You’ll be challenged each and every day to be the best you can be.

Aquinas has had many successful alumni. 81% of faculty hold a Master’s degree. There is just an incredible feeling of walking through the halls at Aquinas being surrounded by true Saints.


You’ll find yourself well-prepared for the future, not only academically but also spiritually.


Father Schmitz offers Bible study.


99% of our graduates pursue higher education. The rest jump straight to a career.


The teachers put everything into their job and help students both in and out of the classroom. They’re always willing to give up their time to help you; they’re not just doing it for the money.

44 45 46 47 48

It’s nice to be able to wear a uniform every day.

You’ll make lifelong memories. We have great resources for sports and activities, such as the turf field. You’ll never regret being a Saint. You’ll meet so many different people who will impact your life every day.

You’ll find yourself constantly striving to dare greatly and become legendary like those who have gone before us in the Communion of Saints.



We’re always aiming for the best in everything we do, but we do it for God alone.

Photo by TROY HILDERHOF | The Shield


The Shield A7

November 21, 2013


Want to see your opinion published on this page? The Shield welcomes opinion articles from any Aquinas student or faculty member as we seek to be the voice of Aquinas, and approved opinion articles will be published on this page. If you are interested in writing an opinion article or helping out in any way, please contact editor-in-chief Annie Schugart at ASchugart14@

practiced the songs, analyzed the characters, and memorized the “I thought it was really good. Very talented singers, lines for hours at a time. Our dancers and actors.” - Caroline Backs, junior hard work paid off, and when the moment of truth came, we “I thought some interactions were a bit stilted, but saw our names at the top of the the singing was very nice.” - Shannon Becker, senior cast list. After two years of being in “I really enjoyed it! “All Shook Up” had the right the spotlight, junior year came amount of comedy and drama—not to mention I’m a (“Anything Goes”). I was given closeted Elvis buff and loved the songs that were used.” a chorus role, and still had a - Alexis Gulbransen, junior great time tapping away in the background while Sarah Gabriel “It was amazing! Funny and good singing!” belted her face off. - Dugan Hult, freshman This year, “All Shook Up” gave me a unique, time-of-my“It was so good and the seniors were mighty fine!” life-so-much-fun-I-can’t-stand-it - Sarah Brekke, senior experience. I had the opportunity to make people laugh as I “I was in it and the support that came out was embraced my inner awkwardness amazing. I know everyone in tthe cast really appreand unleashed my inner man. My ciated everyone’s time to see our hard work.” character was so much like me - John Viso, sophomore that I just got to have fun being myself onstage (except for, you “There is some major talent at this school!” know, when I was a boy. I AM - Ellie Boring, senior NOT A BOY.). As the curtain closes on my time here at Aquinas, I look back for, and I don’t have a single you sexually harass someone at the person I was four years regret. I made some of the best onstage dressed in drag, being ago and smile. Before theatre friends I’ve ever head, and I have became a part of my life, I wore yourself is an easier task. I allearned how to break out of ways thought a mask others’ expectations of me, how I would be constantly. “I always thought I would sad when all to work hard and persevere, how I so desto accept defeat and victory. And my Aquinas perately be sad when all my STA most importantly, by wearing musicals were wanted musicals were over, but I the theatrical masks of a sullen over, but I to be like Puerto Rican, a Nubian princess, am strangely everyone am strangely at peace.” a wealthy snob, and an awkward, at peace. I else that love-struck mechanic, I have know that I I forgot learned how to take off my own have gotten how to be me. I now have no mask and play the role I was more out of these experiences fear of being myself with othborn to play—my own. g than I could have ever hoped ers—because let’s face it, after

What did you think of this year’s musical?

path, and become... dare I say it... a theatre geek. When I auditioned for my first musical here (West Side Story), I was so scared I blacked out. Yup, all I can remember from that audition was hitting the high C at the end of the audition song and thanking baby by KATHLEEN Jesus that I didn’t crack. I also MITCHELL remember a whole lot of upper classmen asking me, “Was that Guest of The Shield you?!” After that, I got called When I was in middle back for the lead role and began school, I didn’t have a whole to see that I wasn’t so bad at lot of friends or a whole lot of this theatre thing after all. I endself-confidence. I was desperate ed up being cast in a featured for the popular kids to like me, role (not to the delight of many for people to think that I was former seniors). Suddenly, peo“cool”. ple weren’t Obviously, “As the curtain closes on my looking that never at me as haptime here at Aquinas, I look “Emily and pened—I Elise’s little was a skin- back at the person I was four sister”— ny, lowthey were years ago and smile. ” voiced nerd seeing me as with wonky Kathleen. I teeth and finally had an entity outside of “Peter Pan hair” (as my sisters my siblings’ shadow. so lovingly put it). When the When the musical was time came, I was eager to enter announced for the next year high school and maybe escape (“Aida”), it brought a whole new from my life of insecurity. set of challenges. A friend and I I walked into Aquinas began extensively researching the freshman year with a whole lot show, and I felt myself drawn to of false trails set up for me. I the title role. Against the slew of have three older siblings that people telling me that a lead role went here before me—two for an underclassman was simply were cheerleaders, one was impossible, I decided to go for an athlete. Everyone assumed it. I holed myself in my room I would follow in their footall summer (with the company steps. However, I was about to of Catherine Kluempers) and choose a completely different

Senior reflects on her past four years participating in the musicals at Aquinas.


Living a life of love is a vision and way of life for this Aquinas student.

by MAGGIE BOONE Guest of The Shield When I arrived home from my Kairos retreat this past summer, I made a promise to myself and to everyone else on that retreat: to love every single person in the entire world the way I loved those people during the four amazing days. Sometimes I sit and wonder, why? Why would I ever subject myself to such a hard task? But then I remember how beautiful people can be and how much they deserve to be loved. My vision is to be an inspiration to others through every action that I do. This last summer was so hard for me. I went through a lot of pain, with my best friend



to live out my promise, I’m constantly doing more. I say yes when opportunities are handed to me. When I didn’t make it into the musical, I worked so much harder to make myself better. Failure isn’t an option. When I see a person with tears pouring down their face, and I’m in a hurry to get somewhere, I have to stop to help them. The amount of fear of being rejected or mocked that I feel during times like this where I am drawn to take action is unbelievable, but I know that God places people in my life for special “I understand that if you don’t reasons. He wouldn’t me see pain if He give your entire self into your let didn’t want me to fix vision, then your vision will fade it. I can’t see my way of living as trying to away. That’s how visions work.” be a leader. I have to see it as an opportunity to live out God’s love because I know that that I am the queen of wanting to God is the Ultimate Leader, and push things aside until I have that only through Him can we time later, but I know in my do great things. This mindset heart that I can’t. No, in order moving away and my grandma dying, yet this made the timing of my retreat perfect, for my heart was so vulnerable that the love I received completely filled it. I completely understand what Theodore M. Hesburgh meant when he said “you can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” The amount of heart and faith it takes to give something your all is so hard—and blows can hit you at the worst times—but I also understand that if you don’t give your entire self into your vision, then your vision will fade away. That’s how visions work.


Saint Thomas Aquinas High School

SPORTS EDITOR Troy Hilderhof

11411 Pflumm Road Overland Park, KS 66215 913-319-2460


MISSION STATEMENT The Shield is a newspaper sponsored by Saint Thomas Aquinas High School and produced by its students to provide information, entertainment, and open forum, as well as a learning experience for its staff members. The goal of The Shield’s staff is to meet professional journalism standards. Staff members are responsible for the content of the newspaper and strive to report news accurately, objectively, and completely. The Shield is an open forum for student expression and aims to communicate the concerns of the student body as well as the faculty, staff, and Aquinas community.

confuses some people, it stresses out my parents, and it has caused me to lose some friends, but I know that in the end it is so worth it. The promise that I made after my Kairos retreat has changed my life for the better. It’s shown me how challenging life can be, but it’s also shown me that God will step in when we can’t handle something, and that if He knows that we can handle it, He’ll stand right beside us and give us strength to do it on our own. g ADVERTISING The Shield sells advertisements to help with publication costs. All ads will be subject to the same scrutiny as stories. The Shield will not print any obscenities or any ads promoting products illegal to those under the age of 18. For advertising, please call (913) 319-2460, send an email to, or visit SUBSCRIPTIONS Subscriptions to The Shield are $2 per issue. Subscriptions can be sent to Saint Thomas Aquinas High School c/o Matt Hallauer. LETTER POLICY Letters may be accepted by The Shield, provided that they are signed and do not containt libelous statements. The Shield reserves the right to edit the letters for grammar, obscenity, or space consideration, and also reserves the right to not print a letter.

Polls A8 The Shield

November 21, 2013

THE BOTTOM LINE: Which class do you think is the best Saint for a Day Host?


Sophomore Junior Senior

Opinions of Aquinas students, based off 256 student responses to an email survey.

Why would that grade be the best host? Freshmen

“They can relate with Saints for a Day the most.” - Reagan Ebert, freshman


“[It] gives Saint for a Days the experience that they will get their first year on campus.” - Garrett Maltby, senior




“They know more about the traditions of Aquinas, but aren’t too old to where the Saints For a Days would feel intimidated.” - A.J. Meyers, junior “Sophomores have more experience than freshmen, and we know the ways of the school. Freshmen have not experienced Aquinas enough by that time to be able to convince an eighth grader to come here.” - Caroline Shaw, sophomore



“They know all the ropes of the school.”

What are your suggestions for new game themes? Taylor Limoges, junior

“Favorite jersey.”

Camo/ Open Season

Kyle Bollig, junior


Natalie Gartland, junior

“Duck Dynasty.” Savannah Miller, junior

Hawaiian Pink out Denim Disney

Rockhurst (2) San Diego Simpson St. Louis Texas A&M Texas Christia UMKC Vanderbilt

How to view video in











hield S




K-State (11) KU (9) Loyola Chicago Missouri (2) Nebraska Northwestern (3) Notre Dame (3) Portland (2)

Where friends are going

Arkansas (4) Baker Baylor Benedictine Central Missouri Creighton Duquense George Washington


If you had to decide today, where would you go?


Career readiness

Most: 15 apps



Mode: 3 apps

Number of students

Average: 4.3 apps

Far from home


Sports teams

(based off 75 email responses)

When choosing a college, what is the most important factor for you?

Student life


To how many colleges will you be applying?

White Out/ Black Out

Blue & Gold

Other popular ideas:

SENIORS’ Opinions



Campus appearance/features

Melanie Murray, sophomore

Close to home


College town atmosphere

Brendan Sweetman, senior


“Thrift shop.”

Paige Klimas, junior

ero erh Sup

“Glow in the dark.”

Madison Holmes, junior


What is your favorite game theme? Western


- Megan Bartolac, junior

This symbol means there is a video that goes along with the picture. The Shield is excited to announce that we are one of the first schools in the nation to bring pictures to life, effectively merging print journalism with broadcast journalism using the Aurasma app. Here’s how to get started! If you don’t have a smartphone or similar device, check out our videos on the Saint Thomas Aquinas Shield Youtube account.

STEP ONE: Download the free “Aurasma” app. STEP TWO: Open the app and click this button at the bottom of the screen:

STEP THREE: Click the search button (magnifying glass) on the bottom of the screen. Search “Saint Thomas Aquinas HS.” Click the one above.

STEP FOUR: Click “Follow.”

STEP FIVE: Click this (bottom) to return to the camera. Hover over an image and watch the picture come alive!

hield S

Volume 26, Issue 4


November 21, 2013


Photo by TROY HILDERHOF | The Shield

Photo by TROY HILDERHOF | The Shield

Photo courtesy MICHELE GRESS

Seniors Bryan Zack and Matthew Wilderson run side-by-side during the first mile of the state championship at Rim Rock on Nov. 2. Seniors Bailee Cofer and Grace Geiger pushed the pace and eventually broke the competition en route to a perfect score of 15 points to win state. Nick Hagenkord controls the ball in the first half against St. James in the championship game in Goddard. After being down 2-0, Hagenkord scored a hat trick to bring home the state trophy.

CROSS COUNTRY MAKES HISTORY The Saint Thomas Aquinas girls’ cross country team finished with a perfect 15 points at state. by TROY HILDERHOF Sports Editor The Saint Thomas Aquinas girls’ cross country team earned a perfect 15 points at the 2013 5A Cross Country State Championship meet at Rimrock Farm on Nov. 2. The girls’ team was lead by senior Bailee Cofer, who won individually with a time of 15:28. She was closely followed by junior Emily Downey and senior Grace Geiger in second and third. This path to this incredible achievement, however, didn’t start in the fall. The team started their ambigous training during the summer mornings. “We have been training since the end

of May, two weeks after track ended,” Geiger said. “We didn’t take any breaks until now, which is our two week break before winter runs start. In the summer we racked up over 500 miles running.” The summer runs the team started at

“No one really knew we were coming since we had lost six seniors.” GRACE GEIGER Co-captain 7 a.m. weekdays at Aquinas. Anyone could show up and run for fun if they wished, but the committed runners got down to

business early. The varsity would start running as early as 6:30 a.m. The preseason coaches poll ranked the Saints second behind Bishop Carroll. “No one really knew we were coming since we had lost six seniors,” Geiger said. “We knew we would have to fill in the spots because there was only two returning varsity runners (Cofer and Downey). But a lot of people stepped up, and we were surprised when we started to beat a lot of the Aquinas girls’ cross country times from last year’s races. It was a great feeling to know all the hard work was paying off!” However, the path to state was just Photo by TROY HILDERHOF | The Shield beginning. Emily Downey, Bailee Cofer and Grace Continued on B3. Geiger hold the state trophy.


Hagenkord’s hat trick defeats St. James 3-2, bringing home the 15th boys’ soccer state championship. by ANNIE SCHUGART Editor-In-Chief

For Nick Hagenkord, it was the best yellow card penalty he could have received. As he ripped off his shirt in celebration of scoring his final goal for Aquinas, winning 5A state for the 15th state boys’ soccer title in Aquinas history, coach Craig Ewing and the rest of the team and fans were in awe. “It was a remarkable goal. And we combine a remarkable goal, which required all this other stuff to happen first,” Ewing said, “with the time it happened and the game it happened makes it a legendary goal as opposed to just remarkable.” ROUGH START The team had state as their goal throughout as seasons, just as it is always their expectation. But they went 4-3 in the league and had a lot of injuries and sickness. Their season contained one of the highest loss totals in 20 years.

“With the time it happened and the game it happened makes it a legendary goal as opposed to just remarkable.” CRAIG EWING Head coach But Ewing praised the team for resiliency, having to change the lineup several times because of injury and sickness. “There’s something special about a bunch of guys who, even though things don’t go well, still think they can succeed,” Ewing said. The team knew they would get some players back from injury and sickness and knew they had a chance. “When you’re not expected to win, even though we make it a goal to win, but you have six losses limping into state you’re not

thinking it’s a guarantee,” Ewing said. “In fact, it looks like you may not [win]. I think when you succeed against the odds like that, it makes it more special.” RESURRECTION The team had a great five- game run going into state finals. But going into the final game against St. James, the team realized they were about to play the No. 1 team in Kansas--a team who had even beat the 6A state champions. When St. James was leading 2-0 early in the game, Ewing explained that the team knew they were OK as long as they didn’t score a third goal before Aquinas scored. Ewing said that not many games are won when a team is down 2-0. “We started off the game slow. St. James looked like the better team and quickly scored,” said Hagenkord, a senior and captain. “After that, I was really impressed with how we handled ourselves. We didn’t just quit like they want-

Photo courtesy of MICHELLE GRESS

The Saints celebrate with a dog pile after winning the championship. ed us to. We fought back.” Just before halftime, Hagenkord scored after a header from Nick D’Adamo’s kick. Five minutes after halftime, Hagenkord scored again. Soon before the end of the game, Michael Velasco sent a high-traveling ball toward Hagenkord, who scored again--ultimately declaring Aquinas the 5A state champions. “Honestly I’m still in shock,” Hagenkord said. “I still don’t realize just how big of a goal that was.

It’s the kind of opportunities you have once in your life. There have been much better teams come before us, but we proved we belong with them. We finally brought that title back to its home.” Ewing said this is a moment that will go down in history. “25 years from now, they’ll be remembering Nick Hagenkord’s goal and his feats in the state championship game,” Ewing said. “You couldn’t write a movie script better than the way we finished the season.” g

B2 The Shield


November 21, 2013

Photos by KATIE ERNST | The Medallion

Senior Brittany Thomas jumps into the arms of head coach Kim Bogart before receiving her medal. Seniors Erin Rheinberger, Thomas, Kelsey Beasley, Makenzie Elder, Alexis Murphy, manager Luke Henes and manager Alex Van Pelt pose with the trophy for their fans.

VOLLEYBALL TAKES SECOND The Saints hand St. James its first set defeat of the season at championship by TROY HILDERHOF Sports Editor The Saint Thomas Aquinas Volleyball team was a season full of hope and optimism. The season started out very well for the girls. “We played in the Lee Summit West on Sept. 14 and got second place, losing to St. James but holding our ground,” senior Kelsey Beasley said. “The team grew well, all the girls love each other, and every practice was full of laughs. Of course we have our practices that aren’t fun - running and conditioning - but we are built a team and we are all close friends.” The season went on and the team had many great finishes throughout the year. By the time state rolled around, the team was up to the challenge. The team beat Mill Valley and Bishop Carroll in pool play on Nov 1, but lost to St. James, one of the best teams in the country. On Saturday, the Saints beat Andover and played St. James again for the state championship. The team to win two out of three sets wins the 5A State Championship. The Thunder took the first set 25-11, but the Saints bounced back to win the second set 25-19. It was the only set loss for St. James all season. However, St. James took the final set 25-17 to win the state championship. For the five seniors, it was the first trip to the volleyball state championship game since their freshmen year. g

Photo by KATIE ERNST | The Medallion

The Saints celebrate after a kill by Murphy against St. James in the 5A State Championship. Those celebrating are Thomas, junior Carlyle Nusbaum, Rheinberger, Murphy, junior Shelby Jackson and junior Kristen Hornung.

Photos by KATIE ERNST | The Medallion

Nusbaum’s spike bounces off a Thunder hitter’s head. Hornung leaps for another kill. The team celebrates a point in the final set of the championship. Jackson dives for a dig in the final set.

SENIORS COMMIT TO COLLEGES Eight seniors participated in the National Letter of Intent signing ceremony. Nick Pascuzzi Trey Grindinger Alex Van Pelt Ellie Boring Brooklin Hinz Makenzie Elder Alexis Murphy Photo by ANNIE SCHUGART | The Shield

The eight seniors were honored at a ceremony after school in the theater on Nov. 13. Coaches spoke about their work ethic, leadership and talent, then parents, friends and coaches shared cake.

Brittany Thomas

baseball at Rockhurst baseball at Benedictine baseball at Wichita State rowing at Kansas State softball at Kentucky volleyball at Chicago volleyball at Fort Hays State volleyball at Lipscomb

November 21, 2013


The Shield B3

Photo by ABBY POPE | The Medallion

Seniors Bailee Cofer and Grace Geiger hold up the 5A State Champions trophy after their Saints dominated 5A with a perfect score. But the All-Sports point system simply gives eight points for first place and seven points to rival Bishop Carroll for second. Mill Valley, which lost by more than 100 points on the course, received six points.

CARROLL NARROWLY LEADING ALL-SPORTS RACE Top 8 finishes in every sport is driving the state’s largest private school

The CatchIt Kansas All-Class AllSports Award has only known two homes in its life, and this year is shaping up to be yet another battle between Wichita’s Bishop Carroll and Saint Thomas Aquinas. The sports website created the award during the 2007-2008 year to measure the all-around success of a school’s athletics program. It awards eight points for a KSHSAA team championship, seven points for finishing second, six points for third, and so on. Only the top eight teams in a KSHSAA championship receive points. Teams that tie, for example the four teams eliminated in quarterfinals, split the points evenly. Aquinas owned the award for its first three years, but Bishop Carroll edged closer each year. When this year’s seniors

were freshmen, Bishop Carroll broke the 100-point mark for the first time and took the title away. The Eagles have had it since. Last year was the worst for the Saints. After six years of scoring at least 85 points, Aquinas scored 58.5 points and fell to third place for the first time. Shawnee Mission East took second by half a point. November Boost The Saints were not in the Top 10 on All Saints Day. Bishop Carroll and Kapaun Mt. Carmel shot to lead with strong performances in girls’ tennis and girls’ golf. The first Saturday of November put the Saints back in the hunt. The Saints racked up 22 points in just a few hours by winning girls’ cross country and placing second in boys’ cross country and volleyball. No school had a better day. But Carroll pulled in 17.5 points by finishing first and second in cross country and making it to the volleyball quarterfinals.

All-Class All-Sports Award as of Nov. 21 39.0 Bishop Carroll (5A) 36.0 Saint Thomas Aquinas (5A) 34.5 Kapaun Mt. Carmel (5A) 29.5 Olathe East (6A) 26.5 Manhattan (6A) 24.0 Shawnee Mission East (6A) 23.5 Free State (6A) 22.0 St. James (5A) 19.0 Winfield (4A) 18.5 Bishop Miege (4A) 18.5 Hayden (4A) The Saints boys’ soccer team earned another eight points a week later by winning a 5A title. However, it barely narrowed the gap on Carroll as the Golden Eagles placed fourth in soccer and made the state quarterfinals in football for a total of 7.5 points. Kapaun Mt. Carmel’s football team made the semifinals, which pulled them within two points of Aquinas. Football is the only fall sport still in

St. James wins rivalry survey St. James 52%

Other EKL 4% Bishop Carroll 11%

Rockhurst 2% Bishop Miege 30%

All students were sent a poll on Nov. 12 asking “Who is our greatest sports rival?” At least half in each grade chose St. James action. Of the all-sport leading schools, only Kapaun and Shawnee Mission East have football teams in the semifinals. Since CatchIt Kansas does not count debate and scholars bowl, there are six winter sports and nine spring sports left to determine the All-Sports All-Class Championship. g


The juniors and seniors prepared for state by running up to 55 miles per week. A practice run may contain a 13-mile long run to Corporate Woods. After months of arduous training, state was already here. The team was ready. “The night before state I wasn’t too nervous because I knew all the hard work would pay off,” Geiger said. “I felt so confident, and I just kept picturing in my mind crossing the finish line right next to my teammates. Mental picturing really works for us the night before meets.” And crossing the finish line was next to her teammates is exactly what they did. “Crossing the finish line at state was the best feeling ever,” Geiger said. “I was five seconds behind Bailee and only a couple behind Emily, and it was amazing to know that our dreams and goals had come true.” When Cofer crossed the finish line, she said it all happened so fast, and it seemed surreal at first. “It still doesn’t seem like I crossed the finish line,” Cofer said right after the race. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet.” Cofer, Downey, Geiger and sophomore Monica Sneed placed 1st through 4th, followed by a 7th place finish by sophomore Abbey Hopfinger. But since the 5th and 6th place girls were individuals from Andover and Kapaun, they didn’t count for team scores. That bumped Hopfinger to 5th, making it a perfect score: 15. “It was so cool standing in the finish shoot surrounded by blue and gold, and I could hear the speaker over the intercom screaming that we were making state history,” Geiger said. “It was the best day ever, and I wish I could relive that day over and over again.” Boys fight injuries For the boys’ cross country team, the season went a little bit different. “We were competing with some of the best teams in the metro area,” senior runner Bryan Zack said. “We began the season beating and almost beating some of the best teams in the state like Manhattan, who won the 6A state championship.” But as the season went on, the team started to encounter some unavoidable

problems. KC Metro, one of the bigger meets of the season, is where the team started to really see some health problems. Junior Cole Friedman, a key runner to the team, couldn’t run the race due to a leg injury. “That was the first time it really felt like we were missing somebody,” Zack said. “By this time the meets were really starting to get important.” The injuries didn’t end there. A week later, senior Matthew Wilderson unexpectedly starting experiencing breathing problems. On the team’s long practice runs, Wilderson began breathing harder. He started to fall behind the rest of the varsity team. A week prior, he was cruising among the elite runners in the area. “I first found some initial pain about a month before state and just thought it was sickness or something,” Wilderson said. ”It still could have been, but I didn’t visit the doctor until about two weeks later, and that’s when the lung collapse was found. I was on my way back from a haunted house, and the doctor called me saying ‘Yeah, um, you have a collapsed lung and need to go to the E.R. right now.’” Before the phone call from his doctor, Wilderson still ran at EKL despite these breathing problems. Amazingly, he finished 7th. “The Wilderson lung situation was devastating because he was an individual state champion contender this year, and it took him out completely,” Head Coach Justin Wrigley said. “In doing so, it also crushed our realistic chances of winning a team title.” Wilderson received surgery on the collapsed lung the week before state and decided to run at state. More unfortunate events happened at state. Besides Friedman’s stress fracture and Wilderson’s collapsed lung, junior Austin Lucas lost his shoe during the first legs of the race and Zack was suffering from the flu. Despite these problems, the team battled and finished runner-up at state behind Bishop Carroll. “The race didn’t go as we wanted to, but I couldn’t imagine running with any other guys.” Zack said. “They were like family to me.” g

Last Look B4 The Shield

November 21, 2013


Who will win assassins?

Pictures are from “The Godfather” Assassins Twitter account. Poll results are based off 75 responses from The Shield’s senior poll.

Pa ige


The senior assassins game has come to a close with Elizabeth Navickas and Ali Woltering tying as winners. The game, which began on Oct. 7, is a senior tradition that is organized outside of school and consists of “assassinating” a person’s assigned target with water. The winners will split half of the money received from all of the participants who paid to participate in the game.

as 7% eth Navick b Eliza

SENIOR ASSASSINS H op 12% fin ge Alex Van Pelt r

Brittany Thomas 28%

Tyler Watson 20%

Ali Woltering 26%


Paige Hopfinger

Elizabeth Navickas

“Paige will win because cross country runners are sneaky and she’s got a lot of allies.”


Brittany Thomas “She is very careful and won’t let her guard down but also is a ruthless killer.”


Alex VanPelt “He is passionately dedicated to this game.”

Ali Woltering

Tyler Watson

“Ali is cute and not even remotely suspicious, “He is pretty much equivalent to the Batman.” allowing her to get close to her targets.”


Profile for The Shield (Saint Thomas Aquinas High School)

The Shield, 11/21/13  

Saint Thomas Aquinas HS "It's a great week to be a Saint"

The Shield, 11/21/13  

Saint Thomas Aquinas HS "It's a great week to be a Saint"