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CLASSROOMS East prepares for increased class sizes next school year ErinReilly

Q&A with Superintendent Gene Johnson

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“It’s dismal.” This is English teacher Debe Bramley’s prognosis for her workload next year due to this year’s drastic budget cuts. At least nine teachers from East are being reassigned throughout the district, and some may still be in danger of losing their jobs. This means that next year, students will be spread over a selection of fewer teachers, with core classes containing numbers as high as 35 to 40 students, according to principal Karl Krawitz. This will

Senior Sean Bailey writes his Frequent Friday from car-racing p. 12 experiences

ISSUE 13 SHAWNEE MISSION EAST PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS APRIL 4, 2011 SMEHARBINGER.NET

be a serious problem, with teachers already having to cut down lessons because of the restrictions of block scheduling and relatively high class sizes, according to Bramley and math teacher Christopher Burrows. Like most other teachers at East, freshman English teacher Debe Bramley has five classes with an average of 25 students per class. She spends around three hours of her own time before and after school grading papers and planning the next day’s les-

son. When grading major projects, however, she figures that she can grade about four projects an hour. With approximately 125 students, it would take Bramley about 31 hours and 15 minutes to finish grading just one of the ten projects she assigns each year. And she hates to consider what her work load will be like next year, when it’s predicted that at least 50 new students will be added in to that equation. continued on page 5

Photo Illustration by GrantHeinlein

Harbinger the

Pictures from the state robotics Freshman Ellie Smart is a nationally-ranked diver p. 28 competition p. 32

I didn’t cause this economic problem, I’m just trying to help fix it.”

Superintendent Gene Johnson, p. 3


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Q: You’ve been in SMSD since 1986. When did you start noticing problems in the district? A: The big problem came in 1992 when the school finance formula changed. School finances are a very complicated issue. The responsibility for funding school moved from the local level to the state level. When that occurred, the left Shawnee Mission in a situation where we were not able to “control our destiny” like we had been doing in the past financially. The state did recognize that there some issues with the formula, so they allowed Local Option Budget (LOB). We’ve had some financial issues over time. In 2002, we had to cut our budget, not like this though. Three years ago is when this economic downturn really hit us hard--we have cut $20 million out of our budget in the last two years. We’re going to have to do another major cut again. That’s pretty tough for the district. Q: What’s it like to be a leader during the “tough times?” A: You have to be in the right frame of mind to do it. You have to understand that these are very tough times for lots of people. Sometimes people get very angry, and say things or write things to you. But I have to look at the entire district, because I represent 28,000 kids in the district, and if I propose something to the board, and the board and I are together on what we think we need to do, it’s because we believe that’s the right thing to do. The other thing is, personally, I didn’t cause this economic problem; I’m just trying to help fix it. I’m sure you’ve done things in your life there had to be some pain in order to get better. If you’re a cross country runner, there’s pain involved in getting better. My dad used to drop me off 18 miles from home and I’d run home. But there’s a pay off for that, and the pay off is success. There’s been a lot of pain this fall. People feel so strongly about their school, and that’s a good thing. People didn’t want to move from Brookwood to the South area. But, when Brookwood moved to the South area to the East area, people didn’t want to do it either. We’re trying to run a school district that’s the most efficient as we can. We’re trying to have the most money for the kids and for the teachers. Why should we be operating buildings that aren’t full or completely full, and some people say, ‘we really like these small schools.’ Well, if you go from a middle school of 400, and the next year you’re in Shawnee Mission East and there’s 1800-1900 students, you get along fine. You get along fine if you’re in a small school; you get along fine if you’re in a large school. Q: There has been $20 million in budget cuts the past two years. Can you explain the overall approach to budget cuts, and why you chose the areas you cut? A: We look at our General Fund Budget, which is different from our capital budget, and we look line by line, ‘where have we been spending our money?’ We have our executive cabinet, and we have two people from our budget department, and we go line by line, talking about how we can get along with less of this, less of that. But this issue is this: 85 percent of general fund budget

A question and answer session with the district’s superintendent, Gene Johnson uncovers

JUST THE FACTS

goes to pay people. So once you start slashing, pretty soon that means [you’re slashing people]. We’ve tried to keep cuts away from the teachers, the people that are closest to the kids. Last year we had a reduction-in-force, which meant teachers lost their jobs. This year, we’re still determining whether or not we’re going to have to do that. But things are not looking good. Last year, we had five different budget hearings at different high schools, but this year we decided to do this [district budget survey]. We wanted as many people to weigh in on our proposed reductions as possible. We had a list [of budget cuts] that amount up to about $11.4 million, and we’re not going to need that many, but we wanted people to rank those [cuts]. As of [March 23] we had 8,158 respond to the survey. We have 400 pages of comments. It’s interesting; unless you work with these numbers and dollars on a regular basis--it’s hard for people to understand millions and millions of dollars. People might say, ‘Why don’t you sell candy to make money?’ Well sure, you can sell candy to make some money, but it’s not that much. We’re looking at millions, not hundreds. Q: How do you respond to community members saying that your administration hasn’t been very innovative or creative when dealing with these budget cuts? A: I’m not sure exactly what they mean. Money’s money. We’re talking money in millions here, not in hundreds or thousands. To say that [SMSD] hasn’t been creative, I’m not sure what that really means. I understand this, because so many people don’t have a clear understanding of how our budget works. We’ve lost $20 million, and we’re going to lose another $10 million; we’ve been creative as we can to keep cuts away from the classroom. Next year we’re proposing that every classroom isn’t cleaned every day, instead [being cleaned] every third day. It all boils down to people. In the end, you’ve got less people than you do before because 85 percent of your budget goes to people. EN: And you can’t just cut that 15 percent. GJ: No, because that’s programs. That’s journalism. That’s athletics. That’s math. I’m not going to expect you to do your work on a

manual typewriter. If you’re going to go to a journalism convention--that’s how you learn. I don’t want to say you can’t do any cross country meets outside of the school district because we don’t have any money. I think we’ve been pretty creative actually. But people have different opinions, I understand that. People say, ‘You could really save a lot of money on energy.’ In the district, we spend about $8 million a year on utilities. So, if we cut that in half, we saved $4 million. Well, can you really cut your utilities by 50 percent? Most likely not. But, we have been working really hard on that, and we are going to budget half a million less next year than we did previously, because we have saved a lot of money by watching our use of electricity and water and gas. EN: So you do try to use [community input] to a certain extent, but they’re looking at it as a “this will save everything” issue. GJ: Yeah. Since 1974, including the three schools we closed for next year, we’ve closed 27 schools in the district. In they heyday of Shawnee Mission, when they’re were almost 46,000 students in the early ‘70s, there were like 55 elementary schools. Now there’s going to be 34, then 33. Q: Do you think there’s going to be future bond issues with SMSD schools? A: I think so. It won’t be a couple of years, we need to work our way out of this economic downturn. We’re going to begin during work on our middle schools next fall, and we can do that with existing money that we have. Well, there’s still some things that our going to have to occur in the district-there’s still some elementary schools that might need to be replaced, there’s some schools that need to be consolidated because of enrollment declines. When you have 60 buildings in the district, 5.2 million feet of floor space, it’s an ongoing effort to keep everything updated. Q: Some community members have been concerned that SMSD is losing its prestige and might not be as reputable of a district as it has been in the past years. How would you respond to those concerns? A: That is so far from the truth. Our students are outstanding. Last year, we had $40 mil-

lion of scholarships awarded to our seniors. We have IB, Pre-Law, BioTech, two medical programs at North, we have a nationallyrenowned culinary arts program. Plus, our students overall are achieving. Now the difference between 25 years ago, or maybe even 10 years ago--the flavor of our district is different, as far as the type of students we have. Diversity. I would say in 3-4 years, one out of every five students in our entire district will be Hispanic. Right now its about 15-16 percent. Q: Dr. Krawitz has said that next year is going to be the “day of reckoning,” or one of the toughest years for the district. Do you agree with that? How do you plan on maintaining a high standard of education with the financial woes possibly getting worse? A: I think Dr. Krawitz is right. I know that next year is going to be a tough financial year for us. But it doesn’t meant that we’re going down the tubes in any way shape or form. We’re all going to have to tighten our belts, toughen up. Just as an example, we have a proposal on the table to pay to participate [in athletics]. That’s a way we could generate money, because people have said to us, ‘We’re willing to pay.’ Pay to participate is one way to do it. EN: And you’re considering other options like that? GJ: Absolutely. Those are things we can do to raise some money that can be somewhat significant. If somebody couldn’t pay, we could find some funding for them someway. We have people who are willing to help others out. It’s kind of like SHARE at East--they come to rescue to all different sorts of causes. Q: Is there anything else you would like to say about the current financial situation or the future of SMSD? A: When you go through tough times, you’re trying to figure out ways to be successful. You can’t cry the blues and go ‘Oh gee, it’s all over. I guess we should just fold our tent and wait for the worst to happen.’ That’s not what we’re doing. We’re trying to find out ways to make it work. I’ll give you an example that hits East. Swimming. The boys’ state swimming team couldn’t stay in Topeka overnight because we didn’t have the funding. Now, is it OK to drive back from Topeka and then drive back the next day? Yeah. Would it have been nice to stay overnight? Yeah. But, we couldn’t do it. In the end, people went, ‘Hey, we’re going to be fine.’ Those are the things we have to do. EN: The stuff that you just have to grin and bear it? GJ: Yeah. And if you want to do something extra special, I know that cross country team goes to Chicago. Sometimes you have to dig the money up.

For a full recording and more photos of the interview visit smeharbinger.net


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For three weeks this past month, the district conducted a 21-question online survey that asked district employees, students and patrons their opinions on a number of budget cut possibilities. Among the options were cutting teachers, special education and custodial staff, supplies budgets, coaches, librarians and music programs. At last Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Gene Johnson presented the results of that survey to the board and public. Over 3,500 comments were written by the 8,564 individuals that took the survey, all of which have been published on the district’s website, www.smsd.org. Parents made up the largest percentage of participants, 42 percent, while students were the smallest demographic at 11 percent. The survey, named “The Budget Reduction Survey,” said the district needed to make $1010.5 million in cuts to balance its budget for next year. Final budget reduction proposals will be presented by Dr. Johnson to the board at the April 11 Board of Education meeting with the board taking action on the proposals on August 8. When asked, Spanish teacher and East Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) representative Linda Sieck characterized the district’s finances as “bleak” and was concerned about coming years when the district might not have reserve funds to fall back on. “It’s especially scary because we don’t know what the Legislature is going to do,” Sieck said, “if their action is going to keep things at the status quo or even make them worse, and so, right now, everyone is in a ‘prepare for the worst’ mode.” One of the most drastic moves has already happened––nine East teachers, about eight percent of the faculty, have been put on excess, meaning they aren’t guaranteed a job with the district next year. Sieck believes the classroom will be affected by those cuts, and that teachers will be required to teach larger classes and

more of them. “Teachers will do the best job possible, but there are only so many hours in the day, only so much you can do even if you are a true professional and you are dedicated, you do need to sleep and eat and have fun every once in a while,” Sieck said. Junior Kellyn Harrison said she took the survey because her music teachers at East asked her to. While Harrison is currently enrolled in Symphonic Band, Choraliers and Chambers singers, it was potential custodial cuts that she found “really interesting.” The survey suggested a cut that would eliminate 21.25 custodial positions district-wide. According to the survey, the plan would be to have teams of three custodians circulate the district to provide “deep cleaning“ at buildings every three days. “I can’t even imagine our school building being cleaned every three days when it’s being cleaned every day now,” Harrison said. The survey also asked participants how they felt about a freeze on the purchase of new books and the elimination of secondary librarians. A library aide, according to the survey, would replace librarians at district middle schools and high schools. About 38 percent agreed with cutting librarians, and just below 43 percent agreed with freezing book purchases. According to East librarian Chris Larson, librarians are required to have a masters in either Educational Technology or Library Sciences. Larson wasn’t sure if aides would be qualified to do more than tasks such as checking out library books. She said she kept the statement “I know we need to cut to the bone, but not to the heart” in mind as she filled out the survey herself. Last year, one librarian was cut from each high school, leaving Larson as East’s only librarian. Junior Spencer Davis believes cutting the supplies budget is the district’s best option. Davis has talked about supplies cuts with IB history teacher John Nickels, and thinks that more handouts could be put on a teacher’s Web Back Pack leaving the burden of printing the handout to the student. While Davis is supportive of cutting supplies budgets, he opposes the district’s effort to eliminate three supplemental pay positions for co-curricular and extra-curricular programs at each of the five high schools. Davis feels that could put activities such as drama at their breaking point.

“Cutting the extra coaches and extra drama teachers and music teachers would kind of almost end those programs in that sense, and I thought it [would be] an unacceptable cut to make,” Davis said. Dr. Johnson identified several suggestions that he said recurred frequently in the comments section of the survey. Reducing employee pay, namely a reduction in administrative pay and benefits, increasing certain fees, closing a high school, consolidating district offices and pursuing district fundraisers and corporate sponsorships were some of the suggestions Dr. Johnson listed. Dr. Johnson also said participants had a concern for the arts and higher class sizes. He said implementing energy saving methods and looking into reducing program budgets rather than eliminating them also frequently came up in comments. In the public forum portion of last Monday’s board meeting six parents spoke out against cutting Parents as Teachers, a program that works with parents during the early years of their children’s lives, from conception to kindergarten. Sieck believes the Shawnee Mission community isn’t willing to let programs get cut and class sizes to become larger. She feels that state legislators think schools can get by with bare-bone budgets and not have it affect the quality of education being provided. That just isn’t the case, she said. “I think that message needs to get to legislators,” Sieck said. “They need to hear it from the general public that ‘You know what? This is Kansas. One of the things we’re most proud of about Kansas is we have some of the best schools in the country and we want [our legislators] to maintain them. We’re not willing to sacrifice our schools for the sake of tax cuts.’” As district administrators work on their final budget cut proposals, which will be announced at the April 11 Board of Education meeting, Sieck wants them to take teacher and administrator cuts hand-in-hand. “I think if you are looking at cutting teaching staff, you need to look at cutting administrative staff,” Sieck said. “If you’re talking about freezing teachers’ salaries, then you need to freeze administrators’ salaries. That didn’t happen last year––not in all cases.” But, in the end, Sieck wants all district budget reduction options on the table. “Everything needs to be out there,” Sieck said. “There can’t be any sacred cows when you have this kind of pressure.”


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Bramley feels that the English department will be affected the most by this decision, since this department focuses its grading specifically on papers and projects, not quick and easy Scantron tests. She also feels that it is already hard to cover all the material with 25 students. “It used to be that each English teacher could only have a maximum of 120 students because of the intensity of the workload, but that rule’s been pushed by the wayside with the recent budget cuts,” Bramley said. “There used to be a lot more papers assigned across the board, but with block schedules cutting out teaching time I think most teachers have just stuck to Scantrons.” Keeping control of a class of such large numbers is also a potential problem facing the teachers. Bramley feels that because of this, group work may be nearly impossible to accomplish. Geometry, Algebra and Pre-Calculus teacher Burrows’ biggest concern is that there will be less time for each student to ask questions during class and before and after school. This problem would especially pertain to Burrows, since at least twenty students clamor around his desk every morning with questions regarding the previous day’s lesson. A collective concern coming from Bramley, Burrows and Stallard is where to put additional desks to accommodate the new number of students. Bramley’s room is presently bursting with 30 student desks, her desk, and a podium. Already teaching while wedged between her podium and the whiteboard, she said that it would be almost like a puzzle to fit another row of desks into the cramped room.

One of the biggest problems with these new class sizes, according to Spanish teacher Linda Sieck, is that it’s harder to participate in class, participation being one of the key grading points and teaching strategies for foreign language classes. She also fears losing personal connections with her students, which is one of the fundamental reasons she became a teacher. “Anytime your class is larger you can’t interact with individual students,” Sieck said. “The more voices there are, the harder it is to be heard.” Bramley agrees, wanting to maintain her relationships with the students individually and her class as a whole. “Your class is like your family, and in a big family, someone is going to get left out,” Bramley said. “I worry more about that than the workload.”

John Stonner ‘ s

view on the situation Q. Do you have concern about class sizes next year?

A. The concern of the business depart-

ment is that we have so many different classes, and next year we’ll be going from having maybe five classes to six classes. So we’re going to have more preps. Combine that with seven period days next year, we could be going to different preps in different classrooms.


06 NEWS 04-04-11

A threat to planning

The House of Representatives proposed to make budget cuts towards Planned Parenthood SammiKelly

AnnaBernard

Sitting as one of the youngest speakers at a Town Hall meeting on sex education, sophomore Eden McKissick-Hawley watched as a man stood up for the question-and-answer portion of the meeting. “I’m a teacher at an inner-city school,” he started, addressing the panel, “We’ve had 14 pregnant girls this month, but I still believe in abstinence-only education.” Eden looked him straight in the eye. “Well, do you think that maybe it’s not working?” The recently proposed Pence Amendment has brought debate like this back to the forefront. The amendment, which passed in February by the U.S. House of Representative, would eliminate the Title X family planning program, which provides federal funds to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and over 100 other affiliated organizations. Title X is currently funded at $317 million. The amendment was voted down by the Senate this month, but a similar bill is currently in the House committee. Planned Parenthood is a health care provider that supplies birth control, sexual and body-image education and cancer and sexually transmitted disease (STD) screenings. Its most controversial service is abortion, though, according to its website, abortions account for just three percent of its total services. The new bill would cut federal funding from any organization that provides abortions. Federal funds are currently given to Planned Parenthood for all its services besides abortions. According to a Planned Parenthood press release, the Pence amendment would have cut “48 percent of Planned Parenthood patients — approximately 1.4 million people — from their source of health care.” When she learned of the proposal, Eden was “disgusted.” A long-time advocate for comprehensive sexual education as opposed to abstinence-only education, Eden strongly opposed the House decision. “I think that [legislators] have let students and the youth down,” Eden said. “This to me is a huge issue that directly affects every boy and girl in the state of Kansas. When kids

cannot get STD screenings, cancer screenings, access to birth control, access to pregnancy tests, where are they going to turn to?” Eden believes that a holistic approach to sexual education is the best approach to increasing teenager’s sexual health. Citing statistics such as one-in-four girls have an STD, Eden feels that abstinence-only education actually increases teenage sex. “As sex-ed goes up, abortion rates go down,” Eden said. “If anything, [Planned Parenthood] needs more funding and more support from people who don’t like abortion, because they try to prevent that the best way possible. If you take away sex education, if you take away prevention, if you take away screenings, those rates are going to soar.” The Kansas Coalition for Life (KCFL) is one local organization that actively campaigns against Planned Parenthood because they offer abortion. The KCFL believes Planned Parenthood practices eugenics, adjusting human heredity through selective breeding. The organization buys and distributes the film “Maafa-21” to Kansans, a documentary that claims Planned Parenthood has a goal of eliminating the black population through abortion. “As the truth about Planned Parenthood comes out, more and more decent people will call for an end to funding Planned Parenthood,” said Mark Gietzen, Chairman of the Board of KCFL. “Fortunately, the most people in the USA are decent people who want to do the right thing. Therefore, our educational efforts are always a top priority.” Planned Parenthood of Kansas & MidMissouri could not be reached for comment. Harry McDonald, Board of Directors member of MAINstream Coalition, an organization that promotes the separation of Church and State, says these claims are baseless. McDonald has attended MAINstream meetings on the topic of sexual education. “These charges are meant to incite the ignorant and try to get support for radical ideas like defunding Planned Parenthood,” McDonald said “If anyone went to a Planned Parenthood office and sat down, that wouldn’t be the situation. Groups that [claim eugenics]

are just trying to get support for their position, which I believe is indefensible.” Eden became involved in sexual education avocation through her mother, Reverend Holly McKissick. A Senior Pastor at Saint Andrew Christian Church, Holly started an inter-faith Religious Affairs sector of Planned Parenthood, whose purpose was to show that there were people of faith who supported comprehensive sexual education and a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. She is also a former board member of Planned Parenthood, where she oversaw their different services. “I’ve appreciated their courageous stands at times and their willingness to take up popular issues,” Holly said. “I think no one wants to see abortion widespread; no one wants to see abortion used as a form of contraception.” Holly viewed the proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood as a “critical loss,” especially because of the impact it would have on women who are limited financially. She believes that, if Planned Parenthood funds were cut, that middle class and upper-middle class women would be able to find services elsewhere, but those with less money would be left without a place to go. Her daughter thinks that the cuts would be felt even in the higher socioeconomic classes. “It’s an awful stereotype that... just because we go to Shawnee Mission East, we’re not affected by our actions,” Eden said. “Everyone’s vulnerable to this, it doesn’t matter how much money your parents have, how superior you think you are to everyone, how invulnerable you think you are to being affected or getting pregnant. No one is incapable of getting pregnant or spreading an STD or getting one themselves.” Senior Caroline Miller was initially against the Pence Amendment when it was proposed, but after researching the issue, she came to support it. Miller thought that Planned Parenthood was predominately focused on safe sex measures, but felt the organization was biased after reading that they performed 134 abortions for every adoption referral. Miller does consider herself prochoice.

“When I look at [legislation], I try to look at it from an un-biased perspective and try to look at the facts,” Miller said. “Obviously [Planned Parenthood] is more supporting abortion than safe alternatives for any babies of young moms that are coming in. So, I don’t think that tax dollars should go to a biased organization no matter what your view of prolife or pro-choice is.” All Kansas Representatives, including Kevin Yoder (3rd District) and Tim Huelskamp (1st District) voted in favor of the Pence Amendment. Huelskamp, in particular, voiced his opinion in the House debate. His speech, which aired on C-SPAN, discussed the various charges brought against Planned Parenthood in Kansas. In 2007, former Kansas attorney general Phil Kline’s filed a 107-count criminal case against Planned Parenthood, the first U.S. case against the organization. Some of the charges indicate that the Johnson County Planned Parenthood failed to report accounts of sexual abuse. Though the case is still in courts, it has been stalled due to an ethics hearing filed against Kline. Regardless of her opinion, Holly believes that the debate is just beginning. She feels there are two options from here: either the issue will embolden Planned Parenthood supporters to speak out, or it will give the impression that it is a dying organization. “Clearly, the issue is not going to go away,” Holly said. “I think we’re going to continue to see more and more of these initiatives. It’s kind of the tip of the iceberg. I expect that it’s going to keep coming back.” Eden urges politicians to consider other budget-cutting options. In the long run, she believes more unwanted pregnancies will be a bigger drain on the economy than cutting Planned Parenthood will save. “Until we can stop being ignorant about the fact that teenagers will have sex, even if you tell them not to, we’re not going to see any progress,” Eden said. “So at this point, it’s a matter of accepting that some teenagers will have sex and trying to educate them about the safest way possible.”


NEWS issue 13

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East reacts to AP American History and Biology curriculum changes AlysabethAlbano The College Board began offering an Advanced Placement curriculum for high schools over 50 years ago. The organization hoped these advanced classes would provide students who wished to go above and beyond the basic curriculum a chance to take advanced, college-level classes. In 2009, AP was faced with the highest number of failing grades in years. Now, they have announced they will implement changes to their courses with a total revamp of the AP United States History (AHAP) and AP Biology curriculum’s. Last month’s preview of what the College Board refers to as the “New A.P” showed that they plan to provide a more indepth curriculum framework of how they suggest the class be taught. While there is no clear plan for AHAP, the formal AP Biology Curriculum framework provides the teacher with guidelines and learning objectives as to how they should teach each unit. Some units will even include pacing suggestions for how long the class should spend on a certain topic. Advanced Placement teachers, like AHAP teacher Vicki Arndt-Helgesen, believes her students often find the amount of material they are going to cover each year is daunting and, in her opinion, it is. Current AHAP student Tyler Germann admits that when he first saw the work load he would encounter he felt the same way. “When we got our third or fourth book, I was like ‘Oh my gosh,’ he said. “But after a few weeks I got used to the homework and after the first ‘dessert’ (test) I learned these assignments really help you.” Currently, according to Arndt-Helgesen, her AHAP class has to cover from the pre-Colombian era all the way to 2000

in a single year. This feat, she explains, is something not even a college class would attempt. According to the College Board “new” AHAP curriculum will include more pre-1607 history. Arndt-Helgesen has her concerns as to whether the added history will help or hurt her class. “[You ask yourself] ] ‘What is it that this does?’,” ArndtHelgesen said. “‘Does this end up helping us or does it end up creating greater stressors for our kids?”’ Course curriculum won’t be the only thing changing in the upcoming years with the “New AP.” According to the College Board, students can expect major changes when taking the end-of-year exams. With the new, clear guidelines the College Board is attempting to provide students with a better understanding of what will be on the exam. This is something AP Biology teacher Kimberly VanNice hopes will bring up the scores on the AP Biology exam. Last year, she estimates that only 12 students of her 28 students took the exam. According to her, of those 12 students most of them scored very low. This is not an uncommon trend. Last year the AP Biology exam received the most failing scores nationwide. One of the major changes VanNice is looking forward to is the pacing suggestions with the course guidelines. She hopes it will provide a clear understanding of how much time should be spent on certain topics. “That will help a lot,” VanNice said. “[It will say] you should spend a quarter on this and a quarter on this. It will help you, if you’re not there by the end of the quarter, to know you are behind.” VanNice believes that the changes will help her teach the concepts much better than she is able to now. Right now, she

says, she is forced to take out certain units simply because of time. With so much to cover, she feels she isn’t able to include more fun, hands on projects. Arndt-Helgesen faces the same problem in AHAP. In her opinion, the large curriculum takes away time to do “value-added” activities, like reading extra articles. VanNice hopes the new outlined objectives will give her a more specific guideline to follow. “[With the current curriculum] I feel like I have to teach everything in Biology which is not possible but there are no real guidelines that say this is important and this isn’t,” VanNice said. Arndt-Helgesen agrees that it is impossible to teach everything in her class and feels she has to let herself off the hook for it. In her opinion, if you teach a good history class students will walk away with a good understanding of it, even if you miss something here and there. Other changes to the AP exam include scoring and questions format. The College Board plans to add more essay questions to the AP Biology exam in place of multiple choice questions. Also, with these changes students will no longer need to worry about losing a quarter point for each incorrect answer on the exam. The College Board released a formal outline of the AP Biology class will look like starting in the 2012-2013 school year but the fate of AHAP is still unknown. However, ArndtHelgesen feels confident she will be able to accommodate any changes that are made, in fact, she has already started to think about how she will change the way she teaches. “I’m really awed by how much [the students] grow,” she said. “The growth is pretty cool. It’s worth all of the stress.”


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In short, the spring show is about a corrupt Russian town who learns that a government inspector will be in their midst. In the city’s effort to cover their tracks and clean up the community, they mistakenly identify a down on his luck, regular guy as the inspector. As their predicament continues, clever hijinks ensue. Drama teacher Brian Cappello explains the comedy as “over-the-top.” “The lines are rapid fire, the dialogue is very fun-

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On April 16, the 10th Annual Earth Fair is coming to East. There will a short film festival, a farmers’ market, eco-venders, green arts and crafts, and many other eco-friendly activities. The event is open to the public and very kid friendly. “I think it helps people become more aware of things they can do to help the environment,” Social skills and organizer of the fair, Kristin Carmody said. The theme this year is In Home Sustainability and the Fair’s goal is to “bring home the eco-friendliness.” “We want to promote sustainability and for them to take home the ideas we give them at the fair,” Fair coordinator Katie Nixon said. The Environmental Club originally started it with the city of Prairie Village 11 years ago to help keep people aware. Ever since then

ery is quick,” Cappello said. “There’s a lot to see, there’s double entendres—just the writing itself is very clever.” Members of the cast and crew have been preparing a month for the performance. Typically in practice they will rehearse, work on tempo and even line memorization. Above all else, they work on their timing to match the show’s quick pace. Cappello says that East’s 2006 production of “A Servant of Two Masters” was the only recent East show that rivals the fast-paced action of “The Government Inspector.” Also, the play is very different in it’s intimate scenery. It takes place at the front of the stage for it’s entirety. The show will play three nights starting at 7 p.m.

13 it has been a tradition for many. The fair will feature special musical guest Checkered Past. The event starts at 10 a.m. and will go until 3 p.m. “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Carmody said, “so people should really try to come and support it.”

NEWS A Brief look at national news quoting

*

“This is not an outcome the U.S. or any of our partners sought. We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy.” -Obama on Libya

“We consider the resignation of president Mubarak to be the start of the victory of the Egyptian revolution, which we support with all its demands.”

-Egyptian oppostion movement spokersperson, Sami Abu Zuhri I mean this is a very serious problem with, you know, widespread ramifications and, you know, first and foremost, we want to help the Japanese, our great ally, deal with this and limit the - the damage to the health and safety of the Japanese people.

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-Clinton on Japan

*

where do you like to get your news? TV: 25%

Newspapers: 28%

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EARTH FAIR

20

IN THE

21 22

Websites: 47%

*survey based off smeharbinger.net poll of 62 students

23 24

feministhemes.com

interet-generalinfo.com

eduinreview.com


ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT

EDITORIAL issue 13

09

District cuts to the special education department will put an unnecessary workload on the remaining teachers

1100

Harbinger the

a publication of shawnee mission east high school 7500 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS 66208

ment or pull more money from the general education fund. The federal government has realized the importance of special education, and it is imperative that the state and district follow suit, even when cuts are made to education elsewhere. It is understandable that some teachers from each department would be put on excess, but Letters to the editor should be sent to room 521 or smeharbinger@gmail.com. it is inexcusLetters may be edited for clarity, length, able when one libel and mechanics and accepted or reof the departjected at the editor’s discretion. ments that supports students the most is given the least funding.

PeterHung

For the next school year, the district has placed 139 teach- abilities, history of special education tells us that they are the ers on excess; 13 of them are from East. Four of the 13 of those first ones to kind of be pushed aside to sit and do activities that teachers are in the special education department; it’s unac- are not meaningful, like sitting and doing puzzles and colorceptable that one department of 12 represents 30 percent of ing all the time, because that’s the easiest thing to get them the teachers placed on excess. In excess, these teachers will not to do so you can focus on other tasks,” Johnson said. “That is be hired back unless 139 other teachers in the district choose very sad and unfortunate, and I don’t want to see that happen.” to retire or leave—something Principal Karl Krawitz thinks is The case load could also be reduced if IEPs were assigned unlikely. more sparingly to gifted students. While some gifted stuThe cuts come as a result of federal and state funding cuts dents do indeed benefit from the specialized curriculum, the the Shawnee Mission School District has been forced to enact teacher’s time could be better spent on special needs students; this spring. According to Dr. Krawitz, the state has not been is- the gifted students should not have to opt-out of the IEP, but suing their full allocation of funding to districts since January; rather opt-in annually if they want the extra guidance that an he says the district is “literally running on reserves.” IEP provides. Otherwise, valuable teacher time is wasted on “That’s where we’re at, because we’ve already cut to where students who will benefit less from the added attention than a there is no more,” Dr. Krawitz said. “It’s like starving the cow special needs student would. where there is no more fat, and now we’re cutting into the Dr. Krawitz insists that the state is responsible for 75 perheart of what makes you tick.” cent of Special Education funding, but says that the school has The special education department will unfairly suffer the received in-between 62 and 68 percent in recent years. The most; according to Dr. Krawitz, the staff will drop by one-third, rest must come out of school’s general education funding. from eight to 12. This includes a Transition Specialist, who According to an article published in the Lawrence Journal helps students with special needs find jobs or further their World on Feb. 23, Kansas has been mandated by the education after high school. federal government to increase special education Even with cuts, the East administration needs to allocate funding by $26 million. more funding to the department so that it can maintain qualThis state boost in funding will help, ity of instruction and keep student-to-teacher ratios from and it is important that the state gives raising. Cutting one-third of a department is an unaccept- more money to special education–even able drop, especially when the bigger cuts are yet to come; Dr. amidst general education cuts–so that Krawitz thinks the budget situation could result in 15-20 more individual schools teachers being put on excess next year. don’t have to deSpecial education depends on hands-on teaching (see “Shar- cide whether to ing Their Skills,” pages 16-17), something that is lost when sig- reduce the departnificant numbers of a department are put on excess. The teachers will also have to oversee The majority opinion of the more Individual Education Programs (IEPs), Harbinger Editorial Board for against absent which are the academic programs tailored for both gifted and special needs students. Special education teacher Maureen Johnson is afraid the increase in case loads might pull the department too thin. “As a teacher of students with severe dis-

Evan Nichols Andrew Goble Annie Sgroi Kevin Simpson Kat Buchanan Jack Howland Jennifer Rorie Logan Heley  Bob Martin Matt Gannon Chris Heady Staff Writers Chris Heady Julia Davis Zoe Brian Caroline Creidenberg Paige Hess Holly Hernandez Kim Hoedel Maggie Andriani Katie Knight Drew Broeckelman Alex Lamb Editorial Board Andrew Goble Annie Sgroi Corbin Barnds Logan Heley

Apr. 4, 2011 issue 13, vol. 52

Kevin Simpson Jennifer Rorie Jack Howland Evan Nichols Kat Buchanan Bob Martin Katy Westhoff Photographers Grant Kendall Sammi Kelley Samantha Bartow Claire Wahrer Caroline Creidenberg Emma Robson Brendan Dulohery Jake Crandall Sara Baumann Ads/Circulation Manager Vanessa Daves Erin Reilly Staff Artists Peter Hung

Copy Editors Natalie Parker Anne Willman Photo Editors Lindsey Hartnett Samantha Bartow Multimedia Editor Maggie Simmons Asst. Multimedia Editors Thomas Allen Nathan Walker Live Broadcast Editor Jeff Cole Asst. Live Broadcast Editors Dalton Boehm Duncan MacLachlan Convergence Editor Maggie Simmons Asst. Convergence Editor Drew Broeckelman Homegrown Editor Mason Pashia Asst. Homegrown Editor Jackson Dalton Podcast Editor Robert Martin Blog Editor Natalie Parker

Video Editor Alex Lamb Multimedia Staff Riley Watson Duncan MacLachlan Natalie Parker Live Broadcast Producers Thomas Allen Tom Lynch Drew Broeckelman Anchors Andrew Simpson Maggie Andriani Chloe Stradinger Becca Brownlee Meagan Dexter Alex Goldman Haley Martin Riley Watson Paige Hess PR Representative/Business Managers Becca Brownlee Meagan Dexter Photographer Gail Stonebarger Adviser Dow Tate

Features Editor Editors-In-Chief Sarah McKittrick Andrew Goble Features Page Editors Annie Sgroi Christa McKittrick Assistant Editors Haley Martin Evan Nichols Alysabeth Albano Kat Buchanan A&E Editor Head Copy Editor Aubrey Leiter Kevin Simpson A&E Page Editors Art and Design Editor Kennedy Burgess Emma Pennington  Tom Lynch News Editor Sports Editor Jack Howland Corbin Barnds News Page Editors Sports Page Editors Jennifer Rorie Matt Gannon Editorial Editor Anne Willman Katy Westhoff Andrew Simpson Opinion Editor Freelance Page Editors Raina Weinberg Anna Bernard Opinion Page Editors Matt Hanson Will Webber Harbinger Online Photo Editors Anna Marken Editors-In-Chief Grant Heinlein Mixed Editor Logan Heley Dan Stewart  Emily Kerr Pat McGannon Assistant Photo Editor Spread Editors Assistant Editor Eden Schoofs  Chloe Stradinger Maggie Simmons Copy Editors Toni Aguiar The Harbinger is a student run publication. The contents and views are produced solely by the staff and do not represent the Shawnee Mission School District, East faculty, or school administration.


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OPINION

04-04-11

OF A

TALES TRAVELER JenniferRorie

It all started back in November of last year, when I applied to go on a mission trip with my church––a trip with my brother and 20 other people who would become some of my closest of friends. Little did I know that this trip to a tiny town in Guatemala is a trip that would change my life and my perspective for the better. Jumping forward five months, it was finally time to embark on a trip of a lifetime. After packing in one suitcase, realizing it was too small, and repacking in another, it was time. Months of preparation, raising funds, and planning lead to this moment. It was time to get in the car, travel to the airport, say my goodbyes to my parents, and hop on the plane. By the time March 10 rolled around, I couldn’t pay attention in school, and I couldn’t think about anything but Guatemala. When I finally arrived at the airport, it was bittersweet: I knew that I was going to go make a difference in the lives of 150 elementary-age kids, but, on the other hand, I was saying goodbye to my parents for 10 days and leaving the country for my first time without them. Day 2: Once the hour and a half flight from Kansas City to Houston, one night in the hotel, and another three hour flight to Guatemala City were all over, I had finally landed in the country where my life would be altered. Flexibility––one of the traits my youth pastor Nate stressed before the trip even started. No sooner did we land in Guatemala City that this very virtue was tested. After our group had exchanged our money, we went go grab our bags off of the carousel and get on the buses. That’s when my friend Tori realized her bag wasn’t there, and instead she had accidentally retrieved an identical bag that belonged to a guy in a different group: he had taken the wrong bag, and left Tori with his. There was a moment of freak out, but she handled it well, and the rest of our group just went to a parking lot and played Mafia, a game where the main idea is to figure out who the members of the circle are in the mafia and kill them before they kill you (without doing any real damage). No one complained, and no one was agitated that we weren’t exactly on schedule. Our group was flexible, a great sign for the days to come. Day 3: Zip-line day. The day I had been looking forward to for months. This was the day that I was going to go on the tallest zip-line in the world. It was between two beautiful, forested mountains about 600 feet in the air. It had an amazing view of Lake Atitlan, the lake by the town, and the beauty that Guatemala is known for. I love heights. I can’t recall a moment that I’ve ever been nervous about being up high. I love roller coasters, and, to me, the inch-thick cable and position in a harness was just another roller coaster. The scariest part of the day was the windy ride up the side of the mountain to actually get to the zip-line.

MEMORIES

AND

hour drive to the base of the volcano, but the rising sun and the views on the way there totally made it worth it. The hike to the top of the volcano only took about two hours, but it was practically straight up and comparable to hiking on sand––the further we went along, the more desolate the volcano became. The trees got fewer and farther between, and there was no wildlife to speak of. By the time we reached the top it was as if we were hiking on Mars. It was desolate and covered in sharp little lava rocks, but the view was amazing. I could see all of Guatemala City in one direction, and the surrounding farms and Pacific Ocean on the other side. It was one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen. *** Going to Guatemala isn’t something that everyone gets to do their sophomore year of high school, and for getting the opportunity to do so, I’m very fortunate. The trip wasn’t something that I just went on to have a good time or because it’s what people do when they reach a certain age in high school at my church: it was something that I knew would change my life, and help me to grow closer to not only the people around me, but also God. Spending time with the kids of the town was so much more rewarding for me than relaxing on a beach for five days. I’m not saying that relaxing on a beach is a bad thing, it’s just not what I thought was the best, or most valuable way of spending my spring break. I loved the time I had to build relationships with my friends here in the U.S., but also the new friends I’ve made in Guatemala. The new people I met and was able to spend time with I now consider to be very close friends of mine, and brothers and sisters in God’s family. My life is now something I want to use to help others and show them the love of God. I don’t just want to sit on my butt my whole life and not try to make a difference in that of someone else. By going to Guatemala I’ve started to realize that making a difference in someone’s life is so much more valuable than anything else I could ever do.

“ “ “

MOMENTS

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We had two little Toyota pick-up trucks complete with a metal bar in the middle and metal gates around the sides. We fit 12 of us in one truck and 13 in the other. The ride was an hour of standing and attempting to balance amidst a dozen other people. Our diver had to lay on the horn every time he turned, because there was no way to see around the corner and the roads were so narrow that it was hard for two cars to pass at once. The ride was well worth the view and the wonderful time I had on what seemed like the top of the world. Day 5: I’m by no means an artistic person. I’ve never taken an art class at East, and I didn’t do very well in my elementary art classes, yet I still signed up to teach first through sixth graders art for four days. My only reasoning behind signing up was that it sounded more fun than English, science, or P.E. It ended up being one of the most rewarding and exhausting things I’ve ever done: I volunteered to take the mural day, and to teach the kids about something I knew very little about. In one of our many Sunday morning meetings before the trip, one of my group members mentioned the idea of the entire school in Guatemala making a mural. Each one of us cut out about 20 pieces of muslin fabric into one foot by one foot squares and packed them into our designated art suitcase. When we got there the kids divided themselves into groups of two or three and decorated the square with something important to them. It was amazing to see how creative they were–– it seemed like the squares all had mountains, and something to do with God. At first I was confused about why the mountains and lake were so important to them, but then I realized that the scenery was all they knew. These kids were born in San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala and the farthest most of them will ever go is about four hours across a lake and through the mountains to Guatemala City. Here I was, about 1,500 miles away from home, and they might not ever leave their little town. It was so eye-opening, and even somewhat humbling. Teaching and playing with the kids was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Day 9: After our time in San Juan we took the boat back across the lake and hopped on a bus to travel to Antigua, one of the most famous cities in Guatemala. The city was crowded with tourists from around the world and filled with wonderful Guatemalan culture. The market itself was cloaked in beautiful, bright colors and unique handmade goods. It was the time of our trip to just wind down and have a little fun as a group. The second day we were in Antigua we had the opportunity to sign up for an excursion hiking up one of the three active volcanoes in Guatemala. On May 6, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. the volcano exploded and covered the surrounding villages and cities with ash up to knee height. By now, the volcano is pretty much calm with the exception of continuous smoke billowing from the peak. We had to leave at 6 a.m. to make the

Sophomore spends Spring Break in Guatemala teaching under-privileged children

The relationships I built over the week with the other girls on the trip are something I will value for the rest of my life. We had so much fun and they helped make the trip so amazing.

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This little boy lived across with his mom and older sister. He was such a cute little boy and it was wonderful to get to spend time with him and his family.

3

The second grade was definitely the craziest grade. There were a few kids who were so full of energy and wouldn’t sit down but they were all great.


OPINION Staffer expresses feelings for disloyal fans

Under FAIRWEA HER I hate the Royals. I loathe the Chiefs, T-Bones and Sporting Kansas City. I can’t stand the Jayhawks, Wildcats or any of the Big 12 schools. an opinion of Chris Heady They’re too hard to cheer for, so I stopped. Now this may sound ridiculous, but hear me out. The Royals haven’t had a decent year since 2003, and they didn’t even make the playoffs that year. Lets face it KC, they suck. The Chiefs never get far into the playoffs, so why waste the time and energy rooting for them? I just can’t do it anymore. I see no reason why I would cheer for a hometown team, especially since none of them dominate their respective sport. No, seriously, what’s the appeal to cheering for them? Because they’re a hometown team? Psh, just because I’ve lived in KC my whole life and my siblings go to KU doesn’t mean I should cheer for the Chiefs and Jayhawks. You see, I cheer for teams like Ohio State. They’re easy to cheer for, since their football and basketball programs are

never a disappointment. I’m usually guaranteed a Rose Bowl and a Sweet Sixteen every year, so I don’t have to worry about a Bucknell-like upset in the first round or a mediocre football year. Like I said, it’s easy. I mean, why trade that to cheer for the Jayhawks, who usually don’t make a bowl game in football and have been upset in the tourney in the past? Why risk it? I cheer for the UConn women’s basketball team, North Carolina’s women’s soccer team and Penn State’s volleyball team. Domination station. People like Rafael Nadal, LeBron James and John Calipari make me as giddy as a four-month-old pup-

py. I love me some Big East basketball, SEC football and Texas baseball: the powerhouses that embarrass all the rest of the college world. I cheer for Olathe North football and Wichita Heights basketball. What, you think just because I go to East means I cheer for East? No no, don’t be silly. I cheer for the best teams, remember? It doesn’t make sense why you wouldn’t just cheer for the best teams. Why get to know a team and learn to love them, even though they have a chance to lose, when you can barely know the team’s starting line-up and win by 30? I cheer for teams that dominate, not teams that pour their heart into every play in every game, only to see a loss. No no, I ridicule teams like them. I make jokes about them; about their losses and poke fun at their close heartbreaking losses. Team’s that have fans that are as loyal as a St. Bernard’s

Staff member describes impact my chemistry lab, I decided to of music on life and pick up my bass rather than resort-

When I was eight, I asked my mom if I could start playing the cello. It could have been because I had seen my older cousin playing it over Christmas, or just because it looked cool; I honestly don’t remember. But here I am nine years later, still playing in the school orchestra––now, on upright bass. At the age of 17, there are relatively few things that have been a constant in my life for almost a decade, but playing a musical instrument is one thing that has. However, I didn’t really appreciate or even acknowledge the role that music holds in my life until recently. As a kid, I had never been very good at practicing, mostly due to the fact that playing an instrument came relatively easy to me, and I could usually get by with minimal effort. In my mind, the idea of playing every day was right up there with making my bed and washing the dishes. However, each day of practice, although I despised it at the time, chipped away at this negative mindset about playing that I had. By high school, the word practice no longer sent chills up my spine, but this was partly due to the fact that I rarely had to practice. My parents were passed the point of monitoring my habits, and with the busyness of school, swimming and volunteering, I usually opted for free time instead. Fast-forward to the beginning of junior year. By then, I was no longer taking private lessons, so my bass playing basically consisted of 90 minutes in orchestra class every other day. As a junior, I was under more stress than I had ever dealt with. One day, needing a break between my history essay an opinion of Julia Davis

issue 13

disgust me. I feel sorry for them, suffering with the team after each loss. Loyalty shmoyalty, I want championships. Get me a ring and be done with it. Some scrawny teams even have supporters that stay until the very end of a game even when they are destined to lose... Who are these people? I was dragged to the KU football game on Nov. 7 by a friend. We watched the Jayhawks from the nose-bleeds fall to a 35 point deficit by the fourth quarter, so we left. I truly feel bad for those who stayed to suffer through the blow-out. Those poor, poor Jayhawk fans. I didn’t check the score afterwords, I figure they lost. I heard cheers from the parking lot. I figured they didn’t mean much. Like the KU football team is going to comeback down 35 in the fourth quarter to Colorado, am I right? Let’s be practical. Who actually cheers for hometown players? No one. Who would cheer for Alec Burks, the Grandview High School graduate who currently plays for Colorado. The same guy who had the flu and was in bed all day the day of the NIT quarterfinal, had an IV in his arm at halftime and still scored 25 points. I mean he’s a sophomore still in college, and isn’t in the NBA yet. What a nobody. Who would cheer for Mike Sweeney? A long-time Royal who was the shining light on a series of under-achieving teams, yet, signed a one day contract with the Royals so he could retire in the town he loved. The guy will never see Cooperstown, he’ll soon be forgotten. I also think Michael Jordan was the most overrated player in the history of sports. I hate Christmas, my birthday and enjoy burning buildings. I just love fair-weather fans.

Bassic Instinct

ing to the usual hour-long Facebook fest. What started out as a few minutes of jamming out to “Sunshine of Your Love” turned into an hour of improvised runs and jazz tunes, and I hadn’t even realized as the time flew by. For the first time, I actually enjoyed playing the bass. This hour took me away from the stress of normal life and let me just enjoy myself without the thought of tests, swim practices or deadlines. It was better than any feeling my iPod could provide. For the next couple weeks, when I felt like a million things were rushing around my mind, I would pick up my bass and forget about it all. For the first time in my life, orchestra became one of my favorite classes at school, and as I look back, I see how much it has brought me. For one thing, orchestra has allowed me to meet so many interesting and quirky people who I wouldn’t otherwise have gotten to know: it is a place where you can be yourself and not worry about what anyone thinks. The experiences that orchestra has brought me will always stick out in my mind as highlights in my journey of being a musician. I have had the honor of making state orchestra the past two years, which comes with a three-day workshop in Wichita where you meet great musicians from all around Kansas. Being at state showed me how much time and effort some people put into their instrument, and how talented they are because of it. There aren’t many places

11

where a high school student would have the opportunity to play Berlioz’s Symphony Fantastique with other high schoolers and have it sound decent, but at state our final concert was not just decent; it was incredible. Playing the bass has helped me work through some tough things this year by helping me express myself and put my emotions, good or bad, toward something that will have a positive effect on my life. I know that whenever I am overwhelmed, my bass will always be there, no matter how bad a mood I am in. Although I never would have thought so at the beginning of my high school career, playing bass and being involved in orchestra have become important parts of my life. I hope to continue playing bass in the future, not just in college but as an adult as well. I know that no matter what age I may be, there will always be things in my life that are hard to deal with, and I take comfort in the fact that whether I’m happy or sad, young or old, alone or surrounded by people, I will always be able to pick up my bass, forget about the world and just play.


FEATURES

04-04-11

a

drive for

photo illustration by GrantHeinlein

direction

Senior writes Frequent Friday based on racing experiences

KennedyBurgess

He paces. Senior Sean Bailey’s tattered jeans drag beneath the heels of his bare feet as he walks back and forth on the dim stage of the little theater. He clutches a flimsy spiral notebook in his right hand, periodically looking down at the notes sprawled across the thin blue lines. Bailey is running a rehearsal for his selfwritten “mockumentary” comedy Frequent Friday—“24: the Documentary” premiering April 15. He walks over to sophomore Beth Liu as she asks a question, holding up the yellow highlighted script. As he intuitively runs his right hand through his unshorn blond hair, he traces over her lines with his other hand. The other cast members gather in pairs of two, studying and repeating their lines, their voices becoming a continuous string of emotions. Once a mere idea in Bailey’s mind, “24: the Documentary” is slowly taking shape on stage. Going into his freshman year at Rockhurst, Bailey couldn’t have cared less about where his life was headed. “I was kind of one of those kids that was like ‘f*** the world! I don’t give a s***!’” Bailey said. “I just thought I was this piece of s*** that didn’t know anything.” Bailey was diagnosed with ADHD that same year. English class had always been a struggle for Bailey when it came to writing. “It’s like; I could picture anything in my mind—‘rain dropping down on a woman’s head’,” Bailey said. “But it never turned out the same way I pictured it when I put it down on paper.” His teachers and counselors would regu-

the

ma kin

go

f

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Sean Bailey talks about the process of directing and writing his Frequent Friday

larly tell him he wasn’t working hard enough or wasn’t focused, and he began to believe them It’s 7:00 p.m. on Feb. 3, opening night of East’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.” The curtains part in Dan Zollars Auditorium. Senior Emily Welter saunters on stage as junior Nathan Are, playing Belle’s father totters towards her, pulling along his most recent invention. The audience watches the metallic blue, green, and red cardboard sprockets turn in opposite directions on the pentagon shaped object that follows him. Golden-orange tassels shimmer as they graze the surface of the stage. Bailey hunches down inside his creation, regulating the movements and turns, bringing the cardboard entity to life. Just months before the show, musical director Tom DeFeo approached Bailey, asking if he would build Maurice’s invention. Bailey had had previous involvement in East theater, being cast in productions such as “Grapes of Wrath” and as Mr. Gibbs in “Arsenic and Old Lace” his junior year when he switched from Rockhurst to East, but this would give him the chance to work behind the scenes. He researched what other theater productions had created for the invention, but Bailey wasn’t inspired. Days of designing and redesigning occupied Bailey’s time. He had never put so much effort into anything in his life, but for once he wanted something to be proud of. Something to call his own. Bailey thought up the idea for his show after watching a documentary on a 24-hour rally car race in southern France. “I just noticed how they made it seem so dramatic and unearthly, but when it really comes down to it, it’s just a race,” Bailey said.

Start Your Engines - Brainstorming “The idea was triggered by three things. First, seeing the movie ‘Slapshot,’ a comedy hockey movie, then a documentary about a famous race in France and finally a classical song called “Rhapsody in Blue.” I mixed the characters from the comedy into the documentary to make a mockumentary. The music sets the mood.”

With the unconstructive negativity bounding him at Rockhurst, Bailey initiated a pursuit in rally car racing. He looked to it as a hobby, something for him to simply achieve. Bailey changed schools his junior year, seeing more potential to expand his mind and ideas at East. His life had gotten to a point where Bailey needed to change everything about himself. He needed to do something. This attitude carried on when he was diagnosed with Dyslexia the summer before his senior year. As he sat in the doctor’s office after being diagnosed, Bailey picked up a pamphlet written towards people with learning disabilities. He opened to the first page—“FAMOUS PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES” stared back at him in bold letters. Bailey scrolled his eyes down the list—“Leonardo da Vinci” popped up halfway down. Bailey went home and began researching da Vinci. “Da Vinci was capable of incredible things,” Bailey said. “From that, I realized that if I just had some faith in myself and some motivation I could do things that nobody else could.” With the background from three years of studying rally racing on his own, Bailey began to write. He gathered inspiration from watching racing on TV and the 1977 hockey comedy film “Slapshot.” He wanted to incorporate the Hanson brothers from the film to bring three ridiculously wacky characters to his show. Bailey also poured aspects of himself into the characters, while still creating a different person for each. When theater directer Brian Capello first saw the rough draft of Bailey’s show, he was impressed. “It showed in the writing that this was

Pit Stop - Writing Process “I never wrote at home, I don’t know why. I wrote in classes when I could. It took me probably a year and three months to write. I had to choose the show for my Frequent Friday around this time last year. I decided to write a play myself... I didn’t know what I was getting into.”

something that he knew a lot about,” Capello said. “It was well thought out and fun to read.” Bailey takes the audience through the 24-hour race, following a team of mechanics working against their own struggles for GM as they attempt to overcome various obstacles to win the race. Bailey wanted more than just comedic relief to come from his show. Beneath the quirkiness and laughs, he wanted to incorporate a moral into his story. “I think it kind of teaches a lesson,” Bailey said. “Like Da Vinci would say: Who are we to say what is possible and impossible?” The little theater is dark with a soft buzz filling the room—the only source of sound streaming is Bailey’s fingers tapping against the desk in Cappello’s office. He looks beyond the window connecting the office and the back of the theater, twisting the grey nob attached to the dashboard that controls the stage lights. It’s 12:30 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. Bailey is perfecting the light set up for his frequent friday, using a technique he calls “barn doors” to offset the light to only hit the right side of the stage. After high-school, Bailey will take a year off to really figure out what what he wants to do. “I want to race, I want to build things, I want to act,” Bailey said. “There are a billion things I’d like to do and maybe one day I’ll eventually get everything done, but I don’t think that will happen because I’ll just want to do more.”

To see a video feature about Sean Bailey’s racing visit smeharbinger.net

Checkered Flag - Acting it Out “I’ve had my image of what it should look like while I was writing. It’s difficult to adapt my vision to a cast. I developed the characters a long time ago, and it’s difficult to watch my cast try to develop their own characters when they come automatically to me. But it’s really coming along well, and each day it gets better.”

images courtesy of Clkr.com

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architecture / planning / interior design www.hmnarchitects.com

/ blog.hmnarchitects.

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14

FEATURES 04-04-11

‘bass’ic skill Junior plays the bass and records in upper level bands HaleyMartin Junior Brooks Sargent enters his jazz-funk-reggae band practice, sets down his rectangular bass case and leaves through the multicolored door of Waldo Guitar on Wornall. He returns with three amplifiers he had been keeping in the back of his car for gigs and other band practices that he attends throughout the week. It takes about an hour for the drummer Darrell Haramoto, the guitarist and East alum Brian Frantz and Sargent to set up for their practices: each member brings their own amplifier and multiple recording devices, as well as their own instruments. When their band practice begins, they come to the consensus to play a reggae tune. Sargent’s fingers dance over the strings of his bass and the melodic beat plays out of the multiple amplifiers. Sargent stands up and uses his left leg to keep the beat while playing. During the song, he easily changes the volume of his bass to mesh with his musical counterparts. Sargent began playing the bass in elementary school, when he and a few of his friends created a band whose name was constantly fluctuating. He began messing around on the guitar, but one of his band members had previously began taking lessons and thus was more experienced, so Sargent switched to the bass. He taught himself simple songs by punk rock bands like Blink 182 and Green Day. Sargent was inspired by numerous bass players to play a technique which is dubbed “slap,” which produces a percussive sound generally used in jazz or funk. There are numerous versions of how to “slap” but generally it entails using the thumb and pinkie finger to pluck the strings in rhythm. “I’ve been learning songs and watching lots of YouTube videos to get the technique, and I have been playing a lot because practice makes perfect,” Sargent said “It’s a saying that goes for a lot of things––I am not saying that I am perfect at all, but playing a lot helps.” He started taking bass lessons two years ago with Frantz who owns the Waldo Guitar shop, plays professionally and is generally a well-known guitarist in the Kansas City area, according to Haramoto. During these two years, Sargent practiced extensively on mastering the bass. He also joined various bands to increase the amount of time he could play. After only two years of taking lessons with Frantz, who said that Sargent had surpassed him in his ability to play the bass, but desired to continue learning new skills. Frantz had previously been approached by Darrell, who had heard Frantz playing and wanted to create a band. Frantz replied that he had a bass player who he considered to be a prodigy who he was looking

to create a band with. “I had nothing else to teach him,” Frantz said. “So I asked him to join my band.” At Waldo Guitar, Sargent plays with his band mates who are approximately twice his age, although he doesn’t acknowledge the difference while practicing. Haramoto and Sargent have had competitions to see who can play the quickest: Sargent more often than not wins, even though Darrell has four limbs at his disposal and formerly played the drums professionally in Hawaii. The band records their practices on a sound mixer and Sargent’s laptop, part of the reason is that it takes the members an hour to set up their equipment before practicing. Since they record every practice, they can mix their songs together post-practice and create CDs to send out to friends and possible gigs. “We record all of our practices so that we can listen to them, and pick songs out of our recordings or parts that we liked, and then make them into songs,” Sargent said. “It’s not the traditional way of writing music, but when we jam together at practices it just flows really well.” Sargent also records himself playing on his laptop at home. He purchased a recording device off of amazon.com, which he connects a USB cable to that transfers the recordings straight to his laptop. The microphone is supposed to record the bass the same as if they were recording in a professional studio. “[Recording] is a world that requires a lot of funds and a lot of knowledge of the music world,” Sargent said. “Just about as much as pure talent when it gets as technical as recording.” Sargent has become extremely committed to the bass through his extensive practicing and recording. Playing the bass is his passion and he plans on continuing to improve and pursue a professional career in music. “It’s scary how good [Sargent] is going to get,” said Darrell. “The boy can hit it big if he keeps growing on [his] instrument.”

sargent’s favorite bass players Brendan Dulohery

victor wooten

percy jones jaco pastorius marcus miller

larry graham

For additional coverage including music and photos on Brooks Sargent, visit smeharbinger.net


Photo illustration by EmmaRobson, photos courtesy of JennaMiller

FEATURES

Freshman strives to live as a normal teenager after a childhood accident left her with epilepsy

KatieKnight As Jenna Miller pedals down the sidewalk on Mission Road, the hot July sun glares down on her blue bike, making it sparkle. Jenna, nine at the time, is riding with her brother Jacob and his two friends, headed to the Corinth Library in hopes of finding something to do. Finally, they reach the parking lot and turn in, headed for the brown doors. They pause to let a white Toyota Camry pass, but the woman driving waves for them to go ahead. Jacob goes first, followed by his two friends, then Jenna in the back. As she’s about to clear the car, she feels a bang on her left leg, right by the knee. Before she can think, she’s being dragged on the ground, her leg caught on the bumper. Dazed and unable to scream, she couldn’t get the driver’s attention. Jenna was dragged 180 feet before the woman driving realized there was a child attached to her bumper. Finally, a veterinarian walking some dogs banged on the driver’s windshield to get her to stop. Before then, Jenna was unable to feel anything, but upon stopping, the pain brought her to screams. “I didn’t really know what was going on.” Jenna said. “I didn’t know what I was happening until the car stopped, and then I was like, ‘Oh my God…I just got hit by a car.’” *** First, Jenna’s older sister Jade Wolf arrived after getting a call from Nancy, who knew Jade would beat her there. When the ambulance arrived, paramedics poured out the doors. They carefully strapped Jenna to a gurney and shipped she and her sister, Jade, then 20, off to Shawnee Mission Medical Center. All Jenna remembers is medics frantically taking her vital signs. At first, Jenna was in complete shock, and everything was blurred. After minutes went by, the massive ache in her leg took over and she could think of nothing else. Meanwhile, Jade, was

huddled in the corner, watching her sister sob uncontrollably, feeling helpless. Jenna’s mom Nancy Wolf, had called Jade telling her to go to Jenna because she’d be able to get there quicker. Trying to lighten up the situation, she said, “Hey, Jenna?” She pointed at Jenna’s wounded leg. “Do you want me to poke it?” Jenna and the paramedics burst out laughing, breaking the tight energy. After the good break from the tension, the paramedics turn back to their work. *** Jenna was in the hospital for not even 24 hours. Despite the seriousness of the accident, only a few bumps and bruises and a broken leg were visible. For Jenna, the worst part of all was a tie between the mushy hospital cafeteria tater tots and not being able to shower all day. The weeks after her dismissal went smoothly. Since she wasn’t easily mobile, she spent many hours watching Disney Channel and playing Game Cube with Jacob to pass the time. She faithfully went to every soccer practice to sit on the bench and cheer on her team. “I didn’t really have much to do after the accident, but after I got used to everything, it just kind of became my lifestyle,” Jenna said. “I got full strength in my left leg back and all of my muscle, too.” Weeks went by, and the accident was in the past for Jenna. School had just started, and she was almost ready to return to the soccer field. *** Jenna is woken up by the kitchen phone’s piercing ring. Groggily, she gets out of bed and answers. “Hello?” Jenna said. “Hi, honey,” Nancy said. This is Jenna’s daily routine. Every morning, as her mom goes to work early, she calls

[Jenna] quick facts about

It has been

a year and a half since

Jenna had a

Jenna’s

MEDS

used to cost

$60 per month

Jenna to wake her up and to tell her to have a good day. As they continue their conversation and Nancy is about to say goodbye, suddenly Jenna’s whole body tenses up, and she’s unable to move. The phone in her hand slips from her fingers and crashes on the floor. Two or three minutes later, Jenna regains control and picks up the phone, unaware that any time has passed. “I didn’t know what was wrong,” Nancy said. “But I knew something was. It took about a week before I actually saw one and realized what was happening.” The first time Nancy actually witnessed one of Jenna’s incidents, she immediately took Jenna to St. Luke’s, where tests were run for about a week. Jenna lays down on a MRI bed and takes a deep breath. Nurses come up and stick some sucky things attached to some wires to her head; the monitor next to her starts beeping. “All right, Jenna,” the doctor said. “We’re going to scan your brain today. When you go into the MRI, you need to stay as still as possible. But most importantly, we need you to fall asleep.” “They had to hook her brain up to all these machines and monitors, and they had to draw blood every day,” Nancy said. “Her entire head was wrapped in bandaging; all you could see was her face. She was a trooper, but I think she was scared.” After seven days of testing, Jenna was sent home, without answers. She returned for several more tests for the next few months, and after awhile, it was discovered that she had epilepsy, but from unknown causes. Her doctor finally decided to send them to the University of Chicago Medical Center for more advanced research. According to Jenna’s neurologist, Dr. Mark Korhman of the University of Chicago Medical Center, epilepsy is a disorder where the brain fires in an abnormal fashion, causing them to have what is called a seizure. When she arrived at the University of Chicago, she met Dr. Korhman. There, they gave her more EEG tests, and discovered that the seizures she had been having for the past few months were caused by head trauma-induced epilepsy. “What happens is, when you bang your head, you can bruise the brain just like you can bang your arm if you hit it on the wall, for example.” Korhman said. “And when you bang your head, you’ve lost some brain cells at that point, which can cause scarring and cause seizures.” She was sent home with strict doctors’ orders: no video games, no arcades, no strobe lights, and minimal TV and computer time. If she gets headaches, dizzy or light-headed she should lie down and rest immediately. If she starts vomiting it is usually a sign of a grand

Jenna spent

2

hours in the

hospital

issue 13

15

mal seizure (a seizure where the body stiffens and jerk all over and have loss of bladder control, usually lasting two to three minutes) coming on, to call 911. It was not easy for Jenna to live with all these restrictions, as a 10 year old. In addition to the extra caution she now had to take, she also lost a lot of friends that year, according to Nancy. “I think this was more because of parents not understanding the disease…like their kids were going to catch it or something,” Nancy said. “In fifth grade, the school actually asked me to not let her go on a field trip because they were afraid she might have a seizure, but the kid with diabetes gets to go, or the kid who is mentally challenged, know what I mean?” The other huge challenge that came with epilepsy was the affect it had on Jenna’s learning abilities. The blow to her head really caused her learning speed to slow, and it became difficult for her to focus for a long time. “My brother tutors me and he helps me a lot with reading, and after I got hit with the car, I went to Sylvan which helped a lot,” Jenna said. “English and science are my worst subjects. English with the reading… Science I just don’t really like. I’m really good at procrastinating.” These days, seizures are extremely rare for Jenna; she hasn’t had one for nearly a year and a half. She still sees her doctor up in Chicago every six months, just in case, though her medicine, Devocote, has helped eliminate almost all of the seizures. “Devocote basically works in a number of different ways by changing the excitability in the nerve cells in the brain, thereby preventing seizures,” said Korhman. Although her seizures are virtually nonexistent, according to Jenna, she still gets what she calls seizures inside her head. “It doesn’t feel like anything really,” Jenna said. “I just kind of blank out sometimes and stare off in space.” According to doctor Korhman, those seizures in her head are called absence seizures. During an absence seizure, you just lose awareness for a few seconds. It happens to usually 10 percent of patients who have epilepsy. Though Jenna’s seizures had taken a huge effect on her life, she always remained fearless. “I’ve overcome the seizures;” Jenna said. “I’ve gotten better at controlling them. I know there are people around me who know what to do when I’m having a seizure, so I don’t need to be afraid.” Jenna’s mom disagrees, and says that it is kind of impossible to master seizures, and control them. The real mastery is knowing the signs of a seizure, and being able to do whatever needs to be done in preventing and caring for them. “I am very proud of her,” Nancy said. “[Her overcoming of seizures] is a combination of the medicine she is on that controls the seizures, but her attitude and high activity level (playing soccer) helps a bunch. She has never had an attitude of “why me” or felt like she was just going to lay down and let epilepsy beat her.”


SPREAD

SPREAD

04-04-11

issue 13

Sharing Their Skills Students learn to work together in Social Skills class

ChloeStradinger As the two students stand in front of the class, they begin reading what they’ve written on the piece of orange construction paper. “PROS: good small talk and we were there on time. CONS: be more quiet during the movie and organize rides home,” says one of them. The students and student leaders clap for the people who have completed their stepping out project, where they went to the movie theaters without their parents to practice a social situation with a friend. Even though this may seem like an easy feat for some people, as Social Skills teacher Maureen Johnson pointed out, “something that’s so small to an average person is such a huge deal to someone else.”

***

The Social Skills class was brought to East four years ago by a past transition specialist Julie Paradise. It’s modeled after the class Interpersonal Skills at SM South. The purpose of Social Skills is to bring together regular education students and special education student leaders to discuss social skills and practice them in a comfortable, everyday environment. There are 10 student leaders in the class of 35. To apply for social skills, applicants first fill out a questionnaire with questions like “How do you see diversity?” and “How would you handle this situation?”. Then, there’s an interview with the teachers where they ask about things like your comfort level and assertiveness. Every year about 15-20 students apply for a student leader position, and most of the applicants

are accepted. Johnson stresses the importance of student leaders in the classroom. “An adult speaking to a high school student about something that has to do with social skills is not as meaningful [coming from] as a peer who they see as being popular or cool,” Johnson said. On Monday of every week, student leaders turn in journals full of notes with observations or questions they have about the prior week’s class periods. Things like asking for advice on how to handle a situation with a student or suggestions for topics to be discussed in class are things that teachers often see in the journals. Another assignment that students and student leaders have are “stepping out projects”. The purpose of the project is to do a social activity with a classmate outside of school such as getting ice cream or going to the movie theaters. Next, the classmates make a poster about their experience, noting pros and cons of their activity such as good table manners or punctuality, and present it to the class. Even though there are similar classes around the district, Johnson said the lesson plans are all different. “The hardest part is that there’s really no textbook for social skills. It’s really an abstract concept which, for students, is a hard concept anyways,” Johnson said. Since there are no books the students can read to learn social skills, every class period presents completely different topics and situations. On an average day, the teachers bring up a topic that they feel needs to be covered for an in-depth conversation; anything from table manners to per-

sonal hygiene to effective decision making are discussed in the classroom. The class sits in a big circle promoting a casual and open environment. While some students contribute to the conversation more than others, the teachers try to stay away from interfering with the flow of the conversation. Instead, they guide the conversation with questions and hypothetical situations while the students are the “conductors.” After this part of class, the students break for second lunch. Lunchroom monitor Chip Sherman has observed the class during his shift. “I just thought that was so cool seeing those kids helping them; everything from helping them eat and cut their meat or just talking to them and being their friend,” Sherman said. When the students return from lunch, they have a different topic. The teaching of this topic often involves a role-play, which is one of senior student leader Madison Haverty’s favorite activities. Around Homecoming time this year, students did a role-play of how to act during a date, complete with how to stay composed while you’re picking up you’re date and how to be respectful when meeting parents. “It was pretty informative to everyone in the class about manners that are required, and how to be respectful, and eye contact and having a good hand shake,” Haverty said. Another way the class has practiced their social skills is during “Restaurant Month.” The purpose of Restaurant Month is to practice table manners, money managing skills and small talking in a public setting. They chose Planet Sub, BRGR,

and Waldo Pizza as places to practice their restaurant skills, because each place has a different setting and atmosphere. While Social Skills does fun activities like Restaurant Month, the class is still a learning experience and challenging for both students and student leaders. “The biggest challenge is making sure that I’m equal with the amount of time I spend with each kid and just making sure that I’m always branching out to different kids,” Haverty said. Johnson emphasizes the importance of practicing social skills outside of school. A program that meets outside of school and includes students with and without disabilities is Pack of PALS. The name is an acronym for “Pack of Positive Attitude Legion of Support.” Though it’s technically not an East program, many of the students and student leaders in Social Skills are a part of this program. The pals and peers meet about once a month to do an activity like dinner and a movie or attending a JV basketball game. According to PALS Vice President of Communications Betsy Blessen, PALS is a program that brings together kids with and without social skills. “The mission is to have kids that go to East be able to interact with kids in social skills to do normal activities that kids get to do outside of school like go to games or go to the play,” Blessen said. Freshman Mitchell Earley is a student in Social Skills and also a member of Pack of PALS. While he likes the class Social Skills, he really looks forward to PALS events. His favorite event is to go to

Inside and Out theClassroom of

March was “Restaurant Month” so the group would go to various restaurants like BRGR or Waldo Pizza. They would be able to practice interacting with each other outside the classroom and ordering in different ways.

three

Pack of Pals is an organization linked with Social Skills that gathers regular and special education students together to do activities like see movies or go to school dances. It helps students widen their social circle.

PACK OF PALS

two

LUNCH

The class will pick a topic such as rights and responsibilities and have an open discussion. Sometimes the class will utilize roleplaying like pretending to meet a date’s parents in order to practice their social skills.

PRACTICE

one

LindseyHartnett

Q&A

Lane Sturgeon

with

16

former Social Skills student

Why is it important for kids to have access to Social Skills? So that way we can learn to communicate with more people and meet new friends. It helps not just with school but out in the community, too. Before, I didn’t really know how to talk to people all that well.

Power Play. Mitchell’s mother, Teresa Earley, suspects Mitchell likes PALS so much because he gets to be independent. “I’m always taking him skating or to the movies or out to dinner. So this way he gets to go out with friends without me, and he really enjoys that,” Teresa said. Some of the pals have graduated from East and moved on to and even past Broadmoor Technical Center, but stayed a part of the program. Former Social Skills class student and Pack of PALS member Lane Sturgeon graduated from the Broadmoor service last year. Sturgeon took the class Social Skills the first year it was offered. Her goal was to make new friends with kids without disabilities. “They brought in kids that didn’t have disabilities into the classroom and they got to interact with us and it helped us out a lot,” Sturgeon said. After Sturgeon graduated from East, she moved on to Broadmoor. Sturgeon said being in the class Social Skills was “beneficial” to transitioning to Broadmoor because the teachers told the students about the Broadmoor service, letting them know it was an option for available for everyone. Since she’s left Broadmoor, Sturgeon is cooking more often, learning how to drive, and looking for a job at a crafts store. “My parents see a different side of me now,” Sturgeon said. “They see me more communicating now. . .I’ve grown out of my little cocoon that I kept myself in . . . I grew out of it through social skills and pals.”

How do the student leaders enrich the class? Well when I was going to East, we didn’t have student leaders. But I think that it would have made it a lot easier for people to understand us and more special ed kids would’ve been nominated for like, Homecoming king and stuff. What is Pack of Pals like for you? For the last five years, Pack of Pals has been awesome. I’m just so grateful for it because it’s such a unique program. I have the best five pals. Emily Kerr is my favorite one in the world; she came to my show and cheered me on and it was just really, really special. What’s your favorite thing to do with Pack of Pals? I like most of

them except roller skating, because I’m really bad at that. Most of all I just like to make friends, like I’ve made over 100 friends. So what are you doing now? Social Skills introduced me to the Broadmoor transition services. We started a Social Skills class there but it wasn’t as fun. We had to write a lot of papers and stuff like that. But I’m working on getting my driver’s license right now; that’s really exciting. And I’m looking for a job! Probably at Hobby Lobby because I love crafts. I’m also searching for my birth parents with my mom. That’s one thing, I have the courage to do that because of Social Skills class.

all photos by GrantKendall Reading off of a menu during a class field trip at BRGR, senior CC Creidenberg, far above, discusses with a classmate what he wants to order. “I really enjoyed going to lunch. Going with Social Skills is great because not only is the lunch good but you get to see everyone practice the manners and skills we learn during the class,” Creidenberg said. Senior William Olson, above, places his order with the waiter at BRGR during one of the Social Skill’s class outings. Olson said he really enjoyed his hamburger and had a good experience at BRGR.

Freshman Eric Morgan, above right, plays Connect Four during “game time” on Friday after lunch. “Me and [my friend] were trying to build a sailboat out of Connect Fours,” Morgan said. Junior Kerri Ricketts, above left, reaches for a three-way high five. “It’s a way for students to know different kinds of kids. We’ve all become really close recently,” Ricketts said. Ricketts has been a part of the class for two years.

A Quick Look at

Social Skills Key Social Skills student leader Social Skills student

17


SPREAD

SPREAD

04-04-11

issue 13

Sharing Their Skills Students learn to work together in Social Skills class

ChloeStradinger As the two students stand in front of the class, they begin reading what they’ve written on the piece of orange construction paper. “PROS: good small talk and we were there on time. CONS: be more quiet during the movie and organize rides home,” says one of them. The students and student leaders clap for the people who have completed their stepping out project, where they went to the movie theaters without their parents to practice a social situation with a friend. Even though this may seem like an easy feat for some people, as Social Skills teacher Maureen Johnson pointed out, “something that’s so small to an average person is such a huge deal to someone else.”

***

The Social Skills class was brought to East four years ago by a past transition specialist Julie Paradise. It’s modeled after the class Interpersonal Skills at SM South. The purpose of Social Skills is to bring together regular education students and special education student leaders to discuss social skills and practice them in a comfortable, everyday environment. There are 10 student leaders in the class of 35. To apply for social skills, applicants first fill out a questionnaire with questions like “How do you see diversity?” and “How would you handle this situation?”. Then, there’s an interview with the teachers where they ask about things like your comfort level and assertiveness. Every year about 15-20 students apply for a student leader position, and most of the applicants

are accepted. Johnson stresses the importance of student leaders in the classroom. “An adult speaking to a high school student about something that has to do with social skills is not as meaningful [coming from] as a peer who they see as being popular or cool,” Johnson said. On Monday of every week, student leaders turn in journals full of notes with observations or questions they have about the prior week’s class periods. Things like asking for advice on how to handle a situation with a student or suggestions for topics to be discussed in class are things that teachers often see in the journals. Another assignment that students and student leaders have are “stepping out projects”. The purpose of the project is to do a social activity with a classmate outside of school such as getting ice cream or going to the movie theaters. Next, the classmates make a poster about their experience, noting pros and cons of their activity such as good table manners or punctuality, and present it to the class. Even though there are similar classes around the district, Johnson said the lesson plans are all different. “The hardest part is that there’s really no textbook for social skills. It’s really an abstract concept which, for students, is a hard concept anyways,” Johnson said. Since there are no books the students can read to learn social skills, every class period presents completely different topics and situations. On an average day, the teachers bring up a topic that they feel needs to be covered for an in-depth conversation; anything from table manners to per-

sonal hygiene to effective decision making are discussed in the classroom. The class sits in a big circle promoting a casual and open environment. While some students contribute to the conversation more than others, the teachers try to stay away from interfering with the flow of the conversation. Instead, they guide the conversation with questions and hypothetical situations while the students are the “conductors.” After this part of class, the students break for second lunch. Lunchroom monitor Chip Sherman has observed the class during his shift. “I just thought that was so cool seeing those kids helping them; everything from helping them eat and cut their meat or just talking to them and being their friend,” Sherman said. When the students return from lunch, they have a different topic. The teaching of this topic often involves a role-play, which is one of senior student leader Madison Haverty’s favorite activities. Around Homecoming time this year, students did a role-play of how to act during a date, complete with how to stay composed while you’re picking up you’re date and how to be respectful when meeting parents. “It was pretty informative to everyone in the class about manners that are required, and how to be respectful, and eye contact and having a good hand shake,” Haverty said. Another way the class has practiced their social skills is during “Restaurant Month.” The purpose of Restaurant Month is to practice table manners, money managing skills and small talking in a public setting. They chose Planet Sub, BRGR,

and Waldo Pizza as places to practice their restaurant skills, because each place has a different setting and atmosphere. While Social Skills does fun activities like Restaurant Month, the class is still a learning experience and challenging for both students and student leaders. “The biggest challenge is making sure that I’m equal with the amount of time I spend with each kid and just making sure that I’m always branching out to different kids,” Haverty said. Johnson emphasizes the importance of practicing social skills outside of school. A program that meets outside of school and includes students with and without disabilities is Pack of PALS. The name is an acronym for “Pack of Positive Attitude Legion of Support.” Though it’s technically not an East program, many of the students and student leaders in Social Skills are a part of this program. The pals and peers meet about once a month to do an activity like dinner and a movie or attending a JV basketball game. According to PALS Vice President of Communications Betsy Blessen, PALS is a program that brings together kids with and without social skills. “The mission is to have kids that go to East be able to interact with kids in social skills to do normal activities that kids get to do outside of school like go to games or go to the play,” Blessen said. Freshman Mitchell Earley is a student in Social Skills and also a member of Pack of PALS. While he likes the class Social Skills, he really looks forward to PALS events. His favorite event is to go to

Inside and Out theClassroom of

March was “Restaurant Month” so the group would go to various restaurants like BRGR or Waldo Pizza. They would be able to practice interacting with each other outside the classroom and ordering in different ways.

three

Pack of Pals is an organization linked with Social Skills that gathers regular and special education students together to do activities like see movies or go to school dances. It helps students widen their social circle.

PACK OF PALS

two

LUNCH

The class will pick a topic such as rights and responsibilities and have an open discussion. Sometimes the class will utilize roleplaying like pretending to meet a date’s parents in order to practice their social skills.

PRACTICE

one

LindseyHartnett

Q&A

Lane Sturgeon

with

16

former Social Skills student

Why is it important for kids to have access to Social Skills? So that way we can learn to communicate with more people and meet new friends. It helps not just with school but out in the community, too. Before, I didn’t really know how to talk to people all that well.

Power Play. Mitchell’s mother, Teresa Earley, suspects Mitchell likes PALS so much because he gets to be independent. “I’m always taking him skating or to the movies or out to dinner. So this way he gets to go out with friends without me, and he really enjoys that,” Teresa said. Some of the pals have graduated from East and moved on to and even past Broadmoor Technical Center, but stayed a part of the program. Former Social Skills class student and Pack of PALS member Lane Sturgeon graduated from the Broadmoor service last year. Sturgeon took the class Social Skills the first year it was offered. Her goal was to make new friends with kids without disabilities. “They brought in kids that didn’t have disabilities into the classroom and they got to interact with us and it helped us out a lot,” Sturgeon said. After Sturgeon graduated from East, she moved on to Broadmoor. Sturgeon said being in the class Social Skills was “beneficial” to transitioning to Broadmoor because the teachers told the students about the Broadmoor service, letting them know it was an option for available for everyone. Since she’s left Broadmoor, Sturgeon is cooking more often, learning how to drive, and looking for a job at a crafts store. “My parents see a different side of me now,” Sturgeon said. “They see me more communicating now. . .I’ve grown out of my little cocoon that I kept myself in . . . I grew out of it through social skills and pals.”

How do the student leaders enrich the class? Well when I was going to East, we didn’t have student leaders. But I think that it would have made it a lot easier for people to understand us and more special ed kids would’ve been nominated for like, Homecoming king and stuff. What is Pack of Pals like for you? For the last five years, Pack of Pals has been awesome. I’m just so grateful for it because it’s such a unique program. I have the best five pals. Emily Kerr is my favorite one in the world; she came to my show and cheered me on and it was just really, really special. What’s your favorite thing to do with Pack of Pals? I like most of

them except roller skating, because I’m really bad at that. Most of all I just like to make friends, like I’ve made over 100 friends. So what are you doing now? Social Skills introduced me to the Broadmoor transition services. We started a Social Skills class there but it wasn’t as fun. We had to write a lot of papers and stuff like that. But I’m working on getting my driver’s license right now; that’s really exciting. And I’m looking for a job! Probably at Hobby Lobby because I love crafts. I’m also searching for my birth parents with my mom. That’s one thing, I have the courage to do that because of Social Skills class.

all photos by GrantKendall Reading off of a menu during a class field trip at BRGR, senior CC Creidenberg, far above, discusses with a classmate what he wants to order. “I really enjoyed going to lunch. Going with Social Skills is great because not only is the lunch good but you get to see everyone practice the manners and skills we learn during the class,” Creidenberg said. Senior William Olson, above, places his order with the waiter at BRGR during one of the Social Skill’s class outings. Olson said he really enjoyed his hamburger and had a good experience at BRGR.

Freshman Eric Morgan, above right, plays Connect Four during “game time” on Friday after lunch. “Me and [my friend] were trying to build a sailboat out of Connect Fours,” Morgan said. Junior Kerri Ricketts, above left, reaches for a three-way high five. “It’s a way for students to know different kinds of kids. We’ve all become really close recently,” Ricketts said. Ricketts has been a part of the class for two years.

A Quick Look at

Social Skills Key Social Skills student leader Social Skills student

17


18

S

FEATURES

04-04-11

enior Polly Mytinger steps out onto the golf course. I can do this, she thinks as she prepares to hit a golf ball while watching Senior Cole Turner demonstrate what to do. “[He] swung back and knocked me on the head,” Mytinger said. “It was just one of those classic moments where you can’t not laugh.” Turner and Mytinger were two of the 10 East seniors who went on a camping trip to Pomona, KS over spring break. While there, they spent some time frog-hunting and naming themselves after characters from “Lord of the Flies.” Having recently been in an accident, Turner had just gotten out of surgery when they left, and according to Senior Emily Collins, he was “out of it.” Collins said that since his family was providing most of the camping materials, Turner had a lot of rules: they could only use phones to call home, they always had to close the door to

the trailer and they couldn’t use cameras except for when they were on nature walks. “[One of the rules] was that we couldn’t eat his baby food,” Collins said. “He broke his face before we went and he couldn’t eat [real] food.” For Collins, the tournament they made up, “The Pomona Games,” was the highlight of the trip. Every time the group went camping, they participated in events such as throwing sticks, skipping stones, building structures out of rocks and lighting sticks on fire. At night, Mytinger enjoyed just spending time with the girls. They had their own trailer, and they gossiped about their first kisses. But having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night was an obstacle. “We held it,” Mytinger said. “It was dark and … it was just freaky.” They shared a lot of great memories and they plan to go back again between the last day of school and graduation.

J

unior Devery North walks down a street with a group of kids in La Romana in the Dominican Republic. Some are local children from the community, some are members of the Village Presbyterian church and still others are workers from the construction site. Hand in hand, they all make their way to the houses that the kids live in. “Their homes are a nest, literally,” North said. “They are pieces that they have collected to make a structure that resembles a house.” North was one of around 17 East students on this trip, which is taken every year by the youth group. They go to work on building a school and offer medical help in the community. “When we were building the school there were all these kids around us and we would build relationships with them and talk to them,” junior Carolyn Welter said. They played with the kids during their breaks, and Welter enjoyed hanging out with a boy she nicknamed “Spiderman” because he was always climbing on things. Since most of the people who went on the trip are in Spanish classes, they could communicate a little bit with the kids. But North said even then the language barrier wasn’t an obstacle. She had

photo courtesy of KikiSykes

fun playing with a young boy named Alexis. One day, when they were working in an assembly line lifting cement buckets, he started laughing at her because she was covered from head to toe in cement. She tried to get him back for teasing her. “I started to hug him, but he ran away,” North said. “So I chased him around for a bit.” When it was time to leave, everyone gathered to say a prayer for the work they had done there. North said that she was sad to leave because she won’t be able to go on the trip again next year, so she’ll never see the kids again. “These people have hope,” North said. “And they have every right to hold on to that hope.”

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

POMONA, KS

DESTINATION: SPRINGBREAK

students share about their spring break trips

PARIS, FRANCE

KimHoedel

VanessaDaves

S

enior Paige Gundelfinger spent her time over break walking the streets of Paris, with her three best friends by her side. Gundelfinger, along with seniors Ariana Sherk, Andrea Zecy and Alissa Pollack spent a week in Paris with Sherk’s parents. The Sherk family was willing to bring all four girls along with them because they’ve all been best friends since their freshman year. Staying at a small boutique hotel in the middle of local shops gave the girls a chance to experience the local color as opposed to the commercial, “touristy” side of the famous city. One of the girls’ favorite things to do was to go out in the evening to visit local hot spots and enjoy Paris’s thriving night life. One night, the girls visited a club under the Alexander III bridge and got the opportunity to meet some of the locals. “The guys were really funny,” Gundelfinger said. “Because they didn’t know any English, so it was really funny to try and talk to them.” Gundelfinger enjoyed how peaceful and quiet the city seemed, not to mention beau-

tiful. Her favorite place in Paris was Sacre Coeur, a famous cathedral that overlooks the city. The view was what fascinated Gundelfinger the most, “When you go out and walk around, it is so pretty,” Gundelfinger said. “Everything catches your eye and it is just so detailed.” Riding the Metro around the city, dining at local cafés, and staring off the top of the Eiffel Tower made her trip to Paris Gundelfinger’s best spring break to date. “It was the most amazing trip,” Gundelfinger said. “I’m so happy I got to experience it with my best friends.”

NEW YORK CITY

S

ophomores Annie Sullivan and AJ Orth’s Spring Break trip to New York together began with a two-day train ride where their main form of entertainment was people watching. A little girl ran back and forth with a crazed look in her eye and chocolate dried to her face, dodging the middle-aged woman doing yoga in the middle of the train aisles, who stood in the way of the lonely bartender who continuously hi-jacked the train intercom begging people to buy his Bloody Marys––only when the train conductor herself wasn’t speaking over the intercom, trying to entertain the passengers with her nonstop, poorlythought-out jokes. “‘We are coming in to Gettysburg! The Burgs of Getty! Getty! Getty! Getty! Gettysburg!’” Orth said, mimicking their train conductor, Andrea. While in New York, Sullivan and Orth were able to find where “30 Rock” was being filmed that week from a website, and ended up going down to the set that was about 10 blocks from where the two and Sullivan’s parents were stay-

ing. Sullivan and Orth waited outside of Tina Fey’s trailer for a good three hours, until she finally came out to meet them. “We talked about the weather and she was eating apples, so we talked about that, and then as she was leaving AJ blurted, ‘I love Mean Girls!” Sullivan said. As if meeting their all time idol Tina Fey wasn’t enough, Sullivan and Orth also met her co-star Alec Baldwin on accident while walking home from dinner one night. Orth and Sullivan spent most of their time seeing different shows on and off Broadway, which, as active members of the SME Theater Department, interested them the most. They were inspired by the people who have succeeded in New York doing what they love. After seeing Central Park, visiting the Museum of Natural History, fulfilling the fantasy of ordering a hot dog from a hot dog vendor and meeting their all-time idol, the two sophomore’s trip can be described in one short sentence: “Together,” Orth said, “we did it.”


FEATURES issue 13

BACK IN THE CLASSROOM

Losey uses a pillow in the desk she sits in as she teaches class to ease her lingering back pain.

Madame Losey returns to teaching after six weeks of recovery from injuries sustained in fall EmilyKerr

It all happened so quickly. One minute, Madame Laure Losey was walking into school, and the next she was lying on the cold cement, dazed and confused. She assured the people gathered around her that she could get up and continue with her day. Office secretary Gayle O’Grady was walking in front of her and saw the fall happen. “I ran back to her, which probably wasn’t a smart idea because it was kind of slick,” O’Grady said. “ We called the nurse and she brought a wheelchair, but she really just wanted to get up. She is very tough.” Losey didn’t realize the seriousness of her fall. She didn’t realize she had broken five ribs and punctured a lung. The only thing on her mind was the test that she had to give in less than an hour. Ignoring the pain, she went upstairs to the fifth floor and was determined to give the eight sentence dictation test to her French 3 class. But she couldn’t make it through. By sentence seven, she was short of breath and tired. “I knew that the being sleepy part wasn’t good because of an experience with [another heart condition called] supraventricular tachycardia,” Losey said. “But my body had to have been in some type of shock because nobody could believe I lasted even that long.” Losey was then admitted to the hospital. In addition to the broken ribs and punctured lung, her lung was partially collapsed. The doctors made a decision to wait to see if it would inflate. It didn’t. One chest tube, many doses of narcotics and six days later, she was sent home for a long road of recovery. Fast forward through six weeks of painful recovery to Losey’s return to school. Her first day back was long and exhausting, filled with struggles with everyday things such as tying a shoe or entering grades. An accidental cough or laugh

PUSHING THROUGH THE PAIN Jan 28 at 6:55 a.m.

Madame Losey slips and falls on ice in the East parking lot

19

all photos by SaraBaumann

doubled her over in pain. But for Losey, it was worth it. As always, her students came first. “My first day back was emotionally rewarding because my students were so welcoming,” Losey said. “I got hugs and I had people come that didn’t even have me that day.” French 6 student and co-president of FNHS Lauren Stanley was elated when Losey finally returned to class. “It’s so good to have her back,” Stanley said. “We all clapped when she walked back in the classroom for the first time.” Because of the close relationships Losey has built with her students, it is no surprise that they formed a great support system. Constant texts, emails and homemade cards flooded her inbox asking how she was doing while she was gone. Stanley attributes Losey’s closeness with her students to her undying commitment to them. “She cares so much more about the students than their grade in her class,” Stanley said. “She will stay for an hour after school if you need help with something. She really wants you to understand French and learn French to better yourself and understand other cultures.” In addition to the encouragement received from the students, Losey has also seen an outpouring of support from her co-workers. On top of an overwhelming amount of flowers and phone calls, they also provided her with home cooked meals. “It was incredible because coming from France you don’t see that kind of support,” Losey said. “It is special to the U.S. and particularly this part of the country. I’m surrounded by wonderful people.” Losey has also received reassurance that the slippery sidewalks will be taken care of. In order to make sure a fall like this doesn’t happen again, there is a new system of ice prevention being implemented. Losey’s fall raised the question

that has risen multiple times: how to deal with the snow effectively. According to Dr. Krawitz, the system was set up the day after her fall. “The school district started treating the lots at 3 a.m. in the morning before anyone arrived,” Krawitz said. “They started to re-salt and sand this area so that it would have at least two or three hours of working time. With the topography of the land, there is no permanent solution to deal with the slippery sidewalks. The only thing they can do is work to maintain the amount of ice on the ground. “This new system is going to have to be a standing procedure from this point forward,” Krawitz said. Although she has received an incredible amount of support and reassurance from students and coworkers, this journey has been filled with equal amounts of hardship. While Losey remained at home, she still had to remain in the picture somewhat for the students. Despite doctor’s warnings not to exert herself, Losey proceeded to create lesson plans for the substitute, grade compositions and communicate with her students about their progress. She pushed through the pain that came with bending over to grade and the exhaustion that came with reading long works. She was determined that her students would not fall behind. “Just because I get sick doesn’t mean the AP or IB tests are going to wait six weeks,” Losey said. “My curriculum will stay the same. We will be ready.” This persistent attitude is something that Losey consistently demonstrates. French 4 student Marston Fries sees this as being beneficial to their learning. “She is definitely not lenient on grading and she makes the tests hard but she just expects a lot out of us,” Fries said. “But that is good because it pushes us.”

A look at the progression of Losey’s injury

Jan 28 at 7:40 a.m.

Losey tries to give a dictation test to French 5 class, but soon is out of breath.

Jan 28 at 9:45 a.m.

Losey is admitted to the hospital with broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung.

Feb 3-March 9

For six weeks, Losey went through painful recovery at home.

March 10

On Losey’s first day back at East, everyday tasks like typing in grades were tiring.


20

FEATURES

04-04-11

-isClaireWahrer

CarolineCreidenberg

Sophomore Katherine Higdon sits down in her overcrowded Chemistry I class. Every desk is filled and fellow sophomore classmate Rachel Kephart is forced to sit on a stool in place of a desk. Arrangements are made for another desk to be brought in the next class period to accommodate for the class of 30-plus students. A week goes by. The stool is no longer being used, and the extra desk is no longer needed. According to Chemistry teacher Steve Appier, 10 students in his classes have dropped this year. Associate Principal Heather Royce said approximately five percent of the course’s original 115 students dropped because the course was too rigorous. An average honors class like sophomore English Honors has a drop rate of around three percent. Junior Patrick Frazell dropped the course at semester because of the rigor of the course. Frazell found the class challenging because of the overall work load and the amount of new material the class would learn every single day. “I had gotten to the point where I was so lost with the material that I felt like I could never catch up,” Frazell said. Ever since Appier started teaching at East, students have been on and off complaining about Chemistry and wanting it to be an honors course, and teachers have fought back. According to Betsy Regan, SMSD Director of Curriculum and instruction, the discussion of changing course credit begins with the district curriculum council for that subject identifying a need and/or making a recommendation to her department. In the past seven years, the vote to make Chemistry I an honors course has come to her attention three different times. After that, she involves the directors of the course. There is

Some students believe Chemistry should count as an honors course

one teacher representative from each school, and Chemistry I teacher Coleman Ogdon is the teacher from East. He explained that each time it has come up, the directors voted zero to five in favor of changing the course. The last vote took place at the end of last semester. “Why is an honors section needed?” Regan said. “The course content for Chemistry I is rigorous. Is there a need for a more advanced level of this course?” “I’m just afraid that if we adopt Chemistry I Honors, then it will just become what Chemistry I is right now and regular Chemistry I will turn into a watered down version of Chemistry I,” Appier said. Higdon believes she should be getting honors credit for taking the course, but she understands Appier’s perspective. “It’s a hard subject so I’m sure it’s hard to dumb it down,” Higdon said. Frazell also feels that he should have been getting honors credit for the class while he was enrolled first semester. He also believes that if he would have been in regular Chemistry he would not have dropped. Frazell wouldn’t choose to take the honors level course if it was offered. “Even at the regular course level I didn’t succeed, so why would I take honors?” Frazell said. Higdon is currently enrolled in all honors courses and feels that Chemistry is just as hard, if not harder than her honors classes. “The fact that we don’t have that much time it makes it hard and we kind of have to teach ourselves sometimes,” Higdon said. The night before the block day she has Chemistry, Hidgon said she has around three hours of homework total, and about

an hour and a half of it is Chemistry. “I would say if they are spending more than 30 minutes on their homework a night [an hour per block night], then they are doing too much or they’re not focusing.” Chemistry teacher Jeremy Higgins said. It’s not just the homework load that makes the class difficult for most students, though, the material and subject matter is hard. Higgins said that it can be difficult for some kids to grasp the material. “Kids like to wrap their hands around something and see something and visually know and say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen that before’,” Higgins said, “but in Chem you can’t do that because you’re talking about things that are so small.” All four Chemistry teachers at East are against making Chemistry I an honors course, because there is no way to make it easier. Making it an honors class would “water down” the material for the regular class. Appier said the course has already become less rigorous throughout the years. “If you were to bring in a student who had been in my class the first year I was here and bring them into our Chem class today, they would think ‘oh this is not the same as we did,’” Appier said. As of now, Chemistry I will not become an honors course, due to a vote that took place last semester and the Chemistry teachers at East are all in favor of this. “It’s a rigorous course, yes, but at the same point it’s an elective course that kids have the option of taking,” Higgins said, “The fact that it’s an upper-level science elective, I don’t think it needs to be an honors credit at all. If we make it an honors class, then what does our regular Chemistry I become?”

How hard is Chemistry?

Results from a survey of 110 sophomores, juniors and seniors 25 Should Chemistry be an 45 percent of honors course? 20 students said 15

35%

65%

NO

YES

that Chemistry was their hardest class.

10 5 0

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Level of difficulty (10 is the hardest)

Have you ever taken Chemistry?

81 students said YES


MIXED 20 04-04-11

Mixed

{the page about life}

Coffee Connoisseurs The anatomy of a perfect drink

Hey It’s Ok If you find that your snooze button is barely readable from overuse. Who likes mornings anyways? If your bracket picks were soley based off the coolness factor of their mascot. With an Argentian cowboy (the Gauchos) as a mascot, UCSB just screams failure. If your definition of successful spring cleaning consists of managing to close your closet door on all of your junk. If you secretly enjoy when Rebecca Black’s “Friday” comes on Mix 93.3. Fun! Fun! Fun! If you are counting down the days until QuikTrip has summer drink prices. 69 cent slurpies? Yes please.

to the proud winners of the

2011 Spring

Break Photo Contest

To view the photo gallery of the other submissions go to smeharbinger.net

By #s 17 the

Congratulations

-the average number of minutes between the birth of the 1st and 2nd twin

18-22

-the percentage of twins that are left handed

100,000,000 the number of twins in the world

30

-the age that a women becomes more likely to conceive twins sources: www.twinsrealm.com, www.twinsmagazine.com

Seniors Cormac O’Connor and Henry Foster in Madrid, Spain

CoffeeShop playlist

Mellow songs you can sit back and sip to

1Steal My Kisses Ben Harper 2Swallowed in the Sea Coldplay

5Nobody’s You Matt Wertz

Madeline Goss

Lauren Stanley Ingredients

Ingredients 2 pumps creamer 2 packets of sugar

3Moving Backwards Ben Rector 4The Calculation Regina Spektor

Mac Dolliver

Roast French Vanilla

“I didn’t have money on Tuesday for coffee. It was the most ridiculous day of my life because I couldn’t stay awake in class. ”

1 packet of Splenda Ingredients 3 scoops of cream

Roast Signature Blend

Roast Signature Blend

“I started getting Frappuccinos when I was 13 and I started drinking straight up coffee when I was a freshman. I need the energy to stay awake.”

“I usually drink one cup in the morning and then one when I get to school. I love to get coffee with my friends at Hattie’s.”

Double Trouble “People can tell us apart because I’m the better looking one.” -David Stewart

“We basically understand exactly what each of us is thinking. We’re each others best friends.” -Kate Kulaga “When we go shopping we have a budget so if we like something we will buy it and share it.”-Emily Kulaga SamBartow

Pictured: (left to right) Juniors Kate and Emily Kulaga, Seniors Megan and Zach Nass, Sam and David Stewart

“Usually people tell us apart by our shoes, if they can’t do that then they can’t tell us apart.” -Sam Stewart

“The worst part about being a twin is trying to convince my mom to side with me, she always agrees with Zach.” -Megan Nass

Senior Hannah Roste and friends in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Sophomore Matti Crabtree in Tokyo, Japan


2,200 members

of the Prairie Village community

Rose

NAILS

913.383.8288 4175 Somerset Dr. Prairie Village, KS 66208

Manicure

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A&E

GAME & READY

W

issue 13

23

CLASSIC GAMES

STAFFER PREVIEWS POPULAR VIDEO GAMES AndrewSimpson

ith this next installment in the Battlefield series, producer DICE is aiming to finally take the action-shooter crown from “Call of Duty.” Set in the near future as US military forces continue to police the Middle East, the game will take you through a 6-hour in-depth journey to hell and back as you battle insurgents and organized militias. In the multiplayer realm, expect the usual goodies from DICE: vehicles (tanks, jets, helicopters),

unlocks and perks galore, and the ability for up to 64 players from around the world to kill each other again and again. Already ahead of COD in gameplay, DICE kicks it up another notch in the technology sector, bringing in the latest graphics engines, compared to the 7 year-old ones used in COD games. The only thing better than looking at pretty environments is destroying them, which is what the new physics engine DICE is implementing

lets you do. The bottom line is this: if you like people running around with grenade launchers and 12-year-olds insulting your mother, buy whatever COD game Inifinity Ward rushes to production next. If you enjoy genuine teamwork, blowing up buildings, and the prettiest explosions you have ever seen, then buy “Battlefield 3” when it comes out this fall.Iverit, quam suamdic epotil vit gra tabunum inclus es C. Gra omprobse ia-

SUPER SMASH BROS. Besides Mario Kart, the Super Smash Bros. series is the essential party game. Although SSB Brawl brought the games to the Wii, Melee is still the fan favorite and will remain in many basements for years to come.

eagames.com

BATTLEFIELD 3

HYPE

SEQUELS

HYPE

“M

inecraft” is a game where you mine, and, well, craft. Each time you enter a world, it is randomly generated full of mountain ranges and oceans, floating islands and caves, deserts and forests. But the thing about this game is that each world is entirely made up of square blocks, like a world made of legos. It is then your job to mine these blocks, craft tools, and then build whatever you want anywhere you want with any-

T

his year heralds the return of many franchises forgotten in the modern era controlled by COD, “Mario Kart”, and FIFA. First on the list of 2011 sequels is “Gears of War 3”. We all know you forgot about Gears, but it’s okay. Just be ready be ready to spend countless hours cutting your friends in half with a chainsaw when it comes out this Fall. As the alien Reapers finally descend to destroy all intelligent life in the galaxy, it will thing you want. You don’t even need to have this fun all by yourself––you can join one of thousands of already existing “Minecraft” communities, or make a new one with your friends. In that, the do-whatever-the-heck-you-want factor is the genius of “Minecraft” that makes it worthy of this list. It is a creative playground for the restless mind, and it only gets better from there. Every few months, the independent developer, a man by

be Commander Shepard’s job to defeat (or maybe join) them in the action packed and (hopefully) fulfilling and climactic ending to the Mass Effect series in Mass Effect 3. In April, Valve will release the highly anticipated “Portal 2”, a game that combines the use of portals to beat puzzles, action, and nerdy jokes about cake. For the first time in any Valve game, Portal 2 features the ability to play two player co-op to face

even harder challenges, or just beat the regular ones faster. Although the release date is not yet known, Nintendo plans on making a full comeback into modern gaming with the release of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Wii, which will finally give you the ability to completely control your sword swings as you save Hyrule once again.

MINECRAFT

the name of Notch, adds new content. This content ranges from an update to make the lighting prettier, to the addition of tamable pet dogs to do your bidding. The fact that it is also one of the top 100 bestselling games of all time, before its official release, is just another reason to buy this game. It is only 20 dollars, and it gives an infinite amount of play time. Simply put: You. Need. This. Game. Iverit, quam suamdic epotil vit

CONSOLES

COMPARING POPULAR

GAMING CONSOLES

XBOX 360 Wii With the majority of games being release just for the 360, it is essntial in any gamers pad.

Replacing serious gaming with family fun and waving Wiimotes, Wii’s are great for any part with lots of people.

Nintendo’s classic Legend of Zelda series began 25 years ago, and Ocarina of Time is the game of the series. With a modern version coming out for the 3DS, Ocarina of TIme will take you back to your childhood.

GOLDEN EYE 007

HYPE

GAMING

LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME

PS3 Although many people say the PS3 is the best, a lack of games and a small online community do not match their claims.

This James Bond classic defined multiplayer first person shooters as we know it: it had different guns, different characters and a whole lot of cool game modes. Think of it like the Shakespeare of video games—it defined the art. For additional reviews and staff opinions of the latest, cutting edge video games visit: smeharbinger.net


A&E 24 04-04-11

Insane Action ZoeBrian

Director of “300,” “Watchman” and “Dawn of the Dead”, Zack Snyder is known for testosterone heavy films without much substance. Traditionally, Snyder’s films are full of senseless killings and clichéd deaths. But Snyder seems to be taking a step away from male-driven movies with an almost all female cast and an undertone of girl power in “Sucker Punch.” Yet Snyder keeps the film interesting with action scenes and a plot that is captivating at first, but begins to confuse the audience less that 30 minutes in. Known only as Baby Doll (Emily Browning), a young woman falls into the clutches of her stepfather after the death of her mother pushes her into a deep depression. In order to keep Baby Doll from inheriting her mother’s fortune, her greedy stepfather (Gerard Plunkett) tosses her into an insane asylum and schedules a lobotomist (Jon Hamm) to silence her permanently. Baby Doll’s only way to deal with her tragedy is to imagine herself in an underground burlesque club where she and other women are kept against their will. But when Baby Doll dances she finds herself in a sanctuary where she is able to fight off her demons physically. When Baby Doll first learns to unlock her hidden world by dancing, we are transported to an ancient Chinese palace in the middle of winter. Accordingly, Baby Doll is in a midriff-showing Japanese school-girl uniform, thigh-high socks and heels. My main qualm with this is that I don’t understand why, if this was her perfect world, she would choose to be wearing something as ridiculous as this outfit. Along with that, she fights a trio of robot-monsters, does flips and runs at full speed, all while wearing three-inch heels. Though this is far-fetched at best, as the movie went on I found myself noticing the costumes less and less.

STAR SCALE

STAY AT HOME

‘Sucker Punch’ delivers a confusing, mediocre thriller

As the film continued, the costume choice presented itself as a symbol of girl power. Just like Baby Doll’s ability to entrance men with her dance, the outfits are one of the ‘weapons’ in Baby Doll and the other girls’ arsenals. Yet there is enough danger and girls kicking ass to keep the movie from becoming boring and preachy. Once Baby Doll discovers the power she holds she enlists the help of Rocket (Jena Malone), Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Amber (Jamie Chung), her roommates at the asylum/burlesque house, and plans to escape her prison before the lobotomist arrives in five days. The plot alone is disorienting if someone tries to understand it, but I found myself at a point where I just started going with it and the movie became much more entertaining. Though it is a dream world within a dream world, there are far too many metaphors within each world. A bomb in the fighting dream world is a knife in the burlesque world, which is a lobotomy in the real world. These metaphors become overused and just plain confusing as we go deeper and deeper into Baby Doll’s psyche. While Baby Doll barely says a word in the entire first act, most of conversation is had by her almost uninteresting soon-to-be teammates Though all are experienced actresses, they obviously weren’t chosen for their acting chops. Their acting is mediocre at best, but that can’t be completely blamed on the actresses. Most of the characters were 2-dimensional and had no back story to speak of. Considering what the girls wear through most of the film, it isn’t a surprise that beauty came before talent in this casting call. But more beautiful than the actresses is the dream world Baby Doll finds a home in. The vibrant color scheme con-

RENT IT

WORTH SEEING

The Strokes new album, ‘Angles,’ provides a fresh sound RainaWeinberg

I can mark the exact moment that I fell in love with the Strokes. At the innocent age of 11, in an unfamiliar venue, in an even more unfamiliar scene, I stood and watched my first concert, The Strokes performing at the Uptown Theatre. I loved every minute of it. Following that

moment, I became an avid fan and subsequently have listened to their indie-rock tunes religiously ever since. In 2006, The Strokes finished their third album, “First Impressions of Earth” and after a five-year hiatus that felt like 10, the New York fourpiece have come back with their fourth studio album, “Angles.” Immense relief and the words “Thank god” flooded my head when it was announced that the group was continuing to play music together. The Strokes’ fourth album was to be marked as that of a “group effort” –– front man Julian Casablancas would no longer write every last bit of music that went into the record. Many fans had mixed feelings upon hearing this. I personally anticipated that this would mean less booze-infused songs about loneliness. Channeling a Vampire Weekend sound, the first track, “Maccu Picchu,” delivers a surprising, but welcome new sound. By the

allmoviephoto.com

trasts with the dreary and almost black and white scenes in the asylum while the multitude of enemies each have character. Each fight has a different location whether it be a dragon’s lair, a moving train or a WWI bunker, and with every location comes different creatures. I understand having Baby Doll and her team fighting Nazis and dragons, but when the Orcs showed up right out of “Lord of the Rings” I was once again confused. This movie cannot be taken seriously but if you just go with the flow the film can be a fun, if not confusing, ride. With a cast full of eye-candy and second-rate actors, a plot that seems to still be in development and a soundtrack that adds another dimension, the film has its flaws but manages to deliver an amusing romp through the psyche.

OSCAR WORTHY

Different ‘Strokes’

time the chorus rolls around, we’re back in the safe, choppy guitar riffs that every fan knows and loves. Casablancas’ voice beckons back to classics like “Reptillia” at the end as he half-yells “life turns to dust.” The obvious single choice “Under Cover of Darkness” sends fans back to 2001’s “Is This It?” You could slip this song between “Last Night” and “Hard to Explain,” with no fault or question. “Under Cover of Darkness” personifies the band mates’ idea that it’s time to move forward as a group. With lyrics such as “everybody’s singing the same song for ten years,” fans get the sense that the band is ready to expand their legacy and even surpass the timeless love everyone felt for their first album. Casablancas’ surrender of creative control shows in side-by-side tracks “Two Kinds of Happiness” and “You’re So Right.” I’d like to say I enjoyed these just as much as the rest, but they ultimately sound like rehashed ver-

sions of older, better Strokes’ songs. Unsurprisingly, the sound of Casablancas solo album shows up midway through Angles with “Games.” Its a synth-heavy, 80s flashback that feels out of place among the foot-tapping guitar riffs of “Taken for a Fool” and “Gratisfaction.” The five-year wait was well worth it. “Angles” for the most part reaffirms my everlasting love of The Strokes, and I can now breathe a sigh relief knowing that they are still here and aren’t cutting their losses like so many other bands that emerged around the same time. “Angles” proves to be nothing close to a last ditch effort to drag out a onceglorious career, but the successful return of one of indie-rock’s finest.

thestrokes.com

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A&E

issue 13

FAST

ALL JEWELED UP

FACTS

Staffer reviews three different jewelry stores around the Kansas City area

PaigeHess I am not one to wear designer clothes often, I do not shop on the Plaza every week and I never spend my free time reading fashion magazines. But even so, that does not mean that I do not have an appreciation for fashion. Here is my critique of three Kansas City stores for every budget, style or occasion.

Charming Charlie’s Charming Charlie is the one-stop shop for any kind of accessory you are looking for. There is a large selection of jewelry organized by color for easy finding. This store also has a wide variety of scarves, bags and all kinds of inexpensive-yetquality accessories.

T

4401 West 119th Street

Forever 21 Forever 21 not only has a wide variety of jewelry for every kind of style, but it also has a large clothing selection that is the same way. It is filled from wall-to-wall with brightly-colored clothing and various patterns. This is the kind of store that you can go into and find almost anything you are looking for.

111 Nichols Road

Tiffany’s & Co. Tiffany and Co. is a high-end jewelry store that is the perfect retailer for purchasing simple and elegant pieces. Tiffany’s prices start at $100. Their jewelry has a very traditional look, which is great for everyday wear.

301 Nichols Road

25

CHARMING CHARLIE’S $12

here is an overwhelming amount of jewelry at Charming Charlie’s to draw you in: they have everything you could possibly ask for when it comes to accessories. From headbands to scarves to clutches, you are bound to find something that is your style. As a plus, everything within the store is organized by color, which helps you easily find exactly what you are looking for. Charming Charlie’s has even more of a selection than Forever 21—it has a variety that is similar to the variety of Forever 21’s clothes. Although the quality of the jewelry here is better than Forever 21’s selection, it is about the same price. This inexpensive jewelry looks as if you paid a high price for elegant looks. They have such a wide variety, making the store a bit overwhelming. This is not the place you can not just wander through: you should definitely have an idea what you are looking for,

U

pbeat and extremely loud mainstream pop music blares through the speakers and makes its way out the door, audible on the plaza streets. Contrary to its intended purpose, this obnoxious music makes me lose almost any desire to shop. Forever 21 is divided into sections based off similarities: formal, tees, denim, workout, etc. As I walk through the array of colors and multi-toned sections, I notice how there are barely any salespeople in the store. The accessories section of the store located on the right hand side of the wall was huge, and every inch of the room was full with merchandise. I looked around and was shocked at the variety of the jewelry. Despite my initial distaste, I had to acknowledge the fact that this store had items in every color of the rainbow, and in any possible style you could be looking for: girlie, punk, classy, hipster, you name it. Neck-

TIFFANY’S & CO. $165

T

or else you will be completely overwhelmed. All of their non-expensive jewelry is very high quality, so you can wear it multiple times. The way the store is set up by color sections, this gives you many options to pick from. You may have a certain style in mind to go with an outfit, and then you completely change your mind after looking at the selection. This jewelry can match a formal dress or dress up a simple V-neck. I found a pretty large necklace and many pearl beads, giving off a formal look that turned my dress shirt into a fashion-forward outfit. Unfortunately, the high demand creates a huge downside to the store. On Saturdays, they receive such a large crowd that can leave you waiting through a 20-person line to check out. Luckily, the prices and the jewelry’s versatility make it worth the wait.

laces ranging from chokers to those you could layer and wear long, simple bracelets to intricate cuffs and earrings that dangle to just metal studs were all under $20—a steal compared to Tiffany’s. They have such a large variety that some of their pieces are very odd to say the least: the pieces with skulls and cross-bones made me fear the girls who would purchase them. Some of their bestsellers are the longer necklaces with beads and repeated designs that can go with anything you throw on. Forever 21 carries silver, gold and kinds of chains so you can find some kind of jewelry to match your outfits. Some of my favorite pieces were the skinny group of bracelets, a.k.a. bangle bracelets, and long necklaces with beads. I wear my gold bangle bracelets at least once a week—they go with anything. This store is a hit-or-miss kind of place. Sometimes they have adorable items, and sometimes they have pieces that not even worth the $10.

he iconic little “Tiffany blue” bag sat in the middle of the table. My five friends’ faces lit up as they watched me receive their well-chosen gift. “My friends would never,” I thought to myself. I gently tore open the bag to find the suede blue pouch. This was real. Gently taking the contents out, I was amazed. The beautiful silver bow pendant on the silver chain sparkled more than anything else I had ever seen. By receiving this sparking silver bow-tie pendant, I grew a giant obsession. I held open the heavy glass doors of The Tiffany & Co. store and a petite woman walked out with the same iconic little bag that I’d gotten from my friends. Immediately, I was greeted by the formally dressed salesman. I could tell that this was not the kind of place that girls my age regularly shop at, but I disregarded this as soon as I saw the selection: I was in complete and utter

FOREVER 21 $18

heaven. I began to look around through the glass display cases. I recognized some of the pendants and simpler pieces some high school girls wear. I asked about the prices and the clients that buy each piece. The salesman said that the signature initial necklaces and simple pendants are their more “cheap” items that teenage girls can wear (ranging from $100 to $250). High school girls may receive these for big occasions, such as a Bat Mitzvah or Sweet 16 party. Their jewelry starts at $100 but has a low price-perwear: you could wear it literally everyday for the next couple of years due to this traditional style. Seeing as the products are elegant, but still super pricey, this is a great place to find a present that a group of your friends can split the price for a birthday present. GrantHeinlein


SPORTS 26 04-04-11

Making the

Leap

Seniors look to pursue cheering on the college level EmmaPennington

Three times a week, seniors Cate Birkenmeier and Heather Nelson go to the gym to practice for their college cheer tryouts with a workout: stretching and then moving on to practicing their standing back-flips. They always try to ease into working on their harder stunts, such as flying with a partner. College cheer isn’t something either girl has dreamed of for long––Birkenmeier decided she wanted to tryout for cheer at Kansas State University during the spring of her junior year. She wanted to be involved in college and be a part of something from the start. She started to pay closer attention to the cheerleaders at college games and see them in their front row seats and knew she wanted to be a part of that. Birkenmeier thinks cheer will be a great way to meet a new group of people. The girls say one of the differences between high school and college cheer is partner stunting, doing stunts and flying with one other yell leader. This main difference is something that piqued Birkenmeier’s interest into trying out. “It’s fun to be thrown in the air like that and be able to do cool things with just one person,” Birkenmeier said. “It interested me that a guy could hold one person up like that.” For Nelson, the decision was more complicated. Nelson had played soccer since kindergarten, and had been on a club soccer team since she was in third grade. At East, Nelson had played outside defender for the varsity team since freshman year. She had received first team all Sunflower League as a sophomore and honorable mention all Sunflower League for her junior year. When Nelson made her final decision––that she wanted to try out for cheer at the University of Missouri––she knew it would be too difficult to balance that time commitment with playing East soccer. Nelson said that for soccer she had to be in good “running shape,” whereas for cheer she needs to have strong abs and back muscles. She didn’t think she would be able to go from a two hour soccer practice full of running straight to practicing tumbling and stunting for cheer tryouts. Making the choice to quit soccer and try out for college cheer was a difficult decision, though she feels it was the right one. “She could play soccer in college if she wanted to, at a lot of schools,” soccer coach Jamie Kelly said. “She’s so tough and strong, and she’s very good.” Birkenmeier and Nelson have both enjoyed high school cheer and will miss the other girls on their squad. “It’s been really fun,” Birkenmeier said. “I like cheering at the games a lot, and it’s really fun to stunt with all the girls.” Both girls know cheering in college is much different than in high school: in college, you are expected to be able to do things like a standing back tuck (standing back-flip) and to know how

to stunt with just one other person. Birkenmeier and Nelson have been meeting as often as they can to work on stunts and technique. Twice a week, they meet with a friend from SM Northwest, who practices flying with them. The two have also hired a private tumbling coach, who helps work on perfecting their techniques three days a week. “You have to work a lot harder, you have to be in way better physical shape,” Birkenmeier said. “I lift weights now for cheer. Also, a lot of people who cheer in college want to do something with cheer later on in life––I don’t think I want to.” Seniors discuss the differences of the enviroments Holly Thomas, a 2004 East graduate, was a cheerleader for three years at KSU, and said that she had practices for three hours at night, Monday through Friday. There were sometimes when SENIOR HEATHER NELSON Thomas wished she was out doing other things, but ultimately she “I’ve always really enjoyed it enjoyed it. “You never understand the commitment until you actually do and I’ve always really liked it,” Thomas said. “It’s definitely like a little family and it’s a great the girls but high school thing to do, but it’s your main focus.” cheer doesn’t really prepare Birkenmeier is very anxious about the tryouts, because she you at all for college cheer. won’t know anyone there and is unsure of what the tryouts will College you basically have to be like. be a gymnast and there’s group “A lot of the girls who tryout for college cheer come from Blue stunting in college but it’s more Valley and Olathe,” Birkenmeier said. “Their cheer is a lot more seof just partner stunting with one rious, because they have it as a class so they kind of know what to other guy.” expect. Coming from Shawnee Mission, I feel like I don’t know.” Thomas recalls her experience when she tried out at KSU and remembers it to be very nerve-wracking. “You walk to the front of the line and they say, ‘throw a standing back tuck,’ or ‘throw the tumbling path of your choice,’ so it’s SENIOR CATE BIRKENMEIER really intense,” Thomas said. “Everyone is there watching you and it’s open to the public so there’s people in the stands watching the “You have to work a lot harder, tryouts as well.” you have to be in way better Birkenmeier feels like she is doing everything in her power to physical shape like I lift weights make the team and will be very disappointed if she doesn’t. Both now for cheer. A lot of people girls still plan on attending their respective school, whether they take it more serious in college, make it or not. Nelson said that if she does not make the team at I mean, obviously. Also a lot MU, she will know that it is just not meant to be. of people who cheer in college “I’ll be embarrassed, but when I want something, I do everywant to do something with cheer thing that I can to get it,” Nelson said. “So, if I don’t make it then it’s later on in life. I don’t think I want just, everything happens for a reason, I guess.” KSU and MU both hold their tryouts during the last weekend to do that but like coaching then in April. Nelson will find out if she made the team the final day being like a professional cheerof tryouts while Birkenmeier is unsure of when she will find out. leader, a lakers girl.” Both girls know they will be ready to do all they can in a few weeks when it comes time for them to try out.

COLLEGE

VS

HIGH SCHOOL

all photos by DanStewart


SPORTS

issue 13

27

DanielStewart

WHERE NATIONALS

TAKING IT FROM THE TOP

IN 3 STEPS

Mix of leadership and talent brings drill team success at nationals MattGannon

A crowd of 17 girls clad in light blue leotards and sparkly black lace dresses shake nervously as they stretch slowly across the mat. 30 minutes left. This isn’t like the East gymnasium. There are no stands full of best friends, cheering for the highlight of the pep assembly. Instead, the girls are surrounded by other teams. Teams who have worked just as hard as them and want to win just as badly. The girls move to the next mat, a begin running through their simple tricks, their spins, their kicks. 20 minutes. They wonder if they have what it takes to take down the team that just nailed their performance, and hope that they can just stay in sync in front of the judges. They arrive at the final mat, and run through their dance routine one last time. It’s their first practice since they arrived in Orlando. 10 minutes. The nerves are really kicking in now. Are they too young? Half of this team had never even competed at the varsity level. Now it’s time. It’s just them on one of the grandest stages any of them have seen, The Hard Rock Live. Moments before the music starts, a huddle gathers in the middle of the stage. “1...2...3...BEST FRIENDS!” The soft beat of Florence + the Machine’s “Cosmic Love” sets in, and 34 feet take their first step in unison. The dancers are finally at ease. *** Over spring break, the Lancer Dancer drill team made the trip down to Orlando where they took part in Nationals. After not making it to the competition last year, the team returned to the competition, where past teams have had huge performances. This year’s team is one of the youngest in recent years, with eight sophomores. But despite their youth, veteran dancers like junior Liz Rodgers felt like the team still had a ton of skill even with their lack of experience. “I personally thought we had a very talented squad,” Rodgers said. “And even from the beginning of the year we knew we had a really good

chance of going to nationals.” The team not only works on their performances during class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but they often come in at seven before school and stay after school. During school they often practice until the final bell. “We have to get called in late a lot because of drill team,” Rodgers said. The team also attended a camp very early on in the season, that was essential for making the cut at Nationals. Kristin Fry, the sponsor for the girls, knew that she had a very young and talented group, but learned at the camp how dedicated the dancers were. “The girls have an amazing work ethic,” Fry said. “Camp is four days long and they danced for almost 12 hours every single day. I was very proud of them and the effort they put into their work.” The senior leaders felt that it was their job to help encourage this strong work ethic and push their talent to the max. Senior Emily Welter knew that this group had a lot of potential and she didn’t want any of it to go to waste. “Our choreographer called us ‘The Dream Team’ and I felt we had a really strong chance of going to Nationals,” Welter said. “I knew that it was my last year, and I wanted all of us to leave it all out there this season.” Once the team recieved the news they were going to Orlando they began “cleaning the dance”, where they make sure every single dancer is in sync, even with the tiniest details such as head placement. They also try to find the team’s greatest strengths so now what events to compete in Nationals. *** Once the girls arrived in Orlando over Spring Break, they were not allowed to practice at all. Along with close to 18 other teams in their large division, the girls sat through a long morning of watching other squads bounding and dancing

across the huge stage. After the performances ended, their scores flashed on a huge screen over the stage. “It was really intimidating,” Rodgers said. “It made us constantly wonder if we were better or worse than the team that just performed. The big screen that flashed the scores didn’t make things better.” But the most intense moment of each performance was when the judges who sat in the back of the auditorium, where they could see each and every flaw. Even Welter, who had already been to Nationals during her sophomore year, found the environment to be rattling. “Watching the other girls you get a blend of being excited for everyone and being really scared at the same time,” Welter said. “The judges aren’t front and center either. With them way in the back, you know that they can catch every mistake, because they have a really broad view of the choreography.” *** As the lyrics “No dawn. No day. I’m always in this twilight” blast through the crowd, the Lancers now spin, twirl, and leap gracefully as one group. As the dance progresses, the group splits and runs through smaller routines. They are no longer worried about the crowd, the judges, or the score. They are flowing to the music. “My favorite parts were the few parts where the whole team was unified doing simple choreography,” Welter said. “I also liked when the music [got] really climatic and there was a lot of emotion.” As the music dies down, thunderous applause fills the air. The girls glance at each other, smiling gleefully. The score flashes on the screen, and the girls breath a sigh a relief. 9.1 out of 10. Fifth in the competition. Their 12-hour practice sessions and year of prep had finally paid off with that final dance.

WHERE Orlando, Florida

While in Florida, the team visited Universal Studios to see Islands of Adventure and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

WHAT THEY PERFORMED “My favorite [routine] was the jazz routine to the song ‘Cosmic Love.’ There was just more emotion. It was kind of telling a story to the song.”

- Junior Liz Rodgers

HOW THEY DID The Lancer Dancers placed fifth in jazz dance category, and placed 13th in hip hop .


28

SPORTS 04-04-11

THE DRIVE

TO

DIVE

Accomplished freshman diver trains to make Olympics AnnaMarken

The first time freshman Ellie Smart competed in a dive meet, she was only five-years-old. For many years however, diving was not her main sport. Ellie was a gymnast until she tore all of the ligaments in her ankles over the course of her gymnastics career, a common injury for the sport. She had to leave school at 1:40 p.m. everyday for practice, and when she started missing out on social events, she decided to quit. “I didn’t love [gymnastics] like I used to, and it wasn’t worth it anymore,” Ellie said After quitting gymnastics, Ellie decided to dive competitively. The decision to dive was a natural transition for Ellie -- she had been diving with the Carriage Club every summer for eight years. She joined the Jayhawk Dive Club in 2009. Eric Elliot, the owner and head coach of the club, had seen Ellie dive in country club meets and expressed interest in her. Ellie practices with her team five or six nights a week for two hours in KU’s Robinson Hall. Robbie Smart, Ellie’s father, said that the amount of time it takes to compete at Ellie’s level has been the hardest part about the experience. “It takes a lot of time and practice to get to where she’s at, but it pays off in the end,” Robbie said. “She puts in so much time and has improved so much. It’s great to see.” Five or six days a week, Ellie drives to Lawrence for practice. For the first 30 minutes, Ellie does dry land training on a trampoline. While on the trampoline, she is secured by a belt which allows her to practice the dives and technique before getting into the pool. For the rest of the practice, Ellie

EdenSchoofs

dives constantly. On weekends, Ellie travels to different cities around the country to compete in United States regional diving meets with her club. The meets are the way divers qualify for Olympics and USA Dive Nationals. “It’s really competitive and I compete with kids from all over the country to get to Nationals,” Ellie said. Ellie has made it to Nationals the past two years and placed second on tower -- a platform that ranges from five to ten meters high, last year, her biggest achievement in diving. This year, Ellie moved out of the Under-14 group and into the Under-16 group, where she will one of the youngest competitors. The jump will give her more competition. Despite this move, she still believes she has a good chance at making Nationals. According to Ellie, the reason for her success is that she gets to control how she does and does not have to rely on others. “I control how hard I work and what I get out of it,” Ellie said. Tim Davidson, who has been coaching Ellie for a year and a half at the Jayhawk Dive Club, said that Ellie works her hardest every day and is very coachable. “She works hard every day for both coaches,” Davidson said. “She listens and is open to doing whatever she needs to get better.” Davidson believes that if Ellie continues on the path that she is on, she has a great chance of making the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Ellie has trained in Indianapolis with the national training center, which is where the top eight divers in the nation live and train. The coaches told her that she had

DISSECTING A DIVE 1 Smart starts by

setting up her dive tall. She rocks the board to get spring for the dive.

great potential. “I felt amazing when they told me that,” Ellie said. “Sometimes I don’t get the outcome I want, but when someone like that tells you that you have potential, you know all the hard work is paying off.” Ellie began diving for East in March, and dive coach Shelly King already sees great talent and potential. King has seen Ellie diving for many years at country club meets, but never knew her well. King’s first impression of Ellie was that she was very focused, interested in being part of the team and enthusiastic about the sport. “She has an impeccable work ethic for someone her age,” King said. “Every day when she comes in she’s focused and knows what she needs to work on and do.” Ellie said that the hardest thing about diving at such a high level is that everyone develops at a different stage. Most divers hit their peak in the 20s, not in high school. “It’s a really slow process,” Ellie said. “There are so many basic things you have to achieve before you can move on. It’s hard to know that you’ll get better eventually.” Ellie plans to dive in college and has been talked to by coaches from Purdue, Minnesota and Duke. Her dream is to dive for Stanford. Beyond swimming in college, one of Ellie’s dreams is to make it to the Rio Olympics. “If I don’t reach that because it’s really hard,” Ellie said, “I definitely want to make the US National team and get to travel around the world to dive for them.”

Breaking down Ellie’s favorite dive—a back 1.5 with a 2.5 twist

her dive 2 With properly set,

Smart begins her flip. While flipping, she uses her arms and core to twist 2.5 times.

she 3 Once finishes her

twists and flips, Smart lines up her dive straight into the water to finish the dive.


SPORTS

issue 13

PINNINGitDOWN AnneWillman

Head wrestling coach Chip Ufford reiterated to his team after every practice to write down their weaknesses that needed to be worked on. This season, each wrestler evaluated themselves regarding the areas that required more improvement. Junior Blaine Hill wanted a way to keep organized. Blaine took his words seriously, recording his information, if it was how he did on the mat that day or the things that he needed to work on. Kept inside his journal is his complete guide to wrestling—improvements and statistics. Inside he can see what he did in the each previous practice and what he is going to do to achieve his goals. This past season was different for the wrestling team, they narrowed the areas that needed focus and they made progress. With the help of a combination consisting of young and progressing talent, the team was able to place sixth in state and take home five individual medalists: senior David Hill, juniors Blake Hill, Blaine Hill, and Ben Randolph and sophomore Chipper Jorns. This season made it one of the most successful seasons is Shawnee Mission East history, giving hope to the team for the upcoming years. The varsity team this year consisted of two freshmen, one sophomore, four juniors and two seniors. As each athlete’s skill progressed through year, the following years look nothing short of positive. According to Blaine next season looks to be more promising. “Our goal is to win state next year,” Blaine said. “I know that’s a possible goal and as hard as we work is how well we’ll

29

Wrestling team evaluates areas for improvement and has high expectations for next season

do.” Over the course of the season, the team put more work into practicing than in the past. The team met for practices more often on Saturdays than in previous years, working in the weight room frequently and spending more time on the mats. “The key to getting better for next year is experience and getting more mat time,” Blaine said. To get ready for next season, Ufford has a plan. Ufford assures that returning wrestlers sign up for a post-season evaluation. In the evaluation, Ufford talks one-on-one about strengths and weaknesses that need to be addressed accordingly. “We look at all aspects of last season, if it is the number of take-downs, pins or escapes, that’s what we want to study,” Ufford said. Ufford said that instilling more experience earlier will be beneficial to them in the upcoming season. The wrestling team holds a summer camp for up and coming wrestlers in the program as well as a team camp. All of the freshmen on varsity this season with the exception of one, attended camps through East growing up that prepared them for competing on the varsity level. During the summer, the team also focuses on the areas determined by Ufford in the previous evaluation. The former wrestlers also give their time and play a part in helping the young wrestlers. “Open mat occurs every Wednesday of the summer and

former wrestlers run them,” Ufford said. The wrestling staff has scouted out different ways to reach the goal of improving their state standing from sixth to the top three. Although practicing in the summer will boost skill levels, Ufford feels that the weight training during the school year is helpful for preparing for the season. Athletic weights classes have been available and the extra training will give the wrestlers more time to taper their skills. Wrestling requires the time to improve, but experience is not the only focus entirely. “We have to eat right, work hard and support each other in order to get better,” freshman Grant Hollsingsworth said. The wrestlers evaluate one another at practice, testing their weaknesses and to ultimately focus on how to get ready for tournaments. The diet for the team is very precise, making sure that what one eats will not affect weight gain or weight class for competition. Ufford said that next year, the team will have a great senior class, returning four wrestlers that went to state this season along with some young talent. The team will focus on those returning, but according the Ufford, it is also important to build up the team for upcoming years. “I tell the seniors every year to leave the program better than when they found it and so far every senior has done just that,” Ufford said.

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G N I D L I U B a state contender 100 METER

Despite graduating fourth and sixth place state placers Chris Clarke and Joe Turner from last year’s team, the Lancers will still have a deep core of sprinters. This list is headlined by senior Quan Brunt and sophomore Troy Wilkins. With a time-trial time of 11.06, Brunt already has a time that could place him at state. With a time of 11.11, Wilkins is right behind him.

C. WILKINS

Coming back from a nagging injury, senior Connor Wilkins may be the difference for this Lancer team. Although he has been plagued by injuries, the TCU commit has the talent to place in the top half at state in multiple events as well as put a couple relays over the top.

SPORTS issue 13

The boys’ track and field team looks to have the perfect mix to place well at state

31

week one REVIEW

Baseball against MIll Valley, Olathe South, SMNW

CorbinBarnds

110 HURDLES

In their first game, the Lancers lost to Mill Valley 6-4. Then they beat Olathe South 4-2 and SMNW 6-4.

Sophomore David Sosna leads the hurdlers and will have the chance to place at state. At time trials, Sosna finished two seconds ahead of the rest of the pack with a time of 16.02; that time would have been good to get him 10th after prelims, and three tenths off of placing at state. AndreaZecy

400 METER

Girls Soccer against Olathe North

In their first game they beat Olathe North 4-0. Freshman Addison Steiner and sophomore Caroline Dodd each scored two goals.

In the 400 meter dash, sophomore Troy Wilkins will be the Lancers’ fastest by a couple of seconds. With a time trial time of 51.28, Wilkins time is only .4 seconds off the time that got eighth last year, a number he can surpass by the state championship meet in early summer.

AbbyJones

FIELD EVENTS

The Lancers’ strongest competitor could be in the field events. Senior Brian Williamson placed seventh at state last season in the discus behind a senior so he looks to be a state champion this year. To help improve his chances, head coach David Pennington claims Williamson has added another foot or two to his distance. Due to the top four placers graduating, senior Kyle Engelken in the pole vault also

looks poised to be a state champion this year after he placed fifth at state last season. A couple other names to look out for in the field events are Grant Ellis in the long jump, Alec Bartholomew (above) in the high jump and Alex Rorie in the javelin.

Any team looking to place at state has to have solid finishes We should definitely in the relays: the 4x100, 4x400 be able to finish in the and 4x800 relays define who top three [at state]. the best teams are—not just the Coach David Pennington best individuals. This year has three solid teams who can easily make it past regionals and into the state semi-final. The 4x100, which only returns senior Andrew Goble, set the school record last year (42.16), but placed third in an unusually tough final. This year, they should at least go under 43 seconds and place top three at State. The 4x400, who returns juniors Joe Lewis, Tucker Styrkowicz, Jack Fay and sophomore Troy Wilkins, will be one of the top teams at State—expect a top two finish. Finally, the 4x800, which returns juniors Evan Nichols, Adam Simmons (far above) and sophomore Carter Olander, is ready to provide crucial points at state; the 2008 team placed second overall in part due to the 4x800 not scoring points at the state meet. If the relays start to hit their goal times, expect to see a state title this spring.

S Y A L E R Relays

Lacrosse against Blue Valley North, St. Thomas Aquinas, Eureka

In their first game they beat Blue Valley North 12-6. East overcame an early deficit to defeat St. Thomas Aquinas 13-4. In their most recent game, East lost to Eureka 8-3. Thus far, Thomas Loudon leads the team with five goals.

Faerber an Illini

After an impressive 650 yard season, junior WR Elliot Faerber received an offer from Illinois and committed. Faerber was the first 2012 Sunflower League recruit to commit to a Division 1 program.

ClaireWahrer


32

PHOTO ESSAY 04-04-11

The East Robotics team solves problems together at the Greater Kansas City Regional Robotics competition. Sophomore William Barbour, above left, tweaks parts of the mini-bot prior to competing. Part of this year’s competition was to have a miniature robot shoot out of the full-size one and climb a pole in the arena. GrantHeinlein Robotics sponsor Jason Smith, above middle, carefully observes the team as they prepare to fix the problems they encountered in the previous round. “The regional event is a six week preparation process,” Smith said. “[The task] may seem simple, but it takes a lot of work considering the short amount of time.” GrantHeinlein Looking at the clock, junior Carter Stolberg, above right, checks the amount of time remaining in the competition as senior Tyler Cecil attempts to control the robot. GrantHeinlein Pondering the situation, senior Tyler Cecil, right, frustratedly tries to figure out how to fix the robot. “It was amazing to see just how quickly everybody on the team was able to react to everything that happened,” Cecil said. “Normally you would have to tell them what broke and how to fix it.” GrantHeinlein Sophomore Nate Anderson and senior James Harbison, far left, carefully attempt to complete the construction of the mini-bot in time for the upcoming competition. DanStewart Senior Emma Schulte, left, goes over the strategy for the next round. “When [the team] gets assigned a match, we need to go seek the other teams and see what their robots do,” Schulte said. “You have to coordinate a strategy and see what we would be going up against.” DanStewart


The Harbinger: Issue 13 2010-2011