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MARCH 2018

Shawnee Heights High School // Tecumseh, Kansas

THE TOTEM Volume 56 // Issue 5

Debates on gun control, teachers’ perspectives on being armed, and student activism in the midst of tragedy + more pg. 12-19

EDITOR’S NOTE & Everyday we go to school not knowing what the day will bring us. The question that is arising now in schools is not how much homework we will be taking home tonight but if we will make it home. Growing up going to school I never thought about going to school and feeling scared. I always felt safe and protected by having the doors locked in the front and having a school resource officer that knew how to protect people. When I was a sophomore we had a threat to our school that was sent via text. It was sent on a Sunday night so we had a whole week of school following it. Many parents didn’t send their kids to school knowing about the threat but my parents told me I needed to go. There train of thought was that the police knew about the situation and that the school was taking certain precautions. When I got to school we had to have our bags searched by school administration and be scanned by a metal detector. This process went on throughout the week as kids got to school. This experience did scare me as I went to school, although I knew that there were many adults there to protect us. I think after a school shooting no matter how far or close it is to you it scares us. This could happen to any school at any time. No one is ever prepared for this tragic situation. I went to the board meeting this past week on Mar. 5 and one of the topics on the communication list was school safety. It is crazy for me to think that this even needs to be apart of discussion nowadays. The board isn’t talking about how we can get better education but we are spending time talking about better ways to communicate safety


throughout the schools in the district and strategically thinking through different procedures that would keep both students and staff safe. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad our school is thinking about these things and all the what ifs but it’s ,mind blowing that it’s one of the other things the school has to keep up with in this day and age. I do feel safe at our school. I’m glad to see that we have a resource officer at our school who stands at the main office doors most of time and we also have the district police chief that goes around to all schools in the district. I think our school has taken many precautions by keeping doors locked and having all visitors check in with the main office. Even with the best security and having drill after drill nothing will ever compare to having a threat made to your school or having a shooter come in. The one thing that I think everyone should do in the situation is not to be scared and just hide but think of ways you can protect yourself if the shooter were to come in your classroom. You don’t have to be cautious throughout the school day but thinking about the what ifs and what you would do in the situation will help in the long run and get you prepared.

Rachel Etzel Copy Editor

S T N E T 6

There are three forms of identification an individual can have; a generic ID that can be obtained to drive, a Real ID, that will allow you to board planes and enter federal facilities, and a fake ID that could result in jail time.

11 16 22

The school crowned Peyton Carson and Kelsey Riedel as the 2018 King and Queen of Courts on Feb. 16. The two were chosen from a larger candidate pool this year, including seven girls and seven guys instead of the traditional five in each category.


Jeni Daley

Editor in Chief:

Brooklyn Armbruster

Business Editor: Valeri Dodds

Copy Editor:

Rachel Etzel

Digital Editor:

Elizabeth Hennessey


Ethan Armbruster Rebecca Donaldson Taylor Lincoln Andrea Lopez Kortney Michel Katie Moison Alyssa Rabe Emily Seuell Olivia Talbert Keenan Taylor Colton Thompson Isaiah Wilson Josh Ybarra

The Totem is a student publication produced by students from scratch during the newspaper class held during 2nd 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. Content is not reviewed prior to publication by administration. Any comments, concerns, or letters to the editor may be mailed to the high school or emailed to the adviser with full name and date included.

Shawnee Heights High School Journalism Department



Following recent outbreaks of gun violence in schools the government has proposed to give teachers the option to be properly trained and to conceal and carry a gun on school campuses.


The softball team is coming back from a perfect 25-0 season as wrestling wraps up their season with placers in the state tournament.

The Topeka Police Department (TPD) offers a 10 week program to youth called Post 7721 or Explorer. Shawnee Heights has three students involved.


to Shine

Shawnee Heights participates in special needs prom around the world Night to Shine is a prom experience that is centered around God’s love. This event is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, and is for people with special needs 14 and older. On Feb. 9, 2018, 537 churches around the world hosted the Night to Shine event. Approximately 90,000 guests attended with the help of 175,000 volunteers. Locally, Grace Community Church hosted the event last month. Over 100 guests attended Night to Shine Topeka along with a few hundred volunteers and parents. The guests got royal treatment with a red carpet, paparazzi, hair, makeup, shoe shines, limo rides, photo-booths, dinner, snacks, and dancing. Every single guest was crowned queen or king. There were also sensory rooms for any person who felt uncomfortable at any time, to cool off and have some quiet time. The church had to fill out a registration and were approved 9 months prior to the event.

“We hope to host again next year and be prepared to have an even bigger crowd than the first time,” Pastor Louie Constantino said. The Tim Tebow Foundation is all about bringing faith, hope, and love to those in need of a brighter day in their darkest hour. Chad Parks, the head coach of the wrestling team, attended this event. He encouraged all of his wrestlers to attend with him. One of the desired outcomes of the team is to develop great young men and women, on and off the mats. This weekend happened to be the varsity team’s first time off in months. “Community service is a wonderful way a person can help the greater community in the process,” Parks said. Several of the senior wrestlers chose to participate in the event. “Seeing the pure joy on a person’s face was really moving for me, I wish they had one every week,” senior Dane Terry said. There was multiple Shawnee Heights students present. Including students other than wrestlers. People were encouraged to go by Pat Buchanan, the government teacher to get volunteer hours. Some also went just for the experience. “I think there can be a lot more positivity brought to this city and community with more events like Night to Shine,” junior Tory Blosser said.


Shawnee Heights students Jayden Farley and Diana Garcia enjoyed the Night to Shine prom hosted at Grace Community Church. Every guest in attendance was crowned king and queen. Courtesy photos

ART CLUB DESIGNS NEW MURAL Art Club is painting a new mural outside of the south gym on the west wall near the science hallways. Art Club started in small groups and had to come up with an idea for a new mural using Aaron Douglas as inspiration, an American painter, illustrator, and art teacher. Douglas was also from the Topeka area. After forming ideas, they couldn’t come to an agreed conclusion on which one they liked best, so junior Staci Whitford sketched all of the ideas into one drawing which then created the mural. The final product will look like an Aaron Douglas-style red and blue Topeka landscape with a Kansas feel, along with the talons of the Thunderbird. “[The mural shows] Shawnee Heights High School represented in the city, showing what we do to support Kansas,” Whitford said.

Art Club’s goal is for the mural to be done by the end of March. “It’s cool that our school has allowed us to do these murals to add more color to the school,” senior Elise McCoy said. She also helped with the mural on the wall near the bank. Most of the paint was left over from the mural last year, which was donated by Westlake Hardware. “It can inspire others to be more creative and do whatever they wanna set their mind to,” McCoy said.





The school term shall consist of not less than 186 school days for pupils attending kindergarten or any of the grades one through 11 and not less than 181 school days for pupils attending grade 12, according to KSDE

Every school is required by the Kansas Department of Education to be in session for a certain amount of days, and creates their calendar based on these requirements. However, if there are too many snow days past whatever is built into the calendar, a plan must be created to make up these student contact hours. The USD 450 district has already had two snow days. “The school term shall consist of not less than 186 school days for pupils attending kindergarten or any of the grades one through

11 and not less than 181 school days for pupils attending grade 12,” according to the KSDE policy. Because of the two snow days this year, Shawnee Heights will be in session on what would have been a flex day for teachers. May 4 would have been a day off for students, but now it will be a snow make-up day. The board approved this change at a meeting in late February. Although it does not extend the school year, it does meet the requirements for student contact hours.



Old and Real IDs may affect future traveling plans There are three forms of identification an individual can have: a generic ID that can be obtained to drive, a Real ID that will allow you to board planes and enter federal facilities, and a fake ID that could result in jail time. In Kansas at the age of 14, individuals can take a multiple choice test that will determine whether they can drive or not with an adult present in the vehicle. At 17, you can either take a drivers education course or take the driving test at the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain an authorized state drivers license to drive on your own. In 2005, Congress enacted the Real ID Act, which set minimum security standards for identification. This act was implemented after the 9/11 terrorist attacks as another form of security. There are four phases of the act. Phase one and two mandate that a “Real ID” are required to enter federal facilities and nuclear power plants. Phase one and two were implemented in 2014. Phase three requires the IDs for semi-restricted areas that are generally open to the public but require an ID check, an example of this is military bases. This was implemented in 2015. Phase four, which will go into effect Oct. 1, 2020, will require a Real ID to board any federally regulated plane. Currently, if you do not have a Real ID, another form of acceptable identification along with your ID is required to fly. This went into effect on Jan. 22. Kansas started issuing IDs that follow federal mandates for the Real ID in July. The new IDs will be distinguished by a gold circle with a white star cut out in the top right hand corner of ID. Although people can use their current ID to drive, vote, or as a general form of identification for now, a Real ID will be required to fly in the future. A Real ID can be obtained at the local DMV. There is a lengthy number of items that must be brought with you in order to receive a Real ID. Items include: original copy


Courtesy of Kansas Dept. of Revenue

of your birth certificate, proof of social security, and proof of residency. Although the process to get a Real ID is complicated, according to students at Shawnee Heights, getting a fake ID is really easy. Recently, the trend of having a fake has descended from the college level to high school juniors and seniors. “I feel like more people are getting them…I just feel like people realized how easy it is to get them,” senior Hailey Buckley said when discussing this new trend. Whether someone is using a purchased, customized fake ID, or borrowing a friend or sibling’s ID, it is illegal. In Kansas the crime of being in possession of a fake form of identification is often met with the punishment of a large fine, and even possibly the suspension of a person’s driver’s license. While jail time is possible, it is not likely. “It’s really easy, like really easy,” senior Cooper Finnicum said when discussing how easy it is to get a Fake ID. Finnicum was previously in possession of a fake ID, but had it confiscated.



NEW DRIVER’S LICENSE REQUIREMENTS Fake ID The person’s full legal name. !


The person’s date of birth.

The person’s gender.


For people under 18: -Large fine -Suspension of drivers license


For people over 18: -Large fine -Community service hours -Possible jail time

The person’s driver’s license or identification card number.


A digital photograph of the person.


The person’s address of principle residence.


The person’s signature.


Physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes.


A common machine-readable technology, with defined minimum.


Out of 100 students:

40% 48%

have a fake ID

know someone who can make a fake ID


have never been caught using their fake ID, while knowing the risks Study by Chattanooga, TN


DISTRICT PRIORITIZES FACILITY UPGRADES BASED ON RECOMMENDATIONS Bus barn funding approved; turf fields and auxillary gym renovations on back burner The Shawnee Heights foundation brought in Jim Collagen, a consultant who works with school foundations, in November of 2013 to give an outside opinion on the district’s outward and inner appearance, starting an initiative to boost the appearance of the district to the outside world. “Shawnee Heights is a 21st-century district without a town; there is no Shawnee Heights, America,” Superintendent Dr. Marty Stessman said. “Shawnee Heights Road is main street, and when one drives down main street they don’t see 21st-century, they see the ‘70s.” The LED signs purchased in 2015 began the upgrades, and in January, the board of education approved a spending package for a new bus barn. According to Dr. Stessman, the bus barn is a practical purchase due to new vehicles. “The issues with the bus barn is that currently when we order new buses, we have them make the buses smaller than standard size because the barn is too narrow and we couldn’t fit the bigger buses in,” Dr. Stessman said. “So making it slightly bigger to house the bigger buses was another consideration.” The district’s current buses are four seats shy of the standard size with the same price tags as the standard size. “The building has the same use; however, bus drivers have to do monthly trainings and (now) we have a training room that will actually hold all the drivers,” Dr. Stessman said, referring to the new transportation building that was constructed this year next to the bus barn. ”We also made it a little bit bigger than what we had and closed down the shop in Berryton and move all the shop equipment up here. Now all of our guys have a centralized location.” The district saved for five years to finance the new building at a cost of an even $1 million.

With the actions of bringing the district’s appearance into the 21st century, the question was raised by head basketball coach Mr. Steve Wallace as to why the high school has only one regulation-sized gym or why the football field has grass instead of turf. “The north gym isn’t usable for boys practice’s so we have to go late,” Wallace said. “So that cuts into time to study, time to eat, and time to hang with family.” Currently on home basketball nights, at least two sub-varsity games are played at the middle school since the north gym is not regulation size for high school games. “Two teams could be practicing at coinciding times, in an environment that is similar to the condition we will actually play in,” Wallace said. “When we considered all the projects that we do, we prioritize them on a district-wide basis,” Dr. Stessman said. “And I understand that it's somewhat inconvenient, but it doesn’t prevent anybody from playing basketball, it doesn't prevent anybody having an opportunity that they currently don't have now, and if we expanded the gym it wouldn’t increase the opportunity.” In addition to the gym, the newspaper staff often receives questions regarding the district’s decision to stick with a grass football field. Some argue a turf field would add a modern look to the appearance, and it could change the location of the scoreboard to the other side of the field, giving an opportunity to add signage on the back of the scoreboard to face the north wing parking lot.

The North gym is not regulation size for high school games so currently on home basketball nights, at least two subvarsity games are played at the middle school.

A turf field would provide more uses than just football games and practices, the P.E department can utilize a turf field for conditioning reasons and for outdoor games.


MARCH 2018

Based on recommendations from a consultant, the district invested in a new signage package along Shawnee Heights Road and at the high school to appear more modern and help people better navigate campus. In addition, a new website was launched this summer following a complete redesign of district logos, and new facilities are being added at the bus barn.

Modern look

Swift said. “From a teacher’s standpoint it would allow us to use it throughout the year. With our classes we can play games out on the turf, be it soccer, baseball, football, along with conditioning and footwork drills,” Swift said. “Throughout the summer we would be able to utilize the field everyday to be able to do drills we can’t do on the track.” Although neither turf nor funding for a new gym has been presented for approval, Coach Swift believes the district is unified in promoting the school in a positive light. “I love Shawnee Heights, and one of the best way to promote Shawnee Heights I feel is showcasing how great of a campus we have,” Swift said. “And I think field turf and having Shawnee Heights competing at Shawnee Heights High School would show how great we are. I’m always supportive of Dr. Stessman, I always think Dr. Stessman has a great vision for Shawnee Heights.”


Shawnee Heights is a 21stcentury district without a town; there is no Shawnee Heights, America. Shawnee Heights Road is main street... -Dr. Stessman

“Turf will probably make the final list here in a couple of years, but again we can turf that and it’ll cost between $600,000 and $800,000, and we won't have any more kids playing football than we do now and it won’t save us any money long term,” Dr. Stessman said. “Everybody always talks about saving money on water and maintenance and it really doesn't. What it does do is allow you to use it more often and it would look nicer.” The athletic department could use the turf field to host middle school on up to varsity games. “We could make that our main field for all sports, [including] hitting grounders in the spring for softball,” head football coach Mr. Jason Swift said. “As a [P.E.] teacher and as a coach, I would probably use it 300 days a year.” Turf, while expensive, is designed to last and provides multiple uses to both the P.E. and athletic departments. “If you look at Hummer or Seaman they’ve used theirs for 10 to 12 years and I think Hummer went 12 year before it was redone,”



COURTS Photos by: Cayla Bortz, Ali Crawford, Maddie Good, Brianna Wolfert, & Shalynn Long

PEYTON CARSON AND KELSEY RIEDEL CROWNED KING AND QUEEN The school crowned Peyton Carson and Kelsey Riedel as the 2018 King and Queen of Courts on Feb. 16. The two were chosen from a larger candidate pool this year, including seven girls and seven guys instead of the traditional five in each category. The candidate selections were increased from 10 total to 14 this year.. According to Mrs. Terri Ward, the Spirit Club sponsor, the wrestlers did not submit names in time for the seniors to vote on candidates, and therefore weren’t on the initial ballot. Because the 10 candidates had already been named and announced to the school when the issue was brought up, the compromise was to add two additional boys and two additional girls to the candidate list. In the case of the girls, the added candidates were simply the next two females who received the most votes. With the boys, a new ballot was created that included the additional wrestlers and any other male nominee that was not already selected. The number of candidates will go back to 10 next year. After quickly changing from her basketball uniform dripped in sweat to a navy two-piece dress with jewels and six-inch heels, Riedel’s tomboy personality needed the help of her

teammates to prepare for the crowning ceremony. “Wearing a dress and makeup and all that is definitely not my thing,” Riedel said. “It was special for me because I was surrounded by my friends and my family and my super supportive team... I was glad I could share the moment with all of them.” Spirit week consisted of four days for students to dress up to school (Monday was a professional development day for teachers). The themes included blast from the past, crazy weather day, out of this world, and class color day. During the assembly on Friday, On candidates went up against the teachers in a pie eating contest. “My favorite part of spirit week was just getting to dress goofy and for people to enjoy coming to school that week,” Carson said. Students also decorated the stands in the gym based on their class themes around the overarching spirit week theme of “Places Around the World.” The freshman class selected Paris, sophomores did Greece, juniors chose Hawaii, and seniors used Las Vegas. “I thought Spirit Night went well however, as this year students were in charge and did the work rather than the parents. I think student involvement and ownership in what they do definitely generates more participation and sense of pride,” Mrs. Ward said. BY RACHEL ETZEL

Responses to Recent

SCHOOL GUN VIOLENCE Security, Concerns, and Procedures

TEACHERS QUESTION SAFETY PREPARATIONS By March 8, 14 school shootings had already occurred in the United States in 2018, averaging to 1.5 school shootings per week. According to Every Town Research, there have been 301 school shootings since 2013. School safety is now a priority topic for each district in the nation, including Shawnee Heights. The Shawnee Heights board of education met to discuss topics of communication within the schools in these types of emergency situations. Mr. Benjamin Thursby, the district chief of police, spoke at the meeting on March 5 about new lockdown procedures implemented this year. Although the board reviewed these procedures, Officer Thursby was not allowed to release specifics of lockdown procedures for security reasons. In the security plan, two types of lockdowns are identified: a soft lockdown and a hard lockdown. In a survey of teachers at the high school where 45 teachers participated, 95.7 percent of teachers said they knew the difference between the two types of lockdowns, but only 15.2 percent indicated they felt the school had properly practiced these procedures. The security officers stated their goal is to run at least two lockdown procedures a year. As of March, only one soft lockdown had been practiced. One building safety precaution includes all doors locked at the high school after 8 a.m. except for the main office doors where all visitors must come through during the school day. However, when teachers were asked their opinion on whether or not the building is secure, many felt like there were vulnerabilities. “It’s a difficult building to secure in the first place being as long as it is,” a teacher who asked to remain anonymous said. “Doors are always unlocked. Staff and students are not trained in ‘intruder’ or ‘stranger’ protocol like other schools. Strangers can wander these halls with impunity.” A repeated concern in the survey indicated the efficacy of the alarms on the locked doors throughout the day. “Kids let their friends in and when students or staff exit the building and the alarm sounds, it occurs so frequently that no one even glances up,” another teacher said.

There are different policies and actions set up for different types of emergencies, including: a potential threat, an actual threat, and a medical emergency. The school works closely with outside agencies like the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies in emergency situations. “The school has very good plans in place, but like anything you always assess and reassess and look at how you can make improvements based on what we learn from other situations,” Officer Marcus Sheid said, the school resource officer in the building any time school is in session. Whether or not the district will put in place additional security measures is still up for debate. Of the 45 teachers who participated in the survey, six specifically mentioned metal detectors. “I wish we had a stronger police presence at our school,” Ms. Beth Hanna said. “I wish we had safety measures such as metal detectors and officers/staff with wands. I know that there will be those who believe that I am taking school shootings too seriously, but I don’t. I believe in being proactive rather than reactive. Safety measures instead of regret. I also believe that the majority of students would appreciate knowing that there is less possibility of being hurt by a knife or gun by using metal detectors. I am a strong believer in the second amendment, but I do not believe that guns, or any weapons, have any place in school.” At the board meeting, metal detectors were discussed, but superintendent Dr. Stessman explained the potential challenges of adding a bottleneck to 1,200 students and staff all entering one spot in a 20-minute span. An added complication to contacting emergency personnel is the addition of a new district phone system put in place this year called Cisco Jabber. Instead of traditional desk phones, teachers now have an application on their computer that works like a phone. In the survey, only six teachers felt that calling 911 from Cisco Jabber would be easily accessible in an emergency. Eighty percent said they would have to use a personal cell phone to call 911, and yet a majority of those respondents said this would be complicated as they do not receive reliable cell service in the building. “We have one phone system for the entire district and it is located at the high school in our data center. We build routes/policies to make sure the calls from the various buildings get routed correctly, which is why we test 911 regularly, ” Director of Technology Blair Anderson said. Yet, beyond the logistics of building security and communication, the officers understand the human connection needed to prevent tragedies. “You got to get the right kind of people. We don’t just need anybody that wants to come in and be a cop, it takes a special kind of person to be in school. You have to be able to build relationships. Like myself and Deputy Sheid, we don’t want to just be cops, we want to be able to have kids come and talk to us; we want to build relationships,” Mr. Thursby said.



MARCH 2018




100 80 60 40 20






male & female

60 number of incidents


number of incidents

Mass Shooter Statistics

50 40 30 20 10










Native American

8 Other or unknown

Las Veags, Nevada shooter: fatherless ho Columbine Shooters: fatherless home Parkland, florida Shooter: fatherless ho Sandy Hook School Shooter: fatherless h charelston Shooter: fatherless home Roseburg, Oregon Shooter: fatherless ho Omaha, nebraskafeShooter: fatherless hom r Red Lake, Minnesotaa Shooter: fatherless Kinston, Alabama shooter: fatherless ho y t ie GUN VIOLENCE depression


x n A


Widespread Gun Control Desperately Needed Opinion by:

olivia talbert

As the number of students who were killed in a school shooting increased by 17 on Valentine’s Day, effective legislation on gun reformation is finally under consideration. Those who lost friends and family in the shooting are now calling upon the presidential administration to propose action on gun violence and their representatives to support these amendments. Guns like the ones used in Parkland and in other mass shootings are now among the most popular firearms currently on the market. The proliferation of these guns means that wouldbe mass shooters have little trouble obtaining them. Proposed laws banning military-grade weapons are trying to address this.

There will never be successful legislation until politicians stop playing the blame game and decide to value lives over party.

On Feb. 26, Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI) introduced an assault weapons ban in the U.S. House. It is said to join legislation from Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) bill from last year. Both measures would ban sales of semiautomatic rifles with certain military-style features, such as pistol grips and flash suppressors. The measures would also outlaw the sale of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Neither bill would require current gun owners to give up any of their weapons. A Quinnipiac poll released Feb. 21 shows 67 percent of Americans, including 53 percent of gun owners, say they favor such a ban. Some large companies have shown support for this ban, including Dick’s Sporting Goods who announced Feb. 28 that it would no longer sell assault weapons like the one used in the Parkland shooting, and Walmart, who increased the minimum age to buy a weapon in their stores from 18 to 21. Yet, the opposition says these bans would be ineffective. However, this perspective fails to look at historical evidence that supports these measures would actually work. The idea of a federal assault weapons ban came in 1989. That year Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D- OH) introduced the original assault weapons ban bill after a gunman armed with an assault rifle killed five children and injured 29 more in a schoolyard in Stockton, California. It was finally passed in 1994, and included a ban on 18 specific models of assault weapons, as well as a ban on any firearm containing certain military-style features like

a bayonet mount, flash suppressor or a folding stock. It also banned high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 bullets. The bill allowed individuals already in possession of such weapons to keep them. This bill expired after 10 years time in 2004. Louis Klarevas, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts at Boston who wrote a book on mass shooting violence published in 2016, says the data shows the bill had a significant impact and gun massacres decreased significantly during the time the assault weapons ban was in place. Gun violence then skyrocketed after the ban lapsed in 2004. A separate mass shooting database compiled shows a similar trend. As these policies have proven effective, contradictory laws, such as promoting more guns for defense, have been at the forefront of gun control debates. But there’s no accurate up to date evidence that more guns can reduce gun violence broadly, said Daniel Webster, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. The research backing for this argument can be traced to a 1997 study by University of Chicago economists John Lott and David Mustard. After analyzing the impact of “right-to-carry” laws, the umbrella term for various legislation that allows citizens to acquire a concealed-carry gun permit, the study concluded that these regulations were “the most cost-effective method of reducing crime thus far.” Whereas, in roughly two decades later, additional academic studies have strongly suggested that the opposite is true: that these laws lead to higher rates of violent crime. “The more guns are readily available, the more shootings occur. That’s what the latest research shows. When states make it more easy for people to carry guns, the number of incidents of aggravated assault grows,” Webster said. He then further explained that guns increase the number of everyday moments or interactions — like bar fights, road rage, suicidal thoughts — that turn lethal. A study out of Stanford Law School analyzed crime data from 1977 to 2014 and found that areas with more relaxed “right-to-carry” gun laws saw higher rates of violent crime. Guns sometimes save lives and certainly the Constitution secures the right of individual gun ownership, but the claim that widespread gun ownership makes America a safer place is contradicted by the plain fact that most other advanced countries have many fewer guns and also many fewer crimes and criminals. Policies, such as the laws implemented in Australia, are being looked at as examples for legislation in America. Australia passed extremely restrictive gun laws in 1996 by the National Firearms Agreement, which put tight control on semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons, although permitted their use by licensed individuals who required them for a purpose other than personal protection. The act included a gun buy-back provision that allowed Australian citizens to sell their now illegal guns to the government to be disposed of. More than 650,000 firearms were seized and destroyed. America’s tight bonds with guns within the constitution is why a gun reformation that is fit specifically for the United States is required and why proposals like the ones made by Rep. David Cicilline and Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s can’t be compared to any other gun control legislation. Uniquely, these bills are

anti-weapons of war, rather than their supposed gun abolitionist misconception. Both of the proposed bills allow for effective gun legislation without delving too far into the pit of communism or appealing to the rhetoric of anarchy. Laws pertaining to people with mental illnesses and criminal background checks are being considered to coincide with both of these gun legislation proposals. Although the case for criminal background checks has large bipartisan support, psychology experts and advocates are combatting the misinterpreted connection between people with mental illnesses and gun violence. As reported by the American Psychiatric Association, the overall contribution of people with serious mental illness to violent crimes is only about 3 percent. When these crimes are examined in detail, an even smaller percentage of them are found to involve firearms. Perpetrators of mass shootings are also unlikely to have a history of involuntary psychiatric hospitalization (American Psychiatric Association). Thus, databases intended to restrict access to guns from people with mental illness will not capture this group of individuals.Basing gun violence within this extremely low yield will most likely be ineffective and wasteful of scarce resources. Mental health “should be part of the examination and, if indicated, part of the solution, but not the whole solution,” said Ron Honberg of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. A proven alternative that should replace mental illness background checks is “gun violence restraining orders,” which allow a court to order guns to be taken away from someone who poses a danger to themselves or others. Close relatives, those living with the respondent, school principals, or employers could report people that pose a threat to themselves or other people. By all means, gun control is no silver bullet and has no endall solution. We have to find a compromise between the complete control of communism and absolutist ways of anarchy. There will never be successful legislation until politicians stop playing the blame game and decide to value lives over party. Neither one nor the other is the ultimate solution and multiple actions are required to sufficiently end people being used as target practice.

Need to Prioritize Second Amendment Protection Brooklyn Armbruster

Because of the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida, there has been a spike of tweets, protests, and activism demanding stricter gun laws in the United States. Everyone feels for the victims of gun violence. These incidents are horrific and I couldn’t imagine going through it. But what is important to understand is that just because people like myself support the Second Amendment and the NRA, that doesn’t mean we don’t feel for these students. I’ve seen lots of people who believe the NRA is responsible for mass shootings. From the beginning I need to be clear: when talking about laws and policy, just because someone disagrees with your suggested policy, that does not mean they are in support of killing children and that does not mean you can declare my ‘thoughts and prayers’ insufficient. No one is solely responsible for these incidents except the criminal individual themselves. There is not one solution for the gun violence in America. Taking away rifle-style weapons in the US is an ineffective and unconstitutional attempt to prevent these tragedies. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, so-called “gun free zones” have been targets of more than 98 percent of all mass shootings. This is why they are often fittingly referred to as “soft targets.” Gun ownership does not correlate with a higher homicide rate. In comparison to countries like Russia, Venezuela, and Mexico, the US has an exceedingly higher number of guns per citizen, yet a lower homicide rate (US = 4.88 homicides/ 100,000 inhabitants, ranked 94th; Russia is 38th, Venezuela is 3rd, and Mexico is 23rd). Germany and Norway share the same gun ownership rate per capita, but Norway has a 35 percent lower homicide rate. Correlation between stricter gun laws and lower crime rate does not exist. A nationwide gun ban is not the answer and has even been proven ineffective, like the popular ‘gun buyback’ program in Australia. “A 2007 British Journal of Criminology study and a 2008 University of Melbourne study concluded that Australia’s temporary gun ban had no effect on the gun homicide rate. Crime Research Prevention Center president John Lott had similar findings. ‘Prior to 1996, there was already a clear downward [trend] in firearm homicides, and this pattern continued after the buyback,’ wrote Lott. ‘It is hence difficult to link the decline to the buyback.’” (The Daily Wire) After Britain passed a handgun ban in 1977, the Crime Research Prevention Center found that after the gun ban was implemented, there was initially a severe increase in the homicide rates, followed by a gradual decline once Britain beefed up their police force. However, there has only been one year where the homicide rate was lower than it was pre-ban. Also in 1976, D.C. implemented a law that banned citizens from owning guns, as only police officers were allowed to carry firearms. Those who already owned guns were allowed to keep them only if they were disassembled or trigger-locked. Trigger locks could only be removed if the owner

received permission from the D.C. police, which was rare. According to prosecutor Jeffrey Shapiro, the results were not good. Annual homicides rose from 188 in 1976 to 364 in 1988, and then increased even further to 454 in 1993. The gun ban was struck down by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, and homicides have steadily declined since then to 88 yearly murders in 2012. While Shapiro admits that there were other factors involved with the decline in homicides, lifting the gun ban clearly did not result in a rise in murders. After the recent tragedy, a new bill was proposed called “Assault Weapons Ban of 2018.” First, let’s clarify ‘assault’ in ‘assault weapon.’ The term ‘assault rifle’ or ‘assault weapon’ was given to these guns by gun control advocates simply to demonize them. They are not actually named ‘assault rifles’. There is no better illustration of this than the fact that the public perception is that these guns are machine guns, which fire multiple rounds by just holding down the trigger. In reality, machine guns are outlawed and weapons like the AR-15 are single shot weapons. Second, the bill calls for a “ban” on both “semiautomatic assault weapons” and “large capacity magazine feeding devices” (magazines holding >10 rounds), but then exempts every single weapon and magazine lawfully possessed before the enactment of this law. So, in other words, the assault weapons ban isn’t really a ban at all. It would leave millions of guns and magazines on the streets legally. So really, if this proposed ‘ban’ was enacted, a person who wanted an AR-15 could find an AR-15 already in circulation. This is the worst kind of gun control. Any measure that preserves the ability of criminals to access guns while restricting the access of law-abiding Americans is a measure that fundamentally defeats the very purpose of the Second Amendment. It’s all just speculation, assuming that the most committed killers can’t get their hands on one of the tens of millions of legal weapons still on the streets and that a man with a semi-automatic pistol isn’t just as deadly as a man with a rifle. The vast majority of murders in this country that are committed with guns are not committed with assault weapons, they’re committed with handguns. Are gun control advocates willing to take away handguns within our country? Why don’t gun control advocates care about the kids being killed in Chicago everyday as much as the kids at Sandy Hook? The most important reason to oppose gun control is the spirit behind the Second Amendment. More important than hunting and self defense, the exact purpose of the Second Amendment is to resist government tyranny. I strongly believe that the government’s natural tendency is toward control and against liberty. It is there to protect the citizens in the event that we would need to resist our government. The reason why the Second Amendment was so important to our founding fathers was because of their fear and experience with government tyranny. We need to understand the freedoms that we’ve enjoyed over the last two centuries are an exception and not the

rule. This is because of the constitution and the Second Amendment. It’s too easy to dismiss these concerns as being outdated. We must remember it wasn’t that long ago the Jews in Nazi Germany didn’t fear their government turning tyrannical. At the end of the day, every government measure is ultimately enforced at the barrel of a gun. A tyrannical government could not take away our freedoms IF the citizens are armed to defend themselves. Too many ‘democracies’ have turned tyrannical in the world’s history and a ban on guns that could protect your life and rights is just unconstitutional. I do believe high school security is one solution. Would the next school shooter want to go to the school that has an armed staff/security on duty or would they go to the gun free school zones? I believe having frequent lockdown drills within schools would help, and having detailed conversations within the staff

More important than hunting and self defense, the exact purpose of the Second Amendment is to resist government tyranny.

Opinion by:

to prepare for an event such as a school shooting. Better policing also plays a huge part. Improvements on technology and communication could go a long way and we need police force who are willing to lay down their lives and go inside the school during these events, unlike the ones during the Parkland shooting. Other solutions include more thorough background checks and mental health scannings. The Parkland shooter had a long history of threatening people. According to police records, Broward County sheriff’s deputies were called to the Cruz family home 39 times since 2010. Following up on those threats would have prevented his attack. Current and past gun control tactics haven’t worked, stop believing they will in the future. When gun control advocates don’t get the results they want, they keep coming back with more and more ways to infringe on the Second Amendment. At this point, it’s not a legislative issue, it’s a cultural problem. White (57 precent) males (98 percent) coming from broken homes make up a huge percentage of school shooters, and we need to deal with that issue instead of taking away guns from responsible gun owners.

TEACHER PERSPECTIVES Staff members express views over being armed, lockdown procedures, and building security Following recent outbreaks of gun violence in schools the government has proposed to give teachers the option to be properly trained and to conceal and carry a gun on school campuses, and possibly be given pay raises to do so. Immediately after this was announced teachers all across the nation took to their social media platforms, predominantly Twitter, to protest this bill with the hashtag #ArmMeWith. Although it seems most teachers think this isn’t the solution there are many schools that already have guns in the classroom, including schools in Ohio, Maryland, and Arkansas. State laws regarding guns in school have been determined by the state government thus far, and mostly apply to college campuses. Some states have given teachers with permits to conceal and carry the ability to bring their gun to K-12 school campuses. There is an abundance of debate whether teachers should be armed or if schools should find betters means of making their school safer. The biggest concern expressed with arming teachers is the idea of trying to end gun violence with more guns. Many are also afraid of the possible outcomes of arming teachers and problem students, or the case of a student getting a hold of the gun. Safety precautions would be taken in order to keep the gun secure from getting into the wrong hands. Teachers would also be extensively trained on how to handle guns. A survey was taken of the teacher’s opinions at Shawnee Heights. The data concluded that out of 46 responses 82.6 percent (38 teachers) thought teachers should not have the option to be armed on campus, compared to eight teachers that think they should. Of the responses, 73.9 percent expressed they wouldn’t feel comfortable having a gun in their classroom if they were properly trained.


“I think it is absurd to think a teacher would be trained well enough to make decisions under that stress when you see properly trained officers making those decisions and then having to defend themselves in court,” one staff member expressed in the survey. “I think school safety will continue to be an issue in America. We all need to discuss, be open to change and be aware of new procedures to keep our students and staff safe,” another teacher said. From the survey, it is apparent that all of the teachers agree that there should be some measure taken to better protect the students and staff from a shooter on the school campus, whether that be arming teachers, installing metal detectors, or practicing lock down drills more often. “I think we need to rethink about how secure our building is and make any adjustments that sadly may be necessary,” a staff member responded. “We need to practice what to do in a lock down both when we have kids in class and/or during passing period/lunch. Two very different situations,” another staff member suggested.



6% 6%


1. Would you feel comfortable having a gun in your classroom if you were properly trained in gun safety? 2. Do you think teachers should have the option of being armed with a gun?



Mr. Tapia

In an interview about teachers having guns in school, Tapia expressed that he would be willing to be highly trained and keep a gun in his classroom securely locked away. “If you’re going to give them a lock box inside of a lock box inside of a lock box type thing, with multiple layers of security, I think it would be fine, as long as the teacher is properly trained,” Tapia said. “I would be willing to be trained, but I don’t know if I would be willing to have the gun in my classroom unless the security is right,” he further explained.

Mr. Paget On the opposing side, Mr. Paget thinks arming teachers isn’t the right solution. “There are a million bad things that could happen when you put a gun in a school, and there’s only very few good things.” Paget also expressed his concerns with what we would do in the situation of a lockdown. “We need to start regular practices of lockdowns, probably more regular than fire drills,” he said. “Each class needs to get a chance to practice, we also need to practice during passing periods, we need to practice during lunch, and right before and after school because we still have students here.”

Ms. Raugewitz

“I think we know, statistically, that the good guy with a gun scenario is really pretty mythical,” Ms. Mallory Raugewitz said on the topic of arming teachers. Raugewitz is against teachers having guns in a school setting. “We’ve heard law enforcement professionals say that when they enter a building they’re looking for people with guns. They don’t know who the active shooter is and who the people are with guns trying to prevent the active shooter, that’s an obvious reason.” In addition, Ms. Raugewitz is concerned about the protocol in an active shooter situation. “Many experts now say that lockdown is not the best or only option for an active shooter situation. The fact that we don’t even discuss evacuation as an option is frustrating and difficult to understand. It makes little sense to stay locked down in a room waiting to be shot rather than leaving the building if the shooter is in a different part of the building... Absent common sense gun legislation, we may need to get some expert help developing more common sense response options. It’s not that lockdowns are always a bad idea, it’s just that they’re not always a good idea.”


Nationwide student walkouts protest gun violence in school communities, honoring 17 victims of Florida shooting Destined to not let their voices fade out into the background noise of American politics, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are standing their ground. Students like Emma Gonzales and Laclyn Corin have lobbied state lawmakers in Tallahassee, spoken with President Trump, and persuaded many companies to cut ties with the National Rifle Association. Students in states including Arizona, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Colorado showed solidarity with the victims and students of Douglas High by also staging walkouts and demanding change within gun reformation. “In the case of a high school student, I should have a voice in this topic,” senior Markus DePriest said. DePriest participated in an article on March 1 by the Topeka-Capital Journal, on teachers being permitted to have guns in classrooms and school security.

Lawrence Free State High School students also supported the Parkland, Fla., victims and protested gun violence in schools by walking out of class on Wednesday, Feb. 21. The students held signs with the names and ages of the 17 victims of the recent school shooting in Florida. The walkout called for students and teachers to walk out of the school at 10 a.m. local time for 17 minutes, to honor the 17 lives lost in Florida. Just days previously, Free State was on high alert after some social media posts from a threatening student that prompted added police presence on school grounds. A group of student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High have also organized an event on March 24 called “March For Our Lives” that will be held across the country and in the country’s capital to demand that lawmakers enact meaningful gun control legislation. Another nationwide school walkout is also schedule for March 14. -Mariam Oubaid “I think it’s extremely important to get involved in activism as young people because we have a much bigger impact than we think we do, especially on social media platforms, which are a good way to unify with others and voice your opinions,” senior Mariam Oubaid said. Oubaid most actively participates in the LGBTQ, immigration, Black Lives Matter, and feminist movements. On the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, a nationwide high school walkout is being circulated via social media for April 20. More than 22,000 people have signed a petition pledging to walk out of their classrooms that day at 10 a.m. for the rest of the day in protest of gun violence.

I think it’s extremely important to get involved in activism as young people because we have a much bigger impact than we think



MARCH 2018

Not mentioned on the descriptions below See full details below map























Las Vegas, Nevada - October 1, 2017

64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, sprays gunfire on a crowd of 22,000 concert-goers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 58 people and injuring almost 500. Witnesses say the gunshots lasted between 10 and 15 minutes. Officers breach Paddock’s hotel room to find him dead. Authorities believe Paddock killed himself and that he acted alone.

58 killed

500+ injured

Orlando, Florida - June 12th, 2016 Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, opens fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando. At least 49 people are killed and more than 50 are injured. Police shoot and kill Mateen during an operation to free hostages officials say he was holding at the club.

49 killed

53 injured

Blacksburg, Virginia - April 16, 2007

23-year-old student Seung-Hui Cho, goes on a shooting spree killing 32 people in two locations. The shooter then commits suicide.

32 killed

17 injured

Newtown, Connecticut - December 14, 2012 Adam Lanza, 20, guns down 20 children, ages six and seven, and six adults, school staff and faculty, before turning the gun on himself. Investigating police later find Nancy Lanza, Adam's mother, dead from a gunshot wound.

27 killed

1 injured

Sutherland Springs, Texas - November 5, 2017 A gunman opens fire on a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas killing 26 and wounding 20 others. The shooter, identified by two law enforcement sources as Devin Patrick Kelley, is found dead after a brief chase and was shot by an armed citizen, but it’s unclear if it was self-inflicted.

26 killed

20 injured

Killeen, Texas - October 16, 1991 35-year-old George Hennard crashes his pickup truck through the wall of a Luby’s Cafeteria. After exiting the truck, Hennard shoots and kills 23 people. He then commits suicide.

23 killed


27 injured


Data from CNN

Breaking School Records Breaking school records is a rare occasion, but the bowling team broke several this year. The Shawnee Heights bowling program had never fully swept a meet in school history. This year’s bowling team swept three. Sweeping a meet means every single team won, including guys JV and varsity teams, and girls JV and varsity teams. That wasn’t the only school record our bowlers broke. The boys won Centennial League for the first time in program history. Senior Nathan Mercer won the individual Centennial League title for the third straight year. The varsity girls team won regionals this year. Junior Cayla Bortz lead the way, winning the individual championship. Varsity boys took third at regionals, while Nathan Mercer placed seventh for individual. The varsity girls also took second at state, and Cayla Bortz placed second for individual while junior, Kylan Huntley, placed 19th. The boys placed 4th at state. Keiton Kirkegard placed 12th in individual and Nathan Mercer tied for thirteenth. The team actually has three couples on the team. “I think the team chemistry between the boys and girls teams has gotten a lot stronger since these couples have started,” Huntley said, who is in a relationship with Mercer. “All of us are like family.”


The girls and boys teams hang out outside of practice and would always meet at Mcdonald’s after practice to help build team chemistry. Freshman Brylee Prockish was on varsity this year. Her older brother Brayden Prockish was also on varsity as a freshman. “I couldn’t do it without his help and guidance to lead me to the success I wish to achieve,” said Brylee on following in her brother’s footsteps. To finish the season guy bowlers Nathan Mercer and Brayden Prockish were selected on the first team all city selections. Lady bowlers Cayla Bortz was selected first team all city, while Kylan Huntley was selected on the second team. The boys bowling team finished with a record of 68 wins and 6 losses. The girls finished with 60 wins and 11 losses.


Bowling Sparks Couple Love

Kylan Huntley and Nathan Mercer have been together for a year and a month, met because of bowling.

Madison Liby and Brayden Prockish have been together since the start of the season.

Rebecca Donaldson and Spencer Harrington have been together for a little over a year and met from bowling as well.


Photo by Cayla Bortz

I feel like we have a target on our back and everyone will be out to beat us but I just think that makes it more fun and more exciting

This year’s T-Bird softball team will be coming onto the field with their heads held high this season. The team is coming back from a perfect 25-0 season, putting up some of the top numbers in the league while conquering a state title. The undefeated team lost only two starting seniors and will be looking to defend their title as reigning state champs. “As a group this year we’re focusing on this season and trying to better ourselves and keep improving as a whole. Of course our goal it to make it to the state tournament again, but to also keep improving as a team and program,” junior Sydney Wellshear said. The T-Birds are returning six first team all city players, including newcomer of the year, sophomore Jaycee Ginter. The T-Birds will be introducing a new head coach for the 2018 season. After former coach of the year, Steve Giddens, retired, recently reaching the 300 win milestone, coach Tara Griffith will be taking over. Coach Griffith has experience with softball at this level being a former assistant head coach at Washburn Rural High School. “I feel like we have a target on our back and everyone will be out to beat us but I just think that makes it more fun and more exciting,” junior Abbey Fischer said. The T Birds home opener against Washburn Rural on March 26 will be the start for the search of that state ring. BY ETHAN ARMBRUSTER AND ISAIAH WILSON

-Abbey Fischer


MARCH 2018


WRESTLING Senior State Qualifier statistics

381 WINS 291 PINS 76% PIN RATE


tristan killman senior year


jake patterson senior year


chase reynolds senior year


barrett stickelman senior year

dane terry senior year

27-8 32-18

Photo courtesy: Rick Peterson

up for state records: HIGH SCHOOL 160-23 3 STATE MEDALS CAREER





141-26 coach chad parks named 5a coach of the year

MODEL UN MAKES A COMEBACK Students represent countries in nationwide competition and earn first place

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Helping the Model UN program make a comeback, senior Destiny Magnett earned 1st place at the Topeka competition representing the United States. Model United Nations is an activity that gives students the opportunity to take on the persona of a country, writing resolutions to solve world problems such as hunger or human trafficking. Students discuss and debate those resolutions to decide from their country’s perspective if it would be a good idea to be passed or not. “I was a member of the best delegation which was first place individually. I also was awarded third place for best overall delegate which was out of like 700 delegates there, second place in my council, and best authorship speech in my council,” Magnett said. After many successful seasons, last year Shawnee Heights had only one student place. This year, multiple people placed in different categories including individual delegates and individual countries. Senior Madison Stessman also took home the 2018 Outstanding Officer award. Following the competition, Model UN sponsor Ms. Robyn Aeschliman excitedly texted her husband, “We’re BACK!” Stessman’s award came from leading a middle school group of students through the Model UN process. With her gavel, she would keep precedent throughout the meeting, and help mentor the students through the syndicated international relations activity. “It is a really great activity and I would definitely encourage people to get involved next year,” Magnett said, based on her experience of participating in Model UN for six years.



MARCH 2018


Former Shawnee Heights student auditions and makes Team Blake on popular singing competition ‘The Voice’

Shawnee Heights alumni, Kyla Jade Harris, made her debut on a widely popular TV show, The Voice, on Feb. 27. Jade graduated from Shawnee Heights in 2002, and in high school she avidly participated in Choraliers and Concert Choir, and was always busy with her church music, according to former choir teacher, Mr. Dennis McPhail. “Kyla was always a Gospel Singer and Gospel Music lover first,” McPhail said. “She excelled in rhythm and blues and gospel.” “[She] was aware when she performed that it wasn’t just about her. It was about how she made the audience feel and drawing them into the song,” McPhail said. “I always preached that you never knew the kind of day the audience had prior to listening to you, and it was your job to help them escape into the song. She did that well!” The Voice is a show on NBC where exceptional singers from all across the nation compete in hopes that one of the four judges, Blake Shelton, Carson Daly, Kelly Clarkson, or Adam Levine, will choose them to be on their team, that they will mentor for the remainder of the season. After blind auditions they begin the competitions where contestants will be eliminated. On the second episode Kyla Jade performed for her blind performance, and after singing “See Saw” by Aretha

Franklin and courageously hitting some high notes, she had two judges, Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton, fighting over her. After both judges explained why she should be on their team she ended up on country singer, Blake Shelton’s team. Jade’s music style is a mix of jazz, gospel, R&B, and soul. She has performed as a background artist for Jennifer Hudson, Earth Wind and Fire, Peter Frampton, Israel Houghton, Dr. Judith Christie-McAllister, and The Clark Sisters. She has produced background vocals for the Country Music Awards, Stellar Awards, Dove Awards, The Grammys, BET Awards, and BET’s Celebration of Gospel. Jade appeared on Bobby Jones Gospel as a solo artist in 2014, and also released her single “Hello Sunshine” the same year. Now residing in Tennessee, Jade appears on Black Entertainment Television every Sunday morning with Dr. Bobby Jones and the Nashville Super Choir. In 2012, Jade produced LoveJade Inc. which provides services to enhance music entertainment and education. She also has a website that features her songs and tells a little more about her,




Students participate in local police cadet program and learn the ropes of becoming a police officer The Topeka Police Department (TPD) offers a 10-week program to youth called Post 7721 or Explorer. It is offered to ages 14 through 21 through applications with some basic restrictions. Post 7721 is linked with the Boy Scouts of America Learning for Life Explorer Program and is sponsored by the TPD. The program has been intact since 1968. According to TPD’s website, Post 7721 “offers young men and women an opportunity to ‘explore’ a side of police work.” Shawnee Heights has three students involved: Major Delaney Block, Explorer Jasmine Spencer, and Explorer Matthew Trusty. Spencer and Trusty both graduated from basic on Dec. 18. “It’s an all year program once you graduate basic, I’ve been in it for two years,” Block said. Newcomers attend basic course meetings every Tuesday for 10 weeks. After graduation, meetings are held on Monday nights. During these meetings, there is training for police work such as domestic violence, car stops, burglary in progress, crisis negotiation, etc. With these skills, Explorers compete at events such as Regionals and Nationals. TPD’s Post 7721 recently won first place in Crisis Negotiation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. “My dad is a Sergeant at the police department. He is one of the reasons I joined the program and he trains the rookies and I really like training,” Block said. Continuing on the Police department career path is still an option for Block, although she has not fully decided yet. Block says she plans to stay in the program for as long as she can.


Post 7721 offers many benefits for those involved. Volunteer hours and involvement in the community as well as work experience and meeting new people. “The program will broaden your horizon on what work really entails,” Block said. Besides regularly scheduled meetings, participants work alongside TPD to provide security and traffic control for many events like Fiesta Mexicana, Spirit of Kansas, Dignitary Visits, and more. There are several levels in the program. There is the basic Explorer, above them are Sergeants who are in charge of a squad of explorers, next there are two Lieutenants who are in charge of training and administration, and then there is the Major who oversees everything and is right below the advisor. Explorers 16 and older who have completed a thorough training program may qualify to participate in the ridealong program. To apply to become an Explorer, you can find an the steps on TPD’s website or the Explorer’s Facebook page. You must be between the ages of 14 and 21, have completed the 8th grade, and have never been convicted



MARCH 2018













SACREMENTO SNEAKERHEAD MOVES TO HEIGHTS Carl Anderson just moved to Topeka in November from Sacramento, Calif., and brought his career with him. Anderson created a YouTube channel about six months ago and it’s growing fast. His YouTube channel, called “Trio,” has over 15,000 subscribers on YouTube and has a total of almost 475,000 views. Anderson has been called Trio since he was in 8th grade. He wanted a nickname because a few of his friends had nicknames that he liked. Anderson had put “Trio” in his username on Instagram, and it has stuck with him ever since. Recently he had added “Huncho” to the end of his name, making him Trio Huncho. “Trio is three and a huncho is one hundred and I see myself as a soldier, like the movie ‘300’,” Anderson said. Kansas is a big change from where Anderson came from in California. “[Kansas] is kind of boring but at the same time it’s peaceful and I can do whatever I want in my house for my videos,” Anderson said. He has more freedom here in creating videos and also likes the people. Anderson was inspired to start his channel after he was featured on his best friend from California’s channel, “Foreiign Boii.” Carl’s friend has over 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. People in the comments of his friend’s video said Carl was funny and should start a channel. Anderson saw Foreiign Boii growing which made him want to do it more. Carl mostly makes sneaker videos,

including reviews and unboxings, however he tries to incorporate his personality into his videos. His favorite videos are his stories and skits. Carl’s most viewed video is called “Trio’s Heat Sneaker Collection” and has 70,000 views. In the video he talks in depth about all of his shoes and why he got them. Anderson plans to continue to expand his content and is going to start doing things like vlogs and skits. Anderson began collecting sneakers around seventh grade and now has 32 pairs in total. His collection started with a pair of “Concord” Nike Foamposites. This pair led to him really wanting to expand his collection and explore different types and brands of shoes. His first pair of Jordans were “Team Jordans”. Anderson’s first pair of retros were the “Yin and Yang” Jordan 1’s. “People used to flame me, they said ‘you have fake Jordans, those aren’t even retros’ so I started getting retros and my style started getting better,” Anderson said. Retros are part of the regular Jordan line that are rereleased periodically in different colorways. Team Jordans are not as popular as Retros in the sneaker community. Anderson also has big plans for the future. He is going to Sneaker Con later this month and continuing to make videos with other sneaker YouTubers in the community which could help him grow even more. After high school, he plans to take YouTube as a career to the next level. “After I graduate I am going to go back to LA and we’re going to try to get a house and just do challenges and funny stuff,” Anderson said. He is hoping to continue to grow and has set goals to get 20,000 subscribers by the end of this month and wants to reach 100,000 by his birthday which is Sept. 4.



Left: El Dorado is an authentic Mexican


restaurant located on 29th and Croco. It offers a sit down meal with speedy service. Favorite dishes include the chips and queso and bean and cheese burrito.

Right: The Landing replaced long time restaurant, Reed’s, in 2016. It is a bar and grille that offers everything from cheeseburgers to sandwiches to pizza. With 14 flat screens it provides a game day atmosphere.

SEÑOR BUR-RITO’S Below: Baker’s Dozen opened on Jan. 11.

Below: Ling’s offers a variety of Asian

It started with an online petition to open a new store. “We were just going to go with two stores,” owner Jake Wall said in an interview with CJOnline, “When we found out there was an online petition to get us to come here, we were like, OK.”

foods including hibachi, Thai, Japanese, and Chinese meals. You can call ahead, go in and sit down, or go through the drive-thru.


LING’S EXPRESS Above: Señor Bur-Rito’s is a new Mexican restaurant that opened on March 7. Señor Bur-Rito’s will offer dine-in, carryout, and an option to sit on an outside deck as well. The owner says their special spice brand, Pedro Lopez, will set them apart from other Mexican restaurants.

A DAY AT THE BEST SCHOOL IN THE NATION Today at Shawnee Heights High School, I was walking to my class and I saw ADJECTIVE


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. It was so


as the school’s lunches. After

scene, I sat down in my seat and started


began to teach the boring lecture

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through the halls when all


of a sudden a/an

was charging straight at me. I ran into a


classroom only to find out the floor was made out of I quickly got out of the room and refrigerator and started launching My friend


to the kitchen. I opened the at the



tapped my shoulder and I woke up to find myself


actually launching


office. I had to call my He/She was very




at my teacher! He/She sent me to the



and explain to them what happened.

with me. Mr./Mrs.ADMIN. MEMBER said I had

ISS the next day, but I could go back to class for the rest of today. After I left the office, it was time for P.E. I was late to class so I into the locker room and changed clothes. When I gym I got


in the


me unconscious! I woke up in the

by a



into the


. It knocked

surrounded by


people. I sat up and walked to the bathroom. When I looked in the mirror I had a



. Now it was passing period so I went to

talk to mySIGNIFICANT OTHER. He/She saw that my so he/she broke up with me. This has been the




day ever.



Volume 56 - March Issue  
Volume 56 - March Issue