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Shawnee Heights High School

Volume 55 Issue 4

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Four more Shawnee Heights Alumni take on the football field and a golf course.

See where Shawnee Heights students end up decades down the road in fascinating careers all over the world.


Relive the cheer team’s trip to Dallas and the epic boys basketball dub over Hayden.


The Totem Staff

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Adviser: Jeni Daley

Editor in Chief: Ryan Berry

Business Manager: Elizabeth Donaldson

Copy Editor: Elizabeth Hennessey

Will Shawnee Heights pursue drug testing? Follow along and see the process.

Digital Editor: Emily Seuell

Creative Director: Brooklyn Armbruster


See the latest Catches of the Month. Who knows? You might find your soul-mate.

Totem Trivia is back with a new puzzle all about the month of February.


Logan Bissell Valeri Dodds Rebecca Donaldson Rachel Etzel Valerie Golder Taylor Lincoln Kortney Michel Katie Moison Alyssa Rabe Bradyn Smith Keenan Taylor Sierra Jones Makenna Orton

The Totem is a student publication produced by students from scratch during the newspaper class held during 5th block. The thoughts and views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the board, administrators, or faculty and staff of the school. The Totem is created for the primary audience: the student body. Editorial staff make all decisions with guidance from the adviser. Any comments, concerns, or letters to the editor may be mailed to the high school with full name and date included.

Shawnee Heights High School Journalism Department 785-730-5150

Freshmen Mackenzie Waggoner, Cassandra Davis, Baileigh McGillivray, and Tristan Herrick draw an outline for the soon to be completed art mural in the south wing. Art Club works on the mural every Wednesday after school. Photo by: Patricia Jones

Explore Your Passions, Yourself, and Your Future Hey everyone, it’s Elizabeth Hennessey, the current copy editor for the newspaper. Being the copy editor means I’m in charge of everything words, including headlines, captions, and the stories themselves. I applied to become the copy editor last year because I am super passionate about writing. I love writing so I found a class where I could pursue this passion. I believe everyone should pursue their passion and if you don’t have one, find one. Shawnee Heights offers an array of opportunities for students to pursue their passion. Whether you’re a senior or a freshman, do what makes you happy. High school is a time of experimentation and finding what you love. Try new things and explore yourself now, rather than later. If you’re someone who loves sports but has never taken an art class, try one. Once in college you’re on your path for adulthood, you follow strict guidelines to reach your career. But what happens when you get to college and the profession you’ve always wanted to major


in is something that bores you? High school is your time to explore what you are interested in, so you can find something you want to do for the rest of your life. High school is a time to find your passion. Join clubs, activities, and classes that will interest you. Find something you enjoy so you can get the most success out of life. Story by: Elizabeth Hennessey

The Totem | February 2017 | Editor’s Note

Rewind + Play + Remember The year of 2016 was quite an eventful year to say the least. There is no phrase nor single word to describe the roller coaster of events America went through in just this past year. Do the negatives outweigh the positives? Or was the year more good than bad? Or was it split even? You decide. This list of events helped define the year of 2016.

• Cubs winning the world series in extra innings • Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals • First female presidential nominee

• Brock Turner being sentenced to just six months in jail for rape • 2016 Rio Olympics • Ryan Lochte’s situation

• Trump elected president

• For the first time since Thriller & Purple Rain • Zika outbreak (1984), black artists top • Pulse nightclub shooting the album charts for more than 27 weeks • Police officers ambushed in Dallas • Police brutality caught on video

• Harambe’s death

• Iconic Celebrity deaths including: • Russian Hacking Muhammad Ali, Prince, David • War in Syria nearing 6th Bowie, Carrie Fischer, Gene Wilder, year mark Arnold palmer, John Glenn • Flint, Michigan water crisis • Peyton Manning retiring with a Super Bowl championship Story by: Brooklyn Armbruster

The Totem | February 2017 | Editorial


m ni u l A


they now? e r a e r e h W

We all start here. We walk the halls of Shawnee Heights day by day not knowing what our future will hold. Some students have big dreams and some students don’t believe they are going anywhere. Teachers ask you over and over again what success looks like and how to get there. We write about how we want a career and a family but if you’re like me then you don’t know where to start. Shawnee Heights is no ordinary school. Most people don’t wonder about the past students who have gone on to do incredible things. If you didn’t know, there have been multiple alumni that have made success from themselves. They were once students just like us, learning in the classrooms that we learn in. This feature is important because many students don’t believe great things can come of themselves when they’re from a small state. Not only is it possible to become successful, but it’s been done. As a staff we worked hard this issue to reach out to the people who were once sitting in your seats and are now making something of themselves. We as a school could never be more capable. Story by: Brooklyn Armbruster


The Totem | February 2017 | Alumni

S. Scott Mason

1985 After high school, S. Scott Mason went to Carleton University in Minnesota. Then Mason moved to New York to study Law at the prestigious Columbia University. He soon became an attorney in New York, and while working in the city, the tragedy of 9/11 occurred. “I was only a few blocks away,” Mason said. “The Governor and the city coordinated the emergency response, including the clean up and the building inspections.” Mason worked on the 9/11 response parttime in addition to his job. One of Mason’s specialties was writing laws and regulations for building safety. Mason helped make many changes in New York such as passing the Skyscraper Safety Law in 2003. The law pertained to how skyscrapers were structured safely. Mason had worked for New York City for close to 20 years. Once the mayor, Mike Bloomberg, had left office, Mason took a year off. He made some

The Totem | February 2017 | Alumni

changes of his own. “I decided to explore my options. I worked with small startups and entrepreneurial ventures. I helped provide legal guidance. I also worked with nonprofit organizations also known as the Urban Resource Institute,” Mason said. He also came across a small business known as The Brooklyn Press in 2014. He and his partner decided to work full time with this business to make it more successful. The Brooklyn Press is a custom screen print service for apparel and paper goods that encourages creativity. At the end of last year Mason was made the president of The Brooklyn Press. Mason was involved in Debate and Forensics at Shawnee Heights. He says the programs played a major role in who he is today. “To succeed in forensics you have to know who you are. You have to show

To lead people you got to love people. who you are to make yourself vulnerable so the audience can connect,” Mason said. He was also involved in a club that no longer exists, named Students Action Education. It gave students the opportunity to student teach. “I have my positions because of my ability to connect with people. SAE taught me that. My advice for everyone is to be a person people want to work with. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” “Every day is ripe with opportunities. Each opportunity is a vision that I have the chance to help bring to life. Many of these jobs I’ve had have the opportunity to affect people for good or for bad. There is a responsibility that comes with that. The joys are great, but the responsibility is even more significant. I’m always trying to do the right thing. It’s never about just completing a project. It’s about bringing something to the world to make it a better place.”


The Trumps are like family to me

1994 Brad Parscale left Shawnee Heights on a basketball scholarship and moved out to western Kansas. He eventually ended up in San Antonio, Texas, on another basketball scholarship. Years later Parscale started his own company which is now known as Giles-Parscale Inc., which is now one of the largest digital agencies in Texas. One of his clients ended up being Donald Trump. Parscale was the Digital Director and the head of media and advertising for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Parscale also worked with the online fundraising and finance aspect of the campaign and even made all of Trump’s TV commercials. Parscale has worked with the Trump’s for eight years. He originally started to work for them when Trump was in the real estate business. Parscale’s skill set was invaluable to Trump during the campaign. It is why

Pascale’s firm — Giles-Parscale Inc. — was paid $8.4 million by the Trump campaign in July. Most of that money was spent on digital ads. Parscale’s expertise is using data to find voters who will relate to Trump’s message and tailoring ads to those prospective supporters. “With over 20 years in the digital space, Brad has served the Trump Organization in building its digital platform globally,” Trump said in a statement. “I think Topeka played a strong role in who I am,” Parscale said in an interview with Topeka Capital journalist Justin Wingerter.” Story by: Brooklyn Armbruster

Brad Parscale 8

The Totem | February 2017 | Alumni

Kevin Zimmer went to KU for journalism but in 2001 Disney World came to the KU campus to recruit people to work for the company. Zimmer then moved to Orlando and fell in love with Florida. “I was working full time at Disney World as a boat driver and had picked up a waiting job on the side. A little old lady sat at my table with a Gatorland shirt on and I couldn’t stop telling her how much I loved the family park with rustic atmosphere,” Zimmer said. “When she was done with breakfast she told me she was the HR director, she liked my enthusiasm and could use another gator wrestler and I should come down and pick up an application. I did just that, auditioned a week later and stayed for three and a half years.” A typical day for Zimmer would include a full day of shows and feedings. He would perform two shows wrestling 6-7 foot long alligators. “If I didn’t die, I would then go on to the next show with a buddy and we would do a show with audiZimmer also worked ence participation with scorpions, for Animal Kingdom spiders, big snakes, and venomous where he was part of the snakes,” Zimmer said. original team for Winged Next, Zimmer would perform Encounter. They would a gator feeding show where adult train parrots, toucans, alligators would jump out of the and birds of prey using water to eat whole chickens out of positive reinforcement. his hands. Gatorland is one of the The show is called few zoos to train crocodiles so, the Flights of Wonder which best part of his day was putting on is a free flying bird show trained feeding shows with adult and never been done Nile, Saltwater, and Cuban crocobefore with the amount diles throughout the week. of birds Zimmer’s team “The best part of working at was attempting. A free Gatorland was connecting with kids flying bird show was a and showing them reptiles are just trained group of 20 birds like other animals. They may need to to fly a half mile across be respected, but not feared.” the park, land at a


specific destination, and then return back home, which took training and reinforcement daily. Two years ago, Zimmer had the opportunity to be the curator for a struggling zoo in Sarasota, FL. The zoo made steps forward, but Zimmer decided to step away from the animal industry. He now works as solar installer, but his passion still lies in the animal field especially crocodiles. Zimmer hopes to get back into crocodile training in the future and move it forward any way he can.

Story by: Elizabeth Donaldson

Kevin Zimmer The Totem | February 2017 | Alumni


Nineteen year old, Katie Emerson is currently attending the Air Force Academy located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She originally went to become a pilot but since, has realized she wants to be a Cyber Officer. A few additional months of training will help Emerson achieve her goal of protecting computer networks for the Air Force Systems. Being a Cyber Officer will allow her to be stationed anywhere there is a military base.


Katie Emerson


Brett Criqui 10


Stories by: Rebecca Donaldson

Lieutenant Colonel Brett Criqui is currently serving as the Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (ASA M&RA), working in the Pentagon. While in high school, LTC was a part of Aviation Explorer Scouts Post 8. When he was 14, he learned to fly and by 17 he had his pilot license. LTC Criqui served part-time with the Kansas Army National Guard and worked as a State Trooper for the Kansas Highway Patrol. He was recently invited to the Inaugural Ball.

The Totem | February 2017 | Alumni The Totem | February 2017 | Alumni


Douglas Deever has his medical license and degree and is currently still in training for his specialty of Internal medicine. During college, Deever was in ROTC, which helped pay for school. He then became Commissions Officer and Lieutenant in the United States Airforce. After graduating from the medical school at Creighton University, Deever was promoted to Captain. Taking Biology in high school sparked a medical interest for Deever.

Douglas Deever In September 2009 Lieutenant Commander Dan Cnossen was in Afghanistan as a platoon commander for SEAL Team One when he stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device). He lost both legs just above the knee, but learned to walk with prosthetics. For his service, Cnossen received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Valor. He is now a member of the Team USA Paralympic Nordic Skiing National Team.

The Totem | February 2017 | Alumni The Totem | February 2017 | Alumni


Dan Cnossen 11


When Tom Dinkel graduated he headed to the University of Kansas to play football. Following his collegiate career, he was selected in the fifth round of the 1978 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. Dinkel had an eight year NFL career including a Super Bowl game in 1974 1982. Tom unfortunately took a hit during the game and couldn’t remember much of what had happened. “It wasn’t even a hard hit, it was one of those glances off the side of the helmet with his thigh, and it knocked me cold for a couple of commercial breaks. In today’s world they would have strapped my head to a wooden board and taken me off in an ambulance. But they used a bunch of smelling salts and I finally came to.” Tom stated in an interview with Topeka Capital Journalist, Rick Petterson. Dinkel, a member of the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Council Hall of Fame, remained in the Cincinnati area once his playing days were over, but he still gets back to Topeka whenever he can. “It’s so funny because I don’t think there was a day that I went to work where I didn’t pinch myself saying, ‘Hey, great day to be going to work and playing pro football,’ ” he said. “That was the attitude I had and I never took the sport for granted.” “I couldn’t say enough about going to Shawnee Heights,” said Dinkel, part of a state runner-up basketball team at Heights. “A lot of great memories of Topeka. It’s a great little city.”

Tom Dinkel


Homecoming king, basketball and track superstar, and football maniac are some of the many accomplishments Troy Wilson gathered in high school. Adding on to that list, Wilson is also a Super Bowl champion. After high school Troy attended Pittsburgh State University from 1989 to 1992, helping Pitt State win the 1991 NCAA Division II national championship. Wilson was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 7th round (194th overall) of the 1993 NFL Entry Draft. “The main thing is that I have been very blessed to be a part of programs that were always geared toward winning and ulti-

mately successful in winning,” Wilson said. “I had both sides of the spectrum though, because we didn’t always win. On the professional level, the ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl every year. But it’s hard to accomplish that on a yearly basis,” Wilson told Topeka Capital Journal.

Troy Wilson 12

Stories by: Brooklyn Armbruster

The Totem | February 2017 | Alumni

After high school, Gary Woodland attended Washburn University on a basketball scholarship, but left after his freshman year to attend the University of Kansas on a golf scholarship. He studied Sociology while at KU. Woodland had a successful collegiate golf career, winning four tournaments before turning professional in 2007. At the end of the 2008 season, he entered the Qualifying School for the PGA tour, and finished in a tie for 11th, which was good enough to earn him a full card to play on the PGA Tour in 2009. In March 2011, Woodland won his first PGA Tour title. This win secured Woodland a place at the 2011 Master’s tournament and also elevated him to a career high 53rd in the Official World Golf Rankings.


Gary Woodland Photo By: Graham Barfield

2010 Austin Willis went to Emporia State University on a track scholarship and walked on the football team. Willis red shirted his first year of college football but the next year led the team in tackles for special teams. The next he led the nation in receiving yards for seven to eight weeks until he injured his ankle. His senior year he got the opportunity to go to a rookie mini-camp with the Oakland Raiders on a tryout basis. Willis got signed after the camp

for his first NFL contract. By the preseason of 2015 he was picked up by the Buffalo Bills after a tryout. He was then released after a concussion in the three weeks. In 2016 he was signed by the Detroit Lions and was with the team until the end of summer work-

Austin Willis The Totem | February 2017 | Alumni

outs. Since then Willis has not been signed. Willis did get his degree from Emporia State with a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion. “A memorable moment from Shawnee Heights would be the 4x4 track race from my senior year,” Willis said. “I would ask coach Nicks about that race. If you have a dream, do whatever it takes to make that dream come true. Make the sacrifices and put in the work even when you don’t want to. It doesn’t matter where you come from. If you do things the right way and for the right reasons and with everything you got, you will never have any regrets.”


Priti Lahkani Photo by TEDxTopeka

Could you imagine working on feet? Specializing in feet? Going to work to work on feet? Well Priti Lahkani does just this. Lahkani specializes in podiatry and is well known for her accomplishments. Lahkani started out with her own private practice in 1998, and is now a director for the Cerner Corporation. Lahkani started her education in Topeka, attending Washburn University and finishing off education at Harvard University School of Public Health in 2013. Lahkani also gave a speech at TEDxTopeka in October of 2016 for “Honor Among Women.” She also is known for her work on Chicago Children’s Diabetes Week. Story by:Ryan Berry

Alex Reilly Reilly attended the University of Kansas, earned a B.A. in French, and graduated in 1992. In 2005, Reilly joined MB Piland in Topeka, KS, an advertising agency. She has worked there for 12 years and is now the vice president of advertising. As of now, Reilly does not have any plans of moving and she expressed she is happy in her hometown. “You can’t always plan everything, you never realize what your hometown has to offer,” Reilly said. “Topeka is a great town to live and work in, when you are involved and contributing, you truly realize what a great town this is.” Reilly enjoys everything theatre and has even directed productions for the Topeka Civic Theatre. While she isn’t directing or starring, she is helping promote her daughter’s ballet school, putting her marketing skills to work. She highly encourag-


es others to get involved in the Topeka Civic Theatre. Along the way, Reilly had many mentors that helped shape her into the person she is. Reilly recalls many teachers and class-

mates from Shawnee Heights that really helped her achieve her goals. Her advice to high school seniors isn’t what most would expect: “Being involved in [the] community is enriching. Before you leave, get involved,” Reilly stated. In 2012, IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) awarded Reilly Communicator of the Year. She also received the YWCA Women of Excellence Honoree in 2009. Story by:Ryan Berry

14 The Totem | February 2017 | School News

As a high schooler, Matthew Kreger was in band, musicals, and plays. Kreger sang so much in high school he decided to go to college at Baker and then transferred to Webster. He received a master’s from the University of Houston in vocal performance. In college, Kreger was part of the Houston Grand Opera and traveled around the world singing in places like Seoul, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. Kreger also sang in the New York Philharmonic and at Carnegie

Hall with Paul McCartney. The only continent Kreger has not sang on is Antarctica. Today, Kreger owns Boom Comics and says owning his own business is similar to singing opera in that he has independence. Kreger has a passion for comics and enjoys embarrassing Dylan and Anna Pawar.


Story by:Elizabeth Donaldson

Matthew Kreger Tom Mitchelll


Shawnee Heights is well known for it’s theatre accomplishments and highly celebrated alumni that pursue an interest in theatre. Thomas Mitchell graduated in 1974, and pursued a degree in fine arts at Baker University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. When asked, Mitchell admitted that the biggest hurdled he faced was just the industry within itself. “I feel lucky, because working in theatre is never the easiest thing, especially in the Midwest,” Mitchell said. Mitchell felt like Shawnee Heights had good support for the theatre enthusiasts and made it easy for him to be active in the music/ drama program. He participated in band, playing the trumpet and singing on the Choraliers. Today, Mitchell resides in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, teaching as a professor of theatre at the University of Illinois. Mitchell still enjoys music and sings in his church’s choir.

“I like living in college towns, there are a lot of opportunities,” Mitchell stated. Currently Mitchell is working on a playwright called “Tennessee Williams.” He hopes to write a book, putting together five short stories, to bring the story of Tennessee to the public. Mitchell has been working on this for 15 years, and dedicated much of his time to it. Story by: Ryan Berry

The Totem | February 2017 | Alumni


Shawnee Heights Stars Students and staff win over audience at annual talent show

From show stopping singing, to completely original composers, to a dulcimer hammer performance, the Shawnee Heights talent show grabbed the attention of many on January 27-28. The show had several acts, including a teacher band, multiple singing acts, Choraliers, and jazz band. Senior Sam Miller not only directed the show but also performed in multiple acts. With the accompany of Mr. Robert Doole, the


talent show was able to incorporate an art showing as part of the show. “I feel like we have other students that have talent besides just singers and performers,” Miller said. By including an art gallery students got the opportunity to share their talents. One notable act was an original composition from sophomore Orion Martin. Junior Morgan Shipman also performed with the school version of her actual band “The Discount Morgan and the Freemen,” because the band she typically performs with is made up of students that don’t attend SHHS, and were not allowed to perform. Junior Josh Goble, a familiar face to the stage, was accompanied by his dad on the piano as he sang “Sitting in the Dock of the Bay,” by Odis Redding. Phoenix Constantino played the drums for multiple acts including a couple rock bands including: Story and photos by: Elizabeth Hennessey The Broke Boiiiis. The lead singer, senior Omar De La Torre sang “Come a Little Closer” by Cage the Elephant. The Hunger Paines lead by senior Alexis Paine sang “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes No one expected the high school talent show to feature a teacher band; however, they did just that. Shawnee Heights’ very own teachers and faculty made up the band Bandwidth and performed a jazzy rendition of “Soul Man” by the Blues Brothers. The Totem | Febrauary 2017 | School News

New Curriculum Bring Confusion to Enrollment Process Enrollment for next year begins the first week of February, and with it more curriculum changes impacting students. Within the last decade, the math department changed course offerings, and science has completed a similar process of changing course titles and restructuring how science is taught at SHHS. Recent state and federal education standards have made the process confusing for students as faculty and staff work to adhere to these new rules. Students are now required to take Science A one semester. They can then follow up with one of two options: completing a semester of Science B, or completing a year of chemistry. In the 20162017 school year, Science A was added to the required classes for the science curriculum. New federal and state standards brought about the change. The Next Generation Science Standards stated Kansas high schools must incorporate physical, earth, and life science topics into their curriculum for all students. The new Science A class is focused on earth science. Students wouldn’t experience any earth science before they graduated if they took biology, chemistry, and physics; a traditional path for many students up until this point. Chemistry is required for the Kansas Scholars Curriculum. Chemistry or physics is required to attend one of the six Kansas Regents Universities which include the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Wichita State University, Fort Hays State University, Pittsburg State University, and Emporia State University. Science B is not required to take, but it may help boost the confidence of those students who may lack skills in science or math. A student might

The Totem | February 2017 | School News

take Science A and B their sophomore year and chemistry their junior year. By adding in the Science B section, the students will get an introduction of what they will be learning in chemistry with physical science standards along with a few earth standards embedded in. “I recommend taking Science A and chemistry your sophomore year over Science A and B,” principal, Mr. West said. “[However] Taking Science B can benefit students because it allows the student to get a better baseline of skills.” Science A and B share similar names although they are not fully related, which leads to confusion for some students. One is required of all students, while the other is mainly for students who need to get a better baseline of skills before entering chemistry. In fact, all students are required to take biology and Science A, followed by at least one and a half additional credits in science before they graduate. About seven to eight years ago, the curriculum for mathematics also changed. Before the curriculum change, students would take algebra l for a year, geometry the next, and then algebra ll the year after that. Now, students must take integrated math one, two, and three. By changing the curriculum, the students were able to learn algebra and geometry at the same time. “After taking a whole year off of algebra I students forgot what they had learned. We would spend the whole first semester of algebra ll catching up and relearning the material from algebra l,” math teacher Brad Nicks said of the change. Story by: Taylor Lincoln and Kortney Michel


School News Every year, sophomores at SHHS complete the Kansas Communities That Care survey, where they are asked questions annonymously about their lives as teenagers. Several drug-related questions prompted surprising results. At least once Not at all 31%



“I think students should have freedom outside of school and they should be able to choose what they do as long as it isn’t in school.” - Kolby Jones (11)

On how many occasions (if any) have you used marijuana in your life?

At least once Not at all

On how many occasions (if any) in the past 30 days have you used marijuana?

“I think drug testing is good because it keeps people safe, healthy, and in their right state of mind.” -Ashley Price (10)


Easy Hard 34%



“It’s good because it keeps people safe from getting high.” -Alexis Dial (9)

If you wanted to get some marijuana, how easy would it be for you to get some? (Easy = very easy or sort of easy, hard = very hard or sort of hard) The Totem | February 2017| School News

Administration Presents Plan to Implement Student Drug Testing to School Board The school board is planning to vote on February 20 to decide whether drug testing should be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year. Although the board hasn’t decided to pursue this decision completely, they have had several meetings discussing the matter. Over the past couple months, administration has discussed the possibility of doing random drug testing at the middle and high school levels. “The main goal of these drug tests are to get negative results,” Principal Ed West said. The school wants to implement these tests to decrease the amount of students doing illegal drugs in an unsafe way. Seaman and Hayden both have had similar numbers in the aspect of how many high schoolers have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime and who have tried it in the past 30 days, according to a survey taken last year by sophomores and seniors. Both of these schools have seen significant improvement in their numbers following the implementation of drug testing. The school is starting to look into companies to provide testing for students. They have narrowed down to a few that many schools are using, including the company that provides for Seaman. The school board met on January 23 to discuss the random drug testing policy. The board had a long discussion with both sides voicing their opinion. Member Lauren Tice Miller gave the idea of having a set date where teachers could learn how to see the warning signs of a student

The Totem | February 2017 | School News

and how to react in this situation. Miller expressed her opinion that the school already has a drug policy in place and that another one with the same aspects isn’t necessary. Miller gave reference to the student handbook with this information. Jason Shultz, another school board member, also voiced his opposition to the idea. The school gave out an anonymous survey in the 2015-2016 school year to sophomores and seniors. In the survey taken, 31 percent of students said that they have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime. In the past 30 days, 16 percent said they have used marijuana. The point of drug testing is to get these numbers down and give kids a reason to not do drugs. If there are consequences put into place, students may be deterred from using. The consequence for a positive test would be 21 days with no extracurricular activities, which includes all KSHAA activities. Students with positive results will also be referred to a prevention and recovery center for an assessment to see if further action needs to be taken. The student will also need to take five follow-up drug tests with a 90-day time period in between to make sure the student is staying clean. The board plans to officially vote on the matter during the February 20 meeting. Story by: Rachel Etzel and Katie Moison


National News

New Year, New President President Trump Takes Office Amidst New Policies and Controversies

As President Donald J. Trump took the inaugural oath Friday, January 20, he delivered a speech filled with hopefulness and promises of rebuilding the nation to be stronger and better in the eyes of the world. As Trump finished his inaugural oath, the crowd was filled with cheers of excitement and praise, as well as boos and disappointment from protestors. Following the inauguration, protests across the nation were sparked, including the Women’s March the following day. With the inauguration comes the final cabinet approval hearings, where Trump sparked controversy with his Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A), secretary of state, and education cabinet picks. Scott Pruitt, Rex Tillerson, and Betsy DeVos had questions raised about possible conflicts of interests and experience in the field. However, supporters are excited that Trump pledged to put America first during his presidency. During his inaugural address, he pledged to not let other countries take advantage of America and to return control of the country to its people. One of the many excutive orders he signed in the last week was a ban on immigrants from countries often associated with Islamic extremists. The order made travel extremely difficult even for those holding green cards and valid visas, but some argued it was a step to protect America from potential terrorist attacks. Story by: Kennan Talyor


Photos courtesy of: wikimedia

The Totem | February 2017 | School News


lack History Month originally started out as a week-long observation during the love for their skin color and pride for their background. Black Student Union is one of the clubs offered at second week of February, to remember the Shawnee Heights that gives student of color a place to go history and accomplishments of African Americans. The whole purpose of Black His- and talk about the difficult situations they face. “We do talk about Black History Month,” Alona tory Month is to celebrate the accomplish- ments, and recognize the struggle of African Harrison, BSU president, said. “In meetings, dependent American people throughout history. on our upcoming activities, we will talk about plans, activ In recent years, African Americans ities to participate in within the communities, and things have been spreading their appreciation be- pertaining to the organization...Many of our field trips yond the month of February, in the belief that help us to deal with and talk through problems the Black you should celebrate your history and your community faces.” skin color every month of the year. On social BSU also gives students of color a place where media, hashtags such as #BlackExcellence, they can freely talk about what it’s like to be a person of #Melanin, and #BlackGirlMagic are used as color. a way to express pride in the color of their “We talk about being proud of the rich heritage of skin. They are also used as a sort of window to break through negative stereotypes and African American, and focus less on skin color because African Americans come in many shades, ranging from show the world what they can achieve. Worldwide “Blackouts” also occur the lightest of hues to the darkest,” Harrison said. “It throughout all social media, most popularly helps Students by empowering them to voice their conon Tumblr. A “Blackout” is where African cerns and opinions about their community.” Americans post pictures of themselves that Story by: Logan Bissell make them feel confident as a way to show

The TotemCourtesey: | February 2017Alwyn | SchoolScott News Turner Photo


These Bowlers Don’t Have Time to Spare

The Shawnee Heights bowling team starts season off on strong footing

To some, bowling is just a sport, but to others bowling is much different: it’s one of their favorite things to do. “My favorite thing about bowling is being able to travel all around the country for tournaments, and getting to meet so many people as well as making new friends,” junior Nathan Mercer said. Breaking two school records in the process, Mercer bowled a perfect game on Monday, Jan. 23, at the Manhattan tournament. He bowled his sixth 300 game as well as a 759 series. Both the boys and the girls varsity teams have excelled at recent meets. The girls brought home a significant sweep of the Lawrence Invitational bringing home a first place team plaque, while the boys have brought home first place at six meets. Both girls and boys have placed first at every meet except one. “My favorite thing about bowling is the people I meet doing it,” sophomore Cayla Bortz said. “Also, I love the people I’m bowling with, I would do anything for my team, they are my family.” Being one of the top bowlers doesn’t just mean you have authority over everyone, it also means you have to step up and help the rest of the team. Different bowlers have different perspectives on what it’s like to be at the top. “It means that I have put in the hard work it takes but it also means I have to set examples of teamwork and concentration,” senior Abby Duensing said. The bowlers work harder and harder every time whether it be at practice or a competition to better themselves. “I will practice more and focus more on my techniques to better my game, I also will work harder to become a better bowler” junior Alex Pheigaru said. The bowling team will continue their hard work and effort as the season continues in hopes of winning more meets. Story by: Bradyn Smith


The Totem | February 2017 | Sports

Pin to Win

Stickelman and Patterson surpass 100 career wins For Shawnee Heights wrestlers, being part of the wrestling team is more than just a sport and something that goes on your letterman jacket. It means you are apart of a family that is always there for you. Despite being an individual sport, each teammate bonds through tough workouts and hard competition. “They’re like my brothers, I’ll always have their backs,” junior, Chase Reynolds said. Recently, two wrestlers, juniors Barrett Stickelman and Jake Patterson, surpassed 100 career

The Totem | February 2017 | Sports

wins. Reynolds was named Outstanding Wrestler of Wichita North’s tournament. Since 2005, Coach Chad Parks has brought 122 state qualifiers and seven state champions. Coach Parks wrestled for 21 years and has been a wrestling coach for 15 years. After beating Mill Valley, ranked number three in 5A class, and Seaman, on Wednesday, January 19, Shawnee Heights now has a record of 9-3. “There is no entitlement in wrestling, you have to earn it every time,” Coach Parks said. Story by: Rebecca Donaldson


Trey Brown takes a shot at the basket while playing Bonner Springs. Photo by: Kileigh McGillivray

hn fhdzuvhfjzPoncho Freeman takes a breath to concentrate on the basket. Photo by: Kileigh McGillivray

It’s Not The Hype, It’s The Hoop

Thunderbirds break 100 points versus the accomplished Hayden Wildcats, winning 100-85 On January 20-23 the T-Bird’s basketball team participated in the Ralph Miller Classic in Chanute, KS. The boys took home a first place title, but the road getting there wasn’t easy. The Thunderbirds took on the Winfield Pirates with a score of 78-66 for their first win of the tournament. “After our first game I was happy we won but I knew we would play a lot better teams so we really had to concentrate and focus on our goal,” senior Jesse Moss said. The next day the T-Birds played the Leavenworth Pioneers winning 45-35 advancing them to the championship game to play the Emporia Spartans. “We had a lot of energy not only on the court but on the bench which helped us get to the championship,” senior Poncho Freeman said. Freeman lead the team with 18 points and Moss followed close behind with 10 points, helping them defeat the Spartans with a 65-50 win. “It felt great to win the tournament. We haven’t won the tournament since my sophomore year so it was exciting to win it again,” Freeman said.


Coming off the first place tournament trophy, the Thunderbirds faced tough competition at Hayden on Wednesday, Jan. 25. Although the wildcats have elite athletes being recruited by top programs, the T-Birds defeated them 100-85. Senior Trey Brown lead Heights with 34 points. “It felt good to hit 100 and our team was really clicking on offense. We shared the ball really well and they had a hard time guarding us,” Brown said. The Thunderbirds haven’t broken 100 since 1991, so hitting 100 was a big accomplishment in their eyes. “The crowd kept us going and they started to push us when we were close to getting 100. We didn’t let anything get to us,” Brown said. Story by: Alyssa Rabe

The Totem | February 2017 | Sports

Everything is Bigger in Texas

The T-Bird cheer team takes third place in Dallas, TX at NCA Nationals

The Shawnee Heights cheer team was given the opportunity to go to cheer nationals once again this year. The team traveled to Dallas, Texas for nationals from January 20-23. Last year’s nationals team was made up of 35 cheerleaders, this year they only had 15 on the team. “This year the team has gotten smaller because we changed the division that we are competing in - in the past we have competed in a division that allowed us to have 30 on the floor. This year we are competing in a division that the max number on the floor is 16,” cheer coach Morgan Whitney said. The team has changed their division from large advanced game time performance to small advanced game time performance. The cheerleaders were judged on creativity, stunting, technique and tossing. They were also judged on jumps and body positions. Every cheer team that wants to go into the NCA Nationals have to be accepted. “We make up our own routine and then send in a bid tape,” senior Layla Goodlow said. They put together a cheer routine, recorded it, and sent it in to get accepted. Last year the team placed seventh in large ad-

vanced game day, fifth in large time out cheer, and sixth in large time fight song. This year the cheer team placed third in advanced performance game time with a score of 92.06 out of 100, thirteen in medium high school fight song, and 10th in time out cheer. “My favorite part about nationals was bonding with my team and getting to know my new coach. It was really fun,” junior Jayden Price said. Throughout the weekend the team got to adventure out in Dallas. They had the opportunity to watch other teams perform and bond with their team by going to the mall together, and getting each other ready to perform by doing each others hair and makeup. Story by: Sierra Jones

This stunt group takes a picture while getting their hair and makeup ready to perform. Photo by: Maddie Good

The Totem | February 2017 | Sports


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Spirit Week Transforming

Rewind to two years ago: at 7:45 a.m., you walk through the south wing doors on the morning of Spirit Night and the halls are filled with red and blue. Streamers are hanging from the ceiling, music is blasting, and an overall energetic vibe is felt all throughout the school. This was my very first experience of the beautiful, chaotic, and just plain fun spirit week. Fast forward to the present: I am now a junior and have experienced five spirit weeks (including fall and winter) and it seems to me that each time the celebratory week rolls around, there are new rules and limitations as to what we can do, leading to a lack of school spirit and participation. Changes within the last three years have declined the excitement surrounding these moments in high school where the lasting memories are made. The 50 percent decrease in annual pep assemblies, removal of the benches, rules against decorating the hallways, and even the restriction for each class to choose their own theme for Spirit Night has changed the overall dynamics of the week. Now many students choose not to participate in the dress up days, and some are skipping out on the crowning ceremony during King & Queen of Courts. The whole purpose of spirit week is to promote school spirit and give students a break from the everyday routine. We are given these weeks to have fun even in the midst of normal school activities, and it makes for a richer high school experience that goes beyond the classroom. These weeks are a chance for the student body and faculty/staff to come together and have fun in unity. In the relaxed and spirited atmosphere, students get the chance to connect with teachers and administrators in a fun and unique way, rather than the typical The Totem | February 2017 | Opinion

balancing act between authority and rebellion.. When staff participate in games versus candidates, or surprise the entire school with a secret dance, there’s a special connection that can’t happen any other time of the year. Yet, even that is being threatened as the district recently discussed banning teachers from participating in physical games versus students because of the insurance liability it can cause with potential injuries. I think we have to go back to the purpose of spirit weeks and do everything we can to increase school morale and pride in Shawnee Heights through these celebrations. Instead of the answer always being, “No,” the answer could be, “Let’s figure out a way to make this work.” I think if club sponsors, administrators, and student leaders were willing to come together and focus on increasing school spirit, we could come up with compromises and new ways to build memories at our school. Since we have decreased the amount of pep assemblies that we get each year, a bigger pep assembly at the end of Spirit Week with skits by the basketball teams, games with candidates and staff, and even door prizes for the most spirited students could potentially help pump students up and get more people to come to the crowning ceremony at the football or basketball game. Perhaps having designated hallways or sections of the school for each class to decorate could be reinstated, with an agreement that a student-lead cleaning crew would take care of the mess at the end of the week is a potential negotiation. Going back to all of the old traditions isn’t what I’m looking for, but making new traditions that will lead to memories with my class should be a priority rather than a drag. Story by: Valeri Dodds



Q: What are your hobbies? A: I like skateboarding, nature walks, video games, having deep conversations, night drives, and hanging out with my sister and the homies. Q: What’s your special talent? A: I have a great fashion sense. Q: What’s something people don’t know about you? A: I’m a master chef and I want to move to Colorado. Q: What do you look for in a significant other? A: That they’re truthful. Q: What are three things you can’t live without? A: My sister, mother, and running water. Q: Describe your perfect date. A: Middle of no where, at night, where we can chill and look at the stars. Q: What’s something about you that stands out? A: My eyeballs.

Q: What are your hobbies? A: I like to listen to music. Q: What’s your special talent? A: I can move my ears. Q: What’s something people don’t know


about you? A: I’m smart on the inside. Q: What do you look for in a significant other? A: Someone I can chill with and connect with on a personal level. Q: What are three things you can’t live without? A: My phone, my friends, and my family. Q: Describe your perfect date. A: Go on an adventure and explore. Q: What’s something about you that stands out? A: I enjoy making people happy, and my hair.

Q: What are your hobbies? A: I like playing video games,, reading, collecting




quarters, and playing the clarinet. Q: What’s your special talent? A: Procrastination. Q: What’s something people don’t know about you? A: I was named after a boxer. Q: What do you look for in a significant other? A: A similar personality. Q: What are three things you can’t live without? A: Food, electricity, and books. Q: Describe your perfect date. A: A relaxing evening, having fun. Q: What’s something about you that stands out? A: I’m good at puns.


Q: What are your hobbies? A: Playing sports and working out. Q: What’s your special talent? A: Water bottle flipping. Q: What’s something people don’t


know about you? A: I’m nice. Q: What do you look for in a significant other? A: A good personality. Q: What are three things you can’t live without? A: Family, food, and internet. Q: Describe your perfect date. A: A walk on the beach. Q: What’s something about you that stands out? A: My sense of humor.

Q: What are your hobbies? A: I like to cheer, sing, go to church, and read good books. Q: What’s your special talent? A: Singing. Q: What’s something people don’t know


about you? A: I’m really funny. Q: What do you look for in a significant other? A: Tall, a good smile and laugh, nice, and LOYAL! Q: What are three things you can’t live without? A: My phone, my glasses or contacts, and my family. Q: Describe your perfect date. A: A drive-in movie. Q: What’s something about you that stands out? A: My really big curly hair.

Q: What are your hobbies? A: I like drawing, writing, video games, sleeping, nature trail walking, rock climbing, and camping. Q: What’s your special talent? A: I’m a great writer. Q: What’s something people don’t know about you? A: I’ve never had a nose bleed before. Q: What do you look for in a significant other? A: Someone who’s nice, and has a good personality. Q: What are three things you can’t live without? A: The internet, writing utensils, and paper. Q: Describe your perfect date. A: Walking down a nature trail, and being ourselves. Q: What’s something about you that stands out? SOPHOM ORE A: My pink hair.


The Totem | February 2017 | Entertainment

Q: What are your hobbies? A: I like cuddling with my cats, doing forensics and debate, crying over trig, and slow walks on the beach. Q: What’s your special talent? A: My inability to get a boyfriend. Q: What’s something people don’t know about you? A: I hate caramel, I’m scared of peacock, and love Parks & Rec. Q: What do you look for in a significant other? A: Intelligent, nice, a sense of humor, and respectful. Q: What are three things you can’t live without? A: My cat, my phone, and my family. Q: Describe your perfect date. A: A dinner at Chili’s or Tortilla Jacks, and a Parks & Rec. marathon. R Q: What’s something about you that JUNIO stands out? A: I’m really outgoing, and I never give up.


Q: What are your hobbies? A: I like reading and scrolling on Tumblr. Q: What’s your special talent? A: Spinning flags. Q: What’s something people don’t know about you? A: I’m allergic to basically everything. Q: What do you look for in a significant other? A: Intelligence. Q: What are three things you can’t live without? A: Books, music, and food. Q: Describe your perfect N A date. M FRESH A: Being surprised. Q: What’s something about you that stands out? A: I can be quite loud when people think I’m quiet.



Meet Your


Joe Weigel “I went to the inauguration”

The 2016-2017 King and Queen of Courts candidates

“I have a pet snake named Navaro”

Pheonix Constantino

Cole Emerson “I wrestle land sharks in my spare time”

Keegan Bowman

Jarrett Pitman

“I can make fun and spicy memes”

“I do yoga and am currently training to be an instructor”

Dolci Towle

Lauren Robinson

“I can’t be in the sun”

“I’m very shy”

Faith Rottinghaus “My favorite food is spotzen”

Kirsten Johnson

Bailey Lincoln

“Dolphins are my favorite animal”

“I used to have an outie belly button but I don’t anymore”


The Totem | February 2017 | Entertainment

Totem Trivia

Name____________________ Grade____ Fill this out correctly and bring it to the newspaper room (S408) for your chance to win a prize!

Created with Crossword Puzzle Generator

Across: 1. The god of desire, with a bow and arrow 3. Used as a term of endearment 9. The act of wooing someone 10. The god of love, son of Aphrodite 12. A major sporting event that takes place on February fifth

14. Gave the famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech 15. Widely recognized third-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14th 19. First African American president 21. February is the ________ month 22. Hugs and ______ 23. A sweet treat

The Totem | February 2017 | Entertainment

Down: 16. Zodiac sign for Janu2. Zodiac sign for february 19th ary 20th through the 18th through March 20th 17. Birthstone for February 4. She led the underground rail18. This woman would not road get off of the bus 5. Juliet’s lover 20. A prickly red flower 6. February 14th 7. A holiday celebrating our leaders 8. These come in heart shaped boxes 11. B____ H______ month 13. We have this every four years


Shawnee Heights Senior High School 4201 SE Shawnee Heights Rd. Tecumseh, KS 66542 Journalism Department: 785-730-5150


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