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Harbinger the



FEB. 17, 2009

A need to trim the school budget is called because the fear of district-wide debt is


East could face the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year with seven or eight less staff members, if the district board approves budget cuts proposed by Superintendent Gene Johnson at the last board meeting on Feb. 8. Additionally, under the suggested budget reductions, the overall funding for East will be cut by 10-15 percent. The recommendations for cuts from the board would result in result in East losing three or four teachers, one librarian, one district provided campus police officer and the paraprofessional in the gifted classes.

These reductions are in response to proposed cuts at the state level that aim to ease the impact of the current $140 million budget deficit. According to State Senator David Wysong, the deficit can be attributed to overspending at the state level and a worldwide recession that Cuts to education, which currently makes up 51 percent of the state’s budget, are unavoidable when making these revisions, Wysong said. The house and senate are currently debating cuts that would district funding by an estimated $3.5 billion.

Continued on page 2

FEATURES: Nickels’ trip cancelled >PAGE 10 SPREAD: Parents with Facebooks >PAGE 12-13 A&E: Analysis of the Oscars >PAGE 18-19



PAGE 2 NEWS / FEB. 17, 2009

District trims budget in reaction to proposed state cuts for education // CONTINUED FROM PAGE ONE

The district, which expected to receive an increase in the funding given to a district per pupil of $59 for next year, will not receive this and in addition, will take an anticipated $66 reduction in per pupil funding. This total projected loss of $125 per student equates to the $3.5 billion reduction in funding for the district. Nearly 150 teachers, parents and concerned students filled the Shawnee Mission West cafeteria last Monday for the board meeting and budget workshop to hear discussion of the recommended budget cuts. During the open forum following the presentation of the proposed cuts, the board heard emotional testimonies from school counselors, gifted instructors, parents and district police officers who would be affected by the board’s recommendations. According to Johnson, the workshop was intended to explain the current financial situation of the district and introduce recommendations for revisions to the budget. In order to deal with the proposed reduction in state funding, the district has recommended eliminating 130 positions district wide, implementing a hiring freeze and cutting $10.6 million from next year’s budget. During the workshop Johnson and Tim Rooney, Manager of Business and Finance for the district, presented their recommendations for cuts and showed the effect that taking no action would do. According to Rooney’s calculations, if no revisions are made to the budget, the district would face a negative budget value by the 2010-2011 school year. “We need to be proactive,” Rooney said. “With the anticipated cuts at the state level, we must work now to find a solution so that we won’t face larger problems in the future.” Principal Dr. Karl Krawitz explained that relief from the national level is unlikely because even though funding for education has been earmarked in the stimulus package, this funding is directed towards deteriorating buildings in need of renovation. Rooney estimated budget reductions to East’s total budget to average out at around $5 per student. These funds are used to purchase classroom materials such as lab provisions in science classes and new classroom copies of novels. According to Rooney, since teaching represents 87 percent of the district’s $240 million annual operating budget, cuts to teaching are unavoidable. Sheryl Siegele, President of the Shawnee Mission School District chapter of the National Education Association stresses the negative impact these cuts will have. “Anytime services to our students are cut the decision is not a good one,” she told the board. “There are no right cuts.” According to Johnson, the reduction in teaching staff would have a minimal effect on instruction; only slightly increasing current class sizes. “The goal is to keep reductions away from the classrooms as much as possible,” Johnson stated in an online address of budgetary issues. Krawitz understands the need for the cut,

but said it is unfortunate when cuts have to be made. “[The district] made the best revisions, trying to affect the class room as little as possible,” Krawitz said. “I look at budget cuts like a disease that comes in and affects the entire organization.” Between 2002 and 2004 East faced comparable, though not as severe budget restraints, and was able to come out of it with a similar plan. “Our profession is not always immune during these recessions,” Krawitz said. “But this time it has been more encompassing.” According to Krawitz, with the aid provided by cuts made during this period, the budget eventually rebounded with the economy. “The state budgets follows as a close parallel to the national economy,” Krawitz said. “Things are most likely going to be something that gets worse before it gets better.” In addition to teaching positions being cut, one district campus police officer and one librarian will be eliminated, reducing the number of librarians to one and the number of officers in the school to two. Dr. Krawitz worries that with the elimination of one campus police officer, that the security of our school might be impacted. “The decrease in officers could make supervision tougher,” Krawitz said. “The parking lots have been hit hard [with break-ins]. If this was able to happen with three officers, a reduction would for sure not make things better.” Nancy Fritz, who has been a librarian at East for 16 years, was notified that because of her lower seniority, that her positions would be eliminated. The district informed her, along with other positions to be cut, that they would be put on “excess.” According to Fritz, this means she will ei-

“[The district] made the best revisions, trying to affect the class room as little as possible. I look at budget cuts like a disease that comes in and affects the entire organization.” -Principal Karl Krawitz

ther be relocated to a different library within the district or be reassigned as an elementary school teacher, which she has not taught for 23 years. The district selected this method of “attrition” in order to not directly lay off or fire the employees. “The transition back to [elementary education] would definitely be difficult,” Fritz said. “A lot has changed in the 23 years since I have taught… I would be a nervous wreck under the heavier workload.” The remaining librarian, Chris Larson, is also worried about the extra workload and the impact it will have on the students’ education. “I won’t be able to teach as much or be available for students as I have been,” Larson said. “It’s hard to just go non-stop for one person… stuff like maintaining the laptops and supervising classes will become

extremely difficult to balance with my other duties.” Larson also fears limitations to the operation hours of the library. Before, the library was opened during lunch because one librarian could supervise while the other ate and Larson had a plan period during the day. In addition, the district has recommended that the purchases of library books and media be reduced by 50 percent. “The materials available and my availability will greatly change affect education,” Larson said. “Providing reader guidance and other forms of assistance is going to be a hard task with only one of us.” These cuts also include the elimination of a paraprofessional in gifted classes, a 10 percent reduction in special educational paraprofessionals and the reduction of the number of random positions. Marianne Harra, who has been a paraprofessional in the gifted classes at East for the last eight years, is one of the persons affected by this cut. As a paraprofessional, Harra is responsible for scheduling the 200 IEPs the program has and working with students in various capacities such as managing their progress as they compact computer and health. The district budget cuts also limit six counselors for each high school and reductions of both secondary administration and secondary Associate Principals, though East is not affected in the latter two. East, which currently employs seven counselors, will lose one counseling position. According to Krawitz, these cuts would have a large impact on the capabilities of the counselors and the guidance that they will be able to offer. “Seniors need the one-on-one attention now than during any other time,” Krawitz said. “The counselors realize the circumstances and will need to step up with the increased work load.” East parent Beth Cole addressed the board during the open forum regarding cuts to the counseling program; emphasizing that the counselors were not there just to manage enrollment and college planning, but their involvement in the students’ lives. “Who is going to advocate for them?” Cole asked the board. Cole suggested to the board that stronger cuts be made in other parts of the budget, so that the counselors, who are already understaffed and overworked, would not affected. In the budget cuts, Johnson has additionally recommended that coaching and co-curricular positions be reduced for the following year. According to Johnson, since coaching salaries are decided through the teaching unions, the district cannot arbitrarily make pay cuts; just as the teachers’ salaries cannot be cut in this way. The reductions in coaching salaries would most likely not affect head coaches, rather assistant coaches and their teaching positions, though these cuts only represent $216,000 district wide. The athletic department has already been



• $10.6 million • 130 employees • Elimination of gifted paraprofessionals • 50 percent cut in new media purchases • Elimination of late bus


• 20 teaches • 5 librarians • 6 counselor limit • 10-15 percent of overall funding • Reduction of coaches and co-curricular jobs


• 3-4 teaches • 1 librarian • 1 counselor • 10-15 percent of overall funding • Freshman baseball team //Budget Workshop

hit with the ramifications of the budgetary pressures. Varsity baseball coach Tim Jarrell announced on the baseball team Web site that due to district financial conditions, there will no longer be a freshman baseball team. Jarrell is disappointed that they could not maintain the baseball team, stating that he began at East with the intention of enabling as many kids to play as possible. Previously, the team had been staffed and funded by using the coaches and money allotted for the three standard teams, but now this is impossible because of budget fall backs. The team will maintain the C, JV and Varsity teams and Jarrell encourages players, especially freshman, to try out. An area not affected by these budgetary issues is the current construction at East. According to Rooney, the proposed cuts are in the operating budget and cannot be taken from funding for the capital or bond projects. Since the construction projects throughout the district are not a part of the annual operating budget, the projects are unaffected by the proposed cuts and should go on as planned. Dr. Johnson said that the board looked into a second tier of cuts to get an idea of what they might face if the deficit were to continue, but does not see any need in the near future. According to board president Donna Bysfield, the proposed reductions and revisions through the 2010-2011 school year will not be finalized until August, though future cuts may be needed.



What you need to know about East’s new play



CHANGES Location

Marie (Kat Jager) is there with her child, and Woyzeck (Alec Hynes) comes in and looks through a window. He comes in clearly anxious and Marie asks, “What’s wrong?” He grips her in terror and recalls a hallucination in which the whole city is on fire. Marie is surprised and worries.


Taking place in 1838, “Woyzeck” follows the life of Franz Woyzeck, played by senior Alec Hynes, who is a solider trying to raise extra money to support his family, all the while trying to keep his sanity. He must deal with life after many life changing events, one being when he finds out his wife, Marie, played by junior Kat Jaeger, might be cheating on him. The play was chosen to work with the Little Theater, where all plays will take place until the auditorium is finished and ready in the fall. “The stage will go well with the audience because it’s so personal,” Hynes said. “Since

Set crew

To give each scene a real sense of what Woyzeck is going through, the crew had to become part of the cast. Instead of working from behind the set as usual, this time they are at the front, just like the actors. Lights crew chief Gillian O’Connell says that this adds to the effect of being in Woyzeck’s disturbed mind. “The crews’ job is to cast shadows on the actors with small lights and mini pars, which are hand-held lights,” O’Connell said. “There will be some fixtures that hang throughout the set


Captain (Patrick Barry), is ranting to Woyzeck and making fun of him, calling him “unvirtuous.” Woyzeck is nothing to the captain and he makes him very nervous. He is trying to explain what it’s like to be poor.


The theater program also had to over come the task of dealing with ordering the play’s scenes. Unlike every other play that Mr. Cappello has directed, Woyzeck was left unfinished by its writer, Georg Buchner. Buchner died before he could complete his work, leaving the order of the scenes up in the air. But since Mr. Cappello teaches the play each year in his Dramatic Literature class, he had a good idea of how they fit together. “Whenever I teach [Woyzeck], I see it in a certain way,” Cappello said. “I left out certain parts though that I felt wouldn’t transcend well

Woyzeck is a paranoid schizophrenic, everything is blown out of proportion and exaggerated.” Since the play takes place through the eyes of Woyzeck, the crew had to make sure that the free feelings and thoughts of Woyzeck were conveyed accurately in the tight space. One of the most intense scenes in the play is a monolgue performed by Hynes. Woyzeck has just seen his wife, Marie, dancing with another man. He frantically begins searching the ground for an object he’s hallucinated, and begins to hear voices coming from the ground as well.

though.” She also said that the play is a lot less rigidly structured than most. “It’s a lot more free hand and everything is constantly changing,” O’Connell said. “There isn’t a set position for the cast, just ideas of where everything and everyone should be.” Unlike in most productions were the crew members are out of sight, they will be on stage and visible, almost as if they were part of the cast.

and make sense.” Woyzeck will be performed in the Little Theater on Feb. 18 through the 21, and Hynes has high expectations for the play and the crowd’s reaction. “I think they [the audience] will be really suprised and first they will laugh a little awkwardly because they won’t know how to react,” Hynes said. “I think throughout the show the whole tone and message will kind of hit them and they will be shell shocked and jarred, yet at the same time spellbound.”

INTERVIEW WITH KAT JAGER How does “Woyzeck” compare to the other East plays you’ve been in? It’s different becase it’s so dark and dramatic and it really pushes the envelope on what you think the high school program could do because the characters are complex and it’s a hard, dark subject matter.

Woyzeck’s barrack mate, Andres (Jordan Holsinger), is whittling away a wood piece and humming a tune while Woyzeck takes in the settings and starts to hallucinate about a head that rolls on the ground around them each night. Andres is detached and doesn’t listen.

What is one thing that the audience should look forward to with this play? It’s going to be one of the most tech-intense shows at east. It looks really cool with all the lighting effects and we have a lot of fake blood which will hopefully excite people. What is it like acting with Alec since you both have such serious rolls? We have good chemistry and it’s easy to play off each other since we’ve been through so many shows together. It’s like we aren’t even ourselves when we’re on stage.

PAGE 4 NEWS / FEB. 17, 2009

come together: 1



faces of


East’s counter protest raises $5000 for AIDS research

1 2

Thefaces of dissent


East and community unite for counter-protest


“BRAINWASHED!” “I Kissed a girl!” “God is Love!” An estimated 500 outside East held signs with bright phrases. Facebook events, intercom announcements, sign making parties and early morning meetings preceded the Feb 6. rally. Plans sprung up through the East, and even outside the community. Come the day of the pro-

test, It was estimated that every Johnson County high school was represented at the rally, including hundreds of other adults. The rally contained a little bit of everyone, from Prairie Village police to Blue Valley student journalists. It was a collaboration on the part of administrators and students organizers. In the week following the protest over $5000

was collected for AIDS research. “It’s really cool to be part of a high school who is passionate about things,” junior Hannah Copeland said. Copeland spoke about the protests on the radio station 96.5 FM The Buzz the morning of Feb. 6. “And who cares about their friends who might be gay.”

Hey Girl Hey Manicures for $20 Pedicures for $30 February, March and April 2009                                                      

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a look at who was involved with the counter-protest


After a Blue Valley high school was protested for the play “The Laramie Project,” the school countered the protest by collecting money from pledges for every minute the protesters stated. Student body president Tommy Gray helped to organize a similar fund at East; estimates were about $300 a minute. “I’m trying to raise money for AIDS research and I want to support this cause,” Gray said. “I just felt like I had a personal sense of duty to do


Matthew Pope

When 2008 East graduate and former Homecoming king Matthew Pope heard the news, he was shocked. A defiant protest against him and the entire East community. But the last thing on his mind was confrontation. “I wasn’t offended at all,” Pope said. “I just found it as a great opportunity for the community to come out and show their support.”


something about it.” Dozens of Facebook events were created, one group (with nearly 2,000 invites) saw ideas for a silent protest, sign making parties and a massive walkout to form a chain of silent students down the 75th street sidewalk. “I wanted to make sure everything stayed within reasonable control,” group moderator Evan Myers said. “It was a win, win. I’m proud of our community.”

Pope drove overnight from Oklahoma University for the protest. Almost as soon as he had arrived, he was swarmed by a mass of students, reporters and proud supporters. “I think people are realizing that there can be a gay homecoming king, there can be a gay student body president,” Pope said. “We can do anything that anyone else can do.”

Police Officers

The crowd stretched clear to the end of the East front lawns. Chants filled the air and posters illuminated the sky. But the street was free of students. Traffic was flowing smoothly. And the backseat of the Prairie Village Police car was empty. “For the most part the protest was peaceful,” SRO Ted Bartlett said. “And well behaved, no one was hurt or injured.” Early in the week it was stressed

to counter-protesters to refrain from negative behavior. And with the precautions put in by PVPD, the day went smoothly. “Nobody tried anything like running across the street, they did what they were supposed to do,” said PVPD Captain Tim Schwartzkopf said. “If somebody ever asked us again to do a counter protest, then I would say, let’s do it like we did in 2009.”

‘SHOE’ING AWAY POVERTY Recycling club collects shoes to benefit people in need // SARAHMCKITRICK

Dirt covers the green and tan shoes. Laces fray and struggle to be tied. Toes poke out of the shoe from gaping holes that expose more of the foot than the shoe. Parts of the feet are completely unprotected and scrape against the dirty ground. Many would think that these shoes would not be suitable for wearing, but this African has just finished running a race in them. This shortage of shoes in Africa and around the world has caught the attention of East’s Recycling Club, who made the decision to raise money and shoes from now until April 11. Junior Chensan Zhou, a member of the recycling club, thinks that this project will be very beneficial for those in need. “They walk a long distance for food and water and their feet will now be protected,” said Zhou. After donating shoes to Bridging the Gap the last several years, the Recycling Club

TALKING TRASH 251,000,000

pounds of trash in the U.S.


pounds of trash per year for average American


number of feet of Ohio’s highest point, Mt. Rupke, a mountain entirely made up of trash


U.S. ranking in trash production in the world

made the decision to also donate shoes to Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based nonprofit organization that donates shoes to people around the world. New or gently used shoes will be donated to Soles4Souls, who will then send them to people around the world who need them the most. The organization takes any and every shoe from heels to running shoes as long as they are new or gently worn. Other shoes that are too worn to donate to Soles4Souls will be sent to Bridging the Gap, where their rubber soles will be recycled. According to Laura Headley, Fundraising Manager for Soles4Souls, they have helped more than 4 million people from victims of disasters like Katrina and the Asian Tsunami to Native Americans on the Navajo Indian Reservations in Arizona. Soles4Souls has brought aide to more than 70 countries, donating a pair of shoes on average every 17 seconds. “The gift of a pair of shoes is about more than fashion,” Headley said. “It can mean the difference between education and literacy, health and disease, and safety or risk of injury.” According to senior Savannah Duby, the President of the Recycling Club, donating the shoes to Bridging the Gap can be just as important as donating them to Soles4Souls. Headley agrees, saying the billions of pairs of shoes lying idle in closets can be recycled into playground surfacing, environmental clean-up projects, and more. “It makes a lot more sense to donate shoes that have wear left in them rather than toss them out,” Duby said. “When they’re picked up by Deffenbaugh…they go straight to the landfill.”

Since receiving 20 collection boxes from Soles4Souls, the Recycling Club meets about once a week with co-leader of Prairie Village Environmental Community Marilyn Koshland and other representatives from the community. Marilyn first heard of the need for shoes in Africa from her daughter, Amy Koshland, who works for the Center of Disease Control in Malawi and saw the need for shoes. Marilyn thought it would be a good project to start, so she brought the idea to the Recycling Club. Ever since the project got started, Marilyn has attended the Recycling Club meetings, keeping the minutes and agenda for the club and helping the group remain focused. “I’m the conductor,” Marilyn said. “But they are the perfect orchestra.” Once the club discussed what they wanted to do and how to get the word out, the Recycling Club contacted local stores, churches and area schools for help. They put up signs and have added 4 collection boxes around the school in order to collect shoes. The Recycling Club has other plans for their project, such as selling shoelaces in order to help defer costs for shipping, or taking a barrel to track meets and have people donate shoes there. In addition, they plan to hold a shoeless walk and a big collection day on April 11, the day their project ends. According to Zhou, the Recycling Club’s goal is to collect about $2,000 and 5,000 pairs of shoes; however, any donation is accepted and any amount of shoes collected will help the shoeless people.


briefs There will be a Principal’s Coffee meeting tomorrow from 9 to 10 a.m. in the library. Parents are invited to attend; the district budget cuts will be discussed during this meeting. There will be a 1:45 p.m. early dismissal on February 25. The schedule for that day will be 2, 6, 4 and half of a seminar period in which students can visit teachers. Senior Lucy O’ Connor has been selected as a Prudential Spirit of Community Award honorree, which recognizes her service to the community. She was one of four top runner-ups in Kansas. Seminar Update: There will be a mandatory National Honor Society induction practice during the first half of seminar Feb. 27. Student Council Executive Board elections will be held during seminar Feb. 27. Teachers will recieve ballots in theirmailboxes AP registration forms are available in the counseling office for students in AP classes. The deadline to turn in the forms are March 11. The fee is $86. Juniors will attend a college planning seminar during their US history classes Feb. 23. Information meetings for students interested in running for student council class officer positions are Tuesday and Wednesday at 2:45 p.m.

Music department sends eighteen qualifiers to compete at state // BILLYKIRKPATRICK

Orchestra teacher Jonathan Lane hasn’t kept track. According to him, his program has led the state in the number of elite string musicians sent to state for 15 to 18 years in a row. This year they placed 13 musicians and one alternate in the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) State Festival Orchestra. The band and choir also sent students to their respective KMEA state festivals, the band placing three musicians in the KMEA State Concert Band, while the choir placed two students in the KMEA State Festival Choir. State participants must first make the district team before auditioning for state. Once they reach state, they must re-audition for their position in the orchestra or band. The musicians then practice together and finally compose their music at the State Festival Concert. This year the orchestra will be playing Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky and Jupiter by Gustav Holst. Orchestra teacher Jonathan Lane at-

said. “Unlike if you made All-State football three musicians to state, Harrison was a littributes the accolades the orchestra has retle disappointed in the number he considers it’s just on who chooses, the sportswriters. ceived to their previous accomplishments. This way you have to actually be one of the “Success breeds success,” Lane said. low for the East band. “It’s the lowest we’ve had in about 9 best players in the state.” “The kids go [to state] and have a good expeyears,” Harrison said. “Last year we were in One of the challenges facing the choir rience, they tell the other kids they should program this year was adjusting to a new single digits (eight) for the first time in about do this. The All State experience for a musix years.” director. Senior state qualifier Andrew sician is like the ultimate experience you could have in high school.” Harrison believes that one of the main Sweeney believes their ability to overcome causes for the recent drop in East’s number this new adjustment was made easier beOf the 13 orchestra musicians that of musicians sent to state has to do with the cause the guidance of several seniors. made state, there were four violinists, three number of students that have not continued “We have some really good senior bassist, one cellist, and four violists. taking band. As a result, the number of stuleadership this year,” Sweeney said. “We Junior violinist and second-time state dents in band has gone down. definitely have some people that really care qualifier Sami Rebein was revved up for her second state appearance. Harrison is a big fan of the auditioning about things and are really trying hard to process for the KMEA festivals. make it the best it can be.” “I am really looking forward to [state] “It’s a legitimate audition,” Harrison because there are a lot of my friends that go to it and it’s really fun to see them all from different schools and difORCHESTRA: Madeleine Pinne (viola) BAND: CHOIR: ferent parts of the state,” Rebein Heather Athon (viola) Sami Rebein (violin) David Beeder (drums) Noah Quillec said. Allison Roebuck (viola) Peer Chow (violin) Jacob Hamilton (saxophone) Andrew Sweeney The band sent one trombonJohn Rowe (violin) Joe Deng (bass) Emmet Starkey (trombone) ist, one percussionist, and one tenHunter Stevenson (cello) Aden Eilts (bass) or saxophonist to state. Although Congratulations to these state qualifiers. Jessie Light (violin) Greg Tracy (bass) the band managed to send these Chelsea Olson (viola) Katy Zimmerman (bass)




Raising their voices for LOVE 146

East Coalition hosts fundraising concert to counter child sex trafficking ABOVE: Junior Amilia Winter dances in front of the band Kept Mess during their cover of “Love Train.” “It was a really awesome show,” Winter said. “I liked that all the bands were playing for a really good cause.” RIGHT: Every attendee wore a number to symbolize the numbers children receive when they enter the sex slave trade. The concert held Feb. 5 gave all freewill donations to, an organization that works to stop the exploitation of young girls.

ABOVE: Hosted by the East Coalition, a club that supports African charities, the concert at Village Presbyterian Church included four performances, including a duet by sophomore Andrew Goble and junior David Beeder. The drumline performers played with empty buckets, mallets and a “drumbone,” a Frankenstein of PVC pipe and duct tape. LEFT: Senior Chelsea Olson takes a break from the Realpolitik set. The all-senior band passed out free demos, and closed the two hour, three band concert at 9 p.m. // ALL PHOTOS BY MACKENZIEWYLIE


RETHINK THE REDUCTIONS While budget cuts in Kansas are necessary, cuts in the school system will hurt student performance and legislators should

The Shawnee Mission School District prides itself on the wide array of classes it offers, the high caliber of teachers and the opportunities it provides for its students. But after the state budget cuts, some of these advantages will no longer be part of the district. The cuts are currently being worked on in the Kansas Senate and House of Representatives. Final cuts will not be known in SMSD until next August. With the current economic climate, budget cuts are to be expected. But Kansas’s educational system should not be taking one of the first blows. Legislators should rethink the cuts, because the future of Kansas students go hand in hand with funding provided. Each day cuts are in place hurts schools. Funding for a school usually leads to increased academic performance; inversely, a lack of funding can wind up hurting students. SMSD’s budget for next year is currently fluctuating. The Budget Workshop meeting last Tuesday showed that if SMSD was to continue their current budget track, the district budget balance would go negative by the 2010-11 school year. The planned total cuts for SMSD’s budget for next year are approximately $10.6 million. The district faces many notable losses on anything from library budgets being slashed in half to five middle school SEEK teachers losing their jobs.

SMSD $PENDING 2 A look at the five main types of funds the district receives


Operational Funds

Funds that support everyday activities in the district. Includes salaries and benefits, utilities, student transportation and supplies and services.


For middle schools with fewer than 600 students, there will only be one counselor. Trudi Vande Kamp, a current middle school counselor at Mission Valley, will have to change jobs within the district if cuts go as planned. “I have 257 current students and I work very, very hard and still cannot always meet the daily demands of my job,” Vande Kamp said. “When that population is doubled, I don’t know how one person can possibly keep up.” School counselors not only work with students academically, they work with them personally. “One of the things as counselors that we work really hard to do is to help those who are struggling with figuring out their issues and becoming a better person because of it,” Vande Kamp said. The loss of a counselor at the middle school level will drastically affect students preparing for high school. No student wants to wait in line to talk about the adolescent issues that can shape them forever. The late bus service will not be continued for middle school and high school. Next year, when a student does not understand their Algebra homework and rides the bus to and from school, they are out of luck. They will be forced to go home at normal time, frustrated that a teacher could not explain their homework after school.

Capital Funds Funds used to repair and maintain buildings and buy furniture and equipment.

Bond and Interest Funds Also called Debt Service funds this money repays district investors for their original investments and additional interest.



Special Revenue Funds Separate funds used for individual programs like English Language Learners, food service, drivers’ education and special education.


Pass Thru Funds Funds the district collects that are cycled back to the state.

// SMSD Web Site


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

feb.17, 2009 issue 11, vol. 50

The Harbinger is a student-run publication. The contents and views are produced solely by the staff and do not represent Shawnee Mission East or the SMSD faculty or administration.






































The majority opinion of the Harbinger Editorial Board

Dropping the late bus service could sully the district’s test scores, because students who ride the bus and do not have a guardian available to pick them up could face losing valuable one-on-one time with teachers. The number of teachers will be reduced around the district. Ten teachers will be lost at the elementary level, 20 will be lost in the seven middle schools, and 20 will be lost at the five high schools. Fewer teachers mean larger class sizes. Increased class sizes mean that teachers will have less time to work with students personally. Again, students suffer when personnel is cut. This is a hard position for a district that outperforms the vast majority of districts in America. ACT and SAT averages are consistently higher in SMSD than scores in the rest of Kansas and the US. School funding in Kansas is not performance-based. Small or growing districts receive extra funding. SMSD does not qualify as either. Even though the district has been performing well, the millions of dollars of reductions could put a cap on SMSD’s high standards. Slashing school budgets is a short term fix for long term problems. Although the economy may be our biggest problem right now, it may not be five years down the road. The state must try its hardest not to make the economy affect the quality of education in Kansas. There is no surefire solution to the budget cuts in Kansas. If there were, the Kansas Legislature would be working hard to pass this in Congress. Instead of looking at the budget cuts top-down, they should be viewed from the bottom-up. Things like reducing the amount of paper used, turning off lights in schools when they are not in use, and reusing old team uniforms could all go toward saving money for the district. Every penny saved could be a portion of a staff member’s salary that could be retained. Kansas funds schools so that students will one day become solid contributors to society. When funding is lost, students also lose.













PAGE 8 OPINION / FEB 17. 2009 an opinion of

WALKING ON WATER Senior puts stereotypes and rumors about synchronized swimming to rest

/ BERNADETTEMYERS Decked out in sequined swimsuits, team warm-ups emblazoned with the Sea Sprites logo and Knox gelatin gluing our hair into tight buns, my team and I collapsed in the airport terminal. After swimming in the North Zone finals only two hours earlier, we had sprinted out of the pool with medals and luggage to catch our plane home from Ohio. We hadn’t showered or changed. We sat chatting about the final scores as the man across from us, looked at us curiously. “Hi, um, I’m sorry, but are you guys a hockey team or something?” Because hockey players put Jello in their hair, wear hookerish amounts of make-up and have teams named after mythical creatures. “No, we’re synchronized swimmers,” I responded. Yes, that’s right. I am a synchronized swimmer for the Kansas City Sea Sprites. For the past seven years, I’ve answered questions like these, including whether or not synchronized swimming is actually a sport. Immediately, what pops up into people’s heads are visions of wrinkly old women encased in billowing satin and flowered swim caps kicking their legs in time with Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Sure, this Olympic sport may have started out as something like this, but 50 years after Esther Williams first stroked in time with the music in Bathing Beauty, it has developed into its own unique athletic event. I first started synchronized swimming with the Prairie Village summer team, and after I fell in love, my parents enrolled me into the year-round team that opened me to a whole new world of athletics. After the millions of arguments I’ve had with friends, classmates and strangers over the credibility of this sport, which I love so passionately, I’ve figured out the problem is. That most people just don’t understand what it is. Starting out as a twelve-year-old, I was eager to spread my enthusiasm for executing the perfect ballet leg. But, many of my friends couldn’t accept why I wasn’t on the soccer team anymore. “Isn’t synchronized swimming only for grandmas?” they asked mockingly. Yes, I have seen the water walkers at the YMCA and I’ve even witnessed groups of grey-haired ladies form circle patterns in the Show-Me-State Games synchronized swimming competition. Yet while there is a Master’s age group ranging from ages 25 and up, synchronized swimming is dominated by the teenage age group. We did have one 30-year-old woman on our team, but she quit about a month after she realized she would need to swim at least 25 yards underwater. At first, I was only able to swim half the pool. But after training my lungs, I can now swim 50 yards underwater and hold my breath for two minutes while stationary. In eighth grade, I explained to my science teacher that I would be gone from class for three days because of a meet in Minnesota. Frustrated about my extended absence, she gave me a perplexed look and asked, “Why do you even have synchronized swimming meets? Don’t you just backstroke together in a line?” Unlike sports such as synchronized diving, synchronized swimming has evolved way past normal speed swimming. There are hundreds of positions named after ridicu-

ABOVE Senior Bernadette Myers (right) and her two team mates perfom a boost move at 2008 age group nationalsin Binghamton, NY. The Theme of this routine was Mexican Street Party. // PHOTO COURTESY OF BERNADETTEMYERS lous things like fishtails or flamingos. And while they may sound fruity, they are horribly difficult. Especially, when put into a routine. Many of the movements involve staying underwater for a minute upside down and trying to move your legs through ten of the different positions without falling over. In competition, swimmers can’t even wear goggles, which not only makes every single wall uniformly blue, but causes stinging pain for hours later. There are sections above water, but instead of resting, synchronized swimmers basically have to tread water as hard as they can with their hands above their heads moving down the pool and of course staying synchronized. Fifty percent of routine scores are based on technical merit, which means how high, strong, precise and synchronized each and every movement is. If an upside-down vertical is a hair sideways, that’s a deduction. If someone’s splits are not completely flat on the water while upside-down, that’s a deduction. Trying to think about every hand flip and toe point while swimming through the entire team is like running a marathon, holding your breath while calculating integrations in your head. After a swim-through, I can’t stand. I feel like vomiting and I see white spots everywhere. But we swim through a routine up to five times in a practice. In the fall, I brought a video of my routines to English class to help my classmates understand what it is. They watched in silence until one classmate asked, “Are you guys standing on the bottom of the pool?” The main rule in synchronized swimming is that you aren’t allowed to touch the bottom or else you will be disqualified. They even have underwater video cameras and viewing areas. I think it’s pretty serious. To keep ourselves up and out of the water while upsidedown, synchronized swimmers use a technique called sculling, which involves moving our hands back and forth along a horizontal plane. There are actually ten different types of sculls, but each one takes arm strength that can only be built by attaching four-pound scuba diving weights to our hips while flipped over. Imagine that four-year-old you babysit clinging to your hips in the twelve-foot deep pool as you scrabble for air. Now, flip upside-down and try to get your legs as high out of the water as possible. That’s what a weight belt feels like.

Despite the burning lungs and contorted arms and legs, synchronized swimmers still have to smile through the entire thing. Even my sister has laughed at my “surprised” facial expressions and bubbly energy. “How can it even be hard when you just smile the entire time?” We smile because synchronized swimming is meant to look effortless. We take something that should hypothetically defy gravity and the laws of the human body and make it look simple and painless. Part of the judging includes artistic impression, meaning choreography, overall execution and whether or not the swimmers conveyed energy while they swam. Yet even though our smiles cover more than half our faces and we wear more sequins than the girls in Moulin Rouge, I’ve found that synchronized swimming is about more than just appearance. It’s just hard for people to get past that appearance. Back at the airport, the man across from my team finds out that the group of glittering girls is a synchronized swimming team from Kansas City. He scrunches his eyebrows together picturing the old ladies in flowered swim caps, then responds. “Oh, just like Esther Williams, right?” He has no idea.

Competition Costumes

“ ” “ ” “

We wore this swim suit for a “Romeo and Juliet” themed duet, the entire back of the suit is criss-cross gold sequin stripes, and it took me two months to sew sequens on it.

We called this one the platypus, it took me over 30 minutes and 100 bobby pins to get it to stay in our hair, and about a minute to take it off. It covers our entire head from the forehead to the back of the neck.

This suit was for a Mexican Street Party routine, suits were all differnet colors, and really fun, the idea behind the routine was to just have fun and goofy facial expressions. // JOESERNETT


LOST IN TRANSMISSION Junior learns troubles of bad economy firsthand with car failure

// AL Y




an opinion of

/ DUNCANMcHENRY It’s been a fixture in my life since fifth grade when my dad unexpectedly brought it home with him after work. It wasn’t a new pet, or even a new bike, but a silver 1991 Volvo 240, purchased for the bargain price of just over $2,000. “This is my dream car,” my dad said. “And when you’re ready, it’ll be your car.” I was skeptical to say the least of my dad’s attitude toward this “fine piece of Swedish engineering.” In fact, I remember promising him that the first place I’d drive it when I turned 16 would be the junk yard. But after being driven to school countless times in it, taking it on my first awkward spin around the neighborhood at 14 and reluctantly driving it to school in freshman year, I began to appreciate the Volvo. So much, in fact, that I nicknamed it the Silver Surfer and stopped complaining about having a car that is older than some of my friends. But after years without any major mechanical issues, the Silver Surfer finally broke down this December. The transmission was busted, and the price of fixing it almost equaled the amount my dad bought it for initially. We were forced to choose between spending $2,000 on a new transmission, or buying another used car for around $8,000 To me, the logical choice was to buy a new-used car rather than match what my dad paid for the Silver Surfer to fix it. However, my dad told me that since the economy is in shambles, we couldn’t afford a new car and would have to fix the Volvo. I was surprised to

say t h e least at hearing him admit to this financial weakness, and I finally realized that this is what they’ve been talking about on the news. That this economic crisis could actually affect me. My car situation is a microcosm of what’s happening in America right now. But here at East, the economic state of our country often seems like a far off battle being fought by politicians and economists in suits. As students with schoolwork and other activities to worry about, many of our lives in Johnson County haven’t been affected substantially yet. The white chocolate mocha hasn’t gone extinct in Prairie Village despite Starbucks closings around the country, and the only available parking spots at Oak Park Mall on a weekend are still nearly a mile from the entrance. Words and phrases like “recession” and “tough times ahead” have become standard on CNN, and used to wash over me halflistened-to like the morning announcements. But since the Silver Surfer broke down, I’ve realized that this recession can have real repercussions in our lives and force us to do

TW IS TE D floo powder


Outlandish solutions from staff members on how Duncan could get to school without a car


one ginger (Ronald Weasley of Harry Potter series), why can’t it work for this crazy carrot top? This lost art has been replaced by silly Muggle transportation apparatuses, and if it fails, Duncan can always snag a portkey out of the closet.

without some comforts. Had this happened two years ago when I was a freshman, the Silver Surfer would probably be through the junk yard and used to make pop cans by now. Its old spot at the top of my driveway would be filled by a classy late 90’s sedan, with good gas mileage and a sound system to rival my grandma’s Buick. I don’t mean to come across like a kid on the show “My Super Sweet 16” crying because I didn’t get a new Benz for my birthday. My example is definitely weak compared to kids who have to work extra hours so that their family can pay the bills, or hard-working single parents who are laid off from their job. But my car situation does show that the state of the economy can affect people's lives, even if they come from a reasonably well-off family like mine. The process of fixing the transmission has taken a while since the mechanic had

power walking

TIM SHEDOR’S TWIST - It works for mall

moms, so why not take a brisk morning hike before spending seven hours indoors? Sure, he may be diagnosed with Scoliosis later in life or lose a toe to frost bite on cold days, but he’ll have huge thigh muscles in the short-term.

to order the parts to fix it, and during the wait I’ve experienced some serious middle school déjà vu. I’ve had to be carted to and from school again by my parents, which is a minor inconvenience, but is still hard to go back to after a few years of instant transportation. While waiting for a ride home last week, I even pictured my pre-teen self back in 8th grade awkwardly awaiting a ride, decked out in an Abercrombie polo after an Asbury mixer. I’ve heard plenty about banks closing and thousands losing their jobs, but it takes the little things like a busted transmission to realize what the economic downturn really means. Even in Prairie Village. So while I’ll soon be hearing the reluctant whirr of the Silver Surfer as it clocks in at a blazing zero to 35 in eight seconds flat again, I’ll remember that it could be worse. If the economy continues to tank, we all may have to make some sacrifices. Whether that means cutting back on a couple of Chipotle runs each month, buying a pair of Levi’s instead of True Religions or merely suppressing complaints at having to drive an old car. Whatever happens though, I know the Silver Surfer will be waiting in the driveway. Hopefully I won’t have to keep my promise of driving it to the junk yard anytime soon.


MAC TAMBLYN’S TWIST - Riding a Segway to school may not be the most cost-effiecient, timely, or weatherized way to get to school. But that is not the point. Imagine how fun this would be, wind whipping through your hair at speeds of up to 12.5 mph. It would totally be worth scrounging up $5,000 in a bad economy.

PAGE 10 FEATURES / FEB. 17, 2009 Due to concerns about affordability during a troubled economic time, the annual World Geography trip headed by teacher John Nickels was declared


Sleeping in a cabin in Alaska.  Meeting New Zealand’s Prime Minister.  Climbing the Great Wall of China. For over half a century, one man’s summer trips have brought the highlights of the world to the East community.  But after 56 trips, there might not be a 57th. Social studies teacher John Nickels, the trip’s coordinator, has taken students from Indian Hills and East to places all over the world almost every summer since 1967.  However, due to the economic recession, this summer’s trip has been canceled. The decision came last July when the economy began its recession.  Nickels made the call for the sake of both students and parents.  He didn’t want parents to have to tell their kids “no,”  and he didn’t want kids saying they couldn’t go, either.  “We’ve had [economic issues] in the past too, but this year it’s much more exaggerated with the downturn in the economy,” Nickels said.  “I’m afraid, as every year, we have some families who really try to do it because they try to do everything they can for their kid when they shouldn’t.”     Although the U.S. recognizes 194 independent nations across the world, Nickels said only two were reasonably priced for the type of trip he likes to do, China and Japan.  The past two years Nickels has taken freshmen to China and three years ago the trip was to Japan.     “It’s not that [China and Japan] weren’t reasonably priced enough to do [them] again, but I don’t want to go to China for a third time and I don’t feel the need to go to Japan a second time,” Nickels said.  “It has to appeal to me too.” As the economy stays at the forefront of American politics and Nickels’ decision, Nickels said other issues played into his decision-making as well.  He didn’t know if he could physically do another trip and he liked the idea of having a break.     “[I plan to] read, sleep, play with my animals, rest and I might do little day trips, but I’m really down on airlines right now,” Nickels said.  “And, actually, we’ve had good luck with airlines the last two or three trips, but I’m just tired of the airline battles.  It’s a big worry to deal with 45 or 50 people checking baggage and seats getting bumped and flights missed.  Airlines really wear on you.  So not climbing on a plane [this summer] causes me no grief whatsoever.”     Freshmen students have been pressuring Nickels to change his mind, but Nickels is sticking to his decision.  Students like freshman Lilly Myers were upset when Nickels told them he was not planning a trip for this summer.

// GABYTHOMPSON and DUNCANMcHENRY “I’m just kind of bummed because I really wanted to go and I’ve heard of all these really cool places they’ve gone,” Lilly said. “I was just really excited because [my parents] were going to let me go, but then, of course, the one year that I could go, he doesn’t do a trip.” Lilly’s mom Sheila Myers wishes Lilly could have gone on one of the trips that she calls legendary, but she understands Nickels’ motives. “I was disappointed for Lilly, because I knew she was looking forward to it,” Sheila said.  “But, I was not that disappointed because, hey, I don’t have to spend five thousand dollars.  So that’s how I look at it.” Social studies teacher Brenda Fishman has been going on Nickels’ summer trip for approximately 15 years and she said she will miss not going on the trip this summer.  Though she wishes another trip was on the schedule for this year, she understands Nickels’ decision.

Nickels trip stats

Destination 2006:





Destinations: Tokyo, Takayoma, Kyoto



Destinations: Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an



Destinations: Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an

$4,400 (Costs are per-person)

“Traveling with large groups is just tiresome,” Fishman said.  “There are a lot of headaches going through the airport, security and baggage claim.” Though Nickels is not currently planning on having another summer trip, he is leaving the issue open.  This year’s freshmen have already been told they will get the opportunity to go on a trip if one is scheduled for the summer after their sophomore year. “I won’t say [never], you never say forever or always, but certainly no trip this year,” Nickels said.  “There may be [a trip] down the road, it would depend on the atmosphere

and it would depend on places.” Nickels said that there are places he would like to return to, like mainland Europe and the British Isles, but he said prices were too high. This year was not the first time Nickels considered ending the summer trips. Nickels said he had thoughts about ending the trips several years ago. “I almost stopped before we did the New Zealand trip for Lord of the Rings,” Nickels said.  “It was such an exciting idea, doing a trip going to all the movie sites.   I just had to do that.” The year after the Lord of the Rings trip, students were calling for another New Zealand trip, so Nickels took a trip that included both Australia and New Zealand.  After that, ACIS, the travel agency Nickels uses, called saying Japan was offering a trip for a good price that was “almost a steal.” China was then offering inexpensive trips to attract foreigners before the Olympics.  Nickels said Thailand was even in the mix after the Japan trip, but there was a coup that made the country unstable and possibly dangerous for students, so Nickels chose to take the trip to China. After finding out this summer’s trip had been canceled, some students asked for a trip within the States, such as Disney World, but Nickels wouldn’t go with it.  A domestic trip would have been cheaper than an overseas trip, but Nickels didn’t want to do a trip for the sake of a trip because of past experiences with trips closer to home. “We did one trip right after 9/11, when there was concern about Americans flying overseas, so we did a trip to Canada,” Nickels said.  “And the kids howled and howled about boy were they getting jipped.”  The kids didn’t like it close, so if I were going to do something in the States again I’d have to wait a few years to get away from the overseas trips, then I could maybe consider it.” Nickels reminisces  about  back when he first started taking students from Indian Hills to Washington, D.C. for about 109 dollars.  Other teachers were stunned he would want to take on such a large task. Teachers used to bug me about why I did trips,” Nickels said.  “And I said ‘my god, you’re a teacher, and you almost get to hand pick your kids and take them to the best classroom in the world.’  But there were people that thought I was crazy.  Fifty-six years later, it can be done.” Summer trips have been a tradition for Nickels.  He knows he will miss it this summer. “If I had the youth and the energy, I’d find a way [to do a trip this summer], but I don’t,” Nickels said.  “[I’m] getting older and 56 trips, that’s enough.”


Capturing the moment

KC’s Skating Hot Spots

Junior Anders Newman makes videos of his fellow skaters around Kansas City


Getting ready to meet some friends in downtown Kansas City, junior Anders Newman heads out with his skateboard and video camera in hand. Pulling up, he talks to his friends, sets down the camera and jumps onto his board. As he starts skateboarding, everyone else begins to warm-up. Leisurely, Anders skates down the pavement and grinds on the curb. When he gets to the end of the street, he circles back, leans down and grabs the camcorder. Staying on his board, he turns the camera on and points it at his friends who are diving off flights of stairs. After taking a second to replay the footage, the next person plunges off the stairs and flips the board underneath them. Anders sees two different sides of skateboarding. While he might be on top of his skateboard, he also watches from behind his video camera. Anders has entered his skateboarding film in Kansas City’s Five Minute Film Festival for three years in a row. His first and second years he didn’t place, but this past year he got second place with a video that was more indie, with different angles and fish eye effects. Along with getting second place, he also received $300 that he then used to buy different filming equipment. Right now, he is looking into entering some films in the Kansas City Film Maker’s Jubilee. The Jubilee is a contest that is held every April, where local, national and international films are shown, with $5,000 going to the “Best Short Film,” which is one of the categories that Anders would enter into. His love for skateboard filming started about five years ago in seventh grade, when Anders was at his friend junior Ali Yaqubian’s house. They pulled out his friends parent’s old formatted, HI-8 video camera, and started filming each other outside skateboarding. Anders says it was more of a task to film, because their footage was grainy and it was too hard to edit. But a few times, they did try to edit film by plugging two VCRs together with the camera plugged into one of them. Then Yaqubian’s family inherited a Mac from his grandfather and he and Anders began editing on the first version of iMovie. “When I tried to do it myself at first I was really confused and kind of stressed out because I couldn’t get it to look how

t h e pro videos look like at first,” Anders said “But after a lot of research and a lot of experience you get to that point where you’re at the level of filming of pro-video and it’s … satisfying.” From when he started filming as a seventh grader to now Anders has gone through several dozen cameras. His first camera was a gift from his parents, who bought it from Best Buy when he was in middle school. The camera had low quality, and he couldn’t make edits off of it, but it worked. Anders ended up trading through top of the line cameras to knock-off’s but he has now ended up trading back for a 1996 Sony. Once he got the right camera, he started trying to get the right recording equipment to be able to edit at a higher quality. To get everything that he wanted would cost over $1,000. So for a year, he saved up, got a summer job, took out the trash what seemed like hundreds of times and was the designated dishwasher of the house. Senior Kelsey Henry, one of Anders friends, describes Anders as being relaxed. “Anders is the most chill person that you will ever meet in your entire life. Like whenever I feel stressed out, I call him up and ask him to hang out and I calm down” Henry said, “Without him in my life I would literally die because I would be so stressed out.” Henry also said that Anders is always working on his filming and that even when it is freezing outside he is still wanting to go out and film. When Anders starts to put a film together, he look through footage that he had collected from his friends asking him to film a new trick they learned. Next he begins to put the footage together, and starts to pick out a song. Lastly, he puts the video on the internet. Anders mom, Nonie Newman, thinks that the fact that Anders films skateboarding is great.

JUNIOR Anders Newman films amateur skater Josh Crane while Crane performs a backside 360. // ANDYALLEN

“He would watch all of the skate videos that are sold at the skate shop” Nonie said, “I think that he would ask for skate videos from practically every relative for the holidays and he probably [has] a pretty large collection of maybe 25 or 30.” Nonie and like how dedicated he is to it. They say that if he isn’t out filming he is watching skate videos, editing footage or posting films on his Web site. Both of them agree, that it is great to see someone be so dedicated to something. “I guess I have always liked to skateboard and stuff and it’s a big part of my life” Anders said, ”I guess it’s not just a little thing that I like to do on the side its been really major for me ever since I have started.”

PAGE 12 SPREAD / FEB. 17, 2009

// ANNieSGRoI When senior Katy Zimmerman logged on to her Facebook account she saw a friend request waiting, nothing out of the ordinary. What surprised her was whose face she saw smiling back at her. Her dad’s. “My immediate reaction was ‘should I even accept it?’ because I have stuff on there that I don’t even want him to see,”

Katy said. But Katy isn’t the only one encountering this kind of surprise. According to a recent study by iStrategyLabs the number of Facebook users aged 35 to 54 are the fastest growing demographic on the Web site, up 276.4 percent in the past six months. After getting over her initial shock, Katy started to weigh the two obvious options she had. Accept it or ignore it. If she

ignored it she’d hurt her dad; but if she accepted she’d have to deal with him online. “I just let [the request] sit for a couple of days,” Katy said. “I pretended not to notice for a long time and then I finally gave in.” Facebook Corporate Communications representative Meredith Chin says that as the 30+ demographic grows, it also adds its own style to Facebook. There are new applications that cater to parent users, beyond the basic profiles and pictures. “For instance an application called ‘Circle of Moms’ is a parenting application that has grown very rapidly in the past few months,” Chin said. “It’s a place for moms to connect with other moms as well as get parenting tips and organize groups.” Chin says that although Facebook can be individualized to fit user’s interests, its goal is common for everyone. “Our mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected,” Chin said. “So that’s not really limited to a specific age group or even a specific

Your Dad Confirm Ignore


When family become


Middle aged adults are quickly becoming Facebook’s fastest growing age group and high schoolers are feeling the impact

See “Parenting” booklet in counseling office for more information.

1 2 3 4 5

Subject: Accept and support. Steps: 1. Accept your teen’s feelings.

Follow guideline. Ignore guideline.

Subject: (Sometimes) spend time together. Steps: 4. Just “hanging out”will build trust.

Follow guideline. Ignore guideline.

2. Accept your teen’s individuality. 3. Give praise openly and without reservations.

5. Show you care and want to protect them. 6. Respect their privacy; show you recognize...independence.

Subject: Be a good listener. Steps: 7. Listen without prejudgement.

Follow guideline. Ignore guideline.

Subject: Talk it out. Steps: 10. Don’t overreact!

Follow guideline. Ignore guideline.

8. Listen for the underlying meaning. 9. Resist giving advice.

11. Express your values. 12. Describe problems without placing blame. Follow guideline. Ignore guideline.

Subject: Set (reasonable) guidelines. Steps: 13. Keep rules sensible, enforceable, few in number and

well explained. 14. Give guidelines, but be flexible.

doing on Facebook,” Goodstein said. “. . . It’s as if a parent were with their teen everywhere they went with their friends.” Goodstein also explains that if parents see something they are worried about on Facebook they may feel compelled to discuss their findings with other parents. She said that this kind of intervention in their kid’s or even their kid’s friend’s lives can cause unnecessary conflicts. Katy’s dad Fred Zimmerman likes to joke that he got on Facebook to spy on his daughter, but really he just wanted to catch up with old friends. Dave Awl, author of “Facebook Me!” said that

STUFF for stalking


Worried about your parents seeing your profile? It could be a lot worse. We explain and rate several Facebook applications that take creeping to an entirely new level.

What you do: use “Number One Fan” to become someone’s true Facebook stalker. What it does: The application can send a ransom-style note and make a shrine to your friends...all anonymously. What you get: Stalker status - and the ability to ask that they return the favor. Creepiness level (scale of 10): 9 //

What you do: Type someone’s name or birth date into the “TrueScoop” box. What it does: TrueScoop will spend up to several hours looking through its database for information on that person. What you get: You’ll get the basic name, location and criminal record information in addition to any other details it can pull up. Creepiness level (scale of 10): 7 //

Students weigh in on what it’s like to have a parent on Facebook. the jacksons

Advice List Conflict Timeline

FacEbook FRIENDS? freshman

MegHANjackson DeNiSejackson Are you Facebook friends with your the mom

mom? i am - she made me. First, she had to ask me how to get one. Then, she told me that i had to friend her. Does she write on your wall? What would you think if she did? i have a problem with that. i’d probably ask her not to...i’d be embarrassed. sophomore

jacob & schick the melias

A Few Requests... Don’t want your parent using Facebook to check up on you? give them these guidelines for non-Facebook communication.

reconnecting with old friends and classmates is one of the reasons Facebook can be valuable to the 30+ age group. “Facebook really tears down the barriers of time and distance, and in that regard, Facebook is actually much more valuable for people who are out of school than it is for kids who are still in school and surrounded by their best friends every day,” Awl said. Although keeping tabs on Katy wasn’t Fred’s motivation for getting a Facebook there have been times he’s seen things on her profile he disapproved of. From seeing mentions of cigarettes to disliking some of her statuses, there have been times Fred’s felt he needed to step in. “They’ve got that thing where you send each other beers or send each other drinks and I had to tease her about that,” Fred said. “I had to question her about that.” Being on Facebook may have its challenges, but Fred agrees it’s helped him communicate more with Katy since they don’t live together. “It’s just another chance to keep up with her,” Fred said. “It’s just one more way to get in touch with her. And I get to see her because she’s got a lot of pictures on it.” Awl says that families he’s talked to have had varied reactions to sharing Facebook and they really depend on how the parents interact with their kids on a day-to-day basis. “It all depends on the family,” Awl said. “How close they are, how much they like each other, and even more importantly, how much they trust each other.” This variety can be seen in the difference between the experiences of the Zimmerman’s and those of sophomore Natalie Parker’s family. Parker’s mom and step dad are on Facebook because they wanted to check it out before she got one, and they haven’t encountered any problems. Parker’s mom, Sue Maden attributes their lack of conflicts to the fact that they are all pretty honest in their communication with each other. She said that because of this openness there aren’t secrets to uncover on Facebook. “I first got one because my daughter wanted one and I didn’t know anything about it,” Maden said. “So, I thought the best way to learn was to get one myself and try it out.” Aside from it being a little weird seeing her mom check her profile, Natalie said they’ve had no real trouble. “I think at first she just started it to see [what it was] but she actually has a lot of friends and she connects with them,” Parker said. “ I mean I don’t really hate it because she gets to connect with family members.” Goodstein believes that while problems can arise from

the cooks

country, it’s pretty universal.” Anastasia Goodstein, founder of and author of “Totally Wired: What Teens And Tweens Are Really Doing Online” said there are indeed some downsides to parents and kids interacting on Facebook. “The challenge with parents friend-ing their kids and having complete access to their teen’s entire profile is that they also end up seeing what their son or daughter’s friends may be


Are you Facebook friends with your mom? Yes. She wanted to interact with other people on Facebook, so we’re friends. But i don’t really talk to her. So who does she talk with on Facebook? She mainly just talks with old friends from college and high school.

Why did you get a Facebook? Both of my kids said they wanted a Facebook. i had in my mind that it was a dangerous place for kids. Do you ever check Meghan’s? i check once or twice a week...i look at everything she has up. the mom

ANNemelia Why did you get a Facebook?

A lot of my friends kept sending me e-mails saying “get a Facebook account.” Do you ever check Micah’s profile? That wasn’t the reason i got it. Occasionally i look.


the mom

mom? No. she has respect for me to not do that. She’s in symphony, so she’s only on facebook to contact other musician friends. What are three things you wouldn’t want your parent to see on facebook? (1) Awkward things on my wall (2) Pictures (3) Bumper stickers

i got it in the fall for contact with international flutists - in italy, Australia and Belgium. What was Jessie’ reaction? She said, “Mom! What are you doing on Facebook?”...i use [it] strictly for my music friends.


Juliecook Why did you get a Facebook?

JeSSiejacob Are you Facebook friends with your DiANeschick Why did you get a Facebook?


Are you Facebook friends with your mom? Yes. i added her as one of my friends, because i have nothing to hide from her and i think it’s kind of funny. Do you interact with her on Facebook? Yes, we interact. She’ll write on my wall once in a while, and sometimes i write on hers, but for the most part she stays out of my business.

the mom

i got a Facebook because an old friend invited me to be her friend on Facebook, so i opened an account. Do you ever look at Johanna’s profile? i occasionally go to her page.


parents interacting with their kids on Facebook, more importantly it can result in understanding and better communication. “I think it’s important for parents to understand the technology their kids have so wholeheartedly embraced,” Goodstein said. “If they understand why their kids love to spend time on these sites, they are less fearful and can have more practical conversations about privacy settings and what’s appropriate to post on sites like Facebook.”

What you do: Answer questions about your friends via “Compare People.” What it does: Asks application users to rate you and others, assembling “rankings” that organize “where you fit in” to your network of friends. What you get: Rank and get ranked by everyone you’re “Facebook friends” with. Creepiness level (scale of 10): 5 //

What you do: Nothing. “Facebook Ads” works for ad companies, not you. What it does: Companies can use Facebook to develop “highly targeted ads.” large brands such as Coca-Cola (KO), Sony Pictures (SNe), and Verizon (VZ) have signed up. What you get: Tons of ads aimed at you. Creepiness level (scale of 10): 4 // //

PAGE 14 FEATURES / FEB. 17, 2009 here’s a glossy Hammermill Press Literature 10 book that rests among a dozen others on English teacher Elaine Kramer’s shelf. It’s a beautifully decorated four pounds full of pictures and excerpts and reading material designed for the college-bound student. She argues that she all she needs in her classroom is the cart of dictionaries, but she’s taught from less. She used to teach her high school students out of a tiny paperback. One designed for the beginning reader. Down the hall, English teacher Spring Gehring-Lowery grades papers as two of her students sketch a game of movie hangman. She’s a friend to them after school. They stay until four, and sometimes later. She still has kids coming in at 3:30, just to sit and talk with her. After teaching at inner-city schools, Kramer and Gehring-Lowery bring lessons and teaching styles to East. “Why do I teach?” Kramer said. “For the money….[but] we live for the Ah ha! moments.” Kramer taught at north-side Chicago suburban high school, Evanston Township, in the early 1960s. It was public, and racial tensions were building as the school entered the Civil Rights era and the population neared 40 percent black, 60 percent white. The town of Evanston was founded on discrimination. In the late 1800s, business men built grand, overflowing estates along Lake Michigan. They brought their community with them, by building the “L” train line for a fast commute, and shacks for their servants on the other side of the tracks. Two generations later, and in the midst of the Civil Rights movement, Kramer came to the Evanston Township high school with a few months of student teaching and a year and a half of Catholic school teaching under her belt. The whole campus, a four-building, 8,000 student megalith, was like a condensed Shawnee Mission District. “I could encourage individual students, but that was about all I could do,” Kramer said. “I helped individuals.” At the main buildings, Kramer heard fire alarms once a week. And during the day, someone was in a hallway brawl, sniffing dogs were a common sight and the girls never went to the bathroom alone. During class she kept her door locked. Someone from off the street once walked into Kramer’s room and stood between a student and the bar of his desk, boxing him into his seat. The rest of the room watched as he pounded, too afraid to cross in front of him and press the panic button. He got away. And when the school day was over, she never stayed late. The shop teacher stayed late once, and when he left a student was waiting for him, two by four in hand. She was accompanied by a police escort to the faculty parking lot, surrounded by three rows of barbed wire over a 10-foot high fence. The faculty need protection. During a massive gang brawl, the Vice Principal stepped in to break it up and stepped out with a slash leading from the last few inch-

Teachers bring styles to East after working at inner-city schools




es of his ear to the middle of his throat. He returned to the school as soon as he could leave the hospital. “Everyday it was an exciting story,” Kramer said. “[The violence] was so big; it was just a juggernaut that rolled over everyone.” Kramer taught out of a new curriculum with the help of on-site Northwestern professors. Before teaching in a main high school building, she taught in a lab designed for fresh, creative teachers to experiment new methods. Her curriculum was boundless, and with assistance from the professors she started a reading program. “[The students] came from homes where they were no books,” Kramer said. “There were no role models. There was no uncle who was a manager…or a CEO. So why would there be an expectation to be…that? There was no Barack Obama to inspire them. There were only old white men, running the county, controlling the power. Thank God there were a few people…like Martin Luther King.” Her black and white paperbacks stayed true to good grammar, but they told stories about fighting parents, abusive partners, and gangs. And it worked. By the end of the year, the students read almost two levels higher, some at an eighth grade level. The classroom only allowed for a handful of students, but it was enough to allow Kramer a one-on-one teaching style. When she began teaching at East 16 years ago, she would have used the same black and white paperbacks if the curriculum allowed. East required a white-bound grammar book, but Kramer still incorporates her former lessons; she has her students memorize a paragraph on integrity from “Othello” every year, “Good name in man and woman... is the immediate jewel of their souls. He that good name robs me of that which not enriches him and makes me poor

indeed.” Every so often she can still make her own additions to the program, like teaching against fighting or dishonesty on cheated homework, an offense she considers worse and more prevalent at East than violence. She still wishes dearly for a former white and black paperback. *** Forty years later and on the other end of the country, Gehring-Lowery taught at a high school in inner-city Houston. Cypress Ridge had opened just a few years ago, and she was teaching English 11. She was new to Cypress, but her first years teaching were nonetheless memorable. The school boasted a terrific fine arts program, winning football seasons and journalism programs. But it lacked a strong PTA, a Booster Club or the auction fund-raisers. She remembers pointing out blood on a column the janitor missed after a fight that day. She once found a student, head bleeding profusely under a toilet seat in the boys’ bathroom, just after watching boys in blue scurry out. Before she began locking her door during the day, a student from just down the hall walked in and cold-cocked a student into a fractured jaw. She tried to chase him down, but he only ran a few feet before he returned to his home room. “It was tough to watch,” Gehring-Lowery said. “It was really saddening and maddening at times, to watch these kids throw their lives away on gangs that didn’t really care about them.” Some students she taught ate their only meal in the cafeteria. Others were the first in the family to speak English. Most joined gangs for protection. “Unfortunately, [violence] was a part of the school,” Gehring-Lowery said. “We had a zero tolerance policy, but when you’re at a school with gangs like that, it’s not that vio-

lence is acceptable or effective, but it was a part of life.” The new principal at Cypress brainstormed with the faculty for a turn-around, for a positive reversal of the gang violence, and started a system that rewarded one ticket from one teacher to one student for every “random act of kindness.” A store was set-up like an arcade rewards counter for students to cash in for prizes like Cyprus sweaters and Laffy Taffy. The project sold-out. In the second year there were fewer fights, students were happier and the high school was headed into a better direction. She continued to work with her students, taking a more individualized approach. She would sometimes take rebellious or angry kids out in the hall with her foot in the door, and talk it out, a technique she still uses today. Ninety percent of the time it was a problem outside of school, and it would only take a few minutes. “It’s about individuals,” Gehring-Lowery said. “When they join the gangs, they lose their personal pride and lose sight of their potential. You can’t just walk into a classroom and demand respect. You have to earn it by caring about [the students].” She uses the same styles at East today. Students still return to her class after-school, some staying as late as 4 p.m., just to talk with her, play hang man, or work on Julius Caesar essays. “It’s like comparing apples and oranges,” Gehring-Lowery said of East and Cypress. “They each have their positives and negatives. The kids are wonderful and have a lot potential. East is just different in that the students don’t have to worry about all the things Cypress Ridge had to deal with. There’s more of an academic focus here, and that’s terrific. I’ve been blessed to work in both places.”

mi x ed


the page about the pep assembly


Cheerleading's dancing counterpart, drill team is always finds ways to make their next routine a complete surprise. This was no more apparent than in their Feb. 6 performance of “Damaged”, including Common's “Universal Mind Control” and a rendition of Kanye West's “Love Lockdown.” According to junior Annie Bennett, the piece had been in the works since before winter break and will be taken on to a drill team national competition. Bennett says the process of making a regular performance for an assembly is much shorter. "It usually doesn’t take too long to teach," said Bennett,"and then we go back through and clean it again, so probably (just) a few weeks."




It's two days before the show, and drumline is just getting started. An after school practice that covers all the music they have down is the first step. While everyone has a say in what they'll play, and what moves they'll do, the final decision goes to section leaders junior David Beeder and senior Andrew Lykens. The next day they work out their moves and formations during seminar. When the pep assembly finally comes, pumping up the crowd is their main goal. According to sophomore Burke Smith, "[Drumline] can get away with pretty much anything as long as there's a good beat to it."

// BOBMARTIN It’s the end of the long school day. The gym’s orange glow is accompanied by a familiar humidity in the air. Students shove their way up the bleachers, looking for the recognizable people they won’t mind sitting shoulder to shoulder with for the next 45 minutes. The wooden floor begins to empty. Pep club sponsor Nick Paris, the man behind it all, steps up to the mic. It’s a pep assembly, the same event that students go back to over and over again throughout the year. They don’t change much, but whether its John McKinney riding onto the court with a motorcycle, or Karl Krawitz speed-eating a banana, it takes a good amount of planning to make one successful.



Every pep assembly has its own unique event. Whether its full-twistingflips from SME gymnasts, carefully made up sweetheart candidates, or a “Crank That” dance from the coaches, it always adds flair to the gathering. The special segment can be brought about in a lot of ways. According to the head of pep club, Mr. Paris, he'll often ask around school to find that special something, but has also been approached before by groups like swing club. Sometimes, the administrative team will get involved, like this year’s first pep assembly with Assistant Principal John McKinney revving his Yamaha Roadstar motorcycle and gliding into the gym. "Loe and Krawitz came from West, and their pep assemblies are sort of a big theatrical event," McKinney said. "They both brought that mindset to East, and encouraged Mrs Royce and I to think about what we would be able to do." Other times, the duties are passed off to a coach, like Shawn Hair's banana eat-off at the winter assembly. Paris believes that finishing with something spectacular is key to planning the ideal assembly. "It's gotta be tight, no lag time," Paris said, "and it's gotta end with something spectacular."

Literally putting the p-e-p in "pep assembly", the cheerleaders are a key part of the experience. Being one of their few chances to perform outside of sporting events, they always come with a new dance for each assembly. It starts with a few cheerleaders coming together to create the dance, usually seniors Katie Bartow, Jenny Howard and Megan Alley. They then regroup with the entire squad in their two hour practices every Wednesday to teach the routine. When the pep assembly week finally comes they practice on their regular day and as early as 6:15 on the day of the assembly just to make sure everyone is ready. Having always been a performer during Pep Assemblies, senior cheerleader Callie Mcguire enjoys a different aspect of them. "I really like seeing everyone's reactions," she said. // ALLPHOTOSBY MACKENZIEWYLIE

WORD OF THE ISSUE from The Daily Candy Lexicon: Words That Don’t Exist but Should {rainxiety} n. Stress associated with driving in even the lightest drizzle. (“Dude, get over your rainxiety already. It’s not like it’s snowing.)

PAGE 16 FEATURES / FEB. 17, 2009


OFFTHE The Harbinger serves up four smokin’ barbeque joints you’ve never heard of // ANDREWGOBLE


ohnny’s is where I first fell in love with barbecue, and I forgot it existed. I was 10, and my brother’s friend always brought over a slab of ribs, wrapped in thick mysterious brown paper, for some Sunday Football. One time, after they had eaten there way through it, they let me have the end pieces. But these weren’t ribs, I thought. No, ribs were chewy, thick, and never worth the mess. These ribs were life-changing-ly delectable, with meat that practically fell off the bone and a taste that required no condiments. It was love at first bite. But alas, I was 10, and I never was offered them again. So here I am, a chain of phone calls later, closer to my equivalent of the Fountain of Youth, what I now know as Johnny’s BBQ. Johnny’s felt like a diner, with it’s ‘70s turquoise blue chairs and the


random gargantuan silver stars that hung up down the walls in the main room. A Christmas wreath still hung over the fireplace. My large Southern Style Pulled Pork sandwich, with Johnny’s rub mixed in, was more Memphis dry-rub than Kansas City slather-on-thesauce. The hogie-style bread lets the thick cuts of scrumptious pork hit your senses solo. The seasoned fries were heavily dosed in the same signature dry rub, which was extremely tasty at first, but started to get old after everything I ordered came with it. Moderation is key sometimes. I was pleasantly surprised by my experience at Johnny’s, and it lived up to my childhood expectations And I was so full, I didn’t even notice - the waitress forgot to bring out my long-awaited ribs.


BB’s Lawnside Bar-B-Que 1205 E.85th Street Kansas City, MO 64131

b’s Lawnside is the Holy Grail of blues-barbecue-joints. I could smell the smoke from the parking lot, and there’s no wallpaper inside—the posters of the live bands that have played here cover the whole restaurant. The meat, coming from the massive 8 oz. “Pulled Porker”, was smoky and thinly sliced, but a little dry. I added a little of their original sauce, which added more smoky delight, and the dryness was no longer an issue. The bun was a little thick, and I might have preferred the option to have it on slices of bread. And while there was definitely enough meat, the 6 oz. regular version might have come just short of a full meal. This place had the best side choices of them all. My favorites were the beer-battered fries, a potato cut in


rangling my car through the one-way parking lot at Rj’s Bobbe-que Shack, I was a little uneasy. You can never judge a barbecue joint by its aesthetics, but something about the boxy red-brick exterior, the faded wooden railway to the entrance, and the mere fact it was called a “shack” gave me the idea I was about to regret not signing up for karate in kindergarten. How wrong I was. My waitress could have been any of my friend’s mothers, and I’m positive I went to middle school with one of the cooks. Mostly families were sitting in the red booths throughout the restaurant, and the country post-

600 Southwest Blvd Kansas City, KS 66193

STAR SCALE| |Stay away|

5959 Broadmoor Mission, KS 66202




he first thing I notice, after having to slam my way through the seemingly-locked door, is the pack of opened GPC cigarettes on the bar table next to the waitress. Classy. I wait to be seated, but there’s no one to help except for the same lady behind the bar staring at me. I guess I’m supposed to order at the bar. They make signs for these kind of things, I think. I order a Coke. She hands me an RC cola. I’m no scientist, but I’m fairly sure RC cola is made of Coke, extra water, and a large dose of disappointment. Their barbecue, as I expected, redeemed Rosedale with the tender and flavorful goodness you only find in places like these. The wooden booth we sat at wasn’t the most comfortable, but my burnt ends were so succulent and perfectly cooked I didn’t

|Pit stop at best|

Johnny’s Bar-B-Que

four and fried, and their Spanish-style onion rings, but they also offered fried okra and red beans and rice. After Bb’s, I’ve decided no music is better suited for barbecue than blues. Live bands play at BB’s twice a week, but their jukebox alone had me about ready to pack my bags and move to New Orleans. The experience was definitely very southern, and it was the biggest restaurant I reviewed. I reluctantly had to wash my jacket recently, because I smelled like I was wearing some sort of magical barbecue cologne for the next week. If you love barbecue, toe-tapping music, or even just a different experience, Bb’s is the place for all the cool-cats to be.

ers above them added to the strong home-style vibe. The meat was downright tasty, just like the 20 or so cook-off blue ribbons that hung above my head bragged. However, my sandwich could have been smoked a little longer, to give it even more flavor, and had I not ordered a few pork ribs as well, I might have not been completely happy with just a sandwich. The ribs themselves, though, were quite thick with meat and my personal favorite. But the sauce? Pretty standard, and a little runny. The fries? Again, nothing special. There’s no doubt this is my new pre-game meal before any game at North, but the appeal of Rj’s comes from the friendly staff, the family atmosphere, and the charming country radio—the barbecue is just good, not great.


Rosedale Barbeque





RJ’s Bob-be-que 5835 Lamar Avenue Mission, KS 66202

really mind the simple interior. I never wanted to stop eating, but there was enough for me to keep going long past what I previously thought my stomach was capable of. Sides are the usual small-restaurant killer, but Rosedale holds its own here. The sauce had a little kick to it, to separate it from the rest, and the fries were worthy of their 2005 Citysearch award as “Best of Kansas City” with their crispy delightfulness. Come to Rosedale if you are hungry for great food, not great service. And, unless your best friends with Christopher Columbus, bring a GPS or Mapquest it to save yourself some time.

|Cut above the rest|



|Blue Ribbon

While it may not have an original storyline or even many genuine scares, it does boast a reasonably compelling murder mystery and benefits greatly from the above average acting courtesy of Elizabeth Banks and young Emily Browning. The plot is nothing we haven’t seen before. After her ailing mother dies under mysterious circumstances, angst-ridden adolescent Anna (Browning) has a mental breakdown and is relocated to a mental hospital for treatment. After grueling months of psycho therapy and some creepy quality time with her ward roommate Mildred (Heather Doerksen, easily the best thing in the movie), Anna is released into the custody of her bookworm father (David Strathairn) and is reunited with her free-spirited older sister and best friend Alex (Arielle Kebbel). Alex tells Anna that during her long absence, their father married Rachael, the same beautiful house nurse that took care of his wife during her drawn-out illness. The girls take an instant disliking to Rachael, who seems artificial and coldhearted. After being plagued by nightmares of her mother’s rotting apparition and a trio of ghostly children, Anna eventually begins to suspect that Rachael may have had a hand in her mother’s death. She tells Alex her suspicions and the two sisters decide to investigate their new stepmother. Deadly, but ceaselessly predictable results ensue. Only a last minute twist, an act of minor brilliance, saves the movie from complete mediocrity. But although much of the film is obligatory tedium, cobbled out of spare parts from older domestic thriller mainstays like “The Stepfather” and “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” it is nevertheless enjoyable to watch performers of this caliber even when they’re going through the motions. Strathairn, an Oscar nominee for 2005’s newsroom drama

y r e t s y m Minevitrede’ blryingas a decent plot, but is



ie v o m r o r r o h a m far fro // LANDONMcDONALD

I didn’t plan to review “The Uninvited.” After seeing the unimpressive trailer and glancing over the weak advance buzz, I immediately wrote the film off as yet another dismal entry in the Hollywood pantheon of crappy PG-13 horror movies, the kind of brainless pop-out drivel created to separate gullible middle school girls from their fathers’ money. But going into a film with preconceived notions is always a bad idea, especially if you’re a movie critic by trade. The good news is that “The Uninvited” is actually pretty good, a readily entertaining popcorn thriller that culminates with one of the better twists I’ve seen in the tired subgenre of Asian horror movie remakes (it’s based on the considerably darker Korean import “A Tale of Two Sisters”).


“Good Night and Good Luck,” gives Anna’s widowed father just the right mix of guilt and pride over his new trophy wife and the grief his daughters give him over the hasty remarriage. Talented bit performer Heather Doerksen, onscreen as Mildred for approximately two minutes, gives the movie its only moments of genuine shock. The appealing Kebbel serves up reliable party girl cynicism as Alex. The only real weak link here is the awkward Jesse Moss, miscast and out of place as Anna’s sensitive boyfriend Matt. I’m glad to see Elizabeth Banks trying new things. She’s great in horn-dog comedies like “Role Models” and was the only bright spot in Kevin Smith’s painful “Zack and Miri Make A Porno.” She actually made me feel sorry for Laura Bush in Oliver Stone’s unfairly maligned presidential drams “W.” Now, like Glenn Close and Sharon Stone before her, she’s trying her hand at being a femme fatale, the blonde bombshell with murder on her mind. Somehow she pulls it off, shedding all that girl-next-door charm to find the beast in beauty. But the real show-stopper here is Emily Browning. Her fragile, soulful performances have impressed me since I first saw her as Violet Baudelaire in “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” way back in 2004. Not since Audrey Hepburn in 1967’s “Wait Until Dark” have I seen an actress that audiences feel so instinctively protective of. Her slight, pale frame and delivery belies a warm wisdom that will serve her well in future roles. This definitely isn’t her best work but I hope it’s a good omen of better films coming her way. In a cinematic world choked with spoiled, untalented teen actresses, she more than stands out. I just wish the film demanded more of her skill. I guess I should emphasize that “The Uninvited” is not a horror movie by any stretch of the imagination. The dark 3-D surrealism of last week’s “Coraline” offers more terror than this tepid affair. No, “The Uninvited” works only if viewed as a mystery with supernatural undertones. Is it worthy of your time and money? Probably not, but you could do a lot worse on a Friday night Redbox run.


‘Taken’ with satisfaction Liam Neeson stars in a fast paced



I always find it refreshing when a film exceeds my expectations, especially when all I had been expecting was some generic, unoriginal piece of disposable entertainment. Thankfully, “Taken” turned out to be a pleasant surprise, and a fantastic way to spend my Saturday afternoon. Liam Neeson stars as former government agent Bryan Mills, who’s retired from his occupation as a “preventer of bad things” to live quietly and reconnect with his spoiled 17-year-old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace from “Lost”). When Kim leaves on a trip to Paris, she is taken by a group of sex-trafficking Albanians almost immediately upon landing. She manages to call her father during the kidnapping and Bryan swears he will rescue her. This sets off a chain of events that lead Bryan on a rampage across Paris in search of his daughter, and to take furious vengeance upon her captors. The story isn’t really original, as “Taken” is mostly formulaic in its “go to this com-

STAR SCALE | |Stay home |


movie that curbs the movie-goer’s appetite pound, extort info from and kill bad guys, rinse and repeat” revenge narrative. But it’s the simplicity of veteran Luc Besson’s screenplay that allowed me to be swept up in the thrilling chases, shoot-outs and asskickings throughout the film. No “Quantum of Solace”-like plot confusion here! Because he started as a cinematographer, director Pierre Morel knows when techniques like shaky-cam go from absorbing to annoying, and he keeps from going overboard on them. His directorial debut, “District B13,” was a hyper-kinetic extravaganza focused solely on the non-stop action and crazy stunts, but with this follow-up, he keeps the film much tighter and well-rounded. While “Taken’s” sequences aren’t as uniquely impressive as “B13,” they still do their job of entertaining and being cool, with pacing that allows for a welcomed moment of relaxation in between each of the action segments. Those moments usually consist of Bryan

| Rental at best |

following more clues to find his daughter, which I actually enjoyed and found interesting, in particular his process. This is where his technological expertise and experience in solving problems from his old job becomes evident, such as when he envisions and reenacts Kim’s captors taking her and is led to one of the men involved, or when he uses his extreme persuasion and negotiation tactics to coax an old colleague into giving him important information. What sets this outing of Neeson as a badass apart from similar action flicks like “XXX” and “Wanted” is Bryan’s intense determination and will to do absolutely whatever necessary to recover Kim. His actions are sometimes surprisingly brutal, and I was caught off guard by the occasional cruelness dealt by the no-nonsense, man-on-a-mission Bryan, a large contrast to the loving, father Bryan portrayed in the beginning of the movie. Even though he’s 56, Neeson stands his own as an action hero compared to

|Worth seeing |

the younger, stronger Matt Damon (Jason Bourne) and Daniel Craig (James Bond). Before the action starts, he is difficult to take seriously due to his poor American accent, but Neeson gets a handle on it once Kim is abducted and conveys the threatening aura required for his character with true conviction, making sure the one-liners stick and that his presence can be felt (and feared) from a glare. During the final set piece, Bryan seems impervious to injury, but that does nothing to detract from the awesomeness of the close quarters combat he uses to stylishly dispatch those opposing him, as I still found myself slowly inching forward to the edge of my seat in excitement. After the big pay-off and the appearance of the credits, I left the theater and couldn’t believe how quickly the last 90 minutes had gone by, and more importantly, how satisfying they had been.



|Instant Classic

PAGE 18 A&E / FEB. 17, 2009




Thanks to Frank Langella’s towering performance of Richard Nixon, director Ron Howard’s methodical chronicling of the Frost/Nixon interviews, where mincing British journalist David Frost finally got Tricky Dick to accept blame for Watergate, can be remembered as the first film to actually admit that Nixon was a human being, a tragic figure undone by class envy and a crippling sense of paranoia. This is probably the most sympathetic portrait Hollywood will ever give the disgraced ex-president.


From complete unknown to Oscar frontrunner, the hard-fought success of Danny Boyle’s triumph (it suffered debilitating budget cuts and nearly went straight to DVD) shares striking parallels with the rags-to-riches story of its underdog protagonist Jamal, the Mumbai gutter orphan who tries to win the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” in order to find the girl of his dreams. What could have been a schmaltzy snooze-fest is instead a stirring ode to the possibilities of life and love, an emotional tour de force that makes the other nominees look meek and pedestrian by comparison. Other than Ledger, this is the safest bet of the night.


This biopic about the life and death of pioneering gay rights activist Harvey Milk succeeded largely due to the indelible talent of its cast, with Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch and Josh Brolin all turning in career-topping performances. Unfortunately, the film spends too much time scratching the surface of Harvey’s myriad love affairs and not nearly enough time getting to know the man himself. I wish director Gus Van Sant had included more private moments like the quiet, beautiful scene that finds Milk alone at the opera, drowning out his doubts and fears in the rapture of music.

“THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON” David Fincher’s three-hour epic about a man who ages backward is the love it or hate it movie of the year. It definitely deserves praise for its visual bravado and the seamless CGI that realistically transforms Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett from geezers to infants but I certainly don’t think it deserves the top prize.

“THE READER” I should really be talking about “The Dark Knight” here, since this slot rightfully belongs to it. I’m not sure what “The Reader” is doing in the Best Picture race. The story of a German law student who discovers that his much older lover was once a guard at Auschwitz is a lukewarm affair at best, utterly devoid of the eroticism and intrigue that its premise suggests.

Harbinger movie reviewers make their predictions for Oscar night




Like the late master Stanley Kubrick, Danny Boyle is a rare breed of director, one who makes a single film in a genre, and then moves on to another for his next movie, each effort much different than the last. With “Slumdog,” he’s created a wonderful, unique masterpiece, which turns out to be the feel-good movie of the year as well. It’s been a while since the best picture was a movie that appeals to everyone, but Boyle’s baby is that kind of film.


“THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON” Fincher is able to craft a magical experience completely opposite of everything he’s made in the past, but he was more deserving for the extraordinary “Se7en,” “Fight Club” and “Zodiac.” The Academy failed to recognize and award him for those works of mastery, but it seems like they’ve finally come to their senses. If Fincher had cut the unnecessary presentday plot line, “Benjamin Button” may have been able to beat out “Slumdog,” but even with it, this is still “Slumdog’s” biggest competition.


In a weaker year, Howard could have had another “A Beautiful Mind” winner on his hands. He actually almost makes Nixon someone to sympathize with, and provides some insight into why he broke the law. Howard is able to make the story of the interviews far more interesting than imagined, but where he truly succeeds with “Frost/Nixon” is in the questioning sessions themselves, which become more like intense duels instead of just two men conversing.




Regardless of the outcome on Oscar night, Streep gave the finest performance of any actress this year in her portrayal of Sister Aloysius, the tyrannical headmistress of a 1960s Catholic school in the throes of a pedophilia scandal involving the progressive new priest and the school’s first black student. Some critics have accused Streep of overacting here. These critics probably never had to go to Sunday school.


Jolie’s over-hyped performance as Christine Collins, a mother whose kidnapped son is replaced by an imposter courtesy of a cartoonishly corrupt LAPD, was a harsh lesson in chronic overacting, the same affliction that ruined her performance as Daniel Pearl’s widow in “A Mighty Heart.” Jolie is simply unable to banish her inner badass. Any role that requires her to act timid or weak falls flat instantly. I would have given this slot to Cate Blanchett for her heartbreaking turn as Daisy in “Benjamin Button.”


Leo gives a soaring, luminous performance as Ray Eddy, a scrappy single mother who makes a living by smuggling Mohawk immigrants over the U.S./Canadian border. But Academy voters seldom reward actresses for such artful subtly. That’s why those brilliant kids from “Let the Right One In” weren’t nominated.

KATE WINSLET “THE READER” Right actress, wrong movie. Kate Winslet gave the performance of a lifetime as an emotionally starved housewife in the devastating suburban nightmare that was “Revolutionary Road.” Her stoic role as a former concentration camp worker in “The Reader” was also impressive, but it was the only highlight in an otherwise abysmal, monotonous Holocaust drama. But I guess Winslet deserves credit for inspiring any sympathy for such a fundamentally irredeemable character.


Anyone that can lead such a large and talented cast to such a successful outcome is worthy of some sort of award. “Milk” is Van Sant’s best film since “Good Will Hunting,” and if it weren’t for “Slumdog,” and had he delved deeper into the complex psyche of Harvey Milk, then maybe he would have had a larger likelihood of taking home this award, but the way it is, he doesn’t stand a chance.



Once again, Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” should be in this category, not Daldry’s strong, but completely outmatched and somewhat overplayed cougar love affair. Kate Winslet makes the movie, and the first 30 minutes work terrifically, but once it tries to become more than a romance with a twist and bestows itself with a social commentary, the rest of the film doesn’t have a whole lot going for it.

Despite its critical pedigree, “Rachel Getting Married” was one of the most insufferable, insipid, overwrought films of the year. I respect Anne Hathaway for “Brokeback Mountain” and even enjoyed her work in the slapstick spy caper “Get Smart,” but I could never support her for appearing in overwrought, bandwagon nonsense like this. Her portrayal of drug-addled family pariah Kym, a pitiful confection of ‘indie’ angst and sub-Juno witticisms, was neither likable nor funny.




PAGE 19 A&E / ISSUE 11 Predicted Winner



“THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON” Through superimposing Pitt’s face on the younger/ older versions of Benjamin, he is able to play the character throughout the entire movie in some way or another. The only problem with the performance, while it totally encapsulates the character, is that he doesn’t go through many different emotions, as he acts the same just about the whole movie. Brad Pitt is going to get an Oscar one of these years, but this nomination is more of just a recognition for the films he wasn’t nominated for, like “Fight Club.”


Jenkins’s subtle performance as a college professor living monotonously, only to finally break out of this mold when he becomes friends with the couple living in his previously unoccupied apartment, is a testament to his skill as a character-actor, and definitely warrants a nomination, but nothing more.


In the comeback of 2008, Rourke plays a faded prowrestling star that, after a heart attack, can no longer continue his passion of wrestling, which is all he’s done for 20 years. In his quest for redemption and to find a new purpose in life, Rourke shows his true acting chops with one of the most poignant, touching and heartbreaking achievements in years. Mickey Rourke delivers the performance of a lifetime and dominates the ring, both figuratively and literally. The Oscar is his for sure.





The best performance of less than ten minutes in a movie this year belongs to Viola Davis, who plays the mother of the only black student at a Catholic school. Streep believes her son has been molested by the priest, his only friend at the school. In the short time she has on screen, Davis makes a gigantic impact in the film and more than holds her own against the titan Streep. If her role was larger, the award could’ve been hers.

When a freakish, aged baby is left on her doorstep, Henson’s character assumes the duties of raising the child. Her relationship with Benjamin is heartwarming, and Henson brings out the adoptive parent in all of us with her loving depiction of his mother. However, it’s a character we’ve seen before, and she certainly isn’t worthy of the award.



Usually, Penn plays very intense, angry characters. The best example of this would be his role in “Mystic River,” for which he won best actor. In contrast, his role as Harvey Milk is warm, funny and caring, completely the opposite of what he regularly does, closer to his representation of a mentally handicapped, but well-meaning man in “I Am Sam” than anything else. If he hadn’t already won the Oscar in 2004, he would be giving Rourke a run for his money.

It’s not easy for an actress to play an exotic dancer, especially when she’s over 40, but Tomei manages to pull it off in a performance blistering with realism. Underneath the detached exterior, she salvages what heart and soul is left, capturing the conflict and hardships of a mother working as a stripper with absolute conviction, and completely deserves the award for her courageous representation.


Langella doesn’t look or sound a whole lot like Richard Nixon, but what he is able to accomplish is the absolute embodiment of the ex-president, a much tougher, more impressive feat. With this career-topping portrayal, he’s finally left a noticeable impact as an actor, and if he didn’t have Mickey Rourke and Sean Penn up against him, he would receive the gold.






Brolin continues his hit parade with this haunted, fuming portrayal of Harvey Milk’s fellow city supervisor and eventual assassin Dan White. If it wasn’t for the genius of the late Ledger, I’d bet money Brolin would have gone home with the gold this “DOUBT” The jubilant redhead princess from “Enchanted” turns in year. The scene with Milk and White talking heated politics at a performance that holds a lot more depth than I knew she the baptism of White’s son, whether historically accurate or could produce, as a lovely nun who treats the children kind- not, is one of the more affecting scenes of the year. ly and with respect, the antithesis of head nun Meryl Streep’s disciplinary code. While her character is always believable in her sheltered innocence, Adams really shines through “THE DARK KNIGHT” when she starts taking after Streep, but overall doesn’t give a Here’s to the man who made us fear clowns again. It’s powerful enough performance to merit a win. not easy to outdo Jack Nicholson, but from the ‘pencil trick’ onward, Ledger’s rabid reincarnation of the Joker made all earlier versions instantly obsolete. By stripping the character of trifles like back story and motivation and taking his cues “VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA” Cruz has gone through a lot of roles where she portrays from “A Clockwork Orange” and the disembodied voices of a crazy woman, and here’s yet another one. She earned the ventriloquist dummies, Ledger’s Joker became an absolute nomination because of the back-and-forth subtlety and fe- force of nature, a true agent of chaos, an archfiend for the ages. rocity she lets out as the ex-wife of a womanizing painter, but Ledger may be gone, but this performance is immortal. there’s nothing ground-breaking here.






What if the voice of reason came from the mouth of a madman? That’s the question posed by Shannon’s John Givings, the mentally disturbed son of Kate and Leo’s freakishly cheerful realtor (the always brilliant Kathy Bates). He cuts past the cumbersome social niceties of the 1950s to expose exactly what’s wrong with the two main character’s crumbling marriage.


Downey’s miraculous journey from unemployable druggie to resurgent leading man is an inspiring success story. But Downey still enjoys taking risks, like the decision to appear in Ben Stiller’s combat comedy completely in blackface. Downey plays Australian method actor Kirk Lazarus, who gets cast as a black Vietnam soldier named Sergeant Lincoln Osiris. The role takes definite swipes at Russell Crowe and Daniel Day-Lewis, but the real hazard was offending the African American community. Thankfully, Downey’s performance is hilarious and intelligent enough not to cross the line.


Could you ever feel sorry for a priest accused of molesting children? Maybe if he’s played by Hoffman. Every scene in “Doubt” with Hoffman’s Father Flynn is a gift for audiences. Hoffman presents him as a tormented soul, fighting a losing battle with inner demons far beyond his understanding or control. Seeing him go toe-to-toe with Streep in the climactic interrogation scene is an absolute master-class in acting.


PAGE 20 SPORTS / FEB. 17, 2009

Taking the game


// PAIGECORNWELL August, 1960. Prairie Village. Then-sophomore Bob Bliss is outside by the baseball field with 60 other sophomores wanting to go out for football. They are doing different exercises, jumping jacks and pushups, wearing full equipment. It is 90 degrees outside. “Guys were getting weak,” Bliss said. “At least 15 had to go to the locker rooms. I think some passed out. I was fine, it’s all in your make up.” One sophomore wasn’t as fortunate. He died of heat exhaustion. His funeral was three or four days after he died, at Asbury Methodist Church. Bliss remembers most of the school showing up. Football practice was cancelled for one day. *** August, 2008. Louisville. Fifteen-year-old Max Gilpin collapses at football practice at Pleasant Ridge Park High School. Temperatures were in the 90s, and the coaches allegedly won’t let the team have any water breaks. His temperature was 107 degrees when he passed out, according to MSNBC.

He dies three days later. On Jan. 23, his coach, Jason Stinson, was indicted by a grand jury after being charged with reckless homicide, which is the killing of another person by a careless act. The case has sparked a debate about what it means to push athletes too far, and who is responsible when “too far” has deadly consequences. *** Much has changed with East regulations since Bliss was a student. Both the state and the district have hot weather guidelines. At East, hot weather guidelines apply when the heat index, a combination of air temperature and humidity, reaches at least 100 degrees. The district director of athletics determines a “heat practice day.” According to athletic director Jim Ricker, 95 degrees is the minimum temperature to declare a heat practice day. “If anything, we are too soft,” Ricker said. “But in the long run, it is in the best interest of the kids.” The coach in Kentucky allegedly wouldn’t let players take any water breaks. During a hot weather practice at East, five minute water breaks are mandatory at a minimum of every 20 minutes. Basketball and tennis coach Sue Chipman has had players who have had heat cramps, but the players acknowledged that it was because of dehydration. “When players are outside, sweating, they have to refuel,” Chipman said. “I tell them [while waiting] they should have water nearby.” Ricker thinks that different circumstances, may have affected the player in Kentucky which were beyond the coach’s control, such as players using energy drinks, “There’s a lot of things that some students do to enhance their performance, like using Red Bull, which makes your heart race,” Ricker said. “Some will do anything to cut corners.” Still, coaches feel that they may have to push their

Death of athlete in Kentucky sparks debate about coaches’ responsbilities during practices players, though just how far to push is up to the coaches’ jurisdiction. Witnesses say the coaches were yelling at the Pleasant Ridge Park athletes while they were doing running sprints, called gassers, according to MSNBC. “I know that coaches wouldn’t work us to the point where our health is in danger,” soccer and basketball player senior Reagan Jameison said. “They are just trying to make us better players.” There is a risk with sports, Chipman said, and it is hard to determine what might happen to players because they don’t have a “crystal ball.” “Most of the time, we go with a sense of where the kids are, because of you work them too hard you are going to lose half the crowd,” Chipman said. “But you have to push them a little, so they get stronger. But it’s hard to tell [how hard to push athletes] because, again, we don’t have a crystal ball.” Whether or not Stinson is guilty of negligence is still unknown. His next court date is March 20. “It’s devastating,” Ricker said. “That coach has to live with that his whole life. As the A.D., I hope it never happens to the coaches here.”

JUNIOR Jake Gifford drinks water at a hot summer practice this past fall. Although the Louisville coach wouldn’t let his players have water breaks, East coaches must have five minute water breaks every 20 minutes. // KATIEEAST







*Hosted by Marketing 2 seniors: Kristin Barker, Anna Leek and Meg Shackelford

Saturday, February 28th at 1:00 pm at Mady Me, a children’s boutique on Tomahawk Road located in the Prairie Village shopping center Donations—please drop off used or new children’s books at the book drop located at the door. All will be forwarded to the INVISIBLE CHILDREN the following week.


Come and support, we would appreciate it!





taking the plunge Q. A. Q. A. Q. A.


Q. A. Q. A. Q. A.


You have a nickname, “the human dolphin”... What in the world? A couple of my sophomore friends gave it to me and it just stuck. I guess I’m just graceful in the air? I don’t know why... it’s kind of funny.

Run us through the worst smack you ever had... Be it in high school or growing up. In 7th Grade at KU, I was doing a 2 1/2 pike off the high dive and kicked out too early. I ended up with two black eyes and welts running the length of my chest.

You lead a diving squad that lost two state qualifiers but gained just as many this season. How different is this year compared to the last? Last year we had senior leadership but our underclassmen have stepped it up this year. I got 11th at state last year and think I can do even better this year.

the Sideline

our who, what, when and where of East sports



What’s worse: smacking on a dive or wearing a Speedo? Smacking on your back. A Speedo is not so bothersome. Occassionally you’ll break a few blood vessels in your back and be in some pain for days.

You’re notorious for whimping out on attempting new dives at practice... Nerves or lack of skill? Nerves. During practice sometimes with all the stresses of school and the sport in general, I don’t want to finish my tough dives, but just stick to the ones I know I’m good at.

At League you barely ousted an Olathe East diver for 6th place. How would it have felt had he beat you and taken over that one point victory because of it?

It would have been awful. I failed a dive in that meet so I scored zeros on it. I had been beaten by him [before], that would have been the reason why we would’ve lost the meet despite being underdogs anyway.


Although the new head football coach was expected to be announced tonight at a meeting with players and parents, the date has been postponed to after Feb. 23 due to technicalities with paperwork and background checks. Though not permitted to be named directly as the coach, Dr. Krawitz assured that the new man in charge is “someone special and will bring a new attitude, excitement, and a philosophy of winning this school has never seen in its short 50 year history.” Rest assured, the school has made the right pick, you can check out the Sports Section’s take on the next head honcho in the “Sidenotes” portion of this page.

cam smith

Coaching football takes two things: intimidation and motivation. The man has both, knocking out the first necessity with a flowing haircut and a mysterious first name of “T.” that even a Google search won’t uncover. If Chaffee can motivate me to care about Lorenzo Valla symbolizing the secular spirit, he can certainly teach a running back how to perfectly hit a hole in a defense carved up by Jake Fleming and the gang. Capable of maneuvering through a textbook, taking on the playbook will be a breeze. He’s conquered DBQs (discussion-based questions) so don’t tell me he can’t coach some DBs. A two-sport coach already (cross country and track), taking on both sides of the ball would be a snap for the same guy who helped lead the boys track team to a second place finish in state last year. With all due respect to Bramley and Paris, Chaffee knows what it takes to turn boys into champions. He’s the complete package: teacher, coach and leader, and that’s why he’s my choice.

kevin simpson

sam logan

Euro History teacher T. Michael Chaffee-

OUT-STRIKING SUNFLOWER The coed bowling team will head to the Sunflower League tournament on Saturday led by sophomore Ali Dees for the girls and senior Brady Anderson for the boys. Dees bowled a 601 series on Feb. 3 while sophomore Johnny Sheahan rolled a single-game score of 279 which beat his own school record set last year. To place well at League, the team will need high individual performances to beat teams that have already topped them this season.


If you could pick any faculty member to be the next head football coach, who would it be and why?

English teacher Debe BramleyWho better to take over a football program stacked with potential than the same woman who knows Great Expectations like a quarterback does a football? Although sentence patterns and gerund functions can’t get through a goal line blitz, it makes perfect sense for an English teacher to ditch the classic lit for a sideline stint. A SM South grad, Bramley’s winning record proves more impressive than any of her faculty peers at East. An inevitable champion for every can drive, book drive, and coin drop, she shows consistence in getting the highest competitive drive out of those under her wing. A pizza party prize doesn’t come with every touchdown, but an impressive vocabulary and old school teaching style could get the most out of players sporting a shoot-this-is-worse-than-reading-30-pages attitude. Having been at East for years, she is already a legend... Taking her to the field would cement her as the next Karl Englund. Like in “Of Mice and Men,” these are my best laid plans.

For the sixth year in a row the boys swim team won the Sunflower League championship, topping rivals and meet favorites Olathe East by one point. The team will head to the state meet in Topeka on Friday, as 16 members made the cut to defend the title they’ve won four years consecutively. Of the 25 swimmers and divers on the League team, all but four scored points in what proved to be the table-setter for this weekend when the two schools will go head-to-head once again for the title.

American Government teacher Nick Paris-

A staple at most sporting events due to his position as Pep Club sponsor, Paris would be the perfect fit for the spot due to his school spirit and all around knowledge of East athletics. In attendance at almost every game, Paris can get a fan base pumped for any game... Even if it means through a banana eating contest and various pep assembly acts. Unlike Bramley, Paris is an East grad and has an incredible knowledge of what makes it great to be a Lancer. A successful football team is just one of the many things that happen. In recent years, we haven’t had that, but he can bring the victorious nature he’s experienced as coach of the Categories team to the gridiron. No matter how many hours of teaching he puts in, his heart would be in the job... Even if ’s not the size of a lineman’s. He’s the teacher for East’s Theory of Knowledge classes, evidence of his all-around smarts, be it in a quarterback’s head or an IB student’s. Just like in Little Giants, he brings a genius to the playbook no one else can.


For the second year in a row, junior Hannah Quillec has been named the area’s top gymnast by the Johnson County Sun. Quillec placed 5th in the All-Around competition at state this fall, bringing forth her highest scores when it counted at the League, regional, and state competitions.

SPRING FORWARD A SEASON With the culmination of winter sports, the spring season is just around the corner. Track conditioning has begun and the boys’ tennis and golf teams are preparing to defend their state championships. The track team will return after a 2nd place finish at state with high-jump champion senior Curran Darling returning along with other members of the top finishing 4x100 relay.

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FIGHTING for a new


Senior Spencer Sherard turns down swimming scholarship offers in order to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the Marines


The swimming pool at East lay calm one night. It was dark enough that the only light shining through the large glass doors was one from the construction zone some yards away. A few parents were still in the stands discussing where to go for dinner. The construction light glared bright enough to bring into focus a lone straggler, reeling in lane lines and grabbing trash. Senior Night had ended a few hours earlier, but senior Spencer Sherard hadn’t left the pool area. He had been honored for his last home competition and was committed to the chlorine waves after the laps, after the cheers, after the team left for Johnny’s. He won his races casually, putting in hard work but not flaunting it. He didn’t do it because he had to; easy success has always been expected of him. “He is a coach’s dream,” senior swimmer Thomas Puckett said. “He never complains at all, and he always works hard day in and day out.” Spencer decided to turn down swimming scholarship offers from multiple universities in order to enroll at Pittsburg State University to join the Marine Corps, like his father Jackson Sherard. Spencer’s family decided that education was the most important factor in deciding on a school. “I’ve always wanted to [go into] the military,” Spencer said. “I’ve seen all of my dads pictures when he was on tours and that sort of stuff, and it’s just always been a part of my life. I’m really interested in [the Marines], and I always have been.” In addition to Jackson, Spencer’s uncle and both grandfathers were Marines. Jackson completed tours of duty in Iraq and Djibouti and spent 20 years away from home while his two children were growing up. He was in third-world regions when Spencer and his sister Dana were just in the wading pool. He was in Africa when Spencer was working on Othello worksheets. “When I was really young, I didn’t really understand it,” Spencer said. “I would get mad at my mom because I thought she was responsible for it. I got mad at anyone who was in

charge of me.” Their mother Marjorie was the siblings’ coach, and the sport connected the abbreviated family through the summer blue water. “We just had to separate the coach and mom part,” Spencer said. “When we got home, if I wanted to talk about swimming, we could talk about swimming. She wouldn’t press me or anything. That was good, because it wouldn’t burn me out and I wouldn’t get sick of it.“ The night before the team left for the Sunflower League meet, head coach Wiley Wright told the kids that they were expected to lose the meet by 23 to longtime rival Olathe East. After Wright gave his speech, he asked if anyone else had

I’ve always wanted to [go into] the military. “I’ve seen all of my dad’s pictures when he was on tours and that sort of stuff, and it’s just always been a part of my life.

-Spencer Sherard

anything to say. “I told them that if you think you’re unimportant in this meet, you’re not,” Spencer said. “Every little point counts and it can come down to one single point, which it did.” Jackson says Spencer’s attention to detail and intense work ethic will come in handy once he is a part of the Marines. Despite the danger associated with the job, Jackson said the family has become accustomed to the nerves. “That’s the name of the game in the military,” Jackson said. “If you’re not ready to go do stuff, then that’s the way it is. There are times [we worry], but having gone through it myself that helped a little bit with the worry.” The fact that Jackson has gone through it himself doesn’t mean they pressured him into this choice. “His mother and I are proud of him and supported the decision,” Jackson said. “We would’ve supported his

decision had he gone any other way, too. We’re proud of him but it was his decision to make and that’s how we’ve always felt about it.” Spencer came to the decision by himself to leave his 11 year career to join the Marines like the rest of his family. “A lot of people would think we made him choose the military,” Marjorie said. “In coaching, I have been around a lot of parents making [the kids] do something and it backfires. If you let your kids choose what they want to do, it works out in the end.”



GO TO PITTSBURG STATE UNIVERSITY FOR HIS FRESHMAN YEAR UNDERGO BOOT CAMP THAT SUMMER AFTER THAT, HE WILL BE A RESERVIST UNTIL HE GRADUATES Sherard can have a civil job, but will report to Richards-Gebaur base in Belton, MO once a month to train and stay in shape ONCE SHERARD GRADUATES, HE WILL BE ON ACTIVE DUTY Sherard will have an assigned unit. Based upon his rank, the Marine is in charge of everyone ranked below them. Sherard will go on tours, and he must always be ready to fight. When not fighting, the Marines are always training and on constant standby.

PAGE 24 PHOTO ESSAY / FEB. 17, 2009

CARRYING ON THE FUN On Feb. 9, the Pack of Pals celebrated Valentine’s Day with the annual Down Syndrome Dance

LEFT-ABOVE: Senior Alexi Brown recieves a friendly hug from Dan during the Down Syndrome Dance. The dance was held in the cafeteria and had kids from all grades showed up to partake in the dancing and singing. // GRANTHEINLEIN ABOVE: Senior Katie Bartow and East graduate Lane Sturgeon sing a duet on the karaoke machine, which was a huge hit at the Valentine’s Day bash. // MACKENZIEWYLIE RIGHT: Sophomore Hanna Jane Stratinger and her friend Dan help David after he insisted on being hoisted into the air // GRANTHEINLEIN ABOVE-RIGHT: Jaime Eisenbach locks hands with seniors Wraye Sewell and Alyssa Jonson as they laugh together on the dance floor. // MACKENZIEWYLIE

Issue 11  

FEATURES: Nickels’ trip cancelled >PAGE 10 SPREAD: Parents with Facebooks >PAGE 12-13 A&E: Analysis of the Oscars >PAGE 18-19 C...

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