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WL Red Devils Cease State Title

the first quarter against Evansville Memorial’s The West Lafayette football team formidable went into the November 29 IHSAA defensive line. state championship game with high However, Coach expectations for success. They were Overley was not the first team in sixteen years from assured of any West Lafayette to make it to the state success just yet. championship game and they were not “I didn’t willing to come home empty handed. become confident With three solid football seasons behind until the end of them, the team was finally ready to take the first half when home the gold. And after a spectacular we drove 93 yards 24-10 victory over Evansville Memorial, in less than two the Red Devils walked away from Lucas minutes.” WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: The West Side team celebrates their win on the sacred field of Lucas Oil. Oil Stadium as the newly crowned 2009 After the Memorial” and giant aluminum rings Class 3A state football champions. last-second touchdown at the end of representing the state championship The game itself was an exciting the half, West Lafayette was almost rings that would be the football players’ match-up of two extremely good teams; certainly assured a state victory. With once they claimed the state title. however, Coach Overley said, “I think the combined efforts of quarterback The marching band, dance team we all thought that we were going to Daniel Wodicka and what he called the and cheerleaders were also invited to win.” While West Lafayette was favored spectacular defensive line, the Red Devils join the football team in their quest to win, the team wasn’t taking any cinched the title. for the state title. Senior dance team chances. “Daniel Wodicka is the realest,” said captain, Kimberly Lucht, commented on Coach Overley said that the team’s junior football player Aaron Woodard of how exciting it was to be at Lucas Oil mantra during the state tournament Wodicka’s great game performance. Stadium: “I walked in through the tunnel run was to “Respect every team, [yet] The game was a memorable one, and the enormity of the situation amazed fear no team.” The Devils did just that, especially for the football players and me. And the fact that [the championship] taking control of the ball from the first coaches. Head Coach, Mr. Overley, was happened my senior year made it better. kickoff and scoring a touchdown early in especially impressed with It was amazing!” the large fan turnout at The effort displayed by the West the stadium. “I wish you Lafayette football team was memorable could have been with us itself and has made the community [on the field] Coming out of proud. So many people have built into that tunnel and seeing the this,” said Coach O. “We here, right now, scarlet and gray… It was just are a part of West Lafayette history.” The this huge roar. It was one football players are also proud of their of the neatest things,” he hard work. commented. “[The championship] felt like it didn’t Superfan captain Mark really happen,” said senior football player Timmerman was also in awe Taylor Smith, “It hasn’t really hit me yet. of the power of the student I feel like I’m on a cloud.” section. “All the students Wodicka thanked the coaches and were collectively ready and teachers of West Side for their help in we cheered like crazy,” he making this championship possible as said. The student section well as saying that he was disappointed was jam-packed with that his high school football career was enthusiastic fans welding over, but he added, “I’m glad that we came inflatable toilets urging the out on top!” Woodard agreed, saying, “It Devils to “Flush Evansville felt good to help the team win state.” REVERIE: Zach Tudor cheers for the Red Devils alongside his fellow Superfans.


Photo by Shriya Manian

The Best of 2009: movies, music, videos, quotes, and more on page 6-7.

Is the secularization of Christmas good or bad for society? Read the debate on page 5.

This swimming superstar gets a close up on page 11.

Photo by Shriya Manian


PAGE 2 DECEMBER 11TH, 2009 Proposed Tax Referendum Provokes Heated Debate BY WANYOUNG KIM At the end of its meeting on Wednesday evening of December 2nd, the West Lafayette School Board unanimously approved putting the question of West Lafayette’s tax referendum to the city council. This will allow residents to vote upon a seven year property tax of at most 0.43% that would go towards raising the $3.5 million needed to support West Lafayette Schools. The majority of this tax will fund teacher salaries. Because all West Lafayette residents could be affected, community vote on the issue is needed. Many believe a positive vote is crucial. As emphasized by School Board member David Granat, “government has obligation to not make endangered school corporations [into] extinct species.” Although 4000 brochures this fall were sent notifying West Lafayette residents of the meeting, the attendance at Happy Hollow Media Center was meager. The forty participants consisted of West Lafayette parents, alumni, teachers, and students. Members first expressed views directed towards consequences brought by the tax, rather than its vote referendum. Former West Side Principal, Dr. Anne Koivo, stated that the tax in effect is the only option for the “future of students and benefit of the community.” Without an economic upswing to provide more income for increased sales tax, “we cannot have it any other way.”

“Education costs, but it pays.” -Superintendent Killion

lNVOLVED CITIZENS: John Basham voices his opinion on the proposed referendum. Photo by Wanyoung Kim

Concerning the tax referendum and its vote, there is much at stake beyond the quality of education at West Lafayette Schools. According to Superintendent Rocky Killion, there is a delicate balance with local economic development. “Employers use West Lafayette Schools to attract potential employees and patrons,” he stated. Property values are also held at stake because “buyers pay 12-19% premium for homes they own in the school district.” Owners of property can be negatively affected. Landlord John Basham stated his favor to “turn down the tax referendum,” regardless of allowing vote. He pays $700,000 each year, which would be increased to a million if the referendum were to be approved. “I am not against West Lafayette School Corporation, having given to its programs; however the timing [for the referendum] is wrong.” Others, subject to already high taxes, expressed disapproval. One woman voiced her anger at being taxed $3600 for a small condo at Green Tree: “This is obscene, but it would rise even more.” In addition, vacancies could occur from rising mortgages and property taxes, driving out local businesses such as Mr. and Mrs. Tire, Rubia Flower Market, and Dog and Suds. Afterwards, audience members swiveled the discussion back toward the original issue of opening referendum on the tax. There was growing support by West Lafayette parent Vicky Woeste, who stated that we are “enmeshed in economic recession, a culture that frowns on taxation, and policy that places school corporations without state help...we must proceed and give community a chance to decide.” When caught between a rock and a hard place, it was decided by the School Board that the education is of utmost importance because of what it gives to the city and children of residents. “Education costs, but it pays,” quipped Superintendent Killion, recommending that there be a financial committee to propose tax rates for final decision by the School Board. He elaborated that even if tax rate were to near 0.4% or forty cents per one hundred dollars, “this would only impact tax rates by 15% for landlords...we must support the integrity of our schools.” School Board District Diane Sautter proposed the tax referendum notion

Ways to Have a Holly, Jolly Winter Break BY HANA PARK • “Look Back – Looking Forward: Ceramic Art” Exhibit at the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette (102 South 10th Street, Lafayette) from now until January 15th. Open Monday through Friday from 11am to 4pm. Free admission. • “Tuba/Christmas Parade/Holiday Cheer & All That Jazz” concert at the Loeb Playhouse Stewart Center on Friday, Dec 11th (Tuba tunes at 7pm and Jazz band at 8pm). Free admission. • “Purdue Christmas Show” at the Elliott Hall of Music on Saturday, Dec 12th at Noon and 4pm and on Sunday the13th at 2pm. Tickets are $20 (for those of 13 years of age through college age) and could be purchased online through Ticketmaster, at any Purdue Box Office location, or at the door. • High School Orchestra Concert on Dec. 13th at 7pm in the auditorium. Free admission. • *Girls Varsity and Junior Varsity Basketball game against Carroll at Carroll on Thursday, Dec. 17th at 6pm. • *Boys Varsity and Junior Varsity Basketball game against Benton Central at Benton Central on Dec, 18th at 6:30pm • *Varsity and Junior Varsity Wrestling match at West Lafayette on Saturday, Dec. 19th at 8am • *Coed Varsity Swimming and Diving meet at Hamilton Southeastern on Monday, Dec. 21st at 6pm. • “Holiday Luminaria” on 9th Street Hill, Hitt, and 7th Streets, Lafayette on Tuesday, Dec 22nd to Thursday the 24th, starting at 6pm. Free admission. *Cost of admission not provided.




West Lafayette Youth Council Spreads Holiday Spirit BY YI YANG

LET IT SNOW: Volunteers assist in Christmas-themed craft creations.

Photo provided by Amy Wong

Come every December, the holiday stress seems to rise with age. Teens attempt one last-ditch effort to avoid the thought of final exams, parents scramble to shop, organize, and live up to their Christmas tradition, and young children around the nation become the true ambassadors of the joyous holiday spirit.

This year, kids have something more to be excited for. This past Saturday, the West Lafayette Youth Council teamed up with Greater Lafayette Commerce to host a craft station, open to all adventurous children at the Wabash Landing. Event coordinator, senior Anita Wong, said that the station drew a continuous crowd from nine in the morning to four in the afternoon, when the event ended. Members of Youth Council teamed up as pairs to monitor the station throughout the day. “I felt quite overwhelmed at times because we did not anticipate such large groups of children coming in…but overall it was a fun experience,” said Youth Council member senior Lillian Mui. At the station, the children could use Popsicle sticks to make a holiday deer, or construct a holiday tree with paper and markers. Candy was also available to satisfy the children’s holiday cravings. One group of children especially caught the Youth Council members’ attention. Later recalled by Himaja Govindaraju, a group of four boys missed their mother who was in Texas visiting family.

Local Youth Media Get Opportunity to Interview Mike Huckabee BY MARGARET DUVALL AND SHALU MITTAL Few West Lafayette residents are aware that former governor of Arkansas and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee visited Purdue University last week as the keynote speaker at Tippecanoe County Right to Life Annual Banquet. In an effort to reach out to local youth media, Huckabee held an interview session during the reception before the banquet. Students from the Purdue Exponent and local high school newspapers were afforded the opportunity to listen to him speak in an intimate environment. Though he only answered one or two questions, he went into relative

detail and made sure to communicate clearly and openly. After speaking about his support of the fair tax, a Purdue student asked Huckabee about the controversial issue of abortion. “Sanctity of life is one of the most critical issues of our day,” Huckabee explained. “If we come to a place as a culture where we begin to devalue anyone’s life… then we have to accept that the logical consequence is that someday, someone may draw that line around us.” He elaborated on his ideas during the banquet, giving a 45-minute speech to a crowd of approximately 500 supporters.

After settling in, each of them made their own special craft to give to her when she returns. “It was a worthwhile experience just to put smiles on their happy faces,” said Himaja. Overall, the positive sentiment was echoed by everyone else who was involved. In the words of the traditional carol, it is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

CRAFT TIME: Amy Wong helps a young girl make a Christmas tree.

Photo provided by Amy Wong

ACSL Plans to Update WLHS Website BY ALYEESHA PURI As technology continues to advance, West Side’s school website becomes increasingly outdated. As senior Francesca Shipsey put it, “The website looks like it’s from the time when computers were invented... no offense.” The American Computer Science League is planning to revolutionize the website, making it more userfriendly and current. Under the leadership of President Andrew Burchill, ACSL plans to redo the website with Joomla, an innovative content management system. The club is already taking into consideration student opinions. Junior Sarah Lim voiced that “the website is not up to date, and [it is] kind of useless”. She explained that she does not

currently use the school website, but it would be helpful if it weremerged or linked to homework related sites, such as WebAssign or Moodle. Sarah’s frustration with the current website is that any downloadable item, such as the school calendar, is an attachment that is not directly linked to the school website, serving as a time-waster and a source of frustration. Francesca explained, “I would definitely use the school website more if it were easier to navigate and more aesthetically pleasing.” The club will soon distribute a survey to get an idea of what changes students, parents, and teachers would like, but in the meantime, students can contribute their opinion by getting in contact with Andrew Burchill, Zach Burchill, Hiroshi Fukada, or Zach Baiel.




Staff Editorial: In Defense of Today’s Youth It has come to our attention that the general opinion of the average teenager is that of a lazy and apathetic snob who doesn’t care about anything other than the time of the next episode of The Office. That is simply not the case. Today’s youth is just as busy as the youth of past generations, if not busier. The problem is that as our ever changing world evolves, the baby boom generation, and its predecessors, doesn’t. Our parents still expect us to use phones that are connected to the wall to communicate, while our grandparents expect the men to go to school while the ladies sit around the house waiting for an arranged marriage. They simply do not grasp the idea of change and evolution. Our generation has a lot more to think about and a lot more goals to accomplish in much less time. We can’t be considered inconsiderate and detached from the world just because we text people while listening to music and studying for a math test. We simply do not have the time to do each thing separately. In today’s society, we aren’t faced with problems such as the possibility of the Russians invading the woods of Montana. However, we are faced with even more serious problems, such as where to get the money to pay for our college education, and how to balance soccer, NHS, taping for film lit, and maintaining our rep, something our grandparents didn’t have to worry

about nearly as much. Our generation is forced to balance school, homework, sports, extracurricular activities, family, and social life every day. Most days we don’t even have time to sit down and eat a healthy dinner while other days we never even get to see the light of day, spending hours in the catacombs of our seemingly windowless school. After seeing movies with self-involved teens such as Superbad and Juno, it’s easy to forget that just this last presidential election, the youth voter turnout was at its highest yet. We let our opinions be heard by donating, volunteering, and spreading the word about our candidates. This point brings up another reason why the image of our generation is so skewed and biased; the media. The media likes to portray the youth of America as a bunch of knocked up, drunk, high, and stupid little kids who only like to party and beat up on children with pocket protectors, taped glasses, and a foreign accent. It’s easy to think that you understand the life of a teenager when all of the movies that are made about them consist of drinking beer, smoking pot, and having sex; it’s easy to mistake movies for the real thing. This might come as a shocker, but in reality, most teenagers don’t move to Washington and fall in love with creepy looking vampires, and they certainly don’t get accepted to fine magical institutions in the middle of England.

However, even if all of the opinions are true, even if our generation does love to do drugs, have sex, and party all night long, so what? What has changed? Some of the same adults who blame us for enjoying and partaking in these activities are the ones who never truly made it home from Woodstock. So get over it, stop dreaming about your past childhood experiences and let us enjoy ours.

SAVE THE WHALES: Many young adults are involved in clubs and activities to improve the community. Graphic by Gayatri Narayanan

Staff of The Scarlette Editors-in-Chief Shalu Mittal Margaret Duvall News Editor Mollie Westbrook Opinions Editor Anne McDougall Features Editor Andrew Burchill Sports Editor Yi Yang A&E / Student Life Editor Zarina Madan Seriously Speaking Mihai Avram

Reporters Alyeesha Puri Andrew Burchill Andrew Sokolchik Anjona Ghosh Angel Gruze Anne McDougall Hana Park Lindsay Grimley Marie Zhang Marissa Koors Mollie Westbrook Shravani Merugureddy Victor Gutwein Wanyoung Kim Will DeBoer Yi Yang Zach Burchill Zarina Madan

Artists / Photographers Gayatri Narayanan Anna Chen Shriya Manian Lindsay Grimley Connie Yang Page Designers Connie Yang Zarina Madan Anjona Ghosh Andrew Burchill Anne McDougall Anna Chen

Mission: The Scarlette strives to create a publication that is informative, entertaining, accurate, and professional. The mission of the Scarlette is to accurately, truthfully, and professionally report on events and issues that are of interest to the student body, entertain readers, and serve as a valuable archive of the happenings of the school.

The Scarlette Editorial Policy Scarlette provides a limited forum for reader expression. Letters to the editor must be received seven days prior to publication date in the box provided in the office. Letters should be 250 words or less. Longer submissions may be considered as a guest column. All are subject to editing for content and length. Personal attacks and unfair attacks on businesses or unsigned letters will not be published. The editorial represents the views of majority of the staff. Views printed do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the faculty, staff, or administration of the WLCSC.




Point/Counterpoint: Secularizing Christmas Share the Love: Christmas for All groups of people have had a tendency to create festivals and celebrations in order to bring light to the darker months of the year. So why should this conglomeration of traditions be claimed by one group or another? If a person decides to follow Christianity but they come from a Jewish, Hindu, or secular family, should they be expected to forgo their family traditions and celebrate Christmas? Of course CLEANING UP CHRISTMAS: Christmas is becoming more secularized not. Their character Graphic by Lindsay Grimley and personality are tied The mention of Christmas into their family background. brings memories, hopes, dreams, Conversely, many secular and the like. Maybe your individuals come from Christian Christmas experience is tied into backgrounds. If a member of a the Christian tradition, maybe new generation decides to follow you are one of many who celebrate a path other than Christianity the season purely for the value you are they automatically excluded find in its joy, or maybe you don’t from the celebration? Anywhere partake in the festivities at all. No you draw the line is arbitrary and matter the situation, it’s hard to fails to stand up to reason. Each deny that every person receives a person has the right to celebrate feeling of warmth and enhanced how and why they choose because love during the season. Christmas is not an exclusive Christmas is thought of as a club from which one is included Christian holiday, and a majority or shunned. of those who celebrate Christmas How could one argue against focus on the story of the birth of the secularization of Christmas? Jesus, but the Bible makes no How could something that specific mention to the date of brings people so close together be the birth. Though there are many construed negatively? Christmas ideas about the origins of the is one of the few testaments we current date, December 25th, from have of humanity overlooking the Pagan festival of Saturnalia to differences and focusing on the Druid customs, one cannot deny common ground. that throughout history, different BY MARGARET DUVALL

Sir Gutwein’s First Treatise on the Defense of the Holiness of Christmas BY VICTOR GUTWEIN When in the course of human events, people lose the meaning in their rich history, it becomes necessary to reinstate the Christ in Christmas. Otherwise the holiday would just be called “Mas,” which, if you scribbled a tiny accent over the ‘a’, would become the Spanish word “más,” meaning “more.” Therefore, instead of a holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, this nation has been greedily celebrating the status of the number one consuming country in the world. Congratulations. Many point to the fact that a large population of this nation is not Christian and therefore only celebrate the holiday to partake in the lavish baked goods, elaborate decorations and expensive gift giving. Besides the fact that the money could be better spent on less frivolous things or for philanthropic causes, there are numerous holidays available for the Gentiles around the country. Kwanzaa, Hannukah and New Year’s Day are well known, but there are holidays for almost every major religion and ethnicity. Numerous New Year celebrations take place during the winter season, including those of the Koreans, Chinese, Muslims, Mongolians, as well other celebration such as Eid al-Adha

(a gift-giving Islamic celebration, usually in November), Malanka (A Ukrainian folk holiday in early January), Korochun (a pagan Slavic holiday on December 21) and Zagmuk (an old Mesopotamian festival involving a twelve-day battle between a Babylonian god and the forces of chaos, represented with deadly mock battles and sex). These are a few of the many holidays, but if none of these fit the bill, then there is even one for atheist/agnostic people with no ethnic background: Festivus, which involves an aluminum pole instead of a Christmas tree and a ceremony titled “Airing of Grievances.” I, a person, in order to form a more perfect Christmas, think that Christmas should not be simply a random assortment of secular rituals and months of intense advertising, combined with the never-ending stream of cheesy Christmas blockbusters. Instead, Christmas should be about the traditional celebration of the birth of Jesus, while all the heathens choose to participate in their own pagan or secular ceremonies if they desire. Four score and seven years ago our fathers set forth Christmas as a time of family and religion, and those values should still be the priority for the practicing population of Christian citizens, and not to be made a mockery of by everybody else.



Top 20 Albums

1. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix 2. Man on the Moon: The End of Day - Kid Cudi 3. Incredibad - The Lonely Island 4. Veckatimest - Grizzly Bear 5. Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King - Dave Matthews Band 6. Manners - Passion Pit 7. The E.N.D. - Black Eyed Peas 8. The Hazards of Love – The Decemberists 9. Rated R – Rihanna 10. Merriweather Post Pavilion Animal Collective 11. Davy - Coconut Records 12. 21st Century Breakdown – Green Day 13. R.O.O.T.S. - Flo Rida 14. Humbug – Arctic Monkeys 15. The Fame Monster - Lady Gaga 16. Outer South - Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band 17. Rebirth - Lil Wayne 18. Embryonic - The Flaming Lips 19. The Fall - Norah Jones 20. Relapse - Eminem

Top 5 Televised Events

1. Obama’s inauguration 2. Academy Awards 3. American Idol finale 4. President Obama on Leno 5. ER series finale




Top 10 Movies 1. Star Trek 2. Drag Me to Hell 3. Inglorious Basterds 4. An Education 5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

6. The Hurt Locker 7. District 9 8. The Informant! 9. 500 Days of Summer 10. I Love You, Man

Top 5 Popular

Top 5 Video Games

Best of 2009


1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 2. The Beatles: Rockband 3. Halo 3: ODST 4. Resident Evil 5 5. Left 4 Dead 2



1. iPod nano 2. Windows 7 3. Blackberry Storm 4. iPhone apps 5. Nintendo DSi

Top 5 Websites for Procrastination 1. Facebook 2. Hulu 3. FML 4. Omegle 5. My Life is Average

Top 5 Clothing Trends Top 5 New TV Shows 1. Glee 2. Community 3. Dollhouse 4. Melrose Place 5. Parks and Recreation

Top 5 Sporting Events 1. West Side vs. Evansville Memorial 24-10 2. Colts vs. Patriots 35-34 3. Y.E. Yang defeats Tiger Woods in PGA Championship 4. NBA Playoffs: Cleveland vs. Orlando series 5. Usain Bolt sets world records in August

1. Plaid 2. Neon colored skinny jeans 3. Scarves 4. Trapper hats 5. Flashy Nikes

Top 5 Quotes 1. “You lie!” – Joe Wilson 2. “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you, and I’mma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!” – Kanye West 3. “It’s important to realize that I was actually black before the election.” – Barack Obama 4. “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” - Sonya Sotomayor 5. “On what planet do you spend most of your time? …Trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table - I have no interest in doing it.” - Barney Frank

Top 5 Music Videos 1. We Were Once a Fairytale – Kanye West 2. Bad Romance – Lady Gaga 3. I’m On a Boat – The Lonely Island 4. Life in Technicolor II - Coldplay 5. Liztomania – Phoenix

Top 5 Guilty Pleasure Songs 1. If U Seek Amy – Britney Spears 2. Right Round – Flo Rida 3. Don’t Trust Me – 3OH!3 4. Single Ladies – Beyonce 5. I Love College – Asher Roth



The Backlash Against Backlashes Begins BY ANNE MCDOUGALL About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Twilight was a success. Second, there was part of it—and I didn’t know how potent that part might be— for which millions of adolescent girls thirsted. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in loathing with it. Everyone’s favorite conservativeChristian sparkly abstinence vampires aren’t the only victims of such ire. Virtually every hugely profitable franchise—Twilight, the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus etc—adulated by preteens (and some old enough to know better) has fallen prey to dedicated detestation. The impulse to backlash lies dormant in human nature, just waiting for a target to come along. Passionate hatred, any other intense mental state, excites, simplifies, and distracts from the monotony of life. And when that hatred is directed at something popular, one gets the satisfaction of being an edgy rebel without the inconvenience of actual risk.

In reality, obsessive hatred of something stupid is just as lame as obsessive love. I must confess that I too, dear reader, participated in the Twilight backlash. Like a sick, masochistic lion, I forced myself to read the entire book (okay, I skimmed some of it), then unleashed my signature mordant, acerbic wit in the pages of this very publication (come on, it was so acerbic!) But that was a year ago, and it’s time for everyone, including me, to move on. And so I decree: let the anti-backlash backlash commence. If you overhear people eagerly insulting a movie, book, or band, roll your eyes, sigh with weary superiority, and tell them, “You’re into hating that? Seriously?” See New Moon and sit next to the people clearly there just to giggle and mock. With your friends, provide running commentary on their conversation, pointing out all the logical flaws, heavy-handed messages, and stupid dialogue. Or, you know, we could all just go on with our lives.

Hark! A Vagrant: Because History is Serious Business BY LINDSAY GRIMLEY “Never learn anything from history,” declares author Kate Beaton’s new book archiving her infamous nerd humor comics known on the internet as Hark! A Vagrant. Beaton’s comics focus primarily on historical figures and events with a dash of comedy. Whether you know your history or not, almost anyone will find Beaton’s comics hysterical. Her style of art contributes to the humor factor; the comical expressions of the characters alone are enough to

warrant a chuckle. Although Beaton’s main focus is history, some comics are autobiographical and others just plain nonsensical. For instance, a series of comics feature a fat Shetland pony. It usually plays out something like this: someone asks the Shetland pony to do something about a problem they have, the Shetland pony just eats and looks around dumbly, and somehow everything works out in the end. Hark! A Vagrant is one of the top webcomics out there, but don’t just take my word for it, check it out at


Great Reads for Winter Vacation BY MARISSA KOORS Dropping with the leaves this fall has been a plethora of new releases from some of this century’s most acclaimed authors. Here are a few of the best - and worst- of what they had to offer.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown Fans of Brown’s The DaVinci Code eagerly awaited the further adventures of Robert Langdon this September in his newest book The Lost Symbol, which tells the story of Langdon’s foray into domestic controversy in the form of the Freemasons. While maintaining the same thrill-ride twists and turns of his prior two novels, it appears that Brown’s plot structure has become very formulaic; if one compares the Langdon novels, they will find new characters that are fulfilling very familiar roles. On the whole, The Lost Symbol is simply a watered-down retread of Brown’s earlier novels.

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood A continuation of her previous novel Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood explores the same post-apocalyptic environment from a different perspective. A well-constructed and deeply complex narrative, it is filled with examples of Atwood’s creative ingenuity; for example, the “liobam,” a lion-sheep that is both cuddly and fatal. Yet, the veritable flood of back-story, the over-use of deus-ex-machina, and a stubborn unwillingness to deviate too far from Oryx and Crake give the novel a tired feel.

Ford County by John Grisham Ford County is Grisham’s first collection of short stories, a rare deviation from his typical legal thrillers that somehow continues to capture the same indefinite, riveting quality that has always kept his readers turning pages. Devoid of any lofty language or literary acrobatics, the seven stories set at the heart of

the Mississippi Delta are undeniably realistic. However, Grisham appears to have forgone a copy-editor; the collection is riddled with repetitious words and unnecessary adverbs that distract from deeper purpose behind each story.

Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon

Contrary to his typical biting prose and introspective plot construction, Manhood for Amateurs explores the softer, more humorous side of Chabon through a collection of essays on family life and parenthood. While the book is constructed in an appealing way, fans of his Pulitzer-winning Kavalier and Clay may find the lukewarm language and self-aggrandizement to be quite amateur.

Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow

Doctorow’s most recent contribution to the literary pantheon, Homer and Langely endeavors to take the real-life drama of the lives of Homer and Langley Collyer, two rich recluse hoarders living in New York City during the late 19th century. Wrought with Doctorow’s signature abstract intellectualism, the novel explores the frailty of human yearning and the inherent need to find one’s niche in the world. While some may criticize the “Doctorowing” of the historical facts presented in the novel, the richly spun prose and risky use of unconventional plot devices merit a spot on any literary buff’s reading list.




What’s the Deal with Early Graduation? BY ANDREW BURCHILL

Almost every year you can find one: yes, there’s always somebody who feels the need to defy standard graduation procedures. “It’s a rare occasion,” remarks counselor Nathan Thomas, “Not as often as you might think.” However, this year, seniors Lisa Catlin, Margaret Duvall, and Tiana Wilkerson all decided to graduate early. Why would a student decide to graduate one semester early? “There are a variety of reasons. Some just want to be done or have another experience. Others want to work a job for college,” says counselor Joyce Grimble In West Lafayette’s case, this is certainly true: no two early graduates have the same plan. Lisa Catlin is planning on spending her second semester in Germany. “It’s going to be awesome,” she says. Thanks to a study abroad program, Catlin will stay with a German host family, the Pfeiffers, and their daughter. She will attend a German high school and live like a native German student. (She already dreads taking chemistry… entirely in German!) Her college plans? Not surprisingly, she wants to study German or possibly go into international studies. Tiana Wilkerson’s semester out of school will be completely different. She’s happy to get high school over with: “I feel like I deserve it! If you have the chance, why not take it?” She has “no really big plans” for the spring, but hopes to use that time to

start earning money. Wilkerson intends to apply to college for the fall and go into animal sciences. The third early-grad, Margaret Duvall, has her own unique idea. She will spend six weeks in Guatamala: the first three at a language school perfecting her Spanish, and the last three volunteering. FIVE DAYS: Lisa Catlin, Tiana Wilkerson, and Margaret Duvall, the Class of 2009 early graduates, look forward to their final week of high school, Duvall thinks she could but are glad to be almost done. Certainly not everyone can be gutsy enough to help build houses, teach children English, or do anything else that is needed. graduate early. It means sacrificing those elective “The sense of companionship” and “the whole classes you’ve always wanted to take and working Scarlette” (Margaret is one of the Scarlette’s editors- harder than the normal student. It can even involve in-chief) are what she believes she will miss the most “making concessions on diploma type,” as Mrs. Grimble mentions. Instead of getting the honors about high school. Due to her avid interest in theater arts, Duvall diploma, early grads may have to settle for just the also anticipates directing a play at the Civic Theater Core 40. Catlin made this sacrifice when she chose to travel when she returns. She and fellow senior Shalu Mittal to Germany. Lisa laments the fact that she didn’t hope to write a play of their own. So what does it take to graduate early? First of all, take Statistics her junior year: she finds it “kind of forget study halls: you’ll need all the credits you can annoying” (surely an understatement) that she only get. “They have to plan ahead,” advises Grimble. She managed to take seven of the eight math courses says that most students decide during their junior needed for an honors diploma. But as Margaret year—preferably at the beginning. If you plan on Duvall exclaimed, “Why wouldn’t I graduate early?” graduating early, you’ll have to cram in the required After all, what is a fancier diploma when compared to half a year spent in Germany? courses as soon as possible. Photos by Gayatri Narayanan

The Moon is Stellar BY ANJONA GHOSH The moon is timeless. It has made countless appearances in folklore and mythology from around the globe and has been featured in everything from children’s stories like Goodnight Moon to classical masterpieces like Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Its name has given us words like “lunacy” and “lunatic”, stemming from the belief that if someone slept under a full moon, he or she would go mad. The familiar celestial body has always been somewhat of a mystery to humankind. In ancient times, it was believed to have powers of fertility, as well as influence on crop growth. In later years, humans figured out that the moon’s gravitational pull controlled the tides on Earth, but up until forty years ago, humans all had the same fascination with the seemingly unreachable goal: to travel to the moon’s surface.

OUT OF THIS WORLD: What secrets does our sole lunar satellite hold?

Graphic by Mi Yun

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s goal of sending astronauts to the moon within the decade. After eight years of hard work, NASA scientists finally reached their goal. On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 commander, and Purdue University graduate Neil

Armstrong became the first human to ever set foot on the surface of the moon by making “one small step” out of the lunar module and delivered those famous words. Now, forty years later, our knowledge of the moon has greatly expanded. Following the Apollo 11 mission, five more expeditions were made on the surface of the Moon, and astronauts gathered information aplenty about our natural satellite; studying its soil, meteoroids, seismic activity, heat flow, magnetic fields, solar wind, and other phenomena. However, scientists continue to find out more and more fascinating and mystical attributes about the moon. On November 13, 2009, NASA announced that it had found significant amounts of water on the moon; “about a dozen, twogallon bucketfuls,” said project scientist Anthony Colaprete. Though this is an exciting discovery, it isn’t as though scientists found a hidden ocean on the moon; it’s still drier than any desert of Earth. The moon is also making a special appearance to close this year on December 31, 2009 with a partial lunar eclipse, the last of four lunar eclipses this year.

PAGE 10 FEATURES Fie! It’s Christmas Time! Where Are Your Presents? BY ANGEL GRUZE Tsk, tsk. Christmas is right around the corner and you haven’t bought a single present-what else is new? But you, along with the majority of the population, are fortunate. Today’s market makes late Christmas shopping a breeze. Here are some idea to help make your presents extra-special…and easy! For Her: Steal: Go and buy a disposable camera and photo album. Write in a card or letter that the present is to be used for her to take pictures of everything to do with you two. Then she can place in it the album and remember the good times forever. Cheap (in monetary value), sentimental, and above all, quick. Splurge: Buy tickets to her favorite play or concert. There’s probably not a girl out there who wouldn’t love this. Make sure not to choose one that you wouldn’t want to spend three or more hours attending though, you wouldn’t want your boredom to ruin the evening. For Him: Steal: Bake a meal made with love! Food is the way to

Study Tips for Finals BY ZARINA MADAN For those of you who live in a fantasy world, I am sorry to be the one to inform you that finals are NEXT WEEK. This is the week where most students stay up later than normal, cramming as much information as they can into their heads just to spill it all out the next day on a two period exam test. The results of these sometimes 100+ multiple choice question tests can change your GPA forever. So, freshmen and other inexperienced students, here are some tips on how to prepare your brain for the week of finals. 1.Be judicious with prioritization: Set aside the amount of time to study based on your schedule of exams and their relative difficulty. If you know your first and second nine-week grade, you can calculate approximately what percentage you need to receive on the exam to get the desired grade. Yes, some teachers disapprove of this, but seriously, we students do not have time to study and know EVERYTHING. 2.Review old test and quizzes (tip from math teacher Mrs. Gates) If your teacher lets you keep tests and quizzes, make sure you save them and go back to them. The information covered on tests was important enough to be on a test; therefore it is very likely to be on the final also. Most teachers reuse the type of questions, so you can be confident that you will not see any total surprise.

any boy’s heart. Try not to buy store-bought roasted chicken and Pillsbury biscuits, but if you do, don’t expect much appreciation. Homemade meals tell him that you care enough to put in the time. Splurge: Boys collect things, such as sports memorabilia, signed CDs, etc. Find an item that means something to him and hunt it down for the perfect gift.


A Recipe for a Little Bit of Holiday Bliss: Gingerbread Cookies BY SHRAVANI MERUGUREDDY

For Parents: They raised you, don’t be cheap. Mom: Bath and Body Works always has dozens of prepackaged gift sets; there’s no doubt you could find the perfect one for your mom. Dad: If movies are his thing, consider making a movielover gift package. This would include a theater gift card, his favorite snacks, and maybe even an IOU to catch a flick with him sometime. For Kids: Thankfully, children aren’t expensive. For younger kids, the ultimate gift (that takes no time preparation whatsoever) is to take him or her to a toy store and let him or her pick out any gift he or she desires. Be sure to impose a price limit, you don’t want to be stuck trying to break it to little Susie that she can’t have that $200 Barbie Dream House once she’s picked it out. If you were careless and threw the tests away, ask a friend or an upperclassman; some of us keep folders of every paper we have ever received. 3.Organize a study group (tip from junior Kate Jones) Friends can make even studying fun. Order a pizza, grab you notes and books, and ask each other questions and explanations of important topics covered throughout the semester. If you cannot meet physically, online chat groups can be a great meeting place. 4.Go through notes and study guide: Some teachers are kind enough to create a study guide for the exam. This is basically your overview of the final. Make sure you know something about everything on that list. If you do not have one, read through class notes, make notecards for vocabulary, and never forget the friendly Sparknotes, which has several study materials for various subjects. 5.Prepare emotionally, physically, and socially: You gotta remember that health triangle. Physically, do try to get some sleep and a good breakfast. Emotionally, prepare for time constraints. As Mrs. Gates reminds her calculus students, you only have around 15 minutes per free-response problem when you normally have a whole week. And socially, do not lock yourself in a room like a hermit to study for ten hours straight. These are final exams, not the final days of your life. Still try to relax, and have a good time with friends during non-exam periods.

Ingredients * 3 cups all-purpose flour * 1 teaspoon baking soda * 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon * 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger * 1/2 teaspoon each of ground allspice, ground cloves, and salt * 1/4 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper * 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature * 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature * 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar * 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses * 1 large egg * Royal Icing (recipe follows)

Directions Preheat to 350 degrees F. Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, salt and pepper through a wire sieve into a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and vegetable shortening until well-combined. Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is light in texture and color. Beat in the molasses and egg. Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in the flour mixture to make a stiff dough. Divide the dough into two thick disks and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours.

To roll out the cookies, work with one disk at a time. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature until just warm enough to roll out without cracking. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and transfer to nonstick cookie sheets, placing the cookies 1 inch apart.

Bake, until the edges of the cookies are set and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cake racks to cool completely. Decorate with Royal Icing.




David Zoltowski: A Swimming Sensation BY MARIE ZHANG It was in elementary school when junior David Zoltowski, also known as Davy Z, began swimming. “It looked like fun,” he says. He first started when he his sister and fellow teammate, junior Alisa Zoltowski, joined the team. Now after nine years, he has become a very wellrounded swimmer. This season, he is focusing on the 200 individual medley (IM) and the 500 freestyle, which are his favorite. When asked about his strong points, junior Liz Majewski, cocaptain of the girls’ swimming team, remarks, “He’s good at everything. He works the best he can at every practice and takes no shortcuts.” Alisa also agrees. “He’s the most motivated and he keeps going. He sets a good example,” she says. Senior Julian Jimenez-Corredor says of David, “He’s very confident and determined. He’s also really cool and has good rap songs.” Though he is already praised in many ways, David is nonetheless determined to improve himself further and looks forward to working hard and trying to win. With the start of a new swim season, David is excited to hang out

with the other swimmers, namely senior Victor Gutwein, and the European Union (not the actual one, but a group created within the swim team). Outside of school, David likes to watch sports and hang out with friends. For inspiration on his quest for success, David notes two of his role models as Victor and West Lafayette High School alumnus, Raymond Mahon, who was a former member of the swim team. Swimming coach Mr. Wachs, though, says David is a role model himself. “He’s like a role model for the times he performs,” he says, “and he has a great work ethic.” This season, Mr. Wachs predicts that David will be able to advance himself and swim as many events as possible. He also believes that David will proceed to state and top finals. As for the future, David still has a year of high school to go. He also says he might swim in college. Even if he doesn’t, though, he still plans on keeping swimming as a hobby. Excelling in dedication, confidence, and determination, David has many necessary qualities of a successful athlete. Though he is also described as calm and quiet leader, Liz says, “His presence is always known.”

ON YOUR MARKS: David Zoltowski prepares himself for a race.

Photo by Anna Chen

TAKE ‘EM DOWN: Two wrestlers go at it during practice.

Photo by Connie Yang

WL Wrestlers Hit the Floor with a Few Good Men BY WILL DEBOER West Side’s wrestling team began their season last weekend at the Fountain Central Invitational, and despite the low number of bodies the team has to boast, fifth-year coach Rick Roseman remains confident in his men’s abilities. “We’re steady at fifteen wrestlers,” Roseman comments. “Wrestling is not for every single person, and the fifteen we have are very dedicated. We’re going to war with fifteen and I like our chances.” The Red Devils return ten letter winners from the previous season. The team is led by seniors Taylor Smith and Bobby Schweikher, in addition to junior Eric Palmieri, who forwent playing football this season to focus on wrestling. Other key members of the team include juniors Cody and Josh White, Kyle Patton, and Sheheryar Ahsan, sophomores Nathan Scott, Chase Lewark, and Thomas Deranek, as well as freshmen newcomers Theo Johnson and Christian Clayton. Due to the football team’s success, the wrestlers were down to seven for the first couple weeks. “It was tough because we started three weeks late because of football,” says junior Ahsan, “but we’re gonna win when we can.” “We have a few juniors and seniors

who we hope can make it to regional and semi-state,” adds Roseman. The interviewed wrestlers unanimously agreed that the biggest meet of the season will be December 19’s West Lafayette Invitational, one of the Red Devils’ only three home events of the season. Senior Smith explains, “The home tourney will be tough; we’re facing three [Class] 3A teams and three [Class] 5As. There’s some really tough competition there from decentsized schools.” Coach Roseman elaborates: “We’re taking on Harrison, McCutcheon, Benton Central, and other tough area teams. It’s gonna be a real challenge.” The Coach has great confidence in this band of a few good men, and the team returns the feeling towards their fearless leader. “Coach works us harder than anyone else around here,” says junior Palmieri. “We’re in great physical condition because of him.” “He’s a really hardnosed wrestling guy,” adds Smith. “He’s been wrestling since age five or six and knows the sport inside and out. He knows what it takes to win and understands what kind of physical shape is needed.” The Red Devil wrestlers anticipate a season full of success and improvement. Junior Josh White sums it all up: “We’re gonna be awesome and it’s gonna be really fun!”


DECEMBER 11TH, 2009 PAGE 12 Featured Senior: Caroline Gass is the Kookiest Pookie BY ZACH BURCHILL “So,” I ask, “how would you describe Caroline?” “Um… crazy.” “Crazy.” “Definitely quirky.” It seemed there was somewhat of a pattern emerging. At the end of all my interviews, my final unofficial tally was four “crazys,” three “ecstatics,” three “quirkys,” and a “hyper” or two. As one of the more quirky students at West Side, it’s no surprise that Pookie—er, Caroline Gass—is this

NOT JUST FOR GRANNIES: Caroline Gass knits intensely. Photo by Shriya Manian

“The highlight of my day is when Caroline talks to me in Psychology.” –Victor Gutwein

“Who’s Victor Gutwein?” –Caroline Gass

issue’s featured senior. “Pookie” is her nickname; she picked it up playing soccer with the Tippco Tiger Cats, and when she transferred to West Side in eighth grade, the nickname stuck, thanks to her teammates. Her range of interests varies wildly, including everything from speaking German to knitting to pastry baking. She says her knitting is more of “just something [she does],” rather than a hobby, but she does love to speak German. In fact, along with calculus and art history, German is her favorite class. According to her friends, she gets her eccentricities from her mother, who is just as whimsical as she is. Both Caroline and her mother use so many colorful abbreviations and sayings, that when they are talking to each other senior Samantha Akridge says, “It’s like they’re speaking a different language.” Caroline also sometimes does yoga at Sunshine Yoga, where her mom is an instructor. Her capricious behavior is famous around the school—legends abound about her racing wind-up toy nuns

Seriously Speaking:

WUNDERKIND: Caroline takes pause from her eccentric hobbies to complete her German homework.

and the bubble-gum flavored cream soda that is allegedly hidden in her refrigerator. In her ninth grade English Honors course, she wrote a poem about poodles turning into roadkill and pulled it off without sounding creepy or psychopathic. While that all sounds fun, the most exciting thing she says she has ever done is visit Machu Pichu in the Andes mountain range wtih Mr. Fultz during her sophomore year. Caroline’s deliriously enthusiastic personality is catchy. Maybe it’s her silver and leopard-print shoes, but people are just generally happier around her. She often randomly bursts out in creepy voices, like the one from weird kid in The Shining, (“Red rum! Red

Photo by Shriya Manian

rum!”) and her unique style of humor “can bring a smile to anyone’s face,” says senior Sean McCabe. While she can occasionally be seen doing what senior Angela Curry describes as “random dances” in the hallway, her ambition and energy mark her as more than just another Michael Jackson impersonator. She not only succeeds at being quirky, she excels at it. She doesn’t just take German, she’s the president of German Club, and instead of merely playing soccer, she kicks butt on the varsity team. And when it comes to baking, well, I think the eloquent diction of master-taster and food critic, senior Nitesh Bajaj, says it best. “She makes really good pastries.”

What put you on the naughty or nice list this year?

“I’d be naughty and highjack Santa’s sleigh, kidnap an elf and sell him for durros.”


“It is more a matter of moral intentions than discrete, concrete actions.”

“Barracudas... seeking missles... foxes.”

“Depends whether or not my students did their homework today.”

-Erika Kischuk

-Rowen Thompson

-Marcos Cisneros

-Alex Perez

-Mr. Ho

December 11, 2009  

Volume 67, Issue 5

December 11, 2009  

Volume 67, Issue 5